Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Antique Surprise! Made In America!

     What a wonderful morning I had yesterday! I totally love when something happens unexpectedly-and that something is really wonderful. I was just sharing the morning with my husband. He was getting ready to leave on a business trip.We were talking and laughing.....I hear a ding on my phone- I look at it and see that someone has sent me a message on messenger. Curious- I checked it out. It was someone who I did not know. Her message was this: " I have a friend who is looking for someone to quilt a family quilt". I was like- hhmmmm.... cool! So you know--I had to answer right away. It turns out it was a small group of woman ,who were at a local church laying out the quilt top because the owner originally wanted to pin baste it and hand quilt it. Her friends talked to her about a different option----machine quilting it. One of the ladies had seen a previous post of mine on face book about a quilt I had quilted for a customer . I remember that exact quilt too---very vintage looking quilt. Well, we texted back and forth and agreed on them coming over in a couple of hours. 

     What a rainy and cold day. When the car pulled up--I felt bad that they had to get out and come to my door. The woman did come out and what a sweet thing--A Grandma ma! She introduced herself and told me she was excited to show me the quilt. It turns out, it is not one that she pieced. It belongs to her Great Niece's Husband's Great Great Grandmother. Wow!!!!That was all I could think right away. Double wow!This woman told me that this young man remembers his Great Great Grandmother sewing together this very top. What a precious memory.

     We took it out of the bag and opened it up. I loved it instantly---it is all scrappy. It looks like an X and O pattern-sort of . As I held it, I ran my hand gently across it. I had to fondle it. This fabric in the quilt is fabric that was all made in America. We don't have that luxury today. I was so jealous---I wish we still had our mills and produced our own textiles. Anyway---back to the quilt.

     We talked about it--we decided to do a simple edge to edge. I thought a gentle design that would reinforce all of the seams without distracting from the design was perfect. She said she would leave the thread choice up to me. She is a seamstress but does not feel she can do the binding. I offered to do it for her and put a label on the back for her. She gave me a big grin when I told her she can archive about the quilt on the label. We talked some more about the quilt and of course- vintage machines. She was so cute--she kept saying : "I have chills on my legs talking to you" , " It is so nice to talk to someone about quilts and machines". I tell you- that woman makes me smile ear to ear.

     When she was leaving she left me with this statement of hers: " I want you to treat this quilt top as if it was your Great Great Grandmothers and do your best". That made my knees go weak and brought tears to my eyes. I simply answered: "Yes, I certainly will!". With warnings of take your time and don't rush, she was out the door and gone. There I stood--looking at this quilt. It is really difficult to express my thoughts and feelings at that moment. I can tell you that I feel as if the Universe has blessed me with a gem. I feel so honored that this woman would bring me her treasure. I truly can not wait to load this up an work on it. You can be sure that I will post some more about it as I work on it. 

Here she is!!!! She is 100% made in America!

Closer view of it--isn't it just scrumptious!!!

Here is a close up view. Look at all of those scraps of fabric. All made in the good ole USA!

Look at that---she hand stitched this whole quilt together!! This quilt is priceless!!! What a wonderful family heirloom!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My Golf Quilt

     Oh I am thinking of Spring.... and wishing for Spring to get here. Can you blame me?----I am sitting here looking out my window and there is snow to the right of me, and snow to the left of me. Snow, snow and more snow. With it being the first day of February, I am getting excited. I always feel better when January has passed. For some reason, I feel that we have made it through the roughness of Winter and the hope of Spring is that much closer.

   With thoughts of Spring running through my head- I want to share with you a quilt that I hold near and dear to my heart. It is truly a one of a kind. I designed this quilt totally on a whim. My husband planted the seed of this concept into my brain--add a little sunshine, and water... Wha-la, a quilt is born! My husband and his father are big time Golfers. They have been since I can remember. One day, my husband came to me and said:" You know what would be a neat quilt?" I respond sarcastically : " I can think of a few, but what do you have in mind?" My husband: " I think a Golf type of quilt would be great- I bet you don't see that around." Me: " Hhhhmmmm... you are right, I have not seen one before, let me think on it." My husband: " That would make a great Christmas gift for my Dad." So you see how the seed was planted?! 

