Tag Archives: quilting

Project Sampler Quilt: Phase 1

I spent a majority of my night last night, after Doctor Who was over of course (how funny was it to find out that Rory was a Weasley?  And we always knew that Filch was a mean guy but really…what did the Silurians ever do to you Filch?), reading through the first few chapters of my Big Book of Quilting.  The first few pages I could skip because I already had a majority of my tools and that was mostly what it discussed.  I moved into the “planning your quilt section.”

This book is fantastic for someone who is just getting started and I can understand why my aunt had it.  It gives very clear and concise directions on how to achieve certain patterns, tips on cutting, tips on sewing, tips on how to lay it out.  Everything is included in this book and it’s great.

I knew I was ok with the sewing part.  Though I did learn something that I probably should have known – the size of the pieces should be a 1/2″ bigger than the actual piece allowing for the 1/4″ seam.  I think my aunt told me that, I have a feeling I simply forgot.  Good thing I read it or I would have been going insane when I measured and found I was short.

The next part, the difficult part, was deciding on a quilt size and layout.  This part was really intimidating for me.  I don’t know why.  I think it’s because I kept thinking about the end product and how long it was going to take me to do to the quilting.  Do I go small and safe?  Do I attempt to make something a little larger?  I knew that I was not ready to make my queen sized bed fitting quilt.  Though someday I hope to have a beautiful quilt atop my bed and maybe one for each family member who would like one.  It was hard, so I deferred to the book.  They suggested doing a medium-sized quilt.  I am being vague right now and not proving the specific measurements in case I change my mind.

Once that decision was made, I began to select blocks to include in this sampler. For those not familiar with a sampler quilt, it was created as a way for women to remember blocks that they liked.   Since blocks sometimes have very unique names and are often variations on other blocks, it was easier for women to sew a replica of the block they liked to keep it as a reference.  They then would sew them together into a quilt, forever keeping the block in a “library” of sorts.  I like this idea.  It’s kind of neat to think of women doing that and sharing their block patterns.  I’m a sucker for historical things, especially when they involve traditions like this.

A really pretty sampler quilt

Now that I’ve picked out my blocks that I want to do, I am anxious to get started picking out the right colors.  I recently went to an estate sale and the woman who had lived there was an avid quilter.  I mean she had one whole bedroom for her quilting.  Shelves stacked to the ceiling of fabrics, bookcases full of quilting books, completed blocks, halfway completed blocks…it was like a treasure trove of quilting supplies and tools.  I didn’t have enough time or money to go through and get all of the fabrics that caught my eye but, I was able to get some great blues, purples, pinks, and a few prints.  I think that for my sampler, I want to use some of the blues I got.  I need to figure out if I want to do the blues with the pinks or if I want to go get some cream/tan/white colors and some greens.  I am really leaning toward the creams/tans/whites because it think it will look great.  Plus the pinks and purples really look cool with this print I found so I think I’m going to do those as another quilt.  It’s days like this that I really miss my aunt.  She would have gone with me to shop for fabrics and given me some great advice.  I suppose I need to learn to trust myself a little more and know that I learned how to match colors a long time ago.

I can see that this is going to become an obsession.  The planning is fun, the coordinating is fun, the sewing will be fun.  Once I get over the fear of the finishing part, I bet that will be fantastic!

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Mission Completion: One Rag Quilt for One Satisfied Customer!

I finished it.  It’s not a major accomplishment because it’s really a small little quilt but it’s finished nonetheless! (Sorry about the somewhat blurry pics!)

The Daughter and her new quilt!

It was a fun little project.  I used her old baby receiving blankets so it really is one of the softest quilts ever! The top is fraying nicely because of the cotton squares.  It’s going to look great once it really gets a little more frayed on top.

The Front

I had a helper and I’m sure that’s why the pattern on the front is a little off.  I didn’t notice it until this morning.  I guess I was just so focused on finishing that I somehow missed it.  It adds character though so I’m okay with it.  Beside, the Daughter isn’t too upset about it.  Just my OCD is a little bothered by it.  Oh well.  It could look a lot worse!

The back ended up being a little different from the original pattern called for only because I didn’t have enough squares for the back.  So my improvisation was to just make larger squares and patchwork them across the back.

The Back

I had slightly different receiving blankets for the back but thankfully they sell those soft blankets in sets of three and usually in some kind of matching color scheme so they all look good together.

The Daughter has spent the morning with the quilt wrapped around her, just enjoying it so much which is good enough for me.

