Monday, December 13, 2010

The Unorthodox Quilter... or I should come with a WARNING, do not read before you sleep.

Hi!  I'm Nan from Pots and Pins - back for another fun-filled romp at Stash Manicure...and I'm tickled to be here and hopefully this won’t be my last post but what I’m about to tell you will fly in the face of any and all Quilting Wisdom you have…so, having said that, I'll head straight down my gang-plank...Today I want to talk to you about being an Unorthodox Quilter. Those words describe me, do they describe you, too? Oh I HOPE so!

When I first learned to quilt I took a class in Minneapolis from a lovely Norwegian lady. In her sing-song voice she told me, "Yah, a hand-pieced quilt is a real quilt." After completing my hand-pieced sampler quilt, this same woman then taught me the time-honored art of hand-quilting, "Yah, a hand-quilted quilt is a real quilt."

My first real quilt was hand-pieced and hand-quilted and I was extremely proud...and I was also FOUR YEARS OLDER from the time I started it until it was finished!

Now tell me, who among you has FOUR YEARS to spend on ONE quilt?!?! There are just too many quilts to make to spend FOUR YEARS on one quilt! So I had to adapt...I had to abandon those time-honored traditions so I could make baby quilts and bed quilts and wedding quilts and "sorry quilts"...oh please, tell me you've made one of those?!?! Nothing smooths over an offended friend faster than a quilt! And once you make and give one “sorry quilt,” all of your friends will be begging you to call them idiots!

What I'm about to tell you will probably be considered blasphemous to most of you...especially to those "stitch in time saves nine" quilters out there...having said that, IF you are offended by what I'm about to say, leave me a comment telling me why and I just might make you a "sorry quilt!"…but don’t hold your breath!

Here's why I’m an Unorthodox Quilter - my top five NEW time-honored traditions/time savers are listed below...YOU are not required to do these things, you may continue to squander away precious hours and hours if you chose, all I'm saying is, I STILL have too many quilts to make and to me, the end result, the finished quilt, is the most important thing:

1. I do not pre-wash my fabric. Not even reds. Years ago most fabric had to be washed - even good fabric bled! But now, if you buy good fabric, you won't have a problem and even if you do, the color removers you can purchase at any grocery store will fix it. I live with a caveman and a boy who I swear, their only purpose on Earth is to provide me with dirty laundry so the last thing I want to do is spend more time in the laundry room!

2. I do not pin. There I said it. I feel free. Liberated. Pinless is painless - feel free to quote me. When I piece, I do not pin. When I sew on borders or binding, I do not pin. Oh okay, maybe ONE pin, like in the center of the binding, but that's it! I do have a nice supply of straight pins that I seem to drop on the floor about once a year, and that's about the only time they are used. When I think about the other times where I have used more than one pin at a time I’m either squeezing myself into a shirt that my dryer has shrunk (do you have that problem too?) or when I layer a quilt together I will use safety pins - I'm not totally nuts! But even then I use as few pins as possible.

3. I do not iron/press. Oh yeah...I'm iron-free and loving it! Seriously, I watch my quilting friends sew two-inch squares together, then stop and reach for their irons where they then press the living daylights out of the poor fabric! With each little seam they stop and press...press, press, press...and while they're pressing I'm sewing...sewing, sewing, sewing...and by the time they've sewed and pressed a half-dozen 9-patch blocks I have completed a quilt top! No lie! Okay, maybe that's a little exaggeration but here's my thinking:

     a. The back of the quilt does not need to look like the front. Once that quilt is quilted the back will NEVER be seen, so what does it matter if everything is pressed in the right direction?!? I can hear some of you screaming, “If you don’t press and press correctly then you’ll have lumps in your quilt from where the points match!” Who has ever NOT eaten gravy because it had lumps?! It’s the same with a quilt…would you refuse to wrap yourself up in one because of a little lump? I think not. I also think lumps are highly over-rated…and as someone over 50, I say that with pride…show me anyone over the age of 50 without a few lumps and I’ll show you a good plastic surgeon! But I digress…if you’re talking museum-quality quilts then by all means, press and go for lump-free…but I won’t live long enough to ever acquire the skills to put me in that league!

     b. Unless you're making a quilt that you have NO intention of washing, drying, and bringing to life, then what's the point of ironing? All that pressing gets washed and dried right out in the end...leaving you with a beautiful, crinkly-soft quilt...just like you would have if you NEVER pressed in the first place! I will put my non-pressed-crinkly-soft quilts up against ones that have been pressed to smithereens any time, anywhere...you will NOT be able to tell the difference! But my quilts will have been made in HALF the time!

