Category Archives: Devoted to Quilting

Introduction to Quilting 001

Yes, I know, classes usually have a one in front of them, as in Quilting 101, not Quilting 001. But, we’re talking basic basics here. The simplest of simple.

Quilting 001 will walk the fearful quilter into the quilt world maize one step at a time. Before long you’ll be walking around, not getting lost, but trying new things. So come along. Let’s make a quilt.

First, the rules.  Rules? What rules? We don’t need rules tangling us up. Right, we’re going to ignore most of the quilt rules. Shhh, don’t let the quilt police hear about this. However there are a few pointers that will make your foray into the quilt world more enjoyable.

Ready? Here we go:

1. Relax, this is your first quilt. Most likely it isn’t destined to become a heirloom quilt for your grandchild. No, this will be a simple wall hanging, lap quilt, or warm cover on your bed.

Basically you’re making a blanket, relax and enjoy the process.

2. Remember that acronym KISS, keep it super simple? That’s a good plan for a first quilt. Keep the pattern and quilt simple.

If you have to fight to get the curves right on a Drunkard’s Path, struggle to keep the points sharp on a star block, or spend more time unsewing than sewing, you’ll be tempted to throw the whole thing down in disgust and walk away from the joy of quilting. It’s your quilt, if you want to go with an intricate pattern, I’m certainly not going to stop you. For the rest of you, a quilt made with simple squares will work just fine.

3. No fancy equipment needed.

  • Scissors to cut the fabric, or a rotary cutter and mat if you have one. Either works well.
  • Pattern or instructions. You wouldn’t try driving in a strange town without a gps or map would  you? Ok, I would and you might too. But, really, the gps, or quilt instructions make life much easier.
  • Fabric, you’ll need something for the backing, batting for the middle, and of course, fabric to make your top. We’ll discuss fabric choices and where to find your fabric in a later “class.”
  • Iron, and ironing board (or a folded towel on a cabinet works well too.) Nothing special, the iron you already own is perfect.
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine and thread, your choice. Whichever works for you, again, it’s your quilt.
  • Pins. Straight pins to hold your fabric together before you sew it and safety pins to hold all three layers together when you’re ready to quilt it.

4. Decide on your level of perfection. Some people (most) strive to have their quilt seams match up perfectly. They may have one “fault” in the quilt, one they purposely put in, but other than that their quilts look like works of perfection. I, on the other hand, am the Imperfect Improv quilter, I don’t care if my seams don’t match. Sometimes I go out of my way to make sure they don’t match by making a quilt with off-set seams. You may fall at either end of the spectrum, or somewhere in the middle. Decide what you can live with, and don’t worry about little mistakes that fall within your acceptability level.

5. Use  fabric of similar weight and quality. This will help your quilt wears more evenly.

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Five Components of a Quilt Show

A few of the 103 quilt items on display

A few of the 103 quilt items on displ

“There’s nothing to having a quilt show. We just hang some quilts and people come look at them. ” Ever heard those words, or similar words when considering sponsoring a quilt, or craft show, or a book fair?

If you have, you can gently inform the speaker there are at least 5 items you must consider to help ensure you have have a good event.

1.  Location, there must be some place to display all your beautiful work. A location that can be secured if the show is more than one day, and one that will protect the quilts from the whims of mother nature. Finding a location for the quilt show is paramount.

2. Date and Time. When will you have the show? A date and time that works best can take a lot of discussion and consideration. In Oklahoma, we don’t schedule a quilt show on the same weekend as the OU/Texas or OU/OSU football games. Attendance will be low. Figure out the dates that will work best for your group. After you have a date, you’ll need to have the open and closing times for your show. How early will you open and how late will you stay? These vary from show to show and area.

3. Display Method – How will you display your different sized, and types of quilt and quilty items? Poll your members, someone will have the perfect idea of a display method that works best for your group.

4. Workers – Ah yes, the backbone of any group endeavor, people to actually do the work. Luckily most groups have enough members that the workload can be shared with no one having to hang the quilts, work the guest book, monitor the guests (no touching the quilts), do the advertising, design the programs, and any other jobs necessary. More people participating makes for a better show for everyone, guests and hosts.

