Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Store made quilt.

This is the store bought quilt I had mentioned in a previous post. My boyfriends has had this quilt for awhile and is something we use in the spring since it is a lighter quilt. I prefer hand-made over mass produced, but I wouldn't kick this quilt to the curb!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mason's quilt.

I decided to make a small quilt for our new puppy's crate where he sleeps at night. Using two of my boyfriend's old button down work shirts I improvised this quilt. I used the sleeves, two front panels and back panel of the shirts. Cutting them into 2'x 2' squares I sewed these squares into 32' strips. Then I sewed each 32' strip together, added orange strips to frame quilt. I used the blue shirt as the binding strip to finish the quilt.

I used leftover fabric from DJ's quilt (see blog post from June 10, 2009) for the back panel. This was a very simple quilt to make! I loved including elements from the shirts, like hints of the cuff or front pocket. I also purposely made the checkerboard pattern wonky to go along with the playfulness of our puppy. This quilt is a great way to reuse old clothes you no longer wear and add a sense of personality at the same time. Give it a try!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Flying Geese quilt.

I like to work on two or three things at once, it helps me stay focused and not get too frustrated. Right now I am working on the pinwheel quilt (see March 8, 2010 post) and this flying geese quilt. My sister is my fabric dealer right now since I have a very tiny craft budget! In her generosity she gave me this quilt to finish, having already done the most difficult part, cutting out the fabric. I love the colors, I think of the awakening of spring every time I work on this quilt. I like that it goes together much faster than the pinwheel quilt, which I have been working on for over a year now. I pick it up for a day or two than move onto something else. Since the "geese" quilt is easier I can jump from this quilt to the pinwheel quilt.

Oh! I almost forgot! I fixed my machine! Yesterday's post I mentioned my machine was making a clunking sound. After consulting with the manual, I took off the plate and disassembled the bobbin case area (so technical!) and it was horribly dusty! I would have taken pictures, but it was embarrassing how dirty my machine had become! I cleaned it out, put on the machine oil and put it back together. It took me about an hour all together but it was wonderfully satisfying! My machine is humming along again and so quite! I couldn't be happier, unless I had an even nicer sewing machine!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sunny days.

It has been super sunny the last few days which makes it harder to sit inside and quilt! My puppy Mason loves going for a walk on these sunny days almost as much as I do.
I actually need to do a little maintenance on my sewing machine. It started making some clunking noises this weekend, hopefully it is something minor. Maybe it just needs a little TLC! It can't quit on me now, I have two quilts I am working on!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ready for summer.

I'm ready for the heat of summer to come back. In California our winters are very mild, but I miss the super hot sun making me so hot I just want to spend the day in the pool! That means I may spend a little less time quilting though, we shall see.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My sister's quilts

My sister is an amazing quilter. I wanted to show off two of the quilts she is currently working on. She tends to tackle more challenging quilts than I do with stunning results. I love how she is able to show me the ropes when it comes to quilting, and am inspired by her talent. She is a pattern following quilter, and I tend to make it up as I go along. I cannot wait to see these two quilts when they are finished.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fixing mistakes.

My grandma taught me how to crochet. Whenever I made a mistake, which seemed like constantly, she would tell me to rip it out and start over. While she watched I of course ripped it out, started over, even though I dreaded the work I would have to do over.

When I was binding a quilt recently I became impatient. I really just wanted it done so I could move on to another one! I made some mistakes in my rush to finish so I ripped out all of the binding and started over. I could hear my grandma reminding me to fix my mistakes. I did, and it looks just perfect. Thanks grandma!

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Quilt!

Beginning a new quilt! Actually it's a quilt I started awhile ago and didn't have enough confidence to tackle. Now that I have a few successful quilts under my belt I am excited about this new project. This quilt will have a pinwheel type design in a variety of pinks, greens and blues. Very spring like!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Collection of quilts.

I want to highlight various quilts that other people have given me. I didn't realize I had so many! This first one I want to show off is a lap quilt my sister made for me a few years ago. I love pink and cherry blossoms, so this quilt was a nice surprise.

There is a book series I am reading called the Elm Creek Quilt novels by Jennifer Chiaverini. Her website is This series brings you into a world of women who love all things quilting. Along the way they not only learn about themselves but about past generations of women and how important quilts were.

In some ways quilting is a forgotten art form. You can buy mass produced quilts at many chain stores, which I admit I have a white and blue one I use from time to time! (pics to come soon!) One thing I love about quilting is that there are so many layers of meaning and symbolism within the quilt blocks themselves. The different placement of triangles, squares and circles can tell a wide range of stories. Personally I am at the very beginning in my understanding!

In the weeks to come I will begin exploring various blocks, their meanings and how they fit into the modern quilt movement.

Below is the quilt I just finished. This picture was taken a few days ago when I was doing the last bit of quilting. Soon I will have some current pictures of the whole quilt.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The quilt that started it all.

