Monday, December 23, 2013

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree...

These imaginative stuffed monsters and animals are just a sampling of the items made by the women in a local prison crafting program. I brought them out of the prison in time to get them to local charitable agencies for Christmas distribution.

The program is part of a faith and character initiative, and the women who participate have to meet certain positive behavior standards. They love coming to the workroom to sew and craft, so they protect the integrity of the program very carefully. Here are a few of the dolls they've made.

The quilts they make are simple, tied, lap-size ones. These go to veteran's and children's agencies. The women rely on donated materials, and they make very creative use of all of it, with plenty of flair. Quilters and other supporters have been very generous with donations of batting, fabrics, fiber fill, yarn and more.

The ladies crochet a variety of hats for chemotherapy patients and homeless shelters. And the tote beneath the hats is an example of another project. They make dozens of these roomy bags for domestic crisis programs. Everything the women make is donated to the community. They love the opportunity to give back and to develop hand-crafting and sewing skills. I've enjoyed my association as a volunteer with the program, and see many benefits and blessings, both to the women and those they serve... and to their volunteers! Thought I'd take this opportunity to share the good work they do.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Funky Quilt Top and a Gator Stroll...

This is only a quilt top presently. The randomly pieced, sort-of Log Cabin blocks are ones our donation quilt chairperson offered a couple of months ago. Taking a set of blocks is a commitment to incorporate them into a donation quilt. I knew I wanted to work with these colorful blocks, but what to do with them?

I began by joining them into a very large 9-Patch, using polka dot sashing. And then I made another.

Then I re-cut the 9-Patches into quarters, Patience Corner style. It was just a matter of rearranging the quarters to make the quilt top. With a few blocks still leftover, I decided to increase the quilt size by piecing cut up sections of the blocks and adding them along each side of the quilt top. It turned out so lively and disorderly, that I find it quite appealing! Our guild donates many quilts to local agencies each year, and most of them are made from donated blocks and fabrics, plus they're worked on collaboratively. It's a nice opportunity to experiment a little and try some new design adventures.

And I'll add a little touch of nature here. Can you see the alligators in the photo? Our daughter visited last week and we took her for a stroll out onto Paines Prairie to see them. They are so pre-historic looking and HUGE! You can actually get uncomfortably close to the gators here, and there are signs warning hikers to remember you are not in a theme park or behind protective glass. The word is that these creatures can move very, very fast. Happily we were there mid-day when the gators are resting and sunning themselves to store up body heat. Feeding time is early AM and later toward evening. But I don't want to push it in case any of them missed a meal, so I kept a respectful distance!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Quilt is a Stash-buster!

Here's a Christmas quilt that became home for all the Christmas fabric scraps leftover from other projects. The pattern is from City Quilts by Cherri House. In her pattern, the pinwheels were made using a folded dimensional method. But I stuck with standard flat Flying Geese units. This quilt was just the right size to complete with hand quilting worked in the Big Stitch style with Perle cotton thread. I really do love to hand quilt, and would do more but I'm in a hurry to get on with the next quilt. While it's a simple one, it was fun to quilt.

Even the backing used up the last of the holiday fabrics. I'm happy to say I have no Christmas fabrics left after making this stash-buster! I do, however, have a large Princess Feather block made in an applique class that will someday require more red and green to go with it. And there is one other quilt-in-progress with a Christmas feel. But all of its fabrics are set aside with the project, and there won't be much left at all. Now that's a good feeling, to have used up all of something. It doesn't happen very often. I'm happy with this toasty small quilt- just right for a winter's nap!