QuiltCon Traveling Exhibit

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Just a note to say that I’m so excited to report that 70s Child will be included in the 2019 QuiltCon Traveling Exhibit. This is something I’ve been hoping for for a long time. I can’t find a website with the info on when and where yet, but I have heard that it’s going to France, Australia, South Africa and more! That’s really cool. I have never had one of my quilts go out of the country before. I’ll post more when I find out details.

No Country for Fools

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Big Snow, February 2019

Last week we had a huge snowstorm that went on for several days and in the end we had nearly 3 feet of snow on the ground. It was a record amount for this area and led to all sorts of cancellations. It’s also been so cold since then that not much as melted. Now, a new storm just blew in and we’ll get several more inches. I can safely say that just about everyone is kind of sick of snow. We live so close to the mountains that we’d be just as happy to have it stay there and not come down to town! Anyway, it does give one lots of indoor time to catch up on projects when you aren’t clearing snow.

Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

No Country for Fools, 21” x 24”

No Country for Fools, 21” x 24”

One project I managed to finish is called No Country for Fools. it’s inspired by Temperance Creek by Pamela Royes. This book was chosen by QuiltWorks as an alternative to the Novel Idea book this year. In this case, the author lives in Oregon and she will come to town for the quilt reception and will do an author talk the next day. Here’s a link to the book trailer which is pretty fascinating. Maybe you’ll want to read it too!

The title of this quilt comes directly from the book and is a description of the area of eastern Oregon where it takes place. I took one line that the author had about a dream that she is reminded of just as she drives toward her new life in the wilds of eastern Oregon. Her dream was about a crow flying beside her car window as she drove.

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I used some old shirts that my dad was done with. I cut them into various odd shapes and saved a couple of labels that I incorporated. I combined the shirt fabrics with some Japanese taupes that were in the perfect colors. The background was pieced improvisationally. Then, I appliqued the bird down and added some hand embroidery with embroidery thread (some of which was hand dyed).

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This piece measures 21” by 24”. I machine quilted it around the embroidery. I would have liked to hand quilt it too, but that would have taken too much time and I am having arthritis issues again so I have to be careful.

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I really love the fabric that the bird is made from (you can see it up close below). I have this stuff in several patterns and colors and it’s really different from any other fabric I’ve used. I call it bubble fabric, but I don’t know the official name. The pattern is created with texture rather than printing. These fabrics were made by Diamond Textiles and I haven’t seen them in a long time, but they are really great for turned under applique because they are thin, but very sturdy and the turned under edge just holds a crease really well. I added the embroidery embellishment by just following the pattern on the fabric.

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I washed the old shirts from my dad, of course. But I also didn’t obsess about stains or holes as you can see below. They tell the story of the cloth and the quilt, so I actually highlighted them.

I have seen a few of the other quilts in this exhibit, but I am really looking forward to seeing them all up. It should be an excellent exhibit. If you can be there, the reception is Friday, April 5, 5-7 pm and the author talk is the following day. Contact QuiltWorks directly if you are interested.

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What Winter is For

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There are some things that I don’t love about winter- extreme cold and icy roads are the worst. But there are many things to love about it including snow play, cozy fires, hot chocolate/coffee/tea and downtime. Most of us don’t get enough downtime with our modern, busy lives, but I live for this every winter. I look forward to the months of January and February as the least demanding of the year. During this time I can try new things, spend all day reading a book, binge watch fun stuff while knitting or doing other handwork.

It has also become a habit of mine to use the downtime of this time of year for some easy, mindless sewing. I love making simple comfort quilts that I can donate to my quilt guild. The quilt guild coordinates the donations to a number of different charities in my community. Our guild collects over 400 quilts each year from guild members and others in our community. Each guild member is asked to provide at least one community quilt each year, but since I love making small quilts I always donate several. This year I went a little bit crazy and made 10 kid size quilts. Lucky for me I had all this fabric, thread and almost all of the batting in my stash already. I don’t use a lot of prints these days, but I do love them. In my art quilt work I often put a fun print on the back just to use my favorites. I have been trying to decrease the size of my stash for the last few years so I set aside piles of prints that I wouldn’t mind using this way. The scraps will also be used for comfort quilts as time goes on.

