Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First, You Take an Old Tablecloth...

Here's another project I wrapped up recently.  It was pretty fun and I learned a few things along the way!

I started with an old tablecloth of my grandmother's.  My mother has sent me a bunch of old family textiles - hankies, doilies, tablecloths, etc.  They're all really cool; I have quilty plans for the fancier ones and "small" pieces that will go to my nieces.  Some of the tablecloths are really more "every day" type of linens, so ... what to do?  Naturally, a bag came to mind.  Right?

I intended to follow the tute at this link - the DIY Dish Basic Handbag.  Apparently watching the video once and jotting down some illegible notes isn't quite the way to go if you want to exactly follow their plan.  Close enough, though ~ and I have a cool bag for my sister.

DSCN2261 "Market Tote"

It looks at home on my dining room table, doesn't it? Getting back to its tablecloth roots, no doubt. I think it covered a larger table surface in its previous life.

I'm calling this ... the Market Tote!

DSCN2262 Market Tote

I can see my sister carrying home a bunch of fresh produce from the farmer's market in this baby! There is a ton of room in there!

Check out the back:

DSCN2263 Market Tote

That's right - pleats. Along the whole top - inside and out. Are you impressed? I've never done pleats before!!! That was one of the things I learned!

Here's the inside:

DSCN2264 Market Tote, interior

I added a nice, roomy pocket. To my sister - in case I forget to tell you - there's a gravy stain on the inside of the pocket. I left it there, thinking it was kind of a cool reminder of dinner at Grandma's. :)

I did a lot of the sewing on the bag on my Pfaff!!! Shocking, isn't it? After I made Mati's Memory Quilt, I gave my Bernina a good cleaning and oiling.  It needed it badly.  So then I went to test it ... and it was SLOW!!!  I mean, pedal to the metal and I wasn't getting anywhere in a hurry!  I did everything the trouble-shooting guide in my manual said to and... nothing.  I knew it was over-due for a servicing... so I waited out the weekend, then made a call to a shop in Topeka to set up a time for me to drop it off.  I had a LOVELY chat with a very helpful person who ... ahem ... asked me if I'd inadvertently hit the speed toggle switch on the front of the machine.  The wh....

Oops.  Well, at least I hadn't killed my Bernina.  I still need to take it in for servicing, but at least it's not an emergency now.  And it was nice to give the Pfaff a good run!  So ... pleats conquered AND I've been reminded about the speed toggle switch.  Two great lessons.  :)

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I did do the handles the way the DIY Dish girls said to:

DSCN2265 Market Tote, strap detail

I think it looks really cute like that! I'll have to do that again. Perhaps with something that isn't quite as thick as Grandma's tablecloth.

Oh - check the texture:

DSCN2266 Market Tote, Texture shot

Don't you love it? I hope my sister does. She's coming to visit in a week and a half (!!!) and I'll get to give it to her in person! I think Grandma would like us re-purposing her tablecloth!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Coffee-Themed Placemats

Sorry for disappearing for a while there.  It's been a tad busy here - partly with the boys, partly with other  stuff.  Stuff like ... painting.  Oh, not like painting...

I mean like painting...

You know ... as in Ask Sherwin-Williams.  In my opinion, my painting leaves a bit to be desired, though my husband was incredibly complimentary of my efforts.  Almost frighteningly so...

Anyway, I have finished some quilty stuff.  Let's start today with some scrappy placemats.  These were just to do something constructive with coffee-themed scraps - check out how cute they look on the kitchen table:

DSCN2251 Placemats

I love how they came out! (Please ignore the mess out on the screened-in deck; we have some work going on out there!)

Both mats are different:

DSCN2254 Placemats

DSCN2255 Placemats

Fun, aren't they?!?  I did a "quilt as you go" deal on them and really had no plan other than to use my scraps!  I made them a bit wider than most placemats, just to give the table a bit more coverage.

I used the same fab on both backs:

DSCN2256 Placemats

As you can see, I also used scraps for the bindings!  Why not, right!?!  I made two more placemats that are from the same scrap piles, but are a bit more colorful -- I'm still sewing the bindings on them but will share once I'm done!

