A friend from church approached me about making a quilt for the church retreat in October. When I heard that the theme was “Connecting Through Stories”, I just knew which quilt design I wanted to do. I’d had my eye on a bookcase quilt for ages and wanted to give it a try, so I used this as an opportunity to finally make one.
I started by cutting my scraps into various strips of width and length. I did stick to fabrics that I felt someone would be able to write on and be easily visible. Of course, every once in a while I threw in a darker color for balance.
Then I sewed those scraps into large pieces of white muslin and trimmed them all to be about 12.5″ long. From there, I sewed the “books” into blocks of roughly 12.5″ square.
I also used some of the particularly smaller “books” to make stacks.
The hard part came when I knew I needed to make about four books that leaned. I did this by attaching white fabric all the way around and then using my grid to skew the cut, making sure to leave .25″ of white at the corners so that my book didn’t look like it was sinking into the shelf.
From there I made my “shelf”.
I did find a nice wood grain fabric at JoAnn’s, and I used it for the shelf. The wood grain fabric was pretty pricey, though, so I went with a more cost-effective brown fabric for the back since it would be in a wall anyway.
I decided to only quilt on the wood grain fabric since the shelves and books needed to be open for signatures, but I do think I’ll go back and quilt those sections at least a little before all is said and done.
I did have one large brown block in the center of the shelves. This actually isn’t a book but rather a frame. My idea was to take a group picture of everyone at the retreat, print it on fabric, and then make it look like a photograph on the shelf.
The last step was to add a hanging sleeve. I can’t wait for everyone to see it at the retreat!
The name comes from those times when you’re in the middle of a project and your bobbin runs out. You have to pause what you’re doing and reload. While you do that, you have a moment to just sit and reflect. This is a collection of musings and reflections on life’s moments. Some are quilting related, and some are not. This entry was featured on a previous blog of mine years ago.
So I grew up in the South, deep South, and one of the core understandings of Southern culture is to wave, nod, or otherwise gesture when passing someone or making eye contact. I had the pleasure of living briefly in Alexandria, VA. While I adored it there, there was no small amount of culture shock that I discovered the hard way.
I won’t forget my second day there when I made eye contact with someone, an older man at that, and before I even realized what I’d done, I’d given him a nod – otherwise known as the “Howdo?” nod. It’s a small thing, but the idea behind it is that you’re acknowledging that person. And that man, who back home would have smiled and maybe even chatted, scowled – actually scowled – at me. Well, that put my “Howdo?s” in check pretty fast. I remember feeling so awkward when I would pass someone who seemed, at least to me, to be going out of his/her way to ignore me.
So I returned after a year to see a friend after having moved back to the homeland, and I found myself being reminded of my roots while walking. I was alone on the sidewalk when I spied a man walking towards me a good ways off. Again, where I come from, it’s considered polite to make eye contact and smile or nod. Jeebus, do something to acknowledge that someone is taking up mass in the same vicinity as you! Anyhow, as I watched, the man seemed stiff, and his neck was so rigid that it left no doubt that he knew I was there, walking in his space, breathing in his air. And yet…and yet he was going out of his way to not look at me. It was clearly much more uncomfortable to him than me as I gazed at the scenario, amused. At least I waited until he passed before laughing out loud. Imagine, going through all that just to not look at me. It has gone down as one of the silliest moments I can remember from up there.
How often do we go out of our way to avoid the obvious?
This quilt was for a friend as a surprise at her baby shower. I knew we wanted to tie in to her overall theme of woodland creatures, and I did several searches for different images. In the end, I went with the images on her actual shower invitation. (She loves sloths, so we snuck in one of those as well!)
I traced the images onto basic copy paper and then retraced them backwards onto fusible interfacing.
From there, the layering process began. I had to trace each layer backwards onto the fusible interfacing as well and then iron them on top of one another. I’ll admit there were several times here where I thought of different ways to simplify, but in the end it just wouldn’t do. The fox was simplified accidentally, but that was about it.
From there, I ironed them into place and used a large mushroom top to hide their bottoms behind because the original images were cropped as well. It look some rearranging before I finally hit this layout.
