Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sewing For Soldiers Saturday

Today I went to a group sewing event at Franklin Public Library. The Busy Bee's guild was working on quilt tops to raffle and raise money for speakers and guild functions. The books for soldiers group that I'm also a part of were busy sorting donated items for care packages while a few of us worked on pillow cases. I spent about an hour cutting fabric. I had helpers ironing flanges and Roxie assembled them into coordinated kits. I wasn't sewing for too long when my cousin Jean arrived with her sewing machine "Ron." At first we rattled along on our own pillow cases. Once my mom arrived with her sewing machine we decided to assembly line sew. We each sewed one step and Roxie did our ironing. We sewed a total of 38 pillow cases!!! It was a very productive day.

Comments:
Sunday, April 1, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (68.72.10.166)
Wow! Ya'll rock! I love it when people pull together and nail a project! Kudos!

Monday, April 2, 2007 - Sounds like fun
Posted by ninepatchrose (71.195.93.163)
How good it feels to have an ultra productive day! Looking for one of those myself pretty soon! :-)

Friday, March 30, 2007

"Quilt Worthy"

If I needed to pin point the most quilt worthy being on this planet, it's my dog Holly. She faithfully watches every strip I cut, every block I sew, gets in the way on each trip to the ironing board. Whenever I lay blocks out on the floor, she lays upon them. If I'm basting a quilt, she's laying on the other end. If I'm snipping strings and basting tacks, you guessed it...there she is!!

If I'm lying on the couch or bed with a quilt she'll join me and will reposition herself until her entire body is on it. It really makes me happy to see how much she loves my work. I usually make practice squares for free motion quilting but what I should really do is make them a little larger. 44x44 perhaps. When I finish practicing she'll be thrilled to lay on the results!!

On more than one occasion I've picked up one of her "quilts" off the floor to add an appliqué to practice satin stitching. She's always willing to let me try out a decorative stitch or new brand of thread. She's got all sorts of ODD quilted stuff. But, it keeps her extremely happy.





As you can see, she also always has a bandana on...straight from my stash or scraps.

She may be a dog, but I think she knows the difference between homemade and store bought bedding. She's the prime definition of QUILT WORTHY!!


Comments:
Saturday, March 31, 2007 - SO SWEET
Posted by ninepatchrose (71.195.93.163)
AHHHHHHHHHHH, these pics are so sweet!!! What a very sweet lovable dog you have there!!!! Give her a big hug from me!!!!!


Saturday, March 31, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by 51050 (24.176.0.71)
I'm a dog lover too. My Cammie is a cocker, and she isn't quite that loyal a quilting friend. She does often lay next to my by my machine. Aren't they great company? Rhoda


Monday, April 2, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by orchidlover (90.196.228.165)
Stanley is exactly the same. If there's a quilt on the floor he has to lie on it, even if I'm in the process of quilting. He takes it for granted that every quilt in the house is his love and hugs gina xxx

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A serious topic: My Grandma

In the summer of 1999, when my Grandma's Macular Degeneration reached a point when she could no longer sew, she gave me her Singer 2010 sewing machine so that I could learn. She gave me much more than that sewing machine. She may not have realized it then but she opened a whole new world for me.

When I was growing up, my mom and grandma were always sewing. I may not have paid attention when I was younger but I was always around it. I must have absorbed quite a bit. Fabric store trips were torturous and LOOOOONNNNNGGGG. Holidays were always fun because there was always something homemade. Christmas Eve at my Grandma & Grandpa's house was always full of Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. I could never sit still during Mass; I always wanted to get back to their house to open presents. But, they were different kinds of presents...always homemade. I can't remember a single store bought gift from my grandparents. I'm sure there have been some, but those aren't what's clear in my memory. To me, it's all of the outfits that Grandma made...I would grin from ear to ear thinking I was the most special kid on the planet because inside was sewn a tag that said, "Especially made for you by Grandma." The flannel pajama's...ohhh lots of flannel pajamas and when my Laura Ingalls Wilder kick began, my pajamas started coming with flannel hats just like Laura would wear to bed on the TV Show.

My first quilting project was learning how to rotary cut. My Grandma sent me off with her rulers and cutting mat and a giant box of flannel scraps. Now, my Grandma had 6 children, their spouses and 15 grandchildren. The box of scraps was from all of the flannel shirts and pj's that she had made....over a 40 year period. I cut, and cut, and cut 6.5" squares until there was no more fabric in that box to cut. Sure, my squares were all cut pretty wonky...nothing went with or without the grain...heck, I didn't even know what that was! I just kept sewing the squares together. In the end, I made a blanket for my dog, a twin size for myself, my Grandma and my second cousin Sammi along with a Queen Size for my cousin Keri. I was thrilled. But it wasn't until later that I realized what these quilts really meant. My Grandma didn't know about her quilt until her 80th Birthday Party. She was thrilled with it. It was so much fun watching my cousins all gather around my Grandma's quilt, pointing out which flannel pieces they had pajamas out of, uncles pointing out which pieces their flannel shirts were made out of.


