36 Strip Challenge

My quilt group had a thirty-six strip challenge. Nine of us cut four strips each for nine quilters, including one set of themselves. At one of our meetings, we put together identical collections of thirty-six strips, and then we each plotted a quilt which would use each fabric.

It sounds easy. It isn’t.

The fabrics are not at all compatible.

I hesitated, I searched for inspiration, I planned and discarded. Finally, I just plunged in, and the idea didn’t work, but it gave me an idea for something that might work. This meandering approach was new for me; normally I use quad notebooks and plan my quilts to the fraction of an inch.

The big flower in the upper central right part of the quilt is where I started, and where I was able to use eight fabrics. From there, I would look at the panel hanging and the fabric strips remaining, and overnight, another idea would come.

I actually started having fun with the project. It took me all summer, but it was work I enjoyed, much of it hand work, which I haven’t done a lot of lately.

My husband loves the finished project. I don’t love it, but I’m not unhappy with it.

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Purple Tiles

I’m still quilting this one, but what happens is that I quilt more to a deadline, and then I finish and it sails away with no documentation. This quilt I made from leftovers of another quilt that I realize I didn’t document. My husband loves these quilts; he says they remind him of the wonderful carpets we spent years buying in Damascus, Riyadh, Kuwait and Qatar.

The red tiles quilt is actually finished, and in use 🙂 I discovered I had enough fabric left over for another set of tiles, slightly smaller, but this is an easy quilt, sort of stack and whack, but what wonderful tiles they make if you find a richly patterned fabric. I am a sucker for richly patterned fabrics, especially if they have a little bit of gold in them.

What surprises me is what a difference the background fabric makes. The burgundy gives it one look, the purple a totally different (in my humble opinion) look.

I have to say, some quilts you love working on. These were quilts I love working on.

Pink is Complicated

Same song, different year – I don’t have the hours to quilt that I once had. Retired husband. Trips to exotic lands. Grandchildren. My quilting time is eaten away.

I remember how with every new move there was, at the beginning,  a time of great loneliness, and quilting was my solace and my therapy. When I start to bemoan my lack of productivity, I also have to a ask myself if I want to go back to a life where I move often, and have to start over making new friends?

I miss the nomadic life. I miss the challenges, the demands for new ways of thinking, new ways to approach problems. And also, I don’t miss it. I don’t miss saying goodbyes to people I really love,  I don’t miss the selecting out and giving away and packing up, really hard physical labor.

A new baby girl is coming, and I wanted to do a quilt for her Mama, also starting a new life in Pensacola. I think about being a woman; some times I am more hopeful than other times. I wish this baby to have more options, more equality, and a strong spirit to face the challenges of being a woman. I chose a wonderful swirly batik pink, with a range of pink, from purples to pale, and then put in cross hatches in a very light pink and a very subtle purple. It’s complicated. Just like we are 🙂

 

Quilt tops

These are more of the wonky star block that I love making. I love the jive of the colors, and even some that when they come together I think I don’t like, they grow on me after a while.

I finished the tops in November. There was a trip to Venice, Slovenia, Montenegro, Croatia and Greece, and then Christmas, and then finally I got three of them quilted and bound, one is still on the sewing machine.

These are the unquilted tops:

To you, they may all look the same, but to me, usually one color dominates. I have a lot of fun practicing quilting skills, when I can find enough time in one chunk to quilt. Meanwhile, I have all the reciprocals – dark stars with light backgrounds – to piece and assemble for the next batch. I have a friend who is struggling with a grave enemy, cancer, and it seems it will take a while to battle, more than a year. I think I will make him one of these to cheer him on.

Nothing Since August??

Yes, I have been quilting. I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything since last August, except that life is different when you no longer live the nomadic life.

Once you settle, you . . . kind of have to grow up. Everything we never really wanted to do. It has its merits – spending time with grandchildren. Not having to pack up a household every few months or couple of years, and unpack it again, no more of those frequent long trips when you live overseas and someone in the US is sick, or dying. . . those are the good things.

For me, losing the nomadic life has meant losing all the time I had to quilt. When you go someplace new, it takes time to connect with your community, your husband works long hours, I always had quilting – and quilting had me. Now, we are more connected – church, family, commitments, obligations, freely made . . . it all takes time.

I started this quilt in November and finally finished it in February. It is for a good friend, a woman I admire so much. She saves cats. She finds abandoned cats, feral cats, traps and neuters them, and works valiantly to find them new homes. Her first cat is a gold cat, my favorite kind of cat; she says Lucy taught her about the world of cats needing homes. My friend creates a better world by her selflessness, giving her time and focus to caring for and re-homing these lovely creatures. She just found us two more, Ragnar and Uhtred, and I made the quilt to honor her.

I need to thank my friend Paramjeet, who made sure I had the self confidence and the skills to do the kind of intense quilting that goes into surface quilting. I had tried it previously once, and where I quilted intensely, I distorted the quilt. Oh arrrgh. This time, it worked out better.

Made from a quick design, and quilted in the red part with an adaptation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. That was fun 🙂

This quilt is for a lady who works for me, and with whom I have become friends. She got to pick out the fabrics, and there were a lot of them. The challenge was figuring out how to make them all work together. It seems to have worked out; she loves the quilt. We both like African fabrics. Her favorite block is the one with the fabric from Ghana, it has green flowers and kind of jumps out of the quilt.

I forgot, there were also cat hammocks, and cat cage pads, and some cat coasters I also made. I am in the process of a series of quilts, those wonky star quilts, for this years charity project. I always end up loving them so much that I have a hard time giving them away 🙂

Using Up Old Cuts

“Ah!” my husband sighs as he comes into the quilting lounge, “Back to your favorite colors!”

Am I so predictable? No! But I have had these hundreds of half square triangles for about seven years now and it’s time to get them together and get them out. I will admit I love working with the sea colors, greens through blues to purple, and I loved working on these two quilts, one of which will be a charity quilt and one I will just hang on to because often the right person just comes along.

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Using Up Pink Scraps

Don’t you usually have some sort of default for cutting up scraps of leftover fabric? I gravitate towards 2 1/2 inch strips and 2 1/2 inch squares, just because they are so useful, and because when I am using graph paper to plot out what I am going to need, I often use 1 square = 2 inches, so having squares and strips that size just tends to work for me.

And then again, sometimes I have too many squares or strips. I am finding ways to use them up, but sometimes I get bored, or just want to try some other way of doing things.

With grandparenting, I seem to have a lot less time for quilting, but as our group still has requirements for give-away quilts, I spent some time trying to find a way to use the scraps in pleasant quilts.

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Pink really is not my favorite color.