Something to Think About · Textiles & Fabric

Flourish of Inspiration

I recently started reading blogs again after an interruption of our trip to Montreal, and enjoyed looking at everyone’s projects and writing.  But I often wonder if by “enclosing” myself in this online community I don’t become in a loop after a while.  I mean, we love to imitate, collaborate, make things alongside one another and if we do this all the time, doesn’t it become a little stuffy in here, and don’t we need to air out the room a bit?  I don’t have answers to these questions as many of my favorite quilts have been made in homage to another quilter’s vision I saw on a blog, so obviously I endorse that approach.

And someone once said there is nothing new under the sun.  On a related note, if anything we do is more than 10% away from what is familiar, we tend to shy away from that.  Given all this, how do quilters insert new ideas into their work?  Fabrics? Quilt Groups?  Trips to quilt shows?

Occasionally you just need a day out, seeing something really different.  Here’s a gallery of shots of my latest field trip.

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Blog Strolling

Bloggers Quilt Festival-Fall 2011

All is Safely Gathered In
Original Design

When I was a young mother I moaned to MY mother about how I never got anything done.  The laundry always piled up;  sometimes as quickly I as I could move it from the dryer, fold it and put it in the drawers, it would be used, dirtied and find its way back to the blue plastic mesh basket in front of the washer.  Meals were a never-ending story, the bathrooms always needed to be cleaned, the floor rarely seemed to be free of crumbs or sticky places.  I began quilting because I wanted a something for my bed, however I soon saw the advantage of quilting.

It stayed done.

I didn’t have to resew a seam as it didn’t unpick itself in the night.  The patches would still be there, done, when I was ready to assemble them into a quilt.  And then somewhere this stitching and patching and quilting took a turn and became my art, my way of expressing creativity.

I think I moaned to mother for years and years. Then the children grew up, the bathrooms needed cleaning only once a week, then the children left.   The dust and dirt of housework and I have made our peace with each other, leaving lots of room around my job as am adjunct college professor (English) to happily spend time cutting and sewing and creating quilts.

So, today, here is All Is Safely Gathered In, a quilt about sowing and harvesting.  I began this three years ago, trying to work with an original block I’d drafted–simple in design but it carried a nice big punch with those new large-scale prints that we were all investigating.

When I was casting about for a name, I talked it over with my husband.  How about something about harvest? he asked, and the phrase from a favorite hymn jumped right out at me.  When I was that young overwhelmed mother, I could think of nothing more satisfying than walking around the house at night, the last child in bed, the open book fallen to the floor, the night-light casting its golden glow on the cheeks and hair of these children who kept me so busy during the day.  I fell in love with them all over again, storing up these feelings of satisfaction every night against the onslaught of the day.  And now, many many years later those children walk their houses at night, picking up the books, bending over to plant a kiss on their children’s soft cheeks.

I sowed children and stitches and tasks uncompleted and time and more time and I am now reaping grandchildren and quilts and houses that don’t get quite as dirty.  While I’m not done, I feel like I have some sense of the law of the harvest.  And it is immensely satisfying, I must say.


Many thanks to Amy for hosting the Bloggers Quilt Festival!

Quilt Shows

Pins and Needles

I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I had to look up my entries on Road’s entry page to see what was going on, and this was AFTER they’d extended the deadline by 10 days because their entry page had a technological malfunction.  Or something.

So, no news, but at least my status has been changed to “jurying.”  At least it’s not (yet) “forget it,” or “never happen” or “better luck next time.”


Halloween House Quilt Block

Finally getting back to these little houses, after being gone to Montreal for a few days, then stuck in the Grading Galaxy when I returned.  I could make lists of the things I’m working on, but today — a little progress after a long time away from quilting.  And yes, you can still see my autumn quilt up on the pin wall behind the ironing board.  Add that to the list!

Thanks, Lee, of Freshly Pieced Fabrics, for hosting us all.

Click *here* for the block pattern cutting diagram.

100 Quilts · Creating

Light in the Crook of Shadows

Fall’s come to the bedroom.

I like to change up the quilt at the bottom of my bed every once in a while away from the standard blue one-patch that usually resides there.  And the fall colors really create a different mood in the room.

I began this quilt in a class about plaids, taught at Road to California by Roberta Horton.  One thing she said always stuck with me, and that was not too worry too much if the grain line was perfectly straight.  Part of that is because you could lose your mind trying to get it perfect on these ikat and plaid fabrics.  But, she said, slightly off-grain plaids give an energy to the quilt, and so to worry over them also deprives you of some motion within the design.

I chose a simple block design of a smaller square bordered by two triangles, all sewn to a larger triangle.  You can do a lot of things with this block.

I had fun adding that orange checkerboard as an inner border.

Here’s the crazy-pieced back.

And the labels.  The title and blurb come from my love of two words at the time: crook, meaning in the corner of something, like a “crooked elbow,” and illume, a variant of illuminate.  Click to enlarge if you want to see someone get carried away with fancy words, although I still like the title of the quilt very much.  I’d just change up a few things in that description tag. At that time I was in the final years of my undergraduate degree in Creative Writing, and was awash in fancy words — not only my own, but those of my classmates and visiting writers and seminars and all the books I was reading.  But I’ve decided that our quilts are as much a creation for all times as they are a record of who we were when we made them. Fancy-schmancy words and all.