Thursday, January 29, 2015


I want to tell you a neat story.  I grew up with a lot of craftsmen and craftswomen.  Most of the men in our family worked with their hands in the construction industry.  My mother was a craftswoman who did wonderful embroidery.  I still have and treasure some pillowslips she made.  One of my grandmothers tatted and another grandmother made some quilts.  But the person I want to talk about today is my Aunt Thelma.  

Aunt Thelma was a remarkable woman.  I was only twelve years old when Aunt Thelma became a widow.  It was not until many years later when I became a widow at an early age that I truly appreciated what she had been faced with and what she accomplished over the years of being a single parent.

She did not finish her college degree before marriage.  She married and had her family and, all of a sudden one day, she finds herself a widow when my uncle suffered a heart attack and passed away.  I am sure there was not a lot of money saved up at this time.  They were simply too young to have amassed a large nest egg.  She was left with two children to support.  One on the cusp of being a teen and another who was a teen.

Besides providing food and shelter she needed to see to their education.  She went back to school and got herself a teaching certificate that allowed her to get a job in the public schools.  She became a very beloved teacher over the years and many of her students were grateful to her for the start she gave them in their elementary education.

During all of these years I was aware that she was a craftswoman.  She crocheted the most beautiful table cloths, baby blankets, and doilies.  You know, those doilies that were starched to stand up with the ruffles around the base of a lamp?

In her later years, she was suffering some health issues.  Her children by this time had moved out of state and my mother had passed away.  I went to visit her from time to time and we would have wonderful conversations.  She was a little annoyed with me because I left class room teaching and was pursuing jobs in sales and advertising.  She thought I was wasting my education.  She knew how valuable her teaching certificate had been to her and she knew there would always be a need for teachers and that I should keep my teaching certificate and practice up to date.

During these visits she was often crocheting something.  One of those times she was making this beautiful piece with butterflies on it.  I admired it and she explained the pattern to me.  She said she would make it one block at a time and then join them.  I understood what she was saying.  I later came to understand that what she was talking about at the corner joins would be called a "secondary pattern" formed by the four blocks.

On this particular day she asked me if I could crochet.  I told her I knew the basics.  She said she thought I was smart enough to read a pattern and that she knew I could count.  So she gave me the table cloth she was working on and told me to take it and finish it.  It was a stack of blocks that I needed to assemble.  She did explain the joining stitch to me and I thought I got it.  Not so much when I started working on it later.

I did try to finish it, but I am only a casual crocheter (is that even a word), and there was no way that I could put all these blocks together as well as she did.  So I put it in a drawer for safe keeping and thought that someday I would get someone to help me.  That day has not come.

Recently I was talking with her daughter and the subject of her mother's work came up.  I told her that I had a piece of her mom's work.  My cousin then told me that the wedding table cloth that her mother had made for her was lost in one of her many moves.  And that table cloth had been promised to my cousin's daughter, Aunt Thelma's granddaughter, when the cousin passed. 

I may not be smart enough to finish a table cloth made by a master; but I am smart enough to know when I have something in my possession that should live with someone else.  I want her granddaughter to have her grandmother's table cloth.

It took me a few days to find it.  It has been stored away too long.

So this beautiful table cloth is going home. . .  
Yes, this is where it belongs. . .
I am sending it with a lot of love for and beautiful memories of a woman that I admired when I was a young girl and came to appreciate much more when I became a widow with a small child in my adulthood.

Enjoy this piece, Lydia!!!  It is certainly a wonderful remembrance of your very talented grandmother.

See the beautiful butterfly in the center?

And another one develops when four blocks are joined together.

It is not everyday that I have the opportunity to pay it forward in such a meaningful way!  


Sunday, January 25, 2015


The last few days have been rainy and dreary.  I am not a big fan of dreary Tennessee winter weather.  It was so nice to be working on something that was bright and fun.

Texas Two Step is the modern version of Courthouse Steps.  This is done in Kona Solids and I used my fun Serpentine style quilting on my domestic sewing machine.  Love my Bernina!!

I started this project at the Girlfriend Retreat that I blogged about on December 21, 2014.  It has been sitting waiting for me to quilt it for a while.

Texas Two Step is designed by Jean Ann Wright for Cut Loose Press.  It uses Creative Grids Curvy Log Cabin Tool for the blocks.

The pattern includes a border.  I have chosen to omit the border.
I am making lots of pieces in this size (40ish by 36ish) to display over my mantle.