Tune back in again soon to see what else I've been working on!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mati's Memory Quilt - The Blocks!

I'm back!  I was going to break the blocks from Mati's Memory Quilt up into two or three posts, but I figured I'd share them all now with BRIEF (ha!) explanations about each.  Ready to take a look?  Let's go!

We're starting in the lower left-hand corner, then zig-zagging up through the quilt. I'm not sure why. Here's the first block:

DSCN2168 Mati's Memory Quilt

It's the design from one of Mati's "Life is Good" t-shirts (the Family Tree) with part of the inside of one of the blue "Life is Good" tees.  I love the "Optimism can take you anywhere" sentiment.  I used a few of those inside parts in the quilt!

Next up, another "Life is Good" design -- most of them are!

DSCN2169 Mati's Memory Quilt

The OD green got a tad lost on the darker denim, so I added a swatch of one of the lighter t-shirts underneath - and a "do what you like, like what you do" tag from inside a "Life is Good" tee.  (From here on out, "Life is Good" will be LIG.)

Loving puns as I do, I got a kick out of this next LIG design:

DSCN2170 Mati's Memory Quilt

The light blue design is from the inside of a LIG tee.

Here's a Black Dog design:

DSCN2171 Mati's Memory Quilt

The light pink got a wee bit lost, so I backed it with part of a tie-dyed t-shirt.

This was one of the larger logos:

DSCN2172 Mati's Memory Quilt

I couldn't incorporate the writing into the block, but I think it's a good "stand alone".

Just up from that block is another LIG design:

DSCN2173 Mati's Memory Quilt

The smiley face is from the back of another tee - on the outside.  I backed the larger logo with another tee again - it helps accent things.

Moving to the left, we have one of my favorite blocks:

DSCN2174 Mati's Memory Quilt

Mike wasn't sure the Dell logo would fit in, but I think it's perfect.  And I'm not just saying that because I love the US Army and the color OD green.  Or ... maybe I am.  Doesn't it go great with lime green?!?  Who knew!?  My Guide Dog for the Color Blind approved, so I think I'm good to go!

Next up:

DSCN2175 Mati's Memory Quilt

It's another favorite.  It's a long story, but YEARS ago when we had a family emergency, Mike stayed in our home and took care of one of our first Sibes - Lucky - for us.  Really like "spoiled her to pieces" kind of care.  This block made me think about that a lot!

Moving on...

DSCN2176 Mati's Memory Quilt

KSU!  I could NOT fit the Wildcat logo in without it completely taking over the whole quilt.  I think it's enough purple flavor as is.  I backed it with some blue t-shirt fabric!

Next up was a creative solution:

DSCN2177 Mati's Memory Quilt

A cute LIG logo and part of the back inside tag ... backed with part of one of Mati's beds.  Mike asked me to incorporate part of it if I could, and I thought this was the perfect way.

Just up from that ...

DSCN2178 Mati's Memory Quilt

...another LIG design!  Did I mention that I stitched about 1/2 an inch outside each fabric?  That will help hold the blocks together and gives even more dimension to everything.

To the right:

DSCN2179 Mati's Memory Quilt

The LIG dog riding in the car, with a smiley face from the back of another tee.  The dog riding in the car is the only "duplicate" design, so I think Mike must really like this one.  And I imagine Mati loved going for rides!

I told you in an earlier post about using Mati's towel in the center block:

DSCN2180 Mati's Memory Quilt

I was unsure about how that would work, but I think it's perfect.  As a friend on FaceBook said about the quilt in general, "Divine intervention again."  She's absolutely right!

The next block:

DSCN2181 Mati's Memory Quilt

Very cute LIG horse - and a LIG logo from the inside of a different tee.

We're more than halfway there.  Honest.

DSCN2182 Mati's Memory Quilt

Another LIG logo with the inside back of another one.

