Sunday, December 22, 2019

At last, time to finish a quilt

This group quilt has been sewn together for several weeks but I had no time to quilt it and add a border (black) until now. I've been engrossed in the anthology I wrote about a couple weeks so.  But the book has reached the completed layout phase and goes to the printer Monday or Tuesday, so I have  had the week-end to finish this. (I spent a couple days doing Christmas shopping and the wrapping is nearly complete). This odd block was a year-long series of swaps on Swap-Bot's Quitls-n-Things group.  It required the two center blocks be: one mostly black the other mostly white. The swappers were instructed on the surrounding color/pattern

When the swap ended I had received 24 squares  from panters. That wasn't enough so I made 18 more to have a quilt with 42 squares arranged in seven rows of six and then sashed with plain back. It was fascinating to sew together because I realized there is a huge range of fabrics. With six pieces in each square (9" each) that's a total of 336 pieces. Of course there are some duplicates but, in fact, as I sewed the squares together I realized that probably no more than 20 percent seem to appear more than once. So there are, roughly, 275 different cotton printed fabrics in this quilt. It's delightful to look over it and see such design/creativity in the various patterns. It's an adult sort of "I Spy" quilt. Happily as of today, it has it's border and is finished.  And as I always do with new quilts, I will initiate it by sleeping under it tonight.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Off and On Winter So Far

Winter arrives in quick spurts and disappears.
We had about two inches of snow last week, an all-morning lightly falling event and then it cleared  and I went out to shove it off the car before it became heavy.  Then a couple days of mixed sun and rain and gray, then a morning of dense fog when I could not see the buildings across the street -- saw two big trees in a gloomy, foggy way.

Again this week another morning of serious snow which is when these photos of Stella on her back ready to make "angels" in the snow and Silas all set to throw snowball, possibly at Stella or maybe his mother with her ever present camera phone. 
She understands how to get decent closeups --too many people
don't get close enough to their subject.

Meanwhile, I've simply dealt with the weather, never knowing
when I ought to make sure to wear boots. It's quickly come, quickly gone. No argument about that. And surely no adult enjoys snow as much as kids do.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Putting Together an Anthology Is Much Like Quilting

Looking at this photo of anthologies called Reflections which does not show last year's issue, I realize that I am working on my ninth issue. I prefer to say "we are finishing..." which is true. I have had very good help putting together each issue -- women much better at English grammar than I am who add commas what sometimes seems too lavishly--but according to the proper rules. Also skilled and thoughtful people who can do the technical layout work. The heart of the book is the many people who contribute prose, poems and photography. They are current and past members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning.  Most are not  participants in the three writing courses that have been regularly offered each semester -- although actually many of the poets have been in the So You Want to be a Poet class, some for many years, some off and on. But many contributors are individuals who have something to share, to say, to tell others about. The variety of subject matter is enormous.

"Reflections" is an appropriate title in the past and present sense. It reflects today's concerns (the current issue has two excellent articles addressing climate change, and it reflects the emotional state of many contributors, current interests and pleasures of living here on Cape Cod. It also contains many reflections backward, stories about deceased family members, about youthful pleasures and travels far and wide (both Africa and Australia in the new issue)

The organization is nearly 30 years old and the first issue, then called Senior Reflections, was published in 2000, so this is a 20th anniversary issue. It is the largest ever. And my final job was similar to a quilting step -- putting all the pieces in an order that makes sense, is aesthetically pleasing as one reads through it. The last step, which is happening this week and next is the quilting -- putting each item on its page, getting all the bits right.  The final binding -- thank heavens! -- is in the hands of an excellent printing company that we have used throughout nearly all the years. When the first couple of issues have been proofed and any errors corrected, I will sigh happily and get to the two quilting UFOs awaiting my attention. I enjoy editing this anthology but I'm happy it's only once a year.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Thanksgiving for Adults

This photo shot through the screen of my slider is the old turkey who hung out on my mini patio for about half an hour after her flock left her. I decided she had Alzheimer's because she was clearly uncertain what to do. Eventually another turkey came and led her away. This was not a likely main dish for anyone's Thanksgiving.

