Sunday, December 28, 2008

Moving Furniture, Making Room

I got it - I ordered my new sewing table! I ordered it online because I couldn't find anything locally that met my needs (nor do I have the time to to go to all the stores). I saw several online and had to consult the hubby on what to get and he left it up to me. I never dreamed the vast price range.
My hubby was wanting me to invest in a nice piece of furniture, solid wood. but they just cost too much. So, I went with what had what I wanted and looked nice. It is by Sauder. I can't wait for it to come.

This afternoon I went up to my "Quilters Nook" in my bedroom to sew and ended up rearranging my whole bedroom to accommodate my new sewing table. I think that it will look nice once the table arrives but right now it's a bit of a mess. I'm so excited I will have a nook that will be organized, I won't have to cut fabric on the floor! I can't wait! However, I will have to wait about 6-7 days.

The hubby will be out of town on business for the next few days and although I have to work I plan on getting lots of sewing done. The boys are going to be going to the local recreation department program while I'm at work, they love it, but when we get home I want to have a sewing marathon. It would be so much better with my new desk - but I have to take advantage of the time I have.

Happy New Years!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Quilters Stimluating the Economy

Well, I did my part to help stimulate the economy, post Christmas, and I wasn't alone.

The day after Christmas I decided to go to JoAnne Fabric and see if I could find any deals. Wow, they had great deals on Christmas fabric for $1.99 a yard (regularly $8.99).... and I wasn't the only one enjoying the great prices.

I was looking through the ones left on the shelf thinking that there wasn't much left. I grabbed 2 arm loads of fabric bolts and proceeded to the cutting table. Low and behold - that's where it all went. The lady in front of me had so many bolts I couldn't count and was buying all the fabric left on the bolt! I heard her total in fabric was $150 - that's a lot of fabric at $1.99 a yard!

The lady next to her had numerous amounts of Christmas fabric as well but was not buying the whole bolts. When she was done, I peeked in to the fabric bins and got a whole new selection of Christmas fabrics to pick from. I behaved, I didn't spend a fortune but I got some great fabric!

You can count on quilters to stimulate the economy!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!




Aww, it's beautiful here in Vermont - all that snow! This morning I sat on my couch with a cup of coffee and looked out my sliding glass door to a beautful sight. My deck is covered with about 8 inches of snow and it was just coming down. Beyond my deck are pine trees covered in it as well. Just beautiful! All it takes is a cup of coffee and a few minutes to sit and look outside to bask in God's beauty!

I got to use my new sewing machine for the first time yesterday. I really like it! It took me a few minutes to find everything and figure it out. I didn't figure out the needle threader - I had to wait until my hubby could show me how to use it.... technology - not always that easy for me - but once I get it I love it! I grabbed blocks from my Year 2000 UFO to work on and get use to my new machine. I'm so excited. However, I do believe I need a better work space, I might have to come up with something.

With all the snow that we have and are yet to get I bet there is not school tomorrow, then they will go back Tuesday and then off for over a week. Wish I had the same work schedule! Maybe I should have been a teacher instead of an admin assistant!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The gift of GIVING

I can hear it now - awwww - both of my sons do basic quilting. Wyatt does more than Jack. Jack was really into Thomas The Tank Engine but is kind of growing out of it. While at the fabric store he found Chrismas Thomas fabric and wanted some "to make a quilt." So, nothing fancy, I just folded the fabric in half, put in batting and machine quilted alittle bit. I gave it to him and put it in a hoop and he did a little hand quilting.

Tonight he said "Mommy I want to wrap the Thomas quilt and give it to someone." I was a little disappointed. I said, "Well, okay, but I thought you really liked it." He said he did but he wanted to give it to someone he loved. So he took it and wrapped it in Christmas paper and brought it to me and said it was for me. awwwwww. Arn't kids the best?

Monday, December 15, 2008

And The Winner Is...

I got a new sewing machine - I'm so excited!  The winner is:


Singer® Confidence Quilter 7469Q Sewing Machine











I got it from the Joanne Fabric store here in South Burlington, and it was on sale!  It has most of the things I wanted and in the price range I was looking for.  No, it's not the fancy Bernina that would have been great to get, but baby steps to get there.  I'm just excited I get something modern and didn't go into debt to get it!


I'm sad to say that it sat in the box for a while since I've been busy with other things but today I finally cracked open the box and pulled it out.  I did the responsible thing and got the owners manual and read most of it first.  It will take some getting use to it because I really know how to use my old machine - but I know once I master this one I am going to love it.  I can't wait to get started, unfortunately it won't be tonight.  Well, maybe I can stitch 2 blocks together on an UFO I have sitting next to my machine.


Now, I need a better workspace.... hahahaha.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Got The Tree Up

I finally got the tree up yesterday!  I normally have it up the day after Thanksgiving.  However, this year we travelled to Ohio and celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays with family and friends for a week and I didn't get the decorations up until yesterday!

These are my precious boys this morning before church. (No I didn't let them eat candy before church!)  I was trying to snap a photo to stick in Christmas cards. Marty was suppose to try to get a family portrait for us to put in the cards and he ended up on the flu like illness list taking him out of commission.  So I hurried them through a short "here, stand by the tree, look like your happy" session.

