Sunday, October 31, 2021

No Trick or Treat Candy!

 I like my new home.  It's a condo of people pretty much my age and no children, not that there's anything wrong with them!  We're not in a neighborhood - we're in nature.  And it's lovely. There are walking paths, and our across-the-street neighbor is the Hilton Oak Brook Hills Resort.  Instead of agonizing over what kind of Halloween candy to buy and whether we have enough, this holiday is a candy-free zone.  A nice change of pace.  One negative:  one more leaves fall I we will be able to see an over-the-top magamansion.  I'll need to keep my eyes in the studio.

I've been working on this, now that it's cool again.  This quilt is based on a pattern by Yoshiko Jinzenji and features bit of favorite fabrics.  There are 6 boxes of negative space, each one with different hand quilting.  Sometimes I can't see for forest for the trees, so I asked John to hang this off the balcony for some photos.  I'm trying to vary the stitching, but it just doesn't show up all that much.  So now?  It's just a matter of getting it done.

Meanwhile I went through my batting scraps and made some presents, both for this house and for others. These bowl cozies are so handy for soups and chili and anything else that comes out of the microwave too hot to safely handle.  Mine are in the bottom right - that black and white fabric I bought in New Zealand and it represents Maori designs.  The colorful dots back with orange prisms?  for Eileen.  The bottom left - very dark blue and a dress pattern print for Sarah.  And there are several for Melissa featuring topographical fabric, Native American design,  and house design plans.  It was good to work on small things that are easy to complete!

For the most part John is appreciative of what I do and lets me hang whatever I want.  However, he looked at this wall hanging, meant for above the fireplace in the dining room, and said he didn't understand how this was representative of Fall.  And this is indeed my Fall wall hanging.  Ill admit it's abstract at this point, but I have stitching plans that I hope will make this piece easier to understand.  And if he doesn't get it, that's okay too.  It's 3' tall and 4' wide.  

This quilt is one I started after fracturing my wrist.  I foundation-pieced selvage strips onto batting.  I could operate my machine and was able to do rough cutting by stabilizing my ruler with my elbow.  Foundation piecing meant that there were no seams to iron.  And its obvious I stuck to lights, greys, reds, and black.  Then I attached each 12" square to a neutral backing.  When it was too warm to work on the above Yoshiko-ish quilt, I worked on hand-quilting these blocks.  31 of them or complete.  I'm saving the remaining 4 for some traveling mid-November, and then I'll connect these blocks using the reversible quilting method.  I know the sashing/binding strips on the front need to be neutral, but I'm trying to decide whether I want to do something different for the sashing/binding strips on the back.  I have a few weeks to ponder on this.  And I'll watch the leaves continue to fall.  Happily.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Double-Sided Tape: My New Love

 My design wall is working just perfectly!  None of my taped batting-covered insulation boards have come loose.  Pins go in easily, and single-layered bits just stick so nicely. 

The design wall also holds the finished purses nicely, too.  Most of these four use recycled blue jeans for the body.  And the flaps are from other deconstructed quilted projects.  I am having a serious love affair with double- sided tape! 

Now that the weather is cooler, I am getting back to this quilt.  Most of it is quilted except for the areas surrounded by the fabrics.  Here’s what I tried in one box…

And here’s another…

It’s fun and satisfying to work on these negative spaces.  Every so often I have to unfurl the whole quilt - you know, kind of like you can’t see the forest for the trees, right?  I think I want to hang this in the living room when it’s completed.  But meanwhile I have hung an oldie but a goodie:

I made this well over 10 years ago, and it hung in my dining room forever.  Despite its age, I do think it’s one of my more creative pieces.  These blocks are all log cabins, and I was still heavily into my batik period!  I am loving seeing it up again.  Just to unify this blog post, let me give another plug for the double-sided tape - that’s how this quilt is hung,  and that’s how the area rug above is “mounted” on the carpeting.  

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Design Wall Success


Having a design wall is pretty important to me.  But since we still have both homes, I tried to figure out the most cost-effective and efficient way to create one.  And I’m proud to report that I’ve had success.  Home Depot carries 3/4” foam insulation boards that are 24” x 24”.  Score both sides with a rotary cutter and snap over a knee:  voila! Cover one side with batting - here it’s Warm and Natural.  A regular stapler works just fine for this.  My handy dandy roll of double-sided tape is perfect for adhering these to the wall.

                    I even used a level at this point with the first boards.  

Single layers of fabric will adhere with no pins.  But if there’s any weight or heft, pins go in very easily and support the weight.  This design wall isn’t the largest.  And I may add a 12” row on the bottom.  But this will serve my purposes nicely.  When making multiple purses, it’s good to be able to see what I’m working on and what steps have been completed.  Above there are two purses including lining and straps.  

I’m pretty pleased with this effort!  It is 60” wide and 72” tall. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Looking at things differently...


We’ve been here for almost a month.  And we have been very slow to hang - or rehang - what we had in LaGrange.  We’re moving slow.  And I think about each piece I have and whether or where I want it hung.  What I know for sure I need some kind of design wall - for now I have hung a piece of batting (see below).  But I knew for sure I wanted to rehang these three pieces.  Brenda aka @2louises made the Red Cross wall hanging in a Chicago and Ann Arbor guild swap.  I love it for its colors, simplicity, and the sentiment.  This corner, a tribute to Double Plus Good, a quilt @rossiecrafts did years ago, is a reminder to do good.

