Friday, January 31, 2014


For the Calendar block swap in February, Rex & I chose to do an embroidery piece. I love the hand work of it and was eager to do this one together.

I used a washable fabric pen to outline the pattern. Transferring your own hand often puts your own touch to it, and admittedly, I was one of those kids in grade school who could never get the letters the way they were supposed to look. I've learned to expect my letters to look unique as my handwriting.

However, when I sprayed water on and dabbed it, and let it dry, the first round had bleed marks! I've sprayed it again, dabbing it and its drying.

Sometimes, these little quirks in the works are what they are. There are many cultures and trades that have quotes or sayings about having the uniqueness left in to show your touch or hand in it, to show that its not machine made. All that is fine and good except when you have high standards for your work and want to reach for excellence.

The other WIP still on my table is coming along. All those pieces! I am almost finished with the side sashing & cornerstones, and will cut the center panel/block and get to piecing the rows next.

This is another scrap quilt and is turning out grand. The blocks are 8" right now with 2" sashing.

I had to let go of my goal to finish the four quilts for my Niece's family by the end of January. All of them are closer, and if I push my goal into February, its still quite doable. All these triangles turned out to be more work, however I love how they finish up and am not afraid of them.

I've made appointments on the next six Wednesday mornings at my clubhouse to start basting quilts that are ready for that step. The first one, Baylee's GARDEN PATHS is going to be hand quilted, and others will go onto the machine. Piecing is now less of a focus for awhile.

And how do I feel about the bleed-factor? Heck there are pens out there that go invisible after about 48 hours and that is the way I plan to go. Learn some, live some, choose what works better.  Most of all, keep quilting!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Horse, Crow and Goldfish

Happy Chinese New Year...the year of the Horse.
It is an event that is held on the second New Moon after each Winter Solstice. Horses always played a part in my life. I am always drawn to them & their healing energies. Memories of riding with my Brother on our Grandparents' farm still make me smile. 

 The last few days I've been trying to come up with an idea for a Spring Mug Rug swap that Rex (Crow Calling Woman)  & I are doing together. She's a great swap partner and makes me want to quilt better. I feel lucky to be involved with creative people.

The carrot outline came from something I found for a kids's coloring page and the shape seemed like it would work. I had some scraps leftover from another project and wanted to make good use of them. I really loved the fresh spring-like look to it.

However, it seems more like a goldfish and way too big to have flopping around on a desk. I usually just put my cup on a mug rug, and while this one started out 6 x10, adding the green for the leaves makes it 15" and that's too long. And the tip of the carrot was supposed to round out and how it got pointy is one of those binding mysteries.

Its going to the infant center, and I am going on with my day. Happy New Year everyone, may you ride on this year's zodiac Horse and find all you need for your greater good.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I remember when I was so much younger that we could ask for a 'do-over' in games we played. Then, as an adult, someone in a circle would ask, "if there was one thing in your life you could change, what would it be?"  Usually, I saw the wisdom in my choices and chose to say that I would do everything the same. And I do like do-overs when it comes to switching furniture around, transplanting garden plants.

Luckily, in quilting, you get as many 'do-overs' as you need or want. The tool we use to facilitate this is called a RIPPER. Here are a couple sitting on my table that I used this morning. I discovered seams on a few blocks were over the 1/4" guide. Not sure how I did them, but even a few threads over the suggested quarter inch shortens a block by HALF an inch. 

I was left with two choices. First, trimming all the blocks down...with 24 blocks, that meant a lot of trimming and wasting material as well as my time. Second, rip the errant seams, pull those cut threads, and re-piece. With only four seams, that was easier. I've laid the blocks out and want to look at them for awhile before pinning them in rows. Its really going to be a lovely, lovely quilt. That light blue in the photos is actually a frost with snowflakes on it and is very wintery-looking.

I take the time to work with 'do-overs' now in ways I never would do them in my life for those bigger choices I made. There were many things I held onto that served me well at the time and I do not regret what happened as a result. I think about relationships, groups or organizations I walked away from rather than to spend time trying to fix them, and know those were good decisions. Perhaps it is seeing into the end product of the effort it takes to let things be. Somethings are simply not worth the time and energy it requires to keep the status quo. 

I release much easier now. Yet, on the other hand, I am more open to receive. Guess its a balance my life has taken.

