Waggons West Etsy Shop

Thursday, May 31, 2012

New York FOODY!

I know you wanted a "New York Beauty"
But I have created this "New York FOODY"
Banans and lemons by the score;
Fresh watermelon from the store,
Cucumbers and berries, both purple and blue;
Peppers and carrots are in there too.
I had fun as you requested
Though at times my patience was tested.
I hope you like this slice of New York
Because this poem makes me sound like a dork.

Look what came in the mail today!!!! A beautiful New York Foody quilt.  It was made for me by Warped Hooker as part of the MAQS 5 Swap on Craftster.  You have to check out the gallery for more amazing quilts, but none as cool as mine. 
 I love this section with the cucumbers and blueberries.  Near the top of the picture you can see WH's beautiful hand quilting. 

 And look at those raspberries...  a food fireworks display.  You can see the striped binding.  It encases some sort of hoop that holds the whole thing in shape. 
Here is the whole thing again on my table in my living room.  It makes me happy to look at it.  Thank you so much WH!!!!!

*Spud 3 wasn't going to let me open the package because I haven't shipped finished the one I am making for her.  But he relented when I showed him the note from WH that said she couldn't wait to see if I liked it. 
** Poem accompanied the quilt! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Comforter or Quilt.

There was a lot of discussion about my question last week.  I had introduced the idea that my grandmother always made a distinction between quilts and comforters.  For her, a quilt was something that was pieced and then hand quilted on the frame.  A comforter was either whole cloth or simply pieced but they were tied at intervals, usually with yarn. 

For most folks it seemed that there is a modern interpretation that conflates comforter with duvet.  Most said that a comforter had higher loft, fewer stitches or ties and was generally purchased in a store.  There was also general agreement that a quilt was pieced and most agreed that it could be either quilted or tied.  If there is some reason for a distinction, it gets a little hairy with whole cloth, although I can't imagine anyone would refuse to call a whole cloth with fabulous stitching a quilt.

The bottom line from my unscientific survey is that most people don't much care if there is a distinction.  Furthermore, I am going to start suppressing the little twinge that occurs when I call one of my tied comforters a quilt. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Summer Starts Here

Actually this picture of Spud 2 is called Skipping September since it was taken on a beautiful Fall day. Which makes it a good picture for those of you welcoming Autumn.  Happy change of seasons. 


The winner of the Sunpaint fabric in the post Tie dyed, tied or quilted is Stars and Sunshine. 
beautiful! I usually think of anything with a pieced top as a quilt :)
I've sent an email and am awaiting your address.

The Random Drawing winner of the first badge is Gill

I'm in the UK and I've never heard the term comforter used here! so I call everything quilts!

My pick was Cherie.  A girl after my own heart!

I think mine should be for procrastinating a lot! I get caught up in so many things I sometimes forget what I started =D
And the Spuds (plus dad) picked Kess.  I think it was a combination of remembering when I was trying to sea urchins alive and the fact that they have been pestering me to make the crab badge. 
Well, I think I just earned the "Crab" badge. I'm a biology major in university and just hatched a large batch of crab eggs, which is super exciting. Now I just have to keep them alive long enough to turn into actual crabs!
I also thing I earned at least one bird badge.
Thanks for the giveaway!
 Thank you to everyone for stopping by and playing.  Again, I will post as summary of the quilts versus comforter conversation in a couple days.  For the winners, check your email and send me your address so I can get your prizes on their way.

Friday, May 25, 2012

National Hamburger Month

Who knew May is National Hamburger Month.   And my wee little hamburger patch was linked at Craft.  Be sure to check out the other cool hamburger projects there including the knitted hamburger wall art and the crochet hamburger dress


If you could only pick one project to represent your craft skills, how would you choose it? 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Putting the Pieces Together

I know my table is a mess and there are more projects jumbled together than I can cope with, but there is just something completely satisfying about putting the pieces together and seeing the whole quilt pour off the end of my machine.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sew Mama Sew Give Away II: Badge!

The Giveaway is officially closed. Winners will be announced Saturday.   I can't wait to get started picking out the right badges for them.  Thanks for visiting.

Hello.  Welcome to Giveaway Day sponsored by the find folks at Sew Mama Sew.  Actually, this is Giveaway Day part 2.  This one is for some badges.  

I make badges.  I call them Merit Badges, because you earned it.

 They are made out of upcycled Denim.  I use old blue jeans to cut the blanks. 

