Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quilt Group

I've referred to my quilt group several times in previous posts, so I thought I'd take a minute and explain what I'm talking about.

It may take more than a minute.

My quilt group was started many years ago by a couple of women who love the Lord and love to quilt.  It was a time to visit, a time to eat and a time to encourage each other in the journey that is quilting.

And the journey that is life.   

Becky was one of the charter members of our group.  She's as welcoming and kind as she looks in this picture.

There are twelve women in our group; we are partnered into six groups of two.  We meet once a month, with the exception of July when it's just too busy to think, let alone quilt.  We don't sew in December...we party instead!  More about that later....

We used to meet in a church, sometimes we still do, but it's gotten more popular to host quilt group in our homes.  It's pretty fun, you just need lots of extension cords. 

As far as I know, we've never tripped a breaker.

We have a rotation going; each group of two is assigned a month.  They plan the evening, including dinner.  They call around and let everybody know where to be and what to bring. They put the dinner together and clean up; while they are doing that, everybody else is working on projects that those two women have brought.

Get it?  It works pretty slick.

Our quilt group is self perpetuating.  If someone leaves, we think of ladies who might like to join us.  We put all the names in a hat, then choose one.

We are a sophisticated and democratic group of women.

Janet put my name in the hat.  We've been friends since...well, since before three of our five collective children were born.

I love her.  And I love her boots.

I put Penny's name in the hat.

Penny is who I call to help me lay out a random quilt. I love random, but I can't seem to do random.  I also call Penny when I'm in a panic over a quilting job and need somebody to be rational.

Random and rational?  It's a great combo, and it's Penny.  I love her, too. 

It's fun to get together each month, but the highlight of the year is definitely our Christmas party.

You see, we pick names earlier in the year.  So at the party, which always includes tons of fun and good food, we each get some type of quilt that was made especially for us.

I don't know what's more fun, opening my gift or watching the person I picked open hers.

I picked Becky's name last year.  She loves red, and these birds picked her.

I had very little say in the matter.

Lavon made me this ultra tote bag.  She said it was more work than a quilt, and I believe it.  It has pockets and zippers...and is big enough for my laptop.  Love it.  Love her.

I've been in my quilt group for eight years....though it may be nine....or it may be seven, not sure.  Lots of women have come and gone during that time and it's been a pleasure to get to know each one of them. Hopefully I'll be able to introduce you to the rest of them when I quilt their quilts. That's assuming they'll let me.

There's a pretty good chance they will.  I gave each of them a coupon for a discount on their first quilt.

If you've ever thought of starting a quilt group, I say go for it.  It's a great way to stay motivated, learn new techniques and make life long friends.

And you know how you make tons of quilts, but never keep any?  This is a sure fire way of knowing you'll get at least one quilt every year.

Made just for you.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Custom Beginnings

I've spent some time playing with my quilting machine lately.

I think it's been the beginning of a nice friendship between the two of us.  We've been getting along great.

You know how some friendships are, though.  They ebb and flow.  I'd really like to keep flowing.

This table runner has been hiding in a drawer for about two years.  I'm sure there was a reason I made it, I just can't remember what it is. 

Anyway, it was asking to be quilted.  So, I had a little fun with it.

I used the 'Edge to Edge' method to do this square.  Edge to Edge does the all over designs that are the most popular in the quilting world. 

I've got a thing for dragonflies these days.

Here's a fun design.  Everything I picked came out of a set of designs that went together.  They were related. 

What I'm trying to say is they all match. 

I'm twippingovermytung.

Fun vine.  Excuse the fuzz.

Can you see the dragonfly in this corner?  I quilted some butterflies too, but forgot to take their picture.

Bug favoritism. 


This is a pretty cool feature; I can program a design to fit inside a square, then cut out the middle. 

Clever, huh?  My machine, not me.

Okay, I'm a little bit clever, too.  Just a little.

This will make a nice wedding gift for one of the many couples I know getting married this summer. 

It's going to take me a while to churn out enough gifts for everybody.

But I'll get there.

At least my quilting machine is more friend now than foe.

It's a pretty fun friend to have around. 

Now, if it would just bring the popcorn some night, things would be golden between us.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Name The Beast Contest

I've never been one to name inadament objects.  I've never named a car...well, not intentionally.  My old Windstar van earned a name, but I'm afraid it wasn't very nice.  Appropriate, but not very nice.

Several people have asked me what I call my quilting machine.  Well, I've been calling it The Beast, but I'm not as intimidated by it any more.  A new name is probably a good idea...for both of us.

So today She Likes Quilts will begin a quilt machine naming contest. 

Please respond with your suggestion by posting a comment at the bottom of this page.  The winner will be chosen at the end of next week (ish).  And check out the's a fancy, dancy seam ripper.

