Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hello, Dollies

I'm in love.  Do you see these little children?  I fell in love with them when I read Lynn's blog, klein meisje quilts, and she posted the original quilt last week.  Following that post, she has provided directions for cutting each of them as well as a number of tips.  These are my practice blocks to see if I enjoyed making them (YES!) and if the pattern worked for me (YES!).

I'm not sure why this quilt struck such a chord with me.  When I look at the original, I see children from all over the world reaching out for a hug.  What is better than a child spontaneously reaching up to you with their arms outstretched? So, I think this quilt has a greater purpose than my just owning it.  Much as Lynn talks about it belonging in her Sunday School wing, I also think it could belong

  • In a pediatrics ward
  • In a raffle to fund missionary work, St Jude, or lots of other worthy causes
  • In a youth center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, YMCA, etc.
  • In any number of organizations devoted to children or peace or diversity and inclusion
  • In a school
  • Certainly in a church
So, I'm starting this quilt with no purpose in mind but with the confidence that there will be an opportunity to use it in a way that brings some small assistance to some organization.  What about you?  Would this be a quilt for your guild to take on for some local organization that has meaning?  Don't you just love this?  I told you I'm in love.
We leave on Friday to babysit for a about a week.  I'm not taking my machine -- but I am taking scraps to cut when I'm alone.  Do you see this tote?  I almost didn't get the top closed and it's definitely bowing.  I'll now be cutting the smaller pieces with my little dollies in mind.  Just think of the clothes they can wear.  Dresses made of batiks or florals or civil war scraps.  Or, pants and shirts made from collars/cuffs from recycled shirts, homespuns, and who knows what!  How about robes made from ethnic scraps?  So many opportunities to dress these little dollies.  I may also take a package of skin tone solids I bought at Keepsake Quilting 15+ years ago and had no idea what to do with them.  That really would give me a head start when I decide to work on these because they really do go amazingly fast considering the small pieces.

I hope you are inspired by what you're working on!  Jan

I'm linking to WIP Wednesday and Made by Me Wednesday -- take a peek at all the goodies on those cool sites!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Last shall be first ...

At least for this posting.

If you're a fairly regular reader of this blog, you may have seen some of these before.  When my sister and her husband moved into "my dream home - for them", I knew I wanted to make a special quilt for them.  But, they already had 3-4 quilts, so maybe I should do something else.  After a while, we agreed that I'd take Nancy Halvorsen's "Be Attitudes" quilt and loosely (very loosely) follow her directions to make monthly wallhangings.
The January block was actually the last block I made since we started with February and worked on a flow (just in time!) basis.  I really liked this block because of the taupe, beige, and silver fabric.  I only had about a FQ of it and I'd buy yards now if I could find it.  It was perfect for this.  The "diamond" buttons are from our grandmother's button jar.
The February block was a real learning experience since it was the first one out of the box.  I quilted it on a Gammill which was a mistake.  It was fast -- it was not particularly easy nor is the quality what I really really wanted.  But redoing it was out of the question, so it's fine.  The middle heart on the right was made with fabric from an appliqué class that she and I took together -- and laughed much more than we stitched! Such good memories.
The March block was more learning.  The "cherry" button and the hanging tab buttons were from Grandmother's button jar.  Quilting is dreadful -- Gammill again.  Many of these fabrics are from the Nancy Odom appliqué quilt I made for her 50th birthday -- and I've loved them and saved them for a good reason.

Each of these measures in the 15" to 18" range and look darling in her kitchen!  More to follow on future posts....

I hope you have someone special in your life that you love to share your quilting with!  Jan

Thursday, February 16, 2012

All's well that ends well....eventually!

Ms MacQuilt, this one is for you!  This is one of those "oh no" moments that invariably come in the process of making quilts.

Setting the stage:  Ms MacQuilt, who generously shares her Gammill with Ms Mom22smartchix and me, was at a conference and needed a baby quilt completed for a colleague's new little one.  She had been collecting black/white and red batiks for this cute little quilt.  Ms Chix offered to quilt it and I was over for moral support and comic relief.
All was going swimmingly and we were merrily quilting along and visiting.  Piece of cake, right?  It's a baby quilt and should take less than an hour, right?  Yep --- until we rolled the quilt and found the tear that you see here!  Somehow the needle had torn the batik on the back and we had an "L shaped" tear in the lower half of the backing.  We couldn't believe our eyes!  What do we do?  Cry?  Curse?  We couldn't ignore it and it was way too big for some of the tricks that cover up little boo-boos when you're longarming.  I don't think I've ever felt as heartsick when I was working on a quilt as that moment.
The solution?  After a lot of discussion, appliqué over that tear (which was about 2.5" at its longest) seemed to be the only solution.  To this day, I'm not sure what else we could have done -- short of starting over and we seriously considered that.  Ms MacQuilt was brought in the loop and gave us carte blanche to do whatever we wanted to do .... how's that for trust!  The quilt was bound and presented to the new mom and no one was any the wiser!
Have you ever had a catastrophe while quilting and how did you handle it?  I'd be curious if anyone has  suggestions for what we could have done differently here?  I'm pretty sure it sucked up one of my 'nine lives'!

I hope you're finding time to piece and quilt -- error free!  Jan

Friday, February 10, 2012

Well, finally!

I know, I've seen this more times than you care to.....

But I am thrilled to say that the first block of Kim McLean's Lollypop quilt is finished.  I've been at this journey for a year already and was sure that black was the background I wanted and I had all the blocks cut and marked -- and one made -- when I decided that a light background was a better decision for my taste.  Loved the black but decided I didn't want to do 16 of these beauties and then the sashing not do it justice.  I do love this fabric and I'm certain I'll be more satisfied in the long run.
And -- to change things a are a pair of mittens that I made two weeks ago when special friends were here for a long weekend.  Somehow (and I don't know how - I was just following directions from my "mitten coach") these were done with a pattern that was all one piece and you just flipped it over for the other hand.  You then do the same thing for a fleece liner.  Don't ask me how it works....
They are a tad big so I'm going to take a little bigger seam when I'm feeling brave....but I love using the cuff of the sweater for the mittens and how well the stripes matched.  Overpinning probably helped that.

And -- if you have time, you may want to check out Lily's Quilts for an incredible giveaway of Oakshott cottons.  Talk about color and texture and reflective light -- they are great!

I hope your life is full of color!  Jan

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Aren't these gorgeous?

These are Kathy Hall's Maestro line for Andover Fabrics.  I have a total of 17 half yard cuts (that's 8.5 yards, people!) for a challenge quilt with two friends from Chicago.  They were generously furnished by one in honor of the 50th birthday of the other.  There are not a lot of "rules" other than you have to use some of each of the fabrics in the quilt and other fabrics can be added.  I have Kona brown to add and it really makes many of them sparkle.

I've been hesitant to start the pattern I've chosen because I'd like to finish up a few things before starting a quilt with these beauties...and I have until October to get it done.  I do, however, want to make a sample block before I decide and I'm lucky enough to have plenty of fabric to try it out.  I don't know about you, but I've become a more patient quilter and am willing to make a block when I'm starting a quilt...the time I spend doing that often saves me heartache or disappointment later.  I have quite a stack of "never mind" blocks....and that makes me a happy camper as opposed to an unhappy quilter.  Fabric is way too expensive to work with and be disappointed with the results.

Stay tuned....this is going to be fun...eventually!

I hope you're finding time to piece or dream...Jan