Thursday, March 21, 2013

Call for help, and prayers!

This week my sweet neices' (age 16 and 8) lost their father in a tragic car accident. In this raw, shocked and helpless state, I can think of only one thing to do...make them each a quilt to provide them even the smallest piece of comfort in the wake of losing their Daddy.

A couple of years ago, my friend Lucia Wilke organized a quilt for a friend battling cancer and it was an honor to be able to participate. What made these quilts special was that it was a collaboration of more than 60 different quilters. That's a lot of love and prayers right there! I'm totally stealing this entire idea from Lucia!

To all my quilty friends, will you help me do the same and donate a cross block that I can piece into quilts for these two, brave girls?

Block details:
  • cross / plus* (wonky, squared up, pieced, single, multiple)
  • size: 9″ square (8.5″ finished)
  • fabric colors: any shade of pink and brown
  • fabric style: quilting weight, solids and prints
  • deadline: ASAP
*Here’s a tutorial by Mrs. Schmenkman Quilts for a cross / plus block

If you'd like to participate, please send me an email and I'll provide you with my mailing address! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Sign from Up Above

A little over a year and half ago, my cousin Preston was diagnosed with Lymphoma at the young age of 29. Throughout his battle he constantly stayed positive and continued to laugh and touch people's lives.

I had wanted to make Preston a quilt when he was readmitted to the hospital last June, but I didn't have the chance. I was at a quilt retreat when I got the update that the cancer had spread to Preston's spinal cord and I was devastated. At this point it was clear that he would be unable to recover and it was only a matter of time. Feeling incredibly helpless and sad for Preston and his family, I had no words, so I decided to make a quilt.

His sister, Lindsey, was by his side during his treatment and was just as courageous as her brother. She kept his friends and family updated on his status and relayed messages when Preston lost his ability to speak. I was in awe of Lindsey's strength and was touched by the love she had for her one and only sibling. Again, no words, but I could quilt.

On the day that Preston passed away, Lindsey wrote a poem for her brother. He had asked that his ashes be spread in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, under the northern lights. With my Bernina embroidery unit, I created a label with Lindsey's poem and appliqued it to the quilt.

I was pregnant at the time and in the process of selling our condo and building a house. For any quilter who has ever put their house on the market you know how inconvenient it can be to get ready for a showing with just a minutes notice. So I sadly packed the incomplete quilt away and vowed to finish it after the move.

Fast forward to June 2011 and we're moved, but not unpacked completely! I did unpack the quilt in progress and put it at the top of my to-do-list. I finished the quilt and happily took it to the post office.

I had asked my Uncle David for Lindsey's address so that the package would be a surprise. She was in the process of moving so he gave me her mother's address instead so that it wouldn't get lost in the transition.

Two days later I got the sweetest note from Lindsey that brought me to tears!

"Dear Amanda,

This may be redundant because I just sent you something in the mail, but after I dropped the envelope off I realized I wanted to thank you RIGHT AWAY!

I was at my mom's house watering her plants and I almost missed the box! It was sitting in the bushes by the gate! I planned on taking it back to their house until I realized it was addressed to me! When I opened it I was just stunned. That is the most beautiful and thoughtful gift I have ever received from anyone! Needless to say it made me cry a lot, but in a good way. It's great to have those words on a such a beautiful keepsake. It's kind of neat that I got it on HIS birthday too, when I really needed a "pick-me-up."

Well, I already sent you something in the mail, but I really am so excited about this quilt that I want to thank you immediately. It really means so much to me and it's beautiful. Thank you so much! I'm still in awe of it all! Thank you!


The quilt arrived on June 15, Preston's birthday. I think it was a sign from up above!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Saying Goodbye...

Tomorrow we are closing on our new house and will be moving on Friday. This day can't come soon enough and I am beyond thrilled to be making this next step in our lives. While I cannot wait to move to the 'burbs, unpack my sewing machine, play golf at The Old American and hit the trails at The Tribute, I would be lying if I said there won't be anything about living in our condo that I will miss.

I would also be denying that we had some wonderful and amazing moments in this house.  While in our condo we met and fell in love, got engaged, got married, and most importantly welcomed our baby girl into the world.

And of course there are places here that I will certainly miss. The park that we walk at each night, even while 9 months pregnant with Rylee.

And my favorite...Eatzi's, where even at 32 I still get carded when buying my favorite beer from Rahr & Sons Brewing Company.   It's the simple things!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quilt Retreat & Maverick Stars

This past weekend the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild officer's got together for a quilting retreat in Cedar Hill, TX at the 1890s House. It was just a short drive away, but it really felt like a nice retreat from busy life. The farm house sleeps eight and has an adjacent "sewing cottage" equipped with everything one needs for uninterrupted sewing.

Not only were the accommodations great, but the company was even better! What an amazing collection of women that we have leading the DMQG this year. I feel so very fortunate to be part of this group. Over the weekend, we discovered that we all have vastly different backgrounds and experiences, yet we form this fantastically cohesive team. By Saturday evening you would have thought that we had know each other for years.

