Saturday, October 12, 2013



Maxine, Max, Mamma Max, Gramma Max, GiGi, Mother, Mom -
I'm pretty sure she answers to all of them. 

She is my mother. 
She used to be a very good seamstress, making clothes and dresses for me when I was little, 
and even into college. (I remember one frantic call on a Thursday evening saying 
I HAD TO HAVE a long black dress for Saturday - that Saturday.
And yes, she came through for me. )
I'm not sure when she decided to stop sewing, but she did.  

It was my grandmother who actually taught me how to sew.
Max was a working woman after her divorce, so there wasn't much free time to sit down
and teach, but my Nonie, God Bless her, was patient and passed on her love of sewing to me.
She's also the person who taught me how to crochet, but that's a blog for another day.

No matter how many times I've tried to convince Max that she should start 
sewing again and join me on this quilting journey, she has declined.

Of the many things I've made for her  - 
payback for years of babysitting services - there are two quilts. 

This one is small, lap sized, and faded from years of being in the 
sun on her back porch. (No, the quilt does not have feet.)

There are chickens on the fabric - 
"Chicken" was her pet name for me when I was little. 
It stuck - not so much that people still call me that (thank goodness), 
but I seem to have quite a collection of "chicken" things around the house, 
as well as a drawer full of chicken fabrics waiting for yet another quilt.

This is the second quilt I made for her. It's a little larger and finds it's home 
on the back of a chair in the den. Again, this is the Turning Twenty pattern. 
It's a quick and easy pattern, but I can see now that 
I've over-used it through the years. I've lost count...

This was a FQ bundle from a fabric collection. 
It's so nice to be able to use fabrics specifically made to go together. 
None of that angst over which fabrics go together and which ones to use.

Presented to Max in 2005. 
And this time - I remember to put the name of the person who quilted it on the label. 
Thanks Karen H.   Nice all-over meander. 

There have been other things over the years, table runners, tote bags, fleece 
blankets, but there are the 2 quilts I've made for Max. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lauren & Natalie

Lauren and Natalie are sisters, and my brother's daughters. My nieces.

Forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but I made a promise that I would try to have a quilt for all my children, including my nieces and nephews, by the time they graduated from highschool. 
I'm not quite finished yet - 7 down and 3 to go!!

Lauren received her quilt  in 2006, well before she graduated from high school. 

This is the Turning Twenty pattern, using 20 FQ's (fat quarters) for the quilt top. 
I believe this was a FQ bundle, where a manufacturer puts in a cut of all the fabrics made to go in a certain series. They are then re-cut and pieced, and randomly sewn back together for this scrappy look. 

(I think she's hiding behind the quilt, on the stairs...)

The label says it was given to her on her 16th birthday, in 2006. The back is stars - on black. 

The border on the front matches the fabric on the back, and the binding. 
I didn't quilt this particular quilt, and unfortunately, I don't remember who quilted it for me. 
There are cool stars and swirls throughout though. 

 Natalie received her quilt in 2008, also on her 16th birthday. 

This fun quilt was the result of a class I believe I took 
at a quilt shop that is no longer in existence. :-(

(Again, we're hiding behind the quilt...)

I'm sorry I didn't put the name of the pattern on the label. 
This quilt is so fun I think I'd like to make it again, but I can't remember the name, 
and haven't been able to track down the pattern. 
So sad. Lesson learned - always put the pattern name on the label!

You can see the quilting on the back - and yes again, I'm clueless as to who did the quilting for me. 
That information should also be on the label!!

(Just so you don't think I'm not really making the quilts because I'm not quilting these myself - it's nearly IMPOSSIBLE to wrestle a full sized quilt under a standard sewing machine to quilt it. I have done it, and it's no fun. You could actually hurt yourself trying to maneuver all that heavy fabric under that small arm. 

I know, some people do it and they do it very well, but not me. I'll stick with the smaller ones for now, thank you. Besides, the gals with the long-arm sewing machines have to make a living, too.)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Craft Shows

You can only make so many quilted and crocheted items before they begin to "take over" your space. Every once in a while, it's a good idea to give away or sell some items, to make room for the next creative idea that floats by.

Fall is a good time in SWPA for Craft Shows.  They are everywhere - schools, churches, civic groups, clubs - everyone and anyone can advertise and hold a "Craft Show".  They're fun and a terrific way to meet like-minded people and make new friends, whether you're buying or selling.

The Piece & Happiness Quilt Club participates in several local shows, and I take my quilts, crocheted items, clothesline bowls, and whatever other little crafts I make, to try to sell.  This year I specially made bibs to sell. There were 24 all together. At $6 each, I hope they're a best seller!

I also have several kids quilts that I'd like to see adopted into good homes. I'm going to list them here. If you're interested, please let me know. I'm going to try to sell them at the shows, but if they don't sell, they're available.

Bright and colorful. this one is 54.5" x 41"

The back is also pieced. It's reversible. This one is listed at $65.00

This one is also bright. It's made with 2.5" strips in a random pattern.

Monkeys, dogs, cats, bees...
Finished size is 40"x 46" and it's $60.00

The back is flannel and a soft yellow stripe. 

Softer pastels, but I'm noticing a theme - animals in all of them!
This one is FROGS and flowers!

This is made using one piece of fabric for the top - no piecing. 
Finished size is 40" x 46" and it sells for $45.00

The back is a soft yellow flannel. The quilting is around the blocks on the fabric front.