     I thought about this idea for awhile. I wrote down little notes to myself. I looked for different type of fabric on line. I was debating on going with  traditional blocks--or just free spirit it. I decided to free spirit the whole thing. I also brought my younger brother into the fold on this concept. My younger brother- Mike, is an Artist. When I need a really good drawing for what ever reason---I go to my brother. He is the best. I called him on the phone and presented my idea to him. Now---he is a serious artist, so what I was asking of him would sort of be out of the box for him. I needed him to help me with applique designs.

     Next, came the other design concept. I wanted not only Golf theme fabric in it, I wanted true Golf items in it. That led me on an Internet search that lasted a couple of weeks. I decided that I wanted certain Golf Flags to be in the quilt. There is one that I am so excited about getting- it cost me more to ship it then to buy it. It is from the golf course in Scotland- St Andrew's Golf course.

     I brought out scraps of fabric from my stash for the appliques, I bought background, sashing and boarder fabric. Away I went---I literally worked on it day and night. I have to tell you, cutting into the Golf flags made me a bit nervous and edgy. I kept thinking- If I screw up--I am screwed, I will have to buy more. I would like to say that I had an ultimate design plan. I didn't- after I cut down the flags, I laid them out on the floor on how I wanted them. Then I put in my applique blocks. Next came figuring out the sashings and fillers- that was totally by the seat of my pants. After all that--it was stitch- iron, stitch-iron, etc.... for some time. 

     After about a month ( I was working full time as a Nurse during all of this ), I finally had it all pieced together! I loved it! It was so cool looking to me. I had already bought the backing and batting so I put it on the longarm. To be honest, I was stumped for a bit. I kept asking myself--" how do you quilt on Golf Flags?" What design should I do so that it is "manly" and won't take away from the whole quilt top. I kept it simple. I did straight lines, meander, ribbon and golf tee's and balls on it. Finally--after what seemed like forever--it was done!!!! I just needed to wait for Christmas to come. That year, we planned on spending the holidays with his family, so I was looking forward to watching him open his gift. 

     Here it is! I love it! It is totally unique and one of a kind. I can't thank my brother enough for all of his artistic talent and assisting me in this. Love you Mike!

My first one of kind Golf Quilt!!😊

This is the most expensive flag on the whole quilt! I am so happy that I did buy it and put it in. I think it adds more meaning to it. The other flags are from other Golf courses that he did play at. In the picture below is a flag with the large initials of TC on it. That is for Tri-county Golf Course near my home that they play at often.

The appliqued words are from a quote from Pastor Billy Graham. The "Net Zero"is my Father in law's nick name.

Isn't the golf clubs so darn cute?

I love the golf bag in here

I think that my brother did such a great job on this project. His drawings were what helped to make the quilt so special. His attention to detail was so appreciated.

This is the back to show off the quilting

I decided to design and embroider out the label with my embroidery machine to give it that something extra special touch.

I have to tell you, my Father in law was so surprised and shocked when he opened his gift. The look on his face was priceless!!! He was totally speechless. It was worth every stitch!!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"Peaceful Quilting"

     Hhhhmmmmm........this is just what I need. I need some "Peaceful Quilting" in my life right now. I need to be able to go into my studio, shut the door and just grab fabric and stitch it together. I need to sew without a plan, without a thought, without an issue running crazy like in my head. I need my passion to heal my soul, my nerves, my emotions and my thoughts right now. Quilting does that for me--it is my therapy, it is my muse, it is my happy place, and it is my passion. I am sure many of you can relate to this and feel the same way.

     Life is so darn crazy right now, the world is moving so fast...... Thoughts and opinions from everyone are everywhere. I have the joy and blessing of knowing many people and being able to call them my friends. I am even blessed to say that my family members are like my friends also. I love my brothers and their wives. They are a true blessing and without them-my life would not be good. On the flip side-most of my friends and family members are so similar to me. We are strong willed people, we stand up for ourselves and others, we are free to offer our opinion. Isn't that one of the rights and privilege as an American citizen?! Yep-it sure is: Freedom of Speech. I love this privilege and bask in it often. It is wonderful that many people are taking advantage of this freedom also. But..... I feel like I am being bombarded by so many thoughts and opinions from every direction. I have family and friends (that were loving before to each other) fighting and arguing constantly. So sad, so stressful. I feel like I am stuck between them. Not a fun place to be. Know that I love you all.

