Monday, March 14, 2016

"Cat's Eye" Quilt for my Sister

Awhile back, I started a quilt for my sister...just because. She is in Houston, I am in LA so we don't see each other much. And I just wanted to do something for my siblings so they have a rememberance of me. I already made my brother a guitar theme one as his love of guitar playing, places him right up there with his "hero" B.B. King.  I titled the quilt "It's the Guitar Man" after a song from the 1970's that always reminded me of him.  Anyway, I started the quilt last winter. I just picked a block I liked, she likes cats so I found the fleece cat print for the back and then added colors. I seldom use an actual pattern when I make quilts.. more a favorite block and work from there. Well, I got the top done and then got sick of quilting and just left it hang on the design wall...until the wall fell down and i just folded it up and dropped it in the "to do" corner.  I have been with a group of sewers on facebook lately, and thanks to their ambition, I suddenly wanted to start sewing again! And since my sister is having some eye surgery issue now, I thought this was the perfect solution to both issues!  So I took out the quilt top, and...finished it!
 This is how it hung on the design wall...and I was able to see how to assemble it and then sewed the blocks together when I go the design I wanted. Blocks like this are fun as there are so many ways to make a design with a block like this! Turn it one way and it looks a certain way, and turn it again and it makes another design. I liked this way as the purple (once sewn together) make what reminded me of a "cat's eye"..a sideways oval with pointed ends. And the pink diamonds reminded me of the common way a cat's pupil is drawn.







Sew the blocks together and I got this..... (look at it sideways and you'll see the "cat's eyes".)

 I found this fleece cat theme for the back...and it was so pretty, so I thought I"d use it instead of the cotton I already had (with cats on it)
I intended to make one more (vertical as seen) row for one more row of "eyes" (this would be the purple < and > blocks together) but when I cut the squares, I should have sewed them into half square triangles. but I wasn't thinking and just sewed them together in a row. I was NOT going to use all those apart (60 squares times 4!) so I just cut more to make the pink and since I didn't have any more of the print, I used white and made borders and added one floral print square to each corner. I wish I had thought about doing that and added a square or two in the middle of the pink and white but...oh well, next time! And I used the same lavender (lavender with small white dots) print for the binding as I had for the "eyes".  Quilt measures about 55"x60".

This is the back....nice and fleecy. I  also forgot, that if I use fleece for the back I don't have to use an additional batting in the middle., Without the batting, it is more of a cuddly blanket. With a thin batting it is stiffer, but still cuddly and with a thicker batting it would be to heavy and bulky! having not been quilting for 8 months, I forgot my "tricks of the trade" and used a very thin batting. It is still okay for cuddlying while watching TV or extra blanket on the bed. I just missed the mark for it to be very bulky and stiff! Thank goodness for that!
 I also used a wide meander FMQ stitch. The wider the space between the stitches the  more "softer" the quilt will be. Closer stitches will make it more stiff. I had about 1-1,1/2 inches between stitches as I was hoping that would compensate for the batting... and it helps alot! My sister is having some eye surgery about this time and since I have had similar, I know what she is going through. She called me for some "eye talk" and I think I was able to help her think things through. She was there for me when I had my surgery, but I am in LA she is in Houston so I can't be there for her, so I thought this would be a good way of telling her I am with her.. in spirit! I think she will love the quilt. Off in the USPS snail mail it goes today!

Thanks for stopping by and...keep on sewing those memories!


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"It's the Guitar Man" Quilt


Memories got into my head...well...new ones did... and I decided to make a quilt for each of my siblings...1 younger sister and 2 older brothers. I wanted to make the quilt with a theme about them that I remember of them. So...first thing that hit me was my first oldest brother... he taught himself to play the guitar in high school, and now retired... can play Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana to shame! And I am not bias. He is that good.