4. I do not make labels for my quilts. In the past I did make labels and hand-stitched them onto the backs of my quilts. I spent a lot of time on these labels...time I could have used to shop for more fabric! And then I saw the light. Now I either sign and date my quilts with a permanent-ink pen, on the back of the quilt near the binding or what I really like to do is quilt my "label" into the quilt itself! It's hidden in plain sight! I quilt in messages that only the recipient of the quilt knows about - it's fun for me and fun for them! And really, if Picasso didn't have to paint a separate little painting to attach to the back of his masterpiece, why should I?

5. If I'm going to hang a quilt on a wall, I staple it. You read me right...staple it! A staple is no bigger than a pin - and it goes straight into the wall, it does not bend like it does on paper. Removing the quilt from the wall takes just a gentle pull - no harm done. The quilt will hang flat against the wall, making it less likely to be damaged than those that hang apart from the wall on quilt hangers, especially if in a high-traffic area, like an entry hall. And by stapling my quilts to the wall I do not have to spend time sewing on a sleeve…which I truly believe are meant to only be on shirts, sweaters and coats and worn by women over the age of 50…but that’s just me. Oh, I’m not talking about using a staple-gun, just a regular desk type stapler…trust me, your quilt will look beautiful without any fussy hardware to detract from its beauty!

There you have it, my friends, that is the definition of an unorthodox quilter! I’m not ashamed to admit it and there's not a 12-step program anywhere that can convince me I'm wrong…I’m a quilter who takes short-cuts so I’ll have time to quilt another quilt…how ‘bout you? If YOU have any short-cuts that you think I need to adopt, please let me know...the clock is ticking!

I wish you all a Merry Little Christmas…a Christmas wrapped in a quilt with or without lumps! Come visit me at Pots and Pins, that’s where I hang my thimble and spatula…it keeps me out of trouble... most days!   And to Dear Madame Samm, I remain, as always, your humble servant!

Ho-Ho-Ho!  Nan

Sunday, December 12, 2010

#9It's that "TIME" again... to just slow down the pace for this day!

Christmas Bell, M.T. Choir.

It's that "TIME" again... to just slow down the pace for this day!

This was filmed not far from me, actually less than 30 minutes in a  Niagara Mall. When this first came out, some of my friends sent it to me as many of our mutual friends were singing in the choir. It pleases me to no end to share this with you. A reminder why we have come together and why we stay!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Create a little, Create a lot...just Create...

Hi! I’m Jane from Sew Create It and I’m really honoured that Madame Samm invited me to post on Stash Manicure.   There have been such talented people before me; I hope I keep up the standard with my two cents.

I started quilting in 1994 when a friend of mine told me about a foundation paper piecing class at the LQS.  At the time I was into dress making and thought quilting seemed liked hard work.  I didn’t see the sense in cutting up little pieces, only to sew them back together... but when it was suggested I could use my scraps to make quilts, my interest was piqued.  So off I went to the class with my rumpled scraps.  I still recall the teacher’s face when she realized I hadn’t bought yardage for my project... in fact I hadn’t even bothered to iron my scraps!  The lady of the shop was less than amused!  Not being deterred at the first hurdle, I joined the other ladies and learned to paper piece.  I was overjoyed at the thought that I had found a use for my dressmaking scraps and went home with a new spring in my step.  It was not long after that class, that my interest in dress making waned and within a couple of years I had started my cotton stash and had all but given away anything that wasn’t “quilt” worthy.  And thus started my quilting journey!

For the longest time I sewed on the dining room table, but in recent years I have been fortunate enough to have a designated desk in our extension.  Of course, I still manage to spread out across that room and back into the dining room where I have 2 cupboards to store fabric and tools.

I have always been a scrap quilter... and I suspect I always will.  But I do try and keep my scraps in order and trim them down into more usable sizes so they are at the ready when inspiration strikes.

Even my coordinated quilts have a scrappy look.  

As I started my quilting journey with paper piecing and scraps I thought I’d share with you a pattern that uses both and would be ideal for Christmas.  I wrote this pattern just for you here at Stash Manicure and I promise you this is a quick enough project that there is still time to make one for this Christmas.

Click here for the PDF pattern for the Mini-Christmas Tree Runner

Many thanks to Madame Samm for inviting me to write a post for Stash Manicure.  I hope you enjoy the pattern and if you do make one up, let me know!

Merry Christmas!

