Today we are celebrating National Quilting Day and what better way than to discuss the top three reasons why you should join a quilting guild if you haven’t already done so.
Reason #1 To Join a Quilting Guild: to Meet New Friends
It’s been my experience that quilters are some of the best people you could ever meet. Generally, they tend to be very unselfish and giving. Most quilters make quilts to give away. How many of you have a quilt made by a grandmother, mother or someone special? So, doesn’t that give you a hint of the kind of people you would find in a guild? Yep, a guild provides fun friendly folk that just happen to love quilting.
Reason # 2 To Join A Quilting Guild: to be Inspired
The members of my local quilt guild, The Island Quilters Guild from Galveston, hands down are a very inspiring group of ladies! I don’t even want to add up the years of combined experiences but I can tell you that each and every one in their own way is influencing my quilting journey.
I am always learning from my quilting guild friends by observing their fabric combinations, watch them exploring different styles, and observing new techniques. Not to mention seeing the latest notions, fabrics, designs and receiving shopping referrals! Being with my quilting friends is always infectious – in a good way – motiving me to go home and start a new project!
Reason # 3 to Join a Quilting Guild: to Share Your Quilting Passion
Quilt guilds offer a variety of activities from guest speakers, classes, show and share, community service projects, sew ins, retreats, seasonal parties, and for our island guild the annual bus ride from Galveston to the Houston International Quilt Festival for Preview Night each fall!
Each guild has its own flavor and unique personalities. It never ceases to amaze me the talent of numerous seasoned quilters gathered together encouraging each other to sharpen their skills and try something new. I find it refreshing to know that quilting is being shared with the next generation. Bottom line I think it’s just plain fun to gather with folk who enjoy talking about quilting as much as I do.
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt at a Time
Are you a member of a local or national quilt guild? What do you enjoy most about your guild? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Who knew that being an Island Batik Ambassador would be this much fun! This month the event is March Mini Madness and our instructions simply stated “foundation or English paper piecing 24” x 24” or smaller.”
Time to get my creative juices flowing using the always inspiring beautiful Island Batik fabrics.
Foundation Piecing or English Paper Piecing?!??!
Okay. Hum. I realize that there’s a whole community built around English Paper Piecing, or EPP as it is fondly referred to, but that’s not my tribe.
Hum…take off the English and it’s just paper piecing, right? Well, that’s not really my tribe either…My UFO closet could prove it – I have a beautiful paper piecing quilt in progress from a class I took from Judy Neimeyer herself back at the turn of the century– great teacher, beautiful designs (ask me how many I have custom quilted!) but this paper piecing thing is just so backwards for me…. now give me a good ruler (or a dozen) and the only paper I need is graph paper….
But! Challenges are just that – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Besides, it’s a small project, how hard can it be? I got started right after the Galentine’s challenge…. thinking I’d be ahead of the game! But the project kept growing!
I Choose Paper Piecing
Another name synonymous with paper piecing is Carol Doak. I was thrilled to find that she had a section of “free patterns” on her website. As I scrolled down there was one that is available has a handout for teachers to share the technique. Being both the student and the teacher (for this blog post at least) the decision was quickly made and I downloaded the pattern. You can too if you click on this link.
I printed out the paper foundation, gathered my fabrics, I even owned the Add-A-Quarter Ruler! Having the right tools does make a job easier!
I must admit, working with batiks is much easier than my previous dilemma of distinguishing between the right and wrong side of printed fabrics, but that backward thing had me taking my time…it wasn’t too painful as I only had to rip out once!
I must march to the beat of a different drummer – when I did the “what if” I decided I liked an alternative layout….
Design Change Switch to Foundation Piecing
And then I made another interesting decision…I didn’t necessarily have a purpose in mind for a mini quilt – not that there has to be a reason to play in fabric, but I did want to doll up a composition notebook I was using for my to do list….so one thing lead to another!
