Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Reborn quilter--needs Rulers and Mats

I was so happy to be invited by Madame Samm to share a little bit of me with you today.  I am a new blogger and a reborn quilter.
My Grandma with a quilt I made her for the nursing home in 1993. 
She had Altzheimers.
What exactly is a reborn quilter you may ask?  Well way back in the early 1990’s my grandfather gave me my dad’s mom’s beautiful old White sewing machine.  It came in a cabinet with a knee bar.  I was 22 and interested in quilting.  My grandma and great aunts and great- grandmother had quilted but it skipped a generation so there was no one around to teach me. 

Quiltnet World quilt
I decided to teach myself with the help of Quiltnet an online quilt guild.  I did lots of block and border exchanges and learned to quilt with email and ascii drawings.  In 2000 after three moves my quilt life was packed up in a closet - inaccessible.

A decade of illness and recovery and graduate school later I unpacked it all this past summer, set up a studio, and rediscovered a part of myself I had forgotten.  Now I have had to relearn all of my old skills and discover all of the new resources available.  Color photos! Blogs! Flickr groups!  Video tutorials!  Wow! 

I organised everything-in fact I am still organising as I figure out what works for me.  Plus I keep finding great containers! (but that's another post)

Unfortunately as I began sewing projects I discovered the limitations of some of my old tools.  My first rotary mat was worn out.  I loved the clear color of it but it was not usable any more. 

I unpacked the very large mat I had received more then a decade ago but never used because it didn't fit on the day glow orange card table I used to use for cutting.  I loved how big this 'new' mat was!  I could even use my longest ruler on it!  I love this omnigrid ruler with the yellow grid. 

Or I could use my large 12.5 inch square ruler with plenty of room around it.  Two problems.  My large cutting mat was dark gray.  When ever I tried to cut dark fabric on it I could not see the edges of the fabric clearly!  I didn't have that problem with the old clear mat.  Second problem was my old 12.5 inch square ruler.  It was one of the first made with hard brittle plastic and guess what?  I discovered it wasn't square anymore. 

I went out looking for some new mats and rulers and found there were many choices.  I bought a Fiskars cutting mat that was light green on one side and yellow on the other. In case you cant tell from the pics of my studio, green is my color.  The mat is light enough to see the edges of the dark fabrics. 

I also bought a few new rulers.  This 3.5 inch wide ruler I thought would be great for cutting strips.  It came with little sticky anti slip dots.  Its OK but I don't like the markings and the red shaded areas. It does not have the ridges underneath that grip like the omnigrids.

 I bought a 10.5, 6.5, and 4.5 inch omnigrid rulers.  I just like the way the way the ridges on the bottom grip the fabric.  Also the lines every eighth inch make it easier to line up to cut. 

Well this is kind of getting long.  I guess you just have to play around until you find the mats and rulers that fit you.  I see all kinds being used in the pictures on blogs. 

Stop by my blog Lucky Duck Dreams and follow my adventures as I rediscover the quilter in me.  I also like to post about my vintage treasures, other tools I use, and new quilting exchanges. 

I am working on manicuring my 1990's stash too. 

My late cat with my old studio design wall circa 1995.

 Thanks Madame Samm for letting me hang out here at Stash Manicure-which by the way was the first quilt blog I discovered, while looking for an apron tutorial!
Keep dreaming…Colleen of lucky Duck Dreams

Friday, November 26, 2010

I want to quilt SCRAPPY quilts...

I have a story!

My names Ariane, from Ariane's Crafts.

Thank you Madame Samm for inviting me to join you all
at Stash Manicure.

Today, I thought I would let you know a little bit more about me.
I've been quilting since August 2008.
I needed a hobby to help me keep my mind off all life stresses.
Since I worked shift work, I didn't have time to take quilting classes.
Sew, I went online and started looking around at different sites.
I had never heard of blogs before.
All of a sudden, I was so inspired by all the quilting blogs and the projects they shared.

I really loved all the scrappy quilts.
But I didn't have any fabric.
Sew, I started buying fat quarters at Fabricland and at the LQS.
I went to the library and found a bunch of quilting books with patterns that I liked and started piecing my blocks.
The quilt above is the first quilt I made.
I used a block pattern that I had seen in a book, then just added sashing and the scrappy border.
I made this quilt for my cousin, who was having her first baby.
I had so much fun making this quilt, that I had to make another.
I started to buy more fabric.
My next quilt was for my oldest son.
I wanted a twin size bed quilt. Something that he could have as an everyday quilt.
This is the quilt I made.
When I bought fat quarters, I just bought fabric I liked and fabric that was on sale.
I didn't really consider if they all matched or if they were a specific style.
I just bought them, cause I liked them.
You can see that their are scraps from my first quilt in this quilt as well.
I used the values of the fabric to create the pattern.

