Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

A labor of love–a quilt from A grandmother’s wardrobe

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016
A snuggle quilt

A snuggle quilt

I honestly don’t know how long I had the fabric for the two lap quilts I just made.  Maybe 18 months ago (?) Joshua’s sweetie Ashley asked if I could make a lap quilt from some of her Grandmother’s clothes.  Of course I said yes!   Her gramma had died recently, and Ashley’s mom, Sue, was really missing her.  I looked up some quilts on the internet, hoping for a pieced pattern that would work for a scrappy quilt, look good, yet not take a ton of time to assemble.

When Thanksgiving rolled around and her mom came up to Maine for the holiday, she brought with her….gulp…three white kitchen garbage bags FULL of clothes:  turtlenecks, sweatshirts, fleece tops, a fleece bathrobe and a couple of nighties.   Oh.  My.  Not a single woven anything.  Wish I had taken pictures before I began the deconstruction process!

These are just a few of the leftovers!!!! Yes, that is one of those huge IKEA bags. I started with the equivalent of three of those!

These are just a few of the leftovers!!!! Yes, that is one of those huge IKEA bags. I started with the equivalent of three of those!

And Sue asked if I could make two quilts, not one–one for her and one for her brother.  Sure!   I showed Sue the images of quilts I’d found and she picked the square in a square design you see above.   The original was quite scrappy, and went from lights in the center to mediums to darks, with a half-drop on the columns.  Alas, I seem to have deleted the original photo, plus I don’t know where I saw it anyway!

The second quit, on my sewing table. It is about 60x66 inches finished.

The second quit, on my sewing table. It is about 60×66 inches finished.

Well, let me tell you–the lesson is to make sure FIRST what the fabrics are.   Then see if you can ask (I didn’t) if you could buy and use something woven for the back.   I didn’t fully realize how much time it was going to take to prepare the fabrics.  First I had to cut apart the shirts and sweatshirts and nighties.   Then I figured out how I could maximize the fabric in the body and sleeves.   I cut those bits a bit oversized and, having made a trip to Joann’s Fabrics with a fifty percent off coupon to buy a bolt of tricot interfacing, I starting fusing the interfacing to the stretchy turtleneck fabric. Then I made another trip to Joann’s and bought another bolt (almost used up).

FINALLY, I could start cutting out the pieces.  I decided given the fabric, it would be best if I used a 3/8″ seam (from needle to edge of walking foot) and pressed the seams open.  And I decided to use only turtlenecks and nighties for the top, leaving the sweatshirts I had deconstructed for the backs.   I sorted and stacked.  I sewed blocks, trying not to duplicate any pairing of fabric.   I realized that I had lights and darks, but no mediums.  OK, the point of this quilt is love and family, not duplicating a picture from the internet.  Mental adjustment.

Once I got to sewing, it went fairly quickly:  sewing the blocks for and assembling the two tops took less time (by quite a bit) than prepping the fabric!   I divided the blocks into two pretty equal piles and started plopping them on the design wall.  Turned out I had enough for two very similar quilt tops six by seven blocks (they are about 9.5 inches finished).

Next:  backing.  I laid out the sweatshirt fabric:  enough for one backing.  So I also cut apart the fleece tops.  I decided to make one quilt with only sweatshirt fabric, the other with only fleece, to avoid “bad behavior” on the part of the fabrics.

Laying out the fleece for the second backing

Laying out the fleece for the second backing

I cut batting (poly needle punched from Quilters Dream) a little larger than I needed.  Then I sewed the larger squares to the batting batting by overlapping the edges and using a zigzag to join the “seam” and attach it to the more stable batting.  Regular seams would have been ridiculously bulky and stiff.  I didn’t interface the backing as the quilt was going to weigh a ton already, plus I didn’t think the interfacing would stay stuck long enough to do any good.

I used the walking foot (thank heavens) on my Janome 15000 (thank you again to Janome America for their support and the loan of this phenomenal machine) to quilt a spiral from the center out, then switching to straight lines in the dark border.  I used a variegated light color for the center, and a purplish variegated for the outside (Superior Threads).