Suddenly as I write this, words to that old song, THE GAMBLER came to mind, "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run." And it made me smile.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Waning Moon Means Completing Projects

When I sat with morning coffee and looked out my Eastern windows, the waning Moon was in the SW and veiled with clouds, the thin kind of clouds that make you think of veils. It was a pleasant view that reminded me that this phase of the Moon supports continuing projects, working to finishing them up. Beautiful and fragile feeling.

It is only 10 am here. Again, the morning has been all about piecing without any finishes, so it is indeed part of the global energy. I ran another edge seam along the prairie points of Baylee's GARDEN PATH just to make sure nothing would come out.

Above is my current project pile with the WINTER IN THE WOODS and HOLIDAY GOLF quilts. Currently, the one that is at my machine is Nick's golf-themed quilt with 24 'wonky-style' blocks. There is one seam left to join, then they get pressed and uniformly trimmed, laid out and once again, pinned together in rows. Eventually borders too.

I feel secure enough with the top to baste the GARDEN PATH, and start hand quilting on it. It may have some machine quilting too...haven't quite decided. One by one, the other quilt tops will get completed and partnered with backs.

Over the decades of my life, I have found that I work better when I am in sync with the phases of the Moon, whether its in my gardens, doing other projects, and now with quilting. Seeing her in the sky gives me a marker and lets me know that this IS the energy around the globe and others join me in it.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Small Stuff

I've been spending a lot of time doing the small stuff on various quilts. Small stuff is what we do in our days, so that when someone asks us what we have done all day, nothing seems worth mentioning.

However, I know that without doing the small stuff, the actual manifestation of a finished project never happens. I cannot seem to avoid filling my hours with all these small tasks, that  go beyond quilting into the rest of my mundane life.

I've seen these cute posters that some artists use to show what matters...their art, not their housework, sometimes not even people around them. I hope not to be there. I think I was at one time when I was younger, but not now. Now I love a clean kitchen with an empty sink, a clean floor, clean bathrooms. And those fall into the 'small stuff' category and also please me to see. 

This morning, I realized there was dark thread on my bobbins and none empty for light thread to keep going on some of the quilts. So I pulled out my Great-Nephew's BOUGHS OF HOLLY quilt. I've pieced the back now with holly over black, and it coordinates nicely with the one going to my Niece, his Mother. Its also used on the front of the quilt as well. Both quilts are set aside and waiting to be basted soon.

My next quilting project is working on quilts for the other two of my Great-Nephews. Nick's got pinned last night and today, I am working on piecing another step to the 24 blocks. Its piecing, pressing and then pinning again before they even are ready to assemble for the top. 

As soon as this 'run-through' is finished, I will take time away from quilting and do some of the small stuff in the house. It is actually nice to step away and return to quilting with fresh ideas and a cleaner vision of where I am going with them all. 

OH, and I joined another swap that might be more closely aligned with my interests. This one is international sharing which means partnering with quilters around the world. AND the rules say that you must, must, must send your block on time during the month and if you do not do a timely swap, you are put on suspension. That is not always the rule for swaps and I have been burned a couple of times now. THEN the truly great thing is that its for holiday-Christmas themed fabrics!  Joy oh joy! I love this because I have a lot of that fabric and as I finish these 2014 quilts, will end up with even more scraps.

I've looked at the site for how the block swaps have been in the past and am excited to create a sort of sampler from what I receive. They make nice, nice quilts to finish.  12" blocks. Small stuff, yet again

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jan. Doll Quilt Swap came

I picked up the mail last night and found two lovely handmade items in it. One was from my January Doll Quilt Swap partner Lee. The other was from my Niece Lisa.

The theme for the January swap was to "Try Something New" and she pushed her comfort with this one, so she said. She worked with black quilting thread, and primary colors. Her miniature piecing turned out amazing! I've been looking at it ever since taking it from the packing and its so sweet! The pinwheels are fun and look like they are in motion. 

The second package from Lisa held a hand made 'low infinity' scarf she said was for these cold California nights...I've had it on since waking this morning because its mighty cold in the mornings too. As you can tell in this 'selfy' it covers the part of one's neck and throat area that is always cold (at least on me). It lays beautifully and takes the edge off the morning chill. Its going to be a constant companion.