Next up, a pink snowflake from another LIG t-shirt:

DSCN2183 Mati's Memory Quilt

Pink goes well with OD green, too, doesn't it?  :)

Here's the next block in the line-up:

DSCN2184 Mati's Memory Quilt

Another non-t-shirt item Mike sent along was a yellow blanket with a "raining cats and dogs" design on it. I cut out a few of the dogs/cats and used them sort of as a back-drop for the block.  Again, it gives the flavor of that special blanket without having to use a lot of it!

Up next:

DSCN2185 Mati's Memory Quilt

My favorite color again.  I used the other side of the bed Mike sent as an accent there.  I really like how it came out!

This next one is the first block I did:

DSCN2187 Mati's Memory Quilt

See how much different it looks after just one washing?  I love the fuzzy edges!

Next to it, one of the non-LIG blocks:

DSCN2188 Mati's Memory Quilt

Aesthetically speaking/writing, I like the clean, crispness of the block.

On the top row (!) we start with this block:

DSCN2189 Mati's Memory Quilt

The Frisbee-playing LIG dog design is from one of Mati's most special t-shirts, so I thought it should have top billing.  It was the last shirt Mati wore.  I backed the block itself with a tie-dyed t-shirt - you can see it clearly in the pix of the reverse side of the quilt.

I think it's fitting that the block next to it is an embroidered logo from her hospital:

DSCN2190 Mati's Memory Quilt

Yes, Mati had her own scrubs to wear - and I cut the logo from it to use on the quilt.  Mike always has such kind things to say about the wonderful vets and staff there; they seemed to treat Mati as one of their own!

I like the main design on this next one:

DSCN2191 Mati's Memory Quilt

The "Star Struck" by LIG.  A guy with his arm around his pup's shoulders.  Just really beautiful.  I wanted it in the top row, too.  Why the Black Dog inside label and the Good Karma tag?  I'm not sure.  But Mike also won over our "Black Dog" (Booter) way back when - and Booter only took to certain people.  He loved Mike - and that told us volumes about what kind of man Mike is.  :)

Next - the LIG dog going for a ride "repeat":

DSCN2192 Mati's Memory Quilt

Oooh.  More OD green up there at the top!  See?  Doesn't the Dell Army Team logo fit right in?  LOL!

And lastly ...

DSCN2193 Mati's Memory Quilt

... the LIG guy with his pup.  And a reminder that life IS good.

Mike, thank you so much for entrusting me with this very special project.  I hope you're pleased with how it turned out and that it brings you sweet memories of your very sweet girl.

And thank you for reading -

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mati's Memory Quilt

I started telling you about Mati's Memory Quilt yesterday.  Do you remember the center block with the embroidery and another swatch from Mati's towel appliquéd on it?  Here's how that looks after washing:

DSCN2144 Mati's Memory Quilt

See the added dimension?  And fuzziness?!  :)  That will all only improve with subsequent washings!

I'm probably doing these posts backwards - today's and tomorrow's - but if you're like me, you want to see the finished quilt... right?  Let's just zip ahead to that, then tomorrow I'll show you each of the blocks.  Deal?

Like the wonderful, supportive fellas that they are, my boys wanted to come out with me for the photo shoot. Who was I to say no? Here is Dave, checking out Mati's quilt:

DSCN2134 Mati's Memory Quilt

I'm not going to say that he or Zim knew what I was working on, but they could sense that it was something special.  I think I worked through a lot of my grief for Stormy and Amber as I stitched this together for Mike - and I know they sense my emotions.

DSCN2139 Dave with Mati's Memory Quilt
Dave and Mati's Memory Quilt
My Guide Dog for the Color Blind approves!

DSCN2132 Mati's Memory Quilt
Mati's Memory Quilt

The reverse features all the colors of the t-shirts!

DSCN2141 Dave with Mati's Memory Quilt

It's so soft and comfy! Wrap yourself up in it and feel the warm fuzzies! (And remember, it gets better with each washing, so don't hold back!)

Does Dave look worried here?

DSCN2142 Dave with Mati's Memory Quilt

Fear not! I gave the quilt a second washing after the photo shoot.

DSCN2143 Dave with Mati's Memory Quilt

...or maybe he was looking for cats.  I'm not sure.

Zim wanted to pose with Mati's Quilt, too.

