Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Tucson Quilt Show - And Friends!

Last week we had an excursion to Arizona for a few days.  We were visiting a friend and looked forward to some beautifully warmer (dare I say, hot?) weather.  We had looked forward to pulling out a few "summer clothes" and getting a little sun on our legs and arms.  I cannot complain about the recent weather we have had in Southern Colorado - unseasonably warm with little wind.  Ahhhhh...




Our day of travel south was lovely!  We passed the time by listening to another installment of the Chronicles of Narnia - The Horse and His Boy - and I did some English Paper Piecing.  This was a new technique for me.  I had prepared all of the pieces for this quick little project...




I had figured that it would be more than enough to keep me busy for the entire trip down (10+ hours) and back.  Boy, was I wrong!  I stitched for about 9 of those hours, which was just about perfect.





But now I didn't have anything to work on during our return trip.  

Well, it was a good thing I was attending the Tucson Quilt Show the next day!  

It was a lovely time spent with a fellow quilter and blogger that I "met" through the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Group.  Karen, her mother (Francine) and cousin (Carol) welcomed me into their little group.  





We wandered the many quilts in the show, snapped pictures of some of our favorites, and discussed techniques and styles and personal preferences and favorites.  There was so much to take in!  It seemed that there was always an opportunity to learn right around the next corner.

A few of my favorites...  







This was just a sweet little pony that would fit perfectly into a little girls room.



















This reminded me of looking through a kaleidoscope... and caught my eye because it was all hand-stitched with the English Paper Piecing technique. 





















The depth and dimension in this eagle and the nest was amazing!







By the Light of the Silvery Moon received one of my votes for the Viewer's Choice award.  It included strips of fabric with a raw edge enhanced by the silver paint as the reflection of the moon on the water.  Very Nice!

These triangles were T-I-N-Y!  The piece was approximately 18 inches square and the finished triangle sides were, I believe, only 1 inch!  Now I have worked with one-inch squares, but the triangles would have biased edges and could warp and stretch funny.  Perhaps, it was paper pieced to eliminate that problem... Hmmm...

These Labrador Dogs captured my heart in the Thread Art  category.  What detail!   



When we finished with the quilt show portion we perused the aisles of the vendor section.  I had such fun with Karen!  If you read her blog (over at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats) she is open and honest and presents herself exactly as she is.  She is a refreshing personality and jumps in with a canon-ball approach when she starts something - for example, she wanted to participate in a quilting bee group this year... so she joined three! 

She was on the hunt for some "true red" fabric - not orangey red for one of the Bees... what a challenge.  Along with the help of her family, we think we may have been successful.





I was on the hunt for some fabric to use in another EPP project for the trip home... Another successful hunt!






















and "a little souvenir" to enjoy.  I have misplace my travel mug and was on the hunt for one - a hunt that was unsuccessful.  I settled for a wine glass instead.  









The remainder of the weekend in the Tucson area was cloudy, cool (only in the upper 50's) and rainy.  Boo... So much for summer clothes!  We enjoyed several long walks, dinner with new friends and catching up with a cousin and a quick stop at my grandparent's home of 40+ years.  



The exterior of the house looked the same - however, I am certain, the inside had been remodeled (especially the bathroom and kitchen).  It was a sweet trip down memory lane and gave me a desire to tackle a quilt using my grandpa's ties...

But first I must get a wedding quilt done!  The shower is just around the corner and the wedding will be here before we know it!  The top is done, it is sandwiched and ready for quilting... 

You know where you can find me - 

Happy Quilting,

Melva



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hanky Panky

If you don't already know this, you will soon learn that I have a big heart for heirloom items.  I love being involved in creating quilts that will be loved and cherished by others as well as creating quilts (or other items) from heirloom items.  

