Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Summer!


Summer break is here and I am loving it!
On a whim, Gary and I hopped in the car and drove to Columbus on Monday afternoon. He wanted to check out a store there and I wanted to ride along for fun. I dug out the hexies to sew on the way. 




After shopping, we ate at this family restaurant, which was entertaining in itself. I'm glad we stopped in because the whole moment makes me smile, from the wood paneled walls to the bossy hostess, I would go back just for the atmosphere. Gary said his steak was pretty good, so was my patty melt.


We had an awesome lightning show on the way home. Luckily, we drove out of the storm.
Speaking of rain, we've had lots of rainy days, so I haven't worked outside much. Some flowers are blooming though, like the Canterbury Bells and Foxgloves.

I

I had to pick some peonies because they were flopping in the mud after all the rain. 


All I've wanted to do since school got out is knit, which is bad for my pile of quilts that need finishing! I started a new knit project that I think will become a prayer shawl for church. The reason for the knitting frenzy? I just finished my scrap yarn blanket last night and I love it! It's the most soft, squishy blanket ever. It's all garter stitch and it measures 47" x 58.5". If I remember right, I cast on 160 stitches and used size 7 needles. This blanket is two years in the making, I'm really happy it's done! 


Friday, May 13, 2016

Denim Circles and Rainbow Log Cabin

One week of school left. I feel like I'm going in lots of different directions and not getting much of anything done. There's always so much to do with end of school year performances and I keep telling myself you're almost there! I've been trying to squeeze in a little sewing when I can and I've been snapping some pics along the way.

















I really enjoyed making the Denim Circles Pillows! It was a fun way to repurpose some old jeans. I'm glad I stuck to a pillow size, it ended up being a manageable project that didn't overwhelm me and I upcycled two pairs of jeans!

The rainbow log cabin baby quilt came to be after my friend's funeral. I met Ron at church. He was the nicest person, always genuinely interested in what was going on in people's lives. We had some great conversations in the church office after the service almost every Sunday. He would be making copies and I would be putting things away when we would begin talking about the past week or about things we had seen on Facebook. We talked about photography and he always asked about my quilts. It was nice.

Ron's liver gave out and he passed away after two failed attempts at a liver transplant. Life is so fragile, here one minute and gone in a moment. I played for his funeral last Saturday and I was sad afterwards, so I tried to cheer myself up with some happy sewing.

After a quick stop at the Calico House, I got right to work back at home. Rainbow is my go to color combo, so I cut a bunch of 3" strips from my solid fabrics and started sewing the log cabin blocks. I've been picking up some low volume fabrics and used them for the background. I especially love the music notation fabric! The backing is a green and white chevron with matching green binding. The final quilt measures 32" x 37"

Turns out our student teacher at school is going to be having her first baby in September, so Women's Choir threw a baby shower for her (ice cream and cupcakes at 8 am Oh My!) and I worked really  hard on Wednesday night to finish this happy baby quilt by Thursday. I love how it turned out and she was so surprised. I think my happy sewing plan worked :)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Land of Confusion

If you've followed my blog for awhile, you probably know that I don't really enjoy making t-shirt quilts. It's all the shirt preparation. Pressing on the interfacing is such a chore, let alone cutting the shirts apart. I did make a big quilt last summer though, (from 60 shirts!) and then made a smaller quilt from some of the sleeves. I still have leftovers! The other day, I was in the mood for some improv and the t-shirts were sitting there soo..

I started sewing all the red, white, blue and gray scraps together with no interfacing. I did use some spray starch to stiffen things up a bit.

This quilt is small, 33" x 37".
I knew I wanted to hand quilt it with big running stitches, so I kept it small.

It also worked out that our modern quilt guild's April program was about upcycling, so I wanted to finish this to share at our meeting. 

I never thought I'd say this, but I really liked working with the t-shirts, especially since I skipped the interfacing step.The stretchiness of the knit made it easy to sew curves! I kept my quilting lines about an inch apart to make sure everything stayed put.

As I worked on this, I had the TV on. It must've been the news that got me thinking about politics. I don't know what's happening with the Presidential candidates. I don't get it, all the DRAMA! Does anybody else feel the same way? 

I'm naming it "Land of Confusion" after the Genesis song from the 1980's. 


These are the lyrics that came to mind as I sewed this quilt.

Too many men
Too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go round
Can't you see
This is a land of confusion.

This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth fighting for.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Around Here


Photos of springtime, in my neighborhood, from the last two weeks. 
We had some warm days, then the rain came. My flower beds are coming to life. It's fun to see what plants came back, it's like a happy reunion! Oh hello little plants! I remember you! I mowed the lawn for the first time. School is keeping me busy, but we're quickly approaching the last day. I'm already dreaming of leisurely summer mornings where I can drink my coffee slowly.
 I can't wait to work in my garden. 
I can't wait to have time to sew and create! 
How is springtime treating you?

Monday, April 4, 2016

That Time I Went to Japan

I've been having  so much fun with my quilt friends lately! On Friday night, my friend Kristie and I met at the  IQSCM to hear two lectures about Japanese quilting.


Theresa Duryea Wong gave a talk about the start of the quilting movement in Japan in the 1970's and how it has grown hugely popular. Fascinating stuff! Did you know that a lot of Japanese quilters were inspired by the tv show "Little House on the Prairie?" I think that's funny and awesome at the same time! She has written a book called Japanese Contemporary Quilts and Quilters: The Story of an American Import and she blogs at Third Floor Quilts



The second talk was from Japanese quilt artist, Shizuko Kuroha. Her collection of quilts, "Blue Echoes," is at the quilt museum until May 25th. You can see them HERE but I highly recommend seeing them in person!


After seeing all her amazing quilts, I'm going to be obsessed with indigo and sashiko for awhile! 



The next morning our modern quilt guild had a sew day at the IQSCM and Shizuko Kuroha gave a technique demonstration. I enjoyed seeing her and her friends in action! It was pretty special having her here in Lincoln. She is a master of her craft and her enthusiasm and love for quilting shines through. There's a bit more about the demo HERE. 

So, after all the fun over the weekend, I started reminiscing about the time I went to Japan. It was exactly 20 years ago! I hope you don't mind my trip down memory lane..


Hastings College has a sister city relationship with Ozu, Japan. Ozu is a rural community similar in size to Hastings. It's located on Kyushu, the Southernmost of the four islands of Japan. When I was in the HC choir back in 1996, we traveled to Ozu that March. 



One of the first things I got to do when we arrived there was to twirl this flaming something or other around myself..in the dark! I was terrified that I would catch myself/someone else on fire! This was at a fire festival, if I remember correctly. 



I planted a tree in the Ozu/Hastings friendship forest. It's been 20 years, I wonder if my tree survived? How I would love to see what it looks like now!



We visited Kumamoto Castle



and Suizenji Park. It was early spring and not very green. The cherry blossoms had just started blooming. I hardly took any film with me. What was I thinking? These places were gorgeous and I wish I had taken a thousand pictures!



I tried on a kimono. Look at my too long arms sticking out ha! Isn't it pretty?



Our wonderful host family and friends. The girls would speak English with us but the mom would not! She knew how to get her point across without saying much though. 



This quilted potholder is my favorite gift from my host family! I'm pretty sure I had made my first quilt by this time, so I really appreciated the work that went into making the tiny dresden plate! Even back then I liked hand made things. I hadn't started a fabric stash yet, however. I think if I had known about Japanese fabrics then, I would have bought some :)



This table runner came from my host family, too. I think I'll keep it out for a bit. Yep, I'm going to be obsessed with indigo for awhile :)