Friday, November 15, 2013

Stitching toward the Holidays

A sure sign the holidays are approaching is that my Christmas cactus is in full glorious bloom.  Below is one of them that I snapped last night while searching for a ruler in my sewing room.

My grandson has taken over my wonderful sun room/sewing room for his bedroom and I have been relegated to one corner of it.  So since I am in the middle of creating a pieced border for my quilt I have carried the machine and piles of fabric to the dining room table.  I have quite the mess but am loving the creative energy. 

Last night while searching for a certain scrap of fabric that was hidden amidst the piles of fabric in assorted colors, scissors, rulers and pattern books, it occurred to me that possibly with Thanksgiving approaching this wasn't the best time to be creating such a mess.

But maybe it's time for my sister to host Thanksgiving this year!   
Enjoy a weekend of fun and accomplishment, wherever you are in your creative process!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Imagine a New Border

Last night found me surrounded by fabric, rulers and several quilting pattern books.  This is the first time in a long while that I don't have something that I am currently quilting.....SO borders must go on my next quilt top so I can get started.  I didn't want to use the border that the pattern shows on the quilt.  I wanted to use my imagination and figure out something different.  Several fun and complicated borders caught my eye in various books.  But I just wasn't sure.  So I brought a book to work with me this morning.  I think I have narrowed it down to a combination of two different patterns in various sizes.  I will keep you posted. 

Now I just need to get home from work tonight so I can get started.........

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sunshine and Stitches

"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house."  Nathaniel Hawthorne

My goal this weekend was to get the binding sewn on my Robbing Peter to Pay Paul quilt.  This quilt top was done back in the eighties.  I think this is the only two color quilt that I have ever done.  My quilts tend to be multi-colored and scrappy.  I was cheerful as the machine started humming and I knew that this quilt that had waited patiently in a drawer for many years would soon be on my bed.

I had made my binding a few days earlier and in order to keep it free from tangles and easy to use I got the idea of using this Rice Krispies box.  Worked pretty slick.  I just unrolled it as I needed it.

I had brought my machine upstairs and was sewing at the dining room table.  The deck door was slightly ajar and the room was awash with warmth and sunshine.  I couldn't stand it.  I wanted to finish what I was doing but the lovely autumn day was calling me and the little owl on the table seemed to be telling me to go out and enjoy the last days of autumn warmth.  It was time to go outside and play.

Soon I was at the quilt shop down in Valley Junction for a little needle threader package and some inspiration.  With my purchases of needle threader, two hand quilting stencils and several fat quarters,  I headed into Nan's Nummies across the street for some of her wonderful cookies.  A few stops into antique stores and gift shops to look for a present for my sister was not productive.  I saw several things that caught my eye, especially the cute fall decorations.

But not finding the perfect gift that spoke to me, I decided to head back for home.  After all, I had a quilt to complete.  

Back at the house I was tempted again.  I could rake.  I could walk through the yard and listen to the leaves crunch beneath my feet.  I could just bask in the sunshine and enjoy the gift of a lovely day.  But the quilt was calling and I was soon back at the machine.  The rest of the day was spent sewing on the binding and watching football with my husband.

As I stitched and enjoyed the feel of the soft cotton beneath my hands I realized that this was the last quilt I had that was completely done by hand.  I had cut the templates out from cardboard cereal boxes.  I had cut each piece out separately.  This was before I had my first rotary cutter and mat.  It was entirely pieced by hand.  Since then I have moved on to doing my piecing by machine.  I thought of the hours spent stitching this quilt.  Hours that I enjoyed as I would sit in the evening while my husband watched television or the kids worked on their homework.  I enjoyed the entire process of bringing this quilt to life.  At this point in time I will probably never piece a quilt by hand again.  The machine is so much faster.  But they will all be quilted by hand.  That part will never change.

And on the bed.......

Oh, and it was a good thing I took some time out of the day to play because the very next day we had a change in the weather and my mum's were shivering under a thin sheet of snow!


Monday, November 4, 2013


I conjured up the man from Key West last night.  The man whose blog I read who walks the streets of the island city with his portly old lab.  In my dream he stood beside the fence gazing up at our house, the moonlight reflecting off his pink crocs.  His dog was nowhere to be seen as he shivered in the cold and damp beside the creek.  What made me wake at 4:00 this morning thinking of him?

Possibly because our own two dogs had crept up into the bed sometime during the night and were threatening to catapult me onto the floor.  Or maybe I was still mulling over his last post about the passage of time.

This time passage in our family has been a hard one for me this year.  With the split up of my daughter and son-in-law last year right after Christmas, I have spent a good part of the last few months mourning the fact that the upcoming holidays would not be the same without the son-in-law that we love so much.  I had no idea that last Christmas was the last one we would spend with my Dad also.  Although not totally unexpected due to so many health issues, his passing two weeks ago left a huge gap in our lives. My sweet handsome grandsons accepted the role of pall-bearers, a hard role for any young man to have to do.  But they did it with love and honor. 

With the passing of this year and all the emotional stress that was involved, my garden suffered from lack of attention.  During spring and early summer I diligently took care of my blooms but as summer wore on and the dry heat and my own exhaustion took over I was just too worn out to baby things along like I should have.  

But my garden is forgiving and even now it is rewarding me with glorious color for a few more days.  I hardly noticed the changing color during the first week of October until the day of the funeral when I realized that my world was alive in wonderful shades of russet, gold and orange. 

Since the leaves are falling quickly and winter is just around the corner, I am busily back at quilting.  I enjoyed a wonderful quilt retreat with my quilting buddies last week and was able to get the binding sewn on the quilt that our son-in-law asked me to make for him.  Quilting this one has been bittersweet because I feel like it is the one last gift I can give to him.  But it did turn out rather well.  Oscar certainly approves of it as he poses here for a photo opportunity. 

I pulled out my Robbing Peter to Pay Paul quilt which has been on hold for several months.  I am quilting the last border on this one so it is soon to be finished also.  
And how amazed I was to win the quilt top at our quilt retreat.  We had all made a block for this one.  So my December project will be to add borders and get this one quilted during our long winter months ahead.

Time passes into the future and loved ones come and go out of our lives.  As I type this my bedroom has taken on a golden glow from the sun shining through the maple leaves in the tree outside my window, filling me with warmth and hope.   Though my mother, sisters and I are mourning a wonderful man, I look forward to enjoying the promise of another garden and the feel of another quilt beneath my hands.