Going back and adding in the white “light spots” on the eyes was one of the best moves I did. Before that, they looked cute but kind of flat. They had a deadpan look that kept them lifeless. The sloth, especially, looked somewhat stoned.
And one again, I added a close-set zigzag stitch to finish off the applique elements.
The reason everything was right at the bottom was because we intended for people to be able to sign the quilt with well-wishes for the new family.
Here’s a video of the sweet soon-to-be parents receiving their surprise!
The name comes from those times when you’re in the middle of a project and your bobbin runs out. You have to pause what you’re doing and reload. While you do that, you have a moment to just sit and reflect. This little commentary that follows was from my old blog and details a trip to DragonCon in 2014 when my daughter was 3, almost 4.
I’ve gone to DragonCon on and off over the years. I love it when I go, but I find I can tolerate crowds less and less as I get older. I just don’t want to deal with it much anymore unless I simply have to. If I go to DragonCon at all, it’s now on Sunday. That being said, this year my family is sitting it out, but many of my friends are going. It’s a blast to see what all they’re up to!
One year I met Nichelle Nichols!
Bruce Davidson was super nice.
Of course, the best part of DragonCon, or any Con, is the people-watching, and boy did it not disappoint. One of the first costumes I saw was a lady with a sizable Toothless the Dragon draped across her shoulder, her arm carefully hidden in the neck and operating the head. She was very nice and patient, too, as I held my 3 year old close. Toothless tried to nuzzle my girl, but she was having none of that; she was quite content admiring from afar. She’s her mother’s child after all. And this Toothless-wielding lady wasn’t the only person who took special time with my kid.
It’s easy to relegate cosplayers into a group of people vying for attention, usually in Anime getups, and on one level you’d be right. They do dress to get attention. But on another level you’d be completely wrong. They dress for attention not so much for themselves as for their craft, the costume. And in that craft, they act more like a model for their pride and joy – those costumes they spent weeks, and sometimes months, making and crafting, paying attention to minute details only a select few will truly appreciate. (I have a lot of friends who are in to cosplay, and sometimes I forget I’m not actually part of that subculture. I’m just privy to it.)
Back to my daughter. She didn’t appreciate the Tinkerbell cosplayer’s sewing, makeup, or hair. Her appreciation was of a much more sincere type, and the Tinkerbell cosplayer was worth every ounce of admiration. You see, my daughter didn’t see someone dressed as Tinkerbell. She saw the One, the Actual, The Tinkerbell. And that Tinkerbell was amazing. She squatted down to my daughter’s level, something dangerous considering how many people were rushing past, and spoke with her as Tinkerbell would. My daughter informed her of her own pink wings, and Tinkerbell, without missing a beat, says, “Of, course! Because you’re a flower fairy. I’m a tinker fairy….” My daughter was totally in the know of the world of Pixie Hollow, so she was just enthralled. And me? I was so happy that this lady understood how important this moment was for my daughter. She could have just paused for a quick picture and gone on with her day, and my daughter would have been happy at that. But no, she took the time to talk and make the moment real for a child she didn’t know. I don’t know how many times I mouthed “thank you” to her as she chatted, but I still think it wasn’t quite enough.
And most of the cosplayers my daughter was brave enough to approach were just like this. Even a younger girl, around 8 years old I guess, dressed as Princess Unikitty, was patient and returned the hug my daughter gave her. A group recreating the Pixie Hollow fairies actually came back to their spot when they saw my daughter standing timidly at the edge of the crowd, too shy to walk up. They waited and waved to her, and she finally drafted another friend of mine to take her to them. (What? Mom’s too lame to go with you to Pixie Hollow?) They all took their roles seriously in that they knew how much it would mean to the little ones there, wading through thousands of people, to see them.
So in a way, I suppose this is a thank you letter to the wonderful cosplayers at DragonCon. Thank you for your craft, thank you for your patience, and thank you for making my daughter’s favorite characters come to life for her.
