August 29, 2011

Odds And Ends From The Pig Pen!

As I was putting on the border of the quilt I showed last evening, I got to thinking about how my likes and dislikes, as far as quilting goes, have evolved over time!  I used to  hate piecing with a passion! My friend Debbie and I would sit for hours cutting out quilt tops and put them into shoe boxes never for the light to see again, in my case!  I have no idea how many tops I have cut out in my lifetime, only never to sew them up!  I hand quilted and was happiest sitting under the frame working the needle in and out of the fabric and trying to keep my stitches as tiny, uniform and as straight as I could!

I was very proud of  my handquilting talent and was always receiving compliments galore because of it. My friend Jackie told me many times that my stitches were so even and tiny, that it looked almost machine done.  But my fingers knew better!

My Granny Ida taught me all about hand quilting and the importance of doing the best job possible, especially if I were going to quilt for the public!

And that is exactly what I did! I had one customer, Mrs. Johnson, bless her kind soul... she always wanted me to quilt her quilts on both sides of the seam. I would quote her a price and she would have a say about it until I reminded her that I was actually quilting her quilt twice!  Then she would smile and give in to allow me to work my magic on her quilt.

I have only quilted one whole cloth in my time and my Aunt Zula Mae purchased it the day I finished the binding.  I had not intended on selling it but she is special to me so I let her have it. One of these days I will quilt another one but it won't be by hand.
In February 2007 I started experiencing numbness in my right hand and was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.  In lieu of surgery, I go to my chiropractor for adjustments and so far he has kept me away from the knife. So, I no longer hand quilt.

I now quilt on a Gammill Classic Plus longarm system and have grown to love the work that I put out from it.  At first it was intimidating to say the least but now I just relax and have fun.  I really love teaching others what I know and would be happy if I had a full time job of doing so!

Some days I have a hard time deciding which I had rather be doing... quilting or piecing!  Some days upstairs just calls out to me so strong that I find myself upstairs before I know what hit me!  But I have to spend more days downstairs in the quilting studio than upstairs piecing  because customer work comes first.

I love my clients who are expert piecers! It makes quilting for the public a joy rather than feeling like a job!

So, on this beautiful Monday morning why don't you share how your  likes and dislikes have changed in your quilting throughout your life. 

August 15, 2011

2nd Annual Pets on Quilts Show 2011 - August 15-19th 2011

Darlene over at SewCalGal is hosting the 2nd Annual Pets On Quilts Show  that runs from Aug 15 - Aug 19th!  If you have photos of your pets lying on your quilts, quilts that you have made with a pet theme, or Electric Quilt Designs in the pet theme then this show is for you!! Art Quilters are also welcomed!

My entry for the show is of a quilt that I made for my husband for Christmas 2003!  It is of his beloved Benitta who was bought from a breeder in the southern part of NC in December 1982!  She was originally bought for his brother but Benitta took up with Butch immediately and she fast became known as "HIS" dog.
 My husband has been a tobacco farmer for over 30 years and Benitta would walk up and down the rows while he cultivated with the tractor and when she tired she would go lie down under the shed until he was finished.... or go to the house and beg inside where it was cool.  She was a house dog..YES! even as large as she was...

She slept on the bed with my husband every single night!  He said she would lie on her back with all 4 legs stretched out at times and these nights he did not get much sleep.  But he did not mind.  Her usual style of sleeping was on her side but even with that, she took up a lot of the full size bed but hubby made the best of it.... He is just tenderhearted like that!  He would never be mean to an animal... especially his Benitta!

During the day if she wasn't outside with my hubby, she liked to lay on her back in the hall just outside his room.  The floor was always cool and she loved it!
Benitta made sure she was in the truck every time he went somewhere.  She would either lie down in the seat with her head on his lap as he drove or he would row down the window and she would sit in the passenger seat with her head hanging out the window with her tongue just swinging in the wind. lol

And if he stopped at the store for a chocolate bar, well... she had to have hers too or he didn't get to eat very much of his!  And the Frosty Maid was her favorite place to go! She was always ready for her ice cream cone! He spoiled her rotten and she loved it!

