Pieceful Monday

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend celebrating your mom, or the memory of your mom. Without them, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, right?

This is a photo of my grandmother. Together with my mother, she cultivated a life of creativity in me. She was a seamstress and made many clothes for people in my hometown and the surrounding area. I believe this is the only picture we have of her sewing (and a poor quality one at that). While she didn’t teach me to sew, I learned much from her just by being with her. IMG_3968

I had a lovely, busy past week. It involved far more coffee than usual, and quite a bit of good conversation.

I did manage to finish my little tumbler quilt. I decided to do a semi-wavy quilt design that follows the tumblers. It’s not great, but it satisfies me. Here it is, all bound and ready to be tucked into a display. It’s 7 x 9 inches, so it will be fun to find a nook just waiting for it.  IMG_7149

This week I’ll be doing some shopping for some white and cream fabrics for a wedding quilt. Here’s a few of the fabrics I’m auditioning that I think have made the cut, except for the brighter orange piece. It will be a quick, easy HST quilt once I have all the fabric. The wedding is in July, so I need to get to work!

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I might have some fun with this little project. I decided to try a Frivols from Moda using The Cookie Exchange fabrics by Sweetwater.

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My quilt cave could use a bit of a touch up, so I’ll need to do a little organizing too.

Happy quilting, friends!

Wendy

 

Back to My Quilt Cave

We had a wonderful weekend visiting with friends and meeting new friends at our homeschool conference in Duluth. There was a lot of talking and laughter, two things I enjoy. The weather was cool, and the rain held off until the end of the conference. Then it got downright chilly, and windy.

So I am back home and happily puttering in my quilt cave this week. Here’s a peek at what I’ve been up to.

I am finished with the elephant quilt! The top is done. After stitching 24 elephants, I can safely say I no longer fear applique. I am so excited to see what my long armer will do with this. We have some ideas; it’s going to be fun!

The quilt was a kit I purchased from Reproduction Fabrics here in my town. Margo, the owner, said she picked the fabrics from her earliest shelf (1775-1825) plus yarn dyes. She was thinking of those fabrics coming into England in the mid 17th Century ( 1650 ish). Chintz was expensive and only about 15% of the total textile cargo. The balance was solids, yard dyed woven stripes/plaids and simple block prints.  The pattern is from Laundry Basket Quilts.

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As I cut out the elephants, I also cut out little tumbler pieces from the scraps of the fabric. Once all the elephants were done, I had enough for a cute little mini. Here’s how big the pieces were (the scissors in the photo are 4″).  The pattern is from Primitive Gatherings called Tiny Tumblers.

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Here are a few rows done. This is not a fast project, and I’m glad it’s small. I do like the look once it’s sewn together.

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Here’s the finished top, all squared up. It’s about 7″ x 9″.

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I hope to quilt and bind this little mini this weekend.

Another big finish for me was the superhero quilt. It is now with my long armer, so once it is done and handed off to its owner, I’ll post a picture.

I finished my mug rug for an online swap I’m in. Here’s a sneak peek but I can’t show the whole thing yet. It really is a very simple little mug rug, but I had fun putting it together.

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I took a few minutes to clean my machine. Boy, it sure needed it! At least it’s proof that I’ve been busy. Here’s a before and after.

What’s next? One project will be a wedding quilt for a wedding in July. I have some of the fabric, but I’ll need to do some shopping for the rest of the fabric soon.

I also need to get caught up on my Year of Cultivating Creativity challenges. I think I have a backlog of things to get done!

Happy stitching, friends! Enjoy your weekend!

Wendy

Quilting, Interrupted

My quilting has been interrupted by several different things this week. Most of them have been good. One of the high points of the week was quilt group. Who doesn’t like to spend an evening with a whole gaggle of other quilters? It’s always fun to see what the ladies have been working on.

One quilt that was shown was a postage stamp quilt. The woman showing it was completing the hand quilting on it. This was no small quilt — a very generous queen (if not a king) and, if I understood her correctly, was done before strip piecing became popular. In other words, think 1-inch squares sewn together! She indicated she had spent 250 hours handquilting it. 250 hours!! It was a beautiful yellow quilt, complimented with other pastel colors. I regret that I did not snap a picture.

A surprise gift was given to me by one of the ladies. Isn’t this little pouch cute? I had given her some batik fabric, and she thanked me by making a little pouch out of some of the pieces. I am absolutely delighted.  IMG_4010

I am working on a mug rug for a secret pal swap due at the end of April. Here’s a peek — not much to see, but I can’t show the whole thing yet.  IMG_4002

I ordered this book by Katie Fowler — An Artist’s Journey through Wonderland. It will be a good book for me to read every now and then, to remind me how to think about my creativity. I’ve never been a fan of Alice in Wonderland, but she puts the story in a whole new light for me. IMG_4013

Next week I head up north for a conference, so there will be little time for quilting. However, I get to visit with fun people, and I get to spend time by the water.

