Tuesday, December 31, 2013

More Gifts of Christmas and the Year 2013 in Review

I would like to thank all of you for your kind comments about the shirt quilts I made for my family members from my FIL's shirts. (You can see this post here.) A few people asked about the fiber content of the shirts...most were 100% cotton but a few were a cotton/poly blend and a couple had some wool in them as well. Some of the older shirts that had been washed a lot yielded very flimsy fabric and so I did not worry too much about those ones being on the straight of grain. The quilting is fairly dense on purpose to help hold everything together and keep it all stable. I have a bit of the shirt fabric left but I think I am going to take a break from sewing with shirt fabric for a while...

The sewing elves were very busy at my house this year!  Besides the shirt quilts, I also made my father a lap quilt to keep him warm when he is watching a hockey game on TV or reading a book. I made this quilt entirely from stash fabrics, including a couple of fabrics that I considered to be "uglies" but they go perfectly in this quilt.

All of the colours in this quilt come from the Kaffe fabric that does not show up very well in photos but has enough contrast to stand out when I look at the quilt in person!  My dad knew about the shirt quilts so he was quite surprised that I had made him a quilt as well!

The background and backing are the same fabric--yardage of a batik I bought years ago for a specific project that never got made.

My father has played the fiddle since he was very young and still enjoys getting together with his friends to play tunes together so his quilt is quilted with music notes.

I also made a couple of selvage sewing stools for a couple of friends for Christmas.  I purchase the stools and then make the covers for the seats out of selvages sewn onto a muslin foundation. The first stool was given to Cathy at Eagles Wings Quilts--she did the quilting on the shirt quilts and on my Dad's quilt above on a fairly tight timeline. Thanks, Cathy!

The second stool is for my friend, Pat who is a recent convert to quilting!

I spent some time the other night, going back over my blogposts from 2013 to see how many quilts I finished this year. Many were gifts for others and a few have been added to my own quilt stash.  Here is a list with links to the original posts about the quilts:

1.  The Outhouse quilt that I made for my FIL when he was in the hospital. My MIL sleeps under this one now.
2.  The Scrappy Trips Baseball quilt--this one was given to my BIL for his birthday.
3.  Yellow Brick Road--I gave this to my aunt who broke her leg.
4.  Great Granny Squares. This one lives at my house.
5.  Selvage Spools- I started this one at BIQR 2012 and had it quilted this year. I am keeping this one.
6.  Swoon-this was started in 2012 and finished this year. It lives here.
7.  Bricks and Stepping Stones was made for my aunt and uncle who live in Vancouver, British Columbia.
8.  9 Patch Mystery--a swap done through the London Friendship Quilters' Guild.  Also staying here.
9.  Pinwheel table runner made from leftovers from Swoon. A perfect size for the coffee table in my living room.
10. 3 quilted pillows.  Two for my nieces and one as a birthday gift for my friend, Christine.
11. 5 selavage stools. All were gifts for various quilting friends.
12. 6 shirt quilts for family members. 
13.  My Dad's quilt. (pictures on current post)
14.  Trip Around the World -charity quilt for a child in foster care made by my nieces and myself.
15.  Slab quilt top for Alberta flood victims--assembled by me with blocks made by my quilting friends and me.
16.  Charity quilts for Adult Chemo patients at our local hospital --I made a block each month for each quilt and I also helped to assemble one of the quilts with a partner.
17.  Gwen Marston's Quilt--made by Christine, Carol and I for Gwen for her retirement.

I have a few projects in mind for 2014 including finishing my Indian Orange Peel quilt, Lazy Sunday, and the Stacks baby quilt. We will see where the quilting winds blow...

Here is my last stash report of the year. I ended up in the black, thankfully.

Fabric used in the last week: 1.5 yards
Total fabric used this year: 219.56  yards
Fabric added to the stash in the last week: 8.0 yards (Christmas gifts! plus two yards for binding)
Total fabric added this year: 163.66 yards
Net fabric used this year: 55.9 yards

Speaking of Christmas gifts, I receive a few quilty gifts this year under the tree...

Those Gwen Marston books are out of print but my husband managed to get them for me online! I look forward to making some more pillows as well.  The fabrics are great additions to my stash. The cement squirrel was a gift to my husband from me. He is a bit squirrelly!
 I will probably continue to keep track of my stash ins and outs again in 2014.  In the meantime, Happy New Year to all of you out there in blogland. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Quilts of Christmas 2013

Between the end of September and Christmas, I made several Christmas gifts. My blog posts were a little sparse during this time because I could not show any pictures of my projects. My family members sometimes read my blog so I did not want any of them knowing what I was up to.

This past April, my FIL died. He was a wonderful man and we all miss him dearly, especially at family gatherings where he always said grace before the meal. After he passed away, I asked my MIL if I could have his shirts. He did not get rid of his old shirts when he got new ones so there was a very large collection of shirts for me to use for my projects.

