Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's about time......

It's about time......

I was able to turn my garden soil over!  

I'm too sexy for my garden, too sexy for my garden, so please do pardon! LOL

Trust me, I'm not complaining about all of the moisture we have been receiving in the Midwest.......WE NEED IT!  So, my garden is going in a little later than usual!  At least I did get some lettuce and potatoes planted!

I have some VERY exciting (well, at least to me) projects going on that I can't share with you just yet, so I hope you will stay tuned in for another month or two?  I KNOW!  I wish I could show you some photos, but, I can't........just yet.........stop trying to twist my arm!

OK, OK, OK, but, this is it for now! 

I was recently able to share in a first time quilting adventure with my best friend, Jamie.  You can read about the quilt I made Jamie and her husband Ted here.  Jamie and I go way back, and share a lot of similar interests such as cooking, eating, sewing, pageantry, browsing antique malls, and now........


Jamie was in need of a gift for her friend's baby shower.  After discussing various ideas, she settled on making the baby girl a quilt.  Interestingly, her friend Abbie has chosen the name Betty Mae, which happens to be my beautiful mother's name!  BE-STILL MY HEART!  I recommended she research the "Quilt As You Go" (QAYG) technique for her first quilt making endeavor.  

I am sure most readers of my blog already know the basics of the QAYG method, or perhaps you have already made a quilt this way?  If you haven't, look it up on your preferred search engine or on youtube.  There is a plethora of items pertaining to QAYG on the internet.  None the less, please enjoy the following photos and commentary of Jamie's first quilting adventure!

 Cutting the batting while having a light snack of acrylic rulers.....

Spray basting the backing......

Attaching the first strip.....

Jamie demonstrated her mad sewing skills by appliqueing little Betty Mae's name on her quilt!  ADORABLE! 

Quilting right along.....

Some one's getting the quilting bug!!!!!

Jamie finished this quilt in roughly 2 days!

 Jamie thoughtfully made a card from extra fabric as well as......

 this country chic bow!

I would say this is a HAPPY mommy to be!


Since Jamie is a novice quilt maker, I asked her to share some of her thoughts about the QAYG technique:

"Overall, I found the quilt as you go process to be pretty easy to understand and I think my quilt turned out pretty nice. 

 Recommendations to other beginners:
- Have plenty of room to spread out your stuff.  Working at Kevin's was a treat because of the designated and separate cutting, ironing, and sewing areas.  When I finished the quilt at home, I took over the entire dining room table (which is quite large!) and some of the living room. 
- Start with a thin batting.  I used a moderately thick (not high loft, but it had some body to it) batting, and I found myself getting really frustrated with the process of getting all the fabric to fit under the arm of the sewing machine.  Thinner batting would have provided better scrunching/rolling possibilities.  Also, I don't have a walking presser foot (yet!), and I found myself really having to push and coax all that thickness through--especially at the beginning.  I think the thinner batting would have alleviated that frustration quite a bit. 
- Use the basting spray to attach the back to the batting.  What a time saver!
- I did not use pins while sewing.  When stitching one particular row that was wider and longer than most of the others, it shifted quite a bit, kind of twisting my logs in a clockwise pattern around my centerpiece.  If you're attaching wider squares or blocks, pin it in place to prevent the twisting/shifting.  I didn't try it, but next time I might try using the basting spray on some of the bigger sections?  Maybe, we'll see--it only takes a few pins to keep it from shifting too much.
- Have fun with the fabrics.  When purchasing my fabrics, I narrowed it down to 7 different fabrics, one of which was the backing.  I originally thought I would use the backing fabric sparingly on the front.  I ended up adding an 8th fabric, 9 if you count the second type of pink and white gingham that Kevin donated when I said that I wished I had more gingham.  There were a couple of other fabrics that I didn't purchase because I was afraid it would get too busy and confusing if there were too many fabrics in the mix, but hindsight is 20/20, and I wished I bought a 1/4 yard of each of those fabrics to throw into the mix, too.

- One last thing regarding QAYG specifically.  Make sure to start with plenty of extra batting and backing as a base.  I started with an extra 2" width and 2" length.  With the twisting and shifting that occurred, that wasn't enough extra.  I had intended to have a 36" x 54" quilt, but after cutting it, I ended up with 33 1/2" x 56".  I did have a center piece that I clearly wanted to be centered from left to right, so I ended up cutting a little more off of the width than I would have had to if I hadn't had that center piece.  Oh well!"  

Jamie, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your first (of many) quilting endeavors!  Where's Dionne Warwick when you need her?  That's what friends are for!

Is everyone ready to go to the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah, Kentucky?  I AM!  Let me know if and when you will be there?  I would love to meet you there?

