Sunday, May 6, 2018

One Monthly Goal :: May 2018

Another month, another goal. I have a stack of quilt tops to quilt, so you would think my goal would lie somewhere in there.

However, I'm going to do something different this month. I have three little goals that I can work into one project. I just need the push to get started. Thank you, Elm Street Quilts!

#1: I really want to learn to free motion. I have used straight line or spiral motion for most of the 107 (!) quilts I've made so far. I really like the look, but I want to expand my repertoire.

#2: I also want to learn Quilt as You Go. I have a TON of batting scraps (hello, 107 quilts!) and I can only make so many microwave cozies. I'm planning to use Quilt As-You-Go by Jera Brandvig.

#3: Speaking of scraps, I want to start an Oops quilt of all my practice blocks, extras, and not quite right for the project blocks I have overflowing in a bin.

So my goal for May is start my Oops quilt using free motion and QAYG techniques. I will work on this as I'm also tackling that big stack of quilts from the top of the page, so I'm making a modest goal of 5 blocks this month. I think once I get started, I'll really like it. I just need to get over my fears and dig in!

Here's a recap of other One Monthly Goals I have made. 

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

One Monthly Goal :: April 2018 update

It's that time again, the end of the month means time to post an update on my One Monthly Goal. 

When I set my One Monthly Goal for April, I was sailing the Caribbean. As I write this update back home in Ohio, it is overcast and rainy. Fortunately, the colors of the quilt reminded me of the warmth and beauty of our trip.

At the start of the month, I only had a few blocks done. I made them over a year ago after my friend Jamie got engaged. I knew I wanted to make her a scrappy, beachy quilt for her wedding to Toben, but I didn't have the actual design figured out.

The "love" letters are paper pieced using the Wonky Alphabet pattern I bought from Kelby Sews. For the "HEIM" in the middle, I made my own templates in the same style as Kelby's lowercase letters. Here they are in reverse because I love the stained glass look of a quilt top in the sun.

Today is actually Jamie & Toben's first anniversary. I didn't quite finish the quilt, but the top is done and should be headed their way soon.

Here's a recap of other One Monthly Goals I have made. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Quilt #100--and #101, #102, #103, #104, and #105--Gramma Ann Memory Quilt

Once upon a long time ago...actually nine months ago, I started what I thought would be a simple fun mystery quilt designed by Pat Sloan. 2017 was the year of social quilting for me, and I joined (too?) many quilt alongs. 

When the quilt along started, all I knew was the name, Grandma's Kitchen. I made my first block with a picture of my Gramma Ann's kitchen, which fascinated me as a little girl because the cabinet doors were push-activated.

I shared the block on a text message with my mom and four aunts. They oohed and ahhed and shared their memories of Gramma Ann's kitchen.

Gramma Ann passed away in 2014. She was an incredible woman who witnessed dramatic change in the world during her 93 years: WW2 bride, Avon lady, newspaper writer, game warden's wife, mom to five vivacious girls, lover of the outdoors, travel, fishing, golf, cards, Dr. Oz, Betty Boop, leopard print, babies, God, and "her pool." She spent most of her life in Minnesota and Arizona before her final years in Wisconsin. In her later years, she was almost always found with a crochet hook in hand, churning out scrubbies that she would give away as gifts and sell for a dollar at garage sales.

The last time I visited her in Arizona home, she tried teaching me to crochet and all I succeeded in making was a huge knot. My son was about to start school and I was looking for a hobby to fill my days. Crochet was not to be. I decided to try quilting because my son requested a Thomas the Train quilt. I made it on a $15 machine from Big Lots. The quilt was a mess but I was hooked. And promptly bought a new sewing machine

One of my first quilts was an Irish chain memory quilt for Gramma. I wanted her to see that I could be crafty, but more than that, I wanted her to have something to help her remember her amazing life and everyone she loved.  I was so honored that she asked to have it hung up on her wall to show everyone who visited, and I was really touched that at the end, it kept her warm while it showing the hospice staff that the frail woman they nurtured had lived a full life.

