Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Last Glimpse of Autumn

This table runner was in its beginning stages when I left for Dallas a few weeks ago. I had pieced the background from an old group of fat quarters from a collection called "apple cider" something and then realized I had cut up most of my fall-colored prints for the pioneer braids I was making. (I keep calling them "prairie" braids, but they are really named "pioneer" braids.) Anyway, I thought that would keep me focused in the Dallas shops--just look for leaf fabrics!
I did find some beauties there--plus a lot of other stuff! I came right home and started appliqueing leaves. You can't see, but I also embroidered stems on all of the leaves. I plan to put this away until late next summer and will quilt it then.
Do you see the cluster of five brown leaves in the bottom half? That fabric is the "dirt" fabric left over from "Away in the Manger".
If you ever really want to put your applique skills to the test, make some oak leaves! LOL

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snowy Days = Sewing Days

Winter has blasted through the Midwest this past week, and there were two days when we just stayed in--perfect for sewing! I finally assembled the top of my Prairie Braid quilt for DH and started hand quilting it during the "Survivor" finale last night. It's going to be a very generous throw, with enough length to pull up to the chin and tuck around the toes.
I also started a bag for myself with scraps from the braids and also using some of the fabric I bought in Dallas two weeks ago. I also got the pattern there, "Isabella" by Sew Unique Creations. So far this bag has been fun and easy to make. I can imagine having one for every season. The next one I'd make would be in blue and green batiks!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Decorations

We've been slow in getting our Christmas decorations up this year. I enjoy decorating for fall a lot and took those things down after Thanksgiving but until today, we really didn't have much up for Christmas. That had to change, though, because tiny granddaughter, Avery, is coming over on Tuesday, and Pawpaw and Mawmaw have to dazzle her! I love to see little kids' eyes when they see holiday lights!
The floating shelves are holding some of my collection of gingerbread men, women, and children. Many others are in the kitchen. I also have several made of fabrics, including a 2-foot tall gingerbread girl with long braids that sings when you squeeze her hand. I hope Avery likes her!
I wanted my friend Debi in Texas to see that I like snowmen, too! These are some of my snowmen on the mantle. The old gun is up there all of the time, as is the clock. The gun is from my husband's family and is very old.
The tree is up and 12-inch lighted snowflakes are hanging in the front windows. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Long Time, No Blog

Oops! I almost forgot I had a blog! First I was busy getting ready to go to Dallas, then I was in Dallas, and then I was catching up from going to Dallas! I had the adventure of flying down to Big D to meet quilting friends from all over that I had met through the Quilting Passion Forum. I was warmly welcomed by the DFW Gang, especially Debi who met us at the airport, drove us safely all over the DFW area, and stayed with me in the motel. Thanks again, Debi, for making this weekend so enjoyable for me.

We visited five fabulous quilt shops, saw the Mustangs sculpture in Irving, and enjoyed an all-day "sew in" at yet another shop. I bought some wonderful fabric and patterns, which made my bag weigh about a ton! Best of all, I got to meet these great people in person. It was very memorable and just the lift I needed.

During the big "sew in", I demonstrated the applique method I use, which I learned from the wonderful teacher, Nancy Pearson. Six of us worked together to make the heart blocks for this quilt top, which Debi will quilt and bind and donated to Project Linus in North Texas. I call it "Warm Texas Hearts".

Now I am back home in St. Louis, which is coated with ice, and more is on the way. It's a good time to dig into that new fabric!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Donated "Away in a Manger" today!

Today I delivered my "Away in a Manger" quilt to the chaplain for the NICU at St. John's Mercy. I have made lots and lots of quilts, but this one has given me the most satisfaction I have ever felt in being able to do this kind of work.

Probably I will never know what effect, if any, it has on the parents of the tiny, premature babies, but I hope it gives them hope.

In the bottom picture of the angel, if you look closely, you might be able to see the hand quilted star in the upper left corner of the sky. I quilted straight lines radiating down from the star to represent beams of light.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Away in a Manger top finished!!

Hooray! The top is finished for the quilt I am making for the NICU hallway at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in suburban St. Louis. My "applique fatigue" is fading away as I have been hand quilting it. It will measure 34" x 40".
I think it's kind of hard to see in the picture, but the outer border is 4" wide and is a woodgrain. I'm pretty pleased with the "dirt" fabric I found, too! It even looks like it has some hay scattered around on it.

