Apr 28, 2014

Quilting Stencils

I have had "quilter's block". It's kind of like writer's block, but since I'm a quilter and not a writer, it's my quilts, and not my books, that aren't getting finished. I have been unable to move forward from this point. It has everything to do with inspiration and nothing to do with skill. I am perfectly capable of quilting but, I have hit a wall. And I have been standing in front of that wall too long. It's time to climb over it or blast through it. 

I have LOTS of quilt tops that need quilting. Nothing special-just a nice all over pattern to get them finished will be fine. But you can't meander every single quilt in your stash~that's just plain boring! I needed inspiration. Like a lot of my solutions, this one started with my friends. And they don't even know it. :-)  Anne has been finishing one UFO after another this year. She sends her quilts out to be quilted, and sends me pictures of them when she gets them back. Her quilter has been doing beautiful overall patterns with swirls or flowers or whatever suits the quilt. I love them and thought to myself that maybe I should have bought a long arm with a frame so that I could do pantographs. (I'm not confident enough yet to attempt this free style!)

Fast forward to two weeks ago. My friend, Judy and I were shopping together at our favorite quilt shop, A Scarlet Thread, and I spied a rack with some quilting stencils on it. I was hit with inspiration, like I had been hit with a lightning bolt! One of the stencils was a continuous line design with dragonflies. Judy was so encouraging. She said that she has used stencils and "pounce" with great results and that I could do it too. So, I bought it. 

When I got home I decided that I needed more stencils like this.....so I went online to The Stencil Company and found five more stencils that I could use for an overall quilting pattern. They arrived in just a few days and now I am ready to start quilting! Wish me luck! I'll let you know how it goes :)

Happy Quilting!


Apr 21, 2014

New Summer Pajamas

I love pajamas! They are the snuggliest clothes I know. There are some days that I just don't bother getting dressed and I spend my entire day in my pj's. If I have no where to go and I am not expecting any company, then it's a perfect day for a "pajama day". Pajamas are my favorite clothes to sew in too. Nothing binding or restricting my movements if I am quilting, cutting or piecing. 

Since the weather is getting warmer, it's time for some new pajamas. But instead of going to the store to buy new pajamas, I decided to make them. My favorite thing to sleep in is a tee shirt and shorts, so that is what I decided to make. I bought 4 new tee shirts and then headed to the fabric store with them to find coordinating fabrics. In one afternoon, with a lot of help from my trusty serger, I had 4 new pairs of pajamas for summer. 

Now that the weather is finally warming up, I am wearing them to bed-and some times all day the next day too!

Happy sewing!

Apr 18, 2014

A Trip to Texas

Facebook has been a fun way for me to reconnect with friends from the past and keep up with friends and family who are so far away. 

In the last few years I have been fortunate enough to re-establish friendships with three women I first met over 30 years ago. Our husbands were all in the Army and we were stationed at Ft. Stewart, GA together. Through the years and many moves we had lost contact with each other. Thanks to Facebook, we are now all friends again. In the Spring of 2013 two of the three girls came to my house for a visit and last month I went to Texas for another reunion. 

This is Hope, Sandy and me at my house last year.

This year we had a wonderful time! Hope was a terrific hostess and showed us the town. We were busy every minute we were there. 

We were so happy to get together! This is me, Hope and Karen.

We went to the George Bush Presidential Library, the Stockyards in Ft. Worth and the beautiful Ft Worth Water Gardens.

Hope and Karen at the Stockyards

Karen and I at the Water Garden

I even sat on a bull! Yes, he's real!

Hope is an extremely accomplished quilter. She designed, hand pieced and hand quilted this beautiful quilt that adorned my bed! I felt like a queen sleeping under it. 

We have decided to make these reunions an annual event and hope that all four of us will be together next year. 

Apr 14, 2014

Stella Maude

I am so happy for my friend Anne. She is such a talented lady. She and a friend of hers, Kelly, are the program co-chairpersons for their quilt guild and they have been a huge success. 

They designed a monthly program for their guild based on the color wheel and using twelve log cabin quilt blocks. Each month they made a block using a different color from the color wheel. It got everyone to use colors that weren't in their stash or were outside their comfort zone. The program was a huge hit and so Anne and her friend made that quilt into a pattern. They have sold it to several quilt shops and lots of their friends. 

With that adventure under their belt, Anne and Kelly decided to tackle another idea that had been simmering on the back burner. The result of that idea is their first book! I would like to introduce you to Stella Maude. She was a real woman---and such a character! Each block in this quilt tells a story about Stella Maude's life. They are adorable and make Stella Maude come to life.  

This picture of Stella Maude was taken by the quilter when she was finished working on it. 

Here is Stella Maude at a quilt show-the vendor sent this picture to Anne. 

Just take a look at this adorable book. It's already spiral bound for you so it lays flat while you are tracing pieces or reading the instructions.

Stella Maude was unique and folksy. So is this quilt book!

Congratulations, Anne and Kelly on a job well done. Those of us who know you are so proud!


Apr 8, 2014

2014 Block Swap

For the last few years I have done block swaps with several quilting friends far away. We love staying in touch with each other this way and always enjoy the resulting quilts. This year we are doing a simple nine patch. 

Last Fall some of us attended a quilt show and all really liked this quilt. It's our inspiration for this year's swap.

The black line across the quilt near the bottom is the "barrier" to keep us from getting too close to the quilt-it's not part of the design of the quilt. :)

There are five of us swapping this year. We are making five 9-patch blocks for each person in the swap each month. It really goes quickly because we are not cutting up 225 individual squares-but rather cutting strips, sewing them together and then cutting them into sections. It makes the piecing go really quickly and who wants to spend all day cutting 225  2 1/2" squares when they could be sewing, right?

We started our swap in January and I was tickled to get my first five blocks finished and in the mail.

Now we have been swapping for three months and I have 60 blocks, so far. One friend lives overseas and only mails to us a couple times during the swaps to save on postage, so I haven't received any from her yet. 

I am loving this quilt so far! I think it's going to be another success story.

Happy Quilting!