Thursday, March 31, 2016

Challenge of Faith

If one of the goals to my quilting work was to learn spiritual lessons, then I think I am in the midst of a huge one. I am not sure if there are words yet for me that are clear enough to share. I pulled out several of my bins to start machine quilting on projects that were basted only to discover that I have an entire bin waiting for the batting. Tops and bottoms are completed, and I have 5 packages of batting just waiting. People sometimes comment that quilting is my hobby. It is not. 

Gardening is a hobby. Adult coloring is a hobby. Even Swap-bot and Cross-posting are hobbies.

For me, quilting is a spiritual practice. Someone asked me if I do this work for myself or for others. 

And this is where the lesson is coming out. Perhaps at my core, I might identify as an existentialist, which is simply identifying with all life existing in time and space. My life is one of silence, solitude, solidarity with life forms, and service. When I forget one of these markers, I can be tossed in the wild winds of world-wide or personal circumstances, and loose my footing as a spiritual being. This is all what I learned at the feet of my grandparents as they talked to each other and other adults. 

They exposed me to free thinking. And to silence, solitude, solidarity and service.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mug Rugs for May Fundraiser

I support the local Humane Society fundraisers. When I worked the booth last time (just before Valentine's Day), the coordinator suggested that I could make quilted mug rugs for them to sell. The tables are set up in the entry way of KMart, so shoppers see it coming into the store and going home.

A lot of folks ask if there are gluten free and low or no sugar offerings in the baked goods. And they do buy some of the craft items.

I found a piece of fabric in my stash that is long and was about 7.5" wide and quite long. I put together four mug rugs and matched the stripe front and back so I could use a deco stitch that would join the sandwich and run on those lines for both sides. Then I cut binding strips so more of the fabric got used. Luckily, there were scraps of batting in one of my containers too.

Whether or not they sell, I will have made something as a donation. The next event is the day before Mothers' Day in May. I will simply drop these off at KMart early that morning.

The Humane Society here has an office that is only staffed one day a week. They offer low cost vaccinations and spay/neutering services. Also, they do have a program that gives pet food to low income people. The do not take in animals (they are not there often enough to care for them) and yet some members offer foster care and adoption weekends.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Scrappy Backs

It is my plan to use up as much of the cut squares I have in a bin in my closet. To that end, I want to start by joining the 8" squares. I can use the 10" for the Twister template. These 8"ers are easy to work with and if they have to be trimmed to fit the top, that works for me as well.

Rex's Crow Quilt measures at approximately 60"x70", so my calculations for the back is that it will take 9 squares to make a row, and it will need 10 rows of them to make the back. Its going to be as random as it goes. It will make a nice personal lap or nap quilt, as well as a sweet throw across her sofa when she is not using it. Obviously, this is a photo I found online and not what is on the quilt.

I am resorting the container of 8" squares for the rest of the afternoon so they are ready for the next project.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Crow Quilt

We need our friends. Not just for good times, but for basic health. Without others who help us form our boundaries and perceptions, sometimes what we imagine can become monstrous reality. Most of my good friends live back in the midwest. Through the convenience of the web, we stay connected.

I am working on a scrappy quilt top for my friend Rex who is one of my FB14. It is a quilt made by shopping from my closet, but one I am thrilled with so far. (Yes, that is Rico sitting on the table next to the ironing board.) This photo is shown in black and white so it doesn't give away the look of the quilt. Quilting is about joining pieces of fabric to remake a whole project. I really didn't have a pattern to follow here so have had to calculate and did rip one section away to make it a better fit. I am pleased with how it is evolving, and have used a bit of what I learned elsewhere to make this one come alive. 

Personal lap quilts often run about 50x60 in the patterns. My own favorite is not as wide and is a little longer. I do make larger ones for taller folks. Thing is, most of the time, they end up however they end up. Over the past few years, I have come to understand the way borders make the quilt come alive. Where I used to think of things as being too busy, now, I enjoy seeing the different patterns and fabrics of scrap quilting. The more variety, the more it will 'go' in a person's house and with their sofa.

The first border on this one is what the Aussies call a Peeper. It is used on this quilt to define the center panel and separate it from the 2nd border which will be 5" charm squares. After that, I have no plan. I will measure and see if a 3rd border is needed. I do have an idea for a back, and again, need to measure where it ends up before I start on one. Such an adventure this kind of quilting is!

