Friday, October 31, 2008

Carved Quilt Squares

Time to ease back into some quilting stuff. These are little refrigerator magnets. My grand daughter carved these when she was eleven years old. These were her very first carvings. The penny in the photo shows the size of the squares. This type of carving is called relief carving. The carved "grooves" are done with a small "V" shaped gouge. The incised lines that the "V" tool makes also serve as a "stop" between the painted colors, to prevent them from "bleeding" into the next color.

People often ask when is a kid old enough to begin to carve wood. Generally, ten to twelve seems to be a good age to begin well supervised carving.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

FLASH! Missing Gnomes New House Found

Well, the poster worked. Mom read the poster to the 4 year old this afternoon. Her plan was to wait until the 6 year old got home from school before letting them look for evidence of Gnome activity. Bad plan! 4 year old could not wait. She put her coat on and started looking right then. And she found the door. Now the strangest thing happened. She told her mom that she would not tell her sister, and that she would let her sister find the Gnome door for herself. See, there really is some magic that rubs off when dealing with Gnomes. I did not find out about this until after older sister came home from school and she found the Gnome door too. I was reading the paper and having a cup of coffee when I heard them yellin and screamin " we found them, we found them". They were at the door, so excited they hardly made any sense at all. The 4 year old had mud and leaves all down one side, and was jumping up and down, yelling "Tom, Tom, come with us, we'll show you." And show me they did. By the time I caught up with them, the 4 year old was laying on the ground with her ear up against the door trying to hear them. Well, of course she said "they're in there, I can hear them." About that time the 6 year old came running up with a little tool box, and a hammer in her hand. I asked her what the hammer was for. She replied,"I'm going to pry the door open so I can see them." Mom very quickly told her that that was not being a very good neighbor. When I left them, both girls were discussing how they could see the Gnomes. The last words I think I heard was M and M's.

UPDATE Gnome Door/Missing Gnomes

Several have asked about the little next door neighbor girls and the Gnome/Fairy door that I added to their house. Well, several (actually many) days have passed and there has been no response. I even told and showed their mom the door, and asked her to kinda help the girls out. Still nothing! Now the door was placed next to the ground, right at the bottom of some steps from their deck. Being little girls, and full of energy, they are always running, skipping, and/or hopping; and probably pay more attention to the stairs. That, plus they are seldom home in the day time. So! as the days get shorter, and the temperatures start to drop, I had to do something. I posted the "MISSING GNOMES" sign in hopes that it will lead to a search.......

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cancer Quilt

This large lap quilt (or twin size) kinda got me well into making quilts. My daughter purchased a whole bunch of the left over quilt squares from the Susan Komen cancer quilt effort a few years ago. As some of you will remember, the call went out for quilt squares that would be assembled and auctioned off for funds for the Susan Komen Cancer foundation. The response was over whelming, and the extra squares were sold, for extra funds. The squares that my daughter bought for me to assemble came from all over, but mainly from the New England area. As you can see they are beautifully done. I had to do a lot of reading to assemble the squares and do them any kind of justice. I decided that they had to be placed within a lattice, and bordered; prior to quilting and binding. The quilt was then machine quilted, with a pattern of various sized and shaped hearts.

Jewelry Counter Done

Several days ago I mentioned that I had to build a jewelry counter for a local shop that I do some work for. I had three days to get this counter done. I had to explain that I was still an old feller, and did not work as fast as I used to. But in the end, I took the money. Well I also made the counter in three days. This was tough cause the case had to be sealed, and painted with two coats of black paint. The glass had to be cut and installed.....Got it done with two hours to spare.

The counter had to be completed and installed by tomorrow, cause the shop is beginning to carry the PANDORA charms and charm bracelets; and they are introducing the line with a "Trunk show".

