Tag Archives: #myyearinquilts

Where Do You Keep All Your Quilts?

If you’re a quilter like me, and haven’t managed to sell or give away all the quilts you’ve made, there’s a stockpile somewhere in your home. Where do you keep your quilts?

There are quilts on my walls and my floors,
On beds and tucked into drawers.
Still I will make them
Though my offspring won’t take them.
They already have quilts galore!

About a month ago I asked my children if anyone wanted a Christmas quilt, not this year, but next year. Crickets. No one even answered. Well, okay, I guess the answer is “no.” Each of the grandchildren has at least two quilts, and for various reasons, some have more than that. The grown-ups apparently have as many as they want, too, including some table runners and other decorative small items. Christmas stockings? Those are all made, at least until the new baby is born next year.

So I store quilts. I have a bunch on walls, some favorites of Jim’s and mine. Most of the rest are laid flat on a bed downstairs. Of course, when someone comes to stay the night, the quilts all get folded up and moved! It’s quite the process and feels like moving so many dead bodies from one room to another.

There is one quilt I’m about to send off to a long-time friend. Long-time, 25 years since we met, and though we haven’t lived in the same community for most of that time, we’ve stayed in touch.

He grew up in New Mexico, and after time in both Iowa and North Carolina, he and his wife recently moved back to New Mexico. I made this quilt in 2014, prior to visiting the state for the first time. It’s called “Southwestern Sun.” It’s about 60″ square.

With bars, flying geese, and hourglasses, the construction was very simple. Even the center block is just a fancy nine-patch. The apparent complexity is from the use of color and value. For example, alternating light orange and dark rusty orange in the final border gives a sense of three-dimensionality. The geese in multiple directions provide a sense of movement.

In some of my medallions all the corners are different and only relate to their respective borders. In this one they are patterned, drawing the eye outward with the repetition, alternating plain rust squares and two other, more complex blocks. Repeating with alternating designs creates a rhythm.

Another thing to note is the use of multiple fabrics of the same colors. There are several of each light orange, rusty orange, dark green, lighter green, and blue. If you use at least two of any color, you have invited another and might as well use it. When you do, you make the quilt more interesting, because there is more to look at. All of the fabrics except the back were from my stash.

At the time I felt like the colors were very strong. Since then my palette has become more saturated, so this doesn’t seem unusual to me any more.

Once this is gone, I’ll still have plenty of quilts to enjoy. At this time of year we bring Jim’s quilt up to use on the couch. Tiny whole-cloth lapquilts, made while practicing machine-quilting, are ready at our kitchen table to keep us warm there. Quilted placemats take their turns on the table.

Where do you keep your quilts? Do you use them? Do you give them away or sell them? Tell us in comments. 

 

 

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Favorite New Tool? Libib!

I don’t buy new gadgets or tools very often. I have a pretty basic stock of rulers, the same domestic sewing machine for several years, and a supply of pens, pencils and markers that wouldn’t draw much envy. I did upgrade my longarm quilting machine this year, which is exciting for me, since I do my own quilting and often make larger quilts.

And glue, glorious glue! Elmer’s basic white school glue, glue sticks, basting spray, WonderUnder. They’re all ways to stick something to something else. But I’d argue that they are supplies rather than tools. And really, they aren’t new to me, even though I’ve used more glue this year than ever before.

My favorite new tool — and perhaps simply from the glow of recent discovery — is Libib! Libib is a library management tool, available for free for personal use, and for a fee for larger needs. According to the home page: “Our library management service caters to both home and small organizational libraries. Our online software lets you create multiple libraries, catalog books, movies, music, and video games, lets you create tags, leave notes, import/export, and much more. We offer two different subscription options to best fit your needs. Libib is the best system for cataloging your media available online.” (bolding emphasis mine)

You can download an app to either Android or Apple phone, and use the phone to scan your books’ ISBN bar codes. If the book doesn’t have a code, info can be entered manually. The phone-captured data is stored in the cloud, and you can access it on your computer, as well.

My whole quilt library takes up 47 linear inches, and includes about 100 books. What is so cool about this for me, a person with a relatively small library? It took less than half an hour to scan all my quilting books. Okay, there were a few that don’t have an ISBN bar code, and I’ll have to enter them manually. All the rest, done fast and slick! Try that with almost any other listing method, and it certainly would take longer and not include as much information.

