Thursday, May 24, 2007


I knew there was a lot of bird activity in the backyard yew hedge, but was never quite sure what was going on. The other day I happened to glance into the hedge as I was walking through an archway, and noticed a bunch of sticks. When I looked closer, there were at least four little beaks peeking up. I think they're robins as I've seen an adult robin hanging around. I can't believe how close the nest is to the gate that I always have to bang about three times to close properly. I'm sorry I never noticed the nest before, as I missed the egg stage, but I guess mama bird chose a good place after all.

It's easy to call that picture Little Birds, but lately I'm having trouble titling my work. This is the result of my quilt guild's annual challenge, to be unveiled at our annual Strawberry Supper in June. The challenge was to choose (blindly) one or two crayons from a bag, and then make a quilt using those colors and adding more if you like. It could be expanded so that if you got the color Mac and Cheese, for example, you could make a citrus quilt because it reminded you of fruit colors, or you could make a quilt the color of the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Box, or you could make a comforting quilt because Mac and Cheese was a comfort food. It was pretty open.

My first pick was Bluebell, which I thought was pretty tame, so I drew again and got Neon Carrot. I challenged myself to use only these two colors, with some variation. I also challenged myself to make a "Gee's Bend type" quilt, so I used only scraps from previous projects that I keep in a container next to my sewing machine. If your work tends to be somewhat neat--but never perfect--like mine, it is a challenge to do things a bit more loosely. The size of the strips and bits I had dictated the size of the blocks. With the border, the finished piece measures about 22" x 23".

On the back I used a vintage apron I had worn to death (you can see signs of use) but couldn't part with and an orange fabric (with carrots on it!) I used in a quilt for my daughter. Piecing that old apron into a usable amount was tricky. I then free hand quilted it without marking any lines. You may disagree as to whether the Gee's Bend quilts are art or not (I'm not going there), but those quilts were not just plopped together for utility's sake: choice and planning went into the mix.

Because this piece is small, it went pretty fast once I put my mind to it. Now, what to call it. Any ideas?

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Calla Lilies Are in Bloom Again

"The calla lilies are in bloom again. Such a strange flower--suitable to any occasion." Katharine Hepburn in Stage Door (1937). While there are no calla lilies in my garden, the azaleas are finally out and I'm posting a picture in celebration of what would have been Hepburn's 100th birthday on May 12. I think I've been watching too many of the movies TCM has been running this month in Hepburn's honor. I like to watch old movies when I'm quilting, but never seem to get enough stitching done. Wonder why?

Despite too many old movies, I did manage to finish the sample for my church's service auction this weekend. I'm offering a small wall hanging or pillow with a photo of anyone's pet--furry or not. Here are my two dogs on summer vacation in Michigan.

Now to go check the TV listings, lol.