Thursday, August 17, 2017

Grab Your Sunglasses

Watch your eyes, this is going to be bright!

This is the bright patchwork top I made from charm packs before the summer.  Meloney quilted it on her long-arm and she did a beautiful job with swirls in bright green thread!

This quilt is LOUD enough to stand up to green thread.  It's 54"x72", a good sized for covering up with on the couch.

This quilt has already been taken up to the hospital along with 19 others, bringing our total to 220 for Covered in Love!   220 quilts made by donations from quilters around the world to bring comfort to mourning families.

The current Covered in Love block drive just began and it's a red, white, and blue star free-for-all.  This drive will run until the end of August if you want to help out.  More info here

Linking to  Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Finished or Not Friday

Friday, August 11, 2017


Yes, I'm finally home from my summer in Santa Fe. It was a good summer, full of ups and downs. Nice to step back from working on CiL a bit, but of course that just meant I had different problems to focus on :P

Tent Rocks, NM
My summer included:
  • a deathly ill dog, a midnight run around Santa Fe for blood to transfuse, and a miraculous recovery
  • facial shingles (not mine) which invaded an eye and led to post-herpetic neuralgia
  • a young-adult with Down Syndrome who caught chicken pox
  • multiple dental surgeries (not mine)
  • installing an IKEA kitchen
  • attempting online dating (marginal success, mostly stressful)
I feel like I'm forgetting some things, but that's a start anyway.  I am glad to be back home to my regular, boring life!  I was greeted by a knee-high pile of mail. Opening boxes is always exciting! 

I've opened and sorted everything at this point. Yesterday I labeled all the quilts from the May/June block drive that Cynthia so wonderfully put together.  Look for a post on them coming soon. Today I went to the post office, working on getting fresh tops out to the volunteer quilters :) The kitties are happy to see me, of course. Rey immediately resumed her post as block inspector. 

There were some wonderful surprises in the mail.  Aurifil and QT Fabrics both sent donations to CiL, thanks to Nicki K. who took it upon herself to ask around for me!  I'll be posting more about them both later, but definitely think about showing them some love if you're in the market for thread or fabrics. 

Jovie, the day she came home from the vet

And of course there were lots of blocks, tops, and fabrics sent in by wonderful quilters around the country.  Your support not only keeps CiL going, but this summer it allowed me to go support my friends.  Thank you all!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

More Baby Shibori

You may have seen my post a few weeks ago about my experiments with Shibori dyeing.   You can either look at my previous post or Google "nui-shibori" to see more about how these designs are made.  In the meanwhile I've I added a bottle of red dye to my stash and have tried a few more techniques.

For both of the onesies above I sewed through only the front or back of the onesie at a time, rather than through the front and back layers together. The designs come out a little bit finer when sewing through only one layer and it allows to put different designs on the front and back. The back of the heart onesie is below.

The heart onesie has already found its baby and is in use, along with the jellyfish onesie from the previous post :)  Nothing makes a crafter happier.  The faded heart t-shirt below is getting regular use already, too.  The fade is created by clipping the shirt to the edge of the dye bath and lowering a bit more in every ten minutes. 

For this one I did sew through all the layers at once, so you can see above how the back looks.

The t-shirt above was purely an experiment, with a stitch pattern in sort of a zigzag. It didn't come out like I expected (when do they ever) but after rinsing I liked the effect.

For both of these I sewed through the front and back layers.  You can see their backsides below.  I wasn't aiming for an American flag effect with the one on the left (I was actually thinking of those sliders on a sound control board), but I think now that I know the technique I could probably make one. 

Fixing up this post has given me several new ideas and inspired me to get back to stitching!  I hope you're all having a fantastic summer. I'm going to be back to my sewing machine and a considerable stack of mail very soon, so you can all brace yourselves for plenty of CiL posts coming soon!

Please enjoy these photos of Jovie, the prettiest princess

The new Covered in Love block drive is running now and it's a red, white, and blue star free-for-all.  This drive will run until the end of August if you want to help out.  More info here

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Listening to... I was introduced to Tex-Mex music this summer. A mix of traditional Mexican music with Bavarian influences that German immigrants brought to south Texas.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Different Kind of "Craft"

Sew Some Love is on hiatus this week. I thought instead I'd show you some pictures of my summer project here in Santa Fe. I've been helping my friends to install an IKEA kitchen.

before shot

Above you can see the left side of the kitchen area, which is where we started.  I think July 5th was the day we officially began.

These are about 1/4 of the boxes that contained our kitchen. There were around 200 boxes.

First cabinet in.  Assembling IKEA cabinets is basically like Lego for grownups.  Installing them into a kitchen takes more construction knowledge and skill, so the the first time I am learning to use power tools.

Construction is even more similar to quilting than I always suspected it would be.

The left side of the kitchen is nearly done. We've made quite a bit of progress since this photo was taken a couple days ago.  What do you think about IKEA? Love it or hate it?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Scraps Are Love {Guest Post}

Hi folks, I'm thrilled to have a guest post for you this week from Louise about the special value of scraps, especially for charity quilts.  I hope you'll read and enjoy!

Hello! My name is Louise and I blog over at Quilt Odyssey. Kat asked me to write a guest post while she is away for the summer.

I'm a fairly new quilter, having only taken up the hobby about three years ago. I had no fabric stash at all, and started by buying a few fat quarter bundles. Of course, I had no scraps. After making my first lap quilt, a blue and yellow floral and butterfly design for my Mom, I actually threw away the scraps. Why would I need to save those small pieces? It was several months before I started reading quilt blogs and discovered that entire quilts could be made from what I casually tossed in the garbage can. I still regret that little pile that ended up in the landfill.

I bought more bundles and made more quilts, and started saving my scraps. The very first thing I made with them was a Covered In Love block, my first collaborative "bee" creation. It was fun to make, and I felt good about contributing to such a good cause, but mostly it was just satisfying to get rid of a few scraps.

Meanwhile, I was still making quilts for friends and family from brand new fabric, carefully shopping for just the right colors and motifs that I hoped they would love. I'm particularly fond of using novelty fabrics to capture someone's interests: a beer-themed quilt for a cousin, sweet doggy faces for a friend's granddaughter, fun scooters for my husband. And I discovered the love and joy that comes with sewing gifts, the meditative time watching the fabrics pass under the presser foot, while thinking, "Oh, she's going to love these beautiful yellow flowers!"

But my scraps? They were just sort of extra bonus fabric available to try some new blocks, and often ended up in Kat's hands. Then one day, I had an epiphany when Kat wrote this:
I checked in today with one of the chaplains who delivers these quilts and he said, "This is a wonderful, powerful gift. [I] placed the Route 66 quilt on a bed Tuesday and the family cried and cried.  He had lived for many years in Amarillo and it was on the quilt! It was perfect!"
Kat had sewn a quilt using scrap/remnant Route 66 fabric, and it ended up in the hands of just the right family. In their grief, they connected so emotionally to that memory of their loved one. And that's not the only time a personal connection has been made through these quilts. The wide variety of colors and themes, sewn out of our scraps, has produced Just The Right Quilt for many, many grieving families.

Each time we select a fabric for our own loved ones, we open up the possibility that it is also the perfect fabric for a stranger in need. Your aunt loves purple? So does another aunt. Tiny butterflies on a 2"x2" scrap? That will certainly be found by the family of another butterfly fan as they sit by a hospital bedside. After all, we humans long for connection, for meaning, especially at times of sickness, grief, and loss.

Scraps now have been elevated in my stash to much higher status. They are the basis for the very best charity quilts. I believe that scrappy quilts provide extra visual and emotional interest at a time when people are searching for meaning and comfort. I'm deeply moved by the chaplains' stories about how the families often find a special connection hidden in their quilt. So I try to make my own donations full of little glimpses of flowers and birds and scooters and Snoopy and music and much more. Maybe something will resonate, providing a bit of light and love during a dark time.

By passing along the fabric that we filled with love the first time around, we do so much more than make efficient use of our stash. We touch our common humanity. And by combining my scraps with yours, we create something larger than each of us. Did you know that Kat puts a special label on the back of each Covered in Love quilt? She writes the names of each of us that has contributed a block, the backing, the quilting, the binding. Some of the labels have a dozen names, a whole cadre of loving strangers who have stitched in solitude to make together something that quite literally covers a family with love. Powerful stuff from scraps of fabric.

So as you sew donation blocks or quilts, use your scraps with pride. Tap into the joy and love as the fabric passes through your machine and your fingers. Think to yourself, "Oh, she's going to love these beautiful yellow flowers!" even if you've never met her and never will. Your scraps are destined for greatness.

Linking to Quilting is More Fun Than Housework, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sew Some Love Linky

Welcome to the Sew Some Love linkup!  Please link-up any post about a project you're sewing for charity.

I've been a part of the NURTURE circle of do. Good Stitches since 2013.  We used to donate quilts to My Very Own Blanket and then, after a group vote a couple years ago, switched to supporting Covered in Love.  I have really loved being a part of this circle and I'd encourage anyone who is interested to apply to join a circle.

NURTURE circle quilts
Usually in my travels I manage to either borrow a sewing machine or get my blocks done early. It didn't work out this time, so two block angels stepped in to make my June and July blocks.  One of my local quilter friends, Tricia, and Louise who I told you about a few weeks ago each made two blocks on my behalf. Thank YOU ladies!!

do. Good Stitches is a great organization that supports tons of charities.  You can sign up to be a stitcher or a quilter. A quilter takes their turn twice a year to choose the block the group makes and finish off the quilt, the rest of the time they just make 2 blocks per month and send them to whoever is the quilter. Stitchers always just make their two blocks a month and never have to take a turn as quilter, so it's a little bit easier of a commitment.  If you've ever considered joining a circle, do! It's a ton of fun!

Some Quilt Charities:
Books and a Blanket - quilts for needy children in central Texas, promoting literacy
Covered in Love - quilts for mourning families
Kennel Quilts - small quilts for animals in need
Margaret's Hope Chest - several programs for children and adults
My Very Own Blanket - quilts for children in foster care
Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project - quilts auctioned to raise money for cancer research
Project Linus - quilts for children in the hospital
Quilts Beyond Borders -  quilts for poor children around the world
Quilts for Kids - quilts for abused and ill children
Quilts of Valor - quilts for veterans
Threading Hope - children and families in poverty and war torn countries
Victoria's Quilts - quilts for cancer patients
Wrap-a-Smile - quilts for children treated for cleft palate on medical missions
Wrap Them in Love - quilts for children

If you know of any that need added to the list let me know!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Shibori Dyeing Experiments

I've been away from my sewing machine, except for one week, since mid-May.  I'm getting itchy fingers to say the least!  Last week I decided it was time to do some therapeutic crafting and hit up Walmart for some white onesies, dye and thread.

I've been wanting to experiment with the Shibori thread resist technique, called Nui Shibori, for a long time. I wasn't sure it would work well on fabric with such an open weave since it's usually done on fabrics with a very tight weave similar to what is used for batiking.

Happily, as you can see, it worked well! I drew the designs first in washable marker and then stitched over them.  The pic above is of the jellyfish onesie.  After stitching you draw the threads up tight and tie them (like cinching the rubber bands in regular tie dye.

For this one, with the "tentacle" looking stripes I sewed through the front and back layers at the same time.

I really liked this "fish scales" one with a faded dye technique. I just clipped the onesie to the side of my dye bath and lowered it further in every ten minutes until it was done.

The tentacle-looking stitch pattern inspired this onesie called "Octo-hug" or "An Octopus Ate My Baby!"  Can you see the octopus on the back wrapping his tentacles around? 

Front of "Octo-hug"
I learned a lot from making this one and I will definitely do another version, which will hopefully come out even better.

There is at least an hour of stitching and tying in even the relatively simple designs so I am working on these slowly and doing small dye batches of about three at a time.  This week I'm going to pick up a new dye color and hopefully find a bottle of Retayne to help set the dye.  Can't wait to gift these soon!

The new Covered in Love block drive just began and it's a red, white, and blue star free-for-all.  This drive will run until the end of August if you want to help out.  We gift quilts to the family member of patients dying in the hospital. More info here

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Listening to... OK GO (those guys with the killer music videos)