Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wow this year has flown by! I still have many ufos, however I stayed up last night to finish a Raggedy Ann doll for my niece Trinity. Christmas morning with my in-laws was very entertaining with Trin and her new brother Hayden. Trin was so entertaining playing with the dog and new toys. Raggedy Ann was a big hit! Since my last post my sister also had her baby. Isabella Grace was born on December 21, 2010 at 8:24 a.m weighing in at 8 lbs 6 oz and 20.5 inches long. She is so precious! Izzy also received a quilt from me at my sister's baby shower that I threw in November. This year has been a whirlwind of activity...two bridal showers, two weddings, two baby showers, and two babies. I am not sure what 2011 brings but hopefully more time for me to quilt. I am three semesters from my Associates degree in Mathematics Education, and then I will have two years of schooling for my Bachelors. At this rate I will be a teacher before I am 30! I cannot wait to be able to teach young minds the challenges of math. It will also be nice that I have many extra holidays off and summer vacation! I am hoping to start working on a quilt for my husband in January so it will be done for next Christmas! Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to you and yours.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Hayden's Quilt

Hayden is my soon to be nephew, he is due on December 16, 2010. My thinking is that every baby needs a baby quilt and I could not pass up the opportunity to make my first nephew a quilt of his own. Hayden's quilt is a flannel tumbler block with minky fabric for the back and it is echoed quilted.

I started Hayden's quilt during my two week summer break from night college, after I finished my dad's NASCAR t-shirt quilt. I finished piecing Hayden's quilt at the end of September and with the help of my husband, we pin basted it shortly after. I began quilting it October 2nd, determined to have it finished for the following weekend. Within 3 short days the quilting was finished. I was so excited to get the binding on and have it ready for the baby shower, but that didn't happen. With my brother's wedding in the same weekend and the preparations for the shower, the quilt was the last thing to get done. The day of the shower, there were lots of last minute tasks that I needed to get accomplished before the guests arrived.  My husband went to church after we said goodbye to my aunt and uncle, who were staying with us for my brother's wedding, I put aside prepping food and sneaked into the basement.  I started putting the binding on Hayden's quilt. Luckily, I already had the binding strips done and all I needed to do was sew it to the quilt. Within the hour I had it sewn on the back of the quilt and was ready to sew it down to the top of the quilt. Using a decorative stitch, I started sewing, and after a foot of sewing became frustrated. I was determined to finish the quilt so I kept on sewing and got one side sewn down. To my horror it looked awful! I was so upset that I walked away, and went back to prepping food for the shower. My husband came home from church and helped me finish getting things together to bring over to my mother-in-law's house. I told him what had happened with the quilt and started to cry! I was called a stubborn son-of-a-gun, and then he asked if it could be fixed. Of course it could be fixed, I just had to rip 45 inches of stitches out without tearing a hole in the quilt or binding and avoid all of the adjacent quilting stitches! He told me to work on it while he got things together to go over. Time ticked away and it was getting closer and closer to 3:00pm, the start of the shower.  I was frantic, as I had wanted to give this quilt to my little sister, that day.  My husband had been telling me all along to just box it up unfinished, show it off at 95% complete, and tell her she would get it back in a few more days. He came to the rescue and said, "show me how to rip the stitches out and I will finish it for you while you host the shower." Reluctantly I did, after many promises that he would be extra careful. We arrived at mom's house, unloaded everything and both got to work.  He sneaked into the garage and ripped out all my failed stitches. It took him over an hour to do it, but I was so grateful!  In the end, Hayden's quilt was proudly opened and shared at the shower with the binding half sewn on, for me to finish before he is born. AND SHE LOVED IT!!!

Hayden's Quilt

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dad's NASCAR T-Shirt Quilt

I would like to share my dad's t-shirt quilt and accompanying story with everyone.  This labor of love for my dad has been two years in the making.  If you don’t know my father, then you need to understand that he is a hardcore NASCAR fan, and a HUGE Richard Petty, Kyle Petty, and Petty Racing fan. I fondly remember when I was 5 or 6 years old, standing in line with my dad at the Laneco in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, waiting for an autograph from Richard Petty, when the power went out.  Richard Petty requested a flashlight and started signing autographs in the small beam of light that was provided by the flashlight.  My father has attended many, many NASCAR racing events, and over the years, has accumulated quite a collection of souvenir t-shirts.  My father is also pretty sentimental, and never lets go of a good NASCAR shirt.  As the t-shirts started building up in the house, my mother started trying to thin out Dad’s collection.   He declined to let go of any shirts.  I came up with an idea that has been floating in my mind for a while.  I asked my father if I could cut them up and make a t-shirt quilt out of his stash.  At first, my dad was very reluctant to give me his old NASCAR t-shirts; his favorite Richard Petty tee is older than me!  He thought it was a ploy for my mom to finally be able to get rid of them.  After I promised him that they would not end up in the trash, he agreed.

When I started this t-shirt quilt, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  The shirts were stretching out of shape and elasticity of the t-shirts made them very difficult to sew.  I became extremely frustrated and began to feel that I would not be able to finish the quilt.  As a self-taught quilter, I did what I always do when I face a quilting problem: I researched it.  I scoured the web and books for the correct way of making a t-shirt quilt.  After a trip to my local fabric store, I was ready to start over.  For Father’s Day 2009, I gave my dad the “9 patch” of t-shirts, which is the center of the quilt.  He was very excited to see his old t-shirts breathing new life.  We took it downstairs to his NASCAR themed game room and put it on his pool table, which gave me the idea to use the quilt as a pool table cover.  I continued to work on ironing the stabilizer on the rest of the t-shirts and trimming the t-shirts into manageable sizes.  After summer was over, I had to go back to college and did not have any spare time to devote to it.  I continued working on it in the little spare time I had during my breaks. I finished piecing the t-shirts together between summer and fall classes this year.  I used over thirty shirts to make this quilt, and it’s final measurements are 100" x 128".  This quilt is the biggest quilt I have made, and my sewing machine (a Janome Memory Craft 4800 Quilter’s Companion) was not up to the task of quilting it.  After a lot of research, I took it to Deanna Utley of Appoquinimink Quilting in Middletown, Delaware.  She did a wonderful job and treated my quilt like it was her own.  Deanna was very helpful in suggesting thread colors and a quilting pattern for my quilt.  The more I spoke with her about quilting, the more comfortable I felt leaving my work of art in her hands.  She does beautiful work and I highly recommend using her services.

I have to finish binding the quit and would like to get a few signatures of the drivers that are sewn into this quilt.  I’m a little nervous about mailing it in to get signed, so we will see if we can’t arrange something when the races come back to Dover or the immediate area.  If you are reading this Richard or Kyle, let me know if you are interested at  Enjoy the pics!

NASCAR T-Shirt Quilt