Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quilt for MCC

My mother in law and I created a pieced king size quilt top this summer while we were visiting them. I was just going through photographs and came across these photos of the process. We visited family in Northern Indiana in July and whenever I’m there my Mother-in-law and I like to embark on some interesting sewing project. We’ve talked for some time about doing a quilt for the annual Mennonite Relief Sale in Northern Indiana. This is an annual event where lots of quilts are auctioned off to raise money to support the relief work of Mennonite Central Committee around the world. My MIL and I had talked about this a time or two and I told her I’d help if she ever decided to do one. So a long time ago she mentioned that quilts with lots of contrast go higher in the bidding. So when we went fabric shopping we came home with bright pink, pastel pink and black and white. The fabric stayed at her house for a long time. So while we were there in July 08 we brought out the fabric and got started, not knowing whether or not we'd be able to finish in the time we had.

Our tradition is that I cut and design while she sews. And if we have a third person to iron and keep the pieces coming back to me then we can really put together a complicated quilt pretty quickly in our little assembly line. I don’t think we had anyone ironing so she and I took turns. So these photos are from her home.

The kitchen table becomes grand central station for cutting and designing. (And hoping there is enough fabric!)
So we started by making some pinwheels. I laid them out to decide which ones we wanted in the middle of the quilt. I was going for a traditional Amish quilt design with the diagonal block in the middle. Here is my Mother in law ironing.
So I chose the black and white ones for the stronger statement in the middle.

Then we added a border around the middle block that made it fit to the needed size for the square line of pinwheels. We then added in the triangles.

And then the squared off border of pinwheels.

Then we put another border around it with pinwheels in the corners.

It really was a nice touch. By this time the quilt is king size (more by accident than design) so it was pretty hard to get good photos of a quilt that size in the living room.

The ladies of East Goshen Mennonite congregation will quilt this quilt top and hopefully have it ready in time for the sale this year in September. I really am looking forward to hearing what it sells for at auction. Every penny of the proceeds will benefit the Mennonite Central Committee which is an excellent international relief agency. Check out their site for some of the opportunities to give now, the need in Gaza is especially great at this time. My father-in-law worked with MCC a while back to clean and rebuild after Katrina for a number of months. And the money raised from the sale of this quilt will go to exactly this kind of service work. We also loved this idea at MCC, Relief kits for families in war torn Iraq and my family enjoyed this as a service project this year at Christmas. I do hope to get a photo of it completed with all the quilting. I really hope to get a good photograph of it, quilted or not. It's a big one but it went quickly and will quilt up beautifully.

The Liberated Quilt Designer

Well, I wasn’t expecting this! I went looking in my stash for a quilt I’d made years ago. I couldn’t remember what it looked like. And when I pulled it out and brought it upstairs and started unfolding… well, not one but TWO quilts fell out!

This one I expected. And then there was a second:

When did I make this one? Anybody know? I don't remember it one bit! This pattern makes up so quickly that I guess it never really sank in. But don't these two look good together? I could see them each on a twin bed in the same room! And no, they were not made to match. That's purely accidental!

I made this one from blocks Melody gave me:

And then this one is on my wall right now:

Don't these two look like they go together? I could also see these on two twins in the same bedroom! And no, these weren't made to match either. But they work.

The other thing I noticed is that all of them are about the same sizes and shapes. They are roughly sixty something square and three of them need borders yet. I’ve said before that I love a square quilt for a bed and the queen sized one that is on my bed right now is square and I love it! (I’ll get around to showing photos of that one someday.) So I’m thinking that in MY house, twin beds are going to have square quilts on them.

Thing is, I made this froggy quilt which is kind of cute. But that blasted quilt really started to get on my nerves when I laid it out on the floor and doggedly tried to force myself to add enough to make it fit a twin bed in the traditional way. I really developed an attitude about that one and honestly when I look at it I still see a square quilt with cheap filler at top and bottom. So… I am coming to the conclusion that I like square quilts. (So shoot me!) And with this wealth in the house, our children are not in danger of freezing their tootsies. So why am I fighting with myself over this? I like bed quilts square. It’s hardly revolutionary. I seriously doubt the quilt Gestapo is going to be knocking on my door anytime soon with a warrant demanding that I conform! So I think I shall liberate “PEACE, joY and hoppiness” from its rectangular fate. The very idea makes me smile.

I doubt I've ever been so happy about the idea of going to find my seam ripper! :)

Yes, so much of my life I've tried to fit a square peg in a round hole. I know that I've been led to accept the design I was created with rather than trying to be someone I'm not, for which I am eternally grateful. That is one of those life lessons that sounds very simple but is nothing of the sort!
So now this is ME telling the world that bed quilts in MY house are simply going to be square! And honestly, this makes all this work MUCH more fun!