DSCN2163 Zim with Mati's Memory Quilt
Zim and Mati's Memory Quilt

I'm fairly certain he's thinking about when we'll get to next see Mike - and about the nose poke he's going to deliver to him.  (He only does that to people he likes!)

Until next time - thanks for reading!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Start of a Memory Quilt

I'm way overdue in posting about my latest quilt.  I think I've been dragging my feet posting about it because I want to say everything just perfectly - and I've been holding off mailing it to my friend because I wanted to box it up perfectly, with the perfect note in the box ... and perfect just isn't me.  I think, I hope, the quilt will speak for my heart.

The short version of the story is that my dear friend Mike lost his dog Mati not long after we lost our girls. Mike is one of those special people who we (my husband and I) regard as family.  Because I knew his cousin first and she always referred to him as "cousin Michael", he's sort of OUR cousin Michael.  :)  ANYWAY... when Mike called to tell us he had lost his Mati to her fight against cancer, I was just heartbroken.  The love he showed to Mati and to his Rocky was so very special - I could listen to him talk all day about either one or both of them.  I wanted so badly to tell him how much I understood and how deeply I empathized with him - and hopefully I choked those thoughts out through the tears.  Then he asked a question that just blew me away.  He had saved Mati's shirts that she wore (to cover tubes/tube ports and to keep her from "troubling" things), her beds and her towel.  Would I be willing to make something from them for him?  I was touched beyond explanation that he'd ask - trusting me with those precious items and giving me creative license to do "something"?!?!  To say it was an honor is an understatement, but it's the best I've got.

Let's take a look at the start to Mati's Memory Quilt.

The shirts were clean, but stained and re-sewn to fit her and to accommodate her medical needs, so I was dealing with smaller shirts with smaller "usable" areas.  The logos were also small (for the most part), so I thought rather than do a "traditional" t-shirt quilt that's basically a sea of logos ... why not cut the logos out and appliqué them to something?  And maybe use part of the t-shirts as ... something.  I didn't know yet.  Then it hit me - what goes better with t-shirts than blue jeans?  I saw a fray-edged denim quilt idea taking place in my head -- with the logos appliquéd to the denim.  I liked the thought of something fuzzy.  Like Mati.  :)

I cut up a bunch of jeans (I do this periodically and stack them up in various sizes...) then started figuring out how best to cut out the logos. They were all different sizes and shapes - so I thought I'd let the logo dictate how it wanted to be cut out. Here's the first one I did:

IMG_3198 Cutting out logos

The CD was just the right size to cover the logo - and going around it SLOWLY with a rotary cutter worked famously!

After carefully cutting out the logos, I realized I had enough of each t-shirt to use as a back to the quilt!  Perfect!!!

Here's how that first block came out prior to assembling the quilt:

IMG_3203 Logo appliquéd to denim

I appliquéd both the logo and a cute tag from one of the other t-shirts. It seemed to round the block out.

After I stitched around every logo, I went in and snipped every half-inch or so.  I don't have a photo of that part, so use your imagination.

I was able to work in pieces of the blankets as accents (you'll see those in a future post) AND because I set the squares 5 blocks by 5 blocks, there is a center square. The "logo" I used there is none other than the embroidered name from Mati's towel:

IMG_3299 Deciding on layout

Can you see it in there?  Here's another look at that block, as I was starting to sew the quilt together:

IMG_3332 Assembly
I my Bernina and its denim foot

I'm so happy that I thought to use denim as my "base" - I don't think a lighter fabric would have accommodated the embroidery from the towel like that.

I've never sewn on t-shirt fabric, so that was new to me.  I confess, I wasn't looking forward to that part, based on what I've heard and read.  Maybe appliquéing it to the denim helped, but I really didn't think it was bad to work with.  I did use a lightweight, iron-on stabilizer for the first few blocks, then realized I didn't really need it.

Over the weekend, I'll get more pix posted.  The snipping/fraying/washing/drying completely transforms the whole look of the quilt!

Thanks for reading!  And to cousin Michael - thank you for entrusting this project to me!!!