Putting Final Touches on a Bunch of Quilts

Since the new year, I’ve been staying out of the garage and working in my sewing room. I am drawn to doing work in the garage, but the temperatures have been hovering just above the freezing point and kerosene heater or no, it is too damned cold to be working outside. And not just for me, but for painting and staining.

I am an avid quilter. Rather, I make a lot of the quilt tops and send them off to be quilted and then returned to me and then I bind them (the outer edge). I’ve been quilting for over almost 15 years, started just before 2000 and I am betting in the time I have made at least a five hundred (or more!) quilts. In the last couple of months, I received two big boxes of quilted tops from my friend Gloria and I’ve slowly been working through them. Doing the binding, that is.

So here’s what I finished today:

DSCN3025I’ve created some of these quilt tops months – even as long as years – ago. I have almost forgotten that I’ve done some of these. This was a work in green… not much to say about it really, just a nice fun pattern that I will give to someone who likes green.

DSCN3026This was inspired by a fun little duck print. Wouldn’t this be grand for some little one? The yellows are so cheery. And the quilting pattern is little ducks too!

Did I mention that one thing I had always loved about my friend Gloria who does the quilting, she makes most of the decisions about pattern and thread color? I like to work with her, it is a real creative collaboration. It started out with her wanting to try new patterns and me wanting to not have to choose! And it has worked out well for the last decade and a half.

DSCN3029I love bold, strong colors. As a result, I also end up with a lot of great scraps (see below). Sometimes I just like to sit and cut pieces while watching old movies on DVDs (I have the complete set of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies) and then sit and sew them together. Sometimes they turn out absolutely great and sometimes they turn out ok. Once in a great while I get a dud or two, to which those are donated to the local no-kill animal shelter for the dogs to use. That way, it gets used and the puppies probably don’t care what it looks like!

DSCN3031This is a piece that I have been working on and off for years! These are strips of white cotton are cut across the width of the fabric and six inches wide. Then the strips and scraps are sewed onto them. I had 16 strips completed, so I then sewed them together. The back is just white cotton and I am debating about whether or not to layer it and quilt it or just leave it as is. I have it hanging over the landing railing, so every time I walk down the hall, I see it. And then I think about it.

And to give credit where credit is due, here is my helper, usually hidden behind the quilts. And the one who runs up and down the stairs for sodas and makes lunch for me and who helps me move the massive amount of fabric around as I bind them. And I just love him like crazy 🙂

DSCN3032The guest bedroom bed has about another nine or ten quilts waiting to be bound. And of course I have projects that I’ve started that need to be completed. And I found another box of quilt tops that I need to send off to be quilted. But Gloria has decided to hang it all up and retire and now I have to find someone new.

This is gonna be difficult!

julie

One More Denim (Finished a While Ago)

I know I made the proclamation that I wasn’t going to make any more quilts in denim for a while, but I actually did complete this some time ago and have had it stashed for a while. I finally when through the inventory in the guest bedroom, I ran across this one (and one other) that I have opted to place for sale on eBay.

DSCN2298I love the nuance in the shades of the denim, and I love the idea of the life that was worn into each of the squares of denim and then rescued and displayed in the quilt. The paisley fabric I chose for the trim looks almost like bandana material, and just compliments the denim. There is a small print red heart fabric on the back that really gives the calming influence of the blues and white – a nice contrast.

photo 1For what it is worth, this is the other quilt – also finished sometime ago – and going up on eBay:

DSCN2300I used the same fabric as in the sashing for the back. This is just hard candy colors and sometimes it is just fun to play with the dynamic colors. I could see this as a quilt for a boy or a girl that just graduated from a crib to a “big kid” bed. Or to hang on the wall of a nursery or kid’s room. I hope that someone buys it and loves the colors and the happy feeling that comes from it.

Okay, that’s it for today. I am in a very weird place… kind of in-between everything. I can’t really get excited about working on anything new and really, I shouldn’t be starting anything when I have so much to finish. But I really am having a tough time really getting back to the already-started-pieces because it means that there it will require working in the garage and the temps just aren’t all that comfortable. And that is probably just an excuse, I just am unable to get motivated.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

julie

More Denim, This Is It For a While…

Okay, I persevered and finished another denim quilt. This one fought a long and hard battle. It is the first time that I had to really rip seams and fix mistaken cuts. And not just once. And to add to the fighting, the weight of all that denim had me uttering choice phrases to the sewing machine. I even had to throw my hands up in defeat and leave it for a couple of days while I pondered the best way to finish it.

I think it all boiled down to four diagonal set-in seams. I have never been a big fan of set-in seams anyway, but that they were on a bias and diagonal didn’t help. Oh and yeah, broke four! needles in the process. Denim is not kind but I love the end result.

