Saturday, April 30, 2016


This one did turn out sweet. It will go in the 'finished' bin to wait for someone who needs it to show up in my life.

I've been thinking a lot about joy or sweet appreciation for life, and have even printed off some affirmations to guide my days.

"I am filled with joy. It flows through me with every beat of my heart' and "I allow all life to flow through me with joy, and sweetness."

I think it is easy to forget what is behind us and so have these affirmations: "I accept only thoughts that support me and make me feel good" and "The past is over and I am free to live in joy." OH, and there is Rico walking in front of the back. Hah!

Friday, April 29, 2016

When Smart Women Make Choices

Sometimes in the exuberance of creating and working with our arts, we plunge ahead without thinking. Yet, in our hands is the greatest tool, the ripper. Just in case.

As I sewed the binding for this little grrrlie-grrrl quilt, I recalled hearing that it is better to do the final stitches with the machine. Seems that many young children work their fingers into a seam, hole or binding stitch and keep pushing and pulling til it gives way. So I thought, maybe I better sew it up with the machine. I got maybe a couple of feet on it and realized I simply don't like the way it looks. 

I cannot be responsible for what a child does to their quilt once it leaves my hands. If it comes apart on seams, it does, and then it shreds. And then what? It might go to a pet as a pet blanket. What's wrong with that? It might go to a thrift store where someone buys it for pennies. What's wrong with that? It might even be used for cleanup or a painter's rag. And what is wrong with that?

My fun was in creating it and doing my part to use fabric. So I am taking smaller stitches while sewing the binding on, to do the best I can knowing the possibilities. And then when I am done, it is done and what happens to it is no different than what happens to us in our lifetime. We learn, we laugh, we play, we work, we sleep, we age. And then...

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Decorative Stitch for Quilting

I am using a serpentine decorative stitch on my machine for the little personal nap quilt for a little grrrlie-grrrl. It took almost 3 threaded bobbins, and I think this is about the same for a simple running stitch. Seams look cleaner to me and so I will continue using it and other decorative machine quilted stitches.

It makes sense to me to have it stitch on the seam lines of the squares to reinforce or stabilize it against fraying with a lot of washes that it might have. This particular quilt doesn't have a designated recipient and so will go into the finished bin. 

The back of the quilt is made of 5" strips Moda called Dessert Roll pre-cuts, which they no longer sell. I pulled out pieces from my stash that were also used on the top and coordinate if the either side is folded over. Usually it takes a couple of nights to hand sew binding. There is some yellow 'princess' fabric cut to size that is sewn on and ready.

It is my intention to make a number of comfort quilts to send when need arrives. Quilts take a fair amount of time to finish and crisis strikes as it will. 

I do have a box filled with the Dessert Roll pre-cuts, even though they were not WOF (width of fabric) and will use them for other backs. I discovered some other patterns which could be of interest, yet, just joining them to make the desired size worked very well.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


I laid the biggest (most recent) project down on my studio floor to baste. There was barely enough space, and it meant being on the floor with it, fighting to pin and fighting not to pull the back off the tape and therefore off the quilt. Of course, I didn't take pictures of it, however, it is basted and ready to machine quilt. 

When I finish this personal lap quilt for a young grrrl child, it will be the last of the four projects I got from the cutting into the first package of batting. I will be back to waiting.

With that in mind, I went through the top few bins. One bin holds all the unfinished Bird Quilts. A couple are 12x12 smaller squares that hold the embroidery projects. One has my one and only UFO that may not ever be touched until it becomes a last resort. One holds the NESTSYs (not even started to sew yet). All the 'kits' in that bin have fabric and pattern, so when they do get started in 2017, there will be a lot of leftovers. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Birthday Table Runner

As it happened, the fabric selected for the backing did not fit, so Plan C went into effect. Eventually, my stash is going to go down to the dregs and make it ever so difficult to build quilt projects. When that time comes, I will make different choices. For now, it is successful.

This is another such project, crafted from scraps, shopped from my closet. I used an echo machine stitch, which just runs an outline around the shapes and then outlines the outlines. Echo.

This piece is obviously a birthday event runner and is generic for any age and any gender. Because the quilting showed all those random stitches on the back, I put the label in the corner. Now, it is ready and will wait until mid-September for me to ship it to her. Meanwhile I will look for a box to ship it in that can also be used for storage. Feels good to be done with that project.

