Category Archives: Quilting

April – Planning Ahead

With the uncertainty we are facing now and into the unknown future, we are forced to do more planning than we have had to do in the past. Our shopping mainstays – grocery and all-purpose stores – have limited items on their shelves, forcing us to adjust our meals and activities. Never before in recent years have we’ve seen empty spaces in our stores and wondered when they will be restocked.

As we focus on our homes, I’m reminded of a quilt block known as the Log Cabin design. Popular in the late 1800s, this block was traditionally made with a red square in the center of the block to represent the hearth of the home. Around that square, strips of light and dark fabrics were added in sequence. The light fabrics on one side represent the sunny side of the house while the dark fabrics are the shadow side.

It’s known that quilts with black center blocks were sometimes hung outside homes to indicate a safe haven for runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad trying to make their way north to freedom. After the Civil War ended in 1865, there was a dramatic migration to settle the West. During that time, brides-to-be often used yellow center squares, thought to represent hope for their lives ahead.

New quilters often used this design to develop their skills for accurate cutting and sewing. They find the sewing requires attention to seam allowance, and it’s easy for a block to become slanted if the sewing is not precise.

My first attempt many years ago.

Recently I made a wall hanging using the Log Cabin pattern It was important to me that the cutting and sewing were accurate so the wall hanging would be square with the wall when it was done.

Recent finished project.

In my latest release, The Quilt Company, Deanna Westford uses the Log Cabin quilt design to describe the way she’s building her company, with each strip representing a different part of the business. She knows that each “log” of her business needs to be added accurately or her business will become out-of-line and collapse.

Our current lives require us to give accurate attention to the many aspects of our lives – the light and dark “logs” around our hearth – to make it through this difficult time.

I wish your family well keeping your Log Cabin safe.

Believing in Tomorrow,
Gini

March ~ the Month of Transition

In Wisconsin, we talk mostly about the weather during March. The adage, “In like a lamb, out like a lion,” or vice versa, is mentioned often from day one. I’m afraid that if this is true, with the beautiful days we are having now, we will pay big time before the end of the month. So, when conversations lag, weather is an easy subject.

Nationally, we transition into Daylight Savings Time in March. How wonderful to have an extra few minutes of daylight in the evening and more time as the months pass. I love those warm evenings when it is light after supper.

Wisconsin – the beer capital of the U.S., maybe the world – transitions to “green” beer on St. Patrick’s Day. Even if you don’t claim Irish heritage, the meal that day is corned beef and cabbage served with a mug of green beer. One meal each year is enough for me, thank you.

My favorite transition in March is the changing of the closets. I am not a person who embraces winter, so when warmer temperatures arrive this month, I am happy to put away the heavy coats, hats, and mittens for another year. It’s like the weight of the cold weather is also being packed away.

This month I transitioned to include sewing and knitting along with quilting. Our local help organization needed baby items, so I opened totes of yarn, cabinets of flannel fabric, found patterns, and got busy. Boy, did I have fun. Look at my assortment of booties, beanies, bears, and blankets.

By the time you read this, all the items will have been given to local families in need. I’m so grateful to be able to help.

Before I sign off, I want to tell you Miss Opal, the recipient of the quilt from the January blog, arrived on schedule. She and Mom are doing fine. Dad is sporting a huge smile and offering a helping hand.

Keep well this month and enjoy a touch of the Irish.

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much, and reach for that Pot o’ Gold.

Believing in Tomorrow,

Gini  

FEBRUARY – The month of love and romance and Valentine’s Day

Did you ever wonder how it all began?

Historians aren’t 100% in agreement as to the beginnings of this holiday. Many believe it started as a Pagan ritual known as Lupercalia when goats and dogs were sacrificed and their skins, soaked in the animal’s blood, were used to slap the women of the village. The women welcomed the treatment, believing it helped to make them more fertile in the coming year.

Around the 3rd century A.D., the Catholic Church banished the Pagan ritual and recognized three different saints named Valentine, but, here again, there is no consensus among the researchers.

It is known that Americans began exchanging handmade valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, a woman began selling the first mass-produced valentines she made with lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures. In 1913, Hallmark Cards offered premade valentines, and in 1916, began mass producing them. It is estimated that 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.

We have friends who save their money all year so they can celebrate Valentine’s Day in grand style. They buy special gifts for each other, spend the evening with dinner and dancing, and playfully renew their wedding vows. Hubby and I are lower key in the celebrating—maybe a card, maybe a dinner out, or not. It all depends on the activities surrounding the day.

My quilt project for February was done as a challenge from the aforementioned husband. He said, “Do something that you haven’t done in a long time.” I immediately thought of a miniature project. And what better subject than a heart?

Each of the squares of red fabric in the heart finish as one inch squares. To keep the challenge going, I hand-sewed all of the red squares together, then added the background fabric using the machine. The fabric heart is in a 7 x 9 inch frame.

With the leftover fabric, I made two-sided hearts and put them on florist wire. I put the hearts into a red and white artificial flower arrangement I put out in February.

I hope you enjoy the month of love and romance and make every day a Valentine’s Day.

Gini