Tag Archives: quilting

Scraps

As I was reading blogs the other day, I came across this saying on I Got Nothing by Janice that made me laugh.

fabric stash

I already have a large box full of fabric, which is threatening to overflow. I will need another box soon. I know, however, that my small stash of fabric is nothing compared to other sewists. I received most of my stash from my mom when she died. One of my sisters and I divided it between us.

Mom loved to browse in fabrics stores and buy all sorts of fabric for her quilting. My sisters and I knew exactly what type of fabric she was drawn to, having been to fabric stores with her on numerous occasions. She loved beautiful, colorful fabrics with traditional designs and intricate patterns. She didn’t like yellow or brown, although she used yellow in her latest quilts. She tried to buy some “ugly” fabrics to bring variety to her quilting, but could just never bring herself to do it.

During our visit with our Dad over Christmas, we were looking at a quilt on the guest bed, trying to decide if Mom had made it or bought it. We all pretty much decided that Mom had bought the quilt. My sister Meredith pointed out that several of the fabrics weren’t designs that Mom would have bought, and the stitching was sloppier than Mom’s sewing style of neat stitches.

Mom saved the smallest scraps of fabric. She saved scraps with holes in them from where she had ripped out seams. Worthless scraps. Right? What can you do with a bunch of scraps?

I have those scraps now. My sister has some scraps. We are incorporating those fabric scraps in quilts of our own. Those worthless scraps are turning out to be quite beautiful.

My quilts are more modest than my sister’s. I’m still in the process of making a throw quilt, with a backing and batting, which I hope to be able to throw on my lap this winter as I sit in front of the TV watching Big Bang Theory.Scrappy Dresden Plate

Heather’s quilts are of the artist variety. Her quilts stretch long and tall with intricate designs sewn on the front. Scraps of Mom’s fabric are incorporated into her quilts as well.

Heather's quilt displayed at the Peoria Art Guild in August, 2012
Heather’s quilt displayed at the Peoria Art Guild in August, 2012

Not all scraps are tangible. My sister Meredith’s quilting consists of beautiful phrases of music.

Circle of Geese block (click the picture to hear Meredith's composition "Flock of Geese")
Circle of Geese block (click the picture to hear Meredith’s composition “Flock of Geese”)

We leave intangible scraps of ourselves all over the place. How often has someone told you, “I was thinking about you the other day!” because of something they saw or did that reminded them of you? Or perhaps you smell a certain scent in the air that reminds you of someone you love. (Cinnamon rolls equals Grandma!) Whenever I hear a Def Leppard song, I instantly think of my husband, who has every single album they ever recorded.

Little scraps of us. Not worthless, but meaningful.

(Leave a scrap of yourself below…write a comment!)

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Dimensions

Dimensions

My quilt will not be completed in time for Christmas. I was so hoping it would be. I began sewing the blocks last February for a quilting class, and am really amazed that I have gotten this far. Some months I spent hours meticulously sewing my quilt blocks; other months passed by without sewing one stitch. I wanted to have a warm, cozy quilt on my lap at Christmas time.

I have spent some time in December working on the final step: quilting the backing, batting and quilt top together. My quilt blocks are coming to life. As a novice quilter, I didn’t realize how the actual quilting task would bring such rich dimensions to my quilt.

Pieced block on the left, quilted block on the right
Pieced block on the left, quilted block on the right

It occurs to me that these stitches I am making are much like the stitches that give dimension to my life.

Some seams I have chosen to rip out; the stitches went the wrong way and did not add the right kind of dimension to my quilt block. They remind me of old boyfriends and broken relationships. These stitches were difficult to rip out, painful even, and yet my life is better without them.

When I pressed my foot too heavily on the presser foot of my sewing machine, the seam got away from me. It was sewn too quickly and became crooked and uneven. I decided to leave these stitches in my quilt. I hope that washing and using this quilt will soften the crooked line and make it less noticeable.

Over the years, the crooked line on my chest has become softer, whiter and less noticeable than that raw, red scar that was placed there after my cancer diagnosis. This is a dimension I didn’t want in my life; a dimension of surgery, chemotherapy treatments and medication. I can’t rip out these stitches; they are permanent. Over the years, however, memory of cancer fades. It all seems like a dream; did I really lose my hair? Did I really take Tamoxifen for five years? Sometimes I even forget that I am a “survivior.”

Then there are the deliberate hand stitches; the invisible seams that were slowly and carefully made. They are unseen and yet add so much to the quilt. They are the love that permeates my life; the unconditional love I have for my children, the love for my family and friends, the love of my husband. The unseen Love from my Lord Jesus Christ, whose birth we are about to celebrate. Love will cover us this Christmas with its cozy warmth, bringing rich dimension to our lives.

Hex Stripe, sewn by hand
Hex Stripe, sewn by hand

What brings dimension to your life?


