Simple Destashing


Sometimes, destashing is simple.  I was reorganizing my sewing room (smelling salts, please.  And found these panels.  Actually, the one on the right was a panel and a backing.  I cut the backing into strips to make a border–so it’s now a little bit bigger baby quilt and pretty much fit the panel that I used for the backing.  Then I pulled out another fabric to add for the binding.  Yes, I have a little bit of that border fabric left, but I think I will make some of the Victory Junction Bears.  I made about 20 last year, and there should be enough of the cute animal fabric to make at least 2 bears, using the checkered flag fabric for arms and legs.
I figure this little pull from my closet used about 2 1/2 yards of fabric. Incidentally, I originally purchased this fabric to make a quilt for the local women’s shelter. And that’s exactly where it will be going–just a couple of years later than I first intended.  Done anything to clean out your stash lately?

Good Luck With Your Quilt Show

I got a lot of comments to my post Is Computerized Quilting Killing the Local Quilt Show? Some of them came in the form of private emails.  Most people seemed to think I was trying to rehash the debate about technology moving forward.  I was not.  I was trying to spark a conversation about why quilt show attendance is down, generally.

I think computerized quilting tends to make one quilt show very much like another, which might be one reason attendance is down.  I can go from quilt show to quilt show and actually know the name of the longarm quilting pattern that was used on the quilt.   In some cases, patterns are made for certain types of quilts, so you might go to two quilt shows and see a computer-quilted quilt nearly identical to previous show (for example, wedding ring patterns are made to fit the melon and arcs).

I am not a snob who says we shouldn’t use technology.  But, I do think that beginners who come in and see the super-perfect quilting and embroidery that can only be done by a computer can be discouraged.  And as a hobby, we need new quilters.  This particular hobby tends to be picked up by many after their children leave the home.

Try to remember when you started quilting.  I remember going to Paducah after I had been quilting for about 5 years.  And for several months afterwards, I was completely discouraged.  I thought I could never achieve anything half so wonderful.  And the quilts then were less perfect.  But now, the quilts are getting somewhat “cookie cutter”, as are the quilting patterns, and therefore, the shows are also becoming cookie cutter.  Something must change, or quilt shows will start to lose money, and guilds will fail.  It may be a while down the road, but if we want to keep our hobby fresh, we can’t keep doing quilt shows the same we we did 30 years ago with today’s technology, and we need to inspire new members, not discourage them.

I hope everyone’s quilt show is a success, but I think we’re all going to have to make some changes to continue to succeed.

Is Computerized Quilting Killing the Local Quilt Show?

This weekend is my guild’s quilt show. Quilt shows are big deals for guilds. For most, it’s how they make their money to offer more classes and programs for their members.  Each year, attendance at quilt shows seems to decline. Not just ours, but others I have talked to indicate attendance is down on their areas as well. And shows I have attended year after year, seem less crowded.

So in discussing this with my husband, I asked him why he thought attendance was down. The economy is always a factor, since people whose disposable income is down won’t travel far, or spend as much. Understandable. But to me, the decline seems steady over the last 15 years or so.

So I asked my husband, as someone who is on the fringes, why he thought attendance wad down. Over the years he’s accompanied me to many quilt shows, but he doesn’t quilt, and he is careful with his opinions because he likes sleeping in the bedroom.

His opinion: computerized quilting. The results of computerized quilting machines is now so perfect that the gap between professional and hobbyist is a gulf. And hobbyists can’t compete. Yes, they can “quilt by checkbook”, if they can afford it, but then the finished product is not fully their work, eliminating a sense of pride that the hobbyist feels when they see their own creation from start to finish.  And even those hobbyists who create some marvelous pieces cannot be as prolific as the computerized quilter.  So shows are full of two very different levels of quality.

So, I don’t know. I see a lot of merit to my husband argument, but I’m not sure if that’s the whole story or not. What do you think? Is the traditional quilt show coming to an end?  And is computerized quilting the catalyst?

A Bequest

001Many times people will contact a quilt guild, not really knowing what they do.  Many times it’s to ask them to make a quilt for them.  Sometimes it’s to ask them to take quilting material (or just stuff) off their hands.  Last year, our guild was contacted by a family who had several unfinished quilt tops from their grandmother.  They wanted us to “find homes” for them.  Their ownly request was that they not be thrown away or sold, just that they be used for some charitable purpose.

Harder than it sounds.

Finding a charitable purpose is not too hard.  FInding one that wants an unfinished quilt top is a bit harder.  We took on the task, even though the cost of the batting, backing, and binding generally fell upon the person who volunteered to complete the quilt tops.  That would be me.

