Practice Makes Perfect • Frivols #6


Practice Makes Perfect
Quilt #204  • June 2018
26″ by 31.5″


The requisite shot of the X-ed out Frivols tins show that I’m now halfway done with my goal.  I try not to set goals, as they just give me angst, but there’s just this lingering expectation: finish all the Frivols.


I call this Practice Makes Perfect, as I’ve been thinking about the nature of work, and how much of it is repetitive, boring even, but repetition appears to be a necessary step on the way to mastery.  I think I can handle churn dashes, but it was learning the finer points of free-motion quilting loops that needed my attention.  Frivols6_PracticeMakesPerfect3

The freebie for tin #6 was this strawberry label with barely any room for a person with two long names.  It would have been better if my name were Dot Smith or something.Frivols6_PracticeMakesPerfect1Mothers Luncheon

I had started on this quilt at the end of May, after a long month of travel and serving and caring for people in my life, culminating with an intimate luncheon celebrating my mother’s 90th birthday in Ogden, Utah.  We rented a small conference room at a local hotel, and had the hotel cater the meal.

Mothers Flowers

We’d done this two years earlier for my father’s birthday, and had only my brother and sisters and parents there, with no spouses or great-grandchildren.  We were worried then (I was wondering) if if it would work without the supporting members, but we did fine two years ago, and again this year too.  The feelings expressed to my mother were tender, kind, showing her (and my father’s) careful influence in our lives.  Because of them there are amazing individuals in my family: strong men and women, who are good men and women, too.

Mothers Luncheon BrosSis

Some of you know that I’d been up in Utah earlier that month caring for my sister for a week; it was good to see how much progress she’d made in getting around with her crutches and wheelchair.  From L to R, around the table: Mom, Dad, Susan (child #3), Scott (#6), David (#5), Cynthia (in gold jacket, child #2), Christine (#1), and Andy (#7).  I’m child #4, yes, that infamous “middle child.”

Mothers Olive Oil

I had little bottles of specialty olive oil etched with the saying “Olive you forever” and “Happy 90th Barbara” (my mother’s name).

We drove home and two days later I quilted this, finishing  it the next day.  I was still putting away what I’d gathered on my trip, but needed a break, and Practice Makes Perfect was the tonic for what ailed me.


John Piper wrote: “Work is a glorious thing. And if you stop and think about it, the most enjoyable kinds of leisure are a kind of work. Both these facts are true because the essence of work, as God designed it before the Fall, was creativity — not aimless, random doing, but creative, productive doing….
“If you are starting to grow lazy, I summon you back to joy. God made us to work. He formed our minds to think and our hands to make. He gave us strength—little or great—to be about the business of altering the way things are.

“That is what work is: seeing the world, thinking of how it could be better, and doing something—from the writing of a note to the building of a boat; from the sewing of what you wear to the praying of a prayer.
“Come, leave off sloth and idleness. Become what you were made to be. Work.”

excerpted quote found on @TheSmallSeed

Frivols! (Time to Do Another Undone Project)

I think I mentioned somewhere along the way, that I had collected a full set of Frivols tins, shown above.  Two other quilters, Kelley and Karen, mentioned that they had a full set, too.  I wrote back and forth with each of them, wondering if they wanted to liberate their Frivols from their tins and make 2018 the year that we finally get them done.

There is this temptation to leave them fully entombed, I realize.  They are so cute in their little boxes, and what will you do with all those little quilts?  (Well, some aren’t so little.)  But I can think of many places that you can donate these quilts, if you want (try starting with the Preemie unit at your local hospital, or a Domestic Violence Rescue shelter, or your granddaughter’s doll crib, just to name a few). The point is to have fun, to free up space in your sewing room and to get rid of Another Undone Project.

If you want to join in with us, too, we’re going to try to tackle one a month until all twelve are finished.  If you want to work ahead…well, you have the instructions and the fabrics.  You can still find Frivols tins if you do a search, so you can join in the making.

Here’s January’s: “Kindred,” using the Hello Darling line by Bonnie and Camille. The quilt finishes at 40″ by 40,” a perfect table-topper size.  And here is the Mode blog announcement for how the cutting directions are wrong.  It’s true–the quarter-square triangles should have been cut a bit larger; more on that later.  I’ll always try to link over to Moda’s blog so you can update any errata/changes in your Frivols.

I love how each tin has a little treasure inside.  This tin has some woven tape with Handmade with Love written on it.

And here’s the fabrics.  I started with their lovely diagrams, cutting the blocks into pieces:

I stacked up two stacks of “twin” blocks–the instructions say to cut using two of the same fabric blocks, and no I don’t know why I have extras (on the left).  In every Frivol there is a “bonus” block that you can make so you’ll have a sampler quilt.  I’m not doing that, so instead I’ll keep the extras in my stash.

I cut them according to the sketch.  So far so good.


I stacked up the pieces of one block, with the exception of the Half-square Triangles on all four corners.  Then I kept going:


But I should have checked the Mode blog first, as I cut some of the white side triangles too small.  You can see the problem here:


Block, untrimmed

I will simply true them up a little smaller when I finish all of them.