I let a number of my friends know about the online publication of my short story, Bringing Home the Turkey, at the Story House site (address is simply: Richard Richard collects mostly memoirs but sometimes fiction (my story is fiction) and posts a new one every week. He keep files of many writer's submissions (has several of mine).

Our Thanksgiving was nontraditional and probably the best such holiday dinner I've ever eaten -- in large part because daughter Rachel kept things very simple and they were very good.  She baked her sour dough bread (which she does every week from a starter she keeps) and we had cheeses and crackers. Then came the part I liked best, oysters she had raked out of the bay yesterday, that Patrick had shucked in the morning. They were then broiled with a very deljcious herbed butter topping. Midwesterner that I am I had never had oysters on the half shell broiled (or raw) before and they were delicious. Everyone agreed and, happily, she had gathered a goodly number. Then came a sweet squash puree soup -- the only time I've thought squash was delicious (and I brought some home to have for dinner tonight). No Big Bird but a turkey pot-pie and a very excellent salad and cranberry sauce (home made). Double dessert, tiramisu made by our French guest and cranberry-apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. Everything was delicious and I didn't even have to help with dishes. A very fine day.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Summer's Work Going to Needy Teens

That's largest of six quilts I took this noontime to Grace who is co-chairman of the Bayberry Guild's "quilt bank". Grace's basement has a reputation--it is the repository of hundreds of yards of fabric that has been donated to the guild. Monday and Tuesday they had a give-away day; she said 27 women showed up, descended into her basement and walked out with multiple bags of fabric. And yet, to  me, the basement is FULL of fabric.

I did not go to get fabric I went to donate six quilts I made over the summer (including the one in the photo) to quilt bank which has a list of 60 kids with homeless or out of work parents who need something bright a warm to sleep under NOW as winter approaches. I've written about my Totally Dottie quilts and over the last three or four months other quilts that I've finished. Frankly I wanted them OUT, so I can make more and store them for a bit. The trip to Harwich was to be quick, get there around noon, deliver the quilts and head back home stopping at a fried clam place for lunch.

Quick it was not.  Grace looked at my quilts saying "this is for teen girls, that is for teen boys"... and then showing me others she has been collecting for the teens. The goal is 60 to be distributed in the next month or so. That was in her upstairs guest room where big plastic containers are already full of quilts with destinations. Then she asked if I wanted any fabric and I said, "well, actually yes, because I want to send some to a woman I know who makes quilts to be raffled by her group to raise money for kids who don't have lunch money at school. So down to the basement -- lots of fabric still there.

Grace is a talker, she's 88 and as much into plants as quilts. She told me the story of her family, not all happy -- in fact she was relieved to have become a window 21 years ago this month... She has more energy and interest (we talked talks books and movies too) than most younger people. I finally left about 2:00 and had a late lunch at the clam place.  I wasn't entirely certain how to get from her house to Rte. 28 which I wanted to be on. I came to a road going west but not one I'd been on before but not very busy. I have a keen sense of  direction I wanted to go west. Cape Cod is not very big, I  knew I would recognize something after a few miles. I found a familiar road and that lead to 28 and that lead to lunch. So much for the afteroon when I thought I would do some quilting. But no, it will wait.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Tree Hugger - "Ecology"

Our Uncommon Threads art quillt group proposed the theme "ecology" for this month's challenge.  Also the quilt was to be 12x12.  I pondered about the sea --I recently heard of an oceanographer's plan to feed the world with kelp farms deep in the sea.  "Kelp not kale" a slogan -- I like that! I'm not a kale fan.

However, I could not visualize a kelp farm underwater. I remembered this photograph of great-grandson, Silas, and that I wrote a poem called Tree Hugger. The poem is about childhood, not about ecology, but I love the photo and knew I wanted to use it with this particular fabric. The name of the quilt is "Treasure the Trees". (the less than distinct photo at the bottom right is a fallen tree.  Remember, if you click on the photo it enlarges; I suggest you do that, I have a grandmother's fondness for the the expression on Silas' face.

