Category Archives: Kindness & Community

Five Years of Needle & Foot

Yep – it was five years ago today I published my first post here on the blog. Seems I blinked a few times and suddenly it is 2019. I have published 512 posts, made hundreds of friends, learned many lessons about quilting, life, and community. It has been incredibly rewarding and even though blogging isn’t the popular force it once was, I am still here.

The blog has grown into a really satisfying business for me as well as a creative outlet. I have enjoyed hosting a number of community service projects such as my Share the Love campaign where we all sewed doll quilts for Amy and A Doll Like Me. Collecting quilts for Mercy Hospital in Sacramento has been and continues to be a heartwarming experience as quilters from all over the country send quilts for families who are dealing with the death of a family member. Mercyful Quilts has been more successful than I could have imagined.

Blogging (for me) is such a great way to keep a journal of my projects, business, community service endeavors and even the silly stories of my family. I enjoy conversing with Needle and Foot readers and hope I provide some entertainment as well. A few days ago I received a note from a reader and she told me this, “Please know that as a caretaker for my husband who is disabled by brain tumor and stroke, you and Sew Preeti Quilts and the Academic Quilter help keep me sane. (I miss Crazy Mom and Finish it up Friday humongously.) Some day I may be able to participate, but for now, please don’t quit.” This reader has no idea how much her note means to me. For many, sewing does much to keep us sane. It is therapeutic and creative, both of which are so important. So dear reader, not to worry, I am not going anywhere.

Five years deserves to be celebrated. This year I have two ideas! First of all, I would like to do another charitable giveaway. In prior years, I have asked readers to comment and tell me about their favorite charity. Using Random Number Generator, I will select a winner and contribute $50 to that reader’s charity. It is really interesting to read about the organizations other people are supporting. So please enter (only once) in the comments and tell all of us about the organization that is meaningful to you. Of course this is open worldwide – enter whether you reside in the US or another country.

Second idea is this – The traditional gift of the fifth anniversary is wooden. As you might know, my husband makes gorgeous wooden items. I will draw a second winner and that person will receive a beautiful wooden point turner. These point turners are perfect for opening the corners on a pillow, tote bag, zip pouch and more. One lucky commenter will be picked to win a handmade point turner.

Both giveaways are picked from the same pool of comments. Winner will be drawn on Friday, June 7th. Good luck to all! Thank you so much for continuing to read and interact with me here at Needle and Foot. Our community is an incredible source of creativity and kindness in this world and I am grateful to be a part of it.

Spring Equals Birthdays & Proms

May has been such a busy month! School is winding down – senior year is coming to a close for Julia. Plus we have celebrated her 18th birthday and she went to her Senior Prom. Crazy to see this girl finishing up high school because it was only a few weeks ago that I felt like such an awful mother as I left her crying on the first day of Kindergarten. Such is life, right?

A few weeks ago, I posted this desperate plea on Instagram and Facebook. Julia’s prom dress didn’t really fit well and she asked if I could fix it. This was the week before prom. Being the confident sewist, I immediately suggested we return it and quickly find another dress. But she #1 – threw away the receipt and tags and #2 – said she loved this dress and wanted to wear it. OK, I promised to do what I could. The main issue was the lining was too snug around her waist. I looked at letting it out and adding some width to the side seams. But I suspected I would end up with something bulky that wouldn’t lay flat. My brilliant daughter, who doesn’t sew, asked if I couldn’t just lift the lining up, folding it right sides together, sewing all the way around, which would make it a little wider at her ribs. Does this make sense to you? It worked like a charm and was super easy. Sort of hard to explain though.

Photo credit to Natalie Webster.

The next issue was the hem. It was really long and she didn’t want to be tripping over it at the dance. I was a bit leary of this task because the outer fabric was a slippery chiffon. But with the help of YouTube, it was not hard at all. The video I watched instructed me to pin it about 1/4″ longer than I wanted it to be. Press it and stitch all the way around. Then trim the excess as close as possible to the seam line. Finally, roll that stitched line to the inside, pin and press and stitch again. I was amazed by how wonky the original hem was. There was no way to straighten it so Julia and I figured if we hadn’t noticed how wavy it was before, no one else would either and I just stitched it – crooked as can be.

Photo credit to Natalie Webster.