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Noahs Arks

Another fun item that I spend mucho time on, is making Noahs Arks, and carving the pairs of animals. These have always interested me, because there is so much going on when you make them. The arks themselves are fun since you can design them just about anyway you want. The animals that I mainly carve are simplified, so that kids can play with them. I try to design the animals so that parts won't break off. What good is a Noahs Ark if kids can't play with it. I do, however, carve some animals with lots of deatil and smaller, for collectors. I started making arks around 1985. If you all recall, Noahs Arks were real popular then. COUNTRY LIVING magazine had arks in nearly every photo of country room settings. Here's some arks that were displayed and sold at an area Arts Festival this year. Opps! how'd those two little wood quilt squares on little easels get in there...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mob "O" Gnomes

Time for some wood carvin stuff! Every now and then I like to switch from carving Santas to carvin something else. Gnomes kind of fill the bill. Not much of a change. But I like Gnomes. There are so many different expressions that you can do. So many sizes too. Most Santas are about the same. This Mob "O" Gnomes is the result of several carving sessions. One of these days I'll carve a"lead Gnome", and have him directing these Gnomes in song.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Old Folks and Their Houses

When you were young did your neighborhood have a few houses that were, shall we say, a wee bit "run down" looking? I don't mean, fallin down or, a total wreck. Just a house that the grass was always a week late in its cutting, leaves left on the ground a bit too long (maybe over winter), might need some paint, weeds instead of grass, trees and bushes all over grown, etc, etc. And when you were young did you tell your friends that yeah, "Ol Man Jones" lives there. And did your parents refer to the house and its occupants as " An elderly couple" lives there.

Well, now its happened. I am part of that elderly couple that lives there.

I would much rather do so many other things than mow, weed, rake, paint, trim, etc,etc. I'll bet ya that "Ol Man Jones" was the same way.

I think I'll go out the the shop, followed by going to my sewing machine, then to my wood carving.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mini Quilt Swap with a Fun Twist.....

Hey! if you're a quilter that's into mini quilts, you ought to check out my daughters blog.

She is hosting a MINI QUILT SWAP. This swap has an interesting twist. Check it out

Chest of Santa's

Yesh, it's already Saturday evening, and I haven't had time to add a post. Been working on the case for a jewelry display counter. This is the first year that I planned well enough ahead to have a good supply of carved Santa ornaments and pins finished in plenty of time for the Holidays. But I'm still dealin with a "blivit" here. As I recall a "blivit" is something like 10 lbs. of potatoes to put into a 5 lb. bag. Oh well, on some level it must be fun and satisfying or I wouldn't do it.

Early on I set out to carve two Santa pins or ornaments, every day, with my breakfast coffee. It's the good thing that I "carve small", and don't make a big mess, because I eat breakfast out at a little diner. I give away most of these small pins and ornaments as I carve them, but manage to save a few for special packaging. Here's a hand full in a small wood "chest/trunk". You can see the size of these by comparing them to my pocket knife, that I carve them with.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Election 2008

After listening to, and viewing endless hours of political advertizements, speeches. endorcements, blah, blah, blah; I have finally figured it all out.

It was easier to just build something that no one can missunderstand. Well a politician might not get it.

Valuing Your Work

Hey! I thought we were supposed to be in the middle of hard times. You know, folks not havin the money to spend, etc, etc. This is Friday, and I got up this morning with every intention of doing some wood carving, even experimenting with some crazy quilting ideas. That is, until the telephone started ringing. The telephone calls were all jobs that a shop needed to have done. One was a wall of shelves, that could be used all together or seperately. A total of 21 shelves in the complete unit. The other job involves making two floor display cases, to display jewerly (Pandora). These would be large units with a glass top. Now, being who I am; I hate to turn down work. So I drew up the plans, worked up the bill of materials. Determined how much time it would take me to purchase the materials and build the units. Priced everything, and totaled it up. Next, I recalled my previous post about pricing ones work. Then I carefully considered the following:

A. Did I really want to do these jobs.
B. Did I need to do these jobs.
C. I usually under estimate the time it takes to build and finish things.
D. I usually under value my work.

