Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Quilting Journey, post 4

(Jan 2012)

I pushed myself once more with a mini-quilt swap.  The old fear came sweeping back in and I worried about sending another quilter one of my pieces.  The quilt had to meet several specifications so I had to design it myself.  I love postage stamp quilts (all the small squares in the middle) so I  built it around that idea.  I had quite a sense of accomplishment when the piece was done, but it was accompanied by anxiety as I put it into the mail.

The recipient sent me a sweet email saying purple was her favorite color and when I received my mini-quilt from another quilter in the swap, I relaxed. I realized that I was just so grateful to be apart of a group of women who were generous enough to share their time and talents with others.

What I received in the swap

A few months later I decided to host a give-away on my blog. The winner would receive two mug rugs in the color of their choice. Gettin' a little more confident, huh!

I got so excited about sending the winner the gift, I forgot to take a picture before mailing. The recipient was gracious enough to snap this pic and send it to me. I embroidered a bookmark and made the two blue mug rugs. I tried out some new piecing techniques and was pretty excited about the tea cup!

Swapping and giving away what I created was a delight. 

(picture from The Curious Quilter)

I then found this beauty!

Thus, began my love affair with swapping and collecting postage stamps, small squares of fabric from other quilters from around the world, hosted by The Curious Quilter.  I have been sharing/receiving these blocks for a few years now and hope to make something beautiful out of them very soon.

 cutting a variety of colors

packaged and ready for the mail

How do you enjoy sharing what you've made?

Monday, January 5, 2015

My Quilting Journey, part 3

During the fall I spent time planning my first lap quilt just for me. I chose some country plaids from the stash.  I put together this top and then chose a beautiful pieced background. I even got it to the sandwich stage.  Little did I know this piece would become my first UFO (Unfinished Object). I've saved it so I can hand quilt it, another new skill I've yet to learn.  Maybe 2015 will be the year to complete it!

From there I decided to jump into another blog challenge. I joined the Rainbow Scrap Challenge where you were supposed to use up your scraps of a specific color each month.  I didn't really have any scraps, but I did have material. I thought I would learn a lot by trying different blocks and then hopefully, by the end of 2012, I would have enough blocks to make a quilt.

January blocks

February blocks

I learned a lot about piecing and color choices and the greatest lesson of all, quilting is about experimentation and practice!  I have a rainbow of colored blocks, but they have become UFO # 2, awaiting their day for quilting!

While the blocks were fun I wanted to challenge myself with something else. I had lots of red scraps left over so I decided to make my daughters' friend a blanket for her American Girl as a birthday present. 

The top as a sleeping blanket

The bottom as a picnic blanket

It was well-received and I began to feel a little more comfortable behind the sewing machine.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My Quilting Journey, post 2

Soon after completing the baby changing pad, I decided to join a blog swap.  I signed up to send another quilter two mug rugs. I didn't even know what a mug rug was, but I knew it was small.

I signed up in early January to meet a deadline during the third week of February. In fear, I procrastinated January away. Why on earth would I send a quilted piece to another quilter? I wasn't a quilter!

My in-laws came for a visit during the last few days of January and right after returning home to CA, my father-in-law unexpectedly passed away. As we were making arrangements to fly out in a blizzard,  I was stressing about how I was going to get my mug rugs completed! I talked with my children's art teacher who said she would help me, if needed, when I returned, but not to take the project with me. Good advice!

I returned home two weeks later (with one week to spare before the deadline) and under pressure busted out two beautiful mug rugs. I was very pleased with what I had produced. Again, my fear had been overcome and I even made extra mug rugs and gave them away as gifts.  I enjoyed the creative process so much!

My spring was taken up with preparations for my daughter's wedding and we ended up moving out of the 'burbs to the country at the end of summer. Life was full and quilting had been put on hold. I hadn't quilted since February and now with a new homeschooling year and house to settle, it didn't look like any new projects were in my near future.

