Monday, May 11, 2015

No news

I continue to muddle along in my sewing room, with little to show for my efforts. I have all the blocks made for two tops, but am just not in the mood to put them together. I keep pulling out more WIPs, adding to my to-do list & adding to the mess on my sewing table. I did manage to make 10 pillow cases for my Guild's charity. If you have never made pillow cases, you should; if you haven't made any in a while, make more! They are so satisfying! Easy, quick, pretty -- and they are great stash busters!

Even though the calendar says Summer is still a few weeks away, it is SUMMER! here already. The AC has been running for some time now. We've gotten quite a bit of rain -- good, we needed it -- but it also bumps up the humidity & the mosquito population. The good news is: the magnolia are in bloom! Flowers as big as dinner plates, petals as big as my hand. I wish I had a scratch & sniff blog so those of you unfamiliar with their scent could smell them -- their fragrance is subtle, slightly sweet, slightly citrusy, completely heavenly. As they begin to fade, they look like leather.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

The In Crowd

I'm in with the In Crowd,
I know what the In Crowd knows.
I'm in with the In Crowd,
I go where the In Crowd goes. *

Me? Nope, that's not me. I'm not in any Crowd at all.

Traditional Quilters think I'm too Modern. The Moderns think I'm too Traditional. Art Quilters say I have no vision, no voice. I'm too controlled for the Liberated Quilters, too wonky for the Perfectly-Matched Seams set. I fit neatly -- no where. My style is hard to define, a bit from the whole spectrum of quilting. Not a big deal -- except that the quilting world seems to be getting so clannish, that if you don't subscribe wholeheartedly to a Group's lists of dos & don'ts then you don't really belong to the Group. OK, I've always been something of an out-lier, outside looking in from the thin end of the bell curve. I'm used to being there, it just gets a little lonely sometimes.

I am trying to shut out the distractions of the latest fabric challenges & QALs, swaps & the newest trends, the nay-sayers & the yay-sayers. I think it is safe to say that half of my life is over now, I hope I have many good years of quilting ahead of me, but life is uncertain. So I am trying to listen to *my* voice & make *my* quilts. I love making quilts for family & friends, trying to get inside their skin, finding colors, fabrics, designs they would like -- them, but through my eyes. Sometimes I nail it, other times a near miss. I also love sewing my stash into simple quilts for charitable giving -- de-stashing by sewing things that will warm bodies & souls. But when I am not making quilts to give, I want to make quilts that are me, my Own. A new friend used the word "authentic" -- that's what I am aiming for: quilts that are Authentically my Own.

* Billy Page

Sunday, April 26, 2015

a few (very few) finishes

Two over-sized bottles of nail polish -- a wall hanging & a pillow cover, both gifts for friends.

And a quilt I will be entering for consideration to hang in a display of modern quilts at the Texas Quilt Museum. I call it "Off The Grid".

When I'm gone

Recently, Joe Cunningham wrote a post about being asked by the husband of a quilting friend to come help deal with things in her quilting studio. The friend had not died, but was in nursing care with Alzheimer's disease & would never again make a quilt. Very sad in itself, but really, truthfully, there will come a time when each of us will be physically or mentally unable to continue doing our passion. The hard fact is: that's Life. In the comments, many offered sympathy for the disappearance of his friend, ideas for how to deal with her things & commiseration on all our eventualities when the contents of our quilting rooms would need to be dispersed. But the thing I found so sad was among the comments: one woman said she now only made quilts that she thought her children & grandchildren would like to inherit, not "following her muse" & it had taken the joy from her quilt-making. Now that is just tragic!

Shug & I have 3 nieces & a nephew, all sweet fans of their Aunt's quilts. In a way, this simplifies things for me -- that is, I don't expect my quilts to be absorbed by them. I'm sure they will each take some -- to use, to display, just for sentiment -- but I'm certain some will end up being sold & scattered to the winds.

I'm OK with that! Because I am also certain there will be someone like myself who will happen upon one of my quilts & it will speak to them: "This would make great dog bedding." "This would be useful to keep in the car for emergencies." "This would make a cute picnic blanket." "This would go perfectly in the guest room." "This would look beautiful on the family room wall." *Someone* will love & adopt my quilts like I love & adopt quilts. They will never know who made it, maybe wonder about me, but my quilt will be at home in their home.

To whit, my latest adoption: this sweet, simple log cabin. I would guess it dates to the late 40s to early 50s. There are a few feed sack fabrics, a flannel, a pique & quite a few woven plaids & stripes. It is hand-quilted, has a grass-green backing. I can't tell what's in the middle of this quilt sandwich, not batting, maybe flannel, maybe nothing (though the weight suggests something).
I really could not love it more.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Not all who wander are lost

I'm sure you've been losing sleep over my slow quilting start this year.

