Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I'm Baaaa-ack

It has been weeks since I last posted... what happened???

It seems that ever since May when I was updating Dave's website and then making improvements on this blog I have spend an atrocious amount of time on the computer and using technology.  A few weeks ago I had scrolled past several articles about the need for a "digital detox" and "internet fasting"...  I thought to myself "That sounds nice, but a bit unrealistic.  Our business relies upon technology for advertising, billing and... just about everything."

I felt like I was on technology overload... My mind was tired of trying to fix, trouble-shoot and improve...  And then I had to travel to an appointment on the other end of the state.  Not only did I have limited time to be on the computer, but I had limited wi-fi and cell service. I then forgot my cell phone in my car when I joined some friends for a girls night out at a concert as well as the charging cord for my tablet.

It seems as thought it was time for a digital detoxing!  Upon my return home I was wrapped up with catching up on laundry and house cleaning.

BUT, I am now back, all caught up and I have resumed my regular routine.  This also means I am back in my sewing room!  YAY!!!

As I was resuming my routine I did have some playtime in my studio... I had been working on some crayon blocks, planning to make a throw quilt with them...


Here are some mock-up layouts I was considering...


  

As they hung out on the design wall my mind kept going back to the original idea of a wall hanging using just one large block with a name on it... I asked my oldest daughter (who is expecting her second baby) what her thoughts were.  She was thrilled with the idea. 


I quickly modified one of the blocks to have less pink/purple and 
more blue for a boy...



And I am certain that my Sweet Tater will love hers in her 
new "Big Girl Room"...

  

And I think this will be the perfect addition to the nursery...


I am just itchin' to get back to these fun projects, but I have a t-shirt quilt that must be finished for a young lady about to fly from the nest of her parent's home and is ready to discover the world while at college.  I think it is wonderful that her Mom wants to send her off with some special memories of her young life and a reminder of how much she is loved.

What is it about quilts that you love the most?  

For me it is that fact that I am making something that evokes emotion, can comfort and embrace a loved one as well as help someone recall memories and create new ones.  Most of all I want my quilts to represent love!  Which is why my quilt labels always include "Blessed from above, Made with Love."

Be Blessed!

Melva
  

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

To Quilt???? Or To Not Quilt????

I think most quilters have seen the t-shirts or mugs with the saying "To quilt? Or To NOT Quilt???? What a silly question!"  Because for quilters the most popular answer is "To Quilt!"  Without a doubt!

But this week I was truly faced with the question about whether or not to quilt a Crazy  Quilt...

It's a terrible pickle to be in!  My friend asked me to quilt the Crazy Quilt that came from her Mother-in-law.  


In researching vintage crazy quilts I learned that they are not typically quilted. They were tied... and no batting.  

 "These type of quilts were used as a coverlets to showcase the embroidery skills of the maker and to us up bits of the luxury fabrics that were perhaps traded with friends."


There are several interesting things I have discovered about this crazy quilt...

A name patch of some sort???  
Euls Ells Srs
Pierce City


When I did a quick search for Pierce City it came up with it being in Missouri.

Other interesting things I found in the Crazy Quilt patches...

  











Are these initials of individuals that created the blocks and did the embroidery?





Many of the satins and linens were very fragile.  Even prior to me spreading it out to work on there were some areas that the fabric had just  disintegrated and the muslin backing was the exposed.  This must have been the case for several areas of the quilt and someone spent a great deal of time making repairs...

You can see that the brown (polyester) patch below covered other satin-like fabric...





... and here you can see that this small, thin patch covers a hole... 




Likewise, below you can see that there was another repair...

When I asked about quilting it in a vintage quilting group many were strongly opposed to it and suggested holding to tradition and simply tie it. Yet others were okay with it and suggested a Baptist Fan pattern for it...  The "purists" also recommended that regardless of how I finished it, "it should not be used"...  when obviously it HAD been used by another...

Right, wrong or indifferent, I decided to fulfill my customer's request to quilt it. This decision was made mainly since she was not trying to preserve any authenticity of it or avoid losing any value of the quilt.

I did an all over grid with nylon thread so that it would not detract from the hand embroidery, yet stabilize the top.  


So, was I crazy to quilt a Crazy Quilt?  