We just have a pencil thin tree, nothing fancy.  I would like to go bigger but don't have room right now.  I asked Marty if he had any interest in a live tree this year and he quickly said no, so back to old faithful.

The quilt behind the tree was made with Christmas colors but is the quilt I made when Marty and I got married.  I put it out each Christmas since the colors go with the holiday, however, we didn't get married at Christmas I just choose those colors when I made the quilt.

I switched to putting LED lights on the tree this year and threw out all the other ones I had.  Since we've moved to Vermont I've learned so much about saving energy, replacing light bulbs with CFL's and recycling.  I also work with fire fighters and learned about regular lights getting too hot and that being one major reason there are so many home fires this time of year.  So we went safe with LED lights which don't get as hot.  I had purchased 3 strands (the normal amount for this tree).  However, while getting them out and putting them on the tree I realized they are MUCH shorter than my old lights.  So I had to bundle everyone up (it was single digits outside) and back to the store we went for 3 more strands.  I wasn't sure I would like the LED lights - I'm kind of old fashioned when it comes to Christmas trees.  But they look great - I'm glad I made the switch and I recommend you think about doing the same!

We are starting to look like Christmas around here now.  Wishing  you all a very Merry Christmas!

Beth




Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Search Begins

I spent a good amount of time surfing the internet last night looking for information on sewing machines, particularly ones that can machine quilt.  There is so much information out there and so many different kinds of machines.

I stumbled upon a cute website called:

Quilt Bus, The Quilt Store that Comes to Your Door
www.quiltbus.com/sew.htm

They had a great page on what to consider buying a sewing machine.  After reading through that page and many more I decided to go to the Singer, Bernina, Brother and Pfaf webpages and see what they had to say.

After getting in my mind what models I like I started the shopping around.  I looked at several different webpages, comparison shopping, reading reviews, and narrowing my decision.  I believe I have narrowed it down to a Singer.  First of all I have a Singer and have had no problems what so ever with it.  Second of all, the prices are more realistic.  Third of all, I don't need a whole bunch of bells and whistles because I hardly sew clothing (except pajama pants) I will be using this for making quilts!  There were a couple things I was hoping to find in my price range, like it ending needle up, LCD screen, longer arm for holding the quilting projects, walking foot, 1/4 inch foot, drop feet and maybe needle threader.  I am leery of the needle threader, even though I think it's a great idea but I suspect it might take longer to use the needle threader than to just do it myself.

In reading reviews of a few machines on multiple web pages it was interesting to find out that my suspicions about the needle threader are true - several people commented that it was longer to use it than to just thread the needle themselves.  However, my family has a history of eye problems and my Grandma can no longer quilt because she can't see, so I suspect it would be a good thing for me to have a machine that will thread the needle for me - better than not sewing at all!

The search is on. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

How Much Does a Sewing Machine Cost?

Okay fellow quilters - I need your help.

I am making plans for my Christmas money and I am thinking maybe a new sewing machine. My machine is a Singer and is great - just over 15 years old. I took a pajama making class and got to use a new Berninia... very nice - but out of my price range. So here is my question - how much do sewing machines cost? And what is a good sewing machine for what I need?

Here is what I need - I make quilts. I do hand quilt but would like the opportunity to machine quilt with a walking foot. So this sewing machine needs to have a walking foot. I really don't want to spend more then $500 - is that possible.

I just started my internet search tonight and it really is overwhelming. I need your help. If you have any good or bad experiences with purchasing sewing machines please share them with me. I have no clue what I am doing! Please help a fellow quilter, there is nothing like the advice from fellow quilters!

Thanks so much!

Oh, by the way, we had a great snow storm last night and today - we have real snow now! How excited are we? We love snow here in Vermont!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Gift of Memories

This hand appliqued quilt is a beauty.  The finished top was given to me by my Great Aunt Mary (I've shared other quilts by her previously) who appliqued it herself.   This large queen size quilt top was conveniently already marked for quilting so all I had to do was put the layers together and start hand quilting.

I had not hand quilted a quilt this large with this much quilting on it before, but since I didn't have to worry about marking it and what design to do it went really fast. I found that quilting a quilt top with a sparse pattern and lots of open space is so much fun because you get it in your hoop and off you go.  There isn't a lot of stopping and starting.  I think someday I really want to hand quilt a whole cloth quilt.

I love the bright colors Aunt Mary used in this quilt.  I am assuming it was a kit and the fabrics probably came pre selected but I don't know that for sure.  I tried to follow up with the bright color theme on the back of this quilt.  I found a great bright fabric that was full of tulips.  This quilt really looks nice on either side of the quilt - I guess you could say it's reversible.  It's a great quilt for Spring time, it really brightens up the room. 

I love that this quilt is queen size.  Most of the older quilts that I have acquired were square and hardly fit a double bed.  This quilt top was probably made in the 60's or 70's as a guesstimate.  So to make it this large was a great feat!

Every time I sit down at my machine to piece a quilt, I think of the women who pieced their quilts by hand.  I know some fellow quilters still do.  I attempted this once very unsuccessfully.  I guess I like the built in 1/4 inch on my machine foot - that keeps me on the straight and narrow. 

