Friendship Swap

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A few months ago, Vicki contacted me and asked me if I wanted to do a Friendship Swap.  I almost said no, as I had sworn off of swaps, but I so like her work that how could I not say yes?  So I agreed to do one more swap.  We chose the theme of summer, set a date and a size, and we went to work.

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I found this cute free watermelon table runner *here* (I think you have to register with them to get it, but there is lots of great stuff on this site), and set to making it.Tablerunner_5a

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I had to stop working on it when I injured my shoulder, but when Vicki told me she was all finished and could she send hers early? I just put my brain and body into gear and finished it up.  She has received it and said she really liked it, which is so nice of her.

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She sent me hers, which I love love love, and a small mini (below).Tablerunner_3a

This is typical of Vicki’s kindness, as well as her creativity.  Who else could have made a fabric cut-out so cute, with all those darling borders?  She said it’s in honor of me, going to a quilting retreat.Tablerunner_1

We keep her table runner on our kitchen table, and after we’d opened our anniversary cards, I set them out next to the little birdhouse I’d placed in Vicki’s leafy tree-tops.  What a terrific and fun swap to end on!  (And yes, I’m really done now with swaps, but I know Vicki is still going strong!) This is Quilt #168 on my 200 Quilts list (in above tab).  If you haven’t started making  your list of your quilts ane projects, I’d encourage you to start now  It’s very fun to keep track of your quilts and creative endeavors.

Summer Bee, Quilting, and Chuck Nohara Updates

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Updating you on my Chuck Nohara block progress.  I finished off the incredibly complicated floral wreath block in the upper left.  Susan and I (and Bette) are working together on this, with Susan choosing two/month and me choosing two/month.  Yes, I chose that one (never again).  But June was finished up.Chuck Blocks_July2016

July’s blocks were interesting.  I did the sunglasses on the road to my Gwen Marston class.  I did the lower two blocks at the quilting retreat, and promptly had to re-do them again.  But I could now cross July’s blocks off the list.

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I launched into August early because of some planned travel, and hit my first roadblock with a Dresden-plate block.Chuck Nohara Dresden_1

I drafted my own little Dresden template, then proceeded the way I always do.
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I had prepped up the bird before our road trip to two family reunions, but lost it somewhere between my sewing room and the great state of Utah, so I prepped up a second one, stitching it to completion while watching the Olympics opening ceremony.  Yep, I changed a few things, but here they are, all done.  I need to get them all up on the design wall, all together.  Next week.

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My friend, Laurel, showed us her COMPLETED New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt, so I thought I should resurrect that project and get it going again.
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So I laid it out on the bed in the extra bedroom. . . (warning–lots of nighttime quilting pictures ahead)Rosette_6b

. . . found the package with all the pieces and tried to make sense of it.  I hated disliked the strong star shape of that rosette (seen here in Katja’s quilt), so after studying Laurel’s rendition, I made some changes, combining some pieces.

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Now comes the fretting part.  Will it work in the bluesy-purpley combo I have going?
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Luckily I hadn’t cleaned up the stuff of the extra bed yet, and so I laid it out, section by section.  I think it will work! I said to my husband, then packed it all away to take traveling with me.  It was hard to get going on this, as I’d forgotten how much trial and error is involved in the making of these rosettes.

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Here’s three sets of bee blocks for the Mid-Century Modern Bee (top is Mary, middle is for Sherri, and the bottom is for Rene).  Can’t wait to see what they do with them!

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I did finish Simone’s Spelling Bee Block for July while at the retreat, and it was the one thing I didn’t have to re-do.  You’ve seen this before, but since this is a round-up post, I wanted to include it.JunePrince Edward_Spelling Bee

I made an extra set of words for Kerry for her Canadian Provinces list of Spelling Bee words.  Okay, we are almost to the end (I’ve been saving all this up for a while).

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In looking at the looming deadline for Road to California entry, I kept pushing forward on getting this quilt finished.Quilting Circles_Aug2

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Which led to many rounds of this on my aching shoulder, and a trip to the doctor’s office.  I’ve not stitched much since then, which is like tying my hands behind my back and not letting me use them.Make America Quilt Again

So instead, I read a lot, finding this “Cap Slogan Generator” on the Washington Post website, and thinking that THIS is the slogan we all need to see more of.
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And since once an English teacher, always an English teacher, I corrected all the logical fallacies in the questionaire sent to me by one of the major political parties (such errors in faulty reasoning!) and yes, I sent it back to them (they had, after all, provided me with a postage-paid envelope). Quilt Postcard in Vignette

I won’t leave you with politics, after all I do have a heart, but instead with this little shot of the shelves above my computer.  I’d sent Marsha of #quilterinmotion some of my scraps and as a thank-you, she sent me my first-ever fabric postcard. (I was so excited.)

So, summer’s almost over.  Enjoy the last few days of the Olympics, avoid politics, and keep quilting!

Keagan’s Quilt

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Keagan, my first grandchild, came to visit me last month (along with her Mom–our daughter– and family.  She’s crazy about Paris and France and all things French, so I collected a few fabrics before she got there and surprised her with them.

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And you just can’t leave it at that in a quilter’s house.  Keagan_3 Keagan_4

L’Amour recoufortand de Paris, quilt #167
Pieced and quilted by Keagan Charon and Elizabeth Eastmond
July 2016

Keagan_8 Keagan_9L’Amour recoufortand de Paris, the title, means Paris’ Comforting Love, because she considered how quilts give comfort and since it had all things Paris in it, she thought it up and had my husband translate it for her.

