Saturday, March 26, 2011

Marriage Saving 101...and win this quilt

#93 MARLENE you won...
you won, you won...
Thanks sew much NAN and everyone...
What a terrific giveaway!
YOU all are sew much fun!
Nan, you have heart, thank you for sharing sew much
of it with us!

Aloha!  I'm Nan from Pots and Pins, and I'm experiencing a bit of Hawaiian Fever...as in I WANT to go to Hawaii!  Or anywhere with sun!!  We're in the throes of March Madness here in the great Northwest - and I'm not talking basketball!  You know what "they" say about March..."In like a lion, out like a lamb" or "In like a lamb, out like a lion"...well, well, well, "they've" got it all wrong!!  March came in like a lion and it's going OUT like one, too!  So while the wind blows and rain pours down, I'm happy to be inside, taking advantage of another opportunity from Madamm Samm to bend your ear from my corner of the world!

(The only thing better than an old quilt is an old quilter!   A dear friend gave me this quilt top and I'm ashamed to say it was about TEN years ago!  ONE DAY I'll hand quilt it...if I live long enough!)

Today I am going to give you a gift - something to make your life more harmonious - something that might even save your marriage!  However, IF you are married to a caveman, like I am, then know that even with this gift, it will be an uphill battle...sorry, but that's the truth.  Cavemen are a different breed...they are proud to drag their knuckles on the ground, will happily gnaw (napkin-less) on turkey drumsticks with their bare hands, will boast of watching ESPN while their son stands in the corner of the room waiting for them to toss them the ball...thinking they are "playing catch" with dad, and they will gingerly and lovingly care for their golf clubs like they are the staffs of life!  What is it with men and their sticks and balls?!?  Nevermind....delving into that could get me into a sand trap not even Tiger Woods could get out of!

(I purchased this top in 1998 in LaConner, Washginton.  It was made using parts of an antique quilt with newer fabric, and then I machine-quilted it, which, of course, makes it 100% mine...actually, in my book, if I work on ANY quilt for more than one hour it is 100% mine...is that wrong?  It's my Picnic Quilt and it has served me well...so cute on a table in the woods!  If you pop over to my blog and leave me a comment telling me you WANT my Picnic Quilt, you just might win it!  Details below! )
I realize some of you may not be married to a caveman...lucky girls!  I had no idea that was even possible!  I've even heard some women CAN have the last word! And that many of you live with men who do not think Sports Illustrated is the Word of God and who don't think of the place where they park their car as The GarageMaJal!!  (My cousin's husband calls his garage that and when I told the mister about it he immediately began saying it - who knew he could speak more than one syllable at a time?!?)   My thimble goes off to you! And so, to you women who married well, this gift might be unnecessary as your men might have already evolved to the point that they can think and speak for themselves without the need to burp and pass gas...but stay with me a bit longer just in case...I hear reverse Darwinism has gone viral in some parts of the country!! 
(I purchased this quilt top in 1989 in Rogers, Arkansas for $5.00.  I then hand-quilted it - it was one of my very first hand-quilted quilts.)

When I began quilting I had no idea the struggle I was in for.  With every quilt I worked on, every minute I spent sewing away instead of sitting next to my caveman watching him deftly wield the TV remote, I was building a wall...a quilted wall between the mister and me.  He saw my quilting as a way to avoid spending time with him (Ha!  As if!!) and I saw it as relaxation, an escape into fabric creativity!  So when I would finish a quilt and proudly hold it up for him to see, he would often say, "If you wanted another blanket why didn't you just go buy one?!?"  I wanted him to tell me how wonderful it was!  I wanted, expected, NEEDED him to love my quilt as much as I did!!  He, being a caveman, was unable to speak the words I needed to hear...until he was given the....

Husband's Quilting Comment Card
(To be memorized and used whenever and 
where ever fabric is involved.)
 1.  I love your use of color - it speaks to me.
 2.  What a unique choice of fabric!
 3.  That quilt reminds me of my grandma!
 4.  Where shall we put it?  In the entry?
 5.  Can I take it to work to hang it in my office?
 6.  I want a picture of you holding it.
 7.  Did you strip piece this?  Will you strip for me?
 8.  Your stippling has really improved!
 9.  It just makes me want to curl up in it!
10. It's your best quilt yet - definitely my fav!