With that in mind, getting back to purse making is important.  But I don’t have the floor space I had before, and I’m a visual sewer.  This tacked piece of batting holds the parts for 4 purses with the flaps coming from pieces that were experiments in techniques.  

I also came across quilted jackets I enjoyed making and wearing.  But I haven’t worn them in years.  I thought about turning them into purses.  Instead, I made some oversized zip pouches.  Below are the purses I've been working on...
This purse has a denim component paired with red and gold glittery fabric.  Because why not?

Because the flaps are scrappy, I found some neat reds for the underflaps.

This flap was leftovers from something.?

Here you can see the kimono experiment.  The red and black were experiments in a feather technique and the stripes are leftover from a grandson's quilt.

I tried something different and put a back pocket on the denim-body purse , using a pretty special glittery fabric.

Slowly a normal life rhythm is resuming.  And we are very happy.  Now, if the La Grange house would just sell…

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

And the adventures continue in a new studio!


We have been in our new Oak Brook condo for a week now and are fairly organized.  I actually was able to resume sewing.  While I’m still working on things like lighting and organization, I am very happy with my new space!  I have found all of my important stuff although I’m still looking for homes for some of these things.  

When I needed to photograph quilts, I would pin them on my design wall.  I don’t have a design wall, yet.  But i do have a terrific balcony with John willing to hold the quilt in a pose. (And he’s getting quite adept at hiding his fingers!)  This quilt is for my nephew Nathan who is marrying Clarissa in October.  The wedding is in central Indiana with a lot of unvaccinated people.  So I will send this quilt and hope our absence is forgiven.  My machines are in front of windows that overlook trees.  And today was one of those perfect days with the windows wide open and the air fresh and clear .  I think there are going to be some terrific adventures here!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Last projects from my LaGrange Studio

This summer has been one of transition - buying a condo in Oak Brook and selling our house of 35 years in LaGrange.  It’s been a time of good stress.  I haven’t been doing much sewing. But I have almost finished a project I started during QuiltCon 2021.  

 This is a pattern of Yoshiko Jinzenji.  It has bits of meaningful fabrics and a lot of hand quilting.  I will just do something interesting in the middle of the enclosed squares, but I’m saving those parts for colder weather.  I think the back of this quilt is equally interesting.

Here are some close ups…

The other project has been a wedding quilt for my nephew Nathan.  He requested Southwest colors. And this  is what I came up with.  It’s a heavy quilt made from Japanese canvas linen in my favorite Trip Around The World pattern. 

I have loved this LaGrange studio. It is large and has the best light.  My new studio will be good, just different. My tables are in there already, just waiting for new carpeting and the rest of the furniture. 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Makers Gotta Make

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe (not really - she lived in a quilting studio)

She had so many children she didn't know what to do.  (Well, not children.  Just quilts.  And more quilts.  And then even more quilts.)

In preparing for a move out of our current house, we took down ALL the quilts.  And I'm not sure we will rehang them.  Mostly because I keep making more quilts.  So I am destashing my quilts.  If you see a wall hanging or a quilt you would like in your house, make a donation to Sew Powerful and the quilt is yours.  Ready?  Here goes....

Wintersection.  34" x 32" x 42"  This is my only piece which doesn't have four 90 degree angles.  

SOLD to Brenda Rowley Grey, Ann Arbor.   Needle-turned appliqué on Yoshiko Jinzenji fabric with sashiko stitching.  43" x 44"

                      SOLD to Carol Conway             CandyLand.  32" x 48"

                SOLD to Linda Bushkofsy.        CityScape.   39" x 41" Hand-quilted on peppered shot cottons

                             SOLD to J.R.                  Relative Moons.  37" x 48"

            SOLD to Catrina Dorsey        Study in Black, Gold, Grey, and Silver. 88" x 88"

     SOLD  to Jennifer Benoit Bryan Glamorous Clamshells. 88" x 88"  Hand-quilted peppered shot cottons

        SOLD to Carol Conway.  Elliptical Drunkard's Path. 72" x 70". Hand-quilted peppered shot cottons


                            Circles in Squares.  Hand-quilted. 88" x 88". see back of quilt below

                          Study in Blacks and Whites. 95" x 114". Half-square triangles set on point.

 SOLD  to Chris Hicks.    Homage to 8 1/2 " x 11" with text prints.  74" x 61"

              SOLD to Beth Kovacic.   Piano Tuner's Daughter.  58" x 70" Forks made by members of my 
                                                           #ChiModBee. Hand-quilted

                                                      Back of Piano Tuner's Daughter

                                                        Christmas Bargello.  40" x 46"

                           A wonderfully odd napping quilt - 60" x 75" - with lots of hand-quilting.

             SOLD  to Carla Ray Hensen           Experiment in source of light.  38" x 32"

                   SOLD to Paula Thompson.   Storm at Sea - 35" x 44", couching with decorative yarns

                                        SOLD  to Carla Ray Hensen  Scrappy String Piecing, 30" x 46"

Not posted here but on Instragram are Interwoven (sold to Julia Wylie Bryant) and Interwoven Scraps (sold to Jennifer Peters, Ann Arbor.)  

Thanks to my husband and neighbor Sam for their quilt holding!