Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Quilt for Kate

I won this baby quilt in an Instagram auction to benefit little baby Kate and her parents.

Quilt by Quilt Story Meg

I am going to sign the back of the quilt with my name and place of residence and a brief message.
Then I am going to send it along to the next person who would like to sign it. And on it will go.

Because Ryker and Amanda lost little baby Kate.  Less than two brief months is all they got with her.  You can read her story here on a Quilt Story's website, and on Instagram under user @rykerandamanda.   
I won this quilt in an Instagram auction to benefit Kate's parents because they had recently lost her and were experiencing devastating hospital bills. They did not know about the auction. They haven't asked for money from anyone.  The only thing that is holding them together right now is their love for each other and  the love of  family and friends.  
You can share in this mother's grief and send her kind words and thoughts by viewing her instagram profile @rykerandamanda .  It is startling, heartrending, incredibly brave. I honestly do not know how to help her other than to show her that she is not ALONE. That there are others out there who understand, or want to, and who care.
Let's try to get as many signatures, from as many places and people as possible. So that when Amanda wraps herself in this beautiful quilt, she will think of her beautiful baby, and know that we are all there thinking of them, too.

It doesn't have to be fancy. Mine's not. I'm not a fancy kinda gal :)

And so, I am starting a Send Along with this quilt. For Kate. For Ryker and Amanda. For us all.

To enter the Send Along:
  • Leave a comment on this post with your name.  If you are a no-reply blogger, please email me at givbludplayhocky@gmail.com.
  • I will make a list, by country, of folks who would like to sign the quilt.
  • I will send the quilt out to the first recipient. I will send them the next recipient's email. You can then exchange addresses, or even get together over coffee. Wouldn't that be nice?
  • I will add two fat quarters of some luscious fabric that I would not normally give away.
  • Won't you please do the same for the recipient after you? I believe that receiving a thought/gift from another signatee will bring us all together, and also maybe help defray the cost of postage.
  • I will pay postage to the first Non-USA recipient, and the return postage to the USA, through Paypal.
  • I will post where the quilt is, every time it moves.
  • Please take a pic of your message on the quilt, and link it here. If you don't know how to do that, just email it to me, and I will post it for you.
  • I am going to include a notebook so that you can record a message for Ryker and Amanda, or thoughts, if you wish to do so.  

Let's all get together and no something kind for a mother who we do not know, but can surely understand.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I had planned on making myself a quilt in celebration of Bees, Beekeeping and Spring, I thought I would try my hand at expressing what it all means to me. Et voila! Welcome to my quilt, Bee Inspired!
Bee Inspired!

But, since I'm probably only ever going to make one Bee themed quilt top (right??), I wanted it to tell the story of my Bees, Alaska and the shifting of the Sun throughout our Seasons and Joys.

The top left of the quilt features the colors of very early spring here in chilly AK.  Pale yellows of new sprung crocus, dove grey pussy willow fluffs and tender alder branches laden with buds.  Enticing, exciting, inviting. The sun is still at an oblique angle to us. Light softens into day and slowly pours down upon new snow, giving us 15 hour days in which to play. A freshening breeze from sun warmed glaciers lifts still bare branches and reminds us there is still time to play, the snow's not gone yet, and to wait.  Wait for the bees, and spring, to arrive.

Every year I order 15,000 honey bees. They are Russian. They are weeks early. They are Not Amused.  But it will soon be too hot to ship them from Outside, and so they have to wait along with us, for Spring to arrive. They arrive in a five pound box, in a massive shipment with most of the other bees coming into Alaska; most of which will take several other, successively smaller, flights until they arrive in their new homes.  Mine have a 20 minute sing along car ride until they are home. Home where they used to spend a week in my old cast iron footed tub.  One of my Russian neighbors once asked me, "Lori, why a tub?" "Is this necessary?" (to the raising of bees). I replied that no, it's not necessary to the raising of bees, it's just a nice, quiet, draft free place to keep them, and occasionally soak them with sugar water, until it's warm enough outside for them to go into the hive.  And besides, I think a tub full of bees is kinda funny. Don't you??

The upper right quadrant of the quilt represents the Sun and what she brings to us. We begin the year at the Winter Solstice, when we have only 5 hours of sunlight a day. But the Dark brings its own pleasures. Now we can enjoy the Moon in all of her phases. Stare entranced at the Milky Way as it blazes across the evening and night skies. Watch cometary wanderings, the effervescence of meteor showers and the dancing beauty of the Aurora Borealis. None of which we can see during our long summer days. Each has their own season in which to be enjoyed.

