Tag Archive | fabric

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

 

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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

 

Quilting ~ How Much is Too Much?

Have I mentioned that my mother-in-law, now retired, is/was a professional (exceptional) quilter?  She taught me everything I know, even though we live an entire state away from where she lives in Pennsylvania.  During our visits to PA, I have always been envious of her ample “stash” of quilting things.  Her sewing room contained everything any quilter could ever want or need.  I think she was a secret quilt “hoarder”!

Now that she’s retired, she has no need for any of those gadgets, fabrics, tables, sergers, sewing machines and batting.  I, apparently, was in line to inherit all (or most) of these wonderful items.  My sister-in-law is also a sewer, but not a quilter, but she had use for several of the items to be given away.  

So Al and I took our pickup truck to PA over this past weekend in an effort to “clean up/clean out” Mom’s sewing room.  What a task!  I did most of the organizing and packing things to be put on our truck.  The room, about 12 x 12′, was completely inundated with STUFF!  There was a small path through which we could walk to get into the middle of the room.  That’s where I put my office chair, in the middle of the room, so I could go around the room working on a little at a time, tossing some stuff and packing others.  After 5 hours of working, I was done, and had everything organized and ready to go on the truck.  My poor husband had the task of carting everything from the sewing room down two flights of stairs and out to the driveway… we should’ve had a hand cart, but didn’t.  I don’t think even he thought it was going to be so much!  In the end, we did fill the entire bed of the pickup, AND we didn’t get any of the bins of fabric and batting from the entire closet filled floor to ceiling!  That’s for another day and a bigger truck.

After we got home, Al unloaded the truck into our livingroom and I began to take an inventory of what I have and ponder about where I’m going to put it all!  My sewing room is smaller than hers, and my closet half the size.  What was I thinking?!  Where on earth am I going to put approximately 150 spools of thread?!  I brought home two more sewing machines:  a Bernina 1530 (workhorse, worth its weight in gold) and a Singer Featherweight (antique, gorgeous!), as well as a Baby Lock Serger that I have no clue how to use and may well never learn.  Bins of fabric, baskets of batting, needles, several green quilter’s cutting mats of varying sizes, rulers of different sizes and shapes, a light box, a large box of older Quilter’s magazines and books that never go out of style, rick rack, knick knacks, rotary cutters … the list goes on.  The supplies are way more than I could ever hope to consume in the balance of my lifetime.  Is it too much?

Quilt supplies 2

Quilt supplies 1

Quilt supplies 3

 

I’ve since come to the conclusion that the question was a silly one!  I belong to a very active quilt guild in my area, and it’s always nice to share!  Varigated metallic thread anyone?

Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara

My Quilting Mentor ~

I haven’t been quilting that long, according to the world of quilting.  Only about 12 years.  I don’t remember how exactly I got started, but I know it was my mother-in-law, Ethel Whalen, who got me started and encouraged me all through my journey so far.  Fourteen years ago, when I married her son, Alfred, I admired her exceptional skill and enthusiasm for quilting each time we went to visit my in-laws near Clarks Summit, PA.  She would either be starting, in the midst of, or putting the finishing touches on a full or queen size quilt. 

This blue & white quilt is one of my favorites.

This blue & white quilt is one of my favorites.

The colors and patterns she chose were always so vibrant and intricate.  I never thought I would be able to have the skill to put things together so well, let alone the patience it would take to make an entire quilt ~ which could take weeks to months.  She belonged to a local Quilt Guild and went to quilt meetings and participated in shows in which her quilts and wall hangings won awards.

An intricate wall hanging

An intricate wall hanging

So, when I finally got up the courage to give quilting a try, it was only natural that Mom lend a hand with encouragement and instruction.  She even “donated” several quilting “tools” for my benefit in getting started and I began to take an interest in quilting books and magazines for additional hints.  She always has spurred me on by reminding me that she didn’t START quilting until she was in her 60’s (she’s now in her 80’s).  She keeps a quilt “diary” album of sorts that documents through photos all of the projects she’s done over the years:  wall hangings, lap quilts, place mats, full and queen size quilts for family members and friends, as well as baby quilts for grandchildren.  That’s how I got the idea to start my own diary.

