Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Jack's pillow - Old Clothes

One pillow, two sides ( bad photography).  The poem below explains the pillow's origin. Technically the background fabric was from an old shirt, which had two distinctly different designs in colors that were almost the same.  Each side of the pillow shows one of the designs.  Using the same star pattern, each seemed to cry out for different colors.  The pattern is one of Carol Doak's paper pieced designs.
This is a favorite that I have used several times. 

                  OLD CLOTHES

Don't we all have ancient garments we love—
the ones we change into after a busy day
when we come home to relax?
My soft moccasins with indestructible
plastic soles have barely any shape after
many many years. Wearing them I see
the dinky shoe outlet store in Batesville,
Indiana, known for its casket factory.
Batesville also has a small hospital.
I had seen my mother; it would be the last time.
I needed something else to think about.
I bought bright pink suede slip-ons.

Old clothes tell stories. When Jack
blogged he hated to give up an old shirt,
much washed, much faded, he thought
he might toss it in the trash. His photo
showed lovely pale colors. I wrote, “No. Don’t.
Let me make something for you.” Sue,
shared my feeling. We have reincarnated
his shirt. She in fiber art, I quilted a cover
for a small pillow.
Garments and their owners grow old,
worn, softened, faded, tired.
Even when still loved some are
dumped in the garbage,
given to the thrift shop,
stashed in assisted living,
bedded in the nursing home
until a casket becomes the repository,

Thursday, February 08, 2018

An unpredictable winter

So far the winter has been utterly unpredictable. We had only one fairly serious snow storm and then splatterings. Rain, sun, warm-ish one day, frigid another.  So, no three or four days  housebound because of serious snow. This is not a complaint, really, but a reality for December, January and, so far, February.

 Quilting time has been less than expected or hoped for but the challenges of the Uncommon 'Threads group continue and that keep my head busy. This quilt (without it's binding but otherwise done, was to be something inspired by Japan.

Actually I have not particular feelings about Japan. Of Asian countries it holds very little fascination for me. But thinking about what to do was an excuse to delve into my stash and see what forgotten fabrics I had. I found several with cranes and crystanthimums, and flowers and then I found the upper left fabric which  is not specifically Japanese but has cranes. I don't know when it entered my stash, but at least 15 years ago The other pieces, red, white and black, each have writing that may be Japanese or may be Chinese.  I had just about the right amount of each, a square 8th or a little more. There was a small piece closely printed with a variety of kimonos. I was able to cut out a dozen which I fused onto rectangles of white, black or red and then sewed in a semi-random way to the top. Adding the border was a reasonable balance of the  colors. A little 35x35" quilt that pleases me.  Simply.  I feel about it somewhat like I feel about Japan -- it's okay.  Simply that. 

Monday, January 01, 2018

New Year 2018!!!

How amazing!  When I was a kid I thought that living to 2000 would be an astonishment.  But here I am at 2018 and going strong. Making quilts, writing poetry and prose, teaching writing, living in a place I never imagined I'd be with totally unimaginable amounts of family nearby and a community of like-mined friends, many associated with continuing education, many associated with quilting and quite few simply people I know and enjoy.

The quilt I have just posted in the header is one I finished last spring after spending much time during the winter tying it rather than quilting. I had not tied a quilt in many, many years but this one is such a simple, old fashioned sort of  simple design I thought it needed to be tied.  I made it the easy modern way, the strips that were sewn together, cut up, resewn -- but never did I sew those two-inch sequares one by one. I like the quilt a lot. And for this winter, and as long as it will take because I will not work on it regularly, I am making another of 1 inch squares by the same method. This simplest of designs appeals to me just as the complex and challenging paper-piece quilts do.

I have been remiss in not writing this blog for some time, I will become more attentive and so I won't write a great deal now. I  have quite a few quilts to write about ... and I  must begin a new one today or tomorrow for the Uncommon Threads art quilts group. More anon.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cabins in the Snow

As those who know their traditional quilt blocks will immediately recognize, this little quilt is made of four log cabin blocks.  I'm sorry the photograph is not good enough to show the designs on the various fabrics or to show the 80 little glittering crystals. It is made from my stash of gray and very light fabrics with the exception of the next to last longest grey fabric.

