Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After

I hope everyone had a happy Christmas. We did; quiet and a little unusual, but very pleasant. We slept late, had a good brunch, and then went to the noon showing of Invictus. I'd highly recommend this feel-good movie. We came home, opened the few presents, had dinner, and relaxed. Great! Monday my husband and I are off for five days in New York City, and I can't wait. This is our gift, and a good one it is!

Today and tomorrow I hope to make progress on the alternate blocks for the basket quilt. My current plan is shown above. I took Nellie's advice and put the border fabric in the center. Instead of a march of dark blue squares throughout the quilt, this arrangement gives a bracket of blue around the baskets. It also pulls the border fabric into the center of the quilt, which I think is an improvement. I will need to draft the pieced setting triangles so there are no bias edges, but I don't think that should be hard. That won't happen until after the new year however.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Poem for the Winter Solstice

I Heard a Bird Sing

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,"
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

Oliver Herford

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Wonderful Postcard

This card came yesterday from Sharon in Australia. I hope if you click on it you can see all the wonderful detail she's created with fabric, paint, and hand embroidery. Santa is having some needed after-Christmas R&R in sunny Australia. I'm sure many of us here in the East and Midwest would be happy to join him.

Thank you so much, Sharon!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Admit This is a Snarky Remark...

I just learned from the new issue of American Quilter that some quilters, (Karen McTavish is the best known) have been tattooed with quilting designs, feathers, patchwork, etc. Did you know that? Do you care? I have nothing against tattoos, but that's not why I bought the magazine. Now I'm wondering why I did buy it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Quilts

I don't do much decorating, just the tree, some real greenery, and the Christmas quilts. I have two. The first one is an Alex Anderson design, very scrappy. I've actually made three versions of this quilt: one I sold, one I gave to my sister, and this one I kept. It was a futile attempt to use up scraps. As you can see, Florabelle gives it the seal of approval.

The second one is also scrappy, although less so. It's an early quilt. Unfortunately I don't have a label, but it must have been about 2000. My husband gave me Quilt-Pro for Macs for Christmas, and I used it to design this quilt. It was fun to play with the alternate blocks and create a path of color across the quilt, seeming to extend the star lines. I also tried for transparency with the red and gold, not totally successful, but not bad. I still like this quilt, although the quilting in particular leaves much to be desired. I stitched in the ditch on a puffy batt, and I wouldn't do that now.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Bet the Maytag Repairman Isn't Lonely Any More

This morning I put a batch of cookies in the oven, and was standing at the counter mixing up the next ones. Suddenly I heard a thumping sound coming from my stove, turned around and saw flames shooting from under the floor of the oven where the heating element is. I turned the oven off, no harm done, except to the under-baked cookies. By an interesting coincidence, the repair man is coming this afternoon to replace the heating element on the largest top burner. That repair will cost about three hundred dollars total. My range is a year and a half old, off warranty, of course. I guess I got a lemon. I wonder if they will give me a free diagnosis call for this new problem.

There goes the rest of the Christmas baking. Is that a bad thing?

Update: The nice man came, took off the oven floor, and found that the element had broken into three pieces (that was the thud) and so obviously burst into flames from the loose ends. The element only costs $40 and the labor will be about $20, so this is much less than the upper element. Of course, the part is not in stock, so we won't have an oven for a while. As my sister says, that does take the pressure off. She's thinking of sabotaging hers until after Christmas.

Friday, December 11, 2009

An Interlude

Wrapping gifts, baking cookies, visiting grandchildren, cleaning--very little fiber content to show. I made some Christmas postcards for an exchange, but can't show them yet, and yesterday I printed photos on the computer to make little photo albums for Aidan and Conor. That's it for creativity. Today's goal is to make room for the Christmas tree, vacuum, and de-clutter enough to decorate.

In the back of my mind I'm thinking about the basket quilt. I have begun the alternate blocks, but am wondering if that large square in the center is so prominent that the secondary design may take over. Replacing it raises the question of what to use instead. There's plenty of time to think about it while I do the Christmas jobs.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Does anyone else love men's ties? I don't go in the men's department of big stores often, but when I do, I'm drawn to the beautiful display of ties: the rainbow of colors, the rich silky textures, the patterns. Yesterday I went to buy my son the dress shirt which he had requested for Christmas. He hadn't asked for a tie, but I had to buy one--couldn't pass up the ties any more than some people can pass up the new lines of fabric. This combination is actually rather dull. My first choice was a grayed yellow-green that really popped with this shirt; but that combination would never pass, so this is second choice--bland, but tasteful.

