Thursday, September 28, 2017

PEI Modern Quilt Guild Mystery: Step 1

My addiction to social quilting continues. I joined another quilt along this month! I was posting on a Facebook page when someone told me about a mystery quilt sponsored by the Prince Edward Island Modern Quilt Guild.

Several months ago, on a lark, I bought an Anne of Green Gables layer cake from Missouri Star Quilt Company. I've never bought pre-cuts before or after, but who doesn't love Anne of Green Gables?

Clue one was to make 112 half square triangles. Here's mine:

The book in the center was written by a friend of mine from Michigan. In my pre-brain injury, pre-quilting life, I was a professional writer and Lorilee was part of my writer's group, The Guild. I think working on this project is going to be reminding me a lot of that sweet season of my life and my talented writer friends.

If you'd like to join along, it's not too late! You can find details on the PEI Modern Quilt Guild website or Facebook page.

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

Linked to:

Grandma's Kitchen, block #14: Salt & Pepper Shakers

It's time for a new block for Pat Sloan's Grandma's Kitchen quilt along. Here's my block #14, Salt & Pepper Shakers.

Nope, those are not salt and pepper shakers, but you know, salt and pepper spice things up. SO...the theme of my block is Avon!

Gramma Ann was an Avon lady for decades! I remember that the closet by her and Grampa's bedroom was always stocked with the latest in make up, perfume, Skin So Soft (aka Minnesota mosquito repellent), and knick knacks. My favorite was the little green boxes of lipstick samples.

When we left for Europe this summer, we were three weeks in this quilt along. I knew I would make an Avon block. When I found this makeup print at the Utrecht fabric market, I was so excited. Even the background was a perfect Avon green.

Here at home, I bought this awesome metallic lipstick fabric from Fabricsmart on Etsy. The print is Kaufman Bouffant and Broken Hearts Pink Lipsticks metallic gold on navy blue. I love it because it reminds me of those little lipstick samples.

I don't remember when Gramma stopped selling Avon, but she never stopped being glamorous. To me, anyway. Other than high school in the 80s, I've rarely worn make up. One time, in the early 90s, I was with my mom and Gramma and they decided I needed a little makeover. Gramma gave me one of her tracksuits and glammed me up. 

Of course, she was already gorgeous in her own track suit and full make up. 

On her wedding day.

This is the picture my Grampa kept with him during the War. 

As a young mom.

In her 30s.

At my parents' wedding.

On their anniversary. 

Keep up with the latest at Avon. 

The last time I saw her. 

While she sold Avon to help women feel beautiful, she was about so much more than appearance. She raised five independent women who weren't limited by the social norms of the day. And they learned for her. In addition to selling Avon, Gramma also worked at the local newspaper. She was intelligent, poised, and beautiful.

At her memorial service, someone brought one last Avon catalog for her.

Here are my blocks so far, minus the Half a Modern and Kitchen Window blocks because I am redoing them.

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 Salt &Pepper blocks)
BOMS Away @ What a Hoot Quilts
Design Wall Monday @ Small Quilts & Doll Quilts
Finished or Not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Let's Bee Social #197 @ Sew Fresh Quilts
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
Show Off Saturday @ Sew Can She
Wait Loss Wednesday @ The Inquiring Quilter
WIPS on Wednesday @ Esther's Blog
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Grandma's Kitchen, block #13: Sunday Dinner

I had to put Pat Sloan's Grandma's Kitchen on hold for a few days while I finished my Texas Strong quilts for Quilts of Compassion. Now that they are done and delivered, I set to work on block #13, Sunday Dinner.

A few weeks ago I made a list of all the things that came to mind when I thought of my Gramma. I know that some weeks, it may be a stretch to make Pat's theme fit with an item on my list. Pat made it really easy this week. I don't know how often fish made the dinner menu on Sundays, but it made the menu on a lot of days.

The fish fabric I had in my stash didn't work with this pattern because the fish were too big. But I found the perfect print in the River Journey collection by Holly Taylor for Moda. I bought mine from Quilts & Fabric on Etsy.

Gramma was an avid fisher. She spent most of her life in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes. Even her tiny town of Blackduck (population 600) had a lake. Every year, Gramma and group of her ladies got together to fish on the opener.

