Monday, June 29, 2009

Answering the call

I recieved a call asking for more quilts for another group of soldiers. So we loaded up and headed out. Do you know how cool this is - to just be able to load up and go? Knowing that I have enough quilts for each soldier that needed one. And that there was no worrying if I would have enough? No staying up late to finish that last one? I am wondering if I have Thanked you all Enough - that you helped make this happen?

We started giving quilts out as the soldiers were standing in formation. One soldier said No thank you. - This has never happened before, so I said are you sure? And he said Yes - I have enough stuff.
We continued to hand out quilts until the Sargeant hollered " Att ten SHUN!" and we ran back to the front. They did their formation drills, and then asked me to speak to the men. So I did. I told them about the people who made these Quilts. That they were Quilts of Valor, and what a Quilt of Valor meant. I explained that they were to be used, and to be a hug to them,a hug that we could not physically give to them.
I then pulled out this service Star quilt( to the right). I said that all of these quilts have a lot of thought put into them, into the colors and the patterns - all with the hope that the soldier recieving it will just love it. I gave a little history of the service star and then presented this quilt to a special soldier.

They were told that if they hadn't recieved their quilt yet to come see me. I went back over to that soldier and said - are you sure you don't want a quilt? And he said - "Yes I would. I thought they were some cheap thing - those are beautiful and I would defineatly USE it." So we fixed him up right away.
He did not want his picture taken but told me I could get him in formation. Then he approved the photo. He is the foot with the word "Here" on it *grin*
Although you can not see him - you can see some of the rest of the formation. And I can guarantee you he was really smiling as he walked away. And I really wanted to share this with you. I wanted you all to know how much these really are appreciated, and how much the soldiers "want" them. They are so appreciative that we are thinking of them. Many of them tell me that they can not believe that someone would make something so nice for them.
And this last guy - he was a smiler! He posed for me with the picture on the outside so we could see what quilt he got. He told me to pass on a Big Thank you to the maker of this quilt.... so Maker - Thank you!!

Have a great one!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Not so Top Secret Project Two Part 5

The Backing:
All quilts need a backing. I machine quilt my quilts on my Long arm - so I am going to give you the directions to have a quilt quilted by a Long Arm Quilter.
There are many different ways to make a backing.
This one was designed by Mary. I love it - I use it a lot, just to mix up the way a backing looks:
I also saw someone make a back out of 10 inch squares. It was very scrappy and added interest! Also I made some that were just strippy. And then there is the easiest way to do it - buy a wide backing. Then it is all one piece, no seaming!
Any way you decide to do it, Most Long Arm quilters prefer 6 to 8 inches extra of the backing. I always err to the side of caution and try for 8. This allows me a chance to square up the backing. Since I want a square quilt, and a non wrinkled backing I need to make it square to load it on my machine.
My Quilt Top finished at 54 x 74.
So this means if I will add 8 Inches :I want a backing of 62 x 82
If I Will add 6 inches it will be 60 x 80

Now you have your backing made.. you can move on to the quilting. Are you making this as a Quilt of Valor? If so - over at you can click on Request a Long Armer. A form will come up , you fill it out, you get a reciept in the email, and within a week you will get a name and Email of a Long Arm quilter who will then add the batting and quilt it up with in a Month. Most of them do not do binding. These Long Arm quilters are volunteers and put these quilts into their schedules to do quickly!
If you use this option, they will send the quilt back to you, and then you bind it. You will then make a presentation case ( a pillowcase). When that is all done you can go back to and request a destination.
If you want your quilt to come this way - for presentation to a soldier at Fort Carson. You can let your Long Arm'er know this and include my address. They can then send the quilt to me and my guild ladies, or my new trainees will bind it and get it to a soldier.
Do you need some great tutorials for a presentation case?

I know there are a few more - but I can't seem to find them at the moment.
Any questions? Let me know. I hope you all liked that pattern. I liked mine and am getting ready to quilt it up. So after I am done I will be back with it!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Calico Country Quilters

They must have worked hard!!! Here are 5 more quilts from Judith and the Calico Country Quilters. They are in Illinois!
I love how the same pattern can turn out so differently. The previous post had 4 dissappearing 9 patches, and this one has a few more. None of the look the same.
On our home front we have been running like crazy. Thunderstorms seem to pop up evry afternoon and bring crazy weather. I get a lot nervous and turn everything off.

A couple of years ago lightening struck one of our electric fences near the house and shredded the fences. So I figure it can do some severe Damage to my electronics.

