Saturday, March 10, 2018

Seventh finish — Pieridae

I made this quilt as a house warming gift for a friend at work. His house, the one he & his wife built in the 1980s was severely damaged by flooding after Hurricane Harvey. He has been a widower for about 10 years & is getting on in age. He was faced with the prospect of repairing the house or starting anew, he finally made the difficult decision to leave the old house & get an undamaged one. He has been in the new house for a few months now, but is only now nearly done with sifting through 30 years of life in a house. It has been a hard & draining process for him, so I wanted to make him something special.
At work, his area is the entomology collection & his special love is butterflies & moths. So I wanted to make him a butterfly quilt -- but a butterfly quilt that isn't girly. Keeping the colors simple seemed keep it masculine, yellow & blue seemed a good choice. There are sweet little yellow butterflies called Sulphurs that I thought would be perfect. I tried drafting a Sulphur-shaped block but it looked kind of clunky, so I decided to use Elizabeth Hartman's Ghost Moth pattern.

This was a 2017 finish.

Sixth finish — Flower Fields

A few years ago, I went with Shug to San Antonio. There was a gathering of wood-turners (yes, turners have 'guilds', retreats & big gatherings just like quilters) that he wanted to attend. Neither of us had ever been to San Antonio& the meeting was to be on the River Walk -- so, Yeah!, let's go!

Not to be sexist, but most wood-turners are men, and most of their spouses are women. In advance of the meeting, there was a call to see if any of the spouses would be interested in a quilting lounge or maybe a shop hop. The shop hop sounded fun, I had never been on one, so one day of the wood-turners' meeting, a bunch of us piled into a bus & hit the road. We went to 4 shops in the greater San Antonio area. Of course, I needed nothing, but I ended up with a lot of floral fat quarters -- they were speaking to me that day & I could see them all together in something very cheery.  A couple of years ago, I began seeing this cute quilt & knew I found a perfect setting for my florals. But, my go-with was a roll of ombre solids, so I could not exactly follow the pattern. I modified it to use 2.5 inch strips & quickly sewed up this very cheery quilt.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Fifth finish -- Hugs

I love making baby quilts & take any opportunity to make one.
Your neighbor's second cousin is expecting? Does she want a quilt!?!

My recent opportunity was not quite so oblique. The woman who does my hair. She's very sweet, has a 10 year old son & is awaiting a daughter at the end of October. A quilt is in order!

This was made entirely with materials on hand -- both pleasing & slightly embarrassing to me.
Anyway, the quilt, Hugs, along with a baseball pillow case for the big brother, has been given to the growing family & they were quite pleased with both.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Fourth finish -- Del Mar

Del Mar is finished, but rather than folding it away to use on the bed in the coming winter, I put a sleeve & label on it & packed it up to ship -- because it was accepted into the Made in Texas exhibit at the Texas Quilt Museum. I handed the quilt over to FedEx on Friday morning 25 August -- that night hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast between Corpus Christi & Houston. Over the next week we got nearly 46 inches of rain, but unlike so many unfortunate Houstonians, we did not have water in our house. I won't go into the drama of the week, except to say that it was rough watching the horror unfold on television. Again, Shug & I were safe & dry, but it was hard to see our city struggle.

My quilt, Del Mar, inspired by houses on the Texas Gulf Coast, sat somewhere in the care of FedEx. I was not really worried about its whereabouts, just wondered if it might be sitting in muddy water somewhere. Then I thought, if it was in muddy water, I would just wash it as best I could & the quilt would tell a slightly different story about life on the Gulf Coast. But it arrived safe & dry in La Grange (which had its own bad experience with Harvey).

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Third finish -- Healing Feathers

A friend I know through work is facing an uncertain future.

Less than 2 years ago, he was diagnosed with a degenerative lung disease. At the time, he was symptom-less, but it was not long before he had a 24 hours/day CPAP machine & restricted activity. Now he is in the hospital on high levels of oxygen & is on the short list for a double lung transplant -- waiting, waiting.

Well, there is not much I can do except make a quilt to show that I am thinking of him. So, with Anna Maria Horner's feather pattern, I made a quilt that I hope has healing powers.

Second finish -- Ribbons

Last year, when I was planning a quilt for my oldest niece's Big Birthday, time was passing & I still hadn't decided on a pattern -- I needed to start *something* or I risked running out of time! So I began 2 quilts. I quickly knew which was hers & had a second that would be a gift for someone else. The second one got moved to the back burner. I pulled it out earlier this year, quickly finished the piecing, then put in about a 40 hours of quilting!

