Friday, December 06, 2019

Giving Away Quilts

Recently I decided that I own way too many quilts. Most of what I make is for donation to charities, but occasionally I will keep a quilt for our household. I had not noticed that the number of "keeps" was getting quite high -- so many that we couldn't possibly use them all. Therefore I decided to give some away, and let me tell you, it was SUPER FUN!

I took some with me to our Thanksgiving gathering and offered them to my nieces and others. To be honest, I was surprised at how happy they were to choose a quilt from the pile. It was fun for me to watch.

Nieces and my first-cousin-once-removed

Next I sent this one to a former co-worker. I knew she would be blown away. She always has the nicest comments about my quilts, but never in a million years thought I would send her one. I sent her this artsy one that seemed to be her favorite style. This is what she said on Facebook:
When an old (as in, from long ago) friend makes and gifts you a *perfect,* GORGEOUS, exactly-you quilt just out of the blue (pun only partly intended) and for no particular reason other than she’s amazing...OMG, Carol! *T*H*A*N*K* *Y*O*U*!!!

Then she changed her Facebook profile picture to this one, with the following caption:
The amazing Carol Egan made this for my Human. I know. I can’t believe it, either.

Then I sent this one to an old (as in, from long ago) - [see how I borrowed the above person's wording?] - friend from high school days. She is also a quilter, so it's not that she needed a quilt from me. I just wanted to communicate my appreciation of her, and this more traditional pattern seemed right, in my mind, for her. There's even a block that says "I love quilting," appropriate for her.

And finally I sent these two quilts, along with some other gifts and supplies for Christmas, to Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.

This was surprisingly fun and satisfying for me. I recommend it! Do you have a pile of quilts not being used? Try surprising people with the gift of a quilt. They and you will have a blast.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Book Review: The Dutch House

I definitely got lucky! I went to the library and found The Dutch House by Ann Patchett on the Lucky U shelf. This is highly sought-after books that one can borrow for only one week. I was on a waiting list for this book but was well over patron #150 on the waiting list. So finding it on the Lucky U shelf was quite a coup. I read it so quickly that I will be able to get it right back to the library and into some other lucky person's grasp.

I read this book in 24 hours. It is fabulous. The story covers a family over a time span of about 50 years. The story explores issues of inheritance, family values, how much do our family experiences shape us or haunt us, do we always live in their shadow or can we transcend where we come from, forgiveness, gaining insight into oneself, etc. I loved the characters and their ups and downs. I loved the family saga that also had its ups and downs.. so much to relate to and think about. Very well-written book to which I award five of five stars.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Stuff I Have Been Doing

In early October I had two quilts hanging in a local show. I took pictures, but then I got a new phone and managed to lose a whole ton of pictures in the process. Boo hoo. This is one of the quilts I hung (and that you have seen before). I wish I could show you some of the other beauties that were in the show.

In mid-October I helped with a "vacation Bible school" type event at our church. It took place during two traditional school days off when parents sometimes have trouble finding places for their kids on two work days. There were several fun activities and meals/snacks.

I have been sewing as I can fit it in, as usual. Two baby quilts and an unquilted top:

Lotto blocks for Sunshine:

My cousin started a new quilting group at her church, and I attended. I think I will be a regular participant; we'll see. Here are some pictures from Show and Tell at our first meeting.

Last week I was on a retreat with friends. I got a lot of tops put together; most had been prepped but never completely sewn together. It felt good to get them done.

And I have been reading! I had to do some marathon reading this weekend, to start and finish the book that my book club will discuss this week. I finished it today. Whew!

That's all for now, folks!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Book Review: The Girls are Gone

The Girls are Gone by Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann

This could have been an interesting story, but... reading it was a slog. Most of the book is detailed accounts of very messed up and convoluted court appearances. A seemingly happy family spirals into chaos when the mom decides to get a divorce and spews incorrect, harmful, and disdainful stories mostly about her ex-husband but even some about her own kids. Her attorney is on her same level of craziness. It's a mess for years as they fight for custody of the kids. For well over two years, two of the five children are abducted and hidden.

I felt voyeuristic, nosing into the details of this chaotic situation, especially since the family lives in a suburb not too far from me. I feel bad knowing all the dirty dealings that happened within their family (99.9% perpetrated by the mom). I also was bored with all the lengthy court descriptions, many times told in verbatim conversations. I skimmed over a lot of it.

