Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spurgeon's Christmas Quilt

This is Spurgeon's Christmas Quilt. It took about 5 years for me to start this one. I finally finished it this spring and gave it to him. I really like the way it turned out. They hung it on the wall, and his wife told me that she repainted her kitchen so it would go better with the quilt! I hope that the kitchen sort of needed it anyway, since I really hadn't intended to make anyone redecorate for my quilt.

The picture above is of an old project because I haven't really gotten into my quilting groove again. Now that I finished Sara's quilt, I pulled out an old project, but I haven't sewn a stitch. Is this Quilter's Block? I have lots of ideas, but for some reason I can't seem to start anything. So currently my quilting momentum is nil.

I've been looking at books and blogs from the modern quilting movement. I think what interests me most about it is the use of negative space. There doesn't seem to be as much of that in traditional quilts. I think I am also attracted to the irregularity of some modern quilts. Symmetry and repetition, which are so prominent in traditional quilting, can be fascinating and rather soothing; but sometimes things seem to be too regular and predictable, and they become boring.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


It's summertime, complete with the near-daily rains, heat, and bugs! Everything is lovely and green. I've been doing a lot of reading--I'm making progress on The Stack, my pile of unread books. I've read, or, in a few cases, decided not to read (and to sell back to a used bookstore) about half of the books in my Stack. And, of course, I've acquired a few more books along the my scrap bin, the levels never seem to go down much.
I completed a quilt, my first in MONTHS. This one is a comfort quilt for my friend Sara (shown on the right in the photo), who went in for surgery this week. She likes it! The pattern is called "Zipper" and is from Kerr & Ringle's Modern Quilt Workshop. Hearts are really not my thing, but this wasn't a quilt for me, so I added a heart, because it fit.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Books: The Stack

I like to read. A lot. But I've noticed that somehow, books tend to pile up a bit as they wait to be read. So, here is my Stack, the books I haven't gotten around to reading yet. I pulled it out, just so you could see it. Normally, The Stack is much better disguised than this, distributed on bookshelves in four different rooms. That way you can't see how big it is. I actually had no idea how big it was until I counted. But here it is, a mixture of books I picked out and gifts from others:

The Nonfiction Stack
1. On Liberty, Mills
2. The Swamp, Grunwald
3. The Map That Changed the World, Winchester
4. Going to Extremes, Sunstein
5. Writing Down the Bones, Goldberg
6. The Pursuit of Happy Results, Anderson
7. Thank You For Arguing, Heinrichs
8. The History of the World in 6 Glasses, Standage
9. Democracy in America, de Tocqueville
10. Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes, Gould
11. Your Inner Fish, Shubin
12. Earth, Fortey
13. The Disappearing Spoon, Kean
14. No Ordinary Time, Goodwin
15. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Morris
16. Merchants of Doubt, Oreskes (Kindle)

The Fiction Stack
17. Cloud’s End, Stewart
18. The Samurai’s Garden, Tsukiyama
19. Betrayals, St. Crow
20. Jealousy, St. Crow
21. Defiance, St. Crow
22. Reckoning, St. Crow
23. Hunted by Others, Haines
24. Taken by Others, Haines
25. Deceived by Others, Haines
26. Darkborn, Sinclair
27. Lightborn, Sinclair
28. Enna Burning, Hale
29. Girl in the Arena, Haines
30. Heat Stroke, Caine
31. The Gate of Ivory, Egan
32. Kitty Raises Hell, Vaughn
33. Nevermore, Creagh
34. A Great and Terrible Beauty, Bray
35. True Grit, Portis
36. Fate’s Edge, Andrews (Kindle)

It's a bit of a mixed bag, but there it is. Some of the books in The Stack haven't been there long, but some have been in it so long that it's getting embarrassing; so, this summer I'm going to try to work my way through at least half of The Stack. Maybe more. Wish me luck. I started 2 of them this weekend.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Springtime, and Buying Fabric Online

Spring is the most beautiful time of year here--the azaleas are blooming, the weather is mild, and trees are starting to put out new leaves. I like to walk outdoors this time of year, so not much has been going on in my quilt room. I did get some fabric online a couple of weeks ago. Getting fabric online is always a bit of an adventure. You can't touch it, so I typically stick with brands I've seen in quilt shops before and know are decent quality. It's hard to know exactly what you are getting from a small swatch on the screen; the color could be a little different and the scale of the print may also not be quite what you expected. If you are looking for the exact fabric to finish up a quilt and it must match everything else perfectly, you probably shouldn't be looking online. However, for the most part, that isn't how I buy fabric. I buy for my stash, and then make quilts out of what I have. So for me, buying fabric online works fine. Sure, sometimes I am a bit surprised by the brightness or scale of the fabrics when they arrive, but sooner or later I'll find a use for it so I'm not too fussed when it looks a bit different from what I expected based on the digital swatch.

So here is an example of a fabric not being quite what I expected. I found a fun Amy Butler print on sale in an online shop and ordered it. And when it arrived, I discovered that it is home dec fabric. It probably said that in the description, and I just didn't read it closely enough. Home dec fabric is wider (60" rather than 40" wide), and a heavier weight cotton than traditional quilting fabric. I didn't want to mix it with regular quilting cottons, so here is my solution (sewn on my freshly cleaned and tuned up machine that runs rather quieter than it did before. Imagine that):

Four lined, reusable grocery bags from one yard of a fun print. Not what I'd expected, but something I can use anyway.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Something Missing

Yes indeed, there is something missing in this picture. The Megasaurus (my main sewing machine), has gone in for cleaning and service. Gone, gone, gone. What will I do all week? How will I cope?

Well, I have a couple of quilts to finish binding and putting hanging sleeves and labels on, all handwork. And I have a second sewing machine (ok, maybe more than one), but it just isn't the same. I thought I might cut up that pile of sheets that you see on the sewing table and make reusable grocery bags. But I'll still miss the Megasaurus.

On an unrelated subject, since it is that new year's resolution time of year, and in an effort to improve my diet, I got several vegan cookbooks. I'm not really vegan. I think maybe I'll just be a part-time vegan. Which is probably an oxymoron. Mostly I am not a vegan because I know too much about biology and basically, every animal kills something else (plant or animal) in order to live. But it's still probably better to do it a little less often.

Mostly my husband does the cooking, and I do the baking, so my favorite cookbook so far is:

I tried a couple of recipes so far, and they were actually pretty good. Not that cookies are the best health food, but a diet without cookies is really a diet too depressing to live with. So maybe just a few cookies, now and then.