Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Most Important Quilt I've Ever Made

Occasionally, as quilters, we get to make some very important quilts. The quilt hanging below is an example. My wonderful brother-in-law, Scott, passed away nearly a year ago. It was very unexpected as he was only 45 years old. This photograph is one of my favorite of him, standing outside, sippin his coffee, in the outdoors he loved, in Colorado. He and my sister were married 20 years. Scott was a fabulous person, a wonderful husband, incredible uncle and friend. Shortly after he passed away I spoke with my sister and told her that I could make a quilt for her using Scott's shirts if she wanted. She sent me a box of shirts that held some special memories for her. For weeks I browsed through patterns, trying to find just the right fit. The shirts were knits and wovens, and some were quite bulky so I needed something that didn't have a great deal of seams coming together, and one that wasn't too intricate. I found the perfect pattern and I honestly couldn't be more pleased.
I used the Atkinson Designs pattern, Slide Show. First off, it seems wonderfully symbolic and secondly it was the perfect pattern to highlight the actual fabric of the shirts. I used ten shirts to make this quilt. I could have used less, but I liked the variety that ten gave. A shirt back is the perfect size to get the two large blocks and then the strips for the smaller blocks. I couldn't believe how easy it was to sew using the bulkier than usual shirt fabrics. The only thing I changed was the ironing direction of the seams. In the pattern you were instructed to iron the seams towards the fat quarters (in my case, the shirts). Changing this kept the bulk to a minimum and my longarm quilter didn't have any problems at all.
When I was finished with the quilt, and it was safely delivered to Marlene Hooten, of the famed Lucky Sew and Sew longarm machine quilting company, I surveyed the leftovers and just knew I had to use them for something. Brenda travels for a living, so I thought a little quilt, or a lovie as we call them in my family, might be a nice thing for her to stuff into her suitcase while she travels.
When the little lovie was complete, I still had more leftovers... That led to the large tote bag. Everyone always needs a large tote bag, right? This one I quilted, following the line of the blocks, both up and down, before the side seams were sewn. Then I sewed the seams and covered them with seam binding cut from the background fabric. This bag will wash and wear like iron.
Here is a shot of Marlene's fabulous quilting on the regular quilt. We choose the "Bending in the Wind" pattern for the quilt. It is outdoorsy and I really like the way it turned out. Marlene never disappoints.
Here is the quilt label. I even used one of Scott's shirts for the label. I was very pleased with the way that the label turned out - all thanks for that go to my beloved Janome 11000! So, quilters, if ever you are looking to make a quilt such as this for a loved one, the Slide Show quilt pattern is the perfect fit for shirts and such.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Best Quilting "Notion" EVER!

In my mailbox the other day was the newest edition of my very favorite quilting magazine EVER, Quilter's Home. If any of you haven't had an opportunity to savor this masterpiece, run out and grab a copy today. It will be more than worth the cover price, I promise you. I have never opened up a quilting magazine that offers so much. First, the creator of this magazine is hysterical. Oh, and irreverent. He is exactly what the quilting world needs. In addition to his wonderful personality and wit, he never fails to have within the covers of that magazine a project that I absolutely have to make NOW. This months magazine didn't let me down and is the reason for this post. Today I made what I am sure will be my favorite quilting notion for years to come. It came out of Quilter's Home Magazine and there is no one out there that can't make this themselves! The magazine tells you, step by step, how to make this amazing "Easy Portable Ironing Table". You start with this style TV Snack Table. I bought mine from Wal-Mart for $9.00. Yes, you read that correctly. Only nine dollars!
Once your table is home all you have to do is cover it with one layer of cotton batting, then a layer of Insul-brite (available at JoAnns) and top that with silver Teflon treated ironing board cloth (available at JoAnns). You need a piece of each of those items that is 5 inches bigger than the width and length of the table top. You layer those items on the floor in this order:
1. Teflon treated ironing board cloth - face down.
2. Insul-brite - non shiny side up.
3. Cotton batting - some people use two layers, I only used one and it's perfect for me.
Lay the snack table upside down in the center of the fabrics. Wrap the edges of the fabrics around the edge of the table and using a staple gun, staple through the layers to the underside of the snack table, covering the sides all the way around. Pull the layers tight so that you have a neat and tidy ironing surface. It's that simple!
The table is perfect for sitting next to your sewing machine if you are paper piecing, at a workshop, or simply putting blocks together. It is fabulous! Quilter's Home didn't use the Insul-brite, but I had some so I used it.
Grandchild update! This is my precious little Lucy Ann (second grandchild) who I wrote about in my last post. I am thrilled to let you know she is completely recovered and growing like a weed. In fact I think that she and the rest of her family will be coming down to visit her Grandma and Grandpa at the end of the month. YEAH! I also have to thank each and every one of you that answered my "Call Out to Quilters" for Project Linus quilts. It is a wonderful gesture and it reminded me that quilters really are the "Best of the Best." Thanks to all of you!
And not to be overlooked, and in my attempt to provide equal time, here is my first granddaughter, Madelyn, who proves that it is never too cold out to eat ice cream. Bless her precious little heart...