After careful consideration, I determined that I did NOT need to do the work, added lots more time to do the work, determined that I was worth lots more money than I usually charged.

Went to the calculator, and punched in the numbers. Yikes! that's a lot of money. Now normally I would start whittlin away at the price. But not this time. I took the quote to the shop and showed it to them. It was my hope that they would change their minds....But no! they said FINE, get started. For the past fifeteen years this same shop has said the same thing when I gave them much lower charges.

So! take notice folks. Do not under value your work. If it's good quality work it's worth the price you put on it, and folks will step up and pay.....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pricing Ones Work

Have you ever spent hours and hours (what the heck, days and days) making a quilt, and when it is completed someone asks "how much?" When they say "how much?" it usually means they want to know how much you will sell it for. It's the same thing with wood carvings. Only with some wood carving they'll also ask "how long did that take you to carve?"

At a recent art festival that I was participating in I had a hand made Noahs Ark with 18 pairs of hand carved animals. This item was for sale. I priced it at $200. During the festival I noticed a local lawyer stop by and look at the ark several times during the morning. The lawyer finally got around to checking the price and appeared shocked. He said that he really liked the ark and wanted to purchase it for his wife. Being a lawyer he began to ask me questions that I could only think were leading to the fact that he thouight I was asking too much for the ark - way to much.

I finally asked him if he carved. He said no, but his grandfather used to carve before he passed away. Hell! that made me feel good! Well, I asked him if he had any idea how long it look to build the Ark and carve 20 pairs of animals. He said not really. I asked him to quess. He thought for a minute and came up with ONE HOUR per pair of animals. I said close. But it was more like ONE HOUR for each animal, plus EIGHT HOURS for the Ark. For those counting that's 48 HOURS. But I said OK then thats 20 HOURS to carve the animals. I don't think he had a clue where this conversation was going.

I next asked him how much he charges per hour..OUCH!

Hat's Off To Those Not Retired

I take my hat off, to those of you that are not retired. I don't for the life of me how you can find time to produce such beautiful quilts and other items. I don't know how you can find time to post to your blogs, read, and respond to the blogs that you do. And you all with kids - well that is a whole nother story. Here I am retired and I cannot find the time to do but a small fraction of the things you all do. Each day in the morning I write down the things that I want to get done during the day. I do not load the list up either. When I write the list it really seems like I'll get the things done. What I don't get done, is carried over to the next day. I think I have created a monster. To make matters worse, my lists so far are only the fun things - quilting, wood carving and woodworking. If I start adding things to the list that I need to get done around the house, I may have to consider retiring from being retired.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Christmas Santa Ornament Swaps

It's that time of year where I have a whole bunch of wood carving to do. I am in several Christmas tree ornament swaps. These swaps are not organized the same as the Doll Quilt Swap. With the carved wood ornament swaps, you carve and send an ornament to everyone in the swap. In one swap there are 19 participants, and the other 14. That's a whole lot O carving. But thankfully, it's also a whole lot O fun too.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quilts to Finish

Well, I am sure most quilters have some quilt squares that need to be assembled, some quilt tops that need borders, and some that need to be quilted. These are three just such items. My daughter, Tracy made the squares and she sent them to me for assembly and borders. These have been around for while. As a matter of fact, since doing these Tracy has moved on to focusing on minitures, and doll quilts. Since she sent these to me, she has even acquired a long arm machine. Now I have to get these ready for quilting by one week before Thanksgiving. That's when I'll be leaving for a drive from Ohio to California. I have convinced myself that I like to work under pressure.....Tracy is in Southern California and I'm in Ohio. We like to "team up" and make quilts whenever possible, and rely on the mails to send pieces back and forth. Tracy most enjoys picking out the patterns, and the fabrics, and making squares. She has convinced me that I most enjoy assembling the tops and adding borders and binding. At Thanksgiving, she has to teach me how to "drive" her long arm machine. I am looking forward to this..