By July 1995, Benitta had arthritis really bad in her hips and back and it was all she could do to walk.  My hubby would help her walk a lot of times but it got to the point that he knew what he had to do.  Although it broke his heart in to a million pieces, he had her put down.  She now lies in his mother's front yard with beautiful azaleas surrounding her grave.  He still cries for Benitta... there will never be another one like her!

If you would love to feature your beloved pet, all you need to do is write up a story about them and head over to Darlene's and link up to the Pets On Quilt Show!

And any quilt show is not complete without prizes! Some of the fabulous sponsors are: Fat Quarter Shop! -  The Raspberry Rabbits! -  Jane's Fabrics! - The Quilted Kitty! -! - InchWorm Fabrics! and many more fabulous sponsors!!  Head on over to Darlene's and check out all of the sponsors!

Darlene is also collecting photos for a calendar that will benefit the Humane Society!  If you have a photo that you would like to see in the calendar contact Darlene!

So what are you doing sitting in front of the pc! Scoot on to your sewing rooms or grab those cameras and get something ready so you can join in on the fun!

You can link up through Aug 19th!

GO! :)

August 6, 2011

Making People Feel Special - One Quilt At A Time!

Phil Morgan is a potter from Seagrove, NC.  He came to be with 81 quilters the last weekend in April and performed a pottery demonstration for them at the 5th Annual Circle Of Friends Quilting Retreat that I hosted. You can read about the retreat here...

One of our quilters had an idea to do something special for Phil.  She asked the quilters if they would send a block that had a coffee mug on it to her and she would put the blocks together in to a quilt, finish it and send it to me so that I could present it to Phil in person.  The idea of the coffee mug was born from the fact that Phil and his wife made a coffee mug for each of the quilters at the retreat as a token of friendship and as a remembrance of their trip to NC!

Several of the ladies sent in a block and a few sent funds to help cover the quilter's cost of batting, backing and shipping.  The quilt came to me last week and I finally had an opportunity to go to Seagrove this morning to present the quilt to him.

Phil LOVED his surprise gift!!  He kept commenting on how much he really liked it! His wife was very impressed as well!

I think you can tell through the photos how much he really enjoyed his surprise!!  He intends on us coming to his backyard in Seagrove, NC in the near future for another NC COF Retreat! He promised me that he would help me make it happen! I told him it would be at least 3 years but I did intend on hosting again!

Here are the photos of the presentation!  The last photo shows it all so well! :)

If you love pottery and have never been to Seagrove, NC... then you MUST plan your next vacation around this amazing little town!  It is FULL of local artists who get lost in the world of creating pottery!  Discover Seagrove!

Linking up over at Lily's Quilts!

August 4, 2011

Tutorial Thursday - The Churn Dash Block

How about a tutorial on this fine Thursday afternoon!

The Churn Dash (as my Granny Ida called it)

First we will choose 2 complimenting fabrics and cut (2) 5 1/4" squares from each as well as (4) 3" x 5 1/4" rectangles from each. We will also cut (1) 4 1/2" square from the fabric we choose to be our background.  In my case, I want my Churn Dash to be the darker green so my background will be the pinkish fabric and I will cut the center 4 1/2" center square from this fabric.

Next we will lay the pieces out in segments, right sides together.

We will begin by sewing the rectangles together on the long side.

To save thread and time we will chain piece them together.

Here are all (4) 3" x 5 1/4" sections joined at the hip so to speak from chain piecing.

Go ahead and clip these 4 segments apart and trim any threads.

Next we will sew the (2) 5 1/4" squares together on the diagonal. Take your ruler and lay it on your fabric and draw a line all the way from one corner to the other. 

Draw the line on both segments.

Line the 'toe" of your machine foot up on the drawn line and sew all the way down to the other end of the drawn line. This will sew a scant quarter inch seam. (click on the photo to make it larger to see what I am referring to as the toe of the foot)

And again, staying true to saving thread and time, pull out just a slight bit of thread just so you can turn the square segment enough to put it right back under the foot so you can proceed with sewing back up the other side of the drawn line. Remember to put the toe of your machine foot centered on the drawn line.

