Sunday, July 7, 2019

What happened to June?

I don't know what happened to June.  All I know is that I'm busy both day and night with my quilting and I'm still dreadfully unhappy politically.  The only solution for me right now is to keep on with Sew Powerful purses. 

 This quilt top - 60 x 80 - is from leftovers of Interwoven, a quilt pattern by Lo and Behold Stitchery.    I like it so much that I dropped the hand quilting on Interwoven to work on this.
I started with an off-center spiral and am happily making my way.  It's backed with a muslin that has a nice feel.

Detail from Interwoven.  
Detail from the back

This quilt top is finally off the floor.  It's a layer cake by Zen Chic, her Modern Luster line.
July is all about Sew Powerful for me.  My goal - a purse a day.  So far I'm on target.  But it's early days.

I'm good through July 6.  Uh oh, it's July 7...  Lucky for me I have more fabric...

This final picture are possibly fabrics for my granddaughter Nikki's quilt. She just graduated from IU and has her first teaching job lined up. What an exciting time of life for her. I need a face-to-face with her to get approval on fabrics and also see if my idea is one that will suit what she wants. It's kind of a view of midtown Manhattan from 34th Street to 110th or so. Still tweaking the details...

Friday, May 31, 2019

Third Hand-Quilted Finish of 2019

Who have I become?  After years of begging my mom to do my handwork - hemming and binding - which she always graciously agreed to do because she liked doing handwork, I have become a handwork maniac.  I twitch if I don't have a quilt to hand-quilt in process.  I now plan my hand-quilting by the season.  If it's cold, I'll do a big,heavy quilt.  If it's hot, I'll quilt blocks and then join them together later.  This amuses me.  I good-naturedly would chide guildster Mimi about her hand-quilting years ago, suggesting she'd get done more if she used a machine.  It was Mimi who turned me on to Renate Hiller - and her video -about the importance and nature of handwork.  Watch it here. 

I had a charm pack by Gingerber called Catnip, which actually has nothing to do with cats.  Just lots of black, white, and taupe in interesting designs.  The sashing is my attempt to create a woven look. 

The backing is from two different fabrics that feel good.  And I have finished this just as the weather is really warming up. It is 70" x 88", and I have a friend who is interested in being the caretaker of this beauty.  Finishing a quilt, while a good thing, is always a bit sad.  It's a matter of changing gears and deciding what is next.  I think I know.  But picking it up and actually starting to lay in those wonderful stitches is always a bit daunting. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Repairing/Updating/Refreshing a Favorite Quilt

It's hard to explain why certain quilts resonate with us.  The difficulty is one of texture, color, design, and size.  So when you find that perfect combination, it's precious.  Long-time friend Madeleine has just such a quilt.  In a neat coincidence, it was made in 2005 by a Kevin Stankowicz who was a member of my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild for a few years.

This quilt was made from men's shirts' shirting fabric in very fine thin cotton, often with polyester in it.  This means the fabric is thin.  And soft.  This look is very muted.  Some of the fabrics have just shredded while others are just fine.  So this post is letting Madeleine know what I plan to do.  We have agreed that my fee, which I estimate to be around $100 - $120 will go to a charity of my choice.  And I'm sure it will be for Sew Powerful

These are the fabrics I plan to use.  None of them are shirting fabrics, but they have a similar color/feel to the shirt fabrics.

Some of the squares have worn completely through to the batting.  For these squares I will applique a square of similar value.  

A few of these squares may be hand-mended, sashiko-style.  TBD once project is started.

Look at the light blocks between the two brown rows.  Each one is shredded or worn through.  For a part like this, I am going to overlay a strip of fabric.  See the first picture in this post and below:

I think this is a practical and modern way to give this quilt another couple of years!

The last thing I will probably do is replace the binding.  Kevin hand-quilted this quilt, adding to the soft feel.  The outer parts of a quilt are the ones that are handled the most - think about how you hold and use quilts.  So the binding is important.  I don't think I'll cut off the original but rather bind over it, hoping to add some additional strength.  

There are a few things I need to finish before starting this restoration.  But I'm sure it'll be done by July.  And of course if it's sooner, I know the ants in my pants will want to get this to Oak Park!

Monday, May 13, 2019

All Blogging in a Day

Did you ever read the Ray Bradbury story "All Summer in a Day"?  It's a bittersweet little story about life on a distant planet that has only one afternoon of summer a year and a little girl who misses out on it.  For whatever reason, I've been way more interested in sewing than I have in blogging.  This post is mostly all pictures...just to document what I've been doing in the studio.  It seems my main adventure has now been taken over by hand-quilting, which I only work on at night.  In the studio I feel in love with Interwoven, a pattern by Lo and Behold Stitchery.  It's graphic, bold, and time-consuming - all strips are 1.5".  This is pin-basted and ready for hand-quilting - Baptist Fans will complement the linear dominance nicely, I think.  And check out the leftovers from Interwoven:
Leftovers from Interwoven
I'm not sure what this will be yet.  But it's fun to play around with them?  But I have to do something quick - I miss my design wall. 

