Friday, December 31, 2010

Making a rag quilt

Last day of 2010, and Anna and Mikayla are coming to start their quilt. This is my favorite part, choosing the fabric. Here are the steps for making a rag quilt: 

Choosing fabric and colors
Cutting out the squares
Cutting out the batting
Sewing the Xs
Laying out the pattern
Sewing the Xs into rows
Sewing the rows together
The dreaded snipping process
Washing and drying
The grooming process, cutting off all the stray thread and thinning some of the bulky corners

Parts of it I hate:
Running out of bobbin thread
Uneven corners, even after ripping out and fixing them
Fabric with stripes that will not line up
Sewing with denim seams
The dreaded snipping process

Judy's Quilt

When our dear friend Dan died, I offered to make his widow a memory quilt from his clothes. It was difficult, I could still smell Dan's aftershave on his shirts. I sat there staring at the clothes, unable to cut into them. Ernst told me just start, the fabric didn't know it was from a deceased person.
The hardest part, besides the emotional aspect, was using a faux sheepskin jacket that had been a favorite. It was the sewing equivalent of skiing through powder, the foot of the machine would be completely hidden and I just hoped for the best. I was also afraid the whole thing would come apart in the wash, but that fabric did great and it just makes the quilt so special.
I was left with an array of buttons from the shirts and jackets, so I sewed these into some of the corner squares, a nice touch I hadn't done before. I hope Judy continues to find comfort in this memory quilt.

The Jessica Quilt

My first rag quilt was quite an undertaking. I thought that 100 squares would not be that much different than the 80 we used on the Janet Quilt. Eighty squares is plenty big, now I know.
First, I had to get a sewing machine, and then another one, but that is another story.
Then I discovered my source for terrific fabric: designer fabric samples from top designers, $2 a bag at the thrift store. It was summer and hot so I just cranked up the air conditioner and sewed away. Ernst had to help when I sewed around the edges, the quilt was too large to lay on the table.
Just love the way it turned out. Looking closely at it, I see some corners that I wouldn't let fly now, but it was my first quilt without any help. Here it is on the porch and in the guest room.

I sold Nina

My first sale on Etsy, what a thrill! I jumped around the living room. Got the quilt stuffed into a box and shipped. Hope the woman likes it. I don't want to think now how long it took me to make it, I am just concentrating on the sold part.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jilcara's Quilt

I made this one for my friend Jilcara, a thank you for helping me with the first Romanian party (Primul An) at our house. She worked so hard and it all turned out so beautiful.  I am thrilled that she loves the quilt and uses it. I was then using all that great designer sample fabric, the colors just went together so nicely because the samples were meant to coordinate. It looks even better in her decor.

Jilcara looking cool in 102 degree heat
 Some pictures of the first party Jilcara helped me plan. What a beautiful night that was, and so cool to only spend $100 on it! Everyone should have a party planner as a friend.
The little squirts having fun at the kid's table

Loads and loads of candles
Viorica, Laura and Emilia in front of the Hand banner they made

Joanne's Quilt

December of 2009: This was the most fun I have had yet making a rag quilt. First of all, I was back East with the Fam, and it was December and the weather was cold and snowing. Perfect stay inside and sew weather.
Second, I got to use Joanne's great new (old) Singer, the kind of machine I wish I had. No jams, no fuss, just humming along sewing.
Third, Joanne already had helped me make my very first quilt, she knew the drill. We used some of her old jeans, some fabric I brought with me, and some new we bought there. The fabric I worried the most about, the flannel with mushrooms on it, turned out to be my favorite squares.
Joanne even hosted a quilting party, with her quilt as the main attraction. It was fun and the guests dropped by a few days later to see the finished product. Joanne and I went to the laundry mat on Christmas day, and stared at the washing and drying process like two dads in the maternity waiting room. It turned out simply adorable, and looks great in her room with the morning sun shining in.

The Loredana Quilt

Here was the difficult blue and white quilt, with the great idea to incorporate denim from a pair of LL Bean jeans. That was some thick fabric. Love the way it turned out, but don't know if an Etsy buyer can see the effect in pictures. Needs some trimming up, and maybe another wash, but ready and waiting. Am I going to become the quilt equivalent of the neighborhood cat lady? Will I end up on that hoarding show, buried in batting?

The Daniella Quilt

This is one of the three I have for sale on Etsy. If this doesn't sell, it would look just fab in our living room. This was a breeze to sew, all the fabric seemed to want to go together. Not like the blue and white one, that was a beast. Too much denim is hard, my sewing machine and hands are not happy if the fabric is thick and bulky.

The Nina Quilt

Thought I had an Etsy buyer tonight, but no sale yet. She wanted to know what the dimensions were, then asked about the fabric on the back. I got so excited. Then I remembered that Etsy takes a cut too. (1-21-11 My mistake, it just costs to post and renew) Still, my first sale will be my first sale. Jill and Erin Lynch must have been thrilled to sell their first Dolls for Friends item, and now look where they have gone. Check them out at

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Off to do some marketing

Since I have two quilts to show, one ready to finish and another all waiting to be started, it's about time I got some place to sell them. Just don't know if Etsy is going to work for me. It is so crowded with other sellers, may be too late to join that bandwagon? We need another start up Etsy for us latecomers.

I have decided to name my quilts Romanian girl's names. The orange and red one will be Nina, the greenish one will be Daniella, and the blue one must be named Loredana. When I finish the red one, probably Elena, and then when I get to the next blue one with the chickens, that will be called Galina. When I do the pink one, well that's got to be Natasha.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quilt Two finished

The Green One is done and just so lovely. I'll get some pictures, maybe hanging on the clothes line. So now ready to start on Quilt Three, a blue and white one. And I have enough fabric for one more,  a red, brown and green one. If I get some elves, I could have four ready for the craft fair this Saturday. If it happens without the elves, then I predict a mess of a house, no food in the fridge and my hands looking claw-like.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My friend the seam ripper

I read in a sewing book that one should never call it seam ripping, rather it is unsewing or some other feel good phrase.
Well, I used the seam ripper today, quite extensively. What started out as my favorite fabric in my newest quilt turned ugly on me. The cutest red ticking with little hearts, who would have known it had such an evil side? When I would rip out corner after corner, I lamented the choice of my Etsy name, squaredup. Maybe somewhereclosebutnotquiteperfect, would have been a better moniker. But I man-handled it into submission, and it all turned out quite pretty, and yes the corners are perfect.
Next comes the worst part, the endless snipping of the seams. But that will have to wait. Going to bed early, being a lady-in-waiting at a wedding tomorrow. I have a rolling cart filled with a fix for every possible thing that could go wrong with a human body and/or wedding day. I even have bug spray, and it is supposed to be freezing cold rain. I am ready for snow bugs.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Diving into Etsy

Last night I posted my first quilt on Etsy. Is it even called posting? Comparing my page to others, it is really embarrassing. Apparently one needs to create a really interesting and unique banner that goes on top for the title. I thought all I had to do was create really interesting and unique quilts, but alas I was mistaken.

This morning was spent cutting out the squares for the new quilt, which I will post to make my shop have the whopping number of two items! I will need to sew it, then of course think of a really interesting and unique name for it to stand out from the rest. Who knew a job in marketing with IKEA would be required to sell quilts?

I do like the seller name I chose, squaredup. That was found after the first twenty I picked were already taken. So here I go. Rejection, I am ready.