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Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate.

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This time of year inspires many of us to be grateful and thankful.  Today, I am grateful to donate my time, ability and resources to the charity Share the Dignity.  An Australian Charity.  In a nutshell, this charity collects and donates pads and tampons for women at risk.  Those who are homeless.  Those who are in shelters.  Teens who do not have the resources to buy pads or tampons.  Women who have left violent environments.

The charity runs three campaigns.  April and August campaigns are to collect pads, tampons and incontinence items.

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The Christmas campaign is called the IITB or It’s In The Bag campaign.   Per their website:

It’s simple. First of all, choose a handbag in good condition that you no longer use.  Then, fill it with items that would make a woman feel special, pop in a thoughtful note or Christmas card and show her someone cares. Show her that she matters because everyone deserves to feel that way.

Next time you’re at the shops, collect a few items for your Christmas handbag. No matter how you celebrate Christmas with your family, this will be the most meaningful and appreciated gift you give this year.

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There are 7 items that we try to make sure are included in each bag.  Shampoo & Conditioner, Toothbrush and Toothpaste, Soap/Wash, Roll on deoderant and most importantly, a package of pads or tampons.

There are three local Sheros who are doing the pick up, checking and delivery of these donated bags.  The donation point is Bunnings.  The dates are November 22 through December 7.  We have 11 local charities we are trying to support with a total bag request of nearly 350 bags.

Several local organizations and individuals have been extremely generous so we are hopeful we will be able to reach this massive goal.  I call it a massive goal as bag donations last year were less than 150.  If you have the resources, I would love for you to put a bag together and drop it off at the Ulladulla Bunnings.

Working with this charity, reading the stories of gratitude that come from those women and girls who receive these Christmas bags, well, it both makes my heart sad and makes my heart happy.  Sad that there are women and girls in these situations but happy that there are so many SHEROS (and heros) out there that take the time to fill a bag and donate it.

It also makes me grateful for my mom.  She raised 4 daughters (and 1 son) on a very limited income.  Not once did I open the cupboard and not find a box of pads or tampons to use when I needed them.  Not once did I have to stay home from school because I had my period and didn’t have a pad or tampon.  Not once did I have to use an old sock because I didn’t have sanitary products.  The saddest thing is not once have I stopped to be grateful and thankful for my mom for making sure I could take care of my basic sanitary needs.  I never thought about it.  It never crossed my mind until I started supporting this charity.  So here it is….

Thanks mom.  Not only for making sure my needs were met on this issue but for everything.    You are loved.  I am thankful.

 

Current UFOs

While I wait for the painting bug to hit, I continue to quilt.  I haven’t given up on painting (yet) but it certainly isn’t a passion (yet).  I still have my painting corner set up and I still have the dream of being a painter but in the last 2  1/2 months, I don’t think I’ve painted more than 10 days.  I like what I’ve done, I just don’t feel driven to paint.  I need to work myself up to it.  I’m not stressing over it though…it is what it is, right?

Here are a few projects I’ve been working on:

Jelly Roll Rug.  40 x 2 & 1/2″ strips.  2 & 1/2″ batting strips (I bought it in a roll).  I didn’t actually use a pattern.  I watched a couple YouTube videos and read a few blog posts plus popped in to a workshop that our local quilt group hosted.  It is a bit of a long, boring process but I do like the results.  Didn’t think I’d ever make another one – but I have the supplies if I change my mind.  (Go figure, right?!)

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Next?  The Clam Shell quilt – called JUST FLOAT.  I used 4″ templates from Eppiflex.  Each row took about an hour for the stitching alone.  YLI 100 silk thread – which I love for applique.  About 100 fabrics – mostly from my sister K2’s extensive (!) stash.

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I wanted to add an improv KRIS touch to the quilt so I went with hand applique words JUST FLOAT.  I landed on those words from K2.  For at least 20 or more years I have associated those words with her.  I’m not sure if she would say it was her mantra…but she has said it enough for it to stick.

