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.


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.


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.


Blueberries for Sal


For another new baby born last week. I was inspired to make this for the QNL Magazine Traditional to Modern contest but didn’t finish quilting in time to enter it.fortunately it is also a binary quilt, so I may borrow it back for the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Binary Challenge.  So at least I finished in time for that.  Quilt time is scarce these days but I am happy.

Past work again

Here is last year’s art quilt that sold at the Bayview Gala for $500.  100% cotton fabrics, some commercially dyed, some hand dyed by me, machine pieced, hand appliqued, fused, and hand buttonhole stitched with cotton and silk thread.  It is based on the elementary school catchment maps in our neighborhood and contains a few landmarks.

Bayview Catchment 36" x 48"

Bayview Catchment 36" x 48"

Why do I have to love quilting?

I do, I like it in some ways better than painting. Except: it takes so fucking long for me to make a quilt. Spending 8 hours on my stepsister’s yesterday helped me to realize that. I’ve probably alrady put more than 20 hours into it and I still have a ton of piecing and applique to do. Yes, I realize I’m incredibly ineffiicient and as I start to spend more time away from my husband and in my sewing space I realize that will help me pick up the pace, but still. I love her quilt, I do, but I’ve spent 45 minutes this morning just rearranging blocks because I somehow goofed a row when I was picking them all up in order yesterday, all 48 x 24 pieces. Go figure. I also can’t find my camera now, but my inability to find lost things in a house I am about to move out of is not sending me into a panic, it is merely allowing me to let go. Also, I started another side project, piecing a birthday present for my step mum thta looks really modern cubist meets roman tile awesome, but a week is a tight deadline.