We had a swim meet Thursday evening. Well it was supposed to start at 4 - which mean you have to get there at 3, and just as the warm ups were done the clouds got black. Good thing it was at the country club. They have a parking area for the golf carts - except we all decided to run in their to take cover.

After the rain we tried again - got the relays done and a huge downpour moved in. So the postponed the rest of the meet.
Hope you all enjoy the pictures and have a great day!
I am heading back down to quilt - until the next round of storms moves in!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Not so Top Secret Project Two Part 4

Whoo hoo - are you getting excited?

First step - Lay your quilt out and place a straight edge ruler along it. I trimmed those little flanges off so I had a straight line to apply the borders.
Measure the top. I measure thru the center and on both edges. Then I take an average of the three to get a length. I have been told that this will help you square up the quilt. But I have to be honest too... not many of my quilts come up *perfectly* square.
My Top measured 44 x 59.

I then went back to my 2 1/2 inch scrap bin and chose a creamy print to make a 2 1/2 inch stop border. I made 2 strips 2 1/2 in x 44 inches long. Applyed them and ironed. Then I measured the next direction. Mine was 64 inches long.

I made 2 2 1/2 inch by 64 inch strips and applyed those. I ironed again.I ended up using a pretty busy cream print. But I like it!

Now for the border choices. When I first drew this up I put solid borders on the quilt. But when I looked at my strip bin, I thought - wow - if I use those for a strippy border I wonder if I could empty the bin? So I did - and you may not like how it looks. You may wish to do a solid border. Either way - the quilt will be a perfect Quilt of Valor size.
Option One: A Solid Border. You will need Approximately 1 1/2 yards of fabric. You will measure the top again. Mine measures 48 x 64.
Cut 5 1/2 inch strips the width of the fabric and make 2 48 inch long borders. Apply those and remeasure. It should measure about 74 inches. Cut more 5 1/2 inch strips to make 2 74 inch long borders and apply. Your top is done! It should measure around 58 x 74!

Option Two: A Pieced Border:
I started grabbing 2 1/2 inch strips and sewing them together in sets of five. You can sew them in any amount of sets, 5 seemed to work well.
After I ironed the sets, I then took them to the cutting board and cut them 5 1/2 inches wide. For the Top Border my strip set ended up being 23 strips long. So I sewed enough sets together to make a long border of 23 strips. I then applyed it to the top and ironed it.
Remember - I am not always the best sew - er so I had a little overhang... this is where rulers become my best friend. I just trimmed it up to square again! I did the same thing for the Bottom Border.

After the top and bottom borders were done I re- measured the top - it was 74 inches long. So I made 2 Strip sets. Mine ended up being 35 strips long. Then I applyed those, ironed and trimmed it up. And here is the final picture of the quilt top.

I still have a few strips left - but my bin is getting low on 2 1/2 inch strips. And the cool thing to me is that other that the setting triangles this quilt is really a "free" quilt so far. All the strips came from trimmings of other quilts, or left overs of other projects.
My top was 58 x 74 when finished. I will be back with the backing preparations and more info for you. So don't stop now ;-)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Technical Difficulties

They are not really that technical - more like dumb! Yesterday I used my camera and took little videos of the kids playing golf, and wore my battery down..... so I can't get the photos off for another hour or two, especially since I am so organized and knew that the battery died - so I woke up soooo early to plug it in. Sure, that is my story, and as for why at 9pm the battery still doesn't work? Must be a power gremlin or something right??
But this all works in your favor! You get to see 5 lovely beautiful quilts sent in from Judith and the Calico County Quilters! They made such wonderful quilts, and they still got here despite flooding and horrible storms that surrounded Judith!
And I can tell you how nice today was. The thunderstorms are moving in, and I am so glad they waited until now - we spent the day at the pool. Swim team for the oldest starts at 7 ( so we leave at 6:30) and swim team ends at 11:15 for the youngest. Then we had a great lunch and went back for 3 hours in the afternoon. It was perfect....

I even * Now Sit Down* swam laps! I mean like real laps with a turn and all. *And* I did not drown, no one had to come drag me out of the pool. I exited with out a crane!

Now aren't you glad that some power gremlin forgot to plug in my camera battery and let you in a little on these beautiful quilts and my lovely day?

Oh - we also went to Sams Club and checked out the cell phone family plans. Any one have a great family plan for cell phones? It is just my oldest son and I for the "plan" but we want it cheap!!

