Saturday, May 28, 2011


This has been quite the week.  On two separate blogs that I follow with quilters who are separated by half the world, two young men they loved died.  One in his 20's took his own life and the other in his late teens died suddenly in his sleep - presumably of natural causes.  But when you say "natural causes" about any young person's death -- it's not true.  There is nothing "natural" about that.

It has been heartwarming and reaffirming to see the support and caring that has gone out to both of these talented quilters.  Although in these minutes, they are not 'quilters' to us - they are mothers with broken hearts.  It gives me pause to think about how much we learn about each other as daily or weekly or monthly comments are posted to blogs.  There are hints in references to family member, work, location, trials, etc.  Some of us are very open with who we are and what we do and where we are.  Others, more circumspect.  But, nevertheless, there are links that begin to form as family members are mentioned, personal events shared, etc.  And, so, when someone we know from our computers has pain and shares it, we feel pain with them.

If this were someone we knew personally -- we would give them a quilt.  But these are generally people we will never meet, haven't seen pictures of, and there is no physical connection -- just a personal one from reading about their lives. So, instead of a quilt, we give them comments, we offer prayers, we send good wishes, and we hope for better days for them.

I feel remarkably blessed in so many ways and these unexpected and tragic deaths are such a good reminder of how lucky we all are and how important our friends and family are to us.

I hope you feel equally blessed today, Jan

Saturday, May 21, 2011

And yet again....

I had to make it!  I don't remember the name of the book that this is from but I saw a sample on a wall at a shop and it began to dance in my head.  Again!  I would go back and visit and think about fabrics and finally started cutting the strips.

This is not strip pieced in the way you might think (and I thought at first).  Instead, you create two strips (staggered at the ends to account for the diagonal cut you're going to make) and sew them together at the top and botton (so you really have a tube).  You then cut the "tube" into a triangle and pick out the stitches at the peak of the triangle.  When it's opened you have a square....and you have homespuns on the bias with no foundation.  So, for this to work, you have to use WOF strips and not the "scraps" we normally have for foundation piecing string quilts.

I got really weary of this and all the sewing and put it up for two years.  I'm pleased to say I pulled it out in a fit of "finishing" last year and perservered to finish it.  I really like it but it lost some of it's appeal when I got tired of sewing, cutting, and re-sewing along the way.  The sashing is great,I think, and does a great job of stabilizing the blocks.  You can see just a bit of the piano key border -- which was a great way to use up scraps, thank goodness.  I had oodles.

My learnings are that maybe homespuns weren't a good choice for this type of construction.  Batiks would be great because they are not 'wishy washy' fabrics and they have a mind of their own.  But, too much sewing makes Jan a tired chick and that's what happened here.  I started getting pulled to new projects when I thought this might never end.  I have a few others of these out there and hope to get the finishing push back one of these days.

I'm happy to say I have one more complete and on the shelf and, by the way, it's heavy!!!  Between the seams and homespuns -- there's a lot of fabric in here.
I hope you have your mojo in full swing (who wouldn't after looking at all the amazing quilts at Amy's Bloggers Quilt Festival).

Keep piecing, Jan

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival -- a first for me

Bloggers Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy at Amy's Creative Side (link at end of post), is a brilliant idea (and I'm sure loads of work).  Here are two terrible pictures of a quilt that completely fits the bill of a quilt that has meaning.  I hope to get better daylite pix if it will ever quit raining -- but I wanted you to see my birthday quilt.  I love this quilt.  It's not's not's not even color balanced.  But when I look at it, I hear stories in my head.

Amy's Creative SideSome of you may have read an earlier post about my 60th birthday last year when I asked my very small family to each give me one FQ of any fabric that reminded them of me or something we had done together.  All I wanted was the fabric and the reason written in a card.  NO PRESENTS as I had too much stuff and I would use the FQs to make a quilt for me.

This is the quilt.

So, how do you take 8 FQ that range from a pastel homespun to batiks to a flannel and come up with anything congruent?  I decided that I needed a lot of neutral and some way to tie them together but keep them apart.  Each of the 8 outer blocks is from a FQ (altho my husband cheated a bit and gave me two batiks for two separate reasons which is why one corner block has both red and yellow in it).  The center block is the "family" block and contains all of the fabrics placed randomly.

It was a wonderful day.  I would open a card, admire the fabric, silently read the note, weep a bit, admire the fabric some more and maybe we would talk about the "why" and maybe keep it to ourselves.  My nieces took two opposite approaches.  One recalled something we used to do together in church on Sundays and looked for a fabric with a specific motif.  The other (the quilter) went to the FQ section and slowly looked at the fabric without knowing what she was looking for but being "open" to it.  And, one particular fabric caught her eye, caused her to recall a particular piece of clothing I used to wear during a time that had meaning for her.  I love them both. I even love the brown flannel with bright green and orange dinosaurs that was given on behalf of my yet to be born grandson (first grandchild!) because they were sure that "F" would love dinosaurs.

So -- for me, I have the quilt and I have a treasure trove of notes from my immediate family -- each with a corner of fabric stapled to it.

I love this quilt!  Amy, thanks so much for the chance to post for the first time to Bloggers Quilt Festival. I am not likely to get the button to work so here's the link to some incredible quilts and blogs.  Worth every minute of your time!

Keep piecing, Jan

Saturday, May 7, 2011


If you are from Kentucky, you know today is an incredibly special day.  We grow up watching the Derby, having parties that range from small intimate gatherings to huge lawn parties with friendly wagering, mint juleps, bourbon, and fun! Ladies wear hats and tears come to the eye (or at least a lump in the throat) when they sing "My Old Kentucky Home".  It's hard to explain to anyone who has not  lived in Kentucky but to this day, the world stops for me during the two minutes the horses run. 

So -- why pictures of a wedding?  In honor of today being Derby Day, they seemed appropriate.  Our son got married on Derby Day three years ago and had a Derby wedding.  The ceremony was before the running, we had a Derby party with a big screen TV and proper singing of My Old Kentucky Home, there were prizes for those that wore the best hats to the wedding, a bit of betting, and our dinner was after the race.

It was a great day for many many reasons -- not the least of which is that our only son married the love of his life.  But it was great fun to see our new Canadian family, who was much better versed in Stanley Cup tradition than the Kentucky Derby, stand up, sing along with all the Kentucky gathering, and watch the race with some level of excitement.

So, today is obviously not their anniversary but for us, it sort of is and always will be.  There's the day they got married and then there's Derby Day!

I hope you have wonderful traditions where you live that make you smile when you think about them....

Keep piecing, Jan