Monday, April 21, 2014

Davy's Quilt

I'm making this for my grand-nephew who is in his early twenties, and struggling with mental illness. I was advised to not make anything too fancy as "you never know what may happen" to the quilt once he receives it.

This comes entirely from my stash of plaids and stripes, homespuns and shirtings. I finished piecing the interior last night, then got the first two borders cut and sort of arranged. There will be one more border to pull it all together.

I had played around earlier with some different ideas for the four-patches, which ultimately went together side-by-side in the interior that you see above.

I thought I could use up the rest of that blue Connecting Threads print, but somehow these arrangements seemed too... I don't know, juvenile or something. Plus, I really wanted to make more of a dent in my stacks of plaids.

Meanwhile, I've been monkeying around with my Farmers Wife blocks, and so far I'm liking this type of an arrangement.

This will surely evolve further. Meanwhile I need to make more blocks. Some of these won't make the cut. Others belong to a different project, but I used them to fill in just to get an idea of the setting. Don't look to see this finished any time soon.

I hope everyone had a nice Easter! We bbq'ed turkey burgers.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Doll Quilt Exchange

"Pinwheels for Dolls" by Judy Hanson

Today was a bonanza in terms of the mail.

First, my Amazon package arrived via UPS, bearing a nifty protective case for my new ipad mini, a Conair travel iron, and a new computer mouse (no pix of the mouse, I'm using it as we speak).

All three items were very much needed ASAP, so I was very excited and grateful for prompt delivery.

Then later this afternoon, this came in the mail.
As soon as I saw who it was from, I knew what it was. I follow Judy's blog,, and got very excited to know that I was the recipient of her quilt in the Civil War Doll Quilt exchange!

Judy wrapped everything up so nice and wrote me a lovely card.
But wait.... what's that still in the package?

A cute little bunny, and a fat quarter!

Later I decided to take a closer look at the "fat quarter" and lo and behold, it wasn't a fat quarter at all, but better yet...

Tiny ones, all wrapped up in a nice big scrap of beautiful shirting.

How special am I?!?

I absolutely LOVE the doll quilt, am tickled with the bunny, and I can't wait to play around with these scraps! (can you sense another doll quilt coming on? lol!)

Judy, thanks so much for your darling quilt, and all the other goodies. This exchange has been the most fun! And a big thanks goes out to Lori at for organizing the exchange.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

I gave a little talk at my quilt guild tonight, on the topic of hand quilting.

Terry, napping under CW Doll Quilt
It was very impromptu. The guest speaker cancelled at the last minute, so our prez called on three of us, plus herself, to talk.

I talked about why I love hand quilting. How its all about the process, about doing, rather than about getting it done. I showed my Civil War Sampler, which I've been quilting on for the better part of two years.

I explained what a joy it is to create each block, that the visual reward is immediate, and constant. How relaxing it is to just sit and quilt. The Zen of the rocking motion of the needle. How you become intimate with each block, each fabric, and you bond with your quilt.

I also showed my little CW Doll Quilt as an example of how simple quilting can be, yet still be effective.


When someone receives a hand quilted quilt, they can see the love you put into it in every stitch.

I listed the "pros" of hand quilting as opposed to machine quilting. With hand quilting you are much less likely to make a mistake, and is much more forgiving if you do. Ever try to go back and fix errant machine quilting stitches? Yuk.

Hand quilted quilts have a warmer look, and feel. They're soft. They drape beautifully, and are lighter in weight because there is less thread.

I encouraged everyone to try hand quilting. Some people are afraid of it, because they think their stitches are "too big" or otherwise not "good enough". I pointed out that there are all kinds of quilting styles, and stitches do not have to be small, or perfect. Remember even perfection gets criticized, so don't worry about it.

Blue Bird by Carolyn of Gypsy Threads, Doll Quilt by Sandy

So try it.
Make something small.
Hand quilt it.
Do it for you.
Love it!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Do You Retreat?

First, go read Audrey's post about The Habits of Creativity, here. In fact, read her whole series. You'll find the tab at the top of her page. She's nailed so many things, I refer back to it all the time.

Now I'd like to add my own tip for re-igniting your creativity: Go to Quilt Retreats!

Bernie, ready to roll
 First of all, and very important, is you get to "get away" which is huge for many women who juggle jobs, households, kids, etc etc. and find it challenging to find the time to relax and/or sew. Your time is your own here, with nobody breathing down your neck to do anything. But.. getting things done, you will! Because...

2. You acheive Focus and Momentum. Before you know it you've  gotten it done. I always like to bring a variety of things to work on, including some things I've been putting off because I simply don't feel like working on them. In the stimulus of the retreat setting, these projects seem to move forward by themselves. For instance, last weekend I machine quilted two quilts, including the dreaded Chicken Quilt I'd been putting off forever!

chicken quilt

Vet Quilt

3. You get to see what others are doing, including other styles of work,  and are able to study their process. 

4. You get inspiration. The best retreat settings in my opinion have a variety of styles going on, including but not exclusive to my own. I have been inspired to break out of my "box" and try new things. I have also gained new insight into why I love the things I love...

...and see the possibilities in everything else.

5. You get to bounce your ideas around everyone else, and get their feedback, which is indispensable when you're laboring over a border, or what setting might work. 

Not to mention the camaraderie, getting to know new people, and spending quality time with the ones you already know.

So I ask again, do you retreat? What do you like the best about going to retreats? What do you get out of it? Did I mention you don't have to cook? I'd love to hear your experiences, good bad or otherwise!

Now a sneak preview to a project I worked on, but won't show in its completion until after it gets to its new home.