Keagan_5We got all the pieces cut out, then I had to go and Take Care of Things, and when I came back, this was the design she’d carefully put together on the design wall.  We sewed the pieces together–me on my regular machine, and she beside me on the Featherweight– and we put the top together.  Her brother Riley helped iron the blocks; it was a team working together.

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I stitched most of it on the Sweet Sixteen machine, but had her take a turn at the quilting, so she could say she’d help quilt it, too.
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Since we were working against a deadline, we used a glue stick to tack down the binding, and then I top-stitched it into place.Keagan_10

And then, just like that! it was time to head on home.  Here they are Sunday morning, all the kids (Keagan and Riley and Maddy) lined up for a picture before they piled in their van to drive home.

Legacy

Mom and her quilt

This is my Mom.  Dad is nearby, as always, watching over her.

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This is a quilt that took her two years of living life abroad in Lima, Peru to make, putting in one cross-stitch after another.  She sat in an upstairs window seat in our home there, overlooking a quiet suburban street — quiet, except for the time that someone missed a stop sign, careened into our yard, the car turning upside as it landed near our front window.  My dad said he thought the maid had thrown the vacuum cleaner down the stairs again.  Luckily the Clinica was a block away, so it turned out all right.

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My mother didn’t really speak Spanish, although she tried her best to communicate with the household help she was expected to keep: a maid for the household, a maid for the laundry, a man to wash the cars, and a gardener.  She took Spanish lessons, socialized with the faculty wives at the college where my Dad taught, and tried to corral her four blonde teenaged American daughters, along with the raising of the three younger sons.  But when she wasn’t juggling all that, she sat and stitched in the window seat on the second floor, by the large upstairs landing that was like a second family room.  All our bedrooms led off this landing, and perhaps it was a way to keep herself at the center of our lives? When the two years was finished, she brought the quilt back to the United States, had it quilted up by some ladies in Provo, Utah (the city to which they returned) and carried on with her life.

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On my most recent visit, her eyesight failing, she finally let me take it home.  I had her pose for a picture before I carefully put it back in its zippered pillowcase and carried it away to my upstairs extra bedroom.

We bandy about the word legacy in our quilt world so easily some times, as we confront our stacks of fabrics and magazines and books, sewing away madly, trying to keep up with the deluge of digital media and blogs and print materials and keeping our local quilt shop in business.  We are busy, aren’t we, as we are always cutting and sewing and cutting and sewing and frantically trying to outdo ourselves with the number of quilts we’ve produced in a year, going for our Olympic best, in the best competitive fashion.  Numbers!  Quantity!

My mother didn’t have Instagram.  Or the internet.  Barely any English-language magazines.  But she had a plan, several boxes of DMC teal embroidery floss, some needles and a pair of scissors, and a series of stamped cross-stitch panels that when sewn together, would make a quilt.  And she quietly worked on that.  I remember many conversations with her hands drawing the thread in and out of the fabric, as she listened, and gave advice.  Sometimes I thought — in my little 13-year-old teenage way — that she was all by herself in this thing.  I didn’t think of my mother as her own self at that point, and if I had I might have thought loneliness might be a part of the stitching, but I don’t really know. Knowing my mother made it I realize that there’s probably some of her finger-pricked DNA floating somewhere in that cloth, as well as her feelings, thoughts and memories (she missed her own mother during that time).  It has the essence of her, in a way that only a quilt that has been held and worked on for two years can have.

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Legacy’s origin comes from the Latin word “lex,” meaning law, or group of laws that are written and have become canonical, or ingrained and accepted.  And in a derivative sort of way, it (the laws, the legacy) can be a messenger, an ambassador of sorts.  And so it is with this legacy, this quilt: it is a message from a time in her life when she sat quietly and stitched, raising her seven children in a home in Peru.

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Quarterly Challenge for November 2016

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Since we are doing a yearly theme of color, the next challenge also has to do with a particular hue.  Rachel just announced our theme of “I’ve got the blues” for our November 2016 challenge.  As you all know, our art quilts are smallish (no exact size anymore) which allows us to complete them quickly, and to follow our hearts in constructing them.

I immediately thought of some blue quilts when I read the new challenge. Enjoy the show.

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Rosette #1 from a quilt in progress

But “got the blues” can also mean sadness, as in this quilt, depicting a mother saying good-bye to her newly deceased newborn child:

Most of these quilts are from past Road to California quilt shows; here’s what I wrote at that time:

Surrender was a quiet quilt, tucked in among some showier ones, but took my breath away for the depiction of a mother saying good-bye to her newly deceased newborn. Maria Elkins of Ohio, paid homage to all those moms who have had to say farewell at birth.  She dedicated it to her grandchild, “who was given into the loving hands of her daughter and son-in-law.”

And finally, another inference, as shown by this quilt:

Kathryn Nolte, from La Habra Heights, California created this visual feast, titled Take in the Night Blooming Jazz, Man.  Sinewy, fluid shapes echo the subject of her quilt, with a real live “piano key” border.  This, too, could be a rendition of “I’ve got the blues.”

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Tranquil blue

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(All photos above from a Flickr search)

Can’t wait to let this one percolate into something fun!