Category Archives: Quilting

Easter Celebrations

This was the first year that Calum really got into the Easter holiday. (And, by holiday, I mean that he enjoyed hunting for eggs. Though, the boys were very subdued and well-behaved at church).

Since he was competing against a five-year-old, a six-year-old and a seven-year-old, he had a little help from his dad (and his mom and his aunt).

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In addition to some of those traditional Easter things, this year we wanted to give a little something, instead of just giving something up for Lent. I thought a scrap quilt might be something that Ronan could work on and something that might actually get finished (though, I was hoping for completion by Easter. Oh well).

We opened up the project to some of our homeschool friends and everyone wanted to participate. I read the story of The Quiltmaker's Gift – one of my favorite, though lengthy, stories. Many of the older kids (5 and up), sewed the blocks together themselves into a simple nine-patch square. Ronan preferred using the sewing machine and he was fun to watch as he settled into the seat in front of the sewing machine. He took his job seriously, enjoyed it and was relatively straight with his seams (as long as he took his time). Six is a very helpful age.

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Don't you model everything in your socks too?

Christmas Crafting

Since I have a squirmy two-year-old in my lap and his favorite words right now happen to be, "No, I do it," this crafty wrap-up will be short and sweet.

The Christmas Eve pajama pants. Handmade by me and fabric picked out by Calum. (Ronan played socer twice this past year…I think it rubbed off on Calum).
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The best present ever from my hubby: a completely suprise "elf" hat – to be worn in subsequent Christmases while working on the presents I make. Showcased by my brother-in-law, Kenny. (No, that's not his real name).

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A barn to accompany all of the horse and tractor related things that my kids got this Christmas. Made by Joey (based vaguely on this tutorial).

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And, finally, the big time-consuming project: quilts for both boys. I made one for Ronan and my sister made one for Calum. The boys share a room and so these quilts are similiar, but different. The pattern was "the end of the day" from More Quilts The Quiltmaker's Gift pattern book.

This is the second quilt I have made with this pattern, though the first for our family.  I absolutely love it. It uses triangles on a roll and makes a beautiful finish. We both had them professionally quilted – that skill is not yet in my abilities and I knew I would need to wash them often.

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Ronan knew I was working on something special for him and Calum. He knew I was using my sewing machine and he was irritated that I wouldn't tell him what it was. I prepped him before he opened it and let him know that this is what I was working on. I was thrilled that he was so excited to see that it was a quilt.

But, the best part of all? A sleepy Ronan waking me up at 2:30 in the morning on December 28, just to tell me how grateful he was that I made him such a warm quilt. He gave me a hug and pattered away, returning to his cozy gift.

Birthdays, Skirts and New Babies

February is a month of birthdays. Past presidents, to be sure, but ours as well. We also know a special little girl who shares our birthday month. Her first month on this earth (three years ago) was welcomed with this gift:

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I think it was only the second quilt I had made (not counting that first one I made in quilt class). It was a pattern from this book. I varied the pattern a bit and had some leftover fabric which I stashed away for another project.

And, so while I was brainstorming a gift for her and her newborn sister, I spied that old fabric in my stash. And, I found this tutorial on toddler skirts.

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A little green flower sewn on the top and voila : instant outfit. I find it adorable…hopefully, she will too. Her little sister got one too, but with a paired down skirt (in which I just winged the measurements and I hope they fit in a few months when it gets warmer).

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I added some leftover fabric between the ruffles – not too much and I didn't want to add anything stiff or scratchy on the inside for such delicate skin. Just a little Stitch Witchery and it was done in a flash. (Helped to keep down those ruffles too).

And, what did I make for Joey?

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A chocolate mousse pie with homemade graham cracker crust. A simple list of ingredients and easy to make. Here's the recipe. Sort of like a chocolate cheesecake. Very, very good.

beauty and the utility quilt

The ins and outs of daily life can be so funny sometimes. Quite often, things work themselves out in a completely different manner that what I was expecting. And, more than likely, it works out just as well or even better than planned.

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If I had to choose a way to define my sewing, I would say that I am quilter first and foremost. I was interested in fashion sewing, but fell in love with quilting. One of the only things I sewed for R, as a baby, was his quilt.

Therefore, I was bit bummed (read: feeling tremendously guilty) that I was not going to have time to create a unique quilt for this new baby. The list of projects I wanted to finish was long and I was really enjoying knitting.

I knew I had to cut something off the list and I chose for it to be an elaborate baby quilt. (Oh, the guilt) However, I also knew that a quilt would be useful on the hard floor surfaces that cover most of our home. So, I checked out my fabric stash to see if I could come up with something quick and easy.

Thus, the utility quilt was born. This printed on panel is from a friend who gave it to me over a year ago. It was just sitting there and I had no plans for it.

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And, while I briefly thought about machine quilting it myself (seeing as how it was a utility quilt), I decided against it. I’ve only done that once and I wasn’t happy with the results. So, I sent it off to my quilter. I am so glad that I did. She does amazing work and she recognized that her quilting would essentially “make” this quilt.

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The beauty of such a utilitarian object astounds me.  I know that we will use the back as often as the front (not something that can always be said about a quilt). She doesn’t have a web site, but can be found through this quilt shop – if you are local.

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So, while some of the guilt still remains, I am so happy that this particular project turned out completely differently than I had planned.

A Quilted Fairy Tale

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This book came in the mail the other day. If you ask my husband, I will pretend that I knew nothing about it and the Universe merely willed me to have it. It must have been quite a coincidence that it came in an Amazon box. Really.

Actually, I bought it as a gift for R for in his Easter basket. But, I also kind of bought it for me too. The story is simple and clear and not too lofty. It’s a wonderful (old) story about how Spring comes forth as the seasons change. However, the real reason I bought it was for the illustrations.

They are from a handmade quilt.

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This is an old German story and the quilter remembered it from when she was a child and decided to create a quilt to help her through a difficult time in life.

I would LOVE to see the quilt in person, but I’m sure they would kick me out of the line for standing there too long and drooling over it. Perhaps, I will have to try this instead?

As for now, I am content to gaze at the pictures from the book and wonder in awe at the magnificent skill and love transformed from the fabric. Quilts always have the best stories.

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Have a wonderful weekend.

A quilt for all seasons

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From The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau and illustrations by Gail de Marcken

After a long search, she finally found him. The king's royal clothes were in tatters and his toes poked out of his boots. Yet his eyes glittered with joy and his laugh was wonderful and thunderous.

The quiltmaker unfolded the king's quilt from her bag. It was so beautiful that hummingbirds and butterflies fluttered about. Standing on tiptoe, she tenderly wrapped it around him.

"What's this?" cried the king.

"As I promised you long ago," the woman said, "when the day came that you, yourself, were poor, only then would I give you a quilt." The king's great sunny laugh made green apples fall and flowers turn his way.

"But, I am not poor," he said. "I may look poor, but in truth my heart is full to bursting, filled with happy memories of all the happiness I've given and received. I'm the richest man I know."

"Nevertheless," the quiltmaker said, "I made this quilt just for you."

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(End of the Day pattern)

For two dear friends on the occasion of their marriage (albeit a tad late). Congratulations to some kindred spirits…we look forward to all of the goodness and light you will bring to the world.