One of the magazines my grandmother had featured a nine-patch "blanket" on the cover of the magazine. My daughter saw the kitty blanket and had to have it. I figured that she'd forget about it after a day or so if I put the magazine away, but she was tenacious!  Personally, I think it's super ugly.

I had some time today and threw it together for her.  I learned a few lessons along the way:

  • Don't use fleece for backing. Really.  It might seem like a good idea but it really isn't.
  • Make sure you're using the right size needle if you are stupid enough to use fleece for the backing.
  • It's okay to give yourself more than a 1/4" seam allowance when you're assembling your quilt pillow-case style.
  • Top stitch! Really. Don't forget it! ALL the way around. It makes life so much easier.
  • Did I mention not to use fleece? Just thought I'd throw that in again.
  • If you really wanted this to be a blankie for a child, don't use buttons for eyes and make your squares larger.  I followed the instructions, against my better judgment, and cut 4 1/2" squares. The end result is a 12" block. I suppose Barbie or Strawberry Shortcake could use it as a blankie.
So here's the creepy kitty. I think it's frightening but I'm sure my daughter will love it. 


recycled one of my son's fleece baby blankets for the backing

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My mom gave me my grandma for Christmas


My mom's mom was my best friend. She had so many admirable qualities and I just adored her. She passed away almost six years ago and I miss her terribly.  She was kind, spirited, loving and hard working. She was an incredible role model.

My grandmother was an amazing - I mean AMAZING - seamstress! She sewed her daughters' wedding dresses and all their brides maids' dresses. She sewed her own wardrobe as well as for her two daughters. She sewed for all of us grandkids.  The clothes she made always fit right and seemed flawless to me.

I don't know if she always quilted or if it was something she did more of as she got older. I do have a twin size patchwork quilt she made for me and a whole-cloth baby doll quilt she made for me.  She quilted this amazing patchwork jacket for me when I was little. I look at it now (pictured on my own daughter) and am simply amazed. If you notice, the fabrics are symmetrical on each side of the jacket front. The arms match as well. That jacket astounds me!

To my memory, she mostly quilted preprinted panels, whole cloth quilts or simple patchwork. I think she made a wedding ring quilt for my cousin but I really don't remember seeing her do a lot of piece work.

For Christmas, my mom handed me a gift bag. Inside was a box of tissues. My 4 year old daughter thought this was a great gift. I knew it meant something big was coming. My mom slide a big present over to me. I opened it and it was one of those Sterlite containers with shelves. Okay. Um. What's up, Mom??

Each drawer contained a million treasures....

The top drawer contained blocks for a sampler quilt my grandmother started. Each block had a little piece of paper attached with the name of the pattern. Most were sashed and sewn into rows. I was speechless. My grandmother *never* did piecework like this!

The second drawer contained all of the quilting templates she used. She hand quilted on a huge rack. She would lay out the cardstock templates and trace them on the fabric and start hand stitching. For as long as I can remember, my grandmother's knuckles were bent at right angles from arthritis. It still amazes me that she hand quilted.

The next drawer contained lots of envelopes. Each envelope was labeled with the name of a block pattern. In each envelope was all of the paper templates for that block. Each template piece was labeled with the name of the block and was given a number so you'd know that they were all accounted for and none were lost. There were even plexiglass templates she had my grandfather cut for her.

The bottom drawer was filled with quilting books and magazines from the early 90's. This alone was a huge treasure. But it gets better..... each magazine was marked. She put check marks next to the blocks she wanted for her sampler and wrote "done" when they were complete. She made notes in the margins just like she used to do with her cookbooks... any modifications or thoughts about the recipe would be noted.

It was an absolutely amazing gift to receive. Seeing my grandmother's distinctive handwriting was enough to bring tears to my eyes. But seeing how she planned out this sampler and worked on it left me without words.

Right now, the sampler looks like it would fit a twin bed. I plan to go through the magazines and find the blocks she hadn't made yet and add to the quilt to make it queen size. I also want to have someone embroidery the names of each block onto the blocks. I'll never remember the names and I want to make sure the next person who receives the quilt has that knowledge as well.

It's taken me a while to write about this. Every time I try to write about it, I am so overwhelmed by the gift and find that words just aren't adequate. I love my Grandma and miss her every day. I'm a boo-hooing, runny nose mess now that I've written it all out.

Thank you, Grandma, for being such an amazing woman and role model. Thank you, Mom, for giving me a little of Grandma for Christmas and for knowing how much it would mean to me. I love you dearly.

My wonderful grandparents and my son

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Must I de-stash?

