Saturday, October 29, 2011

Come one, come all...

 It is an online quilt show! 

You mean I can look at finished quilts... all evening... with me feet up and my pumpkin spice tea within arm's reach? I am all for that! Amy's Creative Side is hosting a fall blogger quilt show this week. I can't seem to grab the button without grabbing the code window as well... so just follow the link in red above and it will take you there.

I have browsed quite a few fabulous quilts already and plan on perusing more later on. For now I thought I would join the party, er I mean show,  with my latest finish. OK, so it was done in June, it is still my latest finish. It was a UFO started over a decade ago so I was happy to have to get it done.  A flannel quilt in June is about as appealing as a popsicle in the Arctic, but hey... I'll take what I can get, when I can get it. It is a Bow Tie quilt in the Magic Circle setting done in plaid flannels.

Magic Ties
I began this quilt in 1999 using freezer paper and a set of plaid flannels heavy with reds. I had half a thought to make it for my grandfather who was recovering from a broken arm/shoulder and living in a rehab center at the time. It seemed masculine and appropriate. Piecing went slowly because I was doing it the old fashioned, set-in seam way using the freezer paper templates to fussy cut the stripes and their edges to guide my machine sewing. He passed away before I got very far. I put it away and got it out to work on periodically over the next dozen years. I could only take that kind of piecing  for so long. Finally I had enough complete magic circles  to call it FINISHED... or did I? I still had fabric left! Sigh. I decided that I should make it one row larger on both sides or use up the rest of the flannel, which ever came first. This time I had planned my father as the recipient as he had suffered a debilitating stroke and is now confined to a wheel chair in a nursing facility. It ended up being 20 blocks total, 5 x 4 setting with each magic circle having 4 bow ties for a total of 80 bow tie blocks. And I STILL had a little fabric left!

With the top finished I set about finding just the right plaid flannel for the backing... no mean feat in APRIL and MAY!  I found something acceptable and set about piecing a few of the leftovers together to make it a bit bigger. That turned into a mission to use up EVERY LAST SCRAP of flannel from the original set. It was also a bit more challenging to do than I imagined. I built the label out of smaller bow ties and included it at the intersection of the stripes. I pieced the center octagon out of a single piece of muslin so it would be easier to write on. I managed to use everything I had except a handful of pieces of less than 3" and one weird colored, brownish purple fat eighth that I didn't use at all. 

Then it came time to quilt it... UGH! not my strength to begin with but I had no time to waste, it was coming down to the wire. I layered it up and started quilting. My machine WOULD NOT quilt this quilt. It had been tuned up and cleaned recently, it was sewing fine, it would quilt on the backing and batting with no problem but skipped 8 out of 10 stitches through all three layers. I tried three layers of other fabric and batting with no problem, tried new needles, different thread... NOTHING worked.  I had already decided the name would be Magic Ties... Magic because of the setting, Ties because they are bow ties and because there are magic ties between a dad and his daughter, family ties etc. This was my quilt muse's subtle way of telling me that "Magic Ties" needed to be TIED, not quilted. So tied it was, every three inches with the perle cotton strings on the back so as not to disturb the look of the front. I bound it in a perfect regular cotton fabric as flannel would be too bulky and not wear as well (not to mention being nearly impossible to find in late May as mentioned before). I LOVE this quilt and LOVE my dad too so it is a good match. I hope that it brings him some warmth and comfort this winter. I miss him, as we do not live close by. I miss the capable, independent, funny person he used to be before his stroke even more. Happy Father's Day Dad.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Challenging Week

This week has been crazy busy around here. I was gone two weekends ago for an unexpected visit to family  and so fell behind in pretty much everything. Then spent the week trying to catch up and get ready for camping the next weekend. After being gone all weekend again (camping) I have spent the week cleaning up from camping, having an elderly house guest for a few days who needed a ride to a doctors appointment, getting the kids from school two hours early everyday because of early release week, doing teacher conferences for two and dentist and eye appointments and the regular martial arts and dance routine. Plus, making Halloween costumes, running errands, cooking, attending a Pack meeting in costume... it has been a finely choreographed ballet of meetings, appointments, pick up times and fitting everything else in the middle.

