Sunday, September 23, 2012

What I'm Working on

   I told you I was back to normal. That means as soon as I got home from school Friday afternoon, I headed to my sewing room and I have hardly been out of here since. Randy went to an air show Friday night and home late; then worked yesterday, so I've had no reason to emerge. I'm working on a new Double 4-Patch quilt. It's not for a new pattern and not for a gift. It's just for the sheer joy of sewing and it's for me! I'm using the last of 4 of my favorite red Civil War repros and one of my very favorite yardages, from Family Tree, by Mary Koval. I've saved it for a long time for the right project. This is it.

   I usually don't start with a "plan" or sketches, or any pattern, when I sew for fun. I get an idea in my mind and start cutting fabric to go with it. I don't count pieces either; I just cut until I have a good pile to start. I sew a sample block to see if I still like my idea. Sometimes I have to change it up a bit, maybe the size or color scheme or add more pieces. Usually, though, what was in my mind is what gets sewn. This time, I knew I wanted lots of little pieces and I wanted it to be rich with scraps, using the last of some of my oldest CW's, especially those reds, before they were gone forever. And that Mary Koval print was calling me. It has that caramel color background that I love and a rich print of all the primary colors...perfect for the alternating squares.  It might not appeal to everyone, but this quilt is for me, for my reward after months of working on my patterns. It will be rich and dark and vintage looking, just the way I like a Civil War repro quilt to look. My favorite vintage Civil War quilts are the scrappy ones sewn in rich, dark fabrics with some "oddball" prints thrown in. Some people would call them "uglies", but I call them true vintage. Anyway, I'm sewing and I'm loving it. What more could I ask?

  I started with a basket of 1 1/2" squares...



Then I sewed these...




 I added some of these...

I sewed them together for these...


I added the alternate 4 1/2" squares of Family Tree...

Then I made rows...





It's starting to look like this...




   I'm having fun! It's not a new pattern and it's not rocket science, it's just soothing, repetitive sewing and I'm working with precious pieces of favorite fabrics that I'll never cut or sew with again. I even cut some pieces of Grandma Lillard's dress for this one. Now, I know it's for me, or at least a close family member. This is what quilting should be about, relaxation, fun, the joy of creating with your hands. It's what has kept me at it since 1971, and God willing, till the day I die.

  This is the quilt I've been hand-quilting since I "found" it again last weekend. Another simple pattern, 4-patches on point in the strippy setting. I'm making it special by adding elaborate quilting. I quilt on this in the evening when and IF there is anything worth watching on TV. Otherwise, you'll find me parked at my Bernina sewing and loving it.

I'm going to be late for church if I don't stop now! Keep stitchin'!


Becky
 




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Back to Normal

   After working like crazy to get the seven new patterns in my Love & Valor series ready to release all at once, I was ready for some "down time" and I took it. I made the Labor Day weekend deadline I'd set for myself, but not without some glitches. I'm not sure I'll be inclined to write several patterns at once again. I wasn't fun to live with for awhile there, just ask Randy. He ate a lot of take out and ignored the dust and clutter that accumulated while I holed up in my sewing room. Luckily he works a lot of hours and bikes whenever he can in good weather, so he could give me my "creative space" as he called it. I'm back to cooking and cleaning again, at least as much as I did before. ;-) The first day he came home and I was baking cookies, he asked tentatively who they were for! When the cookies were gone, I baked him a raspberry pie, his favorite, to thank him for the weeks of neglect he suffered. I even stayed out of my sewing room for a week and watched some movies with him. Over Labor Day we went antiquing together at Old Threshers and Lake Argyle in Illinois, went out with friends, went to the movies, and shopping. All good things must come to an end though, they say. The siren song coming from my sewing room was calling to me and I succumbed to it once again. Now things are really back to normal, I'm sewing blocks for another quilt top every minute I can and cooking and cleaning just enough to let Randy know I'm still here.

  I went to Breakfast Club at Inspirations last Saturday with Jane. The usual gang was there, but some new quilters attended too. There was lots of good show n tell. Everyone there is so creative. I always look forward to seeing what they've made since the last BC. There is a wide range of color and fabric tastes among them and some sew traditional quilts while others are more "artsy", but I enjoy seeing all of their creations and sharing their energy. I always come home motivated. Kayla, Darla, and Val had planned to stay and have a sew day in the upstairs classroom and invited us to join them. Jane had to get home, but I opted to stay. I sewed the binding on my pink and brown Reap the Whirlwind mini I sewed this summer. I'd been procrastinating doing that chore since I don't enjoy binding. It only took a half hour for Heaven's sake! I took a Civil War strippy style repro quilt I had started quilting a couple years ago and had put away and forgotten about till I needed something to take to work on. I quilted a couple hoop fulls and now I'm enthused about it again, so it will get finished this winter sometime.  It's good to have something to quilt while watching TV in the evenings with Randy so he doesn't feel too neglected.

   Here are some of the quilts shared at breakfast Club this month. I'm not good with names, so I won't try to identify some quilters and leave others out.

 A fall color scheme...

 A baby quilt made for a couple who are both veterinarians and graduated from Iowa State University. Her original design! Wool applique on pieced cotton top.
 Spiderweb blocks "floating' on a scrappy green background. Bad picture, sorry!
 Quilt made to highlight one fabric...
 A Farmer's Wife sampler...
 A round robin quilt...

   I just finished watching Death and the Civil War on PBS. It was very interesting and so moving. The effort to locate the dead Union soldiers and then rebury them in National Cemeteries was a monumental task. I was saddened to learn that in the South, it was left to private citizens to find and honor their dead for reburial. As a nation we've grown and learned from our past mistakes. All fallen soldiers, regardless of race or origin, are now honored and buried with respect as it always should have been. May God forgive us our past hatreds and prejudices. Today, 150 years ago, General Lee began the long march South with his army after the battle of Antietam fought September17th. Lasting only 12 hours, the battle exacted 23,000 casualties and remains the bloodiest single day in American history. If only the war had ended that day instead of dragging on 3 more years and taking tens of thousands more lives, Union and Confederate. We should remember the Civil War, but certainly not celebrate it. On that somber note, I'll retire to my sewing room for some calming sewing time.
I hope you all keep stitchin'.

 Becky