I’m joining other writers for Open Grid at Yeah Write. Go on, click the button. You know you want to.

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Safety Pins

She gave me the small tin as a stocking stuffer. I don’t know how many years ago it was. The tin has a cute drawing on the cover with the word “FAMILY” and inside are a bunch of safety pins.

My sister, who received the same tin, and I teased my mom. What in the world would we use all those safety pins for? Mom just laughed and said she thought the tin was cute. Everyone can use safety pins, right?

That safety pin tin found a home in my top dresser drawer. I pulled it out every once in a while; I used big ones to cinch up waist bands that were too big for my little Lily’s waist. I used medium sized pins for Lily and Emmy’s bat costumes this Halloween. Today, I really found myself in need of safety pins. A LOT of safety pins.

It was something that simple math could have told me. I needed to baste together my quilt top with the batting and back fabric. The pins were supposed to be about 4 inches apart on my throw-sized quilt. Never having made a quilt before, I bought a box of 100 quilting pins.

I ran out of pins not even halfway through. I thought about running back to the fabric store, but that quilt was taped to my kitchen floor, the kids were coming home from school in less than an hour and I needed to make dinner.

I ransacked my top dresser drawer and found the little tin that said “FAMILY.”

And thought of Mom while I pinned the rest of that quilt together.

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This Winter’s To-Do List

For almost a whole year, I’ve been sewing two new quilt blocks every month (more or less). I began Craftsy’s Block of the Month quilting class last winter. Of course I blogged about it! Last February, I wrote about my new quilting project in the post “Like Mom and Dad“. Many of you know my mom was an avid quilter. When she was alive, I didn’t have much interest in helping her quilt. I helped her pick out fabric a couple of times, but she did all the work; the cutting, the sewing, the quilting. She made crib quilts for Lily and Emmy; they still use them all the time. Grandma’s quilts help the girls remember Grandma.

Grandma’s quilt comforted Lily after she fell and hurt her mouth.

When I stumbled on the Craftsy Block of the Month class, I decided to try quilting on my own. My very first block was a slashed block, the Asterisk. This block was fairly easy for me, a novice quilter, to complete. It gave me the courage to keep on going!

Asterisk Block

And when I read class descriptions like “English Paper Piecing”, “Dresden Plates” and “Curved Piecing”, I needed a little courage. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to sew any of those quilt blocks! Not only am I a beginner at quilting, I also don’t sew very much.

But I kept at it, because every time I chose the fabric for my block and cut the pieces, every time I assembled the block like a puzzle and stitched it all together, I understood why my mom loved quilting so much.

Ohio Star

The Ohio Star Block was one of my favorites to make; learning how to make quarter square triangles was so much fun!

A curved pieced block, based on Drunkard’s Path

 The curved pieced blocks were very challenging, but not as hard to make as I thought they would be.

Circle of Geese

Visually, I just fell in love with the Circle of Geese. It is a paper pieced block that was very time consuming but also fun to make.

And so now, I have twenty completed blocks. Now comes the hard part: finishing the quilt!

All 20 quilt blocks

And finishing this quilt–adding a border, quilting, and binding it– is the only thing on my bucket list this winter! I’m going to do it–just wait and see!

Mama’s Losin’ It
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I’m a Fan of…

When I was in 6th grade, my friends and I started a fan club. I’m not sure what we were fans of. We each signed a fan club membership card, though, and we had at least two meetings in my friend’s garage to leaf through issues of teen fan magazines. Shawn Cassidy and Lief Garrett were on the pages back then, posing in leather jackets and bell-bottoms.

I didn’t mind babysitting on Friday nights in high school as long as I could put the kids to bed and watch Remington Steele. I was a big fan of Pierce Brosnan’s dreamy blue eyes.

The summer I got my driver’s license was the summer of Top Gun. We cruised down the highway in my aunt’s silver Cadillac, windows down and “Highway to the Danger Zone” blaring on the radio. I was a huge fan, not of Tom Cruise, but of Val Kilmer. I loved it when his character, Iceman, snaps his teeth at Maverick and calls him dangerous.

Nowadays, I’m not a big fan of many actors, although I do admit that David Tennant was an admirable Dr. Who. Rather than hot men, I seem to be more a fan of other things. I’m a fan of my morning cup of coffee. I love Kaffe Fassett fabric designs. Here’s a quilt block I just finished using “Paperweight” fabrics.

Double Star Block

I’m a fan of blogging and my readers, comments and Constant Comment tea. I’m a fan of morning walks and sunsets on the beach. I’m a fan of real chocolate and cheeseburgers. I’m a fan of hayrides under blue skies and spending time with my daughters. I’m my husband’s biggest fan.

Hayride!

What are you a fan of?

Spin Cycle at Second Blooming

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