Challenge Yourself!

Have you seen my phone?  Do you know where I last put it?  I swear that phone has feet and walks away all on its own!  If you should find it at your house, would you please let me know?  It has a Kate Spade cover with black and white stripes.  I think I look for that phone at least 10 times every day.  Wait… you too?!?

It is said that as you get older, it gets harder and harder to remember things.  Boy, isn’t that the truth!  My Dear husband watches Jeopardy almost every single night.  I sit beside him as he answers almost every question, and I am baffled at the memory this man has.  How does one do that?  They also say that it is important to keep your brain active and try new things.   Hmmm… I enjoy reading, and I try as best I can to challenge myself to read more.  Hubby also does a large number of crossword puzzles.  I’ve never been good at them. I am trying to teach myself how to use WordPress better.  WordPress is a software program for blogging.  I find it pretty difficult, so every day I’m attempting to learn something new about it.  It’s a real challenge!

Quite often I hear from other quilters who want a pattern for a quilt design.  I don’t think I have ever purchased a quilt pattern.  Normally, if there is a design that I like, I whip out some graph paper and attempt to create a “similar” design, but I really prefer to design something unique on my own… a one-of-a-kind design.

I enjoy reading, and now that I have officially retired, I’m pushing myself to sit down with a book much more frequently than I have in a long time.  I’m currently reading Mirror Image by Danielle Steel.

What do you do to challenge yourself?  Share it with us!  Maybe we can help each other!

Mirror Image.jpg

Online Quilting Group Tips

If you have joined an online quilting group using Facebook, you may have wondered why your group has rules and guidelines.  Creating and running any kind of online group is time consuming.  The more people that join a group means that the individuals who monitor and oversee the group have more work to do.

WORK?!?!?  Oh yes, there is work!  Here is an example:

The first group I ever started was called CELEBRATE HAND QUILTING.  The group is still going strong! I started writing this blog post this morning, I checked the group to see how many members are in it.  Here is what it shows:

17,240 Members.  Oh my goodness!  

Everytime a new member asks to join the group, someone (an administrator)  has to check and verify that the new person either is already a quilter, has friends who are quilters, expresses a strong interest in becoming a quilter, and more (depending on which group it is.  Checking all of this information takes time, and some of our administrators have families and/or work to deal with.

Many groups have fun activities.  For example:  Celebrate Hand Quilting has a weekly theme which is coordinated by Janet, one of our Admins.  Each week, Janet comes up with a fantastic theme and posts the information for that theme online.  One of our most recent themes was “SCRAP QUILTS.”  So all of the members of the group got busy and looked to see if they have a scrap quilt that they have made previously OR they may contact any quilt guild members they know who has made a scrappy quilt.  They may also decide that they want to make a scrap quilt of their own, so the weekly theme prompts them to begin their own NEW scrap quilt!

What if a new “Member Wanna Be” asks to join the group BUT they have never quilted before, don’t know anybody who has hand quilted, don’t own a quilt, etc.  Are they kicked out?  That all depends on what group it is and what the guidelines of the group are.  Most of the time we allow new members into the group but keep tabs on them for awhile.  If the person shows great interest and starts asking some fantastic questions that new quilters would want to know, then they would probably soon be admitted into the group.

SADLY, though, sometimes we get new members who want to be in a group, but all they want to do is argue about the rules, complain about a person in the group or about a theme, etc.  One or more of the Administrators would more than likely review that person’s request and comments, and then decide that the group does not need a “Grumpy Gloria” or a “Crabby Craig” taking all the fun away.  Thus, they would probably be removed from the group. Removing anyone from the group is never fun, and we don’t enjoy doing that.  However, for the sake of ALL the members, it is sometimes necessary.

Before you decide to join a group, PLEASE always take a few minutes to review the group guidelines.  Read them carefully!  If you have questions, contact one of the Admins and feel free to ask!  We hope you make lots of new friends and learn a lot of new things!

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Caron prepares to hand quilt a new scrappy quilt!

Quilting Resources and Online Groups

It is amazing how many quilting resources and groups are available online! If you are fairly new to quilting or you are looking for online assistance, the following information might be of help:

* Celebrate Hand Applique:  This Facebook group was designed and founded by Caron Mosey. The group is all about doing HAND applique. If you love to do applique by hand or want to learn how, please ask to join this group and then share! Please do not request to join this group simply to promote products or long arm quilting services. The emphasis is NOT to promote quilt shops.

