Me & My Stitches

Me & My Stitches
Click on the picture to go to my website. These are 1' x 1 1/2" pendants.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My first quilt

For those of you who read Bonnie Hunter's blog, you know that she always has lots going on - one thing right now is for people to share their very first quilts with the world.  I have to give you a little background first so you can appreciate this quilt a little more.  My husband and I had been married only a year or so when he asked me if I wanted a sewing machine for Christmas.  My response was..."no".  Well, knowing how he is, I knew that I would be getting a sewing machine.  I had no interest whatsoever.  The only sewing I had done was while I was in 4-H and that was under the very direct supervision of my mother, who is an amazing seamstress.  I just never had the desire to sew at all.  Christmas morning came and sure enough...there was a Brother sewing machine that he had bought at Wal-Mart.  Surprise, surprise!  He messed around with it and made socks for the dog (now that was funny!) and some hood/scarf things that were actually kinda cool.  I didn't touch it.  That machine sat in the closet for a couple of years.  One day at church a couple of the ladies asked me to come to their monthly quilting get together.  I told them that I had no idea how to quilt, sew, or even use the machine that I had.  They kept hounding me and promised to teach me how to use my machine and everything else that I would need to know.  Well, for whatever reason (I really don't know why), I decided to go.  I remember that they were doing a couple different things.  One was a block of the month, which I failed miserably.  I remember finishing one block and it had a big hole in it.  I was quite frustrated!  They also were working on a log cabin quilt - actually I think they had just finished it, but someone must have decided that it would be a good thing for me to try.  It never occurred to me to make it small - they gave me the pattern and I went to Wal-Mart and bought the fabric.  Thankfully there was a very sweet, older lady who helped me pick everything out.  I actually did make the quilt - and we used it on our bed for a long time.  It is in the barn raising layout - which is still my favorite log cabin layout.  And, the log cabin block is still one of my very favorite blocks.  The quilt ended up being 90" x 93" - holy cow!!  Here is a picture of a picture - not the best, but it gives you the idea.
I only went to the church group quilting a couple of times because I was working full-time, attending college classes at night, raising 2 kids, coaching softball, etc.  I did manage to finish that quilt somehow and had it machine quilted by LaDonna Cole - she did an all-over heart pattern on it.  I remember sewing those blocks together and pulling and stretching them to make the rows fit together.  I had no idea that you shouldn't have to do that!  After this big quilt I did make several baby quilts, then found some quilting friends, and learned lots along the way!  And, what's really ironic?  I have not been to the quilting get togethers at church since I started this quilt in 1999.  But guess what?  Tomorrow, I am going back!  They now get together every Tuesday during the day, and yesterday I was talking to one of the girls and she invited me to come. I decided that I'm going to do it!  At home, I never get anything finished except jewelry, so I've decided to go and work on other projects that need to be finished.  First up are some Christmas gifts!  I'm sure that I have way too many things packed to work on, but a girl can dream, right?

It's so funny to think back on how I got started quilting.  I have often wondered what I would be doing today if my husband had actually listened to me when I said that I did not want a sewing machine for Christmas!  Probably still working a job that I had come to hate and be full of stress.  Funny how things work out, isn't it? This year for Thanksgiving, not only am I thankful for friends and family and a great life, I also give thanks to my husband for NOT listening (lol), and to the ladies at church who twisted my arm into sewing with them, and to Bonnie Hunter for inviting us all to share our first quilts. 
Funny how things work out, isn't it?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Block Two!!

I know it's shocking, but I actually have Block #2 of Summertime completed! Just finished it up last night while watching Dancing With the Stars.
Yippee!  Two down, ten to go.  I was going to prep the next block, but I bought some tree ornament patterns and a little bit of wool, so I think I better work on those first.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow!  I better get busy - everyone is coming to our house for turkey dinner!


Have a great day!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Helper and some new hexies

I have received several wonderful scrap bags lately (from quilty friends, customers, etc.).  This was a big one, and I really wanted to get it organized and neatened up a bit after I had been digging through it.  It wasn't long and I had a whole lotta help from Miss CC!
She's always got to be in the middle of whatever I am doing - can you see the lint roller on the right side of the picture?  That is in constant use!

I may have mentioned that Mom and I were going to Mason City last weekend to visit my Aunt Nancy - they mainly live in northern Minnesota, but occasionally spend time on their farm in Mason City. I took several quilting projects along - my wool "Summertime" block, hexies, a quilt I've had started FOREVER but haven't made hardly any progress on, etc., etc.  I always take projects on a trip but rarely ever end up touching them.  Well...I actually made lots of progress!  I worked a lot on my Summertime block - it's not finished, but it's well on the way (can't let that over-achiever, Becky, get ahead of me, you know!).  And... the quilt was a group effort.  My brain was not working well - so Aunt Nancy took over sewing for awhile.  Mom, Aunt Nancy and I all took turns tearing paper off the blocks that were paper pieced.  We finished all of the blocks that I took with me - I think it was a total of 25!  I just wish that I would have taken all of the fabric - we could have finished it.  I never dreamed that I would even work on it, let alone get that far.  Amazing what you can accomplish with a little team work!

