Monday, March 27, 2017

Off to the LongArmer!

For Janice's LT senior daughter
For Janice's college senior son

And just for fun.  Because.  Scraps.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Revisiting An Old Rivalry Through Quilting

It's T-Shirt Quilt season.  Two years ago I made a high school graduation quilt for Janice's high school senior daughter.  This year I am doing a quilt for her younger daughter's high school graduation from Lyons Township and also a quilt for her son who is graduating from Iowa State U.  These are both good kids who went to St. Francis for elementary school.Although I don't study t-shirts that closely, I do honor what the parent wants and try to make something that is balanced and interesting to look at.  And one shirt jumped out -  Huck Finsdale. And it made me laugh.

It took my back to my high school days at LT and the rivalry between my school and Hinsdale Central.  (I know these rivalries are common between schools that share a georgraphy).  In August of 2015 I spent 13 days in the hospital - 4 of them at LaGrange and the remainder at Hinsdale.  And again, I kept hearing about the difference between the two hospitals.  Those at Hinsdale would never work at LaGrange and vice versa.  Some things never change, eh?  (and I must note that my sister-in-law Chris taught at Hinsdale Central for her whole teaching career). 

Once I get these t-shirt quilts together, I want to do a couple of zippered pouches out of some scraps....

And I want to stroke and pet these Art Gallery Fabrics that I found for $7 a yard, which is a terrific price...

And I need to make a wall hanging for an auction that raises money and support for - well, I'll have to get back to you on the details.  My buddy Carol raises money every year for a Morgan Park Youth program.

This quilt went in the mail to my sister-in-law in Indiana who is having major surgery soon.  Perhaps it might provide as bit of comfort as she recuperates. To keep it light and airy, I batted it with a poly batting and kept the quilting simple.  It is wonderfully soft and light.

It's a rainy day.  Perfect for sewing and listening to NPR.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Just another Manic Monday...

New wall hanging for the Dining Room.  This piece is a tribute to notebook paper.  Each block is text and paper-related

In Situ

This log cabin is 15 years old and already down.  What a great quilt.  But the new one is lighter and brighter!

This lovely print by Heather Jones "Dayton No 1" came in the mail as a gift from my Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild Swap partner Brenda Grey.  This swap was almost two years ago.  I love how this is the Swap that keeps on giving.

Here's my Triptych of Red Cross things.  The Fan Cover needs to be mounted on the wall, and the print needs to be framed.  It'll happen...soon.

I buy fabrics without knowing how they will be used.  Often they let me know.  A family member is going through an extensive procedure which will ensure her health.  Perhaps a soft small lap quilt will provide some comfort.

 And it's close to graduation season.  T-shirt Mom Janice came over with two sets of t-shirts, one for her daughter's graduation from LT

And one for her son graduating from Iowa State.  Two years ago I made a quilt for her third child!

There's a darling little boy about to turn one...

And at nights I'm doing some quilting on this new hanging for the living room.

Chance the Rapper.  What a guy.  Not only is he donating a million dollars to Chicago Public School, he is soliticing donations from others.  Check out his Website.  Last winter he solicited donations for coats.  Prior to the election he was rallying voters.  Now he's reaching out to neighborhood schools.  He's the future of this city. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Hand-Quilted Finish

 Usually I am happy to finish a quilt and see its completion.  This Glam Clam quilt?  I'm sorry it's done.  I began hand-piecing the clams in August after my guild hosted a workshop by Latifah Saafir
and her Glam Clam technique.  As guildsters started posting pictures of their progress, I knew this design was one I wanted to do.  My hand-piecing was just for evenings when I was on the first floor of my house and not in the studio.  By December the quilt top was together.  I ordered a wool batting and a fabric for the back.  After basting I started my quilting using No 8 Perle cotton and matching thread color to the clams.  This quilt has been - along with John - my constant evening companion, and my hands are sorry to let go of it.  This is my 4th hand-quilted finished.  Time to find a new hand project.
These fabrics are all peppered shot cottons. 

The back shows not only the different quilting threads but also the unquilted parts - the puffy parts.

