Friday, September 18, 2020

A Completed Quilt


It’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to say or write these words.  This bed-size quilt is almost a square and was tailor-made for grandson #4.  His bedroom is often too hot, so this quilt is as lightweight as I could get it.  There’s a blue Art Gallery backing, important because the feel is so smooth.  You can see the quilting is simple.  I tried my hand at outdoor photography - that I was able to throw this quilt around by myself is huge.  

Thanks to Holly, Melissa, and Sarah S for the 10 fat quarters that make up this quilt.  Thanks to non-quilty friend Cecilia who CUT THE FABRIC for the sashing and black shadows - back in the spring I could sew but couldn’t do any cutting or use scissors.  So I do take enormous pleasure is bringing this quilt to completion.  And of course credit to my physical therapists. It’s good and almost easy to work on a project when you are crazy about the recipient!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

19 Years after 9/11

So hard to believe that 9/11 was nineteen years ago.  

I still haven't gotten started on the notecards for each purse, but I do have a plan! 

And I have been working in the studio happily,  Having both hands and arms is huge!  I cleaned up from all the purses and started in on organizing and going through scraps. 

I'm quilting by machine a grandson's quilt, and it feels good to machine quilt.  He wants a light weight quilt.  So, Mountain Mist poly batt and an Art Gallery backing.  I love the texture of this quilt.  
My Chicago MQG is doing a charity quilt for QuiltCon 2021 based on Chicago music.  Below is my block.  Guess whose music I chose?  

Reorganizing and cleaning the studio after the 31 purses was productive.  And to further the carthasis, I started going through all my scraps - ironing, cutting most into 2.5" strips, sorting by color, and making one wacko pile.

 My scraps have scraps.  Some of my scraps are 20 years old.  Some of my scraps I look at and still love and remember exactly what I did with them.  Quilters are like that.  This final picture has things organized on a table, but that's not a great permanent storage place.  I'm doing a workshop in a week about scraps and improv quilting.  I will have a lot to choose from.  

The studio?  A happy and productive place.  And yes, I'm working on those notecards!

Monday, August 31, 2020

Mission Accomplished

      The last purses for this month are finished!  I bought this fabric for a tote that never got made, and it's perfect for these purses. Now? Time to clean the studio and work on some quilts.  But I will leave the design wall the way it is for a few more days.  It's just too thought-provoking to think about some young adolescent girl in Zambia receiving one of the Sew Powerful purses - stocked with panties, reusable pads and soap - and her being uplifted by it all, especially by the encouragement notes we write and put into each purse.  Notes are up next...

Lined up along the bottom of the design wall below are six purses that were packed to go to Austin with me for QuiltCon and the Sew Powerful booth.  But then...the February wrist these six will be a part of the delivery well ahead of Sew Powerful Unboxing Day.

 It's been a good and productive month.   But now onto the notes.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Five Purple Sister/Purses

                                             Big graphic prints work well for the flaps of these cross-body bags.  And under each flap there's a surprise fabric,  And in each purse there's a surprise pocket.

The past of this process that slows me down are the notecards that go into each purse.  We purse makers hear that the girls treasure these cards as much as the purses and the contents.  That puts a special pressure on the notecards.

So I am working my way through, thanks to some fellow purse makers in the Sew Powerful Facebook page, creating some meaningful cards.  More on that later...


I included this last picture just to give an idea that these purses don't just spring up.  There are a lot of parts, most of which are interfaced.  These truly are a labor of love, and those who make them know their time is well-spent.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

August 17 and right on my purse target!

 After months of limited sewing, it feels so good to be productive.  July for the past couple of years has been a purse a day.  But this year I needed to wait until August.  So far, so good.  The latest set of five features this whimsical yet motivational fabric “I can and I will.” 

