Sunday, January 18, 2015

The first line-jumper of the year

During Shug's & my busy holiday visit to the midlands, there was one day that my Mother-in-law & I took a little time & had an outing -- we had lunch, finished up some grocery shopping & she offered to take me to Fabric Recycles.  I NEVER turn down an opportunity to visit this store! I found some stars from their "started, not finished" table, a brown calico, a bit of cat fabric & 2 yardages of 60s-70s era fabrics. After returning home, my purchases moved into my sewing room & sat on top of things until I could get around to putting them away.

As I was working away at a couple of scrappy projects, the blue-lavender-olive fabric began speaking to me.

"Excuse me. Excuse me.
Don't my colors remind you of those in your stack of Liberty fat quarters?
Don't you think we might look very nice together?"

"Why, yes, blue-lavender-olive fabric, I think you might be right.
I'll get the Libertys out as soon as I finish a few things."

Get them out now!
I was cut from the bolt back in the Nixon administration &
have been sitting on a shelf ever since.
I want to BE something! I want to be something NOW!"

"OK, OK, settle down. Here they are.
Hey, you're right, you all look really good together.
Good, um, eye?, blue-lavender-olive fabric. Do you have any suggestions?
What do you want to "be"?"

"Well, I was meant for decorating, so something with me in big pieces
would best show off my natural, large-scale beauty."

"Hmmm, bossy & vain, but I think you're right.
Maybe some sort of strippy, geese-y, tree everlasting-y kind of thing?
Would that suit you?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about, but it sounds fun. Let's start now!
But, I wonder if all the florals might be a bit flower-y, all the blues a bit too blue?
Do you have any stripes or dots or plaids to mix in?
And what about just a touch of complementary colors -- just a touch.
I've waited so long, I want to be awesome!"

"Alright & right again, blue-lavender-olive fabric.
Don't get your hopes too high. But this does sounds like fun, let's see where it takes us."

"By the way, you really are beautiful, blue-lavender-olive fabric."

"Yes, I know."

Saturday, January 03, 2015


I began sketching out my Quilt Room Dreams & Aspirations & was quickly overwhelmed!

First off, I want to finish up some UFOs:

7 tops to quilt -- 4 nearly done, 1 basted, 2 ready to baste -- & 9 stacks of blocks & block parts that I want to get made into tops (then, of course, more tops to quilt)! YIKES! Looks like just clearing out the backlog will be a year's worth of work!

Then there are the things I want to start/explore anew:
more charitable sewing, more scrap & string sewing, medallions, improvisational piecing, a quilt or 2 for juried shows, a quilt for someone's milestone birthday, and a series project I've been calling "bed rugs".

Lastly, with my right hand held up in an oath-ish position -- I solemnly swear to attempt to buy less fabric this year. "Attempt"?, you say! "Buy less"?, you say! Why not vow to not buy any?!? Well, because I know myself & I know that 12 months of buying no fabric is simply not realistic. I don't want to set myself up for failure & I think a pledge to only buy solids, fabrics on sale & vintage fabrics just might be a promise I can keep. :-}

New Year's Day was cold & dreary -- a perfect day for staying warm & cozy with fabric & sewing machine, thoughtfully, methodically tackling my list.
But what did I do?
I began something new.

The Road to Too Many WIPs is paved with good intentions.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I hope all of you had a good Holiday -- actually with your loved ones or with them in your heart. Shug & I went North to be with our families & had a good & busy time. While this was my 2nd Christmas without parents, it was the first spent with my brother; his daughters are now living in another state, so our get-together was just the 4 of us, establishing new traditions & having a good time. My Christmas quilts were gifted & I'm pretty sure they were all liked as well as I liked making them.

So looking back, I guess I had kind of a good year. 16 finished quilts -- there were even a few small ones that I didn't share. Looking at the mosaic, first thing I notice is -- What a lot of SQUARES! I don't know how that happened, normally, my go-to shape is triangles, but apparently 2014 was smazoochie's year for squares! I have to say that my favorites are the out-liers, the thin sides of my 2014 bell-curve of squares -- the Snow Flurries quilt & the Color Party quilt. Both were a bit outside of my comfort zone & both, in my opinion, came out pretty well.

I looked up the goals I made for the year back in January --  how did I do?
  1. Well, healthy? Not so much. That is the top of my list again this year.
  2. Sewing my stash & scraps? Again, not so much. In spite of making 16 quilts, I am afraid there was NOT a net loss to my stash.
  3. I definitely made the 3 quilts using the shirts & the 4th is poised to commence. I even got to a few of others on that list: bow ties, 16-patch, maple leaves.
  4. Very sadly, not a single pompom. No circles, all squares. :-(

Stay tuned for my 2015 resolutions, hopes & aspirations.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry & Happy to all y'all!