Thanks for all of the encouragement!
Kevin the Quilter  


  1. Kevin, thanks for including my endeavor in your blog! This first quilt of mine isn't perfect, but it's heartfelt and cozy (at least I think so!). I know you've just been dying to get me quilting with you. Mission accomplished. ;) And I'm pleased you included shots of me with my trusty Bernina. Thanks for all of your help and encouragement along the way!

  2. Doing the hoedown with the rotary hoe! Awesome. Great work Jamie, and love the cards (waste not want not!)

  3. Wow! Great quilt for a first effort.

  4. Beautiful first quilt!
    Way to be a great friend, Kevin!

  5. Isn't it nice to be able to get out and play in the dirt finally? That quilt came GREAT! And I can't wait to see what you're hiding, Kevin.

  6. Okay - totally freaky.... Betty Mae is MY beautiful mother's name too!!! She goes by Elizabeth as an adult, but that is what her mother called her when she was small. Jamie's quilt is lovely and a perfect gift. Thanks for sharing her adventure!!! And thanks for the sexy gardening picture too :*) My husband got out to cut the grass this week and I told him he needed a combat helmet and snake boots!!! WELCOME SPRING!!!!

  7. You have a lot going on!! How wonderful to share a new passion with your best friend.... but seriously you get to go to Paducah??? I expect a FULL report and Pictures please!!!

  8. Are you saying that if we twist your arm, you'll show more pictures of your secret project? If so, consider your arm officially twisted. Yay for getting your best friend to join you in quilting. Her first project turned out wonderfully!

  9. One of my first quilts was a QAYG too. Although not perfect, I still have it hanging up in my house. It reminds me of how far I've come. Sounds like you two had a fun sewing adventure! I look forward to hearing about your secret project too...

  10. Isn't it exciting when you can share passion for quilting with friends. I love to get together with my stitching buddies.Jamie's quilt looks great! Can't wait to see your secret sewing.Have fun in Paducah, and don't forget to post some photos.

  11. Gorgeous first quilt Jamie! Sounds like you both had a great time with it.

  12. I love your look of determination behind your tiller. Yay for getting the taters and lettuce in! And I'm sure glad you mentioned Dionne Warwick's song toward the end of your post so I could boot the "Too Sexy" song out of my head for something else, lol. So fun to see you've inspired your friend Jamie. Her first quilt turned out great!

  13. What an awesome baby quilt!! Congrats to Jamie and welcome to the wonderful world of Quilting!
    I have heard Bonnie Hunter mention your name and FINALLY got a chance to check out your blog this morning. (It has helped me deal with the Breaking news on the Boston bomber and combing the streets of those poor people in Watertown, CT that is playing on the TV in the background.) As one quilter to another I am TOTALLY impressed with your lovely writing style and enjoyed reading about your "quilting history" and your home, work and quilting endeavors. It mirrors mine. I also have a blog, although I have been blogging longer than you, I have taken bits of long breaks and now am trying to keep it going with my WIP Wednesdays, if no other posts. I basically (probably like you,Bonnie Hunter and others) am doing it as a record of my life. I know that some of my friends and family are aghast at having my picture and other details all over the internet...oh well. I'm a person who wants to get the very most out of this life I can possibly squeeze. This is what I enjoy, so those that don't care for my sassiness...well...%#$@! I am also in love with Bonnie Hunter. She is sassy and knows who she is and has given sewwww much to quilters! Here is the funny thing. I would google something and end up at her site of free patterns. I had printed a few of them. One day about a year ago my friend in TX mentioned her name and that she had a quilt cam. I tuned in and lo and behold the dots were connected and I have been an avid fan since. Back in December or January I looked up her workshops page and wowza she was doing a workshop in Queensbury, NY which is a half hour from my son and his family in Saratoga Springs, NY (think horsetrack...lol). I made a contact thru someone else of a friend quilter down there, however she didn't get back to me as I had hoped. I waited long enough and sent off an email to the contact person. WHOO HOOO she emailed back and said yes, they were accepting people from outside their guild and I WAS THE LAST PERSON they could take in the class. OMG...was I doing the happy dance? I am SEW excited to meet her. I called my friend in TX right away to tell her of my good fortune. She was doing the happy dance with me since she has not been able to get in a Bonnie workshop yet.
    I love that you sign your blog "thanks for all the encouragement". I'm here to let you know I'm a new fan and sending you boatloads of encouragement. Everything I have out there on the Internet I have done myself. It has been a learning process for sure. If I can help you in any way DO NOT HESITATE to contact me. You will find all of my contact info below.
    Cindy Pierce
    AKA SewHappy (SewHappyDesigns)

  14. Kevin I hope you're all done turning over your garden soil and have the seeds in.......or are you having any flooding like we are here in Iowa? It sure looks like Jamie had a great time quilting and I'm sure you were an excellent teacher!!

  15. Way to recruit a new quilter! She did great on that first quilt, I am impressed..applique and quilting too! :) Can't wait to see the garden come along!