Here is the poem that was written a couple of years ago:

    Tree Hugger

The big man, with a kind voice,
jabbed a needle into soft baby flesh.
“It’s okay,” Mommy said, fixing his clothes.
“It’s okay.” She held her little boy
like she did many, many times,
hugging, rocking a little, “It’s okay.”
For a while it was okay.
He fell asleep as the car purred home.

But it wasn't okay. At dinner
he felt ick-ish; he slapped at the food
and whimpered; he wanted something
but not dinner. His brothers didn’t care,
Mommy and Daddy were busy with them.
He blubbered and fussed.
“I know, I know,” Daddy said. Strong arms 
 lifted him. Daddy gave him ice cream,
that was okay … for a while. Daddy held him
and talked to the others, patting his back,
pat, pat, pat. “It’s okay,” he said. “It’s okay.”
The little boy went to sleep, but it wasn’t okay.
He woke up fussing, whimpering, Mommy
held him, both fell asleep in the rocking chair.

It wasn’t okay the next day either. He fussed,
he whimpered, he felt tired and restless.
The brothers said, “It’ll be okay,” but they didn’t
remember their shots and their “Not-okay” days.
When the others went to school, Mommy
held him, but he wiggled free. She got his shoes
and coat and hat and they went for a walk.
He mumbled and stumbled through the leaves.
Then he found the sturdy little piney tree,
cool and rough and still. Tree didn’t say, “It’s okay.”
Tree didn’t hug or rock, but it stood solid and good,
He was okay just hugging the tree..

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Copy-cat quilt

A couple of posts ago I put up a picture of a quilt from the Mancusco  International Quilt show and said I was inspired to make a similar quilt.  It's done and it's looks much like the other although I think I can say with confidence that not a single fabric used in mine was used in the other. That's the joy and glory of these "wild" scrap quilts.  Scroll down and compare.  So  much fun and I used up lots of scraps, solids and prints.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Best laid plans ...

Back in July the Uncommon Threads group planned a workshop day in which to do "sky dyes" and gel prints and other forms of fabric enhancement. But as the day approached it was clear the weather was going to be nasty. So we postponed it until one of the beautiful autumn days that we have here on the Cape, i.e., yesterday.

But all plans are subject to weather. Yesterday was sprinkly, very windy and chilly and the lovely day on the lawn and porch of Kathleen's "Cranacres" home (which is for sale and which has relatively empty spaces, was moved indoors to the utility room. Not to be daunted--fabric was painted and printed, the group had a good business meeting and a nice lunch with an IPad slide show of the American Quilter's Society show in Padukah, KY a week ago that Kathleen attended. Work got gone, we got inspired and we carry on ... never mind what Mother Nature throws our way. The photo above, poor as it is, suggests the work that was done, here by Robin and Kathleen. We are planning a group show at the Cape's premier fabric store, Tumbleweed, for the month of October and we had time for show and tells about what we have been doing since July.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Mini quilt show

The  lobby of the Academy for Lifelong Learning has wall space and so puts up art shows by members for each six-week segment of classes. At the moment five of  my quilts are on display.
These have mostly been made in the  Uncommon Threads group. From left to right: the "flag" was for a challenge to do something with labels. If you click to enlarge the photo you'll see the "stars" are labels from fresh fruit, and the flag is surrounded by tags from many kinds of products from Chiquita Banana to L.L. Bean and the white strips contain selvages from fabrics. The tree has actual small shells all over it. The challenge was "the sea" and this is based on an actual dead tree on the beach where people put seashells. I call it the "shell tree". The snowy scene is everyones's favorite. It is inspired by a New Yorker cover of people walking their dogs in Central Park after a snow storm. The fourth is one of my favorites. The background was woven of strips of colors that mean autumn leaves to me. The leaves are prints of real maple and oak leaves. There's a small head shot of me. I call it "portrait of myself in the colorful autumn of my life. The summer on the beach photo is a fine way to spend a Sunday morning with the NYTimes crossword puzzle. These are among my favorite smallish art quilts.  And they are getting a good bit of attention.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

End of summer - back to school

What a lovely couple of days, weatherwise.  Perfect end of summer, not too hot, not too cold.  Granddaughter Cori has reached a "Mommie" landmark:  all four of the kids will be in school, at least a part of the week.  She'll have only the dog -- quite a dog!! a Bernese Mountain "puppy", now bigger than the two youngest kids.  But SO cuddly and lovey.