I have managed only a few hexagons worth of sewing on my small hexie project. Other sewing has been sidelined unless you include the shimmery under-skirt for a princess costume, alterations to a black cloak for Charon (ferry man over the river Styx) , two Greek tunics with sashing and laurel wreath headpieces, a viking/scandian vest and the Frankenstien'ed three headed Cerberus dog made from three stuffed animals. I guess that is sewing too, just not quilting related sewing.

I have been doodling a lot, mostly on whatever paper there is at hand, trying to figure out the new tangle for the weekly challenge over at I Am The Diva. It is called Punzel and it is a kind of hard one. I start out OK and then it can go south pretty fast. I have a few I am happy with on scraps of paper, but the rest of the composition did not work out as planned. Every time I try to do it "for real" I am not happy with the Punzel part. It does not come smoothly for me and the results can diverge pretty rapidly from pretty similar beginnings. So, here it is Friday afternoon. Half the family is gone for the weekend on another scouting activity, the remainder is tired from the week and from being outside since 1pm carving pumpkins and playing. They are vegging out watching Magic School Bus episodes from the library and I took the opportunity to sit down and pull the trigger on this challenge. Here it is.
Health Awareness
Is it me, or do the first two S's at the beginning of each one look a lot like one of the 'cause ribbons'? I have been thinking a lot about women's health recently since I know a couple of women (and one man) who are in the process of battling various serious illnesses. So, I colored one of the ribbons pink for breast cancer, and one red for women's heart health. I also like the way I ended the Punzel motifs. It is hard to deal with an 'endless' pattern like that when it is all braided and twisted together and you want to bring it to an end.  This is a good way to end it and open to some variation as well. Practicing and playing with this this week has allowed me, for a few moments at a time to slow down the frenetic pace. It would have been even better if I had had results that were more satisfying, but growth is good too. Obviously the challenge pattern was... well, a challenge and this is the first time I have used Swarm and I have no idea what you call the scaly pattern on the left. I am not yet comfortable enough with this pattern to make it anything other than the focal point of the piece. I can't seem to make it bend and curve to my liking without distorting it too much. It is also difficult to overlap them without losing the rhythm. I guess I need to practice this one more!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Zentangle challenge #2

This week's challenge, posed by The Diva, was to use a tangle pattern as your 'string' (the basis of your piece) and then fill it in with other tangle patterns (or the same one as the case may be); a tangle within a tangle. This challenge left me thinking a lot about contrast and the lightness or darkness of different tangle patterns when seen as a whole. Part of the trick of putting tangle patterns together successfully, in my limited experience, is achieving the right contrast between dark and light so they either blend seamlessly or stand out enough from each other that they don't get lost, depending on your goal. There are other factors as well; the use of perspective, shading, the visual texture of the tangles, color (which I have not ventured into yet) and a host of other things that I am sure I am not even aware of.

Comfortable Grids and Lines

So I fell back on my quilting knowledge and picked a dynamic but simple repeating shape, the Apple Core. I am sure it has another, tangley name but I don't know what it is. I chose to fill it with the kind of patterns I am most comfortable with, those containing grids and lines. These patterns are,  clockwise from the top left, Paradox, Puf, Betweed and Keeko (gee, think I've been spending a little too much time at I like the echoing textures and similar contrasts on the opposite corners. I like the balance of it as a whole and the movement  it seems to have because of the overall shape.

