Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Fall Quilt Show

I ventured over to the Chicago Botanic Garden for their annual Fine Art of Fiber quilt show over the weekend. Always a great way to spend the afternoon. Two of my favorite things -  fall and quilts. 


The gardens are a lovely backdrop for this unique show. Because it's Illinois and November, the show is held indoors. It was quite cold but sunny at least. This was before the snow came (yesterday). 






The quilts that are featured in this show every year are usually very different from the type of quilts I make - modern, bright and non-traditional. There are always a few traditional quilts thrown into the mix, but only a few. I don't mind. The fun part is seeing just how creative some of the quilters get with color and fiber. It's always a glorious show of color indoors and out. And all the natural light makes it a great place for a show.  

Here are a few highlights - 



Made by Marsha Gordon



Made by Mary Meyers


In the midst of all the modern quilts, imagine my surprise when I spotted not one but THREE Dear Jane quilts! What a nice treat. Many of the fabrics used in these were more on the modern side but it all worked. 


Made by Cheryl Paras





Made by Chris Deering




Made by Barbara Wessel


I never get tired of seeing different DJ quilts. 


Made by Cathy Baker


Made by Suzanne Davis Killen



The Gift Boutique is always fun too.









Now that my next book is finished and the quilts and manuscript have been sent off to the publisher, I finally have some time to breathe and work on other things. I've decided I really need to make myself some larger quilts. I've got several that were started before the book project but they had to be set aside. And, of course, there's my own Dear Jane that still needs to be worked on. But, instead of finishing one of those (I will! I will!) I got the urge to start something new. So, as I was cleaning up my sewing room last week, I took frequent breaks and began to mindlessly sew a bunch of 3" half-square triangles for a simple antique-looking quilt I want to make someday. I've already made 100 HSTs from some of my favorite prints in just a few days. I think I'll probably need several hundred for a big quilt so we'll see what happens with this "someday" project. 











Friday, October 25, 2019

Pretty Scissors Winner

Thank you all for leaving such lovely comments!  I know I say this every time I hold a giveaway but, honestly, I wish I could give scissors to every one of you. I'll bet I got a few of you started on a new collection though, huh?  You're welcome.  

And the winner of the Warm Crochet scissors is  . . . .  Peggy ( peggy4616@att.net )!



Congratulations, Peggy! Please send me your mailing address so I can send them to you. 

Warm Crochet has generously offered the rest of you a discount of 10% if you order these from their website. Just enter the coupon code KTQ when you place your order. 

*  *  *

Collecting different kinds of novelty scissors is fun. I have a couple of pairs of good scissors but more than a few decorative ones too. Lately, it's become one of my favorite go-to Christmas or birthday gift items. "What do you want, Mom?"  Me: "Just go to Etsy and buy me some pretty scissors, please." So, yes, Etsy has a ton of cute scissors. I'm often surprised. I've seen some cute ones on eBay and Amazon too. Mostly decorative and not very  expensive.  Cute to look at and use. 










I bring out a different pair every few weeks or so and keep them on my sewing table. Then, if I have something to show, I'll admit I like to strategically place my pretty scissors in photos too. Adds a cute little additional focal point. Looks like I need a few more pairs.

Have a good weekend! 





Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Pretty Scissors Giveaway

I love pretty scissors. I have a little collection going as some of you may have noticed from photos on my Facebook page. Here's my latest pair from the Warm Crochet company. Lightweight and sharp, they have a fine point that clips thread nicely. Perfect for any sewing or craft project.



The Warm Crochet company contacted me and they are generously giving away a free pair of these beautiful bronze-toned Victoria scissors (seen in photo below) to one lucky follower of my blog. Just leave me a comment and a way for me to contact you. After I contact you I will need you to send me your mailing address. 



Giveaway will end on Thursday, October 24, 2019. I will announce the winner shortly after that. Good luck! I haven't had a giveaway here on the blog for quite awhile so this will be fun.



You have to admit they sure are lovely. The scissors are made of high quality stainless steel and alloy. In addition to being pretty, they have sharp blades and are TSA compliant. See some of the other Warm Crochet scissors here.

Image may contain: 1 person


Good luck!  Check back on Friday to see if you won.





Thursday, September 12, 2019

Baskets and Quilts

I really love baskets and basket quilts. My recent flea market find was this old basket -


Here's a recent eBay find. Love those scallops.


What is it about these basket quilts? Long ago, there were so many uses for baskets and they were a huge part of nineteenth-century life. It's no wonder they found their way into quilts made at the time. There were market baskets, gathering baskets, berry baskets, flower baskets and sewing baskets.  

"In the 1800s, women's scrap baskets often contained leftovers from dressmaking, as well as pieces of fabric collected from friends and relatives and fragments of dresses worn by loved ones."  
                                                                                                                        - A Prairie Journey    

Do you have a scrap basket? 