Such a friend this friend is.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Shopping is Required

While it is important for me to use what I have, there is a part that brings me to recognize I need more than what I have and it is perfectly ok to go out and get it.

Over the years, I have learned that everything goes on sale sooner or later. I also learned that the bigger sales come on the mundane holiday weekends. Luckily I was able to go down to Palmdale in the afternoon on the way to a party in LA. Batting was on a 50% sale. So many of my projects are at the stage of needing batting so they can be finished. I will cut out for quilts and use leftovers for the wallhangings/table toppers and even mug rugs. As it is now, I have only small scraps.

I needed rotary blades, which were also 40% off and some Royal Blue embroidery floss for a Winter Solstice project. There was a 20% coupon for the entire purchase. It was a good day to shop, and I am set for some time. I plan to make the embroidery tracings for the Winter Solstice project and take them with me when I go to Minnesota in June. 

I have an embroidery stabilizer that is printed on and ready to transfer. So that is my project for now. Just to get it ready for the trip. I realize its months away, but planning is part of who I am.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

From One Donation to Another

I joined the local guild twice. The first time, the meetings were a lot of business and I was still working, and going to my own business meetings. The second time I joined a sub-committee group that makes comfort quilts. They had a trailer filled with bins of supplies given to them by families in our community whose quilter (Mother-Grandmother-Aunt, etc.) quilted and had passed on or was no longer interested. So the guild took all the generous gifts. Like other individual quilters, the group soon was over-loaded with fabric, notions and other supplies.  They bundle up some items and raffle them off at the monthly meetings as a fundraiser. The members make and donate quilts for the guild to use in whatever way they choose.

However, in the comfort quilt group, they are responsible for taking these donations and then deciding what would happen to them. Anything not 100% cotton was laid out on the give-away table. Anything that had a holiday theme was also given to any member who wanted to claim it. Used patterns, old thread, partial packages all go on the give-away table. Some very old items were simply tossed. I guess families have no clue as to what is worth saving, so this is the best idea they have to pass things along.

Even large quilting groups get overwhelmed with stash. 

It was in that last meeting I was given some really great prints that no established members in the group wanted to work with. I took those fabrics home and into my bins they went. I did make and donate 3 quilts and then did not renew my membership.

I have been using a lot of what I brought back from the guild. I loved what I brought home, but like so many seasoned quilters, was unsure how to use it. I did go online for ideas, and am making this very splendid quilt for my friend Rex, who is one of the FB14. These are a series of charm squares I cut and pinned that will make up a border. I didn't want to put a photo up that would tell her what I have planned because she sometimes reads this blog and while she knows she can expect a personal lap quilt, she is entitled to the surprise.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Putzie Work

When I was outside earlier today, I pulled the big trash container over to my patio so I could gather up the dead plant material. It was loaded with ants, and in that flash of a second, they were crawling over me. For whatever reason, I get bitten by them. All the time. Dashing into the house, stripping off my clothing and into the shower. I called Terminix to bring in the spray guy earlier next week. Ants have a great medicine message: "Consider that all good things come with time and effort. Work with conviction and work with others." Blah, blah, blah. I think I will bake cookies for the spray guy who lives out of town and can eat them on his way home.

I finished another black embroidered block for the Hallows quilt I am making for one of my Great-Nieces. And I started on yet another one, which I think is 7 out of 12.

I got all the petals turned and will start on the joining thread over the weekend. The reds are pretty close in intensity with several patterns. It should turn out nice.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Winter Solstice in March

I think one of the codes I live by is 'do it more, do it better, do it faster'. No one actually taught it to me, I practiced it until it became a rule of perfectionism. I am attempting to relax more in the later years of my life. However, all those decades of having this code control me as an inner voice demanding superhuman efforts is difficult to overcome.

I finished the table topper base for a FB14 project. This friend  who will get the table topper is one of the women I met in an online quilting group. Her favorite holiday is Christmas, and red is one of her colors. Its a bit intimidating to make something for someone who quilts. Usually quilters have standards.