It was not until I was editing my images for this post that I noticed my mistakes. They are not glaring, you may have trouble finding them & I don't think the new owner will mind.

First finish -- Pompoms

I began these blocks in January or February of 2016. Audrey at Quilty Folk was hosting a quilt-along: Quilty 365. I didn't manage 365 blocks, just 196. I finished it this year just about the time our brief Gulf Coast winter ended. Oh well. It is still very jolly, all dots with a few checks & stripes.
I am calling it Pompoms.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

And many more

I've made quite a few milestone birthday quilts in the last several years. Oddly, as a milestone of my own was approaching, it did not occur to me to make myself a quilt. Eventually, though, the seed planted itself in my head & the idea flourished. I am now making myself a milestone birthday quilt!

It will be an on-going project. My quilt is a mash-up of 2 quilts in Mary Elizabeth Kinch & Biz Storms' book Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts. My wedges are from a stack of metallic prints on solids that I got at Quilt Festival a few of years ago, the whole-cloth bands are a pumpkin-colored mini plaid. I am surprised at how quickly they sew together -- I sit down with my pile of wedges, sew 2 together, another 2 together, then those 4 together -- next thing I know, I have a long string of wedges. The 3rd one is done now & I'm ready to begin the 4th. I calculate that I will need 8 pieced bands -- so I'm nearly half-way there!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

What would Jennifer do?

My brother's wife died Christmas morning -- unexpectedly, quickly & much too soon.

She & I were alike in some ways -- both stubborn, opinionated & bossy -- but very different in other ways. She was boisterous, spontaneous, gregarious; she lived life turned up to 11. Me? I rarely turn it up to 6. Over the years, because of our similarities & our differences, she sometimes made me pretty mad (I'm sure I made her mad as well), but I always loved her because she was lovable. I hope she always loved me.

The 2 days she was in the hospital, being 800 miles away, all I could do was keep my phone close, worry, weep & regret that I was not near enough to help support my brother & say good-bye to my sister-in-law.

To keep my mind & hands occupied, I sewed. I picked up a couple of projects at hand & sewed & sewed & sewed. I sewed until I was exhausted.

I began the cake stand blocks late last year. I quickly set them together that weekend.

The other project I worked on was one using parts from a scrappy little top-let that I got at Quilt Festival -- an irregularly-shaped thing of 22 6-sided wheels made with 50s era fabrics. I had taken the wheels apart, but then what? How do I make a quilt from 22 wheels? I had decided on how I would set them together & had cut some muslin triangles to fill in the gaps. I was sewing triangles to wheels, when I nearly literally gave myself a shake.

"Why are you being so cautious!?! It's only fabric! It's only color! LET GO!! Turn it UP!!!"

So I pulled out a vintage floral & pinned the wheels to it. They seems to float about the flowers. Without much thinking, I cut triangles & strips & sewed it all together.

Neither is finished, but each was a lesson in spontaneous sewing using my new motto: What would Jennifer do?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

eBay -- part 1

I don't have The Right Stuff for eBay auctions. They require patience, determination & a skill that I just don't have. I have a won few auctions, but mostly they go like this:

  • I see a newly listed item I like. I bid the seller's minimum, put in my maximum & wait.
  •  In the next few days, I am the only bidder. I start congratulating myself for being a smart eBay buyer -- not only will get this thing, but I will get it for a bargain price!
  • A few more days & I am still the only bidder. I convince myself that I am the only person who wants this thing. I also convince myself that I want this thing more than anything in the world.
  • At the last minute -- & I mean The. Very. Last. Minute. -- someone sweeps in & out-bids me. *My* beloved treasure will be going to live with someone else. I am heartbroken.

So, as a rule, I stay away from eBay. But sometimes I need to look at quilts & eBay is a good place to see a wide spectrum of quilts. Recently, I was scrolling through the listings & came across one that really grabbed me: a simple double 4-patch top set with a variety of solids. It was nearing the end of its auction period & no one had bid on it. So I did, but with little expectations. In the remaining days, no one else did bid, so I actually won it! A few days later, it arrived in the mail.

I am delighted! It is so charming! I would guess it to have been made in the late 20s to early 30s. Such a variety of prints, plaids, stripes & solids! As usual, I wish it could tell me its story. In those days when money was so tight, why didn't the maker finish it? Some of the tiny 4-patch squares are pieced! And where did the maker get all those different fabrics? A garment factory that sold scraps, maybe? Anyway, it is keeping its secrets & I am left to wonder & fall in love.