Thanks to the wonderful world of social networks, I have some Canadian quilting friends who are participating in the 52 blocks a week Sew-A-Long sponspored by the Canadian Quilters' Association.  Every Tuesday morning, starting the 2nd week of January, a 6.5" block pattern is released.  And so every week I have been making one of these blocks from my scraps.  So far there are 16 weeks.  I'm already thinking that I want to join these blocks with sashing to make a quilt of a usable size.  It's kind of fun to spend 30 minutes a week and see how that time adds up.
7 in April
 And of course Sew Powerful purses.  I took 30 to the International Quilt Festival the end of March,  Those purses went to Paducah for that quilt festival and have since made their way to Washington state.  So I did seven more and sent them in for the May 1 deadline.  And now?  Here are two I've just finished for the November 1 deadline.  And as soon as I finish this post, I will begin more.

Two for May

                      This Noodlehead 3-2-1 Tote called to me, and I made it from an old pair
                      of my jeans.  A bit slouchy-looking but pretty handy. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Winter of My Content

These two quilts have much in common.  Both are Trips Around the World, both are hand-quilted, and both have the tail ends of favorite fabrics.  The peppered shot cotton one (on top) was my evening companion throughout January and February.  The bottom one was quilted in March and April.  And there was some sad satisfaction as I finished each one.

 These fabrics are from Janet Clare's Wordsmith line, which is no longer in production.  That green-grey-beige color?  It is perhaps my favorite of all and very hard to match.  It's almost the color of my studio walls.  The pattern is a bit difficult to discern since I was using up bits, most evident in the border.  I usually try to make quilts on the larger side, but I simply ran out of fabrics for additional borders.
Front detail

Back detail
Panic set in as I finished up this group of fabrics, so I began to do some Internet searching.  And through ETSY and EBay, I found some more fabrics from this line.  I don't know what I am going to do with them - yet...  But I am thrilled to have found them and am working on other fabrics to combine with them.

I'm totally out of these peppered shot cottons.  And I have loved quilted them - the hand feel and weight is so perfect, especially during the Polar Vortex.  The wool batting is a perfect for these fabrics.   I may have to investigate Cherry Wood fabrics, an almost sueded-cotton, as replacement fabrics....
Front detail

Border detail
 With the warmer weather I have to carefully choose hand-quilting projects.  Here's my current one, just started.  It has a poly batting and is not so heavy - I think I'll be able to finish this one before it gets really hot.

And here's the one I'm saving for those hot months - each block is 27", batted, backed, and marked. When each is quilted, I'll join them all together. When did I become a handquilter? I mark the beginning when my parents were declining. And immediately after my mom's death, as welcome as her death was, quilting was my solace. Now? It's what I have to do.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Trolling for Purse Makers


I'm stepping out of my safe zone, big time. It's so easy to stay in my studio and make purses. But now it's time to step it up. I did that last fall when I spoke to the Women's Group in Palos about Sew Powerful. Now? I'm going to the International Quilt Festival at Rosemont to help set up and man the Sew Powerful booth. The purpose? To find and encourage others to make purses.These six purses are the most special ones I've made, knowing that they will be handled and touched. I think it will be fun to meet Jason and Cinnamon Miles, the brains behind Sew Powerful.  And I'm excited about meeting some other purse makers whom I have "met" on Facebook.  Along with these six purses I have 24 more.  These purses, along with purses from some makers in Indiana, will be used to decorate the Sew Powerful booth as we "troll for pursemakers" and tell the Sew Powerful story.
I wouldn't let myself work on a new tote until I finished the purses above. The new tote is the Noodlehead Super Tote (upper left bag). Notice I have a full set of "luggage" made from a fabric crush - it's from the Hello Bear collection by Bonnie Christine, Art Gallery Fabrics.The bottom left bag is my travel bag.  The bottom right is my daily purse.  And the upper right?  All I know is that I like it.  But like the shot cottons I mentioned earler, I am almost at the end of this fabric and finally ready to let it go. 
The wonder of the Internet is that I have some Canadian friends. One of them tipped me off to a block-a-week quiltalong hosted by the Canadian Quilters Association  Here's what I've made so far. These blocks are 6.5" each, and there will be 52 at the end. I have been using the closest scraps at hand.  No surprise that these scraps have no color.  It's a pleasant change from the purses.

 I finished my polar vortex quilt - these peppered shot cottons and a wool batting were wonderful to sit under and quilt.  The quilting represents 8 weeks of winter evenings.  And now it's waiting for its owner - whoever it may be - to claim it.

I'm taking a break from sewing although I have a lot more to say about current and future projects.  My studio has a closet that needs sorting and organizing.  That's my task for the rest of this month.  But April?  Look out!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Flurry of Spring Activity

These rainbow flaps on 6 purses for Sew Powerful are so dynamic!  Great way to start off March

This pile of 24 SewPowerful purses need 24 notes.  Some of them I have written, but I need to put myself on a schedule and do 2 or 3 a day.  Jason and Cinnamon Miles from Sew Powerful will have a booth at the International Quilt Festival in Rosemont, and I am volunteering each day - March 27 to March 30. (Next to the purses are log cabin blocks...))
This quilt top - for me - is just waiting for the binding to be sewn down.  I'm not sure why I want to do this huge quilt by hand, but I do.  No. 12 thread is perfect for hand-binding.

After working with so much color, I had to find a lovely neutral project.  And I love this one.  The 16 blocks need to be joined and then surrounded by the darker grey. 

These two baby quilts need to be basted and bound.

These two tops need basting, quilting, and binding.

This is my summer hand project.  One of the nine 27" blocks is completed - the remaining 8 need to be marked.

I love these fabrics and am so ready to turn them into a full-size Trip Around the World.

And these 5" blocks on a black background?  Yes, please.