Here’s what I’ve been doing in my quilting room:
These purple squares have been lying around ever since I made my very first quilt, a very, very long time ago, and after watching about 20 episodes in a row of TV shows about hoarding, in which many hoarders come to very bad ends, I’ve realized that these purple squares (and a lot of other stuff) HAVE. TO. GO.
So I’m making these squares into a purple quilt. Never mind that hoarders always have grand plans for all the stuff they have piled all over everything. My plans are really going to happen! They are happening right now!
Not that I’m worried about being a hoarder. (No! Of course I’m not a hoarder!) But I do have more fabric than I can fit in my sewing room in any organized fashion. And since my sewing room used to be a pretty spacious two-car garage, that is a somewhat sobering thought. So I’m making a super-extra-double-serious commitment to using up my fabric without buying anything new until I don’t have any piles left. Unless I see something I really HAVE to have.
I’m also making this braid quilt in the same “use it up” mood. I have carefully edited this photo to crop out all the various piles of different things that are heaped on or behind my sewing table. Because if you can’t see them in the photo, they don’t exist.
In my creative life, I work mainly with words and with fabric. I often get inspired by just looking at the fabric on the shelves in my quilting room. I have this bookshelf full of fabric positioned so I can stare at it while lounging on the couch.
But sometimes it’s rewarding to get out and find inspiration in other places. This morning I took a detour from my usual routes and visited the local trendy shopping street, where Christmas is in full swing.
There’s so much in the shops to excite the eye — from the shiny ornaments shown at the top of the post, to this display of Father Christmas statues:
Or this wall of wrapping paper:
Or even these silicone spatulas. (I love spatulas.)
After seeing all that, I came home and started enthusiastically cutting up fabric for a new quilt.
I finally finished the thank-you gifts I’ve been making for the families who hosted our Eurythmy group last summer during our Germany tour. This morning I took my pile of packages down to the post office. This rag quilt is going to Gröbenzell, near Munich, where we stayed for several days. The instructions for filling out the customs forms were not helpful, to say the least, so I hope I got everything right and my packages go to the right place. If not, I hope some customs inspector will use the quilts in good health.
I’m much happier making a rag quilt with half-square triangles than I was with simple square blocks. The diagonal lines in the triangles give the quilt a sense of movement and make it seem as if I put in a lot more work than I actually did (always a key goal of mine when quilting.)
I went to a couple of quilt shows this weekend, and as usual saw that just about every other quilter in the world is better at quilting than I am. Look at this detail of a quilt by Judy Mathieson, who was the featured artist at the first show I visited, and you’ll see what I mean. You can see some of her other quilts here.
But you know what? I don’t care. For me, quilting is all about the joy of fabric, and about recklessly combining colors and patterns into something that might turn out looking great, but will definitely be warm and cuddly. I make mistakes and sew right over them without regret. I’m glad there are Judy Mathiesons in the world to make quilts so precisely cut and sewn, so masterfully designed and so beautifully quilted that my breath catches a little when I see them, but I’m glad to be throwing together my own slapdash creations too.
Right now I’m in the finishing stages of making a rag quilt as a thank-you gift for one of the families that so generously hosted Sunny and me on our trip to Germany this summer. Here it is at its current stage of construction:
I hope they like blue and green!
This little quilt is about all I’ve done in the creative department in the last month. What have I been doing instead? A fair amount of lying limply on the couch, watching “reality” shows about beauty pageant contestants and brides choosing their wedding dresses, while wishing the pain in my rear end would go away. And taxes, of course. Come on over here if you want to join in the non-stop excitement.
This is my second-ever rag quilt. Can you tell it’s designed for a little girl? It felt very satisfying to use up just about all of the pink fabric I had lying around the studio. There’s something wonderful about using things up. It makes me feel so virtuous.
I’m also really liking the rag quilt technique. You can be a crummy cutter (that’s me!), lousy at sewing straight lines (me again), and lazy about pinning and squaring up (yes, me), and it still comes out looking great.
I underestimated how much snipping with scissors is involved in making this little fleece rag quilt, so I overshot my Valentine’s Day target by just a little. But never mind! That gives this quilt plenty of time to ripen thoroughly before next Valentine’s Day.
This quilt started out as a project I made to illustrate an article on how to make a braid quilt, but it turned out pretty nicely, so now it will be a belated baby gift for my still-pretty-new step-nephew. It’s not actually crooked, as it looks in the photo — that’s the only angle I could get from my customary photography spot standing on a kitchen chair. One of these days I really need to get a better photography setup.
I’m what you would call a timid machine quilter. I’ve spent a number of years stuck on basically one style of machine quilting: stippling, a random pattern that produces an end result that looks like puzzle pieces.
This quilt represents my first foray into free-motion hearts and loop-the-loops, neither of which you can see very well because I used thread the same color as the fabric, reasoning that if I ran into a quilting disaster, my mistakes would remain fairly invisible. I was happy enough with the results that I donated the quilt to Basketball Girl’s school to auction off at the school’s annual Crab Feed.
This quilt took at least a couple of years to go from top to finished quilt, but it’s done and out the door!
I started this quilt years ago with the thought of hanging it up at one of Basketball Girl’s Halloween haunted houses. Now I’m making a serious push to finish up old projects that are cluttering up my sewing room, and this one was on top of the pile — just in time for this year’s Day of the Dead. I’d like to tinker with the skull some more, but “git ‘er done” is my new motto!
My friend Ruth gave me the center part of this quilt to finish for a good cause. I don’t like square quilts, so I added some borders to enlarge the quilt and make it into a rectangle, which I think is much better for my favorite activities of napping and lounging around doing nothing. The striped borders are made of leftover fabric scraps, although they didn’t make any kind of a dent in my overflowing scrap bin. The quilt is now going to be raffled off to help send students from Sunny’s high school on an exchange trip to Italy. Thanks for the quilt, Ruth!
If you don’t see the photo, I have applied all my stone-age-level tech wizardry and haven’t been able to figure out this problem. You can see all my blog photos at my blog site: www.morecreativelife.com.
This weekend I visited the Quilts in the Garden annual show at the Alden Lane nursery in Livermore, California. The quilts are hung mostly outdoors from lines stretched between huge old oak trees. There was also sugar-free fudge made by a candy maker from Alameda, California. Really, what more could you ask for?