Using the machine did make for quick work and did make me feel a little better about the construction.  I don’t know why I always doubt my hand stitching abilities but I do and for some reason, I feel like the machine makes it more durable.

I think this little quilt will become the daycare nap time blanket.  The Daughter’s daycare does not allow fleece blankets so this cotton blanket will fit the bill perfectly!

An example of a Sampler Quilt

I think I’m going to start figuring out what is needed for the sampler quilt I’m going to tackle next.  That one is going to be a lot more intense and a lot more time-consuming but I’m excited to do it!  I need to really work on my skills.  My cutting skills in particular.  I guess I know a few things I’ll be asking for at Christmas!

It will be fun though and I’m excited for it.  It’s always fun for me to learn something new and actually have something to show for it in the end.  Who knows, maybe I’ll enter one in the Barnstable County Fair some day, though this past year, there were some pretty amazing quilts in the exhibition house.   Either way, it’s a fun hobby and it keeps me from grazing through the kitchen at night so that’s a MAJOR plus in my book.

I keep thinking of when I quit smoking.  I had to relearn how to do things in a way.  Like starting my car did not mean lighting a cigarette.  It’s the same thing with my relationship with food.  I need to relearn that even though I’m bored or stressed about something, I do not need to eat.   I need to do something else.  Quilting at night is perfect.  So is writing. It’s something that makes me forget about the kitchen.  I wish I could explain why I feel the need to eat when I get bored or stressed.  I am not sure I am ready to put that into words or even if I can put it into words now but, I can say that I’m happy to have a new hobby that will help me battle my bulge during those nighttime problem times.


Filed under Crafts, Healthy Me - Yay!, My Relationship with Food, Quilting

The (Unofficial) End of Summer

Another Labor Day has come and gone.  It was a perfect weekend.  A day of family tennis one day, relaxing on the back patio, picnic lunches, ice cream cones, making progress on some projects, and just enjoying the days.

Mint Chip is second only to Mint Oreo

Family tennis day was fun.  It was the first time I actually pushed myself after surgery.  I am feeling it today, sadly.  It’s like overnight, I became an 85 year old woman with creaks and aches.  It’s just one more reminder why after this blog post, I’m going to finish logging my food day in my WW journal and on MFP.  It was fun though.  I got to use my ball hopper for the first time – it’s the little things for me.

Today we had a very nice, though chilly, picnic dinner at South Cape Beach.  The Daughter got to burn off even more energy running around after she had her dinner.  Then home we came so I could keep chipping away at this:

The top – it’s draped over a chair so it looks like it’s only three blocks long.

It is almost done.  The top is done except for the fraying of the seams.  I didn’t have enough squares to do it as it was written in the blog I found the project on so I’m doing my own twist on it.  I’m going to do the back as larger squares, the size of 4 small squares, and make a patchwork back.  It will look a little different but I think it will be good. I love how soft it is.  I had saved all of the Daughter’s receiving blankets and they were sitting in her closet.  I thought this project was perfect for using them. I figure that once it’s done, she can bring it to pre-school as her nap blanket.  Did I mention how soft it is?  I did, but really, it’s so soft!

The Daughter wanted to be my “passer” – the person who hands me the next square as I was pinning things together.  Needless to say, I let her do it – how could I say no?  She sat quietly next to me watching me sew, occasionally asking me questions only a 3 year old would think of: “Mommy, how does the machine sew?  Mommy, do you need to pin it there? Mommy, why are you using this square?”  I couldn’t help but smile as I answered each question because I knew in the empty chair across from me, my Aunt was sitting and smiling at the two of us, sewing and quilting together.

I used the machine for this one which really made it quick sewing.  I think the next project I’m eying ( a beginner’s sampler quilt) is going to be a little tougher to machine sew.  I could be wrong, but we’ll see.  I picked up two quilting books at an estate sale the other day for a dollar and they are both fantastic!  So in addition to the Big Book of Quilting that was my Aunt’s, I now have two more books to compliment it and add to my library of quilting square patterns.

This book has the pattern for my next project

Now that my machine and I are friends, I think between quilting, I’m going to attempt another dress or maybe pjs for the munchkin.  I’ve been diving into all kinds of sewing blogs and they all have some fantastic ideas and I’m getting excited to try some of them out.

It’s a rewarding feeling to make something out of nothing.  If you have never done it, why not try?  You never know what may come of it.

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The squares are cut!


The first step is done! I still feel like I need lessons on cutting hahaha!

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August 8, 2012 · 5:04 pm

How Did She Use a Paper Template?!

