Monday, March 22, 2010

Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt

One more project I've been working on is a Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt. I've been making the quilt top completely by hand, so it's taking much longer than most quilts.

Please don't think I'm a purist who refuses to make quilts by machine. That's not the case at all. But I've chosen to make this project by hand because I find it soothes my spirit. If things go wrong in my little world, I can sit down and stitch on my quilt for awhile and then I'm fine. Calm. As Alice once said, "Go to your happy place." Stitching on this quilt is my happy place.

I don't know how most people make a Grandmother's garden quilt, but I start with fabric strips 3 inches wide; I cut them into squares, and then I cut the corners off a bit. What I'm left with is a piece of fabric that is loosely a hexagon shape. I saturate the dickens out of the squares with starch and then I steam press each one around a cardboard template that's exactly the right size.

Sometimes I spend a little time just making hexagons to keep my sewing basket well stocked. Then later on I'll take one of this color, six of that color, and twelve of that color over there. I stack them and tack them straight down the center to keep them all together until I'm ready to make the "flowers". In the photo below, you can see a stack that's ready to go, a couple of single hexagons, a couple of the cardboard templates and my faithful spray starch.

When I want a little quiet time, I pick up a stack and stitch them together. Since I used the templates to make them the correct size and shape, the putting-it-together part is real easy. And since I've already chosen the colors (1, 6 and 12) when I made the stack, it's a complete no-brainer to make a flower like this.

When I get enough "flowers" I add them to the quilt top. Some of the colors in this particular quilt are pretty bright -- it reminds me of Mom and how she LUV'd bright, cheerful colors in her quilts.

Haven't a clue when I'll finish this project, but in this case, it's DEFINITELY the journey that's most important, not the destination.

Wedding Present

Another project I was working on recently was a wedding present for a friend. He and his bride work for an non-profit organization called Freedom House of Denton. As many of you know, the Freedom House saved my son's life by getting him off drugs and on a good path. I am ever-grateful for the blessing.

I decided to give the newlyweds linens -- napkins for the dining room and dish towels for the kitchen. I purchased the napkins (on closeout .... WOOHOO!) and towels from target and then started embroidering. This is the result.

I was so pleased with the result that I ran out and purchased a BUNCH of the close-out napkins in multiple colors. I think they'll be great for gifts or to put in my etsy shop.

Baby Boy Quilt

I know it's been AGES since I posted. What have I been doing? I'll show you a little bit today and will show you the rest very soon.

One of my projects was a baby quilt for a soon-to-arrive little baby boy. I studied quilt designs and searched the internet and studied some more. Finally I decided to make my own design (those who know me well know this is where I would end up).

I started with a length of muslin, marked squares with disappearing ink and covered the marks (before they disappeared) with a decorative stitch from my sewing machine. Then I embroidered (using my Pfaff embroidery machine) an appropriate "redwork" design in the center of each square. Using a stem stitch, I hand embroidered four lines (one on each side of the quilt) from a poem about little boys. I added batting and a Debbie Mumm fabric for the back and then quilted the whole thing by hand. Sounds easy? It took me about 2 weeks to make it ... from from design creation to the final stitches. I'm pretty pleased with the results.

Sooooooo, THAT's what I've been doing with part of my time. I'll post some of my other projects later this week.