Hands All Around Part 1

What does patriotism look like in a time of rising fascism?

I have been thinking about my great grandmother’s Hands Around the World block – a ten inch block with over 50 pieces = because someone saved one of her quilts that was badly damaged and I’m contemplating mending it.  I’ve found several variation of the pattern but her scale seems to be unique and that doesn’t surprise me since her quilt is a depression era design probably drafted on boxboard.  I have her daughter’s double wedding ring block drafted the same way, so I think she must have mailed the DWR to my grandmother. I have evidence of this in some letters and envelopes she sent to my paternal grandmother than include Nebraska newspaper clippings and patterns in newsprint and boxboard. The first block I made is in modern fabrics and palette but veers off the pattern so much I don’t know how I will fit 8 of these together to repair a badly harmed quilt.  But in the meanwhile I can share a baby quilt I made in 2019 from scraps and put on Hands All Around on the back.

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I used a lot of Cotton and Steel prints I’ve been unable to stop collecting over the years, but the front is mainly scraps of solids brought together from other projects.  The improvisational piecing was therapeutic in the “before time.” My kids have repeatedly suggested time stopped existing when the COVID pandemic began almost exactly a year ago…but this quilt was made when time still existed and I was very very nervous about our incompetent, narcissistic president and his cronies in the Senate.

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I hand-stitched in the center of the Hands All Around block and then echoes that at regular intervals followed by a grid quilting.  I even marked most of the grid.  I’m showing off the detail where clearly the result isn’t “Square” but its even and gives an overall impression of regularity.  Everything is fine, move along. I made some little asterisk-like “stars” at some grid intersections. I can’t wait for an excuse to quilt like this again.  It was fun and easy and I also just love the orangey pinks in the C&S palette combined with my coral solid.

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Ruby Star and Bainbridge Island Quilt Show

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Here’s my Ruby Star hanging at the Bainbridge Island Quilt Show today.  I think this is the flattest image I’ve got!

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And here’s Anna next to her quilt ‘Refresh!’ We volunteered for the same shift as members of the quilt patrol, but she was actually assigned to the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild section. I’m sure both of her quilts generated a lot of discussion. 

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This was probably my favorite quilt that I hadn’t seen before and it was in my section…it was also quilted using embroidery thread and large stitches. I think I will try this modern approach on my next hand quilted project instead of the tiny ones I’m sewing on the ferry.

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There is nothing like a quilt show to feel inspired to create, so I’m glad I’m on the ferry home where I hope to get a couple hours to sew today and play with my new fabric from Esther’s Fabrics.

Madrona Road Finish and Start

Snip Stitch Sew!I really do work much better with deadlines than I used to. When my beloved Pfaff started to heat up 2 weeks ago I immediately realized that my delays in the Madrona Road Challenge were about to cause me to fail: the post-Christmas backlog of machine servicing put “Pam’s” return date at February 6th. A full two weeks without a machine, and its not like I have the spares I used to! Fortunately my friend Toni rescued me, but I wasn’t going to machine quilt with the Threadbanger, so I hand-quilted my sewing machine cover (ironic isn’t it, I just wanted a pretty one) for the Michael Miller sponsored Modern Quilt Guild Challenge. And I even borrowed a camera and did the photo shoot on my mom’s quilt while it was still daylight on January 31st…this is progress!
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I am thinking of putting a little eyelet in the “needle” eye at the top of this cover so my upright thread spool can poke through.

And the best part is, I got a call on February 1st that Pam was ready to come home, so now I have a proper picture with the cover over the hard plastic case instead of the Girl Guide Cookie box I used in the other photo.
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I was so happy to have the machine, that I started the second Madrona Road top that I just completed this morning. I’ve been wanting to piece consumate V’s for a while, and this is the first improvisationl block I’ve done that didn’t leave me having to work out any math halfway through piecing the top. Although I did have to supplement the original 1.5 yards of the Kaffe Fassett shot cotton background with an additional 15 inches for the interstitial blocks. If I can baste it after my trip to the gym (I finally joined a gym and have discovered that half a workout can be done while reading a kindle – so I already look forward to 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading on the elliptical!), I’m hoping to be quilting the day away with a view of the Superbowl and not one but two lap quilts to run Pam all over.

December

I’m barely keeping up with a one post each month goal, but I guess that is better than I was doing a year ago.

I submitted two quilts to Quiltcon last Friday, which feels like a wonderful accomplishment because I have never submitted a quilt for anything before…thanks to my friend Jamie for loaning me her awesome camera. I submitted the very unconventional Blue January quilt in the Small Applique category after really struggling to choose the best category.

I also completed the Dear Stella Maasai Mara challenge.

The Dear Stella top was really pieced in a week, and quilted and bound in two days. This doesn’t broadcast quality work, of course, but it did teach me some valuable project management skills!Needless to say, this is also my first photography of my own work with intention. Fortunately I had a white wall and decent lighting, but unfortunately by the time I photographed the Dragon Lullaby quilt for the fabric challenge, I had no natural daylight and the incandescence does sort of yellow the image. Hopefully it is still acceptable!

This feeling of accomplishment lead to an overwhelming urge to get up and start finishing yet another UFO from my recent past, so perhaps I will be posting another photo within a week here, I’m currently quilting it. I have been talking to some friends about celebrating “antiprocrastination days” and I have an upcoming exam for my teaching certificate. This blog desperately needs some updates and has been languishing for a while but I figure it was good to put something new up in the meanwhile.

Blue January

This began as a project for this year’s gala but it was a last minute inspiration and was not completed on time (ahem, still isn’t, but did I mention I have a new baby nephew and his quilt gets bound first…). It is called “Blue January” and contains cottons hand-dyed and shibori by me, commercial cottons, silk drapery remnants and is entirely hand quilted and embroidered. A friend told me not to tell too much about my work but the embroidery is obscure enough, ask if you are curious. I started planning the quilt top on January 10, 2009 and had begun binding by the Bayview Gala on February 17th, so this whole fast process of concept to design and execution was fun and fast for me despite having the sleeve and binding delayed.

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Bad photo? You bet, but iPhone publishing while I put the kids to bed: priceless!