Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Guaranteeing a Successful Studio Adventure

Have a quilt top you like a lot ready for quillting.  These fabrics are from Janet Clare's Wordsmith line.  I used a layer cake and a jelly roll for the front, and leftovers are in the backing.

Make sure you have the right batting.  For this particular quilt, I am using a poly bat because I want this quilt to be light and airy feeling.

Have a backing that is bigger than your quilt top.  A great opportunity to use up scraps from the front and other bits in your stash. 

Have another project or two ready to go.  These are two SewPowerful purses cut out, interfaced, and ready to assemble

Have other piles of fabric just sitting out in plain view so that planning can begin.

Seriously, my one big rule for the studio?  I try very hard to always leave a project at a point where I know I want to come back to it.  If there's a hard part, I'll do it before I end for the day.  Kind of a good rule for life, too.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Five Purses for SewPowerful.Org

I'm thankful for those who are committed to social activitism, like the Sew Powerful organization and its organizers Jason and Cinnamon Miles.
The first of 5 cross-body bags for the February 1, 2017 deadline.  These five took three days of sewing.
Each bag starts with 11 various pattern pieces, all of which are interfaced.  I'm going through bolts of ShapeFlex 101 and always buy it when it's on sale.  Here's one kit with all the pieces.
I'm stopping with these five completed bags for the Thanksgiving break, but have these two kits ready to come back to after I work on a quilt top.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Changing Gears: From Quilts Back to Purses

 This quilt - the 4th in my pre- and post-election series - makes a nice dent in my Marcia Derse fabric collection.  I'm pretty sure this particular design is from Blue Underground Studios, but of course I can't find it right now. I have loved the fabric that is the background for this quilt.  But it's finally gone.  Time to move on.  This quilt is 90" x 96" and another wonderfully soft one.  The quilting is all straight lines and suits the overall design perfectly.  Time to fold it up as it waits for its rightful owner to claim it.  Not sure who that will be...

These are the purse fabrics.  I'm not crazy about them personally.  But I know they will sew up into purses that some Zambian young ladies will love. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Not Quite There, But...

This quilt isn't quite finished - I'm still quilting it and then of course must bind it.  But I wanted to take advantage of this gorgeous day - it is almost 70 outside.  Tonight there is going to be an extreme temperature drop, and I'm hearing rumors of snow over the weekend. 

Wrestling with a quilt in order to quilt it is meditative and soul-soothing.  This is my 4th quilt since October 22.  I think I almost have my head out of my butt.  And I'm turning back to purses for Zambia and SewPowerful.org.  Just in time for the weather change. 

A note about this quilt:  I'm using a polyester batt and had forgotten what a nice texture it has.  Also check out the various bits for the backing.  Thrifty, eh?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

What Material Are We Leaving?

The pear tree in our backyard is the last tree to change colors and lose its leaves - it has yet to start turning to gold and yet so many of the surrounding trees have lost their leaves.  This quilt is my third one in two weeks - let's call it stress sewing.  I'm disappointed at the outcome of the election and grieve for those whose voices will be further suppressed.  I was a bit buoyed by the meeting between Trump and Obama yesterday - Trump admitting that Obama is a good man and Obama pledging to work with Trump.  It's a start, eh?  My glass is always half-full.  I am not making light of the political situation today, but I am optimistic that our nation will survive this tumult.  I am optimistic that Trump supporters will suppress the racist elements of their party.  And I am optimistic that the Democratic party will regroup.  And I am incredibly impressed with Hillary's gracious concession speech - she deserves to live a life of ease after so many years of public service.

I've been listening to "Hamilton" a lot - we are seeing it Thanksgiving weekend, and I'm incredibly excited, especially since we're taking 4 of the grandkids as their Christmas present. If you are a longtime blog reader, you know that I have frequently paid homage to Stephen Sondheim - his lyrics resonate with me. But I fear he is being supplanted by Lin Manuel-Miranda. So many of the "Hamilton" songs pertain to what's happening right now. In Act I one of the song's lyrics is "History is happening right now." And its so true. History is happening right now. When the revolutionists won the Battle of Yorktown and realized that perhaps their revolution had been successful, they sing "The world's turned upside down." I'm sure Trump supporters feel like this. And I know liberals for sure feel like this. But the one lyric that resonates more than the others is "Who will tell your story?", a wonderful anthem at the end of the play.
My hope is that the Trump we saw on the campaign trail is not that Trump we will see as president.  As we toured the presidential museums this fall, we saw over and over how ordinary men rose to the office.  I must believe - that despite different political philosophies - Trump will do the same.  He is making history, and history will be written about him.  My brother Al the preacher says to live a good life so he can preach a good funeral over you.  President Trump, be better than you have been so that history can write a good story.  Fellow liberals, figure out the next few years because history too will be written about how we respond to these days.  "History has its eyes on you." 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Sewing as Therapy

 When I am grieving or rejoicing, I sew.  And when I am in turmoil, I sew.  The politics of this season are so unsettling.  The thought of a Trump presidency is stomach-churning.   While I do have faith that the American electorate will do the right thing, I am in turmoil.  So what do I do?  I sew.  This quilt is the second one to go in the mail this week.  The first was this one, which is on its way to Louisville to my nephew Nathan.  And this quilt pictured here is going to my niece in Columbus, IN.  It is 74" x 88" and is just the softest quilt ever.  It's made from Alison Glass hand-stamped scraps left over from a swap project.  I test-drove it on the sofa this morning while drinking my coffee, and I love it.  I am so happy it's going to Ali.  She asked if I could bear to part with it.  And here's why I can.

 I have more of the Janet Clare Wordsmith fabrics, the same one I used for Nathan's Trip Around the World.  Enough for another Trip, and then I still have a layer cake and a charm pack to play with.  Now I can start these two quilts and fall in love with them as I make them.  And look at the picture below - these are 5" charms on a navy background.  I don't know what exactly this will be, but I like playing around with these.

And these Marcia Derse blocks are all ready to be set into a quilt. It's nice to have the time to do all these.  And then I must get back to the SewPowerful cross-body bags for the young girls in Zambia.  The fate of the USA is out of my hands - I have been proactive and done what I can for my candidate Hilary Clinton.  Whether she wins or loses, there is going to be unrest after the election.  My answer is to reach out to others, be as generous as I can be, and do what I can for future generations.  I will brighten the corner where I am.