Friday, October 14, 2016

I wish you could touch this quilt

This quilt is my  favorite quilt pattern - Trip Around The World, the pattern that Eleanor Burns published in a Woman's Day magazine in 1986.  Last year I found homes for old quilts, but in doing do, I depleted my quilt stock.  So it's time to rebuild.   This quilt started with two fabrics from Janet Clare's Wordsmith line.  The inner border is just a leftover bit of a old fabric, and one of the borders uses the rest of one of the fabrics - the topographical one.  I did my own quilting and love how it reinforces the design.
And what a great pattern!  Despite this pattern being traditional, I do label this quilt "modern" because it represents an economy of time and an economy of fabric and yet still yields a great design punch.  And best of all?  This quilt is usable and so soft.  The second fabric in the binding is Maker by AGF.  I'm totally impressed with how I managed to get the words like "Create" and I Make Stuff" and "Handmade" to line up so nicely - just a happy coincidence.  I started this quilt last Saturday, and I finished it yesterday.  Very satisfying.  Very very satisfying.

The backing is from Zen Chic with an added strip of a favorite AGF leftover. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Opposite of Quilter's Block

We just had a week on the road visiting the Hoover, Truman, and Eisenhower Presidential Libraries/Museum.  Two bonuses of this trip?  A stop in Kansas City at the World War I Museum, and a visit with former Chicago guildster Mary who moved to Hayes, Kansas - she drove 2 hours to Abeline KS to meet us for lunch!

When I'm away from the studio, I am constantly making lists of fabrics, quilts, and things I want to do.  By the time we got home, this list was pretty long.   So my first day in the studio, completely devoted to what I want to do, I'm paralyzed and can't decide which of these projects to start on.  Instead of dithering on what to do, I immediately went to my favorite fabric (AGF Bonnie Christine's Hello Bear) and my favorite purse pattern - Sara Lawson's "Hey Mercedes"  from her Windy City Bags book.  I love the size of this purse and made it before using Yoshiko Jinzenji fabrics.  And of course this fabric matches the Sloan Travel Bag (also a Sara Larson pattern) I use.  
The other side has a wonderfully deep pocket.
The side gusset becomes an interesting design detail when done in a contrasting fabric.

But now?  Back to quilts.  Two key fabrics in the above pile are from  Janet Clare's Wordsmith line.  I'm thinking a Trip Around the World, the first quilt pattern I learned and still a favorite.
 These fabrics are by Heather Givens from her Paper Obsessed line.  I'm thinking blocks that are 8.5"x  11" to continue her riff on paper goods. 
 This growing pile of blacks and white and greys are going to perfect for a log cabin, another one of my favorite designs for quilts.
The Marcia Derse fabrics will become the above quilt.  I already have my cheat sheet for the cutting measurements.  I've made this quilt before - grandson Ryan has it at Ball State.  But I need to make another.

And what about these Marcia Derse fabrics?  They are the only ones that don't play nicely with all the others.  A nice napping quilt perhaps?  I have already made a winter quilt for our bed, a table runner,  and an Aragon bag.  But I'm just not quite finished with these fabrics...

And here's the one project with a December deadline.  All the strips are sewn and need to have the background added.  I have the fabrics and even know what measurements I need to use.  

It's just a matter of getting started!  No more purses...for a while...   Just quilts. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Baby Quilts: A Hanger and a Dragger

 I posted this quilt a few weeks ago and have finally finished quilting it.  Parents-to-be Patty and Luis chose and bought this quilt kit, and working on this quilt is my gift to them.  Pat's father and I were transferred from Farragut HS to Englewood HS in 1981 and forged a nice friendship. 

Quilt buddy Wayne does a lot of baby quilts, and he puts them into two categories - hangers and draggers.  This quilt is for sure a hanger - I have even put a hanging sleeve on the back. 

Like most quilt kits, the fabrics enclosed are generous.  So I took the leftovers from this kit and made a dragger.  Something that the baby can spit up on  before eventually dragging it behind him. 
John and I are doing a presidential  tour of the Hoover, Truman, and Eisenhower libraries, something we intended to do last summer when our various illnesses struck.  So I will miss Patricia's baby shower.  But both quilts are rolled and wrapped and at the home of the shower hostess.  I'm excited for Patty's and Luis's foray into parenthood and especially excited for friends Ed and Marge and the joys of grandparenthood awaiting them!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Rivets: Adding to my Bag O'Tricks

Purse straps have always presented a special problem, especially with adjustable straps.  My computerized machine can't handle the bulk of six layers of fabric, along with interfacings.  At this point of the process I will go to my one mechanical machine, say a special prayer, break a needle or two, and ultimately get the strap done.  But I've been eyeing rivets.  And then I read this post about rivets and then ordered rivets, a hole punch, and the rivet setter from Emmaline Bags.  The result?  I love rivets.  I doubt if I'll make another purse or bag without them.  Dani M, our Chicago Modern Quilt Guild leather expert, gave me a couple of tips; and I'm excited to have these tools and tricks in my repertoire!  It's a clean look, isn't it?  Such a minor detail...

