Friday

Finished Quilts

This weekend we are having our big neighborhood rummage sale. Sadly, it happens to fall on my Quilts for Kids once-a-month sew day so I will have to miss this month's meeting. I was so looking forward to turning these quilts in. At least I am getting things cleared out of my house...and hopefully making some extra cash. I'm certain any money made will be spent on more fabric - that's just how I roll!

Tuesday

Quilts for Kids - Charm Square Quilt

I found a photo of a quilt on Pinterest and the only description that went along with the photo said that the quilt used charm squares. So I took the little information that I had, cut 5-inch squares of fabric in both a solid and prints and pieced half-square triangles out of them.

I made sure I used 4 different prints so when I made the blocks each one would have 4 unique triangles of floral in them. I cut 3-inch strips of a coordinating fabric to use as sashing and borders and viola! ... a charm square quilt.

I took the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and use fabrics that were floral prints but not necessarily from the same designer. I just made sure that they all had at least one color in common among all the prints. The result was a really cute, cheery, summery looking quilt. Cheery is always my goal when making something for Quilts for Kids.

Friday

What's on the design board?

Over the past month I've been working diligently to finish a client project - a quilt and 8 pillow covers. This has left me with little time for other projects. It didn't help that I was sick for half of April and my main sewing machine spent 10 days in the shop...thank goodness for my little backup machine. 

Even though I enjoy making quilts for others, I must say I was a little stressed out about everything going on in my life that was not quilting-related. Plus we are having a neighborhood rummage in early May so I've also been busy digging things up that we no longer need/use to sell next weekend. So now that I've run out of excuses, here's my design board as it currently stands.

I'm using a new book to make the blocks for this next Quilt for Kids quilt. I will write more about that when I've finished the quilt. I have a nice start on this simple block so it shouldn't take me long to finish this one. I also have another QfK quilt ready for quilting and binding so I hope to be finished with that one soon as well.

I really like these monthly posts. They keep me moving forward even though it's usually at a snail's pace.


Wednesday

Quilts for Kids - Market Square Quilt and Sports Quilt

I completed 2 more quilts for Quilts for Kids today. Both of these quilts were made without patterns. I made them from photos I pinned to Pinterest. The thing is our QfK chapter gets donated fabric and sometimes there's just small pieces of fabric collections so it can be challenging to figure out what to do with it. These were quick and easy and didn't take long to complete since I kept them smaller than usual.


Sunday

A Love Story

I was recently asked to make a quilt for my friend Sharon's sister. Sharon is also my neighbor but I think of her as a friend first and a neighbor second. Our families have grown up together for over 25 years now. We even accidentally ended up working for the same company but that's a story for another day. This is a story about Sharon's sister, Sandy. It's a story of love, caring and compassion.

I remember quite a few years ago Sharon was terribly worried about her sister's husband, Frank. Frank was struggling with falling down and the doctors could not figure out why. When they finally got a diagnosis, it was life altering. Frank was diagnosed with ALS. This horrible disease wreaks havoc on the body in unimaginable ways. Sandy was so very generous to share her family's experience with this disease through Facebook. Through photos and updates, we followed her and Frank's travels and adventures that they joyously experienced together before the ravages of the disease didn't allow it anymore. She shared the ups and downs of the health issues, the stresses of navigating the health care system, and the little things that we took for granted but they rejoiced in.

Through all this Frank never complained and Sandy never faltered in her magnificent care-giving abilities. I admire her compassion and strength and think of her as a role model when it comes to marriage and family. When Frank passed away, we all grieved for the family. We followed the love story on Facebook for so many years that even though I only met them a few times in person, I felt an intimate connection to them since Sandy shared their experience with all of us.

When Sandy asked me to make a t-shirt quilt out of Frank's special shirts I was honored and humbled all at once. Taking on the responsibility of a project like this is something I do not take lightly. I want it to be as perfect as their love story.

I worked with Sandy on the layout and design and put together the quilt top. After following their story for so long, I would walk past my sewing room and see the striped sashing strips out of the corner of my eye and remember the photos where Frank was wearing that shirt. It would make me feel a little pain in my heart for Sandy's great loss. Then I would hug my husband and hold him tight.


Once the top was finished, I started on the back. The theme t-shirts were on the front of the quilt but I still had solid color polo shirts for the back. Sandy mentioned that she would like pillows made out of the leftover shirts when the quilt was done so I started thinking about how I could accomplish that creatively. I've seen photos on Pinterest of dress shirts converted to pillows but not polo shirts. So I decided to come up with my own idea. I made sure I kept the top of the polos in tact and cut the bottoms off to use on the back of the quilt. 

Once the quilt back was completed, I put the layers together and quilted it. I used a dress shirt for the quilt binding. I wasn't sure it would be enough, but luckily there was plenty to go around the entire quilt.

