Happy New Year 2023

“Time is draining from the clock,” says 2022 and Mary Oliver. Your loss, my gain says 2023. And here we are again, in a quote/poetry slam. (Quoted works are at the end.)

I made a few quilts, but not as many as usual. I think I made a lot more small makes, like a purse, or pillow tops, or patterns. Or maybe my “time is draining from the clock” and as someone who once had a “confident and quick” walk, I may be slowing down. Or distracted. Or sad. Or really happy. Or on a road trip. Or maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s like Oliver Burkeman says, that “The world is bursting with wonder, and yet it’s the rare productivity guru who seems to have considered the possibility that the ultimate point of all our frenetic doing might be to experience more of that wonder.”

Or making quilts. Or immersing in creative endeavors. Or writing a thank you note to someone who doesn’t expect it. I took this last one from another book I read, where the author’s mother noted that we should be thanking everyone for everything.*

So, thank you for reading. Thank you for your letters. Thank you for the conversation that allows me to know people from all over the United States, and from all over the world!


*THE GIFT by Mary Oliver

Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.

So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.

TO BEGIN WITH, THE SWEET GRASS by Mary Oliver (excerpt)

The witchery of living
is my whole conversation
with you, my darlings.
All I can tell you is what I know.

Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for the eyes.

It’s more than bones.
It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It’s more than the beating of the single heart.
It’s praising.
It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.
You have a life—just imagine that!
You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe
still another.

What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be…
(excerpt from MORNINGS AT BLACKWATER, by Mary Oliver)

Arguably, time management is all life is. Yet the modern discipline known as time management—like its hipper cousin, productivity—is a depressingly narrow-minded affair, focused on how to crank through as many work tasks as possible, or on devising the perfect morning routine, or on cooking all your dinners for the week in one big batch on Sundays. These things matter to some extent, no doubt. But they’re hardly all that matters. The world is bursting with wonder, and yet it’s the rare productivity guru who seems to have considered the possibility that the ultimate point of all our frenetic doing might be to experience more of that wonder. (from Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, by Oliver Burkeman)

“We all owe everyone for everything that happens in our lives. But it’s not owing like a debt to one person—it’s really that we owe everyone for everything. Our whole lives can change in an instant—so each person who keeps that from happening, no matter how small a role they play, is also responsible for all of it. Just by giving friendship and love, you keep the people around you from giving up—and each expression of friendship or love may be the one that makes all the difference.”
from Will Schwalbe. The End of Your Life Book Club. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


Earthly Goods

There are quilts in the post. I promise. But, first.

I found this photo of my mother while I was hunting for something else. As most of you know, she passed away mid-November [obituary], and yes, my brain is sort of strange right now. This photo was in a grouping of three of my mother and her two siblings:

And tucked underneath each of these was a photo of young baby, about 10 months old. I assume it was my mom’s sister Martha, who died of whooping cough when she was a baby, but I can’t ask my mother now (one of the things that happens when your mother dies, is that I go to call her up and ask her a question, but…). We are big on vaccines in our family, given that my father had polio and my mother’s sister died of pertussis.

Perhaps because my mother was a depression baby, she hung onto things. She was neat, tidy, not a hoarder at all, but she hung onto things. When my children were younger, I asked for books from my childhood. Later, much later — after all my children were grown — she gave me two of my books. I think she kept them around, first for my younger brother and then for grandchildren and then I think my Dad just schlepped them off to the thrift store in the end. And there are other stories, of earthly goods long-wanted, but now only after her death coming forward to be distributed. And some of her things won’t be given away until much later, which makes closure more difficult.

My earthly possessions, such as these quilts in a closet, just sort of stack up. Last year when we were all doing Zoom calls together, I promised my children I’d get together a list and let them pick what they wanted. Ooops. Inspired by recent personal events I finally put one together today. I’ll send it out to them, with some guidelines, and see what happens. (Hopefully, shipping will happen.)

I’ve long kept an online Quilt Index, as well as a digital version in my numbers-type software. I uploaded a version of it into Google Docs. Then I went through and tried to identify where all my quilts had gone: gifted, given, lost, tossed…the usual categories. NFD means Not For Distribution, and those are the quilts that I rotate up on my walls or use on our bed. Turns out I have about 78 quilts that can go now, with more to come. I’ll offer it first to the children and their spouses, and then to the grandchildren. And then I’ll decide what to do with the rest after they choose. (My husband went through the list and approved.)

What do you do with your creations?

  • Give them away as you make them?
  • Keep them around until you then give them away?
  • Build another closet?