So now I can get on with the important stuff, like which quilt goes on which bed? And what color do I paint those bedroom walls?!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Crayon Quilt Progress

I’m happy to report some nice progress today on the quilt of many colors. I’ve got the lime, turquoise and cobalt rows finished and I like it so far. I really prefer making square quilts, I don’t know why. But this one won’t fit a twin bed if I don’t keep going. Grrr… Ok, so two more rows to go. I’m sure it will be fine but seriously, after I’m done with these twin bed quilts I’m going to be making something lovely in squares!
I came across a whole series that Melody Johnson did in 12 x 12 and I'm seriously going to need to try that very soon! Hers are A-MAY-ZING!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Progress on the Crayon Quilt

Progress on quilt number seven. I’ve added another row to the string bean quilt. I’ll play with the color placement before I sew any of this stuff together but for now this is how I’ve placed them. They are fun from a distance when you get the overall feel for the colors. And they are fun when you look up close at each block where you can see the various textures and patterns.

Introducing one of my favorite companions. This turned out to be such an interesting photo, her in that strange twisted pose and the feeling that this simply can not be comfortable for her, yet she looks wise and knowing. (And yes, she really does have four paws! LOL) She’s a border collie mystery mutt mix and she’s a delightful creature. She was the last of the litter and my favorite from birth. I fed her goat’s milk as her mother couldn’t keep up with all eight of them. I called her Misdemeanor for quite some time. All seven puppies would be where they were supposed to be and she would be out exploring the far reaches of the kingdom. Once we decided that we’d keep her and become a two dog household we decided that we’d better give some thought to that name. So we shortened it to Misde. Or Miss D. She is a precious creature, currently curled up with me on the sofa.

I had a number of other pressing matters to attend to today, so this row with the yellow seemed to take forever as I snatched a moment with it here and there. But just a bit ago I finally finished it and I’m pleased so far. Progress is good.
Next is the lime green row. :)

Friday, January 23, 2009


The winter learning curve quilt! This is the sixth quilt of the year and the only one that I consider finished. Or maybe I should say “potentially” finished. I had given some thought to some small pearls to look like snowflakes. But seriously, I don’t bead much anymore. I was a jewelry designer for years (decades in Carmen years) and I think I just got a little burnt out with it.

This little quilt was a learning curve because it was my first fused project in over a decade. And back in the day one could NOT sew through the stuff without totally gumming up the needle. But I guess there has been some progress in this product’s design between then and now. I didn’t use fusing in every part and I think it shows. Next time I’ll put fusing on every piece of fabric, even stuff I consider ‘background.” That way I think it will sew differently and be less prone to puckering and gathering up… which I did not like one little bit in that one spot in the "sky." Also, my sewing machine is considerably “old school” and doing the twists and turns to make nice swirls in the quilting is something I’m going to have to learn how to do because this time around I really didn’t get the end product I wanted. Still, I’m overall pleased with this lil baby quilt and it may very well hang on a wall in my house for the rest of the winter if/when I can ever get around to painting. There are ever so many more interesting things to do than paint walls. But they certainly are lovely when they are done. And I've got some fantastic colors in mind...

And finally, I’m in love with a monkey. He takes three socks because of that dashing sweater! And I’ve already had two requests for monkeys for friends. I guess I should put a price tag on them and see what happens. The main thing is that I want to end up with three different monkeys in time for my trip to Colombia for my three children. YAY!

And this is an introduction to quilt number seven of the year. After my learning curve with the batik quilt I wanted to make sure I worked in the contrast on this one. It can not be just a sea of color. So the first row is up on the wall. With the limited time I have to sew right now, I do hope to be able to make progress on this one pretty quickly. We shall see.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Funky Winter

I haven’t fused fabrics in at least ten years. And back in the day it was horrible stuff that couldn’t be sewn though without gumming up the needle. So back in the day… I fused and then tried not to look too close.

So when I looked around blogosphere and discovered that lots of you amazing quilters are fusing… I thought “Fusing? Seriously?” And then I went shopping. I visited my local quilt shop for Wonder Under (which they did not have) so I bought what they did have: Heat n Bond lite. I tried out a little project. And so far so good. It’s a funky little winter scene and it went by quickly! So… here’s a snap just before I tried out some quilting on it. That’s the test as far as I’m concerned… what does it do with the sewing machine needle? I haven’t machine quilted for years so that part may get interesting as well. We’ll see. Oh, and I want to add some beads on it... if I still like it when the quilting is done.

Thank You So Much!

If you follow my blog, you may remember that I bought a lovely variety pack of batik fabrics.

