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🙂

Home Chef

My new adventure in food recently is using a groceries delivery service for for 3 dinners each week.  Really fun.  We eat in more, and eat things I wouldn’t normally think of making.  Yesterday was Honey Walnut Shrimp stir-fry with broccoli, red bell pepper, and green onion.  Tonight is Artichoke and Mozzarella Mini-Quiches with spinach & blistered tomato salad.  Almost everything takes just about 30 or 40 minutes start to finish.


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.

Faces in Fabric work session

joyceMonday night I led the Starry Eyed Quilters doing faces (or photos) in fabric the way I’ve come to do them.  I planned and fretted and worried no end about this, but everything went off very well.  I used my old You Are my Sunshine and the quilt we just did for Joyce Noell’s presidency (hands & face by me) for examples.  I made up WIP samples as best I could.  You can see the original polaroid of me in the 50s clipped to a paper on the right.  The adapted photo (“cutouts” in Photoshop Elements) is at the far left.  That was used to make the pattern on plastic w/ a sharpie.  The plastic can be used upside down to trace onto the fusible, and right side up as a placement diagram with your bits of fabric.  Also shown are 2 sets of 6 fabrics, the way I mark the “underneath overhang” on the fusible and 2 versions of a fused face.

portraits visual aids

Six ladies came despite fears of icy hills and worked their little hearts out.   I’ve cribbed a couple pictures from our “historian” who always captures our meetings on her phone.

Zentangle Challenge Quilt

zentangle challenge14″ square

I made this for our new Starry Eyed art quilters’ group.  One of us led us exploring zentangle with pen & paper and we decided on a short challenge to take it to fabric.  I bought The Art of Zentangle:… to do some practicing before I started.  I focused on patterns that lent themselves to more “continuous line” drawing so they could be free motioned.  I marked grids for the rectilinear ones using the Frixion pen and shaded the right side with various markers.  I auditioned all my dark beads for the lower left but only these stones looked right.

Starry Eyed Quilters

In fall I started musing about my place in the quilt guild.  I’ve been a member about 13 years.  Things are getting somewhat repetitive.  I’ve seen 7 different guild presidents, and judges give me the same old comments on my quilts at each show.  The monthly programs we have follow the focus of most members —  machine patchwork, “fast easy” methods, purchased kits and patterns.  That’s not me.  I don’t care how quickly it gets finished if I enjoy working on it.  It’s boring to just sew someone else’s design.  I need something to nurture and inspire my kind of quilting.

What to do?  The Floyd guild has lots of artists; but that’s not convenient for me — I’d dread driving up the mountain to reach them.  All of a sudden it occurred to me;  we need a new mini-guild for Art Quilts.  We have Busy Hands for handwork and Barefoot Quiltessas for monthly machine “bees” projects; why not an art group?

I got organizing advice on Facebook’s open Art Quilt group and we had our first gathering in November.  Each month about 8 people show up, with 13 on our email list.  I’m trying to be the facilitator w/o really being the “leader”; letting the group self-determine our direction.  The guild meets evenings,  and many members have day jobs, so we’ll mostly meet in the evening for an hour or 2, but longer “play days” (such as dying) will be during the day.