While I didn't get as many projects completed as I had wanted to, I did manage to finish my May block, Maverick Stars, for the New Kids on the Block online bee. I'd never done this type of block before, so it was a good experience, however I don't think I'll be doing any of these for my own quilts.

The finished product...

And on a final note, if you haven't made it to a DMQG - Saturday Sew yet, you don't know what you are missing! Join us this Saturday, May 29!

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mondrian-Inspired Quilt Block

As I was gabbing to my dear friend today about a new quilting bee that I am participating in, her response was, "Why haven't you blogged about it yet?"  Good question!  Well, my only excuse, apart for being in England for two weeks is that I've been a little under weather since we returned and I'm not sure that I've actually sat down at the computer for more than a few minutes at a time...until now.  So, here goes!

Back in March, I decided to face my fear of participating in an online quilting bee.  I joined a new bee that is comprised of 12 "newbies."  Sounded like a good safe place to start, and with one block down, I'm so glad that I did!

April's block was to be a "Mondrian" inspired quilt block.  When I returned from England I had a lovely bundle of fabric waiting for me and I couldn't wait to get started.  First of all, I love seeing other people's fabric selections.  Especially when I really like all of the fabrics individually, but never would have put them together on my own.  My bundle included two shades of gray, a brown/metallic print, orange monotone, blue dots, stripe, green wonky blocks, and a green floral.

And here's the final product...

I had so much fun putting this block together and even more fun seeing all of the other bee member's contributions!  I can't wait to see the final product!

So, if you've never stepped out of your comfort zone and tried an online quilting bee, I highly recommend it!

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's a beautiful day to be outside!

Remember when you were in elementary school,  the weather outside was beautiful and it was hard to stay focused on learning?  And you would always ask your teacher, "Can we have class outside today?"  Today reminded me of one of those days!  So, since I'm no longer in school and don't have to ask permission, I decided to have class outside today!

One of the perks of urban living is having a 4th floor rooftop deck to enjoy on days such as this.  I just finished a denim and flannel rag quilt rug, so I took it up to the roof to take advantage of the natural light for photos.  

This quilt had no "recipe" (or pattern) to start.  I began by cutting down a bunch of old blue jeans that I no longer had use for.  Okay, I'll admit, some had gotten a little too tight over the years, but I did have some that I'm glad to say were too big!  Because rag quilts need a healthy seem allowance for fraying, I started with 7" squares that would be 5" finished after a 1" seam allowance on all sides.  I also supplemented the denim with 3 different flannel fabrics, Horsin' Around, found at Cabbage Rose.

I made sandwiches with one piece of denim and one piece of flannel, WST, and stitched a 1" seam all around.  I then stitched a diagonal line across each block.  It's important to use a heavy-duty or denim needle, otherwise you'll need to wear goggles!  Next step,  I sewed the pieces together, carefully going through 4 layers of thick fabric.  

Make sure that all of your seams are turned towards one side of your quilt.  This is what the underside of your quilt should look like.


The best part about this type of project?  There is no biding to hand-sew!  To finish the project, you'll want to invest in spring loaded snip scissors, to keep your hand from cramping!  I found a pair like this:

Clip all of your seams at about 1/4" increments and you are ready to wash and fray!  I would recommend taking your quilt to a coin laundromat to preserve your home washing machine, unless you know how to change your filter.  The frayed bits will quickly accumulate and clog your machine.  

Here's a look at the finished product:
I think it will make a nice housewarming gift for my old friend that moved away from Texas!

I'm off to England tomorrow, so this will be my last post for a few weeks!

Happy Quilting!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Quilt for Spring

Wow, today is the first day of Spring and after temperatures in the mid-70s yesterday, it is now 34 degrees and snowing!

My newest quilt is a gift for my dear friend, Gigi. She may very well be the most amazing woman I know and I adore her completely. Not only is Gigi a mother, a writer, a business owner, and a Tai Chi Master, she's also a breast cancer survivor. I met Gigi shortly after her diagnosis and was amazed at her strength and her spirit. To honor her, I wanted to make her a quilt that reflected her personality.

I chose fabric from the Whimsy by Pillow & Maxfield for Michael Miller collection. I love the pinks and greens together!

So, tomorrow I will hand deliver this quilt to Gigi and hope it brings her as much happiness as it did for me while I was making it for her.

Because this quilt is special, I backed it with red minky dot.  I think it makes the quilt feel like a big hug!  I initially wanted a pink backing, but I was only able to find light pink minky, which I felt would make the quilt seem like a baby quilt.  On the contrast, I think the red gives it a grown up style.

Some people choose to wash their fabrics before they quilt, however I prefer to work with unwashed fabric.  This can be tricky if you've got a quilt with both white and bright colors all going into the wash after its completion.  Especially that red minky dot, which can bleed all over your bright whites and turn them pink.  Have no fear!

SC Johnson has a great product, Shout Color Catcher,  that traps dyes in the wash and keeps them from depositing onto lighter fabrics.  For this lap size quilt, I used about 5 Color Catcher cloths and it kept my whites totally bright!

This is what the cloth looks like before...

...and after.

Happy Spring!