Posts Tagged ‘quilting life’

Artists and Messes – You’re Not Alone

July 8, 2020

One of my many piles of fabric scraps

I’ve always appreciated being married to a woodworker. Aside from making beautiful furniture, he understands the difference between finishing a section of the project (for him the case, for me the top), and finishing the project (for him the painting, for me the quilting). He also understands that scraps happen.

One of two piles of his wood scraps

The difference between us is he accepts the reality of finite space (which I do not), and the reality of finite time (which I’m grudgingly beginning to acknowledge). Still, it is heartening to know that artists of all kinds create piles and heaps and stashes. It’s nice to know we aren’t alone.

Luck and wisdom!

Treasure From Another Layer

July 1, 2020

I unearthed another layer in an old pile and discovered a notebook I created to keep me from forgetting projects. Then the notebook got buried. Excavating this treasure was quite fun. I discovered I had put in little plastic envelopes for notes-to-self.

Most of the pages of lists were out of date. Even if the project was never finished, it’s too late now. Sadly, this page is still relevant.

The good news is I haven’t forgotten about these projects. The sad news is, sorting through these cabinets must be deferred again.

Luck and wisdom!


June 29, 2020

Symbols are powerful tools for artists. In my writing and fiber art I make use of symbols that I hope will at least entertain the reader or viewer. However, not all symbols are mine to use. I try to remember that in my writing, which is why any social equality messages in the Chenille series come through the aliens. Although we have quilters of color in our cast, Ann Anastasio and I decided with our first book that the most important aspect of any of our human characters’ personalities would be that they were quilters. We didn’t want to appropriate symbols from another culture. That isn’t always the case with my fiber art. I use commercially produced fabrics and embellishments. Some of the symbols used in those materials may not mean what I think they mean, much less what I want them to mean. I discovered that the week I posted a picture of Nightmare Catcher for 2020, then read about some of the deeper meaning behind Native American dreamcatchers. I’ve decided the dreamcatcher isn’t my symbol to use, so I’ll make another version of that quilt. It’s a little harder to unwrite an appropriated symbol from a published story, so I’ll probably have some regrets about my work as I discover more about our wonderfully complex world. That’s not the worst thing that could happen to me. Life is about learning from our mistakes, right?

Luck and wisdom!

Is This Progress?

June 24, 2020

I finished the latest stack of donation quilts, and decided to take a picture of the sewing room. The cutting board has a bit more space, and the piles are slightly more tidy. I feel proud of myself, but is it really progress, or just the lull before the next storm of projects? It helps that I haven’t been to a quilt store in three months. My local shop, In Between Stitches, has just re-opened. Who knows what the cutting board will look like after my first shopping trip? Perhaps I will limit myself to thread until I get a few more donation quilts finished. Oh, stop laughing.

Luck and wisdom!

Nightmare Catcher

June 17, 2020

I expected to bead this project for many weeks. Although it is small, I had no plan for the embellishments other than putting the bat charm on a fringe of some sort. By the end of the first beading session, however, it was clear the project would take on a life of its own. When I finished the border rows, I wasn’t even thinking in my own voice. I’d pick up a container of beads and yes or no would echo in my head. It seemed appropriate for a piece that is meant to capture the nightmares of 2020, so I let the work talk to me until I heard I’m done.

Luck and wisdom!

My Quilt of the Year

June 10, 2020

The Challenge Group project this time was to find a tool or pattern we had bought long ago and never used, then make a quilt with it. I had acquired a yo-yo maker, possibly last year or the year before, and it was still in the original packaging. I made a few yo-yos and thought they might do well as embellishments for a crazy quilt. Then I saw a chart in the latest National Geographic magazine comparing past epidemics with the current one. The graphic they used to represent the death toll of the various diseases looked very like a yo-yo. “Self,” I said, “you can use this.” I disassembled a dream catcher and tacked it to a gingko batik that I had painted over long ago, then added some yo-yos. Since I intend to bead the daylights out of this there’s no telling when it will be finished. I call it Nightmare Catcher for 2020.

Luck and wisdom!

Closer to Done

June 3, 2020


I have no idea what I had in mind when I started this quilt. Quite possibly it was supposed to be a Christmas wallhanging, or a Chinese(ish) scroll. I know that I abandoned it, because it needed at least one more border when I found it earlier this week. That last border went on yesterday. Why it took this long to sew narrow pink strips into a dark gray fabric and call it good I’ll never know. I also made a back for it, so when I settle in for a marathon of machine quilting I can layer, baste, and go. I am pleased beyond all proportion to be one step closer to done with another project, but in these days any bit of good news is cause for celebration.

Luck and wisdom!

Changing Plans, Again

May 27, 2020

I guess 2020 is all about changing plans, shifting gears, finding the work arounds. I made a bunch of blocks that I thought would make a lovely baby quilt. I had used the pattern before, but I didn’t check it before starting to sew. Oh, stop laughing. The blocks are fine, they just don’t go together the way I thought they would. Since I’m making quilts for our guild’s Community Quilts program, I separated the blocks sorta kinda maybe by color and searched my stash for fabric to go with them.

The good news is I’m reducing my stash, which was my goal in 2020. The better news is I’ll get at least three baby quilts out of those blocks. The remaining blocks may not go into one project easily, but I’ll find a used for them eventually.

Luck and wisdom!

Good Luck Charms

May 20, 2020

My friend Margaret Misegades sent me this candle for quilters. I think it makes a wonderful addition to my good luck charms. As any artist or crafter will tell you, there are times when we need all the help we can get. I’ve collected good luck charms of many sorts, because I seem to need help more often than I would like to admit. There was a time when I tried to put my collection in one place, but then I got distracted. This is what my personal altar looks like now.

It occurred to me that some of my good luck charms might prefer to work alone, or in secret, so now I don’t feel bad about having them scattered around the sewing room. Perhaps they will reveal themselves, perhaps they will be happy to lurk in the shadows. As long as they hear my cries for relief, or inspiration, or just a pretty thread that doesn’t break on me at inopportune moments, I’ll be grateful.

Luck and wisdom!

Bandannas – The Next Big Thing In Hostess Gifts

May 13, 2020

Speaking as one who has lots and lots of fabric to use up, I propose making bandannas the next big thing in hostess gifts. They’re easy to sew, and mighty useful. Even after the pandemic is over and we can go outside with bare faces, bandannas can be used as napkins, dresser scarves, gift wrapping, packing material, or a fashionable way to hide an unfortunate hair day. If we are wearing masks for the next two years, as some epidemiologists are hinting, I may just get to the end of my fabric stash.

Luck and wisdom!