The test block has come together.
Any thoughts? Too busy?
Things are hard right now. Really hard. It’s been an incredibly hard year all around. Moving for a new job that didn’t work out. Worrying about when/if I’m going to have to move again. Losing my Grandmother. Losing my Uncle three days later. Things are hard and I am pretty much exhausted.
I really wasn’t sure how I’d feel about quilting after losing Ma. I was worried that the joy would just go out of it for me. But during one of the last visits I had with her while she was still coherent, she kept asking the hospital staff that came into the room if they wanted to see something beautiful, and telling me to show them the quilt I was working on, a version of the butterfly quilt I’d made for her this spring. That’s what I think about when I’m quilting now, how quilting was something special that we shared right up to the end. And how proud she was to have someone continue the tradition.
So, I’m still quilting. Sometimes it is too hard and I have to walk away. But mostly I get lost in the repetition and driven to finish just one more block, then one more after that. And right now, getting lost in an endless stream of tiny hand stitches seems like the perfect distraction. So I just keep quilting.
Mountain Craft Days Historical Festival is coming up in coming up in just a few weeks and I’ve been working hard to get the quilting demonstration ready.
I still have to make an applique star mini quilt for the samples and piece a top demonstrate quilting during the festival. I have two 1840s reproduction fabrics, I just have to decide on a pattern, still debating between Goose in Pond and Crown of Thorns, but I’m leaning towards Crown of Thorns.
If you’re in the Western Pennsylvania area September 7, 8, and 9th, consider come checking out a pretty cool festival!
One of the highlights of the clean out day s at my grand parent’s house was seeing all of the surviving family quilts, some of which I had never seen before. Now that they will be scattered, I thought it would be good to have a record of them. And other people can enjoy seeing them, too!
How extremely lucky I am to come from long line of talented women! Not just the Walker’s, we also have at least one Carmany family quilt here and there were great quilters on my father’s side as well, though none of their work has survived. It’s a privilege to be a generational quilter and carry on the tradition.
So, my real priority project is to finish quilting my wedding quilt for a wedding that was two weeks ago, but I really can’t find the motivation to sit under ten pounds of queen sized quilt in this July heat. So I’ve been retreating to the basement, where my sewing studio is all set up for hours of cooler piecing.
Finally checked this black and white values quilt off my half way pieced list (started it in 2009!). I decided to use it for a wedding present, so that got me motivated. I’m thinking about machine quilting it, but I’m really not confidant in my machine quilting skills and I’m a little afraid it won’t come out nice enough for a gift. But on the other hand, my quilting list is quite backed up and I’m not sure when I could get around to hand quilting it. We’ll see.
While I was working on that I was also piecing little vintage 2″ postage stamps for another quilt as leader/enders. Even though I’ve got probably 500 pieces of yardage, I’m a total sucker for tiny little pieces of fabric. Scraps are just so fun. Especially cool vintage scraps from the Mennonite Relief Sale and Lancaster Creative Reuse!
I just fell in love with some of the awesome prints though, and I couldn’t see hiding them all in a big quilt (not to mention one I’ll probably give away). So I started setting aside a few that I loved.
I laid them all out for a pillow and added some Kona Bone for the background. A little border, a little hand quilting, a little binding, and we ended up with possibly the worlds largest throw pillow (25″ Square).
I’ve been holding on to some vintage fabric for just the right project and thought this back was it. I think I may like it as much as the front.
And now I’m totally breaking it in with a nice Sunday afternoon nap!
It’s been a pretty of emotionally draining couple of weeks lately. Deciding to sell my grandparents house and move them into a personal care home, moving them, starting the process of dividing up their stuff, all of it reminding me that as much as I like to pretend, no one lives forever.
But there are also lots of things to be grateful for. The fact that after being apart for the first extended period of time since they were married, my grandparents will be celebrating their 67th wedding anniversary together this Saturday. Incredible discoveries, like a 1930s double wedding ring quilt top that my grandmother’s cousin pieced and I will inherit to quilt (!!!!!). All of the wonderful stories that come up as we sort through stuff. The chest of drawers and my Great Great Grandfather Stahl. Great Great Grandfather Walker taking my Grandfather to Pickle Baltzer’s General Store in a horse and buggy. A wool throw from my Grandmother’s Grandfather’s service in the Civil War. My Great Uncle Ray’s secret puzzle box from Italy and the hope chest he built for my grandmother.
