Sunday, December 27, 2020

Don't Run . . .

 . . . Nay, don't race . . . to the end of 2020. The week between Christmas Day and New Year's Day presents a unique opportunity if one allows it, something akin to when as kids we were home on school holiday with no commitments or homework. And I was reminded of it when I ran across the following:

I realized I'd already started on that list. Christmas Day was an especially peaceful one for me. No interruptions, no frenetic rushing about, perfect easy to fix meals, listening to one Christmas cd after another until capping off the evening watching an old black and white movie like my late husband and I were often wont to do and noting that the promised late night snow had started to fall. And I especially enjoyed starting a knitting project with the yarn my cousin picked up for me on her New Zealand visit. Every year I think I am going to do this on Christmas Day or at least the week following because this is one of my favorite memories from my teens - mom, dad and I sitting by the fire with candles and Christmas lights and Christmas music playing, they reading and me knitting. But every year I "run out of time" as I fulfill other activities I deem important to my day and the week following. Not this year. This year I settled in to start a  mobius scarf for myself and will knit a little on it each day.

I also hope to carve out time for some journalling I've been putting off (that's the "sit quietly in front of your life" part). The current journal is nearly full so I may need to pause to make another one if I have lots to say. The fabric is picked out and it would be a nice end of the year, get the new year off to a good start project. I have a new mug to try out, more suited to tea than hot chocolate, but no doubt the hot chocolate will get made too (with a dash of brandy). The weatherman thinks we'll have a few cloudless nights this week so I'll have to step outside to check out the stars (missed the great conjunction because the skies were overcast, but have seen the planets close on either side of it). And of course, I'll read as I am in the middle of a tale of circumventing Ireland with a donkey!

Won't you join me in keeping these remaining days of a year most would rather forget, really quiet, thoughtful, enjoyable, and magical? Time enough for plunging into another year - see you there!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Wishing You a Peaceful Holiday

The few decorations have been put up . . .

A small representation of my collection of Reed and Barton silver crosses twinkle in a row . . .

And the Christmas cards, well most of them, are written on and in the mail. I'm ready to hunker down with Christmas music, a cup (or two) of cheer, and warm memories of Christmases past as we prepare to kick old 2020 to the curb!

I found this on artist Bobbi Baugh's blog a few days ago, thoughts and feelings about peace and working in the in-between times that so mirror my own that I'm compelled to share it with you. She writes, "We are not always Merry. We are not always Happy. But all of us have deep within, spoken or unspoken, the yearning for peace." But she begins with the thought below which I am also feeling and want to extend to you, my readers, but do click through to read the whole thing:

"There seems to be only one Christmas greeting inside me.


Thursday, December 17, 2020

One More Thing

Isn't there always one more thing when you think you're done with a quilt? For my Peace quilt, as I finished up stitching down the binding, it was, of course, to add something to the back so I could hang it up. It shouldn't surprise you that I found myself not keen on that something being a traditional sleeve. This won't be in any exhibit requiring the obligatory 4" sleeve, I didn't want to use up any more of this particular hand-dye in a place where it would seldom be seen, and perhaps most of all, I didn't want to put my hands through all that hand sewing. So after thinking about it for a few days, I decided I would be just fine with this simple solution.

This works really well on small quilts and I hoped it would work equally well on this larger one (finished 23-1/2 x 36). I had felt left over, handily a piece wide enough to quickly cut triangles and a couple of strips from. I quickly hand-stitched all in place, cut a piece of doweling and was ready to go. 

This might not have worked as well if I'd used a traditional batting, but the stiffness of the felt is keeping it from buckling between the triangles and tabs. Not a perfect quilt, not perfect corners, but all in all, I'm pretty please, and so glad to have it done. Remember, I started this back in July, thinking it would be done in a week of persistent work, but one thing after another stretched the time frame out and kept me putting it aside while I tended other things.

I'm glad I chose the thread colors that I did . . .

. . . and I'm glad I sent the quilting lines in the directions that I did.

I ran across an article today, "Five Ways to Persuade Yourself to Be More Productive" and nearly didn't read it because I've read articles like this before and pretty much KNOW what I should do to keep from being that petulant child; I just don't do it. But I scanned through it anyway and could see that I actually did use some of these tips as I worked on this quilt, especially toward the end. One is setting interim goals (big goals with a deadline can be too daunting), and in my case, that meant breaking down some of the steps to complete over several days rather than trying to do them all at once. And then there was #4 - Take breaks: the brain and the body are not meant to work non-stop.