Monday, November 5, 2007

OMG, Another Birthday

Here it comes again--another birthday! Well, it beats the alternative, doesn't it?
This was pretty much a day like all days, except I got a great Mexican lunch out, gifts, and cake. I am pretending I am 29 again and not having my 28th anniversary of that birthday!
The rest of the day was spent wrestling with tiny applique pieces for "Away in a Manger". I have gotten to the point where I am adding the animals around the Madonna and Child, and they have tiny feet, ears, horns, and beaks. I hate to say it, but I am suffering from applique fatigue! I never thought I could get tired of it. I should finish the top in the next day or so, and then I need to sit down at the machine and whip up a few dozen rail fence blocks!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Making Progress

This is the progress that I have made so far on the "Away in a Manger" quilt. The angel is hovering in the starry sky over the manger. Tomorrow I am going fabric shopping to buy the manger floor (dirt fabric?) and more of the wood grain fabric for the outer borders. So I am shopping for dirt and wood at the fabric store.

As soon as I attach the floor fabric, I can begin to applique Mary, Jesus, and a group of animals clustered around them.
Maybe I will also find some fur or hide fabrics tomorrow!

So far I am happy about the way this is turning out. I hope the NICU people will like it!

In between applique sessions on the Away in a Manger quilt, I've been trying to get the Pioneer Braids assembled. There are two more strips to add before I trim it up and add the two borders. This one is shaping up well. Once again, another project has been put in front of it, but DH has about six other quilts to choose from if he gets chilly!

The last bit of progress is in the area of exercise. DH loaded the bicycles and me in his pickup truck, and we went to check out the new Levee Trail here in Chesterfield, Missouri. Our city is building this asphalt trail for jogging, walking, and cycling along the levee that borders the Missouri River. The first four miles are finished, and it is very nice. (Unfortunately, there are wetlands and trees between the levee and the river, and you can't see the river.) We rode the four miles going east and turned around at the point where construction has stopped. Eventually, it will connect to similar trails in other communities. The first part was a breeze! Then we turned around and had to peddle into the breeze--and a very stiff one at that! The return trip was not as much fun. I need to find something I can do standing up for awhile 'cause my backside is sore!

Friday, October 26, 2007

New Challenge for Me--"Away in a Manger"

I have a new challenge to start on, and I'm psyched! Today was my day to volunteer at St. John's Mercy Medical Center, and while I was there, I met with the chaplain for the Pediatrics and Neonatal Intensive Care Units. She was hoping to decorate the NICU hallway for Christmas with the theme, "Away in a Manger". She was given my name by the woman who distributes my Project Linus quilts in Pediatrics. By the end of our meeting, it was decided that I would make a 34" x 40" wall hanging based on the applique patterns in the book, "Adoration Quilts". I won't be making the entire quilt as shown on the cover of the book but will use the Madonna and Baby Jesus, the angel, and several of the animals. I am on a very tight deadline, so I am starting tonight! I'll post pics as I progress.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cool Weather.....Aaaaaaaaah!

The weather here has finally cooled off enough that we can sleep under a quilt at night! For a woman that gets overheated easily (a real hot woman--LOL), this is a real treat! The cool temperatures energize me but also make sleeping much better.

For someone who makes quilts, it is also a great pleasure to be able to get out and use the quilts I have made over the years. The closeup shot here is part of a quilt I named "North Woods Cabin". The logs are only 3/4 inch wide! What was I thinking? The craziest part is that it is all hand pieced and hand quilted and queen-sized! My hands just can't do that any more, but I'm glad I did it then because it is really special to me. I started piecing it on a trip to northern Wisconsin and bought some of the green fabrics up there. The rest is from my stash. I see two fabrics that I bought at a guild meeting from the stash of a member who had died.

There is one juried and judged show in the St. Louis area, and I entered it for several years. This quilt won a blue ribbon in the traditional pieced category, but the best compliment I got on it was when one of the other prize winners said to me, "This quilt reminds me of what 'quilt' really means."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pretty Ponies Finished

These "Pretty Ponies" are now ready for donation to Project Linus. I really love this pattern from Fat Cat, but I don't want to make any more of these horses for awhile. It's a challenging pattern, which I love, but you can get enough of a challenge!

(By the way, if you like that pattern site, you will find it is now reorganized and there are even more patterns on it now. If you like chickens, check out the home page.)

