"She seeks wool & flax, And works willingly with her hands" ~ Proverbs 31:13

December 29, 2011

Creative Quilting

More and more I'm coming to truly enjoy Free Motion Quilting.  When I first tried my hand at it with the typical stippling stitch I was filled with dread and a twinge of fear.  What if I messed it up? What if I couldn't make it look okay? What if....? What if...? 

The simple answer,  stop worrying about all the what if's and in the words of Nike, just do it! 

Since that first try, I've been practicing. You know what they say......practice makes perfect.  I'll be the first to say that there's still room for improvement, I'm far from perfect. But, I do love how the quilting on the latest quilt is turning out. 

Hope you've enjoyed the sneak peak of this latest quilt.

The Little Pink Rose

December 27, 2011

Lavendar & Purple Quilt Proposal

From this recent post you may remember my thoughts on a quilt in purple inspired by "Caroline's Chain" featured in Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting. 
Using some of the "Simply Pleasures" fabric by RJR, here's what I'm thinking would work, for my Lavendar & Purple Chain.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this possibility.

The Little Pink Rose

The Next Iron Quilter

Just for the fun of it, I'm entering The Next Iron Quilter sponsored by Missouri Star Quilt Co.  The Special Ingredient was Moda's "Summer Breeze" Charm pack, purchased from them. When the contest was announced I made my purchase and then stayed too busy to even begin working on my submission.

With Christmas all wrapped up I've had a few days to pull it together. Thankfully I had already found my inspiration pattern "Trellis Effect" in the Sew Scrappy Quilt magazine from Better Homes and Gardens. I love the colors {all my favorites in one quilt} in the featured piece so much I may have to make this pattern again, in those same original colors.

The inspiration pattern
Charm packs sorted into color piles

To the Charm pack I added Kona white, a marbled sky blue and a yellow butterfly print {not pictured} for the back.

Assembled blocks

 I always marvel at how the fabric is transformed as it goes from simple squares of fabric into patterns and designs that bring out the beauty of the fabric.

Quilt Center
 Love how the small sashing strips in the middle of each block combined with the larger sashing strips that surround each block really do make it look like a trellis.

I'm thinking that butterflies along with some loops or curlicues quilted all over it would make for a nice finishing touch.  Now I'm off to add some borders and do the quilting,  with just 4 days until the deadline for submissions, I better hurry.

The Little Pink Rose

December 25, 2011

Quilt Possibility

While keeping my eyes open for a quilt pattern that would be perfect for a certain special order, I stumbled upon this beauty. Finishes to 91" x 111". This particular pattern was featured in the current January/February 2012 issue of Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting 

Caroline's Chain
How do you think this would look using some of these fabrics?
Purple has been requested for the main color.
This fabric is from the Simple Pleasures collection by Debbie Beaves for RJR Fabrics.
I would love to hear your thoughts. 
Little Pink Rose

December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas

One last Christmas project has been finished, just in time. He'll make an adorable addition to any Christmas decor.

There are some other projects {for myself} that I was hoping to have finished for Christmas, but at this point we're going to be thrilled about what is finished and set a new goal of having them finished for next Christmas.

I pray you all have a Very Merry Christmas!
Marcia ~ Little Pink Rose

December 21, 2011

Little Pink Roses

Have you ever experienced those times when you find just the right gift to bless someone you love and once you've gotten everything prepared it's almost impossible to wait for the right time to give the gift.

I was the recipient of just such a gift from my sweet husband.

Last night he suddenly remembered something and started digging through his bag, obviously in search of something...almost as though he'd lost or forgotten something of importance.

With excited satisfaction I hear him exclaim, "A ha!" while pulling something out of his bag.

By now I'm watching him with some interest, wondering if he's okay and inquire about his state.

He smiles for a quick moment and then launches into an excited explanation and inquiry, "It's your stocking stuffer! Do you want it now or do you want to wait until Christmas?"

Considering his excitement I reply, "I can wait until Christmas, but if you want to give it to me now, you can."

Jumping out of his seat, "Good!" " I don't want to wait!!"

Grabbing a decorative Christmas tin, he quickly drops it in to "wrap" it up and presents it to me with great pleasure and excitement.

I was quite intrigued. Wondering what in the world could have him so excited.

Opening the tin I find the most exquisitely, beautiful bracelet, adorned with the tiniest little pink roses I have ever seen.

Upon his request the jewelry designer created this special bracelet with "Little Pink Roses" just for me and in honor of all that "Little Pink Rose" means in my life. 