Hiding under that pretty dress are black sneakers because my daughter won’t wear much else!

Following the prom, we celebrated Julia’s 18th birthday. Not sure if you remember but last year I made a cake for her 17th birthday and was not entirely successful!

This was one ugly cake!

This year Julia asked for the same yellow cake with strawberry filling and chocolate frosting. I wanted to use a cake mix again but with better results. My trusty internet sources advised adding an extra egg yolk and replacing the required water with milk. I did both of these, though I used almond milk to keep it dairy free for my husband. Also, another site suggested adding a couple of tablespoons of any pudding mix that would match the flavor of the cake. I had an old box of butterscotch pudding that likely expired in 2010 or so. I opened it and added two tablespoons and tossed the rest. Guess what? It worked wonderfully.

Such an improved version!

Julia was happy and we are hoping her wishes come true for this year!

With all of this, plus two different awards nights at school, I haven’t done tons of sewing. One thing I am working on though is quilting a top given to me by a family friend. She actually donated three finished quilts to Mercyful Quilts. Then she sent me four tops she had, asking if I would finish them and donate those as well. I don’t normally do this because it takes a bit of time which I am sorely lacking, but she was so sweet to donate the other quilts and I agreed. I know they all won’t be finished terribly soon but I am working on the first one.

This string quilt was probably made a while back. There are many fabrics that look to be circa 1980’s and it is very pretty. Unfortunately, it doesn’t lie anywhere close to flat. I don’t think these string blocks were pieced with any sort of foundation paper or fabric, making them quite stretchy. I pressed it and starched it before pin basting. While pin basting, I took little tucks all over the place and hand stitched them which really helped. When I get to those bits, I quilt heavily over them so they won’t come apart. I am just using a loopy meander which is quite forgiving when I come to a section that is wavy. After binding and washing this it will, hopefully, crinkle up and be very cozy.

The backing is from the sale section in my shop. It is an Oval Elements piece from Art Gallery Fabric. Fabric for the binding has yet to be selected though. I am just about out of thread (which is silly since I am quilting it with white thread) so I won’t get too much farther on this today. I am counting this as my one project for Hands 2 Help and it should be finished early next week.

The quilts continue to arrive for Mercy Hospital and the Mercyful Quilts drive. The Hands 2 Help event at Confessions of a Fabric Addict has been amazing. I cannot even believe the number of quilts made for all of these deserving organizations . Just so inspiring. Some quilters have made 4 or 5 quilts – some even more than that. I have this stack and another box full ready for pick up. Judging by the emails I have received and blog posts I am reading, there are many more on the way. Thank you to all of you generous quilters!!

I hope everyone has a lovely long weekend. In the US, Monday is Memorial Day which many mark as the beginning of summer. We have had rainy, gloomy weather all week so it sure doesn’t feel summery here!

So Many Mercyful Quilts!

As many of you know, this month is a busy one for quilters participating in Hands2Help 2019 making donation quilts. This wonderful event is sponsored annually by Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict. She coordinates the donations of hundreds of quilts to several organizations. This year Mercyful Quilts is one of the very fortunate recipients of these quilts.

Last month I received a number of gorgeous quilts. Some I shared on Instagram but haven’t shared them on the blog. I want to be sure everyone gets a chance to see the amazing works of art that have been donated to Mercy Hospital. I can’t show all of them because that would make for a very long post. But here are some that have arrived recently. (Just in case you are new to my blog, please read about the Mercyful Quilt drive posts – click here and here to get the general info on this project.)

Just a sampling of the quilts coming in.

It is fun to be the person receiving these quilts. I love seeing everyone’s work – so many fun colors, patterns, pretty fabrics, beautiful quilting. Really, I am so fortunate to be the organizer of this project. It is like Christmas when the UPS truck drives up the driveway!

Each one is so unique and all of them are beautifully made.

Stunning, right?

This quilt was completely hand quilted. I was so surprised! What a treasure.

So many stitches went into this. It is lovely!

Both of the quilts shown above came from the same quilter. I appreciate her choice to make one more traditional with colors that would appeal to a man or woman. The other quilt with the rainbow of modern blocks and the piano key border is striking and very different. When families choose from all of the quilts it is nice to have a selection to select from. I hope they pick one that is somehow representative of the loss they are dealing with. Maybe that will bring an extra level of comfort to the family.