     That is why I am going to go in my studio and shut the door. I am going to turn on my music and go to my over flowing scrap bins and just do piecing. I love 4 patch blocks. There is just something about them. They are cute-they are versatile. You can make them in any size and they will fit in and complement many quilts. I do two different types of 4 patch blocks. I like to make them with an obvious dark paired with a very light or white fabric..or... I like to do a dark tone paired with a lighter tone. Both choices feed my soul. Both choices play nice together. Ha---what am I going to do with all of these scrappy 4 patch blocks you ask?? I have to just grin and say--" I am not sure yet". I know, I know---I seem to say that a lot lately with all of my scrappy blocks. I assure you- I have a plan, I just don't know it yet! 😏


     These are just some of the many blocks I have pieced together. They are still in their raw stage. These 4 patch blocks are made with 2 1/2 squares. I just cut them and throw them into a bin. I then randomly reach in and pair them up together. then I press them and sew them to another random pair to create the 4 patch.

     I have been doing this for some time now. I have even taken my bins to Quilt Retreat and sat down for hours sewing them. For me, it is very therapeutic....It helps to calm me and raise my vibration in many wonderful ways.

     So while the outside world is bumping horns and expressing their freedom...... I am going to go into my comforting studio and do some "Peaceful Quilting" to express my freedom. Thank You  Creator for this gift. I wish peace and love to all of my family and friends-- and yes---to the whole world. God bless AmericaπŸ’“

Saturday, January 28, 2017

T Shirt Quilt

    Today- I have the honor of showing you a special quilt. Don't get me wrong, I think all quilts are special in their own way, but this one has a little something-something if you know what I mean. πŸ˜‰. A few months back I received a call from a former co-worker. I thought she was calling just to chit chat, soon into the call, I realized the real reason. Her dad had recently passed and she was wondering if I could make her a T Shirt quilt. I was like--Oh my gosh, Yes!!!! This is were I personally think that quilts help comfort and heal. "T Shirt Quilts" fall under the category as a "Memory Quilt". Very important. We talked a bit more on the phone and made arrangements for me to get the t shirts.

     Once I received them all- I laid them all out on my studio floor and looked them over. I had my pen and paper out and I started to make notes and write down what ever ideas came into my head. I was not given the usually amount of t shirts to work with that you see in many of these types of quilts. No big deal---I just knew that I would have to be creative. We had decided on a nice size lap quilt. Now...... I just have to say this...I do not like little lap quilts. I fully expect a lap quilt to cover me from my chin and down over my toes. If you want to cuddle with your quilt, why would you want your toes peeking out? Am I right?--of course I am!

     I took my time with this quilt. I would draw a plan and then change it, this happened a few times. Oh was I happy the day that I finished the plan and could go to the store and buy the supplies. I couldn't wait to start on it. Got home and scurried into my studio, shut the door and went to town. I ironed Pellon on the the back of all the shirts, I cut them down to the size that I wanted, I arranged them all out on the floor on how they were to be placed. In the mean time, I was washing the background fabric first. I had chosen a really nice soft  flannel. I know that flannel shrinks terribly, so off to the washer and dryer it went. The flannel was ready to be cut once my t shirts were all cut. Great timing! Measure, measure--cut, cut and then repeat. That was the theme in my room that day. Remember I said earlier that I would have to be creative because I did not have many t shirts? I was only given 11 shirts. I used the scraps of the shirts and made quilt blocks. I planned on using them as fillers so that it would brake up all of the background material I was planning on using. 

     When it was all cut out and the blocks were all sewn--I had it all laying out again. I was getting so excited. I could see it taking shape. Now came the time to start sewing in the background fabric---stitch after stitch after stitch....a couple hours later...Wha la!!!!! The whole top was pieced. I loved it!!! It was just as I had pictured in my mind.

