Monday, February 27, 2012

Long term project

These are five inch squares each with a different, largely improvisational circle embroidered in the middle -- on top of a base circle, usually a printed one. I was making extremely slow progress when my daughter, Rachel, offered to give me a hand. Some of these 15 were made by her. She actually doesn't like to sew but the freedom of design and my stash of threads and embellishments piqued her interest.

We are inspired originally by a quilt maker from South Africa who's work we saw in Manchester, VT last summer at an International Quilt show. That woman had made 91 squares like this, all different and sewn them into a quilt. We loved it. She called her quilt either Meditations or Daily Meditations. We knew we wouldn't work as hard as she did but we are accomplishing about one a week. I doubt our quilt will get to 91, I'm thinking, maybe 36, maybe 42 ... I wonder if we'll get bored. Also I chose a background fabric that will probably give us no more than 42. The sewing is meditative. For me it's a pause between cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and settling in for the evening when I'm going to be home and spending the time reading.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Scrappy Pinwheel Mini Quilt

This scrappy pinwheel quilt was recently sent to me in a swap with the theme being pinwheels. I love scappy quilts and I love the choices made in this one with the various fabrics, especially the strips and how improvisationally the border is made. I think it's a delightful quilt.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


"Churn Dash" is the name most often acsociated with this this simply quilt block. It's also called Hole in the Barn Door". I think the latter is more meaningful to most of us s hardly anyone has churned butter in the last 100 years. Quilts with this pattern, whatever name it was know by, were usee as signals of a safe hour on the Underground Railroad in the mid-1880s. This is mu choice for the mach BOM at Bayberry Quilters. I try to make one up before introducing it at the guild meeting, which was Wednesday. The meeting featured one of my favorite guid events -- a member's flea market. Members mostly gather up fabrics they don't want, and bags of scrapes, or of threads, or other odds and ends, and sell them for rock bottom prices. I always think "I don't really need anything so I won't buy, I'll just look. HA-Ha=HA.

But for about 20 dollars I got a great deal of fabric, a set of dinosaur patterns which will surely come in handy since I now have two great-grandsons. Plus I got a paper pieced patter, with all needed printed papers, for a fascinating quilt made unlike any paper piecing I've done in the past. I had a lovely time for twenty minutes picking out fabrics that might work in such a quilt. Meanwhile I have two quilts [smaller] to work on and get into some kind of shape in the next month, so I shouldn't start this one to impetuously. Still, I can be creature of impulse. I'm not sure I can handle the particular paper piecing. A challenge -- there are, you've surely noticed no "problems" left these days, it's all challenges for the right person. WE shall see. It has happened that one quickly made quilt block and I realize an idea isn't going to work. And so, this weekend I give it a try and see.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Born to be a UFO

Upon occasion my scrap bag looks like it's going to burst so I have a spasm of cutting squares, rectangles and/or triangles. Then what? Well in this case I decided a simple, truly scrappy nine-patch would be an expedient way to use up many squares. At various times I got bored with the quilt and nearly threw it all away. Finally my frugality won out and I finished the top but have no inspiration to sandwich it with some batting and quilt it. Some day I'll respond to a notice asking for quilts for some charity and I'll either give them the top as is, or get busy and finish it. For now, as far as I'm concerned it is consigned to UFO-dom.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February BOM

I have lately become BOM Chairman for the Bayberry Quilters Guild. This is the February BOM. The Guild will do a red and white challenge for the next show, which is in August, so I am doing BOMs the winter season in red and white. Of course February was a natural.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Selvage Mug Rug

Until recently the term "mug rug" was new to me. The term says it all very succinctly. It is a fabric coaster for your coffee or tea mug and it among the latest ideas on the crafty front.

This one was recently sent to me by a swapper who realizes that I like She using selvages in quilted items. It is a bit larger than what I understand is normal for mug rugs -- about 4x6. She added a pocket to hold a spoon a napkin -- could hold extra teabags for tea drinkers. I think it's clever and almost to pretty to use as a mug rug for fear of coffee dripping on it. For now it's joined other small quilted things on my design wall.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Scrap Bag

This throw size quilt was finished this week. I had a largish plastic bag of scraps. The triangles to make these pinwheels were cut out so long ago I can't remember what the original plan was. I spent an hour or more sewing them together and then what to do? They needed something bright bright an interesting. Ah, I had a yard of a novelty print or close packed dots in many any colors. The back uses a couple of polka dotted prints too. I made a small dent in the scrap bag.

Then I set about cutting squares and then sewing nine-patch blocks. They are not being sewn into a two bed size top, possibly put together later today.
Very often I look at books of "scrap quilt" ideas and see them in magazines and feel irked that, it's clear those are not really from someone's scrap bag. The matches are too good, the whole thing has a planned feeling. Who do they think they're kidding? The contents of my scrap bag, and, I think, most people's scape bags, are truly a mix -- and I prefer it that way.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Culture Shock

I don't know if it's just on Cape Cod or if it's just in New England or if it's a trend lots of other places but here men wear shorts, usually not so neat and nice as in this picture, rumpled khaki calf length shorts, worn with either sneakers or any sort of casual shoes and socks. In summer, sure, with tee shirts and polos, sure! In spring and fall with windbreakers or sweatshirts or hoodies, okay. But here men wear shorts in the winter with heavy jackets. I mean, men of all ages, teens right up through 60s and 70s. Yesterday I saw a man at a matinee movie -- the temp was about 40 degrees -- he had those polyester warm up pants on UNDER a pair of the typical khaki shorts and a fleece jacket, sneakers and socks.

I know we are a car culture and that these guys aren't spending much time outdoors with their bare legs in the winter -- although I'm most aware of them when I'm on Main Street or in a parking lot at the grocery store or mall. I am bemused and befuddled. Just thought I'd pass on that style observation since I recently saw the documentary film about the wonderful Bill Cunningham, a photographer who takes the style-trend photos for the Sunday New York Times.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Stack-n-whack quilt done

This latest Stack-n-whack [should have a trademark sign] quilt will be used on the table for a while, maybe permanently. I find a simple kind of delight in the kaleidoscope patterns. The center has twenty eight-pointed stars and around the sides are a total of six hexagonal blocks. At last I have used up the complex Hoffman fabric that was sent to me at least ten years ago. It was a fine stack-n-whack choice as there were so many floral patterns in so many colors.

I have in my stash some distinctive fabrics like this one that I am always aware are there on the shelf waiting to be used. I like them but for some reason they don't fit into whatever the current project is. Eventually the hardest to use will become backs of quilts if there's any congruence in colors. Much as I like these fabrics I've grown tired of having there, on the back of my mind -- kind of like cobwebs in really hard corner to get into with a broom or brush. So I'm happy to have this fabric used up.