I figured out that I needed to cut up more of my Sweet Nectar stamps (5” squares) to make patchwork to make this “mini quilt” large enough to cover my notebook. I didn’t want to make binding so I just sewed the quilt top right sides together with a piece of lining and batting, leaving an opening to turn and then top stitch down before quilting on my domestic sewing machine with a little stitch in the ditch…..that’s when I discovered a boo-boo. I didn’t check carefully when I pulled the paper off to make sure I didn’t pull apart my seam. Oh, well. Life goes on.
After quilting I laid the notebook on top of the wrong side of the mini quilt and folded in the sides to wrap around the edges to secure the notebook. I just top-stitched them together and ta-da, I had a stylish planner!
But Wait, There’s More! True Foundation Piecing
I also have a composition notebook with graph paper that I use to sketch out designs for future projects. It needed a cute little cover too! Only it needed a place to keep my pens and pencils…so back to the drawing board.
This time I decided to take the instructions literally when it said “foundation” as I was reminded of foundation piecing string quilts years ago. I had some left-over strips of a beautiful line called Caribbean Splash that would be perfect for a pineapple block! So away I went!
I treated the fabric foundation just as I would if it were paper (that backward thing again) and I must admit, I like the precision of the points coming together at the yellow triangles!
For this cover design, I decided that I needed to wrap the front flap as in the previous cover but that I needed to be able to slip the notebook into a quilted strip to hold it in place so I could wrap the back flap around to the front of the book to secure with a decorative button. Underneath that flap would be my zippered pocket for my pens. And it worked!
A Little Bonus Just For You
I tend to hold on to scraps so I was delighted when a young mom at church shared with me how she uses tiny strips of fabric to make bookmarks for her Bible Journaling…so here’s a bonus for you as a thank you for reading all the way to the end (almost to the end that is).
Third Time’s A Charm! More Foundation Piecing
Well, I couldn’t stop. I still had scraps left from my Sweet Nectar paper pieced composition notebook cover and this time I decided I had fulfilled my “foundation” obligation so I just played. Technically I did use a fabric foundation as I “made fabric” by sewing small pieces together and then sewing the pieces to the foundation with a flip and sew method. It is very therapeutic.
Before too long it was time to quilt. Okay, I’m not much of a free motion quilter. As I like to say “quilting on a domestic made a good woman cuss, so I bought a longarm.”
To the longarm I went. Now this is my tribe! I turned up the tunes and I was in my happy place!
Truly Quilting is an Inexhaustible Topic!
It’s hard to say which one is my favorite. I learned something new as I worked through each one. I don’t think I will ever tire of quilting or rambling about quilting!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt at a Time
Please leave a comment with your thoughts below. Would you be interested in a more detailed tutorial on how to make your own composition notebook cover? If so leave a request and we will see what happens!
Just a quick hello to say that March entered like a lamb in the Houston/Galveston area today. It was a little overcast but still the high was around 80 degrees with 100% humidity. Gotta love it!
So, while taking a quick break in my hammock under the tiki hut after lunch I was scrolling through Instagram and found two fun challenges that started today. First #IGQuiltFest by Amy Ellis . This one is going to be fun to see what other quilters will have to share. Here’s the schedule for posting each day.
The second one I discovered is #marchmeetthemakers by Joanne Hawker. The purpose of this is for small businesses to tell the story behind their brand…this one is going to be more of a challenge because I don’t have an Etsy shop as I think most participants will. Who knows, maybe later I will!
I introduced myself on Instagram as a longarm quilter, quilter, quilting teacher, the maker of t-shirt and memory quilts, Island Batik Ambassador as well as mentioning my love of riding my bike near the Galveston Bay.
Anyone can join in – whether following or participating! You can find me on Instagram as The Quilt Rambler.
Island Batik Ambassador Challenge
This is the real exciting news!
The March challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is “March Mini Madness” and it involves “Foundation or English Paper Piecing, 24 x 24 or smaller.”
Tall order for this traditional piecer who loves rulers and such…. I’ve been working on my project off and on for a few weeks and can’t wait to show you – hopefully by the weekend.
Do you have challenges ahead for yourself in March? Maybe fun quilt related things, maybe family adventures – will you share with me in the comment section below?
Or perhaps you are facing true challenges of the difficult sort? Just wanted to share a word of encouragement – I believe in prayer and if I can pray for you please leave a comment or feel free to email me.
