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Sam’s Quilt ~

There has been quite a following on Facebook on this story of Sam’s Quilt.  Time for an introduction and then a follow-up:

Sam is my great-nephew.  I went to visit several family members in Minnesota back in June of this year.  It was an awesome visit, but Sam especially captured my heart.  Sam is 5 (now 6?).  Upon being re-introduced to him by his Mom (my niece, Michelle), who told him that “this is the aunt that made Thomas’s (his little brother) baby quilt” ~ Sam immediately piped up and said “YOU made that quilt?!!”  When I said that I had, he immediately asked if I would make him a quilt… and quickly followed it up with his choice of color preferences:  “green with blue flowers!”, he’d said without hesitation.  He knew what he wanted right away!

Sam and Michelle 2014

Before I even came home from vacation, I began looking online for just the right fabric… “green with blue flowers”.  It actually took me 3-4 days to find just this right combination without being too feminine.  Then I picked out “accompanying” fabrics that would add to the “main” fabric.

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A few days after getting home, I began the planning of this quilt for Sam.  I was determined that it would be spectacular.  After all, I’d never had someone actually ASK me to make them a quilt, and I was quite flattered.

The entire project was going to be delayed, over and over, as I had health issues from beginning in May and continued right through the entire summer.  That really slowed me down.  There were days and weeks that I just couldn’t even sew.  There were a couple of trips to the hospital, one included a few days’ stay.

As I s-l-o-w-l-y recovered over several weeks, I did continue to work on Sam’s quilt as much as I could.  And it came along nicely.

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With the help of my husband, the quilt got sandwiched, quilted, bound and complete.  I had decided to use a stencil (for the first time) to aid in the quilting part, it was a stencil of 8 hearts, upside down and made to look like a pretty flower.  So I set about penciling in the design from the stencil on each of the squares on the sandwiched quilt.  It took a couple of days just to accomplish this part, as I was still recovering.

The process was:  decide on colors/patterns, buy the appropriate fabric, cut the fabric pieces for the top and sew them together, then “sandwich” the top, batting and backing and stencil the quilting design on the top.  Next you quilt the sandwich, following the design you had just stenciled.  Next you trim and bind the edges, and finally wash the quilt to get out the stenciling marks.  THAT’S where the problem came in.  The stenciling marks, which were BLACK, would not wash out!  Needless to say, I was pretty distraught, and I went to my Facebook friends group “Quilt Along With Pat Sloan“, who I knew would have the answer/remedy I needed to get those awful marks out.  I posted a plea for help on getting these marks out this quilt, and as expected, I was thankfully inundated with dozens of replies and suggestions on what to do and what to use.  I tried MANY of them.  I spent an entire Saturday cleaning, scrubbing, soaking, washing, spraying ~ washing about 5-6 times in the course of the day, but nothing worked.  Exhausted by the end of the day, I had decided there was nothing to be done but make another quilt for Sam.  There was NO WAY I was going to give him such a mess with marks all over it!  Indeed, that quilt was not going to be leaving this house!

Sams quilt washed (1)

So, I guess it’s been a couple of weeks now since I have reordered the fabrics online, and purchased others at Hobby Lobby, and I have been working very hard to recreate Sam’s quilt.  I’m hoping to have it done and mailed to him by Halloween.  Fortunately, my health is coming along well now, and I’m able to spend hours at a time at the sewing machine piecing, bordering, ironing etc.  Indeed, I’ve just finished piecing the top together this morning.  I should mention that I did not use the same pattern this time as the first time.  I wanted to try something different, something that would show off the quilting parts better.  I think I have achieved that.

Sam's quilt 002

Sam’s quilt top – second try. Top complete!                                Finished size 5′ x 6′

 

Heart quilt design stencil

Heart quilt design stencil

Now, with the quilt top done, I need to choose some backing material and the batting.  Usually I would use up scraps from the making of the top to make the backing, but this time I’m out!  I’m pretty sure there’s nothing in my fabric stash to match so I guess a-shopping I will go!

That’s about where things stand right now.  I’ll continue to update as it nears completion and is then sent to Sam.  Maybe I’ll luck out and I’ll get a photo of Sam as he enjoys his gift!

Thanks for stopping by and checking in.  Hope you enjoyed by post.

Blessings ~ Tamara Eckstadt

 

AQS Quilt Show Charlotte, NC 2014 ~

I’ve been chalking up a lot of “new” things in my quilting world this summer especially.  New patterns, new quilt designs.  This past weekend I went to my first AQS Quilt Show, a national quilt show, in Charlotte, NC.  Despite the 13 hour drive each way, the 3 days spent in between the drives was very nice.  We stayed with family.

