This small, breath of spring, quilt -- or quiltie -- was sent to me recently as a swap. The flowers are clemantis and are made from artificial commercial flowers. The maker said that she searched for clemantis in home decor sections of craft stores but found none so she bought magnolia, trimmed the petals and painted them for the effect she wanted. I think they're very lovely although, in fact, clemantis is not a flower I have been familiar with. So I am educated as I am charmed by the little quilt which hangs on my design wall reminding me that we get closer to spring every day.
I believe today is the beginning of the Chinese New Year. I purchased a couple of sheets of this US postage stamp today. The new year will be a year of the dragon. I hope it's not just me, but I cannot see a dragon in this design. I see a chicken. Am I nuts?
Nuts about the design or not, I'm being frugal to a point, at least. Postage goes up on January 27, meaning next week. All the recently issued stamps, including this one are "forever" stamps so they will be good once the price goes up. I now have a small supply and may buy another sheet or two before the price hike. It's a very, very small hedge against inflation but I mail quite a lot of letters. Pennies don't mean much these day -- even nickles and dimes don't mean much -- but I'm a child of depression era parents and frugality was fed me along with the cornbread and beans way back when.
We had winter's first snow yesterday, about four inches of fluffy white came down. Events were canceled, roads were trecherous and my great=grandson, Finn, who was too small to know snow last year, had his first experience of it. Says his Mama, "he didn't know what to make of it but he sure didn't want to go in." She's learning to be a very good photographer.
Predictions are for very warm -- like the low 50s -- tomorrow so today I'm gazing out at the carpet of white where sad brown grass was and looking at trees bedecked with white on their limbs. I have a couple of ongoing quilt projects that will let me sit at the sewing machine which is in front of a window and enjoy the day.
I finished sewing the blocks and putting them together a couple or three months ago. In the last few days I've quilted this strip quilt which is on drier sheet foundation and added the binding. I have yet to fuse on the label which will happen early tomorrow morning. It's twice the size in the photo because it's folded in half. Possibly a quilt for the great-grandson when he moves to "a big boy's bed."
Swap-bot, of course, is about swapping and I do quite a few quilt blocks and quilties. The two on this post are not the same swaps. The brilliant late July flower quiltie arrived today and was a shot of summer in Janaury. Maybe you can see there are beads in the middle of some of the flowers. I immediately put it on my design wall where I can have a bit of brilliant sunshine every time I glance up. This black and white block was for a BOM swap. Making it yesterday reminded once more how much I love paper piecing. This block has 64 pieces. I did not have to cut any of them to size or with a template. I work with strips of fabric. And it all went together with most of the points meeting exactly. I could never do that by fussy cutting and sewing. I feel so much a better sewer than I really am.
I love Stack-n-Whack! (There should be a trademark symbol.) Bethany Reynolds published her first Stack-n-Whack book in 1997 and has published three that I know of, and have. A friend gave me the first one and it sat for a while because I thought: never can I make anything that fussy. A couple years later the same friend gave me a large cut of a Hoffman fabric and in time, I made a stack-n-whack quilt using that fabric. That was so many years ago I've forgotten whether the quilt was sold or given away. I have a photo somewhere. It has a yellow background and was very cheery.
Why this ancient history? Because the fabric you see behind the stack-n-whack squares is the remainder of the large cut and because the squares are two of 24 I've made in the past month -- the first time I've had nerve enough to make this setting with diamonds and Y seams. Bethany's patterns using triangles were less challenging to cut and to piece. I have made several. I feel a childish glee as I sew the blocks together and watch the kaleidoscope patterns come together.
The quilt world is so large, has so many creative people and such a huge industry built around it now that new techniques pop up almost daily. Since let's say, 1997 we've seen broad use of long arm quilting machines, much tread painting, increasingly baroque combinations of piecing and applique, "modern" quilting and much more. I am a slow adopter in many areas of life including quilting techniques. Other people love variety, love taking classes, love new machines with new capabilities -- their enthusiasms keep the quilting world exciting. I return again and again to favorite techniques and patterns. I discovered Maxine Rosenthal's "One Piece" technique which builds on Stack-Whack to make excitingly designed quilts from a single triangle template and single fabric. But for this week -- well, maybe for the rest of this month-- I'm back to basic Stack-n-Whack and very much enjoying it.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!