Quilting in progress....it was a workout

Quilting in progress….it was a workout

The two lap quilts, the one with the sweatshirts on the back is on the right, back side up. Can I just say it weighs a flipping TON!

The two lap quilts, the one with the sweatshirts on the back is on the right, back side up. Can I just say it weighs a flipping TON!

The two quilts, the one with fleece on the back folded and on top of the other one.

The two quilts, the one with fleece on the back folded and on top of the other one.

The only thing from those three big bags I did not use was the green fleece bathrobe!  I have a few sorta larger pieces of fleece left, and then stuff like the cuffs and top of shirts left.  And oh….I used a dark blue solid for the binding.   Done!

The slivery bits too small to use for anything else

The slivery bits too small to use for anything else–yes, my garbage in my studio is one of those big garden tubs!

I’m so glad they are done, and so glad I was able to make them.   It will be a while, though, until I do another something like this–I may need to lift weights to be ready for the quilting process!  Eli may want a t-shirt quilt for college, but I’ve already told him, it must have woven cotton sashing on the front and a regular quilting cotton on the back!   I’m really looking forward to being able to give these to Sue (or have the kids take them down to Connecticut to her) and really, really hope she and her brother like them and enjoy being snuggled in a “hug” from their mom / mom’s quilt!

 

 

Whoosh! and WHEE!

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

That great Whooshing sound is, once again, time evaporating…which is most appropriate because the WHEE is about an exhibit called “A Matter of Time.”  Curated by Brenda Gael Smith of Copacabana, Australia, it is going to be as wonderful as her previous exhibit (that I was also most fortunate to be in) called Living Colour Textiles.

A detail of my quilt, Milkweed No. 2.  To see the blog for the exhibit, visit http://www.amatteroftimetextiles.com

A detail of my quilt, Milkweed No. 2. To see the blog for the exhibit, visit http://www.amatteroftimetextiles.com

Brenda has given a sneak peek in her blogpost, here.  I’ve been fortunate to see a draft of the catalog for this exhibit, and I am fascinated and inspired by the many interpretations on the theme.  I wish I could post myself off to Australia to see it in person.  The exhibit will debut at the Stitches & Craft Show in Sydney: 3-6 March 2016.  Sigh……

In the meantime, I have been insanely busy with good and sad.  For the past 18 months or so I’ve been working on a granny quilt for Joshua’s sweetie’s mom.  Ashley’s gramma died rather young (all things considered), so Ashley’s mom asked if I would make a lap quilt of her clothes.  Of course I said yes!  Then I discovered it was all turtlenecks, sweatshirts and fleece.  Oh.  My.  I’ll blog about that in a couple days.

This past week, my dear tiger tabby cat, Tyger Dumpster Smith, finally succumbed to what had been ailing him for the past year or two.

Tyger, a shadow of his former sleek and handsome self, in his lat minutes

Tyger, a shadow of his former sleek and handsome self, in his last minutes on earth

You might wonder about his name.  When I was very little, about 3-4, I stayed for several months with my gramma and mom.  Down the street lived an orange tabby named Tiger, which I pronounced Tigah.  I always wanted a tiger cat.  In October 2000, I got my chance.  We were living on San Juan Island.  At the time we wanted to be adopted by another cat, the on-island shelter couldn’t adopt out cats due to a kitty-flu amongst their animals, so I went to the Skagit Valley animal shelter on the mainland.   Someone had rescued him two days previously; he was found tied up inside a plastic bag, under a tarp, in a dumpster (there is a special place in hell for the person who put him there).  Well, obviously he selected me.   The spelling of Tyger comes from the William Blake poem

TYGER, tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies          5
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

(etc.)

And his middle name reminds us how lucky we all were that someone heard his tiny kitten squeaks and rescued him. He purred until his very last, calm breath.  Sniff.  Now I need another tissue.

Last scritches

Last scritchesSo it was a sad week last week.  

Tyger's collar

Tyger’s collar

And in the meantime, I’ve been doing our taxes early so we could get all of Eli’s financial aid applications in (which followed getting in all of his college applications).  The system is better than when I applied–you do it online and most schools used a standardized form so you don’t have to write 70,000 different things, but it is still a beast and a burden to do.