We went to the show on Saturday and stayed for about 3-4 hours, meandering through the exhibits and the vendors.  Being the last day of the show, it was not very busy, so there was plenty of room without getting bumped or having to wait.  Being held at the Charlotte Convention Center, it was H-U-G-E.  It was sort of a disadvantage for me, personally, as I have difficulty walking (even though I was using a rolling walker with a seat thingy).  I do think we (my hubby came with) got to see every display.

 

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The photos in the slideshow are some of the favorites that both my husband I and took photos of.  There were many, many more on display.  At first it was overwhelming, then we settled in to a routine of going slowly, sitting for a few minutes, visiting the drinking fountains often, and continuing on.  We looked at ALL of the displays before ever going near the vendors!

The displays were gorgeous, as you can see by some of our photos.  One disappointment for me was there were considerably fewer actual bed size quilts than wall hangings.  There were approximately 50 quilts, but over 200+ wall hangings of varying sizes.  The groups of displays were spaced out so far for the quantity of quilts/walls hangings that were entered.  It seemed like the warehouse-size room in the basement of the Convention Center was way too big for so “few” displays… but then again, when we were there, there were much fewer people.

There were a LOT of vendors.  The entire center of the area was drowning in vendors.  It was fun to see all the things that I don’t ordinarily see in magazines or quilt shops.  Having very little money to shop with was a problem, but my husband did purchase a nice pair of Dresden Plate silver earrings for me, after knowing what I’d recently gone through to make a Dresden Plate of my own.  That made it that more special.  I had anticipated the vendors possibly dropping some of their prices, since it was the last hours of the last day of the Charlotte show.  That was not to be.  Indeed, I did not find any “deals” or price chops at any of the vendors.

By the way, remember that purple Dresden Plate quilted pillow I made for my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday?  She loved it.  After opening the bag it came in and enjoying it momentarily, she put it back in the bag and went to put it in her purse ~ which is where she puts everything that she especially loves and wants to keep close to her.  (Mom has dementia, and did not realize the pillow would most likely not FIT into her purse.  But that’s okay)

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So, that’s the story behind my first adventure to a national quilt show.  Thanks for stopping by and checking out my photos.  Hope you enjoyed your visit.

God bless ~ Tamara Eckstadt

 

New Craft in Town ~

 

Current Spring quilt project barely in the works

Current Spring quilt project barely in the works

 

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am an avid quilter.  Sometimes, though, I just don’t feel like working with fabric, yet I want to keep busy doing something “crafty”.  Recently I explored the possibility of taking up latch hook, as I dabbled in it when I was in high school, and really enjoyed it.  But, after exploring the world wide web, I found some links to plastic canvas projects… another crafty hobby that I enjoyed in the mid 80’s.

After stumbling upon a pattern for a Bible cover online, I knew this was how I was going to be spending some of my time this weekend.  I had long-wanted a new Bible cover, but couldn’t find a decent pattern to make one from fabric as I had wanted.  But when I found this plastic canvas pattern, I immediately got an “itch” to go to the nearest craft store and shop.

Back side of new plastic canvas Bible cover in progress

Back side of new plastic canvas Bible cover in progress

I spent most of Saturday afternoon working on this new project.  You can see the picture of what’s supposed to be the final result on the pattern near the glasses.  Mine isn’t going to be lavender, though, I fell in love with the “pink camo” yarn, and I will duplicate the cross on mine as seen.

But I won’t pretend to know even anything about what I’m doing.  I cut the canvas as directed… sorta.  I needed it bigger, since my Bible is bigger than theirs, apparently.  And I didn’t really like their pattern, so I just kinda made my own, taking some tips from one of the websites or Youtube videos I saw online.  I might have it done Tuesday or Wednesday, if I remain diligent about working on it.

The Spring quilt?  I bought border and backing fabric for it today at Spring Lake Fabrics.  I’ll be working on that tomorrow after church.  I’ll keep you updated on how each project comes along.

Meantime, why don’t you try a new craft or hobby?  It’s a brief trip out of the winter doldrums. 

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.  BTW, Happy New Year!

TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Sew What?

I have not blogged in almost two months, a record for me.  I also haven’t taken any “serious” photographs in at least that long.  For awhile I thought I’d lost “it”, that inspiration that has been sending me out all over several counties to find interesting things to photograph and share.  While I’ve since discovered I still  have “it”, I’ve realized that “it” isn’t on my top list of priorities anymore.  And there just isn’t THAT MUCH around where I live that’s interesting to photograph, or that hasn’t already been done over and over by someone else in the area.  How many times can you take a shot of a waterfall, or water, or a lake or a pond?  And while there are many seasonal things going on locally to photograph, I think I did them all last year.  And I haven’t even gotten to the part where my camera has been taking some pretty awful shots for the past few months.  And, no, it’s not the photographer!

