Tag Archives: Quilt guild

Moving Toward the End of the Year

I was enjoying writing and posting more, and then got side-tracked for several days with a couple of things. Back now, with some unrelated thoughts.

  1. Do any of you other WordPress users look at your spam folder regularly? What kind of spam comments do you get? Most of mine are links (presumably — I’ve never checked them!) for lesbian porn. Why? Why any porn?
  2. Do you ever feel like no good deed goes unpunished? That’s not really fair, as I think I did a few good deeds over the last week and mostly they went great. Jim and I found a wallet and were able to return it to the owner; a young woman with a toddler in full-meltdown mode needed a kind word and an arm around her shoulder; I pulled together an ad hoc presentation on quilts and quilting for an adult English learners class, and they seemed to enjoy it, as did I. In truth, I need to get over my momentary annoyance and remember, “this is just something I don’t need to worry about.” That thinking helps me a lot, in a wide variety of circumstances!
  3. My guild had our last meeting of the calendar year last Monday, and it was fun. We had a special Christmas show & tell, so people could bring couch throws or tree skirts or baby quilts or whatever quilted holiday objects they want. I shared one, which I’ll tell you more about below. We also had cookies. I ate too many and remembered why I don’t eat a lot of sweets. ugh…
  4. I’m not making Christmas presents this year, unlike some others. No pillowcases, no throw quilts, no table runners, no placemats, no stockings. No. (Now I just need to keep reminding myself of that. I’m NOT making Christmas presents this year. I’m not making Christmas presents this year. I’m not…)
  5. My studio is a Mess. Yes, “mess” with a capital M. So many things out that need to be put away. So many pieces of paper, a lot of it quilt guild stuff, but a lot of it my own. Fabrics that need to be restashed, books that need to be reshelved… Maybe my next task needs to be cleaning, since I’m not making Christmas presents this year.
  6. Speaking of stash, I recently saw a post on the use of the word “stash.” I can’t find the post again or I’d link it. Anyway, the writer seemed to object to the word, because of the connotation that a stash is something to be hidden or to be ashamed of, like your stash of drugs. I don’t know about that. I have a stash of migraine drugs and I’m not ashamed to admit it! While i do think words are important, and certainly I have no shame about my fabric “collection,” (a word she seemed to prefer,) I think “stash” in terms of quilting is just part of quilting jargon and not something to get twisted about. Also, I DO NOT “collect” fabric. It is a raw material in my process, not something to display as a pretty thing on my shelves, like my rabbits. What do you think of the word “stash?”
  7. I’ve been thinking about my Word of the Year and will share about how that went in a later post.

This morning I finished a quilt, which I shared at my guild meeting on Monday. It’s a two-sided Christmas table runner.

Christmas Houses. 47.5″ x 21″. Modified pattern of Amish Houses by Monique (Dillard) Jacobs of Open Gate Quilts. Free pattern for the full lap-throw size. https://www.opengatequilts.com/pdf-patterns/free-amish-homes-pattern

I made an adaptation of Monique Jacobs’ Amish Houses quilt. Free pattern available at this link. She is a talented designer and my guild is hosting her in June. She’ll be teaching the pattern in a workshop. My version provides a sample for my guild-mates, and also shows that you can make this pattern in beautiful Amish-style solids, or in fabrics of your choice. The pattern instructions are clear and it went together beautifully.

Because it’s a table runner, when I quilted it I figured the backing fabric didn’t matter. I pulled a piece from my stash (YES, my stash, not collection!) that hasn’t been very useful to me. It is white with small, pale-pink roses on it. hmm. Well, it worked fine as a backing but frankly looked terrible. Plain muslin would have been better, but I didn’t have any pieces big enough. I decided to make a false back to cover the pink flowers. And since I rarely do things the simple way, I appliquéd big, simple snowflakes on it.

The snowflakes are just 60° diamonds that I cut out three at a time from white Kona Snow. I used a piece of freezer paper as the template for them, starting with the largest ones and then trimming the freezer paper smaller for the other two. I spritzed the white pieces with basting spray and arranged them, then appliquéd with a narrow zigzag. This morning I finished the binding, securing the false back to the rest of it.

Christmas Houses back. 47.5″ x 21″. My design.

Currently my dining room table is covered with presents that need to be wrapped and mailed. Once it is visible again, this runner will decorate it. Because it isn’t very specifically Christmasy, it will work well until Spring.

If you made it to the end of this long post, thanks so much for reading! I hope your December is going well. It certainly is going fast!

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Day 32 — Landscape Quilt Workshop with Cathy Geier

Since I posted last, I finished assembling and quilting the graduation gift quilt. That took a lot of pressure off, though it still needs binding, one of today’s tasks.