Well, anyway, I searched a bunch of  internet fabric shops  looking for "realistic" looking guitar theme fabric. I found these four nice prints... realistic looking and 4 different style of guitar. I got half yard of each...that fabric online is not cheap!
I spent a couple days comparing and designing and looking for a good couple of contrasting colors that would go with all the prints....blues, blacks, browns....and not wanting the quilt to be really dark... I chose a gold and a blue and make a 12 patch block to go with the same size guitar print block.

 
I sewed 2,1/2" strips of each color together and then cut 2,1'2" sections, then sewed 6 of those together alternating the gold and blue to make a nice 4"x12" checkerboard block.  I cut the guitar fabric specifically to get the most guitars in the 8"x12" block. I ended up with 3 guitar prints, and one "music" theme print with some notes, sheet music and a few different instruments....all of which he plays. I needed a little something to break up the business...so I added brown sashing....but only one way because I didn't want everything to far separated. Also a brown final 2" border all around with a blue binding

On the back.. I use a flannel and a fleece....black staff and notes on white and white notes on black. I used a very thin cotton/poly blend batting and used blue for the binding. The quilt is about 60"x80" in size.
 

I made a unique label for it. I wanted my brother to know what him and his talent meant to me, but also...I wanted him to have the memories of his years of playing guitar. Back in the 1970's... The group Bread had a song called "Guitar Man".  I remember that song back in the day and it always made me think of my brother...trying so hard to "break" into the music circuit, always playing his heart out...hoping for more, but never quite making it. The song was perfect description of my brother. So I used computer fabric paper and made a label with some of the song lyrics, then "signed" it. I made an applique of one of the guitars and attached that to the label to the corner of the back.


I sent the quilt to him "un-announced". He emailed me and hardly had words to say he was so moved and pleased by the surprise.  He did later say that he hung it on the wall above his bed so he could see it all the time, because he didn't have the heart to USE such a beautiful and special gift.  Pass the box of tissues!
My next quilt is a cat quilt for my sister...she has always loved cats. My other older brother.. he loved chess but I have not been able to find any chess theme fabric in my many searches yet.


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Thanks for stopping by and...keep on sewing those memories!
                                                                                     


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A "Symbolic" Memory Quilt


A "Symbolic" Memory Quilt
 
A Quilt and a Pillowcase = Memories for a lifetime

I am a memory person. I hold them, keep them, make them, display them, remember them and encourage others to do so also... especially my grand daughters. I keep telling them to keep a journal because when they hit mommy's age (notice I didn't say MY age!) they won't remember so many of the wonderful things from their past. I even got them wonderful little journal notebooks from time to time, but far that isn't going so well! They say don't like to write! So I started making them  things that they can  use that will also hold their memories.

When my grand daughter, Ashleigh was 2-4 years old, I did her day care. So to have some "down" time or to get ready for nap, I'd tell her stories about her favorite book and security items. She loved the bear in the Corduroy books. Especially this story    
as in the book there is a night watchman that is dressed in police blues and her daddy is a police officer..so she thought that was her daddy!

Her favorite little softie thing she carried. she called "Silkey Bear" (her favorite item). It was a bear head with a little blanket around it, trimmed in silk binding. She she named it Silkey Bear.  I'd tell her stories about Princess Ashleigh (that started as she was all "into" the Disney princesses at that age) and the stuffed animals she had. I did it kind of like the Raggedy Ann Stories where the animals are all still while the child is in the room or playing with them but when the child leaves, the animals come to life. You younger readers might liken it to current-day Disney's "Toy Story"  Princess Ashleigh was always going off to school and when the dolls/animals heard the school bus drive away, they knew they could get up and go on an adventure, making sure they were back in their beds before Princess Ashleigh came home from school!



