Saturday, August 31, 2013

Whats bugging Debbie?

Plain and simple....Debbie is bugging Debbie.  Tell me that I am not alone out there.  Am I an anomaly or an alien, or do you all get in your own way also?

This week I have been very busy doing customer quilts which is a good thing always.  I have even taken out a couple of comfort quilts and put them on next weeks schedule.

I will let you in on a little secret.  I am having the hardest time getting over myself.  

I have had several large pieces of fabric donated, the person donating them specifically told me that they thought I could use it for backing material....and when I pull it out to use just isn't big enough, or it doesn't really match the top.... or any of the other things that we look for in our personal quilts.

Remembering that these quilts are meant for comfort, and not for heirlooms is one of my biggest stumbling blocks, fabric management is another.  Now if I could just get over myself, I could kill two birds with one stone.  I am working on it....but it is really hard for me.

Here is a couple of things I have done.

These are two of the backings on the scrappy log cabin quilts.  On the top I almost had enough fabric but not quite.  So I added the solid green to the center of the quilt.  I could live with it.

I have a much harder time with the second backing.  I didn't get it centered and there are three fabric's in there.  It probably would have been better with the small left hand fabric in the center.... but then I stressed about contrast.  Oh my mind can be an evil place sometimes!

Then there are the times when I have enough of one material for the backing....but it isn't a really good match with the top.  Yes I am a matchy matchy girl at heart, or if I am doing scrap piecing I like plain muslin on the back.

Here are a couple of examples of what I am talking about:
 Here is a wonderful sampler made out of civil war fabric.
 I did not have any civil war backing, or plain muslin to use as the backing.  Kicking and screaming I forced myself to use this paisley print as the backing.  I actually told myself that the backing had mauve in it and so did the it would be okay.

I did purchase the cream binding to try to pull the front and back together.  

Here is another one.

 Diane made this wonderful stack n wack.  I would have loved to put a solid blue as the backing and binding....but I didn't have a piece large enough in the closet.  SOOOOOOO
 I convinced myself that this would work.....because it had a blue (wrong shade...but it was blue) and the top had flower prints that were wacked..... so I kind of followed Diane's thought process.  Alright I know I am being anal!   I told you this was hard for me.  LOL

Jackie was able to convince me that the solid green binding would work on the top and the backing, and help pull the finished project together.  I had the fabric in my closet... and bless her heart if she didn't just help me feel better that day.  If she said it just to make me feel better....its okay with me.

So these are a few of the things that are bugging me.  

Oh right now I am working with donation tops, that came with sheets for backing.  I have never used sheets before, it actually worked okay as long as I have a new needle in the machine.  But I think hand binding them will be difficult, the thread count is very high.... but we'll see.

More of what Debbie does to drive herself crazy in the next post.

Stay cool everyone.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Taken to the woodshed!

Alright that is such an exaggeration that it really isn't funny....but you have to admit that it did get your attention.

Remember a couple of weeks ago I posted that I was going to slow down a little in next years goals, and that I was not going to be accepting any donations until I get caught up.

Let me back up a little bit.  I write these posts, and I sometimes look at the stat button, but for the most part unless I have an event going on I forget that someone is actually checking out my blog. 

I write the blog to give thanks for all the help that I get, and to document the quilts....just in case someone ever runs across one of them and decides to research it.  (Don't look now but I think my other passion is showing there.....)

And to quote Jenny from Missouri Star Quilting, that stat button could be one lady setting in New Mexico reading a post over and over.  It was fun to watch the first six months....but now I pretty much ignore it.

So imagine my surprise when I attend Prairie Woman Sewing Group a couple of weeks ago, and I have not one, not two, not three but four different individuals take time out of their day to come speak to me about that post.

All  of the conversations were very supportive and very understanding....but I did hear what they were saying.  

The jest of it was that I created this baby and now I need to let it grow.  Which means I need to loosen my reigns and accept the help that has been offered.  

One even explained that there really was no difference between accepting fabric and quilt tops, and accepting help with quilting and binding.  And in that perspective it is absolutely true.

My number one fear is that I some how intrude on friendships.  We all have busy lives....and I do not want anyone feeling pressure to assist.

I take very seriously that someone donated a top or fabric for the top..... and my number two fear is that it not get completed or returned. 

I would feel bad that I lost that donation.... and no I really don't want to have to call someone to remind them about a kit, quilt or something.  

I tried the kit thing early on.... and I do have two that have been out for over a year... and they were small quilts that just needed to be pieced and returned.

Give me a Gibbs smack to the back of the head..... we have done over 100 quilts....that is less than 2% loss.

