Saturday, January 26, 2008

Meritt's Grandma Dodie Quilt

Little Miss Ann Meritt Reed is almost 2 years old. Dodie had the joy of knowing her granddaughter and had hoped to live long enough to see Meritt's first steps. But that didn't happen. Mani will make sure that her daughter remembers her Grandma Dodie, and this quilt from Dodie's nightgown will help.

The pinks in this quilt are from various projects over the years, including one scrap from a quilt that my neighbor hs junior Cristina did (look at the bottom right corner, and there are 3 more like it). It's appropriate that Cristina be represented in this Dodie quilt for Meritt. In the months leading to Dodie's death, Cristina was accumulating her behind-the-wheel hours in my car. I used Cris as a sounding board and shared some very serious life thoughts with her. Ah, the circle of life...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sewing Night Thursdays

For the past several years neighbor Susan and I have been sewing on Thursday nights. It started when we took a jacket class at Stitches N Stuffing in Naperville in the spring of 2005. When the current studio was being constructed, Susan and I moved all sewing stuff down to a temporary studio at the Muzzios. Since then we have gotten together Thursday nights for a Weight Watcher-friendly (usually) dinner and then some sewing. Susan is an advanced seamstress and brings a whole different set of sewing skills to the Studio. Even more convenient is that the Brookfield Jazz Society meets on Thursday nights!

Lately we have had some additional company on Thursday nights. Fellow Kennedy teacher and retiree Corinne has come a couple of times, and so has John's sister Terry. Bless John for bringing the camera upstairs tonight and snapping the 4 attendees of Sewing Night Thursday. We're holding the first of three quilts for Dodie's grandchildren.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Charlie's Grandma Dodie Quilt

One of the hardest tasks after someone dies is for the family to get rid of the clothes. Dodie knew her time was limited and really did a great job of tidying up her closet before she died. Her daughters Mani and Virginia did have to do some cleaning up, and one of the things they came across were two of her trademark flannel nightgowns. Mani and Gin asked if I could make quilts from these gowns for her children Will, Charlie, and Meritt.

A year ago I was quilting my way through my grief for Dodie, and here I am again. Grief is a process. I've begun Meritt's quilt, and I have the fabrics set out for Will's. I love using scraps of Dodie's nightgowns, and I love using scraps of my quilting cottons. In this quilt for Charlie Reed (60" x 70") are several blues that my sister Paula bought years ago for a quilt she wanted.

In the year prior to her death, Dodie and I shared many smiles and tears about grandchildren and memories. It's comforting to know that Mani's children will have yet another visible reminder of a grandmother who loved them deeply and delighted in their every breath.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A More-Than-Satisfactory Barter

Delivering a finished quilt is always a thrill. Last night Greg and Dorothy took possession of the Jazz T-Shirt Quilt they commissioned during the summer of 2007. Choosing which t-shirts to include and what fabrics to provide the background ought to be simple tasks. Obviously they aren't. However, the time that went into these decisions paid off handsomely. The final component on this quilt were the services of Debbie the Long-Arm Quilter. She again has proven her artistry, this time with a straight-line meander. The red border, which is 20 inches all around, and the neutral between the t-shirts are beautifully quilted, as are the t-shirts themselves. This large quilt - 98" x 114" - was hard to photograph, but this photo gives a good general idea. The back of this quilt is almost as pretty as the front.

Debbie mentioned that she has a couple of weddings coming up that she needs gifts for, and she admits that she doesn't like to do piecing. So I offered her the 3rd Jinny Beyer quilt top. The first one - 83" x 83" - hangs in my studio. I pieced and quilted it. I made a second one for my bed - "100 x 114" - and Debbie quilted it with a fabulous varigated thread and wonderful curves and loops. The third one was unspoken for. So Debbie bought the kit from me for $90, and then we bartered our services - the quilting of the jazz t-shirt quilt for the piecing of the Jinny Beyer quilt top. This was a $250 barter, and I don't know who was more pleased - Debbie or me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Let Year 2 in the Studio Begin!

This year is my 3rd of retirement, but the 34 years of teaching along with the 17 years of going to school means one thing: vacation mentality. I took a break from sewing and a break from Weight Watching - it was a great 4-pound holiday. We celebrated with the Crystal Lake/Lakewood families on the 23rd, the Sheehans on the 24th, and the White/Thompsons on the 25th. Here's Grandpa John with Nicki, Sammy, Jack,Ben, and Natalie. And what looks to be a pile of quilts is actually Ryan and Brandon, zzzzzzz-ing away despite the cold, sunny day. The boys eventually woke up for cinnamon rolls and a morning movie.

So all the kids are back in school, and I'm still having difficulty ending vacation. I have projects to work on and must stop this lolligagging. Perhaps today will be the day!