My friend Cindy, a longarm extraordinaire (and that's an understatement), suggested I get this fancy tool.  I love it...and I can assure you I have spent a lot of time using it. We have a special connection.

I hope you never need a seam ripper.  If you don't, I'd like to shake your hand.  If you do, you'll like this one.

Thanks for your help!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Amazing Batiks

Every quilter has probably dreamed of making a huge quilt out of her (or his) batik scraps.

Wouldn't that be amazing?

Well, hold on to your hats and meet Amazing.

I know, right?

 Let's just stare at it for a minute.  

Lavon is my quilt group partner.  She inspires me in so many ways.

She's not afraid of a difficult pattern.  You should see the pineapple quilt she's working on; I'll have to warn you before I post a picture so you don't swoon.

This pattern isn't difficult, but it looks like it.  It looks cool.

Lavon isn't afraid of building a big quilt.  This is the second king I've quilted for her in the past few months.  I still have one more to finish.


I've been thinking about it, and I've come up with a few reasons why Lavon is so successful making big, beautiful quilts.

1.  She's patient.  She isn't in a big rush, she bides her time.

2.  She's diligent.  She keeps working at it.

3.  Well, let's face it.  The girl is just plain good.

This batik is beautiful on the back.  (I keep a mirror on my quilt machine table so I can see what's going on underneath it all.)

I've learned a little something about batiks in the last few months.  They are so tightly woven; the needle can't glide between the fibers, it actually pokes a little hole in the fabric.  This can be a problem when using batik as a backing, the needle can actually push batting through the little holes and make the back of your quilt kind of fuzzy.  If you prewash your backing with fabric softener, it will loosen the fibers and it won't be a problem.

And your long arm quilter will love you.

Lavon prewashed her backing.  She prewashed everything.

I'm glad I have these pictures.  I'm going to have to give this back to Lavon someday; at least I'll have the pictures to drool over.


Do you have a lot of batik scraps??    

Me, too.

Race ya!

- Kathy

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Quilt Scraps

I just finished a couple of darling quilts for one of my co-workers.  They were the first quilts with borders I've done that don't belong to me and I was nervous.  Like, really nervous.  I was so nervous I forgot to take pictures.

I've got to get over these nerves.  I'm going to drive myself bonkers.

In spite of my silly nerves, the quilts turned out great and I'm bummed that I don't have pictures to share.  So, instead, I'll share these little guys...

These little purses are so handy...and pretty easy to make.

I sent a few down to my daughter-in-law's family and her mom took these wonderful pictures.

I love my daughter-in-law's mom.  She's a kindred spirit.

She shares her daughter with me and she loves my son.

I'm thinking we should be related somehow.  Like, she's my 2nd sister-in-law, kind of like a 2nd cousin.

I just made that up.  And it works!

I use a charm as a zipper pull.  They're my favorite part.

These little purses make great gifts by themselves, or you can stick a gift card in the pocket.  The pattern is called Cash and Carry and it's from Atkinson Designs.

A great way to use all the scraps left over from your quilts!



Saturday, July 9, 2011

Generations of Love

My friend Sue called yesterday.  Her grandmother's 80th birthday is coming up, and she had decided to make her a quilt.

Sue is in my quilt group.  I've loved everything she's ever done, so I was excited to see what she was bringing me.

My excitement was warranted.

Sue and her parents put together this beautiful little quilt.

What a wonderful labor of love.

The name of every child, grandchild and great grandchild is on this quilt.

I went back and forth between quilting designs and thread color.  I was tempted to use red thread, but I was afraid it would be too distracting in the letter blocks.  I settled on light yellow, and I chose an open quilting design so things wouldn't get too busy.

I learned a powerful lesson on this little quilt.

There's a reason you're supposed to save your work on the computer as you go.  Right before the last row, my program let me know it had encountered an error and had to shut down.


And it did.

Every time I open my computer it asks me if I want it to open the last project I was working on, so I figured it would be there waiting for me.

It wasn't.  It was gone.

Thankfully it happened at the end of a row and I knew how to recreate the project.  Whew.  That was a close one, and not too painful.

I'll remember to save things as I go from now on.

I liked the way this flower landed in the bottom corner.

I've recently seen a fabric advertised that looks like Scrabble pieces.  Each panel has x number of repeats of each letter.  It was really cute, but I wondered how many panels you'd have to buy to get the letters you need for a specific crossword.

Sue's idea of stenciling is a great alternative to buying a bunch of letters you may never use.

The yellow is so pretty on the black backing.

Thanks for sharing your lovely quilt, Sue. I know your grandmother is not only going to love it, she'll feel the love it represents from every member of her family.

I do.