I feel like I'm always crammed in a "nook" (hence the name of my blog) of our house somewhere and don't have room to spread my creative wings but maybe some day I will be able to have a dedicated space to release that inner creativity.    I find I love to browse other quilter's blogs and see their "studios" or work spaces, although I admit I do get jealous occasionally.  However, I remind myself that perhaps that quilter started in a "nook" as I did.  I also remind myself that generations of women made quilts in one room cabins and their workspace was probably a chair and a basket.  We sure have come a long way!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving with lots of yummy food.  We stayed in Vermont for Thanksgiving this year and ate at a friends house yesterday.  It was really nice to be with some friends.  However, we want those left overs so I will be cooking our version today!  With everything negative going on in the world today, it's so nice to be able to sit with people you love and be thankful you even can have a day to do this.  There are so many more people visiting food shelters and food banks just in our area alone, I pray that they find warmth and peace during the holidays. 

Next week we travel to Ohio to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with our families for a week.  It will be so nice to see family and friends for a whole week and not some short long weekend trip.  We are very excited to go, but are not excited about the drive (12 - 14 hours) and the hubby doesn't like to spend the night - so it's straight through on the way down.  I'm thinking of taking a small quilting project to work on - I haven't done that in the past trips, perhaps I can quilt in the car and it will make time fly by fast and I would get a project done! 

So this weekend's to-do list looks like this: in addition to preparing for travel, gather and wrap all of the Christmas gifts we are taking, decorating our house for Christmas, making our Thanksgiving meal today, run a few errands, AND get a wall hanging project ready to be quilted!  No problem!

We wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving again and hope you have a great countdown to Christmas!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What To Do With Old Jeans????

... I have an idea - make a quilt!



















My husband ALWAYS wears jeans (including to our wedding).  He had the idea he wanted his mother to make a quilt for him from his old jeans and wala this is the quilt she made for him back in 1993.  

This quilt is so large it fits our queen sized bed really well.  It is SOOOO heavy that it's hard for me to handle by myself.  Because of the heaviness of the jean material, she tied this quilt instead of quilting it, can you blame her?  On the back and continued as the binding you will see she used WARM blue and black plaid flannel material.  This quilt is a perfect quilt for our bed during the winter months here in Vermont.

My husband LOVES this quilt - it's his favorite.  As you can see he wore different colors of jeans and that gives this quilt a lot of character.  Our son Jack doesn't believe us that these use to be Daddy's jeans, he thinks we are making it up.

I have recently seen quilts that are made using fabrics from little girl's dresses.  I think that is such a neat idea.  Since I don't have any little girls, I am saving my boys special t-shirts to make them each a t-shirt quilt some day.  I also am hoping that someday I can be blessed with a little granddaughter and then I can make her a quilt using her dresses!  I have also heard of quilts made out of handkerchiefs.   How creative!

I love the recycling mentality and what awesome memories these make.  Part of quilting, I believe, is the recycling factor.  Early quilters re-used fabrics from feed sacks and clothing to make quilts to keep them warm and give as gifts.  I think over the generations many quilters have gotten away from that and purchase all of their fabrics (including myself).  In these days of saving money and saving the environment I think we should try to go back and recycle fabrics and create warm and meaningful memories!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kids To The Fabric Store? Oh My!

So this is what happens when you take your sons to the fabric store.  By the way side goes my own Christmas projects - and "right now" comes his projects.  

Wyatt fell in love with this fleece Christmas cat fabric and wanted a pillow.  As we went back to the pillow forms he picked of all things, the oval pillow.  I've never done one of these so it was quite a challenge.  I tried to find directions online and even though I did what it said -- well, mine still didn't turn out right.  It took me about 2 days to get this done.  It isn't "purrrr fect" but it will do for an 8 year old.  

So there was fabric left over and I offered to make another pillow - this time of my choice (square) and it only took about an hour and looks so much better.  I had considered even putting a ruffle on it but remembered why I even went to the fabric store in the first place - Christmas projects - oh that's right - so no ruffle.  Wyatt loves the pillows and I have a feeling they will be on his bed year round.

It's getting cold outside here in Vermont!  Great time for quilting!  I love the snow and where I am in Vermont we haven't had much.... of course we are the only part of Vermont that hasn't had much snow, we are city dwellers.  We did have about an inch on the ground Saturday morning (the mountains got feet of snow) and the boys rushed out to shovel off the porch, sidewalk and driveway.  We live in a town home community so they did the neighbors driveways as well seeing as an inch is very quickly moved by 2 little boys.  They love it!  They really wanted to sled ride but I didn't think it would go well since you could still see the tops of the grass.

I didn't get any sewing done this weekend, ug, but I did get a lot of other household stuff done.  We are staying home for Thanksgiving so no packing to do but we will be traveling to Ohio next week for a week and that will be our Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday with all of our family.

Hope your home smells as good as mine does - Pumpkin Pies were done today!  Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

26th Annual Quilt Show

This past Saturday, Beth, the Kids, and I went to "A Kaleidoscope of Quilts" presented by the Champlain Valley Quilters' Guild of Vermont located at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont.

First off, let me explain that the Guild began in 1979, now has 250 members, and now does some amazing work! Tight seams, small stitch size (for those that actually hand quilted), and great themes. We'll take a closer look in a bit.