Once I made this quilt, I had to make a quilt for my two other kids.
I picked two patterns that I liked and worked on the next two quilts at the same time.
I machine pieced one quilt and hand pieced the other.
This is the quilt that I hand pieced.
 I finished this one first.
 It's my tumbling block quilt.
I would sit in front of the TV and hand piece these blocks together.
 It was very relaxing.
I liked the fact that I didn't have to sit in front of a sewing machine to make it.
I also hand quilted this one.
 I searched online for tutorials on how to do hand quilting.
That helped me a lot.
This is my Jacob's Ladder quilt. It's machine pieced and quilted by me.
It's also a twin size.

Do you see a pattern here?
All four of these quilts were made using basically the same fabrics.
I added a few fat quarters as I went along.
The borders were always bought last.
The three bed quilts all have red and blue borders.
These are my favorite colors.
Sew, that just makes sense, right?

I continued to make a lot of little projects like bags and baby quilts.
Once I was hit with the quilting bug,
I would stop at my LQS's every week to see if I found any fat quarters I liked.
My stash really started to grow.
I still only bought fat quarters because I liked them, not for a specific project.

The first project that I started to really focus on a specific color palette was for a baby quilt I was making for my brother and his wife's 1st baby.
I bought fat quarters from 6 different local quilt shop's.
I kind of went on my own shop hop. LOL!
This is the quilt I designed.
 It's still a scrappy kind of quilt, but more controlled colors.

Well, even though I have a lot more fabric now,
 I still tend to make scrappy quilts.
Like this queen size quilt I made this summer for my girlfriend.
I used a lot of different red and cream prints to make this quilt.
I would buy the fabric in fat quarters.
When I was done with it, I still had quite a bit of left over fabric.
They were mostly small scraps, but there was enough to fill a large grocery bag.

Sew, a few weeks ago, I decided to make a project with these scraps.
I used my GO! cutter dresden die to make the dresden block.
The half square triangles were already made, scraps for the above quilt.
So, I arranged them to make a border around the dresden block.
I just kept looking what I had available in my scrap bag and making my quilt larger.
This is my finished quilt.

I had a lot of fun taking pictures. LOL!!!

I have made many other sewing projects during this time, but that's for another day.

I started quilting to help deal with my stress and anxiety. 
It has done that.

Some days when I was hand piecing my quilts,
 I would be so stressed and anxious 
that my hands would shake so much it took everything I had to sew a straight line.
But, I needed to focus on something... I chose quilting.

I was able to use my creativity again, which I had lost along the way.
Having three kids by age 22, I didn't really know where I fit in.
 I knew I had a lot of talents, but I felt lost.
Quilting brought me back to the creative, energised self that I was when I was younger.
All of a sudden I felt like....."YES".....this is what I was looking for.
This is what I needed.
The support of the blogging community really helped me too.
I made so many friends through my blog and found so many people just like me.
It really opened a lot of doors for me.

Thank you God for helping me find this wonderful craft,
and this  wonderful quilting community.

I am really happy now that I know how to quilt..



Thursday, November 25, 2010

End of Month Giveaway, count them 2 Blessings!

First Happy Thanksgiving
to all of our American Friends.
In Canada we celebrate this day in October but nonetheless
that month is behind us , but any chance to count blessings
I am IN!
Sew today I am counting my blessings
with this giveaway! To have amazing sponsors..
we can all be blessed for that!

Today Robert Kaufman and that Patchwork Place
are serving this....

Our most generous offering today is from 
who has been more than generous to offer.
1 fat Quarter Bundle of Darlene Zimmerman's
1930's fabric, the entire collection is here.

and from that 
I chose this  Pattern book
by Kim Diehl
Simple Graces
as an appropriate choice for today.

Here is my preview on this book...

Kim Diehl is no stranger to many quilters. They look to her for new trends and she never disappoints. Take her “Mug Mats”, simple, quick, and you get to use up your scraps. They can be stitched super quickly and are great gifts for quilting friends. Her “Pie in the sky pillowcase” with path work star band can easily be made into a throw pillow.  Her patterns are so versatile. Take her “Fowled Up” design; it can be made into a colorful bed quilt and a t-towel. Her silhouette rooster will appeal to all fowl lovers. Kim never disappoints, she epitomizes simple graces!

SEW how to win this great package...?

#1 Be a follower/subscriber on Google, here on the right...
( please leave an email address if you want to be included )
tell me you are a follower...if you are!

#2 Comment which designer are you thankful for and why.?
If you answer this without a doubt you will be in this draw!

Only 1 entry needed...
each name is matched with your photo(avatar) button
and your number is entered into our software immediately.

