Tuesday, November 26, 2013


As Thanksgiving approaches I have taken a moment to reflect on all that I am thankful for.

There are the standards, family, friends, health (when I am not sick...which does not reflect my current situation) my husband and my children.

I am also really thankful for everyone who has helped Iowa Comfort over the last two years.  We have put 120 + quilts into the local community.

And although I have tried really hard to recognize everyone who has had a helping hand in Iowa Comfort....I realized that I neglected to recognize a group of people. My quilting customers.  

I fund Iowa Comfort by quilting for others, without them there would not be an Iowa Comfort.

Jenni O brought me this Halloween quilt

She also had gone on line and picked out the spider web pattern that I quilted it with.

Here is what that pattern looked like on Fonzi.

This quilt was a jelly roll quilt... so not to large I think it was about 50 inches wide....but one row took 21,789 stitches.  There was a lot of back-stitching in this pattern to make those spider webs.  

The quilt turned out great and Jenni really liked the finished product.  I had also quilted another small quilt for her at the same time.

The funds I earned from these two quilts allowed me to purchase a roll of batting for Iowa Comfort.  A roll of batting will probably bat 10 bed-size quilts this coming year.

So to all of my quilting customers, thank you for your support of Iowa Comfort....without you there truly would not be an Iowa Comfort.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Life is good

It isn't very often that I get to combine two of my favorite past times.

Those that know me know that I love to quilt and all things quilty, enjoy researching family history, and love documenting cemeteries for future family historians.

About a month ago I was able to combine the first two for an afternoon.  

Have I hooked you yet????? Is your mind spinning wondering how I could do anything quilty and family history at the same time.

Well to be fair it wasn't my quilt or my family history...but I did help get a quilt top back to a family.

For those of you that are part of IQ...you all ready know the story, sorry, but for the rest of you the story went like this.

My friend Diane (you know the one with the magic closet of tops, that she has so generously shared with Iowa Comfort) went to her closet to find a top to hand quilt.  She found a top that was in pretty good shape that she had bought on Ebay.  Diane decided that she really did need to stabilize the top a little bit so she added at least one border....maybe two.

Here is the quilt top

It was a signature quilt.  Probably from the 1930's... those are original prints not reproductions.  There were reoccurring last names on the quilt..... and one very special block.

One quilter not only placed her name in the block but also her town.

Diane posted in my online group that she was going to contact the local paper in Ottumwa to see if they could help locate any decedents of Jennie Welsh.

I decided to also accept the challenge and see if I could do any research on her.  Knowing only her name and city, I started searching in Ancestry.com.  

I found Jennie and her family on the 1940 census, she was 53 and her husband was 55.  I then looked her up on the 1930 census, there it showed that she had three children and their names.  I knew that Jennie would not still be alive today, and that her children may have also passed away by now... so I then went to Find A Grave and started researching.

I could not find Jennie or her husband James grave sites.  But I did have the names of their children from the census.  I had much better luck with their oldest son.  Not only did I find his memorial on Find a Grave, but the person who created it also posted his obituary on the memorial.  In the obituary it listed his 4 surviving daughters and the towns they were from. 

I spent a few more minutes googling each of the daughters and I was able to come up with telephone numbers for three of the four daughters.  I forwarded the information back to Diane, and she made a call.  

Diane left a message that she had purchased a quilt that had Jennie's name on it, and was wondering if she might be a family member.  Later that night one of his daughters called Diane back.  Diane was able to confirm that Jennie was her grandmother, and that several of the other blocks in the quilt were made by family.

The granddaughter did not know how the top ended up on Ebay, but was grateful that someone had purchased it and preserved it. 

After talking with the granddaughter, Diane offered to return the quilt top to her, and the granddaughter is going to get it quilted and send Diane a picture of it. 

Life is good when you can use your skills and passions to bring a little joy to someone else.  Diane's passion to acquire quilt tops, my passion for family research.....and a long lost quilt top returns to a granddaughter who will have a piece of her family history. 

According to the granddaughter her Jennie loved to quilt.... it was a very good day!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2 more quilts ready for delivery

With help from a good friend I have two more quilts ready for  delivery to the center.

I have to admit that things are slowing down, as my customer quilts pick up.  I haven't had a lot of time to work on the Iowa Comfort quilts recently.  This creates a problem with getting two blog posts a week done....but more on that later.

Here are the completed quilts.

 Can you guess why I had to take another picture of this quilt?
Yep your right.... my helper was bound and determined to help me.  Hawkeye loves quilts!  And he thinks they all should be his!

This is ICQ 121 

I had just yelled a Hawkeye to leave the  quilt alone, and he is giving me his best impression of "BUT MOM, I LIKE IT"

Officially this is ICQ 115

Jean made these two quilts for Iowa Comfort.  If I remember correctly they are two of 7 that she donated to us.  She even donated the backing material.  Which made it very easy for me, and I so appreciate her talent and generosity.

Celia was/is an angel that helps me with binding.  I think she has probably bound 10 or 15 quilts for me.  She did the binding on these two, and has another one ready for me to pick up.  She tells me all the time to bring them to open sew and she will get the bindings on for me.  She is such a good friend.  THANK YOU SO MUCH CELIA.  

There isn't a whole lot of binding going on at my house anymore.  If I am sitting in my chair Mr. Hawkeye thinks he needs to be on my lap.....and that makes it a tad bit difficult to do anything.

Until things pick up with Iowa Comfort, I am going to cut down on scheduled blog posts.  I know for those of you who follow the blog that sucks...but no sense in writing something just to be writing.  So I will try to get something up once a week (Tuesdays) if I can, but if there is nothing going on... I won't waste your time or mine.