“For whatever weird reason, we have the idea that powering through is the best way to get stuff done and a sign of our own virtue,” he says. “We’ve got it upside down and believe amateurs take breaks and pros don’t. Athletes know that taking breaks is not a deviation from performance but is part of performance.”

Boy, is that me . . . or was me . .  thinking I have to power through multiple parts under a general heading all on the same day and without stopping. I still catch myself thinking that way but my auto-immune syndrome has shown me I just can't do that anymore without paying for it. And here's another gem that I know is true but eludes me when in the throws of working; it concerns setting deadlines, which can be a good motivator, but if too severe and "you’re engaged in divergent thinking that requires greater creativity. . .can inhibit your performance instead of enhancing it. In addition, if a deadline is too severe, it can deaden your intrinsic motivation." Been there, done that with show and exhibit deadlines and know that it seldom produces my best work yet I continued to find myself backed into these deadline corners. At any rate, I hope you'll give it a quick read, so you'll be ready when your own petulant child appears.


Friday, December 11, 2020

Hoping This Works

So here was my thought. Fuse on the backing and leave enough extra beyond the edge of the quilt to turn that over the raw edge in a back to front faux binding. I don't think I've done this before, but I keep looking for quick ways to get this quilt done, and the thought of sewing on a separate binding was more than I could face. This quilt has GOT to get done before years end! The fusing went flawlessly, and the use of pressing cloth as per the instructions actually worked really well to also give the quilt a good last steaming. I left about 1-1/2 inches extra all round planning to trim it down to one inch.


This trimming was fast and easy as I butted my one inch ruler against the edge of the quilt and made my way around with a rotary cutter.

Then I turned the raw edge of the backing to meet the edge of the quilt, taking the extra time to iron in the crease.

No, not mitering the corners. I did think about it but it was more fiddling and work than I was up for. I've bound small wall quilts before with a single fold binding overlapping the corners this way so it's good enough for this one. I swear, I never pick up this quilt to work on it without it presenting another decision to make, and this time it is how to sew that turned edge in place. No, definitely not hand sewing it. Did consider a sort of machine blind hem stitch with monofilament thread, but I think it best to just top stitch along that nicely creased fold. Not with monofilament thread, I don't think, but with either the dark green thread used in the quilting or the dark brown thread used in the satin stitching. Now that it's pinned into place, the brown thread makes the most sense so that's what I'll be doing next. And I'm pretty relieved that my idea for finishing the edges is working.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Where Solutions Come From


The Petulant Child has continued to procrastinate, but in a late night search through my fusibles drawer, I went one by one from most preferred to least preferred to see if I had enough of any of them to fuse a backing over the felt with all those exposed thread tails. I really thought what was left of this Wonder Under, part of what I inherited from my late friend Judi, was going to be the ticket, i.e. big enough to cover the entire back. I'm not that fond of Wonder Under anymore, having found Steam-a-Seam that has properties I prefer, so this would be a great place to use it up. To my surprise, the big piece left was not only too short but not wide enough, no additional pieces big enough to fill in the gaps. Boy, I did not want to use up the large piece of Steam-a-Seam I'd bought off the roll at the quilt shop, but if I must, I must. However, I had pretty much the same issue with it. Well, you already know my love/hate relationship with Misty Fuse and I was fairly sure what was in the multiple packages would require the laying out of many possibly long but undoubtedly narrow pieces of it across the back. Plus, in spite of a glowing recommendation about how well Misty Fuse worked fusing backing to felt, I'd already had disappointing results with it; because felt is made up of little fibers, I found that Misty Fuse just pulled away from the felt surface, bringing those little fibers with it. But since this is just for me, if I have to use Misty Fuse, I guess I will.

Yeah, that didn't exactly make me excited to continue right away, so I left it for a few days until I could get used to the idea, and did the occasional stare-down as if looking at it long enough would change things. Staring at a problem rarely leads to a solution, but taking a walk and letting the brain cogitate, often subconsciously, often does. So there I was on said walk, mostly considering if I should stop in at the quilt shop for more fusible, when the lightbulb went on. Geez Louise, I do NOT have to completely cover the back with fusible, just like quilting doesn't cover every bit of a quilt. If I cut that Wonder Under in thirds, it should cover enough. And I think it does.  

