Monday, January 29, 2007

The 2006 Tally

I pretty much have a photo of all the quilts and patchwork related projects I've done over the years. They're all in photo albums with hand lettered captions listing the name of the quilt, the size and the date. But in an effort to track my creations a little more, I created a database in Excel. There I list more detailed information, such as the name of the quilt, the colors, size, hand or machine quilted, photo taken, recipient, inspiration source, etc. I eventually added information for "Begun" and "Completed", because a simple "Date" wasn't enough. Maybe some quilters don't *want* to know how long their projects sit before they're completed... =) But it's also fun when an entry reads, "Begun: June 2005. Completed December 2005".

So I checked in on my database recently. I was looking to see if I'd photographed a quilt I'd finished recently. And to my surprise there weren't any entries since 2005. I had some catching up to do! I was racking my brain trying to remember what I'd created in 2006 when I remembered it was all on my Blog! I logged in, worked my way back through my posts, and Voila!

I made three flannel receiving blankets for charity
Two Friendship blocks for the guild
A machine quilted nine-patch baby quilt for charity
A Pin Blossom pincushion
A miniature Sawtooth Star ornament
Four strip pieced tree ornaments

What else??

Looking back over previous years I noticed I usually managed to complete at least a lap quilt or two. What happened in 2006??

Well I worked full-time in a very difficult job. I often came home so mentally exhausted all I did was zone on computer games in the evening. Maybe all I could manage were small, relatively quick projects. -- Then I remembered, I pieced a Log Cabin top and a Majestic Mountains in Batiks with my mini-group, no photo taken... and another scrap-happy top from a pattern Bonnie has on her site called "Almost Bowtie". AND... 48 Snail Trail blocks. Well NO WONDER! I needed all those small, break out projects to keep my sanity!

I'm not so worried that I didn't create a long list of full-sized quilts. The long-term projects that I pick up and put down don't show in the database... so time is being spent on hand applique', embroidery, a penny rug, etc. It's just interesting to me to have it all in one place and see what I've been working on.

If you're interested in seeing a blank Quilt History database, or want to try tracking your quilt projects, feel free to use my template. Once you click on the link it will ask if you want to save or open. You'll need to save it to your local computer in order to use it. And you'll need Excel 2002 sp3.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

45, 46, 47, 48...

I've been trying to carve out some uninterrupted sewing time for weeks... but that seems to be an elusive butterfly lately. I seem to only manage to piece a block here, or sew a seam or two more on my leader-ender strippy there... So you can imagine my joy when I got to sew four blocks in one afternoon! The *last* four blocks of this King-sized Snails Trail quilt you've been hearing about since June! I don't think I've ever made a quilt with 48 blocks in it. The last King quilt I made was a Trip Around the World, using Blanche Young's strip method. And let me tell you, that wasn't nearly so painful!
So of course I had to put it all out on the floor and play around with the layout of the blocks. Some of the Snail Trails sort of dropped out, some of the blues weren't 'blue' enough... I futzed with it. I told DH, "I want to like it more than I do." Then I decided to take a picture and see what I could see.

That helped a lot! It's so big I had to bring in the three-step stool to get enough height to fit it all in the picture. But from up there, all the Snails Trails showed just fine. So it's /distance/ that makes this work??
Anywayz... we're going to Santa Rosa all day to help DS1 move into his first solo duplex, no more roommates! So I won't get back to this until... who knows when. I want to get it together, I want to strike while the iron's hot. I want to sew while the sewing is good! *sigh*
Life is good. No matter what people say. =)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pattern Given

Fiona said she wanted to try these little Woven Heart Baskets and that got me to thinking others might want to as well. Click here for page one and two. The instructions are intended as a craft project for a young person. So I found I could cut my basket pieces and handle from a 7" x 8" square rather than the 8.5" x 8.5" they recommend. But that's just me and my forever frugal ways. =)

Have a Heart...

While I was recovering from that *noxious* stomach flu that's going around, I sat in my easy chair and thumbed a stack of new-to-me Fons and Porter magazines. I found this cute little Woven Heart Basket pattern. I just had to try it! And for once, when the instructions said, "Quick and Easy", it really was! The instructions suggested using fabric glue stick to attach the handle. But I thought it was a perfect occasion to practice the embroidery feature on my relatively new machine. So I tacked the handle with a small heart. Perfect!

Well one just wasn't enough, so I made a few more. And hey! Valentine's Day is still a few weeks away. I've never been so ready. =)

Monday, January 22, 2007


Patti was talking about receiving a fun collection of Homespun fabrics in the mail. I loved the photo of them all lined up on her shelf. I've never done a whole lot with plaids. I used them once in a 1910 reproduction quilt to good effect, but I don't seem to know how to use them in everyday patchwork.