Long story short...I wanted to make her a quilt about this favorite time of ours so she would always have the memory. I drew design after design. I had visions of steps, gardens, fences..everything in the story! I even bought fabric to create  areas of the story. But sadly, I couldn't pull it together.   Well, out of no where one day, I  had the brain storm! Instead of making a quilt depicting the story,  I went with a different connotation. Symbolism! I decided to make a Symbolic Memory Quilt! The quilt is small enough for her to play with her dolls on!
This is the finished quilt....>>>>>>>>>>>>

The story I told always started out with Cordoroy and Silkie Bear waking up when they heard Princess Ashleigh running out of her bedroom and down the stairs. When they heard the school bus drive away taking Princess Ashleigh  to school, they knew it was okay for them to get up and start their day! They would scurry out  of the house, down the back porch steps, follow the fence along the back yard to the far back corner where they would crawl under the locked gate to the strawberry garden. Once in the garden, they would scurry around looking for Sunny Bunny (her daddy/my son had a pet rabbit named that when he was a kid), who lived in the garden  and he always had a delima  that  the bears would help solve. But they had to be back in their beds before the school bus rambled up the street with Princess Ashleigh.

I decided to depict the story with colors as symbols instead of the actual impressions.  I have a hard time taking pictures that are perfect in the colors, so the colors didn't come out right. Next to the green binding is a purple boarder, then the diamonds are brown with white dots. The dark pinwheel is really purple, not brown and the other pinwheel is red, not orange!

The area to the left with the two little friends,  represents Ashleigh's bedroom. The fabric has bedroom things on it. The border of brown diamonds represents the backyard picket fence the bears would follow to the garden. The pinwheels signify the "characters" in the story....green for Cordoroy because of his green overalls, Pink for Silkie Bear as he is pink, Red for Sunny Bunny as his mouth would get red when he ate strawberries (this really happened with the real Sunny Bunny when we fed him strawberries!) and the pinwheel that looks brown in the photo is really purple...Ashleigh's favorite color, which symbolizes Princess Ashleigh in the story. So..the two little bears start in Princess Ashleigh's bedroom (where they are snapped to stay in place when not being played with), they go out along the diamond border (back yard fence) and any of the brown sashings represent the gate to the garden and then the little bears can just wander the garden as she tells the story.

I cut out one of the Cordoroy bears from the fabric and made it an actual stuffed bear and then designed my own Silkie Bear from some pink fleece (both are about 4" tall), sewed snaps on their backs and on the quilt in the area of fabric that symbolized Princess Ashleigh's bedroom. This way Ashleigh can un-snap the little bears to take them on the "walk" to the strawberry patch!
 
This is a close up of the characters and the fabric I found to make the Cordoroy bear. Silkie Bear is a small piece of fleece from my scrap basket!







  







This is the back. I couldn't figure out something that went with the Cordoroy theme, but Ashleigh loves four leaf clovers, so what better back to have!   I made a label, bigger than usual, and printed on computer fabric,  the starting of the story.."As Cordoroy and Silkie Bear heard the school bus ramble down the road, they knew it was time to get up!....." and a little more like I described above. Now she will never forget how the story starts and know that she is the one that makes up the rest of it! Hopefully one day when she has a little girl she can recreate the wonderful story times! I gave the quilt to her for Christmas last year. She loved it. And she says she does tell the story to her dolls while sitting on the quilt. 

  
QUILT CONSTRUCTION
The pinwheels are 4, 6x6" HST's (half square triangles) and the diamond fence is 4, 3x3 HST's. Just a turn of an HST creates a different block!The brown sashings are 1" wide and the "bedroom" piece is one large piece.A purple 2" border and 1 inch green binding to finish.
But that wasn't the beginning!  
While I was trying to design the quilt, I stumbled on these Cordoroy panels at an online store and just had to have them.  I thought I would be able to use them to make the quilt, but couldn't make that happen. One weekend, I was blessed with Ashleigh being able to spend the whole weekend with me, and she begged to do some sewing...and since I was making pillow cases at the time, I thought I'd teach her to make a pillowcase and advance her sewing talent that I have been teaching her. And then it hit me, what better fabric to use than these panels of her favorite little bear! I cut the pieces and had them waiting for her when she go here and taught her how to make a pillow case!  She was 7 when she made it and it turned out great! She uses it to this day! 


Here's the story about that.....
                                                        

Both of us made so many memories with these two small projects! Just goes to show...you don't need much to make a memory for a lifetime!



