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 . . . 


Friday, September 04, 2020

It's Not Much . . .

. . . but after sitting on my work table for months, I finally put a cover on an extra signature left over from my Secret Belgium Binding book. Again I make the connection between quilting and bookbinding in that there will always be some scraps left over from a project, too good to toss, too few to quite know what to do with them. And then when you do decide what to do, there will be time spent auditioning what to add, part of you excited that you've found a use for something else that's been lying about, and part of you fussing over choosing just the right addition. 

That's probably why that signature had sat for so long. I was pretty sure about using one of the eco-printed papers but knew I had half a dozen to choose from. Each one having a best side and a less exciting side and how would each look when folded over the signature. And should I use this one or save it for a different project? I fret too much over these things but in the end, am usually pleased with the results and glad that I took the time.

The other thing holding me up a bit was knowing I'd have a decision to make about the thread for sewing the little book together, another thing that shouldn't be as big a deal as I make it. But beyond choosing a weight and color, other considerations included whether to end with tails tied off on the inside or outside, and if outside, what little flair could I add in the way of twisting or braiding or adding beads? Argh, I've never been good at decision making, which has always left me wondering why I took to quilting where it is ALL about making decisions. In the end, I decided just to tie off inside and use a heavier quilting thread that was variegated in the appropriate colors. To my disappointment, the thread was not as heavy as I remembered, and even doubled, it didn't show as I'd anticipated. Well, I decided not to worry about it, just stitch this up so I could get it in the mail to a friend. But yes, there were moments afterward of slight remorse that I'd not searched through other thread choices including perle cottons and embroidery floss. I DO have a wealth of resources to choose from!

The important thing though is that it is finally done and off my table and out of my head. On to other things cluttering up my studio and my mind.