Cori takes photos and now and then sends me some of the kids. I have a new batch, one was posed just for back to school -- the  three oldest ones (Silas, the 3 year old will be doing pre-school a few days a week.) The photos was prompted, they actually enjoy school. (Remember you can enlarge photos by clicking on them)
Actually, they all like school. Their grandmother did a back-to-school celebration last Sunday with waffle sundae treats in the backyard:   crispy waffles, big scoop vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, fresh strawberries and a big pile of whipped cream.  No one ever did that for me ... I loved school.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Inspired by a quilt in Springfield

This was not one of the "OH, wow, that is so amazing!" quilts I saw at the Mancusco show last week. I took a photo of it because I immediately realized the blocks are easy to sew and "I can do this" with the plains and prints that I had in my scrap  bags.  I've been working on using up as many scraps as possible. The past week I've been sewing 8 inch square blocks using one plain and one of the print from my scrap bag.  I've made 64 of them and now they are laying on the floor of my sewing room. I'm trying to find a way to give them some of the coherence this quilt has. It's a stretch but at least partly possible.  I will continue to look at the arrangement I've got and shift them around for a day or two. They will have some coherence in colors and the arrangement of implicite diamonds is mostly possible.  I've even got a name already "Some Sense in the Scrap Bag."  I'll get it sewn together in a a few days and probably take a photo before it's quilted or bound (the part of the process that I like least).

Saturday, August 17, 2019

International Quilt Show, Manusco, Springfield. MASS

This is not the whole picture of this quilt, I was especially stunned at the almost hidden giraffe drinking but also fascinated by the colors of the blocks along the side as I have a paper-pieced pattern for that twisted log cabin block.  The annual International Quilt show managed by Mancusco that Rachel and I have been attending in Manchester, NH has moved to Springfield, Mass. It's somewhat farther for us to drive but we don't have to go through the Boston. All thruways and easy to find.  It was SPECTACULAR, the workmanship was magnificent and the colors, as you see here, stunning. There were quilts from the US, Canada, England, Germany, Israel, So. Africa, Australia and New Zealand. (plenty of vendors too but we ignored them), over 300 quilts, one "oh, wow!" after. The revolution in art quilting is little known to the public at large although there was a good attendance. I didn't take a lot of photos because I know I will not attempt this sort of quilting but looking at it thrills me. Here are a couple other photos -- one with the sweetness of simplicity and the other (the root vegetables) so full of creative embellishment, it's just a WOW!
Remember, if you click the photo it will enlarge.
The ones with elegant simplicity were a visual relief after the ones, like the carrots which were very complex. Note how elegant the quilting of the white background is.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Bayberry Quilt Show, current

The annual Bayberry Quilt Guild show is currently taking place at the conference center in Hyannis  (quite close to where I live) Over 250 quilts are on display.  They are an example of the art of modern quilting; there are some traditional bed quilts and many untraditional quilts both meant for bed and for display. Workmanship is mostly excellent, choice of color and design is bright, beautiful and sometimes surprising. Techniques go from a few (just a  few) quilts which are entirely hand made to many new designs and techniques using the latest sewing and quilting machines and the high quality, brilliantly designed modern fabric. I have not take photographs that show the range of what is on display.  Today the Cape Cod Times featured  three color photos from the show.  Below are some photos -- largely from the small art quilt group called Uncommon Threads of which I'm a member.
Our most artistically brilliant member, Robin McGuire is the "featured quilter of the year" with  display of nearly twenty quilts have astonished visitors and brought praise from the curator of Cape
Cod's major art museum. These photos are poor quality and only hint at what the work looks like. I will attempt to get more and better photos tomorrow.
 These are two of three exhibits of work by the Uncommon Threads group. To tell the truth in the top photo, I have forgotten who did the two on the let. The big sunflower with a button center in mine.  In quilts in the bottom photo were from a challenge in the group to make a piece inspired by a well known artist. The top is by Meredith called "Georgia's landscape." The dark middle piece was also inspired by O'Keefe although I don't remember what painting, the colorful piece on the right is Elaine inspired by Matisse. The bottom pieces which are seashells are mine and also inspired by O'Keefe, and Kathleen did the piece on the right inspired by Peter Maxx.