Caution, Curves Ahead
Then I spent every free moment for a few days thinking about, looking at and doodling more organic, curvy, free form shapes; can you say 'mildly obsessed'?  I love them for their freedom and asymmetry but they are not a style that comes easily for me. I had many disappointments and a few great images... done in pencil on the backs of envelopes etc. I finally came up with Caution, Curves Ahead this afternoon while waiting for my daughter at dance class . Of course it is on cruddy paper from a little notebook I carry around and was done with a black ball point pen and a dull #2 pencil, but I am a little afraid to try it again for fear it would not come out as well (that and I have NO more time to work on this this week!). Here again I struggle with my need for order and symmetry (in my art, since my surroundings are constantly a disaster)... note that there is not a straight line in the bunch, no grids, no regularly intersecting lines... yet the symmetry of the main shape (something like Sanibell, but not exactly) is part of its charm. I also like the alternating light and dark contrast of the patterns. The dark darks make it dramatic and the whole thing has a deco feel to it. I think the patterns here are Sanibelle, Fescue, Mooka, Zenplosion Folds and something else there at the bottom of I think I've seen, but don't know the name of. To see what other tanglers are coming up with for this challenge go to the Weekly Challenge.

**Edited** to add one more that I started and hadn't had time to shade (until the bus was 10 minutes late).

Work in Progress...

Yes, that would be singular...this week has been occupied with other things; getting ready for a big camping event, family visits to one who is ill, the usual housework, getting an auction item ready for a school fundraiser, you know, regular life things. My creative life has spiked in a different way (like I need more encouragement!) in that I have formalized my doodling pass time, which I do when I have no hand sewing project readily available and officially started "tangling" as in ZenTangle. There are lots of things free motion quilting and that kind of drawing have in common. I have often noted that FMQ can be both meditative and relaxing when in the right mind set. Both that and tangling take concentration and not too much actual thought/planning. If you think too much about what you are doing and where you will go next you get yourself in trouble, but total concentration is a must. That seems like an oxymoron, but if you have done either I am sure you know what I am talking about.

So, down to business:
In Progress: 
Everything that was here last week is still here and still pretty much in the same state (unfortunately). I have put lots of thought into how I want to finish off the Crumb quilt and made a little progress on additional blocks, but nothing to write home about. The hexie project that was "new" a few weeks ago can now fall into this category, don't you think? I did make lots of progress on this while away from the house and machine this past week. Now I need to cut out lots more green hexies and two half flowers worth of one more yellow fabric. This one will go camping with us this weekend, I hope I have time to work on it.

Pardon the wrinkles, it has been traveling around with me and is now too big for its box unless folded. 

New Projects:
No new projects! Yea! OK, well, maybe that is not strictly true... I am participating in a weekly challenge involving ZenTangle (see the new button on the right sidebar and my first post from last week) but that it a little thing. And, oh yeah, I found a stack of orange and green squares left over from another project. Hey, we can have fabric jelly rolls, layer cakes and turn overs... why not fabric leftovers?! They never spoil, these are from 2003! I guess they can get kind of stale and tasteless like old spices, just think about those calicos leftover from the 90's. Anyway,  I want to whip up a fall quilt with those and use them up. I posted about that on Monday's post. And I posted a great fall color inspiration last week too. I would like to add that as a semi regular posting because there are so many great color schemes out there waiting to be discovered.

That covers it for this week. Hopefully I won't be too busy recovering from camping to post something exciting next week. Have a great week and check out other quilters progress over at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Not Much Monday....

I would love to say that I have made all sorts of progress on stuff this week, but the plain truth is that I have been busy with other stuff! I did finish the Greek Chitons I had cut out last week. Made belts for them too. Now all I have to do are the laurel wreaths and a couple of drapey things to go over the shoulders. I finished two fleece blankets, 4 more to go. I also sorted through a bunch of the scrap buckets to reorganize them into more parts for the crumb quilt, light and bright scraps, larger pieces that need to be put away and 'the uglies' pile (and, oh boy, some of them are REALLY bad, 15 year old calicos!).