( a print out with  compliments ) above

Feel free to print off a copy and then laminate it and give it to your husband...he can carry it in his wallet and when you show him a quilt, he can whip out his card and offer up any of the ten acceptable comments, although I'm sure No. 7 will become his favorite...just make sure he says BOTH parts and not just the one...that was such a stumbling block for my caveman...he had no trouble with the last part! 

I cannot take credit for this idea - I heard some quilters talking about a comment card for husbands at a quilt show about fifteen years ago and the minute I got home I made up cards for my quilt group, creating my own list of comments I thought my caveman would be capable of saying!  (I believe Ami Simms was the originator or this idea, if someone knows for sure please let me know!) 

My caveman now knows what to say when I hold up a newly finished quilt...and even though he says it with a smirk on his face, and more than a dash of sarcasm, he says it...progress comes in baby steps around here!

(Another quilt top I purchased in Leawood, Kansas, at a garage sale in 1986, this set me back all of $30.00.  I hand-quilted it and it's one of my very favorite quilts - it reminds me of my parents home in Leawood and of my babies who were babies while I worked on this!)

So, my quilting friends, this is my gift for you...I want you to hear, from those you love, the praise and admiration you deserve when you finish a quilt and hold it up with joy!  Give your husbands a card...help them memorize a few of the comments if you need to...looking at the card is not cheating, eventually they'll get it!

Now, about my Picnic Quilt, pictured above...I have decided to part with it and give it away...it was loved in it's original form, and loved when it was cut apart and resewn and now I'm going to give someone else the chance to love it...leave me a comment HERE and on my Blog, Pots and Pins, and you'll be entered to win.  I'll pick a winner using Random Generator and will announce the winner on Monday, March 28th.  Contest closes Sunday at 6:00 pm, Seattle time!

Thanks Samm for letting me spout off again!

xoxo, Nan

Friday, March 25, 2011

Trunk show with Maria Elkins.---

I remember connecting with this Lady after thinking these were
portraits not quilts....
Sew I asked her to provide me with some photos
of her captivating quilts sew you could AWE 
with me....
Here are her stories....

Madamm Samm kindly invited me to be a guest blogger on Stash Manicure today. Thanks so much! I’m Maria Elkins, and I like to make original art quilts.

I made my first quilt in 1985 when I was expecting our first daughter, but I started sewing long before that. In fact, I was sewing most of my own clothes by junior high and high school. I was always interested in drawing, too, especially portraits. In the early 1990’s I began seeing quilts that featured people and I finally realized I could combine my love of art with my love of quilts. Since then, I’ve focused on experimenting with ways I could depict people on quilts.

My first original quilt, “In Answer to Prayer,” features a large, male angel. My sweet husband graciously acted as my model. I consider this my sampler quilt because I tried many different techniques. The angel is hand appliqued using Charlotte Warr Andersen’s technique. The border is a watercolor wash – it was going to be the entire background, but it didn’t turn out to be a favorite technique. The wings are trapunto by machine, and the irregular edges are left free so they stand out from the quilt surface. I tried my hand at freehand machine calligraphy. It is hand quilted with sliver metallic thread.

This quilt was a milestone for me. Because I was grappling with my huge fear of failure, it took me several years to complete. But, finishing it also stirred up a desire to create more original quilts.

I joined a quilt guild so I could be around other quilters and learn new techniques. I jumped in and participated in the guild’s yearly quilt challenges. It provided a reason to try new things, and it gave me a deadline, which pushed me forward.

In 2000, I started my second original art quilt that features people. (I did make some other quilts between these two, though.) “Wedding Dreams” was made for a quilt guild challenge with the theme of “Visions of Tomorrow.” As I drove home from the guild meeting, I thought of the image of a little girl dreaming of what she would look like on her wedding day. When I got home, I quickly sketched it out. That was the point when I was convinced that this quilt needed to be made life-size.

This quilt is entirely curved, machine piecing, except the faces and flowers, which are hand appliqued. I wanted to create a sense of transparency, so the veil is created through the choice of fabrics, not by using tulle. I also quilted garlands of roses over all of the rings, but I didn’t choose my thread well and unfortunately that intricate quilting doesn’t show up very well.