One of my favorite things about this pony quilt is the backing, which I have had in my stash for several years. I designed the quilt top so that it would just fit the piece of backing that I had. When I was finished sewing on the binding and trimmed off the excess backing, there was no more than 1/2 inch waste on all sides! To me it is a reversible quilt. The binding is a bias-cut plaid.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mourning Our Kitty

Our hearts are very heavy today because yesterday we had to decide to say goodbye to our little kitty, Ashley. She was 17 years old. We adopted her 16 years ago when we were visiting my in-laws in Tulsa. Their neighbors had moved away and had left her behind. The feelings of attachment were immediately mutual, and we have loved having her as our dear friend. She became ill rather suddenly and deteriorated quickly, and we just couldn't let her continue to suffer. She had such cute little ways, and we miss her terribly. (She had very fluffy grey hair and shed a lot, so her hair will probably remind us of her for a long time.)
I am posting a picture of a Project Linus quilt I made several years ago as a tribute to Ashley. Wherever she is today, I hope she is as happy as she made us.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Caught Up with Bear BOM

Meet Teacher Bear, Soldier Bear, and Beach Bum Bear! With the completion of these guys, I am caught up with Fat Cat Patterns' block of the month series, Dress Up Bears. Only two to go! (I seem to be Fat Cat's pattern tester these days.) This month she offered a "Plain Bear" pattern, but I couldn't leave him naked and gave him the beach look.

As usual, when I went to the Fat Cat site, I found another new pattern I love--Tea Pots! She has designed 8 darling teapots. Here I go again...

I have finished the pony blocks and have set them into a top and started the quilting yesterday, so now I'll be doing that when I want to do handwork and making more braids when I want to do machine work.

It is so cool here today--downright cold, actually! It energizes me so much that I think I will go clean house!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gifts for a Far-Away Baby Boy

Before I start cutting up my new fall fabrics, I needed to complete a baby gift. We have lived next door to the same family for 30 years and have been sharing their excitement as the birth of their first grandson drew near. Unfortunately, the young family isn't near--they're in Osaka, Japan, after recently moving from Honolulu. (The mom is Japanese, and the dad is the boy who grew up next door.) Casey was born last week, and everyone is doing great!
A few months ago my neighbor and I made the quilt on the near left, after they found out that it would be a boy. I kept the scraps from that project, bought some more, and yesterday I made the little Nine Patch quilt to go with it. (The back is turquoise blue with orange and yellow dolphins.) I thought little Casey would potentially sleep with the bigger quilt and drag around the little one.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Fabric Shopping Day

Did you know that Columbus Day is a quilt sale holiday? I didn't either, but when a local shop offers 15% off everything to celebrate it, I am happy to join in. Now I have all the fabrics I need to assemble and quilt DH's Pioneer Braid quilt. (I just corrected a typo--I had typed "Pioneer Brain" but that would have been OK. Larry always says he was born 100 years too late.)
The fabric on the left is for the outer borders and is from a relatively new Moda collection, Acorn Hollow. The dark brown has a wood grain, and Larry picked it. It will go between the braid strips and will also be the inner border. At the bottom is the backing fabric, which is a fairly small print of leaves and acorns on a mottled sage background. I am happy! It's supposed to cool off a lot this week, and I will soon be busily quilting away on a winter throw for my sweetie! I have a package of Quilter's Dream Request weight batting all ready to go.
While we were in the store, Larry was talking with the ladies who were selling machines, and before I knew it I was in an embroidery machine demo! She was showing us the Baby Lock line. If anyone has experience with the Emore, I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Football and String Piecing

This scrapquilter was multi-tasking today as I extended the length of my pioneer braids while I listened to our St. Louis "Lambs" extend their perfect record to 0-5. I think I had a more productive day than they did. (At least I didn't injure myself as they have been constantly doing.) I now have over 300 inches of braids sewn, well on my way to a very generous throw quilt for my dear husband, Larry. I haven't made anything for him for so long that it is definitely his turn.

The upper left corner shows what the braids will look like when I trim them. I don't want to trim more than that because the braid becomes very stretchy with all of those bias edges exposed! Tomorrow the LQS is having a one-day sale, and I think I will look for a dark brown for sashing and the inner border. I have already purchased a Moda print for the outer border from the Acorn Hollow collection.

It was fun to work with all of these scraps! I wished I had more of some of them, bid some of them "good riddance" as I finished the amounts I had in my stash, and wondered why the heck I even bought some others! The great news is that I have reduced the browns and greens in my stash so much that I was able to combine them into one container and free the remaining plastic bin to store my granddaughter's blocks!

