Tuesday, October 27, 2015


I know you know about Pinterest. Maybe you have your own pin boards or maybe you do like I did, lurk & look at the boards of others. I was resistant to starting my own -- I knew what an enormous time-suck Pinterest can be. I could imagine sitting down with my morning coffee, checking in to see what was new; the next thing I would realize would be that my coffee was cold, my feet were asleep & the sun was setting. But I succumbed & drank the Pinterest kool aid (you can find the recipe on Pinterest!). At first, it was almost as bad as I had imagined -- I never actually wasted the *entire* day, but I certainly squandered quite a few hours. I had no idea about the social aspect of Pinterest -- a pinner can send pins to friends, chat, comment, etc. Then there is the curiosity of finding someone, a stranger, whose tastes are very similar to your own & wondering, "Would I like this person? Would this person like me?"


Work has been keeping me from what I love -- no cutting, no piecing, no quilting. I've hardly sewn a stitch in weeks. I get home physically spent. Evenings, I eat some dinner (thanks, Shug!), then sit in front of the television & scroll through Pinterest. Scrolling one evening, I saw a charming, scrappy plaid quilt & pinned it to my "I want to make that" board. A few days later, a Pin Pal commented on it, which caused me to look again & more closely at it. Yes, it really was glorious! The source of the pin was eBay, so I clicked through to see more details. There it was, a buy-it-now listing & a really good price. A few clicks more & about a week later, this glorious quilt was mine!

As always, I wish this quilt could talk. The fabrics are old but the quilt is brand new -- never used, never washed. At first, I wondered if it had been recently finished with true-to-the-era backing & binding. There are a few fabrics in the patchwork that make me scratch my head, like the larger-scale florals & a neon orange, but most are clearly from the early 20th century. It is pieced & quilted by hand; the quilting is simple straight lines in one direction -- except on two opposite sides, in a of row of blocks, there is perpendicular quilting. The backing is four plain feed sacks machine-stitched together & here are where the "problems" are: several dark, smeary stains. Blood? Did these stains spoil the quilt for the maker, leaving it unfinished, unused?

All I can do is wonder & fall passionately in love with this glorious quilt!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Be careful what you look for --

In my stash, you may not find what you were seeking but you will find something.

I recently found these -- a mass of eighth yard strips from the early 1990s when I was working in a quilt shop. At the time I really wanted to make a Joen Wolfrom-style landscape quilt. I looks like I collected a piece from nearly everything in the store! But like many of my best laid project plans, this one didn't get made. (When I think of all the classes taught by quilters I admired that I have taken over the years! Wasted money & effort? Well, no, I don't think so. They helped me to find out who I am -- & who I am not -- as a quilter.) But now here are dozens of fabrics sure to get me banned for life from the Modern Quilt Guild! They are kind of pretty & really do represent an era. A strip or string quilt seems obvious, so I am gathering ideas & putting these on the back burner to simmer for a while.

In the meantime ....

I got some good comments about whether a quilt should coordinate with the bedroom. For my sailboat pluses, the suggestion was to add some of our room color into it -- brick-y reds to all the blue. A splash of complementary color is always a good idea & since the suggestion sort of gave me permission to shop, that's what I decided to do!

As I waited for my ordered fabrics to arrive, I took the sailboats down from my design door, then, because I can't look at an empty design door, I started playing with another fabric stack that had bubbled to the top -- romantic & sweet (maybe a bit saccharine) florals in very girly, rosy reds & blush pinks -- almost the opposite of the blue sailboats.

For a while now, I've been obsessing over chunky, strippy medallion quilts. I want to do something of this sort with the fabrics from my & Mom's dresses. I thought a test run with fabrics considerably less dear would be helpful. So here I go. The center is a vintage pillow cover I got from Etsy; most of the florals are half yard pieces from big box stores & quilt shops. There are few fat quarters, an inherited plaid, a piece of real French toile, kittens, butterflies, gingham. I'm having fun!

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Collaborating with a friend

This was a new experience for me -- working with someone to make a quilt for someone else.

I think it was Wrongturn Rojas' idea to make something with Anna Maria Horner's feathers (very generously available for free on her web site) for our mutual friend. I said we could go through my batiks for some bright blues & greens suggesting macaw feathers. We got together one day to sew. Because of the odd angles & shapes, the blocks were a little tricky to sew, but we soon had *almost* enough feathers for a quilt. Then we ran out of our background fabric! What to do?!?! How about adding a different background with some red feathers! Problem solved!

We texted back & forth one Saturday morning deciding on layout. Wrongturn assembled the blocks -- she did a BEAUTIFUL job, let me add (I would have been very casual about matching feather shafts & corner seams). We met at a fabric store & found the perfect fabrics for a border & binding. Because she put it together so well, it was super easy for me to quilt -- my go-to wiggle stitch again. Back to Wrongturn for binding; back to me for washing & a photo session.

Voila! We are both very happy with our quilt & very eager to give it to our friend!