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These quilts were made in two different ways. I either cut 20 10” squares as in the quilts above, or I cut width of fabric strips to use horizontally as you’ll see below. I think the main thing that makes these quilts work is that these are fun prints. Some of these quilts are almost like I Spy quilts and will be just the thing to distract a child going through difficult circumstances while also providing a cozy place to cuddle.

I then machine quilt them with a simple serpentine stitch (on a Bernina it’s stitch #4 with the length increased to 2.5). Then I do a machine stitched binding. The horizontal strip quilts are the fastest, taking about 3 hours. The 10” block quilts take a little longer for the piecing, but they work great if you have smaller pieces of a bunch of different fabrics.

Comfort quilts have the advantage of needing to only be fun and colorful. They don’t need intricate piecing. They can easily be done by quilters of all levels and will surely be appreciated by various charities in your community. If you don’t have a local quilt guild you can check with Project Linus, your local hospital, services for women and children, even your local fire department might be interested. If you are inspired to try one let me know and Happy Quilting!

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Road to California Quilt Show

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It’s always a thrill when a quilt comes back from a show with a ribbon. This time I did know about it ahead of time because a friend sent me a picture from the show, but otherwise it would have been a complete surprise. Rhythm of the Rails has had quite a time at the shows since last year. It’s been to QuiltCon Pasadena, AQS Fall Paducah, Pacific International Quilt Festival and now Road to California. It’s won a Judge’s Choice and an Honorable Mention. I may send it on to one or two other shows because there’s still time, but for now I’m very pleased! This is the first time I’ve entered R2CA and I have never been to the show, but I hear it’s a really nice one. I have had to cut down on my quilting travel a bit so I won’t be at QuiltCon in Nashville either, but I do have a quilt heading there: 70s Child. We’ll see how it does. In the meantime this quilt has pride of place right by the front door and I even hung the ribbon with it, just for a little while.

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Books on My Mind

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I pretty much always have books on my mind, but even more so right now as I have sold several of my handmade blank books recently.

It reminded me of a recent blog post by Sarah Swett (Bookish Thoughts) that made my jaw drop. Please take a look at it and if you like what you see consider subscribing. Sarah’s blog is a new favorite to me, but always beautiful and insightful. I am inspired to try her little woven book covers someday.

In the meantime, I have made the hand patterned blank watercolor books you see here which you can find in my KMS Handmade shop. Some have sold already, so look quick if you are interested. I also have plans to make a fabric covered book soon. I want to do a hand stitched cover with watercolor paper inside and I’m still figuring out how to put it all together.

In addition to books I’ve been making, I am always reading 2 or 3 books at once. I’m listening to A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles right now (it’s my third time reading this one), because it’s my next Undercover Quilters Book Club quilt book. On this listening I’m making notes in my hard copy of the book of all the passages that speak to me. Later on I’ll go through them and decide which one to base my quilt on. I’m also re-reading my very favorite childhood series of magic books by Edward Eager (start with Half Magic). I discovered my library has them available as e-books and the newest edition of Half Magic has an introduction by Alice Hoffman where she puts into writing all my thoughts about these books and how they shaped me at the age of 10 or so.

I tend to read a pretty eclectic mixture of genres. I recently finished several interesting books including The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa (utterly charming), Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (somewhat baffling, but it made sense in the end), Educated by Tara Westover (beautifully written, but horrific subject matter), and The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King (learned a lot I didn’t know about Mr. Rogers).

I belong to two book clubs. One is pretty traditional and really discusses the book and the other is my quilting group which may or may not discuss the book for a while, but always has fun. I love them both and get great recommendations for books from both. Sometimes it can be hard juggling all the books I try to get through which is one reason I listen to a lot of audio books. I can get a lot of studio work done while listening. It’s the absolute best thing for machine quilting which tends to get boring if I don’t have a book going in my ears.

So, how about you? Read anything good lately?