Grandmother note: Yesterday Avery came up to me, said, "Mmmmmm, Maw-maw" and spontaneously kissed my cheek for the first time. That made me feel more bubbly than a glass of champagne!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Stitching as Fast as I Can

Have you ever looked through the website, Fat Cat Patterns? Sindy Rodenmayer is the designer, and I sometimes feel that she is designing for me--but just too fast! Every time I go to her website, there is a new applique pattern I want to try! The ponies at the right are one of her patterns. Just now when I went to the site to get the link, I found "The Coop", an adorable chicken pattern! Sindy is so creative that I will never finish all the projects I want to make. She is so generous to give them away to all of us.

Three more pony blocks will complete this set, and then I will assemble them for a Project Linus quilt. I don't know what fabrics I will use for the top, but I have a beautiful backing plucked from my stash that has horses galloping across fields.

We have been out of town a little bit, so the prairie braids haven't grown much, but I have crocheted about a dozen little caps for the hospital nursery. Making those little things is like eating potato chips. As soon as one is finished, I'm starting another. It makes the car travel go faster.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Two Quilts Finished for Project Linus

Hey, long time, no see! Yes, I know that is my fault, and I apologize if you have come here in the past couple of weeks and found nothing new to read. I had my first nasty cold of the season and am counting on that time served to earn me some immunity later in the season.
Also, I have been working very hard to quilt and bind some tops that I had made for Project Linus. Here are my two recently finished quilts, Dog Scrapbook and Double Dip. In making these quilts, I have lived up to my Scrapquilter name. I actually used up a few fabrics in the making of these quilts, and that hardly ever happens.
I can't remember where I saw a quilt similar to the dog quilt, but I determined what sizes of dog fabric scraps to cut, bordered them and joined them into 12 x 12 finished units before joining the 9 units into rows. The border strips were cut 1 1/2 inches wide. The squares were cut 10 1/2 x 10 1/2 and 4 1/2 x 4 1/2. The rectangles were 4 1/2 x 10 1/2. Let me know if you try this quilt. I could see using this format for an I Spy quilt. The big squares enable you to use some of the really big prints that you hate to dice up too small.
I drew the ice cream patterns and have made several quilts with them. I think I will just eat ice cream for awhile--kinda tired of sewing it! The backing fabric is so cute on this one that I had to show a corner. It's covered with big, juicy-looking cherries.
There are a few shapes in nature that I especially love and have used repeatedly in quilts. The cherry is one of them. I just think they are so cute! I also love the shapes of oak leaves, acorns, some shells, and starfish.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Scrap Quilting is Hard Work!

Looking at this plastic bin, it is hard to believe that I have over ten hours of hard work invested in it! On the right are 2 1/2" x 6" strips ready to use in the Pioneer Braid, the beginning of which is shown on the left. I'm not going to use these braids for a border but instead will have them run vertically down the quilt top with strips to separate them.
Under the braid is a plastic bag with about 100 apple core shapes which I hand marked and cut. That is only enough to make a quilt about 30" square, so I will be collecting cores for awhile, it seems!
As I look at each piece of this old fabric, I can't remember buying very much of it. Did it sneak into my house? What was I thinking? It would be so much easier to buy new fabric, wouldn't it? LOL That doesn't sound like "Scrapquilter", does it?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Stash Busting Week

No pictures today--I've been working very hard for a week on a challenge quilt that I can't show until after the deadline and voting. It's sponsored by Kimberly on Quilting Passion Forum. I like the way it's turning out, but I'm ready for it to be finished. I should be ready to bind it tonight.

For the past couple of days I have been going through my older fabrics (I became a fabriholic in the early 80s) and cutting the smaller pieces into 2 1/2" strips. I'm also cutting a strip from all of the bigger pieces. I started with the browns and today moved on to the greens. Quite of few of them have leaf prints, including some fall leaves, and some have pine trees or pine cones. I've decided to include ivories and light tans and make a "controlled palette" scrap quilt--kind of a woodsy theme. I think I will sew braids six inches wide and separate them by 3-4" strips. While I've been cutting, I've also been marking and cutting an apple core shape from each fabric for a hand-pieced charm quilt. I haven't done any hand piecing for so long that I marked the first 30 or 40 on the right side of the fabric, like I would do an applique shape! Duh!