The next project cut from the batting is another Lil Twister Heart wallhanging in Fall colors. Again, pulling from the 5" charm bin to create it all, I think this one is going to be lovely for the season. Seams have been checked, machine quilted and working on the binding. The back is pieced muslin. It took almost three threaded bobbins that used up one partially used spool. One of the interesting 'shopping' excursions into my closet meant using vintage thread too. I learned, the hard way, that it is best to use the same thread, top and back so that they don't peek through to the other side. It requires planning so that they do match. It really looks nice. I love this pattern and tool. The green for the binding seems to coordinate though it was not the same as the first border. 

My funny the challenge is how often I reach for something and think I should save it for what???? I am trying to use what I have so this makes absolutely no sense. Thing is, what I have is primarily what was left over from the quilting closets of other people. So this fabric, this thread is getting old. Well, let me not get started on the value of old things.

I've read numerous comments about using the vintage threads and fabrics, and it seems to be personal preference as well as knowing what you have. Obviously, anything that got damp, exposed to sunshine, smoke and dust should be tossed, in my opinion. I pre-sorted what I received and either tossed or gave away things I couldn't use so my time wasn't ill-spent.

Monday, April 25, 2016


One of the 12 Days of Christmas presents I received last year was a charm pack of Golden 5" squares. Lovely, lovely. And one of the FB14 friends is getting a square table topper made with the charms and the Lil Twister.

I love how it turned out, and came up with an idea for the label placement on the back as I was hand stitching the binding. If I put it in the center of the back, the piece can still be reversible and she can set something (like a candle or vase) over the label in the center. Where it doesn't work is if she wanted to use it over a chair. Then only the top works.

Therefore, I am not sure I like it yet, and can simply rip off the seams and put it in one of the corners the way most are done. I really like the idea of being able to use both sides.

And I am tickled to use what is in my closet! I found a piece of blue that goes nicely on the Birthday Table Runner, and have started to machine quilt echo stitches. Blue wasn't my first choice, but it works.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Another Bird Quilt (#2) Finished

While the bird quilts will have the theme of state birds and state flowers in common, they will be different in two ways; first is the sashing, cornerstone, binding and back; second is that they will each have 15 different blocks.

I love this dark blue with pink roses on it. The green backing gave me enough to do a 'peeper' border. And then the pink, a brighter pink rather than pastel, is on the cornerstones. There are also larger green cornerstones on each of the actual corners. I don't remember why I did that anymore because this one, like the others, have been so long in the making.

What I am aware of, as much as lessons come from my quilting, is how important it is for me to be clear with my intentions. This is the reason why I started making notes-to-self. My notes for these quilts, a 7-in-1 project, have been much more clear than anything else I have ever made.

What I continue to learn about clarity and intentions is that they represent a place that I want to reach. I believe that the clarity of intentions is what helps me focus my energy so that all of the universe can support me. The next part of it might be the part I have trouble with, and that is the part of letting go. Sometimes I get what I want. Sometimes not. Sometimes its about the journey which is often more of an adventure than I could ever have imagined. Clarity and focus on the goal helps me see when I get there.

I do know that this project evolved over so many decades now, bringing me endless emotions, a lot of angst, and even joy.  It is far from over. I have the batting for them, and yet two of them do not have fabric purchased for backs.

As soon as the clubhouse opens, I will baste again and meanwhile, do what I can with what I have.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cutting the Batting

It surprised me to see that I could get four projects from the one batting package. I mopped the floor first even though it looked clean, then started with the quilt size project, cut two wallhanging/table toppers, and then the birthday table runner. There is still more of the batting left from this package that will go in the batting scrap bin.

Now I can baste each of them and start machine quilting. This will keep me busy for a couple of weeks, with the machine quilting and then binding. After crawling around on the floor for awhile, I know why getting to the clubhouse is so wonderful. The space I made was under the dining room table, which I pushed in the other room. Its roomy enough, yet crowded compared to working in the clubhouse with lots of standing room around two lunch-room size tables pushed together. It can be done, yet the effort it takes is also more than is necessary. And I have yet to baste. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

If You Are My Family

Remember that we are not telling my Mother about her Son's health. Please do not share with someone who might.