5. Advertising – No one will see all your hard work and beautiful projects if they don’t know about them. Advertising will draw new people to your show, and introduce them to your group. It is vital for even the smallest show.

Our quilt group, The Material Girlz, had our first annual show in June. We had 103 items on display. Too many for our small space, but we were so excited to have a full show and not a half-empty room with too-few quilts. We learned much about putting on a show, and over the next five Mondays, I’ll explore a little more in-depth each of the five major components of having a successful show.

Has your quilt group ever sponsored a show? Share your favorite tips in the comments.

Birthday Comfort

Photoshop version of the birthday cake. Photo courtesy Joe Marquez

Today is Hotshot’s birthday.

Hotshot is my first, from scratch, grandchild. He arrived at a dark time in my life, when storm clouds were gathering preparing to dump a torrent of pain in my life.

But Hotshot came.

He was early, almost a month before his due date. He was small. But, he was healthy. It gave me comfort to know he was here and safe. He was comforting to hold.

His mom and he came to our house. His presence comforted his grandpa.

All our grandchildren give comfort in different ways and different times.

Hotshot gave comfort in the dark time. He continues to comfort me, because every year when  I remember that dark time my heart breaks a little. But, also every year, he turns a year older. It is such fun to watch him grow.

Many people thought his birthdays would be a bittersweet time for me. They are not.

Sure, the pain of the dark time returns. Did it ever really leave?

But his birthday doesn’t bring the pain or the memories of the darkness. His birthday brings happiness and joy and memories of fun times. He and his birthday shine the light on my life, banishing the dark times to the far corners.

God has graced our family with six grandchildren. Each with their own abilities and skills. Each bring joy from a different perspective.

 

Linking up with Lisa-Jo and the great group that participates in Five Minute Friday. The main rule is to write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking – on the topic that Lisa-Jo posts about each week.

 

 

Mother’s Day Reading Gift Ideas

Writer? Quilter? What am I? Both, and a few other descriptions also fit. As most of you know, this blog struggles to find its identity. Is it about writing? Is it about quilting? Is it about my faith?

In truth, it’s a little of all three, I just haven’t found the right formula for it yet. Today I’m sharing some great reads for you. Mother’s Day is coming, and what better gift than a book, something that will allow her to transport herself to another time, and/or place, relax and be entertained all while staying and taking care of her family. It’s the perfect gift.

Of course, shopping in the quilt store is a fantastic option. However, books are a close second. If the mother in your life doesn’t quilt, the book moves up to first place.  Here are some book ideas for  you to consider:

Devoted to Quilting (mine, imagine how it got on the list) = a collection of quilt stories. Each story includes a Bible verse and prayer, making it a perfect devotional. It is also just a fun read, and educational since each story also includes a quilting/sewing tip. You can see the picture of it on my side bar.

Devoted to Quilting 2 (mine again, surprise, surprise) – More quilt stories. This one has more quilts from friends and fewer family quilts. Otherwise it’s much like the first Devoted to Quilting.

Romance, The Spice of Life. Not mine, but I do have a story in it. This is an anthology, a collection of short stories. Like a good meal, life needs a little spice to make it amazing, and romance is the perfect spice. There are six genres included, romantic suspense, nostalgic romance, inspiration romance, paranormal romance, historical romance (ahem), and a contemporary romance. The mother in your life is sure to have a favorite genre represented, and she’ll love all the stories.

Grave Secrets, by Linda Trout. A baby disappears. A husband murdered. Sara Adams searches frantically for her infant daughter and must turn to insurance investigator Morgan Daniels. Except, Daniels is sure Sara murdered her husband. Will helping Sara find her daughter also help him prove she murdered her husband? Will helping her prove her innocence and uncover the real killer? On top of all that the man is devastatingly handsome. Sarah must be careful.


