Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas

A couple months ago, I got a text from by husband's daughter with a picture of a quilt attached and a comment... "Mackenzie (granddaughter) wondered if Geema could make her a quilt like this."  As my husband says, granddaughter's want... granddaughter's get.  

Of course, it was a Christmas Eve finish.  (Don't we all work better under pressure?)

A black and white chevron.  The construction is 6" finished half square triangle.  I used five or six different blacks and scrappied them up.  

I love a big, ole' fat binding...  

One thing I love about the long arm quilter is that the quilt basting on the top and sides makes for a full, fat binding.  I love the way the binding rolls to the back and puffs up.  And, yes, the backing is a red print... hoping for a Georgia Bulldawg when dear granddaughter heads to college.  

The quilting was puffy clouds in a black and white variegated thread.  Black thread is weaker than white thread due to the amount of dyeing required to get it black.  I had more than my share of thread breaks and challenges with this thread, but it is lovely on the quilt.  

I love the quilt.  I may make another one for me!

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Studio (aka The Woman Cave)

Someone asked if I had pictures of My Studio, so I went to my blog to link to them.  Duh!  I never posted them... all I could find was a posting that said pictures to come.  So, here they are...

This is the outside.  I have since added a barn quilt to the left side of the front door.  I've also added a dogwood tree, some azaleas, and some hostas to the landscaping.   We love the yard. 

The pictures below are to the right of the front door and look toward the cutting table.  Notice the wine cooler.  (big smile)  The sink is a large sink without a divider.  I use it for giving my pug a bath.  I also had it put in should I decide to dye fabrics.  (Do you think it's still so pristine?  Nope, stuff all over the counter.  This reminds me I need to clean up.)  Notice the doors on the left.  More explanation to come. 

 The door on the right leads to my bathroom.

Next picture -- My HandiQuilter Avante with the Prostitcher.  I have since purchased a UPS which sits under the frame.  The backdrop on the right (with the quilt squares) is a disappearing design wall.  It's like a big flannel window shade that rolls up into something that looks like a box shelf.

See the three doors.  They nest and roll on a track so I can move them back and forth.  My stash is hidden behind them.  The third picture (above) shows the other set.  The entire back wall of the studio is storage.  The doors give me access but keep the fabric from being exposed to light so it doesn't fade. 
My sewing machines sit to the left of the door when you enter the Studio.  I have since purchased a Horn cabinet which sits where the black table is.  It holds my Babylock Ellisimo and my Babylock Imagine serger.  The table under the window has been replaced by a Featherweight table and the Featherweight which is the same age as I.  The black table now sits by the window to the right and holds my Janome MC10000. 
To the right of the front door is a desk where I can use my "travelling" machines, a Babylock Grace or my second Featherweight, if I need more machines set up to piece.

There are some other things not in the pictures (other than the UFOs).  In front of the cutting table and the long arm frame, I've added GelPro floor mats.  They are worth their weight in gold.  On the wall in the corner above and by the desk, I have slat board (similar to peg board) for hanging embroidery hoops and quilting stencils.  I purchased two nice sewing chairs from a local sewing machine dealer.  I also purchased two bar stools which sit in front of the cutting table.  They are nice to have when hubby comes to visit.  And, last but not least, I added an ironing board.

Thank you for walking through the tour of My Studio. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sew Sisters Retreat

From time to time, I disappear from home for a few days to go on a quilt retreat.  The men folks in my life don't understand why a bunch of women would want to spend three days sewing until they are dead tired.  The idea is to create something new.  Sometimes, we learn a new skill or technique.  Other times, we may make a mystery quilt which means we have no idea what it's going to look like, but we're there for the ride. 

So, I thought I'd give you a sneak peak...

See the blur in red... that's me.  We are all busy in various creative tasks, but there is a lot of chatter going on.  This particular retreat has been held in Winston-Salem, NC (my home) by two wonderful women.  Lisa and Karen run a business called Sew Sisters.  After this retreat, we are ALL Sew Sisters.  I've been to many retreats, but I've never been with a group of women who have become friends as quickly as this group.  We have learned a lot, but we have become buddies. 

Bonnie Hunter (queen of scrappy) and Mickey Depre (queen of hexies) have been our teachers.  They are dynamic women.  I wish I had a smidgen of their knowledge. 