While I was making “Wedding Dreams” I was also working full time. I spent pretty much every waking hour for ten months trying to complete it before the deadline, but I couldn’t get it done in time. After that exhausting experienced, I realized that I would need to work much smaller for a while so I could get more done.

My next quilt, “Stolen Lives,” came about rather suddenly. Within days of September 11 when the twin towers were destroyed, I thought of the image of two people as the two towers and knew I would need to make a commemorative quilt. About the same time, Karey Bresenhan, Director of the International Quilt Festival, announced that they would have a special exhibit of 9-11 quilts, but they needed the quilts the first week of October. That deadline put me in high gear. I drew the images directly on fabric using Pigma pens. I used my inkjet printer to print the faint American flag on the background. It is done in four panels and it is pieced where the stripes meet. Then I sponge painted the smoke and fire over the background. The buildings are fused applique, and the date at the bottom is hand lettered. I finished it off with free-motion machine quilting.

In 2002, I used Tsukineko inks for the first time. I really enjoyed hand painting commercially printed, tone-on-tone fabrics with these inks because they are transparent and the fabric’s pattern still shows through. For several years, I experimented with using the inks to hand paint portraits. “Evening Star” was the first quilt I hand painted. I loved the immediate results, so I used the same technique on “Flight of Fancy” and “Ohio Dreaming.” I’ve always been drawn to geometric quilts, so I used this opportunity to incorporate traditional blocks in a non-traditional way. These three quilts are all fused applique and free-motion, machine quilted.

In 2003, my daughters were in high school and searching for where they would like to go to college. I decided that, even though I was working full-time, I needed to finish my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. That put quiltmaking on hold for a few years while I took art classes, but that didn’t stop my exploration of textile art. When I did my printmaking assignments on paper, I also printed them on fabric. During my last semester before graduation, I took a stack of my lithographs, cut them up, rearranged them, and made “Redeeming Fragments.” I was thrilled when it was juried into my university’s senior show, but I was even more excited when it won a ribbon at the 2006 International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.


In 2009, Pokey Bolton of Quilting Arts Magazine asked me to film a DVD workshop. I was dumbfounded, and couldn’t, for the life of me, think of anything that I could teach. She gently suggested that maybe I could teach about quilted portraits. Duh! So in February 2009 I filmed my “Making Faces” DVD workshop. The beginner’s lesson teaches how to make fused portraits using a digitally altered photograph. “Blue Dave” and “Violinist” are two samples from that workshop.

“Broken Dishes” is an extension of the technique taught in the “Making Faces” DVD. I had this image in my mind for at least ten years before I finally had the opportunity to make this quilt. It was inspired by the name of the traditional quilt block, which is used in the background and on the floor.

In the fall of 2009, I decided that I wanted to finish a quilt top that I started in 2003. “Captivated” is the result. It was inspired by a short story that my daughter was writing about a prince and his friend who escape from the castle and go on an adventure. The portrait is of my daughter who becomes completely engrossed when she is reading. This quilt is completely fused appliqued and machine quilted.

When I showed “Captivated” to a critique group where I’m a member, it wasn’t exactly favorably reviewed. I could agree with many of the comments that were made, and I was motivated to make something new and fresh. The day I got home from my critique group, I gathered up some black and white fabrics, some fabric crayons, and some PaintStiks and we left to go camping in our RV for a couple of days. While we were relaxing, I started “Sheer Whim.” It began with a simple, hand-drawn portrait. Once we got home, I fused a grid of sheer fabrics over the top. I finished it off by machine quilting some fantasy feathers over the top. I completed the 17” square quilt in one week, just in time to meet the deadline for the 2010 International Quilt Festival in Houston. I was honored when it was accepted and subsequently won a ribbon.

Where will I go next? I’m not exactly sure. I have ideas swirling around in my mind, but I’ve been procrastinating. Once my current deadlines are met, I think it will be time to experiment with some more portraits.

 Thank you so much for allowing me to share my stories.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Feedsack Collection with Rhonda!