Want another "Memory Quilt" idea? How about a T-shirt Memory Quilt..to be loved by ALL ages! check it out here: How To Make A T-Shirt Quilt



Want to read more at Fabric and Memories? CLICK HERE 
 
  Thanks for stopping by and...keep on sewing those memories!

 
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The Pillowcase Adventure Makes Memories

Few months ago I had my 7 year old grand daughter for 2 days and she is into crafts as much as I am...we are craft buddies! I had previously taught her to make a lap quilt out of charms, but this time...I taught her to make a pillow case.

You just need about 3/4 yard of main fabric and 1/3 yard of a print for the cuff (the bears) and 1/4 yard for the trim (the green) for a standard pillowcase, as you see in the picture below of the completed pillowcase.
How it Started

The story of Cordoroy, the little bear that lost the button on his green overalls... has been a special story to her and I. When she was 2, I started reading the story of Cordoroy to her and she loved the story! There was a store security guard in the story that was dressed  like a police officer. Her daddy is a Deputy Sheriff  and she thought  the guy in the story was a"Beddy Sef", just like her daddy!The story became very  special to us. I later began making up stories for her at nap time about Cordoroy and Silky Bear (her own little stuffed buddy) that lived in Princess Ashleigh's bedroom and when Princess Ashleigh left for school..the bears and other dolls would come to life and scurry out of the house and to a strawberry patch and have an adventure...similar to the Raggedy Ann/Andy stories.



The Fabric:

When I stumbled on these panels and the bear fabric at an online store... I knew I had to get them, no matter the cost! I had never seen them before and of course....Cordoroy fabric was in my "shopping cart" within minutes!  I intended to make her a quilt out of them some how, but just never could figure a design out! Then it suddenly occurred to me to let her make the pillow case and the rest is memorable  history!

See the little loops on the right side of the case in the picture above and left side in picture below?  She has two little "bedtime buddies". She calls them her "Silkies", one is a bunny and one is a bear (ergo Silkie Bear!) . They have silk binding on them. She said that they always fall out of bed or she rolls on them and can't find them. So I created these fabric loops and now, she puts "Silkies" in the loops and they never leave her side! The picture below is the other side of the pillowcase, the "Good Night" side and the Silkies are in the loops on the left there.

The Memory

Ashleigh will have  memories of our special time together  for years!! It started when she was 2 and now at 7, when she stays the night, she still asks for a Cordoroy story at bedtime. And I always have a different story and adventure that the bears do and she has her favorites that she asks me to tell again. She has the pillowcase at  her house and sleeps with it every night and always has her  Silkies with her...and her memories. Good night, Ashleigh!



And to further the memory (for both of us!) I later made her a small quilt about Corduroy and his escapades. I made her what I call a Symbolic Memory quilt. Instead of making a specific quilt with obvious features...I used symbols which she knows and will still be able to recount the memory and in this case...carry the memory with her to give to her children.

Click to read about the Symbolic Memory Quilt

 

This is the book that inspired our memory.  Corduroy is now 40 years old, but we don't have to mention that! We shall let the little bear be a child's friend..no matter how old he, technically, is!

Does your child have a favorite character....get them the book and make them a quilt or pillowcase to match it and you'll have a great gift for them with lots and lots of memories. Or...what about a character memory of yours? Do the same and hand those memories down to your children!

A Pillowcase Tutorial

Here is a great tutorial about  making pillowcases using the "tube" method. It is very quick and easy. Also, because they are so quick and easy...you can make many of them in a day or so. Pillow cases are great for gifts of all ages! Change colors and prints and the options are limitless! I do mine slightly different in that I sew the pieces together, then one seam up the side and then roll the cuff  down to cover the seam and then hand sew the hem to cover the seam. Only seam visible is the side seam and the bottom seam!

This is a tutorial for making a pillow case..really fast and easy! Click the arrow in the middle of the picture below to start the tutorial



Reasons for making pillowcases....

