Mission accomplished: Avengers fight cancer!

This is pretty awesome so I am reblogging it. Although this isn’t quilt related, it did make me think instantly of a quilt design idea for her father. Avenger themed. 🙂

Something for a rainy day


Well, this has been an adventure and a half. When we started out on Monday evening, all we wanted to do was to make it possible for my father to see The Winter Soldier and maybe to get a few superhero selfies to make him chuckle. In under 48 hours our mission was accomplished – the kind people at Marvel got in touch on Wednesday to say they’d organise for dad to watch the film at home when he gets back from hospital soon, and Mark Ruffalo was the first actor to tweet a picture for dad on Wednesday morning, with more following suit after that.* And then, suddenly everyone was interested, and… we kind of went viral.

I have to admit something right now: as a bit of perfectionist, it really bugs me that I can’t stay on Twitter all the time and thank each and every one of…

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Heading into the Home Stretch on quilt “Boxes in Gray and Blue”

Great progress has been made on the graduation quilt I am finishing up this week. Just in time! The recipient graduated from High School last week!

After finishing the quilt top, I layered the quilt with the extra wide backing fabric and wool batting. Amazingly, I was able to layer it on the living room floor and pin the binding. The binding is simple: I folded over the backing fabric, pinned and then sewed it down . I have not been able to get down on the ground long enough to pin a quilt for a few years. I had a double fusion in the lumbar area of my spine and it has made sitting on the ground nearly impossible.  This time I just wanted to try it again so I layered it, rested for a bit, then pinned one side, rested, etc… I repeated the process until the binding was pinned all the way around.

On my wish list is some sort of table that is about the size of a queen size bed that could be folded away somehow when not being used. I keep looking at used tennis tables and wondering if I could create a table cover and use that… In the meantime, it was awesome that I was able to pin on the floor. I have used other methods but this is the easiest way I have found to get out all the annoying wrinkles in the various layers.

Today I begin the process of sewing buttons in order to “quilt” the project. My next project will be hand quilted but this one needs to be finished ASAP. Also, since it is a gift, I don’t want it to be my first hand quilting project anyway.

Here is the current state of the quilt. The next photo I share will be when it has been button quilted and laundered to remove stray threads and cat fur.


Remembering My Sister in the Hand Piecing of a Quilt Top

The steroid shot appears to be working wonders on the tendinitis in my shoulder. While I still have pain, it is muted from just a couple days ago and I am able to hand sew again without worry.

2014 Graduation Quilt in Blues and Greys

2014 Graduation Quilt in Blues and Grays

I began this quilt with pre-cut 2 1/2″ wide strips. I began sewing the strips together as I sat at my sister’s sick bed last March. When I returned home, I put this aside so that I could finish the quilt I was working on for one of my daughters.  (See the last posting for a look at that quilt.)

I finally returned to this quilt top and began putting the lengths of strips I had sewn together. Another break to go back to my sister’s bedside – in the hospital this time. She passed away a couple of weeks ago. Our younger sister, a wonderfully talented hand and machine quilter, took some of our older sister’s dresses when we said goodbye and headed to our separate homes. I look forward to seeing the quilt she makes from the dresses.

I had the opportunity to take some of the dresses, too, but I decided not to. I don’t think of her wearing the loose house dresses she wore in recent years, confined to a wheelchair and later her bed. I think of the beautiful tailored shirts and skirts, the vibrant jewel toned dresses, the crispness of the cuffs… the clothes I grew up with her wearing. She was 14 years older than I (different mothers) and I looked up to her professional, crisp, elegant look. None of those clothes remain to claim, of course, and they wouldn’t be great material for a quilt anyway.

When I returned home, I felt vaguely that finishing this quilt in progress was going to be a sad reminder of our loss: I was wrong. As I measure, pin and begin to hand sew the borders and pieces together, thoughts of conversations with my big sister drift through my mind. I think of things I’d like to phone her to laugh about together – the strange conversation with a stranger in Target, the stupid thing I read on the Internet today. There is a little sadness at the realization that the phone call will never again be made but the memories of past phone calls, of shared box wine and laughs sitting in her living room, the trip to Fiesta in Santa Barbara she and her mother took me on as a teenager, they warm my heart and my needle glides smoothly through the fabric.

