Crafts, Quilting, Uncategorized

Quilting Inspiration

With creative activities , there’s always something that sparks the imagination to get the ball rolling. First, let me tell you that I find quilting to be a very creative activity. There are so many decisions to make during the process: how wide should the border be, what colors to put next to each other, how to bind or edge the quilt, and on and on. Second, since it’s creative, I need some inspiration and that’s where The Patchwork Girl of Oz came in. At a very young age, my parents read The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum to me. The Patchwork Girl herself was rather spoiled, maybe even narcissistic. However, since she was made from a crazy quilt, it peeked my interest in quilts and quilting. So I started to badger, yes that’s right, badger my grandmother to make a crazy quilt for me. I had no idea what a crazy quilt was, but I wanted one! So, unbeknown to me she started a quilt. At the time, she was getting on in years and had moved into a ‘home’. This was around 1950. Her hands were old and stiff with arthritis and resources were limited. She had never made a crazy quilt, so she did the only pattern she knew well, a basic nine patch. She gathered old shirts from other residents, cut them into tiny pieces (no pattern here, just years of practice), and pulled out seams. Then slowly she began to assemble them into a work of art.

Years later, after she was gone, I would discover her work of love, carefully tucked away, and begin my own journey, finishing what she had started so long ago. It took me quite a while to research how to work with a vintage quilt top. Then it took me much longer to determine how to add a border, what fabric to use, how to quilt it (I did it all by hand as she had pieced it), and finally what fabric to use for the binding. What you see in these photos is coming down to the final stretch. I used quilt clips to hold the binding in place as I stitched. They made that task a snap. 

In my next blog post, I’ll share some great tips I picked up and images of the finished quilt!

 

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Crafts, Uncategorized

Saved by an Apron …

Yes, I know it’s been a while since I’ve communicated, but here I am. In the intervening time, I’ve traveled/visited Mesa Verde, friends in Edmonds, Colorado, sold our home of 19 years, bought a condo (downsizing from 4400 square feet to 1400!), packed, packed, donated, sold, packed, packed, gave away, found a temporary home (for some of our belongings), had an amazing party for our friends in Normal, IL, had lots of lunches with friends, packed, packed, organized, organized, took one load of ‘precious stuff’ to our daughter’s in Minneapolis, gave away more, packed more, organized more, (you get the picture).

Now I just want to share what we did this last week. Our daughter, Ellie from Duluth, visited and we had a little sewing spree distracting me from my unpacking and reorganizing activities. Needless to say it was needed. Our move date was June 2nd and I was feeling the strain. We started out on a lovely tote bag pattern. Her sister, Anna, had bought the fabric as a present for her some time ago. We all thought this would be a great project. So, we’re merrily cutting and trimming along and down to the last pieces when I cut the lining wrong making it so there was not enough fabric to finish the job and no JoAnne Fabric stores in sight.

Ellie saved the day! She had a simpler project we could finish quickly, making an apron from a kitchen towel. There’s a million free patterns on the internet, but here’s what we did:

1. pressed the towel, then added 2 darts to the top, outer sides to give it some shape

2. used scrap fabric to make a wide neck band

3. sewed vintage buttons on to give it some pizazz

4. added a ribbon around the waist long enough so she could wrap it around and tie it in the front…

Voila!

The more creative you get, the more fun these are to make. You could add pockets, or a different tie. I guess the tote bag will happen during the next visit.

Quilting, Retirement, Travel

Arizon Week #4 Highlights: March 14 – 20

 

Arizona Week #4 Highlights: March 14 – 20

   

Ray and I both tried something new this week (I’ll try to get photos later): 

  • I gave Line Dancing the good old college try. It was definitely a lot of fun. I called my Zumba classes back home in Normal, Grandma’s dance class. Well, this is just a continuation of dance class with quicker step changes. As in Zumba, we line up and follow the teacher. In both, the music is very important. The difference comes in how the steps are performed. Zumba works a full range of motion and steps or moves usually are repeated in sets of 8. In Line Dancing, the feet do all the work and balance is stressed with hands and posture adding style. Definitely a fun activity with fun participants. And of course, it requires practicing at the Music on the Patio Monday and Friday and the dance Thursday night (“Come Back Buddy”). 
  • Ray’s experience with shuffleboard was better than expected. Since he can’t see the end of the lanes, we were dubious at best at how this would work out. However, his years of bowling paid off. Since much of the objective is similar in that you have to get the ball/puck (or whatever you call it) down a lane and to land it strategically. Although not an instant success, he was pleased and went back for more during the ‘Pot Luck’ times (not tournament times).

Three trips this week rounded out our activities: 

  • Organ Stop Pizza – Pizza is good, but the show stopper is the Wurlitzer theater pipe organ. The organ and player slowly rise up out of the stage, slowly swiveling around so the whole audience gets a good view. The pipes take up an entire wall (about 100 feet). In addition there are a number of percussion and wind instruments that are played/directed by the player using designated keys on the organ. A relic of the silent film industry and not to be missed!
  • White Sox spring training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale. We bought tickets for a White Sox/Cubs game intending to go with our friends from Illinois but since they had to leave early this was another solo trip for us (amazingly Ticketmaster refunded two of the tickets on request). The ballpark was beautiful, the sun hot, the view good, parking easy. Unfortunately, my husband forgot that he is legally blind and couldn’t see most of the game. Plus he forgot his radio so he couldn’t check to see if there was any coverage. Then when leaving, there was a traffic snafu, so we detoured which took longer and ran into rush hour which took even longer. Lessons learned: find out if there’s radio coverage and take it with you; go out to eat after the game to avoid the traffic. Both of these lessons we already knew, but you’d think we’d remember as well…..
  • AQG Quilt Show 2011, Along the Desert Highway”: Ray and I both had fun going through this event. We got there early on Saturday so as not to miss the speakers. We attended two lectures:
  • Darlene Reid, “Crazy Quilts are the Gypsies of the Quilt World”. Crazy quilts are like a collage of fabric and momentos. Scotty dogs were popular in 30’s prints because President Roosevelt had a Scotty. Pins that have photos of long gone relatives on them (like campaign buttons today) make great embellishments. These were given out by funeral homes as mementos.
  • Carrie Nelson, Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co, “Tips Tricks, and Tools for Better Piecing”. Use the same ruler for measuring and cutting throughout the whole quilt, Niagra non-aerosol spray starch is available at Target and good to stabilize fabrics. It’s OK to press to the light side (rather than dark which has been the rule) especially if this helps keep the seams flat. May need to trim the seam allowance of the darker fabric if it shows through.

On the quieter side, I started machine quilting a wall hanging hoping to get it finished for the Quilt Show next week. This required spending most of Sunday down at the Craft Room where I managed to get the center part done. Unfortunately, while I was busy quilting away, Ray was checking out the trailers that are for sale. Hmmmm…

Knitting, Uncategorized

Baby hats here, baby hats there, baby hats everywhere

 

Now that you’ve seen all the socks I’ve been busy with this past year, you probably are wondering what I do with my leftover sock yarn. Well, I use it for newborn baby hats. 

This is my favorite pattern. You can show off some crazy yarns plus have fun with the top knot. The best part for the baby is that there are no seams or attached pieces to pull off with miniature hands.

The photo on the right shows what the I-cord looks like before shaping the top knot. You can make a sort I-cord to form a single loop, or go crazy with three loops, or maybe even a tassle.

The photo below shows what it looks like using two different yarn colors. I do recommend staying with like type yarns but playing with color, a lot.

These nifty hats have gone to Pittsburgh, PA; Duluth, MN; Minneapolis, MN; Gig Harbor, WA; Apex, NC.