Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Final Count

I had just two days left when I wrote about saving the spools of thread I had used in 2014 and I finished the Old Glory Picnic Quilt. 

It was late in the afternoon on the 31st when my daughter wanted me to count...

 
I decided to have a little fun while counting and stacked them...

 
It's getting taller!

 
All in all... the final count was 58 spools!
 
 
This includes thread used for piecing and quilting 27 quilts, quilting two baby quilts for a friend, 7 "memorial" blocks for Quiltblocks for MS, 5 Victorian Christmas stockings, numerous wine bags, casserole carriers and table runners.  And let's not forget the silk wedding dress!  It was a busy year!

 
It was interesting to see the spools collect and it was fun looking back at all of the finished projects of the year.
 
Happy Sewing!
 
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Inspiration and Goals

I enjoyed the last few quiet weeks of 2014.  It was a mini-vacation from my studio, but I have jumped right into 2015 with quilting projects underway...

Dave and I will be making a road trip to Dallas in a few weeks and I have my hand sewing project ready to go. 

My inspiration for the project..

 
 
And my color choices for my quilt...  My half-square triangles will be hand stitched and with attention to the placement of the colors, a zig-zag pattern will emerge.  I really like the simply stated pattern and the fact that they are offset from the center.
 
 
 
I find inspiration from many things... Many from other quilts.  I will peruse the catalogs from some of the quilting supply companies for quilts, blocks and kits as well as a few quilting magazines.
 
Inspiration also comes from nature and home improvement stores.  Yes, home improvement stores.  The tile displays and colors are great!  I know that I am not alone in the source of inspiration because I have read quite a few blogs that refer to them.
 
With the turn of the calendar to a new year, some people make resolutions or goals or accept challenges of one sort or another.
 
I don't tend to do this and thought about setting a few goals for 2015...  things like - Not buying fabric just to add to my stash - I haven't done this for over a year.  I have been gifted with fabric from others so I don't need to "add to my stash".
 
I also thought of planning or estimating how many quilts I would like to make this year... Because I am a self-driven and task or goal oriented, I could see the fun being taken out of such a goal.  It would become all about "making X number of quilts", such as two a month.  But if I fail to meet the "goal" I would likely flog myself for "failing" to meet my goal.  So, no, not that goal either.  Unless I go totally under-achiever and say I want to make two quilts this year and take the pressure off of myself and build myself up in my mind by overcoming such a goal.  Lame...
 
I think the best goal that I could set for myself is to simply find joy in each project as I find inspiration and the satisfaction that the joy I feel in making each quilt or table runner or wine bag, or whatever. That that joy I feel would be passed along and shared with the receiver of the item.
 
Yup, that sounds like the best goal I could set... to find joy in my work and to bless others.
 
May you have a blessed year!
 
 
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

WAIT! I Have Two More Days!

In January I saw a blog post about saving the spools that you empty throughout the year...

http://www.quiltmaker.com/blogs/quiltypleasures/2014/01/saving-spools-for-the-record/

I decided that I, too, would count the spools from 2014. 

First I needed to find a container to hold them all.... I settled on an antique "Solitaire Coffee" jar that had been on top of my kitchen cabinets for several years.

I sewed, and I sewed...  My jar is nearly full!


BUT WAIT!  I have two more days to sew and have a great project in mind.  I have been collecting flag and patriotic T's and denim pants for a few months and if I can make it to the store this morning, I will be sewing up one last quilt for the year. 

Watch for a finished picnic quilt and a final count on my spools.

Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sew Much More - My portion of our family Christmas letter


     2014 has been packed with much excitement and many changes. 

     As Dave and I settled into a groove with the new business - him gunsmithing and building custom guns and me creating and selling quilts, we have learned to be more patient and trusting of the Lord’s provision.  My quilt sales have increased with many custom photo and T-shirt quilts.

    
 

     And in the midst of my “work” I was blessed to be able to make Heather’s wedding dress with the help of my Mom as well as assist with a few wedding details.  
 
    
 
Let me tell you, making the first cut into the 100% silk fabric for the dress ranked among the most stressful times of the year!

     We enjoyed the company of some wedding guests before and after wedding in May and again with a few family members in October.

      
 
   

    
 
     We traveled to TX twice to meet with a couple that have become good friends through being some of Dave’s best customers and they came to CO to see the shop and the progress of their projects in person. 

    


     In between the wedding plans, the travel, guests and quilting I assisted the College Foundation office with their annual fundraising dinner as well as helping with a research project… another little evidence of provision for our well-being.