Oh, and look what pile of fabrics have caught my attention...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Upstairs, Downstairs

I have everything I  want upstairs in my studio -  machines, fabrics, cutting tables, supplies, bathroom, lighting, Bose radio, computer, quilting library.  Monday was a long sew day, and guilt buddy JLo and I made Trail Totes, the nifty pattern by Noodlehead.  This link leads to the free pattern download.  My Trail Tote has a bright pink outer zippered pocket and a wonderful turquoise lining.  The inner pocket is the same fabric as the outer fabric.  My phone is on the picture just for scale.  I am waiting for rivets to come and want to use them for the purse strap.  Thank you, guildster Dani M, for this inspiration!  But my studio is missing two key elements:  my husband and the television. 
I love having a hand project going.  The summer my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild hosted a Glam Clam workshop, and I didn't attend.  But since then I have decided this project would be perfect for the downstairs.  So evenings I am handpiecing these 12" clams and will Sashiko-quilt it once the top is complete.  Projected size will be 65"ish by 80"ish.  We'll see.  It's going to be a nice cozy project for fall and winter.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Spontaneous Overflow of Emotion

 Wordsworth defined poetry in 1798 as "the spontaneous overflow of emotion."  In many ways, this is my definition of quilting.  This morning I bound this quilt.  The blocks are from members of my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild, one member joined these blocks together, and Jennifer B quilted it.  In total the Chicago Guild is sending 6 quilts to the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, who came up with this heart and rainbow theme for quilts.  Survivors of the nightclub Pulse shooting will receive these quilts as will members of victims' families.  

My guild is also currently working on zippered bags, pillow and quilts for Sarah's Inn, a domestic violence shelter in Oak Park.  Several members have been working on maple leaf blocks for the victims of the Fort MacMurray fire.  I just finished a big purse push for a menstrual hygiene education project for girls in Zambia.  Guild member Emily H yesterday presented a fabulous quilt idea based on the work of Charles Eames that she and fellow architect/guild member Melissa developed for our next charity quilts in conjunction with QuiltCon 2017.  Currently my guild has an exhibit at the Mitchell Hospital at the University of Chicago medical complex.  As a guild we have worked with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Project Night Night, and Teen Living, donating everything from reusable cloth grocery bags to full size quilts.  Individually some of us responded to the victims of the 2011 tsunami in Japan by sending quilts.

I am full of love for the women in my guild and especially for those officers who are guiding our guild.   And we are as disparate as any guild can be.   We are all at such different life stages.  One of us is starting our sophomore year in high school, and one of us has been retired for 12 years from high school.  Some of us are joyful and some of us are in deep mourning. Some of us have health issues.  Some of us are dilettantes, and some of us are professionals.  Some of us work full time. Some of us are just becoming parents, and others of us are burying our parents.  We all have our individual struggles and our individual joys.  And yet, it's the art/craft that brings us together.   We are connected by our spirit of generosity, and I am proud to be a part of this group.  What an influence this group has had on my creative soul in the past 7 years. 

Now?  I need to quilt.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Old Dogs, New Tricks: Flying Geese, No-Waste Method

I have been making Flying Geese a long time.  They are not my favorite blocks, but I know how to execute a neat one.  My complaint has always been about the amount of waste.  And now?  NEW TRICK!  My Chicago Modern Quilt Guild is doing a Medallion Quilt-Along, using - with permission of the course - the guidelines of the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild.  And this guild has posted a link to a no-waste method of making flying geese.  So clever!  So efficient!  And - wait, wait - it gets even beter, this last link also does the math so that you can vary the size of the geese you need.

This 5.25 red square and four grey 2.875" squares created four flying geese that are 2.5" by 4.5".  So clever.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Design Wall Wednesay

And Cristina's on the Design Floor...

Monday, August 15, 2016

From Purses Back to Quilts

My Summer Goal of making 24 SewPowerful Purses?  Done!  Each purse needs to contain a note to a young girl - words of comfort, exhortation, wisdom, encouragement.  These notes are almost harder than the purse construction!  Then I'll ship these purses to the US collection point in Washington.  (There are also collection points in the UK and in Australia/New Zealand).   Last January when I sent in 9 purses, I recoiled at the suggested $5 per purse to help cover the cost of shipping to Zambia.  But now that I know how the program works and how important it is, I am happily sending $120.  A couple of readers have asked about helping with this cost (and of course these women are the kind who already have spread themselves thin in the world of volunteerism an charitible giving).  If my work towards this effort has inspired you, please just go to and work through their website.

Meanwhile, I am eager to get back to my medallion quilt, a sew-a-long project with my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild. I have the next set of directions ready to go, and my boxes of scraps (which are growing geometrically) are more than ripe for picking.  I know I will be doing more SewPowerful purses for the February 2017 deadline, but I am also wanting to get back to a project with the shot cottons I've been hoarding.  And the Marcia Derse fabrics.  And the growing pile of fabulous greys and backs.  And the - you get the idea.

Last, young friend Cristina is here working on a quilt. It's always fun to be able to share the studio, and it's always so interesting to work with someone who's style of creating is different from mine.I may belong to a modern quilt guild, but Cristina is a modern quilter.  To be fair to me, she does have a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Iowa as well as her graphic design certificate.  But we have had a profound effect on one another.  With her permission, I'll post more of her quilt as she progresses.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016