Pillow Fight…QUTI of my first stipple!

It was time to expand my horizons! Linda entrusted me with the use of the beautiful Eva Bernina.  I wanted to use the last of the special pieces of my dad’s old clothes to make a few early Christmas present pillows.  To complete the pillow top, I wanted to do my first stipple.  For a girl who is often too uptight and worried about doing things the “right way”, this was a great experience. To stipple, you really have to loosen up and let it flow. Linda helped me to use her stipple stencil to chalk out my path, we did a little stipple practice on some scraps and then I was on my way.

So much fun! To be honest, I ended up not following my stenciled path which is obvious to anyone who looks too closely at the pillow but I found my groove after a bit and I love the way it looks.  In the middle of my stipple, I did hit a bit of a snag…ok, a big snag, when I broke the needle on Eva Bernina.  Yikes!  Linda, being the wise, patient teacher that she is, didn’t blink an eye, she changed out the needle in no time flat, and I finished!

I so enjoy quilting because it makes me push myself to learn new techniques every day.  What a great model for our children in the pusuit of being life long learners.  I’m off to create some Christmas gifts now…

Cheers,

Kelly

 

Aunty Linda to the rescue…Thomas the Train birthday quilt

Unfortunately for the last few weeks I have not been able to quilt much, finding myself under the influence of lots of work, family and friends visiting from out of town, and preparing for my son’s birthday party. 

Every day for the two months leading up to his 5th birthday, my son would repeat his wishes just to be sure we were clear on what he wanted.  “I want a new scooter, a bounce house and Boco and Stepney (Thomas the Train engines)”.  Well, as the day approached we were able to find a scooter, got the bounce house rented and delivered to our backyard, and my husband tracked down the train engine named Stepney.  We discovered, however, that Boco the Train, which our son had spotted in one of his classic Thomas movies, had been discontinued.  By the time we found our way to track it down on Amazon, we had missed the deadline.  “Oh well” we thought. It would be a good opportunity to talk to our son about counting our blessings for the gifts we do receive.

The infamous Boco

Little did we know that Aunty Linda had a trick (and her talent for quilting) up her sleeve.  She used the beauty of technology and her inkjet printer to find pictures of Boco the Train and created a wonderful birthday quilt.  I gasped as I watched my son open the gift, genuinely surprised and awed at the perfect gift.  The next morning our son turned to my husband and I and smiled saying, “I got everything I wanted for my birthday!  Im so happy”.

Thanks to Aunty Linda for her thoughtfulness, creativity, and her great stash of materials and cool quilting techniques.

The birthday boy

 

Cheers, Kelly

Handprints to make it extra special!

Hold your horses!

Getting ready to baste!

My mom (Grammy) has also been inspired to get into the QUTI fun.  She decided to make a very special gift for her sister who has been a life long horse lover.  So we went on a fun field trip to the fabric store unsure if we’d find enough fabrics that would work together (the pattern we selected called for 1 yard of 8 different fabrics).  Our heads were soon spinning with too many choices!  I had my first expereince of realizing how one can get “lost” in a fabric store for hours. We found beautiful fabrics and even one that had horses galloping on it. Being the very linear thinking ladies that we are, we really pushed ourselves to think outside of the box a bit and mix up our choices.  The combination of our fabrics looks fantastic!

We certainly learned a lot of valuable lessons while tackling what turned out to be a big quilt.  As we’ve heard experienced quilters say, there’s always a mistake in each quilt but that’s what makes it so special.  Well, let me tell you, if that’s the case, this is a really special quilt!  In all seriousness, the quilt turned out great.

Learning how to join two pieces of batting.

Linda was a great coach every step of the way.  She taught us how to combine two pieces of batting, how to add fun embellishments, and ways to organize our project once we’d finished cutting.  One evening, while quilting together at Grammy’s house and enjoying a little white wine, we found ourselves in a mini dispute over the definition of columns vs. rows, but it resulted in us cracking up and asking, “Are we talking about the same thing?”

We’ve got a few last touches to add, but we can see the finish line and we aren’t even going to wait until Christmas to mail it.  We’ll be sending it to my aunt in a few short weeks, and I have a feeling that she will treasure it.

Cheers, Kelly

My favorite model trying out the quilt!

Great horse fabric!

 

A great present…QUTI of Poopsie memories

 

My dad (aka Poopsie) was witty, silly, loyal, hard working and a dedicated family man. He battled colon cancer valiantly but unfortunately he passed away in October 2003. We shared many of his treasures and clothes with family and still get a chuckle now when we see a relative wearing one of his shirts around.

