Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Quilt Family

So my vacay (love that word) has almost come to an end - I head back to Tejas the day after tomorrow. I do have something to show for myself, however. Behold, Broken Dishes:


It's roughly 36" x 50". Don't mind all those lumps in the border - my parents floor is just buckled in a lot of places. Kidding! Kidding! That, friends, is just an example of a hastily and poorly applied border. I wanted to get the border on it just so I could say I completed a quilt top on my vacation, so I did a haphazard job of it. But, I'm not going to fix it until some far distant day when I'm actually going to quilt this top, so I decided to share the picture anyway. You still get the overall visual affect, just imagine it with a flat border. (I think normally I'd be too embarrassed to show it, but whatevs. We're all friends here.)

When I made this quilt:


I created a huge stack of leftover half square triangle units. When I made flying geese units for the star points I used the quick piecing method that involves starting with a rectangle and two squares and cutting of the corners eventually. At the time I went ahead and added an extra seam before cutting so that the part I cut off was a completely HST unit and not just two renegade triangles. I put all those extra HST units in a box, not trimmed or pressed, and saved them for someday.

My first day of vacation last Friday I began poking through my stash for a project to play with and came across said HSTs. Fun to play with? Not exactly, but I didn't realize that until I'd already put so much time into it that I wasn't going to back out. But yeah - I had to spend hours trimming and pressing before I could even start sewing. The more hours of chain piece, trim, press, repeat. No worries, though, because I really love the final product.

This is actually the second top I've completed from the scraps of the blue stars quilt. The first was this one:


Now I think of them as a quilt family. Cute, right?

Friday, April 18, 2008


I have been reminded that sometimes there is nothing like your own whiny blog post to inspire you to have a better attitude. In more than three years of blogging (the majority of it over at Rejoice Always) this has happened to me at least a few times. Since writing my previous post I have decided to focus on the positive and make the best out of this situation that I can. My sewing machine most likely WILL be coming back with me from my vacation (which starts next week!!!!!). I may change my mind...ya never know...but I figure it's not doing anyone any good at home. This whole thing would be easier for me to conceptualize if I had any idea what I was going to do in October when my one year commitment here is up. I worry about the difficulty of having more stuff to move out than I can fit in two suitcases, etc. But in reality, I have no idea what's to come after I might as well live in the moment. I'm 25 (almost 26) and I have no idea where my life is going...there, I said it! And really, it's just makes planning a little harder.

In addition to the Grandmother's Flower Garden, I've thought of a few other quilt-related activities to keep me occupied.

Stash building, for example! No, I haven't spent a cent on fabric in at least six months. But I finally got around to spending some time sorting through clothing donations with an eye toward usable fabric. Sorting clothing donations is not my official "job" here, but anyone can do it when they have a free minute or two. So far I've limited myself to 100% natural fibers - cotton, linen, or wool. I've tried to only grab things that are old enough, ugly enough, ripped enough, worn enough, dated enough, etc. that no one would really want them any more. Sometimes things are borderline, but I just really want them. We get more than enough clothes donated anyway, so I'm definitely not taking the shirt off anyone's back. At this point I'm not going to over think it.

Here are the cottons I've accumulated so far. There's a nice little red/pink/orange color scheme going...


There was an article in the Jan/Feb (I think) Quilter's Newsletter about quilting with linen. I was really inspired by it and am interested in trying it, so I'm also collecting those. (Did I mention that I got a QN subscription for Christmas.) I'm also grabbing every felted wool sweater that comes through. Yes, the vast majority are "pre-felted" so the work is done for me. I suppose smaller people could technically still use those, but I'm taking them anyway. I'm not sure it's ever cold enough here to warrant wool sweaters, but that's coming from a Midwesterner.

Another activity? Quilt books! I'm in a new place with a new library, which means a whole new selection of quilt books to peruse. Somehow that thought just occurred to me out of nowhere (not sure why it hadn't before) and I headed to the library and got my first selections. Fun.

I also discovered that we have some quilts in our linen closet. They are all hardcore utility quilts that were donated by someone at some point in the last thirty years. Our linens get REALLY hard use, and wear out quickly, so quilts aren't the most logical choice. However, seeing them here does brighten MY spirits. I've decided to do some photo documentation. Here's the first specimen: fleece scraps tied to some sort of woven backing. I can't identify the backing, but it's really gauzy. I think you can see a little in this picture how much wear this quilt has gotten.


Anyway...yeah, I'm having fun. And I think on the whole that things are going better around here, which obviously helps me to feel better about everything. The situation here is pretty complex for me right now - I'm turning it over in my brain a LOT. But at the end of the day it is what it is and I have no other recourse than to enjoy the ride...!

PS, about the Grandmother's Flower Garden - the more I work on it the more I realize how long it's going to take! Has anyone out there in the blogosphere actually finished one of these??? Oh well...I look forward to the day I finish the top and can say that I actually hand pieced an entire quilt. I expect that day to coincide roughly with the birth of my first grandchild, hence the name of the pattern.

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