Besides that, I had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend with a surprise visit from my son, who lives on the west coast, and the daughter and her children who live near us. While traveling across country on Friday, Son made an unexpected stop near St. Louis. Since he was only a few hours away, he rented a car and drove up. ❤

Monday’s guild meeting checked one more item off my list, leaving more feeling of time and space for the next several days.

And yesterday, I took a workshop, getting back into the stream of trying new ways to tell stories with quilts. Our guild presenter and workshop leader was Cathy Geier, a landscape artist from Wisconsin. This link is for her gallery and this one is to her blog. The work on her gallery page shows a variety of styles and a range of complexity. In her blog she describes process in detail, as in this recent post on a complicated new project.

Her project for the workshop was much simpler, appropriate for beginners in this kind of quilting. We were to create the majority of a woodlands landscape in a whole three hours. She explained how to use her techniques and materials to arrange elements of tree trunks, background shrubbery, and leaves.

Cathy provided a fat quarter of background fabric, and six other fabrics for the remainder of the scene. She showed how to use plain ol’ acrylic white craft paint, the kind that comes in a small plastic bottle, to add “light” to one side of the pale tree trunks, and a silver metallic Sharpie to add shade and contour on the other side. The dark trees used that silver Sharpie to make pale streaks, and brown and black markers to make dark ones, to give bark texture. Shrubs and flowers are cut with “messy cutting,” a way to create unstructured, organic-looking shapes. She reminded us that the back of the fabric sometimes is the better side to use. After basic lessons on foreground/background placement for perspective, those pieces are glued to the background with glue sticks. She brought a big box of various markers she uses to add or subtract color, and a big bag of crayons for same. Leaves are added last, using a leaf print and fusible web.

I don’t have leaves fused in place yet, but you can see a few of them for the effect.

From her samples, it was easy to see that the finishing (borders, quilting,) make a big difference in the final look. In truth, this isn’t a three-hour project. But it is doable by beginners, and it was a fun lesson in this type of appliqué and design.

Auction Haul

I can’t keep up… I tell people I will contact them (Mary, Jill… ) and don’t. I intend to do some financial paperwork (taxes?!?) and don’t. I plan to write blog posts, design quilts…

On the other hand, yesterday Jim and I got a lot of housecleaning done. While I wouldn’t put that in the category of FUN!, it does make me feel in better control somehow.


Last week my guild had an auction. It’s a great opportunity to donate quilty items to support a good cause. My guild provides quilting education through speakers and workshops; we encourage our area 4H quilters with prizes at the county fair; and most of all, we provide 150-200 (or more!) quilts and other items every year to the local community. At our auction in 2016 we made almost $2000. This year’s might have done even better.

Besides a good way to donate things, it’s also GREAT for buying! We sold completed quilt tops,  boatloads of fabric, a new sewing machine, two large cutting mats and many rulers, hundreds of books and patterns, a broad pressing surface, and notions galore. Items for sale were separated into lots. The lowest sale price for a lot was $5. The highest price was $300 for that sewing machine.

I bought four lots and a book for a total of $67. What did I get for my money? A haul!

Lotsa fabric, an interesting small quilt top, and a book. I did good.

This and That

It’s better to have too much to do than too little, isn’t it? I’ve been getting a few of my “too much” checked off my list, freeing up space for other things.

Tomorrow is my guild’s auction. We have one about every other year, bringing in a real auctioneer to lead the proceedings, and it’s a decent fundraiser for us. Since I’m both on the program committee and also president, I’ll have double duty during the meeting, as well as prepping for the sale. Guild members donate unwanted quilty things — wonder fabric (I wonder why I bought this!), kits, duplicate notions, projects in process — and the committee sorts and packages them into lots for bid. I went through my own quilt assets to choose some donations. The “big” thing I’ll contribute is a 24″ x 36″ Fiskars cutting mat, lightly used. Since I am not much of a shopper and don’t accumulate a lot, I don’t have other notions to donate, and not a lot of fabric.

Another thing on my list was a small repair. If you’re like most quilters I know, mending is NOT a welcome task. We don’t mend, we don’t do alterations, unless we absolutely have to. But my favorite purse was coming apart, with the zipper coming unstitched from the leather. Do you ever sew on leather? I figured this would be a tough project, simply from sliding a needle through the leather to restitch. In fact, the holes were large enough for me to do that easily. It took a couple of inches of backstitches to mend.

I restitched the last couple of inches.

This is the purse I got in Cuba. I almost always get compliments on it.

I also worked on my house quilt (AKA, the pink and brown strip quilt.) With Jim as my consultant, I tried arranging the flying geese a variety of different ways. (Remind me to post about all the different ways you can use them.) Putting them beak-to-butt, chasing around the quilt, is a traditional arrangement. But it seemed like way too much activity for the subdued center. We agreed it was better using fewer of them, arrayed wingtip-to-wingtip. Also, the set of geese included both teal and brown ones, as well as pink and red. I chose to only use the pink and red ones. (There are more than 80 geese left, more than enough to make an actual strip quilt. But that will wait for another time.)