Most of them are 2 inches in diameter.  About the size of the typical merit badges you are probably used to seeing and/or earning. 

Some of them are a bit smaller.  They are the perfect size for you little bag or your 18 inch doll. 

 Most of my badges are made win an iron-on backing.  They are ready to patch your jeans or to show off on your messenger bag.  There are a lot of places that need a little color and a little badge. 

 I make badges for the different seasons and holidays. 
Spring is the perfect time to give your favorite gardener a wheelbarrow award. 

I make badges to represent careers or favorite toys.  

I make badges to document wildlife or zoo animals or favorite pets.

I can customize badges for just about any occasion.  I've been making Graduation year badges in school colors lately. 

I've even been making some pretty interesting custom badges.  All of them use upcycled materials.  If I could figure out how to upcycle the thread I'd do that too!

I mostly make badges that amuse me.   Thus you see merit badges for wine and other adult beverages plus lots internet memes and just plain goofy things.  I am always looking for more ideas. 

What I am giving away today are 3 badges one to each of three winners.   I will choose your badge based on how you answer the question.

First the 'rules'.
1.  To enter, leave a comment answering the question "What merit badge have you earned?"
2.  The contest will close on May 25.
3.  I will choose one winner based on the answer to the question.  I will let the spuds choose one winner the same way.  The third winner will be chosen randomly.
4. All winners will be notified on May 26 and badges will be mailed as soon as I get your address.
5.  Be sure to check out the other great giveaways at the Sew Mama Sew Blog.  

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope to see you again some day.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Give Away Day: Dyed. Quilted or Tied?


The Giveaway is officially closed.  The winner will be announced on Saturday.  Thanks for visiting.

The fine folks at Sew Mama Sew are hosting a give away day week.  It promises to be a great time to wander around the sewing blogosphere and see what everyone is doing.  I'm going to jump in on the fun with a wee offering of some sun painted fabric. 

I am offering a piece of hand dyed/painted 100% cotton muslin.  It measures 11 inches by 36 inches.  The colors are purple, turquoise and fuschia.  Some sections of the panel are vibrant.  Others are more muted. 

Sunpainted fabric uses a technique discovered in the South Seas.  Paint is applied to the fabric.  Leaves and other decorative objects are placed on to it and it is left to dry.  The sun works its magic and impressions are left behind.

The sun works its magic and impressions are left behind.  The colors are heat set and hold up well to washing.  I have a t-shirt I've been wearing and washing for almost 10 years now and it still looks vibrant. 

To win this fabric, you will need to answer a simple question for me.  It is something I've struggled with for a while now.  My grandmother always made a distinction between quilts and comforters.  Quilts were pieced or appliqued and hand quilted.  Quilts were made for special occasions.  Comforters were usually simple blocks sewn together.  They were tied with yarn and made for every day use.  Everyone of us has one special quilt and a stack of comforters.

Now-a-days on the internet I see a lot of tied "quilts".  They are beautifully pieced tops.  Often they have complex patterns.  Yet they are tied.  Given my background, I want to call them comforters rather than quilts. (Let me clarify. I am not drawing some sort of snobby distinction between the two.   I think that anything that is pieced is a beautiful work of art.  I have certainly made a lot of tied quilts and called them that.  The spuds actually prefer tied to quilted because they say they are softer and snuggle better.  I am simply wondering if there is a technical or general distinction between the two and if it matters.)

What I want to know is if there is a difference between the two?  Is it still a quilt if it is tied or is a comforter?  Does it matter?  Does anyone care?  Weigh in in the comments.  Entries will stay open until 3pm Central time on May 25.  I will choose a winner as soon after that as I am able.  (I will choose the winner by random.) 

Thanks for stopping by and thanks to Sew Mama Sew for setting this giveaway in motion. 

Be sure to check out all the rest of the fabulous giveaways being hosted as part of Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day. 

(Two quick points of clarification added.)

The Teddy Bear's Picnic Blanket.

Teddy Bear's Picnic

I've been quilting for quite awhile now.   My grandmother was a serious quilter but as I grew up and she grew older she made comforters.  Quilt tops that were tied and not quilted.  I started making comforters when my kids were small.  We made a lot of comforters for them and for all of the other babies that were happening around us.  I say we, because my husband was directly involved in the pattern design, cutting and hand sewing of the binding.

Corners on the binding. 

