teeny, tiny stitches?

I think my reluctance to hand-quilt was due mainly to when I would tell people that I was hand-quilting and it seemed the first thing out of their mouth was, 'Ooh? How many stitches per inch?' Huh? I would then guiltily glance down at my work and see that 3 or 4 was not the answer they were looking for. Wow. This bar of standard seemed ridiculously high and I knew there was no way I was ever going to grasp it or even come close to--what?.....13, 15 or even 16 stitches per inch....so why bother.
But then I looked closely at quilts from long ago. Just like the one pictured above. My great-great aunt hand-quilted this beauty and *gasp* she's not even close to 15 or 16 stitches per inch....and guess what? It does not detract from the value. In fact, it solidifies that I dearly love her work & her stitches are things of beauty and grace.

(having just finished the feather wreath in the middle of this project, I am just tickled how this cross-hatch is turning out. And I'm not kidding--running your fingertips along these stitches is the coolest feeling...)

In fact at the hand-quilting class that I recently took, many of us uttered the ol' well-how-many-stitches-do-I-need-to-be-stitching? to our instructor, Nadine and she chuckled as she replied:

'It doesn't matter how many stitches you have, as long as they are consistent."

I think I could have just kissed her.

So now I sit, with a smile because I know my stitches will not win any awards for being teeny and/or tiny, but Nadine was right----hand-stitching has been proven to lower one's blood pressure and the rhythmic, simple, stitching is truly stress-relieving & once again I debunk my self-doubt and just enjoy.......


the pattern emerges

Now, whoever thought that you could make such intricate lace patterns with just a simple hook & thread?
Just by yarning over and making a double crochet a pattern emerges.... And this is my favorite part--when you can actually see the pattern appearing.

Right now this doily only measures about 9 inches. The finished size? Only 33 1/2 inches. Only.The picture of the completed doily is so lovely and even tho the rating is challenging...I fell in love with the beauty of such a large crocheted table-top.
Good thing baseball season is starting and since I will be occupying the bleachers at our local youth baseball diamond....well, in between my people-watching, 'woo-hooing' as our son gets up to bat, & trying to clap without upsetting my WIP, I will hopefully be sitting there with a soon-to-be 33 1/2 doily.


simply out of my head

I simply pulled ideas out of my head to put these lazy angles together as a small quilt. Using the vintage feed sack material from my grandma (the red & yellow flowered fabric) and scraps from past projects, I laid them out on my design floor (ha ha) and couldn't believe how well these 2 colors compliment each other.It reminds me of cafe curtains hanging in a kitchen during the 1950's. I just love that era and love to duplicate that feeling.

Simple yo-yos with tiny hand-appliqued leaves and stems will go nicely with the embroidery that I will do to complete the blocks. The iron-on transfers are also vintage and come from my great-aunt. She gets such a kick out of me still using something of hers from so long ago.

I can't wait to get started on the embroidery on this quilt. It's an actual warm, physical feeling that starts to radiate within me. And then I read how she actually puts her fabric on the dashboard of her car when coming home from her fabric purchase and I laugh because that truly is the same passion that so many of us share. And better yet---admit to.


flowers, friends & lazy girls

We spotted this flower in our garden this morning on our walk to the end of the driveway to catch the school bus. The vibrancy of such a simple tulip almost stunned me.
Something else that stuns me is how nice all of you are....you ,who comment on my blog or leave emails....(I have to wonder if you are really real...) because I have never met such a wonderful circle of women who truly lift me up and oh, make me smile with the lovely things you 'say'. Your helpfulness in finding a thimble is just the beginning. I say to my husband all of the time that I have formed friendships with women whom I have never even met. How weird is that? *grin* Okay. Not weird at all, but please know that I am oh, so fond of you & you are all so, so appreciated.
I bought this Lazy Angle from Lazy Girl Designs to help with my very limited mathematical un-ability to put a block together without a pattern. This ruler makes the calculations for you and zip, zip, sew, sew and wow! a few stitches and you have a block.

I have no idea what these blocks will become yet. Quilt? Wall-hanging?.....For now I am just fiddling around and trying out so many different angles.


smitten with this

Yes, I am smitten with this. This being hand-quilting, of course. After my practice flower on simple muslin at my first ever hand-quilting class last weekend, I am now doing a larger feather design with a lattice background on pale green fabric. This will hopefully become a wall-hanging in our bedroom.

I found this book and oohed and aaaahed over every single page. You want to see exquisite Whitework Quilting??----my, oh, my----be prepared to gasp at every page turn. Her designs and quilts are simply amazing. She opts for long-arm quilting instead of the hand-quilting, but I am just smitten with the loveliness of this book.

My favorite part of this is running my fingertips over the stitches. They feel so complete. So put-together. As if this is exactly what this fabric and thread was waiting for.

Just one tiny, little problem. And actually it's a big problem when dealing with hand-quilting. For the life of me I can not find a thimble that is comfortable or fits properly. I am searching and will not give up the hunt because somewhere out there is the perfect thimble.....


hand quilting

I just returned from a hand-quilting class at our local quilt & fabric store. The teacher , Nadine, has studied extensively with women who only hand sew. She used Alex Anderson's book and was a wealth of information. I soaked up every thing she had to say.

