Category Archives: Personal

Losing a Loved One

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This year my grandmother (mom’s mom) passed away at age 92. She lived a full life raising three children, my mom, my Aunt Linda and my Uncle Carl. I always loved visiting her when I was younger especially since there always seem to be kids around. My Uncle Carl is a little less than two years older than me and I had lots of cousins. YES you read that right, my mom and her mom pushed strollers together! 

I never knew my grandfather since I was only 2 when he passed.  Later in my grandma’s life, she dated my dad’s uncle but they never married. As a kid I never appreciated “old” people and the stories they shared.  As I became an adult and a mother raising my own two girls, I became more and more interested in our family history especially since I started scrapbooking and doing geneaology.

Scrapbooking and quilting seem to go hand-in-hand when it comes to preserving memories.  As I worked on this quilt on the leftimg_0015, thoughts went through my head about what the woman was like who wore timg_0016he clothing, how many kids did she have, how did she impact their lives, and how did she interact with her grandchildren.  I just loved the Grandma sweatshirt on the back.
I make every client’s quilt from beginning to end but the most important part is the prayers I pray over each quilt for the person receiving the quilt.

Recently when my sister and my parents were going through items to sell at a yard sale, I was given the crocheted quilt and an old quilt in the above photos.  They came from my Uncle Earl on my dad’s side.  I love old quilts and think about who snuggled under them, what kids played “tent” with them, etc.

I am about to embark on one of the hardest quilts I’ve made to date.  My friend Kate asked me to make a quilt from her husband’s Tommy Bahama shirts.  Her husband, who was also a dear friend of mine died in a jet crash while doing what he loved the most…flying and teaching others military members how to fly. She’s a quilter and has entrusted me to this project. I am super honored, but also very saddened that those shirts will never be worn by him again.  I do know that Kate and her daughter Grace will treasure this quilt for the rest of their lives and be covered by the love of a husband and a dad.

Memories are so important in preserving. Clothing of a lost loved one invokes lots of feelings. Why not save clothing of a loved one and make a gift that will always be pricesless to your family!  Send me an email or a message so we can plan your next project.  suebartlow@me.com | 256-617-3167

Visit my website for other ideas.

Quilts and Rockets

IMG_8901IMG_8890Wow, this week has been great so far in Utah.  My husband is an engineer at NASA working on the SLS (Space Launch System) that will take us to deep space in the near future….Mars that is.  Yesterday, I got to experience an actual rocket test firing which was super cool!  We even toured the plant where they make the rockets, from the nozzle to the solid rocket propellant that goes in all of the segments of the rocket.  Seeing what my husband does first hand was really eye opening and exciting.

On Mo6c91b7a113e6f4f689aac47fcf48f027nday, my sweet hubby drove me from quilt shop to quilt shop, patiently waiting for me to make my purchase, and of course look and drool at all of the fabrics.  All I could think of was the photo to the right.

Not sure if you have ever heard of  the Row-by-Row Experience, but each year starting in June, quilt shops all over the US, Canada,  and now Europe participate in this experience by creating a design according to the theme, offering a free pattern of the design, or creating a kit for purchase.  Oh, and of course, the license plate of the shop!  It’s a fun adventure.  I only learned about it last year and vowed to participate this year.  So I went from shop to shop in Utah (only 4 of them) and purchased the kit, instructions and the official plate from each shop.  I would say it was SEW WORTH IT!


I LOVED seeing how each shop was set up.  My favorite by far is Elaine’s Quilt Block in Salt Lake City. I walked into one of the rooms and fell in love.  The colors were beautiful! It was so organized and had two floors filled with designer quilt fabrics, Michael Miller, Riley Blake, Kaffe Fassett and more!  Each bolt of fabric had fat quarters already cut!  smiling-face-with-heart-shaped-eyes

My dream has always been to own my own quilt shop attached to a coffee/tea shop!  I would duplicate this shop and have one in my little hometown! Who knows, maybe someday!