This is the quilt that started it all for me. I saw this picture and I had to make one. While researching what kind of prints this quilt was made of I discovered feedsacks. Thank you Madam Samm for allowing me to be a guest blogger on one of my favorite blogs and to share pictures of my favorite textiles. I'm Rhonda from over at TheOldeStoneHouse where I would love to live and lead a quiet simple life.

What do you think of when I say Feedsacks?? Some of you may have grown up with them and know exactly what I'm referring to. Others this may be a new adventure for you.

Do you think of these?? The off white bags with print on the front .....Like these

Or these

(Photos courtesy of Coopersville Farm Museum.)

In the 1030's through the 1950's you could buy dry goods in a bag that then could be reused for anything you would use yardage for. It was 100% cotton and wore very well. These bags came in several sizes. The largest one being a yard when opened. They came in all different prints and colors. It was not unusual to find several colorways in the same print. They cam in stripes,checks,floral,geometric,plaids and novelty prints. The novelty prints are highly collectible today.

Of course you want to see some of the quilts in my collection. I picked a few very special ones for your enjoyment.

Each color...each leaf of this one is made up of 1 single piece of feedsack appliqued down in a leaf pattern. I believe from the dimensions that the sack was divided into quarters then cut into a leaf. It is an absolutely gorgeous piece of craftsmanship.

Grandmothers flower garden always intrigue and overwhelm me. As much as I would like to think I would do one of these...I have to be honest with myself and know my limits.

Same with the double wedding ring. Love it but probably won't. Both are great examples of what can be done with fairly small pieces of sacks though.

Check out the hands on this feedsack Sun Bonnet Sue. They are full of individual french knot clusters.

Along the journey of finding information on feedsacks I was fortunate enough to find a whole group of women who predominetly work in only feedsacks. What a thrill it was to be able to trade pieces of sacks with these ladies. You see there is over 2,000 leaves on this quilt with each leaf measuring only roughly 2"x 1 1/2". So I carried a plastic template to every event and lecture I could when I knew there might be feedsacks there. Thus an obsession was born. I'd like to call it simply a collection but if you ask my hubby it has gone much, much farther. Once I learned their rich history I began singing their praises to all who would listen.
Thanks for listening.

Hope to see you again Rhonda x

Beyond the Dresden Plate

Hi Everybody, 
Jane here from Sew Create It.

How many of you have one of these rulers?

How many of you have used it once to make a traditional Dresden plate?

And how many of you would like to see what trick I have up my sleeve for this dandy ruler?

Great! Let’s get started....

This is the block I want to share with you.
Pretty isn’t it? (it measures 15” finished)
With a 2½” strip (width of the fabric...approx 44”) and a 3½” strip (WOF) 
A 16½” background square and 4 - 3½” squares you too can make this block.
And yes, it is made using that Dresden Ruler!
Sew the 2½” strip and the 3½” strip together (long edges together)
Once sewn, your strip should measure 5½” wide. 
Using the Dresden ruler, cut wedges lining up the bottom of the ruler and the 5½” markings. 
As you cut along the strip rotate the ruler as you go along.
Each set will yield 20 wedges which is enough for one circle. If you want to spice it up then sew a second set of strips and swap your wedges around. As I have here:

Now I know what you are thinking..."Just how am I going to sew this into a background?" Well I have another top technique to share. Have you ever heard of Sharon Schamber and her technique of piecelique? Have a look at her PDF describing the method. Then come back here...   I’ll wait :o)
Like Sharon describes, make a freezer paper template of your background and cut a 12” circle from the middle of the freezer paper. Then ironed the freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric square which is cut 16½” and cut the centre circle out leaving a ½” seam allowance.

After clipping the curve and using starch and an iron, fold over the seam allowance.

After removing the freezer paper place the circle of wedges face down on top of the opening. Sharon does it the other way in her PDF but the result is the same.

Using a thin line of glue secured the circle to the background.
Allow to dry ..use an iron to speed that process up, if you like!
 Take it to the machine and lift the background up to reveal the crease.

Sew carefully in the crease to attach the two pieces together.
After stitching, cut the excess seam allowance down to a ¼" and press.
The little centre circle which is 3½” in diameter is appliquéd into place to cover the hole.
Square your block to 15½".

