Monday, October 31, 2016


This is the body of a Spectrum quilt and is 63" by 85".  Unlike the illustration and suggestions for this quilt which uses a dark background, a Kona snow is used for the horizontal sashing and will be the background, too.  I am counting on my longarmers Frank and Terri Karls to do something terrific with all the negative outer space.  I now need to do some heavy-duty calculations to turn this into a generous king-size quilt.  So I am stopping for the day.  This kind of sewing is exacting and exhausting.  And this quilt body represents 3 days of work.  I did take a few hours out of this sewing to make a couple of Mors bags, including one made from red, white, grey, and black scraps. ***as I write this, John is answering the door for Halloween and making the kids say "Trick or Treat."  As well they should!***

Two of these have boxed bottoms.
The reverse of the above bag

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Before...and After!

This little napping quilt has been quilted and bound - it is for Sarah's Inn in Oak Park.  Each one of these quilts has a simple  label with our guild's logo and the year.  I'll be eager to hear the final tally for quilts, pillows, and zippered pouches.  Amy S has done a terrific job of leading this effort.  This quilt is going into the wash along with the quilt that I have patched.
Love the label for this quilt.

This quilt is now functional. The patching? An example of intentional mending. While I tried a bit to get the patch to match the fabric, it's not a complete match. And the back patch doesn't line up with the front patch - and that's ok. It's ready for washing.  And using.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

All Retreat Projects, Great and Small

It's always tricky planning retreat sewing.  This may sound strange, but it's such a luxury to devote entire days to quilting projects.  For this retreat at the Siena Center, I knew I had to start with something I've been wanting to do that requires a lot of simple sewing.  So I took my Marcia Derse fabrics to make a quilt I have made before that my senior-in-college grandson has (which coincidentally was made at the Spring 2014 retreat).  I finished all the strip sheet sets and will insert them into the lovely neutral that makes the light strip in all the blocks. 

I finished these easy but tedious strip sets by late Saturday morning and got out my red and black cork fabrics.  Since I haven't sewn with cork fabric before, I had to do a wee bit of test sewing.  And I discovered it's fabulous to work with.  I quilted the cork fabric onto Soft and Stable interfacing and created the front, back, gusset, and outer pocket for Sara Lawson's Hey Mercedes bag, a purse size which I really like.  I would have kept going on this project except I didn't have the right hardware with me.  Since I am thrilled with how this project is going, I have a feeling I'll finish it fairly soon.

Now it's late Saturday afternoon, and I have nothing completed to show (and my guild is so fond of ding-ding-dinging the bell announcing a finish).  And what do I do when I need to have a completed project?  Right!  A Mors bag.  I brought with me a fat quarter, some Kona brown, and strapping for handles.  The scrap table gave me the fabrics for the inside of the bag.  This bag is going back into my car for trips to Mariano's and Walgreen's.   And now - what to do the rest of my precious retreat sewing time?  Some of my guildsters and I joke about taking our fabrics for rides in the car to various retreats.  And my pile of Alison Glass scraps have gone of several sewing weekends with me.  But this time?  I actually got them out!

My scraps were all 3" wide and 14" - 18" long.  In between each row is a 4" strip.  So far this top is about 60" x 80".  I will need to do a little bit of piecing in the upper right and then may use the rest of the scraps to make outer borders, but I am loving how this is turning out, especially since it's been so long in the planning.  And this kept me busy until Sunday night!  I am very happy with what I got done.  Last night I slept for 9 hours, a rarity for me.  I think I was pleasantly tired from the weekend.

Guild vice-president Amy has been heading up a charity effort for Sarah's Inn in Oak Park.  We are making pillows, zippered pouches with little luxuries, and napping quilts.  Amy finished piecing this quilt, and I volunteered to take it home with me for quilting and binding.  Funny to come home with more than I took up.  But it's a good thing.

This isn't a retreat project - I just have it out and want to get to it.  I made this quilt for my father-in-law years ago.  It has a nice, neat, big hole in the border.  Mending this is in my future, and I may wait until after the November Chicago MQG meeting where Heidi Parkes will be our speaker and her topic is intentional mending.    Or I may just reinvent this wheel and forge on ahead.  And I must take a breath and put away the piles of fabrics so I can at least close the cabinet doors. 

It was a good retreat.

Friday, October 14, 2016

I wish you could touch this quilt

This quilt is my  favorite quilt pattern - Trip Around The World, the pattern that Eleanor Burns published in a Woman's Day magazine in 1986.  Last year I found homes for old quilts, but in doing do, I depleted my quilt stock.  So it's time to rebuild.   This quilt started with two fabrics from Janet Clare's Wordsmith line.  The inner border is just a leftover bit of a old fabric, and one of the borders uses the rest of one of the fabrics - the topographical one.  I did my own quilting and love how it reinforces the design.
And what a great pattern!  Despite this pattern being traditional, I do label this quilt "modern" because it represents an economy of time and an economy of fabric and yet still yields a great design punch.  And best of all?  This quilt is usable and so soft.  The second fabric in the binding is Maker by AGF.  I'm totally impressed with how I managed to get the words like "Create" and I Make Stuff" and "Handmade" to line up so nicely - just a happy coincidence.  I started this quilt last Saturday, and I finished it yesterday.  Very satisfying.  Very very satisfying.

The backing is from Zen Chic with an added strip of a favorite AGF leftover. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Opposite of Quilter's Block

We just had a week on the road visiting the Hoover, Truman, and Eisenhower Presidential Libraries/Museum.  Two bonuses of this trip?  A stop in Kansas City at the World War I Museum, and a visit with former Chicago guildster Mary who moved to Hayes, Kansas - she drove 2 hours to Abeline KS to meet us for lunch!

When I'm away from the studio, I am constantly making lists of fabrics, quilts, and things I want to do.  By the time we got home, this list was pretty long.   So my first day in the studio, completely devoted to what I want to do, I'm paralyzed and can't decide which of these projects to start on.  Instead of dithering on what to do, I immediately went to my favorite fabric (AGF Bonnie Christine's Hello Bear) and my favorite purse pattern - Sara Lawson's "Hey Mercedes"  from her Windy City Bags book.  I love the size of this purse and made it before using Yoshiko Jinzenji fabrics.  And of course this fabric matches the Sloan Travel Bag (also a Sara Larson pattern) I use.  
The other side has a wonderfully deep pocket.
The side gusset becomes an interesting design detail when done in a contrasting fabric.

But now?  Back to quilts.  Two key fabrics in the above pile are from  Janet Clare's Wordsmith line.  I'm thinking a Trip Around the World, the first quilt pattern I learned and still a favorite.
 These fabrics are by Heather Givens from her Paper Obsessed line.  I'm thinking blocks that are 8.5"x  11" to continue her riff on paper goods. 
 This growing pile of blacks and white and greys are going to perfect for a log cabin, another one of my favorite designs for quilts.
The Marcia Derse fabrics will become the above quilt.  I already have my cheat sheet for the cutting measurements.  I've made this quilt before - grandson Ryan has it at Ball State.  But I need to make another.

And what about these Marcia Derse fabrics?  They are the only ones that don't play nicely with all the others.  A nice napping quilt perhaps?  I have already made a winter quilt for our bed, a table runner,  and an Aragon bag.  But I'm just not quite finished with these fabrics...

And here's the one project with a December deadline.  All the strips are sewn and need to have the background added.  I have the fabrics and even know what measurements I need to use.  

It's just a matter of getting started!  No more purses...for a while...   Just quilts.