The Generous Heart

“A friend is going to Pensacola!” my Kuwaiti friend wrote to me, “What can I send you?”

My heart immediately went to my two favorite places, the supermarket and the fabric souks. Did you know it is illegal to bring in fresh green vegetables into the United States, or meat? (I brought some jerky once from South Africa and ended up with all the people who were bringing monkey brains and special Namibian melons to all their family members. Fortunately, I got a lecture, not a fine.)

So – just a little fabric, I asked. Something Kuwaiti looking, or African, colors in combinations you can’t get here in Pensacola.

“Doh!” as Homer Simpson says. I should have remembered how generous my friend is. It’s something she isn’t even aware of, she just gives, freely gives, like she thinks everyone is as generous as she is.

Her friends delivered the packet to my door. In it are yards and yards of fabrics, and as I lift them to my nose, I can smell the souks. . . I miss the souks 🙂

So much fabric, such a wealth of fabric!


But even better – look at the bag she packed it in!


I asked her about it and it is a good thing I did. I had immediate thoughts of using it as a center medallion in a quilt, but she said it was designed by a famous Egyptian artist, Helmi El Touni, to raise funds for medical treatment for students and protestors injured during the Arab Spring. She also said she did not think the ink was water proof. Oooch! I needed to hear that! Now, it will not go into a quilt but maybe some kind of frame . . . I love those braids 🙂

I smile every time I see these fabrics.


The Bag Lady

I’ve been having so much fun! Many I have already given, but here is a selection from the remaining thirty or so:

And more:

Of course, part of what I love is that these are made from remainders of favorite quilts, or even favorite clothing (the purple silk duppioni) or a treasured scrap. I use them to keep things together – battery chargers, sewing needs, cosmetics for the gym, my travel cosmetics (yes, I keep a separate set because I was going back and forth so often – and still do). They are small, but useful for keeping like things together.

My best story is I made one out of pink Eiffel Tower fabric for my best-friend-from-college-French-class, and it was tiny. She crowed “I know just what I will use it for!” and pulled out a plastic bag full of coins that she had been using. I don’t mind what people choose to use these bags for, like my quilts, I just want them to be used.

And I bless Alanna for teaching me how to make these treasures, such a fabulous gift to be able to make them in all different sizes. And I bless my friend Leslie for visiting the Taliban shop in Doha and sending me lots and lots and lots of really cheap zippers!

Jewel Box Pieces

Here are the pieces for the Jewel Box:

Starring the half square triangle, which I chose to be 4″ finished:

The four patch, which I chose to be made of pieces cut 2 1/2 inches to total 4″ completed:

Each four patch is united with a half square triangle:

Completed component (1/4 of the finished block)

Completed block is composed of four component blocks, above, each rotated to complete the box:

My all time favorite quilt book is “It’s OK If You Sit on my Quilt” by Mary Ellen Hopkins, and I like it because it helped me quilt without having to follow someone else’s idea of how my quilt should be. When I found a jewel box pattern, it was bigger than I wanted, so I scaled it down. This jewel box pattern is a great practice for your first effort at changing scale, because the size you choose for your four patch and your half square triangle changes everything. You could use 1″ blocks, or you could use 12″ inch blocks, and the pattern would remain the same, only the scale would change.

I’ve seen this quilt done with a light background and with a dark background. I made one big mistake right at the beginning; I cut the half square triangle background out of a dark navy blue and the 2 1/2 inch background squares out of black. If I had it to do over again, they would be the same fabric.

If you want the variations in color, you will need small amounts of a LOT of fabrics; this is a great opportunity to ask for small donations from your quilting friends. What is fun is that you later can look at the quilt and remember who gave you that perfect shade of coral, or fuchsia, or pistachio, or parrot, that icy blue. I have a dress I love, ruined by a drop of bleach; a piece of that dress is in my quilt.