Now that praise is outta the way, let me gripe: with artwork of these sizes, WHY, WHY, WHY would you display them in such tight quarters?!? Come on ladies, you need to find a better solution than the Coach Barn. The racks were spaced at most five feet apart and sized just to fit the quilts. Ladies were bumping into each other, you couldn't take in the entire quilt at once, people flow was non-existent, and don't get me started on how hot it was inside. If these were paintings or photographs an art gallery would never consider cramming them so tight. Come on Shelburne Farms, give these works of art the space they deserve.

Whew...


I spoke with a volunteer coordinator upon entering the show and made sure that photographing the quilts was allowed, and thankfully it was. Upon entering the display room, I found myself one of may with cameras snapping pictures. The spacing was so tight that even with my widest angle lens I couldn't get many of the quilts completely in a frame. So, I had to settle for some closeups... which is fine as it shows some of the very fine work these ladies do.

You can see all my shots
here, but these are not all inclusive by far. There were too many quilts with too many people in front of them to get shots of them all.



"Baltimore Album" by Patricia Egan and Carol Egan is quilt meticulously hand quilted with the straightest lines I've ever seen. Certainly lines were drawn then removed, but even the stitches are parallel. It was really elegant.




"What Made Your Childhood Shine?" by Jane Massenas is the first quilt I've seen that is three dimensional. Jane sewed little tabs with inscribed with things like "love" and "kiss" along with fabrics that gave this quilt texture. Very busy, and very unique. I like it!



"Wool Bees" by Hope Johnson caught my eye due to it's hexagonal shape. Getting closer, it is indeed wool fabrics and just screams "WARM!". Sized smaller, it certainly wouldn't fit my 6+ foot frame.

Lastly, as advertised in their brochure, is the "Ground Zero" quilt. This commemorative quilt depicting over 600 images of people lost during the attacks of September 11th, 2001 was created by Lois Jarvis of Madison, Wisconsin.

Sorry, this quilt isn't as grand as it sounds. Visually unstimulating and creatively drab, the only thing of note about this quilt is the faces printed on the pieces of fabric.

Sure, Lois's heart was in the right place, and sure, piecing the star shows her technical ability, but come on, it looks like she just threw on the gray border! I don't think I'm alone in this opinion either, as when I encountered this quilt, it was all alone without a single admirer.




I encourage you to take a look at the pics I shot and keep in mind that I didn't get the best shots, nor complete coverage of all the works. And if you are in the area, or need a vacation in New England, you should really try to stop by next year and see the show. These quilts were, in my opinion based on many evenings of using quilts and being pulled into many quilt stores, simply stellar examples of this art form. BRAVO LADIES! You all should be proud!

Great Grandma's Flowers

According to my Mom, this quilt was appliqued by my Great Grandma Cooper.  As a child, I remember Mom and Dad had this quilt on their bed during the summer a lot so it is well loved.  I love appliqued flowers on quilts - although I have not done any myself.  Perhaps some day I will get around to it.  I'm not sure if Great Grandma Cooper quilted this quilt - it seems my Grandma and Great Grandma just did the applique and and then had it "sent out" to be hand quilted by someone else in the tiny town of Smithfield, Ohio.  

It's quilts like this that continue to inspire me to create.  As I've stated before I just love the history of quilting and thinking of all these women sitting every night working on their quilts.  That was their entertainment - as well as practicality of staying warm and making their bed coverings.  They also made wonderful gifts (and still do!) 

I know that when I quilt I think, sometimes I watch a movie or TV or a NASCAR race while I am creating - but I still am thinking about things.  I know what I think about, I wonder what these ladies thought about?  Even though it was so many years ago that this quilt was made - I feel a connection to it, as though it's all the love and thoughts and memories of my family that no longer exist.  I feel it my duty to preserve those thoughts, feelings and memories - I just hope I can instill in my children or grandchildren the same love of quilts and family memories so they will take care of my collection!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Champlain Valley Quilters Guild - Quilt Show

This past weekend, much to my delight, was the Champlain Valley Quilters Guild quilt show at Shelburne Farms, in Shelburne, Vermont.  My hubby and I and 2 boys in tow set out to go to the quilt show Saturday morning.  Shelburne Farms is so fascinating.  I had not been there before even though I have driven by it so many times.  It is a working farm that a family donated to be used for educational purposes.  The buildings on this property are huge and it makes you wonder how a family could have had that kind of money way back when.  Anyways, the actual quilt show was being held in the coach barn (bigger than most houses) and was an awesome setting.  This is a very large quilt guild which I may someday have to become a member of.  They had so many quilts and they were so beautiful.  It was crowded with lots of people and tight display areas, but the quilts were all the rage.  I could have spent a very long time in there going from quilt to quilt had I not taken my hubby and kids.  All the kids did was complain and get in people's way.  I learned my lesson!  

There were a couple quilts that really jumped out at me.  My hubby took lots of photos but doesn't have them on the computer yet to show you.  As soon as they are up I will post them and share them with you.

One special quilt on display was a tribute quilt to those who perished 9/11 at Ground Zero.  The quilt is by Lois Jarvis of Madison, Wisconsin.  It was so touching.

