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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 begins

Inspirations for next year's projects!
an apple tree applique started a long time ago

Sunflowers in an urban garden by the Lowell Quilt Museum

Inchies with pizazz

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I am thankful for so much in my life; friends, family, co-workers, my new coffee mug, good work ahead of me, books to read, all the comforts of electricity and being "connected", Casper.  But most of all I am eternally grateful for the wonderful, loving, kind and hopeful people that surround me.
a very comfortable space

Casper napping in a quilt project box

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quilting in Connecticut

The weather this past weekend in Connecticut was spectacular.  I spent the long weekend with friends enjoying finishing up and then starting new projects.

Here's a very easy project for confident quilters that can produce great results;

Start with 2 1/2" strips of fabrics.  I used a set of Bali pops; 40 strips on the width of fabric.

 Sew sets of 2 fabric strips together trying to create some contrast in value (a dark and a light strip) using 1/4" seam allowance.  Contrast is relative, so use your best judgement.
Press the seams to the dark strip.
Line the strip sets up on your mat and cut 2 1/2" sections.  You should end up with 16 units plus some leftovers.

Stack the sets up in sets of 8 pairs of units with seams in opposing directions so you are ready to sew. 

Sew the units together to make 4-patch blocks.

Press the blocks open.

Now begin the design.  Using a backdrop of the fabric you plan on using for set-in triangles, arrange your blocks on point with alternating rows of 7 and rows of 6.  You should start with a row of 7 and finish with a row of 7 to keep the design rectangular.  You will have 1-2 extra blocks for each row and one entire extra set of blocks.  I liked the fact that I could pick my least favorite set and pull them out of the design

Although you could drive yourself mad trying the blocks in differing arrangements, at some point they will be pleasing and good enough.

The next stage of this quilt will be adding a very thin border and then a wider border out of the navy blue batik.  My plan is for this quilt to be a background for applique.  Disclaimer:  This plan is subject to change!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Roadtrips. Destinations. John Conte's.

A recent stop at Alewives Quilt Shop in Nobleboro, Maine - a terrific contemporary and innovative shop.
We didn't get pics of Mainely Sewing in Nobleboro, Maine, but that is a very worthy stop with a large selection, great notions and tools, lots of patterns and friendly, helpful staff.

Quilt Diva's in Rockland, Maine - a sweet, inviting and fun place to be.

Can anyone guess where this is?  A hint - one of my favorite places on earth!  And referred to frequently in previous posts.  The quilt top on the Adirondack chair is made from a pack of fabrics from Alewives that included some home dec pieces.  Once finished, it will bring me back to my time in at the cottage, the ocean and the lovely greens/blues of the waters. 
 John Conte's restaurant in Rockland, Maine.  Not for the faint of heart or those who need fine linens and exorbitant prices to enjoy a dining experience.  But a dining experience extraordinaire, it is!

The sun sets on vacation all too quickly.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Day in the Studio

 Friends spent last Saturday in the studio working on a variety of projects.

Donna works on a pattern by our fellow guild member, Sue Pelland, using her Leaves Galore rulers.

Gina puts finishing touches on her woven batiks bag.

Blocks we all worked on for a quilt top.  Wanda volunteered to finish the quilt top and then we'll pick a name out of a hat of one of the participants to win the top.  Look for more updates on this quilt once Wanda finishes it.

Jane H. works on a moose wall-hanging for a family member.

Candy had fun chopping up her wonderful hand-dyed fabrics for a Kaffe Fasset pattern.

Inchies started by Coral and jazzed up by Donna.  One for each of us!

Wanda works on a drawstring bag.  Lovely fabrics.
L to R; Candy, Wanda, Jane M., Donna
And of course, wonderful pot luck lunch!

Looking forward to our next day together!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Precious Gifts

What is the value of the gift of a quilt?  When does a gift do more for the giver than the recipient?  I've always felt that giving a quilt can do more for the quiltmaker than it does for the recipient.  The quiltmaker knows what goes into the quiltmaking; hope, well-wishes, peace, thoughtfulness, warmth, love, time, energy, planning, satisfaction.  Sometimes more of those things than others, but always a piece of ourselves. 

I've made quilts for new babies and those quilts are filled with hope and love.  They are usually light and whimsical, small and sweet.

Quilts for someone who is sick are made with the intention of comfort; warmth, peace, cuddly, safe and inviting.

Quilts for those who have experienced loss are the quietest somehow.  We want to say it's ok to give in and grieve.  And that it will get better.

Quilts for college students say, remember home and remember you are loved.  T-shirt quilts are a tangible reminder of where you've been, what you've done, and who you are.  They are pieces of childhood that are perfectly acceptable to accompany you into adulthood.
a beautiful little girl with her quilt
To quiltmakers who have given away a quilt - what have you received in the giving of it?

And if you make quilts and have never given one away, I encourage you to do it.  It's good for the soul.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Inspired by the tides

Some of you will recognize one of my favorites places, E. Boothbay, Maine, in the background.  I am happy to tell you that I did find inspiration sitting on the deck and watching the tides, or more specifically, watching what happens to the boats in the bay when the tides shift. 

