Vintage Quilt + Gratitude

This summer I received one of the funnest surprises in the mail – this gorgeous vintage quilt from my friend Cathy in Kansas. She makes quilts for people who really need them and I offered to send her some fabric for her good cause. In return she asked me if she could send me an old quilt that she had.

When the quilt arrived, I about died! It was so gorgeous and in amazing condition. I laid it on my floor so I could look at it while I worked that day. The pattern is Kansas Dugout and it is hand quilted, and probably hand-pieced. (Red Pepper Quilts has a free Kansas Dugout tutorial if you’re feeling inspired.) My best guess is that it’s 1940’s-50’s. (Feel free to weigh-in if you have an opinion.) I finally took it out to get some pictures a couple of weeks ago when I shot my Hadley quilt.
I love looking at the individual vintage fabrics. I think one of my favorite parts of old quilts is that the fabrics are so scrappy and random – not matchy-matchy at all – because they were legitimate scraps leftover from everyday sewing. And the effect is so great. Also, many of the vintage fabrics are really quite “modern” – check out that turquoise and chartreuse dahlia in the middle on the left. I’d love some of that one!

I think this picture is my favorite. I’m still a little blown away at Cathy’s generosity. This quilt is such a treasure. So I thought it would be a perfect thing to share in honor Thanksgiving today. I have witnessed many generous acts over the past year that have touched and inspired me – most of them done privately and unselfishly. I guess I’m choosing this quilt as the symbol of that kind of love and generosity. It’s amazing to see the ripple effects a kind and loving act has on so many people.

Before I sign off and wish you happy day of giving thanks and maybe gorging yourself on food (even if you’re not American, feel free to take advantage of that opportunity), one of my favorite thoughts about gratitude: 
“Everyone’s situation is different, and the details of each life are unique. Nevertheless, I have learned that there is something that would take away the bitterness that may come into our lives. There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, more joyful, even glorious.
We can be grateful!
It might sound contrary to the wisdom of the world to suggest that one who is burdened with sorrow should give thanks to God. But those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding.” 
From Dieter F. Uchtdorf (full message here)
Happy Thanksgiving!

New Dresden block, bow-ties, and valentines projects

I have been itching to sew for weeks. We’ve had a lot going on with holiday hoopla, a family wedding, and extended family staying with us for a week – all very good things – but I have hardly touched my sewing machine for weeks. I had big plans for this weekend to clean up Christmas, start a bunch of new projects, and clean out my sewing room. But then I got my annual post-Christmas bug and instead I feel like a piece of crud. I guess those things will wait.

Before I started feeling too crumby I did get to make a little Dresden bee block for Lori Holt. I think it turned out so cute and it went so fast. This Dresden has fewer and fatter wedges, cut using Lori’s small “thimble” template. Lori has this Dresden tutorial on her blog.

Even though I haven’t sewn much, I did make my first ever handmade bow-ties last weekend for the wedding. I’m kind of proud of how they turned out. I just searched Bow Tie Tutorials on Pinterest, read a bunch of them and then went for it. I may make more of these in my future, because they looked so cute on my guys and weren’t nearly as tricky as I’d feared. :)
If, unlike yours truly, your Christmas decor is cleaned up and put away and you’re itching to get ready for the next holiday, may I suggest some pieced heart pillows?
Inline image 1
My pillows and pattern are featured in the current issue of Quilt It…Today. I snapped a picture of an issue in the wild when I saw it at JoAnn’s right before Christmas (and got some interesting looks while doing so), but must have accidentally deleted it from my phone. :(  This issue is also available from the Fat Quarter Shop.

Also, the Fat Quarter Shop has made this cute Lover’s Lane Quilt using Tanya Whelen’s Valentine Roses fabrics and my Brickyard quilt pattern. Kits are also available!

That will have to suffice for now. More thoughts on goals and plans for 2014 when this wretched cough stops so I can process life again.

Valentines Projects

I’m starting to pull out the Valentine’s Day decor. I tend to leave a lot of my red and white decorations up after Christmas, including my snowflake pillows because they add some color right Valentine’s Day.  

This year I have a fun new wall hanging to add to my Valentine’s decor – my Love Notes quilt created for the Moda Sweet Celebrationsbook.

Sweet Celebrationsis full of projects for ideas throughout the year. I have a handful of copies of Sweet Celebrations left in my shop. They are on sale for 30% off for the rest of the week and will probably go fast. There is only one left.

I designed this quilt with my own family in mind – creating pockets where valentines or other love notes can be shared. The fabric is from Aneela Hoey’s Walk in the Woods collection. Perfect colors with out being over the top valentines-y.

Some other favorite Valentine projects: A quick – and coordinating – project is this simple Heart throw-pillow. You can find the tutorial here.

This is a tutorial for a quick and simple scrappy 9-patch mini-quilt that I made last year. It would be an easy way to use up red, pink and white scraps for a fast project.

Finally, the Heart Quilt block tutorial I shared this past October. Now it’s finally seasonal!

from Martha Stewart
And one of my all-time favorite Valentine’s decorations/ways to use up old, broken crayons, are these wax hearts from Martha Stewart. So simple and they always turn out so cool!  If you have other favorite Valentine projects, feel free to add them in the comments! It’s so nice to have something colorful and cheery to get through the blah month of January.

Fall Mini Quilt and Giving Thanks

After putting away the Halloween decorations, my kitchen table was looking really bare.  I decided I “needed” a new fall-ish mini quilt to spice up my bare space.  I’ve also been inspired by all the mini-quilts growing out there in quilt-cyberspace, thanks to Amylouwho.  I was lucky enough to get one of those Moda mini (2.5″) charm packsin the new collection, Late Bloomers by Sandy Gervais in my Sewing Summit swag bag.  Perfect.

I added a few prints from the stash – I wanted a little more orange in there – and voila: a nice, fall mini-quilt/table-topper extraordinaire.  I was originally going to do something fancy, but in the end, I ended up happy with the simplicity of these random 9-patches.  I sashed the blocks with some Essex cotton/linen blend.  I love the texture linen gives and the blend makes it a little easier to work with. (I always get my Essex cotton/linen from Canton Village Quilt Works.)

I did the quilting myself – hence the straight lines – but I really like how it turned out. I’m getting more confident in my quilting skills.  Maybe yet another good reason to make more mini-quilts.  I may even get up the courage to try some free-motion quilting, one of these days.

And there you go.  As many of you know it’s the Thanksgiving holiday here in the States.  One of my favorite holidays of the year.  We are having a lot of my family to my house for our Thanksgiving dinner.  My husband is in charge of the Turkey again this year.  Last year he tried Calli’s brining method with total success.  (I tried making my first turkey 2 years ago and lets just say it was not a total success.)  With my mom bringing pies and my favorite stuffing, things are looking good for a delicious thanksgiving feast.  A win-win for all.

I love this time of year to contemplate all that I have to be thankful for.  And while I’m here, let me take this opportunity to thank you for visiting this blog and for all the kind comments and encouragement that you leave.  Happy Thanksgiving to you!