*Celebrate HAND Quilting:  This Facebook group was designed and founded by Caron Mosey. The group is all about doing HAND quilting. Yes, that means doing all those little stitches by hand, one stitch at a time, NOT by machine!

*Quilters Classifieds designed and founded by Barbara M. Burnham. Currently at 47K members · 10+ posts a day This is a Buy and Sell Group ·

RULE: 1.) This is a place for quilters to market/sale items that pertain to quilting, such as (Fabric, Thread, Quilts, Sewing Machines, Long Arms, etc.) No craft items please. 🙂 You may have up to 5 posts, and each post can have up to 10 items for sale it in. Please remember to delete your post when the items have sold.

You may “Bump” your post once a day. Only the items you are selling can be in the photos ~ No warehouse type photos, or huge amounts of fabric, just the 10 items that are for sale. PLEASE remember to delete you post once it has sold.

Also, posts that have been inactive for a few weeks may be deleted by admin. Albums are not allowed in this group.

Please use the “Sell Something Tab” when creating your posts. This will make it easier for buyers to find your post.

RULE:  2.) Please include the description of the item, including price and shipping cost or type of shipping used.

PLEASE indicate if the fabric has been exposed to cigarette smoke, animals or perfume.

RULE: 3.) Rude or unkind people will be removed from our group. https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraMBurnham

Beginner LongArm Quilters: PLEASE NOTE WE CHECK EVERY REQUEST TO JOIN.  You must answer ALL 3 questions to be considered. We are a LONGARM group, NOT for Domestic machines.

  • You will be admitted based on what we can see from your profile: your quilting interests and groups and answered questions.
  • If you are the FOUNDER of an online quilting group (that means that YOU started the group) and you would like to have your group included on this list, please contact caronmosey@gmail.com  with your information, including the following:
  • THE NAME OF YOUR ONLINE QUILTING GROUP
  • THE LINK TO YOUR ONLINE QUILTING GROUP
  • THE PURPOSE OF YOUR GROUP
  • ANY RESTRICTIONS NEW MEMBERS SHOULD KNOW
  • ADDITIONAL INFORMATION YOU MIGHT FIND HELPFUL FOR NEW MEMBERS
  • eQuilter.com  Caron has used this online source for many years.  Please give them a try!  You won’t be disappointed!

If you have an online resource that you love to use and want to share with others, please send THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION TO caronmosey@gmail.com  WITH THE FOLLOWING:

  • NAME OF THE ONLINE RESOURCE
  • THE LINK TO YOUR ONLINE RESOURCE
  • ANYTHING SPECIAL ABOUT THE RESOURCE THAT YOU THINK OTHER QUILTERS MIGHT LIKE TO KNOW

 

How do you Kick your Quilting Drive into High Gear?

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I know we all go through those times where we just can’t figure out what it is that we want to do… Do I pick up a book and read?  Do I take a walk?  Knit?  Sew? watch TV? Normally, I con’t have a problem with this, but I’m finding myself at home and wondering what to do with myself.  I have a quilt to work on, however it just stares at me, and I stare right back at it.  I have two furry kids who could always get more attention, I have television shows I could watch (but find boring), and I could visit a fabric shop nearby, but the only one close is JoAnn Fabrics.  I’m sitting here twiddling my thumbs.  Help me (and others) with some suggestions for getting our mo-joe going, please!

 

 

A Treasure Worth Keeping: A Stitcher’s sad discovery

If you are a quilter or a seamstress of any kind, you have probably been told that you should ALWAYS sign and date your work for future generations.  I have done pretty well keeping up with that tradition on any quilts or other fabric work that I have completed.  But sadly, not everyone in my family (my ancestors) did so.

Mom.jpgMy mother passed away in 2007.  She was raised in The Episcopal  Childrens’ Home in Pittsburgh., PA.   I always knew her to be a talented seamstress.  She sewed my clothes when I was young, and even made my prom dress.  Mom had a best friend, Alma, and they were buddies all through school.  I am the owner of a quilt that she made for Alma’s daughter after she was born.  Unfortunately, she did not sign the quilt at the time, so I don’t know what year it was made.  Alma lived in Las Vegas, and we lived in Michigan. I only saw her once.  After Alma died, her daughter contacted me and asked for my mailing address.