I am most grateful to both Lee and Lisa for the time and energy they put into these lovely works of art. Being on the receiving end of such gifts warms my heart.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What me? A shop-aholic?

Its hard to imagine that I would go shopping for fabric after such an amazing experience at the quilt show. However, I could not find several things on my list that were carried by Claudia's 5 Heart Quilts store in town.

So off I went. I needed 4 yards for the back of my Granddaughter's graduation quilt so that I can get it basted and quilted. I've shown that lovely lavender quilt with the links in the center and the prairie point border. This print is a horizontal garden with baskets and planters and all that lush green. There is a bit more pink in it but lovely. The key selling point for me was seeing it on the back of one of Claudia's quilts. Stunning.

She had about five other prints that I was considering for Baylee's quilt, and this one won out. I love the contrast of the light on the top to the dark on this back, and just the sea of flowers. The prairie points concept for a border seemed to work best with this.

It took me a little while to match up the center seam so it looks contiguous. Luckily, the repeat was really close to a few inches on top and less than half an inch at the center seam. There is next to no waste here at all. Also, laying them next to each other, I got the idea for its name: Garden Paths.

The other two items included Piecemakers 5 1/8" Doll Making Needles that I use for basting. I snapped one in half not too long ago, and love this size for quick work in basting. The other product was Mary Ellen's Best Press: Clear Starch. I know some people make their own from corn starch. Some people like it, some do not. I am going with this one.

I am not a shop-aholic. Most of the time, I shop from my stash and build some very lovely pieces. Sometimes, like this quilt, I make an exception and buy fabric that I love to finish it off. Scrap quilting is a lot of fun and stretches my imagination. 

Friday, January 24, 2014


What an adventure that quilt show was today. I am so hyped that I am not tired enough to fall asleep so thought I would post. 

First of all, let me say that I was told NOT take photos at any of the vendor booths, which makes sense because they want to see their patterns.  Quilts we could photo were hung far out of reach, which disappointed me because I wanted to see the styles close up. Many were hung overhead, which was fine to see both sides. Others in the show were a good 20' behind theater ropes. It was still overwhelming to see.

The day was long so I saw as much as possible walking slowly to take it all in. Seemed to me that the quality of the work for most of them was done by confident intermediate to advanced quilters who used fabric to paint with and rarely followed any patterns except those in their heads. 
It was hard to put the work into categories that I could live with or visit within the realm of possibility for my own quilting future. Hard to imagine working on this one.

This one, for instance, I could see as a novel way to lay out a sampler. Color ways were brilliant and again, overwhelming. 

There were several red-white-blue quilts and compared to the other colorway choices, what I learned about myself is that I am not going to make them next year as I planned.

Although some vendors posted that cameras were not permitted, some did not, so I took the liberty of shooting a pic and moving along.

I am a fan of Asian prints & quilts. The simplicity of design moves my soul & when there are quilts I would make for my home, these work. I picked up the card for an online shop for these fabrics at: and held off making any purchases at this time. I am not ready for them, but someday soon.

The next thing that caught my eye were quilts made with buildings. Last year, I made a Halloween quilt for my Sister-in-Law and a Winter Solstice one for my younger Son both using houses. 

I loved these so much that they have moved up to the next type of quilt I want to make. This was at a booth, so you have to find it under the banners. They were everywhere! And I started making an effort to see how they were done.

I liked this one so much, I photographed it twice! Look at the detail having buildings in a village, on the farm and at the beach. Again, this one was so far away that it was hard to see the detail. I couldn't tell if it was pieced, paper pieced or appliqued or a combination of those and other techniques. Winning the $500 was almost small potatoes because I saw a $5000 prize on that I would never want to make in a million years.

This next one was a brilliant concept of wonky houses on different blocks to make up a larger wonky house. The caption that I could read said it was the result of a class! Would that I could sign up for that one! Love, love, love it.

I've seen a lot of houses or buildings online and am convinced that I want to learn more about them.

My attention went to another form of quilting which is the mini quilt or doll quilt. 

However, the ones I saw displayed were not for kids.  Carrying on my search for more houses, I spotted this one that I know my older Son (a plumber) would love.

These mixed media mini quilts were hung on the walls so I could see them even though they were above eyesight. I had to hold my camera as far up as I could reach. 

