Has it really been so so many days since my last post?

Gee, it really has been more than a few days. Where does the time go?
I have been busy, busy.  And I really, really have been trying avoid the temptation to start any new projects until I have finished quilting some of the tops.  Famous last words, eh? Seems I have broken my vows.  To catch up on what's been going on before and after Thanksgiving.

I hand dyed many, many yards of fabric
75 yards of fabric to be exact

         Now, if you will, click to jump over to 15 minutes play to read about a project that I began way back in October.  It's all about making quilts from recycled shirts, but these shirts are more than just recycled.  They have special meaning.  Once you read all about it, check back in to see that I have not been exactly true to my vows.  I was compelled to make more of the 15 minutes play blocks.

And then I was inspired to make some string stars with the shirts, thinking that it would make an appropriate quilt for the grandson.  As the strips of fabric became too small to fit the diamond, I sewed them into new fabric, so I have string/pieced fabric stars. 

Now to decide on the arrangement.  Shall it be like this?

or this?

or this?

or make more blocks for a traditional layout?
Time will tell.

Lest you think that I cannot stick to any sort of commitment, I did complete the
quilting on two tops. 

This one I designed using Electric Quilt several years ago.  It was all paper pieced by my friend, Laura and was supposed to be included in a pattern booklet that I was involved in publishing with another quilter.  Long story short, the booklet didn't happen.  
But here's the quilt.

Marriage in the Mountains   62" x 68"
I also completed my reproduction of a quilt made with strips of fabric contributed by 11 friends in the 15 minutes bee .  It was great fun to play with all the strips of fabric, arranging and rearranging, cutting, slashing and rearranging again. I quilted it sparsely, so it's soft and comfy, just perfect for a lazy day on the sofa or a picnic in the park. 

Real Deal   68" x 76"
And now to pull out another quilt top, get it sandwiched and start quilting once again. 


I've been practicing a bit of self discipline the past few days.  It seems I have a stockpile of quilt tops that are screaming to be quilted.  I am certain that none of you have this issue that you feel that it must be dealt with.  (pants on fire) That issue along with some health issues have prevented me from being too productive as of late.  So I am determined to spend a bit of time doing some sporadic free motion quilting to clear the slate, deal with the onset of other issues and get ready for the holidays.  Thus, I have nothing new to show.  But wait.  I have some old things to show thanks to Mom.  She bought this delightful crib quilt years ago.  To my mind it is SO SO Fresh Modern.  Doncha think?
Fresh Modern Crib quilt from @ 1940s

block from crib quilt

block from crib quilt
block from crib quilt
OH, how I would love to find the fabrics that were used in this sweet quilt.  

Twin one
No you are not seeing double.  These are the lovely twin quilt mates.  
Probably from the 1940's as well.

Twin two

What fun, huh? Although I am not normally drawn to these styles,
I am hard pressed to keep at my free motion quilting and not begin something new.   There is something to be said about this fresh new/old look.  I am re inspired.
Thanks Mom
What inspires you these days?


just to much chaos for me, today

which will calm the chaos a tiny bit?

pink/orange silk won out as the flavor of the day for a 58" x 68" finish
Pulling out all my books showing Gee's Bend quilts, browsing the web for Anna Williams, as well as some of my favorite quilters, it was time to just get on with it.  Make a decision to complete this one as best as I could.  It was not going to be an Anna Williams masterpiece, nor a Gee's Bend masterpiece, it will just be what it will be.  It has been a love/hate affair of sorts, always depending on my mood.  There has been difficulty separating the mind and the moods.  Try as I might, I was not able to view it with a detached eye.  As usual, the emotions won out.  It is what it is, I am what I am.  Finish this one up and keep exploring. 
What have y'all been exploring lately?

Rebel inspiration

How to arrange
twenty 11 1/2 inch blocks made from silk ties

too structured for me today

I tried integrating reds, pinks and all sorts of other ideas inspired by my fellow bloggers' comments.  Nothing felt just right.  Except this bright orange linen tie that I had yet to cut apart. Not enough in that skinny tie to last very long.  So I had to give up on the idea of the linen, unless I want to stop and hand dye some linen fabric.   
 I opened one of the storage units that hold 
my stash of multi-colored florals
and this Alexander Henry design was looking me straight in the face.

