Thursday, November 13, 2014


Look for  the new Challenge listed  at the bottom of the blog. 
You do not need to be a member of our guild to participate.
My First Quilt 60" X 60". 

I enjoy Challenges of any kind.  But ones involving sewing thrill me.  I think it is because of  my first experience with a sewing machine. 

When I was eleven, my mother bought a Singer Sewing Machine (that machine is still under the sewing bar).  She had 4 girls at the time and made almost everything we wore (my first store bought dress was at 14).  With her machine came 10 sewing lessons on how to use it.  You see it was an innovative machine with "Cams".  She gave me the lessons.

The shop where it was purchased from was a very busy shop.  With the lessons was also a contest.  They had a fashion show at the end of the lessons.  The group was limited to ten participants and the class was full.  I was the only "child" participating.  The instructor told mom I couldn't do it.  Mom pressed saying I had been hand sewing since I was three.  The lady finally said yes.  I picked out a Jumper pattern with a blouse which had pin tucks down each side of the front.  The lady said I was really ambitious with a rolling of her eyes.  I completed the course, and modeled the outfit in the fashion show.  I won first place.  All the people participating had sewn for years.  What did I win. Nada...but self esteem and confidence to try new things.  

In 1997 I joined "Piecemakers quilt guild/club" of St. Clair Missouri.  I was new to quilting.  My lessons had been through the internet.  I thought quilting was something that was from a bygone era.  Boy was I wrong.  I found out about the group through an article in the local newspaper.  I entered the meeting greeted by at least 70 smiling members.  The rest is history.
"Bluebirds sing when a cure is found" 40" X 40"

They introduced me to projects and quilting stuff, even magazines to feed my new obsession.   Show and Tell was an exhilarating experience.  Then came something called Challenges.  The first one I was terrified to join but did anyway because it sounded like fun.  You purchased a fat quarter of Breast Cancer fabric. You were only allowed to use squares or rectangles in the construction.  Maximum size was 40" X 40".  Mine was maximum.  The fabric was so ugly, it looked like lawn chair fabric.  I didn't know I could buy more, I just worked with the fat quarter.  The colors reminded me of what middle east colors were.  so I made a window with tiles around it looking at the bluebirds of happiness flying by.

I didn't win anything but I was hooked by my success with the completed project.
"Seeking the End"  108" X 108"

A couple of years later there was a challenge to use the 5 inch charms we had been collecting for 2 years.  The quilt top on the left is still a top...I didn't get it quilted so it couldn't be in the contest.  I designed it but can't take credit for the original.  My son was into "Dungeons and Dragons".  I came across a black and white graph paper map he had made and gasped.  He had made a quilt pattern.  I knew immediately it was going to be translated into the charm squares.  I also used over 100 whites/neutrals in the background blocks.  There are no repeats in each of the colored fabrics used.  

Still no win but I was still hooked. (Hated myself for not finishing it on time).
"Blue Berry Pie" 39" X 39"

Finally a win. But I found it didn't matter.  I had received so much pleasure working on it. I didn't care if it won.  The blueberry pie took second place.  

We were given a gift bag with three fabrics in it.  Mine were the murky yellow (looked like rust stained stucco in Florida).  The corn flower blue stripes and the dark green leaves.  The gift bag had a picture of a bowl of blueberries on it.  Rules were to interpret the bag in your quilt using a recognizable piece of each fabric. 

With each challenge I also try to learn a new technique.  The geranium flower petals were made like you make yoyos, but real tiny ones. They were beaded in the center. (I had never used bead embellishments, in fact I had never embellished before.). The pie  and berries are stuffed.  I had never hand quilted before and there is heat rising off the pie using hand quilting.  The green was sewn on with broderie perse.

"Mince Meat"  40"X 60"
Next came the "ugly fabric" Challenge.  Every one brought a yard of ugly fabric to guild.  We stood in a circle and tore our fabric in half, kept one half passed the other to the right 4 times.  We pocketed the fabric which showed up in our hands.  Took the remaining half and tore it in half and passed 3 times.  Pocketed that fabric, continuing till we ended with 1/2 yd, 1/4 yd, 1/8 yd, and 1/16.  These fabrics we were supposed to use in a quilt item, no other instructions.

My fabrics were the fabric of the pie plate, the pink fabric in the curtain tie backs, the curtains, and the fabric in the pie filling (it looked like animal prints).  That was the inspiration for the pie.  It is a mince meat pie.  Do you see a theme!

No win for this one either but I definitely hooked.  Working on them is so very exciting for me.  All these quilts have been made with only stash.

"Butterfly Delight"  20" X 22"
This past year was the best experience I've ever had with challenges.  I taught myself so many things.  In this challenge we were presented 3 paint chips which had to be matched with an appreciable amount of fabric in the quilt. 

 I went crazy with embellishments, beading all the spots on the butterfly and the center of the flower.  The butterfly and the center of the flower are stuffed.

 All the petals on the Zinnia were sewed on one by one. They are all loose and layered like the real ones are.  Piecing the background,  I hand quilted, stitch in the ditch, the entire piece.