I had fallen in love with them on a previous trip to my local quilt shop. There they were in the back of my mind, just a-beggin me to go back and get them. So I did. And I had the package open even before I left the shop and was delighted! After I worked with them a while, I wasn’t feelin the love so much. I tried to use them all in one quilt, and I hadn’t included the needed contrast in the design. I had lost the spark.

But by the time I added the final borders, I found that I was actually quite pleased with the way the design turned out. I think it works! It doesn't match my usual vivid self, but I am happy with it! It just goes to show what a difference a border can make!

And in the middle of that a Marketing and Media Director from Hoffman California Fabrics happened across my blog. There she was, watching my commentary on their product. She also caught a later blog post about the quilts for my children who we hope to meet and bring home this summer. (Yay!!!!) And in the mail on Friday was a package with my name on it. Squeeeeeeee!!! I am the proud new owner of a number of yards of the most passionately beautiful batik EVER!

Nothing bashful about these colors! They are perfection allll the way! And look how beautifully they go with the hand dyed fabric from the lovely Frieda Anderson! (Just a sliver of that showing at the top.) This is SO exciting!

So to the lovely and generous Michelle from Hoffman California Fabrics, one HUGE THANK YOU! These fabrics are SO beautiful! Can't wait to play with these!

Friday, January 16, 2009

PEACE, joY and hoppiness...

Progress! I've got one row added to the center square now. Lots and lots of dancing frogs!! I've still got more blocks staring back at me on my table and it's only about 50 x 50 now. So I'll let it rest a while and then see what it needs when I come back to it next. It is fun to see the pieces go together!

The Fabulous Frogs (for one of my tadpoles)

I haven’t gotten as much piecing done around here lately. I was so tired last evening that I feel asleep on the sofa so I got up and went to bed at 8:30 pm, so unlike me! Then I slept clear through until my usual time of around 7 am, so that is pretty strange. Some of my other work is taking more out of me than I would have thought I suppose.

It’s cold here. CRAZY cold! Like it takes an extra ten minutes to get out to work just to get the hat, coat and gloves all done up tight. Eww! Then when the wind hits it's time to get a MOVE ON! Hubby made a fire in the fireplace which is wonderful and cozy. There is nothing better than a fire on a cold cold day! I’m still wishing for snow, I’m sure that will come soon enough. I don't want a little snow, cause getting down off our hill is scary in a little snow. I want a BIG snow, enough to keep me on my hill all day long!

Something is wrong with one of my dogs, so I’m really keeping an eye on her. Border Collies don’t move slowly unless something is wrong, and she’s been very slow this morning and favoring a front paw. I hope that laying in a patch of sunshine and having a string of lovely naps is what she needs to heal up good and strong! I hate it when anything is wrong with either of my BC girls! Say a prayer for my poochy if you're the praying kind. Thanks!

(dyed and read to mark, the white pattern from the white on white fabric still shows)

In between the usual stuff I’ve been working at my “peace, joy and hoppiness” frog quilt. Yesterday I pulled out some white on white prints and lightly dyed them by hand. I Used PEBEO Setacolor thinned down and applied with paint brushes. (I am a HUGE PEBEO fan!!) Then I came along with my fabric markers to bring out some details. (Marvy Uchida) I have these and I use them, but I've also got my eye on these fabric markers from PEBEO! Anyway, then I went through again with some gold gutta for detailing, another PEBEO product. It adds something that you catch when you're close up that is pretty extra special!
I played with the layout, seeing how the pieces seemed to want to go together.
I followed the pattern of the fabric for the detail on "PEACE" and it looks great upclose. It is not nearly this washed out in person. That's a camera flash issue.

A few days ago I pieced the letters “JOY.” I started with the J and expected to make them all pretty normal and equal in size. But then when I was in the middle of the O I decided it needed something. Later on I’ll add some buttons to that one. And when I laid them out on the table the Y just begged to be tall and skinny. So there they are, some funky letters. I made “hoppiness” and "peace" the right sizes to fit into the design and then added a few strips around the edges to get it to the size I wanted. I’ve got lots of other blocks made so it will be interesting to see how it all fits together.

These letters have spots and coloration that matches the frogs in the commercial fabric. It begs to be looked at closely.

A tiny bit of the gold gutta detailing shows in this photo. (Mostly if you already know where to look!)