Thursday, November 26, 2020

A Day For Thanks

One of my sister-in-laws really enjoys decorating big for all holidays and fixing big family meals. My brother recently sent me a photo of something resting on . . . is it? Could it be? Yes it is! The nod to Thanksgiving tablerunner I made and sent to her way back in 2006. There were matching placemats too, using the Sunbonnet Sue fabric I thought was such a riot and went into the samples I made for a class I taught using Eleanor Burns Quilt in a Day pattern for lover's knot placemats and then worked out how to stretch it into a table runner. As funny as I thought this fabric was, any kind of Sunbonnet Sue just isn't my style, so I finished them up for that sister-in-law who I knew would love them. She's had some major health issues lately, is actually 80 now, so is not doing as much decorating and cooking as she once did, and of course, with the covid restrictions in CA where they live, well, they're not seeing nearby family either. Like me, they are planning a day just to themselves and (unlike me) are ordering take-out. And I know it will be eaten on those placemats.

Wishing for you a safe Thanksgiving full of gratitude for what you have and no grumbling over what you may not. I know for those used to big family gatherings, this Thanksgiving may feel like a huge sacrifice to "follow the Fauci", but I would remind you that there are many people like me who have not attended a family Thanksgiving dinner for years, nor gathered with friends locally, nor had anyone in. Don't you dare start feeling sorry for me though, as I rather enjoy celebrating alone. But there will be others who pine year after year for inclusion, an invite, a visit, and receive none. So you miss one year of getting together with family. Small price to pay under the circumstances, and be thankful that in these modern times you can visit over Zoom or FaceTime. In other words, NO WHINING! Remember those less fortunate than you in any way you can. And have a great day full of blessings.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Squaring Up

Like a petulant child unwilling to eat her vegetables or adhere to her bedtime, I've been avoiding the next step on the Peace quilt: trimming it to square. With no true borders or blocks at guide and a size larger than my cutting mat, this was going to be tricky. I'd done my best to make sure the only true lines in the design were centered and smoothed evenly over the felt "batting", even though the satin stitching along the raw edges of the applique had skewed a few places. But the quilting process apparently skewed things some more, and as I measured this way and that and put down a few chalk marks along the sides, I could tell I'd not end up with a squared quilt using my usual methods. Instead, I ended up folding top to bottom (where there seemed to be the least amount of discrepancy), matching those only lines in the design and lining up the folded edge with a line on the mat. Measuring from that fold, I marked the finished length of the quilt and trimmed away. I then trimmed either side before unfolding, measuring from the center of the design. I really had no wiggle room in this since the bottom width of the felt was exactly what the finished width of the quilt would be.

I opened it up and got out the ruler again, only to find that one side from the line design to the edge was narrower than the other. And actually, it didn't line up perfectly square either. I could see my chalk marks clearly on the offending too wide side and they angled nearly to nothing. Well, that's frustrating, and unwilling to fiddle with it more, I quit for the day.

I stepped into the studio today to return my laptop, not even out of my jammies yet, and there it was, taunting me. I was only going to take a picture of how far off that one side was but then started the fiddling, realized the chalk lines were actually correct, realigned my design points, ran my square-up ruler and my long ruler up and down the fold and across the quilt multiple times before I was sure this was right, trimming not just the long side but along the top too where one side was now slightly lower than the other. Although I have not rechecked measurements except to confirm that the space between the vertical design line and the outer edge are the same on both sides, I'm pretty sure it is square now . . . or square enough. The next step better not undo it!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Getting Comfortable With Layering

Here's a little something I tried this week. My worktable is littered with leftovers from completed projects not worthy of being tossed and the end product of experiments I don't know what to do with. They stay on the table so they are only slightly out of sight out of mind. When searching through piles, I come across them and consider what I might do with them, come up with nothing and put them back in the pile or sometimes have a lightbulb moment. But this piece of Kraft Tex left over from a strip cut for a book cover and used to expend paint from a circular dabber I've always known needed more added to it.