For the triangles in the corners, draw a line on the reverse of the 3½” squares corner to corner.  Line the square in the corner and sew on the line...just like a snowball block.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little idea and if you try it, please let me know I’d love to see your version!

Until Next Time...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Encouraging New Quilters

Hello, Stash Manicure friends! I'm Melissa from Under the Evening Star. I started blogging about two years ago as a way to share my quilting with family who lives about 4 states away. My mom and sister were the only quilters I knew at the time and it was a great way share and receive encouragement. Today I'm going to share with you some fun ways to support and encourage new (or future) quilters.

Ticker Tape Scraps

We all know how precious scraps are and how much fun you can have with them. And how quickly they can get out of control in our sewing space. Why not put a few handfuls of your favorite scraps into a pretty gift bag for a new quilter? It takes a while before a new quilter has a nice assortment of scraps to work with, so a gift of scraps could be a real treat. You might even tuck in a list of links or a magazine that has ideas for using scraps.
March Stack of Books - close
*Books and Magazines*

For years before I became a quilter, I loved reading quilting magazines and books. I bought them at bookstores but it was so nice when my mother loaned parts of her collection to me. I could just soak in the inspiration and dream of one day making some of the quilts I saw. Raise of hands, how many of us have a big stack of reading material collecting dust, waiting for someone to take another look? My mom and I just stick on an address label somewhere so we can keep track of where it's home is if it needs to be returned.
Riley Blake +

How many of us have more fabric in our stash than we'll ever get a chance to sew together (and still intend to buy more)? We could choose a few fat quarters or a charm pack or even yardage to pass on and inspire creativity in a new quilter. It may be a good idea to ask first. I've known a few quilters who get overwhelmed if they have too much fabric waiting for them. It's stressful for them to know they have another potential project waiting when they are trying to finish the current one. (Luckily I don't suffer from that kind of stress!)

I recently had a blogger offer to send me a yard of beautiful out of print fabric I commented on and now I'm inspired to sew with a color I'd never really considered before. And my wonderful sister cut into brand new fabric she'd purchased just because she knew I loved it and wanted me to enjoy it too. And I never leave my mom's without a new additions to my stash. I shared half of a new charm pack with my sister when we learned to make hexagons and I took over a stack of scraps to a friend who wanted to embellish some baby gifts. It's fun to pass on things you love and receive some new favorites.  So share the good stuff with joy!


You know how we all get excited when we finish each step of a quilt? Make sure you show some excitement for a friend even when she's just finished cutting out a project. Each step along the way of completing a quilt is a huge milestone for someone just beginning to quilt. I still call my mom or email a friend when I finish a step. It's still all very exciting for me (and I hope it stays that way)!
Garden Friends

Whether it's a small pot holder or a larger quilt, celebrate the accomplishment and focus on several positive things to say rather than pointing out unmatched seams or a crooked border. Nothing squashes enthusiasm like negative criticism. If someone wants advice on how to improve, they'll ask.

One of the things I love about my guild is that when a new quilter shows their 1st quilt, we give them a standing ovation. If you think about all of the things a person must learn to put that first quilt together, it's certainly a gigantic accomplishment. I like to seek that quilter out and compliment her personally. It's great to make those connections and get a closer look at her quilt.
Hexie Doll Quilt

There are so many places to invite a new quilter, experienced quilter, or even someone who hasn't finished their first project yet. Guild meetings, retreats, quilt shows, shop hops, and classes are all lots of fun and provide opportunities to visit and see lots of inspiration.
Hoop full of Hexies
Swapping small projects like hoops, mug rugs, and doll quilts are a great way to try out new techniques and are small enough for a new quilter to enjoy without the demands of a larger project. If you both are feeling up to a bigger challenge, consider following an online quilt along together or choose a project from a magazine. You could each choose your own fabric and encourage each as you progress through the quilt. Perhaps even collaborate on a charity quilt together.
Lilly & Will

These are just a few ideas to help new quilters find the joy that we've all experienced since we became quilters. I'm sure you all remember ways you felt included or things you do to connect with new quilters. I'd love to hear some of your ideas here or at Under the Evening Star!

Thanks again Madame Samm for inviting me to be here today!