Tag Archives: projects


Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. I have lists of things done and lists of things doing and lists of things to do! I have a mess in my studio, the product of having several projects going at the same time. What should I do first? What should I write about first? Perhaps the first quilt I finished this year! Perhaps the one I’m working on right now! Perhaps the one I’ll take up on Monday!

So confusing… But in the interests of some forward movement, I’ll show you some pix of my studio late yesterday.

Now I know, this is not most people’s idea of a mess, but it is for me. That’s one of the reasons I tend to be very linear in my making, with only one or two active projects at a time. I can finish something, CLEAN, and move on to the next thing. With lots of active projects I can’t put things away.

Here is my list, not in priority order:

And here is my “current” project.

I started the center block on Tuesday in a workshop with Toby Lischko. It is a classic New York Beauty, a challenging block to make. But her instruction, tools, and technique made it very easy. I modified the size of the outer background (Moda Grunge in orange) to make it 17″ finish instead of 16″. (Math stuff — I won’t go into the details now but it should set up all the rest of the sizing well.) And I added corners in purple (more math stuff for how I decided the size. Details later.) And I designed the Lone Star-style star point. I need to take it apart and rebuild it so my seam allowances are better, but later I’ll be glad I took the time to do that.

HOWEVER now it’s time to switch gears, so this project, called “Wind River,” will just wait for a few weeks. Instead I have a secret project to do as a wedding present for Son and his bride. Since they get married four weeks from today (HOORAY!!!) I have to get in high gear on that. (And oh yeah, I better make my purse, too!) This is my linearity kicking in. Later I can be messy again. 🙂



Making, Not Blogging

Sometimes I feel like a helium balloon, tethered on a very long string. I drift and float and bob along, feeling increasingly disconnected from anything solid. I have to hope the mooring holds, as I’m powerless on my own. I have to hope someone will reel me back.

The busyness of making reins me in, as well as my continuing connection with Jim. Occasionally, like this evening, I hold tight to him. “Am I too close?” I joke, knowing he’ll say “no.” I explain my feeling of disconnect, that it’s harder to listen to him, almost harder to hear him. But the ongoing political farce, and heartbreaking news items, drag me farther and farther away.

The busyness of making. I depend on it. And I’ve been making, not blogging. It’s too hard to write, to form words into sentences that aren’t filled with exclamations, with curses, with lamentations for the meanness of those who would claim to be “good” people, even people of faith.

Making. Today I finished three quilts. Each needed binding, applied and finished by machine. Fast. Too fast? What shall I do next?

Next, clean up. Do you clean up between projects? I do to some extent — I like to vacuum and wipe surfaces — but I’m not always as thorough as I should be at the rest of the job. As I began an experiment this evening, I remembered to change my needle, abused after binding the quilts, as well as longer-than-optimal service with piecing. And with that I decided to clean the lint mess from under the needle plate. Good thing, too, as the space was fuzzier than the slices of bread I discarded recently. (Homemade bread gets moldy quickly.)

fuzzy machine
clean machine

And hey, as long as I was at it, I changed my rotary cutter blade. When I discard needles, pins, and blades, I put them in an old yogurt cup. I’ve had this thing for years and it’s only half full. They don’t take up much space, do they?

sharps cup

As to the experiment, I wanted to try something with a half-square triangle. I used HST to make my Delectable Mountains quilt (blog post still to come, photo in here.) I wondered what would happen if one half had two different fabrics in it. Here is an idea of what that does.

hst sliced rearranged

So, huh. Interesting, I think. Worth pursuing with a bigger idea.

And the projects I finished today? Funny enough, they are of three different formats. One is a strip quilt (blog post to come); one is a block quilt (blog post to come); and one is a medallion. Here are two of the three.
projects on floor

There now, I’ve used up all my words.

Third Quarter Quilt Round-Up

I don’t have a lot of finishes to brag about for the third quarter, but my I’ve been busy!

Jim and I started the quarter with a trip to Glacier National Park in Montana, and on to the Banff park region in Alberta, Canada. You can read and see pictures here:
Glacier National Park, Part 1
Glacier National Park, Part 2
Banff National Park, Part 1
Banff National Park, Part 2

After we returned and I settled in to work on My Medallion Quilt, I thought, “I should write a book on making medallion quilts!” For some reason, that seemed like a perfectly rational idea. And I began, first with studying other quilting books and then drafting an outline. I’ve written some text, but I also wanted a way to try out some of my ideas.

Then I thought, “I should start a quilting blog!” And at the time, that sounded like a rational idea, too! Jim and I already had the Our View from Iowa blog up and running. We both wanted that site to be broad, able to contain anything we wanted to discuss. But the new blog would be only related to quilting.

The doors to Catbird Quilt Studio opened on July 21. Since then I’ve published 42 posts. Forty-two posts in a little more than two months. I’ve been busy, if only with this.

To see more, click here!


For those of you who only clicked in here because you think it’s about extraterrestrials, or even about Earth-bound conspiracies of secret aeronautics projects, I am sorry to disappoint you.

In the quilters’ world, UFO stands for UnFinished Object.

But stick around! You might enjoy reading, anyway.

As I write this, I’m about 5/7 of the way through quilting my medallion. How do I know so exactly? I’m using a pantograph. I’ve quilted five times across the pattern and I need to make two more passes to finish. And now I consider what projects I have left, what UFOs there are hidden in my life.

Quilting (textile) projects
1) Medallion quilt; finish quilting, make and attach binding, make and attach label
2) Round robin quilt; applique a few more triangles on, quilt it, bind it, label it
3) Mexican embroidery quilt; quilt it, bind it, label it
4) Placemats; attach binding
5) African fabrics project; … figure out what the heck to do next …
6) Crayon blocks from Outer Banks 2009; divide them into 3 or 4 sets, sash, quilt, etc.
7) 6-pointed star; assemble points and decide on a setting

Quilting (writing) projects
1) Continue regular blog posts
2) Develop medallion quilt project to promote through Stashbusters
3) Begin writing book on medallion improvisation
4) Begin developing projects for book

Non-quilt writing projects
1) Contemporary novel
2) Historical novel
3) Blog posts on various issues, especially on food security/hunger concerns
4) … surely there is more …

And there are always home and family projects, too, aren’t there?

I am so fortunate that my life has such a wealth of possibilities. I have love and family and friends. I have fulfilling ways to express my creativity. I have satisfying volunteer work, in which I’m getting more involved. And I have good health, and so much more.

UFOs could be overwhelming. They could be heavy with responsibility. Instead, when I look at these lists I feel exhilarated, excited for the future. Bring it on!