As my younger brother’s 21st birthday was approaching last month I thought about what I could possibly give him, aside from the traditional celebratory 21 year old beverage of course. That’s when the inspiration hit me. We had saved some of my dad’s clothes and stored them in a closet. My mom and I got out the bag and had a great walk down memory lane as we pulled out each piece. There were the various Tshirts he’d gathered over the years from his favorite spots on Maui where he spent most of his summers growing up. There were the aloha shirts that had been his work uniform for many years as a car sales finance manager. It was the two pairs of pants we found at the bottom of the bag that were the most priceless.

My dad was always a jokester and he saw an ad in a magazine years ago for seersucker pants which he thought he could single handedly bring back into fashion. So partly as a joke and partly out of a serious love of seersucker material, he placed the order and they became quite a conversation piece.

We had a beautiful collection of dad’s clothes and although there was a brief moment of pause and reflection before I made the first cut, we felt such great energy and joy as we repurposed dad’s clothes to make my brother a memory quilt!

Black material provided the perfect masculine border and due to my procrastination, I ended up putting in a marathon 10 hour sewing day to get it done in time.  I finished it off by adding a personal message with my fabric markers and my brother was genuinely touched by what turned out to be the perfect gift.

And we actually ended up with extra squares of dad’s clothes, so now we’re planning to make other fun gifts for Christmas.

Cheers, Kelly

 

Celebrating our first month of QUTI!

Here’s to a great first month of this fun, wild, creative, expressive ride we call QUTI.org!  At our inaugural QUTI board meeting held this past week (ok, it was just Linda and I chatting at our dining table, with input from Grammy who skillfully managed making dinner and watching over Sean while we “worked”), we took time to celebrate the exciting sense of community that has been created through this venture.  We also are inspired to plan for new and exciting QUTI opportunities.

As we look ahead with anticipation, we aren’t entirely sure where the road will lead.  But isn’t that why the journey is great?  We hope that you all will continue to share your QUTI stories with us, and we promise to do the same for you.

Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Free gifts!  Be sure to become a QUTI subscriber by entering your email address on the right side of our home page.  We will need your snail mail as well so that we can treat you to some fun QUTI goodies.  Must subscribe by September 7th to receive our first free gift.
  • Look for more quirky and crafty blog posts on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from the girls at QUTI.
  • And coming soon…QUTI merchandise!

Please take a moment to read our inspiration page.  This month we remember Kelly’s Aunty Jan; a quilter, runner, volunteer, and beloved wife, daughter, sister, aunty and friend! Quilting provides a beautiful opportunity to find one’s sense of creativity, perspective, and inspiration.  Thanks for being a part of our inspiration.

Cheers! Kelly

My first machine…shopping under the influence of too many choices!

After a few weeks of having quilting lessons at Linda’s house, it was time that I took the leap and purchase a machine of my own.  This was it!  I was really going to “do” this quilting thing.

I was excited, and so was my mom (aka Grammy) who is also my neighbor and was looking forward to sharing this investment with me.  Grammy used to sew once upon a time, but somehow forgot to teach me!  Her old workhorse of a Singer had been a good machine, but sadly when loaned to a friend years ago, it was never to be seen again.

So off we went to the local sewing machine store to shop.  Linda said that rather than just look online, I needed to “touch” some real machines to get a sense of what I liked.  What I liked?  At this point, I didn’t even know what I liked!  Do I want a heavy machine?  Brand specific?  A certain size? Alas, the trip was worthwhile as the well informed salesman actually let us sew some stiches on a few different machines.

I found one that met all my criteria, and was whipping out my credit card, when our shopping savvy friend gave me the signal to slow down.  She was already ahead of me and had looked up the model of the machine I liked online.  Of course, they were cheaper online, but I was conflicted.  Earlier that day, knowing that we’d be going to the store, I had secretly pictured myself at home later that night sewing on a sparkly new machine.  Hmmm, patience is a virtue?

So we walked out of the store, machineless, and I spent the next few hours at home tracking down the model of the machine.  I also had to try to beat the system in terms of finding a way to get around the ridiculously high shipping charges often tacked on to items being mailed to Hawaii.  I was lucky and through Amazon found a retail store on the mainland that would send it free shipping. Woo hoo!

So I waited, and waited, excited to get home each day to see if it had been delivered.  Once the “approximate shipping date” came and went, I kept my cool and gave it two more days.  By day three of “Seriously, where’s my machine?” I shot off an email to the retailer, and lo and behold (maybe by my putting it out into the universe), my machine arrived that afternoon.

Isn't she beautiful?