Now for the pillows...how was I going to accomplish my goal? I wanted to use a pre-made pillow form and make it look like it was wearing the shirt. In order to do that I had to fill in the neck hole. After staring at the shirt draped over the pillow form for a while, I figured it out...just use the sleeve! I pinned the sleeve into the neck hole and sewed it in place. It worked great. I presented a photo to Sandy and she loved it. So I made 4 more. Now I was down to scrap pieces and dress shirt parts. I made some patchwork-style pillow covers and one that used up one of the oxford shirts.

Surprisingly, I have very little left over. There's just a small pile of scraps which seems amazing considering everything I made. I am so happy I could deliver everything Sandy wanted without compromise.

Sandy picked up her quilt and pillows yesterday and she seemed very happy with the results. We took some photos together before she left. I cannot express how honored I am to be part of this important project and how glad I am that she liked the results.

I feel lucky to have a friend like Sharon to recommend me to do the work. I would like to ask everyone reading this to go to the ALS website and donate to the cause to help stop this horrible disease so maybe the next great love story doesn't have to end like this one.
Delivery Day!

Monday

Stereo Quilt - WIP

I am a huge Jaybird Quilts fan. I have all of Julie's rulers and some of her patterns. She has many (patterns) so I can't say I will ever come close to owning them all.

I've been trying to enter the brave new world of low volume quilting. I love the look and after all, white is my favorite color. I've had a Summersville by Lucie Summers layer cake for over a year now and really wanted to use it. After a recent trip to a fabric shop that specializes in modern quilting, I bought some beautiful text print and decided to pair it up with the Summersville layer cake.

I got out my Stereo by Jaybird Quilts pattern and without thinking ahead started cutting up the layer cake. Sadly, I did not plan how I was going to cut the layer cake very well. After I started cutting, I realized it would be best if I cut the large triangles from the text print and all the half triangles from the layer cake. However, I didn't realize that until it was too late. If I had planned better the resulting quilt top would have been bigger.

Even with my mistake, I do like the results even if it is smaller than I wanted. I can't wait to work on the back!
Jaybird Quilts Stereo

Saturday

Coloring Easter Eggs

Yesterday we colored Easter eggs. My daughter came over with my 2 granddaughters and 2 dozen hard-boiled eggs. We used packages of Kool-Aid mixed with a half cup of water and a half cup of vinegar. It's a good thing I buy vinegar at Sam's Club...so there's usually more than a gallon in the house at all times.  Since we usually buy the Paas Easter Egg dye, this was a new experience for us and we weren't even sure it would work.

We covered the table with newspaper and got out the crayons. We made decorations with the crayons on the eggs and dipped them in the Kool-Aid mixture. Avery, who is 2 decided that the best way to get the eggs nice and coated with the dye was to use her hands. So she twirled those eggs around in the dye until she was happy with the results. It did stain her hands a little, no big deal. It was a comfort knowing she was dipping her hands in a products that were all totally edible...icky tasting but still edible which meant it was safely non-toxic.

The Kool-Aid worked. Of course the longer the egg soaked in the dye, the deeper the color of the egg. Chloe, who is 5 had much more patience and let the eggs sit in the dye much longer than her little sister. The girls each had a dozen eggs to work with and they enjoyed coloring every single one of them.

Thursday

Quilted Bathroom Baskets

I had a client request to take a leftover piece of curtain that was part of a bathroom remake and turn it into a quilted basket to sit on the back of a toilet. The client has one of my little teacher baskets I made a few years back and wanted this one to resemble that basket only sized large enough to go in that special behind-the-toilet space. The fabric is a polyester blend that would not hold up well as a basket so its a good thing it was to be quilted. To help make it even more durable I picked up some matching twill to line the basket. The twill definitely added another layer of stand-up-ability to the basket.

I measured the back of our toilet to get some idea of dimension however, considering the size of the scrap piece, I would be limited in what I could do. The scrap piece was about 13" wide and 40" long. So I squared it up to be 12.5" x 20" to get it to the right length.  There were two pieces of scrap 3" wide by 40" so I used some of that for the handles. After I completed the basket, I had enough left over to make a smaller, taller quilted basket to match. I thought it would be a nice to roll up some hand towels, put them in the basket and place it on a bathroom sink. Or just throw your junk in it under the sink.
Quilted Basket
After the project was done all that was left was some 3" wide scraps. I think I used up the fabric wisely. I hope the client likes her basket and the little extra to go along with it.

Wednesday

What's on the design board?