When we started, I wasn't really aware of the world of quilting.  I knew that there were the county fair quilters.  The ladies who had been quilting forever, could make tiny stitches and just seemed to hatch full blown quilters,  For the rest, I understood you went to the fabric store, picked out 5 fabrics that looked good together and cut it up.

Strips all sewn in order.

I talked my husband into doing the cutting because I kept getting smileys in the strips.  He cut some strips and blocks and decided there had to be a better way.  As a mathematician he figured out a plan.

The cheerful apple backing to match the apple picking bears.
 We would sew the five fabric strips together.  Then we he cut them in half and I sewed them together.  We would repeat this until we had one giant long stretch of blocks all the right width and all sewn together.  The quilt race quilts remind me of this process in reverse.  Once we had the strip of blocks we would count and rip the seams to get strips of the same length. They were all carefully offset to get the proper arrangement of blocks on the quilt.  The shorter segments were then sewn together into a panel.  We would make enough panels to build a quilt of the size we wanted.

Worn binding.

This quilt is the very first one we made.  We made it shortly after the birth of Spud 1.  It was our playmat/baby blanket/picnic blanket for many years.  You can see from the binding that it has been through the wringer a few times.  The double blocks are there because we really didn't know what else to do with it.

Some of the better corners!
A closer look at this quilt will show the mismatched corners and lots of other amateur mistakes.  I didn't know how to do the binding.  I had heard of a quilt shop in a nearby town.  I'd never been into one before, but my friend assured me that they would be able to answer my questions.

It is clear that the ladies in that shop were dedicated to increasing the number of quilters.  They took one look at my top and saw the possibilities along with the flaws.  When I asked how to match up the corners, the explained how to iron the seams in opposite directions.  When I asked if I should rip it all out and make it work better they said, "finish it up and move on".

The Teddy Bear's picnic blanket. 
Those were the the best words of advice they could have given me.  Because they were encouraging, I did just that.  I finished it up and I moved on.  I have a funny, lopsided quilt that we used and loved for years.  I learned a lot from that quilt.  But mostly those sweet ladies gave me the confidence to take on the next project.    A lot of next projects.  Thank you ladies! 

 Linked to the Bloggers Quilt Festival. 

Amy's Creative Side

Everything Old is New Again

I get a Martha Stewart Craft email every day.  Since I've spent time on the website, I usually don't bother clicking through, as I recognize many of the projects.  Today I had to.  It was for making a braided octopus doll.  My sister had or made one of those when we were kids, about a bajillion years ago. 

What are we going to do when everything is digital and we've gone through or thrown out all those years worth of craft books? 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ready for the Binding

Barn Quilt Detail

You may recall, I started this little barn quilt in response to a prompt from Project Quilting.  I read through the description of barn quilts and could see the whole thing finished in my mind.  I was able to piece it and start a bit of the quilting, but I wasn't able to finish it within the week allotted.  I have been stitching on it off and on ever since.


I've finally finished the quilting.  I decided to leave off the beads -- at least for now.  I am pretty happy with the way it has worked out so far.  I really like the hand-dyed gray fabric I used for the barn.  (It is funny but several of the quilts I see whole in my mind before I start use that fabric.  Not bad for a 2 yard muslin 'rag', Spud 1 grabbed to clean up a kilt dyeing project!) 
Barn and Field
The only thing left at this point is to figure out how to bind it.  My initial vision was to use some red bandanna fabric I have in my stash.  Spud 1, thinks I should do a colorful blanket or whip stitch around the edge.  That idea appeals to me but I can't quite visualize it.  I think I am going to attempt it though.  After all, if it is a total mess, I will still be able to cover it up with the bandanna fabric.


Barn Quilt

I am linking this to the Handmade Parade on the blog There and Back.  The link button in on the side!  Thanks for the opportunity to join in. 

<a href="http://www.kateyz.blogspot.com/" target="_blank"><img alt="There and Back" src="http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l285/kateyz5/TheHandmadeParade.jpg"/></a>

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Handmade Parade

I am going to do my best to keep up with the  Handmade Parade from Katie of There and back. It is a blog I just discovered and a link project that appeals to me, since I seem to be doing more and more hand sewing on my quilt projects.

