Creating · Quilts · WIP

WIP–Halloween Quilt

So this is the plan.

Our little Quilt Group (Good Heart Quilters) wants to do an exchange of fat quarters in October of Halloween Fabric.  I’ve already got mine ready to go, but then I thought–go where?  So I got out my quilt program and cooked up this little house quilt.  This is digital–I’ll be working on mine for the next month, but I can see someone appliqueing ghosts coming out of doors, embellishments, witches riding in the sky.

I made up the plan for this quilt.  I call it “The Plan” because I couldn’t figure out how much bigger to print it out to make it real, honest-to-goodness templates. So, in case you want to make yourself a quick little Halloween House Quilt, here it is as a PDF file to download: halloweenhouse.  I also envisioned using this as a place to lay out your cut pieces, so you know you’ve cut the right ones.

Please use the dimensions given to cut your pieces, as believe me when I say I doubt very much it will print to the right scale.  Forgive me, I didn’t take that class in college.  This post is to get you thinking about what fabrics you’ll use, and how you’ll use them.

I’ll have more later on about construction, but tomorrow I’m getting on an airplane and going to my nephew’s wedding in Salt Lake City, Utah and plan to celebrate some newlyweds.  I will have a post on FSFriday, so you can see what I finished this week, and when I return I’ll start into the fabric cutting and piecing for Halloween House Quilt.

Many many thanks to our generous Lee, at Freshly Pieced Fabrics, who hosts this WIP every Wednesday.  Thanks very much!

Quilt Shops · Textiles & Fabric

Dear Fat Quarter Shop

Dear Fat Quarter Shop,

Thank you for sending me a cute little bunch of fabrics today.  It had been a long day, complete with temperatures over a 100 degrees (again), battling the tail end of an illness, a day teaching in a hot room (the gauge said 77 degrees–try exploring the angles and nuances of poetry in that kind of environment!) and a traffic-filled drive home with a guy in a dented white truck who cut into my lane.  Twice.  It had started out well, with conversations with my angel mother and  my sweet daughter and a shared lunch of sushi with a dear and trusted colleague.  But the rest of it was. . . well. . . let’s just say I swooned, happily, upon seeing this box on my doorstep.



P.S. Now I can start thinking about that Christmas Quilt!


Checkerboard Border

Been one of those weeks when I’ve felt more wobbly than usual for some reason, so everything’s been on Slo-Mo.  That’s slow-motion.  But today I woke up without a headache and headed to Free-Mo.  That’s Free-Motion Quilting.

I’m working on the table runner for the Red/White Challenge hosted by Temecula Quilt Company, and the deadline is September 15th.  All the blocks came in from local quilters and from around the world, so I put it together in a quilt sandwich and went to town.  It went quickly, and it was good to just dig into something to get it done.

I’ve had this idea to put a checkerboard border on it, as this will be used at Christmastime and during the patriotic holidays, and I wanted to jazz up that edge a little.

Okay, while I was trying to put away the box of French fabrics (it goes on the top shelf, and I’m a shortie), this quilt fell down.  It’s a seaside quilt that I stated long long ago.  And abandoned.  It is NOT on my list of lifetime quilts, as it’s sort of in this limbo of that place whether or not I want to finish it or not.  I mean, I LOVE the background fabric and the turtle (raw-edge applique) turned out well.  But I know to really make this quilt something else, it will require digging into that drawer marked “Coral Reef” and cutting and sewing and appliqueing a whole host of creatures.  I even have a child’s picture book in that drawer, purchased after I took the class, because oh my! the teacher’s quilts were so incredibly cool and I wanted to learn from her.

True Confession:  I also have a Ricky Tims quilt in about the same stages, but it’s a square-within-a-square quilt.  I went down the night before the class to hear him speak at our quilt guild and loved every minute of it.  So I showed up for class and . . . didn’t love every minute of it.  I felt he was distracted and just punching a time clock that day.  We all have days like that but it taught me one more truth about the quilt world: some of the famous personalities we see are fabulous in front of the camera and some are terrific teachers and sometimes you have both.  But not always.

One teacher I’d take again in a New York Minute would be Roberta Horton.  I’ve had several classes from her (is she even teaching anymore?) and I’ve gone away from every one of them amazed at her ability to gently, yet firmly, bring her students to the place of creativity.  I’ve finished very quilt I have started in her classes.  Two other honor roll teachers are Jane Sassaman and Katie Pasquini-Masopust.  I’ve finished all of their class samples, but by then I’d learned to make a small quilt–less than 15″ on the longest side–in order to learn the technique and to have a “finishable” piece of art.  I have also taken a class with Ruth McDowell, and she ranks right up there as well, although after a 4-day class, I don’t know how she kept us motivated and going.  We were all exhausted!  It took me more than a year to finish that quilt, as I wanted it to be nearly perfect.  I think you’ve seen it all before, but to contrast with the unfinished seaside quilt, I present Heart’s-ease.