We did some other fun stuff while visiting too - but I don't have any pictures to share.  Wouldn't you think that one of these days I would start taking more pictures?  My camera was in my purse the whole time...does that count for anything?  We toured the newly renovated Frank Lloyd Wright hotel in Mason City.  It is amazing!  Mom took a bunch of pictures there, but do I have any of them??  We also went to a "Shop Hop" in Clear Lake - it was at a hotel and all of the vendors/shops were there under one roof.  So much fun!  Then we visited The Quilted Forest which is a large, very nice shop.  And of course, you can't be in that area and not visit Country Threads!  We didn't get there until 3:45, thinking that they closed at 5:00.  Unfortunately they have changed their hours and close at 4:00 on Saturday.  Of course, we still found a few things to buy in that short amount of time!

To back up a little - Friday, on the way to MC - we stopped at a new quilt shop, Hen & Chicks, in Conrad, IA.  What a great shop!  It is in an amazing, old building and they have lots to offer.  Not only do they have fabric and all the quilty things, she also carries some scrapbooking supplies and some very nice gifty items (my jewelry included!).  They have made a great retreat center upstairs as well.  If you are ever in the area, make sure you stop and visit them.

On the way home, we made a stop at Cornerstone Quilts in Grinnell, IA.  I hadn't been there since they first opened the shop, and now Lee has closed her shop in Newton, and moved it all to Grinnell.  The shop is packed with all kinds of awesomeness.  They have a great variety of fabrics, repros, batiks, and everything in between. They will soon be moving to a bigger location, around the corner - can't wait to see it!  She also has a new supply of jewelry now. 

I also wanted to share another picture of some of my hexagons that I HAVE worked on - the jewelry kind!  When I introduced them a few weeks ago, they sold out almost immediately.  Here is a new batch  - some are already sold, but some of them are now on my website.
That's all for now - hope you have a great day!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Block One...finished!

I purchased the "Summertime" kit from Primitive Gatherings during the AQS show in Des Moines.  Actually - my friend, Becky, and I both bought a kit and decided we would work on it together.  So far, we have only been able to get together once.  We had both planned to have all of the prep work done before we met - but that didn't quite happen.  But that's ok, we both got started - that's the main thing.  A few weeks later Becky told me that she had hers FINISHED!  Yikes!!!  I hadn't touched mine!  I couldn't get left in the dust, so I got busy and finished mine over the next week or so - just working on it a little bit in the evenings. 
One down, 11 to go!  We had hoped to get together again last week, but weren't able to and I can't this week, so maybe next week.  I have my next block prepped and ready to start stitching.  Miss over-achiever probably has hers done - I'm afraid to ask!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Visiting

Last weekend Mom and I made a quick trip to Naperville, IL and then on to Lafayette, IN.  Her stained glass distributor is in Naperville.  Of course, we had to hit a few quilt shops after that!  I didn't take any pictures (I know...what else is new!?) but we went to shops in Lisle, Batavia and Winfield.  Of course a few purchases jumped in the car at each stop!  Remember that HUGE 30's quilt?  Well, I bought border fabric for it - my SIL has decided that it will work for their house in Florida - so I'm getting it finished up.  By the time we finished shopping it was about 5:00.  Yes...rush hour traffic on Friday night around Chicago...BAD IDEA!  It was not fun - the traffic was just crazy - and I'm used to small town living (and driving)!  But, eventually we made it to Lafayette where we spent the night.  The next morning we found another quilt shop, then went to visit my Great Aunt Doris - who is 88 years old and is now living in a nursing home.  I haven't seen her for soooo long - it was wonderful to spend time with her again.  Mom went out and bought Aunt Doris' favorite kind of pizza and we sat and had lunch together.  We stayed with her for a few hours.  Such a great visit!  Here's a picture of the three of us...
After we left Aunt Doris we found another quilt shop - it was in an old church and was really neat.  The lady working there told us that there was a glass studio just down the road - we had actually passed it, and didn't notice!  So, we went back there and mom checked it out.  Unfortunately there was a bus (yes...a bus!) of people there on a tour - so she didn't get to spend as much time there are she would have liked.  After that we headed for home.  It was a looooong drive - I finally made it home about 10:00.  Lots of miles for just two days, but we had a good time!

The weather here really has been beautiful for the last month or so - just wish Fall could stay a little longer!  It is cold (about 35 degrees) this morning with rain and SNOW mixed in!  Brrrr!!!! 


Have a great day!!