Sending to you my warmest quilt-y wishes for a Safe & Wonderful Holiday
and for a
Blessed, Peaceful & Healthful 2015!

See you next year!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Now what?

I'm not sure what to do now.

The Christmas quilts are done & ready to wrap or ship. (Though I'm finishing up a doll-sized one, local delivery & thinking about a pillow cover -- but that's it!) As usual, I've got plenty of cut out parts awaiting assembly -- geese, stars, pluses, towers, etc, etc; there are 2 -- no, 3 -- tops ready to be basted & quilted; and 2 or 3 that were being quilted but got sidetracked & quickly sank to the bottom of the pile.

But also as usual, I was not in the mood to work on any of those. Instead, I began digging through the stacks & scraps that are over-taking my little sewing room. More clothing -- dresses, some from the thrift store, others are Mom's old shirtwaists (lots of fabric in those skirts) & mine from childhood. Then a dump of my scrap bucket --  more than 20 years of quilt-making there, some of the scrappy-bits are even older than that -- quite a memory trip!

Then lots of pressing & cutting & sewing & fun.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Two small quilts

When our friends had their first child, a daughter, I thought about making her a quilt, but Life intruded & it didn't happen. Six (!) years later, they have had their second child, a son. Since this seems to be my Year to Make Quilts, I thought I would make the boy a quilt. And, well, I can't give the baby a quilt & not give big sister one, also. Right? So, two quick, cute quilts!

Their Mom is from Australia, so for the boy I made friendship stars using kangaroo fabrics. For big sister, I pulled out one of those mini charm packs. How do you make a quilt with 42 2-inch squares? Add lots of white!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Meet Dorothy

Dorothy is a simple 16-patch -- half Kaffe Fassett polka dots, half Connecting Threads pin dots. She measures 72 x 80 inches. Her backing is a white-on-white polka dot, batting is a bamboo & cotton blend, quilting is wiggle zigzag & her binding is striped.

She's been finished for a while, but with the shorter days & bad weather -- which always seemed to come on the weekend! -- I haven't been able to get a good photo. We got to use her during the cold snap & she works just fine! Could I love Dorothy more? I don't think so!

if quilts could talk

I suspect that many people, both quilters & non-quilters, have happened upon a well-loved, home-y -- maybe a little homely -- quilt or top at an antique shop, thrift store, garage sale & been moved by its sweet nature & good price to buy it. Someone didn't love it, but something about it speaks to us so much so that we do & want give it a Forever Home. I've had the very good fortune to have inherited quite a few quilts & tops, but still, I've brought home quite a few more.

My most recent addition I got at this year's Quilt Festival -- a mid-20th century string top. The strings are stitched to cloth foundation squares. Many of the foundations are coarse white cotton -- probably sacking of some sort. But there are also a few prints & some pink rayon squares (smart, I thought, the rayon gives a base for the string sewing without adding much bulk or stiffness). I had thought it was all machine made, but closer inspection showed there are quite a lot of hand-sewn squares, maybe more than machine-sewn ones. And the hand-stitches are nice & small, suggesting a skilled needle-person (probably a woman, but you never know).

And the fabrics! WOW! Everything is here! There are solids, florals, printed & woven plaids, stripes wide & narrow; coarse sacking, fine sheeting, seersucker, pique, twill & one that might be silk. In the prints we see flowers, fruit, birds, teddy bears, Mother Goose characters, cowboys, palm fronds, dots, buttons, fish, houses, Mickey Mouse & friends, a parade, a girl at a soda fountain & deep sea divers! There are more than one color way of at least two prints. My guess is that most of the fabrics are from the late 1940s to early 1950s. But there are some muted prints that make me wonder if they are from the 1920s & a bold pique that could be from the 1960s. I really wish it could tell me where & how its maker got so many fabrics!

Making this top into a quilt will hide its inner story, but I suppose by documenting it here, it will live on. Quilt historians say that a quilt is as old as the youngest fabric in it, so if I do finish this top, I will bring it in the early 21st century. The backing I assembled is two fabrics -- one I found in my parents' house, a butterfly stripe from the early 1960s, some stripes cut away to embellish play clothes made for me by my Mom. The other is a big hunk I got at a Big Box store. I think I want to hand quilt it, big stitch next to the string seams -- so it will be a long-term project. But no hurry! And I really want to spend some time with these fabrics.