Those lovely chores were completed this morning!  UGH!

So….drum roll….I got to mess with my weekly photo challenge and work on some designs for thermofax screens for a couple new art quilts.  At long LAST!   So I’ll share more as I can.  For now, please do visit A Matter of Time Textiles blog and enjoy!

 

 

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Friday, December 25th, 2015

Happy Solstice, Christmas, Boxing Day, Kwaanza, New Year’s, Winter and just plain old happy day to one and all!   Just a quick note to say hello, as I will be otherwise happily busy with family, cooking, family, and more family on Christmas day.  I thought I’d share the year in pictures–the page of photos I share in our annual Christmas Newsletter that I send out to friends from long ago and far away.

Some of the photos are ones I have taken during my yearlong workshop with Ricky Tims. I've worked hard to make the most of the class and am thrilled with how much I have learned. If you're interested, put Foto Friday or Ricky Tims in the search box to see related blogposts. But wait until Christmas is over! Enjoy family and whatever you are doing today. Life is short, so remember to enjoy your blessings and the beauty of the day.

Some of the photos are ones I have taken during my yearlong workshop with Ricky Tims. I’ve worked hard to make the most of the class and am thrilled with how much I have learned. If you’re interested, put Foto Friday or Ricky Tims in the search box to see related blogposts. But wait until Christmas is over! Enjoy family and whatever you are doing today. Life is short, so remember to enjoy your blessings and the beauty of the day. (You can click the photo to see it a bit larger if you’d like.)

40th Reunion–San Domenico School

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind!  We took Eli on an official (NCAA) visit to his top choice for college.  He spent a good part of the weekend with the wrestling team, while Paul and I got to have dinner with two dear friends from college (who married each other) and moved to a retirement home 20 miles north of the town where Eli hopes to attend college.  We’ve seen them just the once since about 1981, so it was so wonderful to visit in person.

About 1/3 of the San Domenico School Class of 1975--at a class supper at the Dominican University Campus

About 1/3 of the San Domenico School Class of 1975–at a class supper at the Dominican University Campus–I think it was Monica’s husband who took this photo–thank you!  (I’m in the back row to the right of center, in green)

Then 2 days after getting home from that trip, I headed to California for a San Domenico School Alumni Council Reunion (I’m on it) and my 40th High School Reunion.   When picking the category for this post, I chose Family because that is really what we are.  I was so, So, SOOO incredibly lucky to attend San Domenico School in San Anselmo, California. The school (finally!) turned co-ed in high school this year, admitting boys to 9th grade, as well as Lower School, and that change has revitalized the school and interest in it.  It is both day and boarding, so if you are looking for a superior school I can recommend it without reservation.  Cecily Stock graduated two years after I did; she is now head of school and *my* what an impressive woman she has become.  She is the leader and focal point for a team that is saving one of the best schools in the country.   THANK YOU!

There are two other phenomenal women who were at the Reunion and Dinner, and who had a profound and lasting impact on my life.  I love them both dearly.  The gifts they have given to the school and to the children who attended the school cannot be overstated.  Sister Gervaise is on the left, Sr. Patricia on the right.  Along with the late Sister Maurice who is a towering figure of importance to the school, Sr. Gervaise’s far-thinking mind, gentle spirit and intelligence give us a legacy that is ever-giving.  She has lived on campus and dedicated her life to SD and her students for 50 years.  One of her most cherished possessions is a photo of her when she met the Dalai Lama:  that tells you what amazing, independent, strong, compassionate, tolerant, loving, open-minded women are our Dominican sisters.  Sr. Patricia was our class sponsor/moderator.  She was our “grown up in charge of the Class of ’75.”  Except she was only 23 when we started high school!  We thought she was so old and grown up, and she was so young.  She is ours and we are hers.  Period.  And before I seriously need a kleenex, I’ll just post the picture and say THANK YOU!

Sr. Gervaise and Sr. Patricia announce the Distinguished Alumna for 2015: Hoonae Kim, Class of '75, who has dedicated her life to improving lives in the third world, working for the InterAmerican Development Bank, World Bank and UN. Hoonae ROCKS!