I also fret over showing finished projects out of order.... when I voiced that concern, I really thought I needed to duck from that Gibbs smack! Although it wasn't said, the look on her face was Deb get over being so anal! :-)

So I am looking for volunteers..... actually several volunteers.  First I need a small group that I can bounce idea's off of.  Eventually they would be my board of directors if I move forward on getting authorized as a Non Profit with the government.  We are looking at a couple of meetings a year....and short meetings at that.

I am also looking for quilters, and binders.  When I quilt I always quilt a simple meander or loops...nothing fancy, these are utility quilts.  

Since I have many small quilts along with bed-size quilts.... you would not have to be a long arm quilter. 

SID would be fine on the Hope Quilts (most of them are coming in at 42 x 45).  Backing and batting will be provided, the only provision is that I would like a commitment that you would be able to complete the quilting and return it within 6 weeks, so it could go on to a binder.  

Binders, you can do it by hand or machine either would be fine, I would ask for a three week turn around from you. 

The investment that the quilters and binders would have would be their time and thread....everything else will be provided.

So I am willing to will be hard for me.  If you are wanting to help let me know and I'll get you a project.  

Who knows maybe the four amigo's (that's what I am calling them now...even if they mostly talked to me one on one) were right and I can get caught up, have space once more and feel unoverwhelmed.

Stay cool everyone!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Magic closet time

Today I am going to show you the latest donation from Diane L.  This makes about the third donation from Diane's magic closet.  

You know the one, she goes to the closet and there is a never ending supply of quilt tops waiting to be quilted and find a home.

Now don't get me wrong, Diane finishes A LOT of quilts, but she also pieces very she always has a supply of tops in that closet.  

Diane also rescues quilt tops from places where they are not appreciated.  You know the places, a garage sale, a flea market or worst of all a person that inherited a top and doesn't appreciate it. Once rescued they are placed in that magic closet.

Anyway lets take a look at the two tops she sent.

What can I say except that I am loving scrap quilts! It is absolutely beautiful.  I have to admit that I look at this quilt top and see if I could recreate it with my scraps.  Now I could probably figure out how to do it with half square triangles....but that isn't how Diane made this one but I might give it a try.

I think Diane called this one kaleidoscope.  I call it brave!  I don't think I would ever try this pattern. But Diane has talent that I don't have... and she is so generous!

I love how anything goes in this quilt.  Many of the blocks have set fabric placement within the block....but many of the blocks Diane made, two or three of the triangles are of different fabric.

I can't wait to quilt these two tops.  Both are at least twin size and will be donated to the center when completed.  When I get back to piecing these are the types of quilts I hope to be making, scrap quilts in many patterns.  If you have any patterns that you love, make sure to let me know so I can put them on my list.

Thank you again Diane for your generosity.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gifts from Lynne

I have donations from Lynne....and before you say anything, I knew these were coming prior to me announcing that I wasn't taking any more donations.  But even if I hadn't, I would have excepted these because they are complete projects.  All I have to do is put a label on them and get them donated.  So as with all rules, this is the exception. (and in a future post, we will talk about donations....cause I got a talkin to this past weekend....but that will be another post)

Earlier this spring, Lynne came down from northeast Iowa for a longarm play date.  I know Lynne from an online group that I belong to.  Every once in a while some of us will get together to play for a day on the longarm, and just have a day of fellowship.

Lynne offered to take home one of our Hope quilt kits for completion.  She took it home, and all though I was only expecting her to piece the top, she went a head and quilted it and bound it for me.  Lets take a look at it.

Lynne quilted wonderful feathers on this quilt in a beautiful variegated thread.  So bright and cheerful. This quilt will be donated to a local grade school. 
I will be contacting the Adel De Soto & Van Meter school districts to see if they can use some of these quilts.  It was suggested that the school nurse would know where the need would be, and if they are willing, I will be more than happy to leave a few in each of the elementary buildings.
She also sent along two other quilts, one she said was suppose to go to Aheintz 57 dog shelter.... actually she said to make sure to send the one with ugly squares there.  Only problem is that I don't see a quilt with ugly squares.   Here they are...

Here is the first one.  The offset blocks are a blue and white check.  The other blocks were hand stitched mariners compasses.  I guess actually they would be cross stitched compasses.  Here is a close up of the compass.
When I look at this quilt, I could envision it being used at a care facility as a lap quilt.  Perhaps being given at Christmas time to a gentleman that might not get a lot of visitors.
It is funny (or at least I think it is) how a quilt can talk to me when I receive it.  I swear it is like they tell me where they belong.  So later this week I am going to be calling some of the local nursing  homes to see if there is a need we can fill.
This quilt is bright and cheerful, I could see it going to a care facility also.  It is a little larger, so maybe not a lap quilt.... but then again, Lynne told me one of them was earmarked for the puppies.....hmmm, guess I will have to shot her an email to make sure I get it where she wanted it.