     Looking at the shirts that her father wore, I had gotten the sense that he may have been a  former military man---or at least, a very patriotic man. Given that knowledge----I choose a red background fabric and a dark blue backing/binding fabric. I used a batting that was mostly cotton but some polyester to give some loft. I loaded it all up on my longarm frame. I used Superior Threads Magnifico #2151 to quilt. I did an edge to edge free motion meander on it. Near one of the shirts that I could tell that he wore frequently- I wrote his name into the quilt.

     The binding went on pretty fast. I sat in the living room and watched a few movies. I had already sewn in the label. I like to do it in the bottom corner. Labels are very important! We as quilters need to archive our quilts so that the future generations know all about them. Plus, the label allows you to put more then just information on it. You can write your feelings, your emotions, hand sign your name---all things that help breath life into the quilt.

     Finally, the day came to deliver it!!! I drove to my old place of work--excitement building in me with each step. Well fate is a funny thing----as it turns out, Susan was in a meeting. That just meant I had to sit and be patient for a bit. When I finally saw her--I could not open it up and display it fast enough. Now, of course you know me--I made her close her eyes until it was open all the way. She loved it!!! You could see her happiness in her face in every way. That totally warmed my heart!!! πŸ’—
Here it is!!! Ta Da!!! Isn't it wonderful?! I can just picture Susan wrapped up in it and feeling surrounded by her Dad

This is a close up of the meander stitch. I love this red flannel---it is like a mottled red flannel. So soft and fun to fondle and cuddle with!

The picture does not show the true blue color of the backing---or the color of the thread as I would have liked. But I do like the way the quilting is shown.

P.S.- She loved the Label!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Treadle String Blocks Galore!


   Good morning- Good morning-Good morning! Nothing like waking up and walking into your sewing studio to put you in an instant good mood! I love it---I feel so fortunate that I can do this. This is the first thing I did----well, after I let the dogs out and I made my cup of " morning jump start", aka: coffee. The sun is not totally shining in all of it's glory--but it is out there enough to shine through my sky lights in my studio to greet me in a warm and fuzzy way. I walked right over to the treadle that I have been working on for the past couple of days. I have been working on a different WIP.  I have been shuffling between my crumb blocks and my paper string blocks. I just love it.

    String blocks are the best! They are so fun, simple, mindless, relaxing and of course- addicting! I have been working on my string blocks for some time now. I have a little over 200 of them. I have made mine 5 1/2 by 5 1/2.  I am not going with any particular color scheme--just plain ole scrappy. Now, I do have in mind down the road to do a string block quilt with a certain color scheme order. I have seen pictures of them and they are just so darn stunning. I can not really explain the draw to them-- it is like I become mesmerized and I just drift off dreaming about them. I know- crazy right?! Guilty as charged. I can't help myself.

    My scraps for the string blocks are a mix of my own and a whole bunch that are donations from my friends. You can call my friends my enablers. I think it is so darn cool when they drop off bags of scraps for me. I tell them---no scrap is too small, let me decide if it is usable. They always get a chuckle out of it. My scraps are like candy to a baby. I have always had a hard time tossing them in the garbage. When I was a new quilter, I didn't know what to do with them. Then I discovered Bonnie Hunter---that is when my whole quilting world changed. I have to say that it changed for the better. I took off with her ideas like a bullet out of the gun and never looked back. Thank you Creator!!!

    My way of doing it is not as organized as my wonder teacher Bonnie. My way is to--open up a tote of scraps- dump them out on the floor next to my feet and just randomly grab a piece and sew it on. There are times I have to snip the width or the size to make it the way I want it to be.  Like her, I sew it onto a piece of telephone paper. I use a stick glue to hold the first piece in place.  I don't worry about a quarter inch seam allowance---I just sew where I want to. I do make my stitch length shorter because it does help when I rip the paper off the back and it doesn't stress out the piecing. I like to keep my ironing board next to me while I do scrap blocks. For me, I find it helps to press the pieces into place before I sew on the next piece. When I am ready to trim it down, I like to use spray starch , press with a hot iron, let it cool and then block it. Works like a charm.