My thread isn’t knotting as often as usual. My needle has remained sharp and shiny. I miss her but I am at peace: grateful that my sister’s MS can no longer torture her with its many pains and indignities. Today I sew the last length of dark grey/black border and finish the quilt top. Then it will be time to layer my quilt sandwich and begin the process of finishing my work. This is the last quilt I will button quilt before beginning my first real hand quilting project. I am glad the colors are soothing and comforting. The quilt is intended as a high school graduation gift. I hope the recipient finds it soothing after late nights studying at the University library in the fall.

Birthday Box Quilt 2014

Still taking a break from hand sewing to give my shoulder a rest. I am tentatively hopeful that I am feeling a slight improvement.

Today I am sharing a more recent quilt. My eldest daughter celebrated her 25th birthday earlier this year and my present was this quilt:

2014 Birthday Quilt

2014 Birthday Quilt

My daughter chose the fabrics and asked for one of my simple box designs. It is hand pieced and button quilted. It is king size, wool batting, and took an incredible number of buttons.

School Artwork Inspired Quilt

Thanks to my recent struggle with a rotator cuff injury, I had a steroid shot this morning. The shot is not as painful as expected but I’m taking a little break from sewing for a couple days. In the meantime I plan to work on the design of my next quilt: various ideas are drifting though my head. A fun part of the process.

In the meantime, thought I’d revisit some old quilts I’ve made in the past. Today I want to share a quilt I made for one of my daughters when she was in grade school.Image

This quilt design was based on my daughter’s artwork when she was in about 3rd grade. The assignment was to make a watercolor based on a Georgia O’Keefe painting. Her watercolor was scanned and made into a flexible web applique. My daughter chose the fabric colors and with her help on the design, this became her Christmas present one year. I was a little slow to get it completed so after the festivities, I finished sewing the binding. 🙂 At least she did get it on Christmas Day. Button quilted.


Blogger’s Quilt Festival Entry

Amy added a hand quilting category to her Blogger’s Quilt Festival at the request of various outspoken members of the Celebrate Hand Quilting Facebook group. I was one of the outspoken members and really appreciate her gracious response.

Unfortunately, I don’t machine or hand quilt my quilts. Not yet anyway. I “button quilt.” Button quilting is a method of “tying off” a quilt by using buttons rather than yarn or ribbon. I have been making quilts for two decades using this method and am only this year about to begin my first hand quilted throw.

Having basically begged for our group’s inclusion in the festival, I feel obligated to enter. I am a bit embarrassed to do so since there are some truly lovely, professional level quilts being submitted. But I’m doing my part so be kind to a rank amateur.

This quilt was made for my sister. She is a wonderfully accomplished quilter and it was a bit intimidating. I tried to think of a quilt design that was all “mine” and instantly thought of my series of Tree of Thanks quilts. I have made a variety of quilts over the years using the basic design. The design is based on a Girl Scout troop craft we completed using construction paper for Thanksgiving. We drew a tree trunk on a poster board, cut leaves out of construction paper and guests at the Thanksgiving table wrote things they were thankful for on each leaf and then glued the leaves to the tree trunk.

The tree and leaves were created using flexible web (Wonder Under is my favorite brand). The edges were each sewn down and the leaves’ borders were then hand embroidered. The quilt top was pieced together by hand. The binding was made by folding over the backing and sewing it down. The entire quilt was then “button quilted” with cute little leaf shaped buttons. Everything was done by hand. I am entering this into the Applique Quilt Category.

I hope the fact that I am willing to put my work out there will encourage others to do so. Let’s have some fun, even if we don’t expect to win anything!

Susan Sallee Quilt

Under Construction

This photo cropped-2014-05-13-11-44-32.jpg is of the quilt I am currently working to finish. It is to be a high school graduation gift. Once it is complete, I will begin working on a quilt top which will be my very first hand quilted one!

A couple months ago I hand quilted (stitched in the ditch) two mug rugs as presents for my sisters. They were little experimental projects. Then I moved on to a hand quilted, fusible appliqued, hand embroidered, quilt block for charity. The process was fun so the next project is going to be a hand quilted large throw for our family room. Didn’t want to experiment on a gift quilt!

If you are interested in my hand quilting journey, stay tuned. I promise to show my mistakes and victories in equal measure.

My sisters have the best sister in the world.

My sisters have the best sister in the world.

Hand appliqued & embroidered quilt block

Hand appliqued & embroidered quilt block