Thanks again for all your help and support Lynne!  I think they are all beautiful and will put a smile on someone's (either human or doggy) face.
I also want to thank Rhonda for transporting them to me.  Lynne and Rhonda were at a retreat together and Rhonda volunteered to get transport them the rest of the way.
More goodies from that retreat on Saturday.
Oh and Happy Birthday to my sis Deanna, hope you have a wonderful day!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hexie quilt is quilted

I did get the hexie quilt top quilted this week.  The rest of the week was spent trying to pick up the quilt room and get things back where they belong.  Note the word trying, I did not completely succeed.

I have to tell you about a conversation that dear hubby and I had while quilting this top.

First I should probably let you know two things.  First thing, I am a pampered princess....and I have a husband that does 90% of the cooking (I guess he got tired of being called to dinner when the smoke alarm went off).  The second thing is that I startle very easy.  Anyway back to our conversation.

Wednesday morning I started quilting this top, I was in the quilt room by 8:30 and had Fonzi and Lenni humming along.  About 11:00 my hubby stood at the door of my quilt room patiently waiting for the current row to be completed: so he could knock on the door and let me know that lunch was going to be ready in a couple of minutes. (I do really hate to be startled, and I am in a zone when quilting) to come in my room.  

Terry steps in the and takes a look at the top and has a puzzled look on his face.  I ask him "what"?   He then said " This quilt is a little different from what you normally do?  How are you going to bind it since you don't have a straight edge?  You have all of these points instead?"  Then he looked closer and saw that the quilt points had small gaps.  Remember that this quilt top was hand pieced from hand cut templates.  And from out of nowhere he says " Is that an actual sheet you are using for backing?"

Now as I sit here and type this I realize that this is probably a fairly boring post for you guys..... but I have to give my hubby props for even knowing what binding is. And recognizing the challenge of  binding a non straight edge quilt.  The fact that he knew that I don't usually use a sheet as backing material, and that might cause an additional challenge with the binding.  He gets props for caring  enough about me to learn about my passion.... I guess I really need to pay more attention to him when he tries to explain World of Warcraft to me!  He is such a great guy!

Back to the quilt.  I am taking it with me this morning to the Prairie Womans Quilt group this morning.  I'll be asking for suggestions on how to bind this quilt, and getting the binding for it at the Adel Quilt shop.  I kind of think that it may need to be squared up and the points removed....but we will see what 40 quilters can come up with.

Hope you all have a great day!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Longarm is loaded.

Yesterday afternoon I spent part of the afternoon prepping a quilt for today.  Many times I load a quilt the day before I actually plan to quilt it.  Do all of the little things like measure the top and check the seams, cut batting or backing.  I also get the label on the backing prior to basting the top and batting to the backing material. I wind how ever many bobbins I think I will need, you get the picture all of the prep work one day, and then the quilting the next day.

Today I hope to quilt this top.

This quilt top found its way to Iowa Comfort because Dottie is unable to quilt anymore due to health concerns. This top was all hand pieced! 

Dottie will be turning 91 in September, but was an avid quilter for a very long time.  Her family sent me an email that she has over 60 quilts in her closet that are completed.... THAT IS A QUILTER!

I quilt my donated tops in the order I received them, and I am ashamed to say that I have had this one (and the rest of the donation) since the end of February!  That is just to long..... which is what brings me to the rest of this post.

I am feeling overwhelmed right now because I am so far behind, and so unorganized.  And yes I know I have had offers of help, and I appreciate it...but right now I am fairly paralyzed from being from the donations.  Circle of Friends will help with getting the fabric donations organized in October. (THANK YOU!)  But there is still so much! 

I know that I won't get caught up in the next few months, because we are going into Christmas season. My customer quilts will pick up. 

The only way I know to relieve my feelings of guilt and overwhelm is to not accept any donations until I get caught up. I have quite a backlog of quilt tops right now so I probably have enough for all of next year.  

I am going to slow down a little next year.  I think that next year I am going to pace myself at 2 (or three if they are smaller quilts) a month. I want to get back to piecing tops, something I haven't been able to do for a while now. I also want to be guilt free when I choose to do my genealogy, or travel.  

I'm not sure at that pace if I will have material for two blog posts a week.... I'll just have to figure that out as I go.

Well I guess I need to get to the quilt room to start quilting that quilt.  Nancy H has volunteered to bind it for me, and I am going to take her up on it. :-)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Gifts from Diane

Diane is one of my online quilting buddies that I have had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times over the last couple of years.

She has more energy than the energizer bunny and I am always amazed at what she can accomplish in a day.  It seems like she can whip up a beautiful king size quilt in a day, and do all the chores that a farm wife would have on her list!  She truly is amazing...and she shares quilt tops with Iowa Comfort!  (but I think that maybe she must not sleep to accomplish it least that is my only explanation for it, either that or I am just plain lazy..... and that can't be it....)

