Healing through Quilting

Sometimes you receive news that just hits you in the gut.  Well I had a wonderful co-worker tell me that not only had she gone through thyroid cancer, she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  Knowing she loves Hawaii, I found the fabric and made this quilt.  I say had as I have retired – not that she passed away.Twist around Hawaii

This quilt, which is lap size, could keep her warm while she was going through chemo treatments.  As I was sewing it on my Bernina, quilting it on a long arm and then the binding, I would pray for her to have a complete healing.  She is not a Christian but it made me calm.  I tend to get very irritated when I hear of someone diagnosed with cancer.

Now I live in Southern California so we don’t have much cold weather.  But there are some nights that snuggling under a quilt just makes life so much better.  The fabric was purchased from Beyond The Reef at the Road to California show.  The fabulous staff assisted me with the colors for the Twists.

Another former co-worker is going through PTSD.  I never knew why she left the job but she did disclose later.  Sometimes, especially when they live in another state, you get frustrated as you can’t reach out and give them a hug.  So I quilt.  The last quilt I did arrived at this person’s house just after she heard that her former supervisor/mentor had died suddenly.  I got a picture of her under the quilt with her dog which made me very happy.

Fan DanceThis one is called fan dance.  I am a fan of this person so it seemed to be the right quilt to send.  So if you have a friend that is going through a rough time, consider a quilt.  You can sew blocks together, stitch in the ditch to hold the batting to the top and then add some yarn in each block.  Have friends tie a square knot while adding a prayer.  Prayers can be silent, or the person can write it out and attach the card for the recipient.  They will appreciate it.

So keep quilting.  It keeps your hands busy and your heart full.  At least it does for me.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

Tips and Tools – Part 1

I just wish I had some of these items when I first started quilting.  First, never limit yourself to just one tool.  Variety is great.

Example SCISSORS – I have a pair of Kai scissors and in the wooden holder (upper right) is a little pair of embroidery scissors.  Make sure family members or roommates do not use these on paper, plastic or even cardboard.  Gingher and Kai are my favorite brands.  If there is a large quilt show, you can find these at many of the vendors’ booths.

ROTARY CUTTERS – the pink handle and the yellow handle are both from Olfa.  The yellow handle allows you to cut with either your left or right hand.  You can bring down the safety and have only half or the whole blade showing.  The pink one safety switch gives you the whole blade.  Before you place the rotary back on the cutting board (green mat) close the guard on the blade.  Always!  You could accidently go to grab something and brush up against the blade.  Or if you have cat, they could cut their paws. The blade is extremely sharp!  Blood is never good on a quilt or a cat.Tools board ripper scissors

SEAM RIPPERS – The purple handle one is from Lumenaires.com.  I saw their ad in a quilt magazine and had to have one (actually ended up buying three – one for a friend and kept two for myself).  First, I love the color and second, the handle is very comfortable in my hands.  Seam rippers are not that expensive but they are like socks in the dryer – they end up missing.  I find that having at least two in your tool kit.

CUTTING BOARD – these wonderful mats come in a variety of sizes.  You will find one big enough to cover your cutting table or small enough to take to class.  The one in the picture has an ironing pad on the other side.  The material for the mat keeps your blade sharp and doesn’t ruin your tables.

SEAM PRESSERS – I have two shown.  One is a wooden roller (top left) which I found at Road to California show about eight years ago. Just wish I could remember the name of the craftsman.  The second one is a piece of curved  wood and I bought it from Alex Anderson.  Again, both are good for quilt classes as they don’t require a plug = just some elbow grease.

SEAM OPENER – that’s the white thing that is positioned at an angle.  You lay your piece and the fabric bends over it.  It is covered with fabric and you just iron the seams open.  Normally, the seams are ironed to the dark side so they will nestle together.  This is new on the market and worth buying.

PIN HOLDER – The most frustrating thing is when you knock over your pin holder.  There are many on the market that have a magnet inside.  Again, buy a couple so you have one at the sewing machine and one on the cutting table.  I got an industrial metal bowl for the pins I use for the zippers on the long arm.  They look like corsage pins.

Lastly, Tools Timerget an egg timer and set it for 20 minutes.  When it goes off, move away from the machine/sewing room and stretch.  Rest your eyes, shoulders and mind.  I find my shoulders rising up when I sewing on the Bernina.

More to come later.  The 20 minute timer is also good for computer work so it’s break time for me.

My Bernina is back home!

I purchased this fabulous machine (the 440) at the Ricky Tims, Alex Anderson, Libby Lehman Super Show in Downey in 2009. It has enough bells and whistles that you can really add some great embellishments to your quilt. The reason it was away from me was I hit the 2,000,000 stitch mark.

I have been a Featherweight sewer for so long that I actually left the Bernina in the box for over a month mentally telling myself, “Oh that machine is too much for me.” Finally, I took the plunge and started up my new machine.

Now it is time to try some new techniques.
new techique
With all those great Bali Pops that are out there, this is a quick and easy pattern for gifts. You just take the precut 2 1/2″ strips and sew 7 together (either do 2 at a time or start at opposite ends of each new addition – that way you do don’t get the curve).

Mark from the edge 1 1/2″, then in increments of 1″ to the other side. Pinch on the line and stitch 1/4″ straight down, then 1/16″ from the edge. Iron to one side and stitch in the ditch the rows facing down. The next seam stitch the rows the opposite way. Add some fabric in the middle and then another wavy end and you have yourself a nice placemat.

Many of us are working long hours and usually end up eating at our desks. Why not make a nice placemat for your office or for your office mates? Quick and easy! Pattern found in April/May 2012 The Quilter Magazine. I found it as I am starting to weed out some of my magazine collection. The ones I don’t want to keep will be past along to a local Senior Living apartment complex that displays quilts on their walls.

Again, thanks for reading. I appreciate your comments.