Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's time....

It's time to get back to the sewing room. I spent much of September, October and November in a wheel chair with absolutely no desire to sew and not able to stand to quilt.

The first of December found me taking tentative steps with a walker - not really walking, just stepping. Even though my sewing machine was calling me, I still didn't have much enthusiasm to get down to my sewing room and get going on anything.

Now, it's time. I am still only "stepping" and still in a full leg air cast, but I need to get back to doing what I do. So, a quick ride down the new stair lift, and there I was - back in my sewing room. I spent a few minutes working on a "10-minute block" project from a Moda layer cake that had been sitting on the shelf for months and months.

After about an hour and a half of sewing, It became apparent that I do NOT have the stamina for the up and down sewing, pressing and cutting method that I have used for years and years. It's going to take me a bit of time to get back fully into the swing of things!

So, I decided to really take a look at things and see exactly what is waiting for me down there. Here is what I found (and the list may change as I find more projects hidden away in the cupboards and cabinets of my sewing room.

QUILTS THAT I HAVE PROMISED ( guess I should work on these first)

1. Emily and Paul's T-Shirt Quilts - graduation gifts.

I have a tried and true method of doing t-shirt quilts, so a I'm ready to go with those as soon as I can stand long enough to cut the shirts.

2. Elise's "big girl" quilt. Elise's quilt will be made from Moda's Butterfly Fling line and I have a gorgeous bundle of fat quarters ready for that project.

3. Donation block for the 2011 fair quilt


UFOs (Unfinished objects - projects that have already been started)

1. Candy Kisses Lap quilt

2. Civil War Tribute BOM quilt (I should be getting the final three months blocks from my niece's quilt shop - Two Sisters Quilting in Bear Lake, Michigan any day now

3. Fiddlesticks Floral - this quilt is all cut and ready to be pieced


PIGS (Projects in grocery sacks)

1. Moda's Legacy Pineapple quilt - kit

2. Wildflower Serenade - two kits but will probably combine into one queen size

3. Beep Beep toddler boys quilt. Will finish and put in my Etsy shop

4. Mary Rose - shabby chic throw

5. Oriental fabric throw

6. Gathering Leaves kit from Moda's Alspice collection

7. Oak Leaf and Reel - Moda applique quilt kit

8. Snow Crystals kit

9. Shimmer Stars quilt kit

10. About a dozen novelty print pillow cases for the grandkids


I also have quite a collection of Moda Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls and fat quarter bundles that I have not decided yet on a pattern.

PLUS, a multitude of bins full of fabric scraps for making my favorite quilts. SCRAP QUILTS! I have dozens of scrap quilts planned out in my mind! Not to mention my favorite scrap quilts designed by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville Bonnie is currently running a quilt mystery called Roll, Roll Cotton Boll. I would love to be in the middle of this mystery quilt but I am afraid that I am not quite up to doing the fabric cutting that this quilt requires. I have however, printed out each and every clue that has been posted and I will do this quilt at some time in the future!

It appears that I could piece quilts for about 10 years without ever setting foot back in a fabric store.

It’s time…..

Monday, December 6, 2010

8 new screws - still healing

I'm still healing - and still not sewing. I've now spent 10 1/2 weeks non-weight bearing in a wheelchair. My initial incision did not heal well so I returned to surgery on October 25th for more surgery. I am getting pretty antsy to get downstairs to my sewing room. However, I wonder if the pain meds I am taking will allow me to concentrate enough to sew! Perhaps it is not yet time for sharp things like pins, needles and rotary cutters.

My surgeon has just given the okay for me to do some "partial weight bearing" while wearing my big ole boot and using a walker. With any luck, I will be graduating to a cane by the first of the year!

I have a whole list of things that I want to start working on. The top of the list is a "big girl" quilt for my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter who is moving from her crib to a big girl bed. The next thing on my list is the current
Bonnie Hunter Quiltville Mystery Quilt - Roll, Roll Cotton Boll. I have printed out all of the clues and my mind is just swimming with all of the fabrics in my stash that would be appropriate for this quilt!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Where did you get all of that talent?