There  is a third small exhibit of some of he  postcards we made in a postcard challenge.  (We meet approximately once a month and  make something to a "challenge" or prompt with no rules about style, size, material.

Below are a couple of quilts from  the show. The bicycle wheels are astonishingly complex quilt piecing as well as clever use of the bicycle theme. The other is a more traditional quilt with an ocean theme -- there are several quilts in the show with reference to the ocean.  Possibly I will have more photos to post tomorrow. This is not at all an adequate sampling.  Remember a click on the photo enlarges it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Seventh new quilt this summer

This is the 7th quilt I've finished  since mid-May, The one of strips that is a few posts down was sewn together in the fall and I only quilted the top--in the simplest wavy horizonal way possible, which took a good part of a morning.

The others were from scratch -- and scraps! This new one finished day before yesterday used up about 90% of my collection of 5x5 inch "charm" squares.There are a total of 320 and not many duplicates. Up close the variety of designs fascinates me.  This one will go on my bed ... when the weather cools down so I actually need a quilt at night ... because I love looking at the various things fabric designers do.

I had the binding fabric for at least five years and thought I might never use it -- it has a diagonal strip in a darker tone of blue. Whether I had enough was, shall we say, an educated guess because I decided that measuring and calculating was just too tedious. As it turned out I had a piece about 4x6 inches left over. That was amazing .... and simply lucky. The back has a a different green fabric on each of the squares (of 16 charms per square) so I made a nice dent in my over-abundant stash of green fabrics.

Even with so many quilts made of scraps and stash, I still have far more than I need and will keep on making scrap quilts although I may pause now and work on something more complex. One quilt I have in mind uses selvages because the one selvage quilt I made merely dented my bag of selvages. And I have another strip quilt in mind that could be a quickie ... there's no end of the possibilities.  Of course! 

Monday, July 22, 2019

A Bried Break From Quilting

July has been a marathon of quilt making-- all from scraps and I'm not done yet, not by any means. I'm working on one right now that has made a good dent in my 5x5" charms collection.

But all fabric and no nature makes June a narrow minded woman. We had a wonderful refreshing shower one morning last week.

 I looked out the window behind my desk and saw these leaves with globules of water (click on the picture to make it bigger). They just hung there catching the light. A little portion of my brain has been trying to find a poem in their tenacity but I haven't found it yet. I took a few photos so I could continue to look at them.

I am often much influenced by what I am reading. Right now I am dipping only a few pages at night into my bedside book, the biography of Leonardo di Vinci by Isaacson. Everything fascinated him, I know he would have sketched such a sight and wouldn't have stopped there. He'd think how to paint  the leaves, he'd think about gravity (before Newton), he'd consider the surface of the leaves that somehow capture the drops ... I can't even go on trying to understand his amazing mind. But knowing about his constant curiosity and search for understanding literally everything, I am reminded to pay attention too. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Selvage Quilt Photo in Header

I have just put the selvage quilt I recently finished in the header behind the blog title. The pattern for this
quilt comes from Karen Griska's book about selvage use. It is the second one I have made from this design which I like very much. It will hang in the place of honor in my living room, alternately with the embroidered quilt that was there until a few days. I previously had as a header this small hexagon paper pieced quilt which I made for the "negative space" challenge of our Uncommon Threads group.  It's the most pieces I ever put into one quilt so small but it was not difficult to do using a paper piecing pattern. It was so much fun I occasionally think of making several of them to go into a mosaic larger quilt. Possible and maybe fun but time consuming and unlikely to happen. There are so many complex paper pieced patterns that appeal to me. But most are small and have no practical use. Since I don't market my stuff they find their way to a closet shelf.

