Why?? – Why Not!!!

If you have ever spent time with a kid who has just discovered this word you know how hard it can be to answer some of the why questions.   You probably also discovered that this question can go many layers deep.   Why can’t I have that cake now??  because you’ll spoil your dinner.   Why?  Because you will be too full of sugar to eat what is good for you.    Why?   You should eat food that your body needs.   Why?  You will be healthier and not get fat, or cavities .   Why??  — and so on.    If you are not ready to answer these multitude of questions it can be more than a little annoying.     However we need to remember that the child asks out of a genuine curiosity and our patient answers are adding to their intellect.      So why am I thinking about this?

IMG_7104

Yellow Brick Road by Sue F

Creativity is often given wings when it is driven by a good why question.    Several times this week I have discussed the frustration that happens when a project runs flat.   Whether it was preempted by life events,   something else came up on a deadline,   or whatever the reason,  it can be hard to go back to something that got put aside.     This is where you can ask yourself the first why,   Why did I stop working on this?    Once you can answer that you can ask,   Why did I start it in the first place?     If this answer still holds true,  you have the reason to get it going again.   If you don’t yet,  then ask yourself Why do I want to finish it now?   If you still don’t have an answer,  ask Why am I keeping it?    If you get this far then maybe you have learned what you needed to from the project and it is time to pass it on to someone else,  or finish it in a different way than planned.   I spoke to a quilter this week who began a large and intricate sampler a few years ago.   She ran into some health issues and only ended up with one block done.   When I suggested she make a pillow out of it instead of trying to make 19 more blocks,  she felt a great sense of relief.      Suddenly her why became  Why Not!!!

IMG_7103

Hounds tooth by Sue F

So as I get the summer workshops and samples ready I want you to reflect for a moment on your own Why.    It can reconnect you to your projects in a profound way.

I hope you enjoy the Show and Tell that Sue Forrest brought to Work in Progress Wednesday.  She recently finished them both. Aren’t they great?

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spring Showcase running out of time

Spring keeps teasing us,  but time is marching on and the semester is quickly drawing to it’s end.    This means you don’t have much longer to register for any of the Log Cabin Showcase workshops.    Still on the schedule are group sessions for Log Cabin cushion cover  April 17 & 24,   and  Pineapple Block,  on April 19.   Of course until May 1 you can still arrange for on demand sessions of these workshops as well.

log cabin cushion

These are such great blocks I firmly believe that all quilters should make them at least once in their quilting journey.   I bet that once you make one you will want to make others.   Because they are simple in design they are adaptable to many situations.    If you look at the traditional value arrangement of a log cabin,  it is divided in half on the diagonal.   This means that any block made from half square triangles and squares can be re interpreted as a log cabin quilt.    This example by Carol Hemphill Gershin  dated 1995,  is a wonderful contemporary example of what can be done if you are careful about your color planning.      I apologise for the poor photo,  you can see it more clearly in The Art Quilt,  by

img_7099.jpg

Robert Shaw.

 

The end of one showcase means the start of another.    As usual,  Summer sessions are more creative and  Highlight something a bit out of the box.

Our Showcase theme for this summer ( May -August )  will be TEXT-tiles.     Workshops will cover labels for quilts,  Patchwork Alpahabets,   Hand carved stamps,  and a “Signature Mandala”  Over the next few weeks I will be unveiling these exciting projects.   I can’t wait to share the fun.

If you just can’t wait to get some fresh inspiration,  check out The Art of the Needle this weekend,  April 13-15,  the Biennial Needlework Show from our friends in the Skillkill Chapter of the EGA.    Locust grove, 2683 South Road ( Rt 9) Poughkeepsie.    Show is open 10-4.

Please get registered for our Log Cabin showcase workshops before it is too late.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Samples anyone??

Tomorrow is our Block of the month meeting.  Tuesday our handstitchers will begin a new project.   Besides being run and organized by yours truly here at the shoppe,  what else do they have in common???    They are both samplers.     The sampler,  no matter the techniques,  is in some ways the equivalent of an artists sketchbook.     In its purest form it is a collection of worked up techniques in a single piece that can serve as a reminder and how to manual for future projects.    In the days when printed patterns were not common,  the sampler was a way to gather and develop techniques and skills,  in short it was used to learn how.     In some times and places it was even used to teach youngsters their alphabets.      Being able to put their initials ( and those of their future household ) on linens and other household items was a valuable skill.    Sometimes they would also be focused on a subject,   or particular type of stitching.     If you are interested in joining our handstitchers for an embroidery stitch sampler let simply let us know you are coming and check the club news page for a supply list.    No experience needed,  remember that a sampler is a learning tool.