Here are some of my accomplishments.  This is the pieced block that Bonnie taught us to make.  This block contains 41 different pieces of fabric.  Whew!  There will be 9 of them in the finished quilt.  (I have all 9 made at the end of the day.  Yippee!)

 This is my hexie bock that Mickey taught us to make.  These hexies are unique because they are pieced.  Before Mickey, most hexies were made from a solid piece of fabric.  Mickey has kicked it up a notch by piecing fabric to make unique hexie blossoms. 
The hexie blossoms are a lot of hand stitching.  I have only one of these completed at the end of the day, but I have the pieces stitched to make the rest.  It will be good handwork in front of the TV at night. 

So the retreat ends tomorrow and we all go back home to our own lives.  But those lives will be richer for our new friends with whom we will stay connected through Facebook, e-mail, blogs, Quiltville, and the Sew Sisters reunion. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Baby Quilts

I love making baby quilts.  I love the celebration of a new life and the expectation that a little one will cuddle in my quilt for years to come.  My friends, Shane and Natalie, are expecting their first baby.  My quilt guild had a workshop in April to make a heart log cabin quilt.  When I saw it, I knew it was just the ticket for this new little one...

I picked colorful solids to contrast with a whimsical print.  It was so much fun to make. 

In addition to the quilt, I made some burp cloths.  These are one of my favorite baby shower gifts because they can be so individual to the baby.  You won't see these on a register at BabysRUs or Target. 

The middle one matches the print on the quilt.  "Powell Power" was coined by the first Powell child on our street, Stella.  It reigns.  The green one matches the baby's room.  Natalie is a UGA alumni, so the trio had to include the Dawgs.  When the baby arrives, we will add a customized one to the collection. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Finished! (on time)

My husband fusses at me for taking on projects with a deadline because I usually end up staying up all night to finish the project before the deadline.  Ok... so I work better under pressure. 

In working on Beth's quilt, I knew the deadline was Mother's Day.  I did a much better job of planning this one out and had it completed by the Thursday prior.  Here's the big reveal...

I managed to get all the center medallions turned in the right direction after having many sets of eyes take a look at it.  Beth's husband is on the left and my husband in on the right. 

I do love the pattern.  It would make a great I Spy quilt for a child. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Which one of these...

When my granddaughter was growing up, I would buy workbooks that had four pictures and you had to pick out which one of these is not like the other.  I can look at a block and it looks perfect.  Take a picture of it and it's like playing which one of these is not like the other. 

Enter my latest example...

Do you see it?  I was auditioning borders and took a picture with my cell phone.  Just as soon as I opened the picture on my computer, I saw the block which had been turned 90 degrees the wrong way.  Of course, then I went back and found another one.  (frog quilting... ripit, ripit) 

So I showed the picture to DH.  He came out to the studio and said, "I thought you were going to fix it."  Aaarrrggghhh.  He found two more! 

All are fixed.  We've made numerous inspections and think I have the all right now.  Maybe I should take a picture...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Design Wall Monday

On Monday's, Judy at Patchwork Times has a "link up" for quilters to show what's on their design wall.  Here's my current project in process...

In front of the design wall is my long arm quilter and you can see the strips lined up for making more blocks.  Lots of work to do...  this quilt was requested as a gift for Mother's Day in 2012.  I'm heads down trying to finish it for Mother's Day this year.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wake Up, Harley

A couple posts ago, I talked about black and gold fabrics.  My cousin is a Harley Davidson bike rider and he asked me to make a t-shirt quilt for his daughter, Mary.  Mary is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University... hence, the black and gold fabrics.

The t-shirts had logos and designs of various sizes.  Some of them were 16" which is a little oversized for a t-shirt quilt.  Most t-shirt squares are cut at 12" and the logos are just chopped off... not to my liking for a special quilt like this one had to be.  Some of the logos were small which would have left a lot of negative space on the block if they were cut at 12".

So, it became a very custom quilt.  The t-shirt blocks were various sizes filled in with traditional quilt blocks in black and gold.  I used blocks like flying geese, square in square, pinwheels, etc.  I thought they would add a nice touch since the quilt was for a girl, yet the t-shirts and colors were somewhat masculine.  The traditional blocks finished at 5" square (except the geese) and I used sashing to make the rows even.

Here's the result...