Such as: use polyester instead of cotton batting. I brought cotton. Bring loosely woven muslin. I brought tightly woven muslin. Use #9 quilting needles. I brought #10's.......okay, probably not off to a good start. But once I got the kinks worked out, I L.O.V.E.D. it! Absolutely, feel in love with this whole process. Sheesh! I was giddy after just tracing the stencil....and got a few stares from the other women there with my show of enthusiasm.
And of course, if I need an excuse to make another bag, I will come up with one. Who can show up to their first day of class without a new bag? So I used some fabric from Fat Quarter Shop, an embroidered vintage dresser scarf, and no, couldn't stop there. I also crocheted this chatelaine to hold my needles, thimble and scissors.

It was the first time that I have taken a class such as this and I came home dancing a jig with what I learned.



I've been tagged by Jackie from Canton Village Quilt Works to list 7 random facts about myself.
Here are the rules:
1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

7 random facts about me

1. I love, love, love the look & feel of fabric. The colors & textures seem to come out & touch all of my senses.

2. Even weirder---I love, love, love to iron fabric.

3. I would much rather sew by hand than with machine.

4. I would love to open my own yarn store. My husband groans when he hears this because it's only about every day that I say this to him.

5. There is something about the hydrangea that completely mesmermizes me. So beautiful. The hues of purples, blues, white...each intricate petal forms such a gorgeous blossom.

6. Autumn is my favorite season.

7. My husband bought me a box of crayons for an anniversary present. Strangely I have received diamonds from him but crayons are still my favorite.


Now, for some of you, you'll have to pretend with me. I know how hard it was for me to list personal facts about myself because I am a very private person. But transport yourself back in time to when women sat around in their desirable quilting bees.

Still with me? Good. Because I know those women of long ago shared personal tidbits about themselves all in the name of warm friendship between quilters, neighbors & friends. And I secretly desire to sit down with all of you and actually share in laughter, gabbiness and the stitching of a hand-pieced quilt. Keeping that in mind, I am tagging--remember--think: virtual quilting bee!--to share 7 random facts about yourself:
4. QuilterSal's Pieceful Harbor
5. Spring Thinking
6. Suzy's Quilting Room
7. Tallgrass Prairie Studio

I know, I know most of you have been tagged 6 times since Tuesday, but just pretend that I am that old, old woman invited to the quilting bee that is sooooo hard of hearing & a tad bit forgetful and you just need to repeat everything many, many times just so that I can hear it and understand it.....or, just smile and nod and link back to the post that lists the first time you participated in this...*grin*

more than acceptable

This Jack & Jill quilt is finished! And it is more than acceptable & my grin reaches from ear to ear.
I learned the key to an almost precise block---iron. And because I am one of the few people on this earth that actually loves to iron--well, there is no stress in that.

The seams went together like two attracting magnets. And maybe I am the last one in figuring that out--but now that I have had that 'ah-ha' moment it feels glorious!

But what else feels absolutely glorious to me...and I must share this with you...is--YOU! Your endearing words to me lift me up just like the day I first learned to ride my bike and I looked down and was positively amazed that I was only balancing on two wheels. Having you, my dear 'blogirl-friends' (yup, just made that word up....) commenting with such beautiful words of encouragement is huge for me. Huge.


pinwheels on point

Oh. my. goodness. What was I thinking? As a beginner quilter with not too much experience---especially in the precision department...ahem....I did not realize that attempting pinwheels on point could be a source of frustration!
Ugh. I have paper-pieced this block quite easily, but my, oh, my, doing the blocks this way demands precision.....miniscule precision or---well, they can take on a pretty wonky appearance, yes? And you can tell with the above green pinwheel block that my centers don't exactly meet at center. And what is with those little nibbits off of each triangle?.....are you supposed to clip those off before or after sewing each block??

Oh well. I do want this quilt to be baby cute (it's called Jack & Jill in Apr./May '08 QUILT magazine) for either a baby boy or girl. Our piano teacher is having a baby next month and the kids wanted to give her something extra special. Now, let's see if I can keep a straight seam and have this quilt finished-- and acceptable enough to give as a gift.


dishcloth delight

I have many crocheted dishcloths that my grandma has made....

but after seeing this array of dishcloths here & here ......okay, here's another one..... I decided to try and make one.

I have an old LILY pattern book of DISHCLOTHS to CROCHET and found some Sugar 'n Cream cotton thread and made this vibrant blue dishcloth with a crosshatch stitch. Just a simple dc, chain 3 and more dc.

This green dishcloth is a ripple pattern. This seems to be such a popular stitch today. These worked up in probably a 1/2 an hour.....at that rate I can have a full drawer filled with these fun dishcloths.

.....oh, and here is some lovin' from my son. Yes, my 8 yr. old baseball-fanatic-wants-to-fly-jets-races-around-on-his-dirtbike son ate away this pretzel into the shape of a heart.....just for his mom.
Simple moments like these are shaped forever in my heart.


99 cents

I lifted the lid off of this box at the thrift store yesterday and I think I actually *gasped* when I saw what was in it.
Reading the title on the box (and can you believe?---a 99 cent price tag) I was immediately taken with this treasure.
The directions were included in the box. Very brittle and very yellowed with age. Imagine the woman who so painstakingly took the time to cross off each tiny numbered block to complete her quilt. I was so silent and hushed when I carefully opened this..........(my husband loves moments like that.)

Each 2x2 in. fabric block is stacked with a numbered cardboard tag.

I don't think you can know how much I positively love the print and design of these fabrics.

Quaint. Simple.
And I wonder about the quilt. Was it finished? Were these just the left-over fabric pieces? Is the quilt out there somewhere?.......
Ahhhhh.....a Rainbow Walk through time.