I've got a new respect for this as a fabric art. Recently, I was unsuccessful in participating in a Doll Quilt swap. Swaps can be hard if both partners fail to commit so I resigned from that one. 

Yes, this is a mini. Off center, with that larger border and a detail to the bottom corner.

Hard to see the heart one is done with buttons! And the one below with flying geese. Remember, these are 12" squares! so those geese are mini-mini's
 With all the work fabric artists put into these, I can well imagine that they would not want to give them away to folks they don't know. I liked this colorway that is NOT pink. Quilting is done with an echo around a non-fabric heart, which I thought was brilliant!
This one is a birthday quilt. You can see how high up on the wall they are hung from the perspective I got on the photo. Its a birthday cake and isn't that fun? These aren't much more than 12 or 14" square and yet, there is a lot of work going into them. I would have loved taking more photos and decided to shoot images that I liked and might take ideas from in the future. 

This one uses a glove that is filled and then makes a sort of collage of materials and laces and other ribbons. It reminded me of what my artist friend in North St. Paul might make or has already made.

Then, this last one was the Three Fates or Fatas who spin, weave and cut the fabrics of our lives. Its simple enough and would touch the hearts of many women I know back in the midwest.

While I brought home a number of flyers, postcards and catalogues, the one thing I didn't photograph were the fabric bags so many quilters carried. I didn't even SEE them until I was waiting for the bus to take our guild back to Tehachapi. WOW. And I do mean wow. Simple patterns like the one I made recently, using their quilting skills to create unique totes.

Next time.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fri.: Road to California Quilt Show

The bus leaves at 6:30 am and I think its a 3-hour trip to Ontario, Cali for the largest quilt show this side of Texas. I am so excited to go and plan to take lots of pictures to share, and hopefully look with an Intermediate quilter's eyes. I probably won't be writing anything on Friday because the bus returns to town around 7 pm. Its funny how I have promised myself to write on a daily basis. Its good for me in so many ways and I want to keep my own promises.

After running weekly errands in town, I spent the major part of today working on the third of my Pay-It-Foward projects. Again, this person was nominated and has no idea this mini is coming to her. 

Its about 24" square without binding, and is a navy blue print of a dragon in the center, sort of surrounded by swirling clouds.

With these mini quilts, I am taking the opportunity to practice different techniques. This one started out using the small scraps to make what is called a piano key border but, they seemed to work better for me cut the same size as the red stamp on the dragon print, so I cut them down and do like how they turned out. I was afraid that the colors would detract from the dragon because its such a subtle image.

The center, around the dragon, is echo quilted, and reminded me of the sand gardens where the gardner uses a rake to circle stones and plants. It was very relaxing. Then I used two of the decorative stitches to quilt on the borders. 

The back is a simple plaid that is in my stash I had planned to use for backings. Its not a large scrap, but works fine for this kind of project. I was concerned that it not shift in the quilting and look wonky. Seems to be ok.

Because of the pattern on the back, I really had to think of how to quilt the top. The grid turned out so nice yesterday that the echo quilting was almost the next step.  I've been back-stitching and hope that helps it hold. Mini quilts won't get the kind of wear and tear lap or couch quilts would. 

Mini quilts are enjoying a return in decorating popularity. They originated as Doll Quilts which run between a 12" square to a 30" square and every size in between. Women used to make them up quickly for the children in their lives from leftover scraps and patterned them after the ones they made for families. They also used them as training tools for young children to learn sewing and quilting. Now, adults add them to season decorations and set them on tables, over chairs, love seats or couches and at the foot of their beds. They place candles, lamps, floral arrangements and even tea service on them. Its not unheard of for a loving pet to claim a mini quilt to curl up on as well. Uses are guided by imagination.

Family, Duty, Honor

My younger Son gave me a number of sweet Winter Solstice gifts this year, and among them was a 5-book set by George R.R. Martin that became the HBO series "Game of Thrones". 

One of the strong women in it is from a house whose words to live by are "Family, Duty, Honor". I was so taken in by the character development of this woman, Catelyn Tully Stark, and how truly devoted she is towards her family. Yet she sets out to make a difference in her world that holds fast to that notion of family duty and honor. All the leaders in this story line have sigils and such words.  Children learn and follow these values all the days of their lives. Like all families in real life, the dysfunction among them shows up just as much as their strength. Catelyn is only one of the mothers featured in the story, and she makes choices that give me pause for thought about my own.