There's a wonderful texture happening on the back.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

One Finish, Three WIP's, and Two WIP's-in-Waiting

 My nephew Chris married Andi last spring. Andi and I shared a Pinterest board, and this collaborative quilt is their wedding quilt.  It's 70" x 86".  I love the low-volume look and - not to sound like a broken record - it has a terrifically soft feel.  Andi likes sparkle, and the backing of this quilt is all about the sparkle, in the softest and 100% cotton way.  This couple lives in Orlando, so I batted this with wool.  It's lightweight and perfect for their climate. This quilt is currently in the mail.  Quilting for such a happy reason is a joy - it's great fun to think about their future! Chris is the oldest of my nieces/nephews and has always had a special place in my heart.
My new dining room quilt - almost ready to be basted!

A twin bed quilt - same design as the dining room quilt.

A Hazel Hipster for one of my favorite people

A jelly roll and leftover of shot cottons - something for above the new entertainment center perhaps

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Working at a snail's pace - but working!

What an odd February!  No snow - warm weather - perfect for walking.  Chris and Andi's wedding quilt is together, and the quilting is almost finished.  I found the perfect backing at Quilter's Quest last week, and it will be the binding as well.  I need to make the binding, and - Voila!  - completion soon.
This quilt on the design wall is taking shape very slowly.  It's been 15 years since I made a new quilt for my dining room, and I think this design will be perfect for the room.  Since John has to look at this quilt, I asked him for his input, and he has helped me rethink my way.  Each block will remain 8 1/2" by 11"; but I am not going to repeat any fabrics, and each fabric will be something connected to text or paper.  I have a several blocks I'm not using and will turn those into a bed quilt at some point.

My good buddy Cecilia had a birthday.  She is all about the sparkle, so I found my sparkly fabrics and made little drawstring bags in three sizes. Quilt buddy Melissa made me one of these bags for Christmas and then shared the pattern with me.  These are Fold-It-Hold-It bags, and you can get the pattern here

I am getting close to finishing the hand quilting of my Glam Clam quilt - just a couple more grey clams and then the greens to go.  This quilt has a border, and I want to quilt that, too.  So it's still a ways from completion.  This is the 4th quilt - and the 4th winter - that I have hand quilted.  I am thankful to quilt bestie Mimi for showing me the patience and to my class at QuiltCon 2015 with Maura Ambrose for helping me establish my technique.
This may not look like much, but this is our Valentine's Day present to one another.  We got rid of the big entertainment piece (see below) that would only house a 19" television.  This new piece, much to our dismay, came unassembled.  And like many couples, we don't always work well together.  But yesterday we did!  We got this piece assembled, went out for a new television and DVD player, and - this part is huge - even got everything hooked up and working.  We were smug with satisfaction last night!  This new piece goes with our dining room furniture.  We loved the other piece and have had it for over 25  years.  It will go on the curb for the LaGrange pick up day in April - unless anyone wants it.  Anyone?  Anyone? And I think another new quilt is in order!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


 Eighteen years ago my high school hired a new principal, and we locked horns almost immediately.  I remember coming home from school angry - steam-coming-out-of-my-ears angry.  During this time of anger, my cousin Jim died tragically in a house fall when his three children were very young.   All the anger I had was redirected into grief.  And this grief became a quilt.  I gave this quilt to my Aunt Betty and Uncle Leonard to give to Jim's widow Lorna when she was ready.  (Lorna just recently and happily remarried - I don't know where the quilt is.)

So today is February 1.  I have had over two months to get used to the idea of minority-elect President Trump.  Every political announcement churns my stomach.  And this is not a way to live for the next two years.  I am redirecting my disgust and abhorrence into action  - I will work through media, financial donations, and quilty comfort.  I am doing what I can where I can.  Kind of like cleaning a closet or writing a paper or making a quilt:  small daily steps.  And these steps add up, especially when combined with the daily steps of others. 

Eric Zorn is one of my favorite Chicago Tribune columnists, and his Perspective article yesterday gave me great comfort. He points out that the many of the marchers from January 21 don't feel directly threatened by Trumpism.  I fall into that category - I'm straight, white, of some means, have excellent health insurance, and "won't be alive along enough to be morally sickened by the poisonous air and water in a deregulated America."  I don't have anything to lose or gain by protesting.  Except self-respect, personal honor,  concern for those who have less, and leaving a better world for future generations.  I like that Zorn thinks we're at the beginning of a Liberal Spring.  I think so, too.

