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Archive for the tag “daughter”

Design Wall

IMG_0287Looking over the way quilting design is done has been one of the more interesting things I find about quilting.  There are computer programs, sketch tables, and an A-frame design station that can be used.  Recently my daughter “awarded” me with a quilt request, sent me her idea, and a whole lot of fabric.  To be honest, I was surprised and overjoyed with the request.

The Lotus is such a beautiful flower, but the art of reproducing a lifelike replica in fabric isn’t something I plan on tackling in the near future.  I’m still working out the bugs with quilting basics as will be mentioned shortly.  That flower was the central design that my daughter had wanted along with the Japanese themed fabric she sent me.

I wanted to start on it right away and really loved the fabric she had chosen.  But with anything that I make, I have to incorporate my taste and to this point my daughter gave me her blessing.

I spent the first six hours… that’s right, six hours, pouring over different design concepts.  Honestly, I could have spent a week trying to come up with a way to put her concept into the fabric but really wanted to get started.  After the six hours I finally came up with something that I fell in love with and hoped that she would too.

After the initial design concept, I needed to lay out the virtual pieces to see what the overall quilt would look like.  This, at least for me, is done in my head.  I then transfer the idea sketching it onto a piece of paper.  The first sketch is the central theme, the Lotus, then how it will be represented in the block, and finally how the blocks will be arrayed in the quilt.  That last step I did not photograph to keep it as a surprise for my daughter.

It’s at this point I’d like to mention that I am NO artist with pen and paper.  It makes me hesitant to even share what I have up on my design wall for fear that my daughter may see it and freak out.  If you’re reading this Amanda, the quilt looks much better than what’s on the design wall.  The squares are actually square, not the rectangles that I drew.

One of the things that took up most of the time was, of course, coming up with the dimensions of the blocks, the pieces within the blocks, and the quilt itself.  I had to redo the numbers multiple times to come up with numbers that would work.  Yes, I know there are programs as I mentioned that can help out with that, however I felt that doing this myself was imperative.  I am a member of the measure 60 times and cut once club, even then sometimes I have to fix a mistake.  The only minor hiccup I had…  I didn’t translate ALL those numbers to see if I had enough fabric.  No problem, design changed on the fly…

Let me know your thoughts on this process as you’ve experienced it…

Do you NAME your Quilts?

What’s in a name?  A while back fortune smiled on me in the form of a quilter named Linda.  She has taught me so much, not just quilting techniques, but the nuanced questions she asked me from the first time I brought my quilts for her to perform her magic on.  She was never pushy when asking those leading questions such as;  what thread color would I like, or did I already have a pattern in mind.

One of the biggest shocks I received was in the form of some very innocent questions.  Would I be labeling the quilt, and for her “own” records… what was the name of the quilt to be.  (Sorry I ended that in a preposition!)  I told her the pattern name for the quilt that I’d made, but realized that my wife had used the same pattern for her quilt as well.

For my first quilt given to Linda she has the name down as “Sage Garden (Blue)” and Kay’s quilt is “Sage Garden (Red)”, when I applied that label my daughter had noted that it was the same colors as her Sally doll.  When the label was affixed to the quilt at long last it read:

Sally Doll Quilt
Pieced by Michael Lawrence
Quilted by Linda Scott

quilt label

My daughter Samantha was very proud and proceeded to name all of the quilts that she saw… I actually took her advice on the names she came up with.  It turns out she is very good at coming up with quilt names, though I’m still a little nervous at her preference in baby names.  Grandfather’s don’t get to decide though, our job is to love them even if the parents do pick funny names.

Finished at the last gasp

Kay was getting a little upset as I started putting on the first of my planned borders for the Christmas quilt.  We had two hours before we needed to leave to get to Linda’s house clear across town and I was just starting to put the first of three borders on.  I really meant to do them the day before, but lacked the motivation.

Meanwhile, Kay had a lot to finish and DID do a lot of it the day before with only a little bit remaining on the day we needed to turn it over to the quilter Linda.

As I was sewing on the first border, I looked at the back and realized that a patch was all wonky!  That’s what I get for trying to go too fast… another ten minutes wasted.  I finally got on-track and managed to get all three borders sewn on in less than two hours.  The last border was the toughest and required the most amount of attention with all the seams it had.

We were talking to Linda after we had arrived and were discussing thread colors and quilt patterns and I looked down at the six piles of fabric, their backing, and the batting realizing that this represented six quilts (translated… a LOT of difficult work) and it honestly put me in awe of what we had accomplished.  Two of the quilts Kay had ear-marked for a firehouse, one of the large purple ones to our oldest daughter Amanda for her birthday, and the last three to keep.

As I mentioned before our daughter Samantha had a valid point that we can only use so many at a time.  I really do like having them around the house though… on the backs of our couches, on the bed, and in the closet.  I keep saying 10 more quilts should be sufficient, but don’t feel the slightest bit of bad when I make one for a relative and two for me.  It’s not like we’re charging anyone.

