Mystery Quilt

Back in November Barb Badger led us Starry Eyes in a mystery quilt retreat.  She had us bring what for me was SO many fabrics.  We had about a dozen people show up, including a good smattering of guild “visitors” to Starry Eyes.  So much fun!  I was smarter this time and brought my own chair.  My back still got tired, but not so early as last time.

I got all the blocks done in the retreat; finished joining, borders, quilting later.  I put a micro-piped binding using the digital print.  Quilted with a gold mylar for sparkle.  I deconstructed an old necklace for the venetian beads dangling from the bottom left block.


shown n tell at Dec guild mtg

Upcycled Fabric

Inspired by our improvisational piecing workshop back last winter, I decided to try a new tack on my burgeoning scrap bin.  I started randomly piecing fabric scraps, keeping each piece a single color.

I first thought I’d just sew them together in a rainbow design, but  I got more ambitious.  I pmadefabric-quiltaired light & dark, and made half square triangles for a log cabin style coloring.  I set them simply in a fields & furrows, and quilted it with random diagonal lines.  For the back, I used an extra wide batik that was designed never to become a Hawaiian quilt.

Along the way, I had another thought .. why scrap-shirt-front2notscrap-shirt-back2 make some clothes?  I did a camp shirt.  To protect all those seams, I foundation pieced it on muslin.  That makes it a little heavy for summer, so I made 3/4 sleeves with a little vent.   I used mismatched buttons in the general color family to extend the idea.  I wish I’d made the angle in the back more sloped; maybe have chevon-ed.  That would have looked more intentional, and I wouldn’t have needed such long pieces.  Now I just need convince Gary or Elizabeth that they need one of these, in *their* colors.   There are oodles of scraps left.

Stashy Blues – Oct 2016

stashyblues295×95.  I had lots of blues that weren’t scraps, but were too small to make much of, and too high contrast to get into most of my projects. I got this idea to do a poor-man’s Irish chain with a bunch of blocks having a diagonal chain in them using all my blues willy-nilly. I don’t like wrestling with all that weight on my machine for quilting, so I left it pieced in 4 sections and quilted it separately, then whipped them together.

When put the 4ths together, I discovered I had 2 with white diagonals at the corner, and 2 with blues in the corner, so… not quite a take on Irish Chain.  Maybe it’s more interesting?  If you follow a white diagonal it might bend around on itself unexpectedly instead of trudging across the quilt.

My quilting is a combo of some McTavishing & Hooked on feathers… no marking, no planning.  It’s my version of meandering.  The binding and back are scrappy, as well.





Treasurer no more

After 6 long years, I have only 1 checking account at 1 bank to keep track of.  I was able to get rid of my Mom’s finances a couple years ago, and now this year I have handed over the reins of Treasurer in both Star Quilters and Roanoke Valley Community Band.  There was a brief moment of panic when I read the first Star Quilters newsletter with a new Ad and  didn’t remember getting a check for it.  Not my job anymore 🙂

Fractured Windows Update

fractured windows borderedEveryone got their part done!  They all came to the Gelli printing event and I brought them home to join & border.  I may not have chosen quite enough contrast to get the “light source” across on the inner border, but when I auditioned fabric I didn’t like the dark ones.  The biggest challenge was the upper right.  It was designed without and design in the seam allowance and built on a black background.  It took three tries to get the seam exactly right so no black showed and I didn’t noticeably shave the edge.

  • top left: Me
  • top right: Barbara Badger
  • bottom left: Betty Tyree
  • bottom right: Loretta Bedia

I’m handing it over to Betty next to quilt it.


Library 1-2My 2nd foray into Craigslist was just as successful as the first time, when I sold mom’s power boat.  This time I put up all my leather-bound books from Easton Press that I hadn’t looked at since I started using a Kindle.  I priced them at the low end of what the 2nd hand sellers were asking.  In 5 minutes a collector from Lynchburg claimed the lot, and we exchanged the next morning.  The picture shows half the shelves.  I kept a few treasures — Einstein, Lao Tzu, B Franklin, and de Tocqueville.  Elizabeth kept 3.  With those empty shelves, I was able to eliminate the shelving in the hallway once I did my usual donations to the  library and mail to Elizabeth.

Home Chef

On a lark, I signed up for 3 meals weekly.  Home Chef delivers fresh groceries exactly portioned for meals that you cook.  How I wish I had this when I was working & raising Elizabeth!  Just getting to the store was hard to schedule.  Now, it’s just a luxury, but fun.  Every Thursday a new box of goodies arrives.  Our hands down favorite so far was a Turkey Taco Salad — which had no tortillas.  Fresh avocado & corn really made it delicious.


