Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pi Phi! Oh my! 'Cause them angels look so fly!

This queen-sized quilt was made for an alumna of Wake Forest who is now a law student at William and Mary.  As you can see, she also is a member of the Pi Beta Phi woman's fraternity.  Yay, Monmouth Duo!! 

This quilt incorporated some unusual fabrics. The Wake Forest fans wave around a Rally Rag (lowest row, center) at the games.  This is a small terrycloth towel. Apparently by joining the Screamin' Demons. students can pay $30 per season to sit in the student section of the athletic arenas.  They are given the black and gold tie-dye shirt (top right-hand corner) to wear at the games.


I cut the greek letters from the extra fabric of the Screamin' Demon shirt. These letters are the same size as the letters that you would see a sorority girl wear on a sweatshirt or jersey. I satin-stitched both the white outline fabric and the Screamin Demon fabric with a stabilizer. The grey was from the back of one of the grey shirts used in the quilt

As usual, I kept anything 3-D on the blocks if possible.  I was able to retain the pocket on the hoodie block and the drawstring and buttons on the lounge pants.. I used surplus fabric from the lounge pants to make the large WF block.

The neckerchief  (center) had a very large design so it needed to be cut no smaller than 18" x 18".  T-shirt quilt blocks are usually 15" x 15" so I had to find 4 shirts that would lend themselves to be longer than normal and four that could be wider.  The fabric I chose for the sashing, borders, and binding was mostly black and gold but with touches of mauve and grayish-blue which are close to the Wine and Silver Blue of Pi Beta Phi.  I quilted this fabric with a light yellow thread which gave it a cloisonné look.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

To All The Mothers And The Sisters And The Wives And Friends I Want To Offer My Love And Respect To The End

I posted about my dear Kappa Needleworkers over a year ago.  Our group recently finished yet another one of our fabulous Raffle Quilts. This queen-sized quilt with its bold plaid thistles not only speaks to me as a sister of KKG, but as a Carnegie Mellon Tartan as well.

The quilt took 3.5 years to complete.  Our group only meets once a month so much of the handwork is done at home.  The thistles are all hand-appliqued  and embroidered with a buttonhole stitch.  It is machine-pieced and machine-quilted.

The proceeds from the yearlong raffle will go towards the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My name's D.M.C. with the mic in my hand And I'm chilling and coolin' just like a snowman

My building is having a holiday door decorating contest.  Since we have people of various faiths at our site, I wanted to decorate doors with a variety of images.  The boss gave me a budget and let me go shopping during a time when I would normally be in the office.

Door 1 is in homage to Kamikazi Carl and his love of snowboarding.    You will see that St. Nick is also an avid X-gamer.

Put on your yarmulke, it's time for Chanukah! Door 2 is honoring the Festival of Lights.

And the entry that we hope will win:

My co-worker is so clever.  She said she was going to add gingerbread men but the fact that they are all wearing college shirts is just too cute. And I love the expression on Santa Gorlock... 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Ready one, you will do this four times with the left, four with the right, then eight times with both, then repeat"

I don't often get to see the quilts being enjoyed by their intended recipients so I am delighted to repeat this quilt since there is a delightful little addition to the picture! 

Since Kitty Kat (no idea if her parents would approve of this nickname for their darling)  Katelyn was born on Cinqo de Mayo, she must be almost 7 months old if the photograph was taken recently.  Her mom even coordinated her outfit to match the quilt. She is too cute for words!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Groovy UV?

Hey look me over, rate me a 10
Fill up my beer teacup and I'll chug it down sip daintily again
They say I'm a Kappa, womanly and true,
But wait a minute, I'll ask my mom to see what I can do!

This quilt was made for an illustrious alumna of the University of Vermont.  She is also an alumna member of Kappa Kappa Gamma (yay!).    There were only 5 shirts in total and 3 of them were youth sizes.  One of the Kappa designs was actually from a sleeve.   So I needed a design that used bigger blocks as compared to the usual sashing method.  I used the same design as I used for the Be Prepared Quilt for the Scoutmaster.  This elongated Moon over the Mountain pattern is perfect for a Catamount quilt as Vermont is the Green Mountain state. 

