Friday, January 31, 2014

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?

Hi, all!

It's Friday again!  Have you been staying warm this week? It's been amazing to see the pictures of snow on the beach in Gulf Shores, AL

Can you believe it?  This is certainly going to go down in history s one weird winter.  But enough of that - it's time to get our whoop whoop on!! Are you ready?

My week has been kind of scattered, but I do have this on the design wall - I was hoping to have it finished today, but seven new quilt requests came in and blew that out of the water!  So for now I just have a very decorative design wall.

…and I did manage to get the Hands2Help 2014 button mocked up - I still have to remember how to set it up for my sidebar, but it looks good!  Hopefully, I'll get it set up on the sidebar soon!

And I've got a couple of whoop whoops to share from the Sweatshop!  Take a look at Rita and her beautiful orphan block creation…

We've started calling Rita the Orphan Block Queen - here are some of her other creations…

See why we give her the accolades?  She's a whiz with orphan blocks!!

And then there's Tommy - he and his wife started coming to our Wednesday night meetings last August, and he started out sewing charm quilt tops. Well, this Wednesday he came in with a pinwheel quilt he made, learning from a YouTube video!  I'm impressed!!

And I think he deserves a huge whoop whoop!!


And now it's your turn!  

What are you whooping about this week?

What's got you dancing the happy dance?

Share with us, so we can dance along!

The party will remain open until Sunday midnight,
so there's plenty of time to join in.

And remember - it doesn't have to be a finish!
If you're dancing about it, we want to join in!

Hope to see you there!



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Working Wednesday - Charity Quilt Challenges!

Hi, all!

This Wednesday I thought I’d share about charity quilt drives. As many of you know, this is a subject near and dear to my heart.  

I think the first one that I joined in was the 100 Quilts For Christmas charity drive, organized by Katie over at Swim Bike Quilt.  Her idea was for quilters to make and donate a quilt for a child in need in their local area.  Great idea, right?  The response to her idea was phenomenal.  Over 120 quilts were donated as a result of her charity drive!  She has subsequently changed the name to 100 Quilts For Kids and set it slightly earlier in the fall, to avoid the ever-busy holiday season.  I learned a lot from the way Katie managed her charity challenge!

A little while after that, I was explaining the concept of an “ugly fabric” challenge to my husband.  The thought of using someone else’s ugly fabric to make a quilt was quite humorous to him, but he did come up with a great idea - call it “orphan fabric”, and suggest people use their “orphan fabric” to make a quilt for an orphan!  Which immediately led me to remember that Judi over at Green Fairy Quilts collects quilts to take to Romanian orphans each year.  I contacted Judi to see if she could use some additional quilts, and she said yes.  And thus the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge was born!  

That year forty-nine quilters sent Judi sixty-one quilts for Romanian orphans.  The next year Judi had plenty of quilts, so we made quilts to send to New Orleans for hurricane relief, and to Happy Chemo to comfort cancer patients.  Fifty-five quilters gave ninety-four quilts combined.  Last year we made quilts for Happy Chemo again, and also for Quilts Beyond Borders, an organization that distributes quilts to under-served children across the world.  And the numbers keep growing - - - sixty-five quilters and one hundred and twenty-seven quilts in 2013!

A charity quilt challenge is a well-named thing.  Not only is it a challenge to the quilters who participate, but also to whoever is organizing it!  The first year was truly bare bones - it was the first time I had ever tried to do anything like this.  So I took the things I liked about other challenges and added some things I thought were missing.  We had some wonderful sponsors, and we had check-in dates and a final linky party to show off the quilts. The second year we had guest bloggers sharing their favorite quilt patterns, more check-in dates with linky parties, and our wonderful sponsors provided enough goodies for every participant to receive something for their efforts!  Last year we added a PDF calendar so that everyone had the schedule available to print out and keep handy, and once again we had enough goodies for each participant.  It’s hard work to plan, organize, and maintain the challenge, but it's so worth it!

The truly exciting thing is that people keep telling me they are looking forward to the next year’s H2H challenge.  It’s heartwarming to see everyone doing good and having fun!

