Monday, March 19, 2012

I think I am officially back now...thank you to everyone who has been so kind and patient towards me following the death of my mother on February 20.  I really have appreciated all the calls, cards, emails, prayers, and fabric/scrap intervention that I have received.  My mom was in a state of decline for so long that I am surprised at how all this has affected me.  I've pretty much lost interest in everything for the past 3-4 weeks.  I came back from Alabama with a calendar of things that were impossible to avoid, which I managed to stumble through, but other than that I have just been enjoying solitude, fabric, music and Jane Austen movies.

I spent time hand quilting and mindlessly piecing scraps together.  This blog is called 'fabric therapy' for a reason...it is my favorite escape.  This poor pineapple log cabin quilt has been on the shelf for a while, and it was just the project for mindless needling around...outline quilting with no marking required.  Ahhh...mindless fabric therapy.



I opened my scrap boxes containing bright, cheerful strips, chunks and bits and just started chain-piecing like crazy.  I made 160 of my 8.5 inch "X Marks the Block" squares, which I turned into two large quilts, one for my daughter and one for her best friend.  They are being quilted, then I will post them, along with a complete tutorial on how I made them, in anticipation of teaching a class in this technique in a couple of weeks.  They were very satisfying to complete, and since they were completely free-pieced without instructions, rules or rigidity, they were very easy and therapeutic to make.  This is what the blocks looked like.  I used brights and novelties, so it is really a kind of "I Spy" quilt.

With the narrow left-overs from that project, I added some MORE small brite bits and made these free-pieced and trimmed strips, or "sticks."

I used these freezer paper circles in multiple sizes to cut out and glue under edges to make the "stones" from even the tiniest bright little saved bits.


"Stick and Stones" is simmering on the back burner, awaiting some hand applique and border inspiration.  Here's a block or so.

 Do you see the little flower-looking pin in the top left-hand corner?
You can see the bead a little better in the close up.  I forget when I bought them and who makes them, but they are super!  They are alphabet beads that came with the large safety pins and they are for marking blocks so that I am assured to get them back in the right order after the circles have been appliqued and before I sew them together.

The beads are cool, but the following is one of my favorite methods to label blocks in progress.  I came up with this when doing a complicated project several years ago.  They are freezer paper squares labeled with row and block number.  I just place them on the block, press lightly, then peel them off (and save them to reuse another day!) when I am through piecing the blocks together.  They really work!  And the freezer paper is a great way to label pieces in kits that you purchase, then bury in your quilt cave until motivation hits you.
I really believe in "leaders and enders" (thank you Bonnie Hunter!), and have been putting together these random, sort-of-triangular-shaped scraps with the ultimate goal of a whole lot of scrappy HST's.  I keep a container by my machine, and piece a light and dark one together every time I start and stop sewing a chain of piecing.


When I get a pile sewn, I press them toward the darker triangle and put them in a project box, where I have been storing them until I have enough.


Ahhh...fabric therapy...I will square them up later.

And I have been joyfully contemplating THESE LOVELIES...
I see a scrappy quilt with white in the near future!

I've also been writing a weekly quilt shop newsletter, coordinating classes at the same shop, and teaching hand quilting and glue stick hand applique...maybe it was good that I couldn't clear my calendar.  The scheduled events kept me around people to a certain degree.

I am finding that the rest of the world doesn't stop, even when I want it to.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

20 comments:

  1. I think fabric is you therapy! Keep it up.
    Karen

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  2. Isn't it wonderful that we have a passion (I wa going to say Hobby but that's not a strong enough word) that we can absorb ourselves in and helps us through those tough times. You've got lots of creative stuff happening! Love those numbered pins - what a great idea.

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  3. If your therapy is working for you, stay with it sweetie. And glad to see you are getting some 'people' time in there so you don't close yourself off. Many gentle hugs.

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  4. Your therapy has such wonderful results. Think of all those folks who spend big money on therapy sessions and leave with nothing more than thoughts. We who sew or create, have something tangible to show for our therapy sessions. The only financial cost is for the supplies!
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN

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  5. I love not making decisions...just grabbing fabric and sewing...it feels so free and adventuresome...and usually turns out smashing!

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  6. I really love that block and can't wait to see your DD and her friends quilt
    This looks like a block that I could make from my scraps too!
    Can't wait for the tutorial! Glad your sewing away and feeling a bit better....
    Like the quilt your hand quilting too! Did you just sew the blocks together randomly or is there a pattern with the colors in the quilt?
    just curious!
    Kathie

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  7. I have only recently found your wonderful blog, so full of colour which suits me fine as I love colour in every aspect of my life.
    I understand your break from blogging, even in good times blogging can go to overload but so glad you are back.
    When I flag with my patchwork I take a look at your work and it inspires me to get going again.
    Thankyou for that.
    Briony
    u.k.
    x

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  8. Welcome back. :) It's funny but I woke up last night and thought about you and wondered how you were doing. Glad to hear that your needle and thread has been a friend during those lonely hours.
    I like the idea of the freezer paper notes on each block. I have done the same thing but always pinned them on. The freezer paper is so much nicer. Great idea.
    All your pictures and ideas are great. Look forward to seeing the finished quilts of the "X marks the Block".
    Judy

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  9. I'm so happy to see you back online. Your colorful fabric and neat patterns are very inspiring. I love to chain piece too!
    I look forward to your tutorial on that quilt!

    hugs
    beebee

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  10. Glad to see you back .... you have been greatly missed. Fabric is indeed your friend and also a great therapist. Keep chugging along, each day really does get better.

    Those string blocks are awesome! Looking forward to the tutorial and quilt photos.

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  11. Wanted to come back and tell you that I have adopted your idea regarding the freezer paper. I am making a kingsized quilt with 56 squares. This idea should keep them in order...thanks for a timely thought....

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  12. So many bright and happy colors. How can you help but be cheered by all the fabric loveliness.

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  13. I'm glad you're back and enjoying fabric. The pain will ease-I have found it never goes away, but it eases and the memories take over to keep us in happy places. I hope you post that tutorial soon-I have been away from my machine for too long and need some inspiration!
    xxooxx

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  14. Welcome back. Lovely quilts and can't wait to see the

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  15. So sorry to hear about your Mum Teresa, I've been in a bit of a fog for the last few weeks so haven't been visiting many places. Gorgeous fabric to pull you back to the world..
    take care,
    Lizzie
    xxx

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  16. Glad to see you are picking up those bright colors again. Your Sticks and Stones blocks are intriquing. Can't wait to see what you do with them. I have lots of HSTs from Bonnie's Scrap User method also.

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  17. I am so glad you are back, I have started to organize my stash like yours, and know what it is like to clear up life following a death in the family, so have been checking back often to see if you are alive, and here you are today back with us, and such a good inspiration for us, thanks for all you do, your blog is wonderful, and nice to see you active again. judy

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  18. I am glad that you had "things you had to do". If you had no commitments, then you would just sit around and feel bad. It does not pass any faster if you are sitting around feeling the pain, or having duties for part of the day. Push on girl, you will be better for it.
    When you look at those quilts after they are completed, you will recall that they helped you get thru a tough time.

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  19. I am glad that you are back Teresa. I can completely sympathize with you as I lost my Dad in Oct, also after a long decline. At that time I was so completely exhausted both mentally and physically. I still flash back to the really bad days right at the end basically overthinking all the decisions we made. But time does lessen the sting. I am so glad that you have your art and therapy of quilting to help you through the days. Take care of yourself. Take the time that you need. Losing a parent is very hard.
    Elaine

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  20. You have been very busy! thank goodness for 'fabric therapy.'

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