I would like to say that my fabric bins have gone down a lot, but there is still a lot in them!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Joyful Day

This joyful clown is illustrating how I feel today. I always try to start each day with a positive attitude, but today is special. My granddaughter is coming over! Makes my day!!

I also wanted to post this clown's picture because he is leaving home today. He is the medallion that starts a Round Robin Charity Drive quilt for Quilting Passion Forum. Linda in Minnesota is adding two borders, and Dorothy in Kansas will quilt, bind, and label the top. Then the quilt will be sent to a Project Linus chapter somewhere in the USA that has asked to be on our waiting list. I started this quilt as a "speed challenge", so it will be fun to see how quickly we can get this little guy in the arms of a deserving child, spreading his joy in life. To me he looks like a guy who really enjoys his work.

This pattern, along with many other delightful patterns, was designed by Sindy Rodenmayer at Fat Cat Patterns.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Hot Day at the Air Show

Happy Labor Day! It was about 100 degrees here today, but DH persuaded me to put down the thimble and go to the St. Louis County Fair and Air Show to see the Blue Angels. We have seen a couple of TV programs about them lately on the Discovery Channel. DH is an aviation junkie, too. He would probably have been a career Air Force pilot if his eyesight hadn't been so bad. I digress...Anyway, I would rather have watched the show standing in a snow drift than in the heat we had today, but I couldn't turn him down!
There were several aviation performances before the Blue Angels. We saw the Red Baron Pizza biplane team, and their narrator included some commercials about their products. (Did you know they have a new garlic crust pizza? The things you learn at air shows!) We also saw the A-10 "Wart Hog" and the Harrier. Everything was very good, but the Blue Angels were GREAT! The power and precision were awesome! As I watched, the thought that kept coming to me was, "Thank you, God, for giving these Americans the brains and bodies that are capable of flying and maintaining these incredible machines. And thank you for the brilliance of the designers and builders." It makes you feel very patriotic to see these people work.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Calico Friends Finished!

Woo hoo! "Calico Friends" is finished--another UFO bites the dust! (Unfortunately, this was a fairly "fresh" UFO. The really old ones are still sitting there rotting.) This quilt will go to the hospital with me the next time I volunteer. I know that "technically" it probably needs a wide outer border, but it was already 43 x 43, and I thought that was big enough for a very young child. I couldn't see any of the adolescent boys picking this one!

Now I can devote most of my attention to the Autumn Challenge at Quilting Passion forum. The challenge leader, Kimberly, chose a theme fabric for us. We each got one half yard and were charged to make a quilt for Project Linus. I can't reveal it here yet, but I feel sure that this is not a fabric that any of us would have chosen for Project Linus! It is very pretty, though, and has many beautiful colors in it, so the challenge should produce some super quilts. Everyone keeps their quilt a secret until after the voting on the forum. Kimberly graciously provides prizes for the top three "vote getters". I won't say "winners" because there are many winners in this challenge process.

The weather guessers are telling us that this may be our last ultra-hot day for awhile. That is music to my ears, as I wilt quickly in the heat--rather, I dissolve in a torrent of perspiration! I am so ready for fall. I propose this--we all start cutting our fall-colored fabrics into strips and begin making scrap quilts, and maybe that will give autumn the hint!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Peek into My Kitchen

Today I will provide a little peek into my kitchen by showing the wallhangings I made for the wall next to the kitchen table. For awhile I was collecting fruit and veggie fabrics and made a throw-sized quilt for DMIL, since she is a great cook and has done a lot of canning.

These quilts were made with the little scraps from the big jar blocks. They are hand appliqued (of course!) and the jars have little lids of a striped grayish fabric.

You can't see the rest of the kitchen--it's not presentable right now!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Desertscape is Ready to Mail!

I'm so happy to have this quilt finished! The recipients will probably really like it (at least I hope so), and I am so tired of it! LOL
You knew I wouldn't do a pieced border, didn't you? That was a given. I did, however, add a little something that I've never done before--a flange in the seam between the brown inner border and the beige outer border. It's a one-inch strip of green fabric (one of the cactus fabrics) that I folded right sides together, pressed, and inserted in the seams. It only sticks out 1/4 inch. I machine quilted in the ditch between it and the beige outer border to make it lie down. The only thing I don't like about it was that it rippled after washing and drying, so I had to press it flat. Actually, I pressed the whole thing because it will be a wallhanging and I thought the backgrounds around the appliques looked too puffy. (I wasn't going to go back and quilt down the backgrounds. As I said, I am tired of this puppy!)
On the label I wrote, "To xxx and xxx, desert dwellers and scorpion wranglers". Soon it'll be on the way to Phoenix. Another UFO bites the dust!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Changing the Wallhangings

It's time to change the wallhanging in the hall upstairs across from my daughter's room. I'm going to use the one at the right because I haven't had it up for awhile. I'd like to buy an old farmhouse and decorate the whole thing around this little quilt. The muslin background for the redwork blocks is tea-dyed, so that's why it looks mottled.

