Tag Archives: sewing

A rebooting of sorts….

We’re home from holiday; my youngest daughter married her partner whilst on vacation, so I have a new son-in-law.  The wedding was small, a larger affair scheduled for next spring.  This alteration isn’t due to Mom’s death, but better news; The Burrito will get a little brother before the end of this year and his folks decided to adjust their nuptials accordingly.  Which means a wedding quilt is now in the works, which I officially started this morning.

Not exactly hexies, but definitely paper piecing….

Well, I began glue-basting honeycombs a couple of days ago, but now a block’s worth of paper pieces are waiting to be sewn together.  Not sure if that will commence today, but at least I managed to arrange these shapes into something eye-pleasing.

Our vacation was fraught with airline mishaps, but those were set aside amid the wonder of Miss Em learning to pull herself to standing, as well as three-year-olds having a fabulous time on boat rides.  In the flurry of wedding prep I was able to forget what happened in June, enjoying a brief window of life as it ever was.  Coming home, I immediately went north to help pack up Mom’s house.  However my siblings did a bang-up job, so instead I assisted in a new bride going through her closets and The Burrito’s wardrobe.  Not only did I bring home mementos of my mother, but bags of 2 and 3T sized clothes waiting for another little one in which to romp and roam.

Cousins awaiting the big event; my sister-in-law turned these into gorgeous bouquets and boutonnieres with blooms to spare.

Some items left for me didn’t make it to Silicon Valley; I gave my father’s quilt to my youngest, as when I made it she lamented the aged fleece blanket used for the back.  Upon inspection, my hand-sewing has stood the test of the last four and a half years, making me long to again hand-sew a quilt top.  Right now more comforters than I can count await my machine, one of which is for an impending grandson.  Fortunately that blanket won’t be more than some whole cloth quilting that I will probably do on my machine to save time.

I designed this today, adding some hastily cut up batiks to round out the necessary large squares. I’m happy with it, and we’ll see when I get around to sewing it together.

Saving time…. That’s a funny concept as August is already half gone, this summer still feeling like I’m dwelling in an alternate universe.  Glue-basting honeycombs and 1″ squares was also a part of it; what has happened to all my lovely routines?  Everything’s different, and yes I know that’s a part of life but, but, but….  In checking out Dad’s quilt, I was sent back to when both of my parents were alive, no grandkids were present, The Hawk just a shell of itself.  Dad’s quilt remains, my novel turned behemoth is done, a fourth nieto is on the way, and now I paper piece.  My, my, my; that’s a lot of changes.

Up close with my dad’s quilt; no obvious weak seams, yay!

Right after Mom died, I thought about what I was grateful for, because even during a storm taking stock of the blessings matters.  Goodness knows I have heaps of treasures, and I am cognizant of them.  But recently I shared with some of Mom’s sisters that I feel like everything, little and large, looks as though a veil has been removed.  I then expounded upon that with my youngest sister that the accompanying glare is pretty damn bright and boy I’m tired of squinting.  I’m weary of all this newness, wondering for how long will the sensation last, or is this just how the rest of my life will be, constantly staring out finding yet another long-held tenet is askew.  I don’t know, nor will I find that answer immediately.  I suppose if I live to be an old lady, squinting won’t seem odd mostly because my eyesight will be shot.  And if I do live a long time, with most of my wits about me, will I still miss my parents or might this enormous sense of loss remain?

My first quilt, now in a new home. What tales could this comforter tell….

Plenty of queries, maybe as many as the quilts waiting to be fashioned.  I can’t fathom when I might write again, but it’s not like I’m aching for distractions; I’m most grateful for fabrics and thread and my ironing board.  And exceedingly thankful for my family, their patience overflowing.  One more is on the way, due the day before Mom’s birthday, and I’m very appreciative of that too.  Maybe that’s the biggest lesson of all, saying Thank You while I still can.

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Works in progress….

Improv blocks that one day will be a quilt for yours truly….