Maybe so, but I know that my friend will fall in love with it and hopefully her son will be gentle with it, should he choose to use it.

To Quilt?  Or Not???  Silly question!

Happy Quilting!

Melva

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Go Ahead... Break the Rules!

Last week I was building up my inventory for the Farmer's Market.  Since it was the July 4th weekend and the City of Trinidad had lots of activities planned for the weekend I decided to create a few scrappy Patriotic items... 

This was a quick table runner that came together quickly.



One of the most popular items that spurred interest (both on at the market and on social media) was this square table topper. 


It was being shared and commented on by friends and friends of friends.  It was really the closest thing I have had to something going viral.  LOL!

I first created the center by creating a "wonky" star and appliqueing it to and 8-1/2" square, added the border and then I started my log cabin blocks.

I started with four center squares of two different fabrics for the log cabins and then I grabbed my scrap bin and started pulling strips that were long enough to build the log cabins.  Width didn't matter... which was nice!  And it didn't matter if it was 2" on one end and only 1-5/8" on the other end... It is what adds to its character and charm. 

In the "proper" quilting world where precision cutting and sewing seams are so important, sometimes it is nice to throw all rules out the window!  I just kept making the log cabin rounds until the squares reached 12-1/2"+ squares so that they could be trimmed down to the appropriate size.

Now, in life, I am not one who is comfortable bending or breaking the rules... My parents just didn't raise me that way!  But in quilting every once in a while when you bend or break the rules you end up with something quite spectacular!  So go ahead, break the rules!

What quilting "rules" have you broken?  Were you happily surprised at the outcome?
 
Happy Independence Day!
Melva

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

It Is Finished...

I have been working on the "face of Jesus" for six weeks... now granted there have recently been a few things that kept me from getting into my studio.  We had a one week trip to California for a wedding as well a 5 day break as we hosted some house guests.  Along with the typical household cleaning routines and meal prep for another guest, my time of sewing was severely inhibited.

None the less... I finally have Jesus done!  



Now for the quilting... 

FMQ is what I have in mind to give to his hair and beard texture, as well as his cloak. I believe the background will have stippling... but I won't really know until I get there.

I have had several questions about "how did you do that?"  I started with the photograph (with center lines marked) 


and then marked out a grid...

From there I started placing squares on my design wall, working from the center out, one row at a time... 


Since I had decided to use one color for the background, I then started placing that on the wall...

To help me keep track of what row I was actually working on I pinned the picture onto the wall, and used straight pins to hold a ruler in place...


Once I had the picture complete, I would take a picture, make a few changes in shading and then take another picture... I repeated the process until I was satisfied with the final result.



There is not as much detail as I had hoped to achieve, but the quilting helped a lot!



Here are a few close up shots...






All in all, I am pleased with it.  My customer is happy with it as well - and that is what is most important... a happy customer!

I have now moved on from  1" finished squares to some projects with larger pieces of fabric to be ready for the Farmer's Market on Saturday, July 2.  



It is always so challenging to try to "guess" what the visitors will want... that is why I offer a variety of items... quilts, wall hangings, table runners, bibs, bags, therapeutic rice bags, wine bags, tissue covers, plastic bag holders... and more!


Have you ever done a show or market?  
What sort of items do you sell?  
What are some of your more popular items?

Happy summer!

Melva


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Friday, June 24, 2016

First... Read The Directions!

Today was sewing lesson one with Brenna.  She did AMAZING!

We went over some basics, and then discussed her "ideal" project so that we have a goal to reach for.

We needed to make a run to the fabric department at our local big box store to select fabric for the drawstring bag/back-pack and to get cord and thread.  We discussed some of the different types of fabric and she settled on a canvas type fabric for the bag since it would be more durable and sturdy.

She quickly picked up on sewing a straight line and how to guide the fabric through the machine.  I had her sew the bottom and side seams... 






And just like that I was quickly reminded that I really should read all of the directions (rather than depend solely on my logic and experience)... When I looked to the next step I noticed that she was not to sew the entire side seams, but stop short 4"... to be able to create the top casings for the drawstring!

Since it was my mis-direction that told her to sew it, I ripped it... it is only fair!



With every seam her lines became straighter and more consistent! And she learned how to pull cording through the casing and the importance of securing the ties to the bottom of the bag.



