Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Getting With the Program..............Quilt Program That Is

After a year long battle with a bunch of health-related issues, I am finally getting back to some semblance of normalcy.  Okay, I've never been very normal (just ask anyone who knows me), but things are finally returning to some kind of balance in my life now.  What a relief!

This past week I had 2 different programs.  I think the last program I did was a Schoolhouse at Spring Market in St. Louis 2017, which was a couple months before the rug was pulled out from beneath me.

My first program was at my very own quilt guild, Free Spirit Quilt Guild (FSQG).  I did a program about using orphan quilt blocks for our year-long theme of Quilting Around the House.  I showed many quilts from my first book, Orphan Block Quilts, quilts featured in magazines, and even some quilts I made just for fun (Imagine that!).  I also shared lots of tips and tricks for finding, cleaning, and using those orphan quilt blocks that seem to multiply overnight sometimes.  I showed lots of different orphan block projects from one block pin cushions and pillows to a large bed quilt featuring multiple groupings of coordinating blocks.



Here's me!  I am holding a copy of my book and talking about the long process of getting a book published (people always find this interesting).  Psst!  Over my left  shoulder you can see my book cover quilt, Lavender Green.

Here's the cover of my first book, Orphan Block Quilts.  It's out of print now, but there might still be some copies floating around.  If you're interested in adding this book to your bookshelf stop on over to my website and order a signed copy today!


Below, are some more photos of the quilts I showed.  Looking at the number of quilts I lugged to the program, I don't know how I managed to get them all into 2 crates!





This little Americana orphan quilt was my very first orphan block quilt!  I used 4 Four Patch blocks from the 1930's and added a border of 2 reproduction 1930's reds.  Isn't it sweet?  You can see why I got addicted to making quilts with orphan blocks, can't you?


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My second program was a trunk show/book signing at a local quilt shop, Quilter's Cupboard, which was celebrating its first year anniversary.  I was invited to show off my quilts from my most current book, I Love Precut Quilts!  Copies of this book are still out there, but if you're interested in a signed copy, swing by my website.

Sadly, I realized that my quilts hadn't been out of the crates since last spring, probably right after getting home from Spring Quilt Market.  Poor babies.  They still had their identification labels on from visiting C&T for their beauty shots.

Here's my third book -- my fun book!



 Here is Spritely, probably the most popular quilt in my book!

 Big Bow Ties -- giant-sized bow tie blocks.

This is Chautauqua, the quilt on the cover of my book.  

 Here's Around and Round.  A fun, fast throw quilt.  

This is a close up the machine quilting for Around and Round. 
 I am particularly proud of my artsy feathers!

 Here you see Cocktail Party and City Houses.

This is Divide and Conquer and Bounce.


It's good to be back in the groove again!  I wonder what kind of quilt mischief I'm gong to get into next?  Stay tuned...........

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Something I Always Wanted...

This past week end, I was very excited to go to one of my favorite fun places -- Lisa's General Store (previously Lisa's Indoor Flea Market) located in Greenville, PA.  Over the years, I have found lots of different treasures, particularly quilt-related treasures -- antique and vintage quilt blocks, fabric, a blue and white double Irish Chain quilt from circa 1920 for an unbelievable price (I won't tell you because you would be so jealous!), vintage sewing boxes, etc.  Of course, there's always non-quilting stuff like books, clothing, food, and just about everything you could imagine and some things  you probably couldn't imagine.

Anyway, on Sunday, I finally found something that I have wanted for a long time and was able to bring it home!  YAY!

  

A vintage Martha Washington Sewing Cabinet!

It's not perfect and needs some TLC, but it is charming and very functional.  The two front drawers give lots of space for notions and thread -- there are even floating trays in the drawers for small stuff.  On each side on the top there is a hinged lid! When lifted up they reveal a good-sized cubby for stashing projects, materials, or snacks -- maybe chocolate.....

Of course, I did some looking online to see if I could find anything out about this particular type of stand, and was happy to find lots of photos and information.  

1). Apparently, Martha Washington did have a work table, but it looked nothing like this.  Using Martha Washington's name was an advertising ploy.

2). This type of sewing table was based on Federal style tables and became popular during the Depression years as an inexpensive piece of factory-made furniture.  You could buy one in the Sears and Roebuck catalog!