This is a scrappy quilt both front and back. The back is this green holly, with red berries. The binding is an amazing stripe. The shoebox holds petals to the poinsettia flowers that will border the ends. Eight flowers with 7 petals and GOLD buttons for the center. I am excited to find a use for gold buttons!

Each petal needs to be turned. They are pieced with two fabric sides & scrap batting in the center. After turning, the ends will be connected by a gathering thread. It has a way to go. I think three petals are finished. I want to finish all petals and the flowers before posting a photo of the top. 

What brought me joy in this project was being able to use some small scraps, including scraps of batting. The pattern called for reds, greens and golds that were more non-holiday fabric in 3.5" squares. And the reds for the petals were also non-holiday. I used 4" squares and shopped from the holiday bins in my closet.

I am so very surprised how much I have yet to use. In one way, having the challenge to find patterns I want to make, and then finding fabrics to work make it time consuming.

I am going to a retirement party on Saturday night in LA, so plan to stop at Joann's on the way there for the batting, some rotary blade refills and some royal blue embroidery floss. As we talked about people retiring, we agreed that the more successful retirees create goals for themselves. This woman worked in a highly active, high stress job. She is surrounded by family and I wonder if that will be enough.

And still living with my 'perfectionist' code certainly makes enough work and enough goals to keep me busy. Enough is its own code, which sometimes even works.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cutting Scraps

One of the 'green' actions in quilting is to cut scraps into usable squares, and then of course, making something from the squares. First comes cutting.

This represents most of the collection of usable squares ranging from 2.5" to 10". I pulled the shoe boxes out of the bin so that I could sort them all into their correct spaces. One of the goals I have is to make quilt BACKS from the scraps. Yet, first they must be cut. 

One bin has 2.5" strips cut to 14" and 7" so they can be made into blocks. I have already begun assembling them into the blocks. One container holds 10" squares that can be used for Twister quilts. I think that the containers of 8" and 6" squares need to just have them pieced randomly. The charms or 5" squares work great with the Lil Twister. And while the Mini Twister template calls for 3.5" squares, rather than to cut them before using the template, they can get cut once with it and will use up the 4" squares. The Twister makes 4" scraps. The Lil Twister makes 2" scraps.

I've got a pile of scraps that made a 2" square and I am not sure if I want to use them for a border because they needed to be trimmed. I am still wondering if the work is worth it. I've joined what I have.

The scrappy scraps can go into a pet bed but it gets way too heavy to ship and I don't have a lot of friends with pets here in town to give them away. Not sure what I will do with them yet. 

Sometimes, being green with my quilting takes more energy to use than I have, so I understand why some quilters give away their scraps. Someone has to use them. So for as long as I can, I will.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Feeling Overwhelmed

Battering takes many forms, including what we do to ourselves. There is really only one quilt I want to finish this year and it is a red & white quilt for my younger Son's Partner. It has gone through many steps so far. 

When a person, child or adult, is convinced they cannot do anything right, they are a person living in poverty. It is our birthright to know ourselves as being adequate, and as being worthy. Deprivation of that knowledge is poverty of a hard, hard kind; spiritual and emotional poverty.

Because that red & white quilt is taking some mindful piecing, I wanted to pull out some other projects so I could step back from the R&W for a breather.

That was when I discovered that my bins were chaotic, even with all the organizing I have been doing. How? Anyway, that was when I discovered that one entire bin was filled with projects waiting for batting and basting as their next step. It was in those moments that I started beating myself up for not knowing how many unfinished projects there were. And additionally, I began to beat myself up for taking on more projects this year rather than to finish what I had started.

How easy it would be to fall into the pitty-pot. I would never let someone else treat me the way I treat myself when I recognize a mis-step or when I cope by denial and avoidance. Yet, I do it to myself and increase negative emotions and energy.

Joann's is having a sale this weekend on batting. 50% off, plus a 20% coupon on the entire purchase. I realize that by adding the bulk of the batting to my bins, that they will get stuffed even more. However, unless these projects can go to the next step of being basted and ready for machine quilting, they are as good as being trashed if I don't get to them.

If these projects are difficult for me to see what the next step is, they would be even more difficult for another person to figure it out and find the passion and energy to work on them.