Then it seemed that all that pink and red was a bit unrelenting. To break it, I used teal in the corner blocks, and a narrow border of olive green.

Notice that there are only two pieced borders in this quilt, the variable stars middle border and the flying geese farther out. There is absolutely nothing tricky about it. The rich fabric of the inner borders makes it look more intricate than it is. And the spacer blocks and unpieced strip borders mean that piecing accuracy and even “quilt math” is pretty unimportant.

Another busy week coming up, and plenty on my list of things to do. What are you working on these days?

Engagement

Engagement is on my mind. My son recently announced his engagement to his sweetheart. Jim and I are thrilled for them, and excited for their future. (Thank you, thank you. I will pass on your congratulations.)

But engagement is not only the formal agreement to marry. It can refer to any emotional involvement or commitment. It can be a commitment to employment, or to defense, or even to meet someone for dinner.

Emotional involvement can vary over time, whether to our romantic partner or our career or a hobby. When you feel a lull in your quilting, for example, you may not feel very engaged in it. Other things might capture your interest, or you might feel distracted or simply bored. In hobbies that may be okay. In your marriage or career, it may be wise to find ways to re-engage.

For myself, I’ve found that if I want to feel more engaged, I need to be more engaged, make more effort. Maybe it’s a “fake it ’til you make it” strategy.

This is my eleventh year as a member of my guild. In seven of the eleven years, I’ve held one position or another, with varying requirements on my time. Recently I took a couple of years off. It was GREAT. Honestly. I didn’t have to get to meetings early, nor stay late, nor work on committee efforts at home. I didn’t even need to go to meetings if I didn’t want to. And a lot of the time, I didn’t. Did I mention, it was GREAT not being involved?

The problem is, some things are worth doing and having even when we don’t want to do them all the time. For example, there is a small-town festival near here that Jim and I go to occasionally. It’s fun and interesting, but honestly, it’s not a big deal. And there’s an entrance fee. But when we go, we agree it’s good to go even when we’re not excited about it, because it is a thing that should continue to exist. And it will only continue if people go, and if they pay their entrance fee.

Someone has to do it, or it will cease to exist.

Well, guild can sometimes feel like that. (Okay you local guild members, don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. And if you really don’t, I’ll look for you on the volunteer list next spring!) I think it is valuable, even when I don’t want to participate in it.

So after the couple of years I realized that there was only one way I could fix my lack of engagement, of personal commitment. And that was to recommit. I volunteered for a committee, one of the most active ones, at that, and held that position for more than a year. And then we had “elections” for officers and no one was running for president. A friend asked me to run as co-president with her. So I did. This year I’m co-president AND on that committee, and pretty soon I’ll run an ad hoc committee to review and revise our bylaws.

Now I am fully engaged, both nominally and emotionally. Guild is important to me. It is a thing that should continue to exist, even when I don’t feel particularly like being the one to participate. Someone has to, and sometimes that has to be me.

Another area for disengagement for me is blogging. Blogging has slipped in importance in my life, partly because I’m busy elsewhere. And partly because I feel like I’ve already told you most of what I know about medallion quilts, one of my main goals when I started this site.

I’m not engaged in writing, and I don’t even read a lot anymore. (Yes, my blog friends. If you’ve sensed my absence, it’s been real.)

But I think my blog has value, at least to me, if not to you. And I want it to continue. As I shared with a friend recently

what I REALLY REALLY want, in my heart of hearts, is for other quilters to feel powerful in how they work. And whether they make medallion quilts or art quilts or old fashioned block quilts or modern quilts or whatever they make, I want them to make them from their souls. I want them to express their real selves in their making, to exercise the little power any of us really have, and make what they WANT to make, not what someone else tells them to make. I want them to make what they WANT to make, without fear or concern about what someone else thinks. And they can do it best when they fill their tool box with useful stuff, like how to think. Technique is hugely important, the HOW to do stuff, but if you don’t know how, it is great to have some mental skills to figure stuff out. Right now Austin Kleon has been doing some art with tape and magazines, and he says NO, I’m not going to demonstrate how to do this. I already told you it’s tape and magazines. Now go play!! He is asking people to grab their OWN power to create art, not make his art. That’s what I want. I want to help people make their own quilts, not my quilt.

I can’t help you do that if I’m not here. And the only way I can feel more engaged is to be more engaged. I need to write more. Or at least more often.

Thus begins my journey back, hopefully back to excitement about sharing new ideas, funny thoughts, successes and failures. Hopefully back to helping you make your own quilt, your expression of self from your soul, with power, not fear.