I've seen quite a few blog posts from fabricaholics who are determined to destash and/or use up their fabric stashes on projects this year.

Personally, I don't think I have an incredibly huge stash of fabrics. But when you compare how much space my stash takes up in this tiny apartment, it does seem like a lot. No, I'm not justifying my fabric love; I'm simply explaining that the ratio of storage space to fabric taking up storage space is a big skewed in this  little apartment.

Should I de-stash? Probably. I know there are fabrics in there that I'll never use. But I said the same thing before making my daughter's quilt and ended up using one of the "ew" fabrics and love it in the quilt!

I did make an effort to organize my projects.  I have shoe boxes and leftover Christmas boxes holding various projects; each box is labeled too!  I'd love to have some (a million) Sterlite type containers to help with organizing but I'm okay with recycling the boxes I come across.

Are you committed to de-stashing this year? Using up your fabrics on projects? How will you get rid of the unwanted fabrics? I'm thinking about holding a giveaway on the blog maybe.  I'll have to see what I can find to get rid of. I don't have a lot of designer fabrics - just remnants from other people's projects for the most part.

So... de-stash or hold on tight?


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Glue your fabric??

I was doing some random quilt blog surfing this morning and came across this amazing tip.

Have you ever been working on a project and realized you don't have a piece of fabric that fits your need? Just a little too short or mis-cut? (Not that I have ever mis-cut fabric!!)

Oh Fransson! posted a neat trick on how to piece your fabric together and save your sewing project. This is a bit involved for someone like me who has very little patience but I thought I'd pass it along because it's simply brilliant!

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Rainbow bargello progress

It started out pretty simply.... a request for a rainbow quilt. After researching high and low, I decided to use a bunch of fat quarter from my stash and sew a bargello.

I added a border but it just didn't look right. It was too narrow. Beefing up the width with borders wasn't going to work... they'd overpower the rainbow effect.

Yes, that's my striped sock peeking out

I set it aside for a month while I noodled through possible solutions. Nothing I thought of was do-able. Nothing clicked as the right answer. I finally spread it out on the floor of my best friend's kitchen and stared at it.

And stared.

Then I stared some more.

Then I ate an ice cream sandwich and stared even more.

And then it hit me! I had extra bargello "tubes" that hadn't been opened yet. I could open them, halve them and add them to the side without the border! That would give me another 5 or 6 inches of width!

I spent tonight sewing those extras. Tomorrow I'll attach them to the rest of the quilt and we'll see how it looks!

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Cheater binding

I cannot sew a whip stitch. I just can't. I try and I might get it to look decent for a few stitches but then it gets all wild and crazy again. It's like I have lost all control of my dexterity and my fingers have been taken over by Beetlejuice!

One of the ladies in my quilting bee blogged about a really neat way to "cheat" on sewing the binding. I must say... I'm impressed and very excited to try it out!

Check out her blog, Sewn, and spend some time trying out her binding cheat!

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My first quilting bee

I'm very excited to be part of a quilting bee. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time but lacked the confidence to take part. One of my resolutions this year is to not let fear of failure limit my dreams and goals. With that in mind, I let go of self-doubt, fear of imperfection, and self-deprecation; I joined a bee!

Finding an open bee that fits your style isn't always easy but Flickr Groups is probably the best place to start looking. I joined the group "A Twist on Tradition". I love quilts but I'm not too hyped about a lot of the traditional piecework. It's pretty and I can appreciate the effort that goes into them, but they generally don't make me giddy. I tend to gravitate to the more modern quilts so I thought this group would be a good fit for me.

Our first batch of fabrics arrived in the mail around Christmas time. At first I thought, "Who do I know in UTAH???" and was even more perplexed when I opened the envelope and found a bagging of scraps. Oh yahhh... the bee has begun!

I had a pretty busy holiday so I wasn't able to work on my blocks until recently. The originator requested pinwheels inside log cabins. I've never done a log cabin before and have been told it's simple and one of the first blocks a beginner should learn. However, the intimidation-factor was pretty high for me. I felt all my fears of imperfection creeping back into my mind.... I'll never figure out how to layout a log cabin... What if it isn't square?? What if it isn't centered? What if mine looks shoddy?? I really don't want to disappoint the lady who sent the fabric to me!

And then, I sat down and just did it. I closed my eyes, did some deep cleansing breaths and got to work (with my eyes open again).

I had some moral support from my best friend who encouraged me and held my hand a little. And now that the blocks are done, I can say that I've done a log cabin and succeeded. I can't wait to see what the completed quilt looks like!

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