Welcome to Gramma's Quilting Room.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The FUN Part of my Weekend

I made this wallhanging about 2 years ago. Most of the blindstitch applique and the big stitch quilting was done while I was at work. ;-) All of the buttons came from my Gramma Maple's button tin. Some of my fondest memories are of that ole blue button tin.

Once I acquired the tin from my baby sister, I had to use some of the buttons. I wanted to see them and touch them again. When I saw this wallhanging in a magazine, I knew that was where some of Gramma's buttons would live. How it hangs right beside my bed.

This weekend has been spent making 6" nine patch blocks. I joined an internet swap even though I swore I was not going to do any swaps this year. The blocks are made with floral prints and cream --5 flowers, 4 creams. I have made 7 sets of 11--10 for the swap, 1 for me. I have strips cut for 8 more sets.

I couldn't believe I had to go to the quilt shop for this swap. I knew I had lots of florals. Wrong! I had several but not enough for what I want. And very little cream background fabrics. So on Friday--it took a 3 day sewing weekend--I made a trip to my favorite quilt shop. I only bought 6 floral prints--3 FQs and 3 1/2 yard pieces and 5 different cream backgrounds.

I think I need to replenish some of my stash. I didn't realize how little background fabrics I have. I have been very good about not buying fabrics. I have been living the "Use what you have or do without." mantra for about 4 years now. Now I think I have to live the "Only buy what you need." mantra.

So now I will clean up from dinner, fold the last load of clothes, finish those dreaded gun socks and then work on some 9 patches.

Work has been too busy all week to get much sewing done. I still have my strip twist blocks to finish sewing together but I think I will do that at home. I will work on my tumbling blocks quilt this week. It is all hand work so I might make a bit of progress on it.

Until next time,
Have some fun.

Putting the FUN in Functional

I really wanted to keep up with my fun sewing but today is not one of those days. Yesterday DH decided he needed socks for his rifles. He keeps them in gun safes--2 of them in my kitchen beside the fridge, but I don't care because unauthorized people can't get to them--if ya know what I mean.

So, being the good wife that I am, I asked what the heck he was talking about. He doesn't want them touching each other--isn't that a kid thing???--while they are in the safe. So he described how I should go about making these things. I DREAMED ABOUT GUN SOCKS!!! What is wrong with me. What in the world do I have that I can make these things out of. My 2 a.m. moment--Ohhhhhhhh, I have some really heavy flannel like camo stuff that I had made him a shirt/jacket out of several years ago and refused to make another.

This morning after some neglected household chores (can you tell I was putting this project off?), I got out the stash of camo fabric, (who else has a camo fabric stash?) to see if it was acceptable fabric. He really wanted fleece because it is softer but I didn't have any more and I wasn't going to town to buy any. This was going to have to work--use the stash. So I washed it to soften it a bit and designed a pattern.

So far I have made four custom fit gun socks. I have fabric for 8 more. Oh lucky me. I swear this will get done today. I am so excited about these things that I am even cooking dinner. That doesn't happen too often on weekends.

Good news, I just asked how many more I need to make. Only 2! For now. Luck me. They really only take a few minutes to sew up, it's just that they aren't fun. They are functional. Functional--oh look, there is fun in functional. This also means that I still have camo in my stash.

I started out using my serger. It isn't a very good serger. It's loud, it clatters, it breaks needles. It's a classic example of you get what you pay for. I wanted to throw it in the garbage. I still might, it's still sitting on the kitchen table, it's real close to the garbage can. As I was using my sewing machine, I kept thinking of a new serger. Hmmmmm, might have to visit the local sewing machine dealer.

What if my dream comes true and I am mass producing these things and selling at gun shows on weekends. It wasn't a dream, it was a nightmare!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Quote of the Day

I have this Mary Engelbreit Oh So Breit Day to Day calendar. Each day has a great ME picture and a quote. I can't even throw the pictures away. I use them for note paper.

Today's quote is "It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis."--Mararet Bonnano

Sure made me think. I was pouting because we are so busy at work--the sun is shining!--and I have not had a minute to sew anything. I did make 10 3" friendship stars for my wallhanging yesterday. I hung them up on the design wall tonight. Then I looked at my calendar and got my wake up call. Stop whining and live happy. So I am going to rearrange my stars and figure out how to set them together. Or maybe not, maybe I'll just look at them!

It might be Friday before I get to sew on anything again. I am taking a 3 day weekend just for myself. 3 days is a mini vacation for me. I am a firm believer in many mini vacations! I am going to make a mini list of many things I want to do. Maybe I'll look at my list, maybe not.

