Category Archives: quilts 2011

Moving Along With Gifts 2, 3 and 4

   Sounds like Dr Seuss , doesn’t it? Thing  1 and Thing 2….Well, yes, I still have my sanity. And I am still laughing. I did finish some gifts so that made me feel a little better and hope to move on to the prep for the holidays after this weekend. My family party is this weekend so I am glad I finished my sister’s quilt in just the right amount of time to say-woo-hoo I finished just in time!

Maureen’s  Quilt
52x 55 , 2011

Commercial Kona  and Lotta Jansdotter print 

    Quick, easy and simple and hopefully, exactly what she wanted.  She wanted one print and the rest solids- many years ago when she requested one. So we’ll see. If she doesn’t want it, my husband said he is the taker of this quilt.  That really surprised me. This was just fun to do as I had no expectations as to what wonderful art it needed to be. And to think it was for my sister really added to the joy of planning it and completing it.

     And thing 2 and thing 3  are done too.

     This is a scarf for the rather selective daughter written about previously. These are her colors and the color of her coat so let’s hope she likes it. If not, I have purchased the perfect tag for her present. I have kept it a secret so we’ll see about this too.

     And lastly, this silly felted yarn basket I wrote about last time. I meant it for my “secret sister” in a new bee I belong to. It is just the container for her gift so I am no longer going to stress about it. Everything I have for her fits inside the basket so it will be the gift bag.  It just turned out larger than I wanted but easily fits several skeins of yarn. ( It wasn’t a hat as my daughter thought it was going to be. 🙂

      At the end of last night when I had finished three gifts, I wondered: Do we not make gifts for others because we feel our gift is ” inadequate”  or because the amount of work is just too much? I think I feel self conscious that they might not like what I have made for them. Or that it will not measure up to what others have made. I am 50 years old- not in high school anymore. Time to get over it and have some self confidence I think. I do enjoy making for others. That has been my fun this Christmas!

     Be creative, my friends.

Small Finishes

     I have finished a few small projects that have been hanging around way too long. The first one is a Christmas present for my daughter. It is the softest alpaca and she has been impatiently waiting for it once she snuck a peek at it. She has to wait a little longer though. I just needed to rinse it out and it will be ready for the stocking.

    I also finished and delivered to our guild a little doll quilt and remembered at the last minute to take a picture of it. ( not a great picture) It turned out large enough for the doll and the girl to snuggle under-about 24×36.


    At lastly, I finished this small piece last night. I had wanted to practice some “extreme” stitching before I started another piece and this worked out really well for that. I also had wanted to try to mount something to a canvas and last week I found this little pre-painted canvas from Michael’s (yes, always use the coupon) which would work for it. Again, I had an awful time trying to photograph this morning as it is dark and rainy.

The Path
2011, Colleen Kole

     I enjoyed how it turned out and have a few more canvases to try this again.  I’d like to have four to mount together on a wall. And re-take the photos will be added to the to-do list.

     Felt good to finish something as it has been awhile. I have my sister’s quilt assembled on the design wall so next up this week will be sewing the top together.

    Happy sewing. It really is peaceful to sew.

Beginning of Holiday Projects

     I started a small doll quilt for our guild donation. They collect dolls and doll quilts for the Santa Claus Girls , an organization in Kent County which provides gifts for needy kids at Christmas. It is an organization founded in 1908 and has continued for over one hundred years. That is a long term commitment to kids.

     My goal for most of these projects is to just use what I  have on hand. No crazy buying or getting things I won’t use but just use my supplies on hand. I know I will run out of batting but with my Joann’s coupon,  I should not spend a significant amount of money.

     You know me well enough that this will look different the next time you see it. It needs to be done by next Tuesday night so I need to get going on the finishing part of it. No time to procrastinate.

    Are you making things for the holidays?

     Happy Sewing , my friends!

And The Winner Is

      When I get to a certain point making these improvisational quilts, I ask myself the same question. Who is going to win: the quilt or I? Now, being a fairly determined person, I hate to lose.

     So, the story of this little quilt began when I purchased a group of fat quarters from another hand dyer, Sue Cortese. I usually dye solids so all these luscious little pieces of multicolored fabrics were calling to me. I even dragged them with me to the last class and occasionally petted them thinking of what could be made. They just said the colors of fall to me. And I wanted to make a ribbon quilt so it seemed a perfect thing to make that would be quick.

    My first mistake was making a prediction that anything involving quilting would be quick. Twenty some years later you would think I know that  making a quilt is anything but quick. A month ago I started this very simple piece.

   This was about the 57th revision. I have totally removed another section which had no relevance and wasn’t even the same color. (Just temporary color blindness I have reminded myself. ) A loving child asked me  what kind of chaos was I trying to crate at that point so that portion was removed. She said it was only slightly better after that portion was removed… I asked for no more comments please. ( Ok, she said it was no less ugly is the real truth.)

Falling Leaves
34×36, 2011

   I also ignored the fact that some long strips were looking very skewed. Now, sometimes skewed is good. But obviously some are very straight and one are skewed. So, skewed here is not ok. It should have been randomly skewed.

   But after many re-sews and cuts, I have declared myself the winner and the quilt the winner as well. A tie. The quilt wants to be crooked in spot where I don’t want it to be.  But I finally just let it be what it wanted to be.

    And I win because I actually finished piecing this thing and enjoy some of the fabrics. The top is done where a year ago I would have given up. Crooked but done. I will eventually quilt it. I just need a teensy break from it.

    So, I remind myself not to make predictions of how long it will take to complete a piece. If stuck, move on. And, sometimes, it’s ok to let the quilt win. Or tie. 🙂 I am more than ready to move on to the next thing.

    Be creative, my fiends.