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving–

Museums · Quilt Shows · Quilts

The 2022 Springville Art Museum Quilt Show

Springville Art Museum

I was a judge this year for the Springville Art Museum Quilt Show, and while I can’t include all the quilts that were hung, I thought I would post up a few that were my favorites or that caught my eye.

Details from quilt. She used the pattern from Piecemakers: “His Majesty – the Tree.”

Pizzazz! designed and quilted by Ruth Davis — an original pattern!

Never a Blue Heart
Made and quilted by Lisa Johnson

Sheryl Gillilan designed and quilted this quilt, titled, It’s All a Game!

The Boys on the Block
Designed, made and quilted by Marian Eason

Afternoon Delight
Made by Patsy Wall; Quilted by Kim Peterson

Winter Bouquets
Made by Katherine Porter; Quilted by Emmy Evans

At first glance, I thought the flowers were broderie perse, but it’s all appliqué!

Ann Larsen started Nature’s Chorus in 1999 and finished about 30 of the blocks. During the pandemic she finished it. Quilted by Shelly Dahl.

I loved the simplicity and elegance of this design, with outstanding quilting.

Pamela (a fellow judge) and Wendy (Chair of Quilt Committee) on the day the show opened. (Lisa’s quilt is in the background.)

Julie Saville first created the borders of her quilt Star Garden, then did the center. She also did the quilting.

I could have looked at this one for hours–sorry about the images. Photographing in high contrast light (like spotlights on quilts) often does funny things. It was stellar, though!

Florence Evans’ Bow Wow Chow Mein
Made by Evans; Quilted by Quilts on the Corner

Improv Curves, Made and Quilted by Marian Murdock

Effervescence • Made and Quilted by Sheryl D. Gillilan

I loved this quilt, with all its blues and aquas (my colors!). It is titled Straits of Mackinac and was made by Lani Brower (my second scribe) in a Bonnie Hunter class on Mackinac Island, Michigan. Peggy Cameron did the quilting.

Just a handful more quilts for this post.

Diversity – Unity – Harmony (Mobius Radial Quilt)
Made and Quilted by Luanne Olson

I hope you can see what a wide variety of quilts there are in this show!

Andrea Erekson made and quilted Happy Golden Days

Katherine Porter’s Fan Flower • Quilted by Virgina Gore

There were quite a few more quilts, but next year you’ll just have to go and see for yourself. Thank you, Springville Art Museum and the Utah Valley Quilt Guild!


Blooming Scrap Quilt & Progress

But first, some fun photos arrived in my mailbox this week!

Susan, of PatchworknPlay blog, and found on IG @patchnplay posted this in her Instagram feed this week. I have always loved her colors and especially how she subdivided the center (I changed the pattern because of her design!). Susan’s blog posts are always like a good visit with a far-away friend (we’ve known each other for ages, but have never met since she lives in Australia and I live in California); she makes such beautiful things.

I know that Linda is working on Heart’s Garden and Joan is nearly done as well. Lisa’s almost done, too, but then her daughter decided to get married. When they send their photos to me, I will post them.

Polly, who is on Instagram at Piecing Hope, sent me this photo, saying that it was just the right small project she needed during a move. She enjoyed the free patterns I have in my shop for the New York Beauties. Her feed is filled with lovely wonderful things. Mary S. has made some blocks as have others. You can see their work on Instagram at #newyorkbeautiesquilt.

Mary, of ZippyQuilts, really got in the spirit of New York Beauties, and is now making some more of her own to join these (I backed them with black). I like Mary’s blog, as she’s so inventive and is a champion of creating quick quilts in clever ways. Like Susan, I’ve never met Mary, but feel like she is a good friend. If you make one of my patterns, or something I said on the blog triggered something creative for you, send over a photo! I love seeing your beautiful blocks and quilts.

I started sewing up these blocks in earnest this week.

from here

It reminds me of the Meadow Quilt from the designer Lizzy House (shown above) back in the day, a quilt which doesn’t have a released pattern and was taught for several years only in workshops. I have always loved this quilt, but when I saw this Blooming Scraps pattern, I knew it would be a good one to keep my hands busy while my mind explored all the ramifications of the world we now live in (translation: the J6 Hearings and SCOTUS decisions).

This past Thursday, I finished all 100 blocks. Like the original pattern, I did it in ombré. Now to sew it together and get it sent out for quilting.

I have a whole post on rulers, written when I was teaching, if you want an overview. But this week, I pulled this one out and really found it great for cutting 2 1/2″ blocks and 1 1/2″ snowball blocks. It’s a pretty slimmed down ruler, and sometimes that makes it a lot easier.

