Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Quilt Stories - Sampler Class 2012-2013

I wanted to learn so badly!

I'd been sewing off and on for most of my life - though never with a formal class.  By this time, I had made 3 completed quilt tops (which are a MESS, I might add).  And I had no idea where to go next....  when I saw this class advertised at a shop.

I can't say a "local" shop though it is in fact the closest quilt shop :-)  It is 45 minutes away....  but I decided to enroll.

And discovered very quickly how expensive quilts are!  [the tops I had made in the prior year were made primarily of scraps from my stash... plus a fat quarter here and there]

Anyway, in Spring 2008... I signed up for the class and was immediately catapulted into choosing colors.  Yikes!  My first lesson. 

I find it so hard to choose colors!

I found an inspiration fabric in traditional colonial-type colors (navy, burgundy, god) that I thought would match my home.

I received great advice from the quilt shop (choose the color of the room you will use the quilt in)  - but not my way of working!  I would not do that again.  The colors just didn't captivate me and I got bored!  [quite frankly, if I liked my quilt enough - I would repaint the room rather than choose colors to match the current decor - but that is me)

There are a couple of fabrics in the quilt that I am not in love with.  I was assured that I would feel differently later.  And, while the quilt looks nice - I still see the fabrics that didn't grab me - so I learned that this is not MY way :-)

I enjoyed the class in that we learned the history of different blocks, we went all the way back to basics.... made our own patterns from sandpaper & cardboard... machine stitched but hand quilted as blocks were made... quilted as I went along.

I kept up with classes almost to the end.  But when the regular meetings ended - so did my work.....
I just didn't get back to the shop.  I worked for a bit and finished all the piecing and quilting up to assembling the last few rows.  And that was that for a few years!  Like FIVE!

I decided to finish this thing in Fall 2013 and I did finish it up by year end.  JUST!

It is appropriate that this one be my very first finished bed quilt... since the class was so long ago.... but watch out in the years to come- I started a LOT of quilts in that early time period!


This quilt has a second story.. because when I decided to wash it... IT BLED!  [And, before you ask - YES, I did pre-wash my fabric]  That navy bled right into the muslin.

I tried stain remover and color catchers to no avail.

And then I found some color remover.  I am so glad I decided to go very easy and tentative with it.  I bought several boxes per internet instructions.... but decided to use just half a box and cold (instead of recommended HOT) water.

And I checked after 15 minutes instead of an hour
And I am so glad I did!

Color remover is no lie....  the navy did indeed come out of the muslin.... and the greens have faded out to gold... and the whole quilt faded :-(

BUT a) It looks antique
AND     b) I learned

so... it's not my favorite quilt... BUT that is for several reasons not just the fading. 

I learned a lot in this process, not the least of which is that I must love all the fabrics and not let others sway me.  The fabrics might look great and be fine.... but MY quilt is MY art... I have to love it if I am going to spend that much of my life on it :-)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Endings and Beginnings

As I sit here thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2014, all I can think is how I want to escape 2013.  I usually greet my mid-December birthday with a handful of resolutions and a lot of hope... but not this year..  I am still dragging but am determined to keep moving forward... regardless!

This was a year of muck and mud for me - I don't really know why.

I have some ideas - but suffice it to say that my spirit was broken this year and, as I age, I don't fight back as hard.  I won't stay broken but I'm not sure about which direction to move in or how long it will take me to heal.

I'm not so sure I am right any more and I'm not sure how much I care about some things.

I AM sure I am more selfish..... but again, I'm not sure how much I care about that either.  I think I can safely say that apathy is playing a part in my journey right now.

I haven't written much because I don't feel anything relevant worth sharing.  If I can't lift up, if I can't inspire, I feel like I'm wasting both of our time with a blog!

But I have continued to get up every day.  I have continued to think of things to help me progress.... maybe even to help me find me - whoever I am becoming.

But I decided today to think of important things that happened in my life in 2013.... because no matter how I feel about the year I have traveled through, I DID accomplish some things.  And good things happened.  And thinking ill of this time period does me no good.  Sometimes life feels stagnant or choking, but that is a precursor to a wild riot of blooming.  Let's hope so! (And let's make it so!)


visited some relatives out of state
did a couple of local races and added a new state to my life race list
had a couple of overnight getaways with my husband
took several quilt classes
reconnected with some special people from my past
logged my miles walked and saved intentionally through the month of June
began work at a quilt shop and made new friends there
saw a double rainbow
counted 11 hummingbirds at one feeder
finished sampler quilt from 2007
attended a car show with my husband
enjoyed several lovely play days with my grands
greeted a brand new grandboy
embarked on household renovations (plus AND minus here! finish in 2014?)
donated and/or gave away more than a tenth of my income
found an autumn crocus blooming in my yard
made some perfect peanut blossom cookies
read almost 100 books
played in the sand and took photos of sunrises

Quilt Stories - Rag Quilt Pink Ribbon 2013

My second rag quilt was born from my dedication to the breast cancer cause.

I trained and walked in my first Komen 3 Day 60 mile walk in 2008.. and had a plan to get my friends who walked with me to sign squares that I would put together into a rag quilt.

I still think it is a great idea BUT the reality of slogging through 60 miles in an icy Philadelphia did not lend itself to being chummy and signing quilt squares!

My desire to have a pink rag quilt though did not leave me.

Next up was locating pink ribbon flannel (since I was taught to use flannel and I was not yet a flagrant rule breaker with quilting)

So I looked and I looked.  In stores and on-line.  Nope.

I found lots of pink flannel, of course.... but the pink RIBBON was not on flannel.

I did have some pink ribbon print in COTTON in my stash though and finally decided to use that

So now I became a renegade :-)

The rag quilt above is both flannel and cotton and seems to be holding up just fine.  It carries a lot of memories for me and reminds me of my own spirit and dedication.

I ended up (as of this writing) doing walks in 5 consecutive years. 

2008 - Philadelphia
2009 - Boston
2010 - Dallas
2011 - Washington, DC
and 2012 found me back in Philadelphia
and am registered to return in 2016 to walk in San Diego

If you are interested in what led me to these 60-mile walks, I did a post once on it

is my story

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Quilt Stories - Sunrise Rag Quilt 2013

I love rag quilts!

The quilt store where I decided to take lessons asks that beginning quilters start with a rag quilt.

And, while I have sewn most of my life - and had spent some time in the last couple of years piecing some tops....  I was teaching myself on the internet.. and had never formally taken a class. 

So... okay... I was IN!

First off was choosing the colors... and I found then - as I still find now, I am one who sees a print - and gets inspired that way.  And - the more color - the better....

A certain print caught my eye.... not my usual blue-green... it was a lovely hibiscus... in oranges and pink and yellow.  It really made me happy.

The instructor said I could choose up to 6 colors for the rag quilt pattern - and if you have followed me for any length of time at all - you know how many I chose.   

Yep... my print and 5 colors :-)

the colors reminded me of my oldest daughter..... maybe I'll give it to her one day :-)  When I'm tired of it....

The rag quilt turned out to be easy - and very beginner-friendly.
And I love it
and it's for me