Sewing has kept me sane lately, or at least out of trouble.  I’m currently hand-quilting a comforter, as well as playing around with scraps in an improvisational manner.  Seen a fair amount of my grandgirls, and of course there’s baseball.  The SF Giants just lost another series to the Oakland A’s, le sigh.  But the longer drawn breath, let out ever so slowly, is released as I can no longer chat about these games with Mom.

I love capturing a quilt draped over the ironing board; it looks so stained glass window-like.

Plenty of those moments have arisen, some easier to push aside than others.  I can’t seem to stop watching the Giants, not for as bad as they seem to want to start the second half of the season, ahem, nor for what they signified to my mother.  My mother….  Another deep sigh is taken for how she slipped out of view, that a month has passed since she died, for so many thoughts, too damn many to be honest.  The last few nights I’ve gone to bed, but not right to sleep, considerations popping like bubbles inside my brain as closed eyelids attempt to send me into dreamland.  Then I wake and it’s time to get my husband’s bag packed, make coffee, eat breakfast, drink coffee, and today write a little something.  While sewing has been a godsend, writing anything beyond a grocery list seems impossible.  I’ve read over maybe two chapters of the recently published section of The Hawk, should really get to grips with Part Thirteen, but it seems so hard.  And wondering when I might write again feels….

Some circular hand-quilting of which I’m pretty pleased.

It feels like some other life.  Mom sewed, I sew.  Mom read books, and I’ve done that, stumbling through one of my old drafts just to kill time.  That was last week, Friday I think.  The days kind of run together, one patchwork square at a time.

A quilt in memory of Mom, baseballs definitely one of the fabrics of her life.

I’ve been admonished to take each day as it comes, or each moment, whatever I can manage.  I do, it’s not like I have a laundry list of chores other than the laundry, ha ha.  And good things are waiting on the horizon, a family holiday in the Midwest right around the corner with a special event attached about which I’ll expound upon one of these mornings.  Still, losing Mom has been so effing different to when Dad died, I can’t begin to compare them.  Maybe I shouldn’t, for they weren’t the same person, the situations wholly opposite.  But they were my parents and I lump them together, especially now that they truly are together, lol.  They are back at each other’s side so far away from me and everyone else who loved them.  And even though I know I’ll be with them again one of these days, it’s an absolute bitca to be separated.

She’s seven months old with four teeth. Such a blessing to us all….

I’m fifty-two years old, but sometimes I feel as young as Miss Em, who has learned to crawl, added two more teeth to her growing collection, and is a superb snuggler.  God knows I need all the cuddles afforded me.

Slowly, slowly, slowly….

Hand-quilting was just what I needed last week.

In the past seven days I’ve watched plenty of Wimbledon tennis, walked Buttercup several times, and have managed a fair bit of sewing.

Haze from the County Fire in Lake County turned the sunset a gorgeous peach on the 3rd of July.

I made a baby comforter, basted how many hexies, cut squares for future quilts.

I considered titling this post The Hexies of Forgetfulness; it was so easy to baste while vegging out to tennis matches.

I’ve done much thinking, about various subjects, even a little about the next possible novels, several plot points having entered my consciousness.

Some machine quilting took place, waves along the solid blue.

I’ve washed laundry and dishes, written cards, and cut my husband’s hair.  I baked apricot bars due to the abundance having fallen from our tree.

And of course Buttercup napped….

And I took communion for the first time in weeks, which was particularly healing.

For all these tasks and accomplishments, everything has felt achieved in manners so ponderous, I wonder if time is trying to balance itself from the swiftness of June.  It’s only the ninth of July, but it feels like….  Should it be the end of the month, or the beginning?  Wimbledon is a set two weeks, and today was Manic Monday, but even that event colours how time has been altered; we’re eight hours behind the UK, so as the sun sets there, it’s still high in the sky here.

What does that mean?