Preparing the Quilt

I measured my projects, and did a bit of calculating to discover that I might be able to get two of them out one package of batting if they are laid together like puzzle pieces. Then I spent time checking seams, clipping threads, pressing, and being sure that the top would fit the back.

My progress was halted a bit because Brother went into the hospital with some blockages. They put in two stints for two of them that were 80% blocked, and have him waiting for surgery on the one in the back of his heart that is 100% blocked. He is so healthy. Walks a lot, eats right, doesn't drink or smoke. And he is younger than I am. 

I felt pretty stressed and would rather not do much quilting because I believe we put our energy into the work, for good or not. Its been quite the lessons for me about letting go, and knowing that there are some things I am going to feel anxious about. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Clubhouse Still Closed

It was disappointing to stop in and find it under construction. That means figuring out how to keep quilting with various projects. The way it is now, I have a backlog of projects to baste. 

I am going to see what I can do on my floor space. There is only one of the projects that I have a deadline for and its not even finished. Both of these bins are ready for the next step and one only I can take it all to that next step.

Sometimes we have to decide what is really important and learn to distinguish between what is essential and what we really do not need.

With most of life, though we want to think we are in charge, someone else makes choices that directly affect us. All the time. They choose what is right for them, and if we are affected, then we have to choose our next steps, sometimes working around those other-person-choices.

When I went to the clubhouse yesterday, I saw all the kitchen cabinets, drawers, and stuff all out on the tables in the great hall. I have no idea what their plan is, who is doing the work or when I can get back into use the facility.

I've got batting. I measured projects and started with something manageable to baste on the floor, and perhaps cut other smaller projects to get going again. First, the loose threads need to come off, pressing and then its a go. Two of them measure within inches of the width, so I am going for it with those two first. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

#2 Bird Quilt Ready for Binding

I was able to finish the machine quilting on another one of the Bird Quilts. It needs trimming and the binding cut and machine sewn on so it can be finished by hand. I can hardly believe the work on these is so close to completion. They are such simple looking quilts.

It is a matter of getting them basted. My little machine has some nice decorated stitches that will let me 'stitch-in-the-ditch' and have the quilt look finished in a way that regular stitching lacks. Clearly, it is better for me to use than if I tried to do the free motion quilting. Each one of these, in its turn, is breathtaking for me. I am reminded of each week it took to embroider every block. Then of course, the selection of fabrics to finish it, matching, piecing. Every quilt is made for the Grandchild based on their birthday season. For instance, this one is roses for a Summer birthday and also because her middle name is Rose. I tried selecting birds/flowers that could complement the pink and embroidered pink banners to match the corner stones. I did this work for me. And I did the work for each of them. I can only hope they cherish it the way I did what I got from my Grandmother.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Found Another Pattern for a Back

As I browsed some old quilting magazines, I found an easy pattern that I can make into a back. It calls for 12 pieces that are 1/3 yard each. What I thought was interesting is that when I separated my scraps into various lengths this time, I ended up with a pile of 13 pieces that could be cut for this quilt back.

It is called a Ribbon Box, and after googling several images, I discovered that just about any combination will work. Most of the fabrics in that stash bin are darker, but there are some lights as well. I need to play with the concept for a little while. Looks to finish at around 55"x63", and again can be extended by adding more of the white even though it would mean not having the ribbons go to the very edges.

One thing I learned in an early class was to snip a piece of the fabric and glue-stick it to the pattern and be able to keep them sorted out. I also want to make sure the pieces coordinate in the event that the recipient wants to show this side out too.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Quilting Partner Visits

Years ago, I participated in an International Christmas Block Swap and met a woman who lived in the states. One goal of the swap was to make friends, and we did. She & her Husband stopped in today for a visit as they traveled from AZ to WA. They came for a late lunch, stayed a couple of hours and continued on their journey.

I don't usually get much company so was delighted!

She is one of my friends who makes 'charity' quilts for kids in need, for whatever their need. She's made thousands of them over the years. She says she makes them as easily and inexpensively as possible and feels as though it is her way to pay it forward.

Her Husband was just as sweet, just as kind and supports her work. They brought their pup too. A rescue dog. 

