Monday, June 30, 2014

Memorial Quilt: Kilt & Coat Quilt #1

I have been working on these quilts - four in total - for a long time. I am excited to share the results with you.

The quilts are made from kilts and coats that were in the families mothers attic. There were kilts, coats & traditional Irish dresses from their childhood. The fabrics, textures and colors were bright and beautiful - a mixture of wools, velvets, cotton (and maybe some mystery blends.) 

I decided to add some white flannel to all the quilts - flannel because it is soft and snuggly - but also because it compliments and blends into the texture of the wool kilts and coats. All the squares were cut to 2.5"x2.5" and are 2"x2" finished.

I was very careful when I took the clothes apart to preserve all the details. I took the ribbon off and reattached it to strips of flannel to use as squares. I didn't want to waste any ribbon detail so there is a button hole included in one block.

I left some trim and lace on in some places. I love how you discover something new in every square.

 The center of this quilt is a panel from a blue cotton summer dress.

I used most of the rest of this blue cotton dress in the diagonals lines of the triple Irish Chain pattern. I added some matching blue flannel so that I had enough of the same color to complete the pattern.

In the center of each chain is a flower ....

... which is surrounded by tiny pebbles. Would you believe me if I told you each flower took me 1hr to complete?

The border of the quilts is taken from the blue velvet in this dress ....

... I LOVE quilting velvet. It is gorgeous to work with. 

The binding is made from an old school uniform.

And I love the back. (I couldn't decide which photo I liked the best ....)

AND just to remind you of what some of the different materials started as ...

 Childhood wool coats

13 wool kilts

This is the first of four quilts I completed for the family.

For me there are several really exciting moments in a project like this - being given the work is such a tremendous tremendous honor - the moment you load the finished top on the machine is so exciting - then finishing the quilting is even more exciting - and finally when you hand the materials back to the family as a finished quilt - that feeling is just something else.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mix and Match Quilting Designs

I love the idea of throwing lots of different quilting motifs together into negative space on quilts.

Here are two little baby quilts I put together using various different motifs. The motifs for some reason took on a beach theme. With shells, swirls, waves, pebbles, ripples and can you spot the attempt at a razor shell type shape?

The thread I used was Sahara Desert King Tut by Superior Threads - which is a variegated thread with the gentle changes of beige tones - simply gorgeous and blended into the linen like a dream. I've come a long way in 6 months from only using invisible thread to using colored threads. I'm becoming braver for sure. I'm starting to notice what some have been saying about using different threads for machine quilting.

AND the great thing about my dainty 12ft Handiquilter Fusion is that you can load two quilts tops at the same time and quilt them as you go - trimming after you have finished. You can tell from the backs that these baby quilts were loaded on side by side. I'm sure some longarm quilter is rolling their eyes at such a no no - but it worked for me .......

The strange thing for me now is when I look at the backs of quilts with utter glee - inspecting and feeling pleased with my balanced tension thinking 'wow I'm actually a real quilter'. And to me - that just seems like the most exciting thing in the world.

I could have quilted this beige on beige for ever and never have got bored. I think I could quilt white thread on top of white cotton and just be happy making endless texture on fabric .... I'm an odd type of bunny I know.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Working Hard

I have been working hard on a number of projects. I have five Memorial quilts that I am really excited to share with you - but not yet because the families have not yet seen them.

Meanwhile I have been trying to fit in progress on various other projects.

Detail of Baby Playmat. 

It is a busy month at the church this month with six new babies being baptized on a single Sunday so that is six little baby quilts. I have the top finished on Bess Beetle's quilt as well as - excited about that one. I have also finished the top for a quilt that I used Bunny #1 first fabric line with. I have a collection of really lovely quilt tops from members of my guild and beyond that I'm very excited about getting to (endless pouring over gorgeous thread colors.) All in all - I'm exhausted - totally in love with my longarm (we have been together now for 6 months!) and trying to find that balance between work, spending time with my gorgeous little ones and finding the odd moment to sit down (and yes - saying hello to the husband from time to time!)

 Baby Playmat with meandering square quilting design

The quilting candy are two little baby playmats I made for the new babies being baptized. Lost blocks appliqued in the middle, fun quilting designs, recycled ribbon loops for playing with or hooking on toys.