March – In Like a Lamb…. I hope not out like a Lion!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, rambling on, Telling Your Story One Quilt at a Time!
Sometimes a rambler just has to ramble….and what better way than a weekly review of what’s been happening professionally and personally…put your feet up with me and relax a bit as I share this week’s happenings in and around the studio.
I don’t do winters well, and have been more than thankful that our area has been shattering all sorts of weather records for February. Apologies to those of you with snow, but I say “yes please” to sunny days in the high 70’s and 80’s!
So what does the weather have to do with quilting you say? Probably nothing, except I find I’m more inspired when the weather is nice. Something about relaxing for just a few minutes in my hammock helps the creativity flow….
Quilts in the Studio This Past Week
I love it when someone in the younger generation starts quilting. This is Lindsey’s very first quilt! She pieced it for her sister’s baby shower this weekend. I heard it was a big hit, and why wouldn’t it be? It’s gorgeous!
Quilters are so generous – Lindsey’s first quilt was certainly stitched with love and will always have a story to tell!
Not only is a new baby coming soon, but “hello world – there’s a new quilter born!” Welcome to the quilting family Lindsey! Can’t wait to see what you create next!
On the opposite end of the quilting family is my 90-year-old friend Lila. She is simply amazing. I have known her a dozen years and her quilting never ceases to astound me from complex piecing to beautiful applique – we all agree that Lila is a master quilter! She is very well respected and loved in our Island Quilters Guild in Galveston…she will be our featured quilter in this summer’s quilt show so stay tuned for that!
Nothing Like a Good Quilting Challenge
A few weeks ago, my son Jake challenged me to a mother/son quilt off. Seems it’s been 10 years since we last made a quilt together. Challenge accepted.
We have set aside Monday’s to work together in the studio. Jake’s favorite number is 13 and we both thought it very fitting that Monday, Feb 13th was our first meeting of the minds.
We agreed to work with the same fabric line, Pressed Petals from Island Batik which is shipping now to a quilt shop near you! Jake is an artist and pulled his fabric choices and had a sketch done in no time.
This past Monday, Feb 20 we set up the extra sewing machine for his refresher course on the basics of sewing. Kinda like riding a bike, in no time he had his practice block completed.
I look forward to working with him in the studio each week.
Jake lives next door and his kitten Oscar has in and out privileges when the studio screen door is left open so he can use the “doggie door.” Without too much detail here, Oscar was a stray that showed up a few months before our precious Pixxie passed. For those who have followed me for years on my former blog location, you know that Pixxie was my constant companion and known as my “professional quilt model”. Click here to see my Pinterest tribute or here to read about her passing.
Anyway….We are all so thankful that God sent Oscar to us. I’m not really a cat person but this little fellow has certainly warmed my heart. Here’s some photos from this past week.
What’s Up for March in The Quilt Rambler Studio?
Glad you asked! I am in the beginning stage of a childhood memory quilt. Seems two precious little girls were born close to each other and shared a lot of the same clothing.
Mom has saved her favorite outfits from the girls to have made into a quilt!. What a fabulous way to hold on to those precious infant year memories!
In addition, I will be working on my Island Batik Ambassador project for March.
I’m going to wait a few days to share just what the project theme is, but I can tell you that I chose to use my 5″ squares from the Sweet Nectar collection, which is also a current fabric now shipping to your local quilt shop.
With colors like these, every day is a sunny spring day in the studio!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt At A Time
Please take time to leave a comment and if you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe to receive the blog regularly through email.
Perhaps the favorites, all worn and well loved, are hidden away in an overstuffed dresser drawer. Perhaps your collection of vacation t-shirts are overflowing in the closet.
Maybe you have saved your student’s shirts from high school events or you have a vast collection of concert t-shirts, work related events, team sports….the list goes on! So many shirts not enough time to wear them all!
How can you keep them forever?
3 Simple Steps to Keeping Your Shirts Forever
At The Quilt Rambler studio we specialize in the quality manufacture of what is known as T-shirt quilts. You provide the clothing, we provide the quilt!
