Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Babies Need Quilts...

One of the great things about being a quilter is the opportunity to create something that brings comfort and warmth. In our community the hospitals are delighted when they receive small quilts which can be given to new mothers and babies as they leave the hospital to go home.

Butterfies on Bears

Our local guild, the Boise Basin Quilters, produces about 250 baby quilts each year.  

School Days

Some of the guild members donate fabric, some piece together the tops (Janice does that), some quilt them (I am one of those), and others then bind the quilts. 


Each guild meeting new finished quilts are turned in for distribution.



Teddy Bears

Raggedy Ann & Bunny



Such fun! Easy quilts, good practice, great cause. I can only imagine the joy and comfort...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A family is a patchwork of LOVE...

A family stitched together with love, seldom unravels...

A quilt is something you make to keep someone you love...Warm!

Families are like quilts, stitched together one piece at a time...

And so it goes, there never seems to be an end to all the clever sayings tying quilting and families together. And nowhere is this more obvious than the WEDDING QUILT. It has been my pleasure and good fortune to complete many beautiful quilts. But none are more beautiful (and intimidating) than wedding quilts. Here are a few pictures to prove my point. This first quilt was pieced by my wife (Janice) for our daughter (Kim) and her new husband (Rod)...

The colors and style matched their new home's decor.

This next one was pieced by a good friend (Dixie) for her daughter's wedding.

This quilt was commissioned by a good friend (Carol) for her granddaughters wedding. It is a wholecloth quilt, which means there is NO piecing. Just 3 layers of whole cloth with no seams. The top is white tricot, the middle is white batting, and the backing is white minky. A bit slippery and stretchy until I got it stabilized on the frame, but then it was awesome to quilt on.

It was an LDS temple wedding so I placed a picture of the Boise Temple in the center.

You can't have a wedding quilt without hearts, can you?

A spiral without end seemed appropriate...

Crosshatching represents the family connected together. Swags in the border remind us of life's ups and downs, and they never end.

And, of course, an ever enlarging family circle... 

This next quilt is a Candlewick style, made by another friend (a different Carol) for her sons wedding. She purchased the top after the candlewicking had been completed. The quilting pattern was premarked so all I had to do was follow the pattern. 
I soon observed the marks were not too accurate, so I then considered them just "suggestions" and only followed them when I felt like it.

The candlewicking really creates a special look and three dimentional feel... 

In the end, wedding quilts are like all others, painstakingly created to give warmth and joy, and one of the ultimate expressions of love. And  I love working on them, intimidating or not...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flowers in the Wind

I just finished a quilt I am calling "Flowers in the Wind". It is unique in several ways. First, it is one of those rare quilts that I personally pieced. (That will explain its simple design). Second, it is made up of simple 8" blocks, some of which were cut in half diagonally.

You see, every month our local quillting guild (Boise Basin Quilters) does a fabric exchange. You probably know how this process works. A color or print style is announced (i.e. "tone on tone green", or "batiks") and everyone interested in participating signs up. Once you are told how many other people signed up you buy 3 fabrics in the chosen style and cut them into 8" squares. At the next meeting you place your sets of three squares into bags with each persons name on it.

Well, I have been participating faithfully every month since November 2009. My stack of squares has become quite impressive, but it dawned on me that I needed to do something with them or it made no sense to continue collecting them. So, this quilt is the result of using about 1/4 of the blocks.

As you can see the quilting itself is pretty clean and simple. The flowers were made using the Gammill Design Center tool. (It's like a large 34 pound spyrograph that makes 18,360 different designs) The grass bending in the wind was made by using some of my curved acrylic templates.

The back is flannel and really shows off the quilting stitches. It will make a cozy lap quilt for someone. I showed it last night at the guild meeting and I think they liked it. I hope you like it too...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blogging means writing, right?

My plan was to start a blog to share pictures of the quilts I get the honor of quilting. Now that it's up and running (thanks to my daughters Kim & Tiff) I suddenly realize that in order for this to work I need to do a little writing as well. Hadn't really planned on that, but I guess its not an impossible task.

Just don't expect me to use all the current slang and shortcuts. (Really, is LOL "laugh out loud" or is it "lots of luck"?) And you can pretty well rule out any small talk about my day or my feelings. This is a REALMENQUILT blog. I don't have "bad hair" days, and as a man, I bottle up and bury my feelings.

But, if you're interested in seeing some cool quilts... NOW we have something to talk about! So lets get started. Here are a few pictures of a quilt called Chelsea Cottage.

 Janice pieced the quilt including the appliqued center panel. I helped by doing some of the cutting. We laid out all the blocks on the table at Hearthstone (our shared ownership home on the golf course in McCall, Idaho).
The quilting went much quicker than I thought it would. I practiced the McTavishing stipple (the background around the cottage) on my practice quilt, then went for it. Notice the smoke coming out of the chimneys are more circular than the rest?
 The rest of the quilting was all done freehand (feathers, flowers, ripples, etc) although I did use one of my acrylic template curves to draw the spine for the feather border.
I'm going to make an effort to post regularly so as to keep up to date with my quilts. My track record is not that great. I loaded some pictures of the first 30+ quilts on my facebook page, then got busy and let it slide. Chesea Cottage is my 89th and I just finished #92, so I'm behind already.  But I'll try.

Final thought for today- Thanks to all my friends and family for your support. Thanks to the BBQ (Boise Basin Quilters Guild) and the Quilt Whisperers (a local group of dedicated and creative long-armers) for showing me how creative quilting can be and inspiring me with their "show & tell" quilts! Talk to you again soon...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Grand Opening/Rollout of our official WEBSITE!

I am excited to announce that I am now officially on the web!  More content will be added (just a few details regarding specialty items like memory quilts and a pricing sheet for those) but for the most part it's completed!  Please come to the grand opening party by going to MY BRAND NEW WEBSITE ......there will be finger-foods with a variety of dipping sauces.....entertainment...prizes/giveaways......things...  See you there and thank you so much for your support!

*disclaimer: there will be no finger-foods, variety of dipping sauces, entertainment, prizes/giveaways...but there will be a website.  Pretty sure.