Thursday, October 29, 2009

Christmas Quilts

I remember reading about a woman who made Christmas quilts for every bed in her house and put them on the beds for a few weeks during the Christmas season. Ever since then I have set that as a goal, but as of right now I don't have a single Christmas quilt for any bed. But all that is about to change. My next project is going to be a Christmas quilt I have designed called Christmas Ribbons. The pattern is designed, the fabrics are purchased, and all I'm waiting for is a tiny bit of freer time so that I can begin. I will give you a little teaser here and post a picture of the fabric. They are from the City Girl Holiday line by Kitty Yoshida for Benartex Fabrics, and it should surprise no one who knows me that every single one of the fabrics is etched with gold.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Zen of Embroidery

I've been doing some hand embroidery on my table runners this week, and I have rediscovered that doing embroidery with a needle and thread has a unique pleasure and rhythm to it. I haven't done any serious handwork for many years, and though I still do not want to start piecing an entire quilt together by hand, there's something very rewarding about making even stitches with your own hand rather than by machine. When they turn out good, you immediately feel the reward, and when they turn out bad, you can easily remove them and make them good. It's as though the bad never existed at all.

It's quiet, too, sewing with needle and thread, a good time to be alone with your thoughts and watch the pattern emerge slowly, slowly, like a leaf unfolding or a butterfly emerging or a baby growing. And holding something in your hand makes it possible to see details you never noticed before. There's an intimacy about fabric and needle and thread all within a foot of your eyes that reduces the world to a very tiny, very manageable space, even if only for a short time.

I think I may put aside some time every day for some embroidery, even after the table runners are completed. It's better than yoga for relaxation and cheaper than flying to a beach somewhere and, dare I say it, nearly as good as chocolate!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I am a HUGE fan of the bling: sparkles, jewels, beads, buttons, glitter -- everything's better with glitter -- metallic thread, studs, eyelets, charms. Well, you get the idea. I am, like monkeys and raccoons and ravens, hypnotized by shiny stuff. I was at Michael's looking around for some things to embellish my table runners that I am designing, and then I saw it. It was big and sparkly and had every color of the rainbow. And I had to have it. The picture shows three, but, honest, I only bought one. Who's excited to bead some things!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Variety is the Spice of Life

I've listened to a few podcasts lately of interviews with famous quilters like Elly Sienkiewicz, Mimi Dietrich, Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran. While I admire greatly the work that Elly Sienkiewicz does and am in awe of her vast store of knowledge about Baltimore Album quilts, I feel more in sync with Gwen Marston and her eclectic style. I'm not really an art quilter, but I do get bored just doing one type of quilt all the time. That's why I'll never be an expert on any particular style or technique, but that's okay by me. I figure the day I stop having fun quilting is the day I stop quilting.

I've been working on a series of table runners for Patchplay that have applique on them, and while I have enjoyed making them, I'm more than ready for some piecing, just piecing. If I had to do only applique for the rest of my life, I fear I would soon feel like poking a needle in my eye. Yet, having said that, if only piecing was available to me, I think the same eye-poking instinct would set in.

So here's to variety in quilting and in life. Thank goodness for experts who find their niche and stick with it, but I will continue to flit around until I have tried every technique or style intrigues me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A WIP is Finished!

I've been listening to Allison Rosen encourage us to finish old projects and make new ones from all those piles of magazines we have been collecting for years, so I decided yesterday to reach into my box of unfinished projects and clean up some of them. The first one I came to was this lovely wallhanging, which was nearly complete, only needed some finishing touches to the quilting and binding. I bought this as a kit in Whitefish, Montana, at a fun little quilting shop there, but I can't remember the name of it. It's a McKenna Ryan pattern, who, I found out, lives just down the road apiece from the quilt shop where I bought it. It reminds me of so many great visits to Waterton Lakes in southern Alberta and a few trips to Glacier National Park in Montana, and if you know me at all, you know that I am a mountain girl, so this wallhanging makes me smile every time I walk by it. And part of the reason I smile is simply because IT IS FINISHED!