Monday, August 31, 2015

Kids Can Quilt Too!

I just spent the last two weeks babysitting my two grand-daughters.  What an awesome time we had!  I thought that it might be fun to introduce four-year-old Rory to quilting.

So I loaded up a box full of random fabric strips and a few basic tools, and off I went.

Inspired by the improvisational piecing workshop I took with Pat Sloan a few weeks ago, I decided to keep this project very free-form.  These strips aren't cut to any specific size, and they're not necessarily straight.  I just cut them by eye, somewhere in the area of 2 inches, give or take...  I selected a wide variety of colors and prints so she would have lots to pick from.

I made two small design boards (styrofoam covered in batting), and showed her how to measure the strips and cut them to length (using a pair of Fiskars Beginner's Scissors).

I gave her TOTAL control of the design from this point forward.  She picked the fabrics, cut each strip, and arranged them on the board to her liking.  My job was to sew them together (under her supervision of course).

I have to admit, I'm a bit of a control freak, and it was really hard to just let her go.  In fact, a couple of times she had to put me in my place and remind me that this was HER quilt.

"Remember, Gramie?  You said I could do it my way!"

So yes - there are some fabrics that are wrong-side up, and some places where she placed the same fabric next to each other, and there is A LOT OF PINK!!!

But Rory likes it that way...  and now that it's finished, I do too!!!

She made nine blocks, so I brought them all home with me and just trimmed them all to one uniform size, then sewed them together this afternoon.

Rory even picked out her backing fabric when we went shopping at her local quilt shop.

Now I just have to quilt it and bind it, so I can give it to her during our next visit.

I think she's a natural.  Don't you?


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Quilters and Gardeners

Are you a Quilter and a Gardener?  From what I read, there are lots of you out there.  The two hobbies seem to go hand in hand.  Quilters like to garden, and Gardeners like to quilt.
Not me...
As much as I admire beautiful flowers and gardens, I just don't have a green thumb.  Everything I plant seems to die... don't know why...  it's just not my thing.

But my mother grew GORGEOUS hydrangeas!

I, apparently, did not inherit the green thumb gene.

After Mom died in March, and I realized that Dad would be putting the house up for sale, it occurred to me that I might never see those beautiful shrubs again.  So I took a cutting from each plant, with the thoughts of sharing them with my daughter, hoping to see Mom's hydrangeas blooming once again in our home gardens.

I took 5 cuttings, put them in a pot, and am happy to report that all 5 took root!
I spent two hours this afternoon planting 3 for me, and will pass the other 2 on to my daughter next week.

Two hours to plant 3 cuttings, you say???  Well, I was determined to do everything right, so I googled and googled and googled how to do this.  I dug and dug and dug before I added everything you might imagine to amend my soil.  Removed stones and rocks and weeds.  And this was after walking the entire property to find just "the right" spot...  Finally, they are in the ground and watered.

If my hydrangeas are half as pretty as Mom's I'll be happy.
If they don't grow, I'm going to throw in my gardening gloves for good.
If you have any connections with Mother Nature, please put in a good word for me...  on Mom's behalf.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Making Cherrywood Fabric

In 2008, I made this quilt called Cherrywood Checkers.  I had been to my first major quilt show in Lancaster PA, and absolutely fell in love with Cherrywood fabrics.  My budget was pretty tight at the time, and I didn't have a project in mind, so I treated myself to a little bag of Cherrywood scraps.  Lots of little bits in lots of luscious colors.  The perfect indulgence!!!

Then I found this pattern in a magazine (sorry, it's been too many years to remember which one) and decided that it was just the right project to use all those scraps.  I still use the quilt today, and have it draped over my sofa to curl up under on cool evenings.

These fabrics were very precious to me, so when I finished the quilt, I couldn't bear to throw away even the smallest scrap.  I tucked all the leftovers into a small ziplock bag to use "someday".  That was 7 years ago...

Then I learned how to "make fabric" in Pat Sloan's workshop that I took a couple of weeks ago.  So this weekend I found that old bag of scraps buried under even more scraps, and made more fabric!

I started with this small pile of bits...

And ended up with over 4 yards of this piano key border...

And this patchwork panel...

And I still have all of these little bits left to make MORE fabric!!!

I don't know what I'm going to make yet, but at least I have some great new fabric to work with!