    When I do string blocks, I really love to do them on one of my treadles. I love my treadles so much. These iron beauties are such a treasure and a blessing. I love the stitches that they produce-excellent. I love the sound that they make as they are sewing. Their sound is so different from the modern electronic machines of today. Sometimes I sew in silence, but most times I play music in the background. Because I do not worry about a seam allowance--I don't mind switching up what machines I use. I like to share the love with all of my machines.

    Recently- I have been working on my oldest treadle. It is a White. It is a coffin top. It is my only coffin top. It does have a vibrating shuttle. I believe it is called a White VS II. The bobbin winder is really different from all of my other treadles. I had to do a lot of searching on the net to figure out how to wind a bobbin. I bought it from a local antique store for $100. It did not come with many attachments--but I do have 3 bobbins for it--that is fine by me. The table itself is in great condition. The decals are a bit worn and rough looking, but considering her age---I think she looks great. I believe she has been around since the time of the Civil War. Not exactly sure of her age. When I sew on her, I think about the previous owner or owners. I wonder about them: who were they, where did they live, what type of sewing did they do, did they like to sew? If only we could time travel and observe--that would be so cool. Maintenance of these machines are pretty easy. Keep them cleaned and oiled. Treat them with love and kindness and they will remain loyal and work hard for you for years to come.

    What do you think? Want to come join me? I promise you will have a ball!!!

 My White VS II. Isn't she a beauty?!!! Do you see my doily under the thread? I made it. I think it just adds to the charm. I am using Coats and Clark thread-- for some reason , my older machines work better with it

This is the back of her. Because she is a coffin top- she doesn't go inside the table when done sewing. Do you see the wood peg there behind her. That is to hold the wt of the treadle head when cleaning and oiling the underneath.

I use these sliders under all of my treadles. The treadle legs have wheels on them, but I do not find them easy to move. Plus they make an awful noise while moving. These sliders help me to slide on rug and floor. I like to move my treadles around my studio when sewing or even to move outside.

These are just some blocks cut up from telephone book paper.
I like to glue down the first piece so it doesn't slide on the paper. When I sew, I don't worry about the seam- I just make sure I don't have a too narrow of a seam.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Treadle Talk And Itsy Bitsy Gems

    Today I wanted to show a WIP that I have been doing since this past summer. This past summer was so darn hot for me. On top of that- we had the Amish at my home doing repair work on roofs, ceilings and doors. They were here for a good couple of weeks. If you have ever had work done in your home-you know that dust and dirt come out of know where and go everywhere. There is no fighting it and no getting angry over it because it doesn't help. You just have to wait till it is all over and then bust your hind end cleaning it up. And need I say that my Sewing Studio was greatly effected during this whole ordeal. one point during all of the work, I became anxious and fidgety because I could not get to my machines. I didn't sew because I did not want all of that yucky stuff to find it's way into the inside of my machines and ruin them. As I was walking around my studio picking up chunks of plaster and wood, and other untidy things- I saw....... no, I heard my one treadle calling out to me! Ha---I know, you think I have lost it- as I am grinning while typing this out. I have 5 treadles and there was one that was only partially covered--that was the one calling to me. I swear she said: " Nadine--come play with me today, this messy boy stuff will not bother or hurt me". I don't know about you- but when my treadle talks to me-- I LISTEN!!!!πŸ‘‚πŸ‘‚πŸ‘‚

    The treadle that was calling out to me is my beautiful Franklin. She is so darn pretty. She sews like a dream. Her art work is of the Egyptian style. Her cabinet is different from all of my others. From what I have read on it-it is a cabinet that was for apartments. The iron treadle wheel and foot pedal are all housed on the inside of the cabinet, so when the front door is closed---nothing is visible. Simply beautiful. Who ever owned it previously to me must have loved it a great deal. You can clearly see that she was used a great deal, but she is in great condition. Back to my story- I saw her and the bright idea of moving her out of the studio and onto my deck outside with some scraps of material, my iron and ironing board was larger then life in my head. So, without paying attention to the questioning looks on all of the hard working Amish men---I wheeled everything past them and out to my deck.  I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner. I love Bonnie Hunter and she has mentioned a few times how she has taken her treadle out on her deck and sewed the day away. That day I did just that and let me tell you---it was FABULOUS!