Friday, October 17, 2008

New Neighbors (Gnome Door)

It's time for me to tell you all about my neighbors. They are 4 and 6 years old. They are the sweetest little girls around. They keep me young. Well, at least young at heart. Several months ago I started hiding some little Gnomes that I carved. I hid these Gnomes in the flower beds in their yard. I told the girls that I must have left the door open the night before, because several of my Gnomes had dissappeared. I said they were probably out playing and might have got lost. I told them that I needed some help from them to find my Gnomes. Well wouldn't you know, this took some time to accomplish. This little game has been played several times and it always keeps the girls busy and they seem to have lots of fun finding the run away gnomes.
Well, yesterday I sweetened the pot. I made a little "gnome door" and attached it to their back porch. Nobody saw me do this. Next I told the same story to the girls that my Gnomes had run off again. But this time I added that a small hammer, some nails, and some small pieces of lumber were missing too. I asked them to be on the lookout for my Gnomes. And they promised that they would. The girls have not been home during the daylight today, but I cannot wait until they do get home.....
See, I told you they keep me young at heart...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Carving in a Quilt Shop

I have been invited to participate in a Christmas Open House at the GOOD WIVES COMPANY, quilt and fabric shop in Marion, Ohio, on Novenber 7. For those not familar with the GOOD WIVES CO., they were featured in Better Homes and Gardens QUILT SAMPLER, as a top quilt shop.

The shop specializes in civil war reproduction fabrics and quilting kits of all kinds. I'll be carving Santa Christmas tree ornaments and pins. My Noahs Arks, the framed quilt squares that my daughter and I did, as well as the Santa ornaments and pins will be on sale.

This is a very interesting shop, one of my daughters favorites. Whenever my daughter visits we have to go there and load up. Carving in shops like this is a lot of fun. I quickly am surrounded by children and husbands. I like to think that I am providing a good diversion so the mothers and wives (and maybe a few fathers/husbands) can better enjoy their fabric looking and buying experience.

Men and Sewing!

In my last post, some of the comments illustrate the realities of men who sew and cook. I guess this shows that we still live by preconceived notions of gender roles and sterotypes. And as a male, I can now begin to understand what females have had to contend with down through the years. I don't mean to make light of this, but when it happens to me, I cannot help but laugh.

I do quilt, and the females in my family do sew (well all but one). Therefore, I not only, know how to do lots of things in the needlecraft world, but I also am exposed to lots of things in this area. It is just so much fun to drop some of the sewing and needlecraft words when at the fabric store; and catch the reaction of the clerks. Words such as DUPIONI and BATISTE, cause all kinds of interesting reactions to a male uttering such words. My favorite is ENTREDEUX. But my wife explains to me that the funny looks I get are probably because the clerk has no idea what I am talking about.

There is one word from the area of heirloom sewing, that I am really hesitant to drop in the fabric shop. No! I take that back; I will not utter. That word is FAGGOTING.

For those who are not familar with heirloom or fancy sewing...........
CHECK the comments for what DUPIONI, BATISTE, ENTREDEUX, and FAGGOTING is.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quilting vs Woodworking

I am a quilter! A simple statement. A statement, that when uttered by a female, receives no startled looks or hardly any response at all; other than "oh so am I, or so is my sister". But when I am at a fabric store with my daughter or my wife, I might as well be invisible. The clerks will always approach my wife or daughter and ask if they need help. My wife will reply, "nope! he's the quilter". I don't think the clerks believe her. I know they don't believe me when I tell them, "I am a quilter". But I got to thinking one day, of all the similarities between Quilting and Woodworking. You see I consider myself a woodworker too.

Since several readers of this blog have mentionned that they would like their husbands to maybe get involved in quilting, I thought I would try to offer some reasons for them to give it a try. Although two fabric fiends under the same roof may proof to be too much.

I will from time to time add to a list that will be created. The list will detail the similarities between Woodworking and Quilting. I would also hope that some readers might add their thoughts and additional similarities in comments. I will add the appropriate comments to the "master list" here.