One of pansy’s other names is Heart’s-ease, as it was thought to be involved with the affairs of the heart.  It actually refers to the “viola tricolor” which is an ancestor of our modern-day pansy.  Now you know more than you ever needed to know about these sunny little flowers that bloom around here in Spring.  And which, because of Ruth McDowell and this quilt,  I have blooming on the guest-bedroom wall all the time.

Finishing School Friday

FSF–Oddities and Endities

Okay, gettin’ creative here at 9:37 at night.  Does it count for a Friday finish, if you finish it at the end of a Friday?

Hope so.

What I finished today: Grading 23 MLA (Modern Language Association) tests for class (no photo–you can imagine this one)

Cutting out the pieces for the Rubrik’s Cube quilt

Correcting the color and sending to print about 230 photos for my quilt journal project

Now can I call it a night?  I’d be tempted to but my dashboard widget says it’s still 91 degrees out there and when I opened the door to check, I smelled smoke–fire’s in the air.  Ah, end of summer, Southern California-style: Heat and Fires.

But look what an East Coast friend sent to me, that made me do a happy dance at the mailbox: some Going Coastal fat quarters.  Their coast has certainly been active this week, what with an earthquake and an impending hurricane.  But even with all that, my friend sent a smile all the way across the USA.  Thanks!


WIP–New Projects

Lee!  The ever fabulous Lee! has hosted us all, once again, on her blog Freshly Pieced.  Many thanks!

I always seem to have billions of things I want to quilt, to sew, but somehow don’t think to mention them on this blog.  Not that I’m going to start right now because I have to leave for school in 10 minutes and I haven’t eaten lunch nor brushed my teeth.  I DID finish the grading, though.

But what I did pull out and work on this week was my version of Rubrik’s Crush by Ashley, of Film in the Fridge.  I’ve loved this ever since she showed it on her blog in a sneak peek, so I waited until it was published to get my hands on her pattern.  It’s a perfect way to show off large-scale prints, yet still have that patchworky feel to the quilt. So I started cutting it out.  I got ONE square cut out before I had to stop and move on to other things.  Pathetic?  Not really, because at least I STARTED.

Where she used Horner’s line of fabrics, I’ve had some Amy Butler Love fabrics lingering in my closet. Plus a few others.

The other thing I’ve been working is my Quilt Journal.  It’s been a long process getting the photos ready for this book, getting the book ready (as per my father’s advice, I had a larger spiral added to the spine).  I gathered up all the photos I took–one of which involved a trip to Arizona–and bugged/pleaded/asked the other children for photos of the quilts I had made.  My eldest son Chad (shown here holding an Amish Sunshine and Shadow quilt) and I photographed quilts in the conference room at his work (no one was around, nor using it).  I’ve tried to only include completed quilts in this process, but a couple of tops crept in.  A few quilts are gone forever, with no photos, only memories.  They are also listed.

It was interesting writing about the quilts that I’d made over 35 years ago, and about how much came back to my memory–the feelings, the frustrations.  Each quilt has two pages: the first one with its number (keyed to a master list) and the “verso” where I show the back and include any extraneous photos or details.  Writing in this, and sticking in the photos, is an especially satisfying venture.

My total count at this point?  91. If I get going on this Rubrik’s Crush quilt (or the Christmas quilt–see snapshot below), I’ll have some more to add to my list.

This is my goal.

Creating · Something to Think About

Don’t Just Do Something. . .Stand There

The title of this post is taken from an LA Times article of the same name, and it extols the idea of “down time,” or “space time,” or “staring at the wall and watching the paint dry” time.  A quote:

The short story writer Grace Paley also spoke up in praise of idleness. “I have a basic indolence about me which is essential to writing,” she said in an interview. “It really is. Kids now call it space around you. It’s thinking time, it’s hanging-out time, it’s daydreaming time. You know, it’s lie-around-the-bed time, it’s sitting-like-a-dope-in-your-chair time. And that seems to me essential to my work.”

Another related article talks about the importance of idle time.  A quote:

Until recently, scientists would have found little of interest in the purposeless, mind-wandering spaces between Mrazek’s conscious breakfast-making tasks — they were just the brain idling between meaningful activity. But in the span of a few short years, they have instead come to view mental leisure as important, purposeful work — work that relies on a powerful and far-flung network of brain cells firing in unison.

Maybe that’s what’s going on with me today–just can’t seem to get traction in my off-time.  I’ve decided it takes WAY more effort to start a project than it does to finish one.  I may decide something different tomorrow.  But for now–I’m just standing here.  Doing nothing.


**illustration is done by Christopher Serra / For The Los Angeles Times