Step One – Sort Through Your Shirts for Your T-Shirt Quilt
Your t-shirt collection tells your story…
Do you want to showcase a specific collection of shirts such as high school, vacation shirts, or your prized Harely Davidson T-shirts? Or do you want the theme to be “This is My Life” and include all your favorites?
Step one is to simply sort through and pick out your favorite shirts.
Step Two – Wash Your Shirts
We understand stains and worn spots, that’s just part of the story of your quilt. But do give them a quick freshing up by washing them. Please do not use a dryer sheet or fabric softener.
Step two is to wash the shirts without fabric softener or dryer sheets.
Step Three – Box Them Up and Send to The Quilt Rambler
What could be simpler? Contact us for the shipping address and instructions.
Step three is ship your collection to The Quilt Rambler
It Really Is That Simple! 3 Easy Steps To Keep Your Favorite T-Shirts Forever as a T-Shirt Quilt
In a few short weeks we will turn your t-shirts into an heirloom that can be used and loved for a lifetime.
Galentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day? Projects for both were made at this weekend’s Sew In with the Island Quilters Guild of Galveston.
What is Galentine’s Day you say?
According to google search Galentine’s Day was “invented” by a fictional character on a program called Parks & Recreation to be celebrated each February 13th – it’s all about enjoying time with your lady friends, saving the romance for February 14th with your sweetheart.
February’s challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is to make Kennel Quilts but our bonus challenge is to make something for Galentine’s Day.
Knowing that I had an Island Quilters Guild Sew In over the weekend I began pulling fabric from my stash to go along with the Valentine fabric included in my ambassador box. My goal was to include my quilting friends in this project – after all, isn’t that the “true meaning” of Galentine’s Day! Girl time! Only thing better than girl time is girlfriend quilting time!!
Island Time – Island Quilters Guild Style
My Galveston Island girlfriends are the best, not only are they creative accomplished quilters, they are gracious and willing to set aside their own projects for a few hours to “play” in my Island Batik. fabrics.
Without further ramble, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves…sorta….
Sew Many Ideas!
I couldn’t come up with an idea for a mug rug – actually, I had too many ideas! I’d been saving ideas to my Pinterest board but couldn’t seem to narrow it down. When quilting gives you too many decisions just make a purse!
No pattern, just making do. I had a candy wrapper saved from last year – the 150 year anniversary of Sweethearts, which IS my favorite Valentine candy. To protect the candy wrapper I placed a piece of vinyl over it before sewing the sashing strips from my batik stash. On the back, I made patchwork from the fat quarters provided in my Island Batik Ambassador box.
Once again I’ve asked my friend Irma to share her story concerning one of the quilts that I’ve made for her through the years. This is about her brother Jesse who would have been 55 today, February 11. Among other things, Jesse served his country and for that I would like to say a personal thank you!
So pour that second cup of coffee, settle in with your favorite quilt, sit back & enjoy this heart felt story of a sister’s eternal love.
The Making of Jesse’s Memory Quilt
This is my story about the various quilts that my friend, Karen E. Overton, has made for me – this one is specifically about the quilt she made for me for my brother Jesse using some of his favorite old t-shirts.
First, some background information…
My name is Irma Cortez, and Jesse Cortez is one of my younger brothers. Sadly, Jesse passed away unexpectedly in June 2011. He was only 49 years old.
As printed in his obituary, Jesse lived his life his way and only his way. He had many passions in his short life, some of which were: family and friends; working hard; playing just as hard; always having a good time; the Dallas Cowboys; riding motorcycles; collecting classic muscle cars; hunting; camping; drag racing; and joking & kidding around and making others laugh every chance he got.
Jesse’s Career Path included the U.S. Marine Corp
Jesse quit high school and never actually graduated, but instead enlisted into the Marines at the age of 17. My parents had to sign papers for him to enlist, but they proudly did, and he eventually received his GED while he was in the service.
While serving his country from 1980 to 1983 as a Proud Marine, Jesse could travel the world to places like Japan and Okinawa. After four years, he was Honorably Discharged with the rank of Lance Corporal.