IMG_6145Now I have three more denim tops completed and have really paired down my stash of recycled denim, I am going to swear off working with it for a while. I flipped through a few books and magazines that I’ve marked with possible ideas but nothing seems to be sparking or lighting a fire under me. Maybe I need to take a break from sewing and concentrate on finishing at least one or two of the Victrola cabinets that I picked up a few weeks ago.

I’ve decided with one that I am going to turn into a little bar… with a little ice tub and a place for bottles and decanters and store glasses and napkins in the cabinet where albums were kept. I am thinking a walnut stained top and painting the cabinet a deep brown. The other cabinet is going to be an entertainment cabinet… using the former horn as an amplifier for an iPhone/iPod/music player and then adding a turntable and also making place for game controllers. This piece is going to be walnut stained top with a deep red/maroon cabinet. I think this will be really sharp.

There are two additional cabinets, a taller one that I think The Kid has his eye on it to be restored to the same sort of end product… a place for gaming systems and also a music system. And the last one has the makings to be the perfect bathroom vanity. I will have to replace the top with a solid piece (it splits in the middle right now), but I could see this is a beautiful ivory with maybe a piece of granite or ivory on top. Guess we’ll have to see how this proceeds.

Tomorrow I may go down to the Habitat’s ReStore and check out what they have in terms of granite or ivory and if they might have any vessel sinks that might work. Or any other interesting pieces that might be fun to work with. I still have the whole garage/shop job that I have planned, a post for another day.

julie

Denim Quilts… the Ultimate Jeans Recycling

I’ve been going back into my unfinished quilts and quilt blocks and trying to get some things done. I received a couple pair of old jeans and it just jumped start my love of quilting with jeans. There isn’t a tougher fabric to work with but also none more satisfying when the quilts are complete. They just are like snuggling under a favorite old pair of broken in jeans. They are warm and comforting and they look great to boot!

I seem to have gotten started on about five or six quilts, creating the center medallions and then unable to figure out how to complete them. None of them are big enough to be quilts, not even lap quilts. And try as I may, I cannot figure out how to put them together to get one larger quilt. Sigh.

I did get a couple close to done… or at least the quilt tops. I love these actually quilted, as opposed to just tied, but they are murder on sewing machines and longarms and their needles. I think one of the last ones that my friend Gloria did for me wrecked her machine and she is just too nice to tell me. I know even just sewing some of those multiple seams on my machine has broken more needles than I can count and even sent my machine to the hospital once.

Here is the first one I’ve been working on. I’ve actually added a ten inch border all the way around, making this quilt large enough to be a king sized quilt. It has turned out rather well, if I do say so myself 🙂

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The next one is another almost done following the addition of a border. I like almost everything about this one except the purplish looking denim-ish fabric that I used in several of the blocks. It wasn’t real denim from recycled jeans, and it sort of makes the whole quilt wrong. But I’ve never been one to go back and rip out seams or replace blocks or fabrics, I am sure that someone will love this just the way it is.

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I was able to score an absolutely fantastic deal at the local thrift shop Friday afternoon… they had a 1/2 price deal on ‘purple’ tags and I just happen to score about 10 pairs of wonderfully worn and faded jeans. And since they were getting ready to close, they said it would be easier just to sell them to me for a ‘buck a piece’ (and would that be okay with me? Ha!)… which gave me quite a bit of fabric to get those other quilts completed. I sat tonight and sketched up the remaining blocks and medallions to give me a plan on how to get them finished. The craziest part is that, of course, I came up with a couple of more ideas for more quilts!

I how vowed though, that I will start no more quilts until I have completed at least most of the ones I have started now. I’d love to do an orphan quilt or two as well – you know, use up a bunch of the orphan blocks (or UFO’s) into a single quilt. Its amazing that those can sometimes turn out to be quilt wonderful. Even if the fabrics or colors don’t match up, those can be donated and used for warmth. One time I turned a bunch of those orphans into dog beds and donated them to the local ‘no kill’ shelter and I later learned that they sold them in their gift store and made quite a bit of money! Woot! I love when accidents like that happen.

Okay, tomorrow, I have an update on a long overdue project that is finally done. And I scored some wonderful cabinets via CraigsList that used to be old Victrola-styled players that the guts had been removed. I am excited to see what I can do with those!

julie

My First Sale!

Okay, I have to admit it isn’t my first sale, but it is the first time that I’ve sold a quilt. You see, I’ve been making quilts, by the hundreds for the past 15 or so years. The first time I thought I’d try to sell a quilt, I was quite disappointed with the offer and the “bartering” that was going on. The price I was asking was barely the cost of the material and the top stitching that I had paid to have done, let alone the creativity or labor that went into it. I vowed then and there that I would never sell another quilt, rather give them to people who would love, admire and use them.

