Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue.

Posts tagged ‘sisters’

Life is more than just Quilting…gasp

The weather has been nice, so I’ve spent time outdoors working in my flowerbeds.  I cleaned up the dried stems & leaves from last year’s perennials and raked out the leftover leaves.  I split up some hostas that have overgrown and transplanted iris rhizomes that were being crowded by black-eyed susans in the same bed.  The heavy rains over the last three days should set the plants well.  My tulips have bloomed and the peony plants are growing.  What started as two lily of the valley plants some 15 years ago has spread through the back bed.  May’s birth month flower will soon bloom.  I transplanted a trumpet vine last fall and hope it takes root and sprouts leaves this spring. The rose bushes are sending out vines and needed trellises to control them.

Flower gardens give much inspiration for quilters.  The simple shapes & lovely colors offer a myriad of designs for applique.  I continue to work on my Craftsy class project. I finished stitching the petals on an applique flower block and the butterfly block.  Though my progress is slow, it continues weekly.

Flower & Butterfly blocks

Friday, my sister & I set out on a quilt Shop Hop.  We travelled over 300 miles to visit four shops in mid-Michigan.  We also checked out a new quilt shop that wasn’t on the hop.  It turned out to be my favorite – Park Bench quilt shop in Midland, Michigan.  I think the shop was well aware of the 3-day shop hop at their competitor down the street.  They offered the same 20% discount on purchases.  The fabrics are beautiful and the selection more the style that interests me.  I picked up Joan Ford’s latest Scraptherapy book, The Versatile Nine Patch, along with several fat quarters to use in my elephant baby quilt I have yet to begin.

Shop Hop Fabrics Closeup

Shop Hop Fabrics

Shop Hop fabric purchases

I always take along a list of notions I would like to try.  One in particular I looked for and found is the Kwik Klip. I have heard many rave about how well it helps with closing safety pins when pin basting.   Got one and hope it lives up to the hype.

Kwik Klip

The dreary weather kept me inside most of yesterday, so I also completed a bit of FMQ. I’ll have to share photos next time.  Tomorrow, I am going on a field trip with my granddaughter to Woldumar Nature Center.  All the rain has likely made the trails muddy and I’m praying the rain will hold off until the trip is over.

That recaps some of the activities over the last two weeks.  I’ve been busy with a lot more that keeps me away from needle & thread.  But life is more than just quilting.

Hoping to share more progress next week.  Until then…happy stitching!

 

Quilt Trail Blocks

Today, we hung quilt trail blocks on the facade of our business.  We own a small bakery in our hometown and decided to paint our own quilt blocks for the Gratiot County Quilt Trail.  We started the project in January and finished today with the hanging.

DB Quilt Block Trail

As you can see, we finished two quilt blocks.  To create a 4’X4′ block, we needed to purchase a 4’X8′ piece of marine plywood.  Since  we ended up with two pieces, we made two blocks.  They fit perfectly on either side of the business sign.  The paint is Resilience exterior  paint by Sherwin Williams in goldfinch, gladiola, and forward fushia on the Sister’s Choice block; and the addition of blue chip  on the Sunbonnet Sue block.  The background of both is in dover white.  I chose bright, autumn colors that blanket the landscape in October here in Michigan, for the blocks.  Sue wears blue & gold as a Yellowjacket fan, the local high school mascot and alma mater of both myself & my husband.

Sister's Choice Quilt Trail Block

Sister’s Choice block: Gratiot County Quilt Trail

Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Trail Block

Sunbonnet Sue block: Gratiot County Quilt Trail

As an avid quilter, I chose the quilt patterns as a reflection of my personal quilting history. Sunbonnet Sue is a favorite pattern and has become my avatar.  One of my earliest quilts was a sampler of various Sunbonnet patterns.  Quilting wasn’t passed down through my family.  I don’t have quilts that my Grandmother made, although she sewed and taught me to crochet.  Rather, I’ve introduced both of my sisters to quilting, and we bond regularly over sewing and quilting activities.  I originally stitched a small Sister’s Choice quilt for a guild challenge, then gifted it to my oldest sister, Roxanne.  The pattern seemed a fitting choice to represent my family quilting connection.