IMG_7098

Nautical sampler from needlework #59.  august 1977

 

Quilters too had samplers.    In this case, it was a collection of blocks that often had a common theme.    Pieced patterns,  sometimes with names that tell a story,  or the famous Baltimore Album applique quilts, and even some forms of early medallion quilts are all samplers.    At the moment we are almost half way through a civil war themed sampler.   It is a wonderful collection of classic quilt blocks.    Throughout the project I have supplemented the material from the book with interesting ways to use the blocks in other projects.    Some look totally different, and create secondary patterns when repeated and set a certain way,  some blossom with a different kind of sashing,  some pairs of blocks play together very well.    The uses for the blocks are many.     If you are interested please contact me and we can work it out,  and at the very least you get a copy of Barbara Brackmans Civil War sampler from us.  You will have at your fingertips a collection of 50 great blocks,   in two size options.    IMG_7078

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Don’t Multitask

This lovely Spring quilt top is the

IMG_7095

very first for customer Cathy S.   It is a gift for a luck three year old.      The big pink polka dot you see at the top is for the back.   Super fun.    Cathy was here this week to get it basted and has out some quilting ideas.      This is our four square pattern and with true beginners we often tie it,  but Cathy has lots of non quilting sewing experience and so will be quilting it.    Quilt as desired is a huge topic and in the case of this pattern my go to idea is to stitch corner to corner so the straight lines follow the colors on a diagonal.   The pink and the green are pretty obvious,  but the two different yellows on the opposite diagonal are more subtle.    This quilt idea results in a square on point that sits perfectly within the grid.     More advanced quilters can then add a more detailed design within the on point squares for a completely different look.     There is also the possibility of using a decorative stitch from your machine to run the long rows of diagonal quilting and I do believe that is what Cathy is planning,  her machine has a puzzle piece design that will be fun.

While she was here another customer came in for  Work in Progress Wednesday also.   I was binding a quilt for a customer.   Lots going on and lots of conversation.   It was fun but we all had to be mindful of not getting too far ahead of ourselves or losing track of our own task.    It made me think.    Multi-tasking is not all that it is cut out to be.   Especially when quilt making.     The joy of the process is in the fact that you can single task.    There is peace in the focus of piecing.    As most of us prepare for Easter,  it is good to be able to sit for a few minutes and find that peace amid all the crazy trimmings of the season.   ( Personally if I never see Easter basket grass again I’ll be happy )

As it turns out I will have to close on Tuesday for a college visit with my daughter,  but our Block of the Month will meet next Saturday,  April 7.   We will be doing 3 blocks.   As usual if you can’t make the meeting I will hold your things for when you can come in.    Have a wonderful weekend, be safe if you travel to see family,  and keep piecing.

Posted in Uncategorized

Background Check

Yesterday we got in a box of new fabric.   That always feels like Christmas morning,  because most of the time it was ordered so long ago that I don’t remember what is coming when.    So I opened it and remembered OH yeah,  just some basic backgrounds.   But as I got them unpacked and checked in I was reflecting on how important the choice of background is.      It is hardly ever the first fabric we choose, but it can set the tone for the whole piece.   The wrong background can ruin the best color scheme,  and the right one can enliven a ho-hum fabric and make it sing.

The best way is to show you so I grabbed a few fat quarters and here we go.    First thing that most quilters who lack color confidence go to is white,  and yes that can work well with good clear colors,  or light pastels and 1930’s style,  but with other fabrics it can be too bright.     So ok,  then a cream or natural muslin type,  yes also can work, especially with toned down or very rich colors like civil war era reproductions.     Good,  but without getting into actual colors ( like blue or red ) our options are not done.   The Amish used Black backgrounds,   do you want a pure black,  or a nice warm brownish black???    And what about gray??  If you want a nice modern look don’t forget to try a gray.       And you thought you were done making fabric choices when you grabbed that fat quarter bundle.     Time for your background check.

IMG_7090

Gray Floral

IMG_7093

White Paisley

 

IMG_7089

Cream print

IMG_7091

Warm Black

Tomorrow is Crazy Quilt Club,  yes a week late but they will be starting a new project.   If you are new to the group please let us know you are coming.     I also want to let you know that next week we are on regular hours for Easter weekend.

