Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Design Wall Success


Having a design wall is pretty important to me.  But since we still have both homes, I tried to figure out the most cost-effective and efficient way to create one.  And I’m proud to report that I’ve had success.  Home Depot carries 3/4” foam insulation boards that are 24” x 24”.  Score both sides with a rotary cutter and snap over a knee:  voila! Cover one side with batting - here it’s Warm and Natural.  A regular stapler works just fine for this.  My handy dandy roll of double-sided tape is perfect for adhering these to the wall.

                    I even used a level at this point with the first boards.  

Single layers of fabric will adhere with no pins.  But if there’s any weight or heft, pins go in very easily and support the weight.  This design wall isn’t the largest.  And I may add a 12” row on the bottom.  But this will serve my purposes nicely.  When making multiple purses, it’s good to be able to see what I’m working on and what steps have been completed.  Above there are two purses including lining and straps.  

I’m pretty pleased with this effort!  It is 60” wide and 72” tall. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Looking at things differently...


We’ve been here for almost a month.  And we have been very slow to hang - or rehang - what we had in LaGrange.  We’re moving slow.  And I think about each piece I have and whether or where I want it hung.  What I know for sure I need some kind of design wall - for now I have hung a piece of batting (see below).  But I knew for sure I wanted to rehang these three pieces.  Brenda aka @2louises made the Red Cross wall hanging in a Chicago and Ann Arbor guild swap.  I love it for its colors, simplicity, and the sentiment.  This corner, a tribute to Double Plus Good, a quilt @rossiecrafts did years ago, is a reminder to do good.

With that in mind, getting back to purse making is important.  But I don’t have the floor space I had before, and I’m a visual sewer.  This tacked piece of batting holds the parts for 4 purses with the flaps coming from pieces that were experiments in techniques.  

I also came across quilted jackets I enjoyed making and wearing.  But I haven’t worn them in years.  I thought about turning them into purses.  Instead, I made some oversized zip pouches.  Below are the purses I've been working on...
This purse has a denim component paired with red and gold glittery fabric.  Because why not?

Because the flaps are scrappy, I found some neat reds for the underflaps.

This flap was leftovers from something.?

Here you can see the kimono experiment.  The red and black were experiments in a feather technique and the stripes are leftover from a grandson's quilt.

I tried something different and put a back pocket on the denim-body purse , using a pretty special glittery fabric.

Slowly a normal life rhythm is resuming.  And we are very happy.  Now, if the La Grange house would just sell…

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

And the adventures continue in a new studio!


We have been in our new Oak Brook condo for a week now and are fairly organized.  I actually was able to resume sewing.  While I’m still working on things like lighting and organization, I am very happy with my new space!  I have found all of my important stuff although I’m still looking for homes for some of these things.  

When I needed to photograph quilts, I would pin them on my design wall.  I don’t have a design wall, yet.  But i do have a terrific balcony with John willing to hold the quilt in a pose. (And he’s getting quite adept at hiding his fingers!)  This quilt is for my nephew Nathan who is marrying Clarissa in October.  The wedding is in central Indiana with a lot of unvaccinated people.  So I will send this quilt and hope our absence is forgiven.  My machines are in front of windows that overlook trees.  And today was one of those perfect days with the windows wide open and the air fresh and clear .  I think there are going to be some terrific adventures here!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Last projects from my LaGrange Studio

This summer has been one of transition - buying a condo in Oak Brook and selling our house of 35 years in LaGrange.  It’s been a time of good stress.  I haven’t been doing much sewing. But I have almost finished a project I started during QuiltCon 2021.  

 This is a pattern of Yoshiko Jinzenji.  It has bits of meaningful fabrics and a lot of hand quilting.  I will just do something interesting in the middle of the enclosed squares, but I’m saving those parts for colder weather.  I think the back of this quilt is equally interesting.

Here are some close ups…

The other project has been a wedding quilt for my nephew Nathan.  He requested Southwest colors. And this  is what I came up with.  It’s a heavy quilt made from Japanese canvas linen in my favorite Trip Around The World pattern. 

I have loved this LaGrange studio. It is large and has the best light.  My new studio will be good, just different. My tables are in there already, just waiting for new carpeting and the rest of the furniture. 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Makers Gotta Make

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe (not really - she lived in a quilting studio)

She had so many children she didn't know what to do.  (Well, not children.  Just quilts.  And more quilts.  And then even more quilts.)

In preparing for a move out of our current house, we took down ALL the quilts.  And I'm not sure we will rehang them.  Mostly because I keep making more quilts.  So I am destashing my quilts.  If you see a wall hanging or a quilt you would like in your house, make a donation to Sew Powerful and the quilt is yours.  Ready?  Here goes....

Wintersection.  34" x 32" x 42"  This is my only piece which doesn't have four 90 degree angles.  

SOLD to Brenda Rowley Grey, Ann Arbor.   Needle-turned appliqué on Yoshiko Jinzenji fabric with sashiko stitching.  43" x 44"

                      SOLD to Carol Conway             CandyLand.  32" x 48"

                SOLD to Linda Bushkofsy.        CityScape.   39" x 41" Hand-quilted on peppered shot cottons

                             SOLD to J.R.                  Relative Moons.  37" x 48"

            SOLD to Catrina Dorsey        Study in Black, Gold, Grey, and Silver. 88" x 88"

     SOLD  to Jennifer Benoit Bryan Glamorous Clamshells. 88" x 88"  Hand-quilted peppered shot cottons

        SOLD to Carol Conway.  Elliptical Drunkard's Path. 72" x 70". Hand-quilted peppered shot cottons


                            Circles in Squares.  Hand-quilted. 88" x 88". see back of quilt below

                          Study in Blacks and Whites. 95" x 114". Half-square triangles set on point.

