Monday, October 23, 2017

Grandma's Kitchen: The Layout!

In addition to remembering my Gramma, and hearing stories from my mom and sisters, one of my favorite things about working on Pat Sloan's Grandma's kitchen mystery quilt has been sharing her story with those of you kind enough to read this blog and gracious enough to leave comments.

My next Gramma story (and block) will have to wait a week because this week Pat shared the layout!

If I put my completed blocks in the Pat's layout, it looks like this. 

This is my first mystery quilt from Pat, but I can tell from her other quilts that she likes non-traditional layouts. This is her Summer Solstice mystery quilt. 

As I've been making my blocks, I've been curious to know if I might be able to put photos in the quilt. When I made Gramma her quilt, I included photos from throughout her life. She loved seeing pictures of all the people she loved. I want to have pictures of her on my quilt, so I teach my son about her.

I've been playing around a bit with Pat's layout to see how I can add photos into some of her filler spaces. The simplest thing would be to add 8" x10" photos to the spaces where there is 8" or more of filler. I do have to scooch blocks over a bit in rows four and five, and I would have room for a photo in row 6.

Another option would be to remove most of the fillers to add more photos in a symmetrical arrangement.

And finally, if I want more photos, as well as a block that I will use text to give information about the blocks and photos, I came up with this layout. The pink are the large blocks. Green are the smaller blocks. Blue are photos. Black is the description block. I'm not sure if I would do the filler as solid strips or squares.

If I went with the last layout, it would look something like this. 

I'd really like to see the options on my design wall, but it's a little blocked at the moment because we just had our carpet cleaned so we have stuff from my craft room and our son's room filling up the laundry room where my design wall lives.

Currently, I have my October One Monthly Goal, Stella's Memory quilt, on the wall. I am determined to finally finish this quilt this month so her mama can finally have her comfort quilt. 

And I also have three of these "Cards and Cowboys" quilt tops ready to quilt and send to Las Vegas. 

That said, I think I have a little time before I need to decide on a final layout. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to the next block on Wednesday!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cricut Mini Quilt

2017 has been the year of social quilting. I'm feeling more confident in my art so I have expanded a bit out of my comfort zone this year and joined an online bee, am participating in a couple of swaps, am sewing up a storm with my various quilt alongs, and now, I am crossing something new off my bucket list: I'm submitting my first piece in a contest.

Every time I go to a quilt show, like I did this weekend, I see displays for contests and I think, "How do people hear about these things? I want to play!" I haven't completely answered that question, but by chance, I did hear about the Cricut Mini Quilt contest and had enough time to enter a submission.

Cricut is a cutting matching similar to the Silhouette Cameo I use. I have the original Cameo, bought in 2013. At the time, I went with Cameo because it was the only option for creating your own designs. I've started thinking about upgrading to the Silhouette Cameo 3, but now since learning about this contest, I'm impressed with the Cricut Maker, which looks pretty great, too. Cricuts have come a long way in the last few years! Three lucky winners of the mini-quilt contest will win one of these beasts. 

There was a very short window for making the mini-quilt. The quilt can be any design, as long as it uses any combination of green, gray/silver, and white fabric and measures 12" x 12." 

I decided to paper piece a block using a smaller version of the pattern I created for my Fireworks for Ingrid quilt. 

I took extra care to make sure my points matched up. When I had all four sections done, I played around with the layout. I chose the middle one because I thought it had the best "wow factor" to stick out from the other submissions--fingers crossed!

I am pretty pleased with my points. The middle got pretty thick with two points intersecting, but I was able to push down the seams quite a bit so the block lays flat.

I had so many kind compliments on the spiral quilting on Ingrid's quilt, I decided to do the same thing with my mini. I used silver metallic thread. I've been scared to use it in the past, but I loved the way it looked with the prints I chose. 

I don't have a stitch regulator on my Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2--my only complaint!--so I quilted slowly to keep my stitches even.  The hardest part is the beginning when the spiral is so tight and the initial semi-circle unfurls. 

I have been quilting for 4.5 years and am working on my 90th quilt. Every single time I've bought a quilt, I did it all by machine. I know that hand quilted binding is preferred at shows, but it's always been too overwhelming for me to try. 

After attaching the binding--by machine--I sat and stared at it awhile. On one hand, the mini size makes it a good option to try something new. On the other hand, since this is for a contest, I want to submit my very best work. 