In the middle of January I was in a quilt shop and saw a line of fabric that I thought was perfect for my Grandma. I said to my mom, "This summer I'm going to buy that fabric and make Grandma a quilt." Then in the beginning of February she had 3 heart attacks. I felt an overwhelming urge to make it for her right then. I bought the fabric on a Saturday. I chose a pattern called "4 Patch Flip" because I knew it was something that I could put together quickly. I had it in my head that time was of the essence. I ironed the fat quarters and cut the fabric right in front of her while she talked about how beautiful the fabrics were. I didn't let on that they were for her, just kept telling her that they reminded me of her. On Sunday, I sewed the top together, added the borders carefully mitering each corner. By Sunday night the quilt was layered and basted together. On Monday night after work I started to quilt. Mind you, my first experience with Free Motion Quilting was a class at the end of November. I really hadn't had much time to practice but with this quilt I just got it in my head that I was doing it and wasn't going to let my fear stop me. I stippled that entire quilt in three evenings. I used a product called "Quilting Made Easy" on the two borders, added the binding and by Wednesday night I called my mom for help removing basting tacks, cutting strings and removing the paper from the borders. I also managed to clog my vacuum and have to disassemble it that same evening! By Thursday night I was sewing my label on and was ready to take it to my Grandma. All told, since it was in such a short amount of time I was able to add my hours up. It took 25 hours from start to finish. But...I had a lot of nervous energy and worry that was actually working to my benefit and determination.





2007 My Grandmother’s Flower Garden Quilt


My Grandma loves her quilt. More than I ever anticipated. I just had that feeling of relief that came from giving it when I had felt so helpless while she was in the hospital. I wanted, no, NEEDED this by way of making a quilt to show her how much I loved her and how much I appreciated her giving me this gift of quilting. I named the quilt, "My Grandmother's Flower Garden." On the label I wrote, "Grandma, Thank you for inspiring me to become the quilter I am today."

Yesterday I spent the morning with her, my Mom and my aunt Kitty at the Hospital. She had 4-5 more episodes that they're now referring to as Angina and having advanced heart disease. This whole thing scares the living hell out of me. Please, keep her in your prayers, she's 87 and none of us are quite done with her yet.

This whole post is probably more than you ever wanted to know, but I felt the need to get my thoughts down and share them.


Comments:
Thursday, March 29, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by orchidlover (90.196.228.201)
What a lovely thing to do for your grandma. My quiltmentor was already in advanced stages of cancer when she helped me get started so I never got to make her anything as a thank you. She did leave me some fabric and I made a quilter's bag which carries all my rulers and cutting boards to workshops from it love and hugs gina xxx

Thursday, March 29, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by 51050 (24.176.0.71)
What a beautiful legacy! What a beautiful expression of your love for her! Rhoda

Thursday, March 29, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Vera (68.99.125.138)
What a beautiful quilt and a beautiful Grandma. This all makes me think of my Grandma and miss her even more. She has been gone for a good while but I think of her very often. I'll keep your Grandma in my prayers.

Thursday, March 29, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (68.72.10.166)
I just had a Grandma monent today as a matter of fact and now I'm crying again. You are sooo lucky to have been able to give her her quilt. My grandma's quilt is lying upstairs half quilted because we lost that awesome woman last June. She missed her nintyith birthday by one week. She had also been living on her own and had driven the week before. Congestive heart failure and respitory distress syndrome took her from us and my life will never be the same. Your grandma will be in my prayers. Cindy

Friday, March 30, 2007 - What a beautiful
Posted by ninepatchrose (71.195.93.163)
woman your grandma is! And how precious that you appreciate her so very much. The quilts are lovely!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What do you like to watch or listen to while sewing?

For the past year I've been utilizing my DVR to its fullest extent. It allows me to search the TV Guide for sewing and quilting shows and then record the entire series as it comes up. I can chose if I want repeats or new episodes only and since I haven't seen many of the shows out there, I just let it record whatever comes up. So far I've been DVR-ing Quilt in a Day with Eleanor Burns, Sewing with Nancy, America Sews with Sue Hausman, Fons & Porter, Simply Quilts and Kaye Woods. I've found that even if one episode of each of those shows tape every day (which isn't often that this happens). I can usually speed through them all in a total of 30 minutes. It's very rare that I actually watch a full episode. But if I'm sewing and want something mindless on in the background but sewing related I'll just press play and let them run.

Each show has its quirks. While Eleanor Burns' voice might drive me insane, I'd still LOVE to take a class with her or meet her. I own so many of her books, it's not even funny. Her website recently added Message Boards to it that are really nice. Sue Hausman is a little too excitable for me. Kaye Woods…WOW, didn't any of her producers or editors ever watch one of her shows? Her pink glittery nail polish that's in every episode picks up the stage lighting and really is distracting to the eyes…it's almost blinding! I'd like to send her a bottle of pink in the same shade, minus the glitter. Her nail polish has really made me appreciate the dark red, short nails that Eleanor always sports. Alex Anderson…her show Simply Quilts is one I just can't get enough of. I know she's making the move from cable to "The Quilt Show" online with Ricky Timms in the beginning of April and I'll follow her there. For $17 I was able to subscribe for the year as a charter member. I'll give it a shot, why not. Their site also has wonderful Message Boards and Chat rooms. Their online Quilt Gallery is very inspirational as it allows each member to upload 6 quilt pictures. Fons & Porter, while I like their show as it's very informational it just moves way too slow for me. I love their magazine because there is always so much information. Sewing with Nancy, although her show revolves mainly around regular sewing, not quilting she has so much information to share. I wouldn't have known what half of my sewing machine feet were used for in real life had it not been for her show.

Another thing I like to listen to while sewing is Audio books. I recently discovered that I can download free audio books off the internet through the Wisconsin Library Consortium. I purchased an inexpensive MP3 player with a small amount of memory (512MB) just to use for audio books. Since January I've listened to Jane Austin's Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility, The Notebook & At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks and a few other various books that fall in the romance category. I downloaded a silly book called "How does Aspirin find a Headache?" Filled with odd tidbits of information including why people are buried 6 feet under.
Prior to finding out I could download audio books I was taking out the Tapes and CD's from the library. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling are great to listen to. The Narrator really sounds like a grandfather reading you a bedtime story.