As I look at the completed top, below, I am reminded that classic patterns have their own timelessness and elegance, and can look totally different from one another, depending on fabric choices. I would do this one again in a heartbeat; I love the diagonal lines created by the half square triangles.

Quilting Bee

“No,” I said as nicely and firmly as I could, “No, but thank you for thinking of me.”

I had been invited to join a quilting group, and you’d think with being retired now I would have hours to fill, but I find just the opposite. I used to have hours and hours, empty hours, to fill, and I spent a lot of them quilting and going to groups. Now . . . I am spending more time with my husband, and going to exercise, and with my grandson, and . . .

I’d heard such wonderful things about this group, but I can’t commit to a time-consuming group, and honestly, I quilt better on my own; I get more done.

“Just let me tell you a little about our group,” she persisted pleasantly. I couldn’t help it, I liked this woman, I liked her polite persistence, I liked the sound of her voice, and that she didn’t let me go with my ‘no.’

The more she told me about the group, the more my heart knew it was an opportunity, not an obligation. The more I learned, the less I felt ‘no’ and the more I felt ‘yes.’ For one thing, they sound like women I would really like. For another, they do a lot of charity quilts, and I really like doing charity quilts. Third, they only meet once a month for two hours. Wooo HOOO! Better and better.

Then I met with them, and oh, I liked them all a lot. These are good women, the kind of quilters I like, their minds all over the map. They laugh a lot. They like each other. They have a great show and tell, and the group is small enough we can all touch and ask questions.

I found myself excited about quilting again, encouraged and inspired. I joined the group happily, and I look forward to their meetings! I’ve completed three quilts since I joined!

I still have to grin when I think of how firmly I said no, and how pleasantly the leader persisted. She didn’t know me. I wonder how she knew I was right for the group? But by the time she was through with me, I believed she was right. I am loving being a part of this group.

Georgina’s Blog

You think you know a person, and then you discover you know nothing! One of the quilters in our Qatar Quilter’s Guild is so productive, I don’t know where she gets all the extra hours in the day to do all the work she does. In addition, her work is meticulous! Her color choices are always right on the money.

Part of the reason I love her work is that while her piecing is perfect, her applique skills are even better!

What I didn’t know was that Georgina also has a blog; it is in Spanish, but I can understand almost everything – she illustrates with lots and lots of photos. WOW. She is an amazing lady. Here is her blog address:

Georgina’s Blog

Pacific Northwest Quiltfest 2008

Oh what joy! I met up for the weekend with an old quilting buddy from the Rheinland-Pfalz Quilt Guild, where we met, and we went to the Pacific Northwest Quiltfest, sponsored by the Association of Pacific Northwest Quilters.

Going to a quilt show is an art in itself; the secret is to find someone else whose style and timing is close to your own. This friend and I have been to numerous quilt shows together, mostly the European Quilt Shows because one or the other of us was living there at the time. My all time favorite quilt show has got to be the one at Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, which will take place this year September 16 – 21, 2008.

My friend and I are systematic. She ordered the tickets ahead of time, so when we got to the show we cruised right up to Will Call and straight into the exhibit, which was held at the Seattle Convention Center. Oh! Nice, roomy location!

We start at the left, and go up and down each aisle, never skipping a quilt. I stopped photographing when I realized I could buy a complete collection CD, so I only have a few of my favorites to show to you. What a show!

These (mostly women) quilters are SO amazing. So creative. So inventive. It is simply awe inspiring to attend these shows.

The Quiltathon

The Quiltathon held March 24th at the Dar Al Cid was a huge success! Actually running from 8 in the morning to 9 at night, more than 50 women dropped in, some staying the entire day, some working in the morning, some working in the afternoon, some in the evening – and the group made – ta da! – either 33 quilts or 35 quilts, depending on who you talk to.

Not all the quilts are finished, there is still work to do – but hey, we definitely accomplished our goal! Wooo Hoooooo q8Quilters!



And we got good press, too!

Kuwait Times:

Arab Times: