Tag Archives: America

Happy Fourth of July!

1 Jul


I love the Fourth of July! Don’t you?  It makes me think of green grass, picnics, barbeques, hot dogs…What’s stange is I totally know how hot dogs are made and yet I still love them. But I digress.  My favorite part about the fourth of July is the flags!  Seriously.  I have a thing for Old Glory.  I even painted my house red, white and blue.

Seriously, it used to be pale pink!

And if that wasn’t permanent enough for you, I inked myself up with some American (and quilting!) pride!

Sorry mom!

Yes, that is totally my tramp stamp. Don’t judge! And yes, that’s a needle and thread around my American Flag heart.  Which brings me back to why I’m writing in the first place: Red White and Blue quilts!! The quilt above is one of my very first quilts.  I had this vision in my head of a flag quilt and I set out to make it.  I was so new to sewing, a complete novice, but I wanted to design it, create it and have it finished by Independence Day of 2000.  The great thing about not knowing how to do things “right” is that you don’t know you’re doing them wrong!  I had a blue fat quarter that screamed of needing stars! It already had glitter in it after all, so I eyeballed it, cut it, traced and cut 50 muslin stars, placed them on my sea of blue, zig zag stitched them mostly on, stuffed them, then zig zag stitched them closed!

The stripes were also a spontaneous design. I pieced two different 2″ (or so) strips together, then cut them into 2″ (or so) segments.  Little did I know the REAL patterns would be requiring me to do this for years! Yay me! I was advanced. I discovered that if I matched the bottom left and top right quadrants, the effect was pretty cool! I did that until…well, until it looked right.  But that was about my only reasoning. I was pleased with myself when it came out looking like waves!

Once I had the completed top, I needed to finish it! It was a pretty impressive top for a novice 20-year-old with no pattern! (*not that I would have done the pattern right!) All I knew how to do at the time was pillowcase quilts, and attaching satin borders to baby quilts. I was completely unaware of the phenomenon of “binding”.  I pillowcased it, used remnant batting and stitched-in-the-ditchish.  The finished quilt was not as impressive as I had hoped, but I was still proud of my scrappy, 57″ x 37″ piece of America!  I proudly displayed it on my walls for years!  And then I started quilting.  Really quilting.

My sense of pride in this piece began to diminish.  In my new-found experience, I began to see glaring flaws in my once beautiful quilt.  I had disgraced my flag! I couldn’t bear it anymore and took it down from the wall, folded it up and put it away.

A couple of years ago I mustered up to courage to revisit this quilt.  I tore it open, ripped out my quilting, I bought new backing (A beautiful Moda flag print, Red, White and Bold, the only boutique quality fabric in the quilt at that point! I was such a newb!!) heavy red, white and blue variegated thread and set off to finish this quilt right! The thread was so heavy and was awful to deal with, even on the Bernina! But I did it. I stippled the blue and used a wavy stitch in each stripe.  It is hand bound in my favorite red RJR fabric.  I finally have made this quilt the way it was supposed to be! Now, 11 years old, long may she wave!

It certainly wasn’t my last patriotic quilt either. I used to participate in the Mystery Quilt Series at The Calico Cat, my favorite local quilt store, and ended up with a red and white churn dash. I added a blue border and ended up with this:

Red White and Blue Churn Dash

So pretty, right? Naturally it looked like it should be a Quilt of Valor quilt. If you are unfamiliar with the organization, they hook you up with a long armer who donates their services.  The result was this:


Look at that quilting!

Holy hell! Look at that quilting!! Did I seriously make that?! If this isn’t a testament to having quilts long armed, I don’t know what is! Her quilting took my average quilt and made it incredible! I was SO PROUD to donate this!  Granted, I did want to keep it, but JUST FOR A SECOND! I made a matching pillowcase and sent it off.  Goodness, I sure do love that quilt.

Anyway, among my myriad of other quilts-to-be-made is another red, white and blue.  I got the kit as the replacement for a shabby chic kit I’d had for years and made for my sister.  I would like to think I’ll have it finished by next July 4th. Stop laughing! I’m serious!

July 4, 2012 quilt...I promise. Now hold me to it!!

In other news, I have finished all my Buck a Blocks from 2009. (Shut it.) And am working on finishing them up.  I hope to have all finishing blocks done tonight.  Currently I have 2 done…only 10 to go! Seriously! I’m going to finish them! Ask me about it tomorrow!!

12 7.5" buck a blocks...They'll make into a king size somehow...?