With Audio books I've learned that it's possible to love the story but hate the narrator. There are a few books that I've had to stop listening to because of that. There's always the same dilemma you face when reading…how many chapters do you give a book before you decide it's just not something captivating enough for you to continue? I'm currently listening to Janet Evanovich 's Back to the Bedroom. The romance was obvious to see coming and the things happening are just too quirky…a "pod" falling off a helicopter and through the main character's roof, 2nd and 3rd floors of her home and a wacky old lady that moves into her rented room. I've been listening for about 3 hours now and although I hate to put a book down, whether I'm reading or listening I think it's time to give this book the ax. I'm just not interested enough to see where it goes! I think it's time to wait in line for some Nora Robert's audio books!

Comments:
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by orchidlover (90.196.228.201)
I don't watch the tv as there's never anything worth watching. We don't get craft programmes over in the UK. I do listen to the radio constantly though. We have a good station that does plays and comedies all day. I also listen to a music station that just plays rock music. love and hugs gina xx

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - Simply Quilts?
Posted by mamanance (24.125.243.7)
So is that why SQ is not on HGTV any more? I watch her almost every morning, and had been seeing the ads for her webpage address changing, and I have watched a video or two at the new address, but no listing there or on HGTV for her this week. I'll have to check that out. I've never watched any of the others you mentioned. I do like to listen to music - sometimes mine, sometimes XM online, sometimes Pandora or my Yahoo Music. And I have listened to a book thru audible.com, but you pay for that, and free is better!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by 51050 (24.176.0.71)
I will miss SQ because it's the only quilt show that I watch! The others, if I can get them, are on at inconvenient times. I should try taping, I guess. I either listen to CDs or watch Law & Order shows or spinoffs. They don't need my full attention. I do need to have something going in the background. Rhoda

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by completeshandemonium (64.12.116.138)
Hi Jen - I've really been enjoying your posts and seeing your projects. You are a very industrious quilter! When I'm sewing I usually have the DIY channel on and watch all of the sewing, knitting and crafting shows in the afternoon. In the morning I'll keep ABC on or listen to Sirius Satellite radio. I must confess, I am still stuck in the disco era and must flash back to that time as often as possible! When I want to be mellow I will listen to the New Age channel or listen to music on TV. No commercials...heaven!

Thursday, March 29, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (68.72.10.166)
I joined The Quilt Show too. I listen to podcasts while I am quilting. Annie's Quilting Stash Podcadt is great! I alos listen to Alex and that's where I heard about The Quilt Show. It will be interesting on the 2nd because they said that there probably will be problems because everyone will be trying to watch it all on that day and bog everything down. Hmmmmm, to wait a day or not? Cindy

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My near obsession with Quilting and the Underground Railroad

My obsession with Quilting and the Underground Railroad started a few years back when my mom lent me her copy of Jennifer Chiaverini's "The Runaway Quilt." While I realize her story is fiction it really piqued my interest. Before long, I discovered Eleanor Burns, "Underground Railroad" pattern book and was compelled to make the quilt.




For Christmas this year I received the book Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad by Jacqueline L. Tobin & Raymond G. Dobard. Wow, is that an amazing book. Every time I turned around I was learning something new.

If you've read or seen the movie The DaVinci Code, you've learned a little bit about the Free Masons and the use of Masonic Code. If you believe in the Underground Railroad, you'll learn that a lot of the quilt squares we recognize today are based on codes similar to the Masonic Codes. The codes were the used the same way to pass along information.

It was interesting to learn how a flying geese quilt block is made so one set points north. Only it's not the geese that point north, it's the striped fabric used on one of the geese sets that points north. Another example is the Trip Around the World pattern, or the Bears Paw block. Trip around the World would have told the slaves to go around the mountains where as Bears Paw was telling them to go through the mountains following the bears trail to food and water. And then there's the tying of quilts. Here I thought it was merely for utility purposes...oh no...not at all. The number of ties, the pattern of ties, the ways the knots were all tied all came into play. They told things such as how far to the next railroad station, when to travel, or acted as a map.

The book was an absolutely fascinating read. I can see myself reading it many times and learning something new each time.

And if that doesn't make me addicted enough, I've also added The Civil War Diary Quilt by Rosemary Youngs to my collection. Someday I hope to make some of the blocks but in total there are 121 of them!

Comments:

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - Civil War diaries
Posted by orchidlover (90.196.228.201)
Don't worry Jen, at the rate you turn out work it wouldn't suprise me if you've got the blocks done by the summer love and hugs gina xxx

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (68.72.14.230)
That is a very beaudtiful quilt!!!! Did you use a fabric line or stuff from your stash. You have inspired me to make this. I'll throw it on the pile. LOL Cindy

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by lori (24.215.52.160)
What a great quilt , you've inspired me to get mine finished ,just have to add the borders .Like you I love reading about the underground railroad ,I've read all the same books except Hidden in plain View ,don't know how I missed that one ,thanks for mentioning the title .

Friday, March 30, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by seamsantiques (207.69.138.141)
Love your quilt. I have the Civil War Diary Quilts book and I'm going to be asking for the other two as gifts from my son and his wife. He's a book store manager so books and they usually come up with some kinda quilting book they think I'd like. So I might as well ask for what I'm interested in at the moment!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Just because I'm crafty doesn't mean I'm obligated to take on YOUR craft project...

I log into my email this morning and with the first thing I read I become disgruntled. We all have friends and family that fall into a few different categories. There's people who you're close to, people who you're not that close to. There are those that you'd help out in any way possible because you know they truly appreciate what you do. Then on the flip side of that there are those people who are just looking for someone else to take on their craft project that they volunteered to do and have no intent of doing themselves so are searching for someone to do it for them.

Yep, you guessed it...the email that I received was the last example. I shouldn't even feel disgruntled because by now I should expect this out of this individual.

