Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Several years ago one of my afternoon routines was to take a "break" and watch 2 home decorating shows and one food show on TV--my only daytime TV. (These days it's Simply Quilts and Martha Stewart, but I usually walk and/or jog in place while watching .) I remember so vividly in those early years of my retirement hearing Lynette Jennings speak of "color, pattern, and texture". As my 2 daughters were at the time in the beginning years their careers in art and decorating, I had as yet not had the opportunity to learn from their expert advice. (Things have certainly changed since then: They ARE my artistic mentors, especially in the realm of using color.) But I digress, I thought I'd show you a bit of my work with these three elements of design, even though it's on something as simple as baby quilts.

I have been making baby quilts for several years, typically sewing 5 inch squares together, basting polyester loft batting to the wrong side of the pieced top, then sewing that right sides together with my backing. Sometimes there would be lace or ruffles or piping sewn in to the edge seam. After turning it right side out, I would then usually follow the pattern of the squares to do some machine top stitching (not sure it would even qualify as quilting). If there was no edge treatment, I usually chose 3 colors from the pattern in the fabric and top stitched the edges. I have in the past year learned a bit more about what I call real quilting, and I must say, that even though I am certainly not an expert, I like the difference in my finished products. But I still like to play with TEXTURE!

This is cotton, chenille, and fleece and the binding is flannel. I love using soft fabrics for baby quilts. (I will admit that until about a year ago I didn't know the difference between "run of the mill" flannel and quilter's flannel. Even though I have to pay more for the good stuff, I'm never going back!)

For this quilt, I even toyed with a different stitch for my machine "quilting". I think that, in itself, adds a bit of texture, too.

So this is my soft texture baby quilt:

Yes, there is a bit of color in the above quilt, but this color and pattern combo (chosen by my daughter- in-law, for their new baby) I think is fabulous. Once I get all the snipping done on the raw edges, run it through the washer and dryer, it will be a rag quilt (another first for me) and also have some texture too, I guess. I had never seen a rag quilt except in flannel, but I really love the combination of the sophisticated cotton and the "down home" rag method.

Well, I guess I'd better get to snipping; that quilt will go into my suitcase when I head to NY to see this new little girl when she makes her arrival. I should have at least a couple weeks left, but who knows?!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Wow, my new little granddaughter will be quite the "stylin' "young lady with her brand new bedding ensemble that her mother chose the fabric for! Some of you may remember the rag
quilt that I have started.

I'm waiting to get my "good" sewing machine (with its walking foot) back from the shop before I continue. But I thought that you might like to take a gander at the other items that will go with it. I just finished covering her big (Can't believe he's a big sibling now, as he's been the "baby" of our crew for a while!) brother's blue crib bumper with this wonderful print. The same print in a different color will be the bed skirt for a bed in her room, for her to grow in to when she's too big for her crib.

I must admit that when I realized that I was going to have to do a lot of seam matching, I was a little leery of the process. Perhaps this is true of all good quality fabric; I have no idea: but as long as I got the horizontal pattern lined up, the vertical pattern matched up at exactly 1 inch from the edge of the selvage. What a relief!

Now this little "Punkin' Doodle" hasn't arrived yet. (Her expected day of arrival is her great grandfather's birthday. Wouldn't that be a bonus!) However, her oldest cousin--who will be able to give her lots of "stylin' " tips --will turn 16 on Sunday. And this young lady loves and looks absolutely adorable in all kinds of vintage clothing. Perhaps she might like to get a family vintage sweater for her milestone birthday. (That's a collar, not a hood, by the way.)

I hope so! My mom knit this for me when I was in high school. I have always loved it and would love for our special young lady to have it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A New Year -- A New Project

Christmas has come and gone.

As Santa leads his reindeer back to the North Pole (He's already left the greenery behind.)

we are left to undress the tree, put it away

and begin the routine of another new year.

What better way to start a new year than to make a quilt for a new baby--albeit my "old, not real quilting" kind of quilt.

