With a growing pile of quilt-tops and the reports of others leaving behind stacks of completed tops–and trying to complete the partially done projects left by my mother, I have been trying hard to lower that stack of guilt.
Four tops have now been converted to quilts but still need trimming and binding.
I’ve been piecing some backs–so much fabric I have–no need to buy backs–although it is so much easier to use a large single piece of fabric.
Mostly I do pantographs–a pattern I follow–I find it relaxing with the only difficult parts lining up the first row and figuring out how to do the final row.
But then I decided I really did need to try some free-form feathers. I’ve done a few–but it was time to try again.
And then load up the next top.
I’ve been working away on my Gammill (Vivian) longarm quilting machine for some time now. But the stack of tops to be quilted never seems to diminish. Maybe they multiply when I am not looking.
I did finish an Art quilt—to be used as the under-quilt of two figures. I’ve been experimenting with a different method to allow dense stitching on the figures with simpler stitching on the background. For a piece to hang correctly, it must be evenly stitched throughout—and to add details and shading and coloration with thread instead of patching together shades of fabric means the entire piece must have the same amount of stitching—-or the figures constructed separately and then applied to the piece.
I’ve gotten fond of the matchstick type quilting in vogue with the Modern Quilt Guild movement, it is quite simple, very effective, but does take a bit of time. I added some running stitches by hand to the background of this piece.
After I take a piece off the frame, I load the backing, batting, and the top for the next project in line. Then I have no excuses to not work when I go to spend time with Vivian.
Last night I turned into my driveway….home from a week in Wisconsin.
I drove through rain several times, the worst being in Arkansas with cold rain hitting hot pavement, sending up waves of fog amidst the downpour. No-one was driving very fast, including the semis. I stopped in Pocahontas for the night; I felt quite safe that night as I was surrounded by Sheriff Deputy marked cars—there must have been a convention/meeting/gathering…they were all out chatting and talking–no SWAT rifles or helmets or shields evident–just a lot of laughing and chatting.
Google sent me down 49 in Louisiana and through some really rough two lane roads; not to my liking. The small town of Keach established in 1888 struck my eye but I cannot find anything about it on the internet. Google must have heard me grousing about the quality of the roads and the lack of rest-stops and availability of auto-diesel as it then sent me around Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Rain again in Beaumont with steaming roadways and a deluge. People were driving slowly but fortunately I was heading south and they were mostly heading north.
I managed to catch half hour of no rain to unload the inside contents of my truck—a large box of produce===MacIntosh apples from my Auntie Hazel’s yard, pears from a high school friend’s yard, and tomatoes from our garden on the farm.
Today is a day to catch up with all the things that need doing—retrieving the dogs from the kennel–they had a wonderful time as I signed them up for extra play-time, dealing with email and work issues, reviewing photos and contemplating the events of the week.
I’ll be commenting on them as the next week goes by—but the primary reason for the trip was to attend the wedding of one of my nieces and to deliver the quilt my mother–her grandmother had pieced for her and I had finished.
This was the hardest of all the quilt tops she had left for me to quilt–I finished all those edges with a facing—and Tami–my niece—had a huge smile on her face as she peeked at the edges of her new quilts.
There will be a wedding next Saturday.
I have known about it for at least six months maybe more.
Yesterday, I had no choice but to load up this quilt top and begin. My mother had left a quilt top for each of her grandchildren–sixteen or twenty or maybe a hundred–and I was instructed to get them quilted as a wedding gift. Fortunately most of them were teenagers or even younger at the time and so it didn’t seem like an impossible task. I’ve gotten quite a few done but this one was the fanciest of the group—and one that I wanted to do up right.
Mom and I had very different ideas of what made pretty color combinations–maybe she had early cataracts but I remember her choices as a forty something that just seemed really dull and boring to me. The sage green was not appealing, the only bright spot the orange in the center.
That isn’t a wrinkle—it’s the bobbin thread somehow I have not mastered locking the stitches AND cutting the bobbin thread. I had a lot of these until I figured out a way to bring the thread up and give it a yank.
The first day is always hard–what pattern shall I use–and then you’ve got to line everything up–but I didn’t have a straight line to put at the edge. I had been advised to cut off all those fingers to make it easier to quilt and bind—but I left it as it was and did my best. It is far from perfect and in other hands would /could have been a prize winner. But it is now done, and I have four evenings to sew on its binding.
Here it is all done and hanging off the Gammill front bars. Maybe I will show you those fingers a bit later after I’ve faced them.
And then it will be on to the next one she left behind for me to complete. I found a few tops designated for maybe more grandchildren–or maybe the greats—I’ve done more than a few of those too–but still lacking a few–four more at last count.
Sometime a year or more ago I discovered a challenge issued by Pat Sloan—a hundred block sampler. I had bought the book ‘Dear Jane’ with the intention of working through that book and creating my own sampler but like a lot of good ideas remained as an thought.
This project appealed to me–because it would be one small bite at a time–and surely I could keep up.
Of course I soon fell far behind. I was using shirtings cut-offs my great uncle had bought from some mail order place offering such things—my mother had bought satin pieces. These pieces were relatively small but as the blocks finished 6 inches I figured these would work well.