"I know it's the last minute and I have this hat that I need to put together for a bachelorette party this weekend. I have ideas but I don't know how it should go together. Can you do it for me and I'll take you out for dinner or drinks?

Ummm, in a word, NO. But, I've got to be nice. In my nice email back I just say I really have too much already going on this week (It's true, I do. I've got fabric to cut up to make pillow case kits for a sewing day at the library on Saturday, I've got 44 pillow cases to iron to turn in on Saturday, CPR class tomorrow night after work, Bowling Wednesday night) But of course, the guilt factor kicks in and I feel the need to explain all of this even though I shouldn't have to. I do however offer to chat about the project on the phone or through email regarding any questions she has about putting it together. Why does it seem that I'm obligated to feel guilty for not being able to complete a project that isn't my own? I mean, really. Sure I'm crafty but I've never put a hat together unless you count the gaudy 4th of July hat I once made in my grade school years for a family "Most Patriotic Hat" contest. Lots of hot glue, sparkles and pipe cleaners. I'm sure that's NOT what she has in mind. But on the other hand, just how hard is it to glue some Tulle to a baseball cap? But why should I be asked to be the one doing the gluing?

Why does it always seem that I'm the "uncrafty persons" first step before trying it themselves? Sure, it's flattering that they all seem to think I'm some miracle worker when it comes to crafts. Truth be told, I'm not nor do I pretend to be or want to be. I just put a lot of time into the things that I do and they're only seeing the end result, not the hours it took to get me there.

Now that it's down on "paper" I feel a little bit better. Thanks for "listening" to my insane ramblings of a crafty person!


Comments:
Monday, March 26, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by 51050 (24.176.0.71)
I totally know what you mean! Do you ask your friend who is a great cook to come over and make dinner when you're having friends over? Of course not. So why do they think you should want to do their craft project? It's like that's a different category and you should be honored to be asked to do their work. I don't mind when someone is really in a bind through no fault of their own, but there is one friend who asks every so often. I try to be very gracious too. sometimes I do it, sometimes not. It is good just to vent sometimes, isn't it?

Monday, March 26, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Cre8tiveQuilter (72.128.107.47)
51050, you said exactly what I was having a hard time putting into words. It's like you should be honored that they asked you. And that's exactly it...I wouldn't say, "hey I'm having a party, can you cook for it?" I'm glad I'm not the only one who this happens to!

Monday, March 26, 2007 - So hard to say NO!
Posted by mamanance (24.125.243.7)
Jen, it really is hard to say "No" isn't it? I've agreed over the years to do several things that I absolutely wish I hadn't done, but at the time I was afraid I guess to say that little 2-letter word. And still, on the occasions when I do I find that I want to explain too much about why I just can't do it. Couldn't I just say I don't want to and be done with it? I do think it gets easier with practice - maybe eventually that guilty feeling goes away too??? Good for you in sticking to your guns!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by orchidlover (90.196.228.201)
I'm with you all on this one. i had a 'friend' who i helped out with kids fancy dress costumes and party dresses. Once i couldn't make anything for a party as i was ill and after being told that it was MY fault her kids didn't win the fancydress contest has never spoken to me since. Not that I'm bothered but believe me it's alot easier to say no in the beginning and let them know where you stand than do it begrudgingly all the time love and hugs gina xxx

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (68.72.14.230)
I understand where your coming from. I don't mind helping out someone in a pinch but when it becomes repetative it gets old. And you shouldn't feel guilty, all the great things you are doing for people, you spare time is used for eating and going to the bathroom :0) LOL Cindy

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by lori (24.215.52.160)
oh my let me put my two cents in ,I can do one better ,I know a person who is for ever encouraging me to go to different class's ( I really do enjoy learning new things ) the next thing I know this person is phoning to ask if I can show her how to do what I have just paid to learn .( Money is not a problem for her ) I'm getting to see why LOL .I never was a person who could say NO but I have learn to talk my way out of it in the last few months .

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday Sew-A-Palooza

On Sunday I went to my mom's to sew. I began working on a Carol Doak mini wall hanging. I still need to paper piece the borders. Although the green fabric is cotton, it's a looser woven. I managed to put my seam ripper through the top of block 11. Since I've come so far, I'm just going to leave it. This is just meant to be a little spring wall hanging in my cubicle at work. It will be far enough away from anyone else’s eye that they won't notice my little hole unless I'm a dummy and point it out to them. I change my work wall hangings so often that it probably won't be up for very long anyway and done is better than sitting in a box never finished.


I've been using thin vellum for my paper piecing. It just seems to be so much bulk when I'm sewing the sections together. Is there any good way around this? Does anyone have any paper tips for me?

I'm DYING to get the rest of my Carol Doak goodies in the mail!!


Comments:
Monday, March 26, 2007 - Paper-piecing paper
Posted by mamanance (24.125.243.7)
Hey Jen, Saw your message on CDQG so zipped over here to see your posting. I just received today a 2nd order from Carol so I know have her 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars and CD, her 300 Paper-Pieced Quilt Blocks and CD, and the Foundation Factory Designer ed. I also got a pacakge of her Foundation Paper and add a 1/8 " ruler - I already had the add a 1/4". I am so anxious to get started on something of hers, but am trying to finish up a quilt for my mom first. I have less than 1/2 of the last side to go on the last two borders, then cut binding, sew it together, and add it to the quilt - hand-quilting so maybe not as fast as machine, but I'll get it done soon! One of the first ones I want to try is the SC star you made. One of my sisters just moved to SC so I think it would make a nice gift for her. Nancy

Monday, March 26, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Cre8tiveQuilter (72.128.107.47)
Nancy, I'm waiting for the 50 stars CD, the 300 blocks and I splurged on the 40 blocks w/ cd. I don't know if I'm quite ready for the add an 1/8...but it's a gadget, I'm sure I'll end up with it shortly. The South Carolina star wasn't too bad to put together. The only thing I can suggest is cutting your pieces, I was determined to try it with just 1-1/4" strips and they really got in the way! I sure learned my lesson.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (68.72.14.230)
It is VERY beautiful. I probably wouldn't fix it either. I need to keep more of my stuff for me. I use Carol Doaks Paper for paper piecing and it works pretty good. I have heard of interfacing too.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by lori (24.215.52.160)
I love your wall hanging ,The colors are soft .Carol's site is excellent ,I'm hoping for some free time to finish her mystery quilt .