Take for example this bunny... 23 years ago (in April) my Mother-in-law, Sandi, passed away.  Dave and I had recently made the big move from Illinois to Colorado.  Dave had grown up in the Chicago-land area and all of his siblings still lived there at the time.  Dave was a brand new college instructor and had started his job mid-year.  The summer class schedule had already been created and he was not on the schedule to teach.  As soon as our girls were done with school we packed up and returned to his mom's place to sort through things with his brothers and sisters and clean out her house.

Things were divied up with out squabble or complaint.  Hidden away in a cedar chest were several dresser scarves, table cloths and an ragged quilt that had certainly seen better days... all of which I brought home.  I really had no idea of what to do with the quilt... it sat in a cabinet for several years and then I came across this bunny pattern.  I immediately knew that each of Dave's sisters and sisters-in-law would receive one, as well as all of Sandi's grand-children.

I wish we knew the story behind the quilt... did it belong to Sandi's mother who had passed away when Sand was still in high school?   Was it Sandi's in her teen years?  None the less, the little bunnies were well received and loved by all that got one.  

So when I got a call from a customer about using some of her mother's (Emily) handkerchiefs to make a quilt for her grand-daughter (also Emily) I was really excited!  When Terre and I first met she had the hankies laid out on teal fabric but had decided that they would look better on a white muslin, using the teal as sashing strips and back ground/corners.

After determining the block size needed for the hankies I used basting spray to position the hankies and then stitched them down.  The quilt top came together very quickly.  Then it was time to quilt.  Terre had stated that she wanted the hankies to be the focal point, not the quilting...



I went with straight grid lines so that the hankies would be featured.


 How special is this one?  Surely a Mother's Day gift.  Or perhaps one that was carried at one of her children's wedding.
   And the delicate lace that is so special... and in excellent condition!

I personally liked the scalloped edges.



































Terre has begun writing a letter to her grand-daughter Emily telling of her Great Grandmother and some family stories.  A gift to be cherished.

So tell me, am I alone with my love heirloom gifts?  Have you preserved any items from your grandparents?  

I have a collection of ties from my Grandpa that I want to turn into a quilt this year... Maybe I can get to that quilt after my daughter's wedding in April.

Until then, I better get busy on the wedding quilt!

Happy Quilting,

Melva


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Team Spirit

What do you do when a customer requests a quilt that features two specific teams that do not share a mascot or team colors - such as the University of Michigan and Raiders???  One is blue & gold and the other is black and silver...




I pulled out my graph paper and started sketching... alternating 9-patch and 4-patch blocks, I was confident about what to do with the center part of the quilt using UofMI fabric in the center part with the Raiders on the outer portion...













I had ordered the licensed fabric on-line - The UofM fabric had a white background and the Raiders was a black background... (and I guessed on the amount needed - the Raiders was 58" wide {1 yard} and UM was 42" {2 yards}) Once it arrived I had to determine the block sizes and find coordinating fabrics. I settled with 12" finished blocks for the center portion

It is at times like this that it is wonderful to have a large stash! - For the center of the top I was able to pull yellow, white, grey and black.  






Then for the outer part I used the Raiders fabric alternated with some black and white striped fabric (again from my stash!).  I went with a grey print in the final border to soften the edges - this I had to purchase.




Time for the backing!  I had some of the licensed fabrics left over, but not enough of either for the entire backing so I went with a pieced back including some of the printed grey that had been purchased.



What a challenge to incorporate two completely different teams/mascots - AND make it look guy-like masculine! (I had many consultations with my husband...) Overall I am pleased with final look.  And I am pretty certain my customer will like it as well.





What are your tips for such a situation? 
How do you "blend" such differing colors/themes? 

Next up?  A little "Hanky Panky"...

Happy sewing!
Melva


See what other quilters are talking about over at QuilterBlogs

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Little Bit of Everything - Including the Kitchen Sink...

Adventures of cooking in the Nolan Kitchen continues... I will get to that, but first... QUILTS!

As the kitchen renovation continued, I made two special little quilts for a couple special little girls!

