Quilt Bee

Bee Projects, et al

I’d participated in the Far Flung Bee last year, and although one member never sent her blocks, I had enough to make a project for Spring.
FFB Tablerunner

I’d been to my local quilt shop (LQS, for you non-quilters) and picked up some cute button-like fabric from Riley Blake’s latest line.  When I got home, as is so often the case, I had another piece tucked away in the stash.  I needed both pieces to finish this off, even stitching the binding on by machine because I was just so ready to get those blocks sewn into a project.

FFB Tablerunner back

I used Jane Sassaman fabrics (from the stash) for the backing.  I was listening to a fascinating book and couldn’t stop (my mother had already finished and was waiting for me to wrap it up) so I had to find projects to keep my hands busy while the book took me on its adventure.  Read this, or better yet, listen to it while you quilt.


(P.S.  Because of this book, I finished the Lollypop Trees quilt top.)

MCM March fabrics

Next, I compiled this stack of fabrics, mostly new, to complete my latest Mid-century Modern Quilt Bee block.

MCM March block 13

Debbie of A Quilter’s Table had asked for “low-volume,” or neutral, fabrics using a tutorial she’d found online to make this block.

MCM March cut out

I took a photo to remember where I thought all the fabrics should go, then sewed it together.  I’m pretty happy with the result, and hope she likes it too.

Sofa Cushions

I’d finished the book, but kept going on some long-delayed projects.  We’d gotten a new sofa in November 2012, and I’d purchased some random fabrics to brighten up the room, but had merely draped the fabrics over the pillow forms.  It stayed that way all through the holidays until today! when I finally sewed all the cushions — with zippers, I’ll have you know.  As my daughter will attest, I’m no decorator, but she approved these fabrics before I sewed them.  I’ll probably re-arrange them 45 times in the next week, trying to find the order I like best.

And last night, I sat down and watched the old movie Possession (a favorite), then The Piano Guys concert (complete with TV pledge breaks) in order to finish all the hand sewing on my EPP quilt.  Hopefully today I’ll get the borders on, right after grading a stack of homework and prepping for class. I’ve been in a finish-it mode for a little while now. I like starting projects, but it’s also nice to finish some things up.


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.

Creating · Quilts

SewDay with Judy

Last week we had Quilt Night at our house, and yesterday (since all the tables and ironing stations were still set up), a friend came over to quilt since she couldn’t make Quilt Night.  We were working with the same stash of fabrics from Fabricworm (I love their bundles!); Judy purchased two in order to make quilts for her granddaughters and I liked it so well, I got one to make a Bento Quilt.

I’d been admiring Bento Box quilts for a long time, and when we were in Nova Scotia–Cape Breton’s small town of Mabou–I purchased a pattern at Fiddle Stitches, a quilt shop there in town.  Good memories while I stitch.  Here’s a slide show of our day of sewing.  I may yet cross off all my quilting tasks off my summer To Do List.

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Some explanations:

Judy was making rail fence blocks.  We dangled little bits of her sets off the end of the table so she could initially keep track of what strips she had used, but later on, didn’t need them.  I thought they looked like a bunch of jewelry dangling there.

We made a mess of every surface in my living room: extra table, dining room table, piano–you name it.

When I was a young mother I used to read my children a poem about rainy days from a Richard Scarry Book.  The illustration had the children making blanket tents, arranging toys, emptying cupboards, while the rain pelted the windows.
Substitute “sewing days” in for rainy days, and you have:

On sewing days we stay indoors,
We have a lot of fun.
But there is so much work to do
When sewing days are done!


Sewing ADHD

I’m convinced I have sewing ADHD.  Yes–in all likelihood I could easily be diagnosed with this myself, or so say some of my relatives.  But I’m so easily distracted now by all the possible projects that I could sew.

Here’s a case in point: Wallet-to-Tote On The Go.  Sew, Mama, Sew is putting a series of tutorials on their blog for summer sewing, and this one has caught my eye. These little wallets fold out into . . .

. . . these bags!

Head over to Sew, Mama, Sew to follow along with their summer tutorials.


Cynthia’s Quilt Done!

Here we are, standing in front of the completed quilt top.  The little yellow papers are to keep track of the rows.

We went off to the quilt shop on Wednesday morning, picked up some fabric for the back, then stopped for a leisurely lunch at In N’ Out Burger.  Back home, we pieced the back together and were at the quilter by 2:15 p.m. to drop off the quilt.  Done!!  It’s a good feeling to get a quilt done from start to finish.  I appreciate her determination–it’s a lovely quilt.  I think of it as Daughter of Blue Quilt. The quilter will mail her the quilt, so we made the binding and rolled it up to travel home to the Chicago area, where she heads this morning.

The quilt is kind of representative of our bond as sisters.  Lots of little patches make a whole quilt and lots of experiences make up a relationship.  This much is an obvious metaphor when looking at a quilt–but I think also that our appreciation of  quilts comes from the time spent with it.  Just like sisters.

I’ve made a quilt with Susan (Crossed Canoes–which was not “for her” but that she made in honor of a friend), and now with Cynthia.  Wonder if Christine, my oldest sister and I will ever do one together?