Do you quilt alone or with others?

For the most part, I quilt alone. But it's nice to know that my mom is only a block away for a run to the fabric store. But, for the past year, my mom and I have been quilting together almost every Sunday. I pack up my machine and the projects that I want to work on and head off to my mom's. Me and the dog. It's our ritual. Along with it being my husband’s ritual to watch sports on Sunday. It's gotten to the point that every time I pack up my sewing supplies Holly gets all excited. When she doesn't get to go she gets all mopey and depressed.

I get to my mom's, I pull out my own folding table and set everything up and the two of us spend the day sewing across from each other in the living room while our two dogs snooze on the couch or play in the middle of the room. We sew this way from afternoon until the news at 10pm. I wouldn't trade this time for anything!!

My Mom



Murphy & Holly


Comments:
Sunday, March 25, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (68.72.14.230)
I mostly quilt alone. I'm in two quilt groups. One I just take hand sewing to and the other I will sometimws take my machine. Both groups only last about two hours long. You're so lucky to spend that time with your mom! Mine lives 250 miles away. When we're together we shop til we drop! She likes quilt shops but she doesn't quilt.

Sunday, March 25, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by lori (24.215.52.160)
I usually quilt alone ,most of my friends quilt and we shop and go to guilds together .How nice to have your mom as a quilting buddy , I'm sure you look forward to your time together .Have fun.
Monday, March 26, 2007 - wonderful
Posted by ninepatchrose (71.195.93.163)
What a wonderful way to spend time with your mom! Truly a gift!



Monday, March 26, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by 51050 (24.176.0.71)
I enjoy quilting alone, but there is one group I go to every other week. We have a good time and exchange ideas. Sometimes we do a project together. You're so fortunate to have your mom nearby. My mom and I lived 500 miles apart until the last 4 years of her life, when she was in an assisted living facility nearby. I always enjoyed showing her my crafts because she liked doing them when she was younger and healthier. Enjoy your mom while she's here! Rhoda

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - Yoda (my mentor)
Posted by jwnpwi (209.83.38.125)
I am new to the sewing world and have Jen to thank for that. I can't leave out her Mom. They both have been great in teaching me the ins and outs of sewing. They even came with when I bought my first sewing machine. I have taken to calling Jen YODA, the all knowing master sewer. I love the time we spend together and my new adventure of sewing.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Have you named your sewing machine?

I owned two sewing machines before purchasing my Janome 6600P and never thought to name those but decided the new machine needed a name. I ran across this article on the web and decided to name my machine Elizabeth after the wife of Elias Howe, who could have indeed been the actual inventor!
...I often heard (Elias Howe) say that he worked 14 years to get up that sewing
machine. But his wife made up her mind one day that they would starve to death
if there wasn't something or other invented pretty soon, and so in two hours she
invented the sewing machine. Of course he took out the patent in his name. Men
always do that.-Russell Conwell, 1877

As intriguing as this statement is, we will never know if the credit for the first sewing machine should actually go to Elizabeth Ames Howe. What we do know is that of the thousands of sewing machine patents granted in the past 150 years, hundreds of them have been for women's inventions.

Many inventors, both men and women, contributed to the sewing machine we know today. The first sewing machine was patented in 1790, and many key innovations were made over the next century.

So, There you have it. My sewing machine is named Elizabeth. I purchased her in February of 2006 and we've had a wonderful year together.

Have you named your sewing machine?

Comments:
Thursday, March 29, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by JWNPWI (72.128.96.214)
I too have named my machine! I went shopping one night w / my cousin, aunt and Grandma, and found my first sewing machine. I bought it right on the spot, after the experts I had with me approved. After I got my machine home and spent some time getting to know it and understand it I decided on a name. I would like to introduce you to Ron! Yup I named my machine Ron. Ann odd name for a machine? Not to me, I named it in honor of a guy I work with. He is a master mechanic and does our industrial sewing. Who better to name it after. Was the real Ron thrilled I named my machine after him? Let's just say, nothing I do surprises him any more. I can't imagine not having named my machine.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Quilting With Laura Sampler

I've begun to work on this sampler by Linda Halpin. The directions are for hand piecing, since that's not happening in this lifetime I'm doing it the old fashioned way....by machine!! I was given this book for my birthday about 6 years ago by my friend Gale. She knows I've had a life long obsession with Laura Ingalls Wilder. I've read the books multiple times and I love the TV series. I'll even admit that I have all 9 seasons on DVD. I just can't get enough of her.

Why did I wait so long to start? I had quilters block, I needed to find right fabric. I just bought a Jelly Roll by Moda from the Bound to the Prairie II series. A Jelly Roll is 42 2-1/2" strips. It's one strip of each fabric in the collection. Since the sampler is relatively small, most of the blocks can be constructed from this size strip. I bought a few matching 1/2 yard pieces to add in for the larger sizes. I decided to start with the Log Cabin Blocks. Wow, they're tiny!!! They finish at 4 inches. I also completed the Flying Geese and a good amount of the half square triangles by using the leftovers from the flying geese connector squares.