About a year and a half ago I was at a pretty hard place in my life. I had been struggling with problems with my health. There wasn't anything new about this, I have had this health "challenge" my whole life. What became more and more apparent was that I could no longer pursue my chosen career and maintain my health at the same time.

I had moved to California about 6 or 7 years before to pursue my Masters degree in Psychology. I wanted to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. As anyone who has gone on this path knows, it can take a long time and be a ton of work to become a licensed therapist!
I finished my Masters in 2006 and began working towards my license. I loved the work, it was amazing! My health suffered though, I was constantly in and out of the hospital.

It came to a point where I had to decide, do I continue on this path or do I stop and take care of my failing health. I knew the decision I had to make, but it was devastating. I was heartbroken. I had worked so hard up to this point, I couldn't imagine making this sacrifice.

One morning I woke up and knew that I needed to make a "sad" quilt. Many times I had suggested to my clients to create some piece of art to help them heal. I absolutely believe that part of what is amazing about creating is that healing that can happen. My "Sad Quilt" was going to be dark black, blue and gray and I was going to put one "happy" square in the mix. I talked to my sister about this quilt, who is a very accomplished quilter, and she helped me bring life to this quilt. My "happy" square actually became a very vibrant back piece of the quilt!

I worked on it for a few months and I began to feel a sense of aliveness again. This is it, I will create! I had always drawn, painted, crafted, taken art classes, been "arty". This quilt though was something that covered me when I was sad and comforted me. It seems so basic, a blanket. But knowing that I made this blanket, this quilt, that brought healing to me, I felt a lifting of my sadness and was instead surrounded by its warmth.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Obsessed with quilts.

One of the dreamy things about quilting is looking through quilt magazines. I have always loved catalogs and magazines. It's funny, recently I went for a week vacation with my boyfriend to Las Vegas. Any downtime I had I looked at my quilt magazines that I had brought with me. I had also brought the Hancock's of Paducah fabric catalog from last year (www.hancock' I poured through it looking for fabric and color ideas for all the quilts I am going to make! We had some delay in the airport on our way back home, Obama was in Vegas that week and was flying out before us. While we waited I went searching for quilt magazines to buy. Of course I couldn't find any. I realize not everyone traveling wants to see the latest quilt trends, but a girl can dream! This is a very minor glimpse into my "obsession" with quilts!

This was the view across from our hotel.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mason helps me quilt.

Even though it's a little harder to quilt with a puppy in the way, can't resist my puppy Mason's love of quilting!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I was thinking about what inspires me when I quilt. There are so many different things; my favorite colors at the moment, nature, magazines, fashion, the people in my life, memories, nostalgia, and other quilters. Today I want to try to share some pictures that in some tiny way show what moves me to create quilts.

This first picture may seem odd, but I love the way this staircase seems so serene and inviting. I just want to climb up and see where it goes. It also is an example of great lines, which can be easily translated into a quilt.

I am also really inspired by nature. I love the way plants have so many variations in color, texture and shape. Behind my home there are these amazing trails that I walk my puppy on. During these walks I love soaking in the tall grasses, blooming plants and towering trees. I think part of what I want to do with quilting is bring in these feelings, and nuance of our surroundings.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dabbling in different crafts.

It seems I have found the crafty thing to do. Making quilts. Don't get me wrong, I still love all of the other stuff I have been doing. I think back over the last couple years I jumped from one craft to another.
For the longest time I was religiously making cards and sending them out to all of my friends and relatives throughout the year. I even dabbled in selling them at flea markets in Berkeley, CA and at various craft shows. I loved making them, but I began to get restless and a little lost for ideas.

Then I took up scrapbooking. In some ways its the next step from making cards! It never quite became an "obsession" of mine because I didn't print out my pictures often enough!

Recently over the winter holidays I took up crocheting. It's something I learned from my Grandma when I was a little girl, and was surprised how quickly I could pick it up again. I learned how to do the Amigurumi style of crochet and made many, many stuffed animals! I could sit for hours crocheting! My hands and wrists began to hurt so I had to stop.

I am excited now because I have moved onto quilting. This first quilt I made was maybe a year ago. It was a very simple one, but large enough to fit on our queen size bed so I felt pretty good about that! Then I made one for my nephew and loved making it! The quilt consisted of a mix of nine square patches and Pokemon squares. Then I outlined it in two shades of blue and a red binding. The back panel is a world map fabric. I had been working on some map puzzles with my nephew, so I liked this little personal touch to the quilt.

Right now I am working on a pretty simple rainbow type color scheme mixed with panels of white fabric. My crafting budget has been very puny lately so my sister had been kind enough to pass on some of her remnants to me! I am finishing the quilting and have to figure out what fabric I am going to use for the binding.

Pinning the quilt.

Our puppy Mason helping me pin my quilt!