Sunday, November 27, 2011

My First Quilt!

Bonnie Hunter has a invitation to talk about your first quilt. I never can figure out the "linky" process, so I am not going to even try, but I started thinking about my first quilt.

I have been quilting for about 18 years. I started making my own clothes when I was 12 and in fact my very first job was taking some clothes that a neighbor had and cutting them down for her niece. I think I was about 13. I had begun sewing much younger than that with doll clothes though, made from scraps that my mother had left over from her quilting. My mother was a quilter in the same vein as Gee Bend quilters. Her quilts were made to keep us warm. They were colorful and asymmetrical and to me wondrous. She used cardboard templates and I don't remember her talking about or teaching me to quilt. I would sit with her and she would cut and sew the squares together. She didn't stress consistency or patterns, we just put pieces together. I remember green and red squares--how bright and free it seemed. How you could take a piece of fabric and cut it up and then put it back together was wonderful to me.

I grew up in a tiny Oklahoma town where I began taking Home Economics in the 3rd Grade. Included in Home Ec. was cooking and sewing classes, so I became very familiar with these skills. So familiar that at one time I wanted to be a Home Ec teacher. We really didn't quilt in class though, focusing more on clothing. My teacher was Mrs. Jackson, who always had the most beautiful clothes, all things she made. I aspired to be as gifted as she with the needle and thread. I took Home Ec throughout high school, again without coming in contact with quilts, but changed my major at the last minute to sociology.

Fast forward to 18 years ago. I had been reading about quilts, had purchased books and had become a theorist, but not actually really quilted. I don't remember what attracted me to quilting, but my husband would tease me about buying all these magazines. By nature I am a researcher first, learning all I can about a technique/skill/art/craft before I actually try it. I had even purchased a ruler, more to have something to put the concept of a 1/4 inch seam into reality, since as a dressmaker I worked with 5/8 inch seams. Our daughter had gotten married and informed us we were to become grandparents for the first time. I also love history, and the concept of making something that my grandchild could attribute to me even after I was no longer, was a wonderful thing to me----so I began to make a quilt for this grandchild who turned out to be a granddaughter. I did it alone---I had no one to consult---just my books. We were living in Chicago, so I went to Vogue Fabrics, where I choose a pattern that was simple (it was ranked "beginner) and began. It was made of gingham-----green/yellow/pink/and red. A simple 4-patch. I also made bumper pads and a white eyelet crib skirt. I knew nothing about machine quilting, so I hand quilted it in simple lines outlining each block. My granddaughter still has that quilt! I thought it was beautiful---and looking back, it really was pretty good for a first quilt.

I didn't make anymore quilts, but continued to buy magazine/books AND rulers. About 4 years later while living in Chicago, one of the women I worked with shared with me that her Mother was a quilter. I met this lady and now I had someone to talk to about quilting. I began to investigate and found a quilting guild that I joined. I also took a class at Vogue fabrics --- a log cabin quilt that I tied. Instead of yarn, I used thin ribbon! I then tacked my first "real" quilt. It was a blue and yellow Irish Chain, with bleached white muslin as the background. I used a sheet for the backing and the mother of my friend machine quilted it. She didn't charge me money, but instead asked to 3 packs of batting---poly. The quilting wasn't fancy, simple lines, but it fit the quilt perfectly. That is when I discovered how "cutting challenged" I am. I thought I had cut all those little squares correctly (they finished at about 1.5 inches) but some looked a little small. I didn't really realize that was a problem so I pushed on, and the lady who quilted it didn't tell me any different. I didn't find out about accuracy until I had gone to some meetings at the guild and discovered that all blocks should be the same size---"oh" I thought.

I never could really appreciate little quilts, since remember, I am from the belief that quilts are suppose to be used, so even from the very first quilt (it was king size) I made large bed quilts. I still have that first quilt somewhere (I will find it and post a picture), but clearly as I look at my quilts, I have progressed and I am pleased! I also didn't realize you should only buy quilt shop quality fabrics, since I purchased fabrics where ever I found some that I liked. I still do that---I am more aware of quality, but I have certainly purchased some fabrics at Wally World that held up better than some quilt shop "quality" fabrics, so I continue to look and purchase what I like, in spite of where it is. I also don't pre-wash---again, I don't remember reading or being taught I should when I started quilting. That issue has only surfaced lately. I admit, I am lazy and busy, so I am not going to wash fabric for no reason. It just seems redundant to wash all the sizing from fabrics and then put it back in with starch. I have to honestly say that although I don't pre-wash, I haven't had a real problem with bleeding.

I don't really sew clothing anymore. I am almost exclusively a quilter. Quilting has brought me in contact with some wonderful people. I think generally we are a sharing and affirming group. I think that is so interesting since quilting can be a solitary art, yet when we get together, even when in line at Joanne's waiting for fabric to be cut, it isn't unusual for us to strike up a conversation that on the surface looks like we have known each other for years, when in fact we have only just met and may never see each other again. What other art/craft/hobby does that occur in?

I love my art!!!!! It is my hope and prayer I am able to do it for a very long time. It makes me smile to realize that my quilts will be something members of my linage will have to connect me to them, even if we have never officially met----sorta like the "Time Traveler".

Have a great day! Thanks for stopping by---unless you leave an email, I can't contact you to officially thank you---but know I appreciate the time you take to read my ramblings!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!!!