A basket for my hexagons

We should all have a couple of basket quilts in our collection, don't you think? That's the beauty of  small quilts -  you can make a variety of quilt patterns without expending the time making a large quilt.

Here are some basket quilts I've made over the years:



Civil War baskets from my book Remembering Adelia.



Prairie Baskets is from my second book Prairie Children and Their Quilts.


My Cherry Baskets quilt is available as a pattern on my website

The one below is a vintage doll quilt. How quirky are those baskets??


There's a pattern for the 4" basket block below in Files in the Facebook group or the Small Quilt Talk group. Go to the sidebar on my blog to find the links to the groups.





The tiny blue and red baskets quilt was a special gift from my friend Marian. 





Monday, September 2, 2019

Making a Plan to Finish a Small Quilt

We all love making small quilts and I know some of you have a dream to create a wall full of them. I post challenges from some of my books each month in my Facebook group to give you suggestions on what to make. It's fun stitching along with others in the group and seeing what they're doing with the pattern. Watching their progress. Every quilt is different, but the same design. 

Our challenge in my groups for September - October is Aunt Sarah's Scrap Baskets quilt from my book A Prairie Journey.  We've been working on some of these quilts for the past year and are now closing in on finishing them up by the end of this year. But the suggestions are all listed in the group Files and you can pick one and make it at any time. 









How do you get started? Every year I try to post my suggestions on how to finish some of the quilts we work on as challenges in my online groups. Give you a little nudge. If you're determined to make a quilt a month from one of these challenges (or pick others to work on) you have to discipline yourself and decide if you really really want to make them.

Great ideas for tackling procrastination and getting things done! Love this free printable to serve as a reminder!:


Some of you can put together a whole small quilt in one sitting. But I sure can't and I know it's not easy or practical for most of us to do it this way. Don't beat yourself up. Just begin. Here's what I know -  if you break up your quilting into manageable chunks of time, you can easily finish one little quilt every month. And, if you keep it up, at the end of a year you will have quite a few little quilts made. 

Here's what helps me - when I need to complete a number of projects (like for a book or something) I buy myself a pretty little notebook and keep track of my progress. This works well if you have a goal to make a few quilts and it's a good way to hold yourself accountable by writing down your quilting goals and doing your best to accomplish some of them. If you can do it all in your head, more power to you. I'm pretty old school at times (or maybe just plain old). Having something tangible, like a notebook, to hold in my hands works better for me. But you can use your phone or tablet if that works. I'm writing a book right now and there's so much to keep track of that I can't possibly keep it all in my head. I need that notebook with my lists of things I have to accomplish every day or week. It feels good to flip through it and check off small goals. The small goals often lead to bigger goals and a good feeling that you've actually done something.



Decide on a few projects you really want to make. If you have one of my books and would love to make some of the quilts in it, thumb through it and pick a few that speak to you, a few that seem manageable. We're talking 2 or 3 small quilts at first. If you overdo it and shoot for 10, you might not get anything finished. Write them down in that notebook. Create a separate page for each quilt.  Then below that, write down everything it would take to make that quilt -  choose fabrics, cut the pieces for the blocks, sew the blocks, pick the borders, sew the borders, do the quilting, put the binding on. Give yourself a month and break down the steps week by week. Take each step one at a time. Check off each step as you complete it. Make notes. Use the notebook as a record of your progress. Keep it for future projects too. 


Before you begin -  clean off your sewing table a bit to make sure you have some room to work. Don't stress about the mess in the whole room if that's a problem. It will only keep you from being focused. Take 15 minutes and move stuff off the table, clear some space and make a fresh start for a new project. Organize the fabric later when you have time.  (That's a whole other post!) 



1. First Week - Spend an hour to choose your fabrics and maybe another hour or two that week to cut the pieces. Put this somewhere in a zip lock bag and keep it where you can easily see it and return to it the next week. Don't pressure yourself to finish the whole quilt in one day unless you want to and have the time or energy. 



2. Second Week - Make your blocks. This also only takes a few hours (sometimes less, because remember, most of the quilts are small).

3. Third Week - Put the blocks together withe the setting pieces if necessary. Probably takes an hour or two. Maybe add the border if you have time or at least cut the fabric for it.


4. Fourth Week - Finish borders, layer your quilt with batting and backing and spend the rest of the time finishing/quilting. This often takes the most time, but if you like handwork it can go fast.

All it takes is a little discipline. I find I work best with a schedule and some of you may find that helpful too. Schedule a time to sew on Wednesday and Friday mornings or evenings, or Saturday afternoons, say. As each week begins, make a plan to sew on a certain day that week. Other things will always come up and you'll certainly have distractions. You just have to keep at it and make this YOUR time. Don't attempt to finish the whole thing in one session. Do a little bit every week. Even a bit of progress can make you feel pretty good.

Bottom line - You can do this!

-Kathy






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