Without removing the first segment from the machine, proceed with the second segment to save time.  Chain piecing is your friend my dear quilters!

When you get to the bottom of that stitched line on the 2nd segment, repeat and turn it to go back the other way as you did on the first segment.

Here they are clipped apart and standing on their own!

Now we will take our scissors and cut them apart along the drawn line. Steady as you go and cut right on that drawn line.

 Now we have all 4 of our HST blocks for our corners of the Churn Dash block!

Take the rectangle and HST segments to the ironing board and press them open, pressing to the darker fabric. Do not manhandle your iron as this will get them wonky and out of shape. 

And here we have all of our units pressed and ready for assembly!

But first we must square them all up to 4 1/2" square!  
For your HST blocks....Line up the diagonal line on your ruler with the diagonal seam line on your block. Move the ruler to adjust to be sure you have 4 1/2" within the desired square size and then trim whatever excess there is left on the right side and across the top of the ruler.  Take note of the dog-ears in the upper right corner and the lower left corner. On this first cut, you will be removing the upper right dog-ears.

Then rotate the block so that the dog-ears that are in the lower left corner are now on the upper right corner. Place your ruler back down, having your 4 1/2" lines exactly on the outer left side and the lower edge of the block. Then finish trimming whatever excess remains from the right side of the ruler and across the top, once again.

 You may not have much excess left but if you leave even this much and you do it on all of your blocks in whatever size quilt you are making, your quilt will not be square!  It will all add up to too much extra fabric when all is said and done!

For your rectangle segments... Position your ruler on the block, making sure you have 4 1/2" available within the 4 1/2 inch placement of your ruler ... and also line up the 2 1/4 inch line of your ruler with the seam on your block.  Trim up the right side and across the top.

Close up of 2 1/4" line on the seam line.

Rotate the block and lay your ruler back down..with your 4 1/2" line exactly on the outer left edge and lower edge... Check to be sure the 2 1/4" line is directly across the seam of the segment.  It should be!  Now trim the excess from the right side and across the top once again.

 Now you have (4) 4 1/2" HST blocks and (4) 4 1/2" squares from your rectangles!

 Lay out your segments before sewing the block together so you are sure you have the fabrics in the right position.

Starting with the first row of segments pick up #1 and #2 and sew them together. Be sure and take a FULL 1/4 inch seam!

And yes, we are still chain piecing, pick up #1 and #2 from Row 2 and sew them together! 

Continue for Row #3!

SEE! A full 1/4 inch seam assures you that there is enough space left at the top of our point to sew another block or a piece of sashing to this block without having boxed off points!

Next we will proceed to finish sewing these row segments together by sewing on the 3rd block in each row.

Don't forget to chain piece!!  Just think about all the time you will have saved to do something else  with!

Now you have all 3 rows sewn together completely and it is time to take them to the ironing board and press the seams.

 Press the seams of Row #1 and Row #3 to the middle of the block. And press Row 32 towards the outside of the block.  This will ensure that your seams nestle up to each other to get those sharp intersecting points!

Pin the seams together making sure they nestled up together correctly.

Before you begin to sew make sure the top edge matches and then proceed to sew the rows together.  Sew all the way to each pin and "walk" your machine over the pin and then remove.  This ensures that your fabric does not move and your seam intersections should match dead on!


Matching intersections!! This is the power of not being afraid to 'walk" your machine over those pins! You don't want to run a race and sew right over them now... just "walk"... slow and steady....

And enough space by all points to sew another block or add sashing and still have sharp points!! The power of those FULL 1/4 inch seams!!

And in the spirit of waste not, want not... No orphan blocks allowed!  I finished this block into a candle mat for my dear sister Charlotte!  She loves to play her guitar and does some singing!  And as always, "She makes my heart sing!"

So, how did I do for my first tutorial?  Would you like to see more?  Did I show enough... too much... Did I explain it in a manner you could understand and follow along?  Were the photos ok? ...Help me to help you with constructive criticism if needed. :)

Linking up with....

House of Hepworth's

Making It With Allie

It's A Keeper

Remember, 3 links are a charm!!