Monday, August 22, 2016

Spontaneous Overflow of Emotion

 Wordsworth defined poetry in 1798 as "the spontaneous overflow of emotion."  In many ways, this is my definition of quilting.  This morning I bound this quilt.  The blocks are from members of my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild, one member joined these blocks together, and Jennifer B quilted it.  In total the Chicago Guild is sending 6 quilts to the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, who came up with this heart and rainbow theme for quilts.  Survivors of the nightclub Pulse shooting will receive these quilts as will members of victims' families.  

My guild is also currently working on zippered bags, pillow and quilts for Sarah's Inn, a domestic violence shelter in Oak Park.  Several members have been working on maple leaf blocks for the victims of the Fort MacMurray fire.  I just finished a big purse push for a menstrual hygiene education project for girls in Zambia.  Guild member Emily H yesterday presented a fabulous quilt idea based on the work of Charles Eames that she and fellow architect/guild member Melissa developed for our next charity quilts in conjunction with QuiltCon 2017.  Currently my guild has an exhibit at the Mitchell Hospital at the University of Chicago medical complex.  As a guild we have worked with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Project Night Night, and Teen Living, donating everything from reusable cloth grocery bags to full size quilts.  Individually some of us responded to the victims of the 2011 tsunami in Japan by sending quilts.

I am full of love for the women in my guild and especially for those officers who are guiding our guild.   And we are as disparate as any guild can be.   We are all at such different life stages.  One of us is starting our sophomore year in high school, and one of us has been retired for 12 years from high school.  Some of us are joyful and some of us are in deep mourning. Some of us have health issues.  Some of us are dilettantes, and some of us are professionals.  Some of us work full time. Some of us are just becoming parents, and others of us are burying our parents.  We all have our individual struggles and our individual joys.  And yet, it's the art/craft that brings us together.   We are connected by our spirit of generosity, and I am proud to be a part of this group.  What an influence this group has had on my creative soul in the past 7 years. 

Now?  I need to quilt.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Old Dogs, New Tricks: Flying Geese, No-Waste Method

I have been making Flying Geese a long time.  They are not my favorite blocks, but I know how to execute a neat one.  My complaint has always been about the amount of waste.  And now?  NEW TRICK!  My Chicago Modern Quilt Guild is doing a Medallion Quilt-Along, using - with permission of the course - the guidelines of the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild.  And this guild has posted a link to a no-waste method of making flying geese.  So clever!  So efficient!  And - wait, wait - it gets even beter, this last link also does the math so that you can vary the size of the geese you need.

This 5.25 red square and four grey 2.875" squares created four flying geese that are 2.5" by 4.5".  So clever.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Design Wall Wednesay

And Cristina's on the Design Floor...

Monday, August 15, 2016

From Purses Back to Quilts

My Summer Goal of making 24 SewPowerful Purses?  Done!  Each purse needs to contain a note to a young girl - words of comfort, exhortation, wisdom, encouragement.  These notes are almost harder than the purse construction!  Then I'll ship these purses to the US collection point in Washington.  (There are also collection points in the UK and in Australia/New Zealand).   Last January when I sent in 9 purses, I recoiled at the suggested $5 per purse to help cover the cost of shipping to Zambia.  But now that I know how the program works and how important it is, I am happily sending $120.  A couple of readers have asked about helping with this cost (and of course these women are the kind who already have spread themselves thin in the world of volunteerism an charitible giving).  If my work towards this effort has inspired you, please just go to and work through their website.

Meanwhile, I am eager to get back to my medallion quilt, a sew-a-long project with my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild. I have the next set of directions ready to go, and my boxes of scraps (which are growing geometrically) are more than ripe for picking.  I know I will be doing more SewPowerful purses for the February 2017 deadline, but I am also wanting to get back to a project with the shot cottons I've been hoarding.  And the Marcia Derse fabrics.  And the growing pile of fabulous greys and backs.  And the - you get the idea.

Last, young friend Cristina is here working on a quilt. It's always fun to be able to share the studio, and it's always so interesting to work with someone who's style of creating is different from mine.I may belong to a modern quilt guild, but Cristina is a modern quilter.  To be fair to me, she does have a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Iowa as well as her graphic design certificate.  But we have had a profound effect on one another.  With her permission, I'll post more of her quilt as she progresses.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016

High Expectations. But...

This is what I have to show for my weekend of sewing. I had such high expectations since I spent much of last week doing the prep work for 12 purse kits. These are my only finishes - one teal Trail Tote, one Sew Powerful purse, and three key wristlets. However, I did do bits and parts of the other kits. So perhaps this week I might be productive. I'm also eager to restore some kind of order to the studio and work on my medallion quilt, too. Busy hands are happy hands!
Grandma Roberta's Final Grandchild Quilt
Guess what her youngest grandchild's name is.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Adventure at the University of Chicago: Thursday Eye Candy

My Chicago Modern Quilt Guild was asked to furnish quilts for a display at the University of Chicago, Bernard Mitchell Hospital.  Guild members Dianne Bienick, Shannon Dangerfield, Amy Struckmeyer, and Emily Handley curated the submissions, and the Billy Hork Galleries hung the exhibit.  John and I went to see it yesterday.  And what a beautiful display.  Here is a small glimpse of the exhibit, but nothing does justice to quilts like seeing them in person.  These quilts were all hung in a bridged walkway connecting two buildings.  It was hard to take pictures of the quilts because the foot traffic there is so heavy.
Debbie Pine - Swirled Storm

Laura Hartrich - Soft Geese for Grandma
Sarah Shulman - My Blue Heaven
Laura Hartrich - Exit on the Left
me - My Scrappy Nap Quilt
Emily Lang - Gradient Burst
Sarah Shulman - RunAround Geese
Shannon Dangerfield - Bitter Pill
Sue Ryan - Every Which Way But Up
Jordana Robinson - Purple Rain
Debbie Pine - Shattered Sunset
Charity Simpson - Pink Mountain Sunrise
Eileen O'Regan - Green Spring
Holly Harper - untitled

Caroline Magsaysay - Fantastic Calla
Amy Struckmeyer - Above the Curve
Robbi Eklow - Fruits and Flowers Enmeshed

Jennifer Benoit Bryan - Midnight Rain
Heather Kinion - Scrap Coins
Heather Kinion - Crop Circles
My Elliptical and Elongated Drunkard's Path
Amy Struckmeyer - Deconstructed Lone Star
Carole Wool - I See The Bridge

I am so proud to be in the company of these makers. And these pictures don't do justice to the texture and the stories behind some of these quilts. My guild is full of women who are joyful, who suffer, who grieve, who celebrate, who think - and sometimes these emotions go into our quilts.