Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Life is Rich and Full!

Silence is golden…unless you have a blog!  I have been super busy since I last posted in October.  We made our annual migration from North Carolina to Florida, which is always a little discombobulating.  But we are grateful to live in two beautiful places.  Then I was off to the Houston Quilt Festival for lots of fun and an immersion in all things quilty.  Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, was up next and I cooked up a storm.  And now, we are well into the holiday season which means a much longer “to do” list but life mostly filled with many happy moments with family and friends.  At times like this, my husband and I often say, "Life is rich and full!"  To us, it means being grateful for our lives and all that they bring.

I did manage to stitch a bit in the last couple of months.  My “yellow quilt” is finally finished.  Here is the center block:

My niece's name, Emerson, is on the ship's flag.  Such an amazing little girl: kind and funny and smart.  So, as you have guessed, someday this quilt will belong to her.  The clipper ship pattern is by Elly Sienkiewicz.

In its final stages, this quilt top was a challenge!  A challenge  figuring out how to finish it, measuring the borders, making sure they would fit, designing a somewhat complex swag for the borders and stitching down a boatload of them!  It seems like I worked on it ALL summer!

I finally figured out what to place between the swags at the Houston Quilt Show.  HEXAGONS were everywhere!  Here is one of my favorite quilts from an exhibit of handmade French quilts. This quilt was entirely handmade from 3/4" hexagons.  My apologies for not including the makers' names -- I'm still looking for the paper where I noted them.

Don't you love fussy cutting??  Here's another example from a Japanese quilt:

My friend, Patsy, and I became so obsessed with hexagons that we went to two of the vendors and bought the paper pieces in a variety of sizes.  Sue Daley, an Australian quilter, has a site with patterns and paper pieces.  Paper Pieces is another source for the paper shapes in all sizes and templates as well.  Click on the names to link to their web sites.

Here's my first attempt with 1/2" hexagons completed in the hotel room.

I had never done any paper piecing before and it's quite addictive.  For someone who loves handwork, it's a dream.

Here's a version of the hexagons that ended up in my yellow quilt.  This one was actually a reject but you get the idea.

I'm hoping the quilt will be ready to show at The Elly Sienkiewicz Appliqué Academy in February 2013.  Stay tuned for more pictures of it soon.  This picture of dear Stella pretty much sums up how I'm feeling.

On a more important topic, there are many families in Newtown, Connecticut who are grief stricken with unthinkable loss.  As a former public school teacher, the reality that children are not safe in their school and the heroic actions of the principal and teachers, all women, affected me in ways that I can't express with mere words.  So, I join the increasingly loud chorus and say something must be done to stop this kind of violence. Now -- it has to happen now.  It is up to each of us to do our part.  In the meantime, let us all do what we can to help the victims and practice kindness in our daily lives.  

As she often does, Luana Rubin and equilter have begun a quilt making outreach for Newtown.  She is suggesting memory quilts be made for the families of the victims and others affected by this tragedy. She plans to offer more details in her next newsletter which you can access with the link to her web site above.