See you in a couple of weeks!

Wendy

 

It’s Been a Quiet Week

It’s been a quiet week in the quilt cave, but a busy week otherwise.

I have a couple of mug rugs that I need to get done, so that was on my to do list for the week. One is completed; the other is still in its design phase in my head. This one, however, has been sitting in my UFO pile since January. Time to get it done! Technically, it’s not a quilt. It’s a handkerchief — two of them. I have a stash of hankies that belonged to my mother and grandmother. One day it dawned on me that they might make cute mug rugs.

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The background was just a plain light green hankie, which I’m sure my grandmother had planned to embroider. The corner is another hankie that I cut up. I thought the two looked nice together. Rather than piecing the corner hankie, I appliqued it onto the green hankie. It got a little puffier than I would have liked, but I’m happy with the outcome. The background fabric is the same print as the binding. It was a little difficult to crosshatch because the material shifted around a little.

One of the last Creativity Challenges was to make a mini quilt. I had been wanting to make something a little more bright and colorful for spring, so I pulled out a kit I purchased at a local quilt shop and modified it a bit to fit on this shelf.

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I posted a picture of this last week, but I wanted you to be able to see it finished and in its place. The shelf that it sits on was a built-in planter when we moved in to this house. Down the middle of the shelf was a metal liner for the dirt, etc. Since we were a little concerned about water damage, we decided to redo it. My handy husband and I put our heads together and came up with this. Not only does it have room for a cute mini quilt as you see in the picture above, it is also a built-in quilt rack. The rungs lift out so you can access the quilts easily.

Taken a few years ago at Christmas, holding one of my favorite quilts that I’ve made.

I have finished piecing the top of the superhero quilt; all I have left is to add the borders. I’ll be handing it off to its owner for finishing on Monday.

Four more elephants and the blocks will be ready to be sewn into a quilt top! Pictures soon, I hope!

Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy your weekend!

Wendy

 

 

If We Were Having Coffee

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I’d tell you that sometimes I feel I am back at my roots, standing on a Dakota prairie, with miles and miles of wide openness. The wind is blowing around me, swirling the prairie grass and teasing my nose with various scents.

I’d tell you that I don’t know if I like it, this place where I am. Sometimes I hate it, and sometimes it’s the best thing ever. I’d tell you that lots of good things have happened in our family lately, while I’m standing still and life is swirling around me.

I’d tell you that I don’t realize I anchor all the activity going on around me. I don’t realize how much my family depends on my standing here, being here. I’d tell you that I’m grateful you often remind me of how important that is.

I’d tell you that sometimes I wonder if this is all that’s left for me, this anchor thing. I’d tell you that sometimes it feels so much less than what others are doing.

I’d tell you that now I need to quit overthinking this and just be content with my view from the prairie. I’d tell you that trust is hard; that trusting God is hard, sometimes.

But I’d also tell you that this view from the Dakota prairie is the most beautiful thing. Ever.

 

Friday Finish

A high point of this week was giving the batik quilt to its new owner, Deb. She was delighted with it, so that brought much joy to my heart. My dear friend and fellow quilter, Connie of Turnberry Lane Machine Quilting & Design, does all the longarm work on my quilts. She is amazing.

I chose the pinwheel pattern because it reminded me of the sun sparkles on water, of the walk from her cabin to the lake, and of the lovely colors in her cabin. It was made using Timeless Treasures Tonga Treats Bluegrass precuts.

The superheroes quilt top is all pieced, and is now ready for borders. I’m hoping to get to that today; we’ll see how my day maps out.

What am I up to next? I have a couple of mug rugs I need to get done, I need to work on a mini quilt for the Creativity Challenge, and I need to finish the design work I’ve been doing. My next large quilt project is a wedding quilt, so fabric shopping is in the near future!

Hope your weekend is all you want it to be! The sun is shining here (for the moment anyway), so things are looking up!

Let those stitches run!

Wendy

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

I mentioned in my last post that we had a winter storm brewing. It came, snowing furiously for much of Wednesday into Thursday.

Late Wednesday, about 8 inches of snow on the table
Late Wednesday, about 8 inches of snow on the table

A snowstorm at this time of year is pretty short-lived. It comes, messes up traffic, gives us one more exercise at shoveling, and then is gone when the warmer spring sun comes out.

Thursday late afternoon
Thursday late afternoon

While the storm came through, I curled up in my favorite chair, watched multiple episodes of Poldark on Masterpiece Theatre, and stitched up the March Block of the Month from River’s Edge Antiques and Quilt Loft. Each month this cute little quilt shop posts a free woolie block of the month on its website and Facebook page. It’s only free during its month; after that you have to pay to download it. So if you like it, go get it — quick! Honestly, it’s cuter when done than I thought it would be.

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While still working on the superheroes quilt, I decided to take a day off from it and just do something fun. I had this cute quilt kit from a LQS with a mini charm pack from Moda that I have been itching to make. I actually downsized it a bit because I have a particular spot I want to use it.