When I was going through pictures at Gramma's house the last time I was there, I found this picture of her, which looks like it should be a postcard of Northern Minnesota in the 50s.

Even when she lived in Arizona, she would still come up to Minnesota and Wisconsin to fish with family.

Edited to add: One of my favorite parts of this process is texting the link to this blog to my mom and aunties (because auntie Ann isn't on Facebook, ahem!). I love hearing their stories and suggestions and memories. So now I have more fishing photos to add!

The sign says, "Spearing Prohibited." Pretty gutsy behavior for the wife of the game warden!

I was also reminded of this print that hung in the basement of their Minnesota house by the pool table. It made the trip to Arizona, too. I wonder where it is now.

As the daughter of her mother and game warden father, my mom has also spent many hours fishing. In fact, at one point, she held the Minnesota record for the largest sheephead. It was more than 26 pounds!

My Grampa Leo even wrote a story about it the book, Classic Minnesota Fishing Stories.

Much to my family's chagrin, I did not inherit a love of fishing. Or fish. Or any seafood for that matter. When my family would take me fishing, I was more content to read a book while the others fished. I did like ice fishing though. Our lines were set up in the corner of our fish house and in the center we had all the accouterments of home: table, chairs, TV, radio, games. Mom reminded me that had a little heater, too, and sometimes had to open the door to avoid melting the ice! We spent many Sundays watching the Vikings, playing Scrabble, and jumping up when our lines started rattling. One year, an unexpected thaw caused our ice house to sink, and thus concluded the ice fishing season of my life.

I have moved my Grandma's Kitchen blocks from the design wall in my craft room to the large wall in our laundry room. We are more than half way through! Seeing the blocks made me realize that I need to redo two blocks, so this picture is missing the Half a Modern and Kitchen Window blocks.

Previous blocks:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Quilts #86, #87, and #88: Texas Strong

I didn't have any quilt finishes in August--partly because we were on vacation for half the month, partly because I'm doing a lot of social quilting, and partly because I've been dealing with massive headaches due to my brain injury. BUT...I finished FOUR quilts in September, as part of my One Monthly Goal hosted by Elm Street Quilts. Today I'm going to talk about three of them, my trio of Texas Strong quilts I made to be distributed by Quilts of Compassion as part of the disaster relief recovery. 

But first, a little personal history. Many, many moons ago, long before digital camera or smart phones, I was a poor recent college graduate in Des Moines, Iowa. Even with my new degreee in Human Relations, Religion and Linguistics, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was looking for a job in Residence Life, but hadn't landed one yet. I was offered a job on campus as Assistant Hall Director for our largest hall for the summer, which housed incoming freshman and their parents for orientation. 

My boss, the Hall Director, was Karl. He and his wife were very recently married, and put off their honeymooon until after the school year was done and our summer hall was open. As he and his bride left he sternly warned me, "Do NOT call me unless there is a HUGE emergency." (Did I mention this was before cell phones?). So I was on my own, running the hall, managing the staff, and welcoming hordes of new students and their families to Drake University.

This was July 1993. And Des Moines flooded. I was woken up in the middle of the night by an RA on rounds when the power went out in our building of 600. And, as I soon learned, throughout the city. The VP of Student Affairs arrived a short time later and we went door to door with flashlights, waking our confused guests and urging them to get on the road home.

Iowa Cubs stadium
For two weeks we were without water. Anheuser-Bush stopped making beer and shipped water instead. President Clinton came to town to survey the damage and this iconic photo was taken.

"I feel your pain."
During this two week period, I got the news I was waiting for: my first real job offer, as a hall director at a college in Texas. I packed up my things and headed to Houston. Oh, the irony. Rescued from a flood by moving to Houston. 

Flash forward (cough, cough) 24 years and I'm sitting in my comfortable, air-conditioned home, with running water and electricity and I see pictures of flooding in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. All of a sudden, I was 21 years old again, alone and dealing with disaster. I had to do something. First I sent money. Then I started thinking about quilts.

I did a quick Google search for Texas quilts. I knew I wanted to make a flag because Texans are mighty proud of their state. (The "Don't mess with Texas" slogan was very popular when I lived there). I found four styles I really liked. 