Some people are accumulators and I'm one. I sometimes go through my documents file on the computer -- as I did earlier today and come upon something I remember writing but had forgotten about. It was called "A Peachy Day"and is appropriate to read to my little writing group tomorrow when the prompt is Summer Food. It's about 1000 words describing a trip to purchase a bushel of perfectly ripe peaches and the subsequent hours at home canning them (and eating too). Some of the canned peaches were shown at a county fair's 4-H exhibit. It was about 65 years ago, but when I ate a peach for breakfast yesterday, purchased green from the grocery store and badly ripened on the kitchen shelf, I remembered the perfection of those peaches so long ago. Meanwhile the short essay inhabits its little niche in my file and possibly will some day simply disappear.

Another scrap quilt on drier sheets

This scrap quilt, on drier sheet foundations, was made exactly the same way the previously shown one was, but I've used light blue stripping between each block. It makes all the difference. The internal design of strips making squares and Xes is still there but not so prominent. I think of this as being feminine compared to the masculine drama that the dark purple stripping made.  The back of this is a pretty floral print with lots of blue and some red and pink flowers.

Here is another quilt I finished last weekend --- the strip stripes are almost all from the remnant bags that the local fabric store, called Tumbleweeds, sells -- they are essentially the  last few inches of various fabrics they have sold from bolts. Many of the novelty prints are designs I would never purchase for a project but they add their own oomph to a quilt like this. It's extremely simple to sew. The quilting was wavy cross lines, nothing more. It is a bit too narrow and a bit too long -- so I'm thinking it should be given to a tall man who sleeps alone.  I may make that  part of the title I give this quilt. I really love randomness and I love mixing colors and designs. Now I'm thinking about how to use up some of the many five inch charm squares I've accumulated. That may be a project I begin tomorrow, although I have an idea about something to do with strips also. For me all  quilts are a kind of visual art play that I am unable to do in an other medium.  And I love that it becomes a useful item.  I don't care what the "Quilt Police" (the standard setting judges of invitaional shows) would say the pattern choices that it isn't well conceived and executed.  

Sunday, July 14, 2019

scrap bag quilt

I posted this scrap quilt on my other blog a week or two ago but it wasn't finished. Now it has a 3 inch border/binding in a deep purple which continues to emphasize the brightness of the scrap strips. They are foundation pieced on drier sheets-- I loved making it, quickly without any need to measure; using many of my scraps -- but actually not even half of them.

Since then I have made another using the same method but toning down the drama, I've use light blue stripping  and will use a blue border/binding -- all scraps, of course. And I still have about half my scrap bag of strips and scraps and may eventually make a third (although I've use up quite a lot of the drier sheets I had saved over a couple of years.

I'm contemplating writing an essay (or even a how-to) book about making a quilt using your scraps in a totally sponatenous way, ignoring almost all the rules of the "Quilt Police" -- no measuring, various widths of the strips, no concern for color matching or pattern harmony ... it all works fine, as you can see. Or maybe not everyone agrees -- that depends on one's OCD burden. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) -- I have almost none. I never never been a perfectsionist. I hate the rules and I know I'm pretty bad at color choices. I love the total freedom of making this quilt. The drier sheets are all the same size (used of course- most had to be lightly ironed, being a bit crumpled) so I simply started with a corner to corner strip and added from there.  I DID have to begin every other one from the opposite corner to get the diamond pattern (and of course, pay attention to that pattter as I laid them out. But that's it. The quilting is simply in the strips -- I don't enjoy quilting so I don't do a lot -- the old rule about needing a lot of quilting is horse manure in these days when batting is in sheets. (I am aware that people with long arm quilting machines do LOTS of quilting -- it's their  pleasure, but not mine.)