The lower left quadrant represents early Summer. The Sun is now shining eighteen or more hours a day, The garden has been planted and has begun to grow, we are harvesting lettuces and turnip tops to munch upon as we work. We started their seeds when the days were mostly dark. Their fresh green shoots did much to brighten us towards the coming days.  
In early summer, the bees are getting most of their pollen and nectar from the 21 types of willow and alder that abound in our area. They supplement heavily with dandelion, whose orangey yellow pollen swathes their legs and burdens them as they fly.  A young bee will frequently stop on my shoulder to take a rest on her way back home. She checks me out to see what I'm doing and then is merrily, busily on her way.  
By now, my queen has been laying eggs steadily, and the pupae have matured into new, lighter yellow and black, fuzzy abdomened girl bees. One of my many delights is in watching them take their first few flights out of the hive.  If you walk too close, they will bang into you and careen off on wild journeys they didn't know were coming. Chortling days, burgeoning days, warbler days! 

The lower right quadrant and the middle and rightmost 'flowers' represent Mid-Summer and August (our advent to Fall).  In Mid-Summer, the Sun never leaves our side. She accompanies all of our triumphs and joys in the garden.  The Bees have been happily buzzing along and have left the lower hive to store honey in the upper frames. Baby bees are hatching again, almost 50,000 now, and have many a task in front of them.  They fly all day, and much of the night on their quest to find nectar.  The Sun warms their way.  Now they have garden flowers of a stunning array from which to choose, and their pollen is all of the golds and yellows of the color wheel. 
 Did you know that bees see the blue of this quilt as yellow? So one of the fun things about this quilt, is that the bees will see the blue flowers, yellow and the yellow sun, blue. For this Sewing Bee quilt is meant to grace our porch swing, warm our morning coffee in the garden, and embrace our late evening chill near the fire pit.  I think she will see countless garden wanderings in search of the first peas to eat, the tenderest spinach leaves, the brushing back of dirt from a turnip top, and the too early munching of strawberries. I am also certain that she and the Bees will be there for many a tea or Mike's hard lemonade and post hike chat with a girlfriend.  Contentment!! Plentitude! Sweeping Swallow Summer!!

And on into August and the first time we have seen the Moon in months.  The days are still long and burdened with Sun. But now we have some Night again, to be enjoyed at 3 am on the way home from the airport to drop off visiting relatives.  Refreshing night allows us to wind down from the frantic pace of summer growing, into visiting and chatting and the beginnings of harvest. Now, we quickly slip a mesh between the lower and upper frames, where the honey is, and leave it for a few days. Soon we will place a solid square of wood in its place and leave the lid ajar so any bees can fly out and walk home down the side of the hive.  We're getting them used to not being there, with the honey, so no one gets injured when we steal it away.  If it's been a rainy summer, I'll leave all of the honey for them, and just make a nighttime raid to steal a frame or two to lick for ourselves.  But if it has been a splendid, a startling, a fabulous summer, then I will take the honey in the upper super, and leave them what they have stored with the babies in their lower super.
 I thank them heartily, dress very carefully, and go as quickly as I can. The bees are pretty fierce about their honey. And I would be too, considering the time and effort it takes to make it.  How many sips of nectar make one sip of honey??? It truly is liquid gold.  

Soon the bees will be wrapped in warm insulation, and I will try to overwinter them in the garage. I don't know how they will take to the snow blower. 
But what's life without a little adventure??!

Every Season has its Joy, and every Joy, its Season.  

What things do you do that can only be done in a certain season? Do you have family memories or events that you think of with a certain season?
XXOO Peace and Joy,

(When I saw the triangle quilt along at The Sassy Quilter, I knew I had to conquer my fear of triangles and dive in there. And so, I did! And I wanted you to conquer your fear, too. So I wrote you a tutorial to get you there. And get you free!!!)
Linking to the wonderful WIP wednesday at Freshly Pieced,  and Really Random thursday at Live a Colorful Life.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Are you suffering from Terrible Triangle Trauma? A quick Tute to help you keep your sanity.

I am so psyched to be part of the Triangle Quilt Along over at The Sassy Quilter! But hey, those triangles can be much harder for beginners to handle than you would think. I was having terrible triangle turbulence, myself. So here are a few hard earned tips to help you Keep Your Points, and your Sanity.

1.  Cut 5 or so extra triangles. Heck, make it 6. Sew these together in groups of 2 in your usual manner. Check to see if you have enough leeway at the top and the bottom of your group to get a seam in there, without cutting off the points, when you sew your groups/row together. If not, Read on!!! All will be well!

See where the yellow meets the stripe?
There is no way that is a 1/4" or more,
I will lose my points, and my mind,
 trying to sew this into rows. Time for a redo.