Stash Manicure would also like 
 to offer another Giveaway!

Quilt Pattern from Miss Rosie's Quilt Company
her newest pattern
 Route 44 by Carrie Nelson.

Leave a comment, draw will be Monday morning...

#66 Judi, please connect with me...
and congrats.. you have won this Carrie Nelson Pattern..
I am sure you will enjoy her latest design...
( and to all those who commented...there will be more 
chances sew keep checking in) 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Trunk Show of Fast and Scrappy Quilts

Welcome to my Trunk Show of Scrappy Quilts

 Hey everybody! My name is Millie from Millie's Quilting. I'm so thrilled to be posting on this awesome blog. Thanks so much, Madame Samm for inviting me to show a few of my scrappy quilts. In 1990, as a newlywed I visited our local library in Sasolburg, South Africa. It just happened to be the yearly quilt show. I was awestruck by this new form of art I have never witnessed before. Before you take out your calculators to figure out my age I'll just come out and say it. I'm 44 years young.

 I started to make my very first quilt after the library quilt display and gave it to my mother. It was a Grandmother's Flower Garden  all done by hand. It took me nearly two years to finish it.

My mom and me!
After going through all the trouble of hand sewing and quilting, I bought my first sewing machine.

In 1998, we moved to the U.S.A. and that was when my passion for quilting escalated. I started growing a stash, buying quilt books and magazines and a rotary cutter and rulers. This Log Cabin quilt is the first quilt I made with a rotary cutter and ruler and  this one only took me two months.

 This is where I sew all my quilts.  I got the table at a garage sale and added a few wooden cutouts and painted the table white. The furniture in my quilting room is either black or white.

 My quilting room is definitely girly.

 I have a black curtain rod on the wall for a quilt hanger. 
 I do change the quilt on the wall out every few weeks.
 I cut my stash into different widths of fabric and coordinated by 
color in plastic containers. I am a huge fan of 1930's fabrics.

This is my bin of 1930's fabrics. 

Most of my scrappy quilts I make without a pattern. I saw an orange square quilt on Madame Samm's blog so I pulled out a few orange fabrics. In this quilt I have batiks, reproduction fabrics, and a few  modern and bright fabrics. In a perfect world you wouldn't mix batiks and reproductions together but I  like to break the quilting rules.
Quilting for me is a stress reliever. For this middle block I ran out of the outside orange fabric. Instead of pulling out my hair I decided to be creative and work with it. I added an extra block of fabric which now gives the quilt character.
I use a lot of two and a half inch strips in my quilts and 
order them by color. This here is my blue and red strip basket.
I made this red, white, and blue Rail Fence quilt from the strips in the basket.
Another scrappy Rail Fence quilt made with two and a half  inch batik strips in warm fall colors.
Another batik quilt in bright summer colors.
I like the purple and teal colors with the yellow and oranges.

I do love traditional quilts, but I also enjoy making modern
 liberated quilts. This is my liberated Rail Fence quilt.

I have made so many Roman Stripe quilts as gifts.
 This one I kept for myself and I love the pink and green colors together.
I love washed and crinkled quilts and I love how the quilts get softer with very wash.
 This is my modern side again...a liberated Roman
 Stripe quilt which is not finished yet. I think the quilt needs a border or two.

Log Cabin quilts are another great way to use your stash. In this one I used yellow and grey fabrics. I sewed random yellow and grey strips around the white center square.

This blue and green Log Cabin quilt is done in the traditional way  
with light strips on one side and the dark strips on the opposite side.
This is my liberated Log Cabin quilt.

I absolutely enjoy quilting circles or swirls. It gives such nice movement to the quilts.

A few modern Log Cabin blocks in blue and green.

Now what do I do with all the left over strips?
 I absolutely enjoy making nine patch blocks. 
 This is a Nine Patch  quilt I made with 1930's fabrics.

I love to make Chinese Coin scrappy quilts. This quilt has bright fabrics.
Another Chinese Coin quilt I made with charm squares cut in half.

I do keep all the leftover fabrics in a string box for my String Quilts.

Another String Quilt.

I enjoy making scrappy backs.  This is a pink scrappy back.
Another pink scrappy back. As you can tell I love pink quilts.

This is a blue and green scrappy back.

A brown scrappy back.

Thank you so much for the chance to show my scrappy quilts here on the wonderful blog Stash Manicure. I love to make fast and simple scrappy quilts. I am sure I may have inspired you to think about your stash in a different way and to shed some ideas on all of the possibilities...

Happy Quilting!