Tired of looking at it and having recently gone through my collection of stencils, I had planned to use more paint to stencil something over the circles and was considering colors. I'm drawn to paint for stamping and the like but often shy away because I consider it a messy process that can be wasteful. About the time I decided green was the thing to add, I remembered this art crayon that I'd used so successfully in stenciling a pattern on Kraft Tex for yet another book cover. A slightly stiff brush is all I need to transfer the soft crayon through the stencil, and feeling totally in control (which I often don't with acrylic paint), I spent a relaxing hour working a layer of pattern over the circles.

Layering has never come easy for me. I look at what I have and fear I will ruin, not enhance it with another layer. This often is true when I get ready to add the quilting to a piece, quilt stitches actually a layer of their own adding not only delineating lines but texture that could overwhelm the designs in the top. Occasionally my fears come true, but usually I realize that last layer makes the quilt. As I forayed into surface design, I discovered I had this same reluctance to add layer after layer. Usually pleased with whatever I do on the first layer, it's hard to convince myself that adding something else will improve things, give the piece more depth and interest, even when I see successful examples in other artists' work. So this was a good exercise for me, starting with something I wasn't that enamored with in the first place so not much to lose, and seeing how much this second layer I knew it needed improved it.

You can see the stenciling and pouncing process referenced here at this blog post.

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Still Drawing

Once INKtober passed, I found myself automatically reaching for something to draw - the old establishing a habit thing apparently kicking in - but what? I decided to return to something I started back in July, filling one of the stab-binding books with eco-printed covers with drawings of leaves picked up on my walks or right in my yard. This is a continuance of the "Drawn to Nature" class from Christine Elder. Here you see an alder leaf drawn in July and some prints made from it, and next to it, this week's maple leaf and a seed pod. The paper is a smooth Bristol which is wonderful to draw on with pencil which erases well, but is not absorbent. Very easy to get too much ink on the leaf for the print.

Next up, a cluster of leaves from a dogwood bush. Yes, bush, not tree. Two totally different things. We had one of these bushes across the road that ran in front of our house, and it was my mother who told me its name. So imagine me moving to the Midwest and taking my first trip to Paducah for the big quilt show there, by bus with a group of quilters I did not know, and being so puzzled when everyone started pointing and exclaiming over the dogwoods we were passing. I don't see any dogwoods, just these trees with the big pink flowers. Could my mother have been wrong about the name of our bush that only had clusters of tiny white flowers? When I spotted similar bushes in my area here, it reminded me I'd never resolved this issue of who was right. Now I can confirm that there is indeed a dogwood bush and my mother knew what she was talking about.

And here's that sprig from the mountain ash I showed earlier. I was surprised to note that the leaves have serrated edges as did the chokecherry leaf I drew next - I'd never noticed that before on either. This is one of the things Christine stresses in her class, that you need to look closely at what you are drawing, get to know it well, not take anything about it for granted.

That early snow we got put the kibosh on our fall colors which were just starting to tune up. Golds and russets faded to merely faded and dead-looking. A pity, since that combination of golden yellow and russet is a favorite. So it pleased me no end to find this article about the color russet, its history and how it has been used by painters over the years. There's a little tonic in there at the end for our particular times so I hope you will read it to the end.

Russet, the Color of Peasants, Fox Fur, and Penance


Saturday, October 31, 2020

Wrapping Up #INKtober

What can I say about my choice of theme for this year's #INKtober other than it didn't go as well as I thought it might? At the midway point I commented that I'd be taking a different tact and working on seeing why some faces held at least a hint of the real person while others could have been anyone. This one in particular put me in mind of those police sketch artist renderings made while a witness tries to remember what someone looked like. Instead, this is supposed to be the actor who plays Chief Inspector Barnaby on Midsomer Murders, but even I can't see him in this.


The technique from the Sketchbook Skool class suggested starting with an eyebrow and without lifting pen, sweeping down the nose and back up to complete the other eyebrow. Actual eyes and mouth added next and the shape of the face/head last. Now I tried focusing on the eyes first before adding eyebrows and nose, then the mouth. Sometimes it worked better, but not always. Some mouths were ok, others ruined the whole face, or should I say, made my person now not look like him or herself.