The driver for preserving the 16" block is the middle block which says...

           What makes a road "Sweet"?
           What makes a journey "Epic"?
           It starts with that ribbon of pavement  calling your name.  

As Mary is at the beginning of her life's journey having just graduated from college, I thought it was so profound.  She will have roads in her life calling her name and whether the journey is sweet or epic is all about the decisions she will make.

Oh, Wake up, Harley is the name of the quilt... Wake Forest + Harley Davidson.  Get it?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bonnie Hunter!

I love Bonnie Hunter.  She has a website,, and a blog.  This gal has more energy in her little finger than I have in my whole body.  She lives in Wallburg, NC which is near my home (Midway), and she travels all over the US (and sometimes Internationally) teaching quilters how to make quilts using tiny pieces of fabric. 

  • Side note... Quilt fabric is now in the $12 a yard range and you don't want to waste any fabric.  Bonnie is the queen of using every little piece of fabric in her quilts.
But, I digress... Bonnie is highly in demand as a teacher.  Her calender bookings are now into 2016.  Sarah, with Silver Comet Stitchers, saved me a place in Bonnie's class.  I felt blessed.  Bonnie was teaching Jamestown Landing from her newest book, String Fling. 

See my little squares made from half square triangles?  Sometimes I think quilters are nuts.  We take fabric, cut it into little pieces, then sew it back together again.  Why?  Because we can. 

This quilt requires that I make 840 squares from 2-1/2 inch half square triangles.  Bonnie teaches us how to cut and sew them efficiently.  I like efficient!

Then you take the triangles and sew them together in blocks called a Churn Dash.  Churn Dash blocks are sewn together to make star blocks.  So, let's lay them out...

Oops... do you see the two blocks in the right corner/side?  Wrong way.  When you sew blocks together like this, there is a handy gadget to use called a seam ripper.  Ask me how I know!  Ripping out quilt blocks is called frog quilting... rip it, rip it. 

Ah... this is better...

My block is on the left.  All sewn together.  My table partner and new friend, Hetty, made the block on the right.  (Hetty is from Moreland, Georgia.  She drove an hour and a half during rush hour yesterday to get to this class.  I loved sewing with her.)  

  • Another side note... I am an avid fan of Harry Chapin's songs.  If you don't know him, his songs told stories.  In one song, he tells of a singer who tried to go professional but didn't make it.  The line in the song that speaks to me goes, "he did not know how well he sang.  it just made him whole."  That's how I feel about quilting.  I don't know how well I quilt, but when I spend time with friends and fabric, it just makes me whole.  

The dark fabrics were gifted to me.  I think they are going to make a lovely quilt.  I completed two blocks yesterday.   For now, it will go in the UFO stack as I have committed to make a quilt for my friend, Beth.  These bright colors will be calling me, though, so I will be next in line. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Black & Gold

Fabrics laid out on the cutting table...

Working on a quilt with black & gold accents.  Lots of fabric to choose from.  Guess what college these represent?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Charity Quilt

(Also known as my "go to" quilt pattern.)

Joe came in one day last year after his Kiwanis meeting and was talking about needing to raise money for the Administrative fund.  The Administrative fund is the fund they use for internal expenses like postage, gifts for speakers, travel expenses, etc.  The Service fund is the money they use for scholarships, etc. 

So in short order, I could see where this was going.  So it came around to a discussion of me making a quilt for them to raffle.  I asked him about timeframe and he said early 2013 (but the raffle had to be approved by the Board). 

Of course, the Board said yes but they wondered if I could have it done in time for the Smyrna Jonquil Festival. 
 Yikes, six weeks! 

So I went to my "go to" quilt pattern and this is the result...

Joe worked so hard to sell tickets.  The club capped the ticket sales at 400 and Joe sold over 100 by himself.  The raffle raised a little over $1,600.  Woo Hoo!

The quilt was won by our friend Rosemary who works at our local Ace Hardware store.  When we were in the store last week, she told me is was so warm and comfy.  I love it when someone uses an appreciates my work.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Jonquils Are Confused

We have had the strangest weather.  One day it's 70 degrees and the next day, we have freezing temps and ice on the deck. 

Needless to say, my jonquils are confused.