There were a few demonstrations, a quilt raffle, silent auction, merchant mall and food.  It could have been even a better experience, had I not taken the kids, but I really loved going.

I must admit I love finding flaws in other people's quilts.  Is that crazy or are there more quilters that do the same thing?  I'm not doing it to be critical of their quilt - I do it because I want to know that everyone has flaws, that I'm not the only one!

I didn't get any quilting or piecing done this past weekend, even after going to a quilt show and being inspired.  It was a very lazy weekend.

For more information on the Champlain Valley Quilters' Guild of Vermont you can go to their website at www.cvqgvt.org.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Antique Double Wedding Ring Quilt


This is a beautiful, scrappy double wedding ring quilt from my mother's closet (hidden treasure talked about previously) and it was probably made by my mother's grandmother. I really like this quilt with all the vintage fabrics in it. No reproductions here - this is all the real feedsack fabrics. This quilt is square, just like the other hidden treasures I found and done by the same quilter. I had previously asked if anyone knew why they made these quilts square - and still haven't had anyone answer so I guess it will remain a mystery.

I have this particular quilt hanging in my bedroom. I love looking at it. I have only attempted to piece curved pieces and didn't succeed - had to give it to a more experianced quilter. So I totally appricate the work on this quilt because of the fabric that was recycled and cut out of feedsacks, the time and effort into piecing the curved pieces, and the fine hand quilting. I would love to know all the stories behind these quilts and the family members that made them, but unfortunatly I won't get that information since no one who knows anything about these quilts is still alive. I just have this vision of a hot summer day or a cool winter night and my presumably Great-Grandmother making this quilt with the scraps of fabric she had after a long day of working around the house. Sometimes I wonder if I were born in the wrong generation, maybe I should have been born back in those days. I would love to have quilting bees and so forth, but I don't believe many women my age are interested in those types of things these days. What a shame. I guess the best I can do is put my own heart and soul into the quilts that I make and hope that the generations after me can appricate what I have created.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Aunt Mary's Quilt

This is a beautiful quilt that I inherited from my Great Aunt Mary.  I didn't even know that she quilted until just before her passing.  My Grandma had given me a quilt top which she said was pieced by Aunt Mary and I took it and quilted it.  Upon her passing, though, I had the honor of being able to take this quilt which was being stored in a cedar chest, which I was able to have as well.  What an awesome surprise finding this beautiful quilt inside the chest.  The white blocks are embroidered which even adds more to the quilt in my opinion.  I'm not sure when this quilt was made but I would have to guess between 1930 - 1990's.  

I am so lucky to have these beautiful quilts in my possession.  Some day I want to be able to properly display them instead of tucking them away in a cedar chest.  All of these quilts have deep meaning to me and give me a sense of warmth and love from each person that made them.  I know that most quilts back in the early 1900's were made for utilitarian purposes, they didn't have the luxury of turning up the furnace like we do, but the time and effort put into these quilts is incredible.  I guess I can appreciate that because I make quilts.  I know that problems, the frustration, the time, the effort, the thought, the heart that it takes to put a quilt together.

This weekend I have been working on some wall hangings for Christmas.  I love seeing it come together.  I made and arrangement with my mother-in-law Vicki to quilt them for me.  She is a much faster hand quilter than I am and can whip one of these babies out in no time.  I think I am just going to start making an inventory and perhaps next craft show season see if I can sell anything that I make.  My first real leap into the world of making quilted projects to sell.  I just am really nervous about turning something I love into a job.  I would love any advice, comments or hints from other quilters who sell their works.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fabric Stores

Don't you just love fabric stores?  Well, I assume most of you reading this blog would say yes, but I know not everyone agrees with me, especially my kids.  I love being able to go to the fabric store and just take my time, surround myself with all the colors and textures and let the ideas flow.  Of course, that doesn't happen when you  have 2 little boys really not wanting to be there - or wondering if they can get candy "if they're good."  

Wyatt, my oldest, actually has picked up an interest in quilting and has made a few projects himself.  I usually just give him a large piece of fabric, layer it, and let him go.  His most recent project I have been teaching him to get his stitches smaller.  He really does do a good job and I love that even though I don't have a little girl to pass this quilting experience on to I can interest my son.

Back to fabric stores, here in Vermont, there are lots of small, fabric stores and I have only had the pleasure of visiting a few.  Usually if I am in a hurry I run to the ol' large chain fabric store because it's so close and I have the 2 sons with me.  However, on the rare occasion I have time to browse I love to go into the small shops.  

Most recently I went into "Sew Many Treasures" right in quaint Williston Village.  It is such a cute shop!  What I loved the most is on their shelving they had cute sayings that all had something to do with quilting or fabric.  How unique!  This store gives you such a warm and fuzzy feeling.  I love the fabric, all lined up by color, just makes me want to go crazy and do nothing but quilt.  

Last March I was in Chester, Vermont, and went to Country Treasures and was in fabric shop heaven!  What an awesome store!  (www.vermontquilting.com)  This store is huge - I thought I was in an unending store - it was just room after room after room with great sales!  I got so many neat ideas there of things I never saw before.  I could have spent all day in there and more than likely, I will be back.  I've seen great reviews of this store on other blogs as well.

