Monday, August 29, 2011

Follow up Easiest Tote Bag

Here is the moment you have been waiting finished tote bags.

3 generations (left to right) mine, my grandmothers knitting bag, and my mothers.

My mother got the black and red one for her birthday this weekend. She loved it.
Happy Birthday Mom!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Easiest Tote Bag

I had bought this pattern from one of my favorite quilt shops, Behind the Seams just outside of Grand Marais, it has got to be the easiest tote bag ever!  I do not like patterns unless they have pictures to go with what they are saying, because sometimes what they say is a completely different language then English.

I made one for myself and it was so easy I had to make another, I headed down to Circle of Friends Quilt Shop and came across some great material, big bold prints and brights are my favorites. Of coarse I could not decide and ended up with two sets of colour choices here they are....

I really like them both but decided to start with the black, grey and red combination.

I then went to work making this bag.
It is really quite simple, you make a quilt sandwich, cut strips off the ends to make the handles, fold the sandwich in half and tah dah you have a bag.

The pattern looks like it could be pages from a coloring book.
I plan to finish this and give it away as a gift to a special someone.....updates to follow.

While working on this larger bag my grandmother asked me for a bag to put her knitting in when she goes to appointments.
I just took this larger tote bag pattern and used 2 fat quarters, made a quilt sandwich, cut one strip off one end and another off the other side for handles and here is my smaller version.

Isn't this the cutest knitting bag ever!

The reveal of all three bags (including the first one I made for myself ) and the owner of the black and red bag to follow......

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Other Side of the World

In 2008 a friend of mine went to Malawi Africa on a humanitarian mission and they were looking for things to bring over there to give away to people, such as toiletries, toys for the children, etc.
I have always made quilts to give away, it means so much to me to give a gift to someone who is not expecting it, and their joy means more to me then money.
Since I have not been much of a traveller nor have I ever had the ambition to travel the world, this was my opportunity to help someone I did not know.
I sent with the group a quilt I had made prior to this but the label that I had put on the back at the time I had made it seemed appropriate.

I took a picture of myself with the quilt before it left on it's journey and I only made one request that they pick someone at random that they thought would benefit from my gift, if they could take a picture for me of who they chose that would be great.

When my friend returned he had pictures for me and a story to tell, it was more then I could have ever asked for.
The group had been traveling on a dirt road in Malawi Africa and had come across a man that had a serious infection in his finger.

They brought this man to the hospital and later found his wife picking peanuts in a field, they were very poor and lived in a hut with a dirt floor. At that time they thought this would be the perfect person to give my quilt to and I could have not chosen someone better.

Her name is Natashia
She spends her days picking peanuts in a field.

He had told me that this women was so overwhelmed that she just kept saying that this means good things for the country and for the people of Malawi. She was overwhelmed knowing that someone on the other side of the world would give something so special to someone they do not even know.
This next picture is of her mother who is very old (they're not really sure how old),she lives with her daughter in the hut with the dirt floor.

I keep a picture of the quilt with me before it left me and a picture of the quilt with Natashia above my sewing machine. To this day I cannot believe that one of my quilts is somewhere in Africa.
This means more to me then I can express in words, if anyone has the chance to make quilts for other people less fortunate even in your own backyard, it will be more rewarding for you then you could imagine.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Touched by Friends

I saw a pattern in a quilt magazine for a "Hand Quilt", where they traced peoples hands and appliqued the fabric hands to quilt squares.
When a colleague of mine announced she was retiring I thought this would be a great opportunity to make this quilt.
I put up an envelope and gave everyone written instructions on how to trace their hand on freezer paper (which I would later make into a fabric hand), and label the hand with their name.
Doing it this way made all the hands on the quilt individual, some of the hands you even knew who they belonged to without seeing the name.
I never thought of how much work it was, I hand appliqued 58 hands to quilt squares.

This quilt is the very quilt that started my trend of making quilts for people I work with if they retire or have a baby.

We gave it to her at her retirement party.
She was thrilled!

Ugly Quilt Category

A friend and I were checking out some quilts online that were in the categories of ugly quilts.
For those quilters out there you know you have one of these. At the time you made the quilt, you picked out the fabric, thinking this looks good together. You made the quilt and looked at it and still thought job well done.
Later on down the road you look back at this creation and think "Oh wow, what was I thinking", you are not alone we all have these.  Here is mine:

I tried to sew my first quilt after seeing all the quilts and fabric my sister-in-law had and thought how hard can it be...Ha Ha Ha. I started sewing fabric together without measurements and no pattern. This quilt has never seen the light of day.
To all the ugly quilts out  there, you are not alone.
After I finished this fantastic creation I took a beginners quilting class at The Quilters Stash, it made a world of difference.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

When we moved into our house I was able to take over the basement and create my quilting space. I have added to my quilting space since moving in 4 years ago and this is where it is at today.

I recently took a class taught by one of the guild members and she taught Bonnie Hunters: Oklahoma Backroads (which I finally finished and will post at a later date), she had told us about the way Bonnie Hunter organizes her scraps and so I thought I would organize mine (I do not have a before picture which is unfortunate because it was a mess of everthing I had ever cut)

        This is what it looks like now, all neatly organized.....for now (good intentions).

The next few pictures are of a scrap quilt I have been working on for awhile, I had put it away in the spring and now I have made it my priority to finish it before I start another project (all you quilters out there know what that is like).

Someone I work with had left some quilting magazines on the table at work for the taking and I found this great pattern in the Quiltmakers May/June 2001 issue,

Here are a few of the squares I have started (above). I threw in scraps from my scrap pile, before I had organized it and scraps left over from many of the quilts I had aready made.

 I had my scrap pile all set and away I went.

Scrap quilts are my absolute favorite, I enjoy the way that putting together fabrics that you never would have put together in a million years actually in the end look good together.
I have not gotten very far but I will finish it before moving on. One of my trademarks is, if the pattern gives the option of making a twin quilt and a queen sized quilt I always go bigger, in the end it may even be king size.
If you notice in the picture of my quilt space (above) there is a pole in the middle of my floor this is my restraint, this allows me to do queen size and if I cram it, king size. I'm frightened to think how big they would be if I didn't have that pole there.
That is the one bit of advice I have when buying a house watch out for that pole that sits in the middle of the floor, could be a deal breaker.

Here is what the squares look like so far layed out on the floor, you get a feeling of where the pattern is going.

      I am well on my way to.......of coarse a queen size.
           I do have another project on the backburner, but vow not to dip into it yet.

And the fun never ends!


Friday, August 12, 2011

New Blogger

This blogger thing is new to me, but thought I would give it a try.
I have been following other quilters blogs and thought this could be fun.
I started quilting in 2005 when my mother signed me up as a birthday present for a beginners quilting class at the Quilters Stash.
Beginners Quilting Class
Taught by Deb Asher (far right)

I had kept my treasured quilt that I had made at that class and recently had it framed and it hangs in my living room.

When I first started I would haul my Singer sewing machine that weighed a ton to the classes, the belt on this thing ran so hard I thought one of these times it was going to burst into flames.
To some this machine may not seem that old but to me it was ancient.

 I soon splurged on a basic PFAFF sewing machine and I treasured that machine for 6 years. I ran it to the ground and it kept up.

Bought in November 2005

6  years later, I was in the Quilters Stash store and tried out a machine called Quilters Choice by Babylock and fell in love. We were meant to be. I saved and saved for that machine and then it went on sale, it really was meant to be.

Quilter's Choice

My dream machine.

And so that is how it all began......Piles of fabric later and many, many quilts later here I am starting a blog to share with you.