I spent much of September washing the shirts, cutting them apart, harvesting all of the usable material and saving all of the buttons. I ironed everything and put it into a bin to take with me to the Beaver Island Quilt Retreat with Gwen Marston at the end of September. At the retreat, I sewed morning, noon and night and completed two quilt tops by the time we had to pack up to go home.

This one is a copy of an antique quilt which was found in a storage locker after my FIL passed away. We think the original quilt may have been made by my FIL's grandmother. I made this for my SIL.  Before you ask, that strange "T" block in the lower left corner was in the original quilt and I copied it to put into this quilt.

This one block took quite a while to put together in the new quilt top. The picture above is the block in the antique quilt.

For my second top, I decided to make a liberated medallion for my husband.  I started out with a 12 1/2 " square cut from the front of one of his Dad's denim shirts and added borders until it felt done.

I used the yoke linings with the tags on them too.

I had a lot of fun putting this quilt together. I love just letting the quilt "speak" to me to tell me what to do next. The retreat was the perfect venue for this as I had lots of time to ponder the next step and there was inspiration everywhere around me, not to mention, creative quilters ready, willing and able to give me ideas and options on what to do next.
The finished top.
When I got home, I realized I still had 4 more quilt tops to make from the shirts as well as 6 quilt backs--all of which needed to be completed in time to get them to the long arm quilters so she could work her magic before I did the binding. Yikes!  My husband knew all along that I was making shirt quilts for him, his sister, his mother and the three grand-daughters but he was not allowed to see anything before the quilts were gifted on Boxing Day. I did all of my sewing when he was out at meetings and at a couple of sewing days. I did banish him to the basement some evenings and afternoons on the weekends so that I could sew. Don't worry, I did bring him food and water once in a while! 
The rest of these pictures were taken on Boxing day after everyone had received their quilts. 
This quilt is for one of my nieces. It is a disappearing 4 patch pattern that I found on the internet. The outer border is some tool fabric--my FIL had an extensive tool collection which he used to do his woodworking projects and to fix things around their house and ours. 

The back of each quilt was pieced with more symbolic fabrics --tools, gardening, shirt backs, farm fabrics, etc. He grew up on a farm that had an outhouse--you may remember the outhouse quilt I made for him last January.

Here is my niece all wrapped up in her quilt:

She can feel her Papa hugging her!

Her twin sister's quilt was made with a Bonnie Hunter pattern called "Rectangle Wrangle".  This one involved lots of sewing and cutting and sewing again! 

Here is the back:

More hugs from Papa!

My daughter's quilt was the last one that I made so I did not have a lot of big pieces of fabric left.  The denim pocket in the middle of the quilt is from one of Grandpa's shirts and the rest of the denim in her quilt is from one of her dad's discarded shirts that I had hoarded saved. This one is an original design.

Here is a close up of the border fabric and the oak leaf quilting. (The quilting was done by Cathy at Eagles' Wings Quilts--she did a fantastic job but has told me she does not want to do any more oak leaf quilting for a while!)  All of the quilts were quilted with the same pantograph--oak leaves and acorns. At my FIL's funeral, my SIL did the eulogy in which she described her dad as being like an oak tree, standing tall and deeply rooted to the land where he grew up on the farm. 

My father in law had a little red truck when my daughter was little and she affectionately called him "Red Truck Grandpa" so when I found this red truck fabric, I knew I had to use it in the border of her quilt.
Here is the back of my daughter's quilt.   My FIL planted geraniums from seed every winter for everyone in the family. We think of him every time we see geraniums growing. There is a picture in the family photo album of my FIL as a young boy with one of his Mother's chickens on his head so the chicken fabric also made its way onto the back of my daughter's quilt.
Here is my SIL with her quilt. I did not add any borders as the original antique quilt did not have any borders. 
All wrapped up in her Dad's love.
Here is the back of my SIL's quilt which includes more tools, farm. and geranium fabrics.
This is my husband's quilt. This is the first quilt I have ever made for him. We have plenty of quilts that we use on our bed but this one is exclusively his. He was reading a book earlier today and I put the quilt on top of him.  
Just the right size for keeping warm while reading a book or watching tv.
My husband and his dad went to see a Detroit Tigers baseball game every year for Father's day so there is baseball fabric included on the back of his quilt.  This year, my daughter bought two tickets for her and her dad to go to a Tigers game. The tradition continues.   
My Mother-in-Law's quilt is another Bonnie Hunter pattern "Bricks and Stepping Stones".  She remembered all the different occasions when my FIL wore the different shirts. She shed a few tears looking at all the quilts.
The border is more farm fabric.
The back includes some ice cream sundae fabric.  On their first date, my FIL took my MIL our for ice cream--they shared a banana split. The fabric includes some banana splits--I was lucky to find that fabric!
My MIL loves her quilt and I am quite sure it will be used often! 
I also made some other gifts but will do a separate post about them in a few days.
This is a new ornament that I bought for our tree this year in memory of my FIL.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Another Snowy Weekend

We stayed home this weekend due to a snowstorm that came our way yesterday. I did a lot of sewing on Christmas gifts, did some jobs around the house and made a lot of progress on Christmas preparations. My DH was sick all weekend with a bad cold so he spent most of his time resting, reading and watching TV.  I made these pillowcases for some family members who do not read my blog. The parcel is in the mail on its way to the Christmas tree at their house.