There are many more shops I want/need to visit - if anything - so I can blog about them, right?



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Grandma Cline's Quilt


Hello all, this is Marty - Beth's husband. I'm taking this moment to talk about my Grandma's quilt.

Growing up, my brother and I would spend weekends at Pap and Grandma's house. They owned a smallish farm that had a creek that flowed through it. Dirt and adventure abounded for small boys. During the evenings Grandma would make us all the popcorn we could eat while we watched TV. We'd sit in a brown overstuffed La-Z-Boy and cover ourselves with this quilt. The top is scratchy wool, but the back is soft cotton corduroys. It was my first memory of how comfortable of sitting in a chair with a blanket could be.

It's a simple quilt, tied, and probably made for utility rather and artistic expression. I have a memory of Grandma saying that it was made from old men's coats, which fits her style. (That generation knew what recycling really meant.) The top is scratchy wool that has aged well, while the back and edges have worn a bit making it even softer. Many of the ties are missing, but it's still warm. You can see more pictures by clicking on the slideshow on the right.

Grandma is gone now, but I have her quilt to remember her, and it still lays on my lap during cold evenings.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Sew" many things to do!

So much going on! 
I'm planning a halloween party for my cub scout pack next week, 
wrapping up the cub scout popcorn sale,
 working more hours,
 assisting with homework,
 husband's working late & weekends,
 trying to fit in quilting to boot  

However I consider this all a "good" kind of busy.  We are blessed to have been introduced to a great uplifting organization such as the Cub Scouts, we are blessed to have jobs, we are blessed to have 2 great boys and I'm blessed with the desire of creating quilts (just to name a few of our blessings.)  

You could say we are recession proof (minus our 401K and kids college accounts tanking) - for now anyways - thanks to Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Program.  I just heard on the local news that the food bank here in Vermont is really struggling to keep up with the demand and that the new people coming in are young to middle age families (aka middle class families.)  That devastated me because that is me!  I'm very thankful we don't need to go to the food bank - but I just wish I had more money so that I could help the food bank!  Think of all the money going into the elections -- wouldn't that be a lot of money to help heat homes, feed families, buy prescription medications or whatever.  I realize money is very important to elections - maybe more now than ever - who knows - but it's sad that people in our own country have to make decisions between food, heat and medications.

I hear all the negativity around me and I just can't help but be thankful for what I have and the loved ones in my life and just feel - it will be okay. Otherwise- I'd be depressed all the time!

 

Friday, October 17, 2008

My First Sale

This is the very first quilt I sold.  I worked at a restaurant in Akron, Ohio, for a while when my husband and I first were married.  They asked me to make them a wall hanging to display in the restaurant and wanted it blue and white.  This was also the first time I did the Log Cabin block.  It went together so easily and was lots of fun to do.  Originally I tried hand appliquéing a heart in the middle of this wall hanging but I was not pleased with it so I redid it without the heart.   As usual, I hand quilted it.  What a simple project!

I was so excited to actually receive money for doing something that I love to do.  I have sold a few baby quilts since but not many.  I would really like to get into making quilts to sell but I'm really nervous making a hobby into a job.  I'm afraid I won't be good at it or that I won't love quilting anymore.  Do any of you who do sell your quilts run across this?  Lots of books tell you to find something you love and then figure out a way to make money at it - but I'm afraid that I will stop loving to quilt if it becomes my job.  Any advice is welcome!

Have a great weekend!  We're taking our boys to a cub scout halloween festival tomorrow and that will be lots of fun!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wyatt's Baby Quilt

My mother-in-law made this baby quilt for my first son.  She got the pattern from me and I had gotten it from my grandmother. As all her quilts, she hand quilted it.

What is really funny about this quilt is that she started it before Wyatt was born and had done the wording at the bottom and put in "March 2000" leaving a space to put in the date when he was born.  However, Wyatt had other plans and came early and was born in February.  So instead of ripping it out she put "oops" where the date was to go and underneath put "February 28, 2000."

Isn't it funny how we think we are being so efficient and then it turns out not to work out?  How many times has this happened to me?  I remember one Christmas I was on the ball and bought gifts early and on sale.  So Christmas comes and goes and sometime in mid-Spring I was cleaning out a room and found a gift I had purchased for my husband hidden away that I had forgotten about!  Not very efficient if you don't remember doing it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mom's secret quilt stash

This is another vintage quilt from my mother's house.  When we had to clean out her house to move her in the back of a closet were quilts that no one seems to remember.  I was so thrilled because I got them all.  This really cute quilt is made of obviously authentic vintage fabrics and has a scalloped edge.  I love the pastels and the few bold prints.  This is such an easy pattern - one block is a 4 patch and right next to it is a block of 2 triangles.  Easy and cute.  I just love the edging though.

So we suspect these quilts were made by one of my Great Grandmothers dating this back to the early 1900's.  What a find!  You just never know what you will find when you clean out a house!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One from the friends

This is an awsome quilt.  This quilt was given to my by dear friends and co-workers where I use to live in Ohio.  When my husband and I decided to move to Vermont - they had this quilt made for us.  Each person signed a rectangle and left really sweet messages on them.  They then had a quilter (whom I know) put the quilt together.  It was such a surprise.