It is fun to see it take shape! I talked to my mother-in-law about hand quilting this one for me. I hope to get at least a few stitches in there from my husband's grandmothers as well, though they are both advancing in years and don't quilt much anymore. It is a family tradition that each new addition to the family gets a quilt with hand quilting by the grandmas. It is a good tradition and I hope that my children are able to appreciate these quilts as symbols that they are connected to a loving family, adopted by many more than just their dad and me.
Now I've got some more work to do. It will be fun to see how this piece fits together with the other blocks sitting on my table. I think that will be an interesting puzzle! It's funny, I decided against making a sketch for this piece and it has made the process more open to unexpected twists and turns. That works for me. As far as I'm concerned it's all about the process! The end product is important, but it's not everything! Not even close.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Lovely Barbara Stroup mailed me the cutest doggy fabric EVER for this project! And her doodles on the envelope were SO fun! That's Me, Carmen (Love her writing!) and three new rosebuds! I LOVE that! And BUTTONS! All tied in a beautiful ribbon! Seriously, I've been itching to do something with buttons so I did a little dance when I saw these beautiful bright buttons! I LOVE this and I'm already thinking about how to use the adorable poochys! :) Thanks Barbara!!! And check out her work! She's doing some really fun things with houses! I'm loving this process of finding new artists who create really cool work! YAY! Thank you so much Barbara!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some Polka Dots

And a breeze on my back deck... and I'm going to call it done. Except that I'm coloring in some of those dots with colors that match the blocks they are near. Believe me, it's cool! Not that the colored dots would show in the photos so much, but it's cool! (Well, it wouldn't show in this photo, I hadn't tried it yet then.) Next? To see if the hubby's Mennonite grandmas can handle it. :) This quilt totally delights me! Thanks Melody!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Giggling Quilt

For snuggling when it is cold outside.
From Melody*

*Some assembly required

My Fairy Godmother (or is that Fabric Godmother)

Waved her wand over my house yesterday! We are all grinning like crazy around here! I walked in and saw these two boxes sitting on the office chair, the return address said Melody Johnson and I about fell over! They are SO BIG, and THERE ARE TWO! I lifted a corner... they were HEAVY! I instantly knew that both were full to the gills of fabric! I had to finish my work before I could open them, but it really made me work hard and fast, I was sooo excited!

I had to clean an area on my sewing table and hubby was watching and laughing. “I can’t believe you don’t have that box open yet!” He was picking on me cause he knew I was barely containing my excitement. I opened the first one and upended it on the table. I was digging through it like a kid! Then I started stacking that stuff aside to make room for the second box. The second one didn’t feel like an upending kind of box, so I put it on a nearby chair and began to excavate its contents. I think hubby laughed at me all evening. I brought all the pieces out, examined them. I often carried over an especially pretty bit and exclaimed about it to him. He smiled and went back to his work. I marveled at something else, he kept smiling and kept working. Before it was all over I had spread out the contents of these two boxes over the kitchen counters, the ironing board and the dining room table! WOW!

Want to see the beautiful loot??

Ok, so there are the serious colors. And there are sooo many with different textures and patterns! There are some especially pretty bits in here. And I think these colors would work great in my Mom’s house and I have a few other friends that these seem to match quite well. I’m going to buy some Wonder Under and see if I can fuse up some things for me and for gifts. I think it would be fun to try some landscapes with these. There is a color for every palate in this collection! I can now make ANYTHING!

This is what started to pile up as I started separating the serious bits from the bright ones.

THEN I started finding quilt blocks already made! (More happy dance and going to show hubby, more hubby grinning) And strips pieced together already… I am SO inspired to make something with these. Hmm… whether to finish the frog quilt or work on this instead….

Then I started going through the bright rainbow fabrics. Mercy, I don’t know when I ever had this much fun! Melody must have some incredible fabric stores in her area, these rainbow colored prints are SO MUCH FUN! And I had just started a black and white collection to add contrast to my work and here are a bunch more for my collection.

Santa Melody Johnson, you rocked my world! Thank you SO MUCH! It never ceases to amaze me how people have reached out to bless us in this adoption process. Our kids have friends around the country, people who have sent money and now fabric. It is blessing me down to my socks! Thank you Melody!

Now go visit the amazing, generous and talented Melody Johnson at her blog and look at her spectacular print parade series. #2 was my fav until I saw #4, then there was #5 and it just keeps getting harder to choose a fav!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Bone Sighs

I’m a fan of Bone Sighs by Terri St Cloud (isn’t that a great name for a poet’s business – Bone Signs!) this is one of my favorite garnished poems of hers. And as I checked out her site this afternoon I was surprised to see that she’s also selling her son Yo Yo’s photography. This one’s my fav. Love these, Love her!

And for the whole product line check here.

Sigh! :)

Just two more:

Her blog is here.

Teensy Bit John Deere

But I'm hoppy with it anyway! (Now exactly how many times am I going to use the word "hoppy" in front of my kids before they learn to roll their eyes?) LOL!! I love these dancing frogs!
Related Posts with Thumbnails