Jesse Finds His Second Career with The Light Company
Once he arrived back home, Jesse got a job as an Apprentice at HL&P (Houston Lighting & Power). He eventually completed his apprenticeship, and continued to work for HL&P for a total of 28 years. To better explain what Jesse did at The Light Company, he was one of those men that you would see up in a big bucket truck working on power lines. He loved climbing those power poles and working outside.
During his years at The Light Company, HL&P decided they would stop using paid models or actors for their company promotions and commercials.
In 1997, HL&P sent out notifications to all employees that they would be using company employees for the upcoming new print ads and commercials and that any employees who were interested could submit their names to be considered for the new marketing campaign. Of course, my brother submitted his name, and the rest is history as they say.
During those years, HL&P went through several management changes and a few name changes – at one time it became CenterPoint Energy, and then it eventually became Reliant Energy.
My brother was very well liked at work by his managers and supervisors, and he was known to be a very hard worker, always very supportive of his company. He represented HL&P in many BBQ cook-offs at the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo with his team oftentimes winning top prizes.
Jesse was a stubborn free spirit that cared for others with his whole heart and soul – he was always there when you needed him. To me, my brother’s greatest asset was his great zest for life and his kind and gentle soul. Although physically, Jesse was a large, stout man, he was really just a teddy bear at heart, and he loved children. Because of his love for children he participated in various fun-runs or toy-runs for local charities, like the Shriners. Since Jesse was never married, nor had children of his own, he always volunteered to work the various holidays so that his married co-workers could have time with their kids and families for the holidays.
Jesse’s Extra Career – Advertising!
The first photo in this story shows my brother in one of the original full-page ads that appeared in the Houston Chronicle for the new HL&P marketing ads using real employees of the company. This print ad first appeared in the paper on 11/12/1997, and it was later reprinted several more times throughout the following years. It was interesting to note that even after the company changed names, the HL&P logo on his hardhat in the original picture was also changed.
Of course, Jesse had told everyone that would listen, including our parents that he had volunteered, and that he had been chosen for some of the ads or commercials, but he wasn’t sure when any of them would come out. He also told us that he had signed a release, and that HL&P would be able to use his name and his pictures for all time.
On November 27, my parents started getting phone calls from friends and family from all over. They had all seen the signs and the newspaper, and had recognized Jesse and everyone was calling our parents to talk about it. My parents were always very proud all their children, but during this time, they were extra proud of Jesse and they sure enjoyed the extra attention they were getting because of Jesse being in the paper. (Note: there will be more about this photo later in this story.)
After Jesse’s Unexpected Death Decisions Had to Be Made
After his death, I helped my siblings to clean out his house and the shop next door to it. Since Jesse had gained a lot of weight in the few years before he died, he had lots of clothes of the Big & Tall variety; however, all his clothes were so large that none of my other brothers wanted any of them. During the cleanup, I asked the family if anyone wanted any of his clothing, otherwise I was going to donate it all to the Goodwill. All my brothers told me they didn’t want any of it, so I proceeded to separate all the jeans from the shirts, and jackets, etc. While I was doing this, I noticed that Jesse still had several of the shirts that I personally had gifted to him during his life (albeit it some of them were torn and tattered), so I decided that I’d keep all those shirts and any of the ones that I knew were some of his favorite shirts, or that he had worn most often.
This is how and when I decided to make a memory quilt with his old t-shirts, and this is how Karen Overton comes into this story.
Time to Visit The Quilter Again
Since Karen had already previously made me two other quilts – a queen-sized quilt using my son’s high school spirit shirts that seldom got used because it doesn’t get cold enough, and a “lap throw” using my Mom’s old clothes that gets used very frequently, I decided that I wanted another lap throw using Jesse’s most favorite t-shirts.
Once I knew the size of the quilt that I wanted, I decided that I wanted to include those shirts that conveyed what I considered to be the four great passions of my brother – those being: the U.S. Marines; his job; Chevy Camaros; and The Dallas Cowboys of course!
The quilt I decided to have made was another 3X4 quilt (also called a 12-square quilt), meaning it was 3-squares wide and 4-squares long. Approximately 53″ x 70″.
