Saturday, August 31, 2013

NewFO takes on new meaning

Here's post #2 on NewFOs. I've already linked one post with my catch-up NewFOs to Barbara's linky party, but thought I'd better get this one written up and documented while I have them spread all over my living room. You'll see shortly...

This summer, I know I mentioned before, I drove to California. Originally the goal was to get there to see my sister-in-law, Cindy, who was dying of cancer. Unfortunately she passed in May before I could get out there. I went anyway to see my brother and his family, and to deliver my granddaughter Jordyn to her Nana & Papa for her annual summer visit. I also had the 1960s hand died, hand braided rugs that had been in my folks' home loaded into my car to make the trek back to California (I'd brought them with me to Kansas last year). Originally there was the huge one (seen rolled & folded up) that filled our living room for over 50 years, three smaller ones for the entry hall and corner rugs, a long runner for the hallway, and three in blues & greens that were in their bedroom. Between the three of us kids, we split them up when we emptied the house after Dad died in early 2012. As it turns out, my choosing the big one and two small matching ones wasn't so smart--I live in rentals that are typically wall-to-wall carpeted, not to mention there aren't any rooms big enough to accommodate that monster! So, back to California it goes where it will fit nicely (with room to spare) in Wayne's new living room.

We arrived in Fresno the day before Father's Day at my brother's new home--his first "stick built" house ever. Wayne & Cindy had lived in rentals early on, and then a double-wide mobile home for nearly 30 years, always thinking of it as temporary, but life happened and they never got out. With Cindy rapidly failing and desperately to get out of their "tin can" and into a "stick built" house, they and their daughter, Shelly, pooled together and put an offer on a house that was accepted! Cindy only got to drive by and see pictures, but she was happy knowing that Wayne would no longer be tied to the trailer they so desperately wanted out of.

While there, Shelly and I went through Cindy's sewing stuff. I think I can safely say that Cindy was a fabric hoarder! She had boxes, bags, bolts, sometimes full bolts straight from the store! With their move still in process and piles and piles of boxes filling at least half of their huge backyard (the house is on an acre!), we hunted, sometimes by flashlight, to find projects that would need finishing. Shelly is a wiz at the embroidery machine and creats incredible children's fashions and party accessories, but she's not a quilter--yet! Cindy was a meticulous quilter who loved Irish chains and miniatures. After a long day of sorting and organizing, we filled four cartons with UFOs and a carton with books & magazines. Yikes! I thought after dropping off the rugs and Jordyn and her bags that I'd have a fairly empty car for the drive back! Wrong! LOL!
The blue line got us there, the green line zig-zagged me back.

I then took a very circuitous drive back to Kansas and enjoyed the freedom to sight-see and plan my days the way I wanted. You see, we had left Kansas on June 11 and I didn't have any plans until July 4 to be at a friend's house in central Kansas to celebrate the 4th of July. So, what took us only five days getting there, took me 18 days to get back. The only day I worried a little was when I wanted to drive over Boulder Dam. There were check points and when the guard asked me what was in all those boxes and I told him fabric and quilting projects. He definitely looked a little skeptical. I was willing to open them and prove it, but he waved me through. Funny trip memory. :-)

With lots to do to finish settling into my own new home myself upon my return (I had moved about 80 miles northeast into a townhome nearer all three of my kids in April-May), I merely moved the boxes from my car into the garage with everything else piled in there. I swear I'll be able to park in my garage before the snow flies this year! Really, I will! I've been back nearly two months and have only looked through those boxes once. I guess it's time to pull them out and take a look at what's ahead of me.
Minus the books and magazines, here's the projects, almost all bagged separately, some in various stages of completeness, some with miniatures included to show what the finished full size should look like, and even a few bags of scraps!
This particular box intrigues me. Cindy taped scraps of fabric to a piece of binder paper that lists by number where each goes. It's apparently a very detailed and fun Halloween quilt, but WAIT! THERE'S NO PATTERN!!! She has extra goodies--buttons, hot fix crystals, etc., in the box too. Luckily Shelly said she will either find the pattern or draw me a picture so I can attempt to make it. Each piece is meticulously marked with a pinned-on note saying "32 I's" or "24 B's", etc., but where those pieces go is a mystery. Hmmm... this will be my first attempt at a mystery quilt! And, believe me, it's definitely a MYSTERY!!! I'll let you know (someday) how it goes!
 These two boxes are filled with miniatures all cut out, but not assembled yet. Except for the circles cut out in the first box, everything appears to be as it should--mini Irish Chains--true to Cindy's love. I wonder if she left me any notes or clues on what to do with those cute little circles? If not, maybe yo-yo flowers appliqued onto something. She'd like that.