An unsettling side point: the mom's ineffective/dishonest attorney is still practicing law in Minnesota. I don't understand why she has not been disbarred.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Thank You, Long Arm Quilters!

I love quilters who have long arms! Don't you? Of course, I mean long-arm quilting machines.

Another long-armer has volunteered to finish some tops. These will be going to Wrap-a-Smile. I so appreciate offers like this, because I enjoy making tops but not finishing the quilts. I do what I can to finish some, but I'm slow and very basic, and I can't afford to send them all out to be done professionally. So I rely on volunteer long-arm quilters to help save the day. When a new long-arm volunteer steps forward, I rejoice!

Today I sent these four tops to our new volunteer:


Mendota (made at the Sunshine retreat last June)

8-patch (I copied a block I saw at Covered With Love blog)

Random (made from leftover squares)

Also, my cousin has a new long-arm and is helping. I sent her this one recently. It is for Quilts Beyond Borders:

When these quilts are done, I will bind them and send them off to cuddle some kids.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Make a Quilt -- Win a Prize!

I have a new job! I am the Fat Quarter Challenge quilt coordinator for Quilts Beyond Borders (QBB)! Anyone can join the fun!

QBB delivers quilts to children in underserved areas around the world, often orphanages or shelters. They started several years ago in Ethiopia and have branched out to many others since their beginning. Some places I am aware of that have received quilts: shelters both in the U.S. and around the world, schools in needy areas, refugees, Navajo people in the U.S., orphanage in Ethiopia, and there are many more initiatives. They are a well organized and impressive group of volunteers.

Here's how the Fat Quarter Challenge (FQC) works:

1. Use one of your own fat quarters, or I can send you a FQ, or if you happen to attend Quilt Festival in Houston, pick up a FQC kit at the QBB booth!

2. Use the FQ and other fabrics of your choice (100% cotton) and make a quilt that is approximately 40" x 60". Any pattern goes.

3. Machine quilt and machine bind the quilt. Include your name, phone number, and email address. Then send it to me! I will give you my address when you are ready to send. Let me know at my email address: merryhands(at)gmail(dot)com

4. Send in the quilt any time between November 1, 2019 and October 31, 2020. Your name goes into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop, a very nice online store that has supported QBB over the years.

5. Here's the good part -- your name STAYS in the drawing. You have a chance to win any month beginning with the month in which you submit your quilt. You could potentially win more than one month! So early submission gives you better chances of winning.

6. At the end of the year, one person wins $100 cash!

The real winners are the kids who will receive and love your beautiful quilts, but it is fun to have the possibility of a little prize for you as well, don't you think?

I made a FQC quilt this year, but as the coordinator, I am not eligible for the prize. That's OK, because some child or teen will enjoy this quilt, and I had fun making it. The pattern is (I forgot the name) by M'liss Rae Hawley. She has a lot of patterns that are FQ friendly. If you need ideas, check her out. Or just make anything you like to make: pinwheels, nine patches, your favorite star patterns, etc etc. There is also a link to free patterns on the bottom of the Fat Quarter Shop home page. Check that out.

Here is the quilt I made last year:
Here is my FQC quilt from 21017. It measured 48" x 72" which is fine for some of the teen/adult programs that come along. Quilts don't have to be exactly 40" x 60" but it's a good guide to shoot for.

You may notice that I'm not a fancy quilter. You don't have to be! I usually do straight lines or stitch-in-the-ditch quilting, and that is FINE. It doesn't have to be fancy for a kid to love it. (Of course, we do try to make them beautiful, as all people deserve some enjoyment of color and art. I'm trying to reassure you that it doesn't have to be a fancy pattern or fancy quilting in order to be loved.)

Here are some adorable kids receiving quilts:

ASK if you have questions. I would love to see a lot of you wonderful readers participate in this fun challenge.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Book Review: The Sun Does Shine

The Sun Does Shine, How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton

Anthony Ray Hinton was innocent but was egregiously convicted of murder and lived on death row for many years. Throughout his ordeal, he was determined to not let the experience poison his spirit and soul. He is an amazing man! This book was fascinating and upsetting and of the best I have read this year.

an unrelated picture