1. Think of the sewing machine as a table saw, when needing to sew a straight line.
(Think of the 1/4 inch seam guide as a fence on the table saw).
2. Think of a sewing machine as a scroll saw.
(You don't have to sew straight lines, they can be circular/curved too).
3. Quilting and Woodworking require precise measurement, for accuracy.
4. Both use a set of plans before starting to cut materials.
5. Both use mitered corners.
6. You choose both wood and favric for the same reason-Beauty (from "holee")
7. Both are about fitting geometry together (from "Pat")
8. Both involve mathematics (from "Pat")

9. Measure twice, cut once applies to both.
10. Both wood and fabric have a grain that one must pay attention to.
11. When assembling both fabric pieces and wood one should match the grain patterns.
There, this gets us started.......ADD some more in the comments....Thanks, maybe we'll get another husband, father, or brother to consider quilting.....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Announcing the winners

After listing all of the visitors to the Give Away postings and then checking their blogs, I assigned numbers and actually did a drawing. And I really did use an old hat. These are the results!

Winner of the FRAMED QUILT SQUARE: "Not Lucy"

Winner of the SANTA ORNAMENT: "one happy tree"

Winners please E mail me at with your address and I'll get those items off in the mail ASAP.

Congratulations, winners. You all keep watching, I just might have discovered a way to get rid of a lot of orphaned quilt squares, old wood, and Santa carvings....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

DQS5 Finished (almost)

After looking at the full sized French Roses quilt that I made for my wife, I thought I would see if I could scale it down for a doll quilt for the DQS5. This is it! It measures 15 x 18 inches, is hand quilted, bound, and washed once. Since the rose petals need to fray a wee bit more I'll give it some additional washings.

I hope my swap partner likes this doll quilt as much as my wife likes her full sized one.

French Roses - Full Size Quilt

This is a full size quilt that I made for my wife. It is one of those top stitched quilts that fray when washed. It was very easy to make. Which was a good thing because I don't like to spend weeks on a project. And since I sometimes have lapses of accuracy; this is a very forgiving quilt to make.

In fact, I am supposed to teach a group of non sewing husbands how to make a quilt. I am seriously considering using this pattern for a lap quilt. I know these fellows can do it. And wouldn't their wives be impressed.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's The Weekend!

Yep, It's the weekend! And for some I suppose it's a three day weekend. That coveted weekend, between two weeks of work. The weekend that so many look so forward to. The weekend that actually starts after work on Friday. I can almost remember looking forward to the weekend. But now I am retired. Been retired since 1989. And I am getting pretty good at it. But I miss my weekends. You see weekends arn't too special anymore. Everyday can be the weekend. Lets see! what shall I do this week end. I could rake, mow, clean the shop, clean the garage, start to winterize the place, etc., etc. Or I could do some quilting. Whata choice!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fun Sunday!

This Sunday is Pioneer day at a local county park. This is an annual event where folks can come and see, and participate in a variety of events common to the pioneers of our area. People will be in period dress and demonstrating/participating in the making of soap, rope, brooms, apple butter, cornhusk dolls, quilts, and meals on open fires. There will be hay rides, old time music, square dancing, and old time childrens games. There will be displays of old farm tools and machines, toys, and other interesting items of pioneer days.
Some of us from the Senior Center whittlers group will be demonstrating whittling and carving. I will be carving small owls and wizards for the kids who are watching. Do this every year and have a great time.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Templates To Trim Quilt Squares

Some times when assembling a quilt top with squares that I have made, I have problems. Problems making the individual squares line up and match at the corners. Remember, I am not that experienced; but I am a wee bit sloppy when it comes to cutting and sewing. I have learned that I can no longer apply the old carpenters saying "if it's close - nail it". I have learned that in quilting "close" is not enough. But still, I some times end up with some squares that just don't "measure up". Some one once told me the secret was to just stretch the squares and "pin the snot" out of them to assemble. I soon learned that that was no substitute for accuracy.