With the convenience of the internet to be able to check a registry to learn a new mom's color choices (this particular one: pink and sage), those of us with extensive stashes are able to whip something up without too much effort. Need I say more: keep building your stashes, ladies. That's the best way to start a new year.

So my title for today's blog--Is the new project my baby quilt, or is it building a bigger stash?
I'll let you be the judge!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Too many quilts, too little time

Oh, goody I was able to find some more 30s fabric for my "nursery" quilt. (A couple pieces aren't really 30's but coordinate well, so I picked them up too.)

I thought I'd keep busy with that until the fabric arrived for my new grandbaby's quilt. Well, lo and behold, it came the same day I got home from the store with my new 30s fabric.
What wonderful service: ordered on line on Saturday, and it arrived Thursday. Great on-line prices and what a fun package to open, wrapped up so pretty.

So like any good Nani, my 30s blocks and fabrics are back in the cupboard and I'm playing with my first rag quilt.

As I was cutting these pretty blocks last night, my peripheral vision caught site of some gingham stash that I had just laundered. Oops, there goes my busy mind. Wouldn't a gingham rag quilt be adorable--in all colors of gingham! And, of course, there's all that flannel stash that fills a couple dresser drawers--already cut in to 5 inch blocks. That just might be good way to use like-themed bits and pieces of baby flannel.

Oh, and I was watching Simply Quilts yesterday morning and saw the "flower pounding" (actually pounding flowers on to fabric, transferring the pigment) program. I think I might just have give that a try, too--perhaps just before it's time for my poinsettia leaves to drop. But I'd better stop thinking while I'm ahead.

I should have been thinking a little more clearly to help me figure out why I wasn't getting rid of my lingering cough. Oops, I think I might just be allergic to mohair. Finished up this scarf a little short of plan with a trusty mask last night and it's out of the house soon.

That takes care of the baby blue yarn; somebody's definitely going to inherit some beautiful purple mohair yarn!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I never have quite understood that song. I know it's a new year, but why do we want to forget old friends? But even if I do forget some old friends, I certainly don't want to forget my newer ones. Some of the best of those are the women whom I have met through the internet--many of you will be reading this. I must say that as I start the year I count among my blessings the friendship that I have with so many of you.

And what better way could I start the year with completing the Friendship Square Quilt that contains squares from many of my on-line quilting buddies. Yes, I actually finished it last night, sewing the binding in place.

Many of you have seen it in varying stages during my very amateurish quilting saga, and now it has a special place where I see it (right next to the pillow with my mom's hand knit cover) every morning during my "devotions". And it's quite handy to just pull my new quilt off its perch for an afternoon nap--not nearly as itchy as my mother's old Girl Scout blanket that I added fringe to last year. Not itchy at all--just full of the love from all my quilting sisters!

Thank you for all your hints and patience with me as I dabble in this age old form of needlework.

But it's not just quilting friends that I have learned to know with this new-found technology--well, at least pretty new technology to me! I have also met many wonderful knitters as well. Although I have knitted for years, I'm learning a lot from my on-line knitting friends as well--many who are quite a bit younger than I. One shared a simple scarf patten with me just the other day. I decided to try it out with the leftover yarn from my Sis's scarf.

Such a lovely, simple repeat of knit 3, slip 1. I think I actually like it better than the original one I made. Perhaps I'll just have to give my sis her choice!

And as the new year begins, since one quilt is finished, I must begin another. I saw one on Simply Quilts a few weeks ago that I really liked, but unfortunately I misplaced the directions.
It's for the "baby room" to coordinate with my Grandmother Hooton's quilted squares that I put together a few years ago.

I played around with some muslin and I think I've got it figured out.

I need to figure out the easy way to sew the side strips to the center square. I'm thinking that there is a way that is all straight seams; my mind just can't get it right now. Tomorrow.
Unfortunately I don't have quite enough of the 30s repro fabric. Gosh, I guess that means another trip to the quilting shop. Too bad!