Deadlines are Good

I’m easily distracted.  I love to start projects, but sometimes other obligations (or newer projects) call, and this gets put aside for that.  Sometimes the “this” languishes.

buttonwood farm pruningButtonwood Farm is a wool appliqué project (adapted from Maggie Bonanomi’s book by the same name) which I was anxious to have hanging in my dining room.  To help ensure it was finished in a timely manner, I entered it into our local quilt show.

I finished the applique (some cotton and some felted wool on linen) weeks ago, knowing it “wouldn’t take much time” to quilt a project 43” square. As the show approached, I checked other things off the to-do list:  help with layout of the show floor, format and type booklet for the show, add sleeves to several other projects entered in the show.  Buttonwood Farm’s quilting kept getting postponed.

On Saturday, March 12, before the show was to be hung on Thursday, March 17, I pinbasted the quilt top to the batting and backing.  A few hours home alone that day meant I got the interior section of the quilt outlined and some filler designs done immediately.  In the next few days, sitting down to quilt gave me focus for a few hours, distracting me from the anxiety of the upcoming show.  Stitching soothes me.

On Wednesday, March 16, I added a binding, sleeve, and label.  Whew!  But after a ribbon was attached, I saw stray threads hanging.  One of our vendors loaned me some scissors to do a little pruning.

Oh, and I was “busted” during the awards ceremony.  The project was so fresh that I had forgotten its name and thought they meant the ribbon was going to a friend’s project with a similar title.  But now the quilt is finished and can hang in my dining room.

Details of quilt:  Cotton and felted wool appliqué on linen.  Quilted with Aurafil 50 wt cotton thread.  Dream wool batting.  The name “Buttonwood Farm” is Maggie’s.  I stuck with it when I investigated and found that buttonwood and sycamore were both common names for Platens occidentals.  My hometown of Sycamore was founded in 1891, so I changed the date on my rendition.

My new friend Janet

FullSizeRenderI arrived at our quilt show today to find Janet waiting for me.  Janet lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  She had read about our show, and my quilt, 52 Tuesdays, in our local newspaper while here working with Habitat for Humanity.

Janet’s first words to me were, “this is my life,” pointing to the quilt.  She said, “I taught high school math for 30 years, retired, and started quilting.”  I agreed, this is her quilt, too.  We share a love of geometry, retirement, sewing, and life!

janets dear janeJanet reached in her bag and showed me some Dear Jane blocks she’s been making while traveling around the country with Habitat.  She’s piecing them all by hand in their RV, buying a fat quarter in every stop they make to build a house.

That Dear Jane project is Janet’s journal of her travels and adventures.  I’m so glad that 52 Tuesdays led her to visit with me and tell me her stories. We talked math curriculum, joys of family, strategies for quilting, and the technical aspects of sewing machines.   Through the wonder of email, we can stay connected.  I can’t wait to see what her travel journals reveal.  Especially the ones in cloth.

The Ribbon Maker

Version 2

Just look at these ribbons!  My local guild is preparing for our upcoming quilt show.  My friend Tess has been making award ribbons for this show since 2008.  A cherished award in any show, a ribbon from our quilt guild is a work of art in itself.

Last week I visited with our local Queen of the Ribbons.  Her quilts have won many prizes, and her sewing room is overflowing with awards.  This photo shows the ribbons she has made for this year’s show.  A first, second, third, and honorable mention in several categories makes for a dazzling array.  The log cabin blocks on point (those are tiny logs) are all painstakingly pieced.  And the design each year is unique, Tess choosing an element of the show’s raffle quilt each year.

Tess has an amazing assistant (her husband) who puts his engineering skills to work to create the graphic design for the wording on the ribbon and for a label for the back of the quilt block.  With the tiny quilt blocks, glue gun, and miles of ribbon, Tess astounds us anew every show.  Maybe that’s one reason we are willing to work so hard to prepare for our biennial show…the hope that one of those ribbons will ride home on one of our quilts.

And, if you noticed the rosettes that go to Best in Show winners, there is a show pin in the center.  Tess designed the show pin, as well.    She is a gem in our guild’s crown.  And, she will likely get to keep at least one of those ribbons because her quilts are fabulous, too.