Tag Archives: Gifts

My Favorite Fabric Purchase in 2018

You know those big dinner salads you can get at some restaurants? The greens cover a platter, and there are a variety of toppings, and at least two condiment containers for the dressing. You can eat and eat and eat and eat. Your dinner companions can finish their entree as you just keep eating, with little apparent progress on your meal. Using fabric stash is like that, with the added problem of the server coming ’round and putting more salad on your plate now and then.

Some people measure stash in and stash used over a period of time, a calculation that is not interesting to me. Since all my fabric collection is in a fairly small space, it’s easy to see when it’s increased or decreased. Most years in October, I do a “state of the stash” post to review it. This year I didn’t, but the text of the post would be similar: It changed! I have a bit more! or a bit less!

As I look at this quickly-passing year, I do notice how my stash has changed. It is a bit smaller than a year ago, and I didn’t buy a huge amount this year. As always, most of my projects relied heavily on stash rather than new purchases. And as always, my favorite fabric purchases are those I used right away. 

I did buy mostly new for two projects. Georgia’s graduation quilt is from white and light grey, at her request. I rarely use grey, and white is not typical, either, so this was a rather hard quilt to make. I don’t remember the size, but it covers her queen-sized bed nicely, so something like 96″ square.

Georgia’s graduation quilt. Queen-bed sized. May 2018. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Almost all of the grey got used up in Georgia’s quilt. The leftover greys became the back of Heather’s baby quilt. Leftover white went on the front.

Another project that required new fabric was the wedding quilt for Son and his bride. To make Hands and Hearts, I needed to buy solid black Kona for the background, and a variety of batiks for the hands. The green batik in the wreath and corner Celtic knots was from stash, as were the components in the Claddagh ring and the fussy-cut hearts. The hearts actually came from something purchased in 2007, so it’s one of the older pieces in my cupboard.

Hands and Hearts. 29″ x 29″. July 2018. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

It would be hard to pick a specific favorite fabric from 2018. Since I don’t think of myself as a fabric collector, the best fabrics are those that are most useful. Sometimes that means they’re quite ordinary. Solid white, solid black, pastel batiks, grey and white prints. None of these are exciting, but the quilts they made were gifts of love.

VA Hospital Quilts

At the beginning of the year I committed to making at least four quilts for donation through my local quilt guild. I especially wanted to make some for the local Veterans’ Administration hospital.

They have requested quilts that are approximately 48″ x 60″, which is a good size for a lap quilt. (Your local hospital may have different needs. If you want to make quilts to serve them, please check with yours directly.)

Recently I finished two quilts to donate. Both were completely made from stash. The first uses a very simple arrangement of 6″ 4-patches and half-square triangles. That part of the array is 48″ square. To make it longer, I added the unpieced borders on two edges.

The second uses a disappearing 9-patch block. Have you ever made one of these quilts? The usual idea is to make a BIG 9-patch, and then cut it into four equal square blocks. Each quarter has an original corner patch, as well as a portion of the original center patch.

I modified that idea by elongating the 9-patch. I cut patches as follows:
4 Corners: 6″ x 8″
1 Center: 6″ x 6″
2 Left/Right Centers: 6″ x 6″
2 Up/Down Centers: 6″ x 8″

Assemble the 9 patches into a 9-patch block. (!!) Cut it through the center in both directions to make 4 equal blocks. Each block will finish at 8″ x 10″.

I made NINE 9-patches. When each was cut into 4 pieces, I had 36 blocks. These were arrayed in a 6×6 layout to make a quilt that measure 48″ x 60″.

I used red for the center patches of the 9-patches, which gave them punch as the accent color. I used black prints for the corner patches, and gold prints for the L/R and U/D patches. The binding is from scraps of red binding I had leftover.

I like this quilt a lot. It was very easy to make and fun to arrange.

I’ll be pleased to donate these at my next guild meeting. With these and three others I’ve donated this year, I’ve met my goal.

So Incredibly Generous

The other day I showed you my newest project, the Mountain. When I showed it, a blog friend offered to send me some fabric she purchased. She said it was too beautiful not to buy, but she didn’t know how she would ever use it. She guessed she must have bought it for me.

We had our mail held while we were out of the country for several days, and it was finally delivered today. This came. It is so beautiful. Believe me the picture can’t capture the colors. The subtlety of orange, the shimmer of gold.

20151029_164250

I don’t know yet how I’ll use it but will be sure to show you when I do.

THANK YOU. Words are not enough. I am so touched.

Making a List and Checking It Twice…

No, I’m not Santa, and I’m not making Christmas lists yet. But I am planning to give some quilts away.

Until about three years ago, I gave away almost every quilt I made. But for a variety of reasons, my pace of giving slowed substantially. Most of those reasons are still in place, so my gifts will be carefully considered. But there are several my heart is ready to release. A few of them have new owners chosen, while others will be more challenging to decide.

Jim asked for one quilt to give away. I’m not sure if he has a plan for that or not, but I look forward to watching the process unfold. One will be a baby present for neighbors, who also happen to be friends of our son. Isn’t it sweet?

Bunnies for Baby

At least one will go to my guild as a service (donation) quilt. I never did like the combination of fabrics.

And I have chosen family and friends for five of them. A few others are candidates for giving, too, but I’ll have to think a bit more about receivers.

One thing I have learned while stockpiling my work is that giving all of them away isn’t okay. Nor is keeping them all. I need a balance between the two, allowing me to celebrate the gifts of love and friendship and family, as well as those of my art and my own need for comfort.

UZURGFT

[Since it is Throwback Thursday, I thought I would post something I originally published more than a year ago. btw, I have used the Shiva paintstix.]

Traffic merged to one lane before me, polite Iowa drivers taking their turns to cross the overpass, single file. As we crossed, I noted the license plate of the car in front of me.

I solve puzzles, sometimes hard ones, but this one was easy. “Use your gift.”

It got me thinking about gifts generally, and how we use them. Everyone knows anecdotes about a mother, aunt, or grandma who would receive presents — table linens, bath towels, cologne — and put them away. The gift was “too nice” to use. Maybe you’ve done it yourself. Did you get china as a wedding present? Do you use it?

Why do we keep our best gifts hidden away? There could be a lot of different reasons. Fear might be the big one. Fear that we don’t deserve such a gift, fear that someone might think we’re showing off, fear that we don’t know how to use it or display it, or that it doesn’t fit in with our other “stuff,” fear that we might ruin it…
To read more, click here.