Later this week I will put up a picture of the second strip scrap quilt -- it will have a very different feel. I'd be quliting it today but it's a very hot and humid day and I don't feel like sitting at the sewing
machine with my lap full of fabric and batting.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Totally Dotty

This quilt is called 'Totally Dotty" --because it is --it's made entirely front, AND back and even binding. from my stash of different kinds of dotted fabrics.  In fact this is "Totally Dotty #2.) Making the first one was  a lot of fun and so was this one. The squares, of course, is entirely basic. all the pieces are cut 2-1/2 inch-- the square in the middle and the framing pieces, and on a simple light/dark patern, both in each square and then in how it's put together. The backing is  made of three larger pieces of dotted fabric. One doesn't realize how many things can be done with dots until looking at a collection like I had.  I'm sure several aren't actually "polka dots" but all are dotted. I haven't entirely depleted my collection but made quite a dent in it.

I have always loved looking at the inventiveness of fabric designers -- the designs, the color variations. About 30 years ago when quilting suddenly was rediscovered by women and by designers  a burst of ideas appeared in the fabric stores -- so much for all the sweet florals --yes, they still exist, of course -- but much else is now available. There are tons of novelty fabrics, especially for children's quilts, often based on TV characters; these don't appeal to me.

But there are magnificent lines of fabrics from high end fabric manufacturers that are works of art.  Most quilters have at least one of two (or maybe many) fabrics they love so much they just don't want to cut into them. I have some, too.  Meanwhile, I'm digging into stashes and seeing what I can come up with this summer. The "totally dotty" quilts (#1 and #2 -- same idea but each very different in color combinations) is only the beginning.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Hexagon quilt in header photo

I love paper foundation piecing.  This particular one is a triangular log cabin design. It takes only a moment after being told that to see it. The total size is only about 15x15 and each of the six triangle blocks has 17 pieces in it.  I could not imagine sewing this design without using a paper foundation.

It looks difficult but in fact was quite simple, black and then white and then black again and so on around the center.  It took an afternoon of carefully copying the design onto tear-away paper and then sewing each triangle.  The look is, to me, wonderfully dramatic.  The red and white  striped fabric for the border seemed just right and was, in fact, the most difficult part as the corners are not at all easy to sew.

I have done many paper pieced quilts -- nearly all wall quilts, many of them from Carol Doak designs. But other block designs, or over all designs are quicker and easier and, of course, do not require the steps of copying and later tearing away the paper backing. There are a couple of paper pieced designs that I've been thinking of a long time, one a New York Beauty ... perhaps I'll get around to it this summer -- or perhaps not, as I really am committed to doing mostly stash smashing quilts that can be sewn more quickly and use up considerably more fabric.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Summer at Last

Deep red peonies at Heritage Plantation a couple of weeks ago.  I was give a bunch of white peonies and the living room was filled with that singular tangy-sweet scent ... then one morning I looked and there was a snowbank of white petals surrounding the vase.  They simply drop en masse when the time has come. So short lived but so wonderful what they last.

Right not the rhododendrons are fading away and in a very short time the hydrangias will replace them with mounds of blue, purple, white. And the rosa rugosa in the dunes at the beach are white, pink, and read  and delicately scented.

Summer is marvelous!  This week has been busy with "things" -- a memorial gathering yesterday for a woman who passed away quietly at home while watching TV and was not discovered for at least 12 hours, maybe more.  Very much a loner although also very much involved in politcial activities -- protest marches and so on.  Today a couple of friends helped me get out a maiing about the anthology we will be puting together in the fall. It was also an opportunity to talk (i.e, gossip) while we worked adressing and stuffing envelopes.

Tomorrow there's a birthday celbration but I hope to have time for some quilting in the morning and then get a photo of some recent quilts in my attempt to do some stash smashing this summer.