                              And here's m progress so far.  I love my design wall as it fills up.  
                                                    Next up?  Purples and Rainbow colors.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Finding my Purse Mojo


                          Purse Mojo is back.  But Blogger is weird.  hmmmm

Friday, August 7, 2020

August: A Purse a Day

I've finally gotten started with purses for Sew Powerful again. It's been 6 months since I have made any, and it feels good to look outward and get back into the swing of charitable sewing. It's going well except for calling the lovely giraffes on three of these purses. Covid brain? Whatever...

As I sew I think of the young ladies who will choose one of these purses - educated women are the hope of Zambia and Africa.  I also think of those in my life who are facing severe medical hardships.  After six months of focusing on my issues, it's a welcome change to focus on others.

Lots of parts for each purse.  Setting them out help me with the process.

This lovely quit square was meant to be on the outside. 

Here are my elephants - I mean giraffes...

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Changing Gears

 Rehabbing the broken humerus has allowed me to do some sewing and simple cutting.  This is my quarantine/rehab quilt.Lots of greys and low-volume prints from Cotton + Steel.  Each block has a 2.5” center, and each block is 6.5”.So this quilt will be 60” x72 - perfect size for hand quilting. Below is a quilt top from QuiltCon fabrics (Thanks Melissa, Holly, and Sarah.). It’s for grandson Brandon, and I think I will machine quilt this myself.

 My guild started a bee, and I’m having fun playing.  Each month one of us asks the others to make specific blocks.  To the left are blocks for Adamanadia.  ROYGBIV blocks with cool colors on one side and warm in the other.  below is one 12.5” 24.5 block for Debbie”s co,foul improve eith a slash.  For both of these projects I dipped into my beloved pile of shot cottons.  Both of thee were fun, and I’ll be interested in seeing how these blocks go into their quilt. Guildmate Bill is leading this charge - we even have a hashtag #ChiModBee.  My turn is t for a couple of months.  I’m thinking tuning forks.  

All quilts are lit away.  Shot cottons are back on the shelf. It’s time for purses!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Masks! More Masks!

One thing is clear to me. We are going to be wearing masks for a long time.  As my shattered humerus heals, I’ve discovered I can do minor cutting.  Like for masks.  And I can sew.  Only not in reverse - I don't have the strength yet to press the reverse lever down. I see my bone doctor tomorrow, the same woman who surgically repaired my wrist in February.  At a previous appointment, she was wearing a mask I gave her - nice.  I see her tomorrow morning for X-rays and evaluation, perhaps to start back with OT/PT.  Buddy Cecilia cut long strips so I can continue working on the quilt below.  Slowly, surely, I heal.  And I’m thankful.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Thinking my way through every stitch I sew...

Two weeks after my fall, and I am still so sore and bruised. I’m still taking opioids.  With them my pain is less and I can do the prescribed movements/motions.   But I still have to think my way through every move I make.  With the brokeN wrist, it was a matter of finger dexterity and strength. This time I have the finger and wrist dexterity, but I can’t lift my arm.  Yet.  So I struggle through the day, balancing the drugs with the time of therapy movements.  And to keep sane, I sew.  I must.  The next project up is Brandon’s quilt, made from the set of fat quarters Melissa, Holly, and Sarah bought for me at QuiltCon .  I’m using a shadow box effect on a background that is grey-green-griege.  Cecilia cut fabric for me - for a non quilter she is very good with the rotary cutter, and she seemed to like doing it.  I need 3.5” strips of this griege- lots of them.  I hope she’ll come back.
These leftover strips and bits of peppered shot cottons are going to be a 12.5” by 24.5” block for @artgal53, fellow Chicago Modern Quilt Guildster Debbie.  She and 8 others, including me and spearheaded by @kiltedquilter67, are part of a bee, the #ChiModBee.  Debbie is the first “Queen” of this bee.  Can’t wait to see what comes from my block and the others she’ll receive!  If you look at the hashtag, be gentle - we’re just getting started.

