Silk Mini Quilt for a Solemn Time

Between sewing masks, trying to reach my students, and doing a lot of cooking together with my self-isolated family, it seemed like a good idea to submit another Curated Quilts Mini. “Spring Blossoms” uses my stash of silks in the ‘subtracted’ palette of silver, graphite, and soft pink. It is stitched and hand quilted with #50 silk thread I got from Red Rock Threads last year for the Yoshiko Jinzenji quilt I will try to finish quilting during this home isolation. I got this photo in the backyard today right before a thunderstorm darkened the sky.

I’m already prepared for rejection on this one, but it felt really good to dive into a hand quilting project to calm my nerves over the past two weeks of what could become many weeks of being sheltered. I used some of the silks last week to make masks for myself and family members when we go out grocery shopping even before there was a national call for PPE and medical support for mask making.  I remind you that while cotton and silk are obviously less effective than N95 masks for protecting one from COVID19 infection, they can also protect others from any infection you may be carrying (even though not 100%, although there are some sources suggesting 50% effectiveness) and as I selected a source for this post, I found WIRED has just published an article similar to my earliest sentiments.  If you want to see my ridiculous youtube video or get a copy of the pdf pattern I made for my students, send me an email, its based on a rectangle so wastes less fabric, and a healthcare worker has reported good fit with it.

I’m worried about my students, my community, my city, and my state as we enter this growing crisis. I am even more alarmed by the divided and confounding response to this crisis on a national level. Part of the therapeutic process of making this mini quilt has helped my process what has happened in New York, Florida, and Louisiana as our president failed to take advised and appropriate actions. This is criminal. I realize this is a contentious sentiment and obviously I have no desire to argue it with anyone who sees my voice of grief for lives needlessly lost as an opportunity to fight or attack others. This week, my grief and anger are fueled by the understanding that the president acts by blaming, insulting and condemning people rather than showing compassion, contrition, or concern, and it makes my role as a teacher harder.  I am grateful that I taught many of my students to sew last semester as we made a beautiful baby quilt for a volunteer, the patchwork almost entirely hand-sewn by students in 3 of my classes, with several students stitching the binding around a table almost like a quilting bee.

I am thankful that after finishing and gifting this quilt, we started another set for another baby on the way, this one may be born behind an unknown backdrop of quarantines and unavailable hospital staff. I worry about what will become of a country that is collectively entertained by watching cruelty and disaster on television but is unable to act to support neighbors, community members and strangers during a pandemic and the immediate financial crisis impacting so many families.  I think about the importance of connection, of supporting each other and making for others as I sew the next baby quilt, thankful that I am securely home, with my family, and a sewing machine, despite isolation.

Black Hole Sun

I should not have even started this last week but when saw stars in Terry Aske’s posts I took a peek at the Curated Quilts spring challenge and loved the palette.  Then I only used half of it in this very sunny mini quilt.  At first I was thinking reversal like a penumbra but it looks more like a sunflower now.  I hand quilted this during our marathon dance mom recital/dance company/high school grad/birthday/father’s day weekend.  Happy Father’s Day out there to all you quilters!20190616_145112


I’m so happy to share a little belated post that my quilt, Resistors, made entirely for a Woman Made Gallery call for entries on the theme “Quilts + Resist” is now making its way home after being on display at the Chicago Gallery.  Thank you so much to Deb and all the coordinators at this gallery who made this show possible as well as jurors Marcia Grubb and Adelia Moore.resistors2.jpg

Mini Inspiration

June is the time of month that as a teacher, I start thinking about all the things I want to do in the summer. My summer reading list is taking shape.  I’ve got “Behold the Dreamers” by Imbolo Mbue, “There There” by Tommy Orange and “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara all loaded up on my kindle app.  We finally got a couch in the living room and now I’m throwing quilts on it this weekend while I try to decide which quilt might go on the wall. Two weeks ago I was really overworked and I kind of lost myself when I saw Debbie‘s play with a palette for the curated quilt mini challenge and I could not resist.  Forget about marking or writing my finals, I had to jump in and play with a minimalist palette of solids and wound up picking the cream, yellow and navy.


I started playing with the “Tesla” font on paper a couple times in the past, but that weekend Musk was all over Twitter and I was thinking about how this technology hero and forward thinking fellow physicist can also be a demagogue due to fame and success even if he is a deep-thinking sort.  I am submitting this to curated quilts but unfortunately due to my limited experience with completing things before deadlines, I learned a couple things about sizing, squaring and binding minis in the process.

bluerothko.jpgIf you aren’t going to do a fabulous faced binding like the one in this linen Rothko inspired one bespokeoutlaw made me for the SEAMQG swap 2 years ago, you need to allow a little extra space, one quarter inch, to be exact.  So now my mini is 0.5 inches too wide for the original call for entries.  But I kept it square because I liked that part of the challenge too.  This was a lesson for me in binding that made me appreciate how well Martha, Debbie and Jackie bind their quilts. I worship at your feet fellow quilters!

jbminiJackie bound this adventurous mini with reverse applique and metallic vinyl for me when we were on a committee together with Karen and we all swapped minis.

ladykstar.jpgKaren‘s ties all four of these together with the cream and navy, and now I’m trying to find a way to mount them all in the living room (once I clean it, after school starts…I have a to-do list and even cleaning sounds like fun after not doing hardly any for the last 3 months). Her binding is tidy and patterned, and looks lovely in my living room right now. Any suggestions on how best to mount mini quilts on walls are welcome! We are finally furnishing our living room and treated ourselves to a non-secondhand couch (this is a first) and now I’m inspired to clean and organize the space.

couch.jpgMaking this curated quilts challenge was so therapeutic for me to make and finish a small quilt in two weeks.  It gives me just the energy to push through the final two weeks of school knowing summer is just around the corner.  And I am re-inspired to begin more binding too, while I wait for summer making season.


