Block by block.

Dear friends,


I enjoyed a quiet day alone yesterday. Kate went to a wedding while Mr. Mom and Parker took their dirt-bikes to a wilderness area for an afternoon ride.  So I took advantage of a long stretch of time to nearly finish Kate’s quilt top.

I still have some ric-rac and two borders to put around the blocks, but I’m awfully close. I just might finish it this weekend. Then all I have to do is to piece the backing before shipping it off to be quilted. I took this photo as daylight was fading so you can’t really see the fabrics very well. It looks better in person — bright and colorful but not garish. When it’s all finished, I’ll take photos in proper light so you can see the subtleties of the prints.

I chose this quilt pattern because it’s a little rustic and seems old-fashioned to me. While I’ve always appreciated the handiwork required of intricate and artistic quilts, my favorites have always leaned toward the folk art variety — something you  might have seen 70 years ago on an iron bed in a cabin in the woods. I like the contrast of the rustic pattern with the bright and modern fabrics I selected, especially since my girl is a big fan of bright colors. I think it will look terrific in her college apartment next fall.

You don’t have to look very close to notice my many mistakes. A friend’s mother is an expert quilter — expert, as in she’s had several quilts selected for the prestigious Paducah show. She’s been giving me encouragement and she recently told me every quilt has a “God” block — that one block in a quilt that’s imperfect. (Some quilters call it the “humility” block because when you leave it in, it shows your humility before God.)

That made me laugh when I heard it because I was pretty sure I would be making about 42 God blocks, which makes for one divine quilt.

With gratitude {for the light at the end of the tunnel on my first big sewing project},

Joan, who’s already itching to move on to quilt #2, a project she is excited to reveal soon


Dear friends,


It’s been two steps forward, one step backward on the quilting front.

I spent part of yesterday trying to muster a head of steam on quilt-blocking and . . . whew! It took me much of the day to construct what you see in the photo above.

The problem is that the last time I worked on this project — when I finally, mercifully made a proper quilt block that looked like my inspiration photo — it was more than two weeks ago. And for reasons I can’t explain, I didn’t make a pattern. After spending an entire day getting the block just right, I thought I had it in my head.

Yeah . . . not so much. Today, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out the angle I had cut my blocks on. So I had to do what every seamstress hates to do: deconstruct a block and start all over. It should probably go without saying, but this time I wrote down every dimension. (Eureka!)

There’s one thing I know for sure: I will never again attempt to make a quilt based solely on a photo. No pattern, no instructions? No quilt.

I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll get this done by the time Kate leaves for college in August.  She’s moving from a twin-sized bed to a full-sized bed and that’s been the impetus for this project. In the mean time, I watched a video tutorial for a super-simple and lovely quilt pattern called the disappearing 9-block and I can’t wait to get started on that one.

Right after I conquer the quilt that Joan conjured from thin air, where air equals Pinterest, which ought to be banned before it kills innocent, amateur crafters.

With gratitude {for pen and paper, on which I have written down the instructions for this quilt block, lest my feeble mind fails me again},

Joan, whose best advise for aspiring quilters is “Be thou not so stupid.”