I'd Rather be Quilting…

my crazy pasttime

How time flies!

So today I received an email from WordPress that I have not blogged in a long time. I have not. I have wanted to use this forum to track  my progress. I have been so busy. I really plan to work on this blog faithfully. Thanks for following me!!

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special gifts

Last summer I was asked to quilt a special quilt for a special lady’s birthday. Now, I think ALL quilts are special. They tell a story of fabric preferences, styles and passion. This quilt    

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had an embroidered center for a 100th birthday. What can you put on a quilt? It is easier to say what you can’t put on a quilt! You can accent with buttons, flowers, embroidery, and the list can go on and on. If you can think it, you can do it. I digress, here is another picture of the quilting and quilt. Image

Special thanks to Karla for letting me play on this quilt. It is truly a work of art and heart!.  I love the way the quilting can make the fabric and pattern talk!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Priceless………..

Priceless….. that is how I would describe Lana’s second grade teacher, Mrs. Mershon. So when she asked if I could do a couple of things for her I looked it over and said “no timeline, right?”  The first project was easy, she had some pieces that Mr. Mershon’s grandma had started and wanted them made into a very long table runner. Easy peasy, job done. But the next one……WOW! You need to hear the story… Mr. Mershon’s grandma and grandpa had a restaurant in downtown Kansas City. Grandma liked to make quilts so she decorated the restaurant with her quilts. One night the business suffered a devastating fire, they lost everything but someone had saved one quilt. This quilt was taken apart and washed (quilters know you should not do this as it damages the seams and stability.

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Here is what was left. This picture does not do justice to all the damage on the quilt. She wanted me to take off the worst row and hopefully have enough fabric to piece the next row back together.  I agreed to do it. But only because Mrs. Mershon was the kind of woman who gives her all to her class, motivating, supporting, caring, teaching, encouraging and loving each of her students.

I took this quilt out by the pool and lovingly hand stitched seams back together. The fabric was deteriorating greatly and hand stitching was the kindest. The quilt went to the Lake of the Ozarks with us and I worked on the dock. Every week I worked on this quilt for at least 15 minutes. I used every piece of usable fabric that I could, sometimes having to fix a piece that fell apart when I held it. When the top was as good as I could get it, I ironed a fusible interfacing to the back of the top to help stabilize the fabric. (Mrs. Mershon understands this will never be a usable quilt, she plans to hang it in her husband’s office.) Then I put the quilt on the longarm (I can hear other quilters gasping). I stitched in the ditch everything but the dark green which just got a piano key look to it. Very simple quilting, done very slowly and very lovingly.

Here is the finished quilt.

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You can tell the original pattern is not all there but for a quilt that was badly damaged by fire and washing it is in good shape.

Now……what will Mr. & Mrs. Mershon think? What do I think? I am proud to have brought some life to a family treasure, to give back to someone who has given Lana so much. This opportunity was….. priceless.

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Exhibit quilt

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to enter a quilt into a competition. Well January was a pretty bad month here and that resolution fell to the wayside until a couple of weeks ago. A quilting friend, Angela Walters, asked if I had a quilt that could be used in an exhibit at MQX in Portland, Oregon. Immediately I said yes. A couple of emails later and my entry needed to be there between Sept. 20-30th. I might have forgotten to tell you that I had the quilt top done but not the quilting and binding.

So I went to work to finish it. I knew I wanted to quilt flowers on this quilt but was stuck, what did I fill in around the flowers? I also wanted to use a double layer of batting because I wanted to make these flowers pop. After a couple of days of frustration I decided to start on the flowers. Then it came to me… I used flowers to fill in, little ones, middle sized ones and large ones.

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The more I quilted, the more flowers that appeared. The end result? A quilt that I am happy with on its way to an exhibit in Oregon! No it is not a competition with judging but I am glad for the opportunity. I am actually waiting for the arrival of some fabric to enter a competition. It will be my first and it will be my own pattern. I admire those women and men who have the creativity to create multiple patterns and fabric! I am not sure I can do that but I have had fun dreaming of patterns that have floated around in my head. We will see where life takes it.