Neither have I, but I have been giving it quite a bit of thought. What I have come to realize is -- last year was an anomaly, not the standard I need to maintain. 2014 was strange -- I felt so compelled to sew & make! Things have slowed down considerably -- one finished quilt (no photos yet) & two finished minis to gift -- a pillow & a hanging (photos soon).

I've been sewing & sewing, but somehow it feels directionless. The rote assembly of parts is making me happy right now. And, boy, do I have parts to assemble! The shirting flying geese continue to amass (a gaggle of geese). I've made a quilt's worth of spools (what does one call a group of spools? a tangle?) -- 20 spools (actually, 21, oops, one for the back). The next-to-the-last pale, scrappy plus (an addition of pluses? sorry, I'll stop now) is on the design door. And! I now have one more than the original 4 pluses made with my parents' shirts!

As I sew, I've been thinking about where I am quilt-making-wise & where I want to go. I really want to diminish my UFOs & WIPs & I *really* want to Sew! My! Stash! I have SO MUCH fabric, so much BEAUTIFUL fabric. When I poke through it, I find wonderful things I had forgotten I had -- I want to sew & enjoy these fabrics while I can sew & enjoy them! Quilts to keep, quilts to give, quilts, quilts, QUILTS!

To that end, I pulled out a layer cake of Mary Engelbreit fabrics & am having fun with a new-to-me method -- the disappearing 4-patch.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Groovy, baby

I found this little lap-sized quilt on Etsy & quickly snapped it up. It's from the 1960s, one of the decades in which not many quilts were made. The pattern is a simple rail fence. But the fabrics! Besides being bright, most of the prints have a woven texture. I think it is lots of fun & very groovy!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring on the Gulf Coast

The Spring season down here is essentially early Summer. Our pleasant Spring weather normally occurs in late Winter, but this year the balmy days with low humidity were taken by damp & chilly ones. The days are warming now, the humidity is on the rise & our flora & fauna are doing their things. Live oaks, a deciduous evergreen tree, are making their annual mess, dumping their leaves as the new ones come on. The azeleas are out, reminding us what fuchsia really means. And the wisteria, non-descript vines most of the year are now dripping with lavender flower clusters.

The third Saturday of the month is Shug's & my Crafturday -- he goes to his woodturning group & I go to my HMQG meeting. But this past Saturday, with a 100% chance of rain, my carpool's enthusiasm was dampened, so we ended up staying home. I was just as glad because it indeed rained -- 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) at our house! Not so nice to be out & about, but perfect to spend time at the sewing machine. I made some more bow ties -- I love these little blocks! I'm not sure how I will assemble them, but I'm beginning to think about a bow tie medallion. I put together 90 little 9-patches from leftover strips cut for one of last year's quilts; I think these can be fashioned into something to help brighten the day of someone on a very rough path. And I made a couple of bottles of nail polish! What? Fabric ones, of course, gifts for 2 friends. Made from this pattern.

Shug went to his meeting though & his latest piece won Best of Show! Yay, Shug!
You are always *my* Best of Show. xxx

Monday, March 09, 2015

What a difference a year makes!

At this time last year, I had finished 4 quilts, was well into numbers 5 & 6. This year, I am sewing, sewing, sewing but didn't have much to show for it -- until today: I finished my Arkansas Crossroads scrappy top. Just the top, mind you, but still.

It isn't Great Art, just scrap-tacular fun. I began pulling scraps, cutting squares last fall. These scraps represent more than 20 years of making! Scraps from a skirt from the 80s beside Madrona Road bits, calicos & country plaids with Stitch In Color, dots, cats, owls, candy, fruit, vegetables, Elvis, Jayhawks, etc, etc, etc. Even the background fabrics are scrappy. When I began cutting the squares, I noticed the abundance of blues so decided I wanted a light blue for the background. I had some left over from the last year's interlocking rings, but not enough. I was thinking I would buy something, when I said, NO, this is a *scrap* quilt! So there are 4 different solids & one old blender-y blue. It is all a bit crazy. I've gone on record as not being a fan of people who count things in their quilts -- stitches, spools of thread, number of pieces -- but I could not resist: there are 1,240 2.5 inch squares here! :-o

Since I am looking down the barrel of Summer in Texas, I am thinking of doing a batting-less, summer weight quilt -- maybe tied, maybe big stitch. I am open to thoughts & suggestions.

Please forgive these poor photos. I can't get any outside because the weather here is awful! I try not to complain about it when so many are shoveling their 10th foot of snow in sub-zero temperatures. But -- normally, February & March are beautiful here; we pay for 9 months of summer by having 2 months of gorgeousness! But this year has been gray & rainy & gray & chilly & gray & yucky for weeks & weeks & weeks!