 

King size maple leaf qult

King size maple leaf qult

Our home is filled with many various quilts that Mom and made.  The photos above and below are all her projects.  One of these days soon I should offer to take her album(s) and make them digital, just to preserve the legacy longer.  In the meantime, Mom has retired from quilting in the past couple of years, as her arthritic hands just can’t accommodate all the cutting, pinning and sewing required.  But I figure I still have a few more years that I can use quilting as my creative outlet.  I’ll have to post some of my “masterpieces” on my blog some day soon. 

Christmas tree skirt

Christmas tree skirt

Quality Quilting ~

I’m always on the lookout for new quilt shops, quilt shows and anything quilting in our area.  This little shop got by my radar until this morning.  My husband kept telling me that he knew of this place, in the middle of nowhere about 10 miles from our home, and he said they had nice quilt fabric and selection etc.  What do guys (in general) know about quilting?  Anyway, I let him take me there this morning, and I was not sorry I did!

Spring Lake Fabrics’ Welcoming Committee!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Lake Fabrics (http://www.springlakefabrics.com/) is a quaint fabric/home goods shop that, like I said, is in the middle of nowhere U.S.A.  It is an unassuming Mennonite fabric store plopped down in the center of the most remote farm country, surrounded by cows and crop fields.  One of the things I like most about it is that it is small, yet not “crammed”.  With my arthritic knees and back issues, I absolutely hate the warehouse size of the local JoAnn Fabrics, and even Hobby Lobby is a good-size distance from the doors to the fabric department.  Spring Lake Fabrics has everything and more that the average quilter and/or sewer could need all in a neat package.

 

Spring Lake Fabrics sign. Don’t miss it!

As I’ve seen with other Mennonite fabric/quilt shops, their selections of fabrics are incredible and their prices rival JoAnn’s or any other local or online store ($6.99-$9.95 per yard).  And they have sales galore.  Additionally, they have all kinds of fabrics, not just quilting or cotton.  But include upholstery, drapery, laces, furs as well as pre-made panels for pillows, baby quilts and the like.  They literally have everything and in good supply.  Did I mention “accessories” like ribbons, trims, buttons like you’ve never seen before?

 In addition to fabric in their “fabric section” of their store, they have children’s toys, a selection of children’s/infants clothing, books, DVDs, movies, socks and hats.  Most of their goods are geared toward Christian buyers (books, movies etc).  Their toys are “simple” in nature, taking you back to the “olden days”.

A colorful aisle of fabrics at Spring Lake Fabric store, Savannah, NY

 

Then there’s a doorway that leads into their home goods section, kind of a small grocery store.  They have a myriad of foods, some pre-packaged, some bulk packaged.  You’ll meander up and down the 5-6 aisles of interesting foods, seasonings, jams, jellies, sodas, then go through another door into a refrigerated room ~ it has plastic flaps in the doorway to keep the cold in and the warm out.  In there you’ll find all kinds of fresh produce at ridiculous prices, for the most part.  We bought a package of (3) green/orange/yellow peppers for $1.00!  Yes, they were still good!  There are also a variety of meats and cheeses packaged for sale in this cold room as well as other fruits and vegetables.

 

  

A nice selection of landscaping prints.
                                                                      

Another aisle of vibrant, inviting fabrics!

Did I mention you can purchase their fabrics ONLINE?  They don’t have their full selection available, but they have a good selection.  If you go to the store, you will be welcomed by three very amiable and talkative women.  The proprietor appears to be the mother and the other two twenty-something daughters.  I only got one name (see the pic), Lucinda.

Did you catch that sign?

 

Lucinda stocks shelves.

 Altogether it was a wonderful experience, once we found the store!  It was not easy to get to!  We were the first ones there, but when we came out about an hour later, there were cars and trucks literally streaming into the small parking area in front of the store and it quickly became almost impossible to navigate.  Get there early!  It’s worth the trip! 

 

A selection of “Whoopie Pies” at Spring Lake Fabrics, Savannah, NY

Kutztown sodas to choose from (I chose Birch Beer)!