During the planning time of making this quilt, I knew that Karen would need to know what color scheme I would want, and it was too soon to tell yet, but I knew that she would be working on the t-shirts first, cutting them into squares, etc., and that I still had time to choose the colors for the sashing, the cornerstones, and the backing.
Once I had chosen the theme of the quilt, which was to use only those shirts that I felt would emphasize his passions in life, I could already envision the final product in my mind’s eye.
Below is a photo of the completed memory quilt that Karen made using my brother’s old t-shirts. The finished product speaks for itself.
Each Quilt Block Tells Jesse’s Story
Each t-shirt square used in this quilt tells a story about my brother by itself, but pieced together with all the other squares, I think it paints the perfect picture of who my brother was. I’m very happy and pleased with the way it came out and I have this quilt on display on a quilt rack in my living room.
Although I had several t-shirts to pick from, and because I wanted to use only those that most represented the things that I felt were most important to my brother, I felt the theme of the quilt coming to life. In the end, we used one t-shirt for the square with a reference to Chevy muscle cars; and we used other t-shirts for the various squares with a reference to the U.S. Marines, Harley Davidson, and the Dallas Cowboys, which would create four of the needed twelve squares.
Since Jesse had worked for HL&P for so long and because the company had changed names several times, and because he had acquired work shirts from each of the new companies, we were able to use a combination of smaller pieces of his various shirts for three more squares each representing the original HL&P, Reliant Energy and CenterPoint Energy to fully represent the entire 28 years he had with the company. This was important to me as I knew how proud he was for having had only one job his entire adult life.
Picking The Right Shirts Can Sometimes Be Challenging
As it turned out, this was not a simple project by any means. In fact, it turned out to be very complicated and tedious for both me and Karen. During the planning and preparation phases of this quilt, we encountered several obstacles that I feel the need to explain to fully appreciate Karen’s workmanship and the sentimental value I had already invested in this memory quilt.
One issue was that not all of his work shirts had large enough logos or artwork on them to be able to make one full square (this is important because all the squares must be the same size to make the finished product); however, because Karen is so experienced and knowledgeable in making custom quilts, and because she knows how to improvise so well, she was able to “piece together” the smaller logos from both the pockets and/or the sleeves of his various work shirts to “create” additional squares of the proper size.
Another issue was that I knew that we were going to need a total of twelve squares to finish the quilt, and at one point, we discovered that we only had eight full squares, which meant we were going to be short four squares to finish the quilt that I wanted. Luckily, as previously stated above, Karen could partially solve this issue by piecing together those smaller pieces from the same shirts to create two additional squares for a total of ten squares, which still left me short two more squares to finish the quilt.
By this point in time, I was at my wit’s end. I was frustrated with myself, and disappointed that may have to revise my theme and use other shirts that would not convey what I had imagined in my mind. Thankfully, Karen was not worried at all. She gave me time to mull it over, she told me to look around for more shirts – she told me that not all the shirts had to had specifically belonged to my brother, and not to stress too much about it – she was confident that it would all turn out.
This part is a little bit off-topic, but it serves as additional background. There is a local biker bar called, “Ronnie’s Hog Heaven” in town that is owned by some long-time friends of ours, and it was not unusual for Jesse to stop by there several nights a week to have a few drinks and visit with friends after work. As luck would have it, I had previously purchased a bright orange t-shirt from Ronnie’s bar that I thought could be used as one of the missing squares that I still needed for the quilt.
Persistance Pays Off
As one last ditch effort to find a t-shirt I could use for the last remaining square, I started going to local resale shops and several of the Goodwill stores around town looking for men’s t-shirts that might work.
It just so happened that on one of these trips, I came across a shirt that quite literally jumped out at me and I knew it was the exact shirt that I was looking for. My heart started pounding, and I was actually giddy as I was walking to the register to buy it, and I was grinning from ear to ear.
Finding this last shirt at a random Goodwill store is how and when I decided to use the Harley Davidson color scheme for my brother’s memory quilt.
