new projects

Several projects that I have been slowly working on.  This first one is near my heart.  It is corduroy and so far just two fabrics, one my husband’s old shirt and one my sister gave me.


It is a wonky log cabin.  It is so much more successful than this block that I was also playing with:


Several errors here. Since is it was play I probably won’t redo it.  I was frustrated with it because it caused a lot thinking to put it together.  Someone with more patience than me would need to put a whole quilt of this pattern together. I get so much more enjoyment out of the wonky blocks instead of trying to force the pattern.

The last one is a bag I am making.  I just have a vague idea of how this will go together but I love the trajectory:




update on two projects


The bears have their frames, next up the decision on how to bring them all together into one quilt.  I had one really nice lay out, but the quilt ends up being orientated landscape. Whenever I make a quilt with a landscape layout it always seams a little wrong.

I really wanted to frame the embroidery to showcase them. I am proud that, unusual for me, I made samples to make the decision of what color ought frame the little bears without overwhelming them.  I settled on the lavender/blue fabric that is shown above framing the bears and below to the far right.  This is different palette for me, usually I love bright colors, especially for baby quilts.  All of my primary color samples overshadowed the delicate embroidery.


I have used only stash fabric for this quilt so far.  For the blue, I had exactly enough; I only had to piece one little strip at the very end.  I was holding my breath while I sewed the last set.  Someone must be watching over me (is it Lou?), because I have had that fabric for a while and it would have been difficult to match.

The blue quilt is now officially a flimsy, ready for quilting. Steve calls it “homey” and I guess it is with its unusual mix of fabric.  It is a real stash quilt with every blue and green fabric in my stash in it. It really glowed when I photographed it.


We had to go down to Burnsville, so on the way I ran into the new SR Harris and picked up this lovely for the back:


It captures all the colors of the quilt and will hide a multitude of flaws in my quilting.

blue quilt update

It has definitely been a long and stressful summer, much good, some bad. I forgot what it was like to be 16 years old and 21 years old, but this summer I re-experienced it. The road to adulthood is sometimes a bumpy ride. In any case, two weeks ago we cleaned out my sewing room to make room for my son. He has set up the space nicely. I have a large pile of materials in the basement to sort through yet. If I can manage to store it all, I will. However, I am getting rid of some things that I haven’t used for a long time such as my papermaking supplies.

Finally last night I got back to business and laid out this quilt. It is fairly large probably: 6 feet by 5 feet. I wasn’t able to photo it all but here is a sample.

blue quilt

I should easily be able to get the top together this week, then next week to the fabric store!

new work

A lot going on here… Paul got an internship that has turned our schedule upside down. If you have time during 8-3:30 pm you might be able to listen to him online. – He is having a great time learning about radio announcing.

I have been busy, but it is slow going- especially taking the time to document here. Here is my first step with the teddy bear picnic quilt:DSC05285

This is framed with some fabric that I got from my aunt.

Now for something completely different. Natalie Chanin recommends samples to learn stitches, and to make design decision. She makes them up into a quilt in the end. I don’t know if I will go that far, but here is my first sample. I will show you the garment that I ended using the techniques soon- it is finished and the sample was helpful.DSC05284


I finished this two weeks ago, but haven’t had time to post it:DSC05277

I started this quilt over eight years ago. It began with some Hawaiian shirts that Steve no longer wanted. He gave them to me and I cut them up and sewed them back together. This first run was not successful because these are either a lightweight cotton or rayon. The fabric didn’t have enough body to make quilt construction easy.

I had decided to make a dress out of the fabric, but this also wasn’t successful. I used muslin as a base, and sewed scraps of fabric to the base. This worked ok, but I didn’t plan it very well in order to work of a dress. I cut it into squares and then it became something.

If I made another quilt like this, I would use fusible web as the base. I did that on the last few blocks I made for this quilt, and it was much easier. The “starter” piece for each block could be pressed down, then the next one sewn to it, then pressed down to the fusible. It made for a very stable base. I will let you know how the structure holds up over time.