Yes, I feel overwhelmed. And I am going to change that.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Scrappy Backs

I feel like I have been apologizing to 'someone' if even only myself that I am shopping from my closet to make up this year's projects. I am not, though I cannot argue with my feelings about it. After finishing the top for that Autumn Heart quilt, I dug out the fabric bins to sort out coordinating colors. It wasn't as easy as one thinks. 

I decided to go shades of green with the back, though the front was primarily browns. I took the largest pieces of fabric I had to start with and just kept adding until it measured about 70-some inches square. There was one piece of a bird print that seemed to tie the other colors together, and offers a bit of interest. I actually like it for a back. However, before it gets basted together, I might just open my bins again and see what it is there in browns.

Quilting can be like breaking out of other people's opinions about what a back is supposed to look like. When I first started, what I saw for backs of quilts was either a plain muslin or one print that covered the back. Then I saw people doing what I am doing...making use of what they had on hand. The final look is one of having a completely different quilt made with a pattern as if it were a top. I have gone that route too.

My truth today is that my personal quilting world is made up of my attitudes, energy, passion and skills. I can still only do what only I can do.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Heart Quilt

The top to the Twister Heart quilt is done. Obviously it is more work to make a quilt than it is to make a wallhanging. This one measures 68-69" square. It still needs a back and if things work out, I will be shopping from my closet.

The last border side had to be pieced and pieced and pieced. It is hanging over my loveseat, so will make a nice personal lap or nap quilt. And of course, it will need batting so it can be basted, machine quilting and binding before it is finished. 

My next step is to see what the bins hold for fall colors and discover if there is a way to make a back that will complement this top. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Twister Quilt

My good intentions for making a quilt-size using the Twister template have proven to be more of a challenge than I realized. Its all about the background fabric that also is part of the border.

First is gathering fabrics to make this. The inside of the quilt takes 32 10" squares, plus 15 background squares. Layout can be tricky when its scrappy. When it looks like this, its hard to see the heart that forms the inside pattern. However, experience has taught me that it does come.

Then to cut borders, also from scraps I have on hand. I have the top and bottom borders pinned and one of the side borders ready to go. Directions on the pattern that comes with the template say that it takes 1.25 yards cut 6" WOF. Hah! The scrap I have has something on it randomly and I had to cut around the flaws just to make the 15 squares. The pattern says to make the final border out of scrap pieces that are initially cut from the other three. This is going to take putzie work, but has to be done in order to use up the border fabric. Gahhh!

Anyway, I've been busy with this project for most of the week, and also taking another one to the stage where it is ready for batting. I dislike posting pics of tops because I also take them when I baste and then when the entire piece is finished. This is also a scrap quilt and is pretty wild though perfect for a couple who loves Hallows. Also the guy plays in a band so the skeletons with band instruments are also perfect. Her favorite color is blue and the little A Blocks have blue in them. The A&B Blocks took time to trim them to the same size and I needed two additional blocks of each to go around correctly. Then, it called for a little manipulation to get the alternating A&Bs on around for a border, but I think is turning out great. 

Sometimes, when I need to either quilt or blog, I choose quilting like was done this week.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Fear Holds Us Back

We cannot always control what happens to us, even when we plan things out to the finest detail. 

I've been working on making these embroidered blocks for decades. It started out with 2 quilts for my Sons, and embroidering all the 50 state birds and flowers times two; one set for each Son. Well, they grew up, got married and I never finished them. So then, there were Grandchildren. Five by blood and two by sharing their blood line. In order to have 15 blocks per quilt for the seven of them, I needed to embroider 5 more blocks. Did that. Then I was given a simple sashing with cornerstone pattern, and borders. Did that too. Made backing (for 5 of them so far). 

This morning, I basted two of them. For Sisters. This pink tulip for the border, with pastels goes to the child with a Spring birthday. Its got pinks on the back.

I calculated that I could get two of these quilts from one queen size batting and it did work, even though it was 'cutting it close'.

Her older Sister's quilt is done with pink roses for her Summer birthday and because her middle name is Rose. Each block has a banner in the pattern, and were embroidered with the color of the cornerstones. They were left until the end.

I've really had a hard time getting them to this stage, and the hard time was born out of so many fears. I am not sure what changed, but I am moving forward with the project and would like to see it finished by the end of this year so they can get shipped out.

  • One fear is that the white of the blocks would fray & the quilt would fall apart
  • Another fear is that the recipient would not appreciate the work
  • Or would not like the colors I selected for them
  • Yet another fear is that the quilt would get ruined as they used it
  • Or get lost.
And so, they sat in a bin without going to the next stage of being basted. At least now, I have started that step with the first two quilts.

I discovered that there are two quilts without backs yet, so that, along with more batting is the next purchase. I have faced my fears and know that whatever happens to these quilts once they leave my hands is out of my control.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hallows for Mary

I have a very dear Strega sister who has lived in Rochester, NY for as long as I have known her. In a very short while, she is moving to FL. She is one of my FB14 with preferences for Hallows, and blue as her favorite color. As luck would have it, one of my 'kits' starts with a panel. I did some research and found a pattern that calls for scraps. So, of course, I scrapped it out.

One of the borders is built with 7.5" raw edged squares, alternating two different looks, with 6 squares on each of four sides. I think. I've laid them out here for the photo (they are not joined at this point). As it turned out, I needed to make 2 more of each to have them fit. You can see a bit of blue in some of the squares. Why I like that fabric for her is that her husband, also a dear friend, has played in a band all these years. It is such appropriate fabric scrapped from left over scrubs material I was given.

It is going to be a rather busy quilt throw and yet is remarkable already. When I first got the panel, the plan for it was to hand quilt. However, I am ok with machine stitching. Everything but the center panel will be scrappy.

Friday, March 11, 2016

wow..Just Wow

Like Nature, I provide a little food & water for Birds, however, that is the limit of my generosity. Birds have to come to the feeder to eat & fountain to drink, and must watch for predators who know they come to feed & drink. While I trim undergrowth so they can see Cats, Hawks are another thing.

When I pulled out the bird quilts, the first thing I did was to update my 'notes-to-self' to include more of the information for each quilt. When it comes to my Grands, my generosity is limited only by my resources.

The history of these quilts is simple. First, the state bird patterns come from my maternal Grandmother. I started them decades ago and made two sets of 52. However, I didn't finish them by the time my Sons married. They sat for some time. Then, I started quilting.

I calculated how many extra blocks I needed to make each of the seven Grands their own quilt and made what I needed. Then one of the store owners in town helped me design a simple quilt with sashing, cornerstones and borders. I got 7 tops finished and started making backs. Five of those are finished. And then it sat.

Now, it it time to finish and take them to the next step. I began checking seams, and corners. I got to the first 3 tops and have them pinned for re-inforcement piecing. As I did this, there were loose threads to cut. I found a few seams from the white blocks that needed double stitching.

I have learned a lot about quilting since I began this project, and so in the reinforcement process, I plan to add what I have learned. Its always been a truth that all the wisdom in the world doesn't matter until we put what we know into action. Its not what we know that makes a difference. Its what we do with what we know.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Grad Quilt Finish

The quilt measures 85x85, so is a bit larger than most. Life is a series of letting go, and as this young woman prepares for college away from home, they will all learn what it means, yet again. All things, all people are given to us on loan. Then what we have is measured out in terms of success, failure, sorrow, joy, support, betrayal, enlightenment or confusion. Once we learn to let go, we also are prepared for what comes next. We must let go to experience that adventure.

A sampler quilt has these lessons in it and with any sort of luck, I will be able to write the story with it, for it. Each block is different in design and in color, even though the colors coordinate and will be seen throughout. This photo doesn't do the quilt justice in its beauty. And the fat quarters I chose were primarily shades of red! Yet, it shows orange and brown, which is perfectly ok with me. The back is a red flannel. 

The last step is to make and attach a label with her name, my name and the quilt's name with the date. I decided to ship it to myself there rather than try to tote it with me on the plane. Its just too large and stands the chance of getting damaged.

I'd like to make another sampler some day, and do plan to use the framing technique before sashing. I love how that turned out.

And now onto the bird quilts. They represent a sort of letting go for me as well. My connection to my maternal Grandmother has always been key to that work. And I guess, letting go of my Sons and their children is vital as well.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Bird is the Word

Hawk came to the bird feeder this morning. Splendid bird. It sat on the neighbor's roof and then the fence, waiting. When birds finally came, Hawk swooped and dove, and then flew away, so I wasn't sure if it scored a meal or not. 