That being said, I discovered that my stand is somewhat unusual, which makes me think it was of a higher quality.  It only has 2 drawers where most of the ones I saw had 3 drawers.  It has really nice detailed metal drawer pulls instead of knobs.  AND it is on a pedestal instead of wooden legs -- and the feet of the pedestal have metal tips with disks underneath to protect the floor.

Of course, my table wouldn't be worth much to anyone but me because it has a broken foot that was 
glued.

Here are some other quilty things I found at Lisa's.  Please enjoy...... 








Monday, August 20, 2018

Returning After a LONG Hiatus........And a Quilt Story

Greetings,

First I want to apologize for dropping out of the blog world for the last 7 months.  I won't go into the boring details, but suffice it to say that due to many complications from my gallbladder surgery last year, I had to let a lot of things slide this year, blogging being one of those things.



Have you ever wondered where the quilts go that you've gifted, donated, or sold over the years? 


I have.  Just last week a very interesting thing happened that I'd like to share with you.  I had a message from someone I did not know on Facebook Messenger.  Of course, I am always cautious when getting messages from an unknown person, but this one seemed harmless enough.  It said something like:

"Have you ever heard of Little Quilts in the Valley in Meadville, PA?  Quilts and runners made in 2005......is that you?"

What an odd message!  So I decided to reply.  Yes, that was me.  Before I became "The Orphan Quilter" with the publication of my first book, Orphan Block Quilts in 2010, I often wrote "Little Quilts of the Valley" on my quilt labels.  As a side note, I must admit to not always adding labels to my quilts, but this experience will ensure that I always do add a label to each and every quilt that I make from this point forward.  Maybe it will convince you of the importance of labeling your quilts, too.

 Here's the cover of my book.  
Stop by my website if you're interested in getting your own copy.

The mystery messager quickly replied to my message and we started a conversation.  It turns out that the messager's daughter, Savannah, found one of my table runners in a thrift shop in Boone, North Carolina!  Savannah, being a quilter like her mom, rescued the runner and gave it a home.

Here is the table runner I made back in 2005!  I remember this one.  I think I made 2 of these runners, giving one as a gift and selling the other one, I think (or else donating it to charity).  I wonder which one this quilt is.




Here's a close up of the back, showing my label!  Notice the wiggly "straight" machine quilting lines -- I used the "quilt as you go" method for this one.  I know that I only made a few of those type of projects before I abandoned the method in favor of my usual free motion quilting.

I wonder what happened to the runner from 2005 when I made it until when it was adopted by Savannah.  Oh, if only quilts could talk........

Special thanks to LG and Savannah for reaching out on Facebook and sending me the photos.  Sew glad my humble runner found its way to you.

Anyone out there have a similar quilt story to share?

Monday, January 29, 2018

2018 Round Robin Quilt

I'm really excited about going to my Quilt Guild meetings this year!  I proposed doing a Round Robin quilt project and our president, Kim, liked the idea, so tomorrow I will be presenting it to the guild. 

My plan is to have everyone who wants to participate bring a 12 1/2" unfinished block to our March meeting.  They will need to put their block in a tote bag labeled with their names and can put extra fabric in if they desire.  In March, everyone will also get a Round Robin Booklet detailing each month's project with room for each participant to write notes for the quilt owner.

Here is my sample Round Robin quilt.  I'll be showing this tomorrow too, because it's hard to picture something without an actual image.


As you can see, my Round Robin quilt project will have a Log Cabin setting.  The center will be the 12 1/2" block that everyone brings in March.  Then we'll get started with the different logs around the center block.  I look forward to seeing how things will turn out, particularly as this is my very first Round Robin project plan.

I haven't made my own block yet, so you'll have to stop back to see what I come up with.  I'm thinking something modern featuring a collection of fun modern fat quarters that I bought at Quilt Market in 2016.  (Yes, I haven't used them yet.)

My goal will also be to show you what row I'm working on each month for the project.  Maybe you'd like to make your own quilt right along with me?  If you are interested, stay tuned in March for our first Round Robin row.




Thursday, January 25, 2018

Scrap Stash Management

I am finally sitting down and writing my first blog for 2018.  It's funny how fast time flies.  Do you have this problem too?  Sometimes I wish the merry go round of life would slow down so that I could get off once in a while, even if it's only to take a deep breath and look around.