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I thought about doing various words on all 4 borders but after looking through Kathy Doughty’s latest book Organic Applique, I decided to give her technique a whirl so I used her technique, flower shapes and design for the remaining 3 borders.

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Next up…hand big stitch quilt with Aurifil 12 wt.  Once basted, it might wait until Autumn for cooler weather.

Quilted Village is my current piecing project.  This is a BOM pattern by Janet Miller.  My friend purchased the pattern and kit a few years back.  It was that far down on her UFO list that when I was asking (begging?) UFO projects from people, she gave it to me.

I’ve always admired the pattern so it was a win win.  I have the center finished and now will start on the house blocks.  Since someone else has done all the work and all I have to do is follow directions, it will be a perfect project for those days when my muse has disappeared.

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This next one I’m calling “My Favorite Word”.   My friend from Chicago sent me this grey starburst chunk of fabric and said she couldn’t wait to see what I did with it.  Oh, the pressure!  I think she was expecting me to do some FMQing but I went with hand embroidery.  It got shoved aside for the last year or so but it has surfaced again and I’m ready to put more work into it.  I have a plan for more embroidered words, motifs and vines and then improv pieced borders (stars?  circles?  triangles?).

If you have a favorite word, let me know in the comments….I just might include it!

 

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And finally, this is a color palette I’m working on.  I don’t exactly know what I’m going to do with it – I have several ideas percolating.  Raspberry, Charcoal and Caramel with some warm-ish backgrounds thrown in.  As I sometimes do, I’ve clipped a bit of each fabric and put it on card stock for reference when shopping.

Camelot – Finished

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Another winter finish.  This one is called Camelot.  It is a Trish Harper pattern that was free through the French quilt magazine Quilt Mania. (still available for purchase on Etsy).  It is hand pieced and hand quilted.  I used Quilters Dream Request batting in it so it is very light weight.  A good stack of William Morris fabrics was used plus contributions from a few friends.  I quilted it with Presencia/Finca 12 wt thread in big stitch style.

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It is a big quilt…90×90…fits the top of our King Size bed.

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I don’t know that I ever want to do another hand quilted King Size quilt again but it did finish rather rapidly (well, after 3-4 months) while watching 45 rugby world cup games the last 6 weeks.  Yes, I love rugby!  Our team, the Wallabies, didn’t win or even do well – which was expected.  However, I did wear my Wallabies jersey for each game they played.  It has now been washed and retired for another season. 

My second favorite team, The Brave Blossoms, did a crack-up job and surprised everyone.  South Africa came away with the top prize and there were certainly heartwarming tales to come from their side.  The first black captain of the South African rugby team, Siya Kolisi,  was raised by his grandmother in poverty, struggled to have food, walked 10 miles to school without shoes.  Hopefully rugby will help bring healing to a ravaged country.

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Many people have embraced quick and easy projects.  Many people I know are loving using embroidery machines.  To each their own.  Everyone must find what feeds their creativity and the time they have available.  I find that I continue to embrace the slow.  Slow stitching.  There is a place for all styles and levels of quilting but for several years now, I have been gravitating toward slowing things down.  It started nearly 20 years ago when I discovered something called “Slow Travel”.  Then there was the slow food movement.  And eventually, the last few years, the “Slow Stitch” movement.  Even my improv machine work is slow.  Slow is where it is for me right now.

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One Hot Mess

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This one I’ve called One Hot Mess.  It is a two sided quilt.  I figure that is one way to maximize my creativity (as I need another quilt like I need a hole in my head).

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Side one is a Victoria Findlay Wolfe design from her double wedding ring book.  I used her papers and templates that I purchased at her store in New York earlier this year.

The alternate side is improv letters and piecing.  I continue to draw inspiration from a young artist in Sydney, Jessica Wheelahan (@birdie_beetle on Instagram).    In case you can’t read it, it says “I like pretty things and the word fuck”.