Beautiful quilts can be made out from ties, but I've never wanted to do that, I think because there are so many other things ahead of that idea on the "maybe someday" list. I've never made a tie either, though I know people who have. I'll just look, and sometimes buy.

As I was debating which to choose, two young girls walked by. I heard one say to the other, "I just love ties! I don't know why, but I do!" I know why. She's a quilter in the making.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Humbling Experience

All the basket blocks are finished. When I started to square up, I had to face some unpleasant truths. Bad blocks! Very bad blocks!

After wondering what to do for a while, I realized that it's obvious which seams are wrong--the ones where the piece is too small, right? Why was that hard to figure out?

So I took out one flower, and re-sewed it. Perfect, right? Oops!

One more try:

Not perfect, but much better, and when the lower right corner is trimmed, it will be at least within an acceptable margin of error. There are still a few blocks to fix, and then on to the alternate blocks. I want this thing DONE.

I did these corrections while listening to President Obama's speech. If what he's doing is a mistake, it will be much harder to correct than mine.

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Hoffman Challenge Fabric

I had several things scheduled for today, and I did do some Christmas shopping, but then I went rogue and drove to Shipshewana to buy the Hoffman Challenge fabric. Here it is. This picture doesn't show the color well; it's much more aqua but the photo gives a better idea of the range of colors than the picture on their web site. The real fabric is much less solid color than it appears. The design is directional, and there's about an 8 inch repeat. I like the Jacobean/Persian design, but hate the color. The coordinates Hoffman is pushing to go with it seem to be all in the green and blue range also.

I have no idea what I might make for the challenge this year, or even if I will make anything, but I'm ready for inspiration.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pressing Tip

I always have trouble pressing a block with lots of seam intersections so that the seams are really flat. A hard ironing board and a heavy iron help, but I don't like steam. Lately, I've been trying this method, which I like, and I thought I'd pass it on. It will be familiar to anyone who has done lots of garment sewing, especially tailoring, but I've never heard it mentioned by quilters, and I never thought of it myself until recently.

Here's the basket block; see all the nasty intersections to make flat. There are more on the other side too.

Here's the tool I'm using. I don't know what this is called, but it's used to press seams open before they're pressed together, and it has all those weird curves and points to accommodate different seams. For quilting all you need is a long flat piece of wood; a 12 inch piece of 2 by 2 would work fine. Wood is the best because it is a good conductor of heat and pulls the heat out of the fabric quickly so that the seam cools in the position you want it to be.

All you do is press the seam together, then open the block and press the seam to the side, as usual. While the fabric is hot, put the wood piece on the seam, press down, and hold it for about 10 seconds or so.

You end up with a flat seam without worrying about scorching or puckering from steam. If you really want to use steam, give just a second of steam before you put the wood down.

(Do you think that woman needs cosmetic surgery on her hands? Yikes!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's been a disgracefully unproductive week here. There's been a bunch of time-consuming things to do: trips to buy a replacement faucet for a leaky one, hair appointments, waiting at the VW dealer, making on-line Christmas orders, and so on. We're going to my son's for Thanksgiving, so preparing for that is not one of them, thank goodness.

The piecing of the basket blocks goes slowly anyway. There are points and seams to match up and pin, and of course this is where any earlier errors come back to haunt you. Part of the problem is that I think I used a different method of making 1/4 inch seam long ago when I started these blocks, and so there is a slight difference.

In addition, I am one of several people demonstrating different ways of making curved seams at guild Monday, and I've been practicing, making samples, and digging out some information to display. I've got a copy of Stack a New Deck by Karla Alexander with ideas, and I can use my quilt Refraction too. I'm not expecting great enthusiasm from the conservative people in the guild about the irregular look of blocks made this way, but a variety of options and ideas is a good thing.

In spite of talking about using up fabric, I had a hard time deciding on fabric to sacrifice for some sample blocks. I finally chose these brights, which I bought a few years ago, and am so tired of. I'm not sure how they'll look put together, but maybe they will make a good kids quilt for someone. The combination of fabrics may be another cause for raised eyebrows.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Boring Baskets: Moving On

Boring Baskets as a working title doesn't refer to the finished look, I hope, but to the piecing process: slow enough to be tedious and time-consuming, and not difficult enough to be terribly interesting. This quilt has been in process a very long time.