My hubby was off all of last week, but today he’s at work, and I’ve kept busy with more laundry, snapping a new quilt, contemplating mopping the kitchen.  Writing this post supersedes the housecleaning, ha ha, but it’s just one thirty in the afternoon.  Buttercup naps most of the day, so she won’t get in the road.  An odd stillness surrounds me like a protective bubble.  Only a ticking clock permeates the quiet.

She wandered into my photo shoot this morning, bless her heart.

Is this how grieving works, not always tearfully, but in a kind of bumping-about way, as towels are hung on the line, my coffee pot drying in the drainer, games turning into sets that form matches won and lost….  And when Wimbledon is over, so will half of July as well, and then another week will pass and Mom will have been dead an entire month.

A hexie flower begun last night, finished up today while Juan Martin del Potro battled Gilles Simon.

Life beyond the here and now has never seemed closer, has never felt so certain.  Maybe it’s being in my fifties, or that I’m a grandma three times over.  Suddenly a veil has been lifted, a peek into what comes next subduing all my moments, and even in what should be an innocuous action, Mom pops into my head, as if I could again hold her hand.

In the photo above, a purple hexie was basted with red thread; I did several of those at Mom’s, probably on her last Sunday at home.  She napped for much of that day, having been a chatty Cathy on Saturday, when Justify won the Triple Crown.  When I completed sewing this hexie together, that red thread caught my eye, taking me back exactly one month ago today.  I sat to Mom’s left, my two other sisters on the sofa to her right.  We watched a race with no clue to the one we all were already in, facing the last turn. Our lives were altering as we laughed together, but time doesn’t stop.  In fact, the older I get, the more quickly it moves, except for right now.

I’m being jostled within a strange bubble.  And when it finally pops, what then?

A Duvet Cover Done and Dusted

Last week I finished Little Miss’ duvet cover, but proper photos never came about.  Her mum loved fabric from Heather Givans’ Literary collection, of which I have several fat quarters stashed just for my eldest.  In the meantime, both sides of the cover are edged in Classics, providing a little break from the superhero theme.

Draped in Marvel comics with a hint of library cards; Little Miss is quite pleased for her new bed cover.

I wasn’t certain what to start next sewing-wise, and as for the writing, I’m currently rereading what was recently published, checking for stray typos.  However, I’ll be leaving to help care for my mom, who hasn’t been well since April.  I might take some hexies with me, as they are portable, but more on my mind is family requiring love and assistance.

Of course my thoughts go back to when The Burrito was new and my dad was ailing.  This with Mom is different, yet parallels remain, the biggest being no longer am I of the younger generation.  A grandma now for three years, my role is that of a matriarch within my immediate family.  As an eldest daughter, I work in conjunction with siblings to facilitate the best care and treatment for our mum, but it’s not like when Dad was sick, because Mom was in charge then, and we were following her example.  While that experience prepped me for the future, often the future emerges with different rules.

Making a duvet cover was challenging, and while I wasn’t always enthralled with the task (and am not certain I would ever sew another), new processes were learned, increasing my sewing skills.  Mom will appreciate that metaphor, as she’s a seamstress from way back.  We can discuss fabrics and patterns in the coming days, or whatever she feels like chatting about; I recall my dad dictating our conversations, he loved to talk.  But I don’t feel like somebody’s little girl anymore, maybe the death of a parent ends that notion.  Now I’m someone else, an abuela yes, also….  Taking a deep breath, I await what comes next.  The best way to meet these changes is with open arms, a willing heart, and the awareness of grace at my back.  Of those three, the latter is most important, and upon that I will gratefully rely.

The Last of the (Mohican) Placemats

One, two, three…. Soon they will reside on my daughter’s dining table.

I can’t recall when I started these, would have to look on the blog for that information, but I feel like these placemats have been loitering on the quilt wall for, well, a good while.  And to be honest, I hadn’t planned to wrap up this project until autumn, in that other pieces are waiting, and these hues are more fall-themed.

Each has a different shade for the binding, the remnants of which I’ll sew together for another project.

