Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mama's Got a Brand New Bag - or two...

This past weekend I worked on two new bag patterns. This first one is A Cute Bag by WonderWoman. It has a zipper and a deep curved pocket on both sides of the bag. The middle section is deep, has two interior pockets, and a snap closure. The strap is substantial and adjustable. I made the almost fatal error of putting both D-ring straps on the same side of the bag. Bu I stepped away from the bag for 24 hours and figured out a work-around. I also didn't take into account the directionality of the outer zippers, but it's ok. This is indeed an aptly-named pattern, and I'll do another one of these.
Here's the other project - Grids and Grommets by Indygo Junction.  I bought this pattern last year at QuiltCon.  What appeals to me most is the grid pattern of the fabric.   The installation of the grommets was a bit tricky, perhaps because I went rogue on the directions.  Instead of a double layer of fleece batting, I used Soft and Stable, and it worked brilliantly.  The bag stands on its own nicely. 
I like the interior of the bag, too, with its pockets. There is a bottom insert of a double layer of Peltex in a fabric envelope. It's always great fun to try something new. My fun news is that I have been asked to participate in Purse Palooza 2014.  Sara Lawson is the organizer and host of this purse blow-out.  On October 15 I'll be blogging about the RunAround Bag by LazyGirl Designs.  Here's the link to the pattern. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

We Can Eat Dinner Again!

We have a small house which has one table at which to eat - the dining room table. That table becomes the office table and the laundry table as well as the dining room table. Daily we use placemats. After announcing to John that I would make new placemats because we couldn't find anything we wanted in the stores and throwing away the old placemats, I began this 16-placemat project. I did four of them two months ago. And now four more are complete. That dinner party for 16 will just have to wait a few more weeks. This particular set of four are my Debbie Bookman Memorial Placemats - she was the one to turn me on to the fabric in the center of these mats and may have even given me this fabric. Deb is moving to Florida where she will be a part of their Modern Quilt scene! And speaking of guildsters current CMQG president Sarah S has been particularly tender with me in the past few weeks. She gave me a new bag pattern - "A Cute Bag" by Wonder Woman Quilts. And I cannot wait to start this bag. However, I do have projects with a deadline. I have been critical of bloggers who say they can't post what they are working on. And here I go: I can't post what I am working on for a few more months. But work is going on.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Quilty Sympathy

So many friends have sent such lovely cards and notes to me, each one very special. But these two are extraordinary. My cousin Barbara Long Bailey found this embroidery that was made into a card. And my quilty guild buddies made this hexie rug in my favorite colors. Not only did my quilt besties sign it, one of them (Holly? Sarah E?) free-motioned quilted "Donna, you are sew loved." Deep pieceful thanks.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Pause in Life's Rhythm

July has been a difficult month. My father received at-home hospice services and died in my brother's Lombard house peacefully on July 13th, just three days after his 66th wedding anniversary. My brother and sister-in-law were with him - so was my mom. My minister brother did a wonderful memorial service on the 19th. Dad played to his final packed house that day. And we are all at peace. This blog started in 2007 with the death of my college roommate and dear friend Dodie.  And now this is another life's milestone.  And of course my sewing has been impacted.  My quilting adventures of late have been "by hand" since I have spent so little time in the studio. This block is a sample from the quilt pictured below.  I made 48 nine-patches by hand and sashed them with a wonderful fabric my guild buddy Mimi gave me.  The quilt assembly was completed just as my dad went into hospice (is anyone else thinking "The Last Leaf" by O Henry?).    Mimi does handwork and turned me on to quilter Renate Hiller and her philosophy on handwork.  So this quilt - 68" x 86" - will be quilted by hand. 

