Saturday, January 31, 2009

Improvising Progress

The definition of improvisation is to use what you have. I don't know how you define improvisational quilting but I define it as not using templates, you don't know exactly what you are going to do when you start, you have a vision but you don't know how you are going to realize that vision.

Jacquie has asked us to share our process of improvising.

My grandson has a huge whale on his wall painted by his other grandmother. He was moved to his big boy bed and I wanted to make him a whale quilt for his new bed. I found this picture and thought I could do that.

I pieced a small whale from looking at the picture. I used a lot of the ideas that Belinda used in making the small stars. The corners are done the same way. I made four big whales and I loved the way it looked . I put his name at the top using the same fabric that I used for the whales. I am not usually concerned too much about the size of a quilt but I wanted this one bigger than a crib quilt. I tried out several borders.

I loved the color but this drowns out the whales.

This still isn't quite right. It just does not speak to me. I searched in my stash and found some cute whale fabric with the same colors.

This is better and I really like the whale fabric. It is the same tone as the whales I made but I still need something else. My aunt loves square in a square so I called her and talked to her. She reminded me that Gwen Marston has great section on square in a square in her Liberated Quilting book. I found some blue fabric in my stash and made a square in a square with the whale fabric.

Much better I think I am on to something!!

Here is where I am now and I really like what I have done. I am going to do some more square in a squares for the bottom. I may use some of the other ocean life fabric I have and to borrow another idea from my aunt maybe use other blues. I like the subtle differences of color.

For my other improvisation I am to do red/aqua and I am going to try to work on that this weekend. Our new baby is scheduled to come on Monday and as you can imagine we are all very excited and anxious to get our hands on him.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kay Yow

The state of North Carolina is mourning the loss of a great woman, Kay Yow. She lost her fight with breast cancer early Saturday morning. She was a great coach but an even greater person. She is the only full time head basketball North Carolina State has ever had. She was diagnosed years ago with breast cancer. It went into remission but came back several times over the last few years. She has raised so much for breast cancer research. This woman has touched so many lives. We take our basketball seriously in NC but we are all missing Kay Yow today.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Charity quilt

I wanted to honor President Obama's request and do some charity work yesterday. One of my aunt's quilting friends was cleaning out her stash and my aunt offered me some squares that her friend had already put together. I thought this was the perfect thing to complete. In these tough economic times I wanted to make use of what I had and expand on it. In the bag there were completed squares, triangles and squares to put together. I have some more of the star fabric and something I can use for the solid blue but no more orange and yellow. I might use some solid orange and yellow in the border or on the back. I would not have chosen this combination if I had had to choose and it was refreshing to work on something different.

My aunt's friend had put these squares together in a couple of ways.

I am trying this out on my design wall. What do you think?

And guess what SNOW today!! I know all of you in the frozen north would not consider this snow but this is the first we have had in several years and everything is closed!! Yes we are wimps.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I am working on a whale quilt for my grandson to put on his "big boy" bed since he had to give his crib up to his soon to be here baby brother. His room is decorated in whales. His other grandmother even painted a whale on the wall and it looks great. I want to make it big enough so he can use when he moves to a bigger bed. I found a pieced pattern in a book I have and sort of adapted it. I used the techniques that Belinda at Brown Dirt Cottage uses for her stars for the triangles. You can see that the whales are not all quite the same. I like that individuality. I am going to put his name at the top using Lazy Gal Tonya's letters using the four prints I used for the whales.

Ok This is where I need some help. I have several cute sea life prints. I have a big piece of whale fabric for the backing. What about the borders? Some of Belinda's stars in the corners, blocks of sea life prints all around? I need some advice.

Maybe some 9-patches with these prints and some solids? HELP!

I have no idea how people stand these sub zero temps. It is in the 20s here this morning and that is plenty cold for me. I am a summer time girl. If I lived in some of these cold places that I read about I would be loading a moving van!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I started a really cool Bible study at my church last night. It is a Beth Moore course, Esther, It's Tough Being a Woman. There were about 15 women in the class, some young and some not so young. It is fascinating. There is a lot of history in the book of Esther and she was an amazing woman. Queen Vashti was a very interesting woman also. I think the whole course will be very fulfilling. It is also good to get together with other women that are dealing with similar life experiences. Beth Moore had an interesting point in her video last night. She said it is good to be weak because then you can allow the Lord to come into your life and help you. I have thought a lot about that point and find it intriguing. We all try to be so strong and when we aren't we feel like failures. Maybe we should just give in and look to a higher power.