Ever since the first time I heard this particular slogan, I have pondered my own, yet haven't developed them for myself.

Years ago I made a pillow for my older Son's birthday. I pulled a picture of a walleye (MN's state fish) off the DNR websight and simply machine appliqued the pieces layer upon layer. It is surprisingly like that Tully house trout.

One of the hardest things for me is living so far away from my family in the midwest. Staying connected is a challenge just because of the busy-ness everyone exists within. For my part, every quilt, large or small, carries with it my deep love and devotion to each of them.  And yet, I question who I am and what I do all the time. 

The second of my Pay It Forwards was finished last night & I am delighted with how it turned out. Again, it is fashioned out of small scrap pieces of fabric. The diagonal grid turned out really nice with gold thread.  

It is about 16" square and will make a lovely candle mat on an altar or table. I love the entire piece, which is a pattern I've made so many times for Solstice gifts to family. 

It is called a disappearing 9-patch, and this time, I was able to re-arrange the squares so that there is another pattern that shows up (see the blue). Making a scrap quilt, large or small requires strategy so that the randomness of it is also eye-catching. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I spent most of the day working on small details. Working, not taking pictures for the blog. It started with catching up to the Applique Mystery Quilt. 

It was a matter of pulling out fabrics to give the entire quilt a more coordinated look to it. Over my short experiences in scrap quilting, I have come to learn that it takes skill to have a random look actually look appealing. And the sorting process for a mystery quilt takes more thoughtfulness than one would imagine.  

I am delighted that the applique is machine work rather than hand stitching for a number of reasons. Its a nice look and will make it more of a utilitarian quilt rather than something a person has to hand and take special care.

Both quilts for Nick & Tony are WIP and I took each one through another step. Most of what I did on Nick's was trimming to get rectangles ready to pin and piece. I am still working with pointy-things on Tony's and got all 5 of the tall trees tippy-topped correctly. 

I almost finished the second Pay-It-Forward project tonight. It turned out much better than I expected and the details for it are what make my heart sing over it. More about it tomorrow complete with photos.

Paying attention to details means going slower, being more mindful and watching out for those slips in the pattern design. I've encountered too many things in this fabric art that end up requiring ripping and starting over. And that just becomes a big waste of time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lookin Good

Once, long ago in my past, my need for approval drove me to look good, act good and be what everyone wanted from me. Once.

My heart was often broken from all kinds of fears that were most likely imagined, yet, I do believe some of them were fears based in reality.

I took all the steps to making the binding on that comfort quilt today. Pinned it to the backside, sewed a quarter inch from the raw edges and made perfectly mitered corners. 

Kids and folks under stress will find places on that are handstitched on these quilts and worry-push fingers between the stitches, so this makes for a more solid stitch.

"Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect," someone said to me yesterday, "You will get better doing them with practice."

I happily stitched away, and when I turned it over, sure enough, it was less than a perfect finish. It is fine.

I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon, playing catch-up with the Mystery Quilt. Shaking my head here. No matter how much I envision how it is going to finish, all the odd little choices of fabrics will make it come out got it...with a life of its own. Mystery. No fear. No hesitation. Just step up and take a chance.  There will be borders and binding choices that I can control and make it all look good.

No fear. Feeling good. Can't say if its better than looking good, but I am learning to trust myself after all these years.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Quilt Meeting Lessons

I didn't bring a camera to the meeting this morning, and there were several mini lessons all morning. Its been a long weekend with an extra day. Its always been hard for me to tell the difference between a weekend, a regular day or a holiday. 

Every day is always fresh with new possibilities for me. Sometimes people roll their eyes at my attitude. They ask me if I don't remember what happened in all those yesterdays, and I do. I do remember when it suits me.

I brought in the baseball comfort quilt so one of the quilters could show me the way to machine stitch binding so that its on solidly. It will take less than half an hour start to finish. I will prefer to hand sew binding on other quilts I make. 

Then, I pulled out fabric for two more tops to make this month. The group likes to use one size because it makes it easier to add backing without a seam. I'll do those two and then make larger ones later. I don't mind seaming the back.

A small border was added to my Great-Nephew Cody's quilt and I'll purchase backing for it in the morning. That will be one more waiting for the basting process.