Lesson #2 with be making a poncho and selecting fabric for a skirt.  I think she will have "homework" with the skirt so that she can become familiar with and comfortable using her own machine.

She had fun! I had fun!  Her mom loved the bag and is just as excited for Brenna as Brenna is about having this opportunity.

Another seamstress has been born!


Happy sewing!

Melva

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bucket List Check-in

It seems that in just a blink of an eye the year of 2016 is nearly half gone! 

Where has the time slipped away to?!?

I thought it might be a good time to review my Bucket List.

1 - Crayon quilt... a work in progress - I have the fabric pulled and have begun cutting and piecing... one section done!

 


2 - Feathers... I will come back to this one.

3 - Digitized (photo) Quilt... Not just one, but THREE!  I am over the 1" finished squares.  LOL!

 
4 - Hand Quilting... a work in progress, but I have 89 blocks done... out of 160 (not including the flying geese).  Getting there!

5 - Wedding quilt - Done and delivered :) True North

6 - Denim Cathedral Windows - an up-cycled quilt made from jeans and flannel - a work in progress... this is one I pull out on days that I want to do something pretty mindless.



7 - Wonky Scrap Quilt... haven't had time to get started.

8 - Block submitted to Quiltmaker 100 Blocks - DoneBlock Submission

9 - Amish Jewel Tone quilt... another one I haven't had time to started.

10 - Farmer's Market... I called just yesterday and scheduled for two Saturdays - July 2 and September 3 - Now I need to get some table runners made before July!  

11 - Donation of t-shirt quilt to Relay for Life event - DoneHope, Fight, Celebrate & Remember

So I have completed five items, working on three and still have six months to complete the other three.  Seems like I am on track with my goals.

Now, about the Free-motion feathers... I am so intimidated by these. I know that what I really need to do is to remember my "Just Do It!" attitude and set aside the fear... I mean after all I am not planning on entering my first FMQ feathers into a show... right? Any tips about getting started and how to make them look right? 

Thanks!  Be blessed...

Melva

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sewing - 101

I was recently asked to give a young lady some "lessons" for sewing.  She is 14 and has a great interest in fashion design.  I'm not sure I would consider myself an expert, as her mother so kindly referred to me as, but I have done my fair share of clothing construction, including morphing three patterns together to make my daughter's wedding dress two years ago...


I used the bodice from one pattern, the skirt from a second and the train of the dress from a third.  No easy task as they were all different pattern companies. Yes, I got it done.  She looked beautiful and even more importantly, it was exactly what she wanted and she was thrilled with it!  This coming from the girl that refused to allow me to make any of her homecoming or prom dresses was huge!  

The reason she never wanted me to make any of her formal dresses?  She didn't want them to look home made. :'(  Really?  Okay, so a few years passed between her high school days to her wedding day and she realized that just because it was "home made" didn't mean it had to look like it.  I'm glad she trusted me with the job!

So, now that I have a young lady wanting to learn some fashion construction tips I have to think back to some of my first sewing projects from 4-H. One of my first sewing projects for the "review" was an elastic banded, light blue gingham skirt. It was very 1970's!  Haha... I looked deep in the crawlspace for a photo, but no luck!  Your loss ;)

While deep into the crawlspace I did locate my 
Beginning Clothing book from 4-H!

There are a number of projects that are perfect for beginning sewers... a draw-string bag (I remember using one I made for a gym bag... made out of pink hand towels), a skirt, a tote bag, a poncho and an apron. (I still have the apron... our girls spent numerous hours playing "restrump" {their pronunciation for restaurant} and be waitresses.)

All very good ideas... I believe I will meet with Brenna and see what project she would like to start with and then we will need to go shopping for fabric and notions!

Fun stuff!
  
What sort of projects would you suggest for someone interested in fashion design?

And don't forget!... Week one of the New Quilt Bloggers blog hop is still going on!  There are many wonderful prizes available, so be sure to visit all of the links below. =D



Just click on the links given below... 



Amanda at Gypsy Moon Quilt Co.

Paige at Quilted Blooms

Tish at Tish N Wonderland

Many thanks to Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl, Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter for coordinating the blog hop and making arrangements for some amazing prizes!

Be blessed ~ Happy Sewing!

Melva

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