Have a great evening - I will post the next step first thing tomorrow morning, unless I forget to go to bed tonite *giggle*

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday's Post

Happy Father's Day!
I think that this might have been the first day in about a month that we didn't have to be up at 5am and start getting somewhere. It was very nice. My Middle son brought breakfast in bed to Wrangler Man. He made it all by himself!
Two people have sent me pictures of the center of their Not So Top Secret Project 2 quilts, so I thought I would share... I love how the same quilts can be done in so many different colors!

The first one is from my Mom. This is her first quilt on point - and I think she is doing well!!
Next is from Denise. I loooove the black in the setting triangles!
They probably didn't know I would use their pics - but they sent them and I thought - Oh that would be cool to share!! So thanks ladies.

*** ***
Here is another one from Barb!! - Go check out her blog post! Loooove it!

Tomorrow I will post another step in the process.
The last quilt was made by Susan in TX and I quilted it. It got finished being bound and is ready for the next delivery of Quilts of Valor!
It is all fish, and it is awesome. Wrangler Man thinks that he wants to make a quilt like this.

Hope you all have a good one. We are heading out to the driving range to do some golf type related stuff... wish me well. I was a baseball player - and the swings are entirely different...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Birthday Party

My oldest son had a birthday. If I had my way it would have been his 5th birthday, but Noooo he had to turn 14! So he invited some friends out and we had a shooting party. ( so if you don't like guns don't read this part)
We have a little target range on the other side of our arena. It shoots into a 30 foot bank of dirt, so the whole world is protected. Of course there is nothing behind the bank of dirt for 30 miles...
We have a table set up to keep all the stuff - so here's the guys. They have to shoot from behind the table.

Here they are checking the targets.

The smile on my sons face made it all worth it.

We said the party would last till 8 so we could all eat dinner, but imagine our surprise when all the guys wanted to stay out and shoot until dusk ( which is 8 around here) instead of eating! All the kids had their Dad's here, so we knew we didn't need to call and get permission for them to stay later. So about 10 pm I started shooing folks out ( grin) I had to get up at 5:30 to get moving for a swim meet.
We made it to the swim meet on time - it lasted till 3 pm, we all came home, did chores and crashed. What a way to go!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A part of the past

My Mom's Mom was the seamstress in her family. She was quite handy with a needle and thread, and even a sewing machine *grin* She had a treadle machine set up in her sewing room, but I don't ever remember seeing her use it. It must be because she had a new fancy electric one. Well maybe not even fancy - but still electric.
Grandma had 3 girls ( and 1 boy), and I am sure all of them know how to sew, I just don't think they do! They always told me it skipped a generation. Although I do remember my Mom helping me make a dress or three, towels, and tote bag, a swimsuit.... so sewing must not have skipped her as far as she thought it did. Between my Mom, Grandma and Annie across the street - I learned how to sew fairly well.
Good thing for me - my Mom saves everything. My Grandma passed away quite a few years ago, but I still have things that remind us of her. This Baby Quilt my Grandma made for me, and Mom kept it. She brought it to me, and now it is hanging in my house.
It is very soft a cuddly - maybe she destined me to be a quilter?
Oh and by the way - My Mom can sew!! I think she is on quilt 6 or 7 now... she is unstoppable! And she has even trained my Dad to buy fabrics for her.... smart gal.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Not so Top Secret Project Two Part 3

Are you ready for Step 3? Please Remember - this is set on point because that is a challenge for me. Well Sewing straight is also a challenge some times - but I won't always admit that!


So we need setting Triangles. I used all the same fabrics and used 7/8 of a yard of red.

*First cut 3 ~12 1/2 inch squares of red. Sub cut them into 2 diagonals. ( Picture the square with a cut where the ruler is, and then a cut going the other way diagonally)
* Next cut 2 ~6 1/2 inch squares. Cut them once on the diagonal. These will be your 4 end caps.

So, because on point gets me sometimes I went and layed the first row out - so I could visualize. I will tell you how I did it, and immediately you all will figure out 7 bazillion ways to do it better. Please share if you do!
*First I layed out one of the endcaps pieces.

*Then I layed out the second row.
One setting triangle, one post, one 16 patch, one post, one setting triangle. I took that row to the sewing maching and sewed it up.
When sewing the setting triangle to the post, look at the picture - that is how I matched the ends and sewed. See how the bottom pieces line up? Match them that way ( trust me, it works)

I continued on and layed out the second row - blogger put it upside down, but the layout is the same.

