Sunday, February 21, 2010

Where did I get all this stuff?

I'll bet I'm not the first in blogland to sort through their sewing room and be amazed, nay, horrified at how much fabric is in there. What's the matter with me? What right do I have to buy more? I have so many fabrics that I bought enough to do a significant project and (hopefully) not run out. This is a hoarding mentality.

Jo told me that one of the next projects for Promise Stitching is to do a 9 patch and Snowball quilt using 1 yard each of 2 fabrics. The goal is to make the biggest quilt you can and have the least amount left over. The point of this exercise is to show you how to get the most out of your fabric.

I think this is just what I need.

Jo said that she bought over 10 yards of fabric to make her first quilt (twin size) because she had no idea how much fabric she would need. I've bought so many yards because it was a "good price." And there it sits in my cabinet.

But this is going to change. I've already pulled out some fabrics to make some Quilts for Kids and some pillowcases. I'm going to start working through my stash like I've seen so many in blogland do.

One of the interesting things about Promise Stitching is the idea of sharing. Suze told me that when she evens out her fabric, she cuts one string off of one end to use herself and one off the other to share. That's a great idea, I think, and helps to build your scrap stash.

I know I can always share with my quilt club members. A friend of mine volunteers teaching sewing projects to some women who can't afford much fabric. It's good to pass on our good fortune to others. And I might be able to walk around in my sewing room!

I'm sorry I don't have my camera charged for photos. Words will have to do. I'm always jealous of the finishes everyone has to show. I'm still working on my DH's (belated) Valentine. I'm working on my Promise Stitch pillow and some more string pieced blocks. I actually finished a BOM block for my quilt club. I'm doing it in repro fabrics, which I love. Usually, I don't participate because I never have time to sew. But I think I can at least expect to finish one block a month!

Speaking of Promise Stitching, I heard from a blog reader about another blogger who has been in contact with another of Linda Lee Peterson's teachers. Carol Jo's information that she shared with Tammy here correlates with all that I have learned. I should also mention Linda Lee's website again, You will be amazed by the beautiful quilts there.

Keep warm and keep stitchin'!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Promise Quilting 2: The Sequel?

If you saw my original post about Promise Quilting some time ago, I would like to direct you to my latest posting on the subject. Unfortunately, it didn't post as the date I published it, but as the date I started the draft. So, it is out of sequence with my last posting. Weird! I didn't expect that.

This week I've been working on a little quilt that I'm making for my husband as a belated Valentine's gift. I made a quilted Valentine long ago, in the first year or so of our marriage. I made a crazy quilt heart (with a real piece of red velvet in the middle), appliqued it to a background and hand quilted it with my newly learned skills. It's cute and he liked it a lot.

This project is giving me fits, kind of. I'm making it up as I go along. I'd think, "Oh, that color will go great with that", then when I do it, it's kind of blah. It's all because of value, or rather the contrast of value. I'm stuck in the "muddy middles" again!

So, I added some red beads which punched it up a bit. Now I have to finish the words. I want to print them out on the printer and then add them to the piece. New things to try every day.

I guess I better get back to the sewing room!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I'm a winner!

I have been really slow about getting this onto my blog. I have some really cool news! Recently I left a comment on Susan Brubaker Knapp's blog interview of Pat Sloan. She was giving away a signed copy of Pat's most recent book. It came a week ago Friday. What a great book! Thirteen great designs for each month of the year (and one extra). I'm a big fan of Susan's contributions to the quilting world, both her quilts and her teaching videos. Pat is such a wonderful, outgoing creative artist. She is absolutely everywhere!

Thanks to both of you for sharing your knowledge and talents with all of us!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Promise Quilting 2

The teacher who taught Jo, my friend, about Promise Quilting is here for the opening of Jo's shop. So, recently, she came to our In Stitches meeting and taught us more about this quilting tradition. Her name is Suze and she is Jo's aunt. Suze learned Promise Quilting from Linda Lee Peterson, a Cherokee woman from western Montana.

Like many things, what seemed so simple and easy to do is much more complex than I originally thought. Promise Quilting is the technique of the sewing and it is also a whole tradition of quilt patterns and even has its own language. Names we have learned in other traditions do not apply in this context.

For instance, the right side of the fabric is called the "pretty side", the other side is the "plain side." And setting on point is called "on diamond." So, already I'm learning about the right way to learn about this. First, you can't just assume that because it looks the same it is the same. Second, you must learn things from the beginning.

Suze brought a trunkful of quilts and tops, most of them made by Linda. They are very precious because all of the patterns are being learned and written down as Linda makes them. She is 70 and she learned this when she was a child. The quilts and their patterns are beautiful, but one of the special elements of this type of quilting is the ornaments that are applied. A three-dimensional embroidery technique is used to make ladybugs and caterpillars and other figures from nature. Applique flowers that look lifelike are also applied to some of the blocks.

Every thing in Cherokee tradition is either female or male. The needle is male, the thread is female. When the needle is threaded, the thread tail is pierced three times which keeps the thread from pulling out of the needle. This is called marrying the thread. A quilt is female and a pillow (as I described in my last post) is male. Each quilt is signed with embroidery in the signing stitch on the front because it is female. A pillow is male and is signed on the back.

In the tradition, a learner does a pillow as her first project. The techniques you learn in doing the pillow give you everything you need to know to make the quilts. Then you do 3 quilts in basic patterns (which my teacher has not yet told me about) before you move to the more advanced ornaments and patterns. The teacher decides when the student is ready for the next step. This is where the patience comes in. I'm still working on my pillow. Jo has been busy and we haven't had another class yet. I think we'll do it this next week. Meantime, I'm working on some flannel-pieced string blocks because they're fun and easy and soon I'll have enough for a small top, maybe even lap sized.

This is the lore of Promise Quilting. All of this is carried from generation to generation through a largely oral tradition. Some of the Montana quilters are writing down some of this important history. I've been told that Promise Quilters have Gatherings at different times where they share their quilts and quilting.

Yesterday, I found Linda's website that has lots of pictures of the quilts and ornaments I was talking about. Jo's shop, Quilts 'N Ladybugs, has a fan site on facebook. I'll let you know when I learn something new.

Sorry I don't have any pictures to show today. I'll work on that!