Even I know enough by now to do a bit a practice before starting anything.  And I am intrigued by the application of Japanese Sashiko to quilting.  So much so that I am taking a class about this topic in Austin next February at QuiltCon 2015.  So I made a 49th block, batted and backed it, and am experimenting with thread and embroidery needles.  I like the primitive look of my stitches.  The batting for the sample and big quilt is wool (which I love), so there will be a wonderful lofty and airy look to this quilt.  The white thread blends in the best, but I do love how the red and black thread look.  This sampler will allow me to figure out what is best for this big quilt.
People do goofy things under duress. One of my many in the past few weeks was to decide I needed to make clothes. Chicago fabric designer Sara Lawson put out a new line of quilting fabrics, two of which have been issued in a knit. I fell in love with this one and bought three yards. So I spent time with pattern books and bought several patterns, which you'll see strewn about in the pictures below.  So what did I think?  that I would whip up an outfit for my father's funeral? 
But I also did some sane things in the past month, like continuing to walk daily. My respect for my Lombard brother Doug and his wife Kim has increased, if that's possible. My brother Al made my father's funeral an absolute celebration, and of course my husband John has kept the house going so I can do what I do. The administrative wrapping up with take another couple of weeks, but it's all sort of under control. (One little coincidence: I turn 65 in October and am filing for Medicare benefits through John - CPS does not pay into SSA. So while I was at the offices last week, I was also able to report my father's death. Tomorrow I have to go back with additional documentation for both me and transfer my father's benefits to my mom. I am taking with me their original marriage license from July 10, 1948.) If I could just say the same about the studio...
My dad was a remarkable man, something I lost sight of in the past few years. His funeral celebrated the impact he had on so many. I look at my life - my education, my intellectual curiosity, my humor, my creativity - and know that he and Mom are at the source of this all. I am looking forward to reestablishing some sort of rhythm in my studio and continuing my quilting adventures, being so at peace.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

"Modern in the City" Exhibit

The International Quilt Festival was in Chicago last weekend. They invited my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild along with the Naperville Modern Quilt Guild to participate in a Modern in the City challenge. I was so impressed with what my fellow guildsters did and want to give you an opportunity to see these amazing pieces. So, sit back...
City Links by Sarah Shulman
Where the Heart Is by Nicole Weldon
Bright Lights by Amy Strunkmeyer
Picasso in Piecing by Judy Tucker
Six Corners:  Milwaukee Damen & North by Jennifer Benoit Bryan
Chicago (by train) by Erin Davis
Somewhere in the City by Laura Hartrich
View Below by M A Cramer
Windows by Eileen O'Regan
Bean in the City by Shannon Dangerfield
Emily Lang
Two Cities: One Heart by Peta Minerof-Bartos
City Block by Ruth Hild, Naperville IL

Rush Hour by Anita Marsh, Oswego, IL
 I was called away from IQF with a situation regarding my father, who is at the end stages of his life. He has been a musician and piano tuner, and I thought this piece entitled "Tuning Fork  #11" by Heather Pregger of Texas was appropriately the last picture I took that afternoon:
Tuning Fork #11 by Heather Pregger, Texas

I was pretty pleased to have "City Spokes" in such fabulous company

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Just catching my breath...

All deadlines have been met, my hand project is coming along ever-so-slowly, and I'm getting ready to dive into that big pile of Pepper Cory shot cottons. So in this wonderful breathing space, I've been doing little things. Like these zippered pouches.  And then I found this little free down for a Reversible Box Tote by  It's deep, it stands alone (especially with Soft and Stable in it), and is perfect for keeping my new car - Tuxedo Black 2013 Ford C-Max - organized. 
And occasionally I whittle away at my stack of batiks by making some unlined Mors bags.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sewing in a different space

Guild buddy Emily B invited me over for a sew date, and we made these fabulous Molly Market Totes.  A day with a friend (who is 40 years younger than I.  Whatever...) plus a completed project?  Who can ask for anything more...
And a picture of the progress on my hand project...

Friday, June 6, 2014

From a Vest to a Tote

I keep thinking that I'm able to make clothing. I made this vest. And even though I didn't wear it, I started on a new one from some fabulous fabrics. Both vests have been sitting in my closet for three years. Vests just are not a good look for me.  And now? This vest is a tote. Much better...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Design Floor Wednesday

The Design Wall is already occupied

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ready for a Sew-in

with great thanks to the Good Organizational Fairy Cristina...