Quilts of Gee’s Bend

One day at work, I was down in the help desk getting my computer worked on. It was one of those times when I’m sitting there with the tech support guy and we’re kind of awkwardly waiting for some program or other to finished installing and we’re trying to find something to talk about with a total stranger. Somehow in the conversation, quilting came up. No, I have no idea how, but it did. He mentioned that I should check out the quilters of Gee’s Bend. Even though he didn’t know anything about it, he thought they were neat and had just heard a presentation on them. I politely said I would, with no real intention of really doing it, seeing as historical quilts don’t hold much of a kick for me. However, I had some down moments in the next few days and decided to Google it just out of old-fashioned curiosity.

I’m so glad I did! These ladies were modern before anyone else! They used wonky, improvisational quilts long before these themes were heralded on blogs across the internet. Long before the internet, even. Some of the quilts are from the late 1800’s! I found a site from Auburn University, here, that gives a good bit of information on them. If you want a good eyeful of the awesomeness of these quilts, go to Google images and search Gee’s Bend quilts (or just click here). I found an article on the Smithsonian website that gives some good history on Gee’s Bend as well as the quilts.

I hope you are as inspired by these quilts as I was and take some time to read about these fascinating quilts. 

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Two Totes

In my last post, I talked about the different seams I needed to make the tote of my dreams for my sister. In my head I saw visions of a two-toned unlined tote, but couldn’t find any patterns that were fitting what I wanted. I made a prototype of it with some owl fabric I found. After a couple tweaks, I made my sisters. And, best of all, she loved it! That’s a good feeling. 🙂

Here’s the prototype bag, in all it’s owl-y goodness.

The tweaks I made to it were to change the size. I didn’t like the tall and skinny look of the owls. I also changed a couple steps in constructing it, but that didn’t change how it came it out. Here it is, the final gift in it’s giraffe cuteness.

It’s a Seamy Joint in Here!

French Seam

A while back, I saw some black and white duck cloth printed with cartoon giraffes. As soon as I saw it, I saw a completed tote bag in my head that I wanted to make for my sister. That sounds like a good thing, but, in general,  if I see in my head the way I want it to look, I’m very likely to never find a pattern even close to what I want.

The pattern I wanted was a two-toned unlined tote. Seems simple, but no go on finding a pattern. So, I thought I’d try to give a go at making it myself. The fabric was way too cute to learn on, so I found some cute owl duck cloth (haha!) with a matching solid to make a prototype with. This post isn’t really about either bag, actually. (I’ll share it with you soon, I promise! Both bags are too cute not to share. 🙂 ) This post is about learning the seams I needed to construct the bags.

The bag consisted of joining solid color cloth with printed (to get the two-toned part), making the handles and then sewing the sides. To join the solid and the print and also to join the handle section on, I wanted to use a  flat fell seam. To finish the side seams, I wanted to use a french seam. For those unfamiliar with those types of seams, they are two seams that are self-finishing: there’s no raw edges with the seam is complete. Since I had never done these seams before, I did some practice pieces to figure it all out.

This is a picture of the the flat fell practice seam. For those observant ones among you, you may notice that the side labeled the “back” of the seam in the picture is the front of the fabric. Like I said, this was a learning curve for me. The labels are correct, I put the fabric together incorrectly to start the seam.

Flat Fell Seams

Flat fells seams, front and back

If you look at a pair of jeans, the flat fell seam is what the side seams of jeans are constructed with. After this journey, I have much more respect for what goes into jeans! This seam can be tricky, but I like how it turns out.

The next seam I practiced was the french seam. It was much easier than the flat fell. The main difference is that the french seam leaves a “flap” of sorts when it’s done. (In comparison, the “flat” part of flat fell makes sense now.) The french seam makes more sense to me to use on seams like side seams or other seams like that where the flap won’t cause an issue.

French Seam

French Seam, front and back

That’s all for the technical learning curve stuff. In the next post, I’ll show off the finished totes!

Wedding Bliss

Recently, my little sister tied the knot. It was a beautiful wedding and it went so smoothly. My sister did a great balance of DIY to save money with purchasing things to not overwhelm her with things to do. One of my favorite DIY things she did was actually a joint effort with Mom. Most of the boutonnieres for the day were fresh flowers, but for a few, Mom created these boutonnieres. I think she did an amazing job with these!

Boutonnieres

Boutonnieres

I’m so happy for my little sister!

Beautiful Bride

Beautiful Bride

A sneak peek of their pictures at the photographer’s blog is here. They are a beautiful couple and their pictures show that! Great job, Brett!

Possible Blog Revival?

Oh my goodness. It’s been since September since I posted anything. Wow. I’ve been so happily blasting from one thing to the next in my real life that my poor blog got sadly neglected.

In the meantime of life, I’ve visited my brand-new-baby nephew, been on vacation, stood up with Little Sister at her wedding, finished one school term and started another, continued teaching a women’s study class at church and added a second study class on a weeknight, in addition to everyday work. Like I said, blasting happily along.

The bustle hasn’t stopped my crafting. Slowed it a bit, perhaps, but not smothered it. Since I do have somethings to share, I’ve been pondering how to revive this, whether I should just jump in where I’m at or try to catch things up a bit. I think I’m going to go with the latter, mostly due to wanting to share pictures from my vacation, Little Sister’s wedding, and, of course, baby nephew pictures. 😀

Here’s to a fabulous, full, and beautiful life!

Kisses at Spearfish Canyon Falls

Kisses at Spearfish Canyon Falls. I am the luckiest woman alive!