Sr. Gervaise and Sr. Patricia announce the Distinguished Alumna for 2015: Hoonae Kim, Class of ’75, who has dedicated her life to improving lives in the third world, working for the InterAmerican Development Bank, World Bank and UN. Hoonae ROCKS!

Final words:  The Class of ’75 is (in my highly biased opinion) probably the best in the history of the school, and in a biased but well-informed opinion, San Domenico is one of the best private schools in the country.  Thank you Mother for making sure I got in and working to pay my tuition.  I got the best education of my life there:  they taught us to love learning, how to learn, and to love.  It doesn’t get any better. Here’s to getting even more of the Class of ’75 on campus for our 50th!

A day off, sort of….

Saturday, July 18th, 2015
I think that the Coastal Quilters challenge has gotten a bit big for it's wallspace...literally.   My closet/design wall is 20 feet long.  It was not long enough--there is another 6 foot panel!  SHEESH!  BUT, the Coastal Quilter TOTALLY ROCK!

I think that the Coastal Quilters challenge has gotten a bit big for it’s wallspace…literally. My closet/design wall is 20 feet long. It was not long enough–there is another 6 foot panel! SHEESH! BUT, the Coastal Quilters TOTALLY ROCK!

Today began with finishing up chores:

1.  So yesterday I packed up my quilts and teaching supplies and whatnot for teaching at Maine Quilts this coming week (speaking of which, there are still some spots in my classes:  Birch Pond Seasons, Decorative Stitch Applique and Intro to Machine Quilting–go to MaineQuilts.org for more info!). Sent pdf’s to Staples for the handouts, which I’ll pick up Monday.

2.  Started prepping The  Coastal Quilters (my local chapter of the Pine Tree Quilt Guild) Chapter Challenge yesterday.

  • Today I prepared the signage and finished pinning all 23 or 24 quilts,
  • got the signage pin,
  • lint-rollered the black drapes/panels for the bazillionth time (we have every color of cat and pug hair there is and it ALL floats–closed doors are not a barrier that work),
  • folded and padded and packed them up.

This takes HOURS.   HOURS.   Every year I swear I will NOT do it again.  And every year I do.  Thank heavens next year’s challenge the quilts are all to be 16″ square, cuz I’m not doing this with multiple sizes.  Ever.  Again.  Never.  (Don’t quote me on that in a couple years.  Sigh.)

3.  Prepared my quilts (entry and teacher quilt) for delivery on Wednesday.

4.  Found the quilt I entered in Houston and that got accepted.  (More in a future post.  Yes, I’m evil.  You have to wait.) Need to pack it up Monday and ship.

5.  Made more chocolate chip cookies for the child.  OK, so we could both eat batter, plus bake some cookies.  Slurp.

6.  Watched a video or two for my new online sketching class.

7.  Didn’t start the lesson for my photo class.  At least I have an idea or two.  Of course I’m leaving it to the last day, as usual.  Sigh.  But I love the class.  Anyway….I digress (what else is new?).

So I decided to reward myself by working on a small Hawaiian Block/quiltlet that will finish 26 1/2 square.  Yep, the size of a Euro Square pillow sham.   Number 1 of the pair was done in time to teach Hawaiian Applique in Florida this past March.

Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul, (my pattern) Taro block

Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul, (my pattern) Taro block–first of two matching pillow shams.

I was marking it to square up after quilting when Paul called me up to dinner.  These two will replace hand appliqued, hand quilted Hawiian style pillow shams (pattern by Elizabeth Root) that were the first hand applique I ever did.  I made them during the FIRST Gulf War.   They are now largely “formerly quilted” as most of the threads have broken and worked out, but the applique is still intact.  A few tears from critter claws, threadbare or tufting on the piping due to wear.   Those things, I realized tonight, are 25 YEARS OLD–yes, quarter century old pillow shams.  Yes indeedee, I think it is time to REPLACE THEM.  Still like them, but they look like they have (and they have) literally been around the world.  I’ll share more when done!

That’s it for tonight!  That’s all, Folks!