It will always be a reminder of my Granny and her beloved nickname for me. Upon arrival to her home I would often hear, "Ahhhh, there's my little pink rose."   Makes my heart melt just thinking about her deep love for me.  It was in honor of her that I named my custom sewing & alterations business, Little Pink Rose Quilting and Sewing.  There are days I wish that she was still with us, living life to the fullest and inspiring all those around her.

I am humbled and  greatly blessed to have such a wonderful and thoughtful husband!!  I continually marvel that the Lord chose to bless me with such an amazing man, a man I definitely do not deserve. Thank you Sweetheart, I love you!

Merry Christmas
Marcia ~ The Little Pink Rose

December 20, 2011

My Quilt Epiphany

I was just reading an article in the latest Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting magazine asking when your quilt epiphany was. They went on to describe a quilt epiphany as being the moment when you saw a quilt and thought, "I can do that" or "I want to do that."

But, before I can share my epiphany with you I must share where I started. As you know I've been sewing since at least 12 years of age and probably started before that while playing with mom's scraps. Right around 12 or 13 I told my mom I wanted to make a quilt. I picked out a pattern I wanted to make, full of diamonds and lots of pieces. 

My mom tried her best to talk me out of doing this pattern and starting with something much simpler. But, I wouldn't hear any of it. I was so full of myself I was sure I could do it. How hard could it be?  

Amazingly, my mom actually took me shopping for all the fabric I needed. What a sacrifice, we weren't rich by any means, but to spend all that money on fabric for a quilt she knew would be too hard for me, astonishes me.

How I ever learned anything is hard to tell, mom tried to explain to me that the templates I needed to make, needed to be out of plastic so I could cut the fabric accurately. And once again, I refused to listen to her words of wisdom. I grabbed some paper sacks, traced several of each shape onto the sack and cut them out. Then pinning them onto the fabric {just like I would have done for a dress pattern} I set to work, cutting out hundreds of pieces. 

Now, this system would have worked if I had been precise in both tracing and cutting.  What 12 year old do you know who pays close enough to details to be as precise as would be needed for this? Needless to say, I had a huge mess on my hands and didn't even know it.

I pieced several pieces together,  and quickly found myself in quite the pickle. Things were not fitting together like they should have been.  I laid it aside in frustration and avoided it for quite some time. Several times I came back to it and would try again, but every time I'd give up in frustration once again.

This whole experience left me with a very bad taste for quilts. I had no desire to ever work on a quilt.

Fast Forward ten years and as a business owner a customer brought me hundreds of pieces in a box with a couple of blocks started. She called it a monkey quilt and asked if I would finish it for her.  My first problem was that there were no directions. I didn't have a clue where to begin. Secondly and most influential for me, I hated piecing quilts. My answer was an almost immediate no.

My customer wasn't one bit impressed. The name of my custom sewing business at the time was, "Stitches Unlimited by Marcia Ann".  To her this meant that there was no limit to my sewing ability and no limit to what I would be willing to sew.  For me it was a cute name that meant I had varied sewing abilities, but always reserved the right to refuse a job, especially those I didn't feel able to finish well.

Fast Forward again to 2010. I have a friend who, after many years got back into quilting and as I listened to her talk about quilting and all that she was learning, my "distaste" for quilting began to melt away. For Christmas 2010 I pieced two small projects {a pillow and an apron} and the desire to do a real quilt was ignited. Then in February 2011 my quilting friend, provided me with the perfect excuse to make an actual quilt. She and her pastor husband were moving to a new church in a different state.  Immediately I knew I wanted to make a memory quilt for her.  It would be a quilt that all the church members would be able to sign and write messages to them. I'd present it at our going away luncheon, which was only 3 weeks away. 

The inspiration for doing this type of quilt, with the messages and signatures, came from a quilt that this same dear friend had recently rescued from an antique store. She felt lead by the Lord to purchase this quilt, that had obviously been a labor of love for a pastor and his wife. After getting it home, she began to research, starting with the little amount of information on the quilt {I think it was a church name and location}. In a "Chase the Wild Goose" aka following the Holy Spirit turn of events she found the quilt, actually met the original recipient, though she had never received it and returned the quilt to where it belonged.

The rescued quilt

The date helped in her search for the rightful owner

With this little bit of information the search began.
As soon as my friend and her husband let us know that they were moving, I knew I was going to make the same type of quilt for her.  This time I had the wisdom to hear my mom's voice, echoing in my ears, from so many years ago. "Pick a pattern that's simple and can be done fairly quickly."