But recently, I have been thinking about my plans about what comes next and what I would do with everything that fills my house from basement to the attic rafters! So, very slowly, I have been listing some of my less cherished china and crafts, including a few quilts for sale. And my first sale of a quilt, the red one in the last post, was the first one to sell for asking price. Someone wanted what I made and was willing to pay me money! Woot!

I’ve been playing around with making “stained glass”. Actually, it is mock stained glass, but I love the look. I made some recent pieces, in addition to the lighted bottles (also in a recent post), so I thought I’d do a quick tutorial. That will be tomorrow’s post, but wanted to show you what is on the horizon.

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4Jars

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So, come back tomorrow and I will give you some basic instructions on how to achieve this. It took me a bit of experimenting, so you can benefit from my mistakes!

Oh, and the PowerBall estimates that the jackpot is over $400 Millions dollars. The Kid just bought the winning ticket. 🙂 Maybe I will share with you if you stop by!

Can You Tell I Love Red & White?

I finished another quilt and wanted to post it quick to the blog. If you’ve read much of my blog or know me, you know that I am head over heels in love with the red and white color combination. My kitchen, living room and dining room are all done in red and white.

Sometimes that spills over into other things, like my wardrobe. I am just sort of drawn to the color combination.

This time it was a quilt. This was part of that big box I just got back and because it was the biggest one, it waited ’till last. But it didn’t take long to finishing the binding.

And here it is:

$_12

I hung it over the deck railing before the big snowstorm, just to get an overall picture. I didn’t realize that the edges had flopped over… I was holding the quilt and The Kid took the photo. I didn’t think to remind him.$_12-1Here it is in all its red and white (and a few other colors) on the guest bed. Can you tell that room is used for much more than guests sleeping? In fact, it currently houses most of the ‘Dolls & Cupcakes’ inventory, quilts waiting to be completed and other craft tools. It is a mess! But that is the great thing about that room, when it is too much to deal with, I simply close the door.

Problem solved!

Thanks for stopping by!

julie

Back To My Quilting Roots

I just seem to be all over the place these days. Work is consuming me as I have joined a new team and am learning all new technologies. I just haven’t been able to land on a single project at home, so many are this close to be completed, yet I can’t seem to wrap my brain around any one thing or get those last few details finished.

Then a box arrived in the mail. A long forgotten group of quilt tops that I had sent off many moons ago. I have this wonderful friend in Arkansas that has been quilting my tops for as long as I can remember, probably close to 15 years. I don’t even remember how we connected, but I remember that I trusted her completely to make decisions about patterns and styles and thread colors. She has experimented and I have always been over-the-moon happy with her work.

So, once I moved to Missouri and put together my wonderful sewing room, I put together quilt tops like there was no tomorrow. I suddenly found that I had more than 200 completed and it was going to be a fortune to have them quilted, even with my wonderful quilting friend. I let them accumulate for some time. I finally thought it was time, so I sorted through, found some of my favorites or ones that I promised to friends and sent them off.

I got the first few quickly but it came with a note. Gloria was having trouble with her machine and it would take some time to get someone out to her home to get it fixed. Did I want her to ship the quilts back? I told her to hang on to them and work on them when she could.

So, a week or so ago, a box appeared on my doorstep! Yay! Quilts that needed to be completed. I’ve not worked on these specific quilts for some time, in some cases years!

So, when I was struggling with completing a number of projects, I turned it all over for a chance to finish some long awaited quilts. Here are a couple…

Jeans Quilt

The first one is a just one more of a series of scrap denim quilts that I’ve been doing for a while. These are made from many different pairs of jeans, some mine and the Kid’s and from friends that thought of me when cleaning their closets. I take apart the jeans and harvest the largest squares and then down until what I can get are 2″ x 6″ pieces. That is what went into this quilt along with pockets in each corner. If you look closely, you will see a second quilt underneath the latest, the Kid has placed dibs on both. They are backed with a soft flannel, one green and the other blue. One more still to go will have red backing. They are incredibly warm and soft, from years of wear… there is no breaking in needed for these quilts.Small QuiltThis quilt is simply the left over blocks from a larger quilt. The hearts were the first real attempt that I did in doing applique, not exactly my cup of tea. But I wanted to really give it an honest shot to ensure that I wasn’t passing up something that was really going to excite me. And I realize that this isn’t going to be it. 😦

One more quilt arrived in the box that I haven’t had a chance to get finished… and I want to take my time with it. It is made with a multiple of red and white patterns and it is stunning! This will definitely be completed this weekend. I will share it with you then.

Every quilt gets a special finishing touch. I know that I should be more detailed and more informational and more creative, but for the most part, once I sew that last stitch on the binding, I want to be done. So 25 or so more stitches secures this little note in the corner on the back.

Name TagSo, a little time spent doing one of the things I love doing the most and I have given myself some time to figure out how to get organized and see a better path for the other projects that need to be completed. And I am looking forward to the next box of surprises.

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