The Gratiot County Quilt Trail is producing a brochure that will be available in the Fall, so that enthusiasts can travel through the area and view each of the 50 blocks on display.  If you’re in the area, stop and visit our local city.  Enjoy a cup of coffee and a roll; it’s definitely worth the trip.

Enjoy!

 

Quilting with my Sisters

My two sisters, one older and one younger, get together on a Saturday and sew every couple of months. In the past, it involved travelling to one of our homes and setting up space for sewing, cutting and ironing. We live close, within a few blocks of each other. Whoever is hostess plans lunch and the other sisters bring a salad or dessert.

Last November, we decided to find a larger space to sew and invite our friends and family to enjoy the time with us. I reserved the fellowship area of my church and asked everyone to bring something for a potluck lunch. The extra space allows us to spread out our quilts, making it easier to plan a layout, machine quilt or bind a finished quilt. Our second event was in January with even more ladies getting involved. My younger sister created a Facebook Group – Sisters in Quilting – and the word continues to spread to local crafters. In March, we planned an event on National Quilting Day. All types of crafters are invited and we had eleven ladies attend, including quilters, knitters, a crocheter, a beader, and a sewist.

At the event, I finished adding the binding for a block exchange quilt I finally had quilted in January. The blocks were made with dotty fabrics and we exchanged six blocks: a dog, cat, tree, house, star, and chicken. I used the thirty blocks to make two twin-size quilts. This is the second of the two quilts, finished with brown & pink fabrics for sashing and a piano key border.

Brown & Pink Dotty Quilt

Brown & Pink Dotty Quilt

I really enjoy stitching with my sisters. Our next Saturday sewing day is at the end of May. I’m already planning what I will bring to sew.

Happy stitching!

Dresdan Zoo Baby Quilt

My two sisters and I collaborated on another baby quilt to commemorate the birth of our great-niece. Even though we live close to one another, it can be challenging to work on a project together. We each have our own activities and projects on which to work. But, we break the project down into manageable tasks.

I love making baby quilts and found a cute pattern, Tangerine Zoo, designed by Brandi Frey, in Fons & Porter’s Scrap Quilts Summer 2012. The quilt has nine Dresdan plate blocks with fussy cut zoo animal patches in the center. The pattern used a fabric with an orange background, thus the name “Tangerine” Zoo. I had a fabric with zoo animals in a light green color. We each contributed bright colored fat quarters from our stash to audition. After selecting fabrics, my oldest sister & I took them home to cut out and stitch up the Dresdan plates.

About every month or so, we get together to sew and used this time to work on the Dresdan Zoo quilt. Some of you may have followed the progress in previous blog posts HERE, HERE, and HERE. At this time, I was taking a class on Craftsy on how to make creative quilt backs by Elizabeth Hartman. I used this information to make the quilt back and posted about it HERE. The quilt was now ready for the final quilting stitches.

Enter my younger sister, who has recently begun quilting and taken a fancy for machine quilting. She has always been creative and enjoyed drawing. To her, free motion quilting (FMQ) is like drawing on fabric. She is the resident quilter for our collaboration quilts, but was in the process of quilting two other quilts for her grandchildren. That left the quilt in limbo for several months.

Last month, she finished the quilting and the binding was added. Today, I am adding the quilt label. The sunshine was bright and the weather beautiful, so I spent time outside snapping photographs to document our second quilt collaboration. Here are several different angles and close-ups for you to enjoy.

Dresdan Zoo Baby Quilt

Dresdan Zoo Baby Quilt

A sidelong view of the quilt

A sidelong view of the quilt

Close-up of blocks

Close-up of blocks

Alligator Block

Alligator Block

Hippo Block

Hippo Block

Pieced Back

Pieced Back

Close-up of Quilting on Back

Close-up of Quilting from Back

Dresdan Zoo on Rail

Dresdan Zoo on Rail

The quilt will be sent off to our niece in California, who is not expecting it. But, her brother was the recipient of our first baby quilt collaboration, so it will be a nice surprise when she receives it.

