Sunday, December 24, 2017

2017 Another Year Gone...

I am on my Christmas break. Emily is reading in the living room and Tom is fixing lunch. It is Christmas Eve day. I am in the sewing room making samples and writing up instructions for my quilts on the hoof.

I am making a Lady of the Lake quilt and it will be scrappy. The only consistent thing is the large half square triangle in the middle. 

Lady of the Lake sample block

The half square triangles that go around the block are scrappy anything. The light side of the triangle is all tans from very light to no darker than a paper bag. The colors are anything I find in my box of 2 ½” squares. I am trying to use as much of the cut stuff as possible. I have lots of 2 ½’ squares.

The fun part of this is the bonus half square triangle that comes from making the block parts. If you mark a second line 3/8” from the original diagonal line and sew it as well, when you cut the space between the sewn lines, you get two half square triangles.

One for the current project and one for the bonus block box.
I have made several quilts from the bonus block box and since there are so many possibilities, it is worth making them for future use. Unfortunately it is twice as much pressing of half square triangles, but there is the plus side of not having to make 2” half square triangles for the small blocks with which I am so enamored.

4 X Square with dark squares

4 X Square with light squares

To find ideas for using them, I look everywhere for block ideas and build my quilt on EQ7. 

This time my bonus half squares are going to be made into a block called 4 X Star which I found in the block tool from Ladies Art Company. I think this would be an excellent project to take to a quilt retreat. I have a tub of 2” strips for the 9 patch blocks in the center. The color possibilities can be endless and I don’t have to cut anything but the sub cutting of units to sew. I get to use of stuff.

I have lots of scraps of fabrics to cut into usable parts hanging around. I get gifted with fabric from various people who are not going to use what is left from some project or other.
Honestly, I probably don’t need to buy anymore for quite some time.

I took a buying hiatus several years ago and used such a lot of fabric in a 2 ½ year time frame. The price of fabric had sky rocketed in my non buying phase, and now it just freaks me out how much it costs to make a quilt. I’ll stick with scrappy and use up what I have.

All the pictures shown of finished blocks are just my samples so I remember how to assemble things and can see how to press things when I actually make the block. I like to be organized.
The ideas for making bonus blocks I learned from Bonnie Hunter and her scrap organization techniques.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Today I Build a Quilt

Time again to assemble a project. I find great joy in putting together a quilt. Every bit of it is a journey of discovery. Scraps, no matter how diverse can come together and become something beautiful.  

I learned a very valuable lesson (for me) from a dear person no longer in my circle of friends, and the loss is mine, and that lesson is that every interaction creates an opportunity to be not only teacher but humble student. Keeping that thought uppermost in these troubling times of instant access to everyone’s thoughts on social media is not the easiest thing to do.

The people in my young life were up-lifters. I was encouraged to find the best in people. I did not understand that there were things that troubled the people around me. Civil unrest was rampant in the cities but did not touch my neighborhood. I loved my neighbors.
Recently I thought it was a failing on my part that I do not see the troubling thoughts in the people around me, but I realize it is not possible to see what others think.  Living life is not an easy thing to do on the best of days at times. Getting old has its burdens as well as its perks.

Building quilts is a release of sorts. My thoughts can drift. Things get sorted in my head. A block emerges from the chaos on my sewing table. Then another and another and soon there is a box of blocks. I hope my swirling thoughts can find the same result.
The drifting thoughts flit through a variety of subjects and I find the need to express myself in words. November is a time for reflection. Looking back at the joys and sorrows and finding the value in the things for which I am thankful. Since too much information is too much information, I will still keep those flitting thoughts to myself, but I need to make quilts. I need to see the beauty arise from the chaos.

Find your joy. Make people smile. Love what you do. Do what you love.

Today I build a quilt.

Friday, October 27, 2017

A new house, a new life!

I can hear Norma’s voice telling me I haven’t written a new blog in a long time and I’d better get to it. This one’s for you Norma.

My life has been in a changing mode for many moons now and it’s finally stopped being chaos and turning into life again. I got wise to the ways of apartment living and started looking for a house when I got a new dog. I miss Angus and Fiona a lot. Eubha was a charming young lady but she had no personality and did not understand she was even a dog until the last few months of her 17 years. The new puppy, Jake, has mighty big paws to fill to come close to Angus, but he is capable of filling them. He is a character.
My studio in Cuyahoga Falls is as different to quilt in as living in an apartment was to living in a house. I live in a home again. I still quilt in the studio in CF. It’s nice. I don’t miss the cars zooming up and down the boulevard because it was a convenient cut through for hundreds each day. I don’t miss having to sleep with closed windows to drown the sound.

I will dispense with the words and go straight to the pictures. This is a smattering of customer quilts and my quilts for the past 14 or 15 months. I have many more to share, but it will be another day, as my internet is being stinky.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Change is good

It has been a busy year. I had put my sewing on the shelf, so to speak, to get through each day. Yesterday I put the sewing machine to work again and picked up a long forgotten project and sewed a few rows together.

Tom and I have moved into a very small apartment. My quilting business has been moved into a very small studio space about a mile from the apartment. The sewing room was the last thing to get organized in the move. The house has sold and our lives go on.

Today as I drove to the gym before through the blowing snow spits I was very thankful that getting up and lighting a fire was no longer the first thing I do every morning.  My priorities have changed! I go to the gym first thing. Next on the list of things to do is to go to the studio and quilt.

I don’t have internet at the studio so my quilting routine has also changed. I sit and read on my kindle for a few minutes when I am ready to take a break. I feel guilty when I’m reading and not quilting so I don’t read for long before I am back at the machine.

The biggest change of all is when I leave to go home the quilting on customer quilts is done for the day. No going back into the other room after supper to do another pass. I have to be more determined when a project stretches into longer than I wanted it to. I have not fallen behind and I am not too old to learn a new trick or two.
I have had the good fortune to have such excellent customers they were willing to find me in my new place and keep on keeping me busy.

My new studio is cozy, only 400 square feet. ¼ of that area is an enclosed space where i can keep my “to do” quilts on a shelf.

Finding clever ways to hang the pantographs and to store all my tools required a very good lot of thinking. I have many of my studio quilts that were displayed still in a storage locker. I am not sure yet how to utilize them.

Looking out the window as the fine snow was blowing made me feel like I was inside of a snow globe. The world goes by outside. I see the cars waiting at the traffic light each morning during rush hour. I hear sirens as the ambulances go down the street on the rare occasion one rushes by. I see an occasional walker and once in a while someone walks into the studio and asks something of me.

The first day a man stopped in and asked if I would consider hemming pants for him. No. Yesterday a young fellow stopped in and asked what tree quilting was. His dad cut down trees and they had a lot of wood that they needed to find someone to sell to. I explained that I quilt for people and it has nothing to do with trees. Well thanks anyway for stopping in. He didn’t have a clue.

Life goes on.