Monday, September 30, 2013

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I've been working on another quilt top using polyester double knits.

My last trip north was for Memorial Day: I decorated my Mother's grave for the first time & made my last visit to my parents' home. During that last visit, I found a big box full of polyester double knit scraps. I might have been able to toss them in the trash had it not been for the, then, latest issue of Generation Q, the one with the article about  Victoria Findlay Wolf & Bill Volkening & their fondness for double knit quilts.


So, OK, I brought the big box home with me.

These are the leftovers from dressmaking. Largely, they are scraps from the garments my Mom made for me & her, but there were also several pieces from both of my Grandmothers. They are such a testament of Thrift: the garment pieces were cut from the cloth, then *every* little leftover bit was neatly bundled together & stowed away. I am unwrapping these bundles for the first time since they were made more than 30 years ago!

I decided to make a 16-patch block with them -- simple patchwork is best with this weird, stiff stuff. I'm really enjoying going through the fabrics, remembering the dresses & pantsuits (yes, pantsuits) that they became & the love that made them. Such a journey down Memory Lane! And not really a melancholy one, just fun remembering.

An acquaintance looked at my blocks & told me they were ugly. Had I valued her opinion, my feelings might have been hurt. I'll admit that they are certainly an acquired taste, but "ugly"?
No, they are not ugly.

That 70s 16-patch

Selfish Sewing Week

Did you know about this?

September was National Sewing Month & imagine gnats & Made with Moxie declared the 4th week of the month as "Selfish Sewing Week".

I would have *loved* to have played along! Not that there isn't always a generous serving of selfishness in all my sewing, but I have been doing quite a bit of sewing for others recently & many, many projects that are mostly just for my own entertainment have been calling to me.

But last week wasn't a good one! I had a crummy cold, work & two (yes, TWO!) jury duties -- county & city (not on a jury either time, but still).


So I'm going to celebrate this week -- heck, I might even celebrate for the rest of the year -- except for the t-shirt quilt for my MIL, the late milestone birthday quilt for a friend, my up-coming contributions for Guild baby & wedding quilts, a small sewn gift for another friend's birthday & my on-going stash bust of lap & baby quilts for donation. ;-)

selfish sewing!

p.s. I L!O!V!E! the buttons they created, but can't get them to work, so I did a mock-up version.
(no gin was harmed in the taking of this photograph)

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Museum

The always adorable & very generous Beth at Love Laugh Quilt is hosting a link-up. The purpose of the link-up: to show our beloved, collected & hoarded old sewing things. Anyone who has stopped by my blog more than once would, I think, not be at all surprised that *I* have lots of beloved, collected & hoarded old sewing things.
I am from a long line of sewing women, sewing women who never got rid of anything -- because that is what you did then, you saved & scrimped, mended & made do. Many of those things have ended up with me. Some I use, some I decorate with, some I just pull out from time to time to look at & love.

So what is in my museum?
This is the top of my fabric cabinets. There on the left is the sewing basket -- mine in yellow -- like Beth's blue one, a stellar pincushion/oddity that I found at a thrift shop, Mom's jars of wooden spools, my toy sewing machine & iron, Mom's toy iron.

On my sewing room wall is this funny little shelf. It must have been built to hold spools -- there are little pegs on the tiny shelves. And so I filled the pegs with old, handed-down spools & added some cards of buttons & a needle book.

On my sewing table, not so much sewing accessories, as re-purposed sewing accessories. Grandma's depression glass cookie jar filled with spools of thread. Mom's odd flower frog holding pencils, seam ripper, etc. Great-great grandmother's compote dish holding bobbins & sewing machine feet. And a goofus glass bowl filled with cut fabric ready to sew.

Another re-purposed sewing accessory is my old metal dollhouse. I anguished over whether or not to keep it -- where would I put it? what would I do with it? Then the perfect use came to me!

Lastly, one drawer of the cabinet of my Grandma's treadle sewing machine. In it, along with spools of thread & the spindle-like bobbins that fit the machine were buttons, pennies, crayons, chalk, pill bottles filled with snaps & hooks & eyes, those little stocking holders snipped from girdles -- & string. Quite a lot of string. All carefully wound around bits of cardboard, old envelopes & labeled: Short Pieces, Long Pieces, Longer Pieces. I find them so very touching. I will never get rid of them.

Thanks for the idea, Beth.
It is always to fun to share a trip down Memory Lane!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Balls in the Air

There's a woman in my Guild who says she has just one project going at a time -- she works it till it is done & only then will she begin something new. No UFOs in her house! How smart, but, to my way of thinking, just a bit dull.

Me, I love having several projects at different stages of completion -- when I tire of cutting, I piece a while; weary of piecing, try some quilting; bored with quilting, maybe sketch for a bit. I have the luxury of having more than one machine, so all this jumping around is a bit easier. (But I have to be mindful of which machine is piecing what project -- I've found that not all quarter-inch machine feet are created equal!)

Maybe because the weather is so miserable (see my previous post), maybe because I'm finally getting over my focus-less funk, I'm not sure the reason, but right now I have an especial LOT of projects going: 2 gift quilts & a 3rd I'm thinking about, the Tower of Owls, 2 other projects with Stash Creatures to be revealed later, a simple tessellating block with an old jelly roll, a 16-patch using double knit scraps, a re-make of an old quilt, & a percolating idea that may be ready to begin.

design door madness

polyester 16-patch
Phew! A bit excessive even by my standards.

I wish it was hotter & more humid --

Said no one!


On Flickr, Instagram, blogs, I see much of the Northern Hemisphere getting out their woolens, hanging quilts to air, making pots of hearty, warming soups.
Not us.
I has been a long, hot, humid but rain-less summer that will probably go on & on & on.