Everything about her and them makes me glad to know them, glad to be alive in the world at the same time they are. 

Lunch was all too brief, and just enough for them to ease their hunger on the way to Bakersfield where I am sure they will get dinner and sleep before going on. They have three more days before getting to their home. Nice. Glad for it.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Birthday Table Runner

I love how the top turned out. I did find two pieces, both which can either serve as the back or the binding. With all the packages of batting I have, I am still waiting to get into the clubhouse and use it on larger quilts before doing these smaller projects.

I plan to pre-wash that red again, even though I remember doing it before. I simply do not trust reds. And although the blue was originally planned for binding and the red for the back, I am thinking I might reverse them. The table runner turned out so cute even though it doesn't follow the pattern guidelines. The stars are on the bottom and the banners in the middle lay differently. I might reinforce the batting in the middle just for extra cushion for whatever might go on it.

I do have out of town company coming tomorrow so might not have time to quilt or to blog. If that happens, see you as soon as Tuesday!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Small Stuff

I spent more time making labels. They aren't all that professional, and yet, why should they be? The goal of my quilting is to be better at loving. I have accomplished many things in life, and this is the one goal I have always reached for personally, professionally and privately. Love.

And then I continued work on an appliqued table runner for my younger Son's Lady. She told me her favorite holiday is her birthday; everyone's birthday. This table runner seems perfect. She can store it and bring it out whenever she wants to celebrate. What has been nice, because I have never done machine applique, is that the larger pieces helped me guide the machine using the decorated stitch. Now that the pieces on it are getting smaller, I feel almost 'skilled'. Luckily, I have time to get it to her before October. The top is done now and I need to see if there is something for the backing, and if I have enough batting for it. I decided to echo quilt around everything appliqued in place and really love it.

And of course, I did a total of three labels for his quilts. I will bring a bit more fabric and thread to do more if he wants more done while I am there. 

Her's is the only other family quilt I am making this year, and is still in layout form. Soon. Maybe that clubhouse will open and I can get back to doing the basting. Meanwhile. Here's to the small stuff that needs doing as well.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Patriotic Quilt Top

We do not have to feel perfectly certain or confident in the outcome to quilt. We simply have to try. The fun thing about this is that if it doesn't work, a quilter can rip.

Often, I encountered many projects where my thoughts and actions filled me with anything other than confidence. I think boldness has a sort of magick in it that proves we can do what is right at the right time.

Without a pattern, I have completed another top which measures 70" x 52", perfect for a personal nap quilt. It is constructed completely from scraps or give-away fabrics that I gathered and put in a 'kit'. There is enough fabric for the back and the binding, and enough scraps to do something else with later. I pulled the top over me as I sat on my love seat and it seems just fine to snuggle under and watch TV. 

Soon enough, the clubhouse kitchen will be re-done and the place open for me to baste again. Then all my days will be spent machine quilting. Meanwhile, I keep at the small stuff.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Quilting Labels

I stopped making labels almost as soon as I started them. One of the recipients (a dear family member) told me she wished that the back of my wallhanging had not had one so she could use the quilt reversed. I didn't know about the tradition and from that time on, wrote on a small space that could go unnoticed.

What about me gives in like that? Grrrr.

Even quilts with labels can show the backside. 

When I posted 2 pics of the most recent projects (quilt backs) on Facebook, one of my Sons asked if I would re-pair his favorite quilts by ADDING labels. One of the women he used to date set up quilt shows, so he became familiar with the tradition after attending them with her. He sent me pics of the two quilts he uses most for a start on this project. I remembered the name for one of them. It was made with flannel scraps both front and back because it gets mighty cold in Minnesota. The name I gave it is "Winter IS Coming" from the HBO series Game of Thrones. I had a strip of this solid green and used a floss that was a color in the quilt to embroider the information on it. I may move the words to the center of my hoop and embroider some vines around it for a framed look.

I am not sure about the second one's name or date. When I did a search this morning for quilting traditions, I found this site: how-to-quilt/finishing/making-quilt-labels which gives information that I knew way back then and dismissed it in my attempt to please non-quilters.

I will make a few more labels to take with me and at least get the 'to & from' information on them as a start so I can add to my Son's quilts. I planned to bring my hoop and another embroidery project, so will be prepared to do the labels.

