July, 2021

July has always been a special month, filled with the celebrations of the birthdays of all three sons, my only niece, and my granddaughter. This July is even more special, since there is a bit more freedom to have outings and be with friends and family.
During the last weeks of June, I made a real effort to once again organize and assess my stash bins. After completing the 2.5″ stamp quilt, and working on the 1.5″ stamp quilt, I was able to sort and package the remaining stash. Some of the fabric pieces were from some of my very first quilts. I cut strips and blocks and donated these to Spare Parts. This is the mission statement for this fabulous shop:

We advance reuse and sustainability through creativity and the arts.

Of course, when I went to donate, I returned home with a bag of goodies for other projects. All for a good cause!
Since the bins were whittled down to practically nothing, I started visiting fabric shops in person with the plan to rebuild my stash. After over a year of only online fabric shopping, I went a bit overboard. There was no rhyme or reason for the fabrics I chose, other than that I liked them. I found myself thinking of Freddy Moran whose mottos include “red is neutral” and “excess is never enough”.

I also took some time to review the 69 quilts I have made since I began quilting in 2014. This exercise helped me see the development of my quilt design and assembly. Most of my quilts are not made from patterns. When I do use a pattern, I tend to make small changes, either by accident or by intent. What I realized after studying the quilts, is that my use of color has changed, and that I enjoy trying new techniques. This is why I am so interested in quilts by Freddy Moran and Jen Kingwell. My first attempt at making a Jen Kingwell quilt is nicely tucked away in a bin. I made a few blocks and got frustrated with the many different styles and sizes. Now I find that I really enjoy scrappy quilts and different styles, colors, and sizes of blocks in one quilt. I am ready to try again.

As mentioned in an earlier post, my friend, Marti, and I are each working on a Jen Kingwell quilt pattern. I lent the Wanderer’s Wife pattern to Marti, and I started on the Boho Heart pattern. Before I started making the blocks, I viewed different Jen Kingwell videos. In one video, she is showing people how she chooses fabric. Kingwell paraphrases Freddy Moran comment about colors… if 10 colors don’t work, try 110. Kingwell also mentions that she (Kingwell) is “not all about matching the colors”. Some of the blocks are repeated in this pattern, and I usually don’t like to repeat. But one of Kingwell’s hints in her pattern is to try to change the fabric sequence in making more than one of the same block. So far, I have made all of the 10″ blocks. I am in the process of making the fourteen 8″ blocks. To begin this project, I chose yardage of one fabric that had many colors. Then I purchased fourths of different colors and patterns. Right now, some of the block colors and patterns fit and some don’t. So, some may need to be set aside and new ones made to replaced. But that will be part of the fun. After this Boho Heart quilt is completed, no telling what direction my quilt piecing will take. All I know is that my way of doing things is changing, and that is the exciting part.

In the video, I have included my 2.5 ” scrappy quilt that is now quilted and bound. Marti introduced me to Ann Barnett, who does great work on the long arm. I visited her home and I covet her sewing/work place! She has a small two room studio in back of her house that is dedicated solely to her sewing and quilting. We spent a couple of hours just sharing ideas, choosing threads and designs, and just having fun. I learned so much just from talking with her.

Also included in the video is a jewelry bag that I made for my granddaughter. I polished up a ring that my dad had given me when I was my granddaughter’s age. The ring is tucked inside an owl box for now, and she can use the jewelry bag for her other jewelry. The easy pattern for this cute bag is from Melanie Ham.

Then of course, I had to add a bird story in the video. When my granddaughter was younger, she loved to look at all the bird figurines that my mom had set up in her house. So, my mother made my granddaughter two wreaths. One was a Christmas wreath with cardinals. The other was a spring wreath that had different types of birds. My granddaughter kept both hanging in her room all year. This year, she decided to hang the spring wreath on their front door. Her neighborhood is a bird lover’s dream, with so many types of birds coming from the near-by creek and neighborhood lake. She was all excited when a bird made a nest in the wreath. No one is allowed to use the front porch. Last week, I was sent a photo of the birds that had hatched. The birds continue to grow and rule over the front porch.

Happy July 4th!

New Project and Finished Quilts

New Project
Marti, one of my Meemaw friends, is very active with the Headwaters at Incarnate Word. The spring water source for San Antonio is located in this sanctuary. It is called the Blue Hole. Since my friends and I already made a quilt for the Brackenridge Conservancy, we decided we also wanted to make a quilt for the Headwaters. Marti found a pattern and purchased some lovely fabric. Today was our first day of working on this project. We cut all of the pieces and then headed out for lunch. Next Tuesday, we will begin piecing the quilt. I was so busy cutting today, I forgot all about taking photos.

Finished Quilts

This past Monday, I picked up the two quilts I had left with my long arm quilter, Jeana Kubik. Jeana always does such a great job with her quilting. I am going to miss her when she moves next year.
She completed the quilt I pieced for my sister, Adri. I also made a quilt tote bag.

This quilt was so much fun to make. The inspiration for this quilt came from studying books by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston. I had no real plan for this quilt, other than building around the center panel piece of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This is the first time I made borders that are not of equal widths on each side. The Broken Dish block border and the Sawtooth Variation block border were also a first for me. I usually just had boring borders.

Jeana also finished quilting the Floral Pet quilt. Jeana  had shown me the quilting pattern of a heart-shaped paw print, and I just knew this would be perfect. I had fun using scraps for the flying geese and the outside border. As you can see, I sort of went over board with polka-dots.
Is there such a thing as “too many polka-dots”?

