Tag Archive | quilting

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


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

Quilt Clipping ~

Next weekend is our Quilt Guild’s bi-annual quilt show in Syracuse, NY.  I’d never even been to a quilt show, let alone show my own quilt, until a couple of weeks ago.  I never made my pink quilt with showing in mind, but here I am… putting on finishing touches to get it ready to be shown publicly.

I pretty much have no clue on how to prep a quilt for a show, so I’m just using what common sense I have left to clip all loose threads, I made sure to put on the label this morning, and I need to put on a 4″ wide sleeve from which the quilt will be hung.  By the way, I’ve always called it “my pink quilt”, but for show purposes, the new name is “Caroline’s Chain”, named for the pattern that I used when making it.

Finishing touches, my quilt label.

Finishing touches, my quilt label.


Is there a “right way” or “wrong way” to put on a quilt label?  I think I might have put mine on sideways.  But it still looks pretty.  Time to clip any loose threads, and there are a lot, because I didn’t bother with such details when it was just “my pink quilt” to cuddle up on the loveseat and watch t.v. with.

Finishing touches, clipping all loose threads

Finishing touches, clipping all loose threads

Clipping threads turned out to be quite the chore for this supposed “lap quilt”, which turned out to be   76 1/2″ x 92″ in size.  I just wanted something to cover my feet and keep me warm.  None of those store-bought “throws” are large enough.  Well, I got my wish!  Al and I BOTH can cuddle up in it on cold evenings in front of the fireplace and watch t.v.

I admit that I’m a little nervous.  I have absolutely no anticipation that I will win anything, as my competition is vastly more experienced than I, but for the first time something I’ve quilted will be viewed and judged by my quilting peers.  I will receive feedback from a real quilt judge.  I will embrace whatever she critiques as inspiration to do better and gain knowledge of where I’m lacking in skill for self improvement. 

My Pink Quilt Summer 2012

My Pink Quilt Summer 2012

I hope my friends and family will come out to our Candlelight Quilt Guild show, September 21-22, 2013, at the Clarion Inn, Farrell Road, Syracuse.  Saturday from 9:00-5:00 and Sunday from 11:00-4:00.  Check out our website at www.candlelightquiltguild.org.  There will be raffles, food, theme baskets, gifts at the door and all kinds of neat stuff that you will enjoy!

Until next time, thanks for stopping by.  Hope you enjoyed my pics.  TTFN ~ 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