Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

Sewing Day at Church

Sewing Day at Church

Our Mennonite Women group meets the first Thursday of every month for a day of sewing, lunch, and a business meeting. I am hoping to make this a regular occurrence now that my schedule is more flexible. I might even learn to hand quilt. The ladies were working on this quilt yesterday:

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It’s a Disappearing Nine-Patch block, made by sewing nine squares together into a block, then slicing that block through the middle vertically and horizontally to create four smaller blocks. Those four smaller blocks can be arranged into a variety of patterns. Here, they were sewn back together into a large block and the blocks separated by sashing and cornerstones. I absolutely love this color combination.

I was invited to work on this quilt with them. They were using a single strand of crochet cotton and doing a simple outline stitch:

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I am not ready to unleash my meager hand quilting skills on the world yet, however. My friend Elaine was there, and she prefers to tie comforters, so she and I got all the materials out to tie another comforter to donate to Mennonite Central Committee at the next relief sale. We are trying to finish up a roll of fabric that Margaret donated. I think we’ve already done half a dozen comforters with it and we’ll probably get another two or three out of it before the roll is all gone.

Elaine and I have about the same level of spatial perception skills. I am sure that our antics would have been very entertaining to anyone watching the two of us try to put the quilt frame together with the comforter stretched on it. We were wishing for Margaret to help straighten us out. After some false starts and a lot of laughing, we finally got the frame set up:

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Tying goes quickly, especially if you use a long length of crochet cotton, put in a bunch of stitches about 4” apart, then cut the threads between those stitches before tying the knots. We had some help from our friend, Judy, too, who stopped by for a bit in the morning. The comforter was all tied by 2 p.m. and it came home with me to be trimmed and bound. I think that next month, we’re going to take a break from the pink fabric and do a yellow and beige top that I put together from 5” squares.

Sometimes, our ladies schedule an evening work session and we invite people (the men, too!) to come and tie comforters. It’s a good way to get a lot done.

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I came home from sewing day and knocked out another four Ritzville quilt blocks. As this quilt gets bigger, I am beginning to second-guess myself. While I like (and prefer) the scrappy background with the combination of white and cream fabrics, I know that that is not everyone’s cup of tea. Would this quilt be better if I stuck to all white background fabrics? I asked myself that question and then looked at the huge number of HSTs I still have. There are enough that I probably can do another quilt with only the white background HSTs.

[Second-guessing my design decisions is an anxiety-laden process left over from having a business involving a creative pursuit. It’s one thing to make art for art’s sake. It’s quite another to make art in the hopes that it will generate enough income to make the effort worthwhile. What’s marketable? I’m not selling quilts, no, but I still want this quilt to be “saleable” in the sense that it brings in a good chunk of money at the relief sale.]

This morning, I read Bonnie Hunter’s blog post from yesterday. She ends it with some advice, including, “Don’t fear color or worrying that things aren’t going to match.  It’s more beautiful when you play with the whole box of crayons.” I think so, too. I’m am going to forge ahead with the current plan and re-evaluate when this top is done. Sewing is supposed to be a fun and relaxing activity, and it’s only going to be fun and relaxing if I am making things I enjoy making.

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Work seems to have slowed down a bit for the husband. This has been such a weird winter. Temps have been swinging between the mid-20s to mid-30s, so there is a lot of thawing and freezing and general messiness out there. The state land across the road from us is usually filled with cross-country skiers at this time of year, but the snow—what there is of it—is pretty awful. The skiers are skiing elsewhere. I would love a nice dumping of a couple feet of powder to make it feel like winter. I suppose I should be careful what I wish for.

Shopping for Seeds

Shopping for Seeds

So Very Many HSTs

So Very Many HSTs