Below is a picture of the artwork from that shirt that we needed and used for the last, center square to finish my brother’s quilt.
The Tasmanian Devil Utility Worker T-Shirt Reflects Jesse’s Life
To better understand and appreciate the significance of why I chose this shirt with this picture on it is to know the following things about my brother Jesse: 1) Jesse had a tattoo of the Tasmanian Devil on his back right shoulder and he wore a small gold Tasmanian Devil on a gold chain around his neck; 2) Jesse was a long time employee of HL&P and was therefore a “utility worker” for many years; 3) the photo that HL&P used of my brother in the newspaper in 1997 shows him wearing his hardhat and also with a roll of power lines resting on his shoulder; and 4) my brother used to carry his tools and wore a utility belt around his waist when he was working. Now, look at the Tasmanian Devil picture on the quilt again and then look at the first picture at the beginning of this story and tell me that you don’t recognize the uncanny resemblance!?
It was simply amazing to me that the Tasmanian Devil on this random shirt was posed and dressed as a utility worker, and it instantly reminded me of my brother, so that is why that very last square on this quilt means so much to me.
When I found that shirt, I immediately called Karen to inform her that I had the last two shirts that we needed for the quilt, and she let me come over to drop them off, and that was all she wrote… or in this case, that was all that Karen need to start stitching.
T-shirts and Clothing Are a Reminder of Those We Love
As with the other two quilts that Karen made for me, I was very pleased and thrilled with the finished product. The Harley Davidson color scheme came together after adding my orange t-shirt from Ronnie’s bar, and it was an easy choice to go with orange and black for the rest of the quilt.
Since my brother was also an avid supporter of the local football team, I used one of his Dickinson Football shirts as the last corner square on the quilt, and the photo below shows the monogram that I had put on it.
My brother was cremated, and in my house, I have a small urn engraved with his name containing a small amount of his ashes in a cubby hole that I keep as a small memorial for him. Inside that cubby hole is also a U.S. Flag and a copy of the photo that I took and used in his obituary. Coincidentally, the black Marines t-shirt that he is wearing in that picture is also on my quilt. I miss and think of my brother every day. This memory quilt is the final piece of the puzzle that I was missing, and it is proudly on display on a quilt rack in my living room for all to see and admire when they visit.
The photo below is an updated copy of the original picture published in the paper. Notice that the original “HL&P” logo on his hardhat was been changed to “CenterPoint Energy” in this copy. I found this copy one day at work on the back of an old Directory for the Hispanic Legal Association for 2013. When the new directory for 2014 arrived in the mail, and I was going to discard the 2013 directory until I noticed his face on the back of it. Wow!
This concludes my story of all the quilts that Karen Overton made for me. I have a sneaky suspicion that I will find a few other projects for us to work on in the not too distant future.
That’s all, folks! Irma Cortez
Once again, thank you Irma for sharing your stories with us, and for being such a faithful customer!
If you missed her other guest blog appearances click here to read of her mother’s memory quilt and click here to read of her son’s t-shirt quilt.
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler Telling YOUR story one quilt at a time.
As always, we appreciate your comments and feedback.
If you haven’t figured out yet, I’m a brand new ambassador for Island Batik Fabrics and I am still pinching myself for the privilege and opportunity to promote and represent this fine line of fabrics.
Have to admit I was getting over excited as I saw my fellow ambassadors posting photos of the opening of their boxes…..and I was still waiting on mine…oh the joys of shipping zones…
Here’s a sampling of the tantalizing photos popping up all over the internet this week.
Now can you see why I was drooling! I know you are going to want to see all the Ambassadors’ big reveals – just use the hashtag Island Batik Ambassadors on your social media and check often with Island Batik’s Blog to keep up with us.
Patience is a virtue
Needless to say, once Mr. FedEx rang my door bell I couldn’t wait to shout to the roof tops “De Box! De Box!”
Ah, but “the rest of the story” is that Mr. FedEX (who was a tad taken aback when asked to pose for a photo) had arrived precisely as I was walking out the door to head to church….. THE BOX had to wait….