While doing this sorting I ran across a whole set of 3" squares I cut out for this quilt I made my oldest in 2003. His little 3 year old, live music loving self latched onto the guitar fabric and wouldn't let it go so I had to make him a quilt! It was not one of my great triumphs (could that print be any louder and busier?) but I always liked the label... I AM such a rock star, everyone should want my autograph!

 I ended up using mostly light gold/tan with one stars worth of blue and one of orange. That left all the greens and many of the oranges and a few extra golds. I ended up using the left over blues for something else I think because there were none with this pile. Being that it is fall/Halloween and I have been seeing oodles of themed quilts I thought these might make a cute table topper or something if I could find an arrangement that would use most of them up. So while little daughter was swinging on the rope in the yard (a FAVORITE activity) I laid them out and decided that a simple trip around the world arrangement would use most of them. I will back it in black and try to use up the last of the squares back there somehow. So now it is in stacks and hopefully I will get a couple of hours to whip out this small project this week (but don't hold your breath). Of course, there may be something else interesting to do with a bunch of squares. Got any other ideas?  For more on what is going on in the quilting lives of other bloggers check out Design Wall Monday.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

That was fun!

Oh, the wonders of the web and procrastination! I stumbled upon a lovely website that offers a Zentangle challenge every week. If you have not heard of it, from what I gather, Zentangle-ing is sort of like controlled doodling with a purpose. I have posted a doodle of my own in the past, here . It and its cousins take up pages and pages of handouts and notes given to me during various presentations. I listen, I do. I even pay attention and have questions and comments and things to say about the presentations... but all the while I fill my pages with ink. So, despite not having had any instruction or actually having ever even read any of the many Zentangle books available I thought I might participate in this weekly exercise. I am interested and I am also trying to get my sister interested as well. She is a gifted artist with many different media but has less time to devote to it (and lets face it, she does a better job of cleaning her house than I do!) and tends to need a 'reason', a problem to solve, a purpose even! Hey, procrastination is all the reason I'll ever need! But anyway, this week's challenge appears to be something sunflower inspired. Since the doodle I posted a while back kinda fits that bill I re-worked it in the 3.5" square format of a "tile" and will submit it. Check out the other fabulous 'tangles' at 'I am the Diva'.

Color inspiration for fall...

OK, yesterday's post didn't have nearly enough pretty photos as it should. So, I am pulling these out for eye relief and because the season is right.

 I suppose I could have called this post "Oh Nuts!". A couple of weeks ago middle son wanted to cut open a buckeye nut pod from the back yard to see what was inside. Those buckeye nuts are such gorgeous brown colors! He started looking around for more so he could give them to his friends and his teacher when I told him that some people think that rubbing a buckeye is lucky. We found all sorts of nuts back in the woods, acorns, hickory nuts etc, but I think the squirrels had gotten all the rest of the buckeyes. He also found a huge number of uninhabited snail shells over by the downspout that had such fragile, subtle grey and white and soft brown colors. I just love the shapes of the hickory nuts, they look like tiny little boats...or the segments of an orange peel quilt block. The 'eye' on the buckeye reminds me of a quilt block too... an uneven cobblestone block. That would be pretty in all rich warm tones of brown and red-brown with cooler beige centers. Of course I had to include some leaf colors as well in my little tableau.

So I took this set of photos as imported a couple into Abode Kuler and made some pallets from them. If I needed a new fall project (which I most assuredly DO NOT) then I might look to these for inspiration.
Lucky Buckeye
Oh Nuts

Then of course there is the Stinging Rose Caterpillar that my husband found on an oak tree in his grandmother's yard and had to bring home to show us. This little guy lived with us a few days and even went to preschool with little girl.  Then we let him off on an oak tree of our own. His colors do not look fallish to me, but more like summer. Still an inspiring collection of colors and tiny little stinging hairs!

