Monday, March 22, 2010

Most recent finish

I named this one "Gardens of Memory" because working on this one really allowed me the chance to honor Mom's quilting memory; it's a particularly impressive piece. It's such a complex and wonderful quilt that I decided to have it custom quilted at Mt. Pleasant to really do it justice. They did a beautiful job--which, unfortunately, you can't really see in these photos.

I queried Mom's friends about this one and no one knows anything about it. We all agree that it has the feel of a possible "round robin" to it (meaning it gets passed from quilter to quilter and everyone adds a border until it comes back to the original owner to finish). But it could just as easily have been something Mom did on her own. The border feels very "Mom" to me--the colors, the way the applique was handled. I also think I may have seen scraps from the inner border--the green floral--in Mom's stash. It's a mystery.

So, if anyone knows anything about this--let me know!

Right now this one is resting on our guest room bed, although I'm not going to allow it to be a bed quilt--at least, not one that gets a lot of use. But I also don't have the heart to squirrel it away in storage, either. So I'll keep it visible for awhile and then put it away when the room is going to be used again.
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Some other completed Momufos

Mom had five tablerunners in various stages of completion next to her sewing machine when she passed away--Dianne (my sister) and I had guessed that they were likely Christmas gifts for all of us kids, and after checking it out with Mom's friend Marge we were right. So I finished all five tablerunners. Oddly, I don't seem to have taken pictures of them, although I thought I had. This is the only one I have in my files. They were all Connecting Threads kits, I think. This one ended up going to Dianne. (I took my best guesses as to which one may have been destined for whom.) Miraculously, I managed to get them all done by Christmas!

This quilt was the first momufo I finished. I chose to work on it during the memorial service as my own tribute--plus it helped me deal, to have something to focus on. It's a pattern named "Rose Garden Anniversary Waltz." I was fortunate enough to find the pattern in Mom's stuff so I could pull all the information from it for the label. All I had to do was put the binding on. If I recall, Wendy now has this one.
This next picture is the quilt label I've used on all of the momufos. The photo is one of my favorites of Mom--she's probably somewhere around 19 or 20, wearing a poodle skirt and sitting on the grass. I did some photo-editing to it ("posterized") and it works beautifully as a label.

The last picture is of two quilt blocks Mom had salvaged from one of her very, very early quilts. Apparently, it had been Dad's favorite quilt so when it started to disintegrate, Mom cut it a couple of the blocks out and intended to put them back into some sort of smaller wallhanging version. She had actually just talked with me about these blocks a few weeks before she died. We were in her sewing room and sorting through some stuff when we ran across them--she explained their whole backstory to me, and said, "I really want to do something with these because they remind me so much of your Dad," then proceeded to explain that The Sunbonnet Sue quilter represented Mom, and Overall Bob and the cow represented Dad. (Not that I needed her to point that out to me!) Obviously, I wasn't about to toss these blocks. After several weeks of pondering, I realized I could fix two problems at once--I'd also kept all of Mom's collectors pins from years of going to quilt shows and paid memberships to quilt museums, etc. So I put the blocks in quilting hoops and attached all of Mom's pins to hers. They're hanging on the wall in my sewing room now.
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

A few more finishes

Dang. I forgot to take a picture of this one completely finished before passing it off to my niece. This is Mom's New York Beauty (Karen Stone design)--I took this picture for Mom when she'd just picked this one up (with a couple of others) from Mt. Pleasant's quilting service. The date on this picture is 2006, so Mom must have pieced this sometime around 2004-2006. This isn't the kind of UFO she'd have left sitting around for too long before having it quilted. (NOTE--later comment rec'd from one of Mom's friends, Gail, that it was probably 2000-2001 since Gail had made one at about the same time.) She was never able to get the binding on it, though, because her fingers had gotten so bad with the neuropathy. So I just finished the binding on it this January/February. This was the last of the "Mom UFOs" I had to finish for distribution. Michael Anna had dibs on this one and she just picked it up yesterday. My first curved binding, btw. (Note the two curved corners--the batting is sticking up but I trimmed that off.)

From here on in, any other of Mom's UFOs that I complete I'm either keeping for myself or giving as gifts. They all need a whole heck of a lot of work done to get them finished--therefore, she who does the work gets to reap the benefits!

