Friday, April 10, 2015

Kate's Wedding Quilt

When my girls were little, we watched the 1995 movie How to Make an American Quilt together. We had the VHS tape so we watched it often. It is a story about marriage and I'd say we'll watch it again when you think you are ready to get married.

Well! Our daughter Kate is getting married next week. Not only did she remember watching the movie, she remembered how the stitch group made a quilt for the young bride in their midst.

Kate wanted a quilt - and not any quilt: she wanted a double wedding ring quilt.

I told my stitch group. They said un-uh, no way! That is a hard quilt to make (and it was just months before the wedding).

Linda Frost, Carol Jones, Georgann Eglinski, Barbara Brackman, Roseann Smith, Kathe Dougherty

Quilt historian to the rescue. She pulled a 1930's vintage double wedding ring top from her collection. A back was assembled and off it went to trusty local long-arm quilter Kelly Cline. She quilted it beautifully, despite the fact that the quilt turned out to be predictably wonky.

I stitched on binding and we hand stitched it in place at our weekly meeting. Georgann made a label and stitched it on while Kate watched.

We gave it to them a little early - maybe it will show up in some of the wedding photos.

Kate and Nick Kuzmyak

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Best Polyester Quilt Ever

My friend Carol Ingenthron showed off this quilt at guild this month. I nominate it for best polyester quilt ever!

It comes with a great story. Carol's grandma, Nina Unruh, made these back in the 1970's in Enid, Oklahoma. She made one for each of her nine grandchildren, plus more for future grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They were cleaning our Carol's mom's house recently and found 2 more (the quilt shown is one of them) so those are going to her granddaughters ... She also made many, many more quilts for overseas missions through the Mennonite church in Enid.

The quilt is large - it measures 86" x 72". Each block is about 7" square. It's tied with yarn and backed with flannel. Notice the pillowcase style edge (no binding).

What I really really love about this quilt is the very bright colors. And it's clear the strips were cut with scissors, which adds to the wonky wonder.

Thanks to Carol for sharing all this with all of us!

Close-up view of the pillow-case edge and flannel back

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rag Darlings

Dolls. You either love them or not. I fall into the category of loving them, so working on a book about them was a joy for me.

And now you can enjoy it too! Hot off the press is Gloria Nixon's latest book, Rag Darlings.

Gloria combines her talents as a researcher, historian and collector extraordinaire to tell the story of dolls. The history is fascinating, as are the photos of all the dolls and doll ephemera in her collection. And she keeps collecting! She is showing off her latest Aunt Jemima here, one that arrived after the book was done.

I had the pleasure of delivering some dolls to her recently. She let me photograph her feedsacks on hand. I'd also like to report that she is one of the most fun, dearest people on the planet. Her home is nestled in a dream-like spot in our beautiful Flint Hills.

Do run out and get your copy of Rag Darlings today, you won't regret it. I predict and hope that Gloria has many more books in her future ...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Truly No Scrap Too Small

A sewing friend just had surgery and I decided I'd make a card to cheer her up.

Luckily, I had some vintage scraps on hand that I'd saved for just such an occasion. Yes, they are shards that should have gone into the trash can but being from the 1800s, I just couldn't do that.

I put the card on my sewing table and attached them as I stitched. The pieces are about 1/4" wide and 1 - 2" long.

She can look at the fabrics and chuckle a little at this madness. And I can let the rest of the shards go now that I have created something useful with them ...

Here's a closeup look:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Festival Improv

We had leftover scraps from our Festival of the Trees project so of course I could not help but piece a bunch of them together, adding in some fabrics from my stash. I was feeling extra bold when I added the border print, a wonderful home dec fabric from Premier Prints.

I passed this little quilt on to my friend Georgann Eglinski, who organized our Trees project. I didn't measure it but I estimate it's about 30" square.

The detail shot shows the tiniest piece in the quilt, the tiny chartreuse shard. More proof that there is no scrap too small to use!!

Oreo blessed this before it left. He always gets in the picture ...

Monday, January 12, 2015

Three Toothbrush Hats

Anytime I get to make toothbrush hats, I am very happy! What, you might ask, is a toothbrush hat? It starts as a tiny round toothbrush rug. When you get it to a desired size (the top of one's head), you stop adding stitches, and voila! It becomes a hat (or a bowl for the less adventurous fashionistas).

My daughter, Betsy (right), has had a toothbrush hat for a while. She likes it because it is warm and such a fashion statement. I made one for Betsy's friend, Jen. I gave it to her at Christmas.

Jen's mom and daughters liked it! They tried the hats on for size and chose colors. Here they are - finished! I mailed them Friday.

They can always use them as bowls when they are not wearing them. I'm thinking of making a larger, shallower version of this to use as a bowl ... I want to make a few trivets too. If you already know how to make a toothbrush rug, they make up very quickly. Try it!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Comfort Counts

Photo by Ray Rowden
Sometimes I think it's ok to throw too much thinking about design out the window and make a quilt for the purpose of comfort, only comfort.

I've been making t-shirt quilts for my girls. Along with their t-shirts,  I discovered a box of appliqued sweatshirts I'd saved. They are sentimental favorites but I knew we wouldn't wear them anymore. My buddy Jan and I made these back in the '80s. Jan drew several of the designs (the iris bouquet and the holiday wreath). We had pipe dreams of having our own business. We learned we liked making stuff more than being businesswomen ... Some sweatshirts were for my little girls. Some were made for my parents, my grandma ... A few are drawings done by the kids and transferred onto sweatshirts.

My goal was to have a blanket long enough to cover my Mom up while she napped. I dug into my stash and found some flannel for backing. Then I took a deep breath and started cutting up those sweatshirts. I squared them up and sewed them together. They fit pretty well onto the flannel - I pinned the sweatshirt top to the flannel back and stitched through both layers.  (I didn't add batting so it would be light.) I bound the edges. The finished blanket includes 15 sweatshirts and measures 40" x 69".

I took it to Mom on Christmas Day. She has dementia so I was not totally sure she recognized all the memories in this when she first saw it. But I like to think she notices little bits every day as it covers her and keeps her warm. And it sure comforts me with the thought that these are OUT of the box and onto her bed.

Happy New Year. Stitch what makes you happy!