2.  Adjust your initial triangle sew together so that you do have a larger amount of overlap of your triangles. Move the triangles up, move them down. The more you adjust and practice, the better your result will be.  This will mean that you will need a true 1/4 inch seam or slightly LARGER. I know! The quilt fairies will not come in the night and undo all of your stitches, leaving you to do them again. Make sure that you try this on your extra triangles, so you have your seam allowances decided before you start your quilt. Or if you already have started, never fear, we can fix that. Once you find your good seam allowance, write it down and mark it on your machine! Use a piece of painters tape as a guide. It's super easy to remove and you may already have it laying around. 

Much better! I moved my triangles so
 there was more overlap. Now I have plenty of
Seam allowance below that blue point and above
the yellow one. See it?

3. Now here's the MOST IMPORTANT STEP.  Take a picture of your quilt top as it is laid out on your design wall or floor. This is a must! Be sure you have every row pictured. You will be so glad you did this if you accidentally shuffle your triangles as you are sewing! 

Nope! I left off the bottom three rows
and late at night mom sewing meant
that that got ugly.

4. The second most important step: Sew your triangles, for each row, together in groups of two. Stack them so that the last in the row are at the bottom of your stack, piling up until you have the first two in your row on top of your stack. I had the leftmost triangle on the bottom of the pair and the rightmost one on top.  Then I angle the pair so that the seam I am going to sew is straight up and down. Match and pin, as per the Sassy Quilter's tutorial. Sew. 

Good idea to label rows!!

4A.  IRONING. Here's the rub. I tried three totally different styles of ironing my seams for this quilt. And one was good, one was sort of ok, and one was a disaster! So here it is. I am sorry if I am stomping on your favorite seam ironing technique. This is what worked for me. You have to iron as you go. I don't use steam, as it leads to me stretching my seams and warping them.  But that's my problem, not yours. Row 1, iron your seams TOWARDS the first triangle (the beginning of the row). This is left for most folks. You will need to iron your sets of two triangles with some thought as to which one is towards the left. But because you have a picture of your quilt (you took one, right?), a quick reference will soon set you free.  Take your time and set those babies well. Then,

5.  CHAIN PIECE THE REST. You can go more quickly if you continue to chain piece and here's how to do that without losing your place or your mind: 

Triangle #1, UP, triangle #2, DOWN
*Reference your picture. Notice which triangle is first in line. Is it pointing up, or down? Each row begins differently, and it is important to keep track of your triangle orientation, especially if you have chosen to use directional prints in your triangles and want them to orient in a certain manner (like raindrops raining down and not up or the, dreaded, sideways).  Then begin to stack your piles of 2 sewn together triangles, last first. Stack them so that the leftmost triangle is oriented as it will be in the finished quilt. Trust me, you will be thrilled you did this. When you get to the very last set (they should be the first two triangles in your row), set them to the LEFT of your pile o'triangles. Keep them oriented so that the first in the set is as it will be sewn in the final quilt top. Mine are oriented points UP. See? (Photo above)
* Take the first triangle set from the top of the pile and pin it to the set you left on the left. Here is how that pinning will look:

See the diamond that is formed by the second set
of triangles?? If your first triangle is point UP, your
diamond will be oriented down, like this...

If your first triangle is oriented point Down, your
 diamond will be oriented UP.  See it?
So every other row will have diamonds all up, or down
Then, continue pinning in sets of two until you run out of sets. 

*Here is what pinning when the points match up, looks like. 

See that this is a corner that is nipped off.
That's ok, match the edges of the blunt tip.
*Sew the sets together being sure to maintain as exact a seam allowance as possible. Check after the first set is sewn to be sure you have it wide enough. If not, rip that set out, adjust your set up or down, and sew again. Be sure to check after sewing only one set so you dont have to rip out the whole shebang and hate hate hate triangle quilts for-EVER! 

*Here is how to pin when you have ironed your seams to the side, and you don't have points that match up.

Seams are ironed to the side, and now my
points can't match as one is lopped the
wrong way. Never fear!

Just fold The seam up, match the corners,
Fold the seam back down, ..And Pin!

***If you pinned as in the photos above, you should not need to rip anything out when it comes to sewing your triangle sets together.

6.  Continue on, carefully double checking against your photo as you assemble your rows and piece them together. Enjoy the process. Enjoy how clever you are. Enjoy how stunningly beautiful your work is. 

XXOO! Lori

Ps, to sew the rows together, go back to The Sassy Quilter's website and check out her tutorial. If you have given yourself enough seamage in these steps, you should have gorgeous points a comin'!!! Hooray!! Post your pics!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

SewPsyched! FAL 2 2014

It's time to enter the second quarter of the finish along at The Littlest Thistle. So get your projects together and join others in blogland and win great prizes!! WOOHOO!!