Maybe because of the brisk fall air, seeing pumpkins everywhere I go, 
but shades of orange kept whispering to me.  And then perhaps the upcoming holiday was hovering in the back of my mind too?  I think that Sujata's brilliant use of color was also nudging at my subconscious.  The ties were just not quite as colorful as I had hoped.

Now how to put together 11 1/2 inch blocks with 7 1/2 inch blocks. Don't even ask me how I ended up with these disparately sized quilt block units.  Let's just say it was therapeutic at the time.

Late one night, perhaps because Kaffe Fasset was in town teaching and lecturing, I opened up one of his books of quilt patterns, "Passionate Patchwork".  This may have also been the result of seeing Nifty's blog with the wonderful striped shirtings quilt as well as her suggestion of using black as a connector. Very dramatic, yes?  Color issues solved for the moment.

But wait, too much black and too much orange to fill in the spaces, was detracting from the silk.  I need to let the silks shine. 

so more spacer blocks were needed.  

And I won't bore you with the countless
 arrangements and rearrangements.  
Here is where it hangs now.  
66" x 34" 

No telling what may happen next.  What you see is not always what I end up doing.
Thanks to all for your suggestions and inspiration.  It's not over yet. 


The time has come to do something with all the silk ties I have stashed away.  Some belonged to my father, my uncles, my son, my husband, my nephew and others came from thrift shops.  I have an over abundance 

Then there are the old silk blouses and slacks that I kept saving with the though that they might be back in style one day.  Alas, I have tossed the shoulder pads that should be velcroed into the blouses for that 80's look, so needless to say, the fit is no longer very attractive.  So they've been cut apart.  Let me just say right now, that it finally keeps me from wearing them in public.  

Then there are the pieces of silks that did and did not make it into garments

               Next step, I washed everything all up and began taking the ties apart
when I needed a bit of "sit down, put my feet up time".

A few days ago, I took rotary cutter in hand and began slicing and dicing 
the ties into approximately 2" inch strips.  

Like so

Not having much experience with silk, I felt that it should be sewn onto some sort of backing.  Making an executive decision, I cut 6 inch squares of muslin for the backing.  Now to decide a pattern for the silk strips.  Mulling it over and over, it's time to make the next executive decision.  Let's sew these suckers down and get on with it.
Like so

All the original ideas that I had are out the window, and now it is audition time

on a silk blouse sleeve, a new look for garments: or maybe not

silk blouse strips, oh so traditional

use the silk ties center sections for sashings, tradition with a twist?

but then, why use all silk; use recycled linen slacks

The original intention was to use silk and only silk.  The question of the day, do I want contrast? Tonight, methinks, it is all about the contrast.  Dare I go back to both sides now?
Yes, Miz Scarlett, tomorrow is another day.
No telling what it may bring.
I am wide open for suggestion here.  Don't be shy

Who's to say

Maybe I should entitle this post 
Venus and Mars
 man and woman
night and day
positive and negitive
back and front
to and fro
right and wrong
left and right
opposites attract
 need I continue?

I like the last one best.  Occasionally opposites do attract.
Well to my mind, it worked this time.

so here it is:
Selveges inspired front

Mandingo inspired backing

In any case, I have finished a king sized bed quilt as you go.  And my wrestling days are over, let me tell you. Marianne's QAYG method is fabulous, but I won't be doing another king bed size quilt in my life time.   Call me lazy, call me a slacker, just don't call me to do another king size quilt.  Whatever was I thinking?