I cleaned up my daughter's room this afternoon. She will be home for Christmas later this week and she will want to sleep in her own bed this time rather than the guest room where she slept last time she was home because her room was otherwise occupied by fabric and all things quilty. I promised it would be ready when she got home.

My stash report is looking very good this week.

Fabric used in the last week: 8.8 yards
Total fabric used this year: 218.16  yards
Fabric added to the stash in the last week: 1.0
Total fabric added this year: 155.66 yards
Net fabric used this year: 62.5 yards

I can't wait to show all of my projects to you after they have been gifted...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Placemats for Meals on Wheels

At the October meeting of the London Friendship Quilters' Guild, we were each asked to make two placemats for folks who receive meals on wheels each day. They will be given out in Christmas goodie bags with the meals that are delivered on December 25th. We have done this for the last few years and the staff at Meals on Wheels tells us that the recipients are delighted to receive them. Tonight, I made two placemats with the leftover HST's from the Christmas gift quilt I showed in my last post. (I am still not done hand sewing the binding on that quilt!)

The colours in this photo are not true to what the placemats really look like... 

Christine will be here tomorrow night for our weekly sewing night. I will be back to finishing off some Christmas projects...

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Finish to Show You and some hand sewing.

I finished this quilt quite a while ago (September) but have not had two quilt holders here when the weather is good for a picture until today. As you can see, almost all of our snow has melted except for the remnants of the piles at the sides of the driveway. This is my 9 patch mystery swap quilt. Christine and I organized this for the London Friendship Quilters' Guild last year. Everyone in the swap made 20 nine patches each month in a pre-determined colour and then Christine and I mixed them up and gave each participant 20 different nine patches back at the next meeting. There were also clues each month to make the rest of the parts for the complete quilt. This quilt has already had a turn on our bed as well as the guest room bed. I change quilts every time I change the sheets so all of the quilts get a turn being used.

My friend Cathy did the quilting. She did a great job as usual!

Today, I am doing some hand stitching on the binding of the quilt I showed a couple of posts ago. Cathy quilted this quilt with music notes. It is a Christmas gift for someone with musical talents.

I continue to work on some other gifts as well. There will be a grand show and tell after Christmas day!

Here is my stash report for this week...

Fabric used in the last week: 1.0 yards
Total fabric used this year: 209.36  yards
Fabric added to the stash in the last week: 1.0
Total fabric added this year: 154.66 yards
Net fabric used this year: 54.7 yards

My nieces are here this weekend for some aunt and uncle time. They have had a great time playing I Spy with the baby quilt I was working on last week with my MIL. There has not been any progress on the baby quilt this week.  I need some snow days to get all of my projects done...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Getting Ready

Today we went to a Carol Service at the Old English Church in St. Thomas. This has been a family tradition for many years. As you can see above, the windows are decorated each year. The church is unheated and the volunteers serve hot apple cider, shortbread cookies shaped like the church and mincemeat tarts to all in attendance.

The treats are very popular!  The Salvation Army band plays the carols and everyone sings along. It was chilly today, but not as cold as it has been some years when you could see everyone's breath as they sang!

The Elgin Piecemakers met this week and we all brought in our pillowcases for the local homeless shelter guests. Lots of variety!

We also brought in our lime, black and white blocks for this month's charity quilt for an adult chemo patient at our local hospital.

These blocks are Maggie approved!

Maggie does not like to stay still to have her picture taken...

Here are Septembers blocks, assembled into a top and ready for quilting.

This quilt was made by a friend of one of our members and it will be donated to the chemo unit as well.

Here is what is currently on my design wall. This is a gift for a baby that was born last week. It is a charm quilt so far... I still have some more light strips to cut to fill in the spaces between the colourful strips. This is a pattern called "The Stacks" by Karen Griska over at the Selvage Blog.  My MIL was visiting today so she helped me to get this project underway. I will show some close ups of some of the fun fabrics I used in this quilt when I get it sewn together.

My stash report for this week:

Fabric used in the last week: 5.6 yards
Total fabric used this year: 208.36  yards
Fabric added to the stash in the last week: 2.0  (This is Beth's fault--she was destashing and brought "donations" to our guild meeting this week. 2 yards jumped into my bag and came home with me!)
Total fabric added this year: 153.66 yards
Net fabric used this year: 54.7 yards

Back to work tomorrow!  There should be more sewing going on around here this coming week.