I dug into my scrap bin, using 2-1/2 inch blocks and pieced the crosses - basically four-by blocks made up of 16 pieces (4x4) and then created the backgrounds. This was another simple, easy to move in-and-out of project that didn't require a lot of attention or detail. 

I am certain that the little gals that will receive these for their first birthdays - yep, twins! -  will enjoy rolling around on them and my prayer is that they know and understand the love of their Father as grow up. 💗


 Back to the kitchen...

The renovation continues.  And while pictures show little to no progress, we really have moved forward.  

We now wait on our counter top and sink.  BUT, the walls are flat, smooth and painted and ready for a back splash... that we have not yet settled on.  We know what we want after looking at Lowes, but need to spend more time at a real tile shop to find the exact pattern and tile size.



It will be a few weeks until the counter top and sink are in, but I have plenty to keep me busy in the coming weeks.  I just received some vintage hankies to be made into a quilt for the customer's grand-daughter.  It should be a fun project!  



This is just a quick picture of the layout - We agreed that they would look better with a bleached muslin border (unifying the block size) and blue sashing strips, along with blue corners.  

Have you ever made a Hankie Quilt?  
Any tips or suggestions?
Let me know in the comments...





But before I can work on the hankies, I have finish up a University of Michigan and Raiders quilt for a special young man. More to come on this one - it is ready for a Raiders border!












Sew, there you have it... a little bit of this and a little bit of that - including the kitchen sink!

Happy sewing,

Melva

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mug-a-mo!

This week has involved high winds (approximately 40 mph sustained winds and 70+ mph gusts), power outages and the beginning of a kitchen renovation.  (Some of the power outages were caused by downed power lines in the storm and some from the renovation.)




Thankfully, the sink was quickly replaced and the dishwasher was connected before the end of the day.





As I sat near the kitchen for Dave's need of assistance (much as a nurse awaits the Dr.'s need in an operating room), I longed to be in my sewing room.  


I currently have a plywood countertop.  



And the lovely green black splash has been removed to the extent that it can be removed - it is a linoleum type product that was glued to the walls.  And when all the tools and various pieces of equipment are removed, I have an operational kitchen.  In fact, I prepared lasagna this morning before the reno started up again!

But as I sat waiting for the opportunity to get back to my studio I contemplated the many options of projects...  

I considered pulling my Grandpa's ties out of the closet to see what I could pull together.  But I wasn't quite mentally prepared for that project...









And I am waiting on the last few items from my daughter for the Baby's first year quilt that I started last weekend.













After five hours of no power and the fact that it was nearly our normal bedtime, we called it a night... And then I laid in bed after being awakened at 2 AM by the gusting wind and thought of the Mug Rug of the Month that Jen over at Patterns By Jen is doing this year.  



I thought of all the possibilities! I thought of many ideas of my own (Hearts for February... a shamrock in March... so many options!) and the prospect of these being a new item to sell at the Farmer's Market this summer.


These Mug Rugs turned out to be perfect for a quick project and one that didn't require a lot of attention and is easy to pick up again if interrupted.

I have a love for log cabins and thought that a log cabin house would be a perfect size for a mug rug.  I gave it a whirl!  the log cabin rugs could be done "quilt as you go", too!  Oh, the possibilities!


 They are a bit smaller than Jen's but they will work just fine.  

Well, that was fun!  And I hope that you will stop by PBJ on the first of each month to see what her "Muggamo" pattern is.

Happy Quilting!

Melva



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I Am A Softie!

I am probably lucky that rescuing unfinished quilts is not equal to rescuing stray cats.  You see, when ever I see an unfinished quilt that someone is interested in giving away I graciously and excitedly drag it home and show it some love!

Can anyone else relate to what I am saying?  Let's take a look at what I have rescued over the years...