Now it is time to reorganize my sewing room. I am also reading a book that was recommended by
Mary Puckett. The book, Sneaky Piecing, by Beth Ferrier arrived in the mail today. I have just read up through page 10, and I already have learned some good tips, and refinement of some techniques I already use. This is such a good resource, my friends now want to order.
Many of you probably know these things already, but I found these tips to be interesting.

Tips I have learned so far:

  • Pile the bolts of fabric you have chosen and look at the edges. This will give a better representation of what you will see. ( If making a quilt with smaller pieces.)
  • Beth says: “A quilt that is all medium is neither rare nor well done.”
  • For cutting, fold the fabric a second time. The center fold lies along the selvages.

I am looking forward to learning more. Thanks for the recommendation, Mary!

Pajama Day

(Photo taken with my iPhone)
Last night was filled with the excitement of the Blood Wolf Lunar Eclipse and a football game. I stayed up way past my bedtime, so I officially declared today to be a Pajama Day.
My morning meditation began with reading one of my all time favorite books that my students and I loved. Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King Jr. , by Doreen Rappaport is an awarding winning book. The illustrations by Bryan Collier are absolutely stunning. Teacher Tube has a reading of this book.
The rest of my day was spent completing my quilt top. I had all the broken dish blocks already made, so it did not take long to piece the last border together. I had been dreading making all of those broken dish blocks, but it turned out to be the most fun part of this project.
I do not know if I will piece the backing or look at the wide quilt backing that my friend and quilter, Jeana, has on hand.

Freddy Moran advises quilters to never point out mistakes. So, I won’t point out the blocks that are too white and light for the rest of the quilt. 😉
I might rip and redo those two sections.
Or not.

On the Wall

For two days, I have been cutting and piecing like a crazy woman…and I love it. I am making this quilt based on ideas from Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston. What I love about their books is they offer a Parts Department, where instructions for blocks are given. There are no specific patterns, just samples of gorgeous, inspirational quilts.
This is what I have after two days:
Day 1
(I just noticed an oopsie on the right strips. It’s a good thing they are not sewn yet.)
Day 2
All of the half-triangles are made. I have pieced the two strips on the right together. I hope to get the other three sides pieced and attached tomorrow.

Wonderful Wednesday

So much for my resolution for a low fabric buy month. I just spent a very Wonderful Wednesday morning with my friends, Francine and Toni. They are the owners of Las Colchas. Francine and I have been friends since 1967… I was a bridesmaid at her wedding. Las Colchas offers a varied selection of fabric that will catch the eye of anyone who likes to play with fabric. They also have wool, felt, threads, etc… just about anything you need to create. The bonus at this store, is the help, guidance, and support that Francine, Toni, and all of the gracious people who work in the shop.
I have been wanting to branch out and try something different, original, colorful, and artistic. At my library, I ran across books by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston. Collaborative Quilting Talking It Over, and Collaborate Again, are books that I just had to order for myself. I have been pouring through these books for some time, and I have been purchasing colorful and different fabric …just because…no real plan. Over the holidays, I started designing my own quilt based on suggestions and ideas from the books. Yesterday, I started pulling out some of my fabric. I realized that even though the fabric was beautiful, it was all still real “safe”. Not “matchy-matchy”, but just not free enough for what I had in my head. I decided to consult with Francine… and I am so glad I did. We spent the morning talking about my ideas. Both Francine and Toni encouraged me to have fun and just pick out different fabric. I picked some out, still a little conservative, and then Francine helped me out. She threw in fat quarters and talked to me about looking at the fabric as pieces, not as a whole. Each piece in one of the fat quarters added a different splash of color or design that would make blocks stand out. This was so much fun!
 This may not look like much, all stacked together. But I think this fabric, along with the fabric I already bought, will make some great blocks.
So, thank you, Francine and Toni! I am cleaning up my work space and plan to start tomorrow. Wonderful Wednesday was a bit too much for me and I need to put my feet up for a bit!


Creative Inspiration

Creative inspiration is everywhere. A few months ago, I checked out a book from the library by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston. This book is a great resource for ideas, techniques, and inspiration.
The book, Collaborative Quilting, is out of print, and the price is outrageously high on Amazon. Luckily, it is in my local library, and it is usually there when I want to check it out for a refresher.
In the first book, Freddy Moran points out that red is a neutral color for her. I think my neutral color is purple. I recently purchased a second book by these two artists, Collaborate Again.
I love the way the authors modernize traditional blocks, use vibrant colors, and use a design-as-you-go method.I also like how they use a pieced style of borders that just adds pizzazz to the quilts. Tierney has a post about a Sew Day she had with a friend who had taken a class taught by Gwen Marston. I would love to take a class taught by these quilters.
This week-end, I attended the QuiltFest in Austin, another source of inspiration. Then, I went to spend some  days with my granddaughter and daughter-in-law.
My granddaughter is a great source of creative inspiration for me. I was sharing the Collaborate Again book with her, and she totally loved the designs and colors. Then my granddaughter showed me an art piece she had done in class. I have always found art done by children to be so true and inspirational. My granddaughter thought that the heart piece she had painted looked like something I could use in a quilt with lots of color and shapes like the ones in Freddy Moran’s book. I totally agree.

My granddaughter told me that she would like another quilt…one with owls. We looked online for ideas, but then she showed me one of the owls she painted and asked if I could use it on a quilt.

I love the colors she used on this owl. She also designed a layout for the owls and types of blocks she thought would look good. She drew some other owls for me to use.  It is still a work in progress. She wants to give it more thought. And I need to give it a lot of thought!
My granddaughter said she didn’t need to draw the details in these owls, since we will be looking for “good” fabric that will add the detail.