Preserving Family Legends, M. Carolyn Steele.  There was a time when family lore was passed down from one generation to the next. It was a form of entertainment as well as education for the younger family members. However, life has changed, and many of those family legends are left gathering dust in the attic of life. Carolyn’s books helps us not only find those stories, but write them in an entertaining fashion for our children and grandchildren. It must be entertaining, both for the reader and the writer, after all who wants to write, much less read, a laundry list of marriages, births, divorces, and death?

Saturday Night Cocoa Fudge, Gloria Teague. A nostalgic look of growing up in the fifties in Tennessee. Although, the setting could of been anywhere in the United States, the stories revolve more around the people and the experiences of one little girl between four and five years old. If you grew up in the fifties you’ll love this book for the memories it invokes. Because, really, who hasn’t done the “switch dance?” If you weren’t lucky enough to grow up in the fifties you’ll love this look back at a different time and way of life. Each story stands alone, and the book can be read in snatches of time if necessary. However, Gloria weaves such entertaining, and exciting tales that you’ll find yourself flipping to the next story rather than putting the book down.

Navajo Rose, Kat O’Reilly, the pen name of  Jen Nipps.  From the back of the book :

“Antiquities poachers send Native American arts’ enthusiast Paige Douglas the Navajo Rose, a stolen tribal artifact. Can she trust Ricky, her high school crush, to help her return it? For that matter, can she trust herself around him?

Detective Richard Travis is determined to help Paige return the Navajo Rose in spite of — or perhaps because of — his growing attraction to her. But can he do it while maintaining his professional integrity and reining in his libido? And what if he can’t let her go when they’re done?”

 

 

Wilda’sOutlaw, Velda Brotherton. From the back of the book:”Calder Raines and his outlaw gang may be more than Wilda Duncan bargained for. All she wants is to escape an unwanted marriage, but she finds herself in the arms of a tantalizing man whose warm kisses arouse a storm of forbidden desires. Calder never wanted to rob banks, but it’s a family tradition. When he embraces the alluring redhead, passion conquers good sense and he imagines a life he cannot have. Will Calder return her to the man she is to marry before she gets hurt? Can Wilda set things right and prevent Calder’s arrest?”


 

 


Brave Enough

Once again linking up with Lisa Jo Baker and others for Five Minute Friday.

I promised myself I’d start back up with the Five Minute Friday in May. Here is it Saturday, and the Five Minute Friday post for yesterday is just now going up. But, better late than not at all.

Brave

We often think and even say someone is brave, much braver than we’d be in the same circumstances.

But, here’s the thing, we’re as brave as we need to be at any given moment if we just allow ourselves to be.

When God called my husband home, several of my friends said, “Oh, I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know what I’d do if it was me.” And then later when I’d do something different, “You are so brave.”

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

First no one knows what we’d do in someone else’s shoes. We haven’t been there yet so how can we know? I certainly didn’t know what I’d do when left alone. Not completely alone of course, God was always with me, and my husband’s memory stays. But, physically, alone.

I just took one step at a time. Sometimes not even whole steps. Sometimes not even steps, I just stood still and let God hold me up. But, one day, one hour, one minute at a time, I muddle through.

It’s the same for everyone. Whatever their challenge, we all bravely face it a piece at a time.

The same way we make a quilt, even a difficult one. We do one row, one block, one patch at a time.

There are quilts I haven’t gotten brave enough to tackle yet, maybe I never will. Yet, there are others that I do with relish. Brave as I need to be for the project at hand.

We are as brave as we need to be at the moment. Don’t worry that you don’t have the bravery of someone else, you don’t need it yet. What are you bravely facing today?

Linking up with Lisa Jo Baker

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

and Boost your Blog.

Using Zig Zag in Quilts

Applique, using zig zag stitching and pieced quilt for the grands.

Applique, using zig zag stitching and pieced quilt for the grands.

Thanks to Calico Connections for reminding me that a zig-zag stitch is often used in quilting.

I’d planned to write about the Zig-Zag quilt which some call the Chevron, and can be made with half-square triangles. The problem is I don’t have my Zig-Zag quilt finished, which means no picture.