Anyway, I actually wrote all of this to say that by the time I’d finished the Christmas quilt we had to leave immediately.  Yes, I did finish all three borders.  With Kay’s help I had the backing sewn as well.  As we rushed them out to the car I realized that I hadn’t taken the photo of it yet.  Delaying our trip slightly more, I placed the last bundle in the back of the car and snapped a quick shot of all six bundles on their way to the quilters.

Our daughter put us to shame

So it looks like Autumn is coming to Texas finally!!  I realise that we may yet have a few more days that the heat makes us uncomfortable, but with this forecast it’s a promising sign that we’ve turned the corner and can start pulling out those quilts soon.


Have to love it when the weather cooperates!!

On an entirely different note, I did over the weekend manage to finish binding the schoolhouse quilt and the Land of Whimsy quilt.  Since my daughter was here and will be thru Thursday, we decided to try to complete a mini apiece to hang on the wall as a family project.  This started out really great with all of us picking out the pattern that we were to complete and then… Kay started working on a completely different project (more on that project later), I initially was helping our daughter determine fabrics and layout, and finally I realized that both sewing machines would be in use so I opted to finish the bindings of the other quilts.

In the end, only one mini quilt was near completion and almost ready to be bound…  our daughter’s mini.  We still plan on finishing our minis later on, but will not be doing it as originally thought as  a family project.  I’m okay with that however, as I was able to spend a lot of time with our daughter discussing quilting and watching her abilities grow.

The other thing I was able to accomplish was to finish my niece’s daughter’s quilt.  This is a picture of the backing that I finally decided on and now just need it quilted down.

Work Took Over My Week

My daughter came into town this week, but with everything that is still going on at work I haven’t really been able to spend too much time with her.  She brought her half-finished quilt and we are determined that this weekend I will not think about work at all, but help her out with her project.

On a funnier note, I had tried a new quilter who was very inexpensive on a sage garden quilt that I had finished piecing.  Last night for two hours my wonderful daughter was pulling stitches out of the quilt and got further along than I would have thought was possible.  I’ll have to find a way to reward her for all this hard work because I thought it was a lost cause.  I don’t know what to say to the quilter who obviously was trying to do a good job, any advice?

Our daughter has been teasing that if she’s putting all this work into the quilt that it should be hers afterwards.  She even went so far as to accuse her mom and I of “hoarding” quilts!  Can you believe it??  When she arrived for her visit we were showing her some of the quilts we’ve finished, the ones we’re working on, and the tops that we’ve completed that are yet to be quilted.  She asked where the quilts were going and to whom they were to be given.  It was at that moment that she accused us of hoarding our quilts.

This weekend I’ll be finishing the last two blocks from Joann’s Persian Plum quilt kit and be able to start on the setting kit.  My goal was to have the quilt finished already, but I’ll be happy having it finished before the end of the year.  So many stops and starts on this one, but I really love how it’s coming together.

A lot of Spam and a finished quilt

What a busy weekend!  I completed a lot of work for my company… and for my own company.  I knew that would sound a little weird!  What I mean is that I had to “work from home” most of the weekend, but that I also completed a lot of work for BistroQuilts as well.  As the busiest weekend that I’ve yet had, I really didn’t have a chance to post up anything that I accomplished.

The purple quilt that is now completed for my daughter Amanda is simple but very beautiful.  I’ve taken pictures, but they are slightly wonky and don’t show how nice it really is.  I have to send it off to the long arm now, but will have it back and bound by the time her birthday rolls around.  Here are the pics, even though I’m not too happy with the how the pictures turned out.

I also finished two of the persian plum blocks that I’ll be posting up tomorrow and then later this week with the accompanying reviews.  I cut out the fabric for the additional 10 blocks needed to finish the blue pinwheel quilt as well.  Those blue pinwheel blocks I’ll be starting to sew together tonight and should be able to finish that quilt this weekend and start on the Christmas quilt that I’m dying to make.

In other news, Kay is finishing her version of the purple explosion quilt.  I really can’t remember if I’ve mentioned, that is the name we’re using for the purple quilts… Purple Explosion!  When I talked to my daughter and told her what we were doing, I explained that we used almost 20 different variations of the color purple and we both loved it so much, we knew that we needed to make one to be able to keep at home.

When I finally got to my computer to post this up, I was astounded at how much spam had been sent to my site and caught in the spam filter… I guess some people had a little more time on their hands than I did.

When do bits of fabric become a quilt?

Someone at my work asked about the quilts that I make and made the mistake of asking me to bring one of them in.  I do still get some ribbing from the guys that I work with for being as passionate about quilting as I am.  I take it in stride though, and sometimes it still does get to me.  Luckily my passion outweighs any reservations I have about spending my time with this wonderful art form.

Waking up early, I prepared for my day… made coffee, packed my lunch and, oh yeah… remembered to take my perfectly folded quilt with me to show off at work.  It was a little of a let-down when I found out that the person I was supposed to show the quilt to was off-site all day due to some issues that he had to deal with.  On second thought though, this would give me a reason to take it back with me the next day.