After lots and lots of thought and advice and shopping and stash-rummaging, I settled on this blue fabric for the baskets, and can get back to piecing blocks. Ironically, although I had thought I couldn't move on until I settled on a basket fabric, when I started working today, I found there were several steps before the basket triangle had to go on. So more time has passed. But now, I hope I can buckle down and finish the blocks; the slow part with the flowers and the leaf unit has been done, and I'm sewing large units together now. There are also alternate blocks, but they are mostly strip piecing, all squares, no triangles.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Dreamed a Dream

I dreamed last night that I had laboriously finished a quilt, working under some kind of deadline; when I washed it, it faded, the binding came off one side, and an actual large hole appeared. What a nightmare! I've eaten breakfast before telling this, so it won't come true. Do you know that superstition?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I'm Not Crazy About It...

but it's done. As you can see, I didn't add much since the last version. Some of the fabrics and embellishment materials are still on the work table, so I may do another block before I forget some of the skills I remembered in making this--like, Duh, you CAN cover a button with a more interesting fabric than that plain purple one. In fact, that's why that metallic brocade has a circular hole in it!

Other news: I received one of those "We're sorry blah, blah, blah" letters from Road to California about Refraction, and and acceptance for my Ghost Orchid quilt in an exhibit called Quilting Natural Florida. This exhibit will hang in the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville from January to March, 2010. So I guess one for two isn't too bad, although we all know which one of these had more entries. The rest of you who entered Road to California, if you didn't get a rejection yet, you'll probably get a nice fat letter of acceptance on the December 1 date.

I'm off today to Yoders in Shipshewana to buy the new Hoffman Challenge fabric (if they have it), and look for fabric to jazz up my Boring Baskets project. It's beautiful Indian Summer weather here, a perfect day to see the Indiana countryside. I love the look of the bare fields before the snow comes, all swept clean for winter.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Going Crazy Again

The other day, Debra said she was going to break down, stop kidding herself, and USE the materials she'd been saving for a "big, important project". By coincidence, I'd been doing that myself, from the jumping off place of a bit of machine embroidery Debra sent me a while ago. I have lots of small pieces of kimono fabric left from the days when I made and sold small bags. Some of this fabric is beautiful, and some is just tiny bits, but I keep waiting for just the right project.

Then I decided to use some bits in a crazy block for Alz quilts. Here it is in its naked state,

and here it is now, partially embellished.

Making a crazy quilt block is a strange experience; I don't know whether I like it or not. Embellishment is not my style, but I can see a certain fascination, and I understand why people get hooked. On the other hand, I am painfully rusty at embroidery. I used to do lots of it because it was good to do while keeping one eye on small children, and I was fairly skillful. Now I can barely remember how do the stitches, and I feel like the tomboyish heroine of a novel, forced to work on her sampler--tangling threads, needle pricks, etc.

I haven't even skimmed the surface of my kimono scraps, so the big project is still waiting.

And as a pleasant surprise, Dawn who writes a great blog titled Subversive Stitchers, linked to my blog and said kind things. If you haven't seen her blog, you should. She features different bloggers including links, and has some terrific pictures in the sidebar. The Boob Scarves picture alone is worth a click!

Monday, November 09, 2009

SOFA Chicago, Faust, Family

My husband and I had a wonderful twenty-four hours in Chicago this weekend. We left early enough to see the SOFA (Sculptural Objects, Functional Art) at Navy Pier. This is a large, very pricey art show with galleries from ten countries representing several hundred artists. There's lots of Chihuly-type glass, jewelry, ceramics, and a very small amount of fiber art. Hilde Morin, Carol Shinn, who takes thread painting to a new level, and Lesley Richmond were three of the artists represented. Photos were frowned on, but look at the links. Lesley Richmond uses photographed images which she paints with a resist, removes the negative space fabric, and then paints the fabric remaining, producing a lacy metallic image that is still as flexible as cloth. I particularly loved her work. You might also enjoy looking at the work of Amy Orr, who does mixed media, patchwork-like pieces.

It was a perfect fall day, the kind of day that makes Chicago one of the most beautiful cities anywhere: brilliant blue sky, gleaming buildings, the glorious lake. We walked through Millennium Park and across the new footbridge connecting it with the Art Institute's just completed contemporary wing. That footbridge is made to move, rather disconcerting at first. (The pictures above show the humongous Trump Tower reflecting some smaller buildings, the view of the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park from the Millennium Park bridge, and the view of the lake looking down Monroe street from the bridge.) There wasn't much time in the Art Institute, but it will still be there in January when outside isn't so lovely.