Not all quilts come via the UPS truck. Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting up with a quilter from the Sacramento area. She emailed me to see if I had any plans to be in the area so she could give me the quilts personally. Heck yes! Any excuse to meet another quilter and have a cup of coffee with her.

Karrin blogs over at Karrin’s Crazy World and she donated three pretty quilts. Two are blue and yellow which is a fantastic color combination. The third one is a patriotic quilt which might just suit the family of a veteran. I am so happy to have these three quilts to add to the stack. The photos taken indoors don’t do them justice – the colors are more vibrant than shown.

Karrin and I had a nice long visit – Isn’t it crazy how two quilters who have never met can just sit down and start up a conversation? It comes easily and we really enjoyed ourselves. Karrin, I hope we can meet again to talk fabric, stippling, color preferences, batting and life in general! What a fun trip to Starbucks.

I am grateful for all of the quilts received thus far. I know more are on the way. Please know that once the Hands2Help event ends, the need for Mercyful quilts does not! I am happy to take quilts any time you want to donate one. The palliative care team over at Mercy Hospital is truly appreciative of these beautiful gifts you are making and sending to them. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Owning Our Imperfections

Not sure if you read my previous blog post but I want to remind everyone that on April 1st (next week) I am hosting an event inviting everyone to share their mistakes, goofs, boo-boos and misunderstandings about quilting (or sewing in general)! It is often disconcerting to look at the world of perfection that is usually shared on social media. There are some who generously share their errors along with their gorgeous quilts. But it isn’t often enough. At times, this leads to a feeling of discouragement. Surely I am not the only one who has scrolled Instagram and come away feeling like everyone’s quilts are so much better than mine. Quilting isn’t done to one-up the next person but it is hard to avoid this feeling. Maybe it just depends on my state of mind on any given day but it happens.

Let’s build each other up by taking a view of quilting in real life! Share a mistake you made, chuckle at yourself, explain how it taught you something or maybe how you fixed it. (If you threw it out, explain why you decided to). This will be so much fun!

From our very generous sponsor, Art Gallery Fabric

Plus prizes… who doesn’t like prizes??? We have a very generous gift from Art Gallery Fabric. They have donated a fat quarter bundle of Matchmade, a gorgeous new line of blenders featuring deliciously saturated tones. Designed by Pat Bravo, this bundle has 20 different pieces which means this bundle is a gift of five yards of fabric from AGF to one lucky winner!

More prizes!!!

Look, more prizes! Kirsty at Bonjour Quilts has provided three PDF patterns! Have you seen her work? So many wonderful patterns to choose from! Leanne at Devoted Quilter has given a PDF pattern too! Another talented designer, Leanne has an assortment of striking patterns in her shop. She also has several free ones that are tempting me as I write this! Linda of My Sew-Called Quilts has provided two mini charm packs of Grunge. There isn’t one of us that wouldn’t love these cute bits of Grunge!! (Please note – I am limiting the fat quarter bundle prize to the US only. Shipping is so darn expensive and the size of the bundle makes it prohibitive for me to ship outside of the US. If you have a US address I can ship to, go ahead and let me know that so I can include you!)

As for Needle & Foot, one gift certificate for $30 is also in the mix. This makes six fun prizes – awarded by a random drawing of those who link up! Yay! Event begins on April 1st (very appropriate way to celebrate April Fool’s Day!) and closes Friday, April 5th. Winners drawn and announced on Saturday, April 6th.

OK – think about learning to quilt…. remember all of those mistakes and frustrations. Share your experiences so we can all share a laugh and realize no one, NO ONE, was born with a magical ability to create award winning quilts. We all learned, we all began somewhere. That’s real life quilting.

Guest Posting at Confessions Of a Fabric Addict Today

Good morning! Just popping in to let you know I am guest posting over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict today. I am thrilled to tell you that Mercyful Quilts is one of the recipients of the quilts made for the 2019 Hands2Help event hosted each year by Sarah!!

Each day this week on Sarah’s blog, a representative for the charitable organizations receiving quilts this year is posting about their group or charity. I have a post about Mercyful Quilts on her blog today. I hope you will hop over to read more about the event and if you choose to, it would be great to sign up and participate! Check back each day this week and learn more about the other wonderful groups you might want to make a quilt for.