The inspiration was my garden photo. 

This challenge didn't cut the mustard either, because I was working on it while traveling back and forth to San Diego and somewhere is an envelope with my paint chips in it. People saw the quilt but really couldn't judge whether I matched them well.

I couldn't be happier with the results.  I am so glad I Challenged myself.

Our guild has many talented recognized members, one is Toby Lischko.  She is the creator of the challenge I am participating in.  I had not planned on participating in this challenge because it was due in November.  I knew I was going to be gone the whole month of October.  I was sad to hear the originator of the Challenge would not be able to attend the November meeting due to breaking her foot.  I was thrilled when I heard she had extended the due date because of the break till the January meeting.  

This Challenge is not a GUILD CHALLENGE.  It is her personal challenge.  She has an online fabric/pattern shop.  She is a teacher and pattern designer. Several popular magazines featured her quilts.  She creates patterns for fabric manufactures and makes fabulous award winning quilts 

I called Toby right away to get the details and enrolled.  I am very challenged by having to use all solids.  (I am not a fan of Amish quilts).  At first I felt really hemmed in with the colors and with the solids.  I spent two weeks sketching and mulling.  I couldn't come up with an inspiration.  As you can tell from the above challenges, a pieced traditional quilt is not the norm for me. 

I have lots of inspiration sources.  My biggest one is We have a Son in the Navy.  He is a Command Master Chief on the USS Carl Vinson. Two, the fabrics are made in America.  Three, the fabrics are very patriotic colors.  I have struggled for an idea, something that excites me to create it out of fabric.

I thought if I had the fabrics in my hand I could get inspired.  It was a wonderful fall day to drive to Toby's.  The wind was strong and pushed my diesel truck all over the road.  She's located about 40 minutes from my house.  The roads are great and it was a nice afternoon jaunt.  

Fabrics in hand, I was more bewildered than I was before I got them.  All I could see was, they were solids.  I can count on one hand the times I have used solids since I was quilting.  Even then it was only for accent, not something to base an entire quilt item on.  When I came home I didn't even take them out of my satchel.   When I did, I just looked at them and sighed.  I was more disillusioned than ever.  I did keep thinking about them but I didn't look at them again because I knew it wasn't them which would inspire me.

Monday night I'm getting in bed and decided to read the mail.  The inspiration hit me.  I grabbed the pencil and paper (which are always by the bed) and began sketching.  I loved my idea and couldn't wait to get up Tuesday and work on it.  Alas it had to wait till the evening.  I had doctors appointments for me and the Dog.  If you would like, you can see him here.  He's quite a "Dog".

Last night the inspiration made it to life size interpretation with full pattern pieces. I will be writing a blog, about this endeavor.  There will be no sneak peeks of the item.  It will be about the process of how I am getting it done, explaining how I interpreted my Challenge.  The completed quilt item will be shown off on a blog Wednesday January 21, 2015 (Unless we have snow too deep and the meeting is cancelled and Toby changes the due date because of the snow).  I hope life doesn't get in the way.


The rules for the Challenge and the link for Toby's Website.

Design a quilt using, "the American Made fabrics" by Clothworks Fabrics, from my shop (you can get them online at The maximum size is 40" x 40" or 1600 square inches. There is no minimum size.  Any technique will be accepted, just use your imagination.

 You can only use the American Made fabrics (red, white, and 3 shades of blue to pick from). The quilt deadline is January 21 when my quilt guild, "Piecemakers", in St. Clair, Missouri will  vote on the winners. 

You do not need to be a member of the guild to enter. 
You will need to mail your finished quilt to arrive before the meeting date, January 21, 2015.  Include an entry form, available from Toby Lischko at .  Include return postage for the amount it took you to send the quilt to me. 

The top 3 quilts will win gift certificates to my shop (or website). First place $50, second $15 and third $10. Please contact Toby if you are interested in participating. A couple of the fabrics are on order and will be in soon.

Toby Lischko's web site:

The fabrics and only these fabrics, we must use for the challenge.
Blues.  The top 2 on this page on my monitor they are the same color,  Not true.  
The Royal blue is a deep dark very lovely royal blue.  The other blue I'll call just blue, to me it leans towards the cornflower side of blue.

Red.  The top one on this page.  On my monitor it is not the true color.  It is a true red.

The white is a nice light cream (Closer to ivory)

Two more blue colors will be available soon.

This is the link for Toby's Blog:

More Blogs by me:
Where I have stories of my cats and other pets
a blog about my courtship with my husband,
and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.
A "Soap box" blog where I do air my opinions.

blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry,
blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures
Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle

Chronicling our adventures with a dumped Pit Bull Pup,
 who has become a hidden treasure.

All recipes, pictures, and writings are my own.
I give credit for items which belong to other people in my blogs .
Please do not copy without permission

1 comment:

Toby Lischko said...

I love you story of how you learned to sew. Glad that you weren't afraid of a challenge even at the age of 11. Sorry I missed the meetings where you shared the challenge quilts. Thanks for sharing my challenge.