Chopping it Up

      I had forgotten how much fun this is. When you don’t like something, chop it up and use it for something else. The last piece I made this summer was really bugging me I guess because I could have done better and the colors just didn’t feel right to me. I didn’t want to spend loads of time taking it apart and trying to make it work. So a quick decision was made to re-purpose it. I love that word re-purpose which removed all the guilt of having it lay there in my workbasket for the next ten years because I hated it.

   This time I thought I would actually use this re-purposed piece for something functional and make it a soft quilt to use while you read or watch tv in Vermont. The throws that I have there are embarrassing-in a home where one sews regularly!

    It took a little longer than I thought but  I am ok with how it turned out. Much better than not being used at all or sitting there undone for years.


I realized as I flipped the photos to see which way it looks better that it didn’t matter because it wasn’t intended to be hung. Fun and easy to do. All the pieces and parts for the squares came from this  original piece which felt like a silly beach blanket.

   Maybe I should see what else I could chop up….

   Be creative, my friends! I hope to go to a 3 hour lecture on machine quilting tomorrow. What are you up to with your art this weekend?

Keep Looking For That Road

     I just finished a few more black and white pieces. I just wanted to push myself to use these small pieces to critically take a look at what I did and didn’t like about a quick improvisational design. (And to get ready for a certain class which you inevitably  start with a black and white piece which I dread). I didn’t spend much time on them but, again, they do bring the design sharply into focus.

    But the saving moment  for these little pieces: they just got me moving and wanting to do more. And gave me time to think about what I want to do the next year and bring in to focus what I really don’t want to do. You may wonder why I would want to finish a “study” piece and the answer is-practice and more practice.

Looking For The Road #2
15×19 – 2011

Looking For The Road #3
14×18 -2011

     I just want to add paint to these. But I won’t. I will just let them be black and white. And not be afraid of it when I have to use it in a few weeks.

    But to add to that- that is not to say I may not try more with paint added. Aren’t I fickle?

    Be creative, my friends.

Looking For The Road

     I really am not looking forward to the next class I am registered for. And I knew, that as my week passed, I really better have an attitude adjustment. It wasn’t the amount of work or the inability to want to stretch a little further. I kept thinking about what my problem was with the class and after quite a bit of time wasted on figuring out my dread really was, I finally figured it out.  Two dreaded words: black and white.

     I know the first exercise will be working in black and white. It makes me shudder just thinking about it. So, the only cure for my dread: get out the black and white fabric and get to work. I wear black all the time. So what is the problem?

     With a black and white piece, you can see all the design flaws up close and personal.

      Keep going. Keep going. Get it out anyway. Make a small piece and move on from there. So, I did.

Looking For The Road
12×20 , 2011

    I even finished it. Just to remind myself that black and white isn’t so scary even though you can see all the design flaws.  I see what I don’t like but I also see what I do like.  It is a start.

    Be creative, my friends.

Friday Finish:Looking Through the Lens :#2

     Well , I guess maybe a finish. I struggled this week to just barely finish piecing this. I am not very excited about this because I felt so RUSTY.

Looking Through The Lens #2 2011 (unquilted)

     I have learned something very important though.  Never stop working. Just keep going with some part of the process. I kept justifying the dyeing as part of the process. It  is. But the designing and actual production of my design is the part that must be done -for me. All the time.  I see many things about this I don’t like but it’s a start and I will finish this one. And I will keep going with this series.

     Just felt good to keep pushing through. In just fifteen minute increments this week, I was able to do it. My oldest is moved back to college and the younger kids go back to school on Monday. I am ready for a regular schedule as much as I have enjoyed my summer.

     Be creative, my friends. I can hardly wait.

A Better Meadow

     I am trying in some small way trying to redeem myself from my last small piece. It didn’t really portray what I wanted it too. So I tried again- I just wanted a simple abstract piece which reflected the colors of my Vermont meadow. This is too simple for me so I guess I need to try again until I get it right.

Vermont Meadows
about 24×55 unquilted

     I always resort to this simple design of strip piecing to jumpstart my design process again. Sure wish I didn’t have to. But , I do and I did. It bugs me to slide backwards.  Kind of a warm-up? I don’t know but I just did it. But the best part about this piece-I am on my way back again to sewing. And it felt really good to sew again.  I will take it home next week when we go back to Michigan and start quilting it. Ever onward.

      Now that I see it here -I feel like it needs to be twice as wide and it’s missing the other half….Sometimes they just keep getting bigger.

     I have another piece on my design wall which I would love to get pieced before I leave…. don’t know if that will be realistic but it is a good stretch goal.

    Enjoy summer, my friends.

Summer Meadows

     I spent an inordinate amount of time waiting for things here in Vermont this past week. As my daughter reminded me-we are on “Vermont time” not real time. Which means when you are waiting on a repair person who is coming in the morning, 7pm at night is just on time. He made it the day he said he would.

    So I waited for people and waited even longer for fabric that was due last week. I only needed to dye two yards of navy blue to finish a piece I am working on now. Not done yet. So, I did some therapy strips and just chilled.

Summer Meadows, 9×12

 I love the colors of the meadows and wildflowers here. Along with the sunshine. No different than the flowers in Michigan, but I think I just am able to take time and enjoy them. This piece should have been much larger but I made just a few too many cuts….so tiny it is.

    Found a few more stray pieces to dye  some gentle colors.

Tried to overdye some browns and blacks but still couldn’t get deep dark brown or black. I am not sure what went wrong here. Also. played with some thermofax screens and one silkscreen.

And for one or two of you missing mountains, a hazy mountain shot on a ninety degree day earlier this week. Yes, I am high up in the mountains.

Enjoy your summer and be creative, my friends!