I haven’t explained my spotty quilting and posting lately. I was diagnosed in July, 2013 with Multiple Myeloma, an incurable cancer of the blood. The initial treatments (biologic – pills and injections) caused several side effects including fatigue. I wanted to work as long as I was able to, but that meant I mostly dozed in the evenings and rested on the weekends. I didn’t do much sewing or quilting. In January, 2014 I had a stem cell transplant. My own stem cells were harvested from my blood and returned after high-dose chemotherapy. I’ve recovered stamina and energy since then, so I am back to sewing. As I said, it’s incurable for now, but I am in complete remission for a while.
My niece lived near the major hospital where I had the transplant, 4 hours’ drive from my home. There were a few times I needed to stay in the area for appointments and she graciously allowed my husband and me to stay several nights. She stocked up on foods and drinks we preferred and I enjoyed the energy of her household of 6. As a thank you gift, my first quilting project post-transplant was to make her a wall hanging she would enjoy.
I’ve made a couple of bookshelf quilts and it’s still a favorite of mine. I am able to use scraps from my bins and personalize it for the recipient. For hers, I included a birdhouse as a bookend, a shelf lamp, a framed photo in which I embroidered an image of her cat, and a coffee mug with Detroit Tigers’ logo.
When I make this quilt, I always try to make the leaning or stacked or upright books look as natural as possible. I’ve seen some finished quilts with nothing keeping the upright books in place and that always bothers me! The edges on this one seem wavy because I had just finished the binding and hadn’t pressed it.
(Close-up photos of the wall hanging)
My niece loved it and quickly posted a picture of it hanging near her reading chair. I hope each time she looks at it she sees how much I love and appreciate her and her family.
My husband’s oldest daughter and daughter-in-law both announced they were expecting their next babies, so I have new projects to begin!
I have entered a quilt in a weekly themed quilt contest at Quilting Gallery, and people may vote this weekend for up to 4 favorites in the running. Mine is called Family Tree, but there are two by that name. Of course, you can vote for both (and two others) , but mine is indicated by the blog name (Quilt in Progress) and my name, Donna.
I was so pleased with it when I finished it! In fact, in making the hanging tabs on the top, I had come up with a shortcut to more easily do rolled hems, which had frustrated me no end before that!
Please go vote here, and look at the lovely examples to fit the theme: Leaves, Trees & Flowers.
My aunt and uncle are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next month, and it was my honor and pleasure to make a signature wall quilt for their celebration. Guests arriving to the party will be handed a permanent marking pen and asked to sign in a white space. The blocks are simple, as shown here in this previous post. I sewed them together on point, added triangles to create straight edges, and added borders.
The requested colors were shades of blue and shades of tan-to-brown. I am very pleased with the result, and I hope the recipients are as well. Once all the signatures are added, it will become a treasure they can hang on their living room wall.
I do become more motivated when a deadline comes nearer, so I was able to work on the wall quilt today and get the top completely assembled. I like how it looks, and it won’t be as plain when the signatures are added at the upcoming party. I just need to decide on a border, add batting and backing, machine quilt with stitch in the ditch around each white area, and add a hanging sleeve and quilt label. It sounds like I’m almost done!
DAY 31 OF MY 50 DAY CHALLENGE
Back to work at the quilting, and I have just a few weeks to complete a wall quilt. I have all the blocks done, and I was trying out different arrangements. Remember, I don’t have a design wall, I have a design floor – and I take pictures from the upstairs balcony. I’m dependent on natural light and the day was cloudy, so I apologize for the quality of the photos.
My original plan was to simply lay all the blocks going the same way. I also tried out the half-square triangles as a border, allowing the white halves to create a zig zag in the border.
My second thought was to have a center square, and all the blocks radiating out in the pattern. To fit all the blocks, I had to have an extra row below, so it isn’t exactly a centered square.
The third idea is the winner. I’m choosing to place all blocks on point and fill in the edges so it will be a rectangular quilt. I gathered the blocks from lower left to upper right along each row and numbered the rows. I started sewing the white triangles to the ends of the rows and sewing the blocks together when the usual happened – malfunctioning equipment. It’s not that my sewing machines break down often, it’s just that I make adjustments without realizing, and it takes a while to figure out what I did and make it right. It was time to quit for the day when that happened.
On a happier note, I’d listed two of my machines for sale and sold one that same day. I think the buyer was my sister in a previous life, and our love for sewing carried over into this one. She was as happy to see all my sewing machines as I was to show them to her. She got the nickel tour and promised to keep my phone number. It’s always good to meet someone who shares a hobby.
DAY 30 OF MY 50-DAY CHALLENGE
I was cutting the small corner squares for the new wall quilt I’ve started, and I was concerned over the waste of the dog-ears that will be cut from the corner. I’d lay a 3″ color square right sides together with a 5 1/2″ white square, and sew from the color corner to corner, then cutting off a decent-sized piece of fabric. Not very big, to include in a stash busting quilt, but far too big to throw in the trash.
It hit me that I should make tiny half-square triangles from the dog-ears. I can’t be the first person to think of this.
I did a trial run. I sewed the first seam, then moved to the outer edge 1/4 inch to sew a second seam. I cut between the two seams and pressed toward the darker fabric. I can use the blocks for a different project altogether, or I can incorporate them into this wall quilt as a border or something.
DAY 28 OF MY 50-DAY CHALLENGE