I bring this up because today it was a year ago this week that we left all our friends and family in Ohio and moved to Vermont. 

This quilt is a display quilt - as you can see - and every time I look at it I think of my family and friends back in Ohio.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fall Harvest Wall hanging - Finished!


I finished another project! 

 This is a wall hanging made out of fall colors.  On the back you will see I used a black pumpkin fabric to compliment the front and black binding.  This basic baby quilt pattern was really easy to piece. 

I strayed from my norm and machine quilted it but I wish I would have hand quilted it.  I was not real happy with the final project but I was under a short deadline because this was for my boys' school to raise money for the PTO.  It was given as a donation for a silent auction.  

When I went to the Harvest Festival I noticed all the items up for silent auction.  This wall hanging didn't have a very high bid on it.  My husband heard someone say that they wished it had been hand quilted. I guess there are people who like hand quilting as much as I do!

My husband really liked the colors in this quilt and asked me to make one for us.  I might.

The solid colors I used are fabrics from my Grandmother's stash, and I couldn't match 
them to anything in the store (imagine that).  So I was sweating it out and actually had JUST ENOUGH  of each.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Angels Among Us


Angels - we all could probably use more of them.

I made this rose and teal angel wall hanging for my mother-in-law, Bobbie. She loves angels. In the Spring of 2008 we went to Amish Country in Holmes County, Ohio, and she saw a wall hanging with an angel on it. She mentioned that she would love to have one. I replied - funny, I know someone who could make you one. She hadn't even thought of that.

I told her I would make her one for Christmas, however, that Fall we moved to Vermont from Ohio and it got put on the back burner. Instead I made this wall hanging (which matchs her bedroom) and gave it to her for her birthday.

The angel in the middle is really cool fabric art which I purchased from an artist on the internet. I corresponded the colors around the angel and Bobbie's bedroom colors. It turned out nice and was a quick and easy project.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Crazy Times for A Crazy Quilter


Hello - I have been out of town visiting family and haven't had a chance to update my blog! I do have a travel story though that involves a quilt!

My son's and I made a quick trip to see family this past weekend. I had some room in my luggage and decided to stuff a queen size log cabin quilt (the one shown) into it.  I thought I would take it to my mother-in-law to have her fix the binding. She is the one who made this quilt and gave it to us when we got married. This quilt is always on my bed and well loved. Unfortunatly, our flights were cancelled and rebooked with a different airlines and I was freaking out that I would lose my luggage (my quilt actually - who cares about the clothes)! Luckily, this story has a happy ending - my luggage made it to my destination and I was very relieved! Funny thing - when my mother-in-law took a look at the quilt she said "wow, I think I'm going to have to make you a new one." Oh, darn!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Grandma's Fan - Literally

This is a Grandma's Fan quilt - and literally probably from my Great-Grandmother. This is part of the "found in my parents closet, have no idea where it's from" collection as previously mentioned. I love the old fabrics used in this quilt. If you look real closely at the bottom right of the quilt, down on the red border, you might be able to see a golf ball size critter hole. A couple of the quilts I inherited from my mother's closet have these holes.
I use to have this hanging in my bedroom but now it's in my living room. I read somewhere that you should have a touch of red in every room. I cannot remember why but I think it brings you joy or something like that. Who knows - I read it so it must be true, right?

Every time I look at this quilt I find another imperfection. Funny, but I love finding those in these old quilts because that means I'm normal because I make mistakes in mine. I also like to look at these quilts and think about what I would have done differently. For instance, in this particular quilt, I love how the "handle" of the fan is red - but notice how there is red in some of the fans as well - I would not have done that, I think it distracts the eye.

Antique vs. Vintage

Antique vs. Vintage.... that's my question. I wanted to know how to properly describe this quilt but I don't know the difference between antique and vintage. I went searching on the web and it really confused me even more. One site told me that antique was defined as being 100 years old or more and vintage are things made in the 1960's and 1970's. So what about those years in between? Then another site said that Antique is an item (furniture, quilt etc.) that is really old and vintage is a timeframe not an item. So I guess if I go by those standards then this is an antique quilt but by the previous standards this is not classifiable. If anyone knows for sure I would love for you to leave comment.

Anyway - this quilt was a treasure found in my parents home when they downsized. It was tucked away back in the corner of a closet (with others I will introduce in the future) and I had no idea it existed. Actually, neither did my Mom and therefore has no recollection of where it came from nor who made it. However, she does suspect maybe her maternal grandmother might have made it. Looking back in my genealogical files that dates this quilt being made somewhere in the late 1800's or early 1900's. If any of you are good at aging quilts - I would love your opinions.... including what pattern this is.

Another question I have for all my fellow quilters - why did they make quilts square? This is square and so are most of the ones I discovered and now have inherited. Were their beds square back then or were they just laid on top of a bedspread? I've asked this question to a few quilters and no one can give me an answer. I have not done any research on this and might if no one can answer this question.

Thanks!