When Gramma passed, I was given a box of her clothes. I wanted to make a memory quilt for me with them, but the emotions of the project stunted my creativity. So I put the box on a shelf and waited for inspiration to hit.

Along came Pat Sloan.

Three weeks into the quilt along, my family went to the Netherlands to visit my in-laws. We brought my mom and Aunt Lori. To tick a box on my Mom's bucket list, and to fulfill one of Gramma Ann's wishes, we took a five day trip to Ireland, the land of Gramma's family.

I wasn't able to sew for those weeks, but I printed off the block instructions and listened to my mom and aunt's ideas. I had decided to use expand Pat's theme to all the facets of Gramma's life. Mom and Lori joked about who should get the quilt, and by the time I returned home, I decided that I would make SIX quilts, one for me, and one for each of Gramma's daughters.

It took several weeks before I was caught up with making six of each of the blocks. The hardest part was not posting any photos. I was spending more time sewing that my Instagram feed would indicate, but I knew it would be worth it to surprise my aunts. 

Mom and Lori were in one the surprise and helped build the discussion with the aunties on a text thread that continued each week as I shared each block. I also wrote up a post for each block for this blog, sharing pictures, telling stories, and writing about the fabric I used for each block, including several using her clothes.

Once Pat shared the layout of her design, I had already decided that I would switch things up so I could include Gramma's name and the years of her life on my quilts.

Around this same time, I realized that I was nearing my 100th quilt finish. I had several quilts in progress, so I made sure that my first Gramma Ann quilt would be my 100th. When I finished the top, I had Niels take pictures of me in front of it, wearing the duster I started wearing in her honor as I sewed.

And then I remembered that Gramma actually died in 2014. Oops...What a relief that I hadn't quilted it yet...or finished piecing the other five quilts!

I should mention that the letters and numbers were used with patterns from Lori Holt's awesome book, Spelling Bee. I have Pat to thank for this, as well, as she promoted it on her page. I love text quilts and have already used the book for several projects. 

Fixed it!

For the back of my quilt, I chose a print that reminded me of the scrubbies I tried to make with Gramma six years ago. 

I shared my quilt with my mom and aunties. They admired it and talked about how much they enjoyed remembering Gramma with me as I worked on it. And then we moved on...or so they thought. I went back to work finishing the other five quilts. 

Once they were all done, we drove all over town looking for a place long enough and with a fence that would allow me to display all six quilts. 

I chose backing for each sister that reflected their personality.

And then, before our family left on vacation, I mailed out the quilts. 

Even though she lives farthest away from me, the first quilt arrived to Auntie Ann, who is the firstborn, and Gramma's namesake. Mom texted her the day her box was due and led Ann to believe that she would be receiving something from her. Ann asked what it was, but Mom wouldn't tell her. While my uncle went to pick the box up, Mom called Ann and added me to the call so I could silently listen in. It was SO fun to hear Ann's surprise and delight and confusion about how she ended up with the quilt. Ann isn't on social media so it was really special to hear the emotion in her voice as she looked at each block.

For the back of Ann's quilt, I chose a Southwest pattern I hoped would fit with her new home and collection of Southwestern art. For the label, I used the photo the Grampa Leo had with him during the war.

Images were shared and Mom, Lori, and I went with the story that Ann got the quilt because she was the namesake. But then, the next day, My aunt Terri, who is currently sharing her home with aunt Mary, received their box. It was so fun to see this text.

While Terri was waiting for Mary to get home from work, Mom received her box! 

For mom's backing, I used the Route 66 fabric I used on block #24 because it included the name of the city where both Gramma and Mom lived for so many years. For the label, I used my favorite photo of the two of them, taken on Mom's wedding day to my dad.