These little blocks were in my tote bag on our vacation to Colorado in 2000. See--I can do something besides applique!

Today was volunteer day at the hospital, and this afternoon we get to see our son and granddaughter--fun!! Our son is cooking dinner for us. Now that is a surprise!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Should've Been a Cowgirl

I'm trying so hard to stay on course and work on UFOs--really I am--but I keep getting the urge to start something new, and my western fabrics are calling to me! Looking back over the quilts I've made for Project Linus in the last few years, I have to conclude that I should have been a cowgirl! I just love western clothes, symbols, folklore, etc. I have a bin full of western fabrics. Who would've thought that a girl from Missouri who has only been on a horse one time would be so crazy about western stuff?

I sent the quilt at the left to Kalispell, Montana, to the PL Coordinator there, who is a member of the Quilting Passion Forum.

The quilt at the right was made using a donated salesman's sample for the center panel and scraps for the appliqued symbols around it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Quilting "Drought"

Recently I have gotten off track in my quilting life. It's been so hot here, and I got a nasty "bug" that left me feeling pretty crummy for about a week. I just didn't feel like tackling the jobs of adding borders to quilt tops or basting them for quilting. No matter how I feel, though, I have to keep my hands busy so, in spite of the fact that I have 16 UFOs awaiting my attention, I started a new applique quilt, Calico Friends. When those nine blocks were finished, I turned to my yarn basket and crocheted some more little caps for the newborn nursery at the hospital where I volunteer. These little caps are so much fun to make while watching TV in the evening, and I like to visualize little baby faces under them! (That is probably nuts, but I do it!) I've probably made about 125 of them so far, but I will never exceed the demand for them because the hospital delivers about 7,000 babies every year! That is motivation to keep that hook moving.
Today I'm feeling fine, the weather is cool and rainy, and DH is off doing his volunteer thing, so I plan to sew. I hope to show progress on the UFO pile this week! (This seems doubtful, though, because I found another free applique pattern when I went to get the link for Calico Friends! It's called Slug Bug. I'm in trouble all over again!)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Grandchildren--Aren't They the Best?

We just got a call asking us to babysit on Tuesday morning, and it reminded me to include a little gushing about my granddaughter in my blog. No day is complete without thoughts of Avery, so my blog wouldn't be complete, either. She is almost 18 months of age and, of course, we think she is the most glorious grandbaby ever born! (No prejudice there.) She has blond curls, big blue eyes that flirt constantly, and a delightful giggle that she uses a lot. She loves to read, something that her parents have been doing with her since her first week of life. She likes to go out in Grandpa's yard and look at the trees and feel their bark. She likes to play with scraps of Grandma's fabric.

I've made a few quilts for Avery, naturally, and started with a fairly large one since DDIL was getting lots of promises of baby quilts when she was pregnant. We went shopping and she chose 30's repros in lavender, yellow and green to go with the nursery. I had plenty of fabric left over, so I made the wall hanging to match.

This past winter Avery had a nasty case of RSV and had to be hospitalized for two days. I thought she deserved a quilt from a Project Linus volunteer--me. I was glad I had just made the Sesame Street quilt. She loves Elmo!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Project Linus Feedback

This quilt has a story that still brings tears to my eyes. It's one of the few donation quilts on which I have received feedback.

The inspiration for it was a set of Alexander Henry salesman's samples that were donated to me by Mr. Irv Horwitz when he retired. I really like the scenes of cowboys on the trail at sunset and thought they were compatible with the "barnwood" fabric I had recently purchased. I remember quilting this on a family trip to Branson, Missouri. You can't see it in this small picture, but I quilted in the space around the stars by tracing circles and bracketing them with straight lines.