1. Wonky log cabin. Found on Pinterest with no source. GRRR! 2. Squares. Uploaded by Holly Cooper. The quilting on the star inspired my quilting. 3. Long strips. Uploaded by Megan Myers. 4. ItsaLindy on Etsy
I loved the idea of making my quilts from scraps, so I choose option 4. The only version of this quilt I found online was the one posted by ItsALindy on Etsy. She opened her shop in 2010, but hasn't had any sales and this is the only image in her shop. I have emailed her, but haven't heard back. It's quite possible that she forgot she had the shop and doesn't check her mail. I don't know her real name so I don't know how else to look for her to find out if this is her original pattern or if there is another out there. At any rate, it was easy to reverse engineer. But I would like to give credit where credit is due.

At the same time I started these quilts, I stumbled upon a garage sale of a late quilter whose kids were selling her stash and supplies. This was one section of her mostly quilt shop fabric.

I came home with a pretty amazing selection of fabric for these quilts and my Tula Pink butterfly

Then it was time to cut lots of strips. I hoped to make a nice dent in my scrap stash, but I really didn't! I did have have a nice trip down memory lane as I remembered the quilts and people I made with my scraps.

Between the simplicity of the pattern and the magic of chain piecing, the blocks came together very quickly.

I'm always amazed by scrappy quilts. Prints you think you could never use turn out be just the right bit of interest in a bigger pattern.

Because I used scraps and strips from the garage sale, I aired out the quilts while I worked on the stars. 

The stars are made of scrappy white strips.

I usually back applique with Heat N Bond Lite and use my Silhouette Cameo to cut shapes, but because the star was so big, I made it freehand and used Sulky KK 2000 basting spray to hold it to the quilt before appliquing with a zig zag stitch.

I was rethinking my decision to make the stars out of strips when I saw how tiny some of the corners were.

For quilting, I echoed the star.  1/2" inside the star, and 1" around the star.

I was really proud of my 8-year-old. He loves NASA and has been praying for Houston in particular. He loves all things space, and has dreamed of working for NASA since he was three. (He used to want to build rockets, but now he wants to work on the Mars habitats). I wanted to include him in the process, so I asked him to calculate how much binding I would need for the three quilts. I was really impressed with his work. 

He explained his "new math" as he worked the problem and I realized that much of what he's learning to write out is the way I do math in my head, like counting by tens and then ones. Then my mind was really blown when my husband showed him how to convert his long math into algebra and he totally got it!  He had no problem filling in the blanks and X didn't scare him at all. I told him that I didn't learn algebra until 9th grade, and still it confounded me. Yay for new math!

I used the same binding for all three quilts, and using my son's calculations, I had just enough. I usually wind my binding around a spool, but I needed to go big.

I finished the first quilt as Niels was putting D to bed. He asked if he could sleep with it. 

Ever since I started quilting four years ago, D has always wanted to "add his love" to the quilt by snuggling in my finished quilts. With his connection to Texas, I was happy to say YES.

I hung the quilts out again for photos. D is signing "I love you" to NASA and everyone in Texas affected by Harvey.

Niels thought I should have a photo with my quilts, too.

Early in the process, I decided that I would send these quilts to Quilts of Compassion. 

Fun fact: Quilts of Compassion was founded by my friend and fellow brain injury survivor, Janice Grimes. We met when we both lived in Grand Rapids fifteen or so years ago. Janice started Quilts of Compassion in 1999 and I have been able to watch with admiration as her ministry has grown from donated quilts to our local hospital to the national, multi-faceted organization it is today. At long last, the head of my church's quilting group invited Janice to talk to our group and I am so thrilled that Quilts of Compassion is now in our rotation! We were able to donate 71 quilts for the Harvey deployment.

This is Janice and I with the fourth quilt I donated. I'm calling it my Garage Sale Vintage quilt. I will be posting about it soon because it has a unique story all of its own.

As with my Quilts for Pulse quilt and other quilts I donate,  I may never know who receives these quilts, but my hope and prayer is that they provide comfort in a devastating time. I hope they feel the love and prayers that have been poured into each stitch and as they cuddle underneath it, they are overwhelmed with the knowledge that someone cares for them and sees the struggle they are facing. As a family, we are praying for them as they face the long, difficult road of rebuilding and grieving what has been lost. I know flooding. I know Texas. I know loss. I hope they know they are loved. 

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, look for #TexasStrongQuilts on Instagram.  If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me at de Jong Dream House

Linked to:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...