She wantquilt.disney.jpged to ship the quilt to me so that I would have it.   She said she had “no need for it,” as she was not going to have any children and wouldn’t need a crib quilt.  She didn’t see a reason to keep her baby quilt.  My heart was heavy after hearing that.

Somehow or another, at some point in time, my mom learned how to sew.  I don’t know who taught her, but I DO know that she taught me well.  I have her old Singer Sewing machine in my sewing area, and would never part with it.  My dear husband spent a lot of time cleaning it up so that it sews like a charm.  Mom taught me how to sew a straight line when I was quite young, how to sew buttonholes, and so much more.  Those times togeMom1.jpgther are precious memories.

As I mentioned above, mom passed away in 2007.  My father recently moved from Michigan to Phoenix, Arizona.  He is now going on 96, and is in an assisted living facility.  My brother lives nearby.  We are in the process of preparing for an estate sale at his home.  If you have ever had to do a sale such as this, you know how grueling it is.  Because his home is in Michigan, and we are close by, my husband and I are primarily the ones who are taking care of his property and the preparations for the sale.  In going through an old trunk in his home, I came across something that I found to be very interesting.

This embroidered object, above, which I believe to be a pillow cover, was found in a trunk in their bedroom.  I assume that mom made it, however I have no proof other than it has her name embroidered on it.  I can also see the precision in her machine stitching.  Mom4.jpg

Take a peek at the close-up! I also don’t know when it was made, or for what purpose.  I would LOVE to have that information; alas, I am almost certain I will never know.

Also in the trunk, buried at the bottom, were five sweaters which, over the years, were made by me for my dad.  They were never, ever worn by my father, or by anyone else for that matter.  Each was wrapped in the plastic bag in which I put them many years ago.  They are now sitting on the couch in his home, waiting to be purchased by someone at the Estate Sale.

This is a lengthy post, however it has a purpose.  Please, please, please, when you make something for someone, or even something to keep for yourself, include your name and the date on the item.  If there is a purpose or event that the item is meant for, mention that!  Future generations will want to know who you are, who the item was for, and when it was made.  If you want to add even more information, please do so!  Your work is a treasure… share it with others!

The Future is Now!

It dates back to around 1975 or 76… a strong longing for time to myself; Time to sew, to clear a space in the house in which to keep my sewing machine and ironing board set up permanently. A design wall to hang quilts-in-progress… where I can pin into the wall and not worry about the holes I create. A place where my fabric can relax in a cabinet all folded nicely – or not; arranged by color – or not. An office of my own where I can sit and write… but most of all, time. I read a quote recently that is on my mind now on a regular basis: “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” The quote is attributed to John Lennon, however I have also seen it attributed to other individuals as well. But for me, the thing that puts a smile on my face more than anything is that time is now MINE. I can (mostly) do with it what I want. I am now retired! Those things that I wished for long ago have mostly come true.

I’m sitting in my office with a laptop computer on my desk. My fabric storage cabinet is downstairs, stocked with fabrics of all colors and patterns. They are “sort of” grouped by color, but could all use a good pressing. My design wall has a barn on it… a barn quilt, that is, in an artsy style. It will get finished one of these days.

I’ve been working on a quilt for one of my grandsons, piecing it all by hand. It will also get hand quilted. I made Fischer a quilt just like the one shown below.  Fischer’s favorite color is blue, so I dove into my stash of blue fabrics, all selected randomly and put into place with no precision. His little cousin Carson will get one almost identical for Christmas this year. I know he will also love his quilt  and use it daily.  And both little guys will help me use up my stash of blue fabrics.  YAY!  

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So, my friends, welcome to my future! I’m loving it, looking forward to designing some new quilts for me, for family, and… for whatever. I will be writing more, posting more, and sharing more with you. Feel free to ask what you want. I’ll respond as best I can and try to include as many pictures as possible. Please share your thoughts and your projects as well, and let’s make this future a real blast!

Ask Caron

If you have been reading recent blog posts on caronmosey.com, you know that I was blessed to have had an awesome neighbor (Mary Schafer) who was a talented quilter.  I could ask her question after question about quilting, and she very patiently would answer all my questions with her opinions and provide suggestions to me along the way.  Her years of experience and knowledge were so valuable to me!

Not everyone is so blessed!  But if you have a quilting question and would like a friend to give you a suggestion, please feel free to ask me.  I will email you back privately and give you my response to whatever quilt issue you are dealing with.  In addition, I will be sending out tips and tricks on a regular basis to quilters who have subscribed to the ASK Caron list.  So HOP ON BOARD and let’s get to know each other.  NOTE:  Because I speak English, I am sadly not able to assist those of any other language.

