Friday, February 29, 2008

Here we go!

The whole purpose of this blog, urged on by my daughter, is to document all the the quilts I've made over the past 18 years or so. That is a lot of quilts, so let's begin! I will post them in no particular order. If you click on the pictures, you can see the details much better!

This wall quilt is one of my favorites. I saw the model in Calico Etc., Cheshire CT, the most wonderful quilt store I've ever been in, which is now gone. This baby spoke to my heart and I just had to make it, using Civil War reproduction fabrics. I was home with a nasty cold one day and didn't want to just sit around, so I put the baskets together. This quilt went together really fast and I quilted it by hand. It now sits over the fireplace (yes, fireplace!) in my cubicle in my department at work, below:

This is a detail of one of the baskets.

Detail of border.

There is something about reproduction quilts that moves me whenever I see one. Once I fell in love with the fabrics, I started collecting them in small amounts. I also have a nice selection of patterns, but have yet to use any of them, because some other quilt always needs to be made first.

Right now I am in the middle of making Laura's and Jeff's wedding quilt. I would post pictures in progress, but now that my little blog is out there in the world (thanks Kim!), that would just be giving the surprise away.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My First Picture!

This is a test photo. My two grandsons, Kyle and Brady at Christmas, sitting in front of one of many quilts made by Gramma.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

No this is NOT a yoga position.

My feed dogs are down!

Just when I had my quilt room back and started to sew my daughter's wedding quilt, wouldn't you know, my Bernina will not perform! This is the first time in 11 years that I've owned this machine that something is actually wrong that I cannot fix myself. It seems my feed dogs are not feeding fabric like they used to, won't sew the triangles, stops dead at a pin. I do a fair amount of free-style machine quilting, nothing fancy mind you, but something must not have clicked back into place fully the last time I used it at Christmas.

Guess it's time to pull out the old Featherweight.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Army, Wedding Bells and Quilts

Bob and I have just come from a dear friend's to say good-bye. He is off to Afghanistan after the required 4 weeks of training in North Carolina. This man is a dentist who enlisted in the Army at the officer level at age 57 after years of dental practice! It's a long story but thankfully he will be gone only 6 months. Bob advised him not to volunteer for anything and just do his job and get home safe. I guess J will be all he wants to be over there. On a happier note, J's daughter announced her engagement! Finally! They've been together as a couple for 6 years, but have known each other since they were 12. Her fiance, S, had planned to pop the question on Valentine's Day I guess, but when news came of her father's deployment, S moved up the timetable. Thank you S for making a somber occasion brighter for all.

You may be asking, "What does this have to do with quilting?" Well, J & G own two of my smaller quilts which I will be documenting soon, and now I have to plan another wedding quilt, although not on the scale of my own kids. We have known this family (hubs both graduated from ND) for years and our younger kids grew up together.

In the meantime, I've started putting away all the little kid stuff and began with closing up Baby Central. I can now move around my studio and figure out where I put immediate projects while the kids were here. So I'll be sewing up a storm for the next four months to get those projects done!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Second First Post

So what got me started with this blog thing? As I mentioned previously, my daughter is the culprit. I've invited her to post because she is a wicked good writer and very witty. She has her own blog at House of Prince.

She and her two lovely boys, Kyle-2 yrs 9 mo, and Brady-9 mo, have just spent two weeks with us. When they come to visit, my quilt studio becomes Baby Central. I convert my cutting/working table into a changing center stocked with diapers, wipes, small toys for distraction, plastic grocery bags for poopy diapers, powder and lotion. Oh, and lots of colorful fabric scraps and strips. The youngest grandchild sleeps in here as well. Which means that no sewing occurs at all for the duration of the visit. That's OK because I love my grandchildren and I'll do anything to get them to come from "Earf, California" as Kyle puts it. Usually we just whisk the kids in and out of this room, but now that Kyle is a bit older, he's curious about Gramma's sewing machine and other lovely no-touch equipment. Sigh. Next time (summer) I'll really have to batten down the hatch to keep him and Brady safe.

My First Post!!!!