However, thanks to Calico, I remember that the zig-zag stitch can  be used to piece batting together. By bunting two pieces of batting together and using a wide zig zag stitch we can make our batting dollars go further, and not have extra bulk in our quilt.

I also use the zig zag stitch when adding binding. Because, I often either leave my backing big enough to fold over the edges, then using a zig zag or decorative stitch, sew it to the top, or I add the binding backwards. By backwards I mean, most quilters sew their binding to the front of the quilt and fold it over to hand-stitch on the back, I do the opposite. I sew the binding to the back of the quilt, and fold it over to the front and once again zig zag or decorative stitch it down.

The zig zag stitch is also one of the ways to attach an applique. Since I seldom do applique, and when I do it’s for a project that will be used and washed, often, I want the applique to stay put. I usually call it a satin stitch because the zigs are so close to the zags. A satin stitch is, essentially, a zig zag.

The quilt at the top of this post is one made for one of my little grandsons, and his younger brother, and cousins have a similar quilt, they all have  several applique blocks.

Not only was the zig zag stitched used to hold the appliques in place, but it was used a decorative, or defining stitch on the hats and the frog.

The frog block. The frog is one piece, the legs are defined with zig zag stitching. The swirling water around the frog is just my  unusual quilting.

The frog block. The frog is one piece, the legs are defined with zig zag stitching. The swirling water around the frog is just my unusual quilting.

That’s it. We’ve come to the end of the month, and the end of the alphabet. I managed to post about every letter, although some times not exactly on the correct day. But, hey, I’m making progress.

I’ve enjoyed meeting some of the other bloggers in the challenge, and found a few new ones to follow. I hope you did too.

For next month, something different, but I’ll wait and tell you about them tomorrow.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this alphabet series. How often do you use zig zag in your quilts?

Are Yo-Yo Tops Really Quilts?

All quilts are not created equal.

The first time I saw a picture of a Yo-Yo quilt I didn’t quite understand it. It didn’t look like any quilt I’d seen before. It had holes in it.

Okay. To be fair they weren’t “holes” they were spaces not filled in with fabric.  Still, they looked like holes to me and I couldn’t imagine why anyone would make a quilt top that, when finished would have the batting sticking out.

A Yo-yo top is a collection of gathered circles sewn together. While they can be sewn into a pattern, most y0-yos are a lighter version of the patchwork quilt.

A completed YoYo quilt from 2 sisters quilting. The green showing through between the circles (yo-yos) is the background of whatever the quilt is on.

The description I read at the time said these “quilts” were for summer, and topped a colored sheet. At the time, it just looked like an unfinished quilt to me. I’ve since learned more about them and appreciate them for their time and beauty.

While they are not quilts, there is only the one layer, possibly  two if the top is stitched to a backing. They are beautiful, and have their own stories just as their “real” quilt sisters.

I wonder if a yo-yo top wasn’t someone’s idea of a pretty, light weight top similar to a crocheted bedspread, or tablecloth. Maybe the first yo-yo maker couldn’t afford all the thread to crochet a pretty top. Maybe she didn’t know how to crochet, but she wanted something light-weight, and airy for  summer.

Just imagine a woman looking at her pile of scraps and her naked table, or a heavy quilt on her bed in the heat of the summer. She could sew, but really didn’t want a “quilt” to dress her table, and she wanted/needed something lightweight for her bed.

She began to experiment, after all isn’t that how we get most of our patterns, experimenting?  Maybe she had made the yo-yos before as a decoration.

Now, however, she sews them together and before long, viola! A pretty, airy table covering, or bed topper.

The sheet that served as cover for the hot Oklahoma nights could be made prettier by topping it with the yo-yo top.

Now, I don’t really know how a yo-yo top came into being, why or how they were first used. I do know they are beautiful, and perfect for someone who loves to do handwork. That wouldn’t be me. I’ll just enjoy the yo-yo tops others make.

What about you? Do you have a yo-yo top? Have you ever made one?

This post was for the letter Y in the A to Z blogging challenge. Tomorrow is the last day of the month and, of course, Z will be the letter of the day. Hope you’ve enjoyed some of the many blogs who joined the challenge.