After finding out that Avice and Cami Hoff were starting a new Project Linus chapter in Northeast Montana, I decided to send it to them, thinking it would be appreciated by someone with a western lifestyle. Almost immediately upon its receipt, they learned of a teenage boy named Shane who had been very seriously injured in an ATV accident and delivered the quilt to him. We were all baffled--and thrilled--to learn that the quilting design I described above was actually the brand of this family's ranch!

The next year, Avice emailed me the following letter from Shane's parents:

"Dear Avice and Cami,
After Shane's accident last summer, you brought him a Linus quilt made by a lady from Missouri, At the time, the quilt meant so much and as Shane got better, the quilt really became a blanket of love. It covered his legs all day and night and still does.
You know how his granddad was very special to him. Dad called or visited each day, wrote poems and songs, prayed to God to give Shane back his health and walking abilities. He had started a poem about the "Cowboy Up Spirit Quilt".
Granddad died of a heart attack after Christmas. We think he actually died of a broken heart over Shane's accident.
Shane couldn't go to Granddad's funeral but he sent his quilt to serve as a pall at the funeral and Pastor Dave intwined it with the sermon which gave us all something happy to remember and think about. Lots of people admired the quilt and touched it and prayed for Shane. When I took the quilt back to Shane and told him about Granddad's services, he was so touched and hugged the quilt. He said it didn't smell like Granddad so I spritzed it with some Old Spice, cause that is what dad always wore. It helped Shane to believe and try hard.
Last week, Shane was able to stand up on his legs with help from the therapist. We think the quilt holds a special power of love and belief. Shane wants to ride again and has his granddad's saddle and tack in his room to remind him each day.
Thank you and thank you to the lady who stitched Shane a new life in accepting, believing, and having determination.
We are so glad Shane has recovered so well. It didn't look like he would live."

The satisfaction I feel from making that quilt is greater than anything else I have ever made. It seems that I was guided in a divine way when I made it. I encourage every quilter to make at least one quilt to donate to a worthy cause. You will be richer for it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Plug for Project Linus

DH and I made a Project Linus delivery run today, a way that we try to help this organization besides the quilts that I contribute. We drove to St. Louis Children's Hospital with 102 blankets made by St. Louis area men, women, and children. It feels good to do this, to be a cog in the wheel of this organization that does so much to comfort kids who are ill and/or traumatized.

So far I've made and donated 104 quilts to Project Linus and intend to keep going as long as I can. Although I seldom learn what happens to my quilts, I know they are doing good work.

I encourage anyone reading this to visit the Project Linus website, find a coordinator near you, and learn what you can do to support this wonderful group.

The Quilting Passion Forum on Delphi has been making quilts round robin-style for Project Linus for over five years. We welcome new members who want to help with this project.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Speaking of Applique...

Yesterday I assembled the applique blocks for a wall hanging I'm making for some former neighbors who now live in Phoenix. We visited them a couple of months ago, so this will be a belated hostess gift. It's a pattern called "Desertscape". I'm trying to decide what to do about the border. The pattern calls for a pieced border, and that's what is holding me up. I usually do enough piecing to hold the applique together! (Occasionally, I bust loose with a big pieced quilt, but I really have to be in the mood.)
Now...I love applique, but that roadrunner was almost enough to get me to swear off the stuff! I don't know if I could do that one again. Of course, DH says that is his favorite block. Most of the appliques will be embellished with embroidery before I start hand quilting this piece.
The block on the lower left has a scorpion in it. This will be a little joke when I send the quilt to my friends, because a scorpion crawled across their family room carpet one evening and scared all of us Midwest kids.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Hand Applique--My Greatest Love!

Maybe I should retitle this post out of respect to my husband and family! How about “Hand Applique—My Favorite Quilting Technique”?

I’m fussy about the details; and when I started quilting in 1985, I was frustrated by hand appliqué. I wanted it to be just so—smooth curves, sharp points, shapes that were undistorted and correctly positioned. When I took a workshop with Nancy Pearson in the late 80’s, I finally was able to do appliqué the way I had hoped. Her method really clicked with me, and ever since I have been doing more appliqué work than any other technique for making a quilt top.

I love the pictures you can create with appliqué, and I love the way I can take it anywhere and work on it with a minimum of tools. There is always a baggie in my purse with an appliqué project when we are traveling.

Connie Sue Haidle offered a BOM on her website, Apple Blossom Quilts, that I have recently completed. Her floral patterns gave me all the appliqué challenges that I needed! Now…am I supposed to set these blocks into a top? I will—eventually.