Because I love to do crafty things and because I do lots of different types of "crafty things" many people ask me where I got "all of that talent". I'm not sure that I do anything any better than the Average Joe, but the things that I love to do, I like to do well! And at this time of my life, I have time to devote to the things that I like to do.
I am sure that my talents are a gift from God. He also gave me Grandmas that were willing to teach!
Both of my Grandmas were farm wives and worked long, hard hours every day! The time that they had to sit was time that they took to do sewing, knitting, crochet, tatting, etc.

My Grandma McPhee was a top-notch seamstress who did sewing for "ladies in the city" until she was busy with family of her own. When I first started sewing as a young girl, she gently looked over every one of my sewing projects to show me things that were not quite right and ways that I might have done things differently. I learned a lot about sewing from her. I hope that she looks down on me from heaven and is pleased! She also knitted the most beautuful things. I loved to watch her and because I am left-handed, we found that if I sat across a narrow table from her that I could see what she was doing and copy it! Grandma also tatted lace for the edges of all of her fine linens, but I never learned to do that particular type of hand work.
My Grandma Erskine could make ANYTHING with a crochet hook and a ball of yarn or thread. I was fat as a young girl and I would rather read a book or sit with Grandma as she crocheted than go outside and "play". I remember sitting with her in her big green chair by the picture window as she crocheted edges on linens or skirts and shawls for my Barbie doll. She would let me put my hand over hers when she crocheted so that I could feel how her hand moved the hook and yarn. She also had a treadle sewing machine that she allowed me to sew on. I guess she figured that I couldn't get it going fast enough to really hurt myself. I wonder what ever happened to that treadle machine?

A lot of what my Grandmas made were things that we see today as crafty. These things were certainly not crafts to them. My mom tells me about the quilts that they would make, not for beauty or for show, but for winter warmth! The quilts were brought downstairs each spring, the ties cut so that the tops could be washed and then when dry, each of the quilts had to be put back on the frame and re-tied to get them ready for the next years use.

My Grandma McPhee knitted mittens for each of her 18 grandchildren every year! She also knitted the neatest hats and sweaters. While I am struggling through knitting a mitten, I keep thinking that I could buy the kids mittens - probably for about $2 a pair. Why am I doing this? I guess because MY Grandma knitted mittens, I think I should be able to. Thus far I have only been marginally successful at the mitten thing. I also have several books on knitting socks. Yep - socks. I have yet to turn out an actual sock, but I sure would like to learn. My grandmas both made that handful of knitting needles look easy. Trust me - holding 4 needles in the right position at the same time is NOT easy.

My dad told me that when he was young, his Grandma Maria Erskine knitted new thumbs for his mittens on a regular basis. Working on the farm in the winter wore out the thumbs, so Grandma knitted new ones!

My hobbies are supposed to be fun. When I find that I'm not having fun doing something, I'm done with it! I do tend to go "all out" over any new craft that I discover. And, over the years, this has been kind of a costly way of doing things.
For example, I invested a LOT of money in knitting machines and the special kind of yarn that they use. I worked at it until I got pretty good at it, but found that I didn't really LIKE machine knitting. So, I sold all of the knitting machines and still have a huge bin of top quality machine knitting cone yarn in the basement. I did keep the large gauge Bond knitting machine. It's fun for basic knitting and someday, I hope the kids will want to learn how it works.
So, I love sewing, (and sewing machines), quilting, knitting and crochet and I believe that I have my Grandmas to thank for that.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A time to heal

As my gorgeous new BabyLock Ellisimo sewing and embroidery machine sits idle in my basement sewing room, I sit - held hostage by my recliner chair - as I heal. Healing is a slow process! And, this particular healing will take anywhere from 20 weeks to a year.
Last Wednesday, renowned foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Donald Bohay, performed a triple athrodesis of my left ankle. This means that all of the joints in my left ankle have been permanently screwed and bolted together. I am the proud new owner of 7 more screws in my ankle! Now we wait...... all of these joints need to fuse together. In 16-20 weeks of non-weight bearing on that leg, a CT-scan will be done to see if there is any new bone growth.
So, instead of hobbling downstairs to my sewing/quilting room, I'm sitting in a recliner chair with my toes pointed to the ceiling. Hubby is wonderful about bringing pain pills, ice bags and meals. But, trips to the powder room mean that I need to transfer from my recliner to a wheelchair and back. Can you say EXHAUSTING?