Anyway, now it’s time for the eye candy.  You may have noticed the quilt in my blog header.  Its name is Maluhia, which means peace in Hawaiian.  It was made for a man who was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago.  He used to live in Hawaii and loves all things Hawaiian, so we ordered some fabric (directly from Hawaii!) and created this quilt.  

Unfortunately, his cancer has returned, and he’s going through treatment once again.  He stopped my husband at work the other day and asked him to let us know that he uses his quilt every day.  We are so glad that it is still providing him with comfort!

Ever since that quilt has been on my header, I’ve received requests for the pattern. It was also a very popular pattern for the H2Hers!  

This quilt was made for H2H2011!

It’s a great and simple tutorial written by Lisa Roddy, who blogs over at Shiner’s View, and she has graciously permitted me to include her pattern in what will hopefully become a book someday!

I’m going to share some pictures from her tutorial so that you can see the basics of how it goes together.  

This is the basic block.  You can see here how the sashing works between the squares.  See the process in the pictures below...

And voila! A completed block!

And here's the quilt laid out in full.  Notice that a 2.5" strip has been added to the right side and bottom to finish off the framing.

You can go directly to Lisa's tutorial by clicking HERE for more specifics on cutting directions and fabric requirements.

This is a great quilt for large scale focus prints.  Paired with solids or smaller prints for the small squares, it works up quickly and looks great!  You can add a border to make it larger, or reduce the number of blocks to make it smaller.  Choose your focus print based on your intended recipient - imagine a great novelty print for kids, with fussy-cut smaller squares and you've got a fresh new take on an I-spy quilt!  Or use a great Amy Butler large scale print paired with rich, saturated solids for an elegant, contemporary quilt.

Be sure to pop over to Lisa's blog and check out some of her other tutorials, too - 

Lisa is  a very talented and generous quilter who writes great tutorials and shares them with her readers!  Enjoy!!


Do you participate in charity quilt challenges?  Why or why not?  Do you have a favorite go-to pattern?  A favorite charity?  I'd love to hear your answers to these questions. I know my experience, but yours may be different!

Thanks to all of you who have commented on the Working Wednesday posts in the past - you've been a wealth of information, encouragement and help to this wannabe writer!  



Monday, January 27, 2014

Make-A-List Monday - Quilting In The Cold!

Hi, all!

Cold weather is quilting weather, right?  That's what I keep telling myself, as we hunker down for another round of arctic air!  All my windows are covered, I have an (old) quilt stapled up over my front door, which is over 100 years old and leaks air like a sieve, and there are towels at the bottom of every outside door to block any drafts.  And I'm sitting inside wishing for this…

I know many of you have it so much worse - but having grown up in south Florida, I've just started to get used to the cold weather we have in Tennessee (after almost 25 years here!) and our normal average temperature in January is about 45.  Zero is not in my repertoire!  So spring, come on!  That groundhog better not see his shadow - somebody blindfold him!

But as I said, it is quilting weather - so let's see how I did on last week's project list...

1.  Finish a ministry quilt for a woman with melanoma.
Done!  I love this top - I didn't piece it but I'd love to know what the pattern is!

2.  Finish a ministry quilt for a woman who just had 
open heart surgery.
Done!  I love scrappy, don't you?

3.  Finish a ministry quilt for a woman with lung cancer.
Done!  I love the vintage colors and fabrics in this one.

4.  Work on another part of the book and post it on Wednesday.
Done!  Social media was the topic, and you guys gave me some great feedback! If you want to read it, click here!

And if there's something you'd particularly like to see on Working Wednesday, mention it in your comment...

5.  Determine how to finish two beautiful vintage hand-made tops that were donated to the quilt ministry (story to come on the Piece*Love*Quilt blog!)
Just look at these beauties!  I think we're going to hang a frame from the ceiling at church and all learn to hand quilt on the blue top.  The Sunbonnet Sue quilt will probably be machine quilted on my frame, as soon as I get some practice in so I can do some pretty template work on it!

Detail - look at those poverty blocks!  

Love the little bow at the back of the bonnet!

6.  Write one or two posts for the new blog.
Done!  Check out "When God Speaks, We Should Listen!" and "Grow Your Blog" if you haven't already!

7.  Try to get one of the vacation quilts quilted using techniques from Judi Madsen's new book (a 2014 goal!)
I did not get to this one, but substituted another project.  I wrote up a quilt pattern for a charity quilt, and I'm trying it out to be sure that it all works!