To whit:
This is the first "Mom UFO" (guess I'll start dubbing these "momufo"s, pro. "mom-oo-fo", LOL) that I'm keeping. I have a lot of memories about this one. Mom and I had gone to Material Rewards in Dansville one Saturday morning several years ago. A big flag wallhanging was in their window and both Mom and I really liked it. So we each bought the pattern and chose fabrics (mine in more country-colors than this), and then went back to Mom's to start working on them together. I'd never done bargello before so Mom walked me through the first steps. Unfortunately, after that, it took me a couple of years to get back to mine and by then, I'd completely forgotten what I was doing and messed up so many times that I finally bagged the whole thing and filed the pattern away. I talked to Mom shortly after that and she had just decided to pull hers back out, too, to finish. I found the finished top in Mom's quilt studio after she passed away, and took it to Mt. Pleasant to have it quilted in January. I just got it back a couple of weeks ago and have finished the binding and label. Since this particular Momufo carries with it memories of Mom and I quilting together, it's a definite keeper. Plus I have nothing patriotic done yet for summer holidays, so it'll come in handy!

Then, since I needed a break from UFOs (mom's or otherwise), I decided to take today and treat myself to a completely new project, but one I could get done in one day.

I've had this prequilted fabric yardage on my shelves for probably 7 or 8 years. Finally got tired of it taking up space and decided to whip up a quick tote bag. First tote I've ever made. It wasn't hard, but the directions were written as if they assumed a certain amount of knowledge on my part that I didn't have, so I don't think the corners are quite right. But given that it's destined to be a gym bag, it's definitely good enough.

It was fun to do, and definitely rewarding to have a completed something-or-other after only a few hours, so I plan to do more in the future!
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vacation's Over--Progress!

So the last time I blogged, it was to say I wasn't doing much sewing at the moment. I've gotten over that! Now I haven't blogged because I've been getting a lot done!

These pictures are of a project I've now been working on for almost two years, in a way. The centers of each block are the product of a year-long class I took at my local quilt shop. It was Jodi Barrows' "Square in a Square" technique and the class was taught by Peg Oppenheimer. Each month we were to complete four blocks with the options we learned that month. I never finished the last two months--Mom passed away before those last two classes and I just couldn't get my head together to complete the squares. I did keep going to class, though--although I'm still not sure I'm jazzed about the technique I did thoroughly enjoy the class and Peg's teaching. It's nice to be with the same group for a whole year, especially when several folks were from my guild. It gave me a nice chance to get to know some folks a lot better.

In any case, we were supposed to have our top pieced by our November guild meeting and Peg came so she could see everyone's results. I only had my blocks pinned to my design wall at that point--not at all even close to finished. So I brought my design wall, pins n' all, to my meeting. I'm looking forward to finally being able to bring the finished project!

I've named this quilt "Creeping Scope." This is a project that just kept growing and growing.

Without those last two months of blocks, it worked out to be just about perfect for a twin-sized quilt. I futzed around for a bit with how to lay them out and found a nice way to be organized and random at the same time. IOW, it looks random, but when you study it you'll see the sequence. Anyway, Bingo. Problem solved.

Then I realized that none of the blocks were the same size. So I referred to my Sharyn Craig book on "Setting Solutions" and decided to put the blocks on point and add corner triangles, then trim them down to size. Bingo. Problem solved.

Except--I pulled two different potential background fabrics out of my stash to audition them and realized that neither of them was enough for the whole quilt. OK, so I use both of them and alternate. Bingo. Problem solved.

Then I decided, OK, two background fabrics, very busy blocks, lots going on. Needs a sashing to calm it all down. Auditioned the brown--too dark. Auditioned the blue dot. Too light. Well, OK--we're going scrappy here, what if I used both colors? Brown sashing with blue stars in the corners? Bingo. Problem solved.

Now I'm mildly debating a border problem but I think I'll just end up doing the outside border as I'd originally planned, mostly so I can call it "done" and move on. Each of the above paragraphs reads as if they went a lot faster than they did. The final class was last June. So, OK--so that's not ALL I was doing that whole time--I'm also still finishing Mom's UFOs as I go. But still. I've been living with this thing on my design wall for almost a year now. It's time to let something else come out to play!
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