I brought very little fabric on vacation last week, a few Japanese-looking cotton fabrics and some tone-on-tone white stripes.  Watching the boats swing around and shift direction with the tides seemed linear, organized and yet still had a sweeping motion.  I'm not sure anyone looking at this work in progress would make that connection, but it certainly helped me to see these fabrics in a different way.

I used rotary templates to cut out both pieces of the blocks and then sewed the curved pieces without pinning anything.  My Singer 221 Featherweight and slow stitching did a marvelous job!

I'll share more photos of this when I have borders in place. 

In the meantime, I hope you all find something inspiring to help you enjoy today!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Searching for inspiration and getting back my mojo

I've taken some time off from quilting and from creating.  The little bit of work that I've done lately, I wouldn't post for a couple of reasons; much of it was not particularly creative or interesting.  

However, there were 7 pillows made from the flannel shirts and wild ties of a man that passed away a few years ago.  His daughter found me through a friend of a friend.  She had the idea to make something out of his shirts and ties - none of which seemed to go together.  We decided pillows would work and she picked out one special tie for each recipient and let me work around those selections.  The results were remarkable.  The front of the shirts became the back of the pillow, with the button front and breast pockets in tact so a note, picture or such could be tucked inside.  The ties became a fan pattern on the front of the pillow.  She was pleased with the results and I hope her family was, too.  It was a pleasure to make them and I got a sense of the man through his choice in ties - and the fact that his daughter wanted to preserve the memories of him in that way.  It touched my heart. 

With that project done, I'm now looking for inspiration.  What inspires creation?  What satisfies the soul?  What moves the spirit?

I'll let you know what happens next. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Grandma's Aprons

This quilt contains feed sack fabrics from the 1930's and contemporary muslin.  It started with a piece of my grandmother's apron.  The apron was well-used and spotted from decades of cooking and baking. Looking at this quilt, I can picture Gram baking oatmeal bread, a weekly tradition, or preparing vegetable fresh from the garden..  She grew a garden that fed the two of us, extended family, the milkman, neighbors, the postman and anyone who happened to stop by for a visit during a harvest.  She knitted gorgeous sweaters; white sweaters for christenings, chicks marching across the front when a child started walking, winter sweaters with deer to keep teens warm, and Irish cables when you reached adulthood.  Some of my earliest memories are of playing with bits and pieces of cloth she gave me from the garments she made on her little black and gold Singer featherweight machine; wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses for cousins, outfits for me with matching outfits for my Barbie.  She was a utilitarian version of Martha Stewart, on a strict budget! 

The collection of feed sacks came from my mom who scoured estate sales in Pennsylvania, numerous visits over the years to Brimfield, the generosity of quilting friends, as well as my Gram's apron. 

I've long since forgotten which fabric was Gram's apron.  That bothered me until I arrived at the conclusion that any woman who collected feed sack fabrics before me would probably be pleased with the current use of their fabric.  That generation repurposed, recycled and reused whatever they could out of necessity rather than from any efforts to be green or environmentally prudent.

Grandma's Aprons is dedicated to Marjorie Ivy Daubney.  She lived in quiet dignity, made the most of anything she was fortunate enough to have and shared with great amounts of love. I continue her tradition of sewing by quilting.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's been a while

This past winter, we visited Boothbay, Maine, for a change of scenery.  It was a terrific road trip.  There are a number of photos of this spot in earlier posts.  This is a home away from home for me and for Kelly.  Other than work, more work, and continued projects involving more home rennovations, I haven't had much time to quilt lately.  But that is about to change.  Stop by again in the next few weeks to see the projects I'm working on this spring.  In the meantime, enjoy the views from Boothbay. 

My friend, Michael, is a great collector of found ocean objects including the colorful lobster trap buoys.

 Sue and Kelly in Boothbay. 
 A beautiful day. A beautiful place. 
 More demolition and reconstruction.  It's now done!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Perseverance and Spring

Last year, a colorful little critter climbed up into my deck herb garden.  In an effort to save my hard-won productive garden, I flicked him off the deck that is attached to the second floor of my house and onto the lawn.  About a week later I went out to get some rosemary and there he was again.  Now, I don't have proof that it was exactly the same little colorful critter, but if not him, it was his twin!

That's perseverance.  Despite all those legs it had to have taken him quite a while to get to the parsley. I'm looking forward to this year's garden, sharing it with whomever comes to dinner and perhaps even the return of my little green friend.

We have persevered through this long winter's snowfall and ice dams.  Maybe we can apply those skills and some patience towards whatever projects are ahead, quilt-related, spring clean up or otherwise. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hearty New Englanders

There are iscicles on the roof, drips in a number of rooms from ice dams and more snow on the ground here in Central Massachusetts than we've seen in a very, very long time.

So what is there to do?  Teach a friend's daughter to quilt!  We had a very productive day and look forward to our next afternoon to work on her quilt.

The studio may be snowed in but it's nice and dry!

Iscicles off the roof and looking over the back deck.
The front yard, driveway and top of our Weeping Cherry Tree which is at least 6 feet tall at the top.

A little perscpective of the depth of the snow for those of you outside of New England.
Wishing you all warmth, safety and good work to keep your hands and mind constructively occupied!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Year's Day 2011

A wonderful beginning to the start of 2011 began with brunch and a day in the studio with friends.  It was time to start new projects and finish up works in progress.