  1. as gifts...for any occasion! Valentines Day gets red ones, patriotic days get red, white and blue. Wedding...matching white (or the wedding color) accented with some lace! Kids birthdays...find out their favorite character or "thing" and get fabric to match! Christmas... a Santa or other holiday print. Fabric comes in SO MANY different prints these days, you can almost always find the perfect print!
  2. Fund Raisers....get a group to make them and sell them at the school fund raiser or any fund raiser.
  3. Donations to charities...especially the kids charities...you know the kids would love their very own speciality pillowcase!
  4. To match the room you are designing or a quilt you have made!
Whatever the reason...just have fun making pillowcases!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

NFL Quilt with the Snowball Block - Trunk Show Edition


My (step) grandson turned 14 last month and back in August, I asked my son what to get him for his birthday and he said "A football quilt". Music to my ears!!! So in a conversation with my grandson, since he knows I don't like football, I had to figure how to sneak in  asking what his favorite football teams were! But a good grandmother always knows how to work it in there!  He said Oregon Ducks, Dallas Cowboys, Texas Longhorns and New England Patriots.  So I got to work looking for the logo fabric for these teams.I search so many shops and would find one or two of the teams, but was hoping to find all four at the same shop.  I finally  found them all at Hancock Fabrics and bought 1/2 yard of each print.  Took my longer to find the fabric than it did to make the quilt! And I have enough of each fabric to make him something else...like a pillowcase or journal/notebook cover.
                                   
Dallas Cowboys
 



Texas Longhorns






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New England Patriots


Oregon Ducks









I used matching solids to make a "snowball" block and made 5 of each NFL print. The finished block is 12x12. 




 I used a dark green batik (his favorite color) for sashing and for some Americana influence (I am told football is all-time American!) I used a fabric with small American Flags for the cornerstones. I ran out of the green batik for sashing, so I had to just leave one side without the sashing, so that will be the side of the quilt that goes at the pillow end of the bed...and under his neck!  Quilt measures 68"x88".                            

I used a thin batting and a thin fleece for the back. Usually, I don't use a batting if I use fleece for the back, but in this case... my son said he wanted the quilt to be "warm" as the boy's room is on the end of the HVAC ducts so in the winter, his room doesn't get as warm as they would like, so he wants the quilt to be warm as possible, so I used batting this time. I did a meander stitch for the FMQ'ing. I used a medium green in the bobbin and matching threads to the block color on the top. I was very pleased with myself and my machine that the colors didn't show through on either side! Even when using white or black, those colors didn't show through on the back!  I used a solid, dark blue fabric for the binding. I was lost on what to put on the label...being for a 14 year old boy (I don't know them to well these days since mine is now 32!) and didn't want it to mushy, so I just put on the label "For the love of the game! Yea team!" and then my signature and year.

 
So I will be giving it to him next week. I hope he likes it!

 
A "snowball" block is a very quick and easy block to make.  It is a good block to use with large print fabrics. You want the large print to be seen, but need just a little something to make it stand out and not look so cluttered. 
Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew has a great tutorial on how to make snowball blocks...check it out by clicking HERE
 
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....keep on sewing those memories!



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Picket Fence Garden Quilt - All Finished!

Took me over half a century to get it, but I finally  was able to buy my own house! In this house, I have a sewing room and a guest bedroom. So I decided to make the guest bedroom a room for my grand  kids for when they spend the night...every now and then (more then than now ,unfortunately!). It is the first room I have been able to decorate from ground up. Granted, I had a small budget to do it, and I am not to great at interior design, but I was able to find several white furniture pieces at yard sales and thrift store.. I like the white as it makes the room look big and open and will go with any other color or design.Kind of the "shabby chic" style, which I like alot!  I have always liked the theme of the outdoor garden-y, patio kind of theme, so the white was great and I chose purple as my main color.  And for some time now, a picket fence motif has been in my head. I finally found a pattern, altered it a bit to suit me and started the bed spread..yes, bed spread, not comforter. I wanted it to cover the whole bed. (However, I didn't make it quite long enough - should have made the fence 2 more squares "taller") so I have to add a dust ruffle because I don't have anymore of the fabric..