I hope you are having a beautiful productive fall day (I certainly am not sitting here posting a blog entry instead of cleaning my house as I should!). See you Monday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Midweek Progress

Well, not as much to report as I would like, but isn't that always the case? Between a sick kid, a sick dog (don't ask what I've been cleaning up for the past two days!) and a sick me and a couple of non-quilting but legitimate sewing type projects the quilting stuff has been mostly sidelined this week.

 Currently in Progress:

  • My Tweets BOM by Erin Russek - no movement since last week, although I peeked at her post on Monday and this month's block is awesome and will be downloadable on Friday!
  • Crumb Along project with Jo at Jo's Country Junction - see my post from Monday, it is getting exciting and is the only quilting project I have worked much on this week.
  • bonus triangle quilt no new progress this week

  • Modern Workshop Jelly Roll quilt applique borders - I got both long borders sewn on and one of the short borders up on the wall with the quilt to figure color placement of the flowers. I was VERY disappointed to realize that the "short" borders will have just as many flowers as the long ones did (because the addition of the long borders also makes the quilt wider) and so will take just as long to applique all those silly things on there and just as long to starch and stitch all those leaves (4 leaves per flower = another 40 leaves x2 borders = 80 MORE.... ugh). I will show a photo when there is more progress on this 
On Deck: 

  • Don't even talk to me about what is on deck... it might as well be UNDER the deck at this point.

New Projects: 
  • Costumes for Cub Scouts, one down, one to go, plus some victory laurels to make
one Greek chiton down, one to go, ready for cutting out - and no, this is not the sick dog
  • Hexie hand project... This is the one that saw the most progress this week because I had plenty of sit and wait time with the kids' lessons etc... 4 flowers complete, the 5th is almost ready for putting together and that might be all I need for the doll quilt size, plus a bunch of green. What do you think of the alternating greens?

    • BSA fleece panels I found for my guys are being layered and "quilted" so you can see the fleur de lis on the backside (the yellow on the left is the back of the finished one) - trying to finish in time for fall camping, 1 is complete, the 2nd needs a little contrasting fringe and primitive quilting (and I have a third for my hubby because he kinda wants one too!)

    well, um, one chiton is finished and one fleece throw is finished... does that count?

    Check out what other people are finishing over at Freshly Pieced.  

    Monday, October 10, 2011


    This weekend, in between watching middle son get excited over dissecting a shark and taking little daughter into a mini clinic to have her hurting (infected) ears looked at and getting her cold from last week myself  I worked a little on the crumb quilt that I expect I will call Heart of Gold. What possibilities! I am getting really quite excited about this quilt and am running out of wall space. I managed to piece a number of new blocks in the last week and this weekend got the new ones up with the old ones to see what more is needed. Wow,

    The whole collection, minus un-grouped 4" blocks yet to be sashed or made into stars

    what possibilities! I also put together a few sets of 4 4" blocks in little 2x2 window units with sashing to make them the right size. I think I like the dark sashing with no setting blocks, the light sashing is just too distracting, as is the high contrast setting block. Do you see the units I am talking about? What do you think? I need a few more wonky stars with crumb centers (does anything with a 'crumb center' sounds like a dessert, or is it just me?) to scatter around and I will probably add a few more other blocks with flying geese and other things to have enough variety. I do still want to sample a lay out with no wonky stars, maybe an on point setting... lots to think about. I also need to decide on how large it will be. If it is less than 60" square I could submit it for a guild challenge in February that it is perfect for, but I have some misgivings about that including, but not limited to the fact that I might want to make it bigger than that. Of course at 7x7 I run out of wall space so that becomes a problem in and of itself. What do you do when you run out of wall space? Floor is not a good option for me because of where the sewing machine is and there are too many children and dogs running around in this house to make it practical to leave it there for any amount of time.

    WOOP WOOP! linear editor just kicked in - gonna have to
    fix the vertical mismatch on  these sashing peices!

    an example of the light sashing - distracting right?

