Monday, April 21, 2014

Nonnie's Quilt

Does anyone else have a hard time choosing fabrics and patterns for guys?

My dear great-uncle, Nonnie, turned 81 this past week, and I started thinking about a potential quilt for him many months ago, but my previous attempts at boy quilts have been sub-par at best.

Last year during garage-sale season I got it into my head that I would make a quilt out of old shirts. I thought a St. Louis 16 Patch with mens shirts might be my solution to the boy-quilt dilemma.

One night…concealed by mask and cape…I snuck into the closet belonging to Mr. Sexy Pants, and stole a couple of button-downs that haven't seen the light of day in probably a decade. (P.S. …do all other guys hang on to every article of clothing until eternity, and go postal when threatened with a trip to Goodwill? I swear there are t-shirts in his drawer that must have once clothed a porcupine, but Sexy Pants won't listen to reason when it comes to spring cleaning.)

Anyway, back to the quilt at hand:
St. Louis 16 Patch

I ended up adding one of my own shirts to the mix, and rounding out the rest with a trip to Goodwill. There were moments of doubt when I started piecing these together - I'm not going to lie to you. I was trying hard not to plan anything…just grab strips and sew them together. But there is always some point during this process when I lean back to stretch, take a look at what's going on in front of me, and think, "What the heck was I thinking? Ugh!" Does this happen to any of you? As luck would have it, this happened at a point I deemed too-late-to-turn-back-now, so I pushed onward.

I'm glad I did, because when I eventually pulled the quilt off of the frame and got the binding on, I couldn't help but smile. I don't know what it is about this one, but I really dig it. It's simple and all-boy. I'm also happy with the fact that these old shirts have found a new cozy purpose in life. No longer do they have to hang (forgotten forever) in dark closets, or cry out from a sea of thousands of other previously loved shirts at the Madison Goodwill for someone to please take them home.


Juki 2010Q & Grace FrameI got a call from Nonnie in Maine when he received his quilt on Saturday, and he was very pleased. I wish I could have been there to see him open it, but I know it will keep him cozy during his naps. :)

The quilt back is black yarn-dyed Essex Linen by Robert Kaufman, and the binding is from the freebie table that was generously sponsored by JoAnn Fabrics at Sew South! I quilted it on my Grace Frame & Juki 2010Q with a printed pantograph from the awesome Quilt CAD software by Grace.

Black & White Quilt Picture

Happy Quilting :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sew South 2014

It's been just over a week since I returned home from the long anticipated Sew South Retreat 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. I can't possibility express how much fun and inspiration I've experienced at Sew South the last two years. Best of all are the friendships that I have made. It's hard to believe how such strong bonds can be forged in a few short days, but I am lucky to have made real friends from all across the country at Sew South. Thanks to apps like Instagram and Flickr, we can keep in touch on a regular basis, and share the projects we are working on and the important things happening in our lives. I love these girls, and I eagerly look forward to the next time we meet!

All of my Sew South photos were taken with my iPhone, and I'm sad to say that I didn't take many pictures (particularly with all my pals). Here's a quick peek at the fabulous Sew South Retreat from my perspective. 

Sew South Friends

Night of arrival - happy reunion with two gal pals from last year, Cindy & Diane.

Sew South Retreat Swag

This year, we were greeted with our ENORMOUS swag bags on our first night! This isn't even all of it!! (That huge bundle was a door prize that I won. Hooray!!)

Travel Handmade

It was easy to pick out all of the arrivals at Sew South, because everyone carried at least one handmade bag. These are just a few of them.

This is the boxy pouch I made during our project class with Kelly Bowser. It was a fun, quick project, and I'm sure I'll make more of these awesome pouches.

Scrap Bucket

Here is my scrap bucket from our class with Heather Valentine. I'll definitely be making more of these. We even got to go outside and play with hammers to install the grommets!

The blogging class with Christen Barber was very informative, and I learned some important points to remember when using pictures.

Kati Spencer's class on improv was amazing. She brought some of her quilts to show, and they are gorgeous. I, however, have not yet finished my improv pillow project. I think I spent too much time chatting.

Neither have I finished my embroidery project from our class with Alison Glass. Yikes! Here is the start (along with the Perle Cotton that was generously donated by SewLuxFabric and needles from Dritz).


I have completed a tiny bit more of this project than pictured, but this is on my to-finish list (along with the pillow) for the next week or two. I LOVE Alison's embroidery patterns (in fact, I bought more). She is so very talented and nice. She also talked with us about her fabric design process, which was awesome!

One of the best parts about my Sew South experience this year was having the BEST Secret Sister in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!!

Ironically, Karen was one of the first new gals I ran into at Sew South. My roommate and I immediately started referring to her as "Cool Karen." She traveled to Sew South with her bestie, Shirley, from Michigan. Although we are technically neighboring states, I'm sad that Wisconsin and Michigan are separated by that hugely inconvenient body of water called Lake Michigan. :*( Otherwise, I would be visiting these two at least every other day. Karen made me that fabulous mini dwell…along with all of the things shown below. And all of this wasn't even everything she gave me!! She was such a generous secret sister, but more than that…she is AWESOME! I'm so glad to call her and Shirley my two newest friends.

I was lucky to be Secret Sister to an awesome gal I had previously met at Sewing Summit, Tracey, from California. It was fun getting to know Tracey better, making her gifts, and trying to figure out things she might like. She is so upbeat, funny, and lovely. I'm glad I got to be her secret sister! Here she is with the Noodlehead Super Tote I gave her as a final "reveal" gift.

At the very end of the weekend, just before we all said our goodbyes, we gave Jennifer a surprise thank you gift for being so dang fabulous. Fellow Stitch Tease member and friend, Valerie came up with and coordinated a super-secret-surprise-project that we all pitched in and made for Jennifer leading up to Sew South. Over 40 gals made random star blocks in Jennifer's favorite colors, and sent them along to Valerie. She then put them together and made a quilt. The picture I took was from far away, but here it is in all it's glory. I think it's safe to say that Jennifer loved the quilt. There was definitely some "ugly crying" going on.

One last picture that truly portrays the joy we felt at Sew South. No fake smiles here!

Karen, myself, Diane, Cindy, & Shirley

I already can't wait to go back!

Jennifer is giving away some more Sew South swag to a couple lucky winners on April 5th. Click here to visit her blog and enter to win! 

Thank you so much to all of the generous
Sew South Retreat 2014 Sponsors!!

Coats & Clark Free Spirit Fabric
Rowan Jo-Ann Fabrics
Pellon Dritz
Michael Miller Fabrics Oliso
Schmetz Blumenthal
Lark Crafts Dear Stella
Stash Books Robert Kaufman Fabrics