Home Sewing

I learned to sew around age ten, and I started with clothing. My mom sewed all of my Dad’s shirts, most of my sister and my clothes, and many of my three brother’s shirts. She also re-upholstered furniture, made curtains, made doll clothing, did mending and alterations for friends and neighbors, made I-don’t-know-how-many plaid uniform skirts for girls from our grade school and our high school… and I picked up her love of all things textile early on.  I begged to go along to the fabric shop with her, and picked out patterns and fabric before I ever learned to make things myself.

Funny, though, my sister never had any interest; still doesn’t. As my sister says, “why do I need to know how to sew, if I need something done, I can just ask you or Mom.” She has a good point. It’s not like we’ve ever said no to her.

This week I made a valance for her youngest, my sweetie pie niece, Zoe Grace. She’s the doll I made the owl pillow for, and there is a quilt in the works to match the valance and pillow.

Valance Detail on Instagram

Click on the photo above to see a clearer larger version on Instagram, I added the hugs and kisses fussy cut detail to set it off!  The walls are a very pretty turquoise color, and I had a tough time getting a good pic with my iPhone, but you sort of get the idea…

Valance on Wall ruffled girly valance

She has a butterfly garland on order for the walls, and other butterfly decor plans.  And these curtain rod finials are just too cute!

Valance Detail Hugs and Kisses

 I can’t talk her momma into it, but maybe I’ll get lucky and Zoe Grace will want to learn how to sew one day!

June has been a bust month for our chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild… my house was one of the drop off points for entries to go into our first local Modern Quilt show!  On the 15th, my husband and I drove to Ames with the entries and met up with Jill of Modern Quilt Relish, and Greta, the curator at the gallery.  Two hours later, we had the show hung!

Quilt Show installation

Quilt Show Installation 2

This last Sunday evening we had an artist’s reception, and several of us collaborated to give an impromptu Gallery Talk with Q&A.  We were incredibly pleased to have such a good turn out to our gallery opening!

MQG Quilt Show Reception

One of my two entries is the blue and yellow Row House Creations Fox in a Box quilt shown here, next to a “clothesline” display of mug rugs and my friend Emma’s fun “piece, love, quilt” quilt:

MQG Show and mug rug display

The show is on display through July 25th.  For more pics, check out our guild’s Flickr pool.   Our guild has also been busy making a charity quilt to benefit a local hospice center; the fundraiser is sponsored by our local Harley Davidson dealer, and so our colors for the quilt are “Harley” colors (orange, grey, black)…  here’s my block:


It’s looking really good so far, a friend of mine is quilting it for us on her long arm.  I’ll be sure to show you the finished quilt!

Happy Sewing!



Midwest Hospitality, Quilter Style


Yesterday and today, I spent visiting the American Quilter’s Society (AQS) show in Des Moines, IA.  Many of my readers know this show is in conjunction with the Des Moines, Iowa, Area Quilters Guild (as in, we co-host it along with AQS, headquartered in Paducah, KY) and our annual Guild show takes place in an adjacent room, so admission to the AQS show gets you admission into our Guild show.  One of the volunteers told me this afternoon that the Des Moines AQS show is now the largest quilt show in the United States for number of quilts on display, in part because of the very active, and large Guild that helps to pull it off here every year.

I am always anxious to share photos of the amazing things I see there (this year, there was a display of Japanese made quilts that simply took my breath away) but, AQS allows photography for personal use and enjoyment, only, therefore, no posting of photos on the internet.  I will weed through my pics and see what I might have that I can show you over the next few days.

I had four entries in the Guild show (one of these years I may muster up enough courage to submit something to the AQS Juried portion of the show!).  My “What a Tangled Web We Weave” Halloween quilt, first shown here during Blogtoberfest 2011 received an honorable mention ribbon.  Technically, my business partner, Trina, who did the long-arm quilting on it received the ribbon–since it was the quilting that received the judges highest marks and best comments–oh well, I’ll take it!!  This is a terrible photo, but I promise a full post on this fabulous finish with great outdoor photos, soon!

In addition, I entered my Diet Quilt, a twin size version of our Modern Fortune quilt (pics coming soon!) and my Midnight Serenade Quilt.  This is also a terrible photo, but this quilt was made for my sweetie, and he was so proud of seeing it hanging in the show, he insisted on snapping my photo next to it.  :-p

(Can you tell how excited I was to be posing for the photo?!?  At least I was properly attired for the holiday represented…)  I ran into so many good friends, members of the Des Moines MQG, four gals from the small group I used to belong to, and our sister-small group, shop owners that sell our patterns (exciting!), even my Gruber’s buddy Shelly P, and her sister who drove North from Missouri to attend the show on Friday!  I think we must have had several near misses over the course of the day, but eventually, we met up in the same place at the same time just before they had to leave to drive home!

Does your local Guild have an annual quilt show?

Do you enter quilts into shows or your local/State Fair?

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming…

I managed to get a half hour of sewing in this week to make my May bee block for Mrs. Schmenkman, Amy

Love her fabrics and her choice of block…super easy to assemble!

Then, last night I went to the meeting of the Des Moines Area Quilt Guild, our traditional guild which has a membership of somewhere near 500.  Our speaker was Karen Eckmeier of Quilted Lizard designs.  She talked about freeing yourself to include raw edges, collaged quilting (her term), and letting yourself play for a 15-20 minutes every morning before you start to create–ignore the quilt police!  Her talk was very much in line with many modern quilt bloggers.

Some of the quilts she brought to share…

I love how her quilts incorporate hidden photographs from her family, travels, etc, that essentially go unnoticed until she points them out to you:

And my favorite pieces of her’s are her wavy log cabins, sort of in line with wonky log cabins you see in the blogosphere, but she takes it even further with embellishment:

Her “doodle quilting”, and appliqued triangles and shapes within her logs:

I’m definietly inspired to do some creating this week!!!

