Friday, January 28, 2011

Have you ever fallen deeply in love with a pattern or fabric?

This is Rosewood Cottage and was six different patterns (I'm guessing a BOM) that were sold together at a quilt store about 1.5 hours from where we live.  When I saw it, it took my breath away.  But it was way too much money for the patterns and the fabric and I didn't have the right stash to do it.

So - -we visited the store again and again.  Seriously -- I made special trips to admire it and b/c the quilt shop was on the Fox River and we had a lovely lunch, my husband was game.

I finally decided that this is what I wanted to do for my sister's 50 birthday.  I could justify the expense and the time invested and it was something she would love.  I had never ever undertaken an applique pattern like this, My applique consisted of a wall hanging of 16 very small hearts from a class and a few quilt labels.  I had absolutely no idea how to even begin.  I was lucky to post just the right question about this pattern on a quilters chat board (aren't they great?) and found someone who had made one in 30's fabrics.  She answered my questions, provided advice, and often encouraged me.  She later did one in homespuns that was equally stunning.

So -- here is the quilt and I love it.  It has a wool batt and was hand quilted and I was so proud to give it to someone I love so much.  I learned a lot and have never fallen this kind of "in love" with a pattern until Lollypops (by Kim McLean) and that's history if you've read any of my other posts. 

What about you -- has a pattern or fabric taken your heart, caused you to think about it at inopportune times, been in your dreams and left you knowing you had to have it? 

Keep piecing and dreaming and searching for the perfect fabric or pattern!  Jan

Monday, January 24, 2011

A little progress.....

Oh -- this is so fun!  A little football, a little tennis, a little private time and some stitching.  AND, a lot of learning.  If you can do it wrong, I've done it.  I hope that bodes well for the next one.

This block needs 20 more circles and I can call it done.  When I think about what I've learned and the time to stitch, I'm pretty pleased with the time investment.  If I decide it's not good enough, it can be a pillow or a NICU quilt.  No need to make that decision right now.

I'm sad to say it goes on hold for the balance of the week as I have to start travelling for business.  So, the hexagons are packed and maybe I can get 4 GFG blocks made in airports, hotels, and who knows where.  I hope you're having a productive and rewarding time with your creativity.

Keep piecing!  Jan

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Does this little guy look cold?

This is some stuff we put out in the alley for pick up -- without a lot of thought.  And then -- it snowed and we realized he was a different kind of 'snowman' (or mouse or cat or animaniac or something!).        

Windchills coming to Chicago in the "minus" degrees which is never a good thing.  I think of those that have to work out in it -- the homeless -- farmers -- and kids whose parents don't dress them warmly enough.   

The quilt that follows is the warmest quilt in our house -- by far.  It's made with felted wool that was reclaimed in Goodwill Stores, resale shops, and my closet!  The leaves were appliqued with buttonhole stitch using perle cotton or variegated specialty floss.  Many of them are outlines of leaves from our home in KY before we moved to Chicagoland.  The batt is wool (of course) and I hand quilted with big stitch before it was too popular. I didn't have the dexterity to do a finer stitch.  It's my husband's and is actually the only "real quilt I've made him.  I did make him a rag quilt one year (the year I made 11 for Christmas) but this is his quilt and the corner block is a heart.

I hope you're staying warm - wherever you are.  There  is nothing like a cuddly (or wool!) quilt to take the chill -- and wind chill -- off!

Keep piecing, Jan

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bring on the Australian Open!

Australiam Open starts tonite and I am ready!  My first lollypop is pin basted and I'm going to give it a try.  If it's a bust, I will have learned a lot for the next time I do it.  Fussy cutting does not come easily to me -- I save every string so this will be a challenge -- but it makes all the difference. 

Love tennis!
Love fabric!
Love color!


Keep piecing, Jan

Saturday, January 15, 2011

If you had $1,000 for quilting -- what would you buy?

Dupioni Silks!  Hands down -- no questions asked.  I love so many fabrics -- but if I were to splurge, it would be all about silks. 

Every once in a while, my friends and I play the "what would you buy" (with the caveat that this is guilt free money that you HAVE to spend on quilting, of course).  I think about
  • Kaffe fabrics
  • Amy Butler
  • Books
  • Patterns
  • Aurafil thread samplers
  • Every ruler out there
  • More scissors (can you have too many?)
  • Lush wools
But in the end -- it's silks for me.  I touch them, caress them, admire them at all the quilt shows -- but I don't invest in them (yet).  If you haven't checked out today's guest author at Stash Manicure (, it's worth a peek to see them glow and shimmer.  I'd do one entire quilt in silks and cherish it forever.....

What about you?  If you had $1,000 for quilting, what would YOU buy?

Keep piecing, Jan

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Isn't this incredible?

This is a quilt that was at Chicago quilt show last spring.  I wish I had thought to take a pix of the statement card.  I know it's old, hand made, and these are silks (or I think I know they are silks).  The "logs" finished about about 1" and it simply glowed.  You can see a bit of the sheen here.  Don't  you wonder about the quiltmaker, what she thought about as she stitched, where she found her patience.  This has been well cared for and did not show appreciable wear.  I won't be making any keepsakes for 100 years from now.  I want my quilts used (and slightly abused if needed).  But, I am grateful for these types of gems to remind us of the "art" that we love. 

