Sea legs

When I first began making My Comforter quilted weighted blankets, Mark started hinting around that he might like to have one for himself.  He is quite restless at night – he says his legs twitch and move (maybe restless leg syndrome?) – and he tosses and turns and often ends up out on the couch in the living room, watching TV until he can fall asleep again.

A few weeks ago, I finally took him shopping with me to choose the fabric for his weighted blanket.  He picked out a beautiful royal and navy blue print of an old world map, complete with schooners and sea monsters.  I finished it just yesterday!  Hopefully, it will give Mark his “sea legs” – and a good night’s sleep!

March Quilt of the Month

One of my most cherished memories is going to see Mary Poppins in the movie theater when I was 7 years old.  Mom loved musicals, and I think that’s what cinched the deal for us to go.  That year, Santa brought me a Mary Poppins doll, and also the record (yes, vinyl at its best) of the soundtrack.  I would sit on the upstairs landing with the portable record player, and sing along to the music until Dad hollered up the stairs to please stop.

And what, you may ask, does this sweet story have to do with this month’s quilt?  Well, there is a wonderful song in the movie called “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”, and I played it in my head the whole time I was piecing and quilting this gem!

This is a traditional pattern designed by Gerri Robinson, made up of 4-patches and half-square triangles, but pieced together the way they are, I am reminded of kites and the small scraps of fabric we used to pull out of the ragbag to make the tails.  I used reproduction vintage fabrics, from the 30’s and 40’s, to give the quilt a lovely old-fashioned scrappy feel.  The back of the quilt is a simple whitewashed light blue.  And the “pièce de résistance” is the kite pattern I used to quilt it!

 

Happy Spring, everyone!

Oh sNOw!

My family and friends in colder climates may wonder at my dismay and think I’m a real whiner when they read this.  We woke up to SNOW this morning.  It’s March, for goodness sake, and we’re in middle Tennessee.  We’ve had temps in the 60’s and 70’s this past week.  And now — SNOW.  Any bets on whether our iris blooms will survive?

iris in snow

 

Vroom!

This week I was surrounded by the cars family (Sheriff, Red, Lightning, Mater, Luigie, and Guido) as I created a small My Comforter quilted weighted blanket for a little boy in east Tennessee.

Minnie to the rescue!

I just shipped out a My Comforter quilted weighted blanket for a little girl who loves Minnie Mouse and anything lavender.  Although it’s the weight of these blankets that produces the calming effect for the individual, I truly believe that the fabric choices play a large part in how receptive the user will be. Since this little girl loves Minnie, when she uses her weighted blanket, she’s going to feel like Minnie is loving her right back!

 

February Quilt of the Month

Happy Valentine’s Day!  (I know, I know — a day late on yet another holiday)

Here is our quilt of the month for February, called Conversation Hearts.

Thank you Mr. Hancock

Last Saturday, Mark and I took a short road trip up to Paducah, Kentucky.  It’s about a 2-hour drive from Nashville, and it felt great to be out and about!  Why Paducah?  Well, if you’ve looked at the Cottage Bucket List, you’ve seen that the National Quilt Museum is located in … Paducah!  But that’s just a clue.  We didn’t visit the museum on this trip.  We went shopping at Hancock’s of Paducah.

See, I needed batting.  a lot of it.  on a great big roll. And even in this age of online ordering, shipping for a huge oversized roll of batting would cost more than the batting itself.  So we shopped the old-fashioned way, which gets us to the good part of this story…

I was about 8 years old when Mom taught me how to sew.  I remember studying over Simplicity and McCall’s pattern books to pick just the right one, and the resulting “scooter skirt” (shorts with buttoned on flaps in front and back) designed in a red and white seersucker stripe.  We shopped at Hancock Fabrics. But not in Paducah!  Back then, there were Hancock Fabric stores nationwide, and more importantly, in Little Rock, Arkansas where we lived.  Hancock’s was nothing fancy – just a big warehouse type space, with old wooden tables and racks filled with bolts of fabric and piles of remnants, and  handmade signs and old-fashioned price gun stickers – but for Mom and me, it was our candy store.

