Category Archives: quilting

Friday fill-ins #130

1. She had a great handbag!

2. Rollie is my by my side always! And sometimes under my feet!

3. I know this: If it gets any hotter Texas is going to turn into one great big tortilla chip!

4. Be still, Rollie. It isn’t dinner time yet!

5. These words apply to me: Uh, I don’t have a clue!

6. Outside the sun was shining.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to a few more episodes of “Sex and the City”, tomorrow I might attend the great big fabric/notion sale at Berry Patch Fabrics, and Sunday I want to go to church and either read or quilt or cross stitch — so many choices!

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Outside my window I see a peaceful, quiet street.

I am thinking about the errands I need to run today.

From the learning rooms I am learning that maybe I am NOT cut out to be a handquilter.

I am thankful for my family.

From the kitchen I tried Christeans’s pineapple pie on my family and they loved it!! Thanks, Christean! Also, I have learned that privately raised cattle makes really good meat — thanks Burgundy Beef of Grandview!!

I am wearing — pj’s from last night — it is a slow morning.

I am reading three books at once! Not easy for me. They would be “The Shroud of the Thwacker” — very funny; “The Night Watch” — so far pretty good; “Revolutionary Road” — just started so I am not sure.

I am hoping that next week goes by quickly.

I am creating a couple of easy peasy quilts.

I am praying for safe travel, new jobs, preemies, comfort and freedom from illness.

Around the house I am looking at a pile of magazines that need to be passed on to others!

A few plans for the rest of the week include ironing, party planning (happy birthday, AW), quilting and reading.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you:

Hand-piecing VS Machine Piecing

I have been doing considerable thinking about things — things having to do with our way of life. I have been caught up in the “green” movement as of late and have noticed that AW is sort of joining in. Of course, I don’t have a wind turbine in my back yard — the HOA would frown on that — but I have been trying to concentrate on recycling, reusing, repurposing and that sort of thing. I remember my mother telling me a little poem that was popular during the depression — or was it World War 2 — have no clue — but I remember the poem well — “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without”. I think that is pretty pertinent to today, don’t you? Maybe if the last couple of generations had paid more attention we wouldn’t be in the shape we are in, trying to back track and undo and all that.

So, what does that have to do with quilting? Well, obviously, it could bring to mind using worn out clothing and such as quilts but what I was really thinking about was how our foremothers did things that we don’t do anymore and wondering if we are better off for it? I read an article recently about keeping in shape by keeping house. It told about how women used to never have to go to the gym because they didn’t have all the labor saving devices that we have now — they hung out clothing and beat rugs (ok, I never saw my mother beat a rug), they prepared food without the aid of food processors, huge mixers, etc. I mean, life was a little more hands on, wouldn’t you say? Ok, about the quilting.

I started thinking about how we quilt these days — fancy machines, fancy cutters and self-healing mats, long arm quilting machines and all sorts of rulers, guides and gadgets to help us out. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my Bernina for a needle and thread any day but I remember my grandmother and my great-grandmother (yes, I knew her well, she lived to be 103) sit and hand piece quilts to the music — or the preacher — on the radio. So, this morning, not feeling too perky, I decided to try it out. I mean, my first quilt block, sewn at the knee of the aforementioned great-grandmother, was hand sewn with a needle like a dagger so surely I could get the hang of it. So, a couple of scraps, a couple of needle jabs later, slight frustration with the fiddliness of the whole thing (but not any worse than with the sewing machine) I produced a completely lovely four patch. It lined up! The corners met perfectly! It was soft and unstarched, unironed and it was beautiful (more than the first block sewn about 54 years ago). I was more than surprised at the outcome. I figured that it would have to be ripped out, it would be crooked, it would be SOMETHING! It was, it was perfect and very satisfying.

So, now the question has to be — how do you relinquish all the new-fashioned gadgetry for the old-fashioned satisfaction of producing something so good with so little. How do you put aside the need for instant gratification of producing a quilt in record time for the feeling of accomplishment with only a needle and thread. How do you slow down?

We have a lot in our lives and most younger women don’t know any different but for those of us who watched our mother’s mix a cake with a wooden spoon or watched our grandmother’s quilt a blanket with only a needle, thread, and thimble or watched our neighbors plant lantana in empty coffee cans to decorate their old victorian porches (a particular habit of the same great-grandmother) I have say that “new” is great and I wouldn’t trade it but I an appreciate it so much more by knowing “old”.

So, now, the question is — do I actually REALLY try my hand at handpiecing an entire quilt? Hmmm…maybe I will try just one more four patch and the answer will come to me.

New blog on quilting — http://melissaboyettbrinkley.wordpress.com

A Stitch In Time


My interest in textiles, fiber art, quilting, needlecraft began a long time ago, sometime before the age of six. My mother, grandmother, “other” grandmother and great-grandmother all had a hand in nurturing this natural-born fascination I had with handwork. I think it must have come to me about the age of 5, all at one time, because each experience I had with some aspect of the needle arts/handwork transpired about that time.