Fractured Landscape Project

We have 2 with a total 9 quilters.  Here’s our photos:

DSCN0614fractured windows

I’m on the windows team.  I have the top left; when I got my piece it actually went down a bit further than those lines would indicate.   I think these were just the right size; not too daunting.  My work:



Improv Piecing Workshop

The Starry Eyed Quilters, the art quilt ‘bee’ for our guild, held an extended sewing Saturday to try improvisational piecing.  Kitty attended one of these at a big quilt show and paid it forward to us by leading us.  We had 10 sewing machines madly working from 9 till 3:30.  We did 6 or 7 rounds, starting with 30 minutes to construct a ‘center’.   Then our totes with all our fabrics got sent to the next person.  We kept our yard of “signature” fabric, and worked a bit of that into each round.

This was an unbelievably wonderful day.  I have never had so much fun in a group sew-in.  It was stressful to get things done 30 or 45 minutes, but you have to get used to free and easy and making quick design decisions.  It is quite a different way of working.  We invited everyone in the guild, and we did have 3 new (i.e., non-Starry Eyed) people participate.  If we do it again, maybe we’ll get more new people to try it.

KraterfieldThis is mine at the end of the day.  I was  startled to see so little blue; my tote bag was *stuffed* with blue.  I considered all these other fabrics ‘zingers’.  My signature fabric in the center is the blue wandering across the figs.  Upon reflection, I found this too “stripey” for me.   It center looked like it was in jail with all those strong verticals.  To fix that, all I could think of was slashing through the middle and rearranging it.  In the finished version, the left side from the opposite side, with a wavy blue batik overlaying some of the olive green, and “bubbles” addedimprov complete.JPG to the surface.  The top is tipped over to the right; so the left became the top and the top became the right.  Added a bit to some of the sections to get the resulting gaps filled in.  Overlaid a scrap of figs; sewn down only on 1 side.  Knotted and couched some coppery soutache  on top of some added blue batik.  The binding was a strip set of leftover fabrics used in the top.

January Storm Jonas

We got a storm predicted to rival the great snowed in January event from 1996.  It was a big snowfall for us, but nothing like 1996, where we were snowed in for a week and hiked between our car & house for another week.  We were plowed in a day.  I do love snow.  Especially with the kitchen well stocked and the standby generator ready to kick in.

2015 Guild Round Robins

I nearly didn’t participate in the guild round robin because I was going to be travelling so much.  I missed half the meetings & had to “advance” swap one month so I have time to get do a round before I flew off, but it worked.  For the 1st time, I didn’t make my own center.  I pulled out a mola square I’d bought at Quilt Odyssey a year ago and popped it into a tote bag.  It’s always so much fun.2015 wickham 1

My first round I drew Kathy Wickham’s scrappy Dresden fan.  She acquired this piece at the guild meeting where orphan blocks came to be exchanged.  It really seems like this first time needed to be a frame.  I thought the weird multi-color fabric in the center band really echoed the color play of the various scraps, many of which were batiks.

2015 Sue Berry 18x33My second round was my “advance” round.  I got it during August to be turned in at the October meeting.  I LOVE the 2nd round every time.  It’s the one where you really get to cut loose and be creative.  Sue Berry had a cityscape in black/white/red destined for her nephew.  I Immediately wanted to do the Brooklyn bridge & a subway station.   I was really pleased, but there was some panic near the end, when I rinsed out some stabalizer and the entire bridge suspension shrank up and all that red border ran into the pale sky.

victoria 3rd round 2015The last round got me Victoria Person’s; a center of Home Sweet Home counted cross stitch.  It seemed I just *had* to put in copies of those stars from the cross stitch, but it really taxed my limited piecing skills.  There was a lovely soft green in the cross stitch that I pulled out to highlight.  The corner stars initially had white backgrounds like they do in the cross stitch, but the overall effect wasn’t good — too much contrast for the corner blocks.

2015 mine - molaAnd finally, a couple of days after guild meeting, which I again missed, I got back my mola center, elegantly framed.  The black section was a bit large; I added the couched fiber to lighten it up.  Also had to made the border about 1/2″ shorter to get rid of the wave.

So why’d I miss all the meetings?

This year we traveled more than ever before.  In March we drove to New Orleans and stayed in the French Quarter.  Had a lovely suite a block from Bourbon.


In June we went to Ireland; staying in Springfield Castle.  My sister’s in-laws had some extra rooms — they rented the whole castle — for their reunion.

In July, we drove to Wisconsin to reconnect with Gary’s family; first time we ever drove.  We stopped at the textile museum and a great art museum before heading up to Door County for a great family visit.



Then Seattle in September for a week with my daughter & her guy.  We had an adorable 2-bedroom bungalow about a mile from downtown.