But as I completed them, my daughter was ever so pleased.  Then suddenly I found myself busying with them….

And now the final three are finished, the table runner too.  I worked on that before visiting my grandson, then came home to find it draped over my sofa.  Dude!  Again, time has a funny way of arranging one’s schedule, as in where in heck did I find the time to put that together?

This one troubles me a bit; why did I use a large brown square right under a small one of the same colour? It was the first I made, then I left it for the very end…. Some questions will never have a proper answer, I suppose.

When I used to embroider, several pieces were going at once, but in sewing, I tend to stick to one quilt, yet lately I’m back to hither and yon; maybe it’s due to a small feeling of mastery?

Table runner alongside; making these satisfied my desire to use Southwestern shades, as well as fabrics I had on hand.

I basically know what I’m on about in this quilting gig, or perhaps the scattered nature of my life is bleeding into my hobbies.  Regardless, at least this project is in the can, leaving room for others clamoring for my attention.

Even the backs are constructed from what I had in my stash, although my batting scraps are now quite depleted. More quilting will refill that bag, lol.

Something else has been needling my brain lately, about which I’ll expound upon soon enough.  For now, here’s a point to ponder; what does sewing sound like?  Or writing, hehehe.  Recently Life Echo was introduced into my sphere, offering food for thought on various levels.  I’ll leave you with that intriguing notion, as revisions and quilts both call my name.

Not so haunted….

Several weeks ago I was perusing this blog, for what reason I can’t recall today.  But I stumbled upon a post written over five years ago concerning the inner editor and a novel I wanted to write.  Then my husband played for me “Pay My Debts” by Sharon Van Etten.  As if those two elements were fated in the stars, I’ve been giving serious consideration to an idea that never went further than a blog entry, yet somehow was waiting for one rather ponderous hawk to move out of the road.

A table runner’s underside; I added ivory sashing to make it a wee bit wider.

And speaking of getting out of the way….  I’m heading off to help out at The Burrito’s house, where I hope to further consider a future WIP in addition to enjoying my nieto and his family.  I’ve completed the table runner for my eldest daughter, which came about as suddenly as how a five-year-old novelistic notion seems to have embedded itself firmly in my gray matter.  I’ve solved the issue of how to handle my squeamishness; just throw in some social issues, lol!

Working on hexies early this morning while my hubby slept in, wrangling a nasty cold. I took this shot long after I’d been basting, too dark to get a good photograph.

Now to figure out backstory, and not only for the main characters.  I’m going to set this tale in another galaxy, haven’t written sci-fi in ages.  (Magical Realism doesn’t count in my book, ha ha, and no, this doesn’t have to do with those Dorlinians.)  This will be a cross of the murder mystery/love story I had originally envisioned enhanced by topical commentary.  Those contemporary musings will override the more gory details, but I need to fill in the blanks only my imagination can solve.

Meanwhile, a completed table runner.  I machine quilted it yesterday, added the binding, then hand-sewed it last night while listening to the Warriors beat the Pelicans.

There’s a distinct pleasure in resurrecting an idea, especially when a surprise lifts the whole thing from half-baked haziness to something I can actually contemplate, sort of like the table runner that now only needs a good washing.  Placemats still linger on a quilt wall, but for whatever reason, this decorative item is finished.  Why do some projects hover on the sidelines while others burst forth as if fashioned by about eight other hands?  I was thinking about this over the last couple of days while this table runner went from a stack of scraps to rows on the quilt wall, then onto my ironing board, seams being pressed as flat as I could make them.  Will this new novel, currently entitled Haunted, come about just as easily?

Stepping out to do some pre-travel laundry, I was pleasantly met by a rush of fragrant roses and lilacs. They might not be so plentiful when I return, so I snapped this shot. If only I could capture the scents as well as the beauty….

