Saturday, April 27, 2013

800 for Starters

This will take forever....
And this is why....
A swap.  A swap of 800 4 patches that will finish at 1.5". Of course -- who wouldn't want to use up 1.25" strips, right? That means you can go right to your strings and not have to cut from your stash.
I'll spare you the details of construction for now. Suffice it to say that 1" sashing will take a while as will the creation of blocks of four 4-patches that will eventually become  a block of 16 patches.  The larger blocks are being assembled with no regard to color, direction, or duplication. They will finish at 8" and are the perfect leader-ender project since it's a matter of grabbing and sewing.  Pressing seams open is another story for another day!
I do have to say, I like the periodic cornerstones that finish at 1/2".  I'm always looking for ways to use a 1" square! Oh, and did I mention that I made too many of these little darlings and have about 100 extra that will need to be added to the top? The ones in the picture above are my "leftovers" and were already being used as leader-ender fun prior to the big shipment.

I hope you have had a week of productivity and color!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Recently, one of the members our little quilt guild died suddenly -- only weeks before she was being featured in a local quilt show.  I really didn't know DT well but apparently she was a talented quilter;  I don't remember her bringing any of her quilts to guild so I'm not sure I've ever seen her work.

But others had and she loved quilting.  In honor of her passion, her casket was draped with a quilt that was to be featured in her show.  Don't you love that?  How fitting.  And her family was honored to loan her quilts to the show so that she could be honored in her absence.

This has led me to recall P from our Chicago quilt group (not even loosely defined as a "guild").  P died way too young and suddenly.  She was also a wonderful quilter and and I remember smiling as I walked into the funeral home and there were quilts all over the visitation room.  What incredible color to compete with the floral arrangements. Her daughters were telling the story of each of the quilts as they visited with those that came to pay their respects.  I will never forget the snippets of fabrics and small quilt blocks that were slipped into P's casket -- and even into her hands.  

I don't intend for this to be morbid or maudlin -- but rather to celebrate the community and love of quilting that we share.  We see it in life and we see it in death.

The following poem was included in DT's memorial card.  I have never seen this before and can't give credit where credit is due.  There was none in the card as well.  If anyone knows the origin, please let me know so I can update with author's name.  

Edited 4.19.13.  Thanks to Snowcatcher for letting me know this was written by Shutta Crum for her mother.  The link is here.

My Mother Taught Me to Quilt

I learned from my mother how to quilt—

how to measure the width and length,

how to find the exact shade of a rainy day

or the hue of a grandchild’s trust.

She taught me that the whole is made up

of the piecings of each day, sewn one to the next.

And to save scraps; you never know when you’ll need one.


She taught me to ease dissonance

into harmonies of pattern, and when to stitch blind.

She told me that the straight grain is strong

but I must learn to work with bias—

for there are days when the fabric must stretch.

And she said there would be rough patches

over which I could appliqué flowers.


Then she taught me how to layer it together—

how to rock my needle, hand-stitching this work of mine

to the warm core and to the hardy backing.

Finally, she taught me to be proud—

to tuck in raw edges and bind the whole with boldness.

This is what I learned from my mother

when she taught me to quilt.

Everyone leaves a legacy....and I think quilters have the privilege of leaving one that will transcend generations.  We learn life lessons from quilting (as noted above) and we share that love (and those lessons) with others.  Aren't we fortunate?

I hope you have been sharing your life lessons and legacies with those you love!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

180 Degrees

Well, if you read my last post, you know I was bouncing around from project to project like Jumpin' Jack Flash.  This week has been the exact opposite.  My machine was only turned on for about 30 minutes of sewing -- all week.

Instead, I got focused on selecting fabrics for this block.  This is my third (of 16!) block from Kim McLean's Lollypop Quilt pattern.  I love it -- but choosing fabrics and making decisions makes me a little nuts.
This color palette is completely out of my comfort zone -- to the point that I made myself a note reminding me that I wanted it to be pink and orange.  Turns out I didn't have much orange -- so it ended up pink, yellow, and a bit of orange.
This is not fast for me -- before even getting to the fabric selection and block prepping, I trace every piece that is not a circle onto Beth Ferrier's appliqué paper.  I normally use freezer paper but the denser foundation of Beth's paper gives me more stability.  I did a practice block and used freezer paper -- I found that even subtle shifting impacted the design.  As you can see, this is a mirror image block and one stem creeping up 1/4" and the other stem slipping 1/4" is obvious.
The patterns are well done but they take a lot of paper!  And once I got the pink block done, it seemed silly not to do another one!  No sense gluing the pieces down for just one block.
That leads to deciding on the primary color for that next block and digging into my tote of Kaffe fabrics!  
I ended up with yet another block prepped that is not in the colors that make me most comfortable (blues and reds and purples!).  I have added a bobbin to the lower right hand circle to get a perspective on the size of the blocks.
So -- what now?  I have devoted the entire week to tracing, prepping, selecting, cutting, gluing, and pinning wonderful fabrics to patterns that make me very happy.  Before I pull out the Roxanne's appliqué glue -- maybe I should prep one more!  After all, I need 16 and I only have two completed and these two ready to finalize.  And, there are about a million small applique blocks for the border -- but I can't even think about those right now!

I hope you have had a good week doing whatever makes you happy -- and playing with great fabric!