Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 comes to an end…

What an odd year. 2020 and 2021 have run together into one odd blur, mostly defined by Covid and broken bones.  Its good to end the year on a positive note, this time with Mors bags.  A guildster needs bags for a charity project, and I've made up these two, with fabric she gave me, to see if these are what she wants.  I sometimes forget how satisfying these Mors bags are to make.  Want to make one?  Go to - directions are there.  Another quick and satisfying project is bowl cozies.  We use ours all the time.  The one below is for me. The black and white fabric is from New Zealand, and all the designs are Maori.

But my main focus of December has been purses for Sew Powerful. I wanted to make 31, but stopped at 25 and got them in the mail.  This year I did a total of 101, which isn't bad considering the turmoil of the big move.

See below for our Christmas Eve table and why we love our new space so much.  Last Christmas Eve John and I took ourselves out of the family mix.  This year, with vaccinations and boosters (and requiring testing for the three unvaxxed grandsons, two of whom tested positive and didn't attend), our dinner was lovely, and all seemed happy to be gathered together.

Two Bowls cozies for John's sister

The other side of the black and white one for my kitchen

One of my favorite purses

Purses from fabrics by Mary Radnor

No design wall for purses so a new rack with 20 hooks!

 2022 is going to be the no excuses year.  The move is over, we are both healthy, the LaGrange house is sold with an early February closing, and I have projects I can't wait to work on!  

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Mid December


This wall hanging is 3' x 4' and intended to be the first of a four seasons series for the dining room fireplace.  I do think this is a lovely tribute to autumn but will also admit it's odd. The hand quilting has created a wonderful texture.  But as I thought about above the fireplace, this just wouldn't work there yet.  But look how great it looks in the kitchen.  That wall has been pretty bare, so I've taped this up just to see whether it belongs here.  And I think it does!

Meanwhile during the day I've been working on purses.  It's December 18, and here are eighteen purses.  Because John does all things Christmas, it's been pretty easy to find the time to sew.  And because we think we have finally sold our LaGrange house, there are less distractions!

This year it's Ben's turn for a quilt.  This isn't exactly a Christmas present.  It's just a good time to give him his quilt.  I used a Japanese canvas which has a very manly look.  It's a heavy quilt - hope his rooms are cold and that he needs this warmth.  I quilted this quilt on my domestic machine.  Even though this machine has a large harp, there was still much quilt wrangling that went on - I could only work on this for maybe an hour a day, and only after I finished my purse sewing.  But it's finished, and I'll be happy to hand it off.  Unfortunately we photographed this quilt on an excessively windy day and were lucky to get any decent shot at all! I love doing log cabins.  The backing for this quilt is a fabric of 8" measures.

Now back to more purses!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The Broken Wrist Quilt

Does this quilt do anything for you?  I love it for several reasons.  It was one of the first things I worked on with my broken wrist.  I had just had the pins removed (without anesthesia, just a local - stupid Covid - don't ask) and was doing rehab.  And I'm sure this project helped the rehab along. I've always admired quilts using the selvage edges of fabric.  So I went through my stash and cut off the selvage edges, about a 2" strip.  I also set out scrap strips.  There are no seams on these blocks, just fabrics overlapped and foundation pieced onto 12.5" squares of muslin.  Each of the 35 blocks was batted with wool, quilted individually (perfect summer quilting) and then joined in a quilt-as-you-go technique.  The backs of each block were scraps also.  Nice way to use up these odd bits. 

This quilt doesn’t have an owner yet.  Which is fine with me.  I need to hang on to this for a while, admire it, and reflect on how difficult some of this work was as I was healing and rehabbing.  It pleases me very much.  60” x 84”

Monday, December 6, 2021

Yikes, how did it get to be December?


In all the flurry of November and my trip to Santa Fe and out of towners for Thanksgiving, I continued to sew, just without blogging.  I’m utterly thrilled with a quilt I just finished, but I’ll do an entry tomorrow about this quilt.  It is just too special for a little mention.  The Santa Fe trip was wonderful.  The landscape of this area is intriguing.  It’s so unfamiliar to me.  The clarity of air is noticeable.  So is the aridity and the elevation.  

Our first Thanksgiving in Oak Brook was a good one - we had 8 around the table.  We are just so happy in this space.  And we’re hoping to get a bit happier - we may have found a buyer for our house.  

Small projects for perfect when sewing time is so broken up.  And I've been wanting to make bowl cozies.  We use ours all the time and they need updating.  Several of these were for gifts, and someone bought two pair although I really don't intend to sell them.  They are satisfying to make and use up the cotton and wool batting scraps.  

But the month ended on two very sad notes.  One is the death of Stephen Sondheim.  He was a brilliant artist whose work spoke deeply to me.  I've blogged about Sondheim before.  The ambivalence he often wrote of is akin to Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn.  And his music? Just wonderful.  I felt this same sadness when Julia Child died.  Alexa and I have been going through the Sondheim canon.  And I'm still doing it.  But more importantly and sadly the chief cheerleader among Sew Powerful volunteers and purse makers, Shirley Utz, died.  Pancreatic cancer.  She s leaving a huge footprint.  Her grace during these last few months is a model of how to live.  

My life rhythm has been off with the move.   We love where we are but are realizing that the move was not easy.  And the biggest unease has been the house not finding its buyer.  But I'm snapping out of this irregular rhythm.  I'm very good at sewing my way through grief and sadness.  My December intention is to sew a purse a day and get them in the mail.  Being married to the guy to who all the Christmas allows me the luxury of the commitment.