The month of March was pretty amazing. Between a craft show, quilt show, and some sew days with both my church group and the Quilts for Kids group, I don't know how I got any sewing done of my own. Plus my brother and his family came to town over their spring break so we spent two days hanging out with them and enjoying their company.  All that plus I have a memorial t-shirt quilt in the works for a client and another small client project to complete this week. And my sister wants a lesson in how to can vegetables so I will have to plan that as well.

I can't say it has been easy. My spine surgeries are letting me know how hard I've been working and reminding me that I need to slow down. Some days the pain is so severe I am pretty medicated by the time I go to bed but I find that the more I try to be productive, the less depressed about my condition I become. It really is a trade off....feeling good physically and mentally at the same time is something I have not been able to achieve but at least I have a group of people who strongly support my efforts and are always ready to help me out. My family is incredible.

Stereo Pattern - Jaybird QuiltsEnough with the pity party, it's time to start another month of sewing. On the design board today I have a Quilts for Kids project in the works. During our last sew day I found a large chunk of white fabric and I decided that I would keep making modern kid's quilts until the white ran out. I started this one based on a photo from Pinterest - no pattern or instructions, just a caption on the photo that said it used charm squares. So I cut 5-inch squares of prints in half, sewed them to half square triangles of the white then rearranged them and sewed them back together to make the blocks. Easy enough. 

I also started a quilt using a Summersville layer cake that I have had in my stash for a few years and Jaybird Quilts' pattern, Stereo. I took out some low volume text fabric from my stash to start putting the quilt together. The rows are completed and I've started to sew them together but I have many rows to go so they are piled on top of each other since there's just not enough room on the design board. Still don't know what to do with that paper-pieced shoe block. Hopefully inspiration will come around in the near future.

I think I should take some time out from sewing and do my taxes soon!

Monday

Modern Quilt Block - Harley Museum

My Milwaukee Modern Quilt Club has decided to enter a quilt in QuiltCon this year. As a group we decided to take some of our famous Milwaukee landmarks and make them into modern quilt blocks. Each person who wanted to participate chose a landmark to transform into a block. Some of the blocks in the quilt include the Allen-Bradley clock tower, the gas light on top of the WE Energies building, Hank the Milwaukee Brewer's mascot dog, the Hoan Bridge, the Calatrava wings...I could go on an on. I chose the Harley-Davidson museum.
Using a professional photographer's image of the museum campus from the view of the canal, I cut out paper pieces until I got the parts of the buildings scaled just right. There are these orange water towers that stand on each end of the campus and I felt it was important to make sure they were in the block. To give the block a totally modern feel, I chose to take out the trees. I wanted as little applique in the block as possible for a more crisp and fresh look. 

We had a specific color palette to use so the entire quilt with have a consistent look and feel so that is why the color of the grass is an unusual shade of green. Besides the color palette our rules were few, just make it modern and make it in increments of 4-inches. My block is 24 x 8. I can't wait to see this quilt come together over the next month.
Milwaukee Modern Quilt Club

Thursday

International Quilt Festival - Chicago

Quilts on DisplayToday a group of us from the Quilts for Kids Milwaukee chapter attended the International Quilt Festival in Chicago. It was really fun to go with a group of women who love quilting as much as I do.

We perused the display quilts and took photos of our favorites. I made a collage of the ones that I liked the most. I do love the Dear Jane quilts although I'm not so sure I would make one myself. Obviously if I did, it would have to be from fresh modern fabrics.

The quilts were all beautiful and I was amazed at the number of them on display. There were so many they took up half of the Rosemont's main hall.

Half the fun of the quilt show is the shopping. There were quilt shops from all over the country and this was a great place to pick up a few things from those far away shops. I also saw a demo of a fabric marker that was easy to use; the marks went away with a swipe of a hot iron. I could not resist that purchase. I picked up a few fat quarters that were on special and added to my black/white (low volume) collection. I also found a cute pattern I've never seen before. I was happy to find that happy medium between not spending too much money and coming home with some cool finds.

It was great to attend with a group of women. I usually take my husband along for the company but this time he was off the hook. Funny thing when I got home was that I couldn't tell if he was disappointed that I had a good time without dragging him along or disappointed. I'm sure he will get another opportunity to tag along with me to a quilt show, until then, I'd like to thank the QfK ladies for making this a fun day!


Wednesday

100 Quilts Donated!

This morning we dropped off 100 quilts over at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.  One of our Quilts for Kids chapter members lives near Rhinelander and doesn't get down here to the Milwaukee area often and since she was coming to town, it only made sense to schedule this drop off during a time where she could participate. So we went out for a nice breakfast then headed over to the hospital with a truck full of quilts. 
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Volunteer
The staff at the hospital are always very happy to see us and we unloaded all of our quilts, chatted for a while then headed out for an afternoon of prepping more fabric to make more quilts. This is definitely a labor of love for all of our volunteers and I am happy to be a part of such a fun organization.