Sometimes I would take my box of scraps and the patterns and cut out a half dozen or more blocks at a time; I would trace off the embroidered blocks three or four at a time–my evenings are spent with Netflix and a hand project—knitting dishcloths, putting bindings or sleeves on quilts, or English Paper Piecing. Embroidery was easy to add to the list–and now I have a lovely lamp over my shoulder to make things even easier.
After finishing all of these blocks it was time to set them together–with sashing. Here it is–not a particularly good photo but a better photo will be had once it is quilted and bound–it goes to the bottom of the stack to be quilted.
As a member of the Houston Modern Quilt Guild I volunteered to swap a pillow case–a pillow covering with someone in Kansas. Her preferences were blue or rainbow and batiks.
Not having a lot of batiks, I spent some time perusing the offerings on-line–and was pleased to find some nice choices; I also came upon a design that I thought was fun and intriguing–a sort of woven effect.
Here is that finished top—and the back. I had planned to put a zipper in it–but in the end used velcro as the fastener.
My mother became a quilter in her later life and had a goal of a hand-quilted quilt for each of her six children–she accomplished that goal several years before she died of ovarian cancer and its complications.
But not satisfied with that goal being met, she set herself a new goal–a pieced top for each of her 19 or 20 grandchildren–I could count them but I haven’t had my second cup of coffee yet this morning. She managed to get them all pieced–some were classes she took at a nearby quilt store and some were patterns she found in books. But she didn’t get them quilted and intended for them to be machine quilted because she thought they would get ‘hard use’. She left them all for me to complete.
I have worked hard at finishing them all up–aiming for weddings as the due date for them. Some of the grand-children have delayed that life event–giving me some breathing room but now I have one coming up in late September that will be the most difficult of all to complete. The one pictured here was pretty easy but this next one—hmm–it has uneven edging.
I have been advised to just cut off those fingers—but it seems not quite right–
Fortunately I have a few months yet to figure it out.
The charming young woman on the left is named Jasmine. She was our waitress while eating at Pappadeaux in Houston during last year’s Quilt festival.
To the dismay of both of our families, we had chosen the name Jasmine Cordelia as a girl’s name. They fussed about no-one in the family with those names although my father had wanted to call me Cordelia.
But we had three sons–all named for various family members on both sides. Two have married and now I have two daughter-in-laws—one of whom insisted he spend the day with me!
We cleaned the shed at the shop in preparation for my honey freezer.
We measured and talked about a greenhouse and chicken run.
We talked about honey and bees and hives.
We inspected the yard; the brick he had put in a crepe myrtle tree as part of his castle that is now grown into the tree.
We rescued several Boy Scout booklets–fishing, citizenship, and firemanship as his oldest son has joined Boy Scouts.
We chatted with my youngest son as he was on his way to a shopping trip on his solitary day off from work in two weeks.
We ate Checkers burgers and curly fries–the shake machine wasn’t working.
He fed the dogs the few remaining fries as a treat–Toby adored him, Dora wasn’t about to miss out on a treat and did her best to do the tricks he required.
All in all a wonderful day—and although I could have wished for a Jasmine in my life, I have Marielys and Tiffany. Not to mention Savanna and Sadie.
Yesterday I wrote about the Happy Scrappers and the previous year’s block exchanges. This year is supposed to be an ‘off’ year in which we tackle putting together those previous exchanges into a completed quilt–quilted, bound, and labeled.
Earlier this week I completed the top of triangles; trying hard to use them all and being mostly successful.
But then there were the five or maybe it was six inch colored squares we exchanged with the idea of using them in applique–something I don’t do very often and only more often than paper-piecing. So I took all those squares, turned them into 9 patches and trimmed away to make them all uniform size–so much easier to sew together.
The leavings pile got quite large and I had to clear it off my table three times before I finished.
Wish I could figure out something wonderful to with this pile—but into the trash it went—I’ve tried putting it out for the birds to make their nests–but pigeons put a few sticks in a crotch of a tree and call it done–while the cardinals are quite secretive about their whereabouts–and I guess the mocking birds do something but have yet to see their home sweet homes.
I belong to a group called ‘Happy Scrappers’. The name was supposed to imply that we used our scraps to make quilt blocks but in truth there is a lot of verbal scrapping–sometimes reaching reality TV level of entertainment….as long as you are not the object of the discussion.
Last year, two exchanges were chosen, my vote being cast as the deciding vote against a particular name fabric–of which I have exactly two yards.
The two projects involved making hundreds or thousands of half square triangles and some four patches. Thousands of them! And enough to cover a football field–well, maybe not quite that many.
I duly cut, sewed,, trimmed, and measured. One set did not follow the rules–I reread those rules and they did not say what everyone else thought they said–but then they got to see the finished block example. So all of my carefully measured pieces returned to me. One set did make the cut and I received a variety of triangles…enough to cover inner field of a baseball diamond–T-ball size.
What to do with those triangles and four patches?
I put them together into one fairly large quilt with just a few left-over, enough to border a label, and a few to add to the orphan block box. That is getting full–so maybe I need to address that problem–but not tonight.