Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tiny Sewing

After arranging all the various postage stamp pieces in a square, I started sewing the teeny-tiny squares together. Sew a row, then connect them. It's going 'way faster than I thought, so it's not being nearly as tedious as I thought. In fact, it's fun to see the colors joined together to start seeing the effect of the arrangement.

I stick a safety pin on the starting block on the left, in case I put the strip down to take a break of some kind, and accidentally come back and start sewing on the wrong end! It could happen you know, my brain is a little addled at this point in my life. I need all the help I can get!

I hadn't done any hand-piecing for quite awhile, since I had gotten my machine out. But after it broke awhile back, I've been doing various other things - planning projects, crocheting, etc. Well, I have to say, I'm enjoying this piecing by hand, it's kind of calming me down. I think as I stitch. Of course, this is how Grandma C. did all her piecing, by hand. So it might be a blessing in disguise to get back to doing it this way. I'm eager to see the whole block. Will share when it's done!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tiny Pieces

With this being an inspiration ...

... I'm attempting to do something similar "from scratch" on my own.

It's featured in "Prairie Moon Quilts" etsy shop. I love the colors it shows, but one version I want to make includes red-white-and-blue colors. Especially with Independence Day coming up (July 4), it will be fun to work on.

I used these ten kinds of material to make ten tiny squares each. I had made a small, square template, and yesterday got the teeny-tiny squares cut out. Ever play "Fifty-two Card Pickup?"

Ah, that's better, sorted out. Ten times ten equals one hundred teeny-tiny squares.

Even stacked up in one stack they don't make a lot! This will be a "small project" for sure!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Yay! The quilting is finished on the Log Cabin. All that's left now is to sew on binding strips and tack that down, and put a quilt label on the back. I plan to have this as an entry at our local fair in August. Things are coming along!

Monday, June 20, 2011

More Projects

It's a sickness, I tell ya'. I think every artsy-craftsy person has it. You've got projects going, projects that need finished ... yet you get ideas and start more!

I've got two small quilts in hoop frames ... allll-moooost done with one. Then I have one waiting in the wings (the pink-gingham one). I also have a couple of sewing projects on the list - a skirt and a pair of pillowcases. So what do I do? Get more ideas!

I've always liked the "friendship quilt" pattern, with various ways to put names or whatever in the block. I though that just for fun, I'd make a very small one of only four blocks - one each for my grandmas, one for my mom, and one for me. I like the "older" type fabric patterns, such as from the '30's, '40's and '50's. These fabrics make me think of that time. So here are the pieces cut out for four blocks, "just for fun" to see how it will turn out.

Then, I was looking at the etsy shop for the "Prairie Moon Quilts" blog (see blog list at right), and saw a kit for a mini postage stamp quilt. I immediately loved it, and thought I'd just try to cut one out from my own fabrics, just to see if I could.

So I picked a pile of fabrics, and made a little square template for the "postage stamp" pieces. So I have some cutting out to do. So far, I'm thinking to put the light purple for a border, and the dark purple for the binding. WE'LL SEE.

Then I want to do the SAME THING with this pile I picked from my stash of various reds, whites and blues.

*AHEM* ... I think I have plenty on my plate now!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In the Frame

There are so many parts to making a quilt. Deciding on a pattern. Picking material. Cutting the pieces. Stitching them together. Then comes the layering, quilting and binding. Today one popular method is to machine quilt either on a regular machine or on a special "longarm" machine. There are many stitch patterns available that add to the beauty of a quilt top, and it can be very effective. But the time-honored, old-fashioned way is to quilt by hand. It takes a long time, but the results are worth it.

I've noticed one interesting thing about quilting by hand is, you have a lot of time to think and pray, which can be a good thing.

When a quilt is put in a frame, it can either be quilted by one person, or several can work on it. If several work together, it can be a nice time of visiting. This could either be a special quilting "bee," or perhaps a regularly-scheduled time for quilters to get together, such as a church group.

One thing about a quilt in a frame is, it takes up a LOT of space. Dad told how his mother, Grandma C., would have the quilt frame set up in the living room. He and his brothers would come in from school and have to duck under the frame to go on through the house. And invariably, as they ducked, they'd *bump* the frame and make Grandma stick her finger with the needle. Ouch!

Here are Grandma C.'s quilting sticks, which I still have, and have used a fair bit in the past. I don't have the room now, but they have been sturdy and useful for a long time.

A closeup view of the construction of the sticks with the wooden boards, heavy cotton cloth and nails. For a long time, I've been wanting to make my own new set with new boards, striped ticking and carpet tacks.

The Christian Church I grew up in had a ladies' quilting group for a long, long time. They took in peoples' quilts, quilted them for a fee, then donated the fee to missions. Again, that frame took up a lot of room. They used a classroom, and set it down to quilt, then leaned it against the wall when done so it would be out of the way for class on Sundays. This was a nice group of ladies (including an aunt), and I have sweet memories of the visiting and happy fellowship while we quilted.

