Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Good Day

Any day spent with friends is a really good day!
Quilt friends, Sheila, Kathy and Mary.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Garden Maze

It finally feels like Spring around here... time to celebrate with something fresh and new! Marian Edwards posted this little quilt on her beautiful blog, a must read for anyone interested in antique and reproduction quilts, especially of the small variety.

Marian designed her quilt around bits and pieces leftover from previous projects. Hmm... I had some of the same bits lying around my own sewing room:

a single Dresden Plate block,

a couple of appliqu├ęd flowers,
embellished with buttonhole
stitch embroidery,

and precut strips of 1930s repro fabric.

These particular bits were leftover from various classes I'd taught. By making class samples and demo blocks from the same style of fabric,  it was easy to incorporate them into another project later on.

Kathy Smith used my pieces to create a miniature sampler style quilt. She brought new life to what certainly would have remained unused scraps if left in my care.

Kathy hand quilted simple designs, reminiscent of 1930s quilts.

I've named it "Garden Maze," for the labyrinth pattern created by the strip pieced blocks. The quilt measures 27” square and is backed with a sweet jonquil print.

Our grand kitty, Gandalf, laid claim to the quilt as we tried to take pictures. I love the way his little tippy toes rest right at the edge. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Birthday Treats

What’s sweeter on a birthday than cake and ice cream? How about a new doll quilt from my friend Barb?

I’ve mentioned before, our tradition of swapping doll quilts on birthdays. Half the fun is the anticipation, knowing exactly what the gift will be, yet trying to guess which pattern and fabrics Barb will use. She's delighted me every time!

This year’s birthday quilt is a Courthouse Steps Log Cabin, made from double pink fabrics and shirting prints, particular favorites of both Barb's and mine.

Each log measures ¾ inches

Of course, Barb included a surprise on the back of the quilt too. This time it‘s Parisien advertising labels ~ so pretty!

There were birthday treats from other friends as well. Terri baked a tray of mini cupcakes, using this classic Chicago restaurant recipe. They were moist, light, and way too easy to pop into my mouth whole. When Linda visited a few days later, she couldn't have known that the peppermint ice cream she brought would be used as a prop in a photoshoot, or that she‘d be enlisted as the photographer.   

Thank you, dear friends, for indulging me so sweetly on my birthday. Your friendship enriches this tiny world I live in and makes it easier to face each day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Every Stitch a Blessing, Every Stitch a Prayer

This is not the post I'd hoped to begin the new year with. My dad’s health has been declining since Christmas and sadly, he passed away last week. Dad had Lewy Body Dementia, a cruel combination of symptoms similar to both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Dad died peacefully in his sleep while in the care of hospice. He didn’t suffer, he didn’t linger and for that we are grateful. He was a devoted husband, a great dad, grandfather and all-around good guy who will be remembered for his cheerful, fun-loving spirit.

People manage grief in different ways. For me, it felt natural to turn to needle and thread for solace. My needle got quite a workout in the mid-1990s when we lost several family members and friends within a few short years: a beloved aunt and uncle, my dear brother and his partner, a favorite grade school teacher, and the owner of the quilt shop where I worked. 

It was tempting to wallow in self-pity during those years, but I had to keep things together for my health and family’s sake. In true “fake it till you make it” fashion, quilting helped me cope with grief and loss.

I began by pulling fabrics from my scrap basket. I'd give them a casual trim with scissors and sort them into piles of light and dark strips. When there were enough pieces to run through the machine, I'd stitch them into "liberated" log cabin blocks. The beauty of working intuitively like this is how relaxing it is.

What started as mindless sewing, soon became a form of prayerful meditation. Snip, sort, sew. Snip, sort, sew. Gradually, the quiet focus and rhythmic hum of my machine began to mend my broken heart. 

I don't know how I'll feel about this quilt in the future. I like to think there's more healing in it than grief. Maybe I won't try to finish it -- just keep it for the next time I need some therapeutic sewing... because, unfortunately, there's always a next time.