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To Sew or Not To Sew

Category: My Crafty Side | Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:27 pm

That is no longer the question. I started sewing when I was 10, Mom showed me how to thread the old White brand sewing machine that had been her Mother's and off I went. She sewed clothes for herself and me and I had watched her often enough to know what else to do. The machine had a knee lever instead of a foot pedal so I didn't have to be able to reach the floor.
I laid my doll down on a piece of grey pre-pleated fabric that she had left over from making me a shirt, with a pencil drew around the doll to make a pattern for a skirt and blouse and soon my doll and I had matching outfits of grey pleated skirts with white blouses. And I was hooked on sewing, my doll had more clothes than I did before long.

From the 7th grade thru 12th grade I took Home Ec classes each year...half a year learning to sew and half the year learning furniture styles and cooking. Don't ask why we had to learn furniture styles, it was the late 1950's that is just what girls were supposed to learn. I only remember learning to make two things in 6 years of cooking classes .....mayonnaise and chicken aspic. Now ask me how many times I have made either item in the 43 years since I graduated from high school, besides the aspic was vile.
But during the sewing half of the year I not only made the required class project, usually a skirt and blouse or a dress, I also made 4 or 5 home projects. When each was complete I would wear it to school for the teacher to grade.

I also sewed my finger...not once but twice!! Once in the first year of sewing class, I pushed too hard while guiding the fabric under the presser foot, it slipped on top of the foot and the needle went in and out of my finger right next to the fingernail and literally stitched me to my project. Teacher cut the thread and sent me to the school nurse who called my Mom who took me to get a tetnus shot.

Second time I was sewing at home, got distracted for a split second and this time the needle went thru my fingernail, thru the bone and curved like a fish hook on the other side when it came out and hit the feed dogs. Daddy had to dismantle the machine and take me to the hospital emergency room where the doctor pulled it out. THAT one really hurt.

Over the last 51 years I have made clothes for me and my daughters, vests and shirts for Randy, various curtains, throw pillow covers, Halloween costumes, three formal Prom dresses for Lisa and the wedding dress for her first wedding. In 1986 I started making quilts.
I have had various sewing machines over the years, usually second hand ones but I was never without a sewing machine more than a couple of weeks since I had so much sewing to do. My latest and last sewing machine was a really nice, brand new Elna 6003 bought about 10 years, I spent thousands of hours sewing with it until I lost all interest in sewing about 5 years ago at which point it was packed away in it's carrying case to sit under my craft table until a couple of days ago when I put an ad for it on Craigslist.
Last night a lady and her husband came by to check it out, she fell in love with it and it became her Christmas present from her husband.

It was sort of a bittersweet moment when they carried Elna to their car. I knew she would have a good and useful life once again, the kind of life she was made for but at the same time I was kind of sad to see her go. Elna and I had some great times together and made some beautiful items.
So today starts the first time in my life, especially since I started sewing 51 years ago, that I am without a sewing machine on purpose and have no desire to have another one and boy does that feel strange.

This blog entry has been viewed 1445 times

Where it all takes place, aka my craft room

Category: My Crafty Side | Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:18 am

I forgot I took these pictures a couple of months ago.

The view from my room to the bookcase in the front part of the room.

I bought two large shelf sets made from old barn wood from an herb market that closed down a couple of years ago, this one holds my craft books and supplies for soap making, beading, some painting things, etc.

Bookcase filled with yarn and my spinning wheel which did NOT produce any of that yarn....still haven't taken the time to figure it out.

Half of the back wall, another old barn wood shelf I bought from the herb market. It holds the books I haven't read yet, my witch collection and my collection of dragons.

Rest of the back wall with small jewelers cabinet a friend gave me that holds all sorts of craft supplies that I painted is in front of what used to be an outside door.

My always cluttered craft table and a bookcase filled with fabric from my quilting days.

This blog entry has been viewed 1078 times

One More Contest Quilt

Category: My Crafty Side | Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:30 pm

This is the last one, I promise. I have pictures of lots more and they all came out great, but the ones I have entered into my blog are the ones I am most pleased with.

Back in 2002 I entered this one in the Dallas Quilt Show competition. It didn't win anything and this time it really surprised me. I went to the show, saw the winners and know that mine was better made than a couple of them. But then I started reading the makers names and affiliations and realized that, as in a lot of the larger quilt shows, you really should be a member of the sponsoring quilt guild to have a chance.
From 2000-2003 there was a line of fabric put out by designer Micheal Miller called Texas Wildflowers...gorgeous stuff. He had come down here in the spring one year, took hundreds of photos along our roadsides of the wildflowers then used them as his inspiration for the fabric. Thousands of yards were sold in Texas alone, the quilt shops couldn't keep it in stock or order it fast enough. Wellllll, almost every entry that won in that contest had used that fabric in someway. The theme for the contest was "Texas Wildflowers" but there was nothing in the rules stating that you had to use that fabric, so I didn't.
Mine is a play on the theme and titled "Well, you said TEXAS wildflowers"

This one could have had something to do with my needle pushing finger too because every part of the design is hand appliqued, most of the stitches are only 1/8th of an inch apart. The black background is quilted in what is called stippling fashion. The quilting lines meander all over the place and each line is no more than 1/4 inch away from the one next to it and no stitching lines cross anywhere. And all the "flowers" are in colors of the real wildflowers found here.

The photographer friend of ours who took the pictures of all my contest quilts, bought this one from me after the competition.