I've put the little button on the side, but I can't seem to make it work in this post.  Check in tomorrow for my little quilty update.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Create Your Life

Bohemieannie Art Journal Page.  Used with permission.
 The unmarked page is always a challenge.  It holds all the possibles in the universe which can be wiped away by the first touch of pen or pencil.  I'm trying to look at it like teaching...  You labor all day and focus on the ones who don't get it forgetting that you may never know how far a student may travel on the slightest word of encouragement or unintentional inspiration.  Without trying the possibles have no chance and the unheard words remain still.

"Create your life."  That is what my friend Annie always says.   She is an amazing artist who always causes me to think about things in new ways.  Each time I visit her blog I am challenged.  Today I stopped by and found a post loaded with pictures of her latest journal.  An absolutely beautiful work created with things she found.  Things she found after leaving her house on a trip.  She put together a beautiful book made from things that most of us would consider to be trash.* 

Almost at the bottom of the post, Annie talks about her hesitation to actually write in the journal.  She expresses what I think is a common insecurity.  I wrote about it in my second post on this blog, (Sweating Blood.)   I am constantly trying to talk myself into starting a project, putting the first mark on the page, cutting into the piece of fabric, sewing the first stitch.  It is the challenge of rising to the possibilities.  The quote at the top of the page is what I wrote in response to Annie's need to practice her handwriting before starting to write.  I wanted to paste it here so that I could think about it some more and perhaps learn to live it. 

* This is a project concept I am turning over and over, trying to figure out how I can adopt it, adapt it and perhaps share it.  As I said, Annie always makes me think.

Craftster Scouts

My friends over on craftster, particularly Lime Riot, have been having a great time making felt badges.  They even convinced me to play along in a swap.  They came up with the idea to start crafting badges to mark crafting accomplishments (I think to justify their continued playing with felt.)  That lead to an hysterical thread about craftster scouts

The number and variety of off the wall crafting badges has had me in stitches... literally.  I just had to haul out the machine and stitch some up!


As you can tell, I was going quickly and didn't make the best thread choices.  I need to work on the lettering as well but some of them may end up in the shop shortly.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

How Does This Happen?

I mean seriously.  I started with two relatively neat piles on top of the table.  The next thing you know I have this!  And I cropped it to avoid the embarrassment of showing my good scissors in the pile. 

Perhaps A Quilt (or just the ugly underbelly of the beast)

I can't really show you what I am doing because it is supposed to be a surprise.  However, I am going to show you the back of my insane free-piecing adventure.  I am using tear away stabilizer as the foundation because I happen to have quite a bit of it around.  I started tearing away around a 'finished' section to see how difficult it is going to be.  Definitely difficult. 

Even so, I am pretty much convinced that this is a good way to go for this type of piecing because it not only gives me the general guidelines for shape, it also stabilizes the fancy machine stitches.  Without stabilizer they would bunch up the fabric.  I am wondering if wash away wouldn't have been a better choice, although I'm not sure it would have held up for as long as this project is taking me.  I am also wondering about using paper.  I don't know if it would tear easier.  Suggestions?

Thursday, May 10, 2012



I have lots of hand sewing needles.  Lots of them.  But there are a few that I really like.  It seems that when I am hand sewing I manage to give the perfect needle just a twee little bend.  Those little bent needles are perfect for me and I guard them as carefully as I am able, which I am sad to say doesn't mean very much.  Those little sharps must sprout legs and run away! 

I would have been in sad shape as a pioneer.   Each time, I misplace another needle I think of the catastrophe faced by those prairie quilters if they lost or broke their needle.  Singular!  Needle!  I truly do understand the value of a needle.  I understand why so much attention was placed on crafting needle books and needle cases.  I fully intend to make myself a needle book one of these days.  Maybe I will find some one who would like to swap a mug rug or something for one. 

At the moment I use the wattle on one my wee chickens to hold the needles I am using.  It works for now.  

The whole reason I started this post was because I found the packet of needles that I like to use with pearl cotton when I am tying a comforter.  It is a packet of Size 24 Tapestry Needles made by John James.  See, what I'm doing here?  I'm writing down the name and size of my favorite needle in a safe place that is not likely to get lost, like the packet of needles did for about a year and a half! 

So, what is your favorite needle?  How do you keep track of them?  

Quilt Stand

I am always struggling with taking good pictures of my quilts.  One of the biggest problems is finding a way to 'display' them outside in the sunshine.  You may have noticed this rather unique quilt stand from my post about the family reunion quilt. 

It wasn't the most stable quilt stand around.

When the wind picked up it became particularly difficult.

Aaaah.... the secret to my quilt stand.