However, it made me realize that I have put off finishing my Bird Quilts far too long. I brought out the bin to see what was in there and how good my 'notes-to-self' were. It was surprising to see that the notes were only what was left to do, and I could figure that part out, however, if someone else was going to look at this project, none of them had notes on them saying who got which one.

I have one sitting left to finish the binding on the grad quilt and have some errands to run in town. But it is time to work on these bird quilts. It is possible that the embroidered squares / blocks need reinforcing but until I look at what I have with more skilled eyes, I will not know what my next steps are with them.

What I do know is that I cannot leave them unfinished any longer. This was the first of my quilting goals and the first of my quilting projects. And it is time.

I need to look at them critically and mindfully, and get on with it. This is an important project I started decades ago with the embroidery. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I've Changed My Mind

I watched the finale to 'Downtown Abbey' and thought about it quite a bit. First of all, I've been saying for some time that we don't know how to say good-bye. Me. Saying good-bye to something familiar and somewhat educational. Them, going on however they can.

The characters in this British period drama adapted to their political, social and economic events. I think there was a lot of chatter about letting go of the past by both classes and being willing to adapt. It was sort of a soap opera, but I loved the costumes, and the traditions and kept watching for 6 seasons as characters in the plot experienced what all of us do: Weddings, births, relationship stress, financial concerns, death.

Just before I started to ink up the borders on the graduation quilt, I changed my mind about it. I haven't asked anyone for their opinion, and honestly would not care. That is who I am. In this way, I am still the same stubborn first-born child who always makes her way in the world by trial and error. An early Baby Boomer.

I decided to channel quilt the border on my machine. It took me half an hour to go around once. It has a total of 6 rounds, which meant 3 hours on the machine instead of spending 48 sessions hand quilting (possibly 148+ hours). It has been squared up, with binding on for the next session. At this point, I am not sure if I will return to the center and add more hand quilting. I rather like the channel stitching and would do this as a quilting option for future projects. I really love the colors front and back. It was a quilt made of reds, and yet with a little orange, a new depth of color appeared.

Changing one's mind is an interesting process. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Step 2 for Hand Quilting

The truth shall set you free, but first it will make you miserable. 

The quilt will take 4 corner template tracings, and because it is a square quilt, 11 of the cable template tracings for each side. Forty-eight tracings. I do like knowing what I am setting myself up for. 

If I am able to do one tracing per night/day and be able to work 7 days a week, it would take me 48 nights/days to do this part. Then comes at least 3 sessions with hand stitching the binding. I am looking at at least 2 months more on this project. If there is enough time before I leave for MN, I want to return to the center of the quilt and add more to it.

Sigh. I doubt that few people get how much work is involved in one of these quilts.

It may be the last one I hand quilt. Reality creates the atmosphere for making good choices and while I may never know what happens to the quilts I make, it still bothers me when I learn that someone bought a hand made quilt from a thrift store for under $10.

Who knows how it arrived at the thrift store? Clerks selling them for pennies have no idea what their authentic value is, and the person buying it only knows they got a good deal. 

And I say, 'oh well' to it and go about doing what I do because I love it and love the people I send them to. What happens to them once they leave me is not my responsibility.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

By Choice or By Chance

When I woke today, I thought it was Monday. My shopping spree presented an alternative time zone, I guess. I took the grad quilt off my big quilting loom, laid it on my bed to see how the borders would be hand quilted. Four corners for one template, and 11 times down each side in between.

I've made these fleece tie throws several times over the years. They are great for kids who can drag them over the floor, invite their animal friends to play with them, and spill food or beverages. They wash easily and while they provide a different kind of warmth, they provide warmth.

This one goes to a 7-year-old who is my Granddaughter's step-child. The little grrrlie-grrl gets such a kick out of getting mail from her 'Great-Grandmother' in Cali. 

Relationships are so very different right now. People form their families by choice and often do not take legal or religious steps to confirm their choices. Kids of these adults still experience families by chance and can be accepted or rejected for reasons having little or nothing to do with them.

I chose the children, whether by blood, marriage or as an outlaw.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Black Emboirdery

I finished another block while I was gone from home. The trip to the big city was pleasant, and staying at the hotel with a jacuzzi was sweet.

My trip to Joann's was simple enough. Just some muslin and a package of batting. the 12 blocks will have to do because the white I bought is bright compared to the white I am using. I think I started second-guessing myself about the use of some Hallows symbols and how some folks might react to them. One Granddaughter has a strong aversion to spiders and while this is the only block with one on it, it made me wonder. Then another block seemed to be wrong for another potential recipient. 

I thought that I could re-think the blocks if the whites matched. They don't. So it will be what it will be. Its Hallows for crying out loud, not some political or religious statement, nor something meant to send a person running to their therapist. I don't know why I do that to myself.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hand Quilting First Step Done

As I got closer to the last lines of quilting around the last block frame, I was surprised at my excitement and joy. Usually I feel this thrill at the beginning of a project. Yet, this is only the first of what I imagine is three steps.

I pulled it off the loom, took it to lay over my queen size bed to examine the back. No wrinkles in quilting and all blocks done. Yes, the 'lump' on the edge near the window is my Cat, Rico. He likes the sunshine there and enjoys mid-day naps.

My next step for hand quilting is to do the floral border. I bought the invisible ink pen and own an 11" cable quilting template that will work perfectly. I think, and have no memory of how it worked before, that 11" is about the most I want to quilt in a sitting.

Tomorrow is a big-city-day. Plans include lunch at a Cambodian restaurant, shopping at Joann's for muslin and batting, and then an over-night stay at a local hotel with an indoor pool. After another swim, & breakfast, then shopping at Trader Joe's.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


Some time ago, a friend gave me a large shopping bag full of black scraps. I've used them from time to time, but like many things that are just in a pile, it takes more work to sort through everything. I found that true when I made the Fox Mug Rug.  It is unfair to penalize one's self when we experience something out of our control. I learned long ago that there is a pay-off for everything we do, whether it has good results or is challenging.

THEREFORE, cutting and organizing scraps is something within my control. The pay-off for not doing it is wasting time, or being distracted. I asked myself if I wanted to be distracted and my answer is no. And then therefore, I took a few hours to cut and organize. Some that I cannot use will go on to a person who says she wants all scraps so she can use them in appliques. And these are pre-sorted by the color black.

I put some of the really small pieces in the 'pet bed' box, longer strips in the 'Gypsy Orphan' box, and strips for the blocks going into the 'rail fence' back, and then smaller squares into their respective boxes.

The bag still has some larger pieces in it that will work for a Winter Bed Runner I am making. Its not a project I want to deal with right now, so the bag goes back in my closet, a little emptier, but available.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Little Fox

There is great wisdom and power in growing to the point where silence becomes our friend. All the best secrets can only be learned in silence. We cannot really run from ourselves and the truth that exists within us. If we really listen, we learn that we are good individuals. There is much within us that is noble and lovely to behold.

I not only am unable to run, and as long as I am healing and sitting still, all that is left to me is to listen to my own soul. While Fox is not a Spirit Guide I usually work with, I am happy to have had this experience.

I finished the Fox mini mat. It will come with all sorts of research that I did, some teas and even a Labyrinth mug. This took me several days and nights to embroider. Sometimes I felt like Arya Stark, ever so clumsy with my needle work. I pulled out the bag of black print scraps and found this lovely print to complement it front and back, and made the binding of it too.

Additionally, I made her some business cards to use in Swap-bot that have a Fox glyph with her contact information. I love the package and hope she will too. 

One of the things included in the package is THE FOX PRAYER.
I call on Fox 
Shapeshifter and Trickster 
Edge-walker and Messenger 
Help me blend with my surroundings 
And adapt to changing landscapes 
Show me the hidden paths between the worlds 
Teach me the ways of invisibility and camouflage 
Give me your keen senses 
That I might see more of what is around me 
And use it to accomplish my goals. 
I call on you Fox 
To bring magick and discernment into my life 
Lead me at your steady gait to those places 
Where I might to the greatest good 
Let us walk the borders between day and night 
And follow the scent of Divine mischief 
Fox, I call on you.