Saturday, March 28, 2009

Doll Quilt Swapping

Discovering the online quilt swap community has been wonderful –  I’ve joined Doll Quilt Swap 6 and am having a blast!  The bits and pieces of quilts I get to see are so fantastic and inspiring!  Hop over here to see the Flickr photo stream of these lovelies.  Soon, we will be mailing quilts out to their new homes.  So today’s fun in the sewing room is to hunker down and quilt this little guy so its ready to journey on. 


It’s a new pattern for the Pyramid Triangles foundation from Miniatures in Minutes.  I’ll post the project for this version on the website sometime soon.  Perhaps in May? I love the Kaffe Fasset fabrics that I made it up with here, but I’m also thinking about other possibilities as well.  Could be mighty pretty done up in red and white . . . . 

That’s definitely one of the things I love about miniatures.  They make up so quickly I can indulge my urge for multiple versions.  Here’s another Pyramid Triangles quilt, the project posted in February – all bright and contemporary done up in batiks. 

tri mini quilt

And here’s another version (still needs to be quilted) I just made up using reproduction fabrics.  I really like how dramatic the batik version is, but I’m also loving the softer, more traditional appeal of this one.


So, there it is: you can never have too many quilts.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Goldilocks and the Three Notepads

When I created the first notepad that appeared in the book, I made it with a little too much border on the left side and not enough border on the right. See: Exhibit A. [Please try to ignore my truly awful camera skills. I see time with an instruction manual ahead. Like before my next post.]notepad-3-mini-quiltToday, I finished another notebook. This time the border on the right is too large and the border on the left is too small. See: Exhibit B. notepad-1-mini-quilt Clearly Goldilocks (whose golden tresses are actually a little more Old Gray Mare) needs to try again. But as every good children’s story tells us, third time’s a charm . . . right?

Never mind, I console myself: I really like the way the smaller notepad in taupe came out. And as far as the centering goes? Good E-nuff, says I.notepad-2-mini-quilt Here’s the inside view of the larger notepad:

notepad-inside-quilt My obvious difficulties with centering aside, I love these guys. They are one of my favorite ways to display a miniature quilt.

Monday, March 23, 2009

What I Do For Love

I remember a quilt that was on my bed for a while when I was growing up. I loved it -- loved all the different fabrics; the soft, worn colors; the symmetry of the pattern; and the simple weight of it. It got increasingly tattered, of course. The fabric wore through in places. This did not bother me any. (I had read The Velveteen Rabbit -- I knew we are meant to love things more, not less, when they become worn). It bothered my mother though, who believed that when the inside was on the outside, it was time to throw something out. And so she did. (Nowadays, this would be considered fairly blasphemous -- rightly so, says the quilter in me). I remembered the pattern though, the way the triangles came head to head and mirrored each other. And I did, eventually, decades later, make my own.

I still miss that old quilt though. I remember brown and cream stripes, soft pinks and greens so faded they blended to dove gray. I wonder about the woman who made that quilt. Was it for someone she knew? A member of her family or a friend? Was it a church donation or perhaps a means to make a little extra money? What I am sure of, there was love in that quilt, if not for the recipient then for the thing itself.

And where does that come from exactly -- this love of quilting? It is, on the face of it, an odd hobby. What do I do? I buy beautiful fabric, cut it up into little pieces, and then sew the pieces all together again. Slice, dice, reassemble. More often than not, the pieces are so small that I can no longer see the lovely pattern of the beautiful fabric I couldn't resist when I first saw it on the bolt. I remember it though, when I look at one of my quilts after I'm done. It's the gift that comes to the quilter alone -- echoes of all the pieces in their entirety, like an invisible quilt peeking out behind the visible.

But then, a quilter remembers so much. She (or he) remembers where she bought those lovely bits of fabric. Down at the local quilt shop or visiting another city with a friend. She remembers the events of her life that passed while she cut and sewed. Worry over a child, joy in a new birth, laughter shared with a friend. It's been said so many times and yet the simple truth of it never fails to move me -- we stitch our lives into the quilts we make. It's what we feel when we touch a quilt that has been made by another. It's why that supple, faded quilt on my bed meant so much to me as a child. I was too young to understand, but I still felt its magic.

And now, all grown up (in years, at least), I feel a different blend of magics. The concentration as I choose fabrics, that wonderful, instinctual immersion into color and texture. The tedious business of cutting, which teaches me patience with the parts I don't love. Sitting at the sewing machine, one of my favorite places to be: I'm making something. Undoing stitches when I make dumb mistakes, which teaches me patience with myself and reminds me, usefully, that I am never going to be perfect at anything and just accepting it is really for the best all around. Finishing the center of a quilt and then getting to, once again, play with color as I choose the border fabrics. The joy of that. More decision making as I consider quilting motifs. This or that.

And always, through all of it, pushing forward, perhaps a new technique, trying something a little harder, getting a little braver with color, trusting that a step forward is a step forward even if the execution isn't perfect grace. And finishing. Oh, that's very good magic, indeed. A quilt propped in front of me while I stare at it in a state of Zen transcendence. I made that! Isn't it wonderful? (Really, I do this).

I don't need my quilts to be perfect. I don't need them to be showstoppers or to win awards. I love them with their imperfections. And, funnily enough, that helps me to be a better person. It helps me to be more tolerant of my own imperfections and to love myself a little better. And when the cashier needs to ring up my order for the third time? I remember my well used seam ripper and forgive.

So, someplace, sometime, a quilter made a quilt. Hand-pieced and hand quilted. I don't know who she was or what she dreamed of. I slept under the quilt she made, and my life, in a number of subtle but important ways, has been the better for it. I'd like to thank her for that. I don't know if my quilts carry that same magic for others that hers did for me, but I hope they do. I really hope they do.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Did you ever throw a party . . . ?

Feeling just a wee-bit (read: overwhelmingly) self-conscious here. Newbie all around and just wondering -- if a blogger whispers in the deep, dark forest of the world wide web and no one hears, has she blogged?

Or, did you ever throw a party and no one came? I did, once, sort of. My mother forgot we were coming to visit (my mother) and was off, somewhere, gaily gallivanting. My brother and sister rolled in just a tad late. Breaking into Mom's house through the garage was kind of fun, but it did give rise to worrying thoughts about her home security and personal safety. All to throw said mother a surprise party, who was at least truly taken aback when she (finally) came home and found all her off-spring sitting around the dining room table. Still, the birthday cake was delicious, and I'd never seen my mother blush before.

So, this is just to say: hello. Self-conscious or not, I'm glad to be here. A word lover from way back, I've been watching from the sidelines, feeling both jealous and inept, as so many have found a voice on the web. I'm looking forward to joining the conversation. It's a heady place, the web.

Where do I start? With beginnings. With quilts. With a book that was just released this past January and the new opportunities that come with it. With friendship -- and what is quilting about if not friendship? With just wanting to share my love of quilts and the making of them.

Yes, begin with the quilts. Begin with right here and right now, with what's causing the mess in the sewing room today. Working on the notepads that will be next month's projects. Sorting through fabric and wondering, "Was I just a wee bit ambitious (read: delusional) when I said I'd post a new miniature quilt project on the website the first of every month?"

Never mind second guessing because I love it, the fabric, the piecing, watching it all come together. I can't get enough of those Japanese taupes. So soft and lovely.

And blue, green, purple with a touch of white to crisp it up? A definite favorite. Spring is coming and I look at those fabrics and can almost smell lilacs in the air. And that bit of ric-rac makes me very happy. And, could you ignore the funky camera angle that makes the notepad look pear shaped? It isn't, I swear.