Author Archives: heARTs Creations

Sewing Therapy and More

I found myself floundering the past week as I was working through emotions on the loss of my sister. She had been sick for a while and although her passing was imminent, it somehow doesn’t seem real when it actually happens. To help clear my mind, I went to my 2 1/2″ strip box and began to sew. Mindless sewing can be so very therapeutic!

A few hours of sewing resulted in this scrappy Hospice quilt. I cut a backing from a pretty printed fleece and hung both in my flimsy closet to be quilted another time. Of course, there’s many more strips to sew together for many more quilts!

Cooking is also therapeutic for me. After sewing, I made a batch of dough for a pizza. We are spoiled with homemade pizza and no longer order out for it. It was yummy and some is in the freezer for a quick fix dinner another night! That is always a win.

In the garden the red spider lilies were popping up in several places – so pretty and such joy!

I’ll be retreating this coming week in Blowing Rock and am so looking forward to it. Those coming are always such a joy. We sew, laugh, share and laugh some more. Lucky me.

Note: The 2021 retreats are full. You may put your name on a wait list.

It’s a BIG Fish!

Fifty Five inches long, thirty six inches wide! How fun this was! Hubby was responsible for the fabrics I chose. He suggested I use some of the home dec fabrics in my stash. They are all bright. colorful and a nice heavy weight, and a no brainer as I have a ridiculous amount!

It was a bit odd to be cutting such large pieces and even odder to be sewing 5/8″ seams. My quilter’s brain had to really work on placing the fabrics at the right place under the needle!

The sewing was easy, but the stuffing – oh the stuffing. It took four large bags of poly stuffing and several hours. As much as I stuffed into the corners, it didn’t stay. I do know, however, once the fish is on the floor, played on and laid on, the stuffing will shift and disperse evenly.

The eyes are painted on with acrylic paints. It was definitely fun to play, even if just a little bit, with paints again – so artsy craftsy!

Then came the hateful part of this project. Hand sewing the openings on the bottom. Because of the size of the fish and the location of the openings, it was a bit awkward. I had to lay the fish on my cutting table to get a little comfortable. My back was definitely happy when that task was completed!

My brother will be delivering the fish to NY for me. It would have been a chore to mail it. It’s going to an almost three year old. I hope she gets as much enjoyment with this big fish as my children did when they were young.

Gifting a Quilt & Gifting a Fish (?)

Lots and lots of quilts reside in my home. They’re on quilt racks, beds, sofas, a cupboard and a few walls. It’s not wall to wall quilts, but it does seem wasteful to me that they are not giving warmth somewhere. I have gifted many, many quilts and now it’s time to gift more!

A long time neighbor of 30 years is moving to a town north of here. We’re very happy for this new chapter in her life, but she has been an excellent neighbor and friend and will miss her. Yes, I’m going to send her off with a quilt!

It brings me great delight to see a quilt move on to another home, rather than sitting my my quilt cupboard, aging without purpose.

My current project is a big stuffed fish! I made this for my kids when they were little and they wore it out completely. There were three more made as gifts many years ago. Now that I have a great-great niece, it’s time to make another. Glad I saved this pattern, although the poor envelope is quite worn. I’ll be doing this out of bright and pretty home dec fabrics. Let the cutting begin!

I also purchased Poly-fil for the stuffing. Haven’t used this in a lot of years. It will, however, take more than these two bags – I will need about 4 more! Hope to show some progress next week.

Off to Give Comfort

One of my favorite things to do with quilts – take a pic of them hanging on the line together before they get sent off! There are eight quilts this time round, all going to Hospice. All are lap quilts, varying sizes and one is a wheelchair quilt. There are five Hospice flimsies with backings hanging in the closet. Not sure when I’ll get them quilted – just waiting for inspiration to hit!

The list of Works in Progress is still doable for me. I no longer want 20 projects in the wings that are half sewn. There was a time I actually loved that, but my focus has changed. I’ve also been keeping my quilting expenditures down. Let’s see what I can do between now and my next update posting!

The One About Labels

Quilters seem to be continually reminded to label their quilts. For good reason, even it’s just your name and a date. Think about all the other pieces of art work that are out there – most are dated and signed. I had custom labels made years ago. The fabric they’re printed on is thinner that I would have liked, but I can easily back them, fuse them to the quilt backing, and machine stitch around the outside. I scanned my signature so it is printed on each of the labels.

(Just could not get a pic without the shadows – sorry!)

When I forget to put the label on the backing before machine quilting, I can fuse the label onto the back and then hand stitch around the edges. So…are all my quilts labeled? [Moment for extreme laughter!] No. If a quilt is given as a gift, it always has a label. Other quilts randomly receive a label.

I’ve been going through my quilt cupboard recently so I can choose a couple of quilts to gift. Hmmm. Most without labels. Shame on me. You probably guessed it – my latest project is to catch up on labels.

I also had these hang tags printed that I attach when I’m sewing on the binding. There’s only my website there and I’ve begun to put the date on the back. These are being used for quilts that I put together and donate.

I’m guessing I have about 20 quilts to label. Not a fun project, but one I would like to complete. Do you label your quilts? All or only those you gift?