This was also one of the most expensive quilts I have ever made. Most of my quilt tops are largely recycled fabrics, either from previous quilts or old clothing. Only the innermost blocks are recycled, the rest is new fabric. I can guess I paid over an one hundred dollars in fabric, batting and thread on this quilt. Usually, my quilts run about fifty dollars: mostly batting and back. Read more



How does one know when a quilt is beyond mending? For me it is when both sides are not repairable. I made this quilt before my younger son was born, before I graduated from college, nearly 18 years ago. At the time I was short on money so I chose a polyester blend for the back. This has worn so well that it has no holes at all.


The front, however, is not so well-preserved. I made several samples with indigo in college using Japanese style stitched resists. These were made with new muslin. After that, I made took two of my skirts over and dipped them in the indigo. I knew it would be a long time before I had access to a vat of indigo. These skirts were already worn, one I had since high school and the other was a cheap cotton chambray. In any case, these have worn away.

I have two strategies for mending this quilt, the addition of the fish. These worked pretty well until it became clear that soon I would no longer have fish, but a red border. Then I took some pieces from another indigo piece I had and sewed them on in the style of slow cloth. This has been an interesting study for the front of the quilt.


But I was looking at this quilt today from the back and it is even more interesting. The white on blue works well in the context of this Japanese-influence quilt referencing back to sashiko stitching.

It is definitely one of those times when serendipity happens.


So those of you who know me and those of you have followed this blog over the last (gasp) seven years know that I am the mother of two young men- one is still technically a teenager so he is on the cusp of childhood/manhood, but the other, graduated from college two weeks ago.

This was a pivotal moment for our family.  Although we will always support him, this is a marker of true independence and adulthood. Twenty two years ago this June we moved into this house.  I was pregnant with him.  The new house, the new baby, our life was full of potential.  Now, I see all of this potential in him as he graduated, the broad open space of his life full of opportunities. Yes, it made me literally weep- many times in the past few weeks- from joy, the overwhelming blessing that he did it and a thousand other emotions.

The beginning for him, while I rejoice and can’t help feel considerable pride, is the end of an era for our little family. Our little house- bursting at the seams last summer, is now much quieter since he has his own place.  Now he comes as a visitor, a very special comfortable one, but still a special occurrence.  The odd random walk, the nearly daily check ins at dinner where we were blessed by the daily details of his life, and unexpected late night talks are now more scheduled and infrequent. I can’t help but miss him. I don’t know what I will do in a few years when his brother leaves.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want him to live here forever or be a child forever.  I loved the changing progression of childhood.  Usually, I am the impatient one to want to move along the path of life.  This one, however, took me off guard. Like all parenting, every step is full of mixed emotions- when the child learns to walk, it is one of the last days he will crawl.  The moment he learns to read, is the entry to the path to last day I will read him a bedtime story.  And when I ran behind him holding his bike- steadying him- it was the first last day until he rode away to Oregon on his own. When he went to school for first day of kindergarten, it is just a first step along the long path until he graduated.  It is true that I can be utterly completely proud and happy- the cup runeth over- but yet a little sad runs through.

So to I will try to bring my messy emotions into one blog of a reasonable length. I can describe what I feel in only one word: verklempt.   Verklempt means choked with emotions: I love how verklempt doesn’t judge those emotions, they are not good or bad, not what I what I supposed to feel or not. Verklempt specifies that they are emotions, not emotion singular.  I envision a river of my emotions- a torrent of joy, pride, and just a few underlying cold currents of sadness.  The dam that I usually can depend on to keep these emotions in check in order to create normal person façade certainly burst at graduation.

In any case, this weekend will be a weekend of contemplation- covered with a layer of everyday chores and of course, sewing. I promise next week to be more like the semi rational person I usually am, that if you only speak to for a few minutes can pull off a fairly average facsimile of a normal 46 year old woman. And next week, I will return to this blog with something new to share- very possibly even relating to sewing.