Keep piecing, Jan

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I'm just not sure...

Arggghhhh!  The colors aren't particularly good on these.  I am a firm believer in making practice blocks before I get in too deeply on a project.  I can learn a lot about what to do and sometimes will not even start a project b/c I didn't enjoy it or ended up not liking it. 

These are practice blocks for Lollypops by Kim McLean.  I'm practicing my applique -- it's been years -- and trying out background fabrics.  I'll probably post on Glorious Applique's blog (have you been there -- it's grand) to get some feedback from the experts. 

I bought the bottom fabric for thsi project.  I wanted a bit of color but no direction in the pattern.  The top fabric is a deep deep black with ginkgo leaves (can you see them?) and when I saw it (Marcus Brothers), I bought the entire bolt.  Seriously.  I had to have it all.  I love the black -- I do not love the show through which you can see on the "heads" of the lollypops.  The bodies still have freezer paper in them so there is no show through there. The heads don't and I have cut the background away on the one on the left and you can see the shadows -- and you can certainly see them on the pink one.  I'm a bit baffled at this point and would welcome comments.  I've considered another background but this could go on forever and I could never get started!

Keep piecing (or appliquing!), Jan

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm rich!

There are many things in life that make us feel rich -- family that loves us, friends that like us in spite of ourselves, a strong faith, and fabric!  For me, especially Kaffe Fassett fabric.  I have ordered the 1/4 yard cuts from Glorious Color for Lollypops (Kim McLean's "glorious" pattern) and I pulled them all out over the weekend -- along with my KF stash.  Unfortunately, I cut many of the 1/4 yard cuts off (center group) so I'm even richer than you think.  :-)  I'm working on a sample piece to see how the fabrics look on different backgrounds as well as to refresh myself on applique.  It's been years and years since I tackled anything more than a heart or a star or a label on the back of a quilt.  Lollypops are a LOT more than a few stars or hearts!  What fabric makes your heart sing?

Keep piecing!  Jan

Monday, January 3, 2011

Can you dillydally?

I take absolutely no credit for the following -- other than to pass it on for consideration as we think about 2011!  It comes from a site I visit regularly and the person that posted it didn't remember where she found it.  If you know the blogger who gives us this new view of what we should focus on in 2011, I'm more than happy to provide a link!

Can we do this -- I've already posted 2 lists -- what I didn't get done and what I want to get done.  Can I really add dillydallying to this?  What are other words for dillydallying?  Do they work better for you?

I so appreciate this look at the importance of slowing down -- loving our ffamily, friends, and ourselves, managing our creativity on a whim vs a deadline? I'm going to try -- starting today when I have the house to myself and don't have to work.  A rarity of epic proportion that I'm going to make the most of!!   So -- for your consideration and joy -- Keep piecing (and dillydallying), Jan

I went back and checked my post New Years Day 2010 ... these are the resolutions I posted a year ago today ...
  • Will dillydally at least a little everyday.
  • Will only work on what feels good at the moment.
  • Will begin new projects on a whim.
  • Will only complete projects when there is the urge to do so.
  • Will continue to add to my current fabric, yarn, kit and pattern collections.
  • Will spend time dillydallying with those who understand the dillydally lifestyle.
  • Will actively recruit and encourage others to adopt the principles of dillydallying.
I am a "work in progress" (as are we all), but I must say I did very well on all but the last one. So here is my point ... Life is complicated and unfair ... dillydallying is where we should find respite from life's harsh realities! Do not allow regret, shame, guilt and remorse bleed into the part of your life that brings you the healing power of calm and joy. There are no UFO's only projects in progress! So what if your sewing room is a mess as long as you're creating! Get organized only if it makes you happy! Unused fabric and yarn that has been stored for years is now vintage ... it has increased in value ... rarity does that you know!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1-1-11 Isn't that a great number?

If ever there was a date that screamed "new", it's got to be 1/1/11 -- full of hope, last year but memories, and lots of dreams for quilting.

What to do?   Make a list?  Set goals?  Meander through UFOs or put them aside?  For me - it's a list that is very fluid.  I always add more, I never delete, and I recognize I won't finish them all.  But I love the accomplishment as a top is finished, then quilted, then bound, and then given to someone I love or put in "inventory" for the right purpose at the right time.

What to do?

1.  Carolina Christmas - quilt/bind
2.  My birthday quilt - piece/quilt/bind by April (a year is long enough)
3.  Rectangles quilt - borders, quilt, bind
4.  Mark Lapinski TATW - quilt, bind, to Matt/Miya by June
5.  NYB - borders; quilting TBD and not sure this year -- a bit daunting
6.  Cotton Boll - piece/quilt/bind
7.  I Spy for grandson - cut/piece/quilt/bind by June
8.  Quilt for MBS
9.  Quilt for Joe
10.  Quilt for SE
11.  Lollypops by Kim McLean - make at least 3 blocks
12.  Waverunner - quilt, bind
13.  Challenge quilt - cut/piece top by April; finish by end of year

A short list for me -- but enough to get me started, keep me focused on getting some gifts done (weddings abound this year), challenges to learn from, and enough latitude to go in a different direction if I want to!

What about you?  Anything pressing that you just "have to do this year"????

Stay warm!  Jan