Friday, August 26, 2011

Back in Session

well, my give-away is drawing near, but there are still a few days to enter to win the fat quarters. The good news to those that already have is that your odds look pretty good! See my previous post for details.

Connor started kindergarten this week. He is loving it and doing great, with just a few minor hiccups here and there. His mother, on the other hand, is trying to adjust to waking up at 6:30 in the morning, with temper tantrums and pouting. I have been going to bed at midnight or earlier (can you believe it?). It is not so bad, because now the kids go to bed at 8pm instead of 9pm. I just really wish that I could adjust as well as they have. The secret is coffee, and lots of it. Then after the kids are taken care of, I will usually have a cup myself.

My sister called yesterday to see if I would be interested in making some wall hangings or banners for her church in Oriska, N.D., that recently burned. They are now in the process of rebuilding. I am not Lutheran (those heathens...) :), but I am Methodist, and ''Method''ists make the best quilters, so how could I not. Plus, Oriska's church has been long overdue for a Larry-the-cable-guy lent banner, or an Elvis Easter one. What? At least people will notice them for once. Too bad they're not Catholic; I would make a Madonna Madonna.

I finished another basket for a gal in Australia that didn't get one from her swap buddy. She doesn't have a blog. She doesn't have Flikr. The only thing that I know about her is that she likes blue, and her address. Most people would be frightened by such mystery and vagueness; not me. To me it is a ticket to bend rules, and to do what I want to do. The most difficult swap partner that you can have likes ''Lego's, penguins, and yellow, but not gold yellow...and can't stand Amy Butler.'' Huh? What do you make for those kind of people? That's right! A gold/yellow Amy Butler bag! Anyway, back to this gal in Australia. If you are out there, sweetie; if you ever bump into my blog in the land of Internet and see this, I want you to know how much I loved making your bag for you. Your bag is on it's way. This is what it looks like:
I have a challenge quilt to make that is (thankfully) only 24 inches square, and it does not have to be done until February. I am going to applique some on it though, so I should get started now. Finally, I have also been working on a t-shirt quilt for a friend that I have been dragging my feet on only because I cannot stand making t-shirt quilts. I make them. I just grumble and piss and moan about it the whole time. I think it is because for every person you meet, they have a sentimental stock-pile of T-shirts in a box. A box filled enough to make 3 king size quilts. If you make the mistake of making one, you are automatically elected to make one for each of their friends and family. It is like a bad virus. The next thing you know you have 5 quilts in your closet (Jennifer's high school band, TJ's baseball, Margaret's Triathlon t's, Ed's Softball and beer drinking, and Egbert's Harry Potter). And your double wedding ring quilt that you have always wanted to do can just wait until Egbert is taken care of. Your grand children will wonder why the hell they don't have a single one of grandmas quilts, and why she made one for that weird neighbor who still loves Harry Potter.

lol. I need a coffee.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Free Fabric for Someone...

I have been buying fabric lately that really needs to be in my stash. I have always loved anything ''funky'', or ''ugly'', or just plain ''Seriously?''. I have liked them for a long while. In fact, I think that it is funny that the fabrics that I am attracted to are called ''Modern'' because they are really either a reproduction of 1940's prints, 50's prints, or most recently, inspired by 60's and 70's prints. It is like I waited 30 years for my favorite prints to become cotton instead of double knit. And now that this kind of fabric is more readily available, I can even score some at lower prices. Last week, I bought some fabric that was discounted. The catch was that you had to buy a yard minimum. I only wanted a half yard cut of these prints, but when I found them available at 1/2 yard, they were more expensive than the full yard. So, I bought the full yards, cut a set of fat quarters for a friend, and decided that I will give a set of fat quarters away to one of you fine people in blogland. I know it is not much, but it is free; and if this goes well, I will do FUNNER things again and more often. You will get the 5 fat quarters shown above with an extra bonus fat quarter. I will choose a winner from the comments of this post on September 1st. The only things that I ask of you is that you leave a comment, and tell your friends on your blog about it. (and Thank You!)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lord, Bless This Poor Child.

Well, I am happy to report that McKenna's baptismal gown is finished. I made a similar one for her older sister, so I couldn't very well not make one for her. I started it when she was a little baby, knowing that it would take me a while to get it done. These sort of things take me a while because I worry so much about getting it right that I drag my feet getting some of the steps completed. The pattern that I used did not call for any needle-turn applique. All of the ''stuff'' that you see on the front was either completely designed by me or inspired and adapted from another source.

here is a better picture of the front:
The flowers that I drafted are Myrtles, which are symbolic for ''one converted to Christ'', the Columbines symbolize ''the Holy Spirit'', and the white rose stands for purity, (if you are Catholic, it is also one of the many flowers associated with the Virgin Mary...we are Methodist so it probably means ''brings extra food to the church potluck''). I wanted to do some broderie perse applique on the gown, so that someday, when McKenna is older, she can hopefully appreciate all of the different things that I learned along the quilting road.