I decided to do the binding by hand. I watched a couple of video tutorials and got started. It took awhile to get into a rhythm, but I can see why some people find it relaxing. Realistically though, I think I will stick to machine binding because by the time I get to the binding, I'm itching to start my next quilt!

Not too bad for my first time. 

Tomorrow my mini will go in the mail and I will cross my fingers. The top 32 minis will be displayed at the Houston Quilt Festival in a few weeks, and the top 3 will win a Cricut makers. I figure I'm a winner for trying new, scary things and entering my first contest!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Grandma's Kitchen, block #16: Small Change

It's week 16 of  Pat Sloan's Grandma's Kitchen quilt along! My family and I are really enjoying the comments my lovely readers are leaving. It makes me happy to know that Gramma is still making people smile.

The name of this week's block is Small Change, inspired by the pocket change Pat's grandparents would give her as a child.

From the theme of small change, my take features two ways that Gramma made a little money. As a young mom, Gramma wrote and took pictures for the Bemidji Pioneer. In her final years, she crocheted scrubbies that she sold at garage sales (and gave as gifts!). 

I don't have any clippings from her newspaper days, which is a bummer, because they would have been fun to read. Especially because I worked for my local newspaper when I was in high school and was a professional writer before my brain injury ended my career. 

I bought the newspaper headline print a while back at a quilt show. I've been saving it for something special and this is it! 

As I was working on the block, I realized that most of these things happened during Gramma's lifetime: 1921-2013. It's really hard to get my mind around all the ways the world change in her lifetime.

The dark gray print is from a fat quarter I picked up. I don't have the name of it, but I like it because it reminded me of Gramma's handwriting--hard to read cursive! The black text is a list of good life advice, which both Gramma Ann and Ann Landers were so good at dispensing.

The red heart is made of netting. I couldn't make a quilt honoring Gramma's memory without including her scrubbies. Of course, netting is very snuggable, so I just cut two small hearts and appliqued them with red thread. 

The last time I was at Gramma's house in Arizona, I found this basket in a corner.

I think it was this same visit when Gramma tried to teach me to crochet. I just made a big knot. She said, "Maybe crafting isn't your thing." It was only a few months later that I decided to try quilting!

When Gramma passed away, my box included the quilt I made for her--which she slept under at the end, her Blarney Castle music box that plays "Danny Boy," the jade rosary I bought her when I was in China, a scrubbie, and her crochet hooks.

I also received a box of clothes so I could make this memory quilt!

At her memorial service, we had scrubbies on the memory table.

My favorite picture featuring one of Gramma's scrubbies is this one, though. How I miss those chubby cheeks! Gramma loved her babies!

Quilters who are making their own Grandma's Kitchen quilt may notice that I didn't follow Pat's instructions for making this block. Instead of 16 squares and HSTs, I used larger pieces of each print to keep the text as whole as possible.

And I must admit, I loved that I didn't have to trim half square triangles, even if I do love my new bloc-loc ruler.

My design wall is currently filled with Stella's Memory quilt, so I'm showing my progress a little differently:

Previous blocks:
If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me on Instagram at de Jong Dream House.

Linked to:
Pat Sloan (Click here to see more Small Change blocks)
BOMs Away @ What a Hoot Quilts
Design Wall Monday @ Small Quilts & Doll Quilts
Finished or Not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Link Party @ Tweety Loves Quilting
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the River
Main Crush Monday #92 @ Cooking Up Quilts
Midweek Makers #94 @ Quilt Fabrication
Monday Making @ Love Laugh Quilt
Moving it Forward @ Em's Scrapbag
Needle & Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation
Off the Wall Friday @ Nina Marie
Oh Scrap! @ Quilting is More Fun than Housework
Let's Bee Social #199 @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Show Off Saturday @ Sew Can She
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of  Fabric Addict
Wednesday Wait Loss #37 @ The Inquiring Quilter
WIPs on Wednesday @ Esther's Blog
WIPs Wednesday @ Silly Mama Quilts

Friday, October 6, 2017

Grandma's Kitchen, block #15: Games Shows and Soaps

It's week 15 of  Pat Sloan's Grandma's Kitchen quilt along. Only ten blocks left! I can already tell that I am going to miss these weekly trips down memory lane. The name of this week's block is Game Shows & Soaps. 