Next up…a bowtie baby quilt for my nephew, my oldest sister’s son. He has a baby son born earlier this summer. We’ve already sewn together the blocks and laid them out in a pattern. My older sister and I are going on a retreat next week-end, where we will finish stitching the blocks together. Then, off to my baby sister for the final quilting touches. And…there’s a wedding on the horizon, so we’ve been talking about collaborating on a wedding quilt.

Happy Quilting!

P.S. I’d love to hear what you think of the photography. I am not a professional, not by a long shot. But, I have been reading up on photography, took a lecture at AQS Grand Rapids, listened to a photography webinar, and had a lengthy conversation with a photographer friend at work. I have been playing around with my digital camera settings and feel that these pictures show the colors of the quilt well. I even think I implemented the rule of thirds into the shots. I’d love to hear your feedback.

My Sister’s Baby Quilt Project

I continue to work on my Rose of Sharon study quilt. I have three of the four blocks finished. Two are re-sized and stitched together, so that the final size is determined. I then, cut the border strips. The finished size of the quilt will be 48″ X 48″. I have been diligently stitching the fourth block and expect to have it complete tonight. I have also given a great deal of thought into how I will prepare the swags for the border, which will be the next step in my study quilt.

Since I have no project photos to share, I thought that I would share my sister’s latest quilt. I have two sisters, one older and one younger, and we frequently get together to quilt. My youngest sister called me this afternoon to say she had finished her granddaughter’s baby quilt. If I wanted to see it before it was taken home with the recipient, I better come by this afternoon. When I arrived, my older sister had already arrived. Probably because she got the call first and secondly because she only lives a block away. I live three blocks.

Evelyn's Quilt

Evelyn’s Quilt

My sister changed the blue colors in the quilt pattern to purple, giving it a little girl feel.

Bunny Embroidery

Bunny Embroidery

This pattern is one in a set of five designs, and my sister has completed two of them for her grandchildren. Besides doing a beautiful job on the embroidery and piecing, she also did a phenomenal job with the FMQ. The quilt that I made for my great-niece was a simple Charms Squares Baby Quilt (quilt on the left). My sister’s quilt is much more to be treasured, as it should be.

Evelyn with Mom,  Grandma & her quilt

Evelyn with Mom, Grandma & her quilt

Such a sweet little girl and a sweet baby quilt. Now my sister can get to work on the FMQ of our collaborative quilt, Dresdan Zoo, for another great-niece.

Happy Stitching!

 

My Bernina has Come Home

My Bernina finally came home after a three week stint for a cleaning and repair. In the past, three weeks without my machine would have been devastating, but I managed this time without any problems. It seems that I have been doing a lot of hand sewing. See my posts about my Rose of Sharon study quilt HERE and HERE.

The quilt shop had five other machines ahead of mine to clean and repair, so I had to leave mine knowing that they wouldn’t get to it for a few days. I also knew that they would need to repair the throat plate area, so a wait for the part delayed the work further. I picked up my baby on Saturday and brought her home. She looks so much better and I expect she sews fine. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to take her for a spin. Our granddaughter had a sleepover at Grandma & Grandpas house and today was a BBQ with family for Father’s Day. The weather is lovely outside and I am enjoying the warm, breezy afternoon as I write this blog post on my deck.

I always find it interesting to note the amount of time I spent sewing on my Bernina since the last cleaning. However, I was surprised to find that I hadn’t done as much machine stitching as in previous years. I purchased my Bernina virtuosa 155  March 27, 2004 at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago. My first cleaning was completed 11/24/06 and I had put 55 hours of sewtime on the machine. The next cleaning was 7/23/08 and I had 83 hours of sewtime. This was followed by a cleaning 9/9/09 with 27 hours of sewtime. I was averaging 33 hours of sewing annually. This time, I hadn’t had my machine in for a cleaning in five years. I really thought it had been less time. I was surprised that there was only 48 hours of sewtime on the machine, which averages less than 10 hours sewtime annually. What’s up with that!