Please sign up by emailing me , and I will email you back with my contact information.  Once you have my info, let’s get to know each other and we can work together to talk about quilting fun and any question you might have that you need assistance with.  Please note that your contact information will NOT be shared with anyone else.  If you have any questions, ASK Caron!

Pre-washing Fabric for Quilting

If you are a quilter, it won’t take you long to find a lot of mixed information on pre-washing fabric to be used in quiltmaking. Every quilter has their own answer to the “Should I pre-wash?” or “Shouldn’t I pre-wash ? dilemma.

As a life-long hand-quilter, I learned long ago that I will not risk damaging expensive fabric by NOT pre-washing.  I have seen what happens when I put a navy blue or red solid cotton fabric into a sink or washing machine with hot water and solid white fabric. It is not pretty, at least I don’t think so.  Thus, I pre-wash everything as soon as it comes home in my shopping bag.  You choose what you want to do.  It’s your decision. Totally.

I have had many quilters ask me the same question:  “But what if you buy a precut fabric pack such as those “5- inch charm squares” or any other size pre-cut fabric pack? How do you pre-wash THOSE?

mesh laundry bag

That is an easy question to answer, and it doesn’t cost much at all.

  • Invest in a couple of mesh laundry bags or a Lingerie Washing Bag set.
  • Open the zipper and insert a handful of fabrics that have the same color value (Example, your bag might have all red fabrics in it.)
  • Fill your kitchen sink with HOT water and DAWN dishwashing detergent.
  • Throw the bag into the hot water. Swish it around for a few minutes, then walk away.
  • Leave the bag in the sink for about 30 minutes, then look at the water.  If it looks like it has  a red or pink hue to it, pull out the bag, squeeze the excess water out of it, and fill the sink up with hot water and Dawn detergent again.
  • Repeat the soaking process until your water no longer has a color showing up in the water.
  • Drain bag and gently squeeze out the water.
  • Then soak the bag and its fabric contents for about 10 minutes in COLD WATER.
  • Rinse, soak, repeat until you no longer see any color.
  • Toss the bag with it contents into your dryer and let the dryer do its thing.  You might need to press your fabric when you are finished, but your fabric will be safe and you will not have red (or any other color) staining on your white fabrics.
  • The end.  Easy Peasy.

Where Were You When I Needed the Basics, Part II

Earlier this year, construction began on my husband’s new woodworking studio.  While my husband (Dean) could have built the building himself, he knew that he wanted a crew of construction workers who were SKILLED in their area.  He hired “All Phase Construction” and was extremely pleased with their work… every bit of it.  The construction team worked as a team, BUT as a team they each had their own special role in the process.  Some of them were experts in putting up the walls, some were talented installing the rafters, some did cement work or framing, etc.  They were taught by specialists to be the best they could be, at whatever their role was.

Dean and I were especially blown away by the electrician.  He came to the site knowing ahead of time that the studs and rafters would all be in place… perfectly.  A great deal of precision was expected of the construction team, and they did not let him down.  “Jim” set to work drilling holes for the wiring, and began feeding the wiring through those holes.  When we showed up at the end of the day, we were blown away by the precision.  All of the holes for the wiring were lined up in perfectly straight lines.  The wiring went through the holes perfectly straight.  And I can’t express enough how precise they were!  I could stand at one corner of the shop and sight down the length of the building and not see any wire bending anywhere.  The level of precision this gentleman showed was just amazing.  “Jim” was an expertly skilled craftsman and we were happy to have him on the team.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, Dean is a woodworker.  He is a fifth-generation woodworker, a skill brought over from England and passed through his mother’s side of the family down to him.  While Dean took woodshop classes in high school, it was his family and his years of experience that taught him the most.  He has built and sold so many pieces of furniture and artwork through the past 40+ years that we have lost count. He has refinished museum-quality pieces and been asked to restore items that have been destroyed by fire and flood.  All of his knowledge took time to learn, practice, and improve upon.  It didn’t happen overnight.  

As with  any craft or skill, learning takes time.  You learn best by studying other craftsmen, watching what they do, asking lots of questions, and trying your best to put what you have learned into everything you do.