The Singer Confidence 7467. I do love her and promptly named her Singeria (recipe for the machine inspired cocktail to follow in a future post).  The only slight disappointment is that it did not include a walking foot like the one at the store had as part of the accessories package.  But, all in all, no complaints.  Lots of options for fun stitches, it’s sturdy, sews straight, and as Grammy marvels, “Sewing machines are so much more user friendly now!”

 

 

 

So, in the spirit of helping other fellow newbies with some direction and inspiration, tell us:

  • What machine (or in Linda’s case, machines) do you have?
  • Did you name your machine or are we just quirky?
  • What tips would you provide other newbies?
  • If you could buy any machine, what would it be?  Dream big!

Cheers, Kelly

Snuggling with The Camp Quilt under the influence of CNN’s hurricane coverage

I’m not quilting this morning.  I’m snuggling with a quilt while under the influence of CNN’s coverage of the hurricane. Usually, in Hawaii, we are the ones facing the hurricane, but somehow it’s even more nerve-wracking watching and worrying for those so far away.

As I sit here in my pajamas watching coverage of Hurricane Irene, I find myself praying for the East Coast as I snuggle a little closer to one of my favorite quilts. Linda made my mom a tremendous gift earlier this year. We call it The Camp Quilt.

My mom is an angel who dedicates her free time to volunteer for various organizations that help people in critical health. Through her work she’s volunteered at an annual camp. Each volunteer get a t shirt and when I mentioned this to Linda I think I actually saw a light bulb go off over her head.

“Aha! I’ve been wanting to learn this new t shirt quilt technique. I want to make something special for your mom!”

So in true ‘life long learner Linda’ style, she signed up for a quilting class, and in no time she had completed an amazing memory quilt. When my mom showed the quilt to her fellow volunteers, they made it even more special by signing their names and words of appreciation to the quilt with fabric markers. Now all of the volunteers want a quilt, too!

Linda’s enthusiasm reminds me that quilting allows us to try new things each time we create something.  For me, a girl who likes consistency and routine, I love that quilting helps me to experiment and break out of my box.  It’s exhilarating!

Here’s to great memory quilts, trying new things, and to wishing all of those on the East Coast well today and in the days to come.

Cheers, Kelly

Friday night coaster

I realized that I was officially hooked on quilting when I got home one Friday evening after a very long week of work and I felt a craving to turn on my machine and do some sort of quilting to help me wind down.

For a moment I thought about just randomly sewing fun stitches onto scraps of fabric, but it seemed a bit wasteful and unsatisfying.

So I got an evening cocktail pondering what to create to relax myself and immerse myself into the soothing quilting zone. While my husband cooked dinner (his fantastic cooking is one of his many talents) and my son was busy reenacting a Thomas the Train story, I decided to make one of the most simple, relaxing projects possible. A coaster. Within a half an hour I was able to pour one more glass and now had something to set it on!

Cheers, Kelly at QUTI

PS: Coaster works with a variety of beverages.  This was a quilting under the influence of a latte day.

QUTI of a dislocated toe…again!

“Again?”  That’s what everyone who knows me said when they saw me limping down the hall late last week.  Sure enough, my poor weak pinky toe which has been dislocated so many times that I’ve lost count, has done it again. This time I actually tripped on my own kid who was playing on the living room floor!

Whenever this happens it is truly a sign, albeit a painful one, that I need to slow down a bit.  In this instance, just hours before I dislocated the little pinky, I had been running around like a chicken with my head cut off frantically preparing for an evening event.

So just as I was feeling that I’d been neglecting my Singer (aka Singeria…yes, I named her), I found that quilting was the perfect remedy for my pain.  I got set up with a cup of coffee, turned on some quiet music, propped my foot up and proceeded with sewing the binding strips together to help my mom complete a beautiful quilt she is making for my aunt.  Making the best out of a painful situation.  Quilting is great medicine!

Cheers, Kelly at QUTI

Fabric marker fun; but they should only be used on fabric!

The beautiful quilt that Linda made for my mom out of the annual commemorative t-shirts she has from her many years of volunteer service at a children’s cancer camp was made even more special when campers and fellow volunteers used fabric markers to leave their words of appreciation on the quilt.  Fabric markers are simple to use and add a wonderful personalized quality to a project.

However, might I say that they are so easy to use that they should never be left out in plain view.  A certain four-year- old who truly loves to be a part of our quilting projects got a hold of the markers while I was cooking dinner one night and decided to leave his mark at the sewing table.  Sorry, self healing mat.  I gasped when I first saw the “masterpiece” he had created but once I realized that it wouldn’t hurt my future projects, I couldn’t help but shrug and smile…a definite quilting under the influence of a four-year-old.

Cheers, Kelly