So, putting the camera on the shelf for awhile, I’ve gone back to my sewing room as my creativity outlet for awhile.  Quilting gives me more long-lasting satisfaction anyways, so I’m happy to be back after a month’s absence.  I was working on my “Pure Decadence” quilt, and actually have it all sandwiched and ready to start quilting it, but Christmas interrupted my intentions.  I needed our immense diningroom table that I had been using to sandwich the quilt for Christmas present wrapping.  So the quilt got put on a back burner until after the holidays.

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For awhile I was making fabric Christmas gift bags, sew easy!  I found a pattern online and I just loved it.  Not only can you make them for Christmas, but also any other occasion you can imagine for which you might need a gift bag.

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And I remembered I had a small quilt project started!  It was one where I had found this beautiful fabric while looking for something else, and I decided I really wanted to work with it to make something special.  At the time, I didn’t know what that “special” thing was going to be, as I was completely uninspired.  But having been working on this simple little Nine-Patch quilt top for a month or so now, I have finally decided who is going to get it and that it is going to be a Spring 2014 surprise for someone special.

Spring Surprise 2014

Spring Surprise 2014

 

Meantime, I have been cuddling up with my pink quilt very often lately, especially while watching t.v. in the family room.  I’ve been thinking that, although I create a lot of “theme” quilts etc., I’ve never really made a “seasonal” quilt.  And I want to make something “Christmassy” for winter cuddling during the holidays.  There has been a particular Christmas quilt in my “Keepsake Quilting” catalog that I have been wishing for for about 2-3 years now.  I’ve never purchased a “kit” before, but I really, really want to give this a try.  So, I may splurge and get this for myself after Christmas.

Christmas quilt kit from "Keepsake Quilting"

Christmas quilt kit from “Keepsake Quilting”

The hardest part will be keeping it for myself.  I always want to keep giving my creations away!  I can think of several special people that would enjoy this quilt as a 2014 Christmas gift!  However, at this time next year, I will be soundly sleeping through several afternoon  t.v. shows in my family room cuddled up with this finished quilt!   Until then, I will continue to work diligently on my “Spring Surprise” quilt and will keep you posted.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a looksee.  Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

 

Quilting Memories ~

This blue & white quilt is one of my favorites.

This blue & white quilt is one of my favorites.

 

We spent the day Saturday at my mother-in-law’s home in Pennsylvania helping to pack up the last of the remaining items before they move to Charlotte tomorrow. Although she has not been officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, her memory is all but gone. She can carry on a conversation in the present, but her mind is somewhere in the distant past and she continuously talks of “going home” and wanting to call her mother because her mother must be worried that she’s not home yet… my mother-in-law is 87.  She knows me and Al, and Al’s sister, Cheryl, who has been living with her for the past 8-9 years taking care of her.  But she no longer remembers any of her grandchildren or great-grandchildren.  She does not know/remember that her husband (my father-in-law) died earlier this year.  She is confused by all of the commotion the moving preparation has caused, and by the fact that all of their belongings are packed or sold, gone to the Salvation Army or come home with me and Al.

During our visit yesterday, I took it upon myself to preoccupy her with conversation while Al and Cheryl took the time to pack and load more things into the POD and our pickup truck uninterrrupted.  Our conversation went almost immediately to quilting.  Mom has been my mentor and greatest teacher of all things quilting.  She taught me all the basics, and encouraged me every step.  She used to belong to a quilt guild, and show her magnificent quilts all over Pennsylvania, and won awards.  She was even featured in a quilting magazine many years ago (we saved a copy).

There were still many quilted wall hangings on the walls of their home, and we chatted about them ~ she did not know what some of them were, nor who made any of them.  She did not remember/believe that she ever quilted, let alone all of the things I told her from my memories.  We chatted about the quilts she’d made her grandchildren, and the couple that I had made for her great-grandchildren (I didn’t want them to go without).  And she asked me if she had made any for me and Al, and, of course, we have many ~ some that she made, some that I have created.  She’d made one beautiful one for our daughter, Katie.  Towards the end of our conversation on that subject, she thanked me for telling her about all of the quilts and wall hangings she’d made, and the quilt guild etc.

My being a quilter now has prompted me to inherit many of the wall hangings, fabrics and other quilting items I’ve mentioned in previous posts.  In going through all of the many, many boxes of fabrics we have brought home recently, I discovered numerous “blocks” that were started and unfinished, that would make beautiful quilts or wall hangings.  I will be finishing those blocks along my continued journey into quilting.  I consider it a privilege to pick up where Mom left off.

It was with great sadness that we left PA Saturday to come home.  We’ve been driving down there at least once a month or more since Al and I married.  It will be extremely difficult for us to get to Charlotte… and I will miss seeing all of her wall hangings and quilts around that large house ~ there is no room for that in Cheryl’s condo (that’s why we took most of them).   But in my sadness, I can happily say that Mom has been the light of my life for two reasons especially:  she brought up her son the right way, and she taught me to quilt.  I have been blessed.

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope to see you again soon.  Until then, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt