Jul 31, 2013

Tumbler Blocks

The last two weeks have flown by in a blur! But I have managed to get a little bit of sewing in, in between two trips and some overnight company. 

I drove to Florida and spent three days with my mom. We had a great time and the weather was just perfect. I returned home in time for my husband's birthday (don't tell anyone, but he just turned the big 6-0). We celebrated three July family birthdays (my husband and both of our sons-in-law) with a family get together.

Then I drove to Greenville, South Carolina and visited with my BFFs-Anne and Pam. I'm a very fortunate girl, because I have not one, but two BFFs! The three of us met 14 years ago and have moved about 13 times between us since (one of us moves A LOT). Through it all, we have managed to get together multiple times a year all over the country. We have attended each other's children's weddings, traveled to quilt shows together, and been to each other's homes to visit. Sometimes only two of us are able to get together-but the third is always there in spirit. It is a blessing to have not one, but two, special friends!

Our time in Greenville was wonderful.  We spent most of one day in downtown Greenville.

Here are Anne and Pam at the falls. The weather was sunny and perfect as we strolled downtown.

This is Falls Park on the Reedy in downtown Greenville's historic West End. It was so beautiful there. We shopped in some great stores, ate some wonderful Sea Salt Caramel Gelato (anything sea salt caramel is my new guilty pleasure!) and enjoyed each other's company.

We had decided ahead of time to exchange tumbler blocks cut from Civil War reproduction fabrics when we got together. So, when we got back to Pam's house late in the afternoon, we poured the wine, got out the Go! Baby and started cutting. A few quick turns of the handle and you have three blocks of each fabric run through-perfect for the three of us to each have one.

Pam and I were cutting 4 1/2 X 11" rectangles and Anne was rolling them through the cutter as fast as we got them ready for her. It was fun to see our stacks grow. Lots of hands make for light work.

Pam's dog, Leo, was totally bored with the whole situation and decided to indulge in a nap. All that fabric was keeping him nice and toasty warm.

After shirtings and Civil War fabrics were all cut the stack was really tall. I couldn't resist counting~

There are 525 tumblers in that stack! We figured out that if you use 25 in a row, you can make 21 rows-and that makes a quilt top about 55 X 63". Borders would make it even bigger.

Pam couldn't resist! She got out her featherweight sewing machine and started sewing them up. When I left she already had two rows sewn and the last time I talked to her she told me that she has six rows done now! They go together so easily that they are a quick sew. I'm excited to start on mine-but I have a few projects to finish first. 

During the last two weeks I also sewed the blocks together from a very old (ten years OLD to be exact!) UFO. I am going to try to get it quilted this week. I am excited about getting it finished. It's a small wallhanging, but it's oh, so cute! I'll share pics and the story about it when I am finished.

I have also been ordering Snoopy fabric on the Internet this week. My #3 granddaughter, Madison, has requested a Snoopy quilt for her bed. And of course, I just couldn't say no. I haven't decided on a pattern yet, but Madison will have to give it her nod of approval too. And since she is a huge fan of all things Snoopy, she will have an opinion, I'm sure. :)

Happy quilting to all.

Jul 14, 2013

The Love of Sewing

Sewing with my granddaughters is something I have always enjoyed doing. It is an activity that makes them feel so special. Usually it involves a sleepover and lots one on one time-whether we are in the sewing room or the kitchen. They love being involved and helping out, whatever we are doing.

When we first moved to Georgia our oldest granddaughter, Katelyn, was 28 months old. I was so happy to be near her and her baby sister, who was 11 1/2 months old. We live less than a half hour away and I knew I would have plenty of chances for family get togethers. 

About six weeks later was the first time I ever sat Katelyn in my lap while I was sewing. She was so excited!

Look at the concentration on that doll's face! She was taking it all in!

She wanted me to move my hands so that she could do it all by herself.

Yes, she was bitten by the sewing bug that day! I'm not sure which of us was more thrilled!! I'm so glad my daughter caught this moment for us.

A year and a half later I saw a precious Janome Hello Kitty sewing machine at a quilt show. I just couldn't pass it up-I had three granddaughters at this point and knew that sewing machine represented so many hours I could spend with my little girls making memories! I brought it home and Katelyn immediately took to it like a duck to water and she was only three years old! 

Digging through my scrap basket, Katelyn found pieces of fabric to sew together. She was going to make a quilt! 

My mother was helping her while I snapped pictures. 

The fact that she couldn't cut with scissors yet wasn't going to deter her one bit.

She was so proud of her crooked little square! The joy on her face melts my heart!

Yes, there is no doubt about it--this girl loves a sewing machine!

Fast forward almost 7 years. Katelyn has grown up so much-she'll be starting 5th grade next month. I asked her last week to spend the night with me and wanted to know what she would like to do during her visit. "Make a skirt" was her answer. 

We went to A Scarlet Thread Quilt Shop on Thursday and she picked the fabric she wanted to make her skirt out of. Last night she slept over and today she was ready to sew. We decided that she is now old enough to sew on a "grown up" sewing machine. I sat her down and we had a lesson on sewing on my Bernina. I gave her some fabric scraps and explained to her the importance of keeping a straight seam allowance. She practiced sewing 5 rows and was ready to go! 

Katelyn wanted the stripes on her skirt to be horizontal, so she had to cut it in half since they were printed vertically.

Next she pinned her seams together. She had learned the importance of keeping her seam allowance straight and even. 

She's sewing her side seams together-we used a post it note to help her guide the fabric. 

She pressed her casing down and stitched it. She caught on to why we were leaving an opening very quickly.

She used a LARGE safety pin to thread her elastic through the casing.

And here she is stitching her hem. She went very slowly and carefully because she wanted it to be very straight since it would show on the outside of her skirt. 

She's one very proud young lady-and well she should be! She made this skirt all by herself!

Happy Sewing!!

A Little Tumbler "Quilt"

I put "quilt" in quotes in the title of this post because at 15 1/2 X 24", this little quilt just doesn't meet my criteria for a real quilt. I can't call it a miniature quilt, because the pieces are just too big. It doesn't fit on any table in my house as a tablerunner, so I'm not calling it that. So, it's just a little "quilt." 

Last Fall I went to the Georgia Quilting Expo at the Gwinnett Center and shopped with my favorite vendor, Primitive Gatherings. I have made no secret of the fact that I am in love with every single thing that Lisa Bongean does. I love her wool, her applique, her quilts, her books, her fabrics-you get the idea! While in her booth I spied a precut tumbler pack. There were 60 tumblers already cut for me and ready to sew. I have always wanted to try a tumbler, but I have never wanted to cut out tumblers (that was a huge deterrent to me!!) So, here was my perfect chance to try them. I laid my money down and took home my  newest little project. 

I sewed them up fairly soon after the show. They went together wonderfully and the shape was really fun to sew. I used 56 of the 60 in the pack-an 8 X 7 layout. And then since I had no plans for the little "quilt", I pinned the top to my design wall, where it has hung  gathering dust. 

Fast forward nine months. My husband and I have undertaken several home improvement projects lately and one of mine included painting an adorable child's chair that I bought at an antique market.

Here is my chair before I started painting it. I love red and normally this would have worked great in my house, as is. But the finish was really shiny and not the look I was going for. 

Lucky for me, I have recently discovered Annie Sloan chalk paint! I am painting everything in sight. If it doesn't move, it just may get a coat of paint!

The color paint I used is French Linen and I also put on the dark wax finish. I love how it came out! So quick and easy!

I found this oval tin bucket at Hobby Lobby and thought it would look cute sitting in the chair. 

This is my newly decorated spot in my house. I bought the black cabinet at another antique market, the lantern at a third! The clock came from World Market. 

And what does any of this have to do with a little tumbler quilt, you ask. I'm getting to that right now. My friend Pam (who is a decorating goddess and has just the right touch to making everything look perfect) gave her stamp of approval to my vignette, but did say that a cute little quilt in the chair would really set everything off. She is so right! Why didn't I think of that??

After Pam went home I took my tumbler quilt off the design wall and promptly quilted and bound it. I knew I had just the spot for it and was so excited to get it finished. 

I'm tickled with it here-what do you think?

Happy Quilting....and decorating with your quilts :)

Jul 6, 2013

Quick and Easy Quilt

I was on Pinterest last week and was inspired to use some precuts to make a quick and easy quilt. I have several layer cakes that have been sitting around waiting to be sewn and decided that there is no time like the present to use one. 

I chose Fresh Cottons by Fig Tree Quilts.

I laid out the dark squares and topped them with the light ones-right sides together. 

I drew a diagonal line across the back of each light square-stacked and ready to sew.

I love chain piecing! It makes the blocks sew up so quickly.

A chain piecer's best friend is the Gypsy Cutting Gizmo.

Cut apart and ready for the next step.

All the squares are sewn and trimmed.

And here is my final quilt top-quick and easy! I love quarter square triangles almost as much as half square triangles. I started with 10" squares, but after stitching and cutting and trimming, the blocks finished at 8 1/2". The dimensions for this quilt top are 51 X 59 1/2". 

I ordered backing fabric on Friday. As soon as it arrives I am going to get this quilted. I have someone special in mind for this quilt-more about that next month. 

Happy Quilting.

Jul 4, 2013

Edyta Sitar's Trunk Show and Lecture

Last Friday Edyta Sitar was the guest speaker at our monthly quilt guild meeting. She also taught workshops on Thursday and Saturday. I think everyone was inspired by this energetic young lady!

Edyta brought 80 quilts to show us! And each and every one of them was fabulous. Everyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of batiks, but after looking at Edyta's traditional quilts of batiks mixed with print fabrics, I think I could learn to like them.

Edyta's lecture was titled Reasons For Quilts. She spoke about falling in love with fabric at an early age, her introduction to quilting by her mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law, and the many reasons she loves to quilt. 

Edyta's quilts were as varied as the reasons that women quilt-whether it is for a new baby, to celebrate a wedding or other special occasion, or to showcase a favorite fabric. 

Some of her quilts were pieced, some were appliqued and others were a mixture of the two. 

Edyta has written many quilt books. I own two of them and love them. Both were gifts from a friend. The first one I received is titled Friendship Strips and Scraps. I love house quilts and the one of the front cover is gorgeous! The second book of Edyta's that I have is  Reasons for Quilts. It is a wonderful book, full of inspiration and beautiful quilts. A CD is included in the book with the patterns for nine of the quilts featured in the book. 

I took my books with me and Edyta was kind enough to autograph both of them. She was delightful to chat with and she posed for pictures with my friends. 

I left the meeting with a heart full of admiration for a very dedicated quilter. Her fabrics, quilt designs and books are an inspiration for all quilters. 

Happy quilting!