One more change this week…I decided to get rid of that extra hair I’ve been dealing with the last several months, and go with a short pixie for summer….ahhhh……  My hair just seems to be happier when it’s short, what can a girl do?

Have fun creating, dear reader!

Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild is off and running!

Last night was the inaugural meeting of the Des Moines chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild, Linda helped me organize and lead the meeting…we had about 25 gals show up, and we have at least 18 other members who could not make it.  

Some pics from our show-and-tell last night:


More pics here.  Thanks to Eva Marie for offering to take pics with my camera…for all the ladies who came and brought their smiles and great projects and quilts to share!  Can’t wait for next month!!!

Going, Going…Gone!

My sewing room has been eerily quiet these days. I mentioned in my last post that I am moving over the next month, and while it will save us a good deal of money in the long run, and I’m getting a fresh and nicely furnished quilting studio out of the deal, I would so much rather be sewing and creating than packing and trying to sell extra things we don’t have room for! And, I’m still working two jobs while trying to get it all done!

Last night I did get a break. It was our guild meeting, and August is the fundraising meeting with a live auction and tag sale. Our guild raised over $12,000 for Breast Cancer Research last night in less than four hours!

I didn’t take anything home from the live auction, but I did find a few treasures in the Mall In The Hall, the tag sale/rummage sale component that took place before the auction. There are books, magazines, patterns, kits, fabric, quilt tops, completed quilts, fresh garden veggies, quilt racks, notions, batting, vintage blocks, new blocks, embroidery hoops, quilt frames, knick-knacks…you name it, it was probably for sale there.

All items are donated by members that cleaned out their stashes, their closets, basements, those neglected tubs that haven’t been opened in five years…

And the live auction included some gorgeous, beautifully quilted quilts, quilt tops with backing and binding included, bundles of quilty-goodness for wine lovers, chocolate lovers, batik lovers, fans of traditional quilts… There was a laundry bundle that included a tabletop ironing board, a Clover Mini Iron, Shout Color Catchers, Dryer balls, Orvis soap, Retayne, and many other quilt care products–clever! The creativity that went into some of these baskets was just amazing in itself! I wish you all could have been there…if you had, we might have been able to raise another $10,000!

I brought home four pieces of vintage fabric from the Mall In The Hall sale…about six yards of 1940-1960 fabric in amazing condition (a few stains that I need to remove) for only $4.00!

This floral piece is just lovely (even if it doesn’t show that in the photo!), it is a cotton chintz, a three yard piece that I think may become a dress or skirt for your’s truly with the scraps going into a quilt…

The leaf fabric is called “Spring Song” it appears to be from the early 1950s, it has the cutest little dragonflies and fruits and leaves…just great! It has a few stains, but I believe I can get them out.

And this one, with the little dutch boys and girls?! Adorable! You can click on the photos to enlarge them and see the deatils better. I’m sure if my mind hadn’t been focusing on downsizing and moving for the last two weeks, I would have brought home much, much more last night! I did pick up these two patterns, though:

I drove across part of Iowa this weekend, to see my Mom and attend the baptism of my grand-niece. I once showed you the barn quilts that you can find dotting the Iowa landscape. On our way home Sunday, we stopped at a BP Station (petrol station) to use the restroom and saw this hanging above the cash counter:

It’s a quilt that shows all of the blocks that adorn the barns throughout Grundy County, Iowa. You can see more here.

Happy sewing!

Makin’ a list, Checkin’ it twice…

So. There you have it. Thirty-five Unfinished and Unstarted projects. I counted them, I documented them here on the blog, and I’ve been working on them. Actually, it’s 30 projects, because I finished five of them since I first posted them. My SIL (hi Les!) asked me when I started blogging about them how I was organizing myself to get them finished since I was trying to set goals for each one at the end of the post about it… I didn’t have an answer then, but I do now! I’m a list maker. If I can see what I have to do in black and white, I am so much better about focusing on it and getting it accomplished. And I love checking an item off of a list!

The red items are the ones I’ve finished since first documenting them. Pink Christmas is a swap I am participating in. The green items are Christmas deadlines, ideally. I have been known to deliver a finished Christmas gift well into the following Spring, but these are primarily for children, so December 25 it is. My goals or “deadlines” beyond Christmas are not hard and fast, I’m not going to overwhelm myself or stress myself out just because that Kaffe Fassett quilt has to be done by May 31st. Uh-uh. This is just structure. Just a framework. Totally and completely negotiable if a more exciting idea presents itself that I want to work on first. That will be allowed. I’m anal and detail-oriented. But I’m not that anal. And I’m not completely crazy.

Last week, my friend Toni and I joined the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild which is over 500 member strong. Yes, it’s huge. We went to their Fall Quilting Retreat last week, with about 50-60 other quilters. We felt very welcome, and had a blast!

They have a Newcomers Group that meets on a different night from the regular guild meeting, once a month, and a member of the guild (there are several very accomplished award winning members) comes to speak informally and show their works of art. Last night, we had Hollie Hart, and art quilter, come and talk to us.

Oh. My. Gosh. She is my free-motion IDOL! And she was delightful, fun, funny, down-to-earth, REAL, and oh so sweet. And, did I mention her free-motion quilting? Check this out:

She does small art quilts in a broderie perse style, but the quilting, oh, the Quilting!

I know, I know…practice, practice, practice…. and now I have a goal–I want to quilt just like Hollie Hart!!!! You need to click on these to enlarge them and admire the quilting. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

One day…..