And then there is the matter of the quilt top itself.  How it was made, how it has been stored, etc.  There were 8 or 9 tops to complete.  This is the 3rd.  The maker used very large blocks, and a lot of gingham.  This one was stored badly and had some fabric that was eaten away by….something.  I had to replace and repair before starting.  And this one was seriously out of whack.  Not just because of bad workmanship.  On older quilts they tend to be less accurate.   They didn’t have the cutting and measuring tools we have nowadays.  And then as fabric has been stored it may get dry or moist and draw up or get stretched out of shape.  The maker of these quilts stay stitched the edges on many of her tops to help keep the shape. This one was not stay stitched.

This one varied in length by 6 inches.  In width by about 2 1/2 inches.  Careful mounting on the frame–easing the edges and center, and finding a good quilting pattern resulted in only a couple of puckers.  And after quilting, trimming, and then serging the edges, I think the final result is pretty good.  I have learned a few tricks over the years on how to make “less than square” quilts square.

We have found a charitable organization that wants twin bed size quilts, and after binding, this quilt will be given to them.  This quilt maker left a bequest that will be used and valued.

Somewhere in North Carolina

021I am still here.  To be honest, I haven’t been quilting much.  I did quilt a couple of quilts for Quilts of Valor.  I have even made a few blocks. Like this silhouette of Holiday.  I know, I know.  And they eyes don’t look orange up close.  They are just dark brown.

I also made this bowl from clothesline.  Yes it is completely made from two different batik fabrics.  It was a bit of challenge to figure out how to do it, but I did.  I took photos to do a tutorial, but then thought no one would be interested.  Would that be of interest to anyone?

I also took a class with my local quilt guild.  I learned how to make a couple of blocks.  But I still haven’t finished them. It was just something cute that I thought was interesting.  But something else happened that day to upset my apple cart and I was out of sorts again.  It doesn’t seem to take much to throw me off my stride.

Over mother’s day we went to visit my oldest in his new city & state.  We met his girlfriend, her parents, and even got a tour of his office.  It was so nice to see him again and to meet her.  She is very pretty, and her family was very gracious.


I have been working more hours lately, and more than I would like.  I am now fostering TWO (yes, two dogs).  The first was to try to help Carter to have a friend and to heal.  The second was because the poor fella was just an old guy that needed a place to go.  He is 10, when boxers seldom live past 10.  So now I have 3 dogs that fill my days, but do not fill my heart.  I have a job that fills my time, but not my imagination.

And the path in the back yard has filled in.  What I once thought would be healing” just feels like something is missing.  Don’t worry, I’m not nearly this maudlin all the time.  That’s what blogs are for.


The Healing Path

the pathI’m not sure if you’ll be able to see it in this photo, but there is a path in my backyard.  I drew a red small line along it.  Over the 5 years I’ve lived here, the path was made by my dog, Holiday.  She would run down the steps of the deck and over to the west side of the house where she could watch the comings and goings of….everyone.  Always alert and curious, she wore the grass and the dirt down.  In the summer, it is usually a dirt path, but we seeded it in the fall and although there is grass there, it’s only half the height of the grass on either side of the path.  The seedling grass was not full height before the winter.

The path is starting to heal now.  As spring comes, I know this path is going to fill in.  And my heart with it.  You see, the reason I haven’t written in so long is that late in January, my sweet girl became ill suddenly.

My sweet Holiday. Came to us from Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue in 10/14/2007, left us on 2/3/2015.

After a couple of days and trips to the vet, we knew it was both futile and painful to hold her here.  And so I made the decision to let her go.

I’ve lost other pets before.  People equate it to losing a child.  Children grow up and leave you.  Dogs only grow closer.  And during this last 5 years when I worked from home, this dog was never more than a few feet away from me.  My constant companion.  My friend.  My heart.  I grieve for her still.  And  when I see the path healing outside, I know that my heart is healing too. And as the path returns to full luster, I will too—at least as much as people can see.

Grand Illusion Top Complete; Celtic Solstice Done!

002Well, I did it.  I completed my Grand Illusion mystery.  I am fairly happy with the results.  I saw the pattern getting a bit “mushy” due to the dark colors–the blank, red, and dark blue.  So I decided to use a constant on all my cornerstones.  I  am glad I did.  There is a lot of motion in the blocks, and by adding a constant cornerstone, there is a little less in the sashing.  I think there would have been too much motion if the cornerstones were all different fabrics of blue.

When adding the inner border, I thought white wasn’t right.  I went shopping in my stash and found a brown that had “splotches” on it that ranged from a perfect match to my beige blocks  to a kind of olive-y color, which went well with my green.  I considered black, and red, but finally went with the brown.  And am I glad I did–look at the frame!  It pops the red out of the border, and you can really see where the illusion ends, without looking abrupt–like the white would have.

And on top of it, after Christmas I quilted my Celtic Solstice top and took it with me to Indiana and back and worked on the binding in the car.  Done!  Except for the label.  Which I suspect will be done sometime about quilt show time.  Wonder why……Now I’m off to find something else quilty to do.  How about you?

For more Grand Illusion mystery quilts, visit: