Saturday, March 29, 2014


...and the things we do for them!

I spent the last 3 days of my week off doing something I’m grateful I don’t have to do anymore. Prepping for weaving is hard work!

I took the kids to a dear friend’s house and helped her get her studio back in order.  Like everyone else, her life got in the way and things got out of hand. 

Linda is a weaver of the finest caliber that I met early on in my weaving career.  I remember walking with Linda through a field in Akron at the Hardesty Park Art show where we were both setting up our booths.  Her daughter, Cara, zoomed up to her and whispered that the ‘competition’ is here.  Linda replied to her that she knew, she was walking with it. I don’t know who was more astonished, Cara or myself, as being someone’s competition is really outside my thinking.  I have always looked at Linda as a friend. I will admit I am a competitive person; I just tend to compete with myself. I want to do better than I did the last time, that sort of thing. It’s part of what drives me to excel.

Weaving is hard work. I did it for 2 decades.  Linda has 3 decades of weaving under her belt.  Making a living as an artist is not easy no matter the medium and I’m not saying any artist has it better than another when it comes to whether work is hard or not. To me the best part of doing something you love and making enough money doing it to pay the bills is that you are doing what you love. How many people stumble through life stressed out over work?

One of the things I found myself most grateful for these past three days is leaving all the dust behind.  There is a smell to fabric, it is not a bad smell, but it is very prominent. As you descend into the stairwell from Linda’s house to her shop you become aware of the difference in the air.

The kids and I sorted, stacked, moved and sorted some more and came home exhausted and sore.  We all went to bed early on Wednesday. I hurt so bad in places that apparently muscles have not moved much in the last 12 years that another thing I was grateful for was a soft bed.

Before Wednesday was over Emily and I also warped a loom. 

Ironically, weaving is like riding a bicycle; you just get back on the seat and remember how it all works.

On Thursday Emily tied on the threads we put on the beam to the existing threads in the heddles and Linda showed her how to pull it through and prepare the loom to weave. Laura helped me warp the second loom on Thursday between bouts of her sorting work areas. 

On Friday I had Laura tie on the threads from the second loom to the existing threads already in the heddles.  Emily helped her pull through and Linda tied that one to prepare for weaving.  By Friday Linda was getting pretty excited about being able to weave again.

not quilt finished tying on, that is why there are sagging threads
Just seeing the floor seemed like a miracle to me!

I promised to go back when Linda gets warp in to help warp this big loom

Today I am back to sewing quilt blocks, quietly being thankful that I am a quilter now. Weaving is hard work.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My Latest project (Mad City Mama goes Rural)

I am so inspired by Bonnie Hunter and her taming of the scraps.  I have accumulated end trimmings from quilt edges and pieces parts from other projects for years.  They need to be brought under control.  Well right off the bat I know that is not going to happen, so just utilizing some of the scraps into a project is a project in itself.
I try to explain my method of approaching a project in the blog posts most times and I will explain my inspiration for this latest quilt.
Bonnie has a wonderful series of books I use for inspiration.  I have focused on a pattern called Mad City Mama in her book Adventures with Leaders & Enders.  It is a wild riot of color strip blocks and 25 patch units.  I am making the 25 patch units from 1 1/2” strips of fabric.  I felt the easiest way to achieve a good mix of colors with unnoticeable repeats was to make all my strip sets for the 100 blocks I need for my quilt before I cut them into units to sew together into the blocks.  I have a tub of 1 ½” strips of fabric that just keeps getting fuller. 

My sister tried to tame this tub years ago and found they never go away.  She made a lot of quilts before she threw her hands in the air and said enough!  She even resorted to taking bags of one color and sewing the entire bag of strips into long strings and giving the sewn strips to our friend, Linda, to weave purses with.  Still there are bags of strips.  Linda would report back and tell us how many dollars of stock she had created.  Good for her.  It got rid of the really awful stuff like PINK.
finished sets of 9" strips sets

pressed and waiting for subcutting

Back to the project at hand.  Today I completed the 100 strip sets and will cut them into 1 ½” units consisting of 5 blocks.  
I don't cut one set at a time!

trimmed and into tub for sorting into sets of five

These will get sorted into sets of five units to sew into little 5” blocks which have 25 1” squares. 
sets of 5 waiting to be sewn

lovely little 5" blocks of 25 patches!

I will change the way my quilt looks by not using strips to make the squares that set the 25 patch units together because the riot of color Bonnie used is just too much for me. I will tame it with Kaffe Fassett’s red shot cotton fabric I bought recently at a local quilt shop.  The star points will be made from a brilliant blue fabric.  

The planning part is always the most fun.

Pictures will try to tell the story.