Comments:
Saturday, March 24, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (68.72.14.230)
I love samplers. Someday I'd like to try one. Yours is turning out beautifully. Love the fabrics.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by lori (24.215.52.160)
Very nice , I also love the series of Laura Wilder I think its the love for simpler times ,hard work and family .Maybe that is why I love the Amish communities so much .

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by sunshine (69.34.151.157)
Nice work and I love the colors. I'm sure it means alot to you. I've always enjoyed her books and tv shows. Thanks for sharing this with us newbees.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pillow Cases for US Troops

I learned how to make Pillow Cases last summer. At first I thought they were kind of dumb but then I really got into them. It's fun to have holiday and special interest pillow cases. I will never sleep with matched pillow cases on my bed again. Especially nice when it's fabric with quilt blocks on it!! My friend Ruth found an article in our local paper telling about the Franklin Public Library and its Troop Care Package Program. They work off of the Books For Soldiers list sending care packages to our overseas US Soldiers containing: A homemade pillow case, book, DVD, homemade cards for writing home, various snacks and sundries. I wanted to make a few pillow cases and so far, a few has turned into 145. I went through my entire fabric stash and used everything that I didn't foresee using in the near future. You know all those pieces of fabric that although they are lovely because we wouldn't exactly buy crap, just are never going to make it into quilts. Sometimes it's just better to part with fabric like that, to free yourself of the "well, I could make this using xyz, but I don't really like it anymore." It's the nature of the beast, we're always planning for 4 or more projects down the road.


So, free yourself of your stash! Sew it up for a charitable organization or donate a few pieces for someone else to sew. 1 Yard of fabric is all it takes for a pillow case. That one yard could really brighten someone's day!

Comments:
Friday, March 23, 2007 - Great idea
Posted by MommaM (76.5.227.247)
I think I could do that! Pillow cases are so expensive. My kids like to sleep with several pillows too. I have been cutting off the tail of sheets that are worn in the middle. Have made them pillow cases from their old favorite sheets. I love the thought of using some of this great fabric that I am not getting around to making into anything. Our middle son has been home from Iraq less than a year. He would have LOVED a fresh clean pillowcase. But-not something he asked for. I just didn't think of it either. What a special project!

Friday, March 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (68.72.14.230)
That is really a good idea. I may mention it at my quilt group and maybe will make them for our bazaar in Nov.

Saturday, March 24, 2007 - pillow cases
Posted by Anonymous (12.218.236.179)
I would love to learn how to make those gorgeou pillow cases. I found your blog through Carol Doak's Group (the link was in your signature) and decided to investigate. I am glad I did! Sue P-J

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Paper Piecing - My newest addiction

Years ago my friend Gale tried to teach me how to paper piece and I just didn't get it. Over the years I've become intrigued by paper piecing...finally enough to ask for a Carol Doak book called "50 Fabulous Paper Pieced Stars" this year for Christmas. I flipped through the book until the beginning of March when I decided enough was enough, I was taking a class. I signed up at The Patched Works and our class project was a Pineapple Block coaster.


Finally I felt ready to give one of Carol's blocks a try. I needed two blocks for a Breast Cancer Donation quilt so I pulled out my pinks and started to choose. Little did I know, the first block I wanted to make; the South Carolina Star was 120 pieces. I worked my way through South Carolina and Ohio and really enjoyed the process. I LOVE the precision. Never in a million years did I think I could make quilt blocks as intricate as these.
I've now joined Carol Doak's Yahoo Group. It's a nice group. I hope to become involved in some of their challenges, swaps and mystery quilts sometime soon!


Comments:

Friday, March 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by orchidlover (90.196.228.158)
Hi I'm a member of Carol's group aswell. I'm doing the Mystery quilt and am really enjoying it love and hugs gina xx


Friday, March 23, 2007 - Welcome!
Posted by mamanance (24.125.243.7)
Welcome to the blog Jen. I just joined Carol Doak's group too and have ordered the Foundation Factory - and have spent way too much time browsing that website and looking at all the photos and pattern files! I can't see the pictures you posted - have others had the same problem?

Friday, March 23, 2007 - Pictures
Posted by Cre8tiveQuilter (69.216.24.194)
Thank you for the heads up on my missing pictures. Turns out I was using the wrong URL link.

Friday, March 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Vera (68.99.125.138)
Hi and welcome. I viewed your quilt album. You really have done a lot of very nice quilts. I love the pillow cases, I need to make some of those.

Friday, March 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (68.72.14.230)
Have one of Carole's books and have used her paper. I do love to paper piece and that group sounds great, but if I join one more thing they'll hual me off to the funny farm! LOL

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Projects...I have HOW MANY going?

I have so many of them that I actually seem to be in a bit of a quilting slump this week. I run into these once in a while, so four days of slump is really nothing to be alarmed about. On Monday I met with the Angel Quilters, a group of quilters that meets at Homespun Creations on the Third Monday night of the month from 6-8:30pm to work on quilts for Project Linus. I had good intentions of unpacking my machine on Monday night when I got home and next thing I know, it's Friday and my machine is still packed up.

When I first started quilting I used to be able to buy fabric for one project, and complete it in its entirety. I thought it was great to have no fabric stash. Then I started accumulating a stash, but was still able to finish the projects that I had started and usually only had one project going at once. In my current phase I thinned my stash, but I have a ridiculous amount of projects going and not getting finished. It felt so good to thin my stash. I made Pillow Cases for Soldiers, Quilts for Project Linus and then all the smaller pieces - if I could get a 2.5" strip out of them I cut them and then rolled them into "coins" for my monthly game of Strip Poker at Patched Works (the first Wednesday of every month).

