March Review

My goodness, time flies! Here we are with a quarter of the year done. But that means there’s still a lot of time left to work on projects of all kinds. Besides quilting projects, what I work hardest on is being a kinder, more patient person, who listens more carefully, pays attention more completely, and responds more thoughtfully. I believe I’m making progress but certainly have plenty of work to do.

March saw progress in other areas, even though I was gone from home almost half the month. Jim and I took a road trip to South Carolina early in the month. We saw family and a friend, hiked, and visited the National Quilt Museum in Paducah. We ate a lot of wonderful food, enjoyed some good laughs, and experienced a wide range of weather. And I took another trip last week.

Here’s a little run-down of what I did get done.

1) Finished my Garden Party (Tree of Life) quilt, which I started in February. Tuesday I finished quilting it and got the binding done by machine. I don’t have fresh pictures of the finished project, but here is the top before quilting. This quilt has an owner (who will receive it as a gift,) but Jim and I are going to enjoy it for a while before sending it away.

Garden Party, aka Tree of Life. 62" x 68". Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning fabrics

Garden Party, aka Tree of Life. Top prior to quilting. 62″ x 68″. Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning fabrics

2) Finished my bonus quilt called “Stained Glass Too.” It is a bonus because I started it using 12 hourglass blocks left over from anther project. I started this in February, too. I finished the binding by hand last night.

Stained Glass Too. Top prior to quilting. 66" x 70"

Stained Glass Too. Top prior to quilting. 66″ x 70″

3) I attended the Chicago International Quilt Festival on March 26-27, with my sister Cathie. We enjoyed seeing all the exhibit quilts. Some didn’t capture our imagination, but many were inspiring. We also shopped in the vendor area and I picked up some loot! Fun for the future!

Readin’ and Writin’
1) I wrote and published 16 posts in Catbird Quilt Studios and 2 posts in Our View From Iowa. And I worked on several things for upcoming posts.
2) I read all the time but mostly online. However I did enjoy a book while on vacation, John Grisham’s The Summons.
3) I heard from the publisher about my book proposal. They are not interested. I haven’t decided what to do next, and am not in a hurry to decide.

I can’t think of experiments other than how I did the binding on the Garden Party. I use double-fold straight-grain binding. I tip I saw on a video said to press the strip into fourths, I guess quadruple-fold. When machine finishing, it gives the fold for turning the binding to the other side, making the machine stitching simpler. You don’t need to fight the strip while trying to get a straight line of stitching. There were things I liked about the process and things I didn’t like. Not sure if I will use it again.

1) I was the featured speaker for a local organization’s monthly meeting. My topic was the Underground Railroad Quilt Code.
2) I worked on prepping for my Medallion Improv class, which starts tomorrow. It’s a fun, five-session class that teaches my Design As You Go method for creating medallions. Many quilters never work without a pattern, or at least a traditional block and setting. Medallions are a great way to expand your skills and your vision.
3) Jim and I visited the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY. On our way there we stopped to see Superman in Metropolis, IL. And once we reached South Carolina, we hiked with our friend Ben.

Between travel and my projects at home, my life is full and I am very blessed.

11 thoughts on “March Review

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thank you! It was fun to watch it develop. Another one where I didn’t feel fully in control. IT told ME who it belongs to, it told me what needed to come next. Crazy… 🙂

  1. zippyquilts

    Garden party is especially nice because you’ve enhanced the panel. My favorite part is the interlocking green border–I’m sure THAT was a challenge!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      It wasn’t hard to do that border, but it did take some care and thought. It isn’t obvious but with the crossover blocks, there are 16 of them, and I think there were 6 different styles. They were different for vertical vs horizontal, and green crossing or blue, and corners or not. I used a freezer paper template to cut, which worked so slick and easy! I’ll do that again for other odd shapes.

  2. KerryCan

    What a month! I’m impressed with all you got done, especially around the traveling. Are you going to do a post about the National Quilt Museum (or did I miss something?) I’ve never been although I hope to get there some day. I’m sorry that your book proposal hasn’t found an appreciative audience yet!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks. No, I won’t have a post about it. They don’t let you take photos of the quilts, so I don’t have show-and-tell about it.

      Yes, busy. A little too busy maybe… 🙂

  3. katechiconi

    There’s something extra satisfying about being able to report a couple of big finishes, isn’t there? So much more impressive than a block here or a border there. Even if it was actually a bit less work, it still rounds off the job nicely. You’ve had a busy month; it’s surprising you’ve had time to blog!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I’m still working on finding the right balance, but I do like to finish things, wipe the slate clean. As to blogging, it’s also a challenge to figure the balance for it. Let it overtake me completely? No. Or ignore it completely? That doesn’t work either. How much is the right amount? Not sure yet… 🙂

      1. katechiconi

        I view blogging as having a conversation with friends. Every couple of days is about right… And since most of my blog-friends have the same interests, we have plenty to talk about. I feel the lack when circumstances prevent.


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