I continued sewing the first three rows, and then I needed another piece. I needed a setting triangle with a post sewed to it. So I layed the setting triangle out where it needed to go, and layed the post on top of it. This way I couldn't get the post in the wrong place.
This picture the top is the 3 blocks, and I am working down from right to left ( so look at the picture a little sideways) ( Blogger is annoying me - I can NOT change it!!)
This picture shows how I lined the post up with the setting triangle. Then I layed this piece out with the rest of the row and kept going.

Remember I told you that one 2 1/2 inch x 8 1/2 inch piece would have 2 red squares sewn to it. This is where that piece comes in. You sew it to one of the 6 1/2 inch half triangle end caps. Here is how I did it. I put a pin in the center of the end cap, and a pin in the center of the post then matched the pins and sewed.

And this... it is the center of the top. We will add borders next - and you will still need your 2 1/2 inch strip box.
Please please please - if I missed something or said it wrong please tell me. I did a lot of laying out of pieces and thought it looked right - but sometimes the words don't come out properly. I really had fun trying to figure it out - and have a lot of respect for people who can "see" the on point layouts so easily!!
~Oh My center of the top measured 44 x 59 so far.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Quilted by Gail

I met Gail thru a friend in Denver. Turns out she has a longarm machine, and she likes to quilt! She is from a warmer place ( Hawaii I think) but married a guy from Colorado, and so she is learning to adapt to the cold weather. Instead of trekking out in the winter - she quilts!! And Quilts of Valor was the reciepient of this quilting!!
This first quilt was made by my Mom - Sue.
The next quilt is a Not So Top Secret Project. It was a group project. I did the cutting, Rubydell made the blocks, Sue ( not my mom, another Sue in my guild) put the blocks together. Daisy put the borders on , and Gail quilted it!
And the last quilt was made by Shari - one of the teachers from the school.
Thanks Gail for quilting these for us!!
I apologize for not posting more, but between the tornados, thunderstorms and childrens events - the computer has been lonely. I unplug everything as soon as I hear thunder, and some of these storms have lasted for hours.
They are playing havoc on our fun!
See ya tomorrow for step 3 of the NSTSP2... my mom has even asked for the next step - gotta do what Mom says right??

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tired of Tornados

It is day 4 of tornados - and quite frankly - they can go away!!
Sunday - we had tornados to the east and the west of us. All the guys were in Laramie - so I told them to stay there... My dog and I stayed in the basement.
Yesterday they cropped up just as we were getting ready to load up horses and head out.... right into the eye of the storm. Needless to say - we unloaded and stayed put.
Today was much more fun - we watched 2 tornados from the Dentist's office, and watched them move east ( towards my house). After our dentist appt. there was still a tornado warning for my town, so we went to Coldstone Creamery and killed time. While we were hanging out, and amusing the staff, the power went out. The manager says - oh boy - now what. And my boys said - give us spoons - we will eat everything that melts. Sadly for them the power went back on.
We made it home to some incredible flooding and lots of hail on the roads. For us to flood is quite a feat - we live on sand, and on a hill... a good sized steep hill. I am probably not the only one to wish that the weather pattern would change. No tornados touched down here - but we hear of where they did.
On to quilts!!
These two beauties came in from Vancouver WA. Form Susan G, Claire B, and Rose Ann L. The pattern is from Quilts and More - Winter 2008. They are really beautiful. Thank you ladies for all your hard work!! They are perfect Quilts of Valor!!

My Dove Chocolate quote for the day: "Do not look back and ask Why, look forward and ask why not?"
Have a great one!!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Not so Top Secret Project Two Part 2

Back to your 2 1/2 inch bin.
I used creams for the "posts" and Red's for the squares. I thought of using all the same cream, but I ran out - so now it is a lot of creams.
From the Cream - cut 48 2 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch posts.
Pick a red or 2 or 3 - cut 31 2 1/2 x 2 /12 inch squares.

Next - Sew one 2 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch post to the top ( just pick one side) of your 16 patch block. And Press the seam. I wish I could tell you which direction to press, but I didn't pay attention - I just pressed.


Sew 1 ~ 2 1/2 inch red square to the top of 30 posts. You will have one red square left - Do Not Throw this away!! Or if you are a plan ahead type quilter - sew it to the other side of one of the posts. You will end up doing this at some time - but since I don't plan to far ahead - I did it last.

Thats the end of step 2.....

Do you want to see what the inside of the top ( before borders) looks like? I had a few comments and emails that some were treating this like a mystery. I of course am still playing with the borders. But I got the whole center sewn together this weekend and I really really like it.