As I was walking back to the car I realized that what I had under my arm was no longer bits of thread and fabric.  I could feel the weight of it and even the feel of it had changed from when I was sewing the fabric together.  As I took the quilt home I wondered what it would feel like when I finally washed it.  This wasn’t the most complicated pattern and if you’ve followed my posts at all, you’ll know that it is one of five that I made in nine days.  It has become mine though, unlike any of the other quilts that I’ve made and that’s saying a lot.  I want to say a special thanks to Linda my quilter, the person who did such a wonderful job quilting these bits of fabric into such a resplendent quilt.

While talking to my daughter Samantha who I’ve convinced to pick up this passion, I mentioned that I hadn’t come up with a name for my quilt yet.  She reminded me of a time when she was only six years old and had come home to find a doll that I had bought for her.  The doll was made out of fabric and dressed in blue and white pajamas, had yellow yarn for hair, and big blue eyes.  You should have seen her face when she saw the doll, she said “she looks like me!”  I told her that the doll’s name was Sally from a bedtime story that my father had told to me.  This quilt, my daughter told me is like the doll you gave me and should be called the ‘Sally doll quilt’.

Yes… it’s the middle of summer but as I sit here writing this and it’s still over 95 degrees, I am wrapped up in my quilt and still I wonder… when did these bits of fabric become a quilt?  The minute it made the connection to my heart through my memories.  It will always and forever remind me of that day of happiness with my daughter.

Sally Doll and her Sally Doll Quilt

Daughter is leaving

As you may know my daughter has been on vacation and staying with us for the past three weeks.  Her quilt top is still almost finished, her panels are sewn together and she’ll be taking it with her back to Kansas to finish it.  We tried to find the border fabric she had selected but will end up buying it online.

I’m sad to see her go, but proud that she was able to accomplish so much for her first time quilting in-between relaxing and spending time with her parents.  We sent her off with a cutting mat, rotary cutter, fabric scissors, and some new fabric.  I hope this will spur her on to take her sewing machine out of the box and finish up her quilt.  Maybe she’ll even want to start another afterwards.

Under the Weather/Radar

ImageImageImageI spent most of the weekend working on the Schoolhouse quilt and getting it almost finished, but Sunday I turned my attention back to the Sampler Quilt my wife and I are working on together.  I finished the last two blocks and then sewed the panels together.  Even though I did a lot of work, I kind of felt out of sorts Sunday and here it is Monday and I’m definitely feeling under the weather.

Today will be spent relaxing and taking it easy, though I might try to finish the binding on the Christmas quilt that I spent so much time hand quilting.  That project took so long and it is time to have that completed.  When you feel under the weather, do you continue to do projects or just try and relax?











On another note, my daughter finished sewing her blocks together and will finish sewing the panels together this morning.  Let her know what you think…  This is going to be her very first quilt, she chose the pattern, fabrics, and colors all by herself.


Begin at the Beginning

My wife and I have been quilting now for the past 15 years, but only seriously for the past two.  Because of that we both understand and consider ourselves to be new to quilting.  We read a lot from books, blogs, and watch videos of how to accomplish what we would like to do.

While I don’t think of myself as methodical, I do view my wife’s method of trying new techniques as a bit of a gunslinger setting patterns and colors at odds and really letting her artistic talent out on a romp at times. We’ve talked at length about how we can be successful at this new love of ours called quilting and wanted to start at the beginning.

We’ve accomplished the ¼” seam, learned how important it was to follow directions until we knew where they were trying to go.  We learned and experimented with quilt composition; determining what materials we wanted to use and how colors would go together best within the design.  I did quite a bit of research in regards to binding. Not only have I found a technique simple to use,  the finished work comes out with clean corners every time. We learned some of the basic quilt blocks, flying geese, bear paw, and others.  All while this was going on, our quilts began to look better and better.  We didn’t learn what we know in a vacuum however, but from examining the many works from other quilters. We’ve extracted pattern ideas, color schemes, blogged techniques but most comes through our own trials and error.

I do get frustrated at times when I’ve had to rip a seam for the third time, but can laugh at my mistakes also and soldier on even when I know that a square may still be a little off-kilter.  My wife has said that this is one of the most valuable things that she has learned from me, that it’s okay to move past a mistake and not spend hours trying to attain perfection in a learning environment.  My wife suggested that I take a moment and also talk about pinwheels…  This for us was one of the most technically difficult/fun/frustrating things that we did.

Our 23-year-old daughter has been asking about making a quilt and has come down from Kansas to spend the next three weeks with us.  She is familiar with a sewing machine but I think her expectations are a little more than her skill level.  She looks at quilting as just sewing a lot of straight lines.  As she described the quilt she wanted to make my eyes grew bigger and bigger.  80” x 110” paper pieced with non-traditional binding.

I wanted to be sure that I didn’t put her off quilting and ran across this website for tips to get your daughter involved in quilting:

After talking it through she is going to try something a little less intense for her first quilt though she is sticking to her guns on the size of the quilt.  I think back on all of the different techniques I’ve learned and all that I have yet to learn and I can’t help but wish that she would let me work with her and begin at the beginning…

Any advice?

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