Tomorrow. Its going to be another great day in the morning.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

You Know You are a Quilting Geek...

I have that kind of mind that wants to move everything, from moving my own body, moving furniture around, moving from quilt to quilt. Move. Change. Change my mind comes into that too. It's always frustrated people in my life because the change can happen mid-sentance. Sometimes I might ask a question and if it takes more than 60 seconds for someone to answer, I have gone onto something else by the time they respond.

Quilting has modified some of that behavior for me. The lessons learned show me that if I move too quickly that there is a price I have to pay when I return to it. 

While I think my mind, like my body have both served me well in this lifetime, I realize that if the quilting project is left too long, that brief notes are not always the best for me.

This morning, I pulled out almost all my storage bins & sorted them to consolidate space & keep like fabrics or projects together.

The main bathroom in this house is the only one really in use. This small second bathroom-bathtub was wasted space until I bought a shelf unit & started storing bins next to it. The area really serves me well and keeps other household supplies there. Of course, bins are tucked in traditional closet spaces too. Everywhere. I miss having a basement, and the shed isn't the best place to store fabric goods. They get moved enough that they are not in danger of getting stale.

Yesterday, I changed my mind about the pattern for Lisa's quilt. I still need to purchase the correct pre-wash chemical for dark burgundies so they don't bleed onto the whites. I measured the fabrics in that group and took out the pile of magazines here. For as much time it is taking me to work on the triangles in two other quilts, to get Lisa's done too, I need to re-think and allow my mind to be ok with the change. I did and am. 

Two weeks left to this month and my goal is to finish all four tops! A work in progress holds that status through many phases. I know that soon enough my machine will go in for servicing and then the phase of basting comes into play. EEEhah! 

I used to think that there was nothing more exciting than the next new adventure. Now, I love the anticipation of a completed quilt. Many of them.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Comfort Quilts

We care most about the people closest to us. We can only do so much to make a difference and so usually do what we can for those folks close.

I remember being in grade school when the 'nunnies' gave us these cans with lids to save our coins in, so we could give what we saved and adopt a starving pagan baby, saving it from the jaws of hell. (They were always babies of color from China, Africa or South America.) We spent time decorating the cans and heard the rattle in them of all the coins we found on the ground, behind the couch and from a meager allowances we got at the time. 

I loved the thought of having a pagan baby in my family, and had these wild imaginings of how my Mother would react to someone from a far-away land at her breakfast table. I tried saving as much money as I could believing that it would buy some cutie to bring home. 

Eventually, the PR jocks removed the word 'pagan' from the marketing, and still lead us to believe those kids come from some poverty-stricken place elsewhere.

Poverty exists in every home and sector of our country too. Poverty of body and of soul. I see this kind of poverty everywhere and know how easily it can enter my own home and family.

I never forgot those long months of saving up to change some wild pagan baby's life. It might have been one of the most memorable times of my elementary education.

Some months ago, I joined the Tehachapi Mountain Quilters guild in order to participate in the comfort quilt meetings. 

I've finished the first quilt for them, and am taking it to the meeting early Monday morning.

These quilts stay local which means they are given to people in Kern County where I live. 

The group adopted one easy pattern and size, and quilters are free to select colors and fabrics to make. 

The binding is not on this yet because the group machine sews them on, and up to now, I have been hand stitching mine. 

I've decided to make comfort quilts for boys and men. This one has a baseball theme and is backed in that lovely brown and navy flannel. Its machine quilted with diagonal lines that form a simple grid. Its not as big as the ones I usually make, however it will make a nice quilt to over one's lap.

Most materials and supplies are donated, and the TMQ guild has a budget to purchase whatever else is needed. Members donate their time and artistry. We meet once a month, have a potluck lunch, and one of the seasoned members often holds a simple quilting class. 

I don't care who gets the quilts I make are pagan or from one of the 5 major religions. I care that I put in the love and devotion I have for all of humanity and that perhaps they feel it, receive it and take comfort.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Planning Ahead

I've been working on Nick's Holiday Golf quilt this week. My style seems to include moving from one WIP to another for a number of reasons. Sometimes its for stimulation, other times its to keep me from getting frustrated. This arrangement will most likely change, however seeing a photo of the plan helps me see how it might work. 