I have lots and lots of things to do while sitting in my recliner. I have oodles of knitting needles and crochet hooks plus enough yarn to circle the globe! I also have a bazillion fabric circles to sew into yo-yos!

My Accuquilt GO! cutter with the circle die made cutting a bag of scraps into circles a snap! Perfect circles and a tiny dent in my scrap basket!

What to with all of those yo-yos you ask? Isn't this a cute monkey?

Each monkey only takes 120 yo-yos! And with 8 grandchildren that means I only need to make....... a LOT of yo-yos!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

T-Shirt Quilts plus a twist!

Several years ago, my cousin lost her husband to an incredibly fast growing cancer. He left besides the bride that he married right out of high school, 3 teenagers.

Several months ago as Mary (the widow) was attempting to clean out some of Jim's clothes, she asked me to help her "do something" with all of his t-shirts. I suggested a small "lab robe" size quilt for each of the kids.

They each chose their favorite t-shirts and bundled them up for me to "do something with". After I finished the three small quilts, I was thrilled with the results, but sad that there were no shirts set-aside for something for Mary for HER memory quilt. What to do? She insisted that she was fine and as long as the kids got something, she would be happy. As I was cleaning up the mess in my sewing room, I had a thought. What about all of these perfectly good t-shirt BACKS? Maybe I could make something out of them?

After cutting the remaining shirt pieces into large "fat quarter" size pieces, I used a simple Turning Twenty pattern for a simple quilt top. I quilted it with edge to edge dogwood blossoms. I think Mary will love it. I hope Jim, up in heaven, isn't upset with me for putting flowers on his old t-shirts!

Sunday is a family reunion and I hope to take all of the quilts to her at that time.

Friday, July 23, 2010

2010 Fair Quilts have been judged

The 2010 Free Fair quilts have been judged and are on display. I am proud to say that once again, one of my quilts occupies one of the showcases with a blue ribbon! Better yet, is that it shares a spot with my Granddaughter's first quilt, sporting a gorgeous red ribbon!

All in all it was a good fair for me. Three blue ribbons, one Best of Category, 2 seconds and an honorable mention.

My 1930's Reproduction quilt on the left and Hannah's "Gadgets" quilt on the right

1930's reproduction quilt took a blue ribbon

Moonglow took a 2nd place

Yellow weekender bag took a blue AND a BEST!

Shakespeare in the park (purple and teal) took a blue ribbon

RWB tote bag ( a donation to the fair sale) took an Honorable Mention

Burgandy crumb quilt took a red ribbon.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another Finish from my scrap bag!

A wise old quilter once said that even the fabric SCRAPS cost $10 a yard! Keep them and figure out how to use them! I have scrap baskets that must be 15 years old! I keep TRYING to use them up but they seem to multiply. Each and every time I finish a scrap bag quilt, I love it. I love my scrappy quilts more than any of the quilts that I make! This quilt uses up some of the "crumb blocks" that I made last winter. Alternated with a burgundy solid made a really pretty quilt. Even the batting was an old bat that I had laying around in a big garbage bag waiting for the perfect top. And, horrors! I even pieced a backing for this instead of cutting new wide back fabric from the bolt.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another finish - Shakespeare In The Park