Six down, ten to go.  I’m making good progress while listening to the sixth book in the Maisie Hobbs series:

Among the Mad Maisie Dobbs

I’m hooked on this series!

If you want to join in, dig out your Frivols tins and let’s get going.  If you leave me your name and blog address or Instagram name, I’ll start making a list at the end of each final monthly Frivols post, with links.  Lisa Bongean, of Primitive Gatherings, has a great write-up about “her” tin with her fabric line.  Have fun hunting your tins down, getting ready to join up with us.  I’ll do an introductory post near the beginning of each month, as well as a final post, on the last day of the month.

I would like to commit to getting the quilt top finished each month, with quilting, if I can.  As I mentioned, the quilt tops are not too big that you can’t finish them on your domestic machine, and that will give us all a chance to practice our quilting.  I’ve got a good start for January’s block, but I’m taking a break to go to Road to California, where I’ll have two quilt tops hanging in the show.  I’m also taking three classes, so it will be a busy week.

January 2018 • No. 1 – Hello Darling by Bonnie & Camille
February 2018 • No. 2 – Polka Dots & Paisleys by Minick & Simpson
March 2018 • No. 3 – Eliza’s Indigo by Betsy Chutchian
April 2018 • No. 4 – Windermere by Brenda Riddle
May 2018 • No. 5 – Petite Prints Deux by French General
June 2018 • No. 6 – Strawberry Fields Revisited by Fig Tree
July 2018 • No. 7 – Songbird Gatherings by Primitive Gatherings
August 2018 • No. 8 – Bread ‘n Butter by American Jane
September 2018 • No. 9 – Little Miss Sunshine by Lella Boutique
October 2018 • No. 10 – The Cookie Exchange by Sweetwater
November 2018 • No. 11 – Sew & Sew by Chloe’s Closet
December 2018 • No. 12 – Blue Barn by Laundry Basket Quilts

February’s Procrastination

Giveaway picking a winner

I did the Husband Random Name Generator today and Diane Nelson is the winner of the pearl cotton bubbles.  Congratulations, Diane!  I mailed them off this afternoon to you.  Glad you are making good progress on your Oh Christmas Tree.

Frivols Feb 2016

I received my latest Frivols tin, with the cutest little scissor holder–it will just fit nicely over my embroidery scissors.  I signed up for a year of these as a retirement present to myself.  So far it’s going along nicely: I have a stack of seven tins on my sewing room shelf (they have numbers on the side to keep track of them), with none of them made.  I think I need to stop putting this off.

Laurel's puzzle

Laurel let me stipple on her quilt for her yesterday.  Isn’t this just the dream of a mini quilt?  It’s for an auction for Autism Research.

Bee blocks are in my life right now.  I was Queen Bee for January in two bees, and they are rolling in–one batch of words for Spelling Bee was held up by a snowstorm in the midwest, and the rest of the words are being held back by my procrastination (see notes at the end of this post).
MCM book block_2

I finished this book block for Cindy’s granddaughter’s quilt last night, and there’s my signature block.  I love that in our bee we do signature blocks for each other; we also do them in The Spelling Bee too.

Chuck Nohara Feb 2016 Blocks

Time to gear up for February’s Chuck Nohara blocks.  Looks like we have more piecing than appliqué this time around–should go quickly together.  Susan has already started hers: here and here.  She’s quick!

Maybe not getting to them until now means I’m just taking to heart the advice from Adam Grant in his recent New York Times article “Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate.”  He wrote that “while procrastination is a vice for productivity, I’ve learned — against my natural inclinations — that it’s a virtue for creativity.”  There’s a term for that process of always working to finish things early.  It’s pre-crastination.  Grant notes that  “Pre-crastination is the urge to start a task immediately and finish it as soon as possible. If you’re a serious pre-crastinator, progress is like oxygen and postponement is agony. When a flurry of emails land in your inbox and you don’t answer them instantly, you feel as if your life is spinning out of control.”  Some of this is to reduce “working memory loads,” because, as Grant reports, “psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik found that people had a better memory for incomplete tasks than for complete ones. When we finish a project, we file it away. But when it’s in limbo, it stays active in our minds.”

Yes, apparently putting things off can make you more creative.

How can procrastination help?  Grant writes that “[o]ur first ideas, after all, are usually our most conventional. . . . When you procrastinate, you’re more likely to let your mind wander. That gives you a better chance of stumbling onto the unusual and spotting unexpected patterns.”  Of course, as anyone knows, especially my daughter who was helping her son with his last-minute science project  (how do these things slip our children’s minds until the due date??), excessive procrastination can also work against creativity, forcing you to choose the easiest route in order to get things done.

And today, this day in the first week of February, when I’m tired from chasing January’s deadlines and putting away the Christmas tree lights and mailing back all the things that were left in the house over Christmas vacation and summer is too far away to be of any help and QuiltCon is looming so how can I possibly concentrate, it might be helpful to realize that sometimes it’s really okay to put things off, as well as knowing that procrastinators have lots of good company.