It's lighter in this picture than it really is -- the green border is more of a bright olive
It’s lighter in this picture than it really is — the green border is more of a bright olive

Today will be a quiet day at home. I’ll be doing some quilting, of course. Tonight we will go to a Tennebrae service at our church, to mark the beginning of our Easter weekend.

Happy Stitching!

Wendy

 

Catching Up

Well, as much as I’d like to say that my weekend was spent celebrating International Quilt Weekend, that hasn’t been the case. I had a busy weekend outside of the quilt cave. I did get a good day in today, however, so I made up for it, I guess.

I’ve made progress on the superhero quilt. Not much to show, since I’m in the slow process of piecing. It needs to be accurate, but I’m trying not to let my perfectionism get the best of me on this one. Sometimes I can get just a little too fussy and it ruins all the fun. The next step will be to play with the layout — the fun part!

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A whole stack of fussy cuts!

My batik quilt is done and ready for binding, which I finished tonight. I’ll post a picture after I’ve given it to my friend. I can’t wait to give it to her — hope she likes it! Here’s a little sneak peek.

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Getting the binding ready

For the rest of the week I hope to get some design instructions typed up and on their way. I also need to get my woolie BOM done for March since April is right around the corner.

We have another winter storm headed our way for tomorrow and Thursday. I’m ready to hole up in the quilt cave while the snow flies! I thought it was interesting that my Facebook memory for today was a snowstorm last year that left about 11 inches on our deck. We’ll see if there’s a repeat.

Oh, and of course, there are my elephants!!

Happy quilting!

Wendy

Thursday Snippets

Pictures of solitude speak volumes, don’t you think? When the picture shows someone alone, I often wonder what they are pondering, what has brought them to that place. This picture was taken awhile ago, but it is one of my favorites. Not because of the quality of the shot, but because I wonder what stories the chair could tell.

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As much as I enjoy the solitude of a quiet day at home, the weekend it was too nice to stay indoors so we took a drive and ended up at this charming little covered bridge.

There was a little quilt shopping  involved in the road trip, of course. I indulged myself and picked up a few things. I’m looking forward to giving these a try.

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Time for a new phone. All my pictures come out fuzzy. Might have something to do with dropping it too many times. 🙂

As if to offset the beautiful weekend, Monday morning brought overcast gray skies and rain. My son was unexpectedly given the day off, so we took advantage of the rainy day and decided to connect with one another over breakfast. It was a nice way to begin the day.

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Despite the rain, the temps continue to be above average for this time of year.Soon I will be seeing these bright pops of color on my deck and around my yard.

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For now, I am happy to see open water and the brown ground that will soon give way to lush green and bright sunshine. Some of the trees are even beginning to bud!

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This makes me think of the saying “can’t see the forest for the trees”. It also has me thinking quilt patterns.

Happy Thursday!

Wendy

Quilts and Home

This week had me thinking about transitions once again. The past year has felt like a steady wave of transitions in our family with job changes, college transitions, living transitions. One thing that stays true amidst all of the transitions, thankfully, is home. Home for me is a refuge from all the to and fro of life. It’s not only the structure and the people, but also the memories.

I have quilts from quite a few of my family members. The colors, the texture, the story behind the fabrics used, all give me comfort and remind me of other homes and the people who loved well. This quilt was handstitched and handquilted by my great grandmother. Something she made is here, in my home, with me. And even though I never knew her, I feel the love through the quilt.

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Fabrics date this quilt in the year 1880. Border fabric possibly hand dyed.

This has been a busy week, and it’s been a challenge to get into my quilt cave and get anything done. So here’s the rundown on my quilt projects.

Superhero Quilt – still working on it, doing the same thing as last week. I think I’m being overly fussy with it, so it’s taking me longer than it normally would take me to get any progress made.

Elephant Quilt – the ellies are coming along pretty well. I had to set them aside for a bit to get a few other things done. I only have 8 or so left to do. Can’t wait to get this to my longarmer — she has a plan for them and it’s going to be really fun.

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Creativity Challenge– I’m still working on my smash journal. I can’t seem to get the page filled up satisfactorily. Our new challenge has been to read poetry and to illustrate a phrase from a poem we read. I haven’t decided on mine yet, but I have some ideas. In the meantime, I’ve been doodling and coloring.

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New Stuff – I’m doing some designing for my brother and sister-in-law’s business, What A Hoot Quilting. This is my first whack at this kind of thing, and it’s kinda fun. The instruction writing is rather tedious, I’ll admit.

There’s a baby shower coming up, and I have something in mind for that, so I’ll need to get at that soon.

And there’s a wedding come up (for a friend of my daughter’s) and quilt talks are in the works for that.

Today I’m off to quilt with a couple of friends, which will be delightful. Tomorrow I’ll visit a local quilt show. It should be a great weekend!

Happy Friday, friends!

Wendy