Wednesday, June 12, 2019

procrastination quilting

this is probably my summer sign-off post.

i have several upcoming events and deadlines that have me wanting to hide in the covers all day just to avoid even thinking about them. it's all a little too much pressure and stress even though taken separately they aren't really a big deal at all. but overwhelm is kind of the modern way of living and most people can relate to the impulse toward ostrich behavior on occasion.

when times like this strike, it inevitably gets me wanting to do something productive, just not what i should be doing. that's self-defeating behavior, of course, but i know some of you can relate. "see, i'm busy! i'm doing stuff. i'm getting things done." if i haven't quilted in a while, i will get an overpowering urge to work on some quilt stuff.

quilting is probably my favorite form of productive procrastination when i should be doing something else.

in the middle of all this other chaos going on for the next few weeks, i finally got my carpets cleaned. since i couldn't walk on any of the carpets for a full day, it was the perfect time to work in my sewing room, which is in the tiled section of the house, for most of carpet cleaning holiday. my kids went to grandma's next door and i sewed.

first i made three frames/courthouse step blocks for "cheery easter quilt." once that was out of my system, i moved over to block trimming some of the 500+ 3"hst blocks i pieced and pressed for the "gypsy child hst quilt."

during all of this i was listening to middlemarch by george eliot on audible, read by juliette stevenson. (masterful reader, highly recommended, especially for classics.) this is a thick read/listen and such a great work on human relationships and foibles. it just makes me so sad every single time as i watch the characters enter doomed marriages with such high hopes and so little grasp on reality, but in the best way. there are happy parts, too, and so many juicy lines. it's my first time listening to the story and what i've been enjoying as i quilt lately.

i would love to have either of these projects fully pieced and ready for handwork over summer trips, but i don't think that's going to happen. those other nagging non-quilty deadlines and projects are looming too close.

see you at the end of summer!

Friday, June 7, 2019

mini museum finds

there is a small historical society housed in an old elementary school in a neighboring town that advertises a quilt show every spring. it runs from march - may, and my 4th daughter and i always express interest in it but never manage to go. the restaurant where our family has birthday breakfasts on each family member's birthday is just down the street from the little museum and since we have 3 birthdays during those months, we drive by it a few times during the quilt show each year. every time we do, d4 says, "mom! the quilt show is on again. we really need to go this year." and somehow we never do.

a few weeks ago on a saturday morning i randomly decided to make the drive over with d4. it's a good thing we did because when we got there we found out it was the very last day of the show for this year! apparently "march - may" doesn't "1st of march to may 31st."

we found all kinds of quilts and tops on display, some for sale and auction. anyone at all from the community is welcome to display in the show. we grabbed a glove for quilt handling and map of the rooms, then set off to look around.

in one room we found a group of quilters working on handquilting some vintage wips. apparently the historical society has a quilter's group who meets together several days a week to piece and handquilt for anyone who needs help. people bring in their heirloom pieces to have them finished off. i was so enchanted by the idea of these ladies sitting and working together, old school bee-style. they invited me to come whenever i can. maybe someday i will find the time?

on this particular day they were handquilting a vintage grandma's flower garden quilt made by this lady's mother in the 1980's from the family's old clothes. as we talked about the quilt, she began pointing out various fabrics and telling what items of clothing they came from that she could remember from her childhood in the 60's through college years.

the fact that this quilt was all handpieced rather blew my mind!

i was particularly drawn to this combination of citrusy colors.

after watching them at work and chatting with the ladies for a bit, we moved on to see what was on display. my daughter loved every single quilt she saw and wanted to buy anything that was for sale. she was so enthusiastic about the whole thing. i told her we had plenty enough quilts and fabric at home, so we were just going to look and enjoy.

most of the quilts were not made with fabrics i'd choose or did not fit my personal aesthetic, but i did thoroughly enjoy just wandering and looking at what other quilters had done. i find i can almost always see some aspect of the piece that i like or can admire, even if it's not something i'd make or want to own personally.

i thought this handprint quilt was about the coolest signature quilt i'd every seen. i wasn't crazy about the choices of fabric for the hands themselves, but i did like the low-volume background. having not only the signatures of the the participants but their handprints as well was an idea that really appealed to me. it would be great to make for a grandmother or as a family heirloom.

someone had made these wallhangings with some sweet quilters' quotes on them. very cute sentiments.

this dresen plate quilt top kind of rocked my world, not because i loved the fabric selections, which do have a certain vintage vibe to them, but because of it's imprecise piecing. as i looked at it, i was struck with how wonderful it was despite of, or even because of, the wonky shapes. it was so charming! and i could just imagine a family member receiving this quilt and not caring a hoot about the flat-sided circle or irregular blades as they were cuddled up in great-grandma's virtual hug. they would love it just because of who had made it.

something about this quilt emotionally overpowered me with the appreciation for it's imperfection. it made me realize that when we make out of love and gift out of love, we will always be given the grace of our loved one's appreciation for us rather than criticism over the imperfections. it was a lovely feeling. maybe this was one top i should have considered purchasing.

there were so many fun fabrics to peruse in the various vintage pieces on offer. i'm always amazed at what looks modern but is actually quite old in some of the quilts.

this strings quilt was so colorful and had a ton of interesting pieces in it. just look at those greyhounds- so unusual and unexpected. i liked how that ultra-bright yellow floral was used throughout the quilt to tie it all together. it was an unusual yet effective choice against the other colors in the quilt. the vibrant colors and scrappy vibe reminded me of something rachel at stitched in color would make.

this trip around the world was chock full of the tiniest little squares - all handpieced! amazing. if you look in the top right corner, you can see my daughter's gloved finger in the photo for scale. the squares were 1" or less.

this variation of a drunkard's path block really appealed to me, especially because of all the washed out reds in it. so cute!

take a look at these hexis - they are all vintage fabrics, but many of them look straight out of a denyse schmidt collection, don't you think? the plaids especially remind me of her work, which is of course always vintage inspired.

"i done my best."
enough said.

a zoomed out look at some of the pieces on display for sale, including that dresden plate i loved so much.

now that we've been once, we will definitely make the show again next year!
maybe we'll even contribute some pieces. who knows?
or maybe we'll decide to bring home a vintage top for ourselves next time.

show takeaway:

1. if you're a quilter, go to any and all shows. you'll find something to admire no matter what.

2. quit fussing about precision, particularity when you are making for loved ones. they'll love whatever you can manage.

and i must say, after looking at lots of different handpiecing and handquilting, i'm actually feeling pretty chuffed about my own handquilting. it may not be perfect, but it's pretty good after all.