Finally, nearly 10pm my time, Mary and Terri opened their quilts. I'm hoping they send me a photo of them together, but in the meantime, I love that their photos show their different personalities so well 

Mary is always on the move, whether hard at work or hard at play. For the back of her quilt, I used a print with the quote, "Not all who wander are lost." For the label, I used one of my favorite photos of all five sisters together. It was taken on Easter Sunday, in the mid60s. Fitting because her quilt arrived on Good Friday. (Mary is in the red coat).

Terri, like me, is more sentimental. I love this picture of her with her quilt.

Terri is an artist, who paints beautiful watercolors. I chose her backing as a nod to her gift of color and art. For the label I used a photo I just love of her in Gramma's arms.

The final quilt was mailed to my aunt Lori, who was in on the secret all along. She was out of town when I mailed the others, so she asked me to wait until we were back from vacation to send hers. 

For the back of Lori's quilt, I used Minnesota fabric I bought the last time we were in Minnesota, on our way to Russian camp. We spent the night before camp at Lori's house, where I saw the picture I used on her label.

My friend Janice from Quilts of Compassion, gave me six crocheted angels that I was able to give with each quilt. Such a perfect final touch on a project that really started when Gramma tried to teach me to crochet five years ago.

I hope that these six quilts will be well loved and well used. I like the idea of my Aunties taking Gramma with them to the cabin, or enjoying the outdoors,  and snuggled on the couch. I love the idea of my Aunties using the quilt to tell their grandchildren about the wonderful woman who was our matriarch. And I hope Gramma is proud of me for finding my craft.

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Monday, April 2, 2018

April 2018 One Monthly Goal

Greetings from somewhere in the Caribbean where my family and I are enjoying our first cruise with all three of us. Technically, our son was on our last cruise, but he had an inside stateroom since I was 23 weeks pregnant! He says he is enjoying this one much more!

Needless to say, I'm not doing any quilting this week, but I am getting lots of inspiration for my One Monthly Goal (sponsored by Elm Street Quilts). 

There isn't much to show at the moment, but I am starting an ocean-inspired wedding quilt for some friends. I've made a few blocks, but I have many to go. I would love to have the quilt finished by the end of the month--in time for their first anniversary, but with our travel, I may have to settle for getting the top done.

Here's a recap of other One Monthly Goals I have made. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Grandma's Kitchen, block #25: Famous Cookies

After nine months, we have arrived at the final block of my Grandma's Kitchen quilt! In truth, the quilt is finished, but I seem to quilt faster than I write, so it has taken me longer to write up my posts. 

The name of the final block is Famous Cookies

Gramma Ann's famous cookies are her five beloved daughters: Ann, Chi, Mary, Terri, and Lori. 

Earlier in this process, when I made the 7th block, Oh My Stars, I originally used some Scrabble fabric before I found crossword print that fit so well of my memory of seeing her doing her crossword puzzle every morning. She told me that crosswords would keep her brain sharp. And they did, into her 90s!

Gramma did play Scrabble, but it was her daughters who have really embraced the game.

I remember Mom's blue rotating board being brought out at every family gathering, and even now as Gramma's girls are spread out across the US, they still engage in competitive games on Words with Friends.

The Scrabble fabric line is long out of print, but I had some left over from the Western Scrabble quilt I made for my mom.

I knew immediately that I had to use the Scrabble fabric for this last block. 

And the blue striped fabric surrounding the Scrabble tile blocks is from one of Gramma's shirts. 

It isn't often that all five sisters are able to get together, but much fun is had when they are! 

First gathering since Gramma's funeral, Spring 2018.
Gramma's funeral, Spring 2014

Grampa Leo's 80th birthday, 90s

Blackduck, 80s
Blackduck, MN, late 70s

Easter Sunday, mid 60s.
Hanging in Gramma's House in Arizona
I know that Gramma was very proud of all of her girls, who she raised to be independent, intelligent, curious, and lovers of life and laughter.

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