Tag Archives: projects

Drawers 8 and 9

I’ve slowed the drawer review (here and here) while working on other things. But it’s a useful exercise for me, uncovering some works in progress I’d stalled on, at the least, or forgotten completely at the worst.

One of the things I’d forgotten was a stack of 9-patch parts in red and light/neutral. They made up seven blocks, which is a difficult number to use by itself. Nine-patches are pretty easy to emulate, though, so last week I made another ten of them using different reds. I still had some of the light fabric, but not enough for ten more blocks, so I subbed in a couple of things that blend well. Besides the 9-patches, I made a set of 18 hourglass blocks. The hourglass blocks and 9-patches now alternate in a 5×7 block setting. With a border, they made up a perfect top for another VA hospital quilt. I’ll finish it in January for donation through my guild.

Besides the VA hospital quilt using those orphaned patches, I’m also working on an art quilt, which is also a medallion quilt. Or it’s a medallion quilt that also is an art quilt. No photos now, as I’m still feeling protective, but I’m quite pleased with it so far.

Back to the drawer review. As mentioned before, under my cutting table I have three plastic drawer units on casters. Each unit has three drawers. Over this past year when I’ve needed to mimic order in my studio, I’ve stuffed a lot of things in those drawers. It clears the surfaces, which helps me creatively! But truly it just moves the mess elsewhere, doesn’t it?

I already showed you Drawers 1 through 7. They held a broad range of things, from scraps and parts to plastic zip bags, to some intriguing projects in process.

Drawer 8 mostly holds faded intentions and motivations, along with a lot of fabric that needs to be sorted back into the stash bins. A friend of mine, Kristin, lived for several years in Wales. While there she fell in love with Welsh quilts. They are notable for the amazing hand quilting on both pieced and wholecloth quilts. Though often not made from solids, the pieced quilts are often compared to American Amish quilts, and it’s not clear, historically, to what extent designs were shared and in what direction. Many of the Welsh pieced quilts are in the medallion (or “frame”) format, so they hold extra attraction to me.

Kristin will be presenting to our local quilt guild soon about Welsh quilts. As she shared some of the information with me early in the year, I got inspired to try making quilts in the same style. I even bought this lovely book on making them. As you can see from the cover, many of the designs are for medallions. And while I love the rich, deep colors you see here, I also wondered about making them with brighter, cheerier colors.

A mixture, I thought, of greys with pinks and yellows would keep some of the traditional flavor, while also demonstrating that the format is beautiful regardless of colors used. But I also was taken with the Welsh tradition of using shirtings and suit woolens. I went to a local thrift shop and bought several shirts, including in pink gingham and yellow floral print, to use. I made one lovely little quilt (to show you another day) before losing energy and motivation. Now the fabrics, including some blacks and reds, need to be sorted back into stash.

Drawer 9 The final drawer is where I stuffed the Green Man drawings. This is another project I hope to return to in 2020. 

Now that I know what is in these drawer units, I can put some things in better places, and make a list of ongoing projects. Knowing what’s here will help me use my time better, so I can create in more satisfying ways.

Mess

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!