Now I have never seen it, but I have heard a rumor about Diane's closet.  It seems there are many a quilt tops in there, waiting to be quilted or waiting for a good home.  Lucky for Iowa Comfort many of them have made it down to us.

The last box Diane sent me had 5 tops in it. This week I finished quilting the last top out of that box.

Lets take a look at all of them.

The first one I completed has already been donated, you can find it in the 2013 gallery, it is quilt 102.


This is ICQ # 105, a wonderful sampler made out of civil war fabrics.  I absolutely love this quilt and wish that it could be mine!

This is ICQ# 108.  As you can see it is not quite bound yet, I have two sides yet to get stitched down but I wanted to show it with all of Diane's other tops.  I'll get this lovely quilt finished this weekend. So soft and feminine.

This stack and whack is ICQ # 109.  I never have had the guts to try this technique, the quilt turned out wonderful and I am sure it will be well loved.  By the way a big thank you to Celia M for taking time out of open sew last Friday to bind this quilt for me.

Here is ICQ# 110. Still on my longarm, ready to be trimmed and bound. Lexi and Owen are here today, so it will probably be tomorrow before I can get it off the machine and apply binding to it.  I think I am going to use a black Moda marble for the binding...

Are they not all lovely!  And a little birdy told me that I have another present coming from Diane via a mutual friend next week. So excited to see what goodies will come my way from Diane's magic closet!

THANK YOU so much Diane for all your support and generosity! I know that really isn't enough...but know that you are appreciated!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Going to the dogs!

Diane M. did a little more culling from her closet last week.  And although I was not able to take everything from her (there really is no more room at the inn for fabric scraps) I was able to take some of the items she had put together for us.

Here is what she brought me.

Now I am not really sure what happened to my other photo's....I know I took them..... but Diane brought me 4 bags like this.  One was full of odd sizes of batting that can be used in smaller quilts or doggy mats.  Two of these bags were full of cushion filler or pillows that had been replaced.  And one bag was full of fleece.  

The goal was that I could take this donation and get them turned around very quickly.  Thus not staying in my house very long at all.  I am proud to say that I only have a half of one of those bags left, and that is fleece that needs to be cut down to become the stuffing of a future dog bed.

Here is what I delivered to AHeintz57 shelter last Saturday.

There are 18 dog beds there, some are small, some are large, all very much appreciated at the Rescue.

Thank you Diane for the donation! You helped out a great dog rescue, and you might have provided a pup with its first touch of kindness.

I have errands today, and hope to get Diane L's last donation top quilted this week, along with another larger quilt.   That's the plan, we will see how it works out.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Becky's donation Part II

I went through the rest of Becky's donation earlier this week. 

There were lots of additional panels, and two more large pieces that can be used as backing material for other quilts.

There are several quilts in the remaining boxes. I haven't measured them yet, but they all appear to be at least queen size quilts.  I had my hubby help me, and as you can tell the quilts exceeded his arm span.

Lets take a look at the quilt tops.

This quilt was a panel that Becky cut the blocks out of and sashed back together.  The focus block is a cute picture of a couple of cats in a farm setting.  As you can see Hawkeye really wanted to be friends with the kitties.

Here is an adorable quilt with overalls on the line.  I love that each pair of overalls has a little quilt block on the bib.

This quilt is a hand appliqued quilt that Becky called the Dahlia quilt.  Each flower is unique and a different color.  The purple sashing was the perfect touch for it, but might prove to be a challenge for me.... it may end up being bound in white.

Becky's talents were far ranging!  As you can see she was able to create this beautiful lone star quilt.  I have done one of these, but I cheated and used a quilt smart panel.  Becky did this one the old fashion way....and did a wonderful job of it.

And last but not least we have a darling Sue Bonnet Sue.  Each one appliqued on a white block by hand.  Sashed in blue, and do you see the border with prairie points?  I will have to put my thinking cap on when it comes time to quilt this quilt top.  I am pretty much and edge to edge quilter, and I will admit that I tend to pick fairly fast and simple designs on the Iowa Comfort quilts.  I will probably have to rethink that plan with this one.

I probably will not get to the quilting these quilts until after the first of the year.  I have several in line before them. I am pretty sure these quilts will reside with the center and be placed on one of their many beds.  I think it will be a wonderful tribute to Becky that her hard work and love of quilting will bring warmth and comfort to someone in need of a little TLC.

I would like to thank Becky's husband and the Faith Lutheran Woman's  Auxiliary for the wonderful donation!  I have no doubt that these quilts will bring a smile to many over the next several years.