Within a couple of days of moving, my sister-in-law and I went to check out a small country town nearby. When we walked into the local thrift store there were 4 boxes of quilt material on a table near the doorway. It was a beautiful sight!  Each box had color-coordinated materials (red/blues in one, green/browns in another, etc). The materials had an old-time quality about them, as if some dear older lady had passed away and someone had donated her stash. My mind was filled with wonder. 

Another quilter came over to the boxes where I was elbow-deep and started looking through the stash. An ugly little spirit of "It's all mine!" crept into my heart as the woman expressed an interest in the $100 collection of material.  I exclaimed over their beauty and that I was certainly interested in the material (when I wanted to say, "I was here first!"). I was just hesitant about spending that much money on material right after moving.  Could I justify investing that amount when all I had made was a changing pad and a few mug rugs?  I called my husband who quickly said, "Buy Them!"  (Don't you love when your men support you!)  I hemmed and hawed over the price and which colors I would like and the other lady grew tired of looking through the boxes. Before walking away, she said, "I don't know why I'm looking at this, I have a room full of material at home!"  I blurted out, "I don't have any!" How embarrassing!

As soon as my rival moved a few feet away, I actually hollered across the store to the lady at the counter, "I want all of these boxes!"  She casually walked over with a sold sign and attached it to one of the boxes. I said, "Please, put a sold sign on all four boxes. I don't want anyone to think they're available."  She chuckled and went to get more signs.  

When she returned she said, "I hope you'll really use all of this. Doesn't it seem like it's someone quilting stash?" I got teary ('cause that's what I do) and said, "Yes. I think so. I will definitely be honored to use this for quilting." She then looked at me and said, "You know, I will give these to you for $80."  I left the store feeling like I had more than one legacy to carry into the future.

The Stash

Saturday, January 3, 2015

My Quilting Journey, post 1

I am sentimental about the handwork my grandmothers' crafted: crochet, embroidery and quilting.  The gifts they made will always be a treasured part of my past, but I wanted to continue these traditional crafts to carry on their legacies.

My quilting journey started in 2009 when my grandmother passed away.

I inherited some of my grandmother's quilts and quilting material that she had tucked away.  I didn't have any idea what to do with the material, patterns and prepared blocks, but I was determined to learn the art of quilting so I could use what was passed to me.

Grandma had pieced these blocks and put them away. One day I got them out and just played with an arrangement that was pleasing to my eye. I realized I had to teach myself how to quilt before I ever touched her stash. I was starting with zero knowledge.

One of my favorite bloggers had made some beautiful quilts for her family.  She made this candy corn quilt and I was inspired!

I began to realize that my favorite quilts were reproductions, especially from the 1930's. I enjoy quilts that look like they has a past, a story.  I can admire modern quilts, but I am drawn to the old.

In the spring of 2010 my husband bought me a sewing machine for my birthday.  I went to the fabric store and purchased a pattern and material for a baby changing pad. I actually purchased a McCalls-type paper pattern. Little did I know!  I couldn't think of anything smaller that I could quilt, and yet, I procrastinated.

After 7 months of harassment by my family I lugged my machine and supplies on vacation so I could conquer the fear and the first attempt at quilting. I procrastinated until vacation was almost over before secluding myself in a room for a full day. As I saw the changing pad take form I got more and more excited! I loved quilting! It was exhilarating! I came out of the room with a finished piece and a new found confidence.

It was good enough to give as a gift!  What would be next?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Angie's Quilts

I have a latent interest in quilting.

I think about it every day. I've collected hundreds of pins on Pinterest, hundreds of scraps of fabric, hundreds of patterns/ideas, but I do not spend as much time quilting as I would like. I've thought about why that might be and have come up with no one conclusion. Sometimes I find my excuses to be lack of skill, lack of time management, fear in making a mistake, overwhelmed with starting, not wanting to be secluded from the family, among a myriad of others. 

Hobbies. Sigh.

I have some great stories and I've made some lovely gifts so I think I will just take the plunge and begin at the beginning. Maybe, as we go along I will be inspired to do more.

If you enjoy quilting or another hobby, but don't find enough time to do it, let me know in the comments. I'll know I'm not alone in the world!  

If you are an avid quilter or hobbyist, let us know how you fit your craft into everyday life. We'd love to know.