"Beginner-Friendly Quilts" from Leisure Arts Publication, provided the exact pattern I needed. Not so ironically it was a "friendship album quilt". The description said that it was intended to be signed. I always sit in awe of how the Lord brings such things together. 

After many, many late nights and some sneaking around to get church members to sign the fabric pieces, the quilt came together beautifully. It truly was a labor of love, for a very dear friend. A labor of love that I was honored and thrilled to be able to give to a very dear and beloved friend and mentor. 

The Quilt:

The light squares on these blocks is what was originally meant to be signed by friends. But, I wanted them to have enough space to write a message if they wanted, so I used the sashing strips for the signatures and messages.
The blocks ready to be laid out.

The finished quilt ~ fits a queen size bed

Not too bad for a first quilt

Inkjet printed picture of the old church building.

Inkjet picture of the new meeting facility ~ a high school in the area
The sashing strips provided lots of room for messages

 TIP: If you decide to do this type of signature/ memory quilt, make sure to tell every person signing to stay 1/2" off the edge. This allows for a 1/4" seam allowance and room for stitching. To stabilize the fabric for writing on, I ironed freezer paper to the back of the fabric and asked the people to sign directly on the right side of the fabric. After all the signatures/messages were finished, it's simply a matter of pulling the freezer paper off the fabric before stitching all the pieces into the quilt. Be sure you use a permanent pen that will not bleed on fabric.

My favorite block ~ Love the colors

In the end my quilt epiphany was more of a journey than it was a single inspiring quilt or a single moment in time.  Since this first quilt, I've fallen in love with both piecing and quilting quilts and again I'm in awe of how the Lord has worked in my life and heart. I love the fabric, I love how all the fabrics come together to make something more beautiful than each fabric could ever be own its own.  Seems to me that it's kind of like our lives, individually our lives can be something beautiful. But, when we allow Christ to be Lord of our life and become a part of His Church; our life becomes something more beautiful and more amazing than it ever could have been without Him.  

 Wishing you a Merry CHRISTmas!
Marcia ~ The Little Pink Rose

December 19, 2011

Sewing Studio Redo

After a fabulous Sunday morning spent with our church family, I had an extremely productive afternoon. I've been wanting to do some reorganizing in my sewing room/studio to make it a more usable and efficient. I wanted to paint as well, but had to accept that I just didn't have time for that.  Unfortunately I didn't think to take before pictures, until I was finished cleaning, purging and rearranging. 
Cutting & Sewing Area
 I Love this table. It was my Great-Aunt Ella's kitchen table and it makes the best sewing table. Since it's metal I can pin directly on the table and not have to worry about putting pin gouges in it.  It also makes a great sewing table for my machine, giving me lots of area to support quilts & dresses while sewing and quilting. 
An Entire bookcase "aka fabric-case" of fabric and pressing area.
 To the left of the "Fabric-case" is the most amazing thread rack I've ever seen. I don't know who actually made it. I received it as a gift from a friend I worked for as a seamstress. The pegs are removable and each shelf tilts forward, making for easy accessibility. There's a handle on top, making it portable and it's wide enough it can be free-standing or it be hung with brackets on the back. Wish so much I knew someone who could make me another one just like it!

Second sewing area with the Serger and Back-up Machine.
A second bookcase fit perfectly on the other side of the window and makes a great place for notions, supplies and pattern storage.

Computer/Office area
 Took the old bulletin board and wrapped it in "Make Do and Mend" fabric by Michele D'Amore. Love this fabric! It was so easy to cover. First I popped off the hangers, then laid the old bulletin board on the fabric as a pattern. Cut the fabric big enough to reach around the edges to the back. Pinned the fabric on the front to keep it straight, flipped it over, pulled it taught and stapled it to the back. Reattached the hangers and hung it up.

Just above the doors inside the sewing studio, I put a very special drawing that my dear friend, Becky created in memory of my little Matthew, who left us much too early in life.

The new set-up is great! Much less frustration and a whole lot of fun to sew in now.  Now I just need to get an area rug, make some curtains and a new ironing board cover and I'll be sewing away in bliss.  I'd be in heaven if I could just find some time to put some paint on the walls. I'm thinking something in a light sage green would be nice. 

Well, it's time to get back to the machine....today I'm finishing up curtains for the church.

Merry Christmas and Happy Sewing,
Marcia ~ The Little Pink Rose
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