8.  Keep up with any ministry needs that arise.
Done!  We made the quilts shown in the "When God Speaks, We Should Listen!" post, and also this quilt...

…which went to a gentleman in Ohio who just found out he has extensive cancer.  I believe those pretty blocks came from Sharon, and it was pieced together by Joanna.

Rita took a bunch of donated orphan blocks and made this quilt, which went to a local gentleman who is in rehab recuperating from some serious medical issues.

I also spent some fun time playing with this little cutie…

…all dressed up in Nana's necklaces and hat…

…and playing with a new toy today!  That six-sided puzzle made great stacking blocks, too!

I'd share some pics of Lilli, but she's going through another "don't take my picture" phase.  But Wednesday I'll be going to her school for a Grandparent Day - fun!!

OK!  So now what shall I do this week while I'm stuck inside staying warm?

1.  Piece the pattern test quilt top.

2.  Finish a man's quilt for a ministry need (complications of diabetes).

3.  Put borders on the rainbow log cabin and quilt.

4.  Quilt at least two more quilts ahead for the quilt ministry.

5.  Write one or two posts for the new blog.

6.  Write another part of the book and post it on Wednesday.

7.  Quilt one personal quilt for myself.

8.  Do some restoration work on the case for my Singer 99K.

9.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that arise.

That's all I can think of right now, although I imagine more will come up - it always does!  But this should keep me busy, indoors and warm…

So now, the question is - - - what are YOU working on this week?



Saturday, January 25, 2014

Grow Your Blog!!

Hi, all!!

It's finally here - Grow Your Blog day!!  A chance to find some new or new-to-you blogs and make some new friends.  I hope you're as excited as I am!

For those of you who are new to this blog, my name is Sarah and I live near Nashville, Tennessee.  I have two beautiful granddaughters…

Emmy, on the left, is almost 2, and Lilli is 6 and in kindergarten.  You'll see pictures of them frequently on the blog!

I'm a fairly new quilter and blogger - both habits started about the same time, four years ago. 

My stash four years ago - I'd be embarrassed to show what it looks like now!
This blog initially started out as a way for me to be held accountable for using my fabric stash.  (I though it was an enormous stash then - but looking back, it looks pretty sparse…) When I started this blog, I wouldn't call myself a quilter - but boy has that changed!  I now work with my church's quilt ministry, which started just about the same time as this blog.  From very humble beginnings, we have now given away 690 quilts in four years, and are hoping to give away 1000 by the end of 2014!  The ministry has its own blog now, under the name Piece*Love*Quilt

I hope you'll stop over and visit there - it's part of today's Grow Your Blog hop too!  There you can find out more about the quilt ministry - how it started and some of the great stories that go along with the quilts.

I love blogging because it has introduced me to the world of quilting and quilt bloggers - a wonderful group of folks who are invested in the idea of making the world a better place, one quilt at a time!  

Every Friday I host "Can I Get A Whoop Whoop Friday" where you can post a link to your own blog post about your accomplishments for the week.  It doesn't have to be a finish - just something that's got you dancing the happy dance!  And even if you don't link up, you ought to stop by and check out all the great projects that people are working on.   You can check out this week's Whoop Whoop Friday here!  I hope you'll join in the fun!

And coming up in just a month or so, we'll be starting the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge 2014!  (Looks like I need to make the 2014 button!)  The Challenge started in 2011, with 47 quilters donating 60 quilts.  2012 saw 55 quilters and 94 quilts going to charities, and last year we had 65 quilters giving away 127 quilts! There are wonderful sponsors who donate prizes to help thank each participant for joining it, too.  It's a great way to help out in a larger cause and make a difference in the world.  You can read more about the challenge by clicking the button in the bar at the top of my blog, or sign up to follow this blog and you'll be sure to see when we start up again!

So that's the skinny on my blog - I hope you'll take the time to look around a little bit and see some more!  I'm a firm believer in eye candy, and try to have great pictures to inspire others.  If you leave me a comment, I'll always try to respond (unless you're a no-reply blogger!) because that's the best way to get to know you!  But if you feel more comfortable "blurking" (my personal term for those folks who blog-lurk!) that's fine too!