Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bee, Mine

I can't seem to let go of these heart-shaped pins! A couple weeks ago, Mary wrote me a note with her idea to turn the 9-patch pins into heart-shaped pins or ornaments as a February gift to the residents of her mom's senior living facility. One thing led to another, I created a couple of pins, inspired by Mary's idea and documented them in my blog entries from last week and the week before.

One variation takes the normal pin borders and trims them into a heart shape.

heart-shaped quilted pins

A second variation has extra large borders, which were trimmed with pinking shears, creating the needed affect to turn the 9-patch block into the heart-shape.

heart-shaped quilted pin

Why stop there? The thought occurred to me that this same pin might be fun with a slight variation. Why not add borders in two colors following the two-color 9-patch block? Or turn the 9-patch into a corn-and-beans block with a few itty-bitty half-square triangles. And repeat the two-color border situation. Interesting!

Anyway . . . enough with the pins! Happy Valentine's Day, with or without a heart-shaped pin!

On to my quilt dilemma. Last week, I told the tale of the wretched quilt on my bed. Worn miserably where the quilt meets the edge of the mattress. The quilt is a candidate for the Recycled Tote. Big time.

That means, the bed needs a new quilt. Going back a few months, I told you about this log cabin quilt. The center was made following a Marti Michell pattern using fat quarters. I added the borders to turn the square quilt center into a rectangle to fit my bed. Only problem: a quilt TOP doesn't do much to keep a person warm in February in Syracuse, New York. And with my full schedule, I could see that I would have no time to quilt it.

Sure, I could have employed one of many very qualified long-arm quilters I know to finish it up. But I decided to go a slightly different route. 

scrappy log cabin quilt top

Meet the Snowbelt Quilters. A group of 9-12 quilters (the numbers have fluctuated a bit over the years) in Oswego, New York, just north of Syracuse who get together every Tuesday to quilt. Hand quilt. Nancy, the group 'instigator' came on the cruise to Alaska last summer with me and mentioned the group's on-going interest to take on quilts to finish. I turned over my log cabin quilt to her back in September.

On this particular snowy day, the ladies had two quilt frames up and running. Mine was in the front room, and this double wedding ring was set up in the dining room. How nice to have a choice of projects to work on (or chat over!)

quilting bee

Barb doesn't use a thimble!

quilting bee

In an instant, the quilt frame is pulled aside, and the dining table is set up with lunch. I'm told I was particularly lucky on the day I visited. You see, the group migrates from one home to the next as each member takes a turn at hostessing. Lunch is typically a brown-bag affair unless hostess responsibilities fall to either of two of the group's members. Zosia, one of the two (Mary Jane is the other), enjoys cooking lunch! Corn chowder, fresh chicken salad, quesadillas were on the menu on the day I visited. In the summer time, the group meets in the evening and coffee and dessert are always offered by the hostess. You get the impression that the meeting is as much about socializing as it is about the quilting! (My kinda gals!)

These ladies range in age from 65 to 85 years old. But don't let that give you any thought that they are anything but high-energy and fun! They started quilting together each week in 1973--over 40 years ago. Stop and take that in for a moment!

From left to right Mary Jane (the sous chef on the day I visited), Joyce, Nancy (the ring-leader), Barb, Elaine (the chatterbox--everyone agreed that when Elaine can't attend the meetings, there isn't nearly as much conversation happening), Ann, and Zosia (the chef and hostess for the day). Two other ladies are not pictured but had their hand in working on my quilt: Elaine and Helen--I'm sorry I missed you!

quilting bee

Any quilter knows that making a quilt is a supremely unique undertaking. When you use that quilt, you appreciate all the time, energy and creativity that went into its creation--selecting fabrics, cutting it, sewing it, fixing mistakes(!), quilting, and binding it. Each quilt is (or should be) a work of pure joy from start to finish! This special group of ladies have added their skills to my project, making it all the more special to me!

The quilt is almost done, and I can't wait to get the completed quilt so I can add the binding and place it on the bed! This may not be the fastest way to get a quilt quilted, nor the cheapest, but it might just be the most special!

If you belong to a quilting bee like this one, you understand.

Happy Stitching!

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