Monday, July 27, 2009


The hum you hear in the background is my sewing machine working overtime. I thought when I stopped working that I was done with deadlines, but oh no.

One of the women that takes care of my mother is gone and another caregiver is with her. This caregiver's daughter has just had a little girl and I wanted to make the baby a quilt. I want to finish it before she leaves and we go to the beach for the big family beach week. Next week is the big week at the beach with lots of cousins and fun. I had a hard time deciding what to do.

This is a pattern that a friend of my aunt uses with light and dark batiks. It is sixteen patches and half square triangles. I don't know how crazy I am about the blue. It is a little overwhelming but I don't have time to find anything else. The pinks are some Jan Mullen prints that I bought off ebay last year.

I am going to use this print for the back and probably just quilt along the seam lines. I might do a yellow binding. I can't decide yet.

Oh well back to work, only a couple of days left.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Busy Busy

Gosh I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted. We had a wonderful weekend last weekend with our second son and his wife. We relaxed and enjoyed being together. We also visited a beautiful garden. A "cousin" of mine has a garden that was on the garden tour and we were anxious to see it. She had a wonderful koi pond. I was fascinated with the colorful fish. She isn't technically my cousin but my uncles wife was her aunt so we share an uncle and two cousins. We decided to call ourselves cousins.

I finished the two quilts to send off to my daughter in law. Both of them were great fun to make. I machine quilted both of these.

I am working on hand quilting my grandson's whale quilt. I went to Diana McClun's Quilts Quilts Quilts for advice. She says it takes a couple of hours to get in the quilting zone. I am really enjoying the hand quilting. I can't decide whether to use a hoop or not. The hoop seems so big and cumbersome.

I did a cross hatch at the top. I did straight oblique lines for the whales.

I also could not resist making a snails trail block. I was inspired by Gari. Please go and look at her beautiful batik quilt. It is honestly not a hard block to make. I was amazed at how easy it came together.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I added borders to the two quilts I am making for friends of my daughter in law. I thought the pinwheel quilt had enough movement and needed a plain border. I really like this quilt. I will definitely use the pinwheel idea again. It is very versatile. I have a really cute print with trains for the back.

I gave the star quilt a pieced border. There is some blue in the dots and I wanted to introduce a bit of blue into the border. I enjoy a whimsical border. This is for my daughter in law's friend that lives in Germany. I have a cute animal print for the back of this one. My goal this week is to machine quilt both of these.

My goal last year was to teach myself to hand quilt. Life got in the way but I really want to do it. I tried it a bit yesterday. I can't decide whether to use a hoop or not. I want some portable handwork and this would be perfect. I am thinking of hand quilting Owie's whale quilt.

QUESTION: How about combining hand and machine quilting? Machine quilt the long lines and then go back and hand quilt small areas.

I am absolutely fascinated by Gari's Snail Trails blocks. I would love to do a quilt like this with two colors or be a copycat and use batiks like Gari is using. I wonder if you can liberate this pattern. It starts out with a four patch and you add triangles to make the "path". I just love what Gari has done, very impressive.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mojo working

My mojo has been working overtime this week. First of all Monday was my birthday and although I had a quiet day it was very nice. I had a very enjoyable day. My grandsons gave me a bag with the appropriate monogram "NANA". Just think of all the neat things I can carry around with this bag.

My aunt sent me some dot fabric. She knows I have an obsession with dots!! I have no idea how I will use these but I surely will.

I thought I had my mind made up about what I was going to do with this next quilt. I made this square and it just did not speak to me at all. I don't know what it was but I just could not go with this.

I went to Gwen Marston's Liberated Quilting for some ideas and inspiration. Her pinwheels really appealed to me. This is a great technique and really goes together fast.

I made a square or two. I really wanted to use this print with the balls. I decided to use the print and some solids, primary colors. I wanted to combine the pinwheels and 4 patch. The pinwheels and 4 patch are a natural combination.

This was my first arrangements. I thought lets go totally random. My orderly mind just could not handle all this randomness. Lets put a little order, not much but just a little.

I decided to put the 4 patch on the outside and the pinwheels on the inside. This is my first arrangement on my design wall. It is so helpful to be able to put it up and see what it will look like.

I put it all together this afternoon and I am very pleased with how it looks. Totally liberated and unplanned. I guess sometimes it is better to wing it and see what happens. Notice how the yellow from the 4 patch and the yellow from the pinwheel sort of "bleed" into each other. I love those unexpected little things.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My grandmother

My grandmother was born 112 years ago, July 3, 1897. We are fortunate to have many of the quilts that she made. One of her favorite patterns was what she called Dutch Doll. It is also known as Sunbonnet Sue. Almost every grandchild has one of her quilts. I have fond memories of sitting on the floor beside her on rainy summer afternoons making doll clothes. She enjoyed all kinds of sewing.

She cut her dolls free hand so they are not the same shape or size, similar but definitely not cut with a template.

This quilt has muslin on the back and is hand quilted with very small, very even stitches.

Many of the dolls were topstitched with black floss. Much of that has worn away. All of the dolls have solid color hats, hands and shoes. I am so glad that so many of her quilts have survived.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Floating stars

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions about my liberated stars. My aunt who has seen the squares in person said sew them together and I did. When you do that they seem to float over the dots.

My project next week will be to do a dynamic pieced border. I want to add some blue to the border along with the print, orange and yellow. Notice the Virginia Tech square at the bottom. This is for a college friend of my daughter in law.

I also want to do something for another friend of my son and daughter in law that lives in England. I drew my little sketch and I thought I had my mind made up. I did this square this afternoon and it just does not speak to me. I thought I would love the teal and it is ok but it does not look good with what I want to put on the back. I think I will use more primary colors. Oh well!

I could not resist any longer. I had to have Gwen and Freddy's new book. A lot is a repeat of the first book but there is so much more. I am taking this with me to the beach this weekend. I will be busy.

I also got another book that is very interesting. Janet Berlo is a writer and she used quilting to over come her writers block. She writes a lot about women and this book explores how quilting fits into our lives. For example are you in another zone when you go into your studio? Do you constantly think about color and pattern. One of the very interesting things she discusses is how it is ok not to finish a quilt . In most other aspects of our lives we always try to finish what we start but we can start a quilt and finish it years later or even do a few blocks and abandon the whole thing. Much of what she discusses is how so many of us love the process of making quilts even more than the finished product.

I hope all of you have a glorious holiday. Take care and don't eat too many hot dogs!