    I did not bring a current project out with me, mainly because they were all packed away safely. What I did was..... I grabbed a bunch of scraps, my cutting mat, blade, scissors, ironing board and iron. I decided to do something that I have wanting to do for awhile. I wanted to make " Crumb Blocks". I so love Bonnie Hunter's quilt that was made out of crumb blocks. I thought I would give it a try. I decided to make mine 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 square. I just grabbed what ever little piece of scrap that I saw in the heap. It didn't matter the size, color, shape or width. I just grabbed it and started sewing them all together. When I thought it was big enough---I squared it up. I used spray starch on it before I trimmed. They are so beautiful! This type of sewing is so relaxing and mindless. Literally hours went by in a snap of a finger. When I had about a dozen, I laid them out on a table and admired them. So darn pretty.

Here are a few of the Crumb Blocks that I have made so far.
   I have a bag filled with more. I am not sure as of now what I will do with them. I know that they will be put into a quilt top. I just have not come out with a clear plan for the design of the top. For now, I will continue to work on making more. To me, this is a project that I will do here and there between other projects. I will slowly let my bag fill with more blocks. I will keep you up to date as I move along with these. These are small crumb blocks- in my minds eye, I see bigger ones in the future!

    Have you made any crumb blocks? If not---let loose and give it a try. I promise you that you won't regret it!πŸ˜‰

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Design Concept Of Family Love

    I woke this morning cuddled under one of my favorite quilts. I love the quilt that is currently on my bed. I love looking at it and I love sleeping underneath it. The quilt is special to me in many ways. One of the things that makes it so special is that I designed it. I crack up when I say that because I am by far not a Pro Quilt Designer. I am just someone who loves fabric, cutting it up and sewing it back together in a way that pleases me. There are many great and wonderful patterns out in the Quilty World that we can use. Those are great---and they were designed by someone else. To me---the way my mind works------If you design it, then that quilt becomes extra wonderful, extra special and A+++! Between the planning, buying, cutting, placement, piecing and then quilting it-I have poured myself on every level into the making and then presenting of the quilt. When I am piecing it, I get lost in my world of thoughts and emotions. I tend to go down memory lane and have conversations in my head about it. Time goes by quickly, the sun rotates from the east and then down in the north. Day after day the cycle continues until it is finished. That is what happens to me when I make most of my quilts. So, I do wonder if it is like this for all Quilters?? I kinda think so- at least all of the ones that I have ever met.

     Today I want to show you a quilt from a customer of mine. I call her Rebecca the Quilter. Do you recognize that name?? You should- I have mentioned her a few times on my blog. She makes wonderful quilts. To me they are unique and special. Special because most of them seem personally designed to me. Meaning---most of them have been her creation. I love that. I can tell when I am quilting them that she puts time, thought and effort into her quilts. This quilt today has meaning- it has" Family"meaning. I would describe this quilt as modern meets scrappy meets family.

    The blocks are scrappy log cabin against a white back ground. What brings emotional meaning to this quilt is that each block represents a family member and the blocks are placed in the order of how a family tree would be. People who are special in her life. Does that not hit you in your heart?!!! It definitely does mine. This was made for a special woman in her life. Not only do the blocks have meaning- but so does the quilt design that she picked. She picked an edge to edge meander stitch with white Glide thread. This stitch was used often by the person this quilt was made for. While I was quilting it, I had to smile and agree- the meander stitch was a good choice. In this picture, you can see that the quilt is still attached to the top leader cloth of the frame---but can you see a bit of her backing material? It is black and white with words printed on it. Perfect backing for this quilt. I love her choices for backing on a quilt. They are pretty neat.

    To me- this quilt is so wonderful. It is jam packed with loving meaning and emotion. I can't wait to see it with the binding on. I can't wait to hear that she presented it to that special someone. It makes my heart swell. 

     Today I have another quilt top to go on the frame. It is another top with much meaning. It will be a good day working on this. It will definitely put me in my happy place like the one I am showing today. Later on, I want to play with my machines and fabric and see what I can create. Happy sewing everyone!😊