I had good intentions the beginning of January to get my quilting studio cleaned and ready for a new year of creating quilts and other fabulous items.  My cutting table was an absolute horror -- in order to cut anything, I had to remove piles of quilts, fabrics, and who knows what else was hiding there.  With all of the medical issues that I had in the second half of 2017, my quilting took on a PRIORITY ONLY status, which did not include putting things away unless I absolutely had to.  So, I ended up with one big giant mess.

The first thing that I did was to clean off my cutting surface.  I had a lot of fat quarters, yardage, and scraps to sort.  I folded and put the yardage and fat quarters away in their proper homes.   Now I can cut without moving a bunch of stuff. Time to move on to the pile of scraps.  Or should I say the first pile of scraps.


Everyone has their own system for dealing with the leftovers from their quilt projects.  What's yours?

 Mine has so many levels and if I can think of any way to make it more difficult or complex, you know that's the way that I would do it of course.  LOL!

Okay, here's what I do:

1)  If any scrap is less than 2 1/2" square, then it goes right into the trash.

2) As I sew, I toss strips and small pieces larger than 2 1/2" into a basket to be cut into usable pieces later.

3)  Large pieces sometimes get folded and placed by color in my fabric museum drawers.  Yes, I do indeed have a fabric museum now, don't you?

4)  If I'm working with a specific collection, I put everything together into a gallon-sized bag, box, or basket so that I can find them when I want to make another project with that collection (at least that's the general idea -- whether I can find the bag, box, or basket later is usually by chance in my studio).


 Once my basket of scraps gets full enough, then it's time to cut them up into usable pieces.  Since I do a lot of designing arund stand precuts, I tend to cut my scraps into the following:

Fat Quarters

10" squares

5" squares

2 1/2" squares

2 1/2" strips that are the width of the fabric 


Here is what my pile of scraps looked like after I cut it up.
 



Nice, huh?  Now I can add these to my overflowing stash of scrap precuts.  Then they will be ready when I want to put together something scrappy.  Hmm.  Maybe I'll pull out a copy of I Love Precut Quilts! and make some scrappy versions of the quilts.



Speaking of my book, I Love Precut Quilts!, did you know that Amazon has been selling copies at a deep discount?  If you haven't gotten your own copy yet, now's a great time.  Here's the link to find my book (paperback and ebook) on Amazon:  Buy I Love Precut Quilts!

If you already have a copy of my book and you liked it, maybe you'll leave me a positive review on Amazon, too. 

Did you make anything from my book?  Email photos to me -- I'd love to share them with my blog readers.



Sunday, December 24, 2017

On the 12th Day of Christmas...............

On the 12th Day of Christmas, I Give to Thee....................

PEACE

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines peace as:

 1.  A state of tranquility or quiet, such as freedom from civil disturbance.

2.  A state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom.

3.  Harmony in personal relations.

We need peace in our lives, communities, and in our world.  

Pray for peace.  Find peace.  Live in peace.

Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin With Me.

I chose the block Peace and Plenty for my Peace quilt along with a low contrast  blue and grey color scheme. This quilt is quiet and even feels peaceful.




My challenge to you is...............find peace and hold on.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

On the 11th Day of Christmas........

On the 11th Day of Christmas, I Give to Thee..........

LOVE

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines love as: strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.  (There are many many other definitions, but this is the one that I going to use for this blog post.)

This IS the season for love.

I love Christmas -- it's my favorite holiday.  I love making and selecting gifts for my loved ones.  I love baking cookies and sharing them with friends, coworkers, and family.  I love sending and receiving holiday cards.  I love decorating my tree.  I love Christmas music and Christmas movies.  I LOVE everything about Christmas!

What do you love about the holidays?
 
I just wish I could find a way to extend Christmas behind the calendar holiday, but at the same time, maybe it wouldn't be as special if it was all the time.  There has to be a way to keep the love of Christmas in our hearts all year round, though.

It probably won't come as a surprise that I chose the True Lovers Knot block for my Love quilt.  This block is a bit more complicated with curved piecing, but what an amazing quilt.   I decided to use a classic blue and white color scheme.




My challenge to you is.....................show those you love how much you love them.