Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Design: Wall and Mind

The current political landscape is so unsettling (i.e., Trump has been the minority-elect president for 11 days).  The news of the hour is that Betsy DeVos is our new education leader.  I don't want to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I don't see this going well for public education at all.  I hope I hope I hope she proves me wrong.  When I am unsettled with quilting projects, I make lists and plow through them.  Political projects?  Daily calls and emails.  Scheduling marches.  February 20 for "Not My President's Day."  April 15 to continue the call for Trump to release his taxes and divest himself of financial gain during his reign - er, presidency.  March is open.  Hmm, which of the protests - so many to choose from.  I'm in an odd frame of mind:  I can't watch or listen to news without my heart pounding or blood pressure rising.  So, I sew.  At nights I'm working on the above.  I try to keep my tension light - you can see I'm not doing the best job of that. 
This is one of the projects I'm working on during the day.  No more NPR for me - just listening to books and podcasts.  What's on the Design Wall is my 8 1/2" x 11" quilt.  That's the size of each block that then has the shadow sewn around it.  These fabrics all have something to do with school, notebooks, or paper.  While this is still evolving, I like how this is coming along.  It will be mostly black and white, and I already have ideas of how I want to quilt this. 
Chris and Andi's quilt is still on the design "floor" - it's in 12 pieces.  As long as I'm waiting for the batting to arrive and still figuring out what I want to back the quilt with, I am in no hurry to finish this.
And this quilt?  The top is complete.  I'm just using up various scraps and bits for the backing.  This is another quilt that I want to quilt myself. 

Meanwhile, I try to keep myself calm.  It's hard.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Keeping Busy

This doesn't look like much, does it.  But this 18" x 20"  sampler is what I produced in a one-day improvisational hand quilting class.  I do hand quilting, but not with thread - I use No. 8 Perle cotton.  But it turns out these sashiko techniques I use work nicely with regular quilting.  Chawne Kimber of Cauchy Complete taught this Saturday class and was our lecturer the next day at our guild meeting.  Chawne is a math professor and one of the most thoughtful and provocative quilters I know.  This is my third time to meet her and spend time with her, and my admiration grows.  Chawne and hand-quilting aside, it was a lovely workshop.  Not using machines for a day was a great change of pace.

Here's the wedding quilt I started last week.  Each little block is 5" x 5".  16 rows by 19 columns.  The gap in the middle?  I just haven't pieced those blocks yet.  This has been a lot of work but very simple and satisfying.  And I do like how this is turning out.  It's been the perfect project for these pre-inauguration days.  I'm torn between refusing to watch any news and yet wanting to stay informed. So simple tasks and focusing on the Women's March in Chicago the day after the inauguration have been my coping mechanisms.    Thinking about Chris and Andi and their life together is a nice bright thought, too!

Late afternoon/early evenings I love settling down with this glam clam quilt. Months ago I began hearing about the slow stitching movement. And this winter, more than any other time, I get it. The simple joy of quiet stitching, creating something that will be both utilitarian and beautiful, is what I treasure. I'm maybe a little over one-third finished - these little 2 and 3 hour sessions eventually add up. I love how the stitching looks on the back, too.  I'm stitching in the color of the individual clams so there is a beautiful texture happening.

Last and pretty important, this year is my 10th year blogaversary.  I've been blogging since January 2007 and have printed out each year's blog entries into book form.  So this is the 10th volume of my blog books.  Hardly scintilatting reading but a wonderful record of projects and life events.  Although I have worked on a lot of projects in 2016, this Sloan Bag, pattern by Sew Sweetness, is among my favorites.  I have used this bag for travel and love the size and practicality.  For the back of this book, I chose a picture from the International Quilt Festival.  Here's my fabulous "My Answer is Yes" hanging next to Bill Stearman's "My World".  We both had Drunkard's Paths quilts in this festival, too.  See this blog entry from last April for details.  It's been the start of a nice friendship. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Peaceful January Monday

I spent the weekend sewing and accomplished all that I intended.  That alone is a great feeling!  After kitting six SewPowerful purses, these went together pretty nicely.  The rainbow fabric is left over from one of the charity quilts my guild did for the Orlando Pulse project.  And I love how it works in these purses!  These six will join the 7 completed in December.  There were over 3000 purses sent in for the fall deadline!

Our December guild "basket" swap didn't happen because of weather. I just made the one larger basket.  But with the extra time, I was able to complete two more of these little tray-like nesting boxes.

I like this little tray so much that I made myself one from a Janet Clare "Flight" charm pack.  

I'm very eager to work with this new line of Zen Chic's "Luster" line.  Jelly roll, charm packet,  mini-charms, and the perfect background.  But before I touch these, here's what I'm starting on today:
My nephew Chris married last spring.  Over Thanksgiving I had a chance to get to know his wife Andi.  With help from a shared Pinterest board and my trusty Kona card, Andi and I designed their wedding quilt.  I have all the fabrics, and today's the day.  It's great fun to clear the design wall and begin this work of love.