Free hand meandering squares and triangles design 

 Free hand triangles are really rather hard .... but I think it looks quite cool!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Teachers Appreciation Gifts: Hand Print Pillows

I can not believe that the end of school is nearly here again and I found myself yearning to make me all time favorite project - hand print pillows. You might remember that we made them first for Mother's Day and for teacher appreciation gifts last year. 

This year we had 3 pillows to make. A total of 21 children aged from 18months to 5 years popped around at one time or another to let me paint their hands and print them on fabric. With the age of the kids you are working with you just have to embrace the imperfections and go with it. This year I used Jacquard Fabric Paints & painted the leaves & stems onto the pillows.

I wanted to do some different designs this year so we have a flower bed of flowers ....

.... with a plant label, quilted in swirls and brown yarn for the earth.

We have a bouquet ....

... with gift tag ...

... quilted in pebbles & feather swirls.

And the old classic of flowers in a vase ....

... with gift tag ...

.... and quilted in pebbles, swirls & waves.

AND  I am very proud to share this shot with you - another school year over and I am one proud proud Mummy. I love this project - perhaps we will do it again next year!

Quilting A Memory: Applications Open for Service Familes

I am pleased (and a bit proud if I am honest) to be able to say that I have raised enough money to offer some US service families free memorial quilts (to be completed in early 2015.)

Quilting A Memory is a charitable organization that I have set up to provide free quilting services to the families of fallen or lost service men & women using their clothes & uniforms. By working with the families I personally prepare, deconstruct, sew together and quilt unique detailed quilts which do not look like clothing or uniforms. Quilts that can blend into your home, can be used in everyday life - something beautiful, practical and filled with love and memories. (We have filed our 501c3 status with the IRS - and we have already been receiving donations.)

Memorial Quilt made from a Fallen Soldiers Uniform

If you know of a service family who has been impacted by the loss of a loved one and you think that they might appreciate this service please let me know. I can reach out to them personally or you can tell them of the services of this charity. I am happy to discuss with anyone the detailed process of making these quilts.

Memorial Quilt made from Ladies Shirts

I am really looking forward to working with more families and being able to make these quilts for them. The feedback I have received from families so far as been amazing.

Memorial Quilt made from a 9/11 Firefighters T-shirts

I am expecting additional donations during 2014 so if there are many families applying for quilts I will start a waiting list and funds will be allocated to a families quilt as they come in. 

Please forward this information to any families you think might be interested or you can contact me at for more details

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Quilt without Borders

Margaret is a lovely member of the NYC Metro Modern Quilt Guild and her niece - a quilter who lives in France and who volunteers for the International Festival of Extraordinary Textiles - asked Margaret for her help. 

Margaret guided members of the guild to create a modern quilt that will be used during a picnic in the Jardin Lecoq park. The picnic will be done "flash mob" style with people showing up, a quilt under their arm.  Then when a text message arrives the quilts will be opened and spread on the grass. After the picnic the quilts will be auctioned off to benefit Doctors Without Borders.

The quilts have to be made of recycled fabric - which is more than close to my heart.

The quilt Margaret put together is made from old sample upholstery/drapery fabric.

I sewed together left over cotton batting remenants to ensure we kept the theme going and used odd bits of thread cones I had left over for the quilting. 

I practiced my feathers. 


I had a lot of fun quilting this mainly because every patch of fabric was different and gorgeous. I'm not sure that the photos do the materials justice - but there were plush velvets, ...

... silks, fake suedes, gold threads and plush richness all over this quilt. I kept 'ooohing & aaaahing' over the various different textures and colors. 

When I quilt I tend to quilt with the longarm I quilt one handed the other hand laying softly on the fabric and often that feeling of touching the soft fabric on my hand makes me feel very calm and centered - does that sound like the weirdest thing ever - or do other people experience that textural induced zen???

I didn't have enough time to bind the quilt for Margaret - but she seemed very pleased with the result.

I have quite a stash of random upholstery material - both donated and from our own house projects. This quilt has given me a huge amount of inspiration to put them to good use.