In the evening we had dinner and went to the Lyric Opera to see Faust, not a favorite of mine. I hate the women-as-victims opera plots, and the music just seems trite to me.

Sunday morning we drove to see my son and his family. The twins are still adorable. We had quiet time, and then played outside with the leaves, and came home to a still-beautiful day.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Personal Style?

I just recently read a post about influence, finding one's own style, etc., which seems to lead into this post of mine. Do I have a personal style? If so, it's not discernible from these three things I just finished.

This is based on a scene in Innsbruck, Austria, that I photographed last spring. I love the candy-like colors of the houses and their charming shapes against the blue sky, and tried to capture it here. The river was originally much lighter, and I added paint to darken it. The paint caused its own problems, but the effect is still better than the lighter fabric.

Here's one of my scanned flower images. I originally made a postcard from the image, but this time made it larger for a mini-quilt. I like the added texture of the French knot centers on this version.

And finally, another scrap lap quilt for the guild's service project collection. This is from the collection of Mary Ellen Hopkins scrap blocks that I work on from time to time. It's fun to see the number of patterns than can be made from what's essentially a block with a dark triangle and a light triangle. This quilt was the largest piece I've free motion quilted using the Supreme Slider, and I continue to love that little gadget. The quilt is only 36 x 48 because we have required sizes, but I plan to work up to something a bit bigger now and see how it goes.

Anyway, there doesn't seem to be any continuity here. I just like to go from flower to flower, I guess.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Another Product Endorsement...

...without the big payment, unfortunately.

I just found the Scotch Fur Fighter. It's intended to remove "embedded pet hair". Since we have a cat, I bought it. But before using it for cat hair, I gave it a try on the nasty little bits of felted batting lint left after I washed the quilt made with that crappy Fairfield batting. I had used a lint roller repeatedly and couldn't get it all. The Fur Fighter worked. So someone might find this useful, for pet hair or lint. The only drawback here is that this gadget was not cheap, and it will eventually require more refill sheets which may be difficult to find.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up for the Supreme Slider! It's very smooth silicone (I think) sheet that fits on the bed of the sewing machine allowing fabric to move more easily when you're doing free motion stitching. There's a hole for the needle, and the underside is sticky and clings tightly. I've only used this on small pieces, but it was wonderful, totally living up to expectations.

P.S. Kathy's comment about washing the slider is a good one; I should have mentioned it. I already had to do that, and it seemed to work fine.

Thumbs down here. This batting shrinks more than I expected, it doesn't cling to the quilt very well, causing puckering, and it sheds lint EVERYWHERE. I thought I was buying Hobbs Heirloom, which has the same cotton-poly content, but had a real senior moment and bought this by mistake. Don't do it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Retreat Report

Isn't the opposite of "retreat" "advance"? I guess I'm ready to advance after a weekend of retreating. It was a good weekend, relaxing and productive. My only complaint is sore shoulders from too long at the sewing machine in a far from perfect chair.

This crowd likes the very newest patterns and newest fabric lines, but here's a quilt made from old shirts. There's one maverick in the group, at least.

Marcia pulled an all-nighter to get this far on her top; I really like the cheerfulness of the colors, and so will her grand-daughter. This pattern is from a recent Fons and Porter, I think.

I quilted my liberated wedding ring lap quilt, and finished two small pictorial quilts I'll post later. I also made more pieces for this block. I would have done more, but I don't think I want this basket fabric, and haven't found an alternative.

I think I'll try to finish it before next year's retreat!

And last but not least, the frog went to a new keeper, who thinks maybe he needs hair. It will be fun to see.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


This ugly little guy is, I guess, the guild retreat mascot. He's a frog, if you can't tell, intended to be something like a scissors holder. His original maker got fed up and went into hysterical laughter, we made him trunks from some hideous fabric from the Ugly Fabric Exchange, someone added the bandanna, someone else the fly in his mouth, and I got him this year. My contribution was the nostril piercing.

Fixing Mr. Frog was just one of the things I've been trying to do before leaving tomorrow: packing, organizing projects to take, working on a project I wanted to finish, doing laundry, etc. I'm looking forward to a couple of days of solid sewing, when I finally get there!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Manic Monday

Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon making a horrendous mess, dragging out what seemed to be every tool, spool of thread, and small scrap of batik I own. This photo only shows part of it.

Here's the partially completed result. The tiny little trees you show prove that you should never throw away a bit of batik. I cut them from a scrap of leaf print less than six inches square, and they solved the problem of how to make those trees--in my mind anyway. I hope to finish this today, after I find a replacement for the bottom fabric. That means more rummaging. Does everyone do this?