This is a better picture of the collar, again with applique lace medallions:
I made a bonnet to go along with the dress:
I was wondering if it was going to even make it to her head without being grabbed and thrown on the floor right away, but surprisingly enough, she loves to wear the darn thing...everywhere, no matter what condition her hair is in, or how dirty her clothes are. She watches cartoons with it, wants to take a bath with it, and don't touch her precious 'hat' or you will surely get a display of tantrums. weird kid. Bless her heart all the way to the alter.

Who Wants a Pretty Scarf?

Dorien at Just Do is having a give-away on her blog of this spectacular scarf. She is amazing at everything! Making bags, pillows, wallets, even bike skirts. Yes. Bike skirts. You really must go to her blog to see just what I am talking about...I stalk her Flikr pictures on a regular basis. I hope you will too.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Take That, You Dirty Vintage Fabric.

Today I am hand-washing some of my vintage fabric. I have 2 loads to do.

When it comes to vintage fabric, I prefer to buy it unwashed. (but hey, I am NEVER going to turn down vintage fabric in any form!) If the scraps are too small for washing, I just use them as is, being especially careful with the reds, blues, blacks and any other ''risky'' fabric.

Many times, vintage fabric is found in attics, basements, garages, storage units, and other dusty, yucky areas. Since I am allergic to dust, I have to clean them the best that I can, without causing any harm to them in the process. Please, fellow quilters, follow a few tips from a gal that has done this for years, again, and again.
  • Don't wash vintage fabric in your kitchen sink (I don't) unless that is your only alternative. If you do wash in your kitchen sink (please don't) be sure to disinfect it very well afterwards. Unless you know exactly where these beautiful fabrics came from, you don't know what kind of things have happened to them in storage (think cute tiny animals with long tails). So, yeah, being a former farm gal, I definitely wash my vintage fabrics. I like to wash mine in a cheap plastic Rubbermaid bin in the bath tub.
  • If your fabrics are delicate, and you are concerned about washing them, you may want to reconsider even using them in a quilt, which does require a certain amount of strength to hold up, even if you are using them as applique pieces. Remember, many vintage fabrics are just a few decades away from being antique. Weed out the ones that might not make it in the ''survival of the fittest'' selection process.
  • Fill your wash tub with warm water (I like to use hot when I can). Separate your fabrics into like color piles (no reds in with the whites) to reduce the risk of bleeding fabrics. Add detergent. I recommend Vintage Textile Soak, or even Oxy powder. An acquaintance of mine, Kathleen McCrady, uses Oxy. Kathleen has over 75 years of experience quilting, has had numerous quilts on the cover of Quilters Newsletter, enough show ribbons to make another quilt out of them, and is a former quilt appraiser, and quilt historian. I figure if a lady of that caliber used Oxy, it is good enough for little ol' seam ripper like myself. I have also used Arm and Hammer Free liquid detergent, which has no dyes or perfumes, on extra dirty fabrics with stunning success. (after doing extensive research on liquid detergents) Now, just let the detergent mix with the water well, before adding the fabric.
  • Carefully add your fabric to the wash tub and mix it up with your hands. Don't agitate the fabrics too much, just a few minutes of plunges should do it. Let that soak for about 15 minutes. Plunge away for a few minutes, soak for 15 minutes. Dump the water out of your wash tub, being careful not to lose any scraps of fabric (this is why I love having the Rubbermaid bin in the bath tub.) squeeze as much of that (DIRTY!) water out of the fabric as you can. Do not wring.
  • fill the wash tub with fresh, clean, cool water. Add the fabric. Plunge it for a few minutes to rinse out that detergent and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Plunge again, and drain the water. You may have to rinse twice to get all of the detergent out.
  • Squeeze (don't wring) the water out of your fabric. Let the pieces dry flat if you can. I have used my dryer on low heat setting on rare occasions.
I just cannot believe how dirty that water gets sometimes. Believe me when I say that the dirt, dust, and ''whatever else'' is in there, is doing more harm to that fabric over time than cleaning it will. Plus, it's YOUR fabric. No one knows better than you, what should be done with your fabric. I sure do love mine...clean.