 SOLD  to Chris Hicks.    Homage to 8 1/2 " x 11" with text prints.  74" x 61"

              SOLD to Beth Kovacic.   Piano Tuner's Daughter.  58" x 70" Forks made by members of my 
                                                           #ChiModBee. Hand-quilted

                                                      Back of Piano Tuner's Daughter

                                                        Christmas Bargello.  40" x 46"

                           A wonderfully odd napping quilt - 60" x 75" - with lots of hand-quilting.

             SOLD  to Carla Ray Hensen           Experiment in source of light.  38" x 32"

                   SOLD to Paula Thompson.   Storm at Sea - 35" x 44", couching with decorative yarns

                                        SOLD  to Carla Ray Hensen  Scrappy String Piecing, 30" x 46"

Not posted here but on Instragram are Interwoven (sold to Julia Wylie Bryant) and Interwoven Scraps (sold to Jennifer Peters, Ann Arbor.)  

Thanks to my husband and neighbor Sam for their quilt holding!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Sewing to keep calm…

 Moving is stressful.  Leaving a house after 35 years is stressful.  The actual moving process is stressful.  Lining up proper documentation is stressful.  None of this is distress - it’s all eustress.  Nevertheless it’s stress.  So of course I have to sew.

The fabrics from Ben's quilt - Japanese linen canvas - do not play well with other cottons, so these are the leftovers.  This Trip around the World pattern is one of my favorites and one I do on automatic pilot.  It’s hard to see the middle navy border next to the brown, but you work with what you have, right? 

I started this yesterday with a group of fabrics that belong together, leftover from other projects.  I’ll have to see what I have left for the borders.  Normally these small blocks are made from 5.5” strips.  But this quilt will be smaller.  I was working with fat quarters and had to drop down to 5” strips.

The top quilt is on the basting tables.  And I’ll put borders in this today.  

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Announcing a Really Big Adventure for the Studio - And for us...!

 After 35 years in this stucco bungalow in LaGrange and 15 years in this lovely studio, we are moving.  We bought a condo in OakBrook (we thought it was in Westmont) and this house is on the market as of this afternoon.  The past few weeks have been busy, but of course I've been sewing with a deep appreciation of what I've had for the past years.  These final days in this studio are sweet ones.

I have always loved log cabins, and this bundle of Japanese canvas linens seems perfect for this block.  I’m making this quilt for grandson Ben.  I think I may want to hand quilt it.  Since I have no deadline with this quilt, it can just stay all basted and wait for the winter weather.  I hope our nee place is as cold as this house - perfect for winter quilting.  This is not what John is hoping for at all.

Niece Laura is having her fifth baby and her first boy this fall.  That’s who this quilt is for.  That crooked vertical line represents a the path this little guy is going to have to walk among his 4 sisters!  His oldest sister will be a sophomore in hs.  That’s the same age I was when my little brother Doug was born!  I may have to baste this one with actual thread since all my pins are in other projects.  I’d like to have this hand quilted by September, but who knows?  I think things might get busy…

Saturday, June 12, 2021

A Most Special Baby Quilt


I know, I know. All babies are special.  But this baby really is.  Cristina learned to quilt with me when she was in 7th grade.  She is now 30 and having her first baby.  Significant facts:

1.  In exchange for studio space above her parents' garage when we were popping the top of our house, I gave Cris 40 of her 50 behind-the-wheel hours.

2.  Sunday afternoons when she was in high school she would come here to work on essays.  That's where she learned some terrific vocabulary while John was watching the Bears.  

3. She earned a degree in Fine Art at Iowa State and has a certificate in Graphic Design from College of DuPage. 

4.  She met and married Joe.  I wasn't sure he was good enough for her.  One night John and I along with Cristina and Joe went to a Moth story-telling competition at which we were judges.  That night changed my mind.  I love him ALMOST as much as I love Cristina.

5.  Cristina started a new job - art director at FCB Global, and Joe is in nursing school at Rush.  

6.  Their first child, a boy, is coming soon!

I don't normally hand-quilt baby quilts because I'm not sure how the stitches will hold up over time, especially for a baby quilt to be used the way it should be.  But I just had to quilt this with unorganized straight lines.  The backing is a wonderful piece of Art Gallery cotton (think silky smooth) that wasn't quite big enough.  It is batted with wool.

And how does one wrap a baby quilt?  Well, one simply makes a matching tote bag with zippered pockets to hold little baby things!

           Cristina and Joe's baby will achieve Dickensian status in no time by being a remarkable boy.  In fact, I'm sure he already is remarkable!

Cristina's mom requested a book, even one gently used.  But I couldn't just settle on one book.  The upper left hand corner book is a series of short Turkish tales/parables.  I think they are perfect reading for the little guy right now.  "The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt" is whimsical and pretty and nails the nature of quilts. "Woodland Christmas" is a charming little pop-up book with hidden images.  And of course Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, a great little rhythmical ABC book.  

I could never decide whether Cristina was an honorary daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister, cousin, or friend.  I'm just happy to know her and excited for this new Mom chapter of her life.