I am trying to cook for my son and very pregnant daughter in law at least once a week. we have only about 2 1/2 weeks to go until we welcome another grandson. It is so exciting. I cooked a Thanksgiving dinner tonight since our Thanksgiving Day was interrupted by a trip to the ER with my mother. I cooked a turkey breast, dressing, gravy, sweet potatoes and green beans. Evidently it was good because there wasn't much left. Total comfort food and enjoyed by all. It is going to be very cold here tonight. I dont know how those of you in the frozen north stand it. Bring the animals in tonight and crawl under the covers!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Little Stars

I had a great time yesterday making little stars. Belinda at Brown Dirt Cottage has the best tutorial on making little stars. I never thought my fumbling fingers could work with these small pieces but it was great fun. I am going to try some with black and white fabrics and something bright for the stars. It is fascinating to see how the fabrics relate to each other when cut in small pieces. I had no idea there was so little contrast in the first one I made. when I laid the fabrics together it looked like a good combination but after I made the star it is so hard to see. I love the second one. It turned out much better. Belinda has done some really neat things with her stars. Be sure and visit her blog and see what she is doing.

I got a quilt in the mail this week. A couple of years ago I found some four patch squares my mother had made. I took them, made a few more and she and I put them together for a quilt for my oldest son and his wife. We took it to a wonderful woman that
has hand quilted so many of my mother's quilts and she sent it to me this week. I included fabrics that represented all the things that my son and his wife are interested in. He loves to surf and when he was small he loved to wear cowboy boots!!

Comic Book Lady over at Quilt as Desired took some pictures of her cat asleep on her husband. My little gray cat does the same thing on cold nights. She lays on the back of my legs. So weird. Do you see all the help she and Stanley are giving me in my sewing room? I wish I could sleep that well at night.

I got tagged by Sharon at Indigothreads. I am supposed to list six quirky things about myself. I have been thinking and thinking. I am so unquirky or either so quirky I don't think I am quirky. The only quirky thing I can think of is that I am such a math geek. That comes from teaching high school math for 30+ years. It gets in your blood.

I also need to know how to make the links I mention in my blog hot.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Old Christmas

Today is what some call Old Christmas. I am not sure how it all developed. It has something to do with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar. On the Outer Banks of North Carolina there used to be a celebration of old Christmas. Old Christmas also coincides with Epiphany celebrating the visit of the Magi. The ancestors of many of those residents came from the shipwrecks off Cape Hatteras called the Graveyard of the Atlantic. They retained a lot of customs and even some accents from England. You can hear the traces of the English accent in the old High Tiders. They have a very distinctive way of speaking that is immediately evident. It is fascinating to hear the diverse way people talk. It isn't as pronounced as it used to be before television.

In honor of Old Christmas I will share what my daughter gave me. She went to her local quilt shop and bought her mom some fabric. What a thoughtful young lady! I was so touched. She bought some batiks which she knows I love and a darling monkey print, yoga monkeys. I have no idea how I will use them. I may just look at them and remember her thoughtfulness.

I had great fun yesterday working on my grandson's whale quilt. It is great to get back in my quilting room, listening to the King, working away. He has a birthday coming up soon.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Three Done in 2009

I have been busy busy! I have completed three quilts in 2009. All of these are for my daughter in law to give as baby gifts. All three are using the disappearing nine patch and they all look different.

This one with the dots is my favorite.

I had hoped to have them finished when she was here for Christmas but missed that deadline.

I will be sending them off n
ext week. I am also including two hot mats I made for them. This daughter in law is a Virginia Tech grad and my son is a Tarheel fan.

I used the school colors on the front and the school fabric on the back or you could look on it the other way around.

I am inspired by Cher at Marathon Quilter and her choice of the word BALANCE for the new year. I think that is a great aspiration. I need more balance. Balance incorporates so many ideas, thanks to her for the idea.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Looking forward

Happy New Year!!
We spent a quiet night watching the Tarheels and Tyler Hasbrough beat Nevada. Always a great night when the Tarheels win which is often this year.
I noticed a lot of bloggers were looking back at what they had done in 2008. I found a few that I enjoyed making last year. Two were baby quilts that I made for friends of my daughter. I loved the color combinations.

The girl I made this one for called her baby "lady bug" and there are lady bugs in the print I used.

The other one was one I made for our church sale. I followed a pattern in a book I found for this one. That is the only time I have ever done that. It was an interesting exercise.

I am looking forward to our new president and I hope he will be able to move this country forward in a positive way. I am looking forward to our new grandson due at the beginning of February. I am looking forward to making arrangements to bring my mother back to her house in a couple of months. And most of all I am looking forward to spending as much time as possible in my quilting room.
I wish all you quilting bloggers and readers a wonderful 2009. I have really enjoyed blogging although life has kept me from blogging as much the last month as I would like. This is a great community to be a part of.