When I wrote the post previous to this one, “Where were you when I needed the basics? Part I,” I shared it in a Facebook group I started called “Celebrate Hand Quilting.  Sadly, it caused a typical “argument” among several quilters instead of having a meaningful conversation.  No matter what skill or task you undertake, you ALWAYS do your best when you learn as much as you can about that skill.  Consider a high school student wanting to be a lifeguard.  Do you want that student to learn the most and be the best he can be before watching your sweet grandchild swim in the pool or lake?  You betcha!   What about that fireman/firewoman?  Don’t they need to learn as much as they can before they rescue someone from a burning building?  How about the airline pilot who is responsible for getting you and your family from one side of the country to the other?  I would surely expect that pilot to have proper training and skills to be able to handle that plane from one airport to the other.  I would WANT that pilot to have the knowledge that “Sully” Sullenberger had when he brought down a plane in the Hudson River!  Knowledge and skills… practice and patience… no matter what you do, always try and do your best.  Always!  It’s perfectly alright to ask questions, to ask  the “why” and “how” when you just don’t know.

Quilters, we need to lose the phrase “Quilt Police.”  When someone shows you a different way to stitch something, just say “THANK YOU” and move along.  Think about it later.  You might just be blessed to have someone like Mary Schafer show you a better way.  There will always be know-it-alls  wherever you go.  If you can’t tune them out, then simply smile and say, “Sorry, I need to leave…”

Where were you when I needed the basics?

I often wish that I had a grandmother or aunt who knew how to quilt.  I was a self-taught quilter who first learned a thing or two about sewing on an old Singer featherweight that my mother had.  Mom drew lines on typing paper and showed me how to thread the needle and then follow those same lines with needle and thread.  It took me quite awhile, but eventually I caught on.

I had a friend who was expecting her first baby when I was a freshman in college.  I had very little money to purchase anything for the baby, but my mom DID have scraps of fabric lying around.  Mom was a seamstress who sewed most of my clothes, so most fabrics that I found in our home were plaid wool, lining fabrics, and any shirting fabric that I could get my hands on.  Certainly not quilting fabric, that’s for darn sure!

I managed to find enough scraps lying around to create a pretty pitiful baby quilt.  And yes, it was pitiful.  I didn’t know that a quilt required a layer of batting between the front and the back!  You see, I didn’t have a quilt on my bed, and I didn’t even have a quilt in my house.  But I DID read about quilts in a book at the library, just never noticed that there was something called “batting” that gave it that puffy look.  My first batting was about two inches thick.  (Yes, I’m probably making that up; It was more like 1.5 inches thick.)  I somehow managed to make something that resembled a quilt and presented it to my friend.  Fortunately, she gave me a nice smile and told me how special it was.  Yeah, right.  It was a mess!

A few years later, my husband and my two sons and I moved into a house a few blocks down the road.  Much to my delight, my next door neighbor was a fabulous (and famous) quilter.  Her name was Mary Schafer, and what a blessing she was!  Mary had a habit of popping in on me, sewing supplies in one hand, a basket of fabrics in the other.  She taught me what quilting was all about.  Sometimes we sat on my couch and sewed.  Sometimes we sat on her living room floor and sewed.  Oh, the great conversations we had!  I learned so much about quilting!

Mary taught me the right way to hand piece a quilt, how to sew on a binding, and how to block the quilt when it was completed.  She showed me how to roll up a finished quilt so that it didn’t get creased when I folded it up for storage.  I learned how to tie a proper quilter’s knot, and how to sew a binding with a bias edge.

There is something special about learning the “proper” way to accomplish a task.  The skill is made even more special when you have a loving, talented teacher like Mary.

If Mary were around now, she would be confused by the phrase, “Quilting Police.”  You see , not only did Mary teach me how to quilt properly, but she also taught me a lot about plants.  Mary loved to garden!  And time after time, she would have me over to her yard to look at a special plant.  She taught me how to propagate plants so as to multiply them to replant in another area… usually in my yard!  If you don’t do it correctly, the plants will die.  There IS a right and wrong way with plants, just as there is with quilting.  So was Mary a part of the “plant police?”  Yes and no.

Today, the phrase “Quilting Police” is used more than it should be.  For some reason today’s quilters don’t like to be told how do do something.  I don’t know if it is because they don’t want to be “bossed around,” or whether they just don’t have an older friend or relative or knowledgeable person around to provide guidance.  Rather than bask in the friendship of the joy of quilting, I’m sad to hear about quilters who don’t seem to WANT to learn various techniques.

How do YOU feel about that?