So I've started collecting. That seems like a good place to start anyway. Or maybe it's just an *excuse* =) But I found these at the Goodwill store last weekend. Men's shirts all... yards of Homespun here. And all for $20.00. I was pretty pleased.

It was so fun the way the selection of shirts suggested a color scheme. I just couldn't believe how it came together! Blues and Beiges are easy to find. But that *cheddar* What a delight! Must be my new favorite color. =) I don't have a block pattern in mind yet. Any suggestions? I'm figuring this will be a wallhanging, six inch blocks work well for that.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

HST's to the max

I think I told you I seem to think I need to post only WIP and new quilts. But I have a plethoria of quilts I can share with you. Let me dig into the archive and post a few that remind me of finn's quilts.

I call this little quilt Memory Triangles. It's the only hand pieced quilt I ever have (or ever will) make. I was laid up with back pain and laid on the couch day after day. If I hadn't had this little quilt to cut and patch pieces for I think I would've lost my mind! I pulled pieces from my scrap bag, circa 1989, clipped them to a magnetic board normally used for holding counted cross stitch patterns and traced the cardboard template, all while lying flat on my back. Then I hand cut the triangles. As I recall, I laid the pieces out on the back of the corduroy couch near my head like a design wall, picked the pieces up as I pieced and replaced them in their sequence once they were sewn. It worked quite well. The irony of all this is that I machine pieced the blocks together and added the borders by machine, sewed standing up with my sewing machine on the kitchen counter as I recall. Necessity is the mother of invention...

I entered it in the Sonoma County fair and was pleased to receive second place. The rosette ribbon is from the local quilt guild "For Best Use of Color and Design." That was *very* nice to receive. I gave this quilt to my best girlfriend at the time, who was having a late life third baby. They moved from California to Nebraska a few years later but I know she cherishes this quilt. That is to say... it lives in a drawer safe from children's hand!

So later that year I decided to use the same quilt pattern for a Memory Quilt for me. I had a great time sorting through my scraps and stash fabrics and collecting into boxes marked: Light, Medium and Dark. Not being a quilter that likes light fabrics, it was a challenge to find enough variety. I asked my quilty and seamstress friends for donations; which made the tapestry of memories even richer.

I saved and sorted, grouped and regrouped for a long time... longer than I'm willing to admit. But I found out many things about myself as a quilter. I love the memories associated with the prints. I love the way the different fabric styles and motifs tell me their age, era or previous origin and I love the memory prompting power a small triangle of fabric can have. One time when I was talking to Su about this she said, "You know all your fabrics by name." =) I loved it! Yes, that's it...

This quilt also contains hand-cut triangles. The HSTs are not speed pieced, because I wanted to maximize the number of combinations and increase the random-ness and at that point in my piecing methods I didn't want to overcut the triangles for HST piecing to square-up. It felt like a waste of fabric. (!) I've never been afraid of the bias edges involved in sewing a HST either. Maybe all this practice is the reason!

I worked on this quilt off and on for *years* - ten, to be exact. In that time I mused on a name for this quilt. Originally I wanted to call it "No Dogs in This Quilt", because I carefully hand picked every piece that went into every block and I didn't want any "dog" fabrics, uglies, blah prints that didn't say anything and didn't inspire the heart. But over time I learned that many fabrics that looked like *dogs* became transformed once I cut them, pieced them with a light or dark and put them into a block.

This is one of my all-time favorite quilts and it's on my bed during the summer months. I was so pleased once it was finished. A large chunk of my life had gone into making that quilt. I often think of the quote from "Anonymous Was a Woman"

"I sat over that quilt while the babies were a-growin' and I sat over that quilt when times with Jeb were good and times were bad. It took me 20 years to finish that quilt. I shudder when I think of all it knows about me."

The label on the back reads:

Triangle Memory Quilt

This quilt is pieced using 5,184 hand cut half-square triangles. It represents 20 years of sewing and patchwork memories. Some of the fabrics include pieces from my honeymoon dress, Nathan and Hollin's play clothes, Frank's first suit, as well as pieces from quilt friend's projects. It was begun in 1989 and completed in March of 1999. Machine pieced, machine quilted.

A few months after the quilt was finished and I'd toted it all over everywhere showing it to my friends and family, I received an offer from one of my long time friends to buy it. "The colors are so special, the pattern is so cheerful. I'd love to have it on my bed. I can give you as much as $250. for it. Please let me know what you think." (!)

I can tell you... it's not for sale. Not at any price.