Monday, October 13, 2014

The lies that lying liars tell

Do you recall me saying that I was not going quilt with my wiggle-y walking-foot zigzag for a while?

Well, I lied.

To date, I have 5 quilts I've kept & a few I've given away that I have quilted with this manipulated programmed stitch. The first time I used it was in combination with straight stitching around oval templates -- the result was a braid-look. After that I did parallel lines, the others have all been grids of varying widths, some parallel, some perpendicular to the quilt edge. I LOVE the look I get with it -- especially after the quilt has been washed & dried -- so cozy & crinkle-y.

But I worried I was over-using it, getting in a Wiggle-y Zigzag Rut, so to speak, so I "vowed" to leave it behind. I should have waited to make such a sweeping statement. I quilted all the + quilts with it. With 3 quilts made assembly line-style, I wanted quick, easy & utilitarian quilting -- the wiggle-stitch is perfect for this & I think it looks a little fancier than it is. It is also great for in-the-ditch quilting, hides any wobbles away from the Straight & Narrow. I also like it with very perpendicular patchwork, kind of softens & counterbalances the look. Now that the Christmas quilts are done, I'm using The Wiggle Stitch on my dotty 16-patches. As soon as I began piecing them, I saw them quilted with this stitch -- more blocky patchwork calmed with snake-y stitching.

Never say never, right? :-}

Friday, October 10, 2014

Quilts for quilters

I recently made a quilt for a friend who quilts. It was a milestone birthday for her. She is so adorable, she deserves a quilt every day of the year, but I just made her the one.

Back in the spring, I gave her a long list of questions to help me get what I would make for her in focus: solids or prints? cool colors or warm? scrappy or controlled? blocky or overall pattern? Etc, etc, etc. I finally chose a palette & pattern, but then I was nearly frozen with anxiety over whether or not my choices were right. I can't explain it, it isn't that I put less love & effort into a quilt for a non-quilter, but somehow it feels different making a quilt for a quilter. Not that a quilter will be more picky, probably less so. But something about making something for someone who knows how make the thing themselves, I just want it to be just right. Anyway, I finally bundled up my courage & dove in. Because of the interlocking design, laying out the colors was challenging, but not difficult & the piecing was quite easy. I free-motion quilted it it a pebble pattern -- again, challenging but not hard & I certainly improved from the beginning to the end. Overall, a pretty successful quilt.

And she loved it!

Monday, October 06, 2014


I know you know what I'm talking about.

You've been going along for a while (doesn't it seem like *forever*?), things are moving forward, things are good, but they just aren't -- well -- exciting anymore. It has become routine & almost seems like work now. You are easily distracted. A quicky detour here & there helps scratch the itch. Then there is that new, fresh face that has really captured your attention. And the old familiar one that you are seeing in a new way. Or? Hmmmm, maybe the two together ........

Wait a minute! You didn't think I was talking about Shug, did you?!?! No!!!!
Quilting projects!!! I'm talking about quilting projects!!!!!
Phew! OK, now that we are on the same page.

I know you know what I'm talking about.

Much of my summer was spent with the 3 + quilts. I enjoyed them, though on the downhill side I did get a little tired of them. I was itching to sew on something different. I could have taken a break & dipped in my deep pool of WIPs -- spike-y batik stars, wonky vintage brown stars, Terra Australis zigzags, my own + quilt, etc, etc -- but I *had* to start something new, so I started some flying geese with men's shirts. (Which brings me to a philosophical question: when does a Work In Progress become an Unfinished Object? Not working on it for 6 months? A year? Longer? Or does it have to completely sink from sight & mind for 6 months? A year? Longer?
Hmmmm, a question to ponder .....)

Now that the + quilts are finished, my time is more free. And even though I've got one more WIP than when I began them, I'm still looking at fabric stacks I've pulled -- MIL's skirt with a recent fabric gift, Liberty florals with solids, scrappy 2.5 inch squares from almost 20 years worth of projects -- & wanting to start something newer.

I have no trouble being true to Shug. But when it comes to my patchwork projects, I'm not so faithful -- a real bigamist!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Don't go there

But if I do go there, should I bring scissors?

Last spring, I went with several HMQG-ers on a day trip to La Grange, Texas. If you are ever anywhere in SE Texas, you really should make this trip. La Grange is a charming, old-timey Texas town. It is also home to the Texas Quilt Museum. The museum, begun by the organizers of the International Quilt Festival, is housed in what was once 19th century retail space & has been beautifully restored to a new purpose -- that is displaying quilts.

When we were there, the special exhibit was butterfly quilts -- beautiful quilts in a beautiful space! I was standing in front of a quilt with another Guild member, um, a 'mature' woman like myself. This quilt had a large variety of fabrics, not just cottons, but satins, brocades, velvets. I don't remember who said it first, maybe we said it together, but we each had the same thing on our minds -- cutting up our wedding dresses! Both of us in happy marriages, for years we've lugged around our dresses & allowed them to take up space. Neither us see much likelihood of anyone ever wanting to wear our dresses. We told the rest of the group what we had been thinking; the more recent brides looked horrified, the ones with more candles on their anniversary cakes looked intrigued.

I loved my wedding dress! I remember like it was yesterday shopping with my Mom, putting on mine & immediately knowing, "this is MY dress." But now what? No daughters, my nieces either have different bodies or are already married. I'll never again be able to zip the tiny thing, so I can't even wear it as a Halloween costume! Yes, I could sell or donate it, it may be getting old enough to be considered vintage. :-} Or I could incorporate the fabric in patchwork -- kind of a have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too approach.

A few years ago I stumbled upon Cassandra Ellis. I liked this quilt & I really loved her attitude & approach to quilts & quilt-making. She has transformed my thinking about fabric & combining fabric in quilts! Chunky hunks & precious slivers of treasured fabrics make beautiful, meaningful &nurturing quilts. The old & the new; silk, cotton, velvet, wool -- all together in one quilt. I have dear bits of very old family clothing, many of them rayon, with which I have long wanted to make something. Ms. Ellis may be my Muse.

I'm not there yet, but if I go, I may bring scissors.