My west coast daughter has been bugging me to create my own blog primarily to post pictures of the dozens of quilts I have made since I began quilting seriously about 15 years ago. So I've caved despite the fact that I think I might spend more time on the computer than I will on the sewing machine. [Update: I've already spend 5 HOURS reading blogs and creating my own!] I am no tech-savvy mid-50's grandmother, but I do a bang up job with spreadsheets and data bases full-time at work. I have a cell phone I rarely use and I don't have an Ipod music thingy. I just got my first digital camera this Christmas from my kids so I can take the pictures to put on the blog. Now I have to learn to post the pictures!

So here goes...please excuse any rambling randomness.

When I was pregnant with daughter #1 I discovered I had a talent for fine handwork. I began with embroidery and not just the simple stuff. Oh, no! I started with a detailed floral bouquet that I finished probably five years later. From there I went to crewel, needlepoint (from graphs no less-no painted canvases for this girl!) and macrame. Remember macrame? I made all kinds of plant hangers and some jewelry. I picked up counted cross stitch, again from graphs. Then I found quilting. After making a couple of those huge one-block wonders from patterns that were published in Family Circle or Women's Day, I decided I wanted to learn quilting "the right way." I took my first class at a quilt shop where the owner became a good friend later on. The class cost $65 and included the fabric. After the first session I was hooked. I put away the cross stitch stuff and never looked back.

My former master bedroom is now my quilt "studio" and stuffed to the gills with fabric - in a dresser, boxes, baskets, bins, bags, but NOT the freezer, in the trunk of my car, or under the guest bed. All my fabric purchases are there for my husband to see (which he usually doesn't care to see, except when I bring home reproduction Civil War fabrics). He buys books like I buy fabric so he can't complain. The studio has 3 windows that face south, west and north so I always have good light all day long. I use an old computer table that has a drop-down keyboard tray where my Bernina Virtuosa sits at the perfect height for sewing. This table is now "out of print," sorry to say. I could use a new one. But it's perfect because it is deep. But it keeps collecting other stuff that has no home, which I have to move (usually to the floor) when it's time to quilt all those baby quilts, lap quilts and wall-hangings. I love my Bernina. I also have a Singer Featherweight which I take to classes and a 1928 electric Singer in a cabinet that I found at a church rummage sale for $20. I had it tuned up and polished and it works like a charm. I was hoping to actually fix up this room with cabinets and counters and wonderful lighting, but until that happens, I work with an overhead light, an Ott-type floor lamp and table lamp, and another old small lamp that sits behind me. I feel like I'm alway working in my shadow, and my husband refers to my totally lit up room as the "landing strip."

I have a gazillion projects in different stages: Planning-wedding quilt for daughter #2 who eloped; I have till May 4 (1 year) to get the top made; baby quilt for same daughter's baby boy due in June; baby quilt for baby due March 3, baby quilts for mom of premature twin girls. Christmas quilts for all the kids. Hard cover book projects; soft cover book projects; magazine projects; Civil War and reproduction quilts - you get the picture. Under construction-very, very many. Finished-I don't think I ever counted. I've discovered along the way that I like making traditional quilts. Civil War and reproduction quilts speak to my soul, never mind the history. I make traditional patterns with wild colors. For the past couple of years, that electric limey green has been in all of my quilts, some a lot, some a little. Can't understand it.

I love fabric. During the first couple of years of this passion I stocked up on lots of fabric to create my stash. I now own a lot of calicoes, which are usually at the bottom of the drawer or box or bin. Ninety-nine percent of the time I walk out of a quilt shop/fabric store with fabric. It's a very rare occurrence when I'm empty-handed. The point is to keep the stash fresh and how is it that I never have the right shade of green when I need it?!!

I have two very wonderful friends who are quilters, J and B. We plan group projects with good intentions that don't often happen. We love to visit new quilt shops in our area, quilt shows within a couple hours' drive of home and an occasional overnighter. We have a lot of fun. Among us we could open our own shop with all of our quilting stuff. When I retire in another six - 6! years I want to work in a quilt shop-for fabric of course!