UVM's colors are green and gold. Vermont is known for the cold, snowy winters (that plus the mountains equate to excellent skiing) so I chose a snowy grey Hoffman fabric for the background of the big blocks.  The greens are varied but Ione is a Jinny Beyer fabric and another is a  Debbie Mumm print.  Like the Scoutmaster quilt, I sewed buttons at the base of the triangles.  Again tying in the UVM colors, I used green buttons with gold thread.

I reverse-appliqued all the t-shirts into the larger triangles.   I was thrilled to match the border fabric. Not only does it have green and gold, there are grey owls all over.  Too perfect!

One final homage to Kappas everywhere:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hey Adam, this is Manisha. Hey Mike, this is Manisha. Hey Adam, this is Manisha....

This quilt was made for a wonderful PA in the NNMC Plastic Surgery Department to celebrate the birth of her new little girl.  Manisha Patel did my fipple tattoos and in general has been an excellent support in this very long reconstruction process. PA Patel is apparently named after the Hindu goddess of the mind, a very apt name for someone who works in medicine.

The quilt is a basic 9-patch with sashing.  The pink squares are from a juvenile-print flannel with little boy and girl figures.  The yellow sashing is from a 30's fabric.  The graph-paper fabric has lots of lovely creatures including purple worms (as close as I could find to leeches).  The turquise sashing has brightly colored alphabet letters shown in a puffy font.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The sun is beating down on my baseball hat The air is gettin' hot, the beer is getting flat

This sports-themed tshirt quilt was designed as a gift for the WashU head coach of the baseball team.  Steve Duncan was an assistant coach at Johns Hopkins and is now heading the team at Washington University in St. Louis.  Obviously HE doesn't have to worry about his players not being true student-athletes! :)

The giver of the quilt had a big hand in designing it.  After much brainstorming and emailing of sketches and fonts, we came up with this baseball field design. I handwashed the pennant several times in very hot water to preshrink it and make it more colorfast. However, I would not wash this quilt in the machine as the felt pennant is really not washable according to the manufacturer and my expert quilting buddies.  I was able to find a great fabric for the back in keeping with the theme.

Friday, September 10, 2010

And no, I didn't retire, I'll snatch you up with the needle-nose pliers

The recipient of this quilt actually DID retire so the university commissioned a commemorative quilt for her retirement.  The picture isn't wonderful as we photographed it in a crowded office and the person holding the quilt didn't have much space to stretch out her arms but it will have to do.

The white squares were cut from canvas tote bags. The original bag print was just navy blue so I colored all 8 Gorlocks to provide a bit more visual interest.  Half of the squares are on point and half are not. Webster colors are blue and gold so that was the obvious color choice for the coordinates.  I used an 8-pointed star design for the gold and then a dark blue with little bits of gold for the border.  As I do with all machine-quilted projects, I quilted in the ditch to stabilize the layers and then stippled everything.

Webster University was founded as a  Catholic women's college by the Sisters of Loretto.  Nearly half a century later, they went co-ed and secular.

Monday, August 23, 2010

So kick off your shoes and put on your swim fins Cause when it comes to quarries I'm known to swim

This totebag was made for a coach of the Cottontail Cobias, one of the many teams in the Northern Virginia Swim League. Like I do with all my bags, I appliqued pockets on the inside for a cell phone and other accoutrements.

I used a Cobia t-shirt and a fish-themed batik print for the exterior. Yellow and blue fabrics were coordinated for the interior.  The Cobia shirt was reverse-appliqued into the batik.  The entire bag was machine-quilted.

Factoid of the day:  The Cobia is also known as Rachycentron canadum. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I said "Doc, what's the condition? I'm a man that's on a mission."

This quilt was made for my NNMC oncologist who (despite looking like a teenager) recently had her 4th baby!  She and her cardiologist husband are both Georgetown Medical School graduates and I just happened to have an ancient Georgetown toddler tshirt in my stash.  I don't know why it was in my stash but it was there. I think it was bought for my oldest when she was being seen at Walter Reed at age 2. The fact that I still had many moves later it is another story...

Since this was designed to be a juvenile print for a baby boy, I added bright bug fabric as well as planetary object fabric.  These prints also came from my stash. :)

 I machine-quilted this quilt with a bright, variegated thread as seen in the close-up picture below.