I did more pausing of the tv, more comparison after completion to determine what made one successful and another not (yes, still having roller coaster results), and rued decisions to go back over some areas in the hopes of improving them. This page not too bad, except for the lower left one - it was the mouth again that made him look like someone else.

In the end, I came to at least one conclusion. Nearly every face has the same components - eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, ears. It's the shape of each and the positioning of each that gives us our recognizable faces. Distinctive hair styles or beards or no hair at all also adds to a person being instantly identifiable. I know that sounds obvious, but it took me awhile to catch onto it in a discernible way. But the more different faces I drew, the more similar they began to look, at least when I messed them up. No wonder we so often run into strangers we think we must know, or be told we have a doppelganger out there in the world. And perhaps that is the most usable thing I learned with this exercise, that I could create any face at all by putting together these elements in their variety of sizes and shapes, slants and arcs, not just try to faithfully copy those that already exist. Again, perhaps pretty obvious, but now I am more aware of it. It's a step towards caricature and illustration and perhaps adding people to my creative toolbox.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Peace Nearing the End

I did the last of the quilting on the Peace quilt Friday, which left me with this tangle of tails to be pulled to the back. I got to it yesterday, while listening to an hour-long webinar. But alas! There are more tails here than can be dealt with in a single hour. Perhaps not an entire hour webinar more, but close! I'm pleased with the quilting lines I chose, including that last thought to quilt concentric circles around and behind the Chinese character. Not much more now to do!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Changing Seasons

This was Thursday. Those geraniums have borne show-stopping blooms all summer. As the weather has cooled, they have gotten bigger and brighter. I took this picture because I knew what was coming.

This was Friday, the next day. As predicted, our temperatures dropped into the 30's and in came a storm. And yet, the geraniums had just enough protection on the back deck to carry on unscathed.

The leaves have hardly started falling from many trees, although I must admit, the birch out back was dropping them like snowfall itself on Thursday, prompting me to gather some up for the gellie printing session I have yet to embark on. This is a chokecherry tree out front, decorated by the neighbor kids with ghosts and witches, some of which blew off.

The neighbors won't do much lounging in those chaises nor riding of that motorcycle what with the deep freeze settling in for the next 5 days. The 3 or 4 inches of snow we got throughout the day isn't going anywhere soon.

The kids have been going half days to school and may have gotten out a tad earlier as the snow started around ten. Plenty of time to build a snowman from the heavy wet snow, complete with covid mask.

There have been power outages but luckily, not for me. Always a danger of branches and trees buckling under the weight of an early snow when leaves still cling. No more snow predicted for the immediate future but today it has been the winds instead, barreling out of the north, our Canadian neighbor sending icy blasts. Windchill is around 18 degrees and while I did get out yesterday to walk through the snow, today I opted to say inside. The geraniums are looking a little worse for wear. Hot chocolate is on the agenda.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Peace and People

I've finished all the horizontal quilting on the light green section and have just the area around the Chinese character to quilt. I knew there'd be a lot of tails to pull to the back and tie off, something that I really don't mind doing. What I DO mind is then having to bury those tails, a truly tedious job. Thus my decision not to layer this quilt with its backing, knowing that the felt would provide a smooth enough surface not to get caught up in the feeddogs and that I could fuse the backing on once all the quilting was done. Although the process of pulling thread tails to the back and knotting can be almost meditative, it is not fast. This section here took a little more than an hour and a half to complete.

As for my #INKtober daily drawing of people I am watching on tv, I am less than impressed with my progress. When I should be getting better with each day, I seem to be getting worse. At the halfway point, I've gone from faces that have some resemblance to their owners to several days of ones looking nothing like the person I'm drawing. 

A head too long, the next too short, foreheads often encroached upon by a hairline too soon. I'm particularly struggling with mouths, unable to remember any tip I may have read about how to approach them.

Noses are going out of whack too lately. Throwing in a few profiles hasn't helped as much as I'd hoped. I'm beginning to think part of my problem lies in using a ballpoint pen. When I did this exercise before for the Sketchbook Skool class, I was using more of a felt pen with a bold line. I felt I was getting the hang of it as I added faces to my page and likenesses became more, well, like my subjects. I'll keep at it, as I always do, and hope I can start to see where I've gone astray, or more properly, how I can fix what's causing me to draw so off. On the upside, I'm getting pretty good at drawing suit lapels and ties!

