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Monday, February 8, 2016

Pillow talk

I have finally finished a project that wraps up my recent Craftsy Class--Quick Strip Paper Piecing. I've really enjoyed this class, taught by Peggy Martin. This project is a pillow using Martin's New York Beauty Block. 
  
 
This is the completed pillow, both from the front and the back. It is pretty heavily quilted, and I enjoyed every minute of it.


 











Story behind the project


I really wanted to make a pillow. I had an old pillow--a very old pillow in fact--that I wanted to transform from a hugging pillow to a decorative pillow. For years, I have had this really comfy feather pillow. I've washed it, vacuumed it, hugged it, and more often than not, thrown it around in my sleep,...The poor thing was once a king-sized pillow, but due to its age, and feather loss, it was reduced to half its size.

One day when I was making the bed, I decided to fold the pillow case in half around my favorite pillow. What used to require a large king-sized pillow case was now reduced to half of a standard one. And they say people shrink when they get older!

That got me thinking. As much as I loved hugging this pillow, it was time to re-purpose it into something pretty. When I saw Peggy Martin's New York Beauty pattern, I knew this was my answer. The bedroom is decorated with sunflowers. I just love the yellow and orange tones of these smiley-faced flowers. I also love the sun shapes, such as those seen on CBS Sunday morning. I'm so drawn by those pleasant shapes that make up the beautiful star that shines on us and sustains us each and every day.

It took a little while because I don't have the time to quilt as much as I'd like these days, but I finally finished my pillow. I can't imagine making a whole quilt in this pattern, because I just don't have the time. But I know that if I did, it would be a real spectacle. I love the pattern. I love Martin's technique. And I love my new pillow.

Here's what it looks like on the bed surrounded by all the other flowery projects I've loved doing over the years. It matches my big sunflower, a painting I did in a class several years ago which remains one of my favorites. Now, if only I could get my act together and paint these walls yellow. I've been wanting to do this for years and just not yet gotten around to it. One of these days,...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

UFOs are starting to fill my world

Up until now I've been pretty good at keeping my UFOs (UnFinished Objects) to a minimum. It seems I just can't contain myself though. There are so many quilts I want to make and so many new techniques I want to try. Neither my hands nor the hours in the day can keep up with all my desires.

Since this is the first month in a new year, and I have warmed up my blogging chair a little, this might be as good a place as any to take a little inventory.

First, there is the above pictured Dresden Plate quilt top that needs to be quilted. initially I wanted to free motion quilt this, but it might be nice to quilt it by hand. It has been a while since I've done that and it might be nice to get back to basics with this classic Dresden design. Or, I could do a combination of both free-motion quilting and hand-quilting. Until I get it put together with backing and batting, I won't really know.

I still have Christmas fabric sitting next to my sewing machine, just begging me to cut it up into pieces, to be sewn together. It might be nice to get ahead of the game for a change.

I still have one more project to do from my recent Craftsy class, Quick Strip Paper Piecing. I have to try my hand at Peggy Martin's New York Beauty blocks.

I even have a calendar quilt top, one with a different block for each month, that I started a few years ago. It was a Block of the Month (BOM) project, probably my first. Kasey seems to like it, which is incentive enough to turn it into something lovely.

I liked making BOMs so much that I was hooked and have done several more since. This quilt is very busy with lots of different colors. I have actually been thinking about this one a lot lately. It is a lap size quilt at the moment, but there is no reason I couldn't add a border to it, or even several borders. I think it would make a really lovely quilt when it is all finished. I would like to put it together and perhaps quilt it on the machine. It would be very challenging to come up with quilt designs for all twelve of these very diverse blocks.

There is the Jinny Beyer quilt kit from Jinny's Craftsy class--the 2015 BOM--that remains in the plastic sleeve it came in. I look at it every night, as it sits on a table in my room. I have been waiting for a large block of time to start on this one, but haven't found that yet. This one will be special, as Jinny is another one of my quilting heroes. She is such an incredibly talented quilter and lovely woman who I have related to since the first days I saw her on Simply Quilts, many years ago.

I now have one more thing to add. Craftsy has another BOM for 2016. It is taught by Lynette Jensen, another quilting icon. I really like this quilt and have decided that if at all possible, I'd like to make it. It starts out with a medallion-like center filled with hourglass blocks. It is done with borders and includes a pretty applique border.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Quilting is my therapy; needed it recently

Quilting is not just a challenge for me; it is also a respite that is vitally important to my well-being. I'm anxious to return to it when time permits.

I've been 'away' from blogging, and from quilting for awhile, since just days before Thanksgiving, when my husband John, who has been slowly recovering from a stroke a year ago, passed out and fell backwards, hitting his head hard on the floor. We suspect he was suffering from low blood pressure.

He was unconscious for a short time and remembers none of it, which is probably a blessing. I called 911 and followed the paramedics to the hospital. Tests revealed that he had a brain bleed, which is being considered another stroke, so they decided to transport him via helicopter to another hospital, in a neighboring state, where there was an available neurosurgeon standing by if necessary. The hospital was more than two hours away. I went the next morning and stayed one night with him, but had things to tend to at home. We stayed in close contact.

Sadly, all of the progress John had made in the last year was gone, and even exacerbated with this latest incident. His had no mobility on his entire right side.

John stayed in the hospital for a few days and was transferred to a rehabilitation center for in-hospital rehab. He's home now and receives at home therapy three times per week as he struggles to regain his mobility in his hand, arm, leg, and foot. I've resumed my caretaker responsibilities which doesn't leave much idle time. I've taken to reading, while he takes an afternoon nap, since it isn't long enough to get "into" a quilting project.

Quilting isn't far from my mind though, as I do steal away some moments when I can, to watch quilting videos and ponder current and future projects.

Between visits, while John was in the hospital, I spent an entire day satisfying my own mental health needs, as I worked on a project from the Craftsy class I mentioned previously, Quick strip paper piecing with Peggy Martin.

I love how this Christmas table topper turned out. It is about 22" square.

It is from Peggy Martin's 'Sailor's Delight' pattern. It just screamed Christmas to me.

I wanted to do more of these, perhaps make Christmas gifts, but we didn't get around to celebrating this year.

This piece was great fun though and was so much easier than it looks.

I've decided I may not be finished with this pattern yet. I'm not going to store my Christmas fabrics just yet, just in case I get some free time.