I want to do more online searches for fancy-schmantzie labels so that I will feel better about them going on and being part of the quilt and something a person would be ok showing on the backside.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Another Scrap Quilt

One of the pieces given to me was a sort of patriotic panel. Its kicked around in my bins (stash) until I found some ideas for using it by looking at quilting ideas for panels. Again, it is a piece, a quilt, that has no designation, so I am not in a hurry to work on it. It just looks like pieces of fabric so not worth photographing.

Sometimes things just happen. Like now. The clubhouse is closed for repairs to the kitchen, which means closed for me to baste. I have a lot of basting projects and just bought enough batting to get a lot of them done. The batting is sitting in bags in a box in the entry. Not worth photographing. 

So to keep busy, I have delved into the bins and pulled out other projects that are not ready for basting. For instance aprons. Good goddess! 

Aprons are not easy. I am only working on one of them to get it to the assembly stage. Its not worth photographing because it just looks like strips of fabric.

I suppose this is the process that it takes to move each project on to its next stage. 

After I finished the 2 quilt backs, I posted photos on Facebook and said they would be stored for next year when they would get matched with tops, basted and quilted. Next year, those 2 projects will seem like they flew. Not so. I am doing the work, but not taking the photos.

These things don't just happen. It might seem that way, yet I know how much work I do every day and know that all the steps take time. Ah well. Pictures will come along. In time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

If It Is Tuesday...

One of the things I looked for today was more of the muslin scraps so I could get my project ready to take with me to MN in June. I love embroidering and so have had more than a few projects over the years. I did find it eventually.

I am testing out this stabilizer that is a peel and stick stuff. You print the embroidery pattern on one side and then attach it to the muslin. It is supposed to wash out. Maybe it works. However, I am only going to do one set in case it doesn't. 

Anyway, I climbed my step ladder, reached into the back of the closet and took down some of the small containers that were stacked there. I did find what I was looking for, and once again sorted. I pressed an 8" strip of muslin, and attached three of the patterns to it. One set ready.

I get to thinking all kinds of things when I do busy work, from family ties to health issues. I went outside and pulled a few more weeds, raked the damp soil and came inside to shower.

When a person gets to that certain age, the hype is that you will get this or that illness or disease if you do this or don't do that. These foods are good for you, these are ones to avoid. I've heard and read most of it. A lot of it is true. What I want to do with however many years or decades I have left is to live and do what I want or am able to do in spite of what the hype says. Someone hyphenated the word 'disease' as dis-ease and redefined it to mean without ease. I saw the value in that then and now. We can get sick when we are not at ease with life or comfortable with it.

I still want to do things that are more certain and in the moment, like embroidering on fabric that will make a good piece the way I want it to look. I still want to plan ahead, like taking a project with me to MN in case I have time that is open. I don't like being bored.

I know that our bodies break down from hard use and abuse over time. I know that we get mentally distracted, and emotionally changed. I know that our spirituality shifts. I know that we can become easy targets from those who would take advantage of our softening. Everything changes over time. Even with lab work, close examination, or being cut open to see the inner works, we cannot know everything happening with our bodies and how they work. We do the best we can for as long as we can.

Its like the fabric in my closet that has been around for awhile. The colors are different from what is in the stores because the dye lots change every year, as do the patterns and themes. Its not to say the fabric should get tossed, however, it takes planning to blend what is a bit older with with what is a bit newer.

I found one project that had no pattern in the 'kit', no note-to-self, nothing. And so it has become a new project, without a designated recipient or a finish date. I can see that a lot of it was pre-cut but do not know if I got those pre-cuts or cut them myself. No notes mean none, no idea where this project was headed.

So I started cutting with an idea in mind. Before I put it back in the container, I will write my notes-to-self and have some clarity.

If anything I know about myself is that forgetting isn't about aging and aging doesn't mean you will forget. The two can be about the same thing or not. I cannot guarantee that I will remember any of my projects without those notes. And I cannot guarantee that when I get to the projects with or without notes that I will want to work on them. Maybe that would be my dis-ease, my lack of comfort.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Quilt Back

A friend and I were chatting today about comments we get when we answer that some days are good and some are challenging. Getting support is hard. Getting helpful support would be a gift. However, what does that look like and how do we tell people what kind of support we need IS?

