Wanda Gene's Musings on Life, Love and Loving the Quilting Life!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Further Adventures with Orca Bay


I have been coming along with my little blue strippies.  At least these pieces are 3 1/2" (but finish at 3").
These are really fun to make...and I have  made 72 easily before feeling the need to switch to something different.  Here are my blue strippies:

In the pic they are not yet trimmed but now they are.  I am in the process of removing the paper foundations also.

Now I can go back and finish last week's step.  I had about 3/4 of the first week's units finished when putting on Thanksgiving Day dinner for 15 relatives and friends slowed me down, quilting-wise.

You know, it's funny, I have been working on some little crumb blocks that remind me of these blue strippies.

The crumb units are also 3 1/2" unfinished and I used 4 to each block.  These were made for my Doctor Who quilt.  It is sashed and bordered in TARDIS blue.  As soon as I get it bound and photographed I will share it with you.

Many thanks to Bonnie for her Orca Bay Mystery Quilt


My First? Quilt


All of us who call ourselves quilters had to start with that first quilt.  Whether we started with a quilted pillow, a wallhanging, a crib quilt, a miniature quilt or we went straight to that most intimidating sort of the quilt....the BIG bed quilt, there was always the one we remember as our first quilt.

First quilts are rarely masterpieces.  Quilters who start their first to be a masterpiece rarely finish.  Or if we do, a few years later we realize that our concept of a quilted masterpiece has evolved into something quilte different.  Usually our first quilts are homely little projects with  strange combinations of colors and fabrics that do not play nicely together. 

My first was no different.  I wish I could show it to you!

But that brings me to a dilemma.  I can write about my first quilt (circa 1969), but it bit the dust long ago, a victim of being loved to death.  No pictures exist, and if they did, they certainly would not be digital.  And yet....and yet, I believe that pictures make to blog come alive.  We quilters are such visual creatures.  So hang in there, I do have pictures of my oldest surviving quilt!

Anyway, when I was 20 years old, about to be married and having never made a quilt before, I started a king size quilt for me and about-to-be DH.  I bought (from the La Mirada swapmeet, no less) some factory cutaways (remnants) that were a little heavier than broadcloth.  I cut the fabric into random rectangles, all 6" by whatever I could get.

These rectangles were joined into horizontal rows, and the rows were stitched together.  This sort of reminds me of what I make for pieced backings nowadays!  It was a brick quilt, but with REALLY big bricks.  It was layered with a polyester batting and a big flat sheet.   I tied the quilt with yarn and turned under both back and front edges and whipstitched.  We used it for a bedspread for years.

Aw, isn't that cute?  That's what I thought in 1975 when this picture with the accompanying pattern appeared in Woman's Day magazine.  It only took me three years to make, but I did finish my third quilt. (Number 2 also wore out eventually).  This is my son Jeff's quilt.

How about those 70's colors?  Looks a little dated maybe?  Oh, can you see that stripey fabric in green, gold and brown?..... that is leftover from the *actual* first quilt.   And the hand quilting is so far apart as to be ridiculous.   Okay, but the puppies are still cute as ever.  And this quilt still exists.

I even documented the quilt with my embroidered signature and the year.  Because I I loved making this quilt, I still love it, and I love the little boy (who is now a man) that I made it for.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Day for Showing Respect for a Fine Lady

Hi Folks,

I was going to write about my progress with Bonnie's mystery and about my first quilt, but life has gotten in the way, so I am going to write a bit about my DH's DM (Dear Mother).

She passed away this morning after a very difficult 1 1/2 years of slowly deteriorating health after falling and breaking her hip and arm. We spent all day yesterday with her, most of her children and another DIL, and the hospice nurses in the nursing home. She was in a sort of coma, but the nurses said that she could probably hear us talking. So talk we did. Some to her, and a lot to each other. Lots of holding her hand and gently pushing her hair back. Someone said that she got to be at her own wake.

The nurses told us that all her signs indicated that the end was very near. They were so gentle and loving with her, such as when they moistened the inside of her mouth with a sponge applicator.

Barbara was a great lady who was kind to all who knew her. She accepted me into her family when I married her first born son. When my own first child was born she sent a family member pick up our dirty laundry and drop off yesterday's freshly washed each day. She understood that I was having a tough time and feeling completely overwhelmed.

We occasionally took trips together, her and my DH and kids. Even in close quarters we always got along. My sons Jeff and Ed adored their grandma, of course. She took my little Eddie for a week when his brother Jeff was born, and she took both boys (and our dog) for 10 days so DH and I could go to Hawaii one year.

She was very fond of our German Shepherd Dogs that I had (one at a time) over the years. Personally, I consider that the ultimate test of good character in a person if they like my dogs. After all, my dogs are wonderful, smart, kind-hearted, and fiercely loyal. If a person somehow cannot see any of those doggy virtues, there must be something wrong with THEM.

I remember when we were getting our house ready to sell about 20 years ago. Grandma was in there with us painting the floor trim. That was so typical of her, always there when you needed her.

We are going to miss her: Mother, Grandma, Helper and Moral Compass of our family.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mysterious Goin's On over at Quiltville!

Hi Y'all!

This glorious mess on the right is what I am doing to follow Bonnie Hunter's new mystery quilt, ORCA BAY.

I have tiny hourglass units in all stages of completion (including a few more that still need cutting out).  These babies will finish at 2"....oh heavenly days, am I really making anything this tiny?  I guess I am committed because you can see the evidence right here.

I do hope that the next step will be a little easier, but knowing Bonnie, I'm not counting on it.

I decided to just follow Bonnie's suggested color scheme of black, red and blue instead of coming up with another set of colors.  Mostly because I like these colors for a quilt....so we'll see how it comes out in the coming weeks.

Every Friday, she will publish another step in the mystery.  This past Friday was the first step, except for the post where she introduces the mystery and gives us some idea of yardage requirements, suggested color scheme and so forth.  I had already pulled strips out of my bins and this weekend I was cutting and sewing like crazy.

I don't keep strips in 1 1/2", but I do keep 2, 2 1/2, 3, 3 1/2, 4, 4 1/2, 5, and 6 inches.  I found that I could cut 1 1/2" from a 4" strip and the leftover goes in the 2 1/2" bin and so on.  As long as I could cut 1 1/2" from any strip and have a leftover that is in a size that I keep, that works for me.  I find that doing this makes my strip bins even more versatile.

I have gotten this far without cutting into any fabric other than my strips.  I plan to press and cut into a few fat quarters to get the rest this afternoon. 

I hope you will check out Bonnie's blog and maybe cut, sew, piece, and quilt along with all of us who love all of her designs.