Do you have a dream? A New Year’s resolution? An idea in the back of your mind that wonder if it will ever materialize? Why not go for it? What would it cost you? You might just be proud of yourself  for the effort! It might work, you might find your passion! What would life be like if we all engaged in things we were passionate about? I suggest you make a plan!

IMG_0201 This picture is the only one I can of the front of the quilt right now! I have a new laptop and sometimes it does not do what I want it to do, I think it is operator error but I am working on it. I will show you a better picture soon!

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why do you do that?

A young man recently asked me why I quilt. What is the purpose? People did that in old times, we can buy things now, he said. Beside, don’t people want new things? I asked him why he rides his skateboard. He said it was fun. I asked him why he plays video games and he replied it was fun.

I told him that making a quilt is fun for me, new patterns bring new challenges like getting perfect seam matches. New fabric adds wonderful opportunities for showing personality, both mine and someone else if this is a gift. I asked him if he likes to doodle, and he said yes. I told him that I draw and doodle when I design a quilt and when I do the quilting on it.

I told him the most important reason I make quilts for people is because I am passing my love along to them. Every stitch has love, hope, prayers, comfort in it. Yes, I could go to the store and buy them a blanket and this would save me money, but it would not be from my heart to theirs. And yes, there are many people who do not share my love quilts and a gift of a quilt means nothing to them.

A quilt is a gift that will live long past me. The young man then replied that maybe someone will make him a quilt some day. Maybe.

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Memories….

We all have memories, in our hearts and in our heads. This past January our family lost 2 very special people. One of those people is the topic of this post. When I make a quilt for someone there is a great deal of thought, time, love, and commitment that goes into it. We lost our friend Gary.

Over 30 years ago, Gary, Kevin and Ron (my dh) started working at the same company. We have kids the same ages. We have shared happiness and sorrow, but this sorrow was the hardest. When the call came before 1 am, Ron and I were in the car driving north to Nebraska, our hometown of Norfolk. At 5 pm as were driving back to Kansas City (we would pack, work one day and then return to Norfolk) I asked Ron what he thought of my asking Sandy, Garys wife, if I could have some of his clothes to make memory quilts for his kids. Ron liked the idea. I sent an email to Sandy but it was read by the kids. They went into his closet and started gathering clothes which they gave me a couple of days later, with the stipulation that I not cut up his work shirts.

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Gary was one of a rare breed these days. He was loyal to his job and his family. They camped together, celebrated together, they were a family.

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To be honest, I cried when I cut up his clothes, I talked to him, I missed him. But I continued. These quilts are simple in design, durable so that they may be washed and dried and used forever. I left the grease stains, actually I ironed them in multiple times, because they are part of Gary.

Gary was a good guy, he was a keeper in women’s terms. He loved his wife, his kids, no matter what they did or did not do. He accepted you for who you were, and found the good in everyone. It is with great sadness and love that these quilts are finished. I pray that every snuggle under them is a small piece of comfort. I am honored that the family has allowed me to make these and they understand, these quilts can take rolling on the floor, the laughter and love, and yes, the tears that will flow because of his absence. I am better person because I knew Gary.

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A Blue Ribbon!!

I have a friend named Donna, whom I have known for more than 30 years. Her husband and mine have worked for the same company, although different positions for that long. About 3 years ago, Donna and her husband moved to Kansas City also. I know that it was hard for Donna, as I went through the moving mourning also when we moved.  Donna is also a quilter. She had an idea…….

She wanted to make a quilt that looked like the area in which she grew up, Boone County, Nebraska, but make it the view from an airplane window. She worked diligently and long on this quilt. All the hay fields had the same fabric, also the corn, oats, milo, alfalfa, winter hay and something else that I forget now, each were represented by their own fabric. She put in the roads, both maintained and unmaintained; the tree lines, the farm places, the creek, the little dams, the differences in grade elevation. In my book, this is a masterpiece.

Then she asked me to quilt the topography into the overall design. I looked at and told her that I would need each block marked with a note that showed me which plat map to look at. In my mind, I thought I was crazy to try it. Shade and patterns of green fabric represented the crops, the farm places, the creek and the little dams. I knew I was crazy. Armed with plat maps hanging on my design wall and dozens of notes pinned to the top, I loaded the quilt onto the machine.