I quilted it with a combination of ruler work and FMQ.  I’m not a huge fan of ruler work – probably because I’m not very good at it.  I used Angela Walter’s ruler SLIM and Westalee circles.  I struggle to keep the presser foot snug against the ruler.  When it slips, I suppose most quilters would stop and unpick and try again.  I just reverse back to the ruler and keep going.  (Good enough is good enough!  If you can’t see it from the back of a galloping horse, who cares?  That’s my philosophy anyway.)

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I’m pleased with it.  The 2nd side makes me smile.  I have it on our dining room table right now.  I think it ended up about 60×60.

I continue to enjoy personalizing my quilts by putting words into them.  I’m working on a couple more right now.  One is hand appliqued words using 1930/1940 reproduction fabrics.  Another is my autograph quilt using Japanese taupe fabrics.  I’m thinking to make both of those quilts double-sided.

 

String Therapy

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For the last 2 years I have been a tutor at a 2 & 1/2 day workshop called The Gathering.  It is held locally so I can do my ‘dog and pony show’ and yet be home in my own bed at night.  I enjoy doing it once I’m there but the lead-up causes me some angst.  I enjoy people but I get ‘peopled’ out quickly.  Being full-on Ms. Sunshine and Lollipops for an entire weekend nearly puts me over the edge.

Anyway….this year I taught my version of ‘crumbs and strings’.  In preparation for it, I decided to do a series of string pieces.  I also challenged myself to use solids as I typically don’t.  I ended up with 7 pieces and have called the series String Therapy.

I really do love working with strings.  I’d actually like to continue the series and yet I have some other ideas too (triangles and more drunkard path variations to name two).

Here they are in order of how I made them.

String Therapy #1.  Not QUITE solid color but close.  The green is a shot cotton I picked up in Sydney and the brown/green is one I found in the USA.  I took inspiration from Valerie Maser-Flanagen.    I faced the top and sides and did a pillowcase turn-and-flip on the bottom edge.

String Therapy #2.  This time I used 3 solid fabrics from Cherrywood Fabrics in Minnesota.  I absolutely love these fabrics.  They have such depth and mellowness to them.  Again, I used inspiration from Valerie Maser-Flanagan.  This one proved to be a pain in the ass to finish the edges so I ended up doing a machined button hole stitch with thicker Aurifil thread.  I like the design….I don’t really like the finish but it is good enough.

String Therapy #3:  Next I decided to work with a jelly roll from Cherrywood Fabrics.  I randomly chose 2-3 strips and made them into a string set, trying to vary what I did with each set.  I think I was reading Maria Shell‘s book on Improv at the time so I give her inspiration credit for this piece.  I pretty much used the entire jelly roll for this small piece.  I think it is quite attractive and has potential to be a larger quilt.  All these small pieces were quilted with my Pfaff and a walking foot.  I faced the edges of this one.

String Therapy #4:  From here I switched to my black and white scrap bin.  I had some pre-cut strips so I started there and did a string set.  Then I did alternate rows of another fabric.  It seemed a little dull so I added a couple strings of red.

String Therapy #5:  Still in my black and white bin, I decided to go with solids.  You can really see the effect of NOT using a ruler on this piece.  On all these pieces, I went ruler-free and did all the cutting freehand.  I love the organic nature of the strings/strips when cutting this way.

String Therapy #6:  I had some left over pieces from String Therapy #4 which resulted in this one.   I cut the string sets into squares and then on the diagonal and sewed different ones together.  The piece on the right side was left over from another project.  The two little squares were appliqued on afterwards.

 

String Therapy #7:  This one came from left overs from 3 previous quilts.  I pulled out the teal colored fabrics and the beige fabrics and sewed random sized strings into string sets.  Hung them on the design wall vertically.  It needed something so I spliced in the brown batik.  I think it is a success!  The edges are faced and I think once I get a sleeve on it, I’ll hang it above the fireplace in my studio for awhile.

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