Gramz's Blog

Musings of a crazy quilter

August 2012 - Posts

A cousin offered to pay me to do a "retro" quilt in pink and aqua for her daughter's youth bed. I offered to do one free if she picked fabrics from my stash so I posted pics on FB of fabrics for her approval. She wasn't crazy about them and wanted softer colors.

She was in the process of moving and has been understandably way too busy to answer my questions regarding "retro" (style or fabric? decade?) and color choice so I went to my local fabric store and searched for a "retro" fabric with those colors. Didn't find one. Weird. Last year I could have found dozens of fabrics in those colors.

So I picked this pretty bird fabric from JoAnn's and thought I could pull out that aqua-ish blue. Hoping "retro" refers to style, I went with a patchwork block of slanted stars with yellow centers to look like flowers and used the bird fabric for the border. After I had already started I realized I had not purchased enough fabric for the backing. Since I prefer to back smaller quilts with a whole cloth, I had to return to the fabric store. I got really lucky because the companion fabrics were all on clearance. I even have enough leftovers to do another quilt.

I still have difficulty taking "orders" for quilts because I still feel like my skills are just above rookie status. Besides, I am afraid they might not like it - or, worse, I might not like it - unless I go with my own plan. If I design and make a quilt using my own ideas and they someone wants to buy it, that is okay. Anyway, this one is getting mailed tomorrow and I consider it a gift.

Here are some pics.

To quilt I stitched in the ditch around the "stars", leaving the centers unquilted so they have some loft. To emphasize the flowers I traced and quilted the shape of the leaf (these are similar to "melons", I later learned, but the leafs are more curvy) using a walking foot. I echoed the leaf on the outer square. For the solid white squares in the corners I quilted a bird. I keep thinking it could use more quilting, but I would rather not do too much and I like do the simplicity of this piece.

Don't you just love bias-cut striped binding?


I wanted the stripe effect to be consistent from top to bottom so I had to play with the fabric a bit before cutting the borders. After completing all the patch worked area, I folded it in half to find the middle. Then I found the center vine in the top and bottom border fabric and pinned it to the middle mark of the patchwork. Then I cut the side borders to match the top and bottom as closely as possible. It didn't work out exactly because the vine zig-zags a bit. Quilting a straight line between the vines fools the eye so the fabric does not appear to be pieced unless you look closely.

From the conception of this project I have been contemplating the quilt label. Since the back is pretty, too, I had the idea that the bed might be made with the quilt turned over for a change; if so, then a label stuck in the corner would look odd. So I came up with the idea to center the label at the top of the back and upside down. If the quilt is turned over the little bird is visible at the foot of the bed. Or, if the patchwork side is up, once Bella is tucked in for the night, the quilt could be folded back to reveal the little bird. I have not marked the label yet, but here is what it looks like so far.


I plan to get it finished today. I still have to wash out the markings for the quilting and get it dried out so I can ship it to Bella. I hope she (and her momma) like it.

Yesterday out of the blue:

DS, age 13: I am out of shorts. I mean I have only one pair of shorts that fit. This pair. These are the only ones that fit me anymore. These are the ONLY ones I wear.

Me: So why are all those other shorts in the laundry?

DS: Because I tried them on and they don't fit.

I decided to save my reply for another day.

So today I bring home 12 pairs of shorts (you KNOW I got a deal) mostly in two different sizes but the 12th in a third size because I really have no idea what size he wears now.

Me: Well, I....

DS: Oh my gosh. Mom. Why do you do this to me? Don't buy me anything unless I tell you to. I did not tell you to buy me anything. Why do you do this? I am telling you, DON'T buy me anything anymore. Don't even show me those denim shorts. I do not wear denim shorts. Don't EVEN ask me to try them on because I won't.

Me: Well, you don't have to try on the denim shorts. But I do want you to try on the other shorts because I am not sure what size you wear.

DS: I wear EXACTLY one size bigger than these. Just get me some EXACTLY one size bigger than these. You know what size these are so get me some one size bigger.

Me: (Thinking I have no idea what size those particular shorts are nor the brand.) Look, here are a pair with skulls on them would you wear them?

DS: I told you I am not going to try on any shorts. Those are okay. I would wear them. But don't ask me to try on any denim shorts because there is NO WAY I am going to wear them.

Me: Well you need to try these on so we can figure out what size you wear.

DS: Okay. Just put them on my bed and I will try those on. But not the denim ones.

Me: Here are some camo shorts. (Wondering if camo is still cool.) Do you think you could wear some camo shorts?

DS: Yes. I said just put them on the bed and I will try them on.

Me: (confused) Okay, well I will need to see how they fit in the waist when you try them on. Here are a pair of khaki's and a plaid pair; do you like these?

DS: Yes, just put them on the bed and I will try on a pair.

Me: That's great. I need you to try on all the sizes so I know what will fit, so you will have to try on more than one pair. (I am excited that he said he would actually try them on but I can't show how pleased I am because that would totally backfire on me.)

DS: (Now pawing through the small pile of clothing I handed him.) Are you kidding, Mom? Seriously? These pajamas have DINOSAURS on them. How old do you think I am? I can't wear DINOSAURS!

Me: (To myself: But they were on sale.) Well, you can wear them anyway. I am tired of you hanging around the house in just your underwear. You need to have some clothes on at all times now. You can wear them when you are hanging out at home. Nobody will see them.

DS: What are THESE?

Me: Last year you said you needed special shorts to wear under your PE shorts. I thought these might work.

DS: The PE guy said those aren't right. THESE are the right kind.

Me: (Silently: Yay! I got something right!) Well, try this stuff on now, so I know what I can take back to the store so I can get my money back. (Although I wanted to smack him - in a kind and loving sort of way, honest! - I turned my back and walked away. I decided to do some laundry and hoped he would actually try everything as I had asked.)

DS: Okay, they fit. They are all the same size so I don't need to try on any more. These are perfect.

Me: Well, let me see the waist.

DS: (Holding up his shirttail barely above the waist which clearly demonstrates that this size is not going to fit for more than a couple of weeks of this growth spurt) See, they are fine.

Me: Okay. Try on the others, please. I need to know how they are going to fit so when it comes time to buy jeans I can get the right size.

DS: (Having tried on another pair of shorts.) Okay, I tried them all on. I'm DONE.

Me: Well, it turns out none of those are this other size. Would you try on this pair for me so I can compare the fit?

DS: Mom. Those are DENIM. I don't wear DENIM. I am not trying them on.

Me: Just try them on for size.

DS: I am not going to wear them. I don't wear denim shorts.

Me: I am not asking you to keep them. I am taking them back to the store. Just let me see if these fit better than the others. (They do. Mental note: THIS is the size to buy.) Thank you.

DS: I TOLD you not to buy me anything unless I ask. Just don't buy me ANYTHING unless I tell you.

Since pulling out my own hair would be less painful, next time, NEXT time I just might do that. Ha! As if. I wish I had the will power to NOT buy something when I know he needs it. But then, with such an enormous demonstration of gratitude, why do I bother?