hancocks

When Mark and I drove into the Hancock’s of Paducah parking lot last week, I started to tingle.  The building is an old warehouse type structure that looks like it’s been there for years and years.  Nothing fancy about it.  And when I stepped inside, I might as well have stepped into that Hancock’s in Little Rock back in the 60’s and 70’s.  Bolt upon bolt of fabric, sitting in wooden racks.  Remnants overflowing on heavy wooden tables.  I just wandered up and down the aisles, basking in the warmth and love that seemed to radiate from the place.

hancocks-inside

Finally, I asked for my roll of batting and prepared to pay for it and be on our way.  As we were checking out, a quiet, unassuming man struck up a conversation with us.  “Do you have a long-arm?” he asked me.  I nodded yes, and about a half hour later,  was fast friends with Mr. Roland Hancock, owner of Hancock’s of Paducah.  His grandfather owned all of those Hancock Fabric stores back in the 70’s.  Mr. Hancock explained that with the advent of clothing being manufactured overseas and costing less, “sewing your own” became uneconomical and obsolete.  And so one by one, Hancock Fabric stores closed their doors.  Except for Paducah.  Hancock’s business model now caters to quilters, with their brick and mortar shop here, and with an online business that reaches a global community. A clientele, he lovingly described, of mothers and grandmothers who cut up fabric and sew it back together, adding some of themselves in the process, to create art.  He called it art.

 Hancock’s of Paducah

Thank you, Mr. Hancock, for reminding me of the good things in this world and this life, for the memories of my mother …  and for my batting!

batting

 

Animal Crackers

My daughter mentioned the other day that one of her friends was pregnant and due in about 3 months.  She and her husband decided against finding out whether the baby was a boy or girl – they will know on his/her birthday!  So the nursery is gender-neutral, done in soft yellows and grays.  Funny where inspiration comes from, isn’t it?  I remembered a piece of fabric I had – a yellow and gray plaid – that was an impulse buy and has remained in my “stash” for quite a while.  I didn’t have other fabrics that would work well with it, in a pieced quilt, but I did have a yard or so of a soft pastel yellow solid.  SO…

This is a “whole-cloth” baby quilt.  I used an edge-to-edge quilting design called Animal Crackers, by Patricia  Ritter.  This was so much fun to quilt on the long-arm!  And, it will be a lovely baby gift that Brittany can give her friend!

Quilt of the Month – January 2017

Here in Nashville, we’ve had unseasonably warm temps and a lot of gray skies and rain this month.  It hardly put me in the mood to work on a snowflake quilt that I had planned for January.  To all of my friends and family in snow-filled climates, I hope this quilt feels more “January appropriate” to you than it does for me!  Maybe if I had finished it at the first of the month….

I used several different fabrics with snowflakes – some white on white, some gold on white, and for the main pixelated snowflake, gold on gold.  The back is a gold-flecked fabric as well.  I also chose a gold thread, to do it up right.  The edge-to-edge quilting is a snowflake design (what else?) that incorporates swirls of one large and one small snowflake throughout.  Nice example of a modern/contemporary quilt!

Nesting

robin’s nest last spring

This is the time to nest, isn’t it?  When the weather is cold with snow and rain, with dreary skies and early evenings, I find myself moving about the house, doing what I can to make it cozy and comfortable and home.  Cleaning and weeding out the closets always makes me feel better.  There is a certain satisfaction to be had when “there is a place for everything and everything is in its place”.

Did you know that nesting is a quilting term?  It’s used in the context of “nested seams”. When piecing together a quilt top, in most instances you’ll press one seam in one direction, and the seam on the other piece in the opposite direction.  When you line up the two pieces to sew together, you make sure that the seams “nest” as close together as you can get.  This assures all of the seams of your quilt top will line up perfectly. (OK, so perfect is a subjective term – how about “will line up well”.)

I’ve been sewing a lot of patchwork lately, for the quilt tops for My Comforter weighted blankets.  I get a lot of satisfaction when my seams nest well!