This is what I think about when I work on a quilt back because, as I have said before, the metaphysical issue for our human body backs is support.

I finished this most recent scrappy back. There are leftover blocks which could be used to extend the quilt beyond its current 70"x80". Or it can wait for more strip scraps and assemble another back! I love how it turned out and know that whatever is on the top and however the top is quilted, that the back will complement it nicely.

Does this translate into personal support? Well, when I think about what I might like, it does. I want my personal support to accept my choices (quilt top pattern, colors and quilting). I want my choices to be peaceful enough for my greater good that they make sense to the others in my life. 

Well, this gets put away with some notes-to-self for next year's quilting. If it needs extending or cutting back, most of the work is done now and it will be easy-breezy.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Squaring Up The Blocks

After joining the strips into blocks, the next step was to square them up. And I had a note-to-self. Thing is, as good as I thought I wrote it, the list of steps confused me. I wrote myself into a corner of confusion. I brought out the blocks made earlier and re-measured them to make sense of my note-to-self. Then it made sense.

I actually did have a list of the steps to take, and yet not written so clearly that my 'today' brain could figure them out. It was though the image that I had of myself when I wrote the note had become outdated.  It was a trap to think I would always think the same way one day as I would in the future. Its not that I want to dummy-down my notes-to-self, however I do need to make them more clear for anyone to read.

I will re-write them, not really changing the notes as much as clarifying my own instructions. Clearly, what I had was outdated. There are cuts on each side of the block. Each cut is specific to make the block 12" unfinished. It is a modified rail fence block. Scrappy.

And now, for the layout and joining of the blocks to make a center piece, I decided to rotate the longer strips one turn and then simply join them at the edge of the blocks. It measured 69" side to side with six blocks to each row. I think making it seven rows down will give it a good size to put away and save for next year. With the extra blocks, if more width or length is needed, it will be simple enough to add a block to a side or top for an extension. Any leftovers can be cut off. I don't want to make huge quilts and the suggestion for a back is to have a 3" overhang. This seems like a perfect way to go. I am not invested in saving the overage once it gets cut.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Backs, Metaphysically Speaking

I finished weeding the gardens, put all the dead plant matter in the trash and then came indoors to scrub and vacuum floors. Of course my back felt it. I am not 50, even though I act as if... And so when I started thinking about the quilting projects, I pulled out the 2.5" strip bin that has a quilt back project in it.

Metaphysically, backs represent the support we feel in life. And when our backs are in distress, and if we want to heal, we face issues where we need support financially, emotionally and for all other reasons.

I have been cutting my 2.5" strips into 2 lengths for these blocks; 14" and 7". My note-to-self indicates trimming them to a 12" size and then just stacking them in the bin. They will alternate and be quite scrappy and will work wonderfully as a back for any quilt top. What I am learning is how much time it takes to assemble them. I've gotten into the habit of cutting them to both sizes and placing them in this small container, so when I get to piecing, its a matter of simply grabbing three of the 14" and seven of the 7". 

Random is random. I remember when this random-ness first started in my quilts that I was so very careful about coordinating. Now, I just try to piece two strips of different colors or fabrics. In the end, the more random, the better it will look.

YET, this represents how working from my closet exists. I am excited to keep building the backs! I have enough blocks made so that I can start joining them into a complete back. It seems that the scrappy backs will be ready for 2017 quilts. Lot of putzie work this year with little to show that will actually make next year's quilts fly going together. It is exciting.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Building the Back

I followed the suggestion for making a Granny Square quilt, with the intention of building a back for a future quilt. 

Suggestions have a tremendous impact on us. Sometimes suggestions send me into a tailspin when I try so very hard to do it their particular way. That expert. What I know about shopping from my closet is that I can read a pattern or work with a suggestion, and then have to do my own thinking about it and do what works for what I have on hand.

The first part of the sashing is on for five rows that have four blocks in each of them. It might be hard to see in the pic, however, the background purple is like the color of a grape popsicle. Because this is a back, a scrappy back, a small challenge to make it fit with the top is going to be easy by just measuring more of the purple as borders and cutting it to size. However, it will rest now and wait for the top. 