Thanks to Sarah for hosting this amazing annual event. This is the ninth year of Hands2Help!! Amazing, right? Thus far, over 1,450 quilts have been made and donated to a variety of groups. I have participated a couple of times and it is very rewarding!

Have a great day everyone!

January One Monthly Goal

This year I have decided to participate in the monthly goal setting link up hosted by Patty over at Elm Street Quilts. Each month Patty has a fun link up for quilters to share what they plan to finish during the month.  Doing this should encourage me to actually look at what I want to get done and set some priorities.  So, now that you are just dying to know….. here is the goal for this month!

I completed the Fireburst Mystery QAL top in October.  But with holiday sewing I never got it finished up.  However I am trying to stay on top of things.  So, this one will be finished and bound in January. Of course there are another five billion things I want to finish or make this month but darn it, this one is at the top of the list.

If you are a planner/list maker like me, check out the link up at Elm Street Quilts.  I think today is the last day to link up.  Patty has great sponsors though – so if prizes motivate you, that is another good reason to think about what you need to finish up this month.

 

While we are chatting, I want to let you know (or maybe remind you?) about the quilt drive happening for the victims of the recent Hurricane Florence in North Carolina. I am sure you are aware of the devastation that resulted from this disaster.  As always, quilters from all over are helping families by making quilts for them. Carole, of From My Carolina Home, is the organizer of this drive.  She has been working diligently to collect bed size quilts for families as they rebuild their homes and replace belongings that were destroyed.  Over 4500 quilts are needed but, not to worry – the drive will continue into summer of 2019. Carole is kindly facilitating long armers with quilters who want to donate quilt tops.  As long as they are bed size, she would love to have them.  For more information, read her posts here. She plans to keep updated information available for quilters wanting to help with this drive.

OK – that’s it for today.  Hope all of you have a wonderful week!

Linking to Elm Street Quilts, One Monthly Goal.

Dress A Girl Around the World – Finish

I have a quick, cute, feel-good finish to share today.  I know I am a bit late to the party but I (finally) made a little dress to donate to the Dress a Girl Around the World program. I have read lots of posts over the years about others making these sweet dresses. I am happy to finally have joined in and made one too!

Dress a Girl Around the World is a campaign under the non-profit called Hope 4 Women International. They hope to bring dignity to girls and women throughout the world.  It is such a simple thing – wanting a girl to have a dress to wear.  They are sent to many different third world countries. While this organization has many goals they are trying to fulfill with the program, it is their basic mission to make girls and women of all ages feel worthy that moves me the most. In so many of these countries, females are undervalued or even not valued at all.  While one dress isn’t going to correct the problem, it will bring a smile to the sweet face of a girl who has never had her own dress. Also, many of the people working in these countries and delivering the dresses have said that dressing a girl in a clean dress with the Dress a Girl label attached on the outside, shows this child is being cared for.  Sometimes this is enough to ward of predators (criminals involved in human trafficking.) If these little dresses can have this sort of impact even a couple of times over, that is enough reason for me to make one.

Finished seams are a requirement for making these dresses.

There are lots of guidelines for making these dresses. While they originally began by making the dressed with pillow cases, this is no longer the method.  Quality cotton fabric is longer lasting and this is what they ask be used in the dresses. If you are interested, you can read about this requirement and others here. The biggest thing is coordinating with an ambassador in your area.  There are many available and their contact info can be found here.

This label is sewn to the outside of each dress.

As for me, our local Soroptomist club held a drive to have dresses made by locals who enjoy sewing. I was referred to them and happily made a dress. It was a very simple project and took maybe a couple of hours at most. The little dress looks to be about a size three so for a little one. I hope she loves the fun pink and purple colors and the little heart on the pocket. As you likely already know, I love these sorts of projects – they just have satisfaction and purpose written all over them.

Linking up for the last time with Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.  Sniff, sniff.  I will surely miss reading Amanda Jean’s blog posts and wish her well in her next adventure. Other links ups are found at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Did you happen to read about the series of Quilting Cozy mystery novels in yesterday’s post?  If not, go and take a peek.  You can enter to win the books in a giveaway too!