    I also have laid out the third border for the Moda quilt that I've been working on. I was optimistic that the "short sides" wouldn't take as long to applique because they wouldn't have as many flowers on them... NOT SO! The 'short' side is made longer because the two long side borders make the quilt wider so there are JUST AS MANY flowers on the short borders as the long ones... sigh. This is going to be a longer term project than I first imagined! I will post photos when there is more progress.

    For more of what other people are up to check out Design Wall Monday.

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Crumb-y progress.

    I tell ya, the word "crumb" must have a thousand and one puns and I am determined to use them all before this is over! is it even really a pun, or is it called something else? I will leave the semantics to some one more language-centric than I.

    Anyway, it's been a long week here at Cut'n It Up. The reading program at the elementary school is in full swing and that means a few days a month dedicated to processing reading forms, filling out certificates and awarding prizes. The first month always comes with making stars with names and photos too, which takes FOREVER. It especially takes a long time when nearly the entire grade is participating. It is great to have so many enthusiastic readers... it just makes for a lot of work for the volunteers.
    The whole collection from this week
    So, it was later in the week than usual that I got to sit down with my scraps and sew up some more blocks for the crumb quilt. This week's assignment was using triangles, which I have a lot of left over fromother stuff. I used to fond of the pinwheel arrangement, but recently I have really liked the broken dishes look. So I used that a couple of times, it seems like a lot of 'structure' for a crumb block, but it is growing on me. Since I have lots of 4" blocks to incorporate I made one broken dishes that will make a 4" block all by itself (it is in the group of 4 4" in the picture above). I was really surprised to come across those particular HST's because they are from a quilt using Thimbleberry fabrics I made in 1999 and gave to my mother the Christmas of 2001.  My 'assigned' triangle blocks are below. I will try to use the strip of triangles in at least one more block if I can because I like the repeat.

    I made 6 more wonky stars with crumb centers to include in the mix as well as a few heart blocks, two new stars and finished up a four patch. I like the harlequin look of the green and gold heart and the bird house fabric is making a few more appearances. They are too cute!

    I hope to be putting a few of the 4" block arrangments together with some sashing (what color should I use?) and getting everything I have up on the design wall this weekend. I am anxious to see what it is going to look like all together. Check out the rest of the work going on with the Crumb Along here.

    Have a great weekend.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Another WIP Wednesday...

    Hello all. I am back this week to report how much I did (not) get done this week! This is motivating, but also a little frustrating because there is so much I would LIKE to get done that I never seem to get around to.

    Currently in Progress:

    • My Tweets BOM by Erin Russek - I am nearly finished with the July block, I need to make 7 flower center circles and sew on those and one more 5 petal flower and one leaf. I may try to choose colors for the August block this week, or decide if I am doing a smaller version  (I am out of my background after one more block anyway and I am horrible at finishing large tops so I may throw in the towel at 9 blocks) 
    • Crumb Along project with Jo at Jo's Country Junction - I have 6 new blocks and a short stack of parts to make more stars. I hope to add 4 or 5 blocks using triangles as a base (this week's assignment) and maybe another heart

    • bonus triangle quilt got pulled out and I put together a few blocks between other things. I should sit and trim HST's in the evening one night this week to get them ready for sewing. This is a LO of the blocks I have. I have two more without the red corners (25 total) and the makings of almost this many again. Does anyone know what this block is called? These are each 6" finished so it is still pretty small.

