Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hand Made Gifts

I like to give hand made gifts to friends and family - when possible.  Sometimes it can be tricky; do you put in hours of work uncertain if the recipient will like the gift?  I do it anyway.  I enjoy both the making and the giving and that is enough for me.

One gift was my Flora Mini-Purse that can hold either a credit card (what else do you need?), or I like to put a small thread-snips, thimble and thread inside and add it to a project bag.  I just put together 20 kits for Flora that I will be taking to the Winter Quilt Retreat next week.

A wise owl on a notebook cover was a birthday gift last night.  My friend, Debra, made me a sketch-book cover last year with this owl.  I liked it so much I asked for her permission to resize it for the notebook.  I hope my friends were as happy as they seemed.  Of course, the Academy Awards for great acting is just around the corner......

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Seasons of Home Basket

At last - the Seasons of Home Basket pattern is finished and available for sale in my Etsy Shop.  I used a little bit different technique to layer the applique pieces to add depth and texture. 

I find that designing and sewing the project is the easiest part for me.  Writing up the pattern is real work!  I strive to write my patterns in a manner that is logical and clear, so you can follow each step without confusion.  If you were sitting next to me and I could just show you how to do each step, that would be easy.  Writing it down, now that's difficult and it has taken me longer than planned.

The Seasons of Home pattern includes close-up color photos of each season and the handle, full-size templates (no matching or taping), and a complete list of all the embellishment stitches and techniques. 

This is not a basket you sling over your arm to buy potatoes.  It's purpose is to be a lovely addition to your home, set in a place where you and your guests can admire it.  The Seasons of Home basket is a joy to stitch and admire.

My Two Hands

This has been a busy week, finishing up my Seasons of Home pattern, making kits and just taking care of the everyday tasks.  This morning it was time for a "spa" day - well, my version of it.  My spa day isn't the relaxing time with hushed voices and subtle music while someone massages my sore muscles and applies a masque guaranteed to make me look years younger.  No, mine included dying my eyebrows (secret:  Just For Men instead of going to the salon), even though I don't dye my hair, filing down my short nails, applying Bee Balm to my cuticles and slapping on a masque that will hopefully work some magic while I'm blogging.

While finishing up my mini-manicure, I saw something shocking - these were my Grandma's hands!

Where did those wrinkles and brown spots come from?  Why are my fingers so short?

But as quickly as I counted the short comings of my hands, I thought about all they have done.  Housework, cooking, gardening, laundry, washing dishes, changing diapers, combing hair, picking up messes, making thousands of stitches, waving to a friend, and holding the hand of a loved one.  Suddenly, these little wrinkled, spotted, stubby hands became a most cherished belonging. 

There won't be any rest for my good hands this week but I will appreciate them as I go through my many tasks.

An Irish Blessing:  "May you always have work for your hands to do."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winter Quilt Retreat

After months of planning, it's just 2 weeks from today that I leave for the Winter Quilt Retreat at Ruby's Inn near Bryce Canyon, UT.  I was very pleased to be invited back this year to teach as this is a great retreat organized by Bonnie Miles.  I will be teaching my Take A Note small notebook covers, Vera's Hollyhocks zippered bag and Embellishment 101. On Saturday I'm giving 2 lectures that will convince everyone that they are an artist.

The last few weeks have been busy, dying wool, ordering threads, copying patterns, making hand-outs, and putting together kits.

Now let's see...... if you want to make 40 kits then you need 40 of each piece.  Why do I only have 39 zippers?  Looks like another trip to the store.
Are you going to the retreat?  Hope to see you there.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Life Stories With Quilts

I love the stories behind quilts.  The quilt names, who made them, when and where, and was the quilt for a special occasion.  Today I'm sharing a story of a quilt that spans generations.

“A Star Quilt is Born”
By Kay Littleford Quist

In the early 1930’s an eight pointed pieced fabric star quilt was begun by my mother Marie Steitz to be put into her hope chest for the time she would marry Charles Littleford. However, this was not truly the beginning of the quilt.

It was really begun by my Great Grandmother Katie Sander in the 1920’s as she saved scraps of material from old clothes worn by her daughter, my Grandmother, Kate Eliza Sander Steitz. My Grandma Kate had three daughters whom she sewed clothes for; she also saved scrap material from the girls’ clothing. The diamond pieces for the quilt star were cut and hand sewed together by my mother from all of these saved scraps. However, this was as far as mother got on the quilt and it was put away into the cedar chest to be finished “someday”.

The star was always in the chest through my childhood and into my adult married years. My mother passed away in July of 2002, so then the star came to me and I put it away in a drawer thinking always that “someday” I would find a way to have it made into a quilt.

One day I took it out of the drawer to show to my daughter Alisa Anne Quist, who immediately knew what a treasure we had. Thus, I passed it on to her and she cared for it for about 10 years. 

During 2010 Alisa met a lovely neighbor lady one day as she was walking her dogs. They became friends and Alisa learned that she was an expert quilting teacher and designer. My daughter did some graphic design work for her and in spring of 2012 Alisa took the star out and showed it to her new friend, Kerry Green, to see if she could give her some information about completing the quilt. Needless to say Kerry had all the answers and became my daughter’s advisor while she completed the quilt to give to me for Christmas 2012.

The quilt was finally completed about 90 years after it was started. And so this is the story of our “Family Star Quilt”, which has been helped on its way to completion by five generations of the women in our family, and one very good friend. 

 Kay Quist is a well known artist and with the help of her daughter, Alisa, publishes instructional tole painting books.  Kay's logo is a basket brimming over with flowers and it was important to Alisa that this image be included in the quilt.  Expert machine quilter, Cindy Paulsen, quilted Kay's logo in the corners and continued flower motifs in the borders.

When Alisa brought the star to me it was a bit crooked and needed a few repairs where the hand piecing had worn over the years.  We straightened up the star, added the corners and setting triangles, then  purchased 30's fabrics for the borders that perfectly matched the fabrics used in the star.  Rather than quilting in the ditch, Cindy quilted inside each diamond with a slight curve to minimize any crooked pieces. 

I'm happy I was able to play a small part in bring this dream to life for Alisa and Kay.

p.s.  don't forget to label your quilts!

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