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Mercyful Quilts

The quilts are arriving and I am overjoyed!!!  I want to share the stack that have accumulated thus far.  They will be picked up by my friend Patty in a few days to bring to Mercy Hospital and I want to journal this event on the blog before the quilts are gone.  So far I have received thirteen quilts!!  Amazing, right?  Patty has been sharing the progress of this quilt drive with her co-workers at the hospital and they are stunned by the generosity of our community.  It is very satisfying to call myself a part of this on-line quilting tribe. I couldn’t ask for a sweeter group of people to inspire me to be a kinder person and better quilter!

Axel’s Quilt, Pieced & Quilted by Preeti Harris

The quilt above was the very first quilt to arrive.  This is Axel’s Quilt from Preeti who blogs at Sew Preeti Quilts and lives in Washington DC.  Thank you Preeti!! Fantastic color, I love the combination of gray and yellow.  This is a gorgeous quilt.

Three beauties, pieced and quilted by Shirley Bruner.

Above you see three gorgeous quilts.  Each one was sent to me by my friend Shirley Bruner from Missouri. Her blog is called The World According to Me and she pieced and quilted each of these.   The blue and green quilt in the middle is flannel backed making it extra cozy.

A few things of note – I love the outlined hummingbirds, they appear to be in flight and did you notice she constructed the flower baskets with selvages? Very creative!! Thank you so much Shirley!

Two colorful quilts, pieced and quilted by Adele, @bayougirlquilts

These two quilts came all the way from Metairie, Louisiana!  Adele D. sent them to me.  I don’t know Adele very well (yet!) but I did peek at her Flickr account, @bayougirlquilts and she is very talented!! There is so much color and lots of fun patterns to be seen on her page!! Both of these color combinations are wonderful.  I love red with aqua and the green with cheddar yellow is so pretty!

Black, White & Brights, Pieced & Quilted by Sophia Day.

This bright, cheerful quilt was made by my friend Sophia.  She used a black, white and brights combination to make this wonky triangle quilt.  I love that she echo quilted some straight lines within each of the triangles.  Sophia and I have been friends for over twenty years and belong to the same guild, of which she is president this year.  Thank you Sophia!!

Jelly Roll Quilt Top, Pieced by Jill M.

Here is a quilt top that arrived from Jill M, a blog reader who splits her year between Canada and Arizona each year.  She was about to leave on a month long trip and wanted to contribute so I told her I would finish the quilt for her.  I will keep you posted on this one.  It is a lovely jelly roll race quilt using stunning fabrics in jewel tones.  I look forward to working on it!  She even made a scrappy binding for it which is wonderful.

Blue Rain, Fletched, and You & Me; designed, pieced and quilted by Yvonne Fuch.

Finally, there are six quilts donated by Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl  This clean, modern style is uniquely her own.  I posted a video yesterday on Facebook taken of me while I unboxed these beauties.  If you missed it, click here!  I was thrilled to see these in person after having read about many of them on her blog.

Pulsing Plus, Layered Diamonds; designed, pieced and quilted by Yvonne Fuch.

One of the quilts above was made by another quilter.  Yvonne won it at a silent auction in support of a fundraiser that happened on Instagram last summer. This is the quilt is on the far right. (If one of Yvonne’s quilts intrigues you, I just want to let you know that the patterns for several of them are available in her shop.)

All of these quilts are spectacular and I know the nurses and patients at Mercy Hospital will be comforted by these gifts. These quilts will be taken to the hospital on Monday.  Thank you so much for all who donated or are in the process of making a Mercyful Quilt.  You are bringing comfort to a family when they need it most. When I talked with my friend Patty she estimated that they use 8 – 10 quilts each month.  At this time, I have about 35 quilts promised for this drive so that means we are fulfilling the need for three to four months.  Amazing!!!  There are a few quilters who have said they would like to contribute more over time which is awesome.

I will share more of the Mercyful Quilts as they arrive.  There is quite a bit of sharing going on over on Instagram.  If you share your donations or your work in process for Mercy, please tag it #mercyfulquilts and tag me @needleandfoot so I can find it!  Thanks everyone!  Have a wonderful day and be sure to find time to enjoy a bit of stitching.

Last but not least, have you entered the giveaway that is happening for the November Blogger Bundle?  If you are in the US, please click here to enter.  For international readers, head on over to Sandra’s blog to enter!

 

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