( now I know the obvious question would be what are you thankful for ...and family, friends would be up there, I know they would be there for me too...)  Sew I thought this would be a good ? yes ? lol

Draw will take place on NOVEMBER 30th.

psst since I cannot win...
I thought I would share my blessing.

"You know why I am blessed?
Because this wonderful season of my life
I get to share it with YOU,
each and every one of you.

To Rae Ann for believing
I could take Stash Manicure to new
heights, to the most delicious new friends
I have made, to the generous sponsors
that allow me to share sew much with you.
I am sewwwwwwwwwwwwww grateful"
Thank you for sticking around...

p.s more sweet things will be occurring
sew be prepared for more sticky lol
Madame Samm xx

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rags To Riches... I Believe! I Believe!

It's me, Quiet Quilter from One More Quilt.  Thanks to Madame Samm I am here again with a story of a special quilt.

Moral of this story before it even starts.....Stash is where you find it, if you just believe!

About the first of 2009, DH saw a TV show about the Gees Bend Quilts.  One quilt was made by a widow from her husband's old clothes.  DH fell in love.  He wanted one.  He wanted a Crazy Quilt.

He dug around in his closet and came up with this: 

I thought to myself, this is going to be one boring quilt....all those faded blues and browns and dark I really want to do this???

DH then stated certain requests: the older the clothes the better (old paint splatters was a plus!). 

He wanted large pieces, batting preferred, very little topstitching or design,  big enough to drag the floor when put on the bed, (at least that was my interpretation) and "no real hurry".

That last statement was almost his downfall.  Say "No Real Hurry" to a quilter who has other UFOs or WIPs, and you are asking for it.  Especially when the quilter isn't sure of what she is doing.

I have a bad habit....I really hesitate (put off, delay, etc) when I am starting something I have never done before.  I had never made a crazy quilt before... and a possible tutorial on this one would make veteran quilters pale.  I was SO unsure of myself...

I nosed around in my closet and came up with a find--some old pieces of muslin, about 36" square that came from my mother.  I decided to use these as foundation for some of the blocks and get more muslin when I needed it. 

I did satisfy DH by making 4 blocks.  Since he wanted large pieces, I ended up making 16 1/2" blocks .   If DH wanted Crazy, then he was going to get Crazy.  I incorporated a pants zipper into one of these first blocks.

I did not trim these blocks right away.  In fact I did not do any trimming for over a year as it turned out because, in the fall of 2009, I stuffed his clothes into a bag and put it in the back of my closet, where they aged and kept my odd pieces of batting company.


A year later, May 2010.  I come home and find that DH has located the bag of clothes and very politely dumped them in front of my sewing machine.....hint, hint, hint.

Most were still in their original form, shirts and jeans, with a few slacks thrown in.  I had to have some sort of organization to this madness if I was ever able to make any progress.

Sooooo, without rhyme or reason, I started cutting everything in hopefully useable pieces.  And this is what I ended up with about a month later....

Pants in the big container, and separated shirts in other containers. Please note my sophisticated identification method.....

Now, at least, I could pick and choose.

In July, 2010 I found I had completed a total of 8 blocks since I started in May, 2009.  I needed 30.

And I was having a problem.....

I was also working on other quilts, as we normally do in Quiltland.  My sewing room was not in the pristine shape as I had hoped....I blamed it all on those containers of cut clothes.  I was constantly having to move them from one place to another, getting them out of my way while I worked on Other Stuff.  I was starting to realize I was going to have to actually finish this quilt...if for no other reason than it was attacking my sewing room with the "Push, Shove, Pile" virus. (shiver, shake, quiver).

So I put myself in second gear, and with jerks and jumps, during the summer I made a few more blocks to add to the collection.

We found coffee fabric for the backing and, needing just a little more, chose the "Man" cloth from my stash. 

Come the end of September, 2010, I had actually put 4 of the blocks together with sashing, batting, backing and all.  Well, whoop-de-do!

This was the first time I had tried the quilt-as-you-go method.  I decided to use ties instead of quilting.  It seemed the obvious thing to do....

But again, I was slowing down, trying to find excuses to do something goal was to finish one block a day...and the quilt by the end of winter.  DH appreciated this effort, stating he was really looking forward to using the quilt during the warm weather of spring and summer....

Pokey, pokey, block here, one block there, I would NEVER get this done!


October 15, 2010 - I read this post on Stash Manicure by Plum Cox, who said, among other things, "Just Do It!!"

Something clicked!  I said to myself, shove everything aside, forget all other quilty notions and projects, and get busy!  Thanks, Plum!

So, October became known as the "barreling to the finish line", or "Katy, bar the door, the horse is loose!" month. 