Bob The Builder Quilt


As stated in my last post, I made a quilt for one son, Jack, about trucks and for my other son, Wyatt, I did this Bob The Builder quilt because at that time he loved Bob The Builder. I found a lady online who machine embroidered the Bob The Builder squares for me and even did one that says "Wyatt The Builder" which I put right in the middle. This was a very easy quilt and was done quickly. I hand quilted it, like I do with most of my quilts. This is currently on my son's bed even though he has grown out of Bob The Builder - it's more like Legos and Star Wars now. That's the problem with doing theme quilts for kids - by the time you make a quilt of something that interests them - they have moved on to another interest.

I'm thinking aloud here, I wonder if there is a quilt I could do to look like Legos? Does anyone know of a pattern or have any ideas as to how I would go about that? I would be the coolest Mom ever if I could figure out how to do this one! Oh my, now my brain is going to town. Please, if anyone one has any suggestions I would LOVE to hear them!

Speaking of Lego's how many of you know what I'm talking about when I say I'm so sick of stepping on Lego's? When the boys were younger they used the big mega sized Legos, those were easy to see and avoid. But now we have graduated to the more complex Lego sets which have these wee tiny pieces and then if they are clear - well, the only way you find them is by stepping on them! I always threaten to throw away any Lego I have stepped on, but have you seen the price of Lego sets? I can't afford to throw them away! Besides, Wyatt would somehow know that piece was missing - he seems to have them all memorized and numbered!

Keep On Truckin'

This is a cute twin size quilt titled "Keep On Truckin'" from the book More Quick Rotary Cutter Quilts by Pam Bono Designs. I had intended on making 2 of them (and even cut all the pieces out for 2) but after struggling to finish this one in a timely manner the second one got scrapped (literally). I love the bold colors in this quilt, they match my son's bold personality. Most of the fabric is vintage which I inherited from my Grandma. Some of my tires are flat from not being real precise in piecing but I justify it by saying "Some trucks have flat tires."

This is the first time I had worked on a quilt with all the little pieces used to make a picture. I kept making mistakes so I did a lot of ripping on this one. I really like this quilt, now that it is done, but I didn't like it at the time of making it. I took this to the Belmont County Fair in St. Clairsville, Ohio, (where I was born and raised) and won first prize with it, but I must admit I didn't have any competition in my category (perhaps that's too much information).

I still have all of the scraps I cut to make the second quilt, maybe some day I will, you know, when I run out of projects (yeah right)! I have so many ideas and not enough time - but isn't that the typical quilter's dilemma?

Double Wedding Ring FINISHED


I finished a quilt! I'm so excited! This is a blue and green and white double wedding ring quilt.

I bought the pieces as a pre cut quilt in Holmes County, Ohio, from an Amish fabric store. An extended family member hand pieced it for me and I just finished quilting it.

I don't know what to do with it! I don't know whether to sell it, to keep it for one of my boys down the road if or when they get married or what. Right now, I am just enjoying it! I can't put it on my bed since I have a queen size bed, so I have it draped over my rocking chair in my bedroom. The satisfaction of having a quilt done is awesome! You want to yell it from the roof top - except not everyone really cares!

On to the next project!

Welcome to Quilter's Nook


Welcome to my new blog. I had started a previous blog bug have decided to make a few changes. So here we go with round 2.

My name is Beth and I am a wife and a mother of 2 boys - and I LOVE TO QUILT. Not only do I love to quilt, I love reading about quilting (fiction and nonfiction), I love seeing quilts, I love visiting quilt shops, I love talking about quilts, I love going to quilt shows and I love showing off my quilts.


I grew up around quilts. I remember my Grandma making quilts when I was little and my Grandpa helping her. I have always slept under quilts made by family. I really got started doing it myself in 1995, my first project being a Christmas gift for my parents. I have not stopped since.

I am what you probably would call an old fashion lap quilter. I enjoy having that warm quilt on my lap while I quilt. I realize I am in the minority these days. I admit I have machine quilted (with a regular sewing machine) a few small projects, and although I had them done really fast, I did not enjoy it nearly as much. I just am of the mindset that quilts should be loved and used and maybe not perfect. I think quilts that look too perfect arn't usable - I know that probably upsets some quilters.

As I said, my Grandmother, my first memory of a quilter, hand appliqued quilts with other women in her community and then sent them to be quilted. I have distinct memories of being at her house and my Grandfather on the floor cutting out her applique pieces. I have a couple of quilts by her and they are very treasured. The pictured one above, is my favorite. I slept under it most of my childhood. It is purple, is twin size and VERY worn. I now keep it safe and secure in a cedar chest. I have no intentions of having it fixed, I love it just the way it is. The second quilt, I have from her is one she gave me whan I got married (shown below). This quilt is also in my cedar chest only because it is a double bed size and I have a queen size bed, so it doesn't fit.


In future blogs I plan on expanding more on my quilt collection, those family members who have quilted, quilt questions I have, funny stores and mishaps, quilt stores and shows I have been too, books I have read, and perhaps I'll even get pictures of my quilts up.

I am hoping that some of you can help me with questions I have. I am self taught and so I am sure I am doing things the hard way. Perhaps I can even help you with questions you have. I find sharing information is the best way to learn, since I really don't have time to take classes.

I look forward to hearing from all my fellow quilters out there, especially if you are from Vermont - contact me! I'd love to make all kinds of new friends and talk about quilts!