This blog entry has been viewed 740 times

Raffle quilt for Ranger, Tx Historical Society

Category: My Crafty Side | Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:32 pm

In 2001 I was asked to design and make a raffle quilt for the historical society where my Mom lives. Everyone on the board has been to my Mom's house and seen all the quilts she has that I have made her.
I was excited to do it but by early Sept,2002 I was so tired of that quilt. The board gave me various photos to put on fabric and my Mom bought all the fabric for it. I chose several quilt blocks who's names related to Ranger's history in some way....Indian Trails (one went thru the area before the town sprang up), etc.

Piecing the top went pretty easy but the hand quilting took 6 months of working on it about 8 hours a day. This is the quilt project that damaged my needle pushing finger and brought my quilt making to an end.

It is done in different shades of maroon and gray, those are the colors of both the Ranger high school and Ranger Junior College and is a large king size.
In the center next to the last letter R in Ranger is a picture of my Great-Grandfather. He was an oil well shooter back in the first half of the 20th century and made nitro glycerine in the bathtub in his house.

I gave it to the society president in early Sept, they sold $2000 in raffle tickets. The local bank president won it but donated it to the historical society to hang in the museum they recently opened.

This blog entry has been viewed 743 times

These three wall hangings were just for me

Category: My Crafty Side | Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:42 am

This is my folk art double log cabin and trees. The background blocks are called Log Cabin, with machine applique log cabins and trees. Hanging in the livingroom behind the non-working wood burning stove.

This one is a giant Dahlia directly across from the work table in my craftroom area (behind my computer desk)

This one was made to be a curtain for the sliding glass patio door off the kitchen. It was there for years and is now hanging on the wall of my craftroom.
Those bright square within a square flowers are supposed to be primroses, sure wish I had used a darker fabric, this one looks like dayglow.

This blog entry has been viewed 699 times

Second contest entry......

Category: My Crafty Side | Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:32 pm

The second contest entry I made didn't win anything but it did get invited to spend July 7th,2001, hanging from a tree in the north woods of northern Wisconsin viewed by over 1200 visitors to the woods and have a chance to win.
When I sent them the wall hanging I included a disposable camera and asked if someone could take pictures of some of the quilts on display and mine of course. There were several quilts that were just drop dead gorgeous so I do understand why mine didn't win. They also sent me a show booklet with the descriptions and narratives of all the quilts. I wasn't the only one who submitted a really long years contest rules specified that the narrative could not be more than 150 words.

The Trees for Tomorrow organization in northern Wisconsin sponsored the contest "A Walk thru the Northwoods" Having never taken a walk thru the north woods I had to really use my imagination. My entry was titled "One Day a Texas Quilter Took a Walk Thru The Northwoods" The narrative begins at the cabin in the upper right and ends at the quilt shop at the lower left. The words in quotes are the names of quilt blocks or applique animals scattered among the pine trees.

A cold "North Wind" blew in during the night bringing the first snow of the season. It's early this year and starting to come down heavy at times. I need to make a trip to the store for the necessities of life before the snow makes traveling impossible. I love making this trip in any season of the year but especially in the late fall/early winter. Everything is so quiet, the wind blowing thru the pine trees is heavenly music.

My favorite "Goose on the Pond" has finally flown off to warmer weather. I can hear her and a few other late travelers honking in the distance. I will miss her good morning greeting but she will be back in the spring.

The "squirrels" are busy gathering up any nuts hidden under the newly fallen leaves. My part of the woods is mostly evergreen trees so these "Maple Leaves" must have blown in from further north last night.

Even the "birds" are heading indoors today. The snow isn't as heavy over here, I can still see the tracks made by "Bear Paws". The "Duck and Ducklings" left the area several weeks ago, but there will be more in the spring.

The "mooses" (moose..meese..I can never remember what the plural of moose is) don't seem to be bothered by my being here, guess they are finally used to having me around. I love all the trees I have in this part of the many different kinds, all the shapes and the variety of greens are just gorgeous especially with the large fluffy snowflakes landing on their branches.

There are some "Turkey Tracks" almost hidden in the trees, hope the turkeys that made them are hiding too, Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away.

Now, why in the world are there "Hovering Hawks" over the path? Good thing I thought to bring my umbrella with me :) Well, I'll THAT's what "bears" do in the woods when humans aren't around. I'll just tip-toe quickly and quietly passed them.

The store is just around the bend, I can get a cup of hot coffee, stock up on the supplies I need to make it thru the long winter ahead and get back home.

This blog entry has been viewed 744 times

First contest entry got an Honorable Mention

Category: My Crafty Side | Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:46 pm

Between January 1986 and January 2003, I was an avid quiltmaker. If I could remember all the quilts I had made, ranging in sizes from 40 inch square wall hangings to kingsize bed quilts, I could probably come up with around 200.

This is the first wall hanging I made as a contest entry. The fabric maker, P & B Textiles, produced a series of fabrics with wildflower prints and several coordinating tone on tone prints and solids.

Back in the 1960's when Lyndon Johnson was the US president, his wife Ladybird started a program to get states to sow wildflower seeds along their highways. I don't know about other states, but Texas highways are absolutely gorgeous in the spring because of it.
So it just seemed obvious that my entry for this contest should be a pattern some times called The Lone Star (it has a few other names in other areas)
The four stars at the corners have also been called The Lone Star by quilters over the last 200 years.
By the way, Texas is the Lone Star State because our state flag has one large white star on a blue field down the left side of the flag, the right side being divided into to horizontal rectangles - the top is white and the bottom one is red.

Anyway, the wall hanging is titled "Thank You Ladybird Johnson"

I submitted a picture and it was selected for the final judging. It won an Honorable Mention and spent that next year traveling with the other winners to quilt shows around the country.

Last edited: Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:51 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 782 times

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