While I can’t cut any significant size of fabric. I can cut small bits.  I had a whole pile of 2.5” squares already cut.  Sticking with greys and lower volume fabrics, I’m making 6.5” blocks.  I can do one at a time and these are perfect just to keep me feeling like I‘m  productive.  Below is an off-set pattern.  Sewing does help to chase the blues away....

Thursday, June 25, 2020

It’s Always Something....

My elastic came.  The elastic I was going to use to make a mask a day throughout July.  So now I have elastic but am back to being one-handed.

My sister sent flowers.  So nice.  I saw my wrist surgeon yesterday, and she was wearing a mask I made her.  I have some gentle therapy and exercises  to do while this humerus starts to heal.

I’m no longer in shock. And I just found out from a blog reader that quilter Pat Sloan broke both of her wrists!  The last picture?  Oddly enough it’s the only part of me that doesn’t hurt...

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Luckiest ot the Unlucky

Saturday June 20 was such a good day.  I was in the studio finishing this lovely 90 x 99 shot cotton quilt top.  I vacuumed, rejoicing in how easy this task is with 2 hands.  I even set out the fabrics for the next quilt I want to work on.  I want to finish this quilt top by July so that I can turn the entire month over to purses and masks.  One of each every day.  Piles of fabrics for both are set out.

But then I tripped on uneven sidewalk about a mile away from the house.  Nice ladies called 911.  ER took care of facial lacerations and made sure there were no brain bleeds.  I broke my proximal humerus and see my bone doc tomorrow.

Thankful I didn’t do more damage! But I’m incredibly sore - everything hurts.

I keep thinking of I Robert Burns and how the best-laid plans of mice and men “gang aft a-gley.”

Monday, June 15, 2020

Celebrating - Social Distancing Style

It's been difficult to shelter in place.  Not seeing family and friends has been hard.  For the first two months we exchanged food with 2 of the grandsons at the base of the driveway.  Then last month the 4 of us decided that the risks were minimal and we actually have had dinners at the dining room table.  Son Mark has been in the house a couple of times.  And like so many families, we are having discussions about whether to get together and how to get together.  This month marked three milestones - Sam Mo graduated from Northern Michigan State, Ben Mo graduated from high school, and Brandon turned 21.  Daughter Julie came in from Atlanta to celebrate with her son.  And we had to have some sort of party, right?

I made masks for everyone, which we didn't wear.  Everyone brought their own drinks.  Appetizers were individual snack bags of various crunchies.  A Mediterranean feast was laid out buffet style, but Mark was the only one serving.  Cupcakes for dessert.  Seems safe, no?  But then the time for pictures came.  No masks, standing close to one another, some of us touching - ***eye roll***

Is this all part of the process of opening up?  Did we take a risk by getting together? be determined

Two sad notes:  Ben, the hs grad, just started a new job and couldn't come to his own party on top of not having a graduation ceremony or a prom.  And the girls were in an accident (absolutely not their fault) on their way home.  Both are ok (phew), but the car is totaled.

The next day I had coffee in person with quilties Eileen and Melissa.  Between seeing people and almost have full use of my rehabbed wrist, normalcy seems closer.  BUT we all know this is not a time to let down our Covid-19 guard.  Be careful out there!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Quest for the Perfect Mask

 We're now three months into Covid-19 and all that comes along with it.  Mask-making and mask-wearing is now just as important as it was in late March,  There are a zillion free masks patterns available.  But which one to use?  It's kind of like trying to find the hottest/steamiest iron or the quietest, best-stitching sewing machine.  I have a favorite iron (Oliso), a favorite sewing machine (my Brother 1500 straight stitch), and I now have a favorite mask pattern.  Ami Simms and Valli Schiller, both women I know, created a pattern with darts for the nose and chin as well as some pleats.
This mask pattern allows for a variety of way to fasten.  I'm out of elastic right now, so I am using home-made fabric straps.  This kind of mask goes over the head and then is tied behind the head.  It can easily be removed and yet still be attached.  There is also a huge discussion about filer vs non filter.  And here's what I am comfortable with:  using a batik which is very tightly woven for the outside and a soft cotton for the inside.