This is one of my favs. It's got little monkey's dancing around.
It's not very big tho - just 27" x 31". Perfect for a bassinet or stroller...

The back is a cotton print. This one sells for $35.00.

We go from small to much larger. This is a twin sz - 69.5" x 85.5".
This one sells for $100.00.

Again, the animal theme - this time we're cooking?

The pattern is called Turning Twenty. 
You use 20 Fat Quarters (1/4 yd pcs of fabric) to make this. 

The back is an off white cotton. 

Again, bright 2.5" strips. The quilt club had an exchange, 
so you ended up with a real assortment of strips. 
This one is 53" x 53" and sells for $45.00.

Close up of the corner. I see fish, and bugs, and giraffes, OH MY!

The back on this scrappy quilt is a pretty purple. 

Let me know if anything strikes your fancy. 
And if not, perhaps I can custom design something for you.
Just ask!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CSC Luau Champs Quilt

In 2004 two of my boys participated in a competition swim league called C.S.C. or the Cavalier Swim Club. 
Each summer at the end of the season there is a large competition where all the clubs in the 
A-K Valley league gather for a large swim meet. 

In 2004 it was our local Vandergrift club's turn to host.  
There was food and fun, a basket raffle, 50/50, etc. All the stuff that make 
something like this a fun afternoon.

A good friend of mine and fellow quilter, who also had boys swimming in the club, 
decided that the two of us should make a quilt to raffle off for this event. 
We tag-teamed putting it together - she did the cutting while I did the sewing. 
It was so much fun! 

We had a  friend with a long-arm machine do the quilting and a neighbor with a 
professional embroidery machine stitched on the logo. (The theme was a Luau). 

I wish I had a photo of the little girl who won the raffle. She was also a member of the club, 
which thrilled us both! We were so glad that someone we knew won the quilt and pillow.

Mosaic Scrap Quilt


This particular quilt was in a magazine called Quick & Easy Quilts and caught my eye in early 2001.  
It looks complicated with all those little squares,  but when you follow the directions 
(something all quilters learn to do), it works.  I completed my version in 2002.

It was the first quilt that I'd actually purchased fabric for - pre "stash".  
I chose a burgundy and blue color palette. 

I added an extra border to make it just a little larger

The Mosaic Scrap Quilt hangs on my wall to this day. 
It reminds me of what I can accomplish when I put my mind to it.

Friday, May 17, 2013

T-Shirt or Memory Quilts - A Quick "How to"...

T-Shirt or Memory Quilts are a wonderful way to preserve special times, places, events, 
or activities in your life. If you have a collection of t-shirts and are considering making 
one yourself, or having one made, this blog is just a quick look at how they go together. 

Sampler front
Sampler back

This pictorial is not meant to be a step-by-step guide to make a quilt, and if you're planning to put one together on your own, please let me suggest you do some on-line research or purchase an instruction book or pattern. I'd hate to have you use this blog and then realize you need more information than it contains. 

Collect your t-shirts and examine the designs on all that you plan to use. (20 blocks will make a nice sized lap quilt - 4 across and 5 down.) Make sure you measure and note the t-shirt with the largest design. Also note any wording on sleeves or designs on the back. 

 Cut on the side seams and cut off the sleeves. 

Using a Teflon or non-stick ironing sheet so fusible interfacing doesn't stick to the ironing board, 
press your fusible interfacing to the wrong side of your shirt. I use the back of an old t-shirt as a 
pressing cloth over the interfacing. The iron slides better. Press using the setting 
instructions that come with the interfacing you purchase. 

Using a quilters square ruler or template, mark the area to be cut. If using a rotary cutter 
(that thing that looks like a pizza wheel), cut your block around your square ruler. 
A 15" ruler makes a nice sized finished block.

Blocks are cut in various sizes, ready for the framing or "sashing" fabrics that 
bring them up to the block size you have decided to use. You can get fancy and
choose different fabrics that coordinate with the individual blocks, or you can
choose one fabric to frame all the blocks the same. Personally, I prefer the fun, 
"scrappy" look of using different fabrics.

Add your framing or sashing on your t-shirt block. If you have more than one graphic in the block 
(something that was on the sleeve, for example), design and sew the sections together. 
I use 1/4" seams to sew the fabric on to the blocks. 

This is where you decide how you're going to quilt your t-shirt quilt. If you are going to send it out and have someone with a long-arm quilting machine do that step, then you would square up all your blocks to the same size, lay them out in a pleasing design and sew them all together. If you're more adventurous and decide you're going to quilt it yourself, the "quilt as you go" method works very well for sewing your blocks together. 

Cut your batting and your backing fabric about 2" wider and longer than your block, so that when you lay them out to make the quilt sandwich you have 1" excess on all 4 sides. I like to use fusible batting and iron it to the block (being extremely careful NOT to touch the hot iron to the t-shirt graphic).  However, cotton batting will work just as well. 

Once you have your 3 layers, you will need to mark your block for quilting. I used a straight edge 
and a chalk wheel to mark an "X" on the block then echoed it a few times to fill in the space.  
Make sure you check the batting instructions as most will tell you how far apart you need 
to quilt in order for the batting not to shift or bunch up with use and laundry.

Pin the layers well before sewing so the layers don't shift. And make sure you have a "walking foot" 
on your machine. You really need one to keep the layers from shifting while you're sewing.

Once your blocks are quilted, square them up. You should now have 20 (or however many you 
decided to put into your quilt) quilted blocks ready to assemble using the "quilt as you go" method.