I am quite happy with how it turned out and do have something in mind for the top. It is a 'kit' I planned to work on next year. I think it had a lighter background with various prints in purple tones. It would be fun if they can coordinate and make that quilt almost reversible.

I did spend time on other projects, trying to take them to the next step. More cutting. This time I took out a tote bag of black print scraps and cut them to the various sizes I use. It seems to be one way to refresh the stash.

My quilting is not as artistic as some people do. While I am confident in doing my own thing, I haven't really deviated too much from traditional quilting. And actually, I enjoy how I can think a project through.

I have one UFO (unfinished object) that I may never get back to, and then again, maybe I will. I was following an OLD pattern that used a very primitive method for triangle pieces. I got so terribly confused and frustrated that I stopped working on it. Yes, that was a tailspin of my energy. Like a plane caught in an uncontrollable situation, I crashed and burned.

I've been waiting for an opening at the clubhouse so I can start basting again, and then get on with the machine quilting of all these projects. I need to lay Jane's Peppermint Kisses out on a couple of tables to make sure the setting triangles are going the correct direction.

And then there is yard work. Weeds. Mowing. Raking. Planting. Its a wonderful time of year.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Nothing to Show

While I got a lot done from assembling a wrought iron arch for the garden, raking the South side, to piecing 20 blocks for the quilt back, and even cleaning up the studio, I have nothing to show for it. Sometimes all we can do in a day is what we are meant to do. No fanfare, no one noticing, no photos. 

I am listening to another audiobook from my Daddy's favorite author, Zane Grey. While you cannot know everything about a person by the books they read, I AM learning more about my Father's thoughts on life and even seeing how this book might have influenced his actions. Of course, which came first? His actions or his love for these books?

The audiobook (RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE) was written about 1939 and a few movies came out based on it. It is read by Laurie Anne Walden who volunteers with LibriVox and has an extensive list of narrated works. She is a Veterinarian living & practicing in North Carolina, and owns a writing service.

As I listen to the book, I stop it every once in awhile to let a quote sink in. I've decided to listen to it again. It is so not my usual read, yet it is compelling for a number of reasons.

I tried watching some of the old movies, and found that they did not follow the storyline and so went back to the audiobook. I wonder and wonder why Daddy was so fascinated and what he might have been thinking as he read. It wasn't about the Western genre. The way it is written is deep, thoughtful, provocative. Women are strong in ways that were uncommon for Daddy's era. Spirituality was more important than organized religion. Were these books escapism for him, or did they represent his moral compass?

The arch was too clumsy for me to move by myself once it was assembled, and so I tipped it over the porch railing rather than trying to walk it around. I thought about purchasing another one to replace the wooden one in the back that is falling apart, and will do that in the Fall. These outside activities take up a lot of my time right now. I need to get the vines started on this new arch, and perhaps add some fertilizer for the drastic pruning (whacking) I did on all them this year. I push the Spring work because once it gets hot here, it is really hot.

I still struggle with my feelings around not doing enough, not being enough. Enough. Its funny because I would never lay that on another person as if what they did wasn't enough, so wonder why I do it to myself.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Sometimes when the project nears completing, I forget how much work has gone into it. And sometimes when a person shops from her closet and thinks all that is left is icky, things change as the project comes to fruition. 

It took a long time to sort through those 2.5" squares to find enough for 20 blocks. (8 of one fabric was harder than I thought it would be.) Then it took hours to pin, piece the squares into blocks. I am no where near done. I was concerned that using this icky dark purple tone-on-tone would not produce results even a quilt back would love. Yet, here are the first blocks and its going to have great depth and lovely colors, even using the left-overs or discards.

The blocks get trimmed and then there is a sashing of the same purple. This is not a particularly hard block to make, however, it does take time. Every combination will be different even when I use some of the same fabrics. With 20 blocks, there will be a variety and it will take some sorting. While I did try to put three coordinating fabrics together, sometimes that wasn't possible. It wasn't so much planning as it was making do with what I had.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Pink Scraps

Its been a wonderful time here in the valley to work on my gardens and even wash a few of the Western windows. Yet, it was also time to clean up in the studio again.