My Shakespeare quilt is finally finished! Pieced, Quilted, and bound! Yea! When I first started this quilt I loved it! After I finished the piecing, I still really liked it. Once I had it quilted, I didn't like it so much. Now that I have the binding on it, I really don't like it. Maybe I'm just tired of looking at it and maybe it will grow on me. It's hard to believe that you can put that much money into a project, invest weeks of your time and not be totally thrilled with the finished work. Oh well - on to the next project.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A fun, busy week - teaching Hannah to sew

My eldest granddaughter has been asking for some time with Grandma to "learn to sew". So, this week, she spent 3 days with me. We started out sewing on my old Singer 301 - a machine so basic that you could never hurt it, with no thread. First off, the rules. 1) never put your fingers in front of the needle, always beside it. 2) Pay attention to the needle and the machine. Not singing, not watching TV, not playing with the dog, etc. 3) Never sew faster than you feel you can control. 4) If you are in trouble - STOP - then holler for help! She sewed on the lines of writing paper to get the feel of the machine and to learn to sew a straight line. Then I drew swirls and squiggles for her to sew! She is a natural! In no time at all, she was using thread and real fabric. Hannah then moved on to Grandma's new Babylock Ellisimo to piece her first quilt. Of course, now was the time for a little lesson on pins and irons. I elected NOT to introduce the rotary cutter this lesson! The quilt was a kit from "Quilts for Kids". She did a wonderful job. And the quilt will be sent to a hospital to be given to a sick child. The Ellisimo has the added function of sewing with on ON-STOP button instead of a foot pedal. It also can be dialed down to a very slow speed. What a nice job she did! Then, while the quilt was actually "quilted" on the quilting frame, Hannah discovered my scrap bag, my bin of pre-cut squares and my design wall. I have created a monster!

What a fun week!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

1930's Summertime Quilt

Another finish! This quilt was made from Moda's "Hello Betty" line of 1930's reproduction fabric. When I finished the top, it looked kind of plain to me. And, the fabrics made me think of old-fashioned laundry. So that's the way I quilted it; Wash basins, wringer washers, clothes pins and things hanging on the line. Now I love it! I am slowly but surely whittling down all of those quilt tops that I have finished.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mountain Lodge quilt finished

Last night while watching TV, I finished sewing the binding on my latest quilt. The quilt is "Mountain Lodge" by Janet Page Kessler for Bernatex. The fabric is from Bernatex' fabric line called Montana Modern. Here is where you can find the pattern.

The quilt, except for the center panel and the outermost wide border were cut with my accuquilt GO! The precise cuts made the quilt top go together very nicely. The quilting is edge to edge - bears, deer and pine trees. This is the first time that I have used Quilters Dream batting for one of my own quilts. This stuff feels great and quilts up "like a dream". I may not be buying any more huge rolls of my old stand-by cotton batting. This batting has certainly won me over! The quilt was made for one of my sisters as a "thank you" for using some of her vacation days to drive to Florida with me last winter. I hope she likes it!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Simplicity Bias Tape Maker Machine

Wowser! I am impressed! I finally took the time to use all of my latest gizmos to put the binding on my latest quilt.

I cut PERFECT 2 1/2" strips with my Accuquilt cutting machine, sewed the strips together and ran them thru my Simplicity Bias Tape Maker machine ( with the new binding tip) and wow - perfectly pressed binding - about a mile of it - in just a few minutes. As the perfectly pressed binding came off the machine, I wound it around an empty cardboard roller and it was ready to put on the quilt. I love these new gizmos! They make my quilting life so much better!

As Time Goes By - finished!

Finally a finish! I like it, but I am not really loving it yet. I quilted it on my HQ16 and did my first real "Custom Quilting" on it. Needless to say, I now have a ruler base on order, for my machine. SID without one was a nightmare!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

On my design wall

I have been working on a sampler quilt for MONTHS! I now really MUST get it finished because it will be gift for my nephew and his bride when they marry this summer. The name of the quilt is "As Time Goes By". The blocks are all done and I am working through putting all the parts together.