I know that I have been doing a lot of sewing, so I wonder what it is that has shortened my sewtime. Some of this is the type of sewing I am doing. As I said earlier, I am doing a lot more hand sewing. As you can see in several of my recent posts, I am doing a lot of hand applique. I started an Applique Club with my local guild three years ago and made two of these projects by hand applique. I also have several other hand projects in the works – applique, redwork, and hand quilting. But, I still thought that I had done more sewing on my machine than 10 hours.

I began thinking it over and realized that there has been a lot going on in the last five years that has kept me from my Bernina. In these five years, three grandchildren have been born and they take precedence in my life. I haven’t been attending retreats, preferring to stay at home and do stitching with my sisters. We’ve been getting together every month or so for a sewing day. We travel to each other’s house and I usually take a cutting project or hand sewing when I travel, so I don’t have to pack up my machine. You can read about many of these sister sewing days at Modern Sue’s Previous Musings under the Sisters tag. I also started blogging four years ago and that certainly takes away from sewtime. My husband also reminded me that I have had many physical limitations over the last couple of years that has interfered with my ability to sew. I put my Bernina aside last March to undergo a shoulder repair and only began doing my machine sewing  again at Christmas time. I’ve also had surgery on my thyroid gland in 2012 and my right great toe in 2009. Maybe not as limiting as the shoulder repair, but certainly cutting into sewtime.

So, what does all this mean. Well, probably that I need to find more time to sew. Or, maybe I’ve discovered that sewing and quilting aren’t the most important aspects of my life. Relationships are more important than a piece of cloth, thread and a needle. Sewing and quilting are what I do to create things for my family and friends. It is an extension of me, but not all that I am. I may not be the fastest stitcher at a retreat, or the guild member that makes the most quilts to show & tell, or the family member that always has a homemade gift-wait, that one is me! I want to be remembered for being a loving and caring wife, mom, grandma, sister, aunt, friend, or you fill in the blank. My quilts are just an extension of that love and care.

Hopefully everyone had a wonderful Father’s Day. I enjoyed a BBQ dinner with my family. But, tonight is sewtime!

 

Dresdan Zoo Baby Quilt Borders

I took the day off from work today to sew with my sister. We finished adding the borders to our Dresdan Zoo baby quilt for our niece and her new baby daughter. You can follow along with the construction of this quilt in earlier posts HEREHERE and HERE. We chose to add sashing between and around the outside of the blocks. This added six inches to the quilt dimensions, so the border strips needed to be longer than a WOF (width of fabric). Rather than adding a seam allowance to each border strip, we decided to add corner squares. We chose a light green, so as not to compete with the Dresdans. Next up, FMQ. Here’s a look at the finished quilt top.

Dresdan Zoo baby quilt top

Dresdan Zoo baby quilt top

We spent the remainder of the day selecting fabrics for another baby quilt. My sister’s son is the next family member expecting a baby. He will be a new father later this summer. We have selected a bow tie quilt pattern featured in Quilter’s World Summer 2014. The scrappy pattern uses 64 different fabrics, so we spent quite a bit of time searching through both our stashes; sorting and re-sorting fabrics to ensure a variety of tints and shades.

Here are a few more pics of the finished quilt top.

Corner of quilt

Corner of quilt

Crocodile center block

Crocodile center block

Giraffe in left corner

Side border with zebra

Side border with zebra

Finished quilt top

Finished baby quilt top

I finished out my Friday off work by stitching up my NQA April BOM (block of the month). But more about that in another post.

Happy Stitching!

Luncheon Napkins

I decided to make a set of eight luncheon napkins to decorate a table for a ladies event at our church. Our Kindred Hearts women’s group has an annual event called Festival of Tables. Members host a table and decorate it using a theme of their choice. Tickets are sold to a Saturday morning brunch, and attendees vote on their favorite table.

This is the first year that I will attend the event, and I signed up to decorate a table, too. My theme is “Welcome Spring!” After a long, cold winter here in Michigan, everyone is glad the snow has melted and the weather is warming up. I decided to warm up my table with cheerful spring colors. I chose fabrics from my stash that coordinate well with my china set.