If you want a good laugh visit my Facebook page to see a replay of my Facebook Live recording my dilemma concerning “opening THE box”…..okay, so I apologize in advance – I’m brand new to FB live…
What’s in My Box You Ask?
The wait is over! I hope you enjoy my big reveal – I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the fabric choices made for me! I look so forward to “being creative” each month as the Island Batik Ambassadors work hard to bring you inspiration within various themes and challenges on ideas for incorporating these beautiful fabrics into YOUR quilts!
As special thank you to Katie and Elizabeth, Marketing & Designer Relations at Island Batik, to Island Batik for their generosity, and to Superior Threads and Aurifil for the coordinating thread samples! It’s going to be a great 2017!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler (and new Island Batik Ambassador) Telling YOUR story one quilt at a time.
As always I love to hear from my readers, please leave a comment and if you haven’t already done so, subscribe to my blog for lots of future quilting fun!
The February challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is to make one or more Kennel Quilts – which are used in animal shelters across the country. This project is coordinated by the volunteer organization TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team sponsored by The Quilt Pattern Magazine (TQPM). Island Batik is also among the industry partners.
When disasters strike, team members get busy sewing small kennel quilts for animals in need -some may be separated from their humans and others possibly injured. There is always the need for more team members or random donations!
How to Make a Kennel Quilt
The guidelines suggest a 12″ x 18″ quilt that will fit in a kennel. In addition the quilt should not have a binding as little claws could rip off the fabric. There are other stipulations, such as prewashing the fabric, so be sure to read carefully.
I rummaged through my collection of Island Batik precuts and found a set of 5″ squares to work with as well as some scrap batting and away I went to the sewing machine! Note: I do not pre-wash my precuts, but I will wash the completed quilt before donating.
I love simple mindless sewing…the relaxing hum of the needle, the feel of fabulous fabrics under my fingers. An audible (book on tape) playing in the background or perhaps my favorite Christian radio station….just in the zone…sew sew sew!
In no time I had whipped up a little 3 x 4 arrangement from my 5″ squares.
After careful pressing I layered the pieced quilt top right sides together with the backing fabric placing the batting under the wrong side of the backing to sew all three layers together at one time, leaving a 5″ area unsewn for turning.
After sewing I trimmed the edges with pinking sheers – just because they were handy. You could easily use your rotary cutter or regular scissors. The idea is to have a narrow seam allowance for reduced bulk.
Time to turn the little quilt, press around the seams to lay flat and press the opening to the inside even along the edges.
I then topstitched along the perimeter carefully closing the opening. Followed by simple “stitch in the ditch” quilting to hold the quilt sandwich together.
Betcha’ can’t make just one!
I think making these little quilts is a lot like eating potato chips. You can’t just make one! I decided to get a little more creative with the next one and instead of just 12 plain squares I wanted to add pinwheels.
The method I used is fairly quick and easy. Simply layer two 5″ squares right sides together and sew a quarter of an inch around all four edges. When complete take a rotary cutter and ruler to cut from corner to corner to produce 4 triangle shapes. Press these open, trim the dog ears, and then piece together as a four patch to form the pinwheel. It’s important to note that once the blocks were pieced I did trim them down to 5″ square to match the precuts.
I chose to lay the pinwheels every other one with the squares in a checkerboard fashion. Repeated my process and in no time I had two little quilts!
My Kennel Quilt Challenge
My local guild makes quilts to share with various local charitable organizations but I have to admit, I had never thought about making something for our little four legged friends who are in need of comfort.
I’m going to challenge myself to make more of these small kennel quilts as the month goes by – I would like to at least fill up a box! There is information on the website concerning where to donate the kennel quilts as there is always a call to action when disaster strikes. I may even check with my local shelter to see if they have a need.
How about you? Want to take up the challenge with me and make a few kennel quilts? It’s a great way to use up your scraps or practice a new block pattern.
I hope you have enjoyed this month’s Island Batik Ambassador challenge. Check the Island Batik blog for links to other ambassadors and their projects.
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling YOUR Story One Quilt At A Time….
Please leave a comment below as I’d love to hear from you. Are you going to take up the challenge with me this month? Inquiring minds want to know!