Now, let's talk about my insane amount of projects:

Always ongoing:
-15 pillow cases a month for Soldiers 4-5 split rail fence quilt tops per month
-Wendy Reives Block of the month (2nd Friday of each month)
-Moda-U Block of the month at Bits N Pieces (3rd Saturday of each month)

Things I'm actively working on or want to be actively working on:
-Quilting with Laura Sampler Paper piecing blocks that I'm dying to try...if only I had the right fabric stash to work on them. Sigh...no stash to dig through.

Things that I'd like to work on:
-A 35 block "Turning Twenty Again" quilt in Moda Chocolat Fabric. The blocks are done, but the top needs to be assembled.
-Moda Chocolat Hexagon Cheater Panel that I added quite a few borders to. It needs to be basted and quilted.
-Blue and Yellow Pineapple Quilt. It's half basted and then needs to be quilted. It's currently stuffed into a pillow case.

Things that are just sitting there:
-Sunflower Dresden Plate Quilt. Needs to be basted and quilted.
-A 9 patch in colors that I would have never purchased on my own but fell in love with the striped border in a kit. Needs to be basted and quilted.
-A Harvest Spice block of the month. The top is together, the border isn't on yet. I really don't like the quilt but I feel obligated to finish it because it was so bloody expensive. Its queen size and I have no idea what I'll ever do with it. It's just not my style.
-Christmas stocking panels from an art to Heart collection
-Turkey wall hanging for the front door

And then there's the quilts that I have fabric purchased for but not started yet:
-Egg Money Quilt in 30's reproduction fabrics
-Pink and Purple Quilt for my 2nd cousin Alli
-Blue Quilt for my 2nd cousin Jacob for at his mom's house
-Green Quilt for my 2nd cousin Zach for at his mom's house
-Quilt for Jacob at his dad's house - colors to be determined
-Quilt for Zack at his dad's house - colors to be determined
-Reindeer Quilt from an Art to Heart Book

Wow...the sad part is, I'm sure I'm missing a few things! Please tell me that someone out there has as many projects going as I do!! I feel dizzy!!!

P.S. As my friend Diane reminded me, the memory bears. They fall into the category of afraid to cut the fabric. I'm making bears for her and her daughters and my cousins' 2 daughters.

Comments:
Friday, March 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (68.72.14.230)
Oh yeah!!!! I can relate. Posted awhile back that I had so many projects going that I'd rather sit down and watch two back to back scary movies then write down all my ufos. LOL

Friday, March 23, 2007 - Oh my....
Posted by MommaM (76.5.227.247)
As I read this amazing list, I immediately see ideas for quilts that I would like to make! I do have way too many things started as well. But I am going to make some pillow cases for sure... All good as long as it's fun, right?

Saturday, March 24, 2007 - Yep, I'm right there with you
Posted by ninepatchrose (71.195.93.163)
So many quilts, so much fabric and so little time! As I was browsing at the quilt shops this past week after the quilt show, I thought to myself "I should be home sewing and quilting what I have" not looking for more.But I did by more. Here's my list if it helps at all. although it's not quite as longas yours , sorry..... finish the baby log cabin on my frame lap friendship star that needs basted and quilted Musgrave reunion lap quilt that has to be basted and quilted before the end of June Finish Blocks for Moms of the Bible - four to go and then get that one arranged, sashed and quilted. Use up the 24 quilt blocks I received in a swap a couple of years ago. Make the 2 quilts i just bought fabric for Make up the fishing motif wall hanging and pillows for one of my dh's friends. Sew a robe that I have been asked (and willbe paid to do) Make a skirt, jumper and dress I just bought fabric for Finish binding my picnic quilt before sumemr. See that's not so bad really. Finish up the piecing on the double wedding ring from class (two more weeks of class) then quilt it and bind it. WE CAN DO IT WE CAN DO IT WE CAN DO IT WE CAN DO IT

Saturday, March 24, 2007 - It's Diane...and you forgot one!
Posted by Anonymous (72.131.16.122)
Okay, it's not technically a quilt project exactly, but this will give you guys an idea of the kind of person Jen is. About five months ago my mom went into hospice care and one of the first people I told was Jen (we work together). Not even a couple hours later, she came to me with an idea that she remembered hearing about: making bears from the clothes of loved ones as a remembrance. She asked very tactfully if I and my two daughters might like something like this. I thought it was such a wonderful gesture, to have someone care and want to express her support by sewing a memento (I know a lot of people make quilts for this purpose too). I said yes, and Jen immediately contacted the local hospice and acquired the bear pattern. My mom passed away after over four months in hospice care. It was a long ordeal, but the week our family spent preparing for her memorial service brought us all closer together and brought back many great memories of Mom's life. After the service my daughters and I picked out some of Mom's precious, beautifully embroidered sweatshirts for our bears. So Jen's project list also includes sewing three Memory Bears! I can't believe how no matter how busy she is, she's always sewing gifts and donations for others. She's amazing! Diane

Saturday, March 24, 2007 - That's some list!
Posted by mamanance (24.125.243.7)
If I made a list of my projects it would be quite a bit shorter. I do go over it in my mind periodically - over 15 when I add them up, but that hasn't stopped me from coming up with others to do. Some are just a hint of an idea, and I doubt I'll get them all done in this lifetime - but my youngest daughter, who also does some quilting, already knows all my stash, etc is hers someday. And about stashes, I thought the idea was to grow it, not use it up!! If I use some from it I feel like I must immediately replace it with more ... much more! I am guessing that you don't hand-quilt these projects, since you probably do take time to eat and sleep once in awhile! Do you do your own machine quilting or send them out?

Saturday, March 24, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by orchidlover (90.196.228.17)
I'm too scared to write down a to do list. I don't think I'll ever clear my WIP box. I tend to finish my quilt tops but then they go in the queue for quilting. love and hugs gina xx

Monday, March 19, 2007

My Very Own 2007 Challenge

If you'd call this a New Year's Resolution, it sure is a funny one. I'm resolving to sew more. Wow, now there's a real shocker!