For 2 weeks I worked on this, spending one whole evening just figuring out which quilting pattern to use for each crop. I wound up looking at the keyboard on the computer for help. Then I started quilting. I did not want to let her down. Sometimes I felt I really good and others I wondered how bad I had screwed up her quilt. Then I took it off the machine……

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This is a picture of the back, notice the different patterns which represent each crop. Also check out that creek flowing on the left side of the picture with different elevations.

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This is the finished quilt, while it is hard to see all the different patterns I did not plan to write a blog and use pictures for it. The ponds and dams are represented by blue that she embroidered on the top. (I forgot to tell you that I had to quilt around embroidery also.)

To end a long story…. Donna took this quilt and entered it in Original Design category at the Boone County Fair in Nebraska. It won a Blue Ribbon!! And the judges liked the quilting!! Oh, this made my day!! Yes, I will again take on another challenge like this. Happy Quilting, Kristi

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I love Dr. Seuss

I love Dr. Seuss by Robert Kaufman Fabrics!

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Someone else made this top and I was fortunate enough to quilt and bind it for Robert Kaufman Fabrics display at Quilt Market. I used red thread on the red to make the quilting disappear and white on the white for the same reason. This quilt looks like the focal fabric (Seuss) is windows and I wanted those windows to pop. What do you think? Last year I also worked on a Seuss quilt for Market for Kaufman and I wound up making 2 Lorax quilts a few weeks later. Our little girls like Seuss also!

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I have said it before and I will say it again, I am blessed to do this!!

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I love Kaufman Fabrics!!

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I had the opportunity to piece the quilt above for Robert Kaufman fabrics for the Spring Quilt Market! The fabric is just awesome, beautiful and the quality we expect from Kaufman Fabrics! I absolutely love it when the top lays flat after piecing.

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I pieced and quilted this one. Again the fabric colors were gorgeous! I really wanted the stars to pop so I echoed inside the stars and used a meander on the rest with the exception of the small squares that connect the stars. I hope you can tell by the photo below that the stars do pop.

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When I work on a quilt I always worry about the quilting pattern I use. The person who does the piecing puts much love and work into the quilt top. I want to make sure that my quilting accents the quilt but also brings the right features to the eye. Of course, I am having a hard time explaining this today. It is like repainting a red room in a green color, you then want to put color coordinated accents into the room to accentuate. When I look at a quilt top, I like to know the story behind it. Every quilt has a story….. it may be for a new baby, or a quilt for a show, or for someone who is sick. Whatever the story, the quilter has put much love and labor into the top. I am honored to be able to help make that story complete with every quilt top that I work on. I am blessed!

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Meet humility and patience….

Every year, Lana and Lauryn want to “make” a quilt for their teacher, if they love their teacher (of course they do). This is a process, but……this year the process was for me. I am detail oriented, tend to be very precise (and Becky, you do not need to say anything here), I want a quarter inch seam to be a quarter inch seam. It starts with picking the fabric, I only give them 2 choices, which works very well. Then I give them 2 choices on pattern and this works well. They love to stand by the sewing machine and push the foot pedal while I sew. (note to all: make sure the machine is set on its lowest speed)

Then it comes time to do the quilting. Normally they want to do a small square and they are done. NOT this year!

This is humility, actually I mean Lana, working on her quilt.DSCN3258

I learned so much from her that my perfectionist side had forgotten. We had fun, which is not uncommon but it was different. Her teacher will cry. This is the smile of Lana done.DSCN3260

Next up was patience, I mean Lauryn. Here she is working on her quilt DSCN3269and she hated that her circles were not coming out like she thought they should.DSCN3263 We practiced on paper and then she asked, ‘if you use one hand and help me, does that mean that I still do it myself?’ Yes, I said. So, with one hand I helped to guide her. Her teacher will cry too.

On each quilt we stitched the words, “To _____ with love and the child’s name. Their quilting is pretty good for first timers that have not practiced, they are so proud, and so am I. Maybe I have gotten too outcome oriented, I love to do this, I love to share it and thank God for this blessing. Lana and Lauryn, yes, we will do another quilt soon. I think they might need their own sewing machine though, I really do not think I can share mine. And as far as the long arm machine is concerned, I have not heard a complaint from their mom yet…. she has not been allowed to use it and the little girls have!!   I am blessed!

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