The Object of My Affections

 . . . . is the name of my completed Valentine raffle quilt to be donated to the high school band’s travel fund.  I’m posting quilting details for those interested.
finished heart quilt2

I did a sort of opposite-stitch-in-the-ditch by using a wavy stitch in the middle of the background blocks:
IMG_5290

I used those quilted waves to echo the scalloped edge.  The pattern was very vague on how to do the scallop, but I think it turned out well:

The stitching ended up making some unintended heart shapes on the back:

I quilted meandering loops-and-hearts in the heart and the borders, using thread matched to the colors on the front but a verigated pink on the back.  This (very poorly lit)shot of the back (made of a plushy, Minkee-type fabric) gives you an idea of the finished quilting:
back of quilt

The quilt finished at an odd size — 53X62 inches — but it will be a great throw or cuddle-with-your-sweetheart blankie.  It was hard to let it go, so I hope it makes a ton of money!

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Happy Birthday, Madame Chaos!

As you well know, she looks like a cherub but it is a cunning disguise, meant to disarm the uninitiated and allow her to continue her nefarious crimes.

Here’s to many more years of nonstop adventure!

I Love Stashbusters

heart quilt

About six months ago I found the Yahoo group Stashbusters, an email discussion group made up of fabriholics who are trying to break the fabric-binging habit and bust their stashes of fabric by finishing UFOs (UnFinished Objects), PIGs (Projects in Grocery Sacks), and WHIMMs (Works Hidden In My Mind). The members report finishes, participate in challenges, post photos of completed projects, and encourage each other along the way. I have learned so much!

When I was asked to help with fundraising for Missy’s high school band trip, I decided to make a quilt to raffle. I had a charm pack of 35 different 5″ square Valentine fabrics, and asked the Stashbusters for ideas on how to use them in a simple, fast pattern. I was given some great advice, encouraging emails, and helpful links. I wanted to show the resulting quilt top, pictured above, so my fellow fabric fiends could see.

While looking for ideas, I came upon and bought a pattern called Scalloped Charm. I liked its simplicity, but modified the block so that the sashing and posts would surround every charm square. I did buy another valentine charm pack, as well as the fabric for the large border, but everything else was from stash. I also employed Bonnie Hunter‘s ingenious leaders-and-enders technique for making two quilts at once, so while I was piecing the raffle quilt, I used 2.5″ squares as leaders/enders and effortlessly pieced almost all of a second scrap flag wall quilt:

flag start

It’s almost like magic — I got the whole star field done plus much of the red and white stripes, just by using those squares at the beginning and end of piecing chains. As a bonus, I saved thread and time because there are no long thread pieces to cut at the end of piecing, since there is always something under the needle. Thank you, Bonnie!

So I’ve got the raffle quilt top ready to quilt.  I’ll just use my domestic sewing machine (I don’t have a long-arm quilting machine) to do it, but I welcome any input and advice on what I should do.  At first, I was going to use a deep-pink-to-white varigated thread and just free-motion hearts and loops all over, but the thread is pretty obnoxiously hot pink.  So now I’m thinking I’ll use red thread in the heart section and try to soften its blocky look with free-motion hearts and loops.  But the rest of it is undecided–should I emphasize the pink field’s strong diagonals by quilting in-the-ditch, or should I free-motion there, too (probably with pink thread)?  Quilt the borders separately?  Use pink thread in the brown border? 

The pattern calls for a “scalloped” piping just inside the binding.  I’m thinking about a pink border with a red scallop, or the opposite.  What would you do?

Waiting for Godot

Or Thoreau..

Or Van Gogh.

Or So-and-So.

 Whoever.

 Last year when I finally got around to reading Beckett’s absurdist play Waiting for Godot, I was struck by the similarity between the two main characters’ waiting in vain through five acts for this fellow Godot to show up, and my own growing ambivalence over the current political scene.  The past six years, which I might have titled Waiting for Bush to Figure Stuff Out has simply rendered me unable to muster my usual election-year semihope that any one candidate can really make a change for good (reading War and Peace last year and being strongly persuaded by Tolstoy’s fatalist argument also contributed to that).   In every election but one, I have voted third-party as a meager protest against the two-party system that, in my opinion, only encourages candidates to be wind-sniffing opportunists who cannot be taken at their word.  There are aspects of both parties’ platforms that turn my stomach, so I can’t align myself with either of them. 

So I greet the hype over the current caucus season with a yawn.  You’d think, as a Mormon, that I’d be enthused about Romney’s run, but I’d be happier if he had kept his “unchangeable” stance during the Massachussetts gubenatorial election regarding choice and on gay rights; however, he’s shown himself to be a panderer like the rest of ’em.  I simply don’t believe his story about his “change of heart”– while I do think that it is a mark of intelligence and tolerance to be able to change one’s mind, to be willing to examine one’s beliefs and attitudes and make adjustments as needed, in Romney’s case, the timing was tooooooo convenient.    And, despite our common religion, I don’t agree with his (current, public) stances on immigration, abortion, or gay rights.   Life is just not as clear-cut as that. 

But there really isn’t anyone I can get behind–which seems to be the case every election season.  I hate how polarizing the electoral process is, and its negativity spills over into my views of the candidates.  I wish I could be an optimist about it–I am very grateful to live in this country with its freedoms, democratic processes, and emphasis on compromise, and I know that careful consideration in choosing a leader is the least I can do to show that appreciation.  On the other hand, anyone who WANTS to be president must be at least a little bit of a lunatic.

 It is going to be a long year.