I'm challenging myself to make 52 quilt tops for Project Linus.
One for each week of the year. I've already made 13 this year so I'm on track.

I'm challenging myself to make 144 pillow cases for the US Soldiers that are serving overseas. I've already made 45 this year so I'm on track.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A "Fat Quarter Frenzy" experience that only *I* could have

A few weeks ago, my local quilt store had a sale on fat quarters. They were selling for $1 each. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to pick up as many blues, greens, pinks and purples as I could find since it's time to make "Big Kid Quilts" for a few of my cousins' children who have outgrown their baby quilts. The shopping trip with my mom started out innocently enough. There were plenty of fat quarters to be had.

I started amassing my choices and they began to out-grow the space I had in my arms so it was time to step off to the side and start sorting. I picked a spot that seemed to be "off the beaten path," or so I thought, and began stacking my fat quarters by color so I could count them up and see what else I needed. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a woman starting to circle. She approached me and without saying a word and started rifling through my stacks. I was bewildered. Now, this is one of my favorite quilt stores, it's the last place that I want to cause a scene in. So I simply told her that I was buying them; just stopping to count them up. She said not a word and walked away. A few moments pass (Yes, I had so many that it did take me a while) and here she comes again. This time grabbing a handful and starts to turn away. I Can't Believe This Is Happening! A second time I say, "Really, I am buying all of these." She gives me a dirty look - I swear she actually stomped away.

My mom comes over with her pile to ask what that was all about. I tell her and she laughs. She agrees to watch my stacks while I go off for more. The lady starts to circle a third time. This time obviously puzzled that someone else is standing with those fat quarters. I can't help but notice the fact that there are still many, many fat quarters available even in the same colors and prints that are already in my stack. Laughing to myself I go back over to my mom...the lady is Still circling. She comes closer like she's about to dive in. Frantically I'm putting the piles into my arms. She approaches. I say, "I think I'm just going to pick these up and move over to the floor so that I don't confuse you any further." The look on her face was priceless.

Now ready to check out with my mom following behind. I say to her, "I think this woman is taking the "frenzy" part of Fat Quarter Frenzy a little too seriously!" I quickly purchase my 60 fat quarters and leave the store without further incident.

I've never seen anything like that before...especially in a nice quilt store. Not even at a big box fabric store on the day after Thanksgiving have I seen anything like this. Maybe she's spent a few years too many waiting with her husband in the Best Buy line at the day after Thanksgiving sales or something because us quilters, we're typically really nice people!

Comments:
Friday, March 23, 2007 - So Funny!
Posted by mamanance (24.125.243.7)
What a story - I was laughing out loud before I finished reading it! Thanks for sharing. And how nice that your mom is close enough to shop with you - and clearly understands about buying FQ's, etc!

Friday, March 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by 51050 (24.176.0.71)
and who said quilting was boring!! Rhoda

Friday, March 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (68.72.14.230)
That is just too funny. Now every time you go to use those fat quarters you will have to smile with that memory in mind.

Saturday, March 24, 2007 - SO FUNNY
Posted by ninepatchrose (71.195.93.163)
What a story! That is so funny, i was laughing too by the time I was done. Maybe she was a coming a little unravled in the mind, (spoken in kindness), if you know what I mean. Well, glad you got your fq's home safe and sound.

Saturday, March 24, 2007 - Frenzy
Posted by Anonymous (12.218.236.179)
LOL! That is a great story! I can just see that happening. Sue P-J

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Pictures? Where are my pictures?

Yep, you guessed it...User Error! I was putting the wrong link in for the URL code. Luckily my friend Diane was able to show me what I was doing wrong and now that everything is fixed, I'm back in business.

Comments:
Friday, March 23, 2007 - Hi fro a Wisconsin native
Posted by 51050 (24.176.0.71)
Hi Jen, I looked through your quilt link. You are a prolific quilter, and your work is wonderful! There were several that I loved, but I'm wondering if you would share your source of the snowflake wall hanging pattern. It is definately my kind of thing! I've been looking for a similar pattern for a while. Being from northern Wisconsin (Wausau) and living now in Michigan, snow is a real fact of life. I like the metalic thread used in your quilts. I enjoy using that too. It really spices things up. Rhoda

Friday, March 23, 2007 - still no pictures
Posted by mamanance (24.125.243.7)
Jen, I still don't see the pictures, but maybe it is just my internet connection or something. However, I have been browsing thru your Yahoo pix and all I can say is WOW!! How do you find the time to do all of those things?? I saw your message on CD's group and plan to send in one myself soon. I love the two Breast Cancer designs that you used - they are two of my favorites from all the ones I've seen posted in the photos on CD's site. I have to agree that the snowflake wallhanging is one of my favorites, but I also really like the pineapple coaster and quilt. Are those Carol Doak's as well. I have ordered the Foundation Factory but haven't received it yet. My fingers are itching to try some from her website, but I am trying to finish hand-quilting a lap quilt for my mom before I start another project -- must stay focused as my husband reminds me!

Friday, March 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (68.72.14.230)
WOW!!!!! Just checked out your album. It's AWESOME! Your truely an ambitious quilter, but you really should take a break and grab a snack and go to the bathroom. LOL Keep up the GREAT work. Thanks so much for sharing your album.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I can't believe I'm blogging!

I've wanted to start a blog for some time now. But really, what do I have to say that's so important? I just love to quilt. I guess a blog about quilting is reason enough to have one!

Comments:
Friday, March 23, 2007 Posted by scissorhandscps
Welcome! I have been blogging here about one month and love. Pepole are nice and I have a good time. Hope you do too :0)