Two interesting things came in the mail. One is a Supreme Slider, a piece of teflon which attaches to the bed of the sewing machine and claims to make fabric move easily during free motion stitching. Two good quilters have recommended this, but I wouldn't have bought it except I had a gift certificate. I'll report when I use it.

The brochure for the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show in March also arrived. I'm going all out this year, and signing up for classes all three days--if there are vacancies.

I also worked at the soup kitchen, bought a new pair of jeans, and watched Dancing with the Stars: what you can do when your husband goes out of town!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

On the Night Stand

No fiber content here. After struggling to find a book I wanted to read, I suddenly have about eight; I'm more excited about this than anything I've been making, so here they are:

Dissolution by C.J. Sansom. This is a historical mystery, set in the 1500's at the time Henry VIII closed the English monasteries. I'm half way through, and enjoying it. It's well-written with sympathetic characters, a classic "closed room" murder plot, and a thought-provoking look at the unavoidable pain of large social changes.

That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo. I don't know anything about this book except the author, and that's enough for me. His Empire Falls is one of my all time favorites.

The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory. Another historical novel by the author of The Other Boleyn Girl and many others. This new series is set at the time of the War of the Roses, 1400's. I'm a bit skeptical because I didn't care for her Tudor novels, but I've liked other novels about this period.

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. A post-apocalyptic novel, set in a world where the population has been almost destroyed by a genetically engineered plague and climate change. This is a companion to Oryx and Crake, which I just read. I may decide to skip this one. Oryx and Crake was well written, clever, with some good bits of black humor, but the bleakness and cynicism was hard to take.

Midnight Fugue by Reginald Hill. This series of British police procedurals features educated, cultured, politically liberal Pascoe and his boss, the fat, vulgar, but brilliant Superintendent Dalziel of the Mid-Yorkshire Constabulary. Funny, with delightful characters and clever plots, these books are a treat.

The Professionalby Robert Parker. This is the latest in the series featuring Boston private detective Spenser, his killer friend Hawk, and his annoying (to me) lover Susan Silverman. A recent review described this series as "running on fumes," and although I agree, this book should be good for a couple of hours of relaxation. Parker's dialogue and descriptions can be laugh-out-loud funny.

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore. The main character is a young girl working as a nanny who learns hard lessons about the world from the family who employs her. The reviews of this book have been glowing. I'm hoping it's serious enough to be a change from the lighter books on this list, but still entertaining.

And finally, The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt. The central character is a writer of childrens books in the late Victorian period, and her stories are interspersed with the main plot of the novel. Byatt did the same sort of thing with her earlier novel Possession., about two Victorian poets. I loved Possession, but I'm not sure I'm that patient now. We'll see.

Having listed all these books, I realize I can never read them before they're over-due, not if I do anything else, including sew! If only I didn't have to sleep, cook, or do anything around the house!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Stripping, and Some Interesting Blogs

Here's another strip/string pattern I like for my lap quilt series. Found in Freddy and Gwen Collaborate Again, it's called Liberated Wedding Ring. Pieces of varying widths are foundation sewn to a newspaper base cut in this lozenge-like shape, and the triangles are added. Four of these make a 14" block. I wiped out my blue strips, and even had to steal some other blue scraps for the border! And I now have two of these to quilt at the upcoming retreat, where I'm too easily distracted to do anything that isn't very routine.

The newspaper base is a good idea because it tears away relatively easily. But if I did it again, I think I'd just piece the strips together and use a template to cut from the strata. That would be even simpler, and the bias edges wouldn't be particularly difficult to handle.

I came across two thought provoking blogs. Elizabeth Barton laments the way quilt artists keep making the same quilt over and over. This may ring true to anyone who's been to a big show lately. If you're going to Houston, or even just look at the pictures, see what you think.

In this post, Leah Day, who is writing a wonderful blog about machine quilting, discusses the kind of quilting that wins prizes. To sum it up, "more is more." She's right, I think, but I have issues with that idea, not just from the practical standpoint but from an artistic one. Anyway, the post and her whole blog is well worth reading, full of very practical ideas for free motion quilting on your regular machine.