You can sort alphabetically by title or author, by date published or added to your library, or by rating of library users. I’m the only user and I haven’t rated them, so that one doesn’t help me. Here’s a look at my computer-based window to my library, with a list view by date published. You can see the ⇑ to the right of the sorting menu. That sorts in reverse chronological order. Also there is a horizontal menu for decade to display. This shows ALL:

Most of my books are older. Only 22 were published in the last 10 years.

Here’s a look at a few of the books by authors whose last name starts with “B.” This is in the grid view.

And if I want more specific info about a specific book, I can get that, too. Here is a screen showing Elizabeth Barton’s Visual Guide to Working in a Series. On the right margin of the screen shot, there are a few icons that allow editing, adding tags, notes, a price, or deleting the entry.

Why delete? As I re-shelved my library, I identified a few books I won’t need to keep, things I’ve outgrown. I can delete them once they have gone away.

Okay, so why? What difference does it make if I have an accurate list of my holdings? Maybe not a lot. But if I needed to make an insurance claim, this would allow me to provide a list to the insurer. You can’t claim it if you can’t name it. I can access the list on the phone or the computer. If I’m at the public library’s used book sale, or at a book store, and wonder if I already own a book, I can check my phone. Once I have my books “tagged” with some identifiers, I can look up all my books on story quilting, for example. I’m an orderly person. I like lists. This is way cool.

Another very cool thing about this is my guild library needs to be re-inventoried. It’s supposed to be inventoried every year, but due to technical issues (committee members not knowing how to use Excel,) it hasn’t been done for 2 or 3 years. There are about 300 items in the guild library. If it takes a half hour per 100, this app will make quick work of the listing. Your guild library could use it, too.

How do you keep track of your household or quilting books? Do you list them? Share in comments.

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.

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.

Year End Deadlines?

What is it about that word, “deadline?” Is there an actual line, like a race’s finish line? Do you drop dead when you cross it? If you don’t cross it in time, are you as good as dead? According to Merriam-Webster.com, the word was used during the US Civil War to signify an actual point of no return. If prisoners of war tried to cross the deadline surrounding the prison camp, they would be shot.

Regardless of how stressed the holidays can make us feel, the deadline is not as treacherous for us. But at this time of year, many people — quilters or not — are scurrying to finish projects for holiday gifts. Often, that’s me, too. Pillowcases, checkerboards, table runners, and other small projects have deadlines!

Not this year. This year I have no project in process that will be a holiday gift, and no quilty deadlines. However, like always, there are things I’m working on, and it’s great to clear things off the list before year end!

What’s on the list of projects in process?
1. Urn with flowers. The top is done, as of yesterday. I need to make a back, and get it quilted and bound.

No title yet. 45″ x 50″. Unquilted top.

2. VA Hospital quilt #4 for the year. Again, the top is done but it needs a back and quilting. If I’m finished by December 10, I’ll take it to guild meeting to donate it then. Otherwise I’ll donate it in January.

VA Hospital quilt 2018, #4. Approx 48″ x 62″. Unquilted top. Disappearing 9-patch using orphan blocks.

3. The Rooster. The top is done. However, it’s possible I’ll make minor changes before quilting. We’ll see.

4. The Mask. I’m developing a plan for this, which might include a snake wrapped around the face. Hmm, not sure where this will go. Because of the uncertainty, this won’t likely get finished by year end.

5. New York Beauty star. This is heading into 2019 as a great idea but a fairly low priority.

And then there are all the projects I want to start! I have been so inspired by our trip to Peru and would like to develop some work based on that. There are a few table runners and table toppers that could be (that old “could be”) fast finishes. A series of masks would be a great way to learn more about faces and about appliqué. My dear Green Man continues to wait for his quilt. And then there are the stories I want to tell in quilts, which I’m finally feeling ready to begin.

And projects already finished this year:
1. Fierce Little Bear
2. VA hospital quilt #1
3. VA hospital quilt #2
4. Charlotte’s Kitty
5. The Old School House
6. Georgia’s graduation quilt
7. Where Are the Birds? (landscape tree quilt)
8. ¡Fiesta!
9. Hands and Hearts
10. Shirt
Projects 11-15 are all shown here.
11. Dan’s Honor Flight Quilt
12. Sonny’s Honor Flight Quilt
13. Heather’s baby quilt
14. VA hospital quilt #3
15. Iowa map quilt, hostess gift for Peru

What’s still on your lists for the year? Do you have holiday deadlines for your projects?