 

IMG_7092

Charcoal on Black

So after seeing them all, which one would you choose??

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Your Listing

There is so much going on,  I need to write it all down.    You might want to get out your calendar too.     There is a huge value in making lists.   The To Do,  the Honey Do,  the Round tuit,   whatever you call it having a list means making a plan.     I have been talking about getting things organized and done over the past few weeks,   and one of the ways to help keep things moving is lists.    Whether you set reminders with your phone or laptop,   or use a notebook,  or post it notes on your bathroom mirror or fridge having it written down can improve your finish rate.     So are you ready,??  Her is what is going on in the next week.

IMG_6979

Green!!! 

Tomorrow is not only St Patrick’s Day,  it is National Quilt Day as well.     So we decided to have a play day.    I have instructions for a simple block made from charm squares and strings ( any skinny strip of leftover fabric )  that I will have on hand,  as well as the scrap collection from the shoppe for us to make a project with.     Anyone who comes in and participates can have 10% off their entire purchase tomorrow.    This includes scrap fabric donations that will go into this project.    The resulting quilt when finished will go to a local charity.   Which one depends on the size of the finish.

Next week,     We will be closed on Wednesday because I have several appointments that cannot be missed.    But I will be able to see some of you at the First Dutchess Quilt Guild meeting that night.    Eleanor Levie is the guest speaker and it will be fun.     The following day she will be running a workshop through the guild that will take place her at the Shoppe.      I am excited,  she has a wonderfully colorful and playful attitude about quilts and I know it is going to be fun.

And then next Saturday,  a week later than usual the crazy Quilt Club will meet,  and they will be starting a new project.     If you are planning on attending and are new please let us know,  you can contact me or Diane Johnson.

IMG_7010

A  piece of Vintage Crazy Quilt for your enjoyment.   

So did you get all that?    Did you write it down?     Have you made a list of supplies for your project?   Bring it tomorrow and take advantage of the Quilt Day!!     See you soon.

Posted in Uncategorized

Not Powerless

This last week I have been both frustrated and joyful over the loss of electrical and technological power of my daily life.   Even though my home and business had only minor power blips during the storms, I have been dealing with a dying laptop and trying to retrieve the important stuff from it before it dies.     I am still writing this post from old technology.      There is the frustration,  but the joy is in the stitching.

So I have been thinking a great deal about how our ancestors made quilts.     Yes by hand,  but also cutting with scissors,  without electricity for seeing to thread needles, or choose colors.      Yes there are treadle machines,  and I have two,  but how would your color choices change if you had to spend all winter choosing colors by diIMG_1056m interior daylight, or firelight?     I know that for myself the quilts I make this time of year are brighter than any other.  That may be a hint.   Just check out these new scrap pineapple blocks I made this week.  Mostly purples and yellows.   And boy are they bright.   The photo doesn’t do justice.     The other photo is the Row by Row for our shoppe for 2018.  The Theme is Sew Musical.   More on that coming in a future post.  

So our ancestral quiltmakers used the brightest colors they could.   Dyes were not always capable of producing the clear bright color we are so used to,  and with the fading of age and use many antique and vintage quilts IMG_1053

were much brighter in their original condition.     Classic combinations such as red and green on white,   red and white,   chrome green and cheddar orange were wildly popular in their day,  partly because the fabrics were available in reasonably fast dyes,   and partly because these high contrast combinations showed up better in low light.    And the higher contrast may have even made them easier to stitch. 

The other benefit of hand making quilts in winter weather is the quilting.   There is something wonderful about sitting near  bright window with a warm quilt draped over your lap as you rock your needle back and forth making lovely quilting designs.  This is the joy of no electricity, and it feels powerful and peaceful.

If you are interested in trying hand work join us for our handstitchers club,  our next meeting will be this coming Tuesday at 10 am.  We will be finishing up some past projects, and prepping for an embroidery stitch sampler.   It will begin in earnest at our April meeting.    Supplies and more information is on our Club News page.    We also run several skillbuilder workshops in handwork.    Those run by appointment so let us know which one you want to do and when you want to do it and we will do it.

Lastly,  the BOM will meet tomorrow morning.   Our meeting last week was postponed because of weather so I hope to see those members bright and early!!   The parking lot is totally clear so we are ready!!!

Posted in Uncategorized