Friday, November 13, 2015

"Mom and Dad's" Quilt

Do you all remember by 'sister' Tianna?  This is a post about the quilt that I made for her parents.  We were trying to think of something great for their 40th wedding anniversary.  A quilt was the obvious choice.  She left the design up to me but mom was specific about wanting blue.  I knew this was going to be the input she would have because the the I remember most about their house when I was young was that everything was blue! LOL  

There was a great pattern called China Girl by Fons and Porter.  Of course it was pink and as I have said before, pink is not my favorite.  I could easily see it in green and blue,  I often say that I learn something from every quilt I make.  The think I learned from this quilt is that I don't like using templates.  I do however love the result. 

There was a lot of pieces to work with...

After making many many blocks, they were then trimmed down with said obnoxious template.  Getting everything to line up was actually pretty easy and fun.

I chose to do a simple all over quilting design that made everything feel connected but didn't distract from the sort of Celtic knot pattern of the quilt top. 

Mom picked the colors but Dad gets to model it. 

Here is to one of those successful marriage stories that everyone loves to hear.  I hope this quilt stays with them for many more anniversaries to come! 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Carrie Loves Petey

 This is my buddy Carrie, isn’t she lovely?  She is one of those people that can make you feel better about yourself just because you know her.

This is a picture of Mr. Petey (short for Petruchio for any of you Shakespeare nerds out there).  Petey was Carrie’s soulmate.  They were our neighbors for about 3 years.



I love all animals but if I had to choose a label, I am a self-proclaimed cat-person.  That’s not to say that I don’t like dogs just if I had my pick, it would be cats every time…until I met Petey that is.  He was the purest soul I ever met.  He was always happy and the embodiment of the words ‘social butterfly’.  He hated being confined to the house.  As soon as Carrie would leave for work, Petey would go on a walkabout around the neighborhood.  His first stop… my studio door.  He would look in the window to see if Doodle was around.  If the cat happened to be on the front porch, the boys would play a little while before Petey would come back to the door and patiently wait until I let him in, when the weather was nice, I would just leave the door open so he could come and go as he pleased.  First, he would check to see if the kids were home…he checked each room of the house.  If they happened to be on the couch or still in bed, he would cuddle with anyone that would let him.  If the kids weren’t home, he could check to see if there were any morsels left around the kitchen table or floor.  Once his perusal of the house was done, he could come back in my studio and hang with me for a while, usually right under my sewing table by my feet, napping in the sun if possible.   Once he decided that he has spent enough time with me, he would get up and stand next to wherever I was with the most adorable grin.  He knew that I kept treats in my desk.  He also knew I would only give him one.  He got his treat, a few ear scratches and went on about his business.  I am not sure how many people he would visit but I can honestly say that our little routine was one of the highlights of my day.  Many days he would return after the kids got home from school but his routine was different in the afternoons and didn’t involve the quiet time exchange.  I miss those times.

Cute baby picture

How could you not give this face a treat?


Carrie was involved in a rather serious car accident late one evening while on her way to visit her sister in Ohio.  She sustained only minor injuries but Petey was not so fortunate.  He died at the scene of the accident.  Carrie was devastated.  It was also the first time that my kids had experienced the loss of a loved one.  I know that he was a dog and not even our dog but my kids loved him and he loved them.  We had a little memorial service for him and the kids all got to say goodbye word and tossing some of his favorite treats in the grave with him.  A beautiful Crepe Myrtle is growing atop of him now. 


Before we even buried him, Carrie’s sister Angie and our friend Lisa asked me about making a quilt in memory of Petey since Carrie was planning to bury him in his favorite quilt.  I was happy to start planning something.  I went through my stash of pictures that I had of him which were surprisingly ample considering that again, he wasn’t my dog.  The other two ladies also emailed me pictures that they had of him as well of her and both of them together.  There was a pattern in the Fons and Porter magazine that month that had a nice space in it to put pictures.  It was therapeutic to edit and work with the pictures and see his sweet little face while I was making the quilt.

He gave good stink-eye too.

Yes, that's MY husband and MY bed!

As it always happens, it takes time to get something like this completed, especially with life getting in the way.  It took me right about a year to get this gift finished.  As luck would have it, right about the time that the quilt was ready, Carrie moved into a new house.  It made a great housewarming gift.  While I miss having both of them as neighbors, I am overjoyed for Carrie as her life has progressed and changed since she lost Petey.  I hope that this quilt brings her happy memories of her boy.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Surprise Wedding Quilt

 This is my buddy Matt and his lovely bride Elny.  They got married on a beautiful day last September.  In honor this momentous event, I made them a quilt.  Elny LOVES pink…Matt, not so much.  The colors they agreed upon for their special day were a lovely shade of fuchsia and a complementary green shade that I can only describe as chartreuse.   Personally, I agree with Matt and pink is not my personal favorite color in the world, but again, I agree with the sentiment of ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’ and suggested that he leave her alone about it.  I opted to use the colors of the wedding in the quilt, since I didn’t know Elny all that well, I figured at least that way I knew she would like the colors.  The pattern, however, I chose because I thought the design would speak to Matt’s need for design and order.  He likes things to be precise and this pattern has long, clean lines and a pronounced contrast in color values. 