I hope your holiday is being spent with good food, good friends/family, and LOTS of good laughs. My very sweet nephew and his wife (and their daughter) are visiting from Oklahoma as well as our middle son. I have enjoyed them so very much, even though I have been doing LOTS of cooking :c), which by the way, I don't like to do----but for them, I will do it and actually smile!

We joined the throngs of people and went shopping at Thanksgiving. It was a marathon to be sure!!!! It was 8 of us, all mothers and daughters (my daughter and I, her daughter -- she is now 18 and so has "earned" a spot, my niece and her daughter, and a friend and her daughter). We left at 8pm on Thanksgiving night, and returned the next day at 3pm!!!!! I gotta tell you, I think I might have bit off more than I could reasonably chew. I was so tired, that I went straight to bed and except for getting up once to referee a disagreement between grandchildren, I slept soundly. Now you ask, did we get deals----YES we got deals!!!! The people weren't too bad, but I must admit, I do NOT intend to go to Wally World next year! The salespeople were disorganized and were enforcing the rules with some customers and with others weren't (we were in the group where the rules were enforced)!!! At any rate, I did enjoy my time with the "girls" and will add this to my list of accomplishments---actually staying up for 34 hours!!!!!

I (of course) went to Joanne's and purchased (about 40 yards) flannel for quilt backings. The fabric was $1.49/yard, so I got a good deal. I was little too tired to look over the store, but plan to go on Sunday and see what else is available.

At any rate-----just wanted to check in!

Friday, November 18, 2011

How Many Rulers Do You Have?!?!?!?

I was looking for a ruler to use to make another quilt, and as I was searching, I noticed I have a LOT of rulers. Now understand I am a "gadget girl"! I have not only a Accuquilt GO! but a Sizzix Big Shot Pro as well....and probably 20 or more cutting dies to use with them---LOVE, LOVE, them. I think I am this way because I am "cutting challenged"----I always have a problem getting things cut straight, plus I am a planner---you never know when you might need something. I am also planning for my retirement, since I will not have the money to purchase such tools, so I am doing so now---yeh right!

Unfortunately, I am also a "Liberated Quilter", so even though I have lots of rulers, my cutting is still often crooked. If it is a quilt for me, I don't care, it always works out---maybe that is why I love scrap quilts. I feel this way now, but just in case I change my mind and become really, really concerned about making a perfect quilt, I will have the equipment to "do it right".

As I said, I was looking for this one particular ruler (BTW, I didn't find one, so there is a trip to Joanne's in my future this week-end), but I found all kinds of other rulers. There is the Twister (big and little); several kaleidoscope rulers; a LOT of square's including a 2.5 inch square; lots of long rulers; and speciality rulers--including a kite ruler. Above are pictures of storage areas---three, each containing about 10 rulers each, plus there is this little tote bag with more (I just noticed a picture of a roll of cotton pads---not sure why it is in one of the bins). I have several Marti Michell sets, and of course there are the templates. Now am I going to "get rid" of any? Of course not, I might need them one day (the ruler with the blue tape on it is the very first ruler I purchased----before I even knew how to quilt--over 20 years ago. I can't throw it out even though it is broken and you can't even see some of the numbers anymore---and I have a new one). Plus, just looking at them, gets my "creative juices" going just thinking about the quilts I will make with each one----one of these days soon!

Thanks for dropping by!!!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

"THE" Quilt is DONE!!!!

I am so happy!!!! "THE" quilt is completed!!!!!!! I have squared it up and will put on the binding and then do hand work. The bad news----the back looks awful, but "oh well"---I am not going to worry about it at all. After I took it off the frame it really doesn't look that bad in front. The thread really blends into the front well, so you can't see the "yuk" nearly as good as you can see it on the back. I can't post a picture, but I will reveal closer to the December Guild meeting, or a couple of days after! I certainly do not expect to win anything, and am thinking seriously of not putting mine in the mix for a prize, although I did finish the challenge. The workmanship just isn't that good.

I also finished putting on the borders for my other Guild mystery! It isn't nearly as big as I would want, but it is a nice lap quilt. I am going to use Baptist Fans to quilt it and put a chocolate flannel on back. A real "manly" quilt.

I am now going to go back to "Spontaneous Combustion" and complete it. No new quilts will be started until after the New Year, but I will use the remaining two months to finish up some of these UFO's. I can't say they will all get quilted, but certainly, I am going to bring them to that stage.

Well, that is all I have to share. Have a great week-end!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Status Report!

This was taken on Halloween night---Coal was the "Great Pumpkin"!!!! He really seemed to enjoy himself---running barking at all the Trick or Treaters, and then running away then I opened the door to give out treats. I am not sure he really appreciated his costume though (see the down turned tail)---I think he wanted to be a "hot dog" instead!

I should have been working on "the" quilt, but instead I worked on this one. This was what we worked on at a Guild Mystery. It is a Judy Laquidara pattern (we had permission to use it). She loves lots of borders (as do I), but she likes pieced ones. I was auditioning borders, but I am only going to put on three and leave the last two off. These additions bring it up to a twin size rather than the throw. It is a really "guy" quilt, so I may give it to one of my son's.

Nothing else really note worthy, so I guess I will go and work on "the" quilt. Time is running out! It has to be completed (including binding) by the December meeting.

Have a great remainder of the week!