I wouldn’t have given up any of those trips, but I think it was a bit much for 1 season.  I felt we almost didn’t have a life here in Roanoke being gone so much.

Daddy’s Girl Quilt, April 2015

Daddys Girl15×18
I finished up that “sample” I made for the work session on faces.  The Starry Eyed group were so helpful.  They inspired me to unsew what I’d already quilted and re-imagine where I going.  Instead of lace or beading, I used decorative stitches to lend a gentler impression of lace surrounding the image, and to add the flowers at the corner.  Although, I think they had some idea of adding some clothing below here neck which just didn’t speak to me. The rays of quilting in the background took a lot of thread burying in the sandwich at the “lace”, but it’s a nice subtle pattern that doesn’t pull away from the image.  I did a Ricky Tims micro-piped binding with the lime & plum.

Self Portrait Quilt 2015

selfportraitSelf Portrait; 2 Natures

I had so much fun doing this.  I tend to do lots of monster queen size quilts that take forever.  This little ditty was just so much fun I finished it in no time at all.  It started as science vs. art, but I think it came out more like non-girly vs. girly.  Or maybe math vs. nature. No problem; that works too.

Need help with the inked joke?  “10” is binary (base-2) for our normal base-10 “2”.  Binary how all digital computers store numbers.

The coils are fiddlehead ferns, and the ruched lime are  amaranthus.

selfportrait backI found lots of candidates for equation fabric on Spoonflower.  I wanted it to be a chalkboard, and as half of the yin yang, it had to have a dark background.  I purchased several candidate fat quarters.  You can see the alternates on the back.  I would have loved to use the gravity fabric on the front, but the scale was too large; didn’t get enough of the print within the yin space.

Self Portrait

selfportrait planThe Starry Eyed art quilters issued a self portrait challenge due in our April meet-up.  After musing I decided on a yin yang symbol showing two sides of my nature — science & art.  I planned to render equations on a blackboard for the science side and a Baltimore album-ish floral on the right.  Spoonflower really simplified construction of that side with their terrific options in fabric.   A trip to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival garnered some yummy embellishments to make the art side rich more easily.  The photo has very little sewing yet.  The yin yang sides are joined,  the yellow roses are done, and the leaves faced.  Beyond that it’s all pins.  Not shown: the 3rd rose, lime amaranthus made with variation of ruched pine cone, embroidered green grasshopper, and 3 bead bumblebees.  I have no idea what border to square it up with.  Seems like I should pull that plum from the little flowers; I think the one on the right is too dark.

The next sewing steps will be the fiddlehead fern & flower stems.  Then the border.  Only then can I add the bias frame with the vine twining around.  Roses and amaranthus will likely wait till after it’s quilted ’cause they’d be in the way.

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival

Kitty & I had been planning for months to go on the bus trip together.  Neither of us had ever been and this seemed like a no-stress way of getting there.  Turned out to be one of those “make plans and then throw them away” expeditions.

Kitty had to bow out because of family commitments just a couple days before departure.  Not to worry,  I got a substitute.  Then the unpredictable weather made the roads impassable so the whole trip was delayed 24 hours.  No problem, both of us were available.  We gamely took off from Roanoke at 3:30am to meet the bus in Lynchburg.  Then the bus from hell.  The heat cut out, broken PA system, and sopping wet seats (with no heads up from the driver) drenched several people who didn’t have any spare pants since it was a single overnight.  We persevered, and arrived on time.  Rather early actually since it didn’t open for an hour.  The  Newport New part of the trip was terrific except that my feet really weren’t up to the task.  Wish I could have walked for longer.  Got to reconnect a dear old friend who took up quilting when she retired and lives locally.  Ate a great dinner at  Surf Rider, instead of joining the bus at Fuddrucker.  Capped the time off sitting in the lounge with wine till the bus was ready to leave.  Then the rid home.  They swapped the bus out to get us heat, but didn’t notice that this one leaked as well and they put our coats in seats with puddles when they swapped.  Most of the way home (at interstate speed) the entire bus vibrated so my rear was sore and no one could read.  No shocks.  Any bump slammed the bus floor against my feet painfully.

If you are going on a bus trip, check whether it is using Lynchburg Bus company.  I would avoid trips using them.

Lou Gugliottalou

Lou, my dear friend from High School in Bridgewater NJ,  visited Roanoke for my birthday.  He arranged his trip here to help a friend with the IRS on my birthday.  We last saw each other in 1996 at the reunion and that’s not really the place for a serious heart to heart.  About 4 years ago, I found him online using facebook via his son & namesake.  It was so good see him.  He’s still a magical person with extraordinary talents.  The first night we stayed up to 2am talking and comparing notes — jobs, children, teaching, education, love.  It’s uncanny how much he remembers from our past.