After trimming off the excess from Ava's Bird Quilt, there were enough scraps to cut some strips, some squares and even have some leftover pieces. Funny how there is always more! Enough. More. I was able to cut 2.5" strips in 14" and 7" for one of the quilt back projects too. And I have to say, I got a little excited to add pink fabric to some of the other squares collection. Its not a color I reach for and these two are great fabrics. I have learned over time that it is wise to cut them down before putting them into the stash bins because they take up less room AND they are easier to find when there is a new project started.

Her quilt is folded and will go into the finished bin where I have a sprinkling of Lavender to keep them all smelling fresh.

I don't feel pressured by time this year and as a result, almost feel set a-drift between projects. I do have one quilt basted and ready for the machine and am waiting for the clubhouse to free up so I can baste more of them. There are a couple of bins loaded with projects waiting for the next step or some to be started, but I am in no hurry for them. This feels good.

All these scraps mean that I can make quilt backs too. I found one suggestion called Granny Squares that is a take-off on the crocheted scrap pattern. It calls for a background fabric that reads solid. I have a large piece of a strange dark purple tone-on-tone rather than the white of this sample. Blocks are made using 2.5" squares with one fabric in the center, surrounded by four pieces of fabric #2, and another round of eight pieces of fabric #3, and finished with twelve 2.5" squares of the background. 

So, after cutting the scraps from Ava's Bird Quilt, I began sorting the sets of three different fabrics. This quilt pattern calls for 20 blocks. Its actually not easy to get eight pieces of the same fabric! What I like about this project is that the scrappier it becomes, the more easily it will fit as a back on just about any front. Adjustment to match the dimensions to the front will come by adjusting the outside border.

I think the one issue I had with Ava's Bird Quilt was that one of the back sides was more narrow than the other. I thought it was centered, and by the time I saw it, it was too late to change it. Again, a learning experience. I had gotten too used to making backs out of one fabric so that part didn't matter. Each quilt is practice.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

First One Done

All of life is a process. Nothing happens all at once. I didn't get fearful about completing these bird quilts all at once. Part of me expected the worse from my quilting, so I avoided it or set things up to be perfect.

Ava's quilt is not perfect. I could make a long list of things I see on it that make me cringe. Like the local store owner says, "hang it on a fence and ride a fast horse past and it will look perfect".

I do love the fabrics, and most of all, I love the birds and flowers, and the memories of learning.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Ava's Bird Quilt

I started quilting because I needed to make something that used the embroidered state bird and flower blocks that took me decades to finish. I started the embroidery because of my maternal grandmother who taught me when I was a child.

I am no longer a child. Those times are sweet memories. Yet, something inside me gets childlike whenever I work on these quilts. And while I wanted to have them perfect, what is important is to get them finished. What is most important is my attitude as I do the work.

I made 7 of them; with 15 embroidered state bird & flower blocks, sashing, corner stones and borders on each. I selected fabrics based on each Grandchild's birth month. Ava's is done in pinks tulips, front and back for her March birthday. I decided to use a deco-stitch on my machine and 'stitch-in-the-ditch' with it. One deco stitch is a leaf design. The outside stitch is a wavy line. I've cut the same tulip fabric for the binding. All the threads are clipped, and this one will be finished by the end of the week.

Machine quilting is not an easy part of the work. Part of me considered sending the quilts out for long-arm quilting.

Ava's quilt is almost an experiment to see if I can do the work and if I like how it looks.

I do think that I would like to finish all of them and send them out all at one time. This one will go in the 'finished' bin and wait for the others. That means purchasing the backing fabrics for two blue quilts, getting them all basted and then machine quilted. Maybe. Just maybe, they will all be done before November and be shipped as Winter Solstice gifts. Maybe.

Remembering the real importance of this work, is to be clear and centered when I do it so that the energy put into the quilt is one that is healthy.

It is hard, some days, to find that peace. When someone breaks through my space and brings with them any slightest negativity, my humanity shows up. I resent having my solitude and silence broken, especially when it is unplanned, and in my opinion, not something I want. Then I rear up and get pissy, and even act out my feelings. Most of the time, no one notices what has happened. It just happened and it took me several hours to recover from a few minutes of negative interaction.

I made a plan to deal with the issue and got on it right away. Sigh. Hours to recover from a few minutes. Wow. That is such a common thing when a person experiences any sort of violation. We forget how easy it is to harm or be harmed.

I don't want that in my quilts. I don't put that in my quilts.