My solution was to make the squares a wee bit over sized and then use a template of the finished square size and trim all the squares. In this manner all the finished squares are exactly the same size. If you try this, make the template out of plexiglas so you can see through it to line it up to trim the squares. This technique will not work on some squares in which there are more than just the corners to match up. But it does work with the log cabin square. You just have to cut the last (outside) logs a wee bit wider (1/2 inch).

But, as I have been reminded, there is no substitute for accuracy, and accuracy comes with practice and experience. Or put in another way: practice, practice, practice....and practice!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sweetening the give away pot

I am learning more "bout" this blogging thing at every turn. I've learned that a "give away" can generate a list of folks that will click on and take a look at your blog. I have also learned that it's fun to check out the blogs belonging to folks that have checked out yours. And of course it's fun to read the comments. And from several sources, I 've come to understand that there is a certain goal to get as many folks as possible to view your blog and leave a comment.

So! at this point I am "SWEETENING THE GIVE AWAY POT". Everyone who visits this blog, and leaves a comment, from this point on will be ENTERED INTO ANOTHER DRAWING as well as the drawing for the framed quilt square.

This additional give away will be a handcarved Santa Christmas tree ornament, similar to the one in the photo. This give away will close on Monday, October 13th the same as the framed quilt square.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Featherweight vs Husqvarna vs Singer 201

When my White Jeans Machine died I had the choice of using one of three other sewing machines at my disposal. Well actually four! My wife offered her Husqvarna Rose computerized sewing machine. I'll include my wifes machine in my choices for use, but I don't think she was serious. So, the choices were:
A. 1938 Singer model 201
B. Singer Featherweight
C. Singer model 15-91
D. Husqvarna Viking Rose
We already know that I choose the Singer model 201. Some may wonder why not the computerized Husqvarna Viking Rose, or the coveted Singer Featherweight. I tried out the Singer model 210 and liked it. I tried out my wifes Husqvarna Viking Rose (with her looking over my shoulder) and like it too - but. The Singer Featherweight was a dream to operate also, but was promised to daughter Tracy. The other old Singer was nearly the same as the 201, but had not been used for a number of years. So it's the Singer 201. All I did was replace the presser foot on it, with the one from the White. This way I still have the wider foot that has 1/4" margins on the sides that I was familar with. The 201 is a great machine. Nice quiet operation. Nice straight stitches. And will do 0 to 60 in 1.7 seconds.
Will deliver the Singer Featherweight to Tracy, on Thanksgiving....
The Photo (for my carving friends) is of the Singer Featherweight.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sudden Death of WHITE JEANS MACHINE Sewing Machine

Several weeks ago I was using my WHITE Jeans Machine (sewing machine for any carvers reading) to assemble some mini log cabin squares for a swap that daughter Tracy is running. All of a sudden the machine made a loud crunching sound and stopped dead in its tracks. Nothing would move. Completely locked up. Being who I am, I said to myself, "self! you can fix this". The next day I took my little machine to town, to the repairman, and explained what had happened. One day later the repairman called and said, "I have some good news and some bad news". I said, "OK, lets have the good news first". To that he said, " Now you have a good excuse to buy a new machine". Guess I didn't need to hear the bad news. The repairman explained it would not be worth the money to repair my little machine. I replied, well I do have an old Singer 1938 Model 201 that I suppose I can use until I make up my mind what to do. To that, the repairman stated, "If you have an old Singer 201, what in the world were you using this machine for"? " The 201 is probably the best sewing machine Singer ever made, and I should know. I worked for Singer for 30 years".

I cleaned up ol 201, and began using it immediately. I'll be using this fine ol Singer to make my Doll Quilt for the swap. (The photo at the top is of the Singer 201. Sorry it's not at the bottom, where it should be. Hey! I'm still learning!)