I went to my Modern Quilt Guild meeting for the first time in ages on Saturday. I usually participate online, but the covid numbers were down (however, I wore a mask) and it was Just Time. The hybrid meeting was incredibly confusing, but we saw quilts, we saw each other and showed our “Roundabout Challenges.” You can guess what I showed:

Patterns are still free on my pattern shop, for those who are looking for them. And I showed my version of Heart’s Garden for the Show and Share:

It still needs more buttons and some embellishments, but July is bringing me a long car ride, where I can get to work.

Speaking of Get to Work, I packed away my 2021-2022 Get To Work Book, and prepped up my new 2022-2023 book (I like them to go from July of one year to June of the next). I had saved some stickers, acquired others as I like to decorate a bit. I added in events for July, wrote in birthdays, but it’s a blank volume full of possibilities that greets me now at the side of my desk.

As Elise (the maker of the calendar) always says: Big Things Happen One Day at a Time. Think 100 blocks big– Think Making a Democracy big, just like our earliest founders did.

Happy Independence Day!

free handout on making this quilt, found here

As I write this, the (illegal) fireworks are already being shot off, so we’re getting in the mood for the 4th.

(Belated) New York Beauty Notes:

Karen Stone was the one who kind of put the New York Beauty block on the quilting map, when she wrote her well-known book in 2004. You can get a copy now for $50, if you want one. Others have explored this block and written books. One of the more recent writers was Carl Hentsch, who combined the Beauties with Flying Geese blocks in his book, published in 2017. I purchased the book immediately, thought I’d lost it, and bought another. (typical)

Dora, of Orange Dot Quilts, and Rana, of Sewn Wyoming, are doing a summer-long NYBeauty quilt-a-long this year (2022), making a version they call Almond Country Beauty Quilt. Kits are available, as are patterns.

I’ll probably come back with the final four blocks of my New York Beauty series, after I take a break. I want to try out this quilt I sketched up!


This and That • April 2022

Yes, actually, I did have a March and I made these Gridster Bee blocks for Bren Moore. She had a hand-drawn sketch for us to use, and although I looked for it, couldn’t find the name of the original block. UPDATE: I think it is a variation of an album block, straightened up (the original album block is a diagonal block).

This one is Building Blocks, from Nancy Cabot, and if you switch the fabrics around and combine some–well, it’s the closest I could get. This is from Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Quilt Patterns, the digital version (BlockBase+).

Tulips were April’s block for Carlene Drake, and we started with the tutorial from Kristina of Center Street Quilts, but added side strips to make the block square.

My friend, Mary of Zippy Quilts, asked me for an interview as she occasionally features quilters on her blog. I was most happy to oblige and she did a lovely post about me and my quilts. Thank you, Mary! If you don’t know Mary’s work, she is inventive with her use of color and shape and is always coming up with an interesting quilt or two or ten to put up on her blog. She’s also a sewist, and teaches classes near her home.

Another thing that happened in April: I purchased Timna Tarr‘s Mosaic Class way back in the ice ages of April 2020, and finally got around to going through the course and watching the videos. It was very informative and I added that Quilt-to-Make to my list from the last post.

I had planned to use this picture, taken by my husband Dave, but now I don’t know if it’s too dense.

Right after I first published Dave’s photo of his flower (anyone know the name? Zinnia? Gerbera?), Angie contacted me asking if she could use the palette of the photograph to inspire a quilt she was making. She recently sent me the final top–it’s really stunning! I love that she’s worked in all the purple to help balance the pinks. I am also very happy that my husband’s photographs also inspired someone else. (I really like his recent post of poppies.)

The eryngium (left) and the roses are some beautiful things I’ve seen lately.

These three images, also titled Quilt Fail #1, #2 and #3 are not. I loved all the incredibly supportive and encouraging comments on Instagram, but when you know, you know. Even my husband (also incredibly supportive and encouraging) agreed that it wasn’t worth more of my time.

I did love experimenting with the technique developed by Dora Cary of Orange Dot Quilts. With her skills and experience this is a fascinating quilt. But I had chosen this:

I was thinking: Impressionism, Monet, girl with umbrella: WIN!


There are more than a few renditions of Monet’s woman with a parasol. I think I’d purchased one of the more hideous versions.

from here

Here’s the original from the Musee d’Orsay. The colors are more delicate, the arm in front doesn’t look sunburned and the arm in back is in shadow, not a purple glove. And it’s not printed digitally, which I think often has a more garish look, with stronger contrasts.

Lesson Learned.

One down (actually two, if you count the Bee Block). I will probably circle around back to this pattern (because I like it) but will take more time to look for the right fabric.

Don’t forget that Part Four of Heart’s Garden will post up on Easter Sunday. If you haven’t already downloaded the free version of Part Three, go and do so now before Part Four goes up.

Happy Quilting!