Tag Archives: blessings

Class Projects in 2018

My guild has had some terrific workshops in the last few years. In 2018, I participated in three of them and added to my tool kit of skills. I share a bit about them below, in the order I took them.

Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams
Kim Lapacek brings a joy and enthusiasm to her work, and her workshop, that I’ve rarely experienced.

Kim led a workshop in the style of her Project Quilting challenges. Nine guild members spent the day inspired by her take-no-prisoners style of quilt-making. She goes ALL OUT, with techniques, embellishments, color, and pattern. As our challenge, she provided fat-quarters of base fabric as well as two more fabric pieces to each of us. We were to create and FINISH a quilt top in the six-hour time slot, using those two printed fabrics and NO straight-edge ruler. In addition, we were given a limit on how much fabric we could bring — only the amount that fits in a brown paper lunch sack. Also the fabric pieces we brought were supposed to be scraps, less than a fat quarter. While that lays a lot of constraints down, the subject or direction of our individual projects was completely up to each of us.

Influenced partly by her own “amazing technicolor dream heart quilt” and partly by a project I’d been wanting to make, I decided to use a rainbow color scheme to recognize LGBTQ rights as basic human and civil rights. It might be a poor shorthand, but it is eye-catching.

The verbal message is plain in black letters.

This project is like nothing I ever did before. It hangs behind my ironing station, and every time I stand there, it buoys me a bit.

Cathy Geier
Cathy Geier is an art quilter focused on landscapes. Her style would probably be called “collage appliqué,” though she incorporates piecing, especially into the backgrounds. She’s also quite fond of amending her fabrics with paint and markers, allowing some subtleties not available from the fabric alone.

In our workshop with her, we learned some basics of creating a landscape quilt of a forest scene. With commercially-available fabric, we cut tree trunks and glued them to a base background fabric. Diluted white craft paint helped turn the birch trees a paler grey, and silver Sharpie markers applied to one side of the trunks gave a sense of dimension. Flowers and shrubs came next, and then leaves. Leaves were mostly adhered using a fusible web rather than glue, but either would do.

At home I added a border and did the quilting. This was my first “collage” quilt and I’m very happy with the result, and with what I learned. The part that makes me less happy (and I know this wouldn’t bother many people) is that it doesn’t feel like my quilt. I can’t display it because I didn’t design it, and likewise it’s hard to give as a gift. Maybe that’s just weird of me to feel this way… But maybe because of that, I like the back that shows the quilting as much as the front.

The gallery below shows a squared-off photo. Click either image to see bigger and with right proportions.

Toby Lischko
Toby Lischko specializes in using mirrors to create fabric design symmetry, and in curved piecing, especially in New York Beauty blocks. My guild was treated to the first topic for an evening presentation, and to the second topic in Toby’s workshop.

Using her method and rulers, curved piecing was a snap. I honestly was surprised at how easily and well my blocks turned out. In class I made two quarter-circles; at home I made the other two and set them in a background of orange Grunge.

I added corners in purple and designed the Lone Star-style star point. I need to take the star point apart and rebuild it so my seam allowances and sizing are better. This is a low-priority project so will carry into next year.

I am very fortunate to have opportunities like this. My guild has some great things planned for the coming few months, too, and I look forward to them, too.


Busy July

I am good at many things, but I am not good at multi-tasking. For instance, I can make or I can blog. Doing both at the same time seems beyond my capabilities much of the time. In July, I was busy making but not blogging about it.

Early in the month I showed you my list. At the end of June I had four projects in process, and my goal was to finish them all before my guild meeting on July 11. By July 1, one of them was done. By July 11, three of them were done. Since then I’ve finished the fourth.

The only one I managed to blog about since finishing was my guild challenge project, Iowa In My Mind.


Iowa In My Mind. Approx 31.5″ x 20″. July 2016. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

I still might blog about how the other three were finished, but life moves on and perhaps I will, too.

More Precious Than Diamonds

2016_0630Diamond (1)

More Precious Than Diamonds. 86″ x 90″. June 2016. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Find more about Diamonds here and here and here. And here.

Moonlight Waltz


Moonlight Waltz. 90″ x 90″. July 2016. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Find out more about Moonlight Waltz here and here and here.



Untied. 41″ x 47″. Hand-quilted. July 2016. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Find out more about Untied here and here.


Round Robin

Since July 11 I finished my small group round robin for another member. It was our last border pass, so my border presumably was the last border for her project. I also received my own in return. On Friday I quilted it. Sorry — no pix yet. I plan to donate it for my guild’s silent auction at our next quilt show.

Delectable Mountains

I love playing with triangles, and frankly I don’t do it nearly often enough. This month I chose to play with Delectable Mountains blocks created with half-square triangles. I do plan to blog about this but it might be a few days. Saturday I quilted this. I need to lengthen my binding by a few inches before attaching, but I hope it will be done this week.

Delectable Mtns on frame

Stacked Coins

I made the back, loaded, and quilted some stacked coins today (Sunday.) I made this mostly with scraps from the Diamonds quilt. With the angled cuts, scraps were icky shapes and I didn’t feel like putting them in my scrap drawer. So I cut strips from every piece I could. With adding a bit from my scrap drawer and a bit more from stash, I had plenty to create my strips. I LOVE strip quilts, so this was fun to make. Again, another blog post to come.