I won’t know until at least July, no time to write, barely time to sew.  But I am clearing off my little quilt wall, those Southwestern shades dwindling in number.  As projects fall under the presser foot, fictional facts accumulate in my head, very much as how fabric adheres to batting, then gets switched around.  Post-it notes work well too, but I’m nowhere near ready to do more than mentally swap out the whys and wherefores.

The smallest amount of precipitation fell this morning, like powdered sugar dusting a delicious cookie. And the smell, oh my goodness. The memory will suffice when this rose is long gone.

Yet a necessary sense of direction now exists; I have a plan, as Little Miss likes to say.  And not only direction, but purpose, which previously this idea was lacking.  I like my melodrama with more than a touch of reality, magical or no.  Allegories are good for the soul, and when placed in outer space, any number of situations can be employed.  The less gory they are the better, in my opinion.  I wanted to write a bloodless thriller, okay.  Bring on Haunted; I’m not scared at all.

Hexies, a nieta, and superheroes

The Hulk vs scrap triangles….

Little Miss spent the weekend with her abuelo and me, days full of new discoveries.  At nearly three years old, my eldest grandgirl loves to play with stuffed animals, listen to stories, dig in the garden, and design with triangle scraps on the big quilt wall.  A trip to the park elicited plenty of discussion about squirrels that make Buttercup bark, plus we checked out fabric that will become a cover for her big girl blanket.

And the superheroes win….

Thankfully I remembered to prewash those prints, and will attempt to complete that project before her birthday at the end of the month.  And since she’s gone, so are the triangles that she happily laid over the wall.  She loves The Hulk, calls him the Big Green Guy.  Her duvet cover will be a mix of Marvel fabrics, with some princesses thrown in for good measure.

For good measure was sort of the theme of the weekend, as our usually quiet household became the domicile of a little girl.  She’s not a toddler anymore, inquisitive and imaginative with her own preferences, like for superheroes.  She even appreciates basketball, cheering when a bucket is made.  I’m looking forward to surprising her with this t-shirt on her birthday; it’s way too big, but could double as a nightgown until she grows into it.

Hexies are still popular in her little girl world.  Only this morning did I wonder how might unwashed fabric shrink on a prewashed t-shirt.  I’ll know soon enough, ahem.

Easier to affix than I thought, more in getting it centered correctly.

Not that I foresee myself doing much garment sewing; I don’t like patterns very well, or rather I’m bad at interpreting them.  I prefer winging it, lol, even if it means occasionally forgetting to wash fabrics until right before beginning a project.  I would have kicked myself had I constructed the cover, only then realizing what might have been a big mistake.

She liked sliding at the park.

Fortunately the only loss was a little time spent on ironing those fabrics, small potatoes in the long run.  Little Miss loved examining them after I took them from the dryer, then questioning me as I trimmed the frayed edges.  “Why that look like that Grandma?”  Hard to explain the difference between a selvage and where the fabric is cut, but I think I answered her sufficiently.

If you had asked me five years ago to predict what I’d be doing now, there’s no way I could have dreamed up this past weekend, but then isn’t that the beauty of life?  When I think to all that has occurred in the last half decade, these little slices are just as vital as the major events.  This past weekend is a huge portion of my granddaughter’s life, not that she’ll remember it, but the essence will remain; hexies and The Hulk, fabric and basketball and so many books enjoyed.  I told her that my grandparents had a huge vegetable garden, and at her age I sat amid rows of strawberries, eating to my heart’s content.  She’ll outgrow her pink hexie shirt, but I bet another will have been added to her wardrobe.  Maybe quilts aren’t the only reason I took up sewing.

An abuelo and his nieta keeping each other balanced.

I can list all the blankets I hope to make, or endlessly ponder various novel plots, but surprises proffer a necessary thrill.  I never dreamed The Hawk would be so encompassing, nor did I assume my dad’s quilt would lead to English paper piecing.  And even if I forget to prewash fabrics, the world won’t fall apart.  All part and parcel of the whole, which is far too awesome to shoehorn into my clothes dryer.