Thursday, October 08, 2020

A Little Sun, A Little Paint

We have had the loveliest few days of summer-like weather, temps in the 70's and lots of sunshine to set off the turning leaves. It has pried me out of my routine and sent me to a couple of my favorite places to get in my walks. Yesterday I was feeling particularly energetic and motivated to grab a sketchbook I seem to only work in about this time of the year since I started sketching in it and head for city beach.

After the usual walk taking me past a few people still working on their tans, a few actually in the water and others just out strolling like me or resting on benches, I got the concertina sketchbook with my city beach view sketched in and started adding more watercolor to it. Below you can see how far I got on a similar visit last September. I was thinking that I'd work on sky and water this time, but instead started adding color to more trees and working on the mountains behind them. Mostly getting familiar with the brush again, mixing colors, falling short of what I'd hoped the color would be. Really a first pass though, with some small darker strokes to add emulating the trees on those slopes. And a slightly sinking feeling of how much more I have to do on this - there's a back side you know!

Monday, October 05, 2020

Better . . .

. . . oh so much better, to be able to actually see the quilting lines emerge as one sews, not the drudgery of the stitching in the ditch. All the dark areas are done and I'm ready to switch to the lighter green thread to quilt the green areas. You can see my test piece near the bottom and a short run of that lighter thread.

In the meantime, it has become October, with leaves now turning. I pulled a few of these mountain ash ones to sketch, then use in some gelli-plate printing. Close inspection shows the stems and veins remain a bright green.

Quick sketch with ballpoint pen

As October approached, I also had to make a decision about participating in INKtober, that international challenge to draw anything each day of October using ink. I'm still feeling snowed under with projects I'm trying to get to and/or complete which I think is why my daily drawing practice totally went by the wayside. The past years I've participated, I would find myself spending at least an hour, often more, on each day's sketch. I just didn't want to do that this year. But as I paged through my sketchbook, looking at what I'd done, I was impressed and pleased with each year's theme and the sketches that resulted. My personality traits just wouldn't allow me to let it go, but I did come to a compromise that would help me practice an urban sketching technique while watching my tv shows, and thus I wouldn't have to carve out separate time for drawing. I don't know how many of these quick sketches captured while the subjects talked and moved about I'll share as for now they are not particularly good. Even going with the idea that they are not supposed to be true portraits but more like caricatures and this is practice for when I get brave and try sketching people in public is not making me feel better about some of them (and yes, I sometimes cheated mid-sketch and hit the pause button). Then again, after they have sat for awhile, I may feel better about them. Just like the zentangles from one year; I remember getting pretty frustrated and not liking so many of them, yet when I got to those pages in the sketchbook, they all looked really good to me. Ahhh, such is the critical eye! 

Sunday, September 27, 2020


I've been finding it difficult to be excited about working on the Peace quilt this last week or so, being faced with a first step of quilting along all those satin stitched applique edges. Essentially, doing stitch in the ditch which has taken nearly as long to do as the satin stitching but relatively invisible. Not only can you not see the stitching which is done with the same thread, but you can't see any texture either, only if you flip it over to see the back. But I finally got this additional grunt work done and have decided to quilt the straight lines in the "border" area next, spacing them by using the outer edge of my walking foot as guide. That makes the lines about 3/8" apart which I find a pleasing distance. I do like the green twist thread but found myself second-guessing using it, almost giving in to using the brown twist of the satin stitching. I think once I quilt the light side of the quilt in the light green twist thread though, the dark green on the other side will make sense.
In the meantime, I'm plotting my next project. My god daughter had told me before she got pregnant the first time that she was going to have 3 kids, and even had a schedule of when she'd have them. True to her word, daughters one and two arrived on time and now child three (gender unknown) is due around Christmas. Talk about family planning! I've been saving this Kaffe Strip Quilt idea since I first saw it and thought it would be a perfect design for the last child, following a theme of using rectangular strips in the first two baby quilts (see here and here). Now that I know when child three is due, I'm motivated to start figuring out dimensions of individual pieces to size this down a bit and make it my own.