The quilt is the result of the current challenge of our Uncommon Threads group. Each of us chose a piece of fabric from our stash, put it in a plain brown envelope. At our meeting a month ago we mixed the envelopes and each chose one (not our own). It was to be used anyway the quilter wished. As soon as I saw the gray fabric with random white dots I knew I would do something about snow.  I pulled out my stash of gray and found the other pieces which also hint at snow. The idea of a log cabin was almost immediate, so I chose the needed light fabrics. It was quickly made and I'm happy with it as we move into the snow season here. The finished quilt is about 30x30.  I'm eager to go to our meeting later this week and see what others have done with their mystery fabrics. We are a very eclectic group, each quilt will be quite different from the others, probably most will be about this size, or smaller.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Using an unloved fabric

Our Uncommon Threads group was given a group of hand-dyed fabric. We divided them amicably but one piece was left over: an orange and white piece, we all called it an "ugly". Finally the decision was made to cut it into equal pieces and each of us would use it in something.

As usual most of the others were abstract, showing that a touch of orange could perk up a geometric  design. But I cut  mine into little fish --- in fact I didnt have ehough so added some other orange fabric.  I used of  some of my stash of solid blues plus some grey fabric. The challenge was for our September meting so it seemed logical to be "punny" and call this " Back to school.  I 'm actually kind of happy with the piece. I think orange is one of those colors that grows on you as you get older. I feel the same about both yellow and purple.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Summer Quilt

During my lazy non-blogging summer, I made a number of quilts and didn't even photograph all of them. It's catch-up time.  This is a small quilt on the subject of summer, made in the spring in anticipation of a nice hot summer--which actually didn't happen.

The Uncommon Threads group chose the summer theme for our June meeting.  This is a small piece, about 15 x17.  I think it needs very little explanation, the very hot sun, shedding arrows of heat is the best part with a print orange circle atop the solid orange one. Quilting is very simple. The brown batik at the bottom is probably the best of choices. Actually I like all the fabrics in this quilt and I think the blue looks very much like the water really does look. In fact, authenticity wasn't the point; the general idea was simply stated. It is not brilliant but it says what I was hoping for. I was disappointed; I didn't manage enough early morning beach walks to get a nice tan.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Quilting - the real reaso for this blog

Modern side of pumpkin seed quilt.

I've had a recess but it's time to start posting again. The photo above shows the season that's upon us. Our autumn is on and off, glorious days and lot of gray, rainy, windy ones.

I have a number of quilts to post about and am deep into my usual autumn activities at the Academy for Lifelong Learning (A.L.L.) This blog is meant to be mainly about quilts and I've been making quite a few. I'm a member of the Uncommon Threads Group within Cape Cod's large quilt guild (300+ members). The other five members are genuine artists; I am an enthusiastic quilter of both traditional and art quilts but I am not actually an artist, i.e., a designer, a person who things in colors and shapes., I am a person who thinks in ideas and who is sometimes inspired by wonderful quilts I see in the many magazines and books to which I'm addicted.

I have just finished a two-sided quilt inspired by a traditional "pumpkin seed" pattern. The Bayberry guild's theme for their annual show two years ago was "scrap quilts". I LOVE scrap quilts and immediately wanted to make this quilt. In order to use twice as many scraps as in the illustration, I made it two-sided with traditional variety of colors on one side and background of small polka dots. The other side is "modern" colors and white background.  To use even more scraps and make the quilt usable on a single bed, I added borders with more scraps. I've just finished it -- quilting both sides together.  It's heavy.  I may use it on my single bed in the depths of winter but not otherwise.

At this point I have been making quilts for about 40 years. I will never run out of challenges. I am trying get rid of many bed-size quilts and mostly make smaller ones. I've just taken three to a group that is sending all kinds of things to Puerto Rico. Groups can sometimes afford the postage and occasionally get a discount from one of the carriers.

Right now I have another twin size quilt to finish (in time for Christmas) and ideas for two more that will be made little by little. We have a monthly challenge at the Uncommon Threads group. I have an idea for my next one.  I am never without a project to work on ... and, by the way, quilting is actually a hobby not at all a full time pursuit,  More in the near future. I am going to try to post regularly now, I hope, into the winter and beyond.

Below "traditional" side of Pumpkin Seed quilt
Traditional quilt side of quilt with a great variety of colors and patterns whereas the "modern" version used a single color for each "pumpkin seed".  I started this mid-spring an now it's mid-autumn.  Of course everything is sewn on machine.