Before I knew it, I had all 30 blocks done and had given them to DH to decide the order and arrangement.  He immediately commandeered the den floor and had a ball!

 When he had arranged them the way he wanted, I took a picture (for safety's sake) and slowly started putting the blocks together.  And I even enjoyed the lovely weather outside.

 As I worked, the bulk of the finished quilt increased.  I am not a weight lifter, so I had to slow down and rest after each episode of sewing rows together. 

Rearranging my sewing tables to hold the bulk was a brilliant idea on my part (pat on back).

(Side note: Please notice my "elevator" chair.   After I get up from sewing, it takes about 5-10 minutes and slowly "rises" to the occasion., ending up as high as my table.  When ready to sew, I have to climb into it, release the lever at the bottom and it slowly sinks to normal has character.)

I was able to finish on November 4, 2010.

Dimensions: 87" x 105"
Weight 10 lbs.

Look close and you will find several jean pockets, some shirt pockets,  pocket linings, yokes, collars, cuffs, buttons,  and the infamous pants zipper.


 I had quite a bit left over and I was tired of working with clothes.  So I made a large dog pillow from a denim piece and stuffed it with the leftover stash.

DH liked the dog pillow so much that I made him a pillowcase to go with his new quilt.

And the final benefit I received from finishing????

I went from this (remember?)

to this

Empty containers just in time for a sewing room "makeover"!

Now to get the energy to do that!

Thanks again, Madame Samm and all you quilters.

PS: (Added about a week later.....DH casually made the statement..."Ya know, I think she (Gees Bend quilter) ripped the seams out of her husband's clothes and used the entire legs (sleeves, backs, etc) instead of making blocks.." He looked at me and added quickly, "....but I like mine better...."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Love Leftovers!!

No, not these kind~ well I like them but I meant the other 
Hello, all!

I'm Sarah from Confessions of A Fabric Addict and I'm so happy to be back on Stash Manicure again!  What would we do without this fabulous blog to inspire us each day?  I'm just happy to be able to be a small part of it.....

I've spent a lot of time this past week looking at magazines all containing fabulous ideas for using up the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner - and it made me think about how we can use the same concept with our stash.  

What do you do with the little orphan blocks and scraps from a project when you finish it?  You know, those small pieces of fabric that aren't big enough to fold up and put back in the stash?  When I first started quilting, I kept the leftovers of a project in a ziploc bag, all together.  I did't know what I would do with it, but it seemed like the logical thing to do.  So they sat languishing on the shelf.......

When I began quilting, I made quilts for Quilts for Kids - a wonderful organization that will send you quilt kits for free.  You make up the quilt and return it to them, and they donate it to a child in need.   But each kit left several orphan blocks, which I faithfully saved.  When my sewing group met last January, we sewed up eight of those kits, and had leftover blocks.  So I took all those leftover blocks, and made this quilt....

Then my daughter needed some quilts for a fundraising auction, and she sent me a picture of this quilt, saying that she really liked the design.   Aha!  A place to use the leftovers from the quilt I made for my granddaughter for Christmas last year!  So I took the leftovers from this quilt....

and made this one.......

Recently, my husband and I were invited to dinner at a friend's house.  She is European, and apparently they eat incredibly large meals there - when I asked her what I could bring (a very Southern tradition!) she told me she thought she had everything taken care of - she was serving soup, two meats, a casserole, three vegetables, potatoes, and two different desserts!!  Well, I certainly couldn't go empty handed, so I dragged out the little bag of leftovers from this quilt.....

And made these.......

Those leftovers from previous projects can be a great reminder of what you've done in the past, too.  My friend Beth of Love Laugh Quilt recently came up with a great idea that would be perfect for using up some of your leftovers.  She is challenging all the members of our great quilt blogging "neighborhood" to create a house block representing their little portion of the neighborhood, and send it to her by January 1st, 2011.  (Be sure to check out Beth's block on her blog - it's so cute!)  Everyone who sends in a block will be entered into a giveaway for 9-12 of the blocks to make their own neighborhood quilt, and the number of winners depends on how many people send in blocks.  (You can read more details about the challenge and giveaway here. I want to make my block to be a representation of my quilting life over the past year - maybe using stripes to remind me of the Stripes Challenge I participated in; there might be a clothesline of quilts in the "back yard" to indicate all the quilts I've made for charity this year; maybe a boat, for my hubby; definitely some of my favorite Marimekko-like flowers growing in the yard - a fabric leftover from the Simple Sampler Quilt-Along!  There's no telling what might make an appearance...  but no matter what, it will use up leftovers from this year's projects!  

So - - - do you have a special plan for using up your project leftovers?  Share with the rest of us!  

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!