Needs quilting and binding

MSQC Chevron
 needs quilting and binding.
Golly it would be nice to see
 this on the bed this summer!

Bee-Inspired lap quilt
for the Triangle Sew Along
at SassyQuilter. Fun!

Sew Together Bag
for the #Sewtogetherbag
on Instagram

Granny Squares
needs quilting and binding.
A wall hanging, I think :)

Coenelia Designs
Pattern Testing.
Shot cottons!

Baby Quilt for a friend.
 She needs it
BEFORE she starts college :)

I'm way behiiinnd!
Here is my complete list for the FAL2:
  • Bee-Inspired Triangle quilt along quilt; piece top, layer, quilt, bind,
  • Baby Quilt, piece, quilt, bind
  • Bikini Quilt piece, piece, piece
  • UR Sew Loved quilt, piece, quilt, bind
  • Lori Holt Vintage Happy Pillow covers
  • Glow in the Dark nephew quilt, quilt and bind
  • Baby quilt from xmas, bind!!!
  • Granny Square Wall Hanging, quilt and bind
  • Sew Together Bag, cut, piece, bind, use
  • Seascapes chevron quilt, Quilt and bind!!
  • Labyrinth Quilt, quilt and bind!
  • Super secret sister quilt, quilt and bind before next xmas :)
  • Sunday Morning Quilts inspired Pieced scrap boxes
  • Knitted cowl
  • Blue and brown charity quilt, quilt and bind.
Gardening!! ;) Whew!! Join me! Check out what others are doing and be inspired! XXOO!
Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, April 5, 2014

It's a Winner!!!! April Showers Shareaway!!

We have a Winner!!!

April Showers by Bonnie and Camille 



(This giveaway is now closed. Another coming soon!!)
That's right, bloggistas, you're all winners! 
And Why??

Why not?!!!
The way I see it, everyone who wants to share and reaches out to do so, is a winner.

What's next:
  • Please email me with your mailing address, I will ship fat 1/8 bundles to the first share mate of each pair, who commented. 
  • That person needs to choose four of the fat 1/8ths for themselves, and four for their buddy, 
  • Then add a coupla extra fat 1/8ths so your recipient can send along the joy to someone else, and on it goes! :)
  • I will send the bundles out monday afternoon, AK time, so if you are on the East Coast of the USA, expect an additional shipping day before your bundle arrives. We are four hours behind you.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Showers Giveaway! and Patience as a virtue?

Patience is a Virtue?
My mother was a big quipper. I can hear my sister’s exasperated sigh from here. A Quip for every time and every occasion. Upon the three of us having to go to bed early on a Sunday, because Monday was a school day, “Early to bed, early to rise!”  At our chafing to head to the lake while waiting in the grocery line, “Patience is a virtue!” (I don’t know about you, but MY ten year old self silently replied, “what the heck is a virtue and why would I even want one??!”) To the three of us silently grim at the supper table on ‘hamburger casserole’ night because you had to clean your plate before leaving the table, “How can you eat your pudding, if you don’t eat your meat!” Sorry, that was Pink Floyd, to whom my mother bears little to no resemblance.
As a ten year old, I found my mother’s quipping remarkably annoying.  So imagine the smile and thought sent back to her across time and the Continent, when as I have been quilting, and quilting…and quilting (quilting is when you sew all of the layers of a quilt together by sewing all over the entire surface of the quilt) on these projects, I said to myself, “Patience is a Virtue!” and there I was, being virtuous, at last.

Shot cotton and Essex linen pillow

WIPs Bikini quilt as part of
the Bikini Quilt Along HERE, and
Quilt for a loved one who hopefully
will not see this post ;0
So are you happy, now, Mom?
And when I think of Mom, I think about all of the time and planning, and patience and hoping and despairing and love and downright Terminator-like persistence that goes into parenting. And I am grateful. Grateful that as tired as they are, and as hungry, and as worried, and as busy, and overburdened with today’s tasks - that parents continue to persevere against all of the potential tantrums, door slamming, hating and prison sentences, to parent their children towards being loving, caring and giving fellow citizens. You rock, moms and dads!!

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson

 And now I have to go and finish some work, and smile. Because my son just asked me, “Mom, is it ok if I vacuum the stairs?” And he was never even asked.  “Patience is a Virtue!!!” and it pays off, in the end ;)

Thanks for stopping by!!!
What quips and quotes did your parents use???

Dont forget to enter the April Showers Fat 1/8 bundle Share Along Giveaway!!!  The giveaway is open to international viewers as well.
Scroll down to the end of the next post for rules.

Linking to Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet at Lily's Quilts (Thank You!!)