The absolute highlight of my Utah quilting journey was stopping by Handi Quilter, maker of my long arm. A couple months ago I emailed their headquarters and asked if they did tours.  I got a very nice response back from their customer service saying they did not but to stop by our place and check us out. So on Monday afternoon, my husband and I stopped by and walked in the front door.  There were quilts hanging everywhere….Luke Haynes was the artist being displayed at this time. There wasn’t a receptionist or anyone to greet us so there was that awkward moment of what to do next, so a person saw me and I waved.  She came over and talked to us and I explained to her about contacting them and “stopping by”. So she excused herself to find someone to come and talk to us.  The CEO, Darren Denning greeted us and asked if we wanted a tour.  I was pretty surprised that the CEO would take time out of his busy schedule to give a quilting groupie like me a tour.  Of course I said YES! 🙂  There was a quilting retreat happening in a room full of long arms and lots and lots of quilts hanging everywhere.  It felt like a quilting museum! The factory tour was amazing…I really think my husband, Byron enjoyed it as well!

My local dealer, Huntsville Sew and Vac, can hook you up with great equipment!  They are Handi Quilter dealers!  Tell them I sent you!

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Yep I am here!

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Luke Haynes quilts behind me

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The lobby

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More Luke Haynes quilts
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Byron and Darren talking about manufacturing stuff.
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Long arm retreat.
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The inside of an Avante (my machine)

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These machines are set to run for a long time and then measurements are taken to determine if there are any problems.

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Testing Area

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These ladies get to test the equipment!

A Treasured and Very Vintage Sewing Machine

6abc63_f1a91cb9718d4b148522c534fe627bf5I am working on a blog post about my grandma and the sweet memories of her I had as a child.  It’s taking me a little while to get all my thoughts together.  My grandmother passed away a week ago.

As we were going through my grandmother’s belongings we came across this little machine that was my great grandmother’s. My mom said she used to sew on this little Singer Featherweight. It’s in great condition and needs a little cleaning and oiling.  It’ll be interesting trying to sew on it.

After doing some research on my newly acquired 221K, the K meant it was made in Great Britain and by the model number it was made in 1964…my birth year which makes it even more special to me. Even those these machines have been out of production since the 1960s, today’s quilters still look for them. They are a favorite among quilters.  I remember seeing these at a quilt show. Read more on some history of this sought after machine

So now I just need to get a new belt, and clean this little baby up!

Singer Sewing info site in UK. 

It’s time to make an art quilt!

6abc63_68c7a17f00f046db905929cc209f3510So for years I’ve wanted to do a portrait or a landscape quilt so I decided to do this picture! So I guess I am combining a portrait (sort of) and a landscape. This pic was taken at Big Spring Park in Huntsville, AL and that’s my youngest daughter who is now 20 but in this picture was 5. She always loved feeding the ducks…even at age 18.  We went to Big Spring Park for her to take photos for an art project she was doing.  She goes to Memphis College of Art and is an amazing artist!

I am a PhotoShop user, but decided to try this with PicMonkey so someone wouldn’t have to invest into an expensive piece of software. So after Lesson 2, I was able to take the above image, change it to black and white, increase the brightness and contrast and then “posterize” it.  That’s where you have to play to get no more than 6 values in.  This becomes the pattern to use to make the quilt. So the next step is to get this image printed 20×30 at a local print shop and it becomes my pattern.  Then it’s time to watch Lesson 3.  Stay tuned!

Ready for Summer and Done with Winter Quilt

This weather has been so weird here in Alabama.  One day it’s 40 and then next it’s 70.  I am longing for warmer weather to STAY!

Last year, I got a Moda quilt charm pack called Beach House. I fell in love with the bright colors and of course, the word BEACH was in it. Maybe I was just dreaming of owning a beach or a lake house, but anyway….I digress…I wanted to do a fun, bright quilt to hang in my studio so I created this quilt.  I used a new Pantograph fromQuilting4Fun.

A FREE Pattern for a Laptop Sleeve

I’ve had a 17″ MacBook Pro for over 8 years and this week I finally made a decision to get a new one, especially after IPhoto kept crashing, Google Chrome wasn’t supporting my browser anymore and the battery life was less than 30 minutes.  I love Apple products so I wanted to get another one but realized how expensive they are.  My husband found one on ebay with TechGator that was under a year old. We saved over $400 buying it slightly used.

Today’s personal sewing project: I decided to make a sleeve with this pattern.  It’s FREE and I used fabric I already had lying around the house.

A Very Special Memory Quilt