And remembering stories of my own, like nap times in my Grandmother’s spare bedroom with very little napping and lots of time studying her Grandmother’s Flower Garden Quilt, my sister and I each trying to pick our favorite flowers.
There’s really nothing like a large looming deadline for a quilt that, let’s be honest, has officially made it to the “I’m just pretty sick of looking at this thing” stage of quilting. So, when I noticed a dear Durham friend’s birthday was coming up, I jumped at the chance to take a break from the wedding quilt and make up a quick little birthday present for her!
I adore string quilting and I adore spider web quilts, so it’s kind of hard to believe, but this is my first time making them. Pretty sure it won’t be the last though!
Now, back to wedding quilting.
There are some things that have kind of fallen off my to do list since moving and going back to work at a pretty tough job. Like blogging and my etsy shop. Photos have been one of my biggest problems, I just didn’t find the right time/weather/light conditions to take half way decent, or really any, photos this winter. But summer sunlight is shining into the evenings now and my first shop sale since Christmas invigorated me to finally get a recent finish photographed and up in the FallingForPieces Shop!
Probably the last new addition to the shop for awhile though, between wedding quilts, a commissioned church banner, and one more baby just announced at CHMF, I suspect I’m booked for quite awhile! Given most of the people who read this blog are other quilters, or my mother, but if anyone is looking for a fabulous little baby quilt, this one is up for sale here.
My very first quilt, my childhood special blanky, was from Ma (my maternal grandmother). I treasure each of the quilts she’s made for me. She not only taught me to quilt, I learned the joy of giving from her, a woman who made so many lap quilts for the local nursing homes over the years, that she ended up getting one she made when she had to go to the nursing home this year.
We’ve been very blessed in my family to enjoy my Grandparents living long and healthy lives. This January when I moved to Harrisburg, both of my Mother’s parents were with me, Pa helping to reassemble furniture and Ma setting up my pantry. And in February we all celebrated my Grandfather’s 90th birthday.
It was a hard decision to move back to Pennsylvania, but being closer to my Grandparents was definitely on the Pro list. Unfortunately that became even more true the past two months as Ma’s health steadily declined. And as she’s been back and forth between the hospital and the nursing home, I’ve been incredibly grateful that I’m just two hours away and able to visit often.
She seems to finally be on the mend a bit now, though her mobility is still quite limited, but when she first went into the hospital we really had no idea what was going on and I was worried sick about her. That first week, sitting in my apartment two hours away seemed much to far. I absolutely HAD to do something to keep busy. So, I channeled my grandmother as best I could, and cleaned my apartment to within an inch of it’s life, baked some cookies, and made a quilt.
I started with some handkerchief butterfly blocks that were appliqued and given to me by my other grandmother. I embroidered them, pieced the top, sandwiched, and hand quilted the quilt in a little under two weeks.
Though it’s not my modern style, it is the most important quilt I’ve ever made, perhaps the most important quilt I could ever make. I hope Ma knows exactly how much it means to me to share the love of quilting with her. More importantly, I hope she knows that I fell in love with quilting because of how much I love her and love spending time with her. I’m at a loss for words to say how proud I am to be her granddaughter, so I’ll just close with the quilt label:
I know this is a lot of story for the BQF, when there are so many blogs to visit and so many quilts to see, so if you’ve read the whole way to the end here, thank you for taking that time. I hope you enjoy all the quilts in the festival. I know I can’t wait for a good evening of virtual quilt show. And, of course, a big thank you to Amy for hosting this again!
I love Amy’s One Week, One Thing Challenges. I’ve always been a girl who works well on a deadline. Okay, well, gets things done on a deadline. So I set a goal to finish up a dresden plate baby quilt that I’ve been working on as a side project. I’ve got too many main projects going right now to have a side line and now it’s off the list! Yay!
Sorry for the less than stellar photo, ironically I’m trying to photograph the quilt named “Sunny Day Dresden” on a nasty, wet and rainy day, so this was the best I could do.