Just Two More Rows

This quilt should be named Forever! The quilt top was finished about three years ago. My brilliant idea was to hand quilt it with embroidery cotton doing a big stitch. I stitched, stitched, and stitched some more. The project got put away for quite a while. Finally, I pulled it out and have been determined to get it done! Unfortunately, I couldn’t do much stitching at once because it caused my hand to cramp. The quilt was being handled so much the outside ends were getting sloppy so I trimmed and bound it. There was enough quilted that I knew it was okay to do that step.

Oy. Most evenings I worked on it and got a little done. I’m really over this project now! I do have one more row to finish and it should be done this week. It’s time to show it!

Different color threads for quilting, and varied spacing.

The print fabrics are all Kaffe from my scrap bin. I used a batik print as the background. I really like the black and white border – I am a big fan of black and white fabrics. I think they make the prints pop more.

Now that it’s already bound, when I do that last row – A-Mazed will no longer be a work in progress!

Aww – look who likes sleeping under a Kaffe quilt. It’s Callie and she snuggles under there all on her own.

The Foundling Quilt & Update

Early July, I pulled my orphan blocks out and began playing with them on the design wall. I found a few more and there has been SO much rearranging. I’m thinking this is going to be the final layout – maybe. Every so often when i walk by it, I change something. I know that has to stop so I finally committed and sewed a few blocks together. Now all I need do is decide how to tie it all together. I’m in the process of pulling filler fabrics. This, my Foundling quilt, is definitely a challenge and that is making it enjoyable for me.

Looking back at my overall progress, I’m please that I’m headed in the direction I wanted to go, and closer to my goal. That goal? Chip away at my Works in Progress so that I only have two going at one time, reducing the flimsies hanging in my closet, and overall reducing my ridiculous large stash.

There are a number of projects in the wings – patterns with fabric, but nothing cut. Two of those projects are kits. I’m thinking of selling one because although I like it, I’m not excited about it! I also have a large hand work project waiting in the wings. It’s the Twelve Days of Christmas ornaments which was rather pricey and will take some time and I absolutely want to do that one.

Some quilters can’t imagine narrowing down to this extent, but it is giving me piece of mind. And really, I have a house full of quilts, my kids have many quilts, I’ve given too many to count away, and unless I’m chomping at the bit to make it, adding another quilt to the pile no longer gives me pleasure. I’m big into simplify these days!

Side Note – I made a few more changes to the Foundling layout!

Another, then Another

Woo Hoo! Two more Hospice finishes. The first one was made with some orphan blocks I found from another Hospice quilt finished last year. There was just enough to make a wheelchair quilt. I really like these little quilts. They’re small so they go quickly, and they’re very practical for those in wheelchairs. As you can see, the corners are cut to avoid getting caught in the wheels. On this one I had enough to add a pocket. It’s lined with the same fleece I used for the backing. The pocket can hold tissues, cell phone, etc. and keep hands warm!

This second finish is from a top that was sent to me by a reader. It too is backed with fleece (as are all my Hospice quilts now). It’s bright and fun and hopefully will bring warmth and comfort.

I’m ready to connect with the Hospice rep and move some quilts out of the house – my favorite part of the process! I’ll be working on my other projects for a while and probably won’t be revisiting the Hospice quilts until fall. My goal for the future is to work on one charity quilt a month. Hmmm. We’ll see!

Two More & She’s Back!

I love to post finishes and today I have two Hospice quilts to show! Another three will soon be completed and then I will call the Hospice volunteer to collect them. This first quilt was finished from a top sent to me by a reader. It is so vibrant and happy and will surely give great comfort.

The second I did from some orphan blocks. So glad to get another quilt out of the flimsy closet and on the finished pile.

Two weeks ago I had a real OOps moment with my Bernina while free motion quilting. Finally, we took a road trip a little over an hour from here for her to be repaired. This ordeal made me very anxious as I was so sure it was goinging to cost big! We went to Sew Original in Winston Salem, NC. The tech was already working on a machine, but because we came from out of town, he put mine next in line. Wow! What great service!

Now, what to do for a few hours? Fortunately, three miles away is the Reynolda House and Gardens. It was sunny and hot with a wonderful breeze – a good day to visit a garden. It was unbelievably beautiful! We walked around all the beautiful beds which took us up to lunch hour. Within walking distance was a lovely restaurant with wonderful outdoor seating on the patio. Another delightful experience! Now it was too hot to walk around the grounds, so we found a bench in the shade back at the garden and enjoyed a constant breeze.

Finally, back to the shop and for the best part – the fix wasn’t awful! I had the annual maintenance done for her while there and that’s all I was charged for! The two sales professionals were so personable and helpful. I highly recommend this shop! And although I have a great backup machine, it is so good to have ol’ faithful back in the saddle!

Orphan Blocks – What to Do?

I came across some orphan blocks the other day and decided to put them on the design wall.

Then a few more were added:

The last row of blocks were not playing nicely with the rest. I also don’t think the outside blocks will work. There are more of them and I thought perhaps they could be used as side borders. And the blocks on the lower right with the large pieces? Well…I dove into another bin and there were more of those! Enough I think to make a wheelchair quilt for Hospice.

This is where I left off yesterday. I did find more blocks but haven’t gotten them put on the design wall yet. Yes, back to the drawing board/design wall. More time to play later!

Fillers and sashings will be needed. No doubt there will be a lot of playing and rearranging!

My Bernina will be going in for repair this week. Hopefully it won’t be too big of a $$$ fix, but there is no choice. Thankfully I have a couple of good backups that I’m using. In the meantime, Callie is guarding my carry bag!