One bag had these three pieces in it, plus several blocks for a full size quilt. The pinks Irish chain is finished except for tying (Cindy never learned how to machine quilt and had too much arthritis to hand quilt, so she just tied her quilts). The pink & white has machine embroidered squares with flowers and Hello Kitty's. I'll turn that one into a doll quilt for Cindy's new great-granddaughter Opal, due in December. The gray & white double Irish chain is beautiful! I'm thinking a wall hanging maybe with some embroidery in the white blocks or maybe I could transfer some family photos into those blocks.
I lined up the projects & bags in groups of 5 and figure there are a minimum of 30 projects here, many full sized, some miniatures, and several of those bags with more than one project in them! This afternoon they'll be packed into under-bed zipper bags for storage until I am ready to start working on them. At least they won't be in boxes in the muggy garage anymore. One step closer to parking in my garage! Yay me!
I love this top with the flower baskets that she finished. I'm seriously thinking about setting it on point as a center medallion and turning it into a full size quilt. Maybe that will be the one I keep for me! That would look beautiful in my room. I know Cindy would like that idea, especially since she had plans to make me a quilt but never got to it. We always talked about collaborating on quilt projects, and she was even planning to send me several quilts to machine quilt and bind for her. Guess I'll be doing a lot of that, after I finish all these tops!
This miniature and partially finished full size will be going back to Fresno. It's for Cindy's middle granddaughter. Reyna talked to her MomMom before she passed about finishing it herself with the help of a friend at school. With the mini as her example, she should be able to do that pretty easily. She was worried when she learned that her mom had sent it home with me! "What if Aunt Lizzie gets mad that I want it back?" Mad?!? Far from it! I'm delighted she wants to finish it herself and, who knows, maybe she'll get her MomMom's and my bug for quilting too!
This sack is completely filled with scraps from so many of Cindy's projects--some in this collection and many from quilts she made in years past. I'm sure some sort of scrappy quilt will come of these and go back to her daughter and granddaughters to enjoy at some point.

I'll be continuing Cindy's legacy by finishing her projects over time. There are several in red, white and blue that will be donated to the Quilts of Valor program. A couple were for specific people and will be completed and gifted as planned. Slowly, they will all find homes where they will be loved as Cindy was loved.

Come to think of it, somewhere in my house there are two adorable mini's that Cindy made and sent to me last year--one with ladybugs (my favorite!) and a St. Patrick's Day Irish Chain with clovers on the green patches. I know I had them hung in my other place, now to figure out what box they're in.

So, while these aren't technically my UFO's, they are New-to-me-UFO's! With all the projects I already have in my own stash and sewing room, who knows when some of these will be done, but whenever that happens, Cindy's name will go on each label as she started every single one of them. Today my family is celebrating Cindy's life with an open house, serving Cindy's favorite meal. I so wish I could be there with them, but they know I'm there in spirit. Cindy, we'll never forget you and the legacy of quilting you've left behind will bless many lives for years to come. Love you Sis!
Me & Cindy in better days
More snippets from the sewing room soon,


  1. What a wonderful legacy Cindy left and kudos to you for taking on all these NewFOs to gift to others.

  2. I would be overwhelmed by all these UFOs but oh what a treasure they are. Blessings, Marlene