This amaryllis was a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law Chris.  This plant is already 24" tall, and it's just been planted for one month.  It is my symbol for optimist and growth.  I can't wait for the bloom.
The fabrics above are three jelly rolls that whisper to me daily, "It is our turn?"  The top set is Zen Chic's Luster.  The middle set are peppered shot cottons which I know will be part of next winter's hand quilting project.  And the bottom set is "Aubade" by Janet Clare. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Design: Wall and Mind

The current political landscape is so unsettling (i.e., Trump has been the minority-elect president for 11 days).  The news of the hour is that Betsy DeVos is our new education leader.  I don't want to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I don't see this going well for public education at all.  I hope I hope I hope she proves me wrong.  When I am unsettled with quilting projects, I make lists and plow through them.  Political projects?  Daily calls and emails.  Scheduling marches.  February 20 for "Not My President's Day."  April 15 to continue the call for Trump to release his taxes and divest himself of financial gain during his reign - er, presidency.  March is open.  Hmm, which of the protests - so many to choose from.  I'm in an odd frame of mind:  I can't watch or listen to news without my heart pounding or blood pressure rising.  So, I sew.  At nights I'm working on the above.  I try to keep my tension light - you can see I'm not doing the best job of that. 
This is one of the projects I'm working on during the day.  No more NPR for me - just listening to books and podcasts.  What's on the Design Wall is my 8 1/2" x 11" quilt.  That's the size of each block that then has the shadow sewn around it.  These fabrics all have something to do with school, notebooks, or paper.  While this is still evolving, I like how this is coming along.  It will be mostly black and white, and I already have ideas of how I want to quilt this. 
Chris and Andi's quilt is still on the design "floor" - it's in 12 pieces.  As long as I'm waiting for the batting to arrive and still figuring out what I want to back the quilt with, I am in no hurry to finish this.
And this quilt?  The top is complete.  I'm just using up various scraps and bits for the backing.  This is another quilt that I want to quilt myself. 

Meanwhile, I try to keep myself calm.  It's hard.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Keeping Busy

This doesn't look like much, does it.  But this 18" x 20"  sampler is what I produced in a one-day improvisational hand quilting class.  I do hand quilting, but not with thread - I use No. 8 Perle cotton.  But it turns out these sashiko techniques I use work nicely with regular quilting.  Chawne Kimber of Cauchy Complete taught this Saturday class and was our lecturer the next day at our guild meeting.  Chawne is a math professor and one of the most thoughtful and provocative quilters I know.  This is my third time to meet her and spend time with her, and my admiration grows.  Chawne and hand-quilting aside, it was a lovely workshop.  Not using machines for a day was a great change of pace.

Here's the wedding quilt I started last week.  Each little block is 5" x 5".  16 rows by 19 columns.  The gap in the middle?  I just haven't pieced those blocks yet.  This has been a lot of work but very simple and satisfying.  And I do like how this is turning out.  It's been the perfect project for these pre-inauguration days.  I'm torn between refusing to watch any news and yet wanting to stay informed. So simple tasks and focusing on the Women's March in Chicago the day after the inauguration have been my coping mechanisms.    Thinking about Chris and Andi and their life together is a nice bright thought, too!

Late afternoon/early evenings I love settling down with this glam clam quilt. Months ago I began hearing about the slow stitching movement. And this winter, more than any other time, I get it. The simple joy of quiet stitching, creating something that will be both utilitarian and beautiful, is what I treasure. I'm maybe a little over one-third finished - these little 2 and 3 hour sessions eventually add up. I love how the stitching looks on the back, too.  I'm stitching in the color of the individual clams so there is a beautiful texture happening.

Last and pretty important, this year is my 10th year blogaversary.  I've been blogging since January 2007 and have printed out each year's blog entries into book form.  So this is the 10th volume of my blog books.  Hardly scintilatting reading but a wonderful record of projects and life events.  Although I have worked on a lot of projects in 2016, this Sloan Bag, pattern by Sew Sweetness, is among my favorites.  I have used this bag for travel and love the size and practicality.  For the back of this book, I chose a picture from the International Quilt Festival.  Here's my fabulous "My Answer is Yes" hanging next to Bill Stearman's "My World".  We both had Drunkard's Paths quilts in this festival, too.  See this blog entry from last April for details.  It's been the start of a nice friendship.