 Hoya Saxa!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Kitty Kat Katelyn

My cousin's wife recently had a baby girl on Cinqo de Mayo.  I rarely start baby quilts before the birth as I like making gender-specific baby quilts.  Unfortunately on May 6, I broke my hand which made sewing very difficult. So the baby quilt was late but since the baby was early, she got it around her official due date.

The family has a couple of cats as pets, so I made sure to use a girly feline fabric as the focus.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Poppy Pocketbook for a Marine Mom

From the halls of Montezuma,
To the shores of Tripoli...

This is a new design called the Poppy.  It is a rounded purse with a shorter strap.  This Poppy was commissioned by a very proud mom of a new Marine.  She liked bright peacock colors for the coordinating fabric.  The side with the US Marine tape actually has the marine emblem embroidered on the pocket.   The pockets were sewn on the diagonal on the uniform but straight on the Poppy so the symbol is now tilted.

The other side of course was appliqued with the surname nametape.


The Poppy shape was a challenge and it definitely made me think outside of the box.  I like to push the boundaries so I am glad I had the opportunity to do so.

Monday, June 7, 2010

So don't see a doctor or see a nurse. Just listen to the music, first things first. First of all get off the wall. It's time to party so have a ball.

This quilt is for one of my favorite physicians at NNMC.  Dr. Stanley Okoro was my plastic surgeon of choice for several procedures I had over the last 12 months, a DIEP, a LAT flap, and fipples (he insists on calling them real).  It's been a long road to recovery but I am almost fully back to normal. Dr. Okoro recently resigned his Navy commission and has opened up a private practice in Atlanta, GA.  Unlike many surgeons, he was very responsive not just to me, but to my family members as well.

The quilt was designed to reflect Stanley's Navy career as well as the new practice upon which he is about to set forth.  The center block is a commercial large-scale print of the crest of the Department of the Navy.  The middle borders are simple rectangles of patriotic red, white, and blue fabrics.  The exterior border of blocks actually spell DR STANLEY OKORO MD in signal flags. Several of the fabrics have motifs that I considered to be very relevant.  As I mentioned, there is the Navy square.  I also used Atlanta Braves fabric (new home of the Okoros), gold coins ( to wish him a lucrative, successful civilian practice), scissors fabric (they look like hemostats).

I took a couple of motifs from the Georgia Plastic logo to use as quilting designs.

I quilted the 12-petal circular design around the Department of the Navy logo.

Since Atlanta is somewhat landlocked and not every Georgian recognizes the maritime alphabet, I quilted the corresponding letter into the respective signal flag blocks.  Instead of quilting the matching font of the letter O, I used the Georgia Plastic motif of the arched women.

Because my recovery was so wrought with crazy complications and I had to come back to Plastics again and again, Dr.Okoro and I were able to develop a flippant cameraderie beyond the normal patient-doctor paradigm.  He knew I was a quilter as he found me sewing binding or applique while I was waiting in the examining room. We teased each other about whose stitches were more uniform and invisible (uh, that would be me! :) ).  Although I know he will never show this to his colleagues let alone prospective patients, I inked a fairly detailed label that highlights the quilt and its symbolism as well as my complications and radical treatments..

The blurb is just the explanation of fabric and quilting motif choices. The design on the right depicts a vat of leeches; each of whom are holding a flag or pennant of Stanley Okoro's various affiliations.

This is longer than my usual entries so it is time to sign off!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Webster Watercress

This is another Watercress quilt.  The intended recipient was an employee of Webster University and had been recently diagnosed with cancer.  The quilt was originally going to be made for him to take to his chemo treatments (chemo patients get very cold even with the warmed blankets).  Tragically, the Webster employee died before he even underwent his first treatment so I changed the plan a bit by now intending it for his family.  I had his fellow faculty and staff members sign the center block so that the family will know how much these Gorlocks enjoyed working with this individual.

The center block is made from a canvas tote bag.  The Webster mascot in the middle is the Gorlock, a hybrid of a cheetah, St. Bernard, and other creatures.  The shirts are from the most recent Webster Works Worldwide Day.  Webster has many satellite campuses all over the USA, Europe and Asia as well as its flagship school in St. Louis.   Every year, each of the campuses donates a day to a local charity.  The large yellow and blue squares were added so the quilt could be a 3 x 3 grid.

