Thursday, March 10, 2011

Something Different

Okay, I talk about writing all the time, which is natural since I'm a writer. Today, I'm going to do something a little different. I'm going to talk about one of my hobbies - quilting.

I started quilting years ago. Actually, my daughter got me started. The very first quilt I made, I drew the pattern pieces onto the fabric and cut them out with scissors. Needless to say, it wasn't my best effort. But, hey, it was my first attempt.

Then I found out about the neat tools they have - cutting mat, rulers, and more importantly rotary cutters. I also learned an easy way to cut those cute diamond shapes patterns. Wow, was I impressed. Of course since then, I've found various other rulers and guides to aid in the quilt making process, like the quarter inch foot for the sewing machine. Good grief, who could have guessed at all the accessories. They even have tiny irons to get into corners.

But, I'm off the subject here. So, there I was, like everything I do, throwing myself into the quilt making process. I think I've made just about every pattern there is, except the wedding ring pattern. I've never been brave enough to tackle that one.

 One of my other favorite things to do when I’m not writing is embroidery.  I’ve found a way to combine the two. First, I made baby quilts for my nieces. White on white, I machine embroidered them with the darning stitch so I had control. They turned out so nice, but I really love to hand embroidery. That’s when I discovered red-work. During a quilting shop-hop, one of the stores highlighted red-work. For those of you who don’t know what red-work is – it’s embroidery done in all red floss. Just the outline of the picture, not filled in like other embroidery patterns.

Anyway, I fell in love with it. Every year I make something for Christmas (often a Santa) for my six children and give it to them on Thanksgiving. I found a Santa pattern and did it all in red-work, framed it and gave it to them.

That’s when I decided to make a baby quilt for each of my grandchildren – for their first born. I started out with coloring books for designs. I traced the images onto 12x12 squares of muslin. After I finished embroidering the squares I cut sashing and sewed them together. For the backing I used various fabrics, not nursery print. None of the quilts have nursery fabric in them at all. I’ve used patterns from animals to Winnie the Pooh.

Eventually, I found transfer books and started using them for designs. I looked everywhere for baby designs. Thirteen of them are finished, but I now have 14 grandchildren, that’s a lot of baby quilts. Most of the quilts are done in red work, but several are done with various colors, too.

I finally finished them about a year ago. It took about a couple of years to do all the squares. Since then, I also made quilts for my niece’s - the cows at the top of this blog for one of my neice's and another neice had twins, so I made kittens and  bunnies. She had a girl and boy, andI thought the bunnies would be good for him.

Last year, I gave my first grandchild’s quilt to my oldest granddaughter, whose baby boy was born in June – my first great grandchild. Last August, my fourteenth grandchild was born, another boy. I have the perfect quilt pattern for him. Puppies. I can hardly wait to start it. Although it’s going to be many years before he’ll need it. I’ve marked each quilt with the name of the grandchild they’re supposed to go to in case I’m not around to give it to them. My daughters have been instructed to pass them out.


Cassie Exline said...

Beautiful work! What a great job you've done on the quilts and what treasured keepsakes you have for the family. The red work looks great too.

Megan Johns said...

Yes, they are beautiful keepsakes, Roseanne, and ones that will be treasured for many years to come.

Pamela said...

Lovely work. I like making patchwork quilts, it seems a natural 'fit' for an author, as each patch and fabric and stitch tells a story.

Thank you for sharing yours.

J Q Rose said...

How beautiful and special these quilts are. I am envious of your skill and patience. I'm afraid my high school home ec teacher took all the desire to stitch and sew out of me when I was a freshman in high school.

Roseanne Dowell said...

Thank you all for your comments. I did many patchwork types also, but I enjoy sitting and embroidering in the evening while I watch TV.
@J.Q. trust me, my desire to sew clothes was removed in high school also. I will tackle a simple straight curtain, however. But quilting is special and relaxing for me. One of my favorite quilts was one I made while riding in the truck with my hubby. I cut it out at a truck stop, hand sewed the pieces and then hand quilted it. Turned out quite nice if I do say so myself. I also made T-shirt quilts for a couple of my granddaughters as a graduation gift. Those were fun. My daughter saved all their special t-shirts from elementary through high school. Each shirt had a special meaning. I wish I had a picture of them. Alas, I don't.

Fiona McGier said...

I have always been able to sew, but alas, have no time to spare anymore. When I'm forced by my family to watch TV with them occasionally, I work on crocheting afghans for my kids.
Quilting is very detailed and time consuming, but I can see how you might find it relaxing...and the end results are certainly beautiful and one-of-a-kind.

Margaret Tanner said...

Wow Roseanne, you are so clever. Your quilts look beautiful. I am green with envy as I can't sew a stitch. I am so bad that few years ago when hubby was a Customs Officer, he got new uniforms and I stapled the hems of his pants up because I couldn't sew them, and every time he passed anywhere near the security scanners, he set them off. Now that is pitiful. And he never lets me forget it either.