Oh, and just for reference here, the Mandingo inspiration

Oh, and just to show the masculine feline approval (or at least I think he approves)

Both Sides Now
Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds * that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I've looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As ev'ry fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all
I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

Thank you Joni

back in bizness

In an attempt to get back into a schedule, I have committed to completing somethings.  Notice that I say somethings, as in plural.  So here we go.  Remember the block that I was exchanging with Sujata way back when?  Our theme was to be trees. In case you don't recall, here 'tis:
"Family Holiday Tree"

Sujata's "Snow Falling on Cedars" 
Sujata's block is exquisite.  An amazing graphic piece that I hope to see again and yet again in an amazing quilt at some point whenever she decides it may happen.  There was a story behind her block, but I will let her tell about it.
My block began simply but ended up being a bit more complicated.  Long story short, ultimately we decided that we would return the respective blocks to each other for several reasons.  It was an emotional decision for both of us, I do feel.  What emotions we can connect via the web, right?  Tears well up as I write.

At last I felt it was time to get on with it.  Is it because of the approaching fall season which always brings the holiday emotions to the surface.  Perhaps so, and I did get on with it.  I expanded on my family trees.  And now, I am thinking out loud here, can it be a year that has already passed?  Yup, afraid so.  YIKES.

Original block on the right.
Beginning the addition on the left.

and so it grew to a completed panel

I have joined more trees and finished this piece. Yet the cycles continue.  As family goes, hopefully, it is never a complete journey.  And as friends go, we hopefully continue to expand and connect via the w.w.w. and continue our journeys together. Who knew, huh?

my new friend, Irena

 When I was growing up my Mom has this old "ironer thing" that she used to starch and iron everything from the sheets and pillowcases to my Dad's overalls.  Let me just say that we were a well-ironed family back in the day, much to the dismay of my brother and myself, as those starched pillow cases weren't the most comfy place to lay your head.
Mom finally gave up and got rid of the her ironer.

Years pass and and I sign up for a Nancy Crow workshop, which means I need to get busy dyeing more solid fabrics to add to my stash.  Dyeing fabric also means lots of ironing.  Ironing has never been something I was thrilled to spend time doing. 
Guess what will handle one yard pieces of damp fabric like a champ?  
You got it! 
 I discovered an old Ironrite on Craigslist, contacted the owner, and immediately took it off her hands.  Let me introduce you to Irena, my new best friend.

a wet wrinkled pile of hand dyed fabrics

placed into Irena's hot arms 
looks like this in a tenth of the time it would take if using my regular iron and board
And I might add that she does a bang up job ironing cloth napkins.  I have been following my daughter's lead in trying to cut back on consumption of paper products.  And since I have drawers full of cloth napkins, that I NEVER iron, we now have lovely crisply ironed napkins at meal times.  Now to get to the pillow cases and sheets . . . . . . 

Old news

How do I begin?  It seems that I cannot get back into the swing of blogging lately.  Maybe it was the long hot summer, or my vacation trip to Portland and Seattle, or maybe I came home from my trip to be overwhelmed with a huge mess in my studio.  Way too many unfinished quilts, all my stash piled here and there on the floor, lots of household chores to catch up, chaos of the mind?  I would show you how bad it was, but I neglected (er-um refused) to take pictures of my mess.
Now that all is reorganized, put away, caught up, I wanted to share a few pictures of my visit with the Rebels of Seattle. I could not have felt more at home with this warm and welcoming group of ladies.  Talk about southern northwestern hospitality!  The meeting began with a yummy pot luck lunch on the Sally's deck in a warm, sunny Seattle.   I had to really control myself to not go back for seconds and thirds.  After all, I was a guest, who brought no food to share.  But when everyone brought out their projects to share,  I quickly forgot about the food.  What a diverse group of talents.

You should see Patty's stripes up close and personal ~ WOWSER ~

Dawn's upcoming project using silk strips

Buffy's amazing use of solids and fabulous machine quilting

Nifty is hiding behind her glorious Madonna that she is handquilting.
If you have yet to discover this multi-talented group jump over the their site and take a look to see more.  You will be delighted.

Nifty of http://www.niftyquilts.blogspot.com/and her husband graciously hosted my husband and I for two wonderful dinners and a bit of Seattle sightseeing.  Sad to say I was so excited about meeting and getting to know them, that I neglected to take any pictures.  But be on the lookout, because I am already looking for cheap flights to the Portland/Seattle area.  I am thinking it should be a quarterly trip.   And this time there will be less words and more pictures, I promise.