Monday, June 30, 2014


OK, so I guess if a person wants to be a literal, hair-splitting sort, a project that one has not actually begun cannot be called a "Work in Progress". But I sort of think of this un-begun quilt as a WIP. Maybe because it's a kit? I don't know. Anyway, the back story is this:

In the autumn of 2008, my Mom fell in her house. (She had been falling more. At the time we did not recognize that this was probably an early sign of her dementia.) She hurt her back & had a mild concussion & it was then that I realized that I should be checking on her more often -- so began my daily phone calls. A year later, I called her from Quilt Festival 2009; we chatted, she said she was doing OK, I said I was calling from the Quilt Festival & she told me to buy myself something to be from her. She was always generous & in the years after Dad's death, she was especially so, trying to give us things, writing us big checks (probably another sign of the Alzheimer's). Mostly, I turned her down & I had no intention of getting anything "to be from her" this time either -- then I passed the Den Haan & Wagenmakers booth. This is the Dutch shop that has the beautiful, old-world polished cottons; they had fabric, patterns & quilt kits. I lovingly stroked the beautiful prints & started to pass them by. Then I stopped, went back & bought myself a kit as a gift from my Mom to me. She was so pleased I did!

A few months after that, her physical & mental health nose-dived, she moved into nursing care, then into memory care & now she's gone.

The quilt kit sits untouched. It is a challenging pattern --  a small block with small, odd-shaped triangles. And the instructions are in Dutch! I kept trying to figure out a way to simplify it -- partial paper-piecing was the best I could come up with, but I never got it started. And now I don't really want to make it as instructed -- something simple & spare is more appealing. So I'm going through my Idea Book & making sketches. There are 22 sort of fat quarter meters plus the yardage of the 3 shades of blue (& a few extra prints that I added at the time). 
Flying Geese? Friendship Star? A modern, trendy pattern?
Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hurricane season

The Hurricane Cognoscenti are saying that there will be few, maybe no, hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast this summer. The El NiƱo circulation is starting to form in the Pacific Ocean; historically this has meant fewer storms in the Gulf of Mexico, possibly more for the Atlantic Coast. Not that the early predictions are ever 100% correct & not that we are letting our guard down! No, we're checking battery, bottled water & canned goods supplies, starting up the gas generator, planning an evacuation route & destination.

I've also gotten out my hand-crank sewing machine, my Singer 99K, Agatha. I haven't used her since the year I got her, the first year after our last hurricane, Ike. I sought out the machine because of our time without electricity. I decided then that the best thing to keep me sane & happy during & after the next storm would be the ability to do some sewing -- a portable, non-electric machine was the answer.

Lynn, The Little Red Hen, has also gotten out her Singer 99. She plans to enjoy sunny, balmy weather with some outdoor sewing & has invited others to join her for a #crankalong & some #backporchsewing. I won't be sewing outside -- too hot, muggy & buggy here! more like #undertheairconditionerventsewing for me! -- but I have been thinking about a project so I can crank along with Lynn.

The patchwork needs to be quite simple because you are sewing one-handed while the other hand powers the machine. It takes getting used to (I keep looking for the foot-peddle) but it really is very pleasant -- just a few steps away from hand sewing. I chose a spike-y star made with slivers of bright batiks. I'm making them kind of like paper piecing -- I mark the line on the back of the square & sew the batik on from the back. Once I get into the motion of assembly, it will go fast & because the blocks will be large -- 10 inches -- it won't be long before I will have cranked out a quilt top!

Monday, June 16, 2014

You do the math

If you are my brother or his 2 daughters --


I will be talking about your Christmas gifts, so if you don't want to ruin a surprise,

OK, now that they're gone (truthfully, I don't think any of them even know I blog, but just in case) --

I've moved other quilt projects to the back burner & have begun working on quilts for the 3 of them (& one for myself) using fabrics from 24 shirts, 12 of Mom's & 12 of Dad's.

I wanted the shirt element to be the same for all four quilts, but something I could change up. The fabrics in the shirts are mostly polyester or polyester blends, many are thin & loosely woven, so I wanted blocks that would surround the shirts in good, strong cotton. I finally decided on a simple + shape. The 2 quilts for my nieces will be similar to each other but not identical. The pair for my brother & me will be different from the nieces' quilts, & again, similar to each other. The nieces' quilts will have 36 + blocks each; my brother's & mine will have 64 each.

2(36) + 2(64) = 200 blocks

Well. I'm glad I'm starting early.

I selfishly began by making 4 for my quilt (-4), but I put them aside. I've finished one nieces' worth of blocks (-36). Now I'm working on my brother's -- I've nearly got 2 sets of 24 done (-48).

200 - 48 - 36 - 4 = 112
112/200 = 56 %
I'm nearly halfway done!!!