As usual, I veered off a bit from the TV theme into one of my Gramma Ann's favorite ways of spending time: playing cards.

While Gramma did watch TV--she loved Dr. Oz, Touched by an Angel, and Texas Ranger--I'm starting to feel pressure to focus on the things that really defined Gramma's personality. (Pat, if you are looking for ideas, I have a list for you!)

As I have been working on each block, my mom and aunts have been sharing stories and snippets, many of which are new to me, and that I will now remember as I look at this quilt. What I didn't realize is how much this quilt will also mean to my son. 

Last picture of D and Gramma Ann, September 2012. 
D was three the last he saw Gramma and five when she passed away. He remembers her because we show him pictures and talk about her, but his own memories are getting dim. The blocks for this quilt live on the large design wall in our laundry room, next to my craft room. The other day I was working in the craft room while D was getting ready for bed. He came into the laundry room with his dirty clothes, and I heard him talking out loud as he looked at each block and recited the memories he knew that were instilled in each one, and asked for more information about the ones that were unfamiliar. Gramma lives on.

When I was girl, probably close to D's age, I spent a week one summer at Gramma and Grampa's house in Blackduck while our dog had her puppies. I was young enough that I thought it was fun to be in that little town of 600. Gramma and I ran a garage sale, baked lemon bars, and I walked all over down exploring the library, running errands, and enjoy summer freedom. But the highlight of the week is that Gramma and Grampa deemed me old enough to grown up card games. Grampa taught me how to play widow whist, and the three of us played every day. 

I'm actually not sure what game Gramma is playing with my Aunt Terri and Uncle John. It's the only photo I could find of Gramma playing cards.
As an adult, maybe after Grampa passed, our game changed to Gin 13. It's now I game I play with my family. One of D's favorite family traditions is that we play a card game or board game most nights with dinner. It's a tech-free way for our family to connect and draw out our time together. I love it. And it started with those games of widow whist 30some years ago.

Gramma also enjoyed casinos. In fact, more than once our holiday gatherings were held in a casino. Lots of food and no clean up. The adults were happy. And I'm sure it helped that there was alcohol and slot machines. Oh, and family!

It's been interesting how this project is, on one hand, an ode to the past, but I continue to be surprised at how rooted it is, also, in the present. My half a modern block is inspired by the Delft wallpaper in Gramma's kitchen of the 50s and 60s. The block was announced when we were in the Netherlands. The next week's block, Cups & Glasses, made me think of the Bailey's Irish Creme Gramma loved. It was announced when we were in Ireland. 

While I was waiting for this week's block to be announced, I was reviewed my list above and wondering when I could work in the playing card block fabric I bought shortly after Gramma passed in 2014 for the memory quilt I would "someday" make. 

Then on Sunday night, October 1, 2017, a shooter killed 58 concert-goers in Las Vegas and injured hundreds more. This tragedy has been weighing heavy on my heart, and when I see the cards in Gramma's block, I will remember the happy hours we spent playing cards together. But I will also remember these sad days when our nation is mourning.

For my quilter friends reading this, the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild is collecting blocks and  quilts to distribute to survivors, family members of victims, and first responders. You can find more information here.

I'm trying to decide if I have time to make the quilt that came to mind as I was praying for those involved, or if, after making four hurricane relief quilts, a memory quilt, and a cancer quilt, I need to make a nice happy baby quilt or finish the wedding quilts in my to do queue. Who am I kidding? I'm sure I'll make this Cards & Cowboys quilt.

Tutorial for Cowboy Book blocks here. Card trick block tutorial here
To end with a little bit of happy, I have updated the three blocks I wasn't content to keep so I'm all caught up.

Previous blocks:

If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me on Instagram at de Jong Dream House.

Linked to:
Pat Sloan (Click here to see more Games Shows & Soaps blocks)
Design Wall Monday @ Small Quilts & Doll Quilts
BOMs Away @ What a Hoot Quilts
Finished or Not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Let's Bee Social #198 @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the River
Link Party @ Tweety Loves Quilting
MCM #91 @ Cooking Up Quilts
Midweek Makers #93 @ Quilt Fabrication
Monday Making @ Love Laugh Quilt
Needle & Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation
Off the Wall Friday @ Nina Marie
Oh Scrap! @ Quilting is More Fun than Housework
Show Off Saturday @ Sew Can She
Wednesday Wait Loss #36 @ The Inquiring Quilter
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict
WIPs Link Up @ Silly Mama Quilts
WIPs on Wednesday @ Esther's Blog
Works in Progress @ Silly Mama Quilts

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

#89 Garage Sale Vintage

When I wrote about the three Texas Strong quilts I recently finished for Quilts of Compassion,  I mentioned that I finished a fourth quilt, which I called my Vintage Garage Sale quilt.

