2017 Guild Show

My Childhood HomesJPGThe 2017 show Pieces of our Lives was a big one at the civic center once again.  I entered all my work over the last 2 years as “display only”.  The Starry Eyed Quilters fractured landscape project was judged, and I received 3rd place for my “Window into my Life” challenge quilt.

It had to have a max perimeter of 80″.  My Childhood Homes was  27×13.  I uploaded pics of the houses for  Spoonflower to print and mounted them much like Mom had them in little frames in her hallway.

This was so simple; by the time I got around to figuring out what to do there was little time left.  I feel almost guilty with this ribbon.


Windows completeFractured Window (29×45) in the Art category got useless judges comments; she applauded the fabric and colors and criticized the (gorgeous) quilting & binding.  Betty put mortar lines on the lower segment, added trailing foliage ‘leaking’ into the border, and transitioned to a fan pattern for ‘sky’.  The binding is a hidden facing.  Contributors: myself, Barbara Badger, Betty Tyree, and Loretta Bedia.

Chihuly in Fabric was based on my Chihuly picture from Seattle got a 2nd placed ribbon!   Sue Berry, Linda Badger, Donna Kittleson, Kristin Farwig, and Ann Weaver made it.  They finished each portion independently and joined them temporarily for hanging in the show.

315 Chihuly in Fabric

We added an information table for Starry Eyed Quilters to show what  we play with in the art quilt mini-guild.  Kitty & I used  artifacts from everyone to showcase our  activities.  The table had displays, 2 notebooks with samples of fabrics we’d made to flip through, and a digital picture frame with lots of “party” pictures of us working.




Olivia’s Quilt

Pattern: French Roses

A wonderful cozy baby quilt for the first “next gen” in my side of the family; due in June. Momma made a rose colored nursery with a shabby chic vibe.   This quilt seemed like it just had to be.  Cotton batting.  Quilting,  with glow-in-the-dark thread, follows the applique lines of the roses to give another securing stitch to the appliqué and has random leaves and curlicues filling the rest.   Bound with satiny binding, a perennial infant favorite.

It’s the first quilt in ages I haven’t put a sleeve on; it’ll hit show-n-tell at the April meeting, then onto it’s destination.

Buying cabbage rose fabrics was a challenge; they aren’t exactly trending in quilting cottons.  I used some cute stitches for the binding, including my signature.

Glow in the Dark Thread Sucks.

The INSANE challenge of this quilt was the free motion quilting.  I was determined to complete it, but no way was it worth it.  I spent more time burying threads from start/stops every foot  than I did quilting.  Sometimes the thread shredded  after the take-up lever, sometimes before.  Sometimes it  snapped at the needle.  One time the machine completely stopped sewing and after removing the bobbin case and the hook mechanism I found a bunch of top thread snarled behind there.  I tried heavy bobbin thread, fine bobbin thread, lower tension, higher tension, size 18 needle, size 19 needle (recommended on the packaging).  Nothing really made much difference.  I got better and better at using a crochet hook to fish out the snarl from under the head cover — removing the head cover each time it broke would have been impossible.  I spent quite a lot of time researching on the net to find any reviews or tips; no hits.


This is so depressing. I’m appalled at so many of the initiatives flying through Congress.  There’s too much!  I can’t handle this. LBGTQ rights, the environment,  education, civil liberties, immigration, healthcare for the poor, the arts. Then, having an administration whose presidential are actions inextricably entwined with their private profit.  And, oh yeah.  Russia.

I have to choose my battles.  I want to HELP. I’m not a doctor; can’t  treat poor women.  I’m not a lawyer; can’t help people detained by ICE.  I’m not a scientist who can study or remedy. I do have some money, but I don’t want my money to pay for lobbying.

I reorganized my charitable giving to try and hit the most urgent areas:

  • Quadruple my annual charitable amount.
  • Redirect all giving away from the Arts
  • Concentrate on giving money to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the NDRC.
  • Move Amazon Smile matching to a Planned Parenthood in Texas; a place with few women’s health care clinics.
  • Move Kroger Community Rewards to the local Planned Parenthood.

I joined Jen Hoffman‘s weekly action newsletter.  I get an email each week.  Here is a sample.  I think this is a better vetted list of issues and activities than the random “sign this petition” posts that fly all over social media from who knows’ where.  I register my constituent position each week on anything relevant.  Both my senators mostly represent my views, but congressman Bob Goodlatte, is a total toady yes man supporting whatever position the Republicans choose.   I don’t expect him to change his mind, but I will not let him forget that I am a constituent, and he *should* be representing my interests as well as the party bosses.

A Permanent UFO?

wedge workshopLate February I took a glorious trip to Savannah’s Quilt Con with 3 friends.  It should have been 4 friends, but one had to drop out and I took her place in a Wedge Play workshop.

I couldn’t make sense of the fabric requirements.  She was advocating 3 yards, or 6 yards… 2 fabrics, or 5-6, or as many as you wanted.  She suggested 2 yards of background, but cautioned that you might need more depending on what you made.  There was no suggestions on value, or scale, or contrast.  Finally, I just pulled all the same things as I used in the Mystery Retreat.

Several ideas in her presentation sparked my interest.  She showed an improv version with multiple fabrics that I liked.  She show how the colors floated if you sashed between the wedges with background.  She always used consistent wedge widths, but I though it would be fun to let the wedges vary in width and to let them go wonky rather than obsession about squaring them to the grain.  What you see is what I got.

It just doesn’t speak to me.  I think the wedges have too many fabrics, and too similar a thickness.  I needed wedges with just a “dash” of other colors in them.   And, with all the multi-colors,  the sashing didn’t yield the floating effect I sought.

I think I’ll just tuck it away for a while and wait for an epiphany.


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.