Hope you are all well and looking forward to the Holiday season....

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thank You Marybeth!

Marybeth is another one of my online quilting buddies.  We see each other maybe once a year, and only if we both make it to AQS.

Earlier this year we were able to carve out a day and Marybeth, Lynne and I had a longarm play date.  Now both Marybeth and Lynne freehand quilt, and of course up until I got Fonzie I only quilted with pantographs.

Lynne and Marybeth came down to play for a day, and I showed them Fonzie..... but also gave them lessons on pantographing.  They tried to teach me freehand, but that was a waste of time.

At the end of the day both Marybeth and Lynne took home one of our kits to put together.  (Did I tell you that they each live at least an hour away from me?)

I didn't make AQS this year because I was ill, but Marybeth did and sent the kit back to me through another friend from my area.

I didn't expect Marybeth to piece and quilt it but she did....which meant that she also generously donated the backing and batting also.  Lets take a look at the beautiful quilting she did.

Please zoom in on it!  It is absolutely gorgeous!

Oh and one of the additional perks for me is that she also bound the quilt.  I don't mind binding at all, but it is becoming increasingly more difficult for me because Hawkeye thinks he is a lap dog and he loves all things quilty!

See here he is trying to see if he can get away with pulling the quilt down and making it his own.  Well he won't get away with that.  And I will find time to get a label on this quilt and get it delivered.

Thank you again Marybeth for your generousity.  I wouldn't be surprised if the center doesn't make this a Christmas gift to a young child.

Hope everyone gets out and enjoys the weekend.  Sounds like it is going to get cold next week.   I plan to head to the cemetery on Monday, today and tomorrow I will be eye ball deep in 1800 Swedish church records.  It is going to be a genealogy weekend for me.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


So as I was getting ready to write my next post I reread my last post.

INSERT GIBBS HEAD SMACK HERE...... where was the after shots of the doggy beds that I promised in my last post.

I tell you this getting old thing is for the birds! There are days that I get up from the chair to do something only to walk into a room and wonder what I was going there for.

On the other hand....by forgetting to complete my last post.  I now have an additional post in the que.  I will take all the small victories I can at this point in time.

 So I reworked all of the casings for the doggy beds.  Here is the back and front of one them.  A much better fit for sure.  And as you can see Hawkeye wants to put his seal of approval on it.
As the afternoon progressed I realized that I liked a little deeper cuff on the overlap.  This one ended up being the one that I will model all others by.  There is about a 4 inch overlap on it, and I think it will keep the bed securely inside until staff decides to wash the casing.

The lesson I learned is that in the future, all of the doggy beds will be one of three sizes.  

In the past I let the size of the material determine the size of the bed.  That plan worked great for using up non quilting fabric.... but didn't make the best bed.  

Now I can cut the doggy bed, and the sham and deliver a bed to Aheintz57 that will be more manageable to keep clean.

Oh, and I would like to thank all of the gals from "Lady of the Lake" retreat, the annual quilt retreats put on by Adel Quilting and Dry Goods.  I received an e mail from Jacque this morning that they have 3 dog beds ready to be finished.  Over the last week they filled 3 beds with the scraps from their cutting tables. I love that we are able to help the dogs, and lower what we send to the land fill.

Have a great week everyone.  I will have two customer quilts to finish this week.....but I may get to binding quilt 121.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

For the dogs!

This past week I was working on getting a delivery ready for AHeintz 57.  

If you have followed my blog in the past you know that they are a local no kill shelter.  What you may not know is that they also rescue dogs from other shelters that  are hours away from being put down.  They do amazing things and I would encourage you to check out their website at http://www.aheinz57.com. 

Specifically I have been working on large doggy beds for them. 

The problem with what I have been doing is that they are pretty hard to wash.  I can't stuff them into my washer, and the one time I did manage to do it took 5 drying cycles to get the bed dry.  This just will not do.

So this week I decided that maybe I should make the bed, and then make a sham like thing to go over the bed.  That way when it was time the sham could be removed and washed and it would be much more energy efficient.  

Best laid plans...... I have never made a sham before in my life....but how hard could it be???

Well lets just say that it was an adventure.  I had 4 large beds made and set out to make their shams.

Here is an example.  I am really glad that I have Hawkeye to quality control all of my work.  He quickly let me know that my current project failed miserably!  He loved the bed but the sham was not doing what I had intended.

So off to youtube to watch a video on how to make shams.  AHH there was my mistake!  I was trying to make it all out of 1 piece of fabric.  It needs to be made with three.

I spent Tuesday afternoon ripping apart what I have previously created and resewing.  I will show you and after at the end of this post.

Did want to show you how I store these until it is time for a delivery.

Yep that is right.  Owens pack n play doubles as delivery staging area at my house.  There are 4 large beds in there.  I thought I would be done with making beds for a little while. But on Monday night when we were organizing fabric, each table also assisted in  determining if the piece of material should be used in a quilt or better served as doggy bed stuffing.

I know have this container to chop down into  stuffing.

This is the bag of slivers from the last two nights of me working on the left over pieces that didn't make it on to mini bolts.  I have done 3 tubs now.....only 18 more to go! :-)

Jacque J also had me bring 4 casings to her.  Adel Quilting and Dry Good is having their annual retreats this last week and this week end.  She thinks that we should be able to stuff three of those beds this week.

So the big dogs will have some comfy digs soon, and I learned a new skill.... how to make a pillow sham.