Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quilting Tools 1

Blogger told me my browser was no longer supported so I finally made the switch to Mozilla. Hopefully I haven't lost any information or vital links. I love doing quilty "research" on the web!

I picked up a new-to-me tool at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival; two stencils and a pounce pad to mark the stencils on the fabric. I don't usually use stencils for my quilting, mostly because I'm cheap frugal. But for these line stencils from  The Stencil Co. at quiltingstencils.com I'll gladly fork over the money. At $8.00 per stencil it wasn't too bad for what these lovely things will do. Below are the two large stencils:
These stencils are for marking lines for straight line quilting, piano keys or beadboard, crosshatching, and grids for grid-based designs. In the photo below, you can see I'm using what I call the positioning grid. There may be a more correct name for it, but that's what I'm calling it.
 I'm using the Quick Swipe pounce pad to mark the lines and it is removed with steam heat. Works like a charm once you get enough powder loaded into the new (clean) pad. Below you can see a faint white line just in front of my machine's foot where I used the lines to position my quilting design.

This small wall quilt is based on the Amish Diamond In The Square. The center quilting design is a butterfly surrounded by pebbles, swirls, feathers, and my attempt at "Nemeshing". "Nemeshing" is a quilting design developed by Bethanne Nemesh at White Arbor Quilting.

Forgive the cruddy photos as usual. I think I've got the hubby on board the idea that my point and shoot isn't up to the task of photographing the detail in my quilting.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Poured Out








I finally finished this quilt. I presented it to our church on Easter Sunday and below is the statement I read as I presented it. I had to read it as this was quite emotional for me. I only had to stop reading once and collect myself to stop tears. My camera and it's operator aren't the the best, so these pics don't do it justice.


"Poured Out"

When Eric was diagnosed with cancer in July of 2010, I needed an activity besides caring for him and the children to help keep from going completely crazy. Doctor’s appointments seemed unending and of course, housework and laundry never stay done but a stitch is a stitch and it stays that way. So I began doing more quilting whenever I could get a little time to myself.

This church had been such a help to us and I wanted to do something to show our gratitude. Making a wall quilt based on the church logo just seemed to be the perfect thing---if I could figure out how to do it. When I first drew out the design it seemed very surreal, as if the hands that were drawing were not my own. I am uncomfortable with "Art speak" or spiritual self-promotion but it did feel as if God was using me to create this.

I actually have a love/hate relationship with this quilt. When I started it, I didn't feel as if I had the technical skills to create it, but I just went with what I knew and hoped for the best. Consequently, I can point out numerous flaws, mistakes, and things that I would do differently if I did it again. But I think that this process is similar to our walk with Christ. With God, we learn as we go. The truly important part is to go; we go, are called, lead, follow.....but we go. And we learn on the way. The learning isn’t linear, it can be messy. Many times we move ahead to find we must step back and start over. I did a lot of ripping out of stitches on this quilt. There were times I just couldn't work on the thing because it wasn't as perfect as I had envisioned. Other times it was turning out so well that I was amazed. Then there were times that what this quilt represents was just too raw, too emotional, for me to work on. I put it aside many times.

Of course anyone that has been part of Grace Community Church for a while recognizes the pitcher of water representing the flowing out of God's mercy and grace upon us, the unending flow of Living Water that quenches the need of our souls. But there's another meaning for me.

During Eric's treatment for cancer there were times that I just felt utterly, completely, totally drained. That I had nothing left to give and that life was just sucking me dry. I had poured all I had on those I loved and felt empty. Ian was just 9 months old when we got Eric's diagnosis and I was already one tired momma. But over and over again, even when I didn't want to recognize it, His mercy, provision, and love flowed over me. This church was instrumental in how He poured out blessings over us.

The background of the quilt represents how God pulls His people together into one body. Nearly every block is quilted differently from the others, and yet it all still fits together into what I think of as a sort of wailing wall. We all are crying out for the Living Water of Christ which He pours out in abundance. There are a few hidden motifs in the quilt, a reference to how we rarely see clearly what God has planned for us and are called to trust in Him.

I would like to present this quilt as a gift to represent our thanks for all that this family of believers has done for us in the last few years and as an offering to God. I pray that the work of my hands is pleasing to Him and may touch those who see it, causing them to think on His pouring out of mercy and grace.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

All I really wanted.....but it wasn't gonna happen...

I mean to blog more often, but listen to the intro to the Creative Mom Podcast and you'll have an insight to my life. (Just that her intro sounds like my life; I am not her.)

Gotta finish "Poured Out" by this weekend so I can present it to the church on Sunday. I'm not sure what is more painful; the handstitching of the binding and sleeve or writing up what the quilt means to me.