As you may have guessed, I bought this quilt at a garage sale a few years back. I just spent way too much time looking for pictures I may not have taken when I first brought it home.

I thought I was buying a completed quilt top as part of a taped up tote of quilt supplies. I definitely got my money's worth with the other items in the box, but this quilt was not quite what I thought.

I was really excited to see all the fun vintage prints. Like this:

And this:

When I first opened the quilt, it was nearly king size, all made of 2" strips of various lengths. But then, when I looked closer, I found lots and lots and lots of rips like this.

As well as places where the fabric was threadbare and about to tear, like this:

I was so bummed. I knew that I could save myself some grief and toss it, or I would be looking at many, many hours of taking it apart and putting it back together. Knowing that someone worked hard to start this quilt, I knew I would be challenged to finish it.

This project was a definitive UFO (unfinished object). I'm guessing a few decades from when it was first pieced by it's original creator, and another two or three years of stop and go progress by me.

I had to go along each strip to see if there were any major holes along the way. About one in three strips had at least one unsalvageable block. I carefully used my seam ripper to separate the rows with ripped blocks. Then sewed the complete rows back together. The resulting quilt was much smaller, about 60" x 70".

I found several yards of a blue print in our charity fabric closet that I thought would work for the back. It was around this time that Hurricane Harvey hit, so I knew I was going to donate it. If I was more picky, I might have done a little more research into the age of the original pieces (my quilting group's consensus is 50s or 60s) and looked for a more vintage backing. There was enough of the print that I decided to make a border as well.

After adding the blue border, I cobbled together my scraps to make an outside border from the original strips.

I wanted to use as much of the original fabric as possible. I think I did a pretty good job, because after throwing away the shredded pieces, this is all I had left. 

My original thought for quilting was to echo the strips, but I quickly discovered that the strips were a bit wavy and that quilting would only extenuate that. I decided to go with a much more forgiving--and quicker--spiral instead.

You can see the quilting better on the back.

I brought my the quilt, along with the three Texas Strong quilt to my quilting group. We had a total of 71 quilts to donate to Quilts of Compassion's Hurricane Relief deployment. 

What first caught my eye about this quilt is that it reminded me of a quilt I cuddled with a child. It was my go to quilt when I was sick, and when I was scared or sad, I would take it and crawl into the space underneath the stairs in our basement.

At the time of the garage sale, my mom had the quilt. There are no quilters in my family tree. The quilt was made by a generous neighbor who used clothes worn by my mom and her sisters.

The quilt is now safe with me, but that's post for another day.

When I decided to finish this quilt for Quilts of Compassion, I thought about the person who will receive it. My prayer is that this quilt is symbol of how even when things seem out of control and overwhelming, with time, life can be beautiful again. I hope it will give comfort and warmth and serve as a reminder that they are loved and their struggle is not forgotten.

To see more photos of this quilt in progress, look for #garagesalevintagequilt on Instagram. To see what I'm currently working on, follow me at deJongDreamHouse.

Linked to:
BOMs Away @ What a Hoot Quilts
Design Wall Monday @ Small Quilts & Doll Quilts
Finished or Not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Let's Bee Social #198 @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Link Party @ Tweety Loves Quilting
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the River
Main Crush Monday #91 @ Cooking Up Quilts
Midweek Makers #93 @ Quilt Fabrication
Monday Making @ Love Laugh Quilt
Needle & Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation
Off the Wall Friday @ Nina Marie
Oh Scrap! @ Quilting is More Fun than Housework
Sew Some Love @ Kat & Cats Quilts
Show Off Saturday @ Sew Can She
Wait Loss Wednesday #36 @ The Inquiring Quilter
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict
WIPs Link Up @ Silly Mama Quilts
WIPs on Wednesday @ Esther's Blog
Works in Progress @ Silly Mama Quilts

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