This quilt is not a stash smasher, it is only about 26x30. Our Uncommon Threads group chose the theme "Childhood or Youth" for the May challenge. This is an obvious metaphor of the roads that lie ahead for a young person  -- a pony-tailed girl in this case.  I'm sorry the color is not brighter. The white expanse reads as mountains although it could be a difficult sea or an icy expanse far to the north. In this sort of metaphor almost anything works.

Speaking of metaphors -- spelled differently but nevertheless the same word, an online literary magazine has a couple of my short stories, one flash fiction the other longer story.  If one searches Metaphorespring19 the stories will be found in the index and can be read (free) by simply clicking their names.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Sunflower Quilt Done

This very large sunflower quilt hangs on the wall facing the slider door to my patio so that usually it's the first thing one sees on entering. A cheerful, bright welcome on the gray days of winter.  (Although, so far this has been a winter with a lot of sunshine and almost no snow. -- we hold our breath and wait for when it will come.) The design was inspired when I was sent a note with this as the design.  I immediately saw it as a possibly way to use up many of my buttons.  Three are over 300 hand-sewn buttons on this quilt. It's about 40x38.

Having finished the work on the anthology for the Academy for Lifelong Learning, I have some time to finish projects (like the previous post here below). And this week-end, President's Day, gives me three days to get my sewing room/studio in good shape, which I've been doing.  I have another long-time quilt top waiting to be quilted. I sandwiched it today, will do the actual sewing the next two day. And I'll take some time out from that job to make a small abstract little quilt for Uncommon Threads whih will meet Thursday.

Meanwhile I've done a lot of straigtening rearranging and the room actually looks fairly neat.  Needless to say, I have a various of other projects in mind.  The list grows as I think about it. When I'll have time... I'll see.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Finally time to finish UFOs

This is an incomplete and not very good photo of a  bed-size quilt I was finally able to finish today (border and binding). I put it on my bed and will sleep under it tonight as I usually do when I've just completed a bed-size quilt. The block pattern has a name but I've forgotten it. This was  swap (from a Swap-bot) quilting group. I liked the easy way one could cut up a four-square block and make it much more complex looking.

About 1/3rd of the blocks were sent to me in the swap. I usually made one or two additional ones (beyond the one I was to send my partner). The various colors were a stipulation of the swap directions.  I've forgotten which blocks I made and which were made by others.  I'm pleased with the relative simplicity that looks far more complex to make than it was.

I have been so busy with editing the anthology, Reflections, for the Academy for Lifelong Learning that I have not worked on large quilts for months. We had a well attended launch party yesterday and I am now finished with that project for several months. I have another bed-sized quilt top made which needs batting, backing, quilting and binding. I will begin that job on Saturday and hope to finish it (maybe?) next week .... I'm aware that almost everything about quilting takes longer than expected.

Meanwhile I have made an art quilt that is larger than expected. I'll write about it, with photo, maybe tomorrow, more likely over the weekend.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

New post, new year, new quilts

The picture in the header above is my quilted version of a forest fire. I made it last summer when our Uncommon Threads art quilte group chose the theme "chaos".  To me that's what this quilt says -- it's not beautiful but it's fire-y.

The quilt here in the post is one of three I gave to a member of the Baybery  Quilt Guild when she asked for quilts to be sent to victims of the horrible forest fires in California. Her contact in California said people had nothing and were cold at night sleeping in tents. Obviously it is a simple, very basic quilt of random 3 inch squares set in patches. I very much enjoy using up scraps and found this very easy and satisfying to make.  I'll make another this winter. I like to have two or three extra quilts stashed for just such opportuities to share them with people who truly need them.

I've been very lax about keeping up this blog. I will try to do better this year. Below is a quilt I recently made for the Uncommon Threads challenge to use "unusual materials".

This uses real money that I have from various trips to various countries, both paper money and coins; th(which is about 15x18 is Money/Men -- making what I think is an obvious political statement. (I do not mean for Trump's face to be obscure, the particular photo I used did not transfer well. Although, to make a personal statement, I do not enjoy looking at his face and am not sorry it's not clear.