Until then,
live happily ever after.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


I love wallhangings. I started a new one last night. Here in SW Washington state, we have had one day in the past month without rain. It can get depressing if you let yourself go there. I love looking out at the stars on a clear night so I decided to make myself a star light, star bright wall hanging for my bedroom. I have a few nice yellows and this awesome gray moda marble--perfect for a dark night. I have a Lazy Angle ruler that I have never used and decided it was a good time to find out what it is all about. It is pretty cool once you get the hang of it.

This is my 1st attempt at paper piecing. It hangs in my living room. The fabrics are all hand dyed by my friend, Sonya. She makes marbled fabrics and invited me over to learn the process. We had so much fun. I have a basket of marbled fabrics that I get in to every once in a while.

This is my funky hen and chicks. Again, using marble fabrics. It hangs in my kitchen. I still think I need to put little feet on those chicks.

This little Debbie Mumm design also lives in my kitchen. This is my 1st wallhanging. I love Debbie Mumm designs.

More wallhanings later, I need to make more stars.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

On The Job Sewing

I have worked at a rock pit for over 9 years. I weigh out loaded gravel trucks. I am the only woman on the job in my location. I work alone in an 8' x 8' office. I have a computer, coffee pot, AM/FM radio, an outside porta potty and enjoy the company of my 11 year old toy poodle. There are usually 8 to 10 men that work in the pit and on the rock crusher. We all have CB radios for communication. There are busy, busy days and there are days when you wonder when 4:30 will ever arrive.

I learned real fast to bring something to do. I hate to be bored and I can only play on the computer for so long before I go nuts--no online at my job. I have created many quilts and read many books while I am getting paid to sell rock.

This week I have been working on Bonnie's Strip Twist. I printed off the directions, packed up my strip container and my machine and supplies. I set myself up just like in the photos. When I need to press, I just spin my chair around and there is my pressing station. See my iron on top of my radio??? The pressing pad is on the other side of the cutting mat. When I need to trim blocks, I move my machine off the desk and cut there.

Such a tiny space and I can get so much done.

This is one view from my office. I love the waterfall right beside the mudslide. Always interesting. I think I prefer mud and muck to dust. Fewer trucks run in the winter and I get more done!!!
One day my boss asked just how many quilts I have made while he is paying me to be there. Thank goodness he allows me to be creative when we aren't busy. I do bust my hiney when the construction season is strong. 10 to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, truck after truck, with barely time to run out to the potty.

I have been sewing on the job so long that now that most of the drivers ask what I am working on today. When I'm not sewing, the want to know why.

Sometimes this curtain comes down to be my small design wall.

Today was not a good sewing day. Oh, I had great plans but vandals thought it would be fun to break my window. I didn't even bring my things in from the car. There were glass shards everywhere. They didn't get in my office but they did get in some equipment and caused some major damage. Nope, not a good day at the office. Monday had to be better. My Strip Twist had been piled in rows, ready to me made into a top. Yip, it will be a good day.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Dee's Christmas Quilt

This is the final Christmas quilt for 2005. It started with an online string block swap. I wanted to be an overachiever so I made my blocks while I was at work last winter. One day, I made 65 6" string blocks. I couldn't wait to get home and tell the group what I had accomplished that day. Before posting, I read the day's digest. The group had decided we should make our blocks with a 1" black strip down the center. I laughed so hard at myself that I cried. I am not an overachiever, I never will be. So I decided to set my blocks aside and make new blocks for the swap during the week. I would use all of them in a quilt.

After several months of aging, it was time to set the blocks into a quilt top. I placed them all on the design wall, moved them around, then started sewing. After several rows were sewn together, I got impatient and put the top back up on the wall. Eeegads! I didn't like this at all, the corners didn't form a black X!

I went to bed, woke up about 1 am and knew exactly what I had to do. I had to sew in some black corners on my plain blocks.

The corners aren't exact but neither am I. I used another of Jodi Beamish's pantographs called Rhapsody and lime green thread for the quilting.

Dee loved the quilt as soon as she saw it, whining that she wanted it. No, I am keeping it for myself, that is until she unwrapped it at Christmas. Pretty sneaky mom!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Bonnie Does It Again

I can always count on Bonnie at Quiltville.com to come through with instructions for the exact quilt I want to make.

This quilt, called Smokey Mountain Stars was made for my son, Doug. He is the one that inspired me to make quilts for Christmas this year. He told me he "needed a new blankie...it doesn't need to be for my bed, just something for on the couch".

I had no idea what I was going to make for him. Then one day, WAH LAH! I get an email notice from Bonnie at Quiltville about a new quilt she has posted. (Bonnie has a yahoo group for announcements only when she updates or adds to her website--how great is that!) This was the quilt I HAD to make for Doug. I had a container full of plaid homespuns that I knew would be made into something just for him.