The first thing I remember is wanting to embroidery. So, my mother went to the five and dime — Winn’s in San Antonio — and bought me a pair of pre-stamped tea towels and the proper needle and embroidery thread and a wooden hoop. I remember working on them, getting tangled up and never finishing them. I kept them, with the intent to finish them, until I was grown and they somehow disappeared after a house fire.

About the same time, I was completely taken with my “other” grandmother’s (Granny) crafting skills and would wart her to death about including me. I was especially fond of watching her weave potholders on those little red, metal looms with those awful nylon loops. Finally, one day, she told my mother to go to Winn’s and get me a loom and she would teach me. My mother did and Granny did and to this day I still love those looms. She would also cut old sheets into strips and macrame them about coat hangers and make wonderful padded hangers. Some of these still exist — I have two or three myself. I know how to do it and one day I will make more. Granny isn’t my real grandmother, she was my aunt’s mother-in-law, grandmother to JLSHall and they all lived across the street from us. I, however, claimed her as my own.

My own grandmother, the one Joy and I share, did gorgeous crochet and was an excellent seamstress. She made costumes for Joy and me and she even produced two hand-made baby dresses for my children. She decided she wanted to learn to knit so she and I went for knitting lessons and a place called “The Knitting Bowl” at the local mall. I can’t knit or crochet and apparently can’t learn. I got frustrated, she didn’t, I gave her all my supplies and then I gave up.

My great-grandmother, Granny Giles, was a pioneer quilter. She made utility quilts for everybody in the family on a quilting frame hanging from the ceiling. Her sisters, Lura and Ella made beautiful appliqued quilts. This is where my love of quilting and fabric began.

One evening, while visiting my Granny Giles, she and my grandmother were piecing quilt squares by the dim light of a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling of an old, victorian house. I wanted to learn. They gave me some tiny patches, a needle and thread and let me go. When I was done and had received the appropriate praise for my accomplishment, I decided I wasn’t done. Fishing through the drawer on the treadle sewing machine I found some rick rack and sewed it around the edges of my square with a tail hanging off. Well, it still wasn’t done so, after more searching, I came up with a jingle bell — the kind we used to sew into our petticoats at Christmas — and I sewed it on to the tail of rick rack and pronounced it finished. I kept it for years, until the house fire and it, too, disappeared. But, my interest in quilting didn’t. Over the years since age five or six, I have dabbled in all sorts of needlework and have loved all of it. I prefer hand quilting to machine but my hands aren’t cooperating. I love cross stitch but am now working “in hand” because
the same contrary hands balk at trying to hold on to hoops. I have tried my hand at “art quilts” and have even produced an ACEO quilt. It doesn’t matter to me, though, as long as I am doing something with needle/thread/fabric.

Gone but Not Forgotten — My Genealogical Search

Aside from my family and my faith, I have four interests in my life — quilting, cross stitch/embroidery, reading, and genealogy. I wouldn’t call them passions, I am passionate about my family and faith but I would say that I am drawn to these activities from somewhere deep inside. They are activities that have rooted themselves in me, planted and encouraged by others and I find no better way to spend my “alone” time .

The two activities that have the deepest meaning to me are genealogy and quilting and they are linked. My interest in quilting began with my great-grandmother, Maggie. One evening in her home, watching her and my grandmother hand piece quilts was the most fascinating thing I had ever seen. They even let me join in and the fire was fueled forevermore.

This same great-grandmother was the basis for the love of genealogy. My father’s family had always held family history in geat esteem and had kept the family story alive. I grew up hearing historical accounts of my family’s migration from Tennessee to Texas in covered wagons. I learned about our family’s place in the founding of this country and this government. It was pretty awesome as a child and the interest never left me. In fact, it just expanded to include my maternal family and my husband’s family, as well.

I have decided that this blog is a good venue for collecting and sharing these stories, maybe some photos, for family members that might be interested either now or in the future.

A few of the names that I research are Boyett (and all variations of the spelling), Cocke, Watkins, Conn, Davies/Davis, Webb, Palmer, Brinkley, Rantz. This isn’t a complete list but the most immediate list. The areas that I research are Texas, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, England, Wales.

So, if you are interested, come back and join me on my travels through my family search.


WIP’s

Since I have discovered the blogsphere, I find I am reading other people’s blogs more than writing my own. There is a reason for that — they are much more interesting than I am. I gravitate toward the blogs on stitchery, quilting, reading and genealogy — all interests of mine. I admire all the photos that are up of the work that people do and wish I could be as crafty.

So, as a result of having a very boring blog, I have picked up the pace with my quilting and stitchery and reading and genealogy. I have a couple of WIP’s that I can’t show right now because they are SURPRISES but I do have a few pitiful pics of past projects that I could put up so here is one of them.

I became quite interested in ATC’s a while back and bought a lovely little quilted number which I prize. I decided that I could make my own little mini crazy quilt, too and did and then sold it on Ebay. However I did keep a picture of it that I am including here. I only make one of these little things as I prefer to make bigger quilts so this is a one and only!