Monday, August 31, 2015


My finished quilts kicked it up a notch -- from 1 to 7!

A mini & a lap-sized, made with on-hand parts were shipped to new owners before I made photos. Here's one in its new home.  A big quilty hug to you, Mrs. O'Quilts.

Besides the massive amount of quilting on the hummingbird stars, I also added some perle cotton ties. I mentioned before how the block edges are all on the bias & these edges are where the heavy quilting *isn't*. So to keep the quilt from looking like a Jonathan Adler vase, I tied the block corners.

The Pop Art nail polish bottles are done -- quick & cute.

And a jelly roll race -- not completely done, binding is on & hand-sewing is in progress.

In the not-ready-to-count-as-finished-but-nearly-so category are these: I got another 2 bands of Laura's Lightning quilted -- it's another with dense, time-taking quilting -- much more to go, so please stay tuned.

Then there is my Quilt of Shame -- a wedding present? -- 12 years late! UGH! I am hanging my head. My reason -- not my excuse! -- was that the quilt was at the edge of my abilities when I began it sooooo long ago. Materials & my equipment were different back then. The all-cotton batting helped reduce -- but not eliminate -- the number of tucks on the backside but also made the huge thing weigh a TON.  Free-motioning it on my dear Bernina was hard. The deeper throat-space on the Brother is making it much simpler. The "bride & groom" will get this quilt before the year is out!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Not all who wander are lost: continued


All are terms used to describe free-form quilt-making, unconcerned with patterns, straight lines, pointy points, matching seams. The processes are varied, the resulting quilts are non-standard. Julie Silber calls them "maverick". Roderick Kiracofe calls them "unconventional". I call them "the quilts that excite me & that I want to try to create myself".

As I explore this path, I will be referring to my process with liberated/pattern-free/wonky/intuitive/improvisational quilt-making as "no-plan" quilting.


Because I am a Planner. Graph paper, colored pencils & the Pythagorean Theorem are my good friends. I don't follow patterns, I draft up my own & follow my them pretty closely. I'm not a natural at no-plan patchwork. I have splashed in the shallow end & I think those efforts made some of my favorite quilts. So, it is time I flexed, stretched & developed my no-plan muscles. I've been pulling how-to books, watching Craftsy classes & reading tutorials. They provide paths to follow -- plans for no-plan piecing, if you will. But I'm beginning to think that the best source of inspiration is Inspiring Quilts -- antique, vintage & contemporary. Studying them has me ready to jump -- well, maybe maybe not a real jump, maybe more of a step, not into the deep end, more likely into the shallow end -- but ready to begin this.

But where to start!?! How to start!?! How about something simple first, a method I saw long ago, but have never tried. Simply stack several fabrics, cut through the stack, mix up the parts & reassemble. I picked a black & white plaid from a skirt, a vintage floral I got swapping with nifty quilts & a few others. And here I go!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Changing gears

The first 6 months of this year were my time for piecing. I put together 5 tops, 2 more are very near completion. Then there are the growing stacks of blocks -- disappearing 4-patches, pluses, geese, bow ties, HSTs & medallions at various stages of growth.

Now is my time for quilting. I recently basted 1 mini & 2 medium-sized quilts. The mini was done in about an hour, one of the medium-sized ones took half a day, the third one took some time -- the quilting was not complex but was pretty dense. All are done now, binding machine stitched on & ready for some quiet time hand-sewing them in place.

After that, I want to move to completion a few quilts that stalled mid-quilting: a jelly roll race that will be for donation, my Laura's Lightning -- do you remember that one!?! -- in spite of how much I love it, it somehow it fell off the rails. Then there is one that is so embarrassing that I may not even tell you about it -- an incredibly, shamefully late gift. After those are done, there is my scrappy Arkansas Crossroads! I'm nearly breaking out in hives I'm so eager to get to it!

But while I sit & quilt, I am thinking of new projects -- Anna Maria Horner's feathers, made with a friend for another friend; more nail polish bottles for a young woman turning 16; big chunks of my & Mom's dresses pinned to my design door.

Weather Report

Since the bucketing rainfall in May & early June, we have been under a high pressure system.
Our weather now has been a lesson in sultry conjugation.

It has been hot & humid.
It is hot & humid.
It will be hot & humid.

The forecast has been the same for weeks: highs in the upper 90s, lows in the upper 70s, light southwest winds; the only variations being a slight increase in both the high & low temps, some days partly cloudy rather than sunny, maybe a slight chance for rain, maybe an air quality alert or heat advisory. I go from home to car, car to work, work to grocery store, grocery store to home, only sweltering in the minutes it takes the AC to cool down.

And to top things off, I am on the downhill side of my SECOND cold in 6 weeks. (I was sick. It am sick. I hope I won't be sick much longer.)