Log Hearts

I’m thinking of my family a lot this week and there have been some similarly scrappy, traditional log cabin quilts floating around the modern quilting universe.  But mostly its thanks to Debbie at A Quilter’s Table and her easygoing blogging style (not to mention completely uplifting and validating tendency to comment on nearly every post I make) for inspiring me to just jump in to blog land when I have a few spare moments.  I saw her link to Scraptastic Tuesday and immediately thought of this quilt only to realize I’d never blogged it, so here it is.

log hearts

Many of these scraps pre-date even my earliest quilting days and were inherited from my mother or even my grandmother.  The last move we made in BC in 2010 saw a lot of these scraps off to new homes, but the ones I’d already cut into 1 1/2″ strips survived and eventually saw a finish in 2012, when I gave this to my stepfather for Christmas.  These classic log cabin blocks still entertain me and I love how many  different vintages the fabrics span.

Halfway through the modern sampler and a very mini mini quilt


Modern sampler blocks

We are halfway through the Modern Sampler Quilt Along and I couldn’t be enjoying these blocks more.  I was relieved when I noticed that Caitlin’s blocks are also not all the same sizes, I figure that is a problem for future me, especially because the silk may fray as they wait in the cupboard for more blocks to join them. The new “F” block is in the middle, and this block is definitely my favorite and I was looking forward to making it even before I found out about this quilt-along when I first found the Yoskiko Jinzenji book at a local bookstore and couldn’t resist it.

In another avenue for procraftination, I decided to embark on the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild’s Mini Mini Quilt Swap to add to my divine collection of our guild’s fine workmanship.  But wait, did I read that right?  Perimeter no greater than 24″?  That means 6×6 or 5×7 or maybe an ambitious 2×10 mini-quilt?  I decided that I would experiment with Season Evan‘s Mighty Lucky Quilting Club February challenge (actually I might have played with this more than once, the other result is much bigger and for a later post).  She is a guild member I am extremely lucky to have a quilt by, maybe someday I will even post a picture, it goes great with the yellows in the new house.  Anyhow, here is the back of my mini mini quilt (I’m not sure if I should reveal the front or not). Those are teeny tiny Cotton and Steel linen bunnies.  I have spring on my brain, just not my homework.

photo 1 (2)

Ok, I’m really heading back to writing a paper now, right after I walk my lovely patient dog.

Decemberists Heart Quilt

imageI finished this quilt the day before Valentine’s Day last week, right before I got into a funk about the President’s Day long weekend. The heart HST layout is from the Decemberists poster my daughter brought back from the concert at Marymoor this summer (thanks for the tickets, Becca!) and everything about their last two posters is very folksy and quilty.  My neighbors seemed like they were cut from the same cloth (they play folk jazz music and generally make us feel old).  At any rate, they welcomed their son into the world on labor day weekend after I’d already pieced most of this heart.  Needless to say, teaching keeps me very busy, as does grad school and so I didn’t get this puppy quilted until the Winter Break, and I finished binding and washing it last weekend.


The blues that hit me on President’s Day had more to do with my abysmal lack of exercise combined with the demands of both my teaching a new semester, not getting enough time between semesters to plan, and then losing the full Midwinter’s break week off due to the Seattle labor action earlier this year.  Strangely enough, I decided back in September not to go to Quiltcon this weekend even though I thought I would be finished with this pesky Master’s degree. While I am delighted by the photos from friends who are there, I am not sorry not to be there, especially because I have a paper to finish.  I will celebrate finishing grad school with hopefully a proper week off in February and a trip to lovely Georgia for Quiltcon East in 2017.  However a great workout with my fabulous children and viewing the gorgeous photos all weekend is a great pick-me-up!

Block E for the Modern Sampler Quiltalong

I started out trying to keep the grainlines straight on this block so the rightmost parts of the nine-patch were cut with templates before I decided it didn’t matter, but I think either way works just depending in the fabric pattern using templates (I just photocopy the pattern from the book and then cut out the shapes.  This is also what I’m doing for Block F, which is my favorite, so I hope I finish it in time.image

Not only has this quiltalong inspired me with a whole lot of joy when I haven’t gotten a lot of sewing time lately, but its also got me blogging!  Unfortunately this iPhone photo is unedited and terrible, sorry Salty Oat but thank you for starting this!  I also really love seeing everyone else’s blocks on Instagram under the #modernsamplerquiltalong hashtag and I regret that I can’t make two each month.

More silk Jinzenji blocks

photo 2This month has been busy and I have a big exam tomorrow, so of course I couldn’t wait to sit down and make another silk Modern Sampler quiltalong block!

This month I will not be making two, so this one will have to do with its imperfect miters and all.  Thanks Debbie and Gwen Marston for the reminder that quilts shouldn’t look like robots made them anyways.  This block went together fast for me and it was the first block where I used different silks for some of the sashing pieces.

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The day before our Christmas celebration I also turned two of my block into pillows for my couch.  I love them and now I can’t wait to finish the sampler so it can join the pillows on my couch.  It feels good to sew something for myself.  Especially when the month has been too busy for me to sew much at all.

The C Cup Block

Block C cup

I emailed myself this photo with the subject Block C cup, sorry for the lazy pun!  At this point I have doubled every block for this sampler and I’m still loving htat process, so maybe at this rate I will have enough blocks for a very white Christmas quilt…Thanks to Salty Oat and Debbie at aquilterstable for helping me learn about this block of the month/quiltalong.  It feels really good to be sewing this weekend.  I have so much to be thankful for I can even celebrate Thanksgiving twice!