I searched and searched and finally found a pattern and altered it to created a block that I thought looked like a flower... well, kind of! But I loved the colors together..teal, purple and lime  green. And I sashed it with purple sashing on a  white background. 

 

To make the picket fence.. in white of course...I used the same purple/teal print as I used in the flower block, so it looks like you are seeing the flowers foliage in between the fence pickets!  I created the pattern using 3x3 squares (plus 1/2in. allowance) of white and the print, and used Flying Geese template to make the pointed tops. Just a bit of math to make the adjoining fence to each picket and the purple print alternating in between.  Each "picket" required 3, 3,1/2" x 3,1/2" squares and 1 flying geese square. The middle slats are 2, 3,1/2" x 3,1/2" squares in the print and 2, 2,1/2"x3,1/2" squares in white and 1,2, 2,1/2"x3,1/2" square in print... if I have the right! I wrote it down while I was making it, but of course, can't find the measurements now! But it is an easy math project!

    

This is the first parts hanging on my design wall. The top is done, and I just did the math for how much in length I needed of "fence" to go around the top, 2 sides and the bottom.  I was shocked it turned out so well, being my first time doing something like this! I made the "picket fence" sides to go on both sides of the bed and across the bottom. The "head" end doesn't have the fence. 

And here it is! All finished!     
                                                                                                           
I added a white binding and I had this green striped dust ruffle, hoping it would look like the grass to compliment the picket fence and the foliage between it, but it doesn't look very good! I found a white eyelet dust ruffle at the thrift store (find so many great bargains there!) and as soon as I can get someone to help me lift the bed, I'll get that ruffle on there!  Won't be the "look" I was going for, but I think it will be fine. I don't like lime green but for some reason, it looked great with this purple print and complimented the blocks so well, I really like it!
The FMQ'ing I did was meandering on every color but the white. I wanted the white parts of the flower on the top to pop out and the meandering between the fence posts kind of makes that "leafy" area pop out from the fence posts. The fence posts, in white, I just did a straight stitch to outline it and then a few up and down inside each post.  The back is a sheet. I use sheets from time to time as they are big enough to not have any seams in the back like fabric would. But this sheet had butterflies on it and the colors were yellow and green...to match the room. Granted no one will probably see the back, but it is nice if looked at! And, the quilt can be actually used as a blanket when the bed is slept in!
                                       
 
I purchased a garden trellis from the home improvement store, painted it white and decorated it with twinkle lights, purple tulle and purple and green silk  flowers. I had some butterflies from my scrapbook stash, and just stuck them on the wall around the bed.  It turned out really good! I have been told the room is "perfect", by my grand daughter! I just have to get a bed frame  to get the bed up off  the floor and the trellis will look right..with the decorative pillows at the head of the bed!

I made four pillows. I chose a block pattern I liked out of a book and did the math to make the pillows 15"x15" with a ruffle. I FMQ'ed the front of the pillows and stuffed them. I broke the "always do uneven number" for accent rule and only made four, so I need a fifth one, but at the moment, I have many other things to do so it will just have to wait!

 


Where is the "memory" in/of this quilt? This is a guest room. I wanted it bright and cheery and inviting. And different. My 2 oldest grand daughters were my inspiration...can't exactly say why, but they were on my mind when I decorated/designed it. Purple is the ones favorite color and the other loves bright, cheery colors. So the memory is of my 2 grand daughters. The dresser that is in the room has two little drawers at the top. I gave them each a drawer to keep their personal special stuff in that they like to play with when they visit me. First thing they do when they come over, is go in there and check out their drawers and "oh, I remember this!" and "I was hoping this was still here!" and "Oh, I missed this!" is what I hear for the first 15 minutes they are here and they are just so happy! There are my  memories!

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Thanks for stopping by and...keep on sewing those memories!
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