I will be backing the quilt with a wide cream floral. I will use Warm and Natural batting in order to get a nice drape when it's on the bed. This quilt just screams for custom quilting so once it is together, I will get it on the frame and start designing the quilting.
As pretty as it is, I am at the point where I will be glad when it's done. Or, at least ready to be quilted. (It doesn't seem to me that these colors in this picture are very true. The colors are rose, burgandy, cream, light and dark forest greens.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

A blanket for Granddaughter Caris

This little blanket barely qualifies as a "quilt". The large squares are made of things that babies love to TOUCH. Flannel, satin, cuddly furry minky and soft cotton. I hope she likes it! The nurses at the hospital where she was born loved it! When she is a bit bigger, I will make a more traditional quilt for her.

Welcome to the family Caris Rose!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A trip "up north"

We made the trip "up north" to be there when they opened the grave for my dear MIL. The use of May Houses to store bodies awaiting burial until the frozen ground melts enough to dig a grave is a necessary evil. We stood in a wet snow storm to see Mom to her final resting place. Rest In Peace Mom Wills.

A trip "up north" also always means a trip to my niece's quilt shop! Jenny and Janelle are the proprietors of Two Sisters Quilting in Bear Lake. This little shop is a glorious place to visit! And, even though I have enough fabric and enough quilt "kits" on my own shelves to last me a very long time, I could not resist signing up as a member of their Civil War Tribute Quilt Block Of The Month group.

Judie Rothermel & Marcus Fabrics created this Civil War Tribute in anticipation of the 150 year commemoration of the US Civil War in 2011. Marcus Fabrics is partnering with Homestead Hearth Quilt Shop to create a special project to use these reproduction fabrics. Each of the blocks in this quilt represent a significant battle of the Civil War.

The blocks are full of pointy stars, large and small. This quilt will, no doubt be a challenge to complete! The first three months were ready when I visited the shop, so those three blocks came home with me. We will make another trip "north" when the next block is ready.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Laptop Computer Bag

I don't have a case or a bag for my laptop, and I really don't like taking it with me without some kind of bag, so I decided to shop for one. 85 BUCKS! For a bag! So, I went down to my sewing room and got busy. This really, really neat bag is the result of an afternoon of sewing. computer doesn't fit into it. :-( Back to the drawing board.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

More "Quilts For Kids"

The little quilt for the "Quilts For Kids" project is quilted, bound, washed and dried - ready to put in the mail. But wait.... there's room for at least one more little quilt in that box! So, I dug around in my fabric stash a bit and viola! - another little quilt. If I can find suitable backing for this little guy, I can get it quilted and ready to do tomorrow. Now, two little people will have a special quilt to snuggle with when they are not feeling so good.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Quilts For Kids

This is the quilt that I made today for the Children's Miracle Network. Tomorrow I'll get it quilted and sent off.
Each year in the United States, children account for more than six million hospital stays and must confront the challenges of overcoming illness while staying in unfamiliar hospital environments. In January 2009, Quilts for Kids, Inc. kicked off a partnership with Downy fabric softener to launch the Downy Touch of Comfort program - bringing a "touch of comfort" to hospitalized children in Children's Miracle Network hospitals nationwide along with "Grey's Anatomy" star and mother of three, Chandra Wilson. Now, Downy has developed a special documentary to raise awareness about the cause and Quilts for Kids' mission. The documentary shows the heartfelt effort that numerous people have put into helping these children feel close to home; from our quilters to the Downy Touch of Comfort spokeswoman, Chandra Wilson, many people have made a difference in the lives of children such as those seen in this film.
We encourage you to view the film and share it with others by sending them the links or by sharing this on your FaceBook page.
Link to Quilts for Kids:
Link to
As mentioned in the film, each purchase of a specially marked bottle of Downy will go back to Quilts for Kids to help us create more quilts for the millions of children that are hospitalized each year. The new specially marked bottle design features a "quilted" label and the Downy Touch of Comfort logo on the front, and five cents from each of these specially marked bottles will help Quilts for Kids, Inc. and Downy reach our goal to deliver 10,000 more quilts to these children this year.