Stacked Coins on frame

The first half of my year was rather slow, so I guess I’m making up for it now.

Rings of Love

This week Facebook brought me a reminder of a post from four years ago. It was a picture of a finished quilt top. This is what I wrote in Facebook about it at the time:

I never cried on finishing a top before. This was not fun. But it is pretty awesome and will be moreso once finished.

That gives you a tiny peek into my mind at the moment. In fact it was a very bad time in my life, and I cried most days, so crying about finishing the top wasn’t very surprising.

The name of the quilt is “Rings of Love.” It is 69″ square, red on bright white. The name of the block is “Crown of Thorns,” or alternately known as “Wedding Ring.” There are 41 pieces per block, and 20 blocks. I have no idea how many half-square triangles there are in the borders. Though the block is traditional, the design layout is my own. I created heart shapes with sets of three blocks, to emphasize the them of love.

And to show a little more detail on the quilting

It’s nice to remember that even a time so awful could produce something so lovely. Even more wonderful, my dear friend Melody “purchased” it, with funds that went directly to our nearest food pantry. The price she paid helped to buy more than 3,000 meals.

This spring Melody’s daughter got married, and Melody gave it to her daughter and son-in-law. The celebration of love was also a celebration of life; as a family they have recently endured daughter’s ordeal with breast cancer.

When I named this quilt I thought about how good marriages are not just about two people, but also about those who stand with them and support them. Similarly, good communities require rings of love. We stand encircling each other, supporting each other, holding each other up in love. This quilt represents a lot of love, a lot of strength, a lot of sharing. It makes me proud to have made it.

Begin Again

Here it is, January 19, and I’m still trying to get my rhythm for the new year. The reason, though, is that there hasn’t been any rhythm! We took off for Maryland on January 4 to see our daughter’s family, and returned on January 14. Almost half of those days were traveling, and all of it featured different food, different activity, different schedule, than we usually face.

On the way home we both caught colds. It wasn’t at daughter’s house, as they were all healthy while we were there, and they are all healthy now. (With 5 kids, THAT is a minor miracle, in itself.) But at least we didn’t need to worry about giving each other a cold, since we both already had it. Neither of us has been very sick, and I’m actually completely fine now. Except the tired. OH the tired! Waves of tired, feeling fine, then tired again. That is improving, too.

As I said, though, I haven’t achieved any rhythm yet. It feels like when Jim and I go for a walk after sitting too much. As we head down the street the hips don’t work right, the arms don’t swing in sync with the legs, it all feels off. After a little while, though, things smooth out. I’m hoping for that next week. 🙂

In the meantime, I have kept busy. I’ve read two books and started a third. I finished my Ricky Tims kaleidoscope quilt! (Post on that soon. I just finished the binding a few minutes ago. Once I have a decent picture, I’ll tell you all about it, including some thoughts about the process.) I also started a new project featuring a great BIG center block. I’m talkin’ BIG, 50″. It will be a different way for me to use space in a quilt, as usually my centers are a quarter to a third the width of the quilt. This one will be about 60% of the width. The patches in the center are large, and because of that, it doesn’t look especially complex. However, there are 97 patches. It isn’t that simple after all. It’s just a little different than my usual style. And that’s GOOD!

So, yeah, creaky and arhythmic so far. But I’ll get in the swing again soon. How is your new year going so far?



Some Thoughts on 2015

With a couple of weeks left to the year, we naturally reflect on time past and hopes for the future. I could suggest my year has been a Christmas-letter perfect version, rosy with successes and accomplishments: all our dreams have come true (they haven’t), our children and grandchildren all have been happy and healthy (they haven’t), and world peace has been achieved (uh…) The truth is more complicated.

With age and deliberate mindfulness, I struggle less against the negatives than I used to. They are easier to accept, but they are still there. Effort made isn’t always rewarded; I screw up in various ways; random bad things happen to me and mine, too.

However, I’d rather mark the year remembering the good things. In that spirit, I’m going to share again some of the quilts I made this year. Click on any of them to see in a separate tab.

XX's Quilt. 75" x 75". Begun with a medallion print purchased in Boulder City, NV. Finished in February 2015.

XX’s Quilt. 75″ x 75″. Finished in February 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Little One Stained Glass

Stained Glass. 40″ square. Finished February 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Stained Glass Too. 66" x 70". Finished March 2015.

Stained Glass Too. 66″ x 70″. Finished March 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Garden Party. 62" x 68". Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning Fabrics. Finished March 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Garden Party. 62″ x 68″. Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning Fabrics. Finished March 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.


Marquetry. 87″ square. Made for my Medallion Improv! class. Finished May 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.


I Found the Housework Fairy But She’s Not Coming Back. 35″ square. Made for my Medallion Improv! class. Finished June 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.


DeLight. 96″ square. Finished June 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.


Branching Out. 45″ x 54″. Finished July 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.


Branching Out back. Photo by Jim Ruebush.


The Mountain. 60″ square. November 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

My quilts are a memory album. All of these quilts are my original designs, and all represent growth for me. As I look at them, I remember the challenges and how I met them. I remember where I bought the fabric, or who I was with, or other quilts it was used in. For those I’ve given or have a plan to give, I think of the receiver and what they mean to me.

Looking back on them gives me a way to remember 2015 in a positive light, despite some of the challenges faced. And it may not have been Christmas-letter perfect, but it’s been a pretty damn good year.