And finally, for readers, I found this article in the New York Times about a woman who almost a year ago resolved to read a book a day. She reviews the book the next day on her blog. (Clearly, she doesn't quilt.) I'm always looking for books to try, and her list and the reviews should be a great source. They're mostly, but not all, "serious" books, not best sellers, but are relatively short. I found some I knew and liked, but many more that are unfamiliar but promising.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Alzheimer Quilts at Houston

You lucky people going to IQF at Houston this week, remember that Ami Simms is taking 1,000 Alzheimer quilts (9 x 12 or smaller) to sell. Booth number is #4460. I don't know the details of how these quilts are being sold, but I believe they have a flat price, beginning around $40, rather than being auctioned as they are on line. Anyway, look for the booth. Seeing these mini quilts should be fun, and buying one helps a good cause. All proceeds go to fund Alzheimer's research. You can see all the quilts here to make your shopping list, and there's a search feature if you want to find the number of a particular maker's quilt.

And in addition to the small quilts, you can view the"Smackdown" quilts made by Hollis Chatelain, John Flynn, Becky Goldsmith, and Sue Nickels. These are on sale for $10,000. Here's the link for those quilts. Out of your price range? Just admire.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Sheep May Safely Graze

For the fall quilt festival on Park City Girl's blog I chose this quilt. Not because it's so wonderful (it isn't), but because it's probably the first non-traditional quilt I made, and I've never posted it before. At the time it seemed very radical to me to make the music lines with satin stitch, (too bad the machine I had at the time made a terrible stitch) and to fuse the notes and the letters. I don't know why I didn't fuse the sheep. I should have, but I guess I wanted more dimension. Looking at this now, I see how terrible the applique is, and that it needs more quilting, but I'm still pleased with the design, and I like the shading from light to dark and the way the orange fabric at the bottom seems to be a mix of light and shadow. That was serendipity.

The idea of this piece popped into my head, complete in all detail, while I was listening to the Bach. However, the music at the top is not really "Sheep May Safely Graze" because I couldn't find the music for that. It's a bit of another Bach piece that I found in an old hymnal.

Now click on the link above or the button in the side bar and look at all the quilts!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Back in the Saddle...

And so glad! After unpacking, picking up clutter, washing kitchen floor, etc., etc., I sat down at the sewing machine and pieced this top, using the inspiration I blogged about last time. The center Birds in the Air blocks are leftovers from a quilt I made six or seven years ago, and several months ago I put them together to be a center medallion for a guild service lap quilt. But then I was stuck as to the next step. I somehow didn't want to just add borders, and I was also stymied by the bold graphic look of the center. It seemed to need to be square, but lap quilts have a size limitation. This solution seems so simple to me now; I just needed a push I guess. Stunning, I say--sort of Amish in Outer Space. But will a nursing home patient want this on his/her lap? We'll hope so. I'll do some grid quilting later this month when I go to a retreat.

While staying with Mom, I sewed the binding on the French fabric/friendship block quilt, so that's done too. It will probably stay on this chair to be used as a lap quilt this winter. I did not quilt it myself; I decided I didn't like it well enough to make the effort, so a quilter from my guild did a simple edge to edge which looks fine.

Kathy of Finishing Lines posted some beautiful photos she called Mother Nature's Coloring Book. That reminded me of this photo I took last wek. I can't remember what this weed is (poke, I think), but it's everywhere around the farm where I grew up. The colors are beautiful, although the whole scene makes me sad.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

I Can Dream, Can't I?

I'm staying with my mother for ten days again, and as usual don't have much handwork to do. So I've been thinking about what I COULD do if I were home with my fabric. I brought with me Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran's new book, Freddy and Gwen Collaborate Again, terrific inspiration for doing fun things with your stash and scraps.

This is a beautiful book, full of colorful illustrations of wild and crazy "liberated" quilts. I've already made some plans to use four orphan Birds in the Air blocks as the center medallion for a veterans' lap quilt. What next? I'll be here several days longer--time for many more project plans!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Another Scrap Quilt

Between other things, I've been putting together this strip pieced quilt for the guild's service project. I love the way it turned out! Even better, it cleaned out my collection of bright strips left over from other projects, and by some wonderful luck I even had the dark blue binding already made. I pieced the strips to 7 1/2 inch squares cut from a worn sheet, put them together fairly randomly, and then used the remainder to make the border. It was the border which really emptied the bin; it was a brilliant idea, if I do say so myself!

The quilting is a free motion squiggle over all the seams. That's within my skill range, and worked out well. There's no pressure on something like this--fun and easy and useful.

For future reference, the Hobbs Heirloom poly-cotton batting shrunk quite a bit, and here's the result when the fabrics were all pre-washed. The uneven width of the strips gives the top an uneven appearance. I don't object to that on this project, but it's good to know.