Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Potholders for days, a brief word about current events, some appliqué

I've been happily (happily...? not really, not these days, with our country in the state it's in... but you know what I mean) ensconced in my messy sewing room, making potholders from scraps.  

I piece scraps into improv log cabin blocks, about 10" square, layer with batting (four layers of Dream Cotton Select), and backing.  I quilt very simply.  I try to eyeball the center and quilt down and across the center, which helps when it comes to how a potholder is folded when you are using it.  Sometimes I make an additional quilting line once the potholder is finished, to achieve that good symmetrical fold. 

I trim to 9" squares, and bind with double-fold binding cut 1.25" wide.   It's a lot of work to hand tack back the bindings, but I still prefer to bind this way and not all by machine.  

Then I wash them.  In the photo below, the purple-bound potholders on top have already been washed.  

These will make some simple gifts.   They wash up well and shrink to about 8.5": 

I love making potholders - the smallest possible quilt, and something practical and not precious.   I'm totally counting these as a June monthly mini;).  I've been absent for months from the mini scene at Wendy's The Constant Quilter.  Check out the minis on her blog!  I always love seeing what people have been making. 

Binding all these little potholders, I have been watching all of the January 6th hearings.  Today, I was so impressed with young witness Cassidy Hutchinson's courage and poise.   

With the distressing recent events and decisions in our country, I try to stay informed without becoming too overwhelmed and depressed by it all.  One voice I appreciate is Heather Cox Richardson's newsletter "Letters from an American: a newsletter about the history behind today's politics".    She's an historian and professor at Boston College.  You can email me and I will forward you one of her newsletters, or you can find some of her older newsletters here on Bill Moyer's website.  

But back to quilting for a second.  The other project I'm working on is this BOM from Barbara Brackman, Ladies Aid.  The blocks are huge.  I wanted this quilt to have that soft "light blue and dusty pink" feel from the mid 80's.  Just gentle and homey.  I made myself kits, thinking I would finish this up over Christmas vacation.  Ya, no, that didn't happen. 

Getting an idea of what this will look like.  One more block to prep and appliqué. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Twin baby nine-patch quilts finished!

Hurray, I finished the simple nine-patch quilts for Kaela's twin baby girls, due late August.   

Baby A's Nine Patch: 

And, Baby B's Nine Patch: 

I see that the creamy white (Kona Snow) I used as background and alternate blocks, is really too creamy for the cooler white of the borders (especially with Baby B's quilt).   

It's not really so noticeable indoors.  

Simple and spare machine quilting (this time with cotton thread instead of my usual monofilament in the needle): 

I am just all smiles these days, contemplating the happy busy time ahead as they move to North Carolina with babies soon on the way. 

Narrow single-fold binding: 

The quilts washed up so well.  I love the moment of taking a new quilt out of the dryer.   

So happy with the borders/backings:

In other news, it is starting to get hot here in N.C. and I hardly notice, because I'm happy to be inside with the air conditioning going.   

Today as I did housework I finished listening to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn  by Betty Smith, on Audible.  The narration by Kate Burton was absolutely brilliant and if it's been awhile since you've read this classic, I highly recommend it as a listen!   


Wednesday, June 8, 2022

baby quilt progress and misc art

Time for a little catch-up.   

Baby Charlotte turned two - can we call her baby Charlotte anymore?  I don't think so!  Little twin sisters "Baby A" and "Baby B" will be arriving sometime in August or early September;).  

Our big news is that Kaela and Joe found a beautiful "forever" home in the area.  They will move there in August.  Yes the same month the babies are due!  And then David and I are buying a townhome less than ten minutes from their home!  We will move there in September.  Much more on that later!   It is quite small and a "bit of a fixer upper" but nothing we can't handle over time.   In this insane sellers' market, we had to get real! 

Meanwhile,  I have a driver's license and a library card, so I'm all set and can call North Carolina home now, right? 

It is a pleasure to be going to a library again after three years in Tokyo without one.   

Elizabeth Berg is one of my favorite authors.  I also love checking out cookbooks each time.  

David and I went to a Van Gogh "immersive experience" the other day - I believe it has toured the country, or maybe there are multiple iterations of it happening simultaneously.    It was educational and interactive, which was nice.... but 

...we found it to be overpriced and disappointing, sort of a strip mall version of a real museum experience, with cheap blurry replicas of real art.  Save your pennies and visit a real museum and see some original art, take an audio tour or better yet, a docent tour and experience art that way.  And there is so much excellent free content online, from real museums featuring excellent images and videos. 

Speaking of art... my feelings about tattoos have certainly evolved over the years. 

When Noelle got her first tattoo  (a Khalil Gibran quote about death - on her rib cage - her freshman year of art school), she FaceTimed us in Japan to show us, and I excused myself almost immediately to go have a good cry.   LOLOLOL.  

Ten years later..... I celebrate with her when she gets the tattoo she's been planning for so long, from a respected tattoo artist who accepted her proposal of concept and designed the tattoo.  Each element holds meaning for Noelle.  This was part one and took six hours: 

Part two a week later also took six hours.  That is our family crest, the Paulownia.  

Ya, part of me says "I don't get it" and the same part of me also says "I feel old" - but the better part of me can just be happy for my daughter. 

Meanwhile I'm in nine patch heaven over here, working on the simple baby quilts.  I finished quilting Baby B's quilt, will work on quilting Baby A's next.   

Does anyone else use your actual quilt as a machine cover, when you are in the middle of the machine quilting process. :).   I just flip it over the machine at the end of a session, leaving the needle in the quilt.  This backing is Flower Shop by Jim Ishikawa for Clothworks.