After a spell of warm weather last week, the weatherman was forecasting freezing temps.  I went out to my jonquil patch and picked them so they wouldn't freeze.  Nothing fancy, just a jelly jar to hold them.  They look bright on my kitchen table. 

The Georgia ground hog, General Beauregard Lee, say his shadow so he's saying six more weeks of bad weather.  Although I hope it's not bad, bad, we could use some rain to offset a couple years of drought.  In the meantime, I have my jonquils to remind me that Spring will come.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Super Bowl Chili

I go to church at Smyrna First United Methodist Church.  The Methodist Church has an organization called United Methodist Women (UMW).  My grandmother was a member of the UMW.  The UMW is comprised of Circles.  My grandmother belonged to the Dora Reynolds Circle.  I remember her going to meet with her friends.  I knew that magic occurred there as she returned home in high spirits. 

My circle is called the Willing Workers.  In Proverbs, there is a verse that says, "She seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands."  Well, we don't spin wool, but we do work willingly.  This group of women works harder than any group of people I know.  We have two fundraisers a year and the proceeds are used to help needy families in the community. 

One of the fundraisers is our chili luncheon on Super Bowl Sunday.  Our circle has a secret recipe that I can't share, but I thought I'd share some pictures of my preparation. 

Peppers... yellow, orange and red.  I picked up a six-pack at Sam's yesterday.  The gourmet yellow, orange and red peppers were less expensive than the green ones.  I sauteed them in olive oil, seasoned them, and put them into the big cooker. 

Chopped purple onions ready for the sautee pan.  I choose purple for my son who is an ardent Raven's fan.  (They also add great flavor to the chili.)

The chili cooking and the house smells awesome.  You didn't think I would really give you the secret recipe, did you?  

This pot is 15" wide and 21" long.  That's a whole lot of chili! 

It's going to be chilly (pun, intended) in the morning so hopefully, we will have a lot of customers!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Little Blocks

I'm a fairly new quilter.  I started my first quilt in 1983 and it's still a work-in-progress.  So, I don't have the years of experience that some of my guild members do. 

I went to a Bonnie Hunter class last year and she makes a lot of scrappy quilts.  She cuts all her quilt pieces out of 3", 2.5", 2" and 1.5" strips.  Anything less than 1.5" she calls strings, and uses them for string quilting.  I started a quilt in her class and it has some little bitty pieces. 

So, that's the background.  My cousin sent me some t-shirts to make a quilt for his daughter.  Most t-shirt quilts are cut 12.5" squares from the shirts and have a border around each square.  I wanted to do something different.  Some of the t-shirt designs had to be cut 15.5" in order to keep the entire image.  So in my graphing of the layout, I ended up needing some "filler" squares.  The filler squares were all 5.5" and I wanted a variety of pieced blocks.  So I went to EQ7, laid out a quilt background with 5" squares and plopped a variety of blocks in the squares.  I then printed off the block rotary cutting instructions so I would know what size to cut the pieces. 

This block came out of the Antique Mosiac library. 

When Joe saw the center pinwheel, he said he liked this block better than any block I had made.  The flat side of the pinwheel is 1".  The block is 5.5" square.  Those were some little pieces compared to what I usually piece.  (No comment about some of the flat points, please.)

I sewed them together in pairs of two.  Joe said they look like wheels.  Did I mention that the t-shirts were all Harley Davidson?  Rather fitting, don't you think?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Christmas Gift

I have not posted in a long time because I have been very busy quilting.  I have quilt projects coming out my ears.  My resolution for the New Year is to keep my fabric purchases to a minimum (notice I'm just short of saying not buy any more fabric) and finish the projects I have started. 

Along those lines, my last post was of the quilt for my brother's stepson and his wife.  It was intended to be a house warming present, but ended up being a Christmas gift from my brother and his wife to their son and daughter-in-law. 

The couple's names are Joshua and Mandy.  The outer background is yellow daisies.  Daisies are Mandy's favorite flour and one of the requested elements for the quilt... along with the Royal Blue color.  

This is my first quilt using this pattern and there are some things I did differently with the second quilt from this pattern (more to come later).  I am, however, pleased with the mitered corners on the outer border.  The border fabric is a stripe and it took some time for me to figure out how I was going to use it in the border.  Looks good, doncha think? 

BTW, Joshua and Mandy are expecting their first baby.  How am I ever going to finish the quilts I have started if people keep having babies?