China & Napkin Placesetting

China with Luncheon Napkin

I used a pattern from my Groovy Girls days at our local quilt shop (LQS), Common Threads. The shop held a Saturday morning club once a month for a couple of years, that my sisters and I attended. Members learned new techniques through demos, swooned over shop samples, shared show & tell, and received discounts on pattern and fabric purchases. Atkinson Designs sponsored the club. We received free patterns following each club meeting, and this fabric napkin pattern was one.

Luncheon Napkins

The pattern uses some quick piecing techniques that makes stitching easy. Each napkin uses two fat quarters. I found a print seersucker fabric for the front of the napkin that was adequate yardage for all eight napkins. I used two different green hand dyed fabrics for the napkin backs. The binding is made from folding the back to the front of the napkin. I’m still deciding how I will fold the napkins.

Folded Napkins

Folded Napkins

Besides these cheerful napkins, the table will be set with a crocheted table cover, owned by my mother-in-law, and fresh flowers. What could be more Spring?

What are you stitching up?

Prayer Cloths

I have been stitching together patchwork prayer cloths. My sister is preparing for a mission trip to Haiti. While there, her group will be visiting a hospital to pray for the infirmed. The group would like to leave a momento with those they pray for, to remind them of the prayers offered on their behalf. When my sister brought this to my attention, I immediately thought that I could certainly assist her by making several of the prayer cloths.

I had heard of prayer cloths before, but had not seen one let alone made one. I had recently read a blog post about prayer flags and thought that they might be similar. I googled prayer flag and determined that they were distinctly different and googled prayer cloth instead. It turned up several crocheted and stitched patterns.

I chose to follow a simple pattern using four inch squares in a checkerboard pattern. I pulled some leftover charms from a pack used to make a baby quilt. Since the charms were five inches, I strip pieced them into 4-patches, then put them together into a checker board pattern. My initial attempts included thin batting in the center, however, the stiffness of the cloth was something that deterred from the idea of a cloth one could easily carry around with them.

Quilted Prayer Cloth with Cross Pin

Quilted Prayer Cloth with Cross Pin

So, I made another cloth without batting and it proved to be more acceptable. I also chose to use the “birthing” process for attaching the backing, rather than adding an actual binding. I still added stitching to hold the layers of fabric together.

Various Stitched Prayer Cloths

Various Stitched Prayer Cloths

After I use up the charm pack, I plan to use up some orphan blocks and leftover patches from previous projects. I probably will make some that are just plain fabric, as well. These will likely just have a rolled edge hem, like making a cloth napkin. I really like the cheery fabrics and feel that they will bring joy to those that receive them. As indicated on the pattern instructions, I prayed over the cloths as I stitched them together. I have also pressed them using a lavender scented spray starch.

Pray that my sister’s mission trip to Haiti will bring encouragement and healing to those they come into contact. You can also check out the trip on Facebook HERE.

Enjoy!

Dresdan Zoo Baby Quilt Update

My older sister and I worked on our Dresdan Zoo Baby Quilt for our niece, on Saturday morning. We have been making steady progress on this quilt for several months. The quilt is a collaboration between my two sisters and I for our great-niece Isabella, born in January. She is our oldest brother’s second grandchild and we collaborated on a quilt for the first grandchild last year.

Each month, we plan a sister’s sewing day, which I have began blogging about HERE. This month, we only had a morning to work on a project, so we used it to stitch the Dresdan blocks together. Since the points on the Dresdan blocks touched and did not match up well, we decided to add a 2-inch sashing strip between the blocks. A border of the purple stripe fabric is the next addition, along with white corner squares. Then, on to the FMQ that my youngest sister should complete. She’s the expert quilter of the three of us.

Dresdan Zoo Quilt

Dresdan Zoo Quilt

Here is a closeup of the center Alligator block.

Dresdan Alligator Block

Dresdan Alligator Block

Finally, here is a peek at the border fabric lying next to the quilt.

Zoo Quilt Border Fabric View

Zoo Quilt Border Fabric View

Do you get together regularly with someone to quilt? I participate in lots of quilt groups. But, I enjoy my sewing with my two sisters the most.

Happy Stitching!

Tag Cloud