I started cutting squares last night.   The pattern that I’m doing requires six 6″ squares of six different kinds of fabric.  My aunt always did it with paper templates, cutting the pieces one at time or doubling it up somehow.

These aren’t my squares but some pretty squares that are the product of someone’s more skilled hand.

I don’t know how she did it.  After one set of squares, I was annoyed. I usually don’t mind things that take time.  That’s why I like doing cross-stitching.  It’s slow and calming.  Cutting those squares was not calming.  Pinning the paper didn’t work so well.  Holding it didn’t work so well.  I came close to just rolling up the fabric and tossing it all into the corner of the room while yelling some not so nice things at it.  As if it were the fabric’s fault that I couldn’t cut right.

Needless to say, a trip to the fabric store is in my immediate future.  I will be buying a cutting board and a rotary cutter.  Clearly, I am not yet at the level where I can hand cut all the pieces.  I feel like I failed kindergarten – basic cutting.

She did not fail cutting in Kindergarten

On a more positive note, at least I started.  I don’t think this will be a hard project as it’s just a rag quilt nothing fancy required.  I’m thinking that I might be able to work on it while I’m recovering from my surgery later this week.  That was partially my motivation for trying to cut the squares before Friday, the date of my surgery.

So, time to get moving and make the trip to the fabric store to stock up on a few supplies.  Hopefully I will be able to cut a little better once I have something to make cutting squares more easy!


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Quilting in the Summer – Crazy or Crazy Smart?

I learned how to quilt from my late aunt.  She was crafty before crafty was cool.  She quilted six baby quilts for me, my three brothers, and my two cousins.  They are all treasured mementos and I know that, at least for me, it’s one of the few things I will be sure to grab if the house ever caught on fire.  When she was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer in 2008, I was 6 months pregnant.  We had just laid my Nana to rest and then the news of my Aunt’s illness came almost instantly on  top it.  We knew she was sick, we just didn’t realize it was Stage 4 Cancer.  Needless to say, wrapping my head around all of that at once was an impossible thing.

I had trouble with the emotions – missing my Nana, happy about my healthy baby girl, angry about my Aunt’s cancer, excited picking out nursery items…it was a roller coaster that might have rivaled Kingda Ka.

One day, when I was going to Stop and Shop, I got a phone call from my Uncle.  My Uncle hardly ever calls me so when I saw his name pop up on my phone, I didn’t know what to expect.  What followed in the next few minutes were intense and at the same time so beautiful in retrospect.  He was asking me to spend time with my Aunt and make my daughter’s baby blanket.  It was hard.  I didn’t know if I could do it.  She was practically my second mom and every day I miss her because I look at my daughter and know how much my Aunt would have loved her and laughed with her.  He didn’t want me to regret not spending the time with her to make something so special – my lasting memories.

She taught me how to quilt over those months.  I would go and sit and stitch by hand each piece into the pattern.  We would talk about life, memories of the family, how the baby was moving, cute clothing I saw for her, doctors appointments, chemo treatments, religion, music, books.  It was wonderful.  She had it mostly finished by the time my shower was held.

She worked tirelessly to complete it despite going through some of the sickest months of her life.  But she finished it.  She lived to see my daughter who was named after her mother.  She held her.  She laughed with her at my daughter’s first Christmas.  She played with her.  My heart smiled.

After she passed, I was told by a few people that it was now up to me to continue the tradition of the baby quilts since I was the one who was taught how to quilt from her.  The woman once made curtains out of throw blankets and they were the prettiest curtains I remember seeing…and it was so simple!!

Fast forward to now…I’m going to attempt my first quilt.

I am trying not to be too nervous.  And it’s weird because in the back of my head, I keep thinking that I wish I could call her for some advice.  I just have to trust that she taught me the basics and once I master those basics, I can continue on.  The pattern I found was on a free site and it claims that it’s “easy.”  We shall find out if their definition of easy and my definition of easy are the same.

The pattern is nothing crazy.  I’m still a little nervous. I am pretty sure I picked an easy one….check it out – this blog has some pretty awesome ideas.

So, over the next few days, expect to see a photo or two of my progress.  It says that it’s a weekend project but I’m going to really take my time and make sure I do it correctly.  I might also cheat and use my handy dandy sewing machine.

Wish me luck!

I also promise that my next post won’t be so heavy…don’t know where that all came from but it was good to get out there.  Next time I’ll post something about milk shooting out of someone’s nose, the latest “Call Me Maybe” cover, or something…



Filed under Crafts, Family