CHQuilts: December 2023

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

New Year, new quilt


As we embark upon another new year, and it seems like this story has played out so many, many times before, it is time to think about new quilting endeavors, not to mention completing some old ones. 
While I am not into New Year's Resolutions, I am rather excited about the upcoming year as it pertains to quilting. 
I'm looking forward to a new block of the month (BOM) quilt pattern that will begin Jan. 1 and continue throughout the next 11 months. As in the past several projects, Pick a Petal is hosted by The Quilt Show. Their offerings do not disappoint. 
These undertakings, in my view, offer an opportunity to grow as a quilter, often with new skills to learn and practice. Quilt Show BOMs are not easy, by any stretch, thereby providing me with the challenge I seem to crave in my quilting quest. 
This quilt will include some embroidery.
Sometimes I think I forget skills I just learned. I make the dumbest mistakes at times, which provides a little humor to my quilting life as well. After all, if you can't laugh at yourself when you bungle something when you know you know better, what is the point of trying? I see it as all part of the process. It is what seam rippers are for. I admit, I am getting pretty good at unsewing.
Case in point: My new quilting studio remains a bit stark with little, so far, to distinguish it as a quilting studio over simply a spare room.
So I decided to make a small table topper for a letter sorting case that my late husband used when he worked for the U.S. Postal Service.
I didn't want to fuss over anything, so I decided on a simple log cabin design. I even printed out a pattern, so as to not have to think much the size and number of strips I would needed for four blocks. 
I picked out fabrics and set out to follow the pattern. Well, that didn't work. The size was all wrong. 
I ended up measuring each strip and cutting it to fit. Then I realized I was sewing the strips in the wrong direction. I was on the third round when that occurred to me so I had to rip out all the seams and start again. Jeez! After all these years, screwing up a log cabin is pretty sad since it doesn't get much easier than this. 
But, I laughed at myself and persevered. I worked well after dark but got it done. It dawned on me, that my studio is a very pleasant place to hang out, even if it was a little longer time than I had intended.
About those old projects: I am hoping that this is the year I can get my act together and quilt one, two, or all three quilts I have yet to complete. The tops are done, and for one of them I have already decided on the backing fabric. I have purchased the batting and just need to get to it. I'm excited to get the past behind me and look forward to a new year and new projects.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

More than just a completed quilt top

It has been a busy year for me, for so many reasons, but my favorite part was finishing this quilt top. I loved every minute of it.

This is my version of "Homeward Bound," a block of the month, which means it took 12 months to complete. It was the 2023 project offered to members of The Quilt Show, designed by Sarah Fielke of Australia.

For profoundly personal reasons, this one means a lot to me. I just wish my late husband John was here to see it completed. This one will always remind me of John, who tirelessly encouraged my quilting and was always complimentary about every quilt I made. 

He had quilt appreciation in his DNA I believe, since his mother and grandmother, with whom he lived his entire life until he met me, were quilters. In fact, his grandmother still quilted when she was in her 90's. She did some amazing work.

I wasn't a quilter when John and I met. That was in October 1976. I didn't make my first quilt until 2004, but I knew then that this was something I would always want to do. And I have never looked back. This blog is filled with stories of my adoration for quilting.

John always raved about the many colors in my quilts, though I've always wondered just what he actually saw when he looked at them. I used to consult with him about color combinations until I realized he didn't see them the way I did. I used to laugh when he said our cats were black and white, though he insisted. They are in fact, gray and white. Color blind, he had trouble distinguishing shades and even colors, confusing blue with green and red with pink.

Making the quilt with a black background was also John's idea. He mentioned it once a few quilts ago, "Why don't you use black instead of white?" he asked. So, this one's for you, John. 

He liked what he saw, the first four months of work which included that entire center section. He died in May, the fifth month.

Quilting Therapy  

I have mentioned in a previous post during my years of taking care of John, a stroke victim with disabilities, how quilting was my therapy. That was never more true than with this one. I worked on it when I was exhausted, emotional, and just couldn't seem to do or think about anything else. My brain no longer worked, but my fingers did. Hand-sewing dominated this quilt and I learned to love the mind-numbing needling that to anyone else might have seemed tedious. I love hand sewing however and plan to do it as long as my fingers still work.

The same was true for my journey into the grieving process. While little else did, stitching brought me comfort.

First in my new studio

I worked on this quilt while my new quilting studio was being remodeled, as outlined in a prior post. As has become customary, I turned to the quiet comfort of hand-stitching while chaos surrounded me.

When I finally got to work in my new quilting space, the final border was done in two days. I was completely immersed in my new surroundings, on a new machine, at a new quilting table, in front of a window where colorful leaves gently fell outside.

Finally finished, the icing on the cake was when I was able to take a picture of this quilt top hanging on my newly affixed design wall. Never before have I been able to take a picture of a hanging quilt top. I was able to enjoy a new perspective on a finished quilt top that I had never had before as I looked at it straight on instead of it on the floor or a bed. 

Those two days in my new studio were wonderful, even though I realized I have lots of organizing and arranging still to do, but that will come. I hope to hone skills there, both organizational and creative. I'm now ready for a new year and a new project.