Easier Square Assembly

After tryin to manage and maintain the alignment of the pieces and parts of a quilt square while sewing them together; I decided I needed a larger flat surface at/on the machine. I knew that they had just the thing made of plexiglas for a Singer Featherweight machine. But I couldn't find one available for my White Jeans Machine. I set about making one myself. Simple job! I just sit the "stage" on the table, and "drop" the machine into the slot for it. Problem solved! And for just a few cents too. I really liked the way the machine and the homemade "stage" worked together. The large level and flat surface makes piecing much more managable and "yes" even easier. It was great while it lasted........That's another story! Or as in the case of the Blogger, another posting. Stay tuned...

New Blog Give Away

Several days ago I was talked into developing this Blog. I reluctantly agreed and set about the task. My daughter said, "dad, it's easy. Just follow the simple directions." Well, my daughter seems to have forgotten that I am near computer illiterate, and seldom follow directions. But I'm tryin. Between daughter and a review of many of the super looking Blogs on Doll Quilt Swaps, I have gotten this far. It has also been suggested that I have a GIVE AWAY as a means of introducing myself and the blog.

Here is a photo of the GIVE AWAY. It is a log cabin quilt square that is matted, under glass, and framed with 170 year old salvaged wood. The framed 4 inch square measures 9 inches by 9 inches.

To be included in the pool for the drawing, just look my new Blog over, leave me a comment, and/or a tip on how to design and maintain this Blog.

Each person leaving a comment will be entered. Want to be entered twice! Just give me a "shout-out" on your Blog.

I'll keep this GIVE AWAY open for comments/tips for one week, until Monday, October 13. At that time the name of each person leaving a comment will be placed into the hat. One name will be pulled, and the winner posted. Mailing/shipping will be immediate. Thanks.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rescuing Orphan Quilt Squares

Here's a great way to use those quilt squares that for some reason or other will not cooperate when you are tryin to assemble them into a quilt top; or were extra squares. Just treat them as you would, if they were photos, and frame them. You can outline the squares with a mat border, or just frame them plain. I would recommend having the squares under glass; which any hardware store can cut to size. These that I have done were framed in 170 year old salvaged wood from an old mill. This is what gives them the rustic look; which compliments the log cabin square design. The log cabin squares were done by daughter Tracy, and were extra squares left over from a quilt.

Some additional fun carvings

When I first became interested in wood carving I asked some wood carvers for some pointers and advice. Without exception they all answered, "learn to keep your tools (knife) sharp", and "practice, practice, practice". It took me a while to realize (believe) the truth in these answers. I have only recently seen the proof in my improvement. And I have only recently become confident in my knife sharpening skills.
Here's some photos of some carvings that were recently completed.

Wood carving

The first actual woodcarving I did was a relief carving of an eagle. Since this was done over 45 years ago I don't have a photo to post. Even If I had a photo of it, I probably would not post it. I am sure it was a bad one. Fours ago I renewed by efforts toward wood carving. I started out by giving more detail to the pairs of animals for the Noah's Arks. This may be evident in the above photo of the baby elephant. My pocket knife shows the size of the baby elephant. Then I began to focus on faces. The middle photo shows some typical Santa tree ornaments that I carve. These Santa ornaments are sized anywhere from 1/2 inch to 2 inches tall. Some of my carved Santa pins are as small as 1/4 inch. The photo on the right is actually a study block; with the four steps of carving the face included. The photo is of the final, finished carving. I also carve Wizards, and Gnomes. and just about anything that I can scale down to a small size.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Woodworking - Noah's Arks & Barns

After the cabinets came the Noah's Arks and toy barns. You got to admit that these are smaller than the cabinets (and lighter too). They also offer nearly the same challenges as did the cabinets, just on a smaller scale. The barns have the same structural elements as the real barns that they were patterned after; down to the pegged joints (see detail photo). The ark animals became the real start of my carving. I was determined to give the animals more detail.

Time for some woodworking

Well, since the title of this Blog is Quilting and Carving I had better start to slip in something about my woodworking and carving. I decided to investigate wood carving about four years ago. I have always worked with wood. Prior to wood carving my efforts in woodworking were in the area of cabinet making. I made lots of larger cabinets for folks and a few select shops. Some were commissioned pieces, while some were sold to the local shops for resale. But since I was a one man operation that meant that I had to talk my wife into helping me move and deliver cabinets. Well, as I got older, the cabinets either got heavier, or I got weaker. The cabinets just got to heavy to handle. But since I really like to work with wood I had to find something smaller to make. The photos, from the left show a custom black cabinet for a quilt and fabric shop, a white Shaker style blanket cabinet, and a computer cabinet.

Friday, October 3, 2008

One of first "Share" quilts with daughter

Tracy (daughter in California) decided to make a quilt for one of the Moda fabrics competitions. Her idea was to make doll dresses for the Hitty doll. Hitty is 6 1/2 inch carved wood doll. The doll dresses would be placed on hangers in the squares on a wall hanging quilt. In one of the squares there would be a detachable 6 1/2 ich fabric doll. Tracy's part of the quilt was to make the doll dresses and the doll. My part was to make and assemble the squares into the lattice, attach the wire hangers, hand quilt. Yes, you probably noticed that I did not mention binding. Since the binding was my responsibility, I paid to have it done, with the pledge that I would learn to do it myself.
This little interactive quilt may not have won the big prize, but it did win in the local shop where it was displayed, and did take first place in the only show it was entered.

One of first full size quilts made

This quilt is not a true crazy quilt. I called it a "cheaters" crazy quilt. It's all top stitched with a ziz zag stitch. I started out makin the large squares with the individual pieces overlapped and top stitched with a zig zag stitch. Next I trimmed each of the large squares by using a template. I had to do this step to make sure all the large squares were the exactly the same size. Then I cut all the large squares into four equal quarters, and put all the quarters into a bag. Finally, you shake up the bag and then pick four quarters from the bag and lay them out as a larger square. Sew the four quarters together (with a 1/4 inch seam) to form the larger square. Then assemble the larger squares into the finished quilt top, using the 1/4 inch seam. I am sure you all know the rest of the drill. Find someone with a longarm quilting machine that works for nothing and have it quilted with a meander quilting pattern. And finally, since this was my first full size quilt, and I had no idea how to attach a binding; paid someone to do it for me.

This quilt is a good first project for someone who has little or no experience drivin a sewing machine. It is also made a lot easier to assemble when you use a template to trim all the squares prior to assembly.

The beginnins...

Actually there was a transition between woodworking and quilting. Maybe "transition" is not the best word to describe my first attempts at quilting. Maybe the word "crossover" quilt is more accurate. My first quilt was a wood quilt. If you stop and think about it, there are many steps in quilt making that are the same regardless whether you cut and assemble the quilt from wood or fabric. If you think I'm going to post a photo of the first fabric quilt I made, you'd be wrong. The first fabric quilt was a lap sized quilt that included a Noahs Ark surrounded by animal blocks. Suffice it to say that this first quilt attempt is now a furniture moving pad.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Quiltin and Carvin


This blog is a collabrative effort. That means more than one person may be adding copy and might be featured. Certainly more than one person will be involved until it gets off the ground. The two folks here are father and daughter. Me, I'm the father. My name is Tom, and my daughters name is Tracy. Tracy is a wife, mother, school teacher, and a quilter. Tracy is also very persuasive, in that she convinced me to start quilting. You know, that creative outlet thing that some of us has going. So I added quilting to woodworking and woodcarving, my other creative outlets Me; I'm retired, have been since 1990. I know, you're probably counting backwards about now. I'll help you all out - I am not that old. I retired when I was 51 years old. Well heck; I am old. I am always carving and usually have a quilt is some phase of progress. Whenever possible Tracy and I make a quilt together. This is really fun since she lives in southern California, and I in Ohio. Tip of the day - Invest in the UPS; as we have packages going back and forth all the time. I suppose that there is more about us in our profiles.