Thursday, December 31, 2015


Petite Stitched Purse by Indygo Junction

I'm so thankful for so much - my husband, my family, my
friends (even those who don't quilt), my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild, and loving what I do so much that I can't wait to get out of bed each morning.  I'm so thankful for my health and am realizing more than ever what a great gift it is.   I am indeed a lucky and blessed woman.  (One of my first projects of 2016 will be figuring out what to use these three new fabrics for, and I'm already smiling at the possibilities!)

Three fabrics from Carolyn Friedlander's new Carkai collection

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

End of the Year Odds and Ends

Out of the pile of fabrics I had to touch last week, one fabric called loudly.  And so I turned it into a tote.  But wait - it gets better.  This is the tote that turns into a duffel bag.
Here's the first one I made.  Then I made one for Emily B's birthday.  A few weeks later Jen B, Sarah E, and Melissa came over for a playdate, and we made more. And the following summer I made three more for commission.  This is a clever pattern.  And for this bag it's perfect because the fabric was too pretty to cut up into pieces. In the top picture the tote is holding six purse kits, all ready for January sewing - 5 Trail Totes by Noodlehead and a Sloan (Sew Sweetness) bag.

Guildster Beth gave me a 2016 Calendar Tea Towel, unfinished, along with a link to a tutorial about mitering corners.  Excellent tutorial.   Now it is finished, just in time to ring in 2016. 
Finally, I finished the backing for Julie's quilt.  So as soon as Frank and Terri are finished with my current quilt, this one is ready for longarming.  It snowed this week.  Nothing better for sewing than snow!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Holiday Distraction

It's not that I'm distracted by the holidays.  Rather, I am distracted by the studio.  Instead of finishing a quilt top, I start finding fabrics that I have to touch and iron and think about what I want to do with them.  Clearly, they don't belong together.  So, how can each be featured best? Since I've been working big, I'm ready to do small.  Purses, totes, bags...   Nice.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Wonderful Christmas Present

My involvement with the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild has created some wonderful and deep friendships.  One of my newer friends, Mary R, knits ( a real Renaissance woman who knits, quilts, sews, cooks, has multiple degrees).  And she gave me a beautiful pair of socks, complete with washing instructions.  Am I worthy of handmade socks?  All I know is that I am very pleased, and these socks rank among the very nicest of presents I have ever received!

After yesterday's blog post, I received two emails from the Modern Quilt Guild.  Neither of my quilts was accepted into QuiltCon 2016.  A part of me is disappointed, but the better part of me is relieved that I don't have to scramble to get tickets to Pasadena, CA, where the conference is and that I don't have to sew sleeves on these quilts! 

Also pictured above is a little kit from guildster Robbi who seems determined to get me into hexies and a hexie packet from guildster Holly, who shares this determination.  I may be the last of my quilty group to get into hexies, but I am learning to never say never.  I shall - at some point - give it a go!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Trying to be patient...

Like so many of my Chicago Modern Quilt Guildsters, I submitted 2 quilts for QuiltCon 2016 in Sacramento. Under the "group" category is the quilt my quilty buddies made in honor of my mom after she died.   The second quilt is the Elongated Drunkard's Path that I finished the month after my mom died.  These hand stitches represent some very soothing grief work.  But now as children wait for Santa, I need to wait until Dec 30 to find out whether either of these made the cut. 
I am also waiting to see how this quilt turns out. This quilt is now floating on more of the fabric used in the backgroud. It is at Terri and Frank Karls's house waiting to be longarmed. This will be the first of my quilts to have custom long-arm quilting. And of course I can't wait. Just one more thing to be patient about.
Meanwhile I'm working on this quilt for my stepdaughter who turns 50 in January.  It's not so much of a birthday present as it is an "omg, what happened to this quilt?' present.  I slept at her house for a few nights with my grandson while she was out of town.  And as I climbed into her bed, I noticed her quilt, one I made 10 years ago or so, was shredding!  The backing was fine - so was the batting.  But one of the fabrics on the front was just shredding.  I thought about repairing this quilt - I still may - but then decided she deserves a new quilt.  Julie's color choices are rich and warm.  I loved then fabrics when I bought then and knew what design I wanted to use.  But as I started making these big blocks, I became pretty disenchanted with both the fabrics and the design.  One day I had to stop work and leave the studio.  Luckily my neighbor Cristina had some work to do in the studio, saw this quilt, and said it looks like a sunset.  Perfect for Julie.  Once my quilt is ready for pick up at Terri and Frank's, I'll have them do Julie's quilt.
This quilt will be 96 x 112" and will have a final border of that wonder merlot-colored fabric. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My Third Hand-Quilted Finish

This napping quilt is 60" x 70", and I've been puttering away at it for a few months.  Let me define what hand-quilting is for me:  it's using a 8 weight Perle cotton and using a Sashiko technique of "little stabs."  This primitive look suits me, my hands, my eyes, and my projects.  The first one was the quilt I hand-pieced and hand-quilted while sitting with my parents.  The second one was what I worked on after my mom died - it's the lovely colorful elongated Drunkard's Path.  This third quilt?  No grief associated with it.  Just some quality time with my
quilt and my threads.  These are mostly Marcia Derse fabrics, and the batting is wool.  The backing is an Art Gallery fabric from the REcollection line.  I haven't washed it yet, so there may be one more picture coming later.  There is another hand project in the queue - one that combined Carolyn Friedlander and Yoshiko Jinzenji and some sashiko! 

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Chicago MQG Holiday Gift Swap

The Chicago Modern Quilt Guild holiday gift-swap party was yesterday, and I didn't go. My cold and germs just did not need to be a part of the holiday spirit. Using a set of Japanese fabrics I received last month at the meeting, I sent  five bags for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  Thanks to current CMQG president Sarah Evans for collecting these bags and delivering them! Guildster Mary R received a special gift.  A few weeks ago she "gifted" me with a set of fabrics and a pattern for a tote which she knew she would never do.  So I did it for her, sort of.  In keeping with my style, I didn't follow the directions that came with the set of fabrics.  But she was pleased.

For my gift swap I of course made a Mors bag, not bothering the follow my own directions.  But the sparkly holiday fabrics outshine any issue in workmanship.

And speaking of workmanship, I had a team of handymen come to the house.  The picture below shows the new stabilizing trim they added to the bannister coming up to the studio, the hanging of Wintersection, and the hanging of the swap quilt from the Ann Arbor/Chicago MQGs exchange.  I love this quilt for its simplicity and its appeal to help and aid.  The men also secured my design wall to the wall!