The original pattern was in a Better Homes and Garden’s  quilting magazine in the June 2014 issue.   I was strumming through it one night and thought, ‘hey, that would be a great option for a wedding quilt’.   Here is a picture of their version.

I started pulling some fabric from my stash.  The green for example is a fabric I bought for Petey’s quilt but it just didn’t work there.  I simply love this fabric though.  It is the shade of green that makes you think of sitting in a lush forest after the rain has stopped.  The floral pattern is highlighted in gold the color of sunlight glinting through wet leaves.   I worked around the green and tried to find a pink that was the right shade and that spoke to me.  Again, pink is not my thing and this stumped me for a while.  I decided to pack up the fabrics I had and take a trip to Asheville Cotton Company and see what we could find. My buddy Michie helped me out and we found the perfect pink to tie all of the other colors together.   Then we found a couple other complementary colors to finish it all.  

Let it be knows that working with templates is not one of my favorite quilting techniques. I am impatient and I find it tedious to make blocks that way.  This pattern had 3 template patterns to make the pointed star blocks.  I managed to do without 2 of them.   Using the remaining one managed to be more annoying than I preferred but I sucked it up and made do for the sake of the greater good.  

Considering the vast amount of pink that is in this quilt, I was fairly happy with the end result.

Quilting this puppy was a lot of fun!  I got to try a number of techniques that I had not done before.  I wanted to do detailed quilting but I didn’t want the thread to overpower the piecing.

Our quilt guild’s annual show falls at the end of September each year and this was my favorite quilt that I had finished.  I opted to enter this quilt in the show and didn’t tell them about their gift or give it to them at the wedding.  I hung a sleeve on it, entered it in the show and invited the newlyweds to come and see what the guild had done. 

Sadly, they were both sick that weekend and didn’t get a chance to see it hanging with all of it’s friends.   I gave the quilt to them about a week later and got some pictures of it in use.

I hope it spends a lifetime with them as a reminder of their wedding and the friends that they got to share it with. 

DJ's Labyrinth Quilt

This is my hubby…isn’t he cute?  

This is my favorite picture of us.

Goofball and our oldest Daughter.
He is the light to my life and I love him more every day. 

I made a quilt for him when we were dating but didn’t really love it…it is now the quilt that lays on the couch (usually under the dog in fact).  Anyway, he deserved a real quilt!  A few years ago, the Stonehenge fabric line came out.  Along with that fabric, there were a number of quilt patterns that were designed to complement this particular fabric.  Every time I saw this pattern in a magazine advertisement, he would say ‘Oh, I like that one!’. 

After about the sixth time of hearing the Ooooo-ing, I got the hint.  A couple of months later, we were at the Asheville Quilt Show.  The is a vendor there every year that carries a great array of fabric that always speaks to me.  Well, this particular year, they happened to have not only the pattern of the quilt he liked, but also all of the fabric to make it with.  He picked out all of the fabric to go in HIS quilt.  I can honestly say that I only suggested changing one of the fabrics so that there would be more contrast and the pattern would show up better.  Mind you, he is married to a quilter but his color theory is somewhat lacking.  That being said, I think he did an amazing job picking the colors, don't you?  Now, I tend to be a bargain shopper and rarely buy most things (including fabric) at full price.  I do think that this is the ONLY quilt that I have every bought all the fabric, not only at once but NOT on sale.   This puppy is not only king size but big enough to drop all the way down the sides of our California King Size bed to the bottom of the rails.  The finished size is 124” square.  It is the largest quilt I have ever put on my Gammill.

When it came time to quilt it, I thought ‘Yippie, I get to do some super fun custom quilting on this one!’  But alas, my man has simple taste, I tried to steer him toward some detailed quilting but he would have none of that.  He says ‘can you do all over feathers?’  Seriously??  This could have been SOOO detailed!  But it is his quilt so he gets what he wants.  He picked a very neural (read taupe) color of thread and an all over loose feather pattern.

I do have to say that is looks pretty good draped over the most COMFY bed ever!  It was a joint effort of love and it makes me so happy that it keeps up both warm and snugly at night.