Since I have been quilting for many years, it is rare that I need to make a large bed-size quilt anymore.  I still want to try different patterns and making them small like this serves both purposes.

Sorry this picture is a little blurry.

This one is still blurry, but it does show the quilting a little more.

Maybe it is time for a new camera???


Monday, January 12, 2015


I have these bags and bags of scraps.  One of the bags had a lot of batiks that were strings that are too narrow for piecing but I couldn't throw them out.  What can I do with these?  Ooohhhh, maybe make a scarf??  Knit or Crochet?? 

So they have been sorted into color families and put into plastic bags.

I chose some Size 8 US needles and started by casting on 16 stitches.  I think I will just knit every row and see what happens.

Here is the pile of red/pinks.
So I have started here and I have been knitting for about 30 minutes and this is what I have.

Getting started was a little tedious with the thickness of the strings but as the piece grew it became easier.  

It became just too difficult to knit with this size needle so I took it apart and started over with a larger needle (Size 10 US).  This is much better!

Now I will continue to knit until I run out of strings.  I just like the act of knitting, I usually do not have a real pattern.  When this is finished I will decide what kind of project I will use it for.
Something about winter makes me want to pick up my knitting needles.  Wish I were talented enough to finish my socks or the sweater I started two winters ago....


Monday, January 5, 2015


I have started the blocks for my 2015 Modern Sampler using the book written by Katie Clark Blakesley, Lee Heinrich, and Faith Jones called Vintage Quilt Revival.

My small group of friends and I will be doing this as our BOM this year.  Our plan is to complete two blocks each month and have twenty blocks by October so we can put it together and have it quilted by Christmas, 2015.

Keeping to this plan will force me to complete a project and not create another UFO.

My first two blocks for January:

My fabric choices are Kona Color Solids and Kona Snow.
I am using solids to challenge myself.  I think working with solids forces me to really think about the value and hue intensity of each color.


Friday, January 2, 2015


Each year I choose a word or phrase to focus on throughout the year.  I don't usually share them publicly.  This year just seems to feel different.  I think I need to put this out to the universe as I work toward my goals for the year.

The word I have chosen for this year is QUIET.  By putting it in all caps makes a stronger statement.  It seems contradictory to use caps on a word that means less noise, less motion, less confusion.  The caps make it more than a word to me.  It grabs my attention and then leads me to a place in my soul.  

I live every day to the fullest and know that it is all I have.  That makes my days busy.  I am so fascinated by all that comes my way and want to engage myself fully into the experiences.

QUIET is a mental state of a place where I am safe and comforted.

Soon I will have a tangible item to display that says QUIET!  I will post pictures when I finish it.

Happy New Year 2015!!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 MEANS . . .

2015 means that I have a new slate to write on with my plans for the year.  I don't make resolutions, but I am trying to get some direction to the clutter and chaos in my studio and in my home.

I want to take a look at events I am involved with this year.  The first will be "Stitchin' In The Mall" on March 21st at Hamilton Place Mall, Chattanooga, TN.  We will have quilters set up to be making quilts and talking about quilts on National Quilting Day.  There will also be a Clothesline Quilt Show on display.  A second event at Hamilton Place Mall will happen in September to promote AQS Quiltweek in Chattanooga.

I have two quilters' retreats planned for the year:  one in April and another in November.

I have already committed to doing two workshops; a trunk show with lecture; and another class for area guilds.

A client has asked for a commission quilt to be ready by summer.

All of these things are the way I "do business" to help support my love of quilting as my passion.

After I list all of those commitments then I can look at the projects for my personal pleasure.

The list is way too long to include all of the projects I have started.  I will focus on a few of them with some pictures here.  When these are completed I will show a few more.

I did this much on this little landscape piece several years ago.  It only needs to be quilted.

These are blocks for the Farmer's Market quilt that I started 3 years ago.

More blocks for Farmer's Market quilt.

This is my Hexie project that is all pieced by hand and is ready to be quilted.

A block from Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt Easy Street from 2012.  These blocks need to be put together and then quilted.

Improv Magic Numbers Quilt that was started a year ago.  I have 5 of the 9 blocks finished.  The others need to be quilted and then assembled in QAYG style.

I think this is enough to include here.  It would be nice for me to do a regular update of progress on these pieces.  Let's see if that happens!!!

I have a list of new projects for this year also!