I was running short on time so I spent one Sunday cutting fabric. I packed up my sewing machine, supplies and fabric kit to take to work. It took me a couple of days (thank goodness for slow days at the office--that's a whole article by itself) to piece the blocks. Then I had to take it home to the design wall to lay it out, pin and label my rows so I could sew it together at work.

Saturday I added the borders, made the backing and loaded it on the longarm. By Sunday evening, it was meander quilted, binding was on and ready to stitch down. The quilt was finished on Monday--at work, of course.

Thank you Bonnie for all the work you do on your website. It is a true pleasure to visit.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Lovin' a Saturday Afternoon

This quilt was made for Crystal's house. Crys is my only quilting child. It's so much fun to show each other our latest projects. I wasn't sure if she wanted a quilt made by me but that didn't matter, she got one. She is a very organized quilter. Not loving the scrap thing until lately and they have to be organized scrappy. Is that a new term???

This Pinwheels on Parade is also from the Nickel Quilts book. I used a whimsical garden print for the corner stones just for fun. It was also quilted using the Popcorn pantograph. I constructed the blocks at a quilt retreat that Crys and I went to this past fall.

I had the pleasure of working this morning. Not really in the mood to work on my applique project so I just played cards on the computer. One of these days I will post photos from my work and explain how I get so much quilting time in at my job.

After work I went to my LQS to buy flannel for a strip swap with an internet quilt group. We are swapping 3" strips. I had made the statement that I was only going to be involved in one swap this year and then this one came up. I was first to sign up! I love flannel and don't have a flannel stash any more. A girl needs to have a flannel stash!! And it was all on sale for 40% off--how could I not get 8 yards.

I stopped on the way home, picked up a take and bake pizza for lunch and dinner. Then I finished sewing a cute Veronica Pocketbook--Lazy Girl Designs. Dee came to visit and the little purse went home with her. All I did was show it to her and she said thank you. Stinker--not really, it was just too small for me and it did match well with her coat. I'll have to get a picture of it next time she is here.

I think I will start making me the Towne Purse, also a Lazy Girl Design. The last purse I made is just too small. It's cute but I need more room. I have alot of important stuff that I have to pack with me everywhere I go.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Life is Short, Take a Nap

My dear friend and co-worker's husband passed away on Monday. 2 days before Christmas, he was diagnosed with cancer. I have spent the last few days thinking of them and about how short life really is.

Last night, instead of sleeping, I lay wide awake wondering if we have our things in order. If something should happen to my husband, would I be able to pay the bills. What about getting firewood for the winter, what about the plumbing that needs to be updated, etc., etc. All kinds of things that wouldn't leave my mind. I know the answers to all of these questions but it didn't ease my mind.

So I got out of bed and turned on the tv. That was silly, only depressing news was on. I blocked out the tv and peered into my sewing studio. I can see the baby quilt on the long arm waiting for more attention. That started my brain on the path of my fabric stash. I have a plan for most of the fabric that I own. I do, really, I do. I just don't have the time right now to set all my great plans in motion.

I love scrap quilts and made each of my children a new quilt for Christmas. This is my oldest daughter,Jenny's. The design is Labor Day Madness from the Nickel Quilt book. All of the fabrics came out of my stash.

I quilted it using Jodi Beamish's pantograph called Popcorn and Superior Rainbow thread.

I hope Jenny and her family get years of use from this quilt. It isn't bed size but it is perfect for a nap on the couch. Come on Jen, let yourself take a little nap and know that Momma hugs are wrapped around you.

So now that I have titled today's blog, I am going to put on my jammies and take an 8 hour nap under my favorite quilt of the day.

Good night and sweet dreams.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Did I Just Post a Photo?

I can't believe I just did this and how easy it was.

This baby quilt is my current project.

In October 2005, I went to a quilting retreat with my daughter, Crystal, who is expecting a baby boy in March. We showered Crystal with quilt blocks for a baby quilt.

I made a few more 9 patch blocks and set the quilt together this weekend. I needed to "boy it up", as Daddy Mike said, so I added the yellow and blue borders. It is now ready to put on the frame and be quilted. I'm not sure how I'm going to quilt it yet but I at least know which thread I will use.

I Can't Beleive I'm Blogging...

...but here I am. I love to read blogs about everyday life, quilting and sewing. Sometimes spending too much time reading about quilting instead of actually putting needle to fabric.

I decided it was time to have my own quilting diary. Maybe this way I can keep track of what I have accomplished. With doing a blog, I need to learn to display photos. That will be my next lesson.

Until then, I need to get a quilt loaded on the frame and start quilting.