The following two pictures are from the Christian Church 1989 Church Directory. It looks like they're working on a Double Wedding Ring. The first one shows Elsie L., a lady I'm not sure who it is, and Juanita M. (the lady in charge of the quilting).

The second photo shows my Aunt Frances B. and Tressie A.

This photo from the 1993 Christian Church Directory shows Viola P., Jack W. (our pastor at the time) and Elsie L.

Here in Oklahoma at the Mennonite Church I go to, there used to be just the main church building. When we quilted in that building, we did like the ladies above in the classroom - the quilt was set down for us to quilt at on quilting day, then it was propped on the wall out of the way for Sundays. This back area of the church was used for not only quilting, but church dinners. And it was a tight fit to put up tables for everyone!

But a couple or three years ago, we built a fellowship hall right next door to the church building. It has a big dining area, a nice kitchen, bathrooms, a youth room upstairs, and ... a completely seperate quilting room! So it's really nice to be able to put a quilt in the frame and just leave it.

The ladies here usuaslly quilt a "whole cloth" quilt that has a patchwork design printed on it, then it goes to the MCC Sale in Enid in the fall. Here is a "Dresden Plate" print quilt top in frame.

Closeup of work going on with the Dresden Plate print quilt.

Another whole-cloth printed quilt top fefatured a red-and-green pattern, and it was a little tricky, but looked nice quilted.

A closeup of the red-and-green printed top.

Both in the apartment we lived in when we moved here, and even in this house now, I don't have room to put up a big quilt frame. So I've taken to doing my quilting in a large hoop. I like it very much, as it's very portable, and I can turn it any way I want to stitch comfortably. I quilted a little red-white-and-blue quilt in it, then currently I have two going at once in seperate hoops - a Log Cabin and a Jacob's Ladder.

Quilting on the Log Cabin in the hoop awhile back.

The Log Cabin quilt recently on straw bales out by our garden - at this point it was maybe a little over half quilted. I've really been working on it the last week or so, and I think I only have a couple of the squares and the outside edges left to do. If I can get it done in time for the local fair in August .... well .... we'll see! Because that'll have to include binding, and my machine's broken. But, perhaps I can make something work, or find an inexpensive machine at Wal-mart. :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Busy Indeed

A couple of months ago, I put a post on the "Cowgirl" blog about making a new sewing machine cover.

I used a couple different types of sunflower-print material. I mentioned in this post that a long time ago, I had made a quilt block out of these two materials, and it ended up 'way too busy. But at that moment, I didn't know where the block was. I knew I had it somewhere, and had seen it recently. Well, today I am tackling my dining-sewing-crafting-music-school room, and uncovered this very quilt block. So without further ado, I present .... (shield your eyes) ....

.... the world's BUSIEST (visually) quilt block!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quilt Top - Painted Pets and Gingham

Back when I was a kid, it was a popular craft to make pictures on cloth with tube paints, basically drawing with color. I do remember going to one lady's house, where she was hosting a party for this product. I remember making a few pictures. Then as that fad passed, I forgot all about it. In recent years, going through Mom's cedar chest before we sold the house, I found this quilt top she had put together from several of these painted cloth pictures. I thought they were all kittens, but after looking closer, there are also pups and rabbits. But most precious to me is the fact that some have names on them. The ones that don't, I assume maybe Mom or myself may have done some, but who knows. Anyway, she set them together with this cheerful pink gingham. Soon on my project list is to pin this with batting and backing and quilt it. I've got a pink-and-gray flowered pattern on white for the backing fabric. Then I'll bind it in solid pink. Meanwhile, here's the top.

Full view of the quilt top.

Blowing in the breeze.

The bottom section.

Knitting pup, me, 1970. I would've been 7 or 8 years old.

Drumming rabbit, Bertha (one of Grandma's friends).

Knitting pup (with some bright neon!).

Kitten and ribbon.

Drumming rabbit, Vertie (Grandma, Mom's mom).

Kitten and ribbon, me.

Kitten and ribbon, "Junior" (Dad).

Knitting pup, Ruby (my aunt, Dad's sister-in-law).

Cross-stitch kitten.

Knitting pup, Bertha.

Cross-stitch pup, "Dog," me.

Trumpet pup, Vivian (I assume the lady who was our town librarian at the time).

Kitten and ribbon, Sula, 1970 (one of Grandma's friends).

Trumpet pup.

Knitting pup (with a very bright neon dress!), Nellie (my aunt, Dad's sister-in-law).

Drumming rabbit, me.

Trumpet pup, me.

Drumming rabbit.

Kitten and ribbon.

Trumpet pup, Vertie (Grandma).