Should you deem my millenium Quilt worthy of a vote, it is competing in the Patriotic quilt contest this week (starting Friday, 7/1) over on the Quilting blogger’s Directory! Thanks so much! And Happy Independence Day, America!!



Blown Away by Generosity

18 Jun

Wow, have I been busy!  Not tracking-infectious-disease/saving-mankind busy, but end of the year school party/two birthday parties in two days/mom, I made you coffee, didn’t close the tray, need to clean grounds off everything for the next 45 minutes busy.  Now that I have a spare minute, let me tell you about our happenings:

You may recall the devastating tornadoes to hit the south on April 27.  At the end of the storm, 31 were confirmed dead, 13 in the tiny town of Smithville, Mississippi alone.  The destruction was unimaginable, and tragic.  Selina and I have made many friends all over the country, including the south, and our hearts broke for our fellow Americans.

In this day and age, connecting and interacting with people across the country is just as easy as calling your girlfriend down the street.  Twitter (among other mediums) has been instrumental in building our quilting friends network, and through Twitter we reached out to our friends across the country and asked ourselves what we could do.  We all have the desire to help, and making a couple of quilt blocks seemed like an easy request.  We would request blocks and create a quilt to send, with love, to someone who may have lost everything.

It’s amazing the desire to give that quilters have.  It swells my heart two sizes (a la The Grinch)  when I think about it.  I don’t remember exactly how the Twitter feed read, it was during #gdas after all (the Friday night Get Drunk And Sew party we throw weekly on Twitter), but I do recall a Tweep (Twitter friend) offering to give a quilt to a guild in the affected area, and many many Tweeps offering to make two blocks to create a beautiful quilt to donate.  I offered to assemble, quilt and ship our final masterpiece.  CaraQuilts generously donated the beautiful pattern “Avalanche”

for participants to create their blocks with, APrairieSunrise created blocks and donated the backing.  SewAmanda not only created blocks, but donated batting, binding and border fabric as well!  All this giving!  Ladies, you amaze me!  In total we had blocks from:

Amanda W. from Kentucky
Sharon T. from Wyoming
Rebecca M. from California
Tiffany L. from Tennessee
Molly (need a last initial and state. I spaced it and didn’t write it down. Sorry!)
And Cara W. From Ontario Canada for supplying the beautiful pattern

As well as the blocks from Selina and me in Washington!  Talk about an American Quilt!  This is exactly why we chose to have the blocks done in red white and blue!  This was to show the solidarity of Americans.  That this may not have been in our state, but it affects us when it affects our fellow citizens.

Our Completed Quilt

Additional pictures can found on our Flickr Group.

Sadly, while putting this beautiful quilt together, the storm season grew worse.  Joplin, Missouri was hit with the most deadly tornado in 60 years.  The path was a mile wide and six miles long, destroying much of the town.  Again, we have many quilting friends in Missouri, as well as personal friends.  Again, our hearts broke for our fellow Americans, and the decision was made among the Tweeps to send the quilt to Joplin.

The Quilt Shoppe in Stewartsville, MO, is collecting quilts and quilting supplies to distribute.  The supplies will be to help re-guild the quilting Guild that lost everything in the tornado.  Also, a big thank you to The Stitchin Heaven in Texas for helping coordinate the relief effort!  Truly, the generosity of quilter’s is amazing!  Thanks to everyone for their donations and time!

In unrelated news, I made some of these Zippy Strippy bags as teachers gifts!  They were super easy and well received. (Four of them!) Why is it everyone else in the world knows to give teachers end of the year gifts except me?! It only took me three years to get it! (The oldest is in First grade).

Ta da!

I’m off to the post office.  If you have any spare rotary cutters, yardage, etc, consider donating to The Joplin guild!  Take care!


America the Beautiful

5 Jul

I’m writing this hoping that the day after the 4th of July finds everyone well. The 4th can be a crazy day (and night). We had a fantastic Independence Day. The kids and I went to a great BBQ that had ALL the works. I’m not kidding. The spread was amazing. I just started Atkins though, so I couldn’t eat most of what was served. It all looked really delicious. Getting old and fat sucks.

The fireworks we had would have put nearly any other show to shame. These people spend thousands of money on fireworks. It was insane. The kids loved it and you could hear cheering and clapping from literally blocks away.

I know I’m a day late, but Happy 234th Birthday to the United States of America! Land of the free, home of the brave! America, F*** Yeah!