This 1980's BOM type quilt came to me with the completed blocks and all of the fabric for the borders and the backing, but the blocks varied in size, from 12" to 12-1/2"... I remedied the inconsistent size problem by making a border on each block and trimming them to 13 inches.
















This one was supposed to be much larger (Queen-sized maybe?)  It came to me with the 18 stars complete, the HST setting squares and the border pieces that needed some assembly... you can read the entire story here.





















And the biggest and most challenging rescue I made was this Broken Star Quilt!  It was a task that helped me grow immensely in patience and as a quilter... But what a beauty it turned out to be.










These three tops came to me and only needed to be sandwiched, quilted and the binding... But what lovely pieces they were - Imperfections and all.  I fell in love with them!


















And this brings me to my most recent rescue.  I received a Civil War reproduction log cabin quilt kit from one of the local quilters.  It had three blocks completed and all of the pre-cut strips for nine more.  One block was a little mis-shapen and did not have 1/4" seams and was, therefore, a little smaller than it was intended.  My guess is the quilter did not want to rip out the stitches for the entire block at the time, got frustrated and set it aside... and never went back.  

This is where I stepped in... I pieced the remaining nine blocks and then picked out stitches of the original three blocks - yes, all three because they were slightly smaller than the nine that I pieced and I wanted they to all be uniform.  




I dug into my stash to find borders...


And then I proceeded to practice my free-motion feathers!


So, there you have it... I am a big ol' softie when it comes to others UFOs... I am not be the "Crazy Cat Lady", but some have called me the "Crazy Quilt Lady". Haha!

What are your feelings on UFOs?  Love them? Hate them?
Do you have UFOs?  Do you, like me, love UFOs from other people? 

Leave a comment.  I love hearing from my followers!

Happy Rescuing!

 Melva

See what other quilters are talking about at QuilterBlogs

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 Goals and Give Away Winner Announced

Well, I was late in being able to participate in the linky party for sharing plans and goals for 2017 that Yvonne over at Quilting Jet Girl.  Perhaps next year...

While counting I realized that the number of spools used in 2016 was down - the 2015 total was 73 spools... the actual number of spools for 2016 was 38... but remember I started using larger spools and with the "conversion" that was equal to 59 spools. Still down... 😞

So what happened???  Well, I think part of it was a concentrated effort in growing my blog and posting more frequently... another thing that may have "stolen" away some of my studio time was the revamp of my husband's web-site for his business (Nolan Quality Customs).  And the final thing that occurred was my decision to not increase my "stock" for the farmer's market and shows.

All in all, 2016 was an interesting year and I look forward to seeing what is in store for us in 2017.

My "Quilty Goals" for the year include...


1)  A Wedding Quilt - this will be for our youngest daughter.  Pattern to be determined.











2)  Psalm 23 wall hanging - You may recall that I received six panels and completed two last year.  
























3)  I want to try a new technique - English Paper Piecing.  I received this adorable little set, along with the assortment of patterns. I think this will be a great little travel project.  













4)  I have had a collection of ties that belonged to my Grandpa hanging in my sewing room closet for several years and I think this is the year that I finally do something with them.










5)  Along the same lines, I have long wanted to do a Dresden plate quilt.  



6) And, for my final quilt project, I want to make a sweet raw edge teddy bear quilt that was recently shared with me on social media...  I have a collection of clothing items in my closet (right next to the neckties) from our two-year old grand-daughter that will be perfect for this.


And as a final item on my Quilty Goal list is to, again, participate in our local Farmer's Market.

As far as blogging goals... I'll try to continue with posts and updates about once a week, as well as an occasional blog hop or linky party - I think this will be a good balance for me, offering me plenty of time in my studio.

So, the winner of the spool guess is Janice H. with 35. Congratulations!  

Do you have a new technique that you want try?  

We are NEVER too old to learn!  Go ahead - Give it a go!

Have a quilty year!  💗

Melva

Head over to Quilter Blogs to see what other quilters doing...