The quilt looks a bit skewed as my niece is holding it.  Usually I hang a quilt on a photographer's backdrop pole as it will be nice and square.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Be Prepared

Be Prepared,
That's the Boy Scout's Fighting Song
Be Prepared
As through life you march along....

This quilt was made for a Scoutmaster who was passing on the torch after 4 years of leadership.  I incorporated 3 Scout Class A shirts, a Class B shirt, a pair of the old twill pants, and two pairs of twill shorts, as well as neckerchiefs, patches, etc.

The design is an elongated Moon over the Mountain design. I appliqued the patches on the Mountains (or  Scout tents :) ).  The borders are made from the shorts and pants. I kept the pockets/buttons on all the clothes to add visual interest to the quilt.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

University of Notre Dame

Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame
Wake up the echoes cheering her name

This Fighting Irish Tarragon Twin incorporated 20 shirts that an avid alumnus had given to his niece's children throughout the years. Because the generous uncle had outfitted the kids at a very young age, several of the shirts were too small for a 15" by 15" block so I framed them with coordinating backs from other shirts. We were short two Notre Dame shirts for a 4 x 5 quilt so 2 generic Ireland shirts were added to the bottom.  I kept two of the hoodies intact with the pockets which made them very long blocks. That was not an issue as two shirts lent themselves to be shorter blocks.

One of the short blocks was a baseball henley shirt which had the buttons at the neckline. Like the other Tarragon depicted in this blog, I retained the buttons to add some visual interest. The client even supplied a child-sized sweater with the ND monogram.

I incorporated a great flannel that was navy blue, bright yellow and kelly green for the sashing. The binding was made from a blue Moda cotton with little yellow hearts. The client wanted a scrappy back so I used various shamrock prints as well as a football motif.

There are so many great trivia stories about Notre Dame, I would not know where to begin.  One thing that impressed me about this institution is that not only are all the dorms still single-sex, there are still parietal hours in place!

And yes, the trivia 1926, my alma mater Carnegie Mellon, then-named Carnegie Tech, had a football team that beat Knute Rockne's Notre Dame Fighting Irish 19-0.  Apparently this game was ranked the fourth-greatest upset in college football history.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sampler Quilt

This beauty was made by my fellow members of the Worker Bees and Playing Outside the Block Quilt Bees.  It was given to me when I was recovering from surgery.  Some blocks that are particularly symbolic are the appliqued turtle that signifies longevity, the Chinese character that means health (although to my mathematical mind it looks like a Pi), the Medical Issue ribbon.  I was so touched when I received this. It came with me during chemo treatments.  The nurses give you blankets straight from a warmer but a quilt made by friends is even better.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Monmouth Duo!

Here is a link to the Schlep Bag by Sentimental Stitches.  It was one of the first bags I ever attempted and I was very pleased with the results. A quilt guild member displayed her Schlep bag during show-and-tell and then by the next meeting at least 5 other members had obviously been inspired as they showed their versions.

I made 2 versions, one for my favorite Pi Phi and a Kappa version for me.  Yes, we have the Monmouth Duo in our family as my sister and I are both Kappa Kappa Gamma ( ΚΚΓ) alumnae and my oldest is a Pi Beta Phi (ΠΒΦ)active.

The Pi Beta Phi-themed bag had a deep red print with pearls strewn across it (very appropriate for a school where the coeds wear pearls to the gym!), specific Pi Phi fabric with letters and arrows, a Marcus Brothers 30's reproduction fabric with little winged hearts and arrows, and finally, a light blue South Seas Imports fabric with carnations.  The lining of the bag used fabrics with angel motifs.

The Kappa Kappa Gamma-themed bag used a tone-on-tone navy print, a Timeless Treasures print that depicted owls against a deep blue sky. specific Kappa fabric with letters and keys, and then a tone-on-tone print with little fleur-de-lis.  The lining fabrics were random blues. 

Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi were both founded at Monmouth College in the 1800s, hence the name Monmouth Duo.