     All of our various comings and goings have still allowed for me to help my Mom when needed.  This year Mom faced some physical challenges with her knees and back.  And she spent 5 days in the hospital with pneumonia.  She has been told that she will eventually need knee replacement surgery, but seems to be holding steady for now… if we can just keep her from over-doing.

     And the biggest, most exciting change we have had this year is that we  welcomed our first grandchild in August just days before our 29th wedding anniversary.  Emma Noelle - a beautiful little girl that is loved so very much by her family, near and far.
 
         
 
     As Rebecca faced a difficult decision regarding her future, we supported her wholly and are incredibly proud of the young woman that she is becoming.  We wait with anticipation to see where she will be next. 

     It is so hard to believe that 20 years ago we were making our big move to CO.  20 years?!?  My have the years have flown by. 

     As 2014 wraps up, I pray that our little updates find you well and I look forward to keeping in touch with many of you through modern technology.

     May you remember the reason for the season… Merry Christmas!     
 
 
 
 

 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Too Cute to Resist!

I have all of the Christmas presents done and most of them wrapped, as planned.  I hate the feeling of rushing and pushing to get things done just before a deadline, so I always try to plan on having all of my projects done a few days before necessary so that I can sit back and relax and actually enjoy the days just before Christmas.

This year it meant that there were a few less lights and decorations.  And a few less cookies and goodies in the house, but our waist-lines will appreciate that fact in January. **wink, wink**

So, as I was relaxing and (again) scrolling through facebook I found a blog that had an adorable Tea Cup pincushion tutorial (www.everythingsewing.net ).  Check it out!

I had to make one for myself!  I have a set of everyday dishes that had been my grandparents' sitting in a box in the basement because I just couldn't bear to let them go to the second hand shop when my daughter was moving (and was done with them).  I am such a sap for sentimental things.  I don't think I am a hoarder, but I do love to repurpose special things. So, with that said...

Here is my pincushion!
 


Some avid sewers collect all sorts of pincushions... I don't.  In fact, I now have only three!  One is the traditional "tomato & strawberry" cushion that I have had since 7th grade home economics and the other is a little girl that is made of an empty spool of thread with a bead and "hat" on it that my oldest daughter bought for me when she was in Kindergarten.

My "tomato" is now tucked away in a drawer and my tea cup is proudly displayed on the shelf by my sewing table.

What is your favorite pincushion? Does it have a special place in your studio?

 
 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Throw-back... waaaaaay back

While cruising through facebook the other day I saw a question - "How long have you been quilting?"

The very first quilt that I made was in 1993... I wanted to make it when I saw the pattern, because I loved cross-stitching at the time and I loved the wild rose.  I stitched these 7 blocks for over a year.  There were supposed to be many more blocks, but I couldn't take it any longer... I had to be done with them so I settled for a checker-board layout with wide borders.



I really didn't know what I was doing when I got to the quilting part of the project.  I made up my own rules as I went since I was self-taught.

I did a free-motion outline on the rose blocks and then diagonal lines.  And all of it was done "quilt as you go" - meaning that each block was quilted individually and then sewn together.  I remember using an interfacing to sandwich the individual blocks.

So, 21 years is the answer to the question "How long have you been quilting?".

My projects have become much more refined and traditional.  And to be honest, I would be somewhat embarrassed to share pictures of a few of the quilts that followed this one... until I started the block of the month classes in about 2000 and learned some "proper" quilting techniques and color selection.

There has been a just a little bit of time spent at my machine *wink, wink* and how many miles of fabric and thread have I used?!?  Too much to really worry about, but there are so many more projects and techniques that I want to learn and improve upon.

So, tell me, how long have you been quilting?

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Monday, December 15, 2014

I have a problem...

As I have been getting ready for Christmas I have come to realize I have a problem. It is a problem that many quilters or crafters don't even think twice about. I hear about and read about quilters and crafters that have stacks of unfinished projects. Projects that are years old sometimes.

I have the opposite problem. I cannot set a project aside and move on to the "next thing". I got the binding sewn on to the photo quilt and ready for hand stitching this morning.  In my mind I thought, "Ok, I will set it aside and work on the pajama pants (that had been requested for Christmas.)" 



It was a good plan... then I found myself sitting in the living room hand stitching the binding.  Ugh! 

My name is Melva and I cannot leave a project unfinished.  That being said, I have a binding to finish tonight and pajama pants to make... tomorrow.

Merry Christmas! 

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