Two of the grandsons have graduated - one from hs and one from college.  Another grandson just turned 21.  We are having a socially-distancing get together.  14 people.  The party favor?  Yes!  A mask!

Saturday, June 6, 2020


In no particular order, I am very thankful for 

1.  my design wall
2.  John
3.  my sewing machine with the knee lift and automatic scissors
4.  my Vietnamese friends and their cooking know-how
5. drugs 
6. Quilty friends and Zooming
7.  John
8.  my sister Paula
9.  new Quilty friends
10.  Cristina and her sourdough bread sharing
11.  my hand surgeon Dr. Urbanowski and my occupational therapist Eileen
12.  being able to open jars and baggies again
13. my fabric stash and various supplies
14.  being excited about quilting after tamping that down during February and March
15.  an aura - albeit light - of political optimism about the possibility of political change this fall
16.  babies
17. my special WW buddy Cecilia
18.  my generous friend Sarah S
19. my grandchildren
20.  John
21.  being able to hand quilt again.  So soothing.
 22.  My friend Dorothy and what she passed along to me on FB

This might morph into a quilt...
23.  A summer day like today with the studio windows open, the gentle hum of cicadas in the background (this is just a renegade brood, not the real thing which comes in 2024).
24.  John
25.  Emerging from the Land of Broken Wrist into functionality.  

Saturday, May 30, 2020

A Plan for some Fat Quarters

Remember when Melissa, Holly, and Sarah returned from QuiltCon and brought me presents?  (as if anything at that point would cheer me...)  There was an additional set of fat quarters, some terrific surface-print fabrics.  Special fabrics - the kind that are hard to find.  One day last week I unrolled the pack and ironed them.  And then I threw them down on the design floor.  10 fat quarters - each 18' x 22".  Here they are below:

By cutting each quarter in half, there are 20 blocks.  By using a wide sashing of maybe 4.5", each block will be set off nicely and create and great size - 80" x 98". And I found a wonderful grey linen-like cotton that will pair nicely.  I might even try a shadow box type of design.  I'll decide that later.  These blocks, my tentative layout, and the grey for sashing are tucked away on one of the shelves, ready for construction!

I've recently shown the red/grey/black quilt for grandson Jack.  Sam, Nikki, Ryan, and Natalie have had recent quilts.  Now it's Brandon's turn, and  I think these fabrics are perfect for him.  Then on  to Benjamin!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Those All-So Useful Sew-a-Longs

Look at the hashtag #100dayproject.  Or #100blocks100days.  Or in the case of this quilt #52blocks52weeks. A quilter who has lost her mojo finds these useful - just something every day or every week to get things going.

The Canadian Quilters Association began this sew-a-long in January 2019, and I learned of this through one of my Canadian quilter friends.  Each Tuesday of the year directions for a 6.5" block were released and shown in grey scale, one of my favorite palettes.  Looking at my immense scrap collection, I thought it would be fun to work on this project, using only scraps.

By using 3" sashing, this quilt is a useable size 65" x 75".   It just needs quilting!  I auditioned a lighter background for these blocks but am happier with the darker background.

I enjoyed this little project and it's fun to have an almost-finished project.  The overall look is one I don't treasure despite all my favorite little bits of grey and backs.  This quilt will start looking for its owner soon.  

One note:  a friend pointed out to me that one of the blocks had a definite Swastika look.  That block was immediately removed and replaced with one of my own invention. 

Another note:  Having two hands is terrific. The stitches come out today from the pin removal two weeks ago. Then real rehab begin to restore wrist flexion.  My hand is sore - parts of it are waking up and all soft tissue needs intense stretching as the muscles develop.  But I'm so happy to have both hands again!