My attempts at using the pattern sheet to record what I have done on it and what I need to do have helped in some ways.  Like so many busy people, I think I am going to remember what I did and what needs to happen.

For instance, when I cut fabrics, I use a highlighter. And then make notes, or circle in pen what is missing or hasn't been cut. That brighter green has already been switched to 4th row, 2nd block and because of these pictures, I will find a different green for it that doesn't make it stand out and detract from the center panel. Planning. Better to make changes while it is simple.

There will be four flying geese rectangles on all sides of these pinwheels for the next step. It feels daunting to make this quilt as I write about it, however, its an Intermediate pattern, so of course, it requires pushing me out of my comfort zone. Change does that for us.

It seems that whenever I move out of the area of my life that is comfortable into a newer place, I go through the concerns that I do not have what it takes to do this new thing. Its like second guessing my skills, my commitment and tenacity.

There is an old quote that says 'yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery and today is a gift'. That makes me laugh because for as long as I can remember, I fall asleep with a mantra: I lovingly release this day, and fall peacefully to sleep, knowing that tomorrow will take care of itself.  

I am making the most of it today!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Its Like Football

I love football though I don't watch it these days because I haven't owned a TV in decades. However, I know that when that ball gets laid down in the field- inches count in every play. Somedays are like that for me in quilting too.

This week, most of my work is piecing small cuts into small squares and doing the small 'inch work' of quilting.

These pinwheel squares are only part of the block construction for my Great-Nephew Nick's quilt that is called "Holiday Golf". This is just Step 4 of 11 for the construction part, and then there are 7 steps to the assembly, followed by 3 more steps to finish. And yes, it is a scrap quilt. 

I've got six more of the centers to work on today and then will need to check them all to make sure they measure out at 4.5".

The pattern comes from the December 2007 American Patchwork & Quilting magazine. It is set up as an Intermediate Skill, and therefore is pushing me beyond my comfort zone. The pattern finishes it at a 55.5" square, however, this young boy is already pretty tall, so my plan is to add another 5" border to extend it just a bit beyond that measurement.

Inches. My sidebar list of projects for my family is a pretty hefty goal for the year, which means if I want to finish them all, I have to keep working and keep thinking about all those next steps. I am my own coach, my own quarterback, and my own cheerleader.

Most of the men & boys on my list are close to 6' tall, and some are more than 6' tall, which means that even the personal lap top quilts need to be large enough for their stretched out comfort.

There is a lot of holiday fabric leftovers from the quilts going out with that theme that I have made in the last few years. I've been working on a 20-block log cabin made entirely of those pieces and this is what they look like laid out in what is called an arrow. I was so impressed with the design. This one will finish off as a double-coverlet size. Its going to be a guy-quilt.

Well, back at it...with hopes that your day brings you passion and success.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Shake the Soul

Life, like quilting, sometimes puts up some mighty big blocks on our paths.  After decades of encountering people who are habitually victims or doormats and whine, "poor me", I decided to own the results of my choices, whether they brought me joy or heartache. I decided that when something blocks me, in life or with my quilting, that its there to shake up my soul and bring me new opportunities to grow beyond my visions.

At first, it was difficult for me to move beyond the pinks...pinks in the fabrics for quilts and pinks that were faded reds onto whites. However, the choice was to be upset or to get back in the game and keep quilting.

I spent most of yesterday working on a variety of steps for a number of (WIP) works in progress that included cutting, pinning, piecing, pressing and re-assessing what was ready to baste, and what needed seam ripping. Also, two quilts were shipped out. So many steps to quilting that do not warrant photographs.

Tony's WINTER IN THE WOODS quilt has three different types of pieced blocks to it (houses, trees & stars). The pattern is older and the pattern templates are confusing. I've redone the triangles now so they make points. Here are the completed blocks of five small roofs & two large roofs.
I see that the photos don't do most of the fabrics justice in how they look in real life. Some look really bright and others seem to fade away. Its just how they photograph!

I've been working on the small and tall tree blocks and cut the star blocks out as well. Interestingly, one side of the star is missing from the template, and I do know I can cut one out on my own and make it come together. Once again, it was just a minor issue for me. A year or two ago, it would have been disastrous for a beginning quilter, which reminds me that not too long ago, I said I was a confident beginner. 

These little blocks not only help shake up my soul, they push my comfort zones to a place of growth.