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.

How Scrapquilter Got Her Name

I discovered the Internet quilting world in approximately 1998. For quite awhile I was a "lurker", visiting quilting message boards and gleaning a goldmine of information, as well as links to free patterns and online quilt shops. Eventually, when I wanted to add my voice to the fun, the first step in logging on was to give myself a name. Hmmmm...the obvious choice of a name was given to me at birth. No, I wanted to create a little identity on the 'net. For a long time, I had been creating quilts, like the one pictured here, that looked old when they were brand new. I bought mellow fabrics and combined dozens of them in each quilt, saving the scraps and working them into later quilts. My style has changed through the years, but the "scrapquilter" name has stuck. It's too late to change now! (And I'm still stingy with scraps!)

The picture at the top is a closeup of one of the stars in this quilt. You will see that I used small scraps, just like our foremothers would have had to do.