Monday, September 14, 2020


Where I landed 14 years ago

Today marks 14 years since I moved back to my native Idaho, a decision I've never regretted. I chronicled my reconnaissance trip to find a place to live, then the drive out and finally the settling in as I unpacked and explored my new surroundings all on the blog, a record more robust than snapshots in a photo album with brief descriptions, or a written journal. A blog is really the best of both and easier to share.

Recently, one of my favorite bloggers, Austin Kleon, noted that he'd been doing this for fifteen years, which prompted me to double check my own blogging history. I was a little surprised to find that come November, I too will have been blogging for 15 years. I honestly wish I'd started sooner so that more of my Wisconsin experience and the quilts I designed there were recorded here, instead of having to dig out the photo albums. As I read through Austin's post, I agreed with all his reasons for blogging, all the advantages of it, and I particularly liked that he summed it up in three reasons to keep blogging which you can read here. They are my reasons too.

Then I spotted a new post by another blogger I follow, Terry Grant, who was also marking 15 years of blogging. I do remember a number of us from the Yahoo Alternative Quilts Group branching out to start our individual blogs at the about the same time. That group is long gone, a bit sadly, as more and more of us ventured into the blogosphere. And many of those initial blogs have gone quiet or totally disappeared. Yet people like Terry and me continue because, as she notes, memory is not always trustworthy, nor is one person's memory of an event the same as another's. She, like I, uses her blog as a "backup memory" for the important things and now lets the "little everyday things" show up on Facebook.

So happy anniversary to the 15 year club! May we continue to enjoy this platform and store our memories and accomplishments and ups and downs here. And thanks to the readers that check in and comment. You are a big part of my creative journey.


Friday, September 11, 2020


I hope I don't regret this.

I'd finally finished up the long slog of satin stitching, reminiscing as I did about the days when this kind of applique was popular and there were a few quilters submitting absolute masterpieces using this method to shows both big and small. I remember getting up close to one of them to marvel at intricacies involved in covering all those individual applique pieces' edges perfectly, carefully turning corners and tight curves and diminishing the width of the satin stitch to nothing where called for. I even bought Harriet Hargrave's Mastering Machine Applique to study. It's a two-sided book; turned one way it takes you through how to do mock hand applique as well as securing those pieces with straight stitch, blanket stitch and a few others. Flip the book over and now you have a book dedicated just to satin stitch. I did pick up some good tips and even used some of them. But now, on this piece, I really didn't care about perfectly turned corners so much. Just get it done! And now I was ready to layer it over a piece of eco-felt (I was lucky to find a piece big enough on hand) using spray baste. I pulled out my can of 505 Spray Baste, gave it a shake and heard nothing! I was so sure I had a nearly full can so spent some time rummaging around to be sure it wasn't hiding somewhere but no. Can a product like this dissipate if not used within a certain time frame?

Soooo - options? I didn't want to safety pin the sandwich because past experience tells me this fabric is gonna show holes when the pins come out. Head out to the quilt shop to pick up a new can? Maybe, but that was going to upset my rhythm here, odd as that may sound. Wonder if this Krylon product that I'd bought to aide in mounting some of my framed pieces would work on fabric. Reading the can, "acid free" jumped out at me - always a must - and under the list of things it will work on was . . . yes - fabric! But it is just a light tack product and and and - I have questions about how well things will hold while under the machine. On the plus side, I found the positioning of the top over the sprayed felt much easier to do than over the gummier 505.

P.S - I really like the look of that brown thread in the satin stitching.

I've also really liked the look of the clouds lately, so feathery with a few curls here and there. But now, this has begun . . .

There have been a few wildfires within an hour of me but after the Labor Day windstorm out of Canada blew through, these have been difficult to get contained and major fires sprung up in neighboring eastern Washington. That unusual north easterly wind is unusual for us but kept the smoke mostly out of our area. Now the winds are shifting back to the usual direction from the west and bring with it the smoke from not just those Washington fires but the terrible ones up and down western Oregon that also cropped up over Labor Day. And of course, California is sending its smoke along too. They are predicting that our air quality will be as bad as it can get, just as bad as for people close to the actual fires, by Sunday. Face it, the west coast is very much on fire, crews stretched thin, 500,000 people in Oregon alone having to evacuate and many will have nothing to go home to. We skated all summer, these three states that make  up what we call the Pacific Northwest, but the skating is over. Send rain . . .