    The HST's came from trimming the bonus triangles off of the points of this quilt..
    Queen Sized pinwheel quilt, tied, 1998/99
    The LO pattern was inspired by this quilt...
    Flannel bed topper, 2001
    • Modern Workshop Jelly Roll quilt applique borders -This was the most commented on quilt from last week's post Thanks!- it has that breezy modern vibe to it thanks to the great Moda fabric. I have totally finished the second long border and gotten the first three flower stem groups on the first short border. I need to get it up on the wall and decide on flower colors so I can get it glue-basted in place. Then there are those leaves I mentioned last week...
    On Deck: 

    • Debbie Mumm wall hanging set completed except for hanging sleeves. I DID NOT get this done despite it being an EASY finish (hangs head) . 
    • design pieced parts of Spring Basket wall hanging I posted about here - still not done or even thought about
    • Garden BOM quilt never made it out of the drawer

    NEW projects (WHAT, I don't need NEW projects!)
    • costumes fitting the theme for Fall Family Camping with Cub Scouts in October - we are in charge of the Saturday night campfire and want to do it up in style!
    • DANG IT! I resisted the hexie craze for SOOOO long and was fine with it until I saw the hexagon die cut thing at school while I was doing my volunteer thing. Ugh! I also happened to have a few sheets of card stock so I whipped a few out and dug through the repro stash... 
    I have some pink and purple and LOTS of blue but I think I will stick to different yellow flowers with the same red center surrounded by green, possibly alternating between the two since I doubt I have enough of either one to do the whole thing. But then it depends on what I decide to make out of it and how big it will be. Dolly quilt anyone?
    • I drafted myself a 16" version of the Swoon block and figured out cutting requirements and have thought about throwing a few of these together for a comfort quilt for a friend/relative who is having a rough health battle right now. I may hold off for now since her treatments and condition tend to make her overheat more than anything... not sure. 

    NADA! because we also did a lot of this kind of thing this week...

    fall weather is lovely and it is very hard to keep the kids inside. 

    Hope your week was awesome too (and you got more sewing done than me!)

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Blessings of the web...

    I attended a very interesting talk this weekend about children and technology; TV, games, computers, the internet, Facebook, cell phones, etc. The upshot in the end was that, just like with many other aspects of life, you have to function as the "crap filter" for your kids. None of those technologies are 100% bad, but the good that can come from them must be found and bad filtered out. I think that is true with adults too, we just have to do it for ourselves.
    The internet in particular can be both good and bad. Browsing quilt blogs in particular can be an amazing source of inspiration and motivation, as well as an endless time-suck that keeps us away from the actual sewing machine! It can be a window into our lives that we would rather some people not use at all, while we welcome others with open arms, or comment boxes as the case may be. I have belonged to an online community of women raising children since 2000 that has been both tremendously helpful in a practical sense as well as incredibly emotionally supportive. The only downside to that community is that people look at you strange when you start talking about your 'good friend' from thousands of miles away that you have never met!  Today's design wall is an example of the wonderful good that can come from on-line communities, in this case a quilting one. The quilt on the wall today is the result of collaboration between 6 people in the US and Canada this past spring. We chose fabrics to make blocks and mass manufactured 6-8 of each fabric to exchange with each person participating.

    Stitch and Quilt Exchange Scrap quilt 2011
    The quilt is going to be fabulous and there are fabrics in there that I never would have chosen myself but that add tremendously to the overall look. The layout is of course not finished. In fact I have not yet made all the blocks I plan to make, although chunks of fabric have been cut and packed away in the project tub. It is a long term, slow and steady project that I plan to work on a bit at a time. I wanted to throw the blocks up this weekend to decide if I wanted to bring up yet another exchange for this winter so we can all widen our fabric scope. I hope I can engender some interest in it.

    Bookcase Quilt 2000-2001
    Another internet project that I derived a lot of pleasure from was a round robin type bookshelf quilt undertaken by 12 wonderful ladies spanning 5 countries and 12 months. I would almost be game for another one like that at some point, and not because I use the quilt a lot (see, its not even quilted - that is practically my signature!) but because the interaction between the people and the range of ideas and skills that were brought to it were so interesting. I guess that in the early years of the last century quilting promoted community by bringing people together to stitch and talk and support each other at a time when neighbors could be miles apart and not see each other for weeks or months at a time. In this century we are being brought together again by quilting, only now it can be from as much as thousands of miles and country boundaries away. Thanks for being part of my quilting community!