Hey everyone, I’ve been busy on my other pages, but this one has been still for a bit because I haven’t finished any projects. That doesn’t mean I’m not working on them because…boy oh boy…I am swamped!
I was able to finish my t-shirt quilt commission and baby Flash quilt commission right when school started. Now, I’m on to another undisclosed project, a bookshelf quilt for a church retreat, a Star Wars quilt (or two) for the upcoming craft fairs, finishing my comic book quilt and second guitar quilt. I also have a partially begun other undisclosed project as well as a promised project that hasn’t even been started. Oh, and there’s another t-shirt quilt waiting to be started, but the timeline is very generous, so it’ll be a while before I start it.
My sister is very good at getting me out of my comfort zone when it comes to quilt designs. She’s not a quilter herself, but she has a great eye for detail and can think up some really fun ideas. So when she asked me to make a baby quilt for a friend that was Flash-themed, I knew it was going to be fun.
I looked around online and found a few ideas. Some of them were gorgeous, but I didn’t have the time to devote to them. And then I found this minimalist poster from Andres Romero. He’s done a bunch of them, and the simplicity was promising.
We decided that this image was perfect, and we would add in some type of full-bodied image at the bottom, maybe with the running motion.
The actual face was easy because I just appliqued the shapes on.
After that, I did the same for the running figure. We played around with the idea of having gray gradient figures spaced out behind him, but time constraints prevented that. So I decided that I would use a quilting design echoing behind him to get the same effect. I like how it turned out.
Flash quilt detail
I quilted over the whole thing with an homage to the lightening shown behind Flash in comics while he’s running. It does look a bit like a heartbeat, though. Oh well.
My sister picked out a Super Friends themed fabric for the backing.
With so many angles, I decided to soften it a bit by curving the edges. I like the overall effect!
The name “Empty Bobbins” comes from those times when you’re in the middle of a project and your bobbin runs out. You have to pause what you’re doing and reload. While you do that, you have a moment to just sit and reflect. This is a collection of musings and reflections on life’s moments. Some are quilting related, and some are not. This one comes from seeing all of the back-to-school pictures.
As I’ve said before, in my other life I’m a high school literature teacher. One question or reaction I get a lot when folks find this out is one of exasperation. Something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh! I don’t know how you do it. I would lose my mind!” And while, yes, some days I’m not sure how I do it either, most of my days are pretty fun. I’m pretty sure I smile and laugh more during my average work day than most. I love my students, and they are super cool to watch as they grow and make their post-high school plans. It’s exciting to think that I could be teaching someone who could one day save my life as a nurse or become another teacher or be a loving role model to his/her own family.
But the general public seems to forget this a lot. And this bias is embedded in our culture something fierce! Even my second-grader has made derisive comments about teenagers. They’re painted as lazy, entitled, and naïve. But the honest truth is this – they’re working so hard!
They’re one of the most informed groups of people that I know, and they check multiple news sources as a matter of habit now. They’re active, involved, and are going to change the world the second they get a chance. They don’t go home and sit and play video games every day. They work jobs, lead clubs, perform community service, and have so many extra-curricular activities that I can barely keep them straight.
Example: one of my AP Literature students was enrolled in all high level academic classes, orchestra, honors groups, and played lacrosse. And then when I thought she couldn’t do anything else during the day, I walked in to the local coffee house and saw her tutoring a younger student! And she isn’t alone. I see them coaching and leading with a fervor that is unmatched.
One year, my school had a band director quit suddenly, and a student stepped up and led the classes in band. He taught, conducted, and empowered his fellow students in a way that was humbling.
So yes, they like taking selfies. They do like their phones. But let’s give them credit where it’s due. Those selfies are fairly innocent, and those phones do a whole lot more than play games. They get news updates, class messages, and are coordinating groups on those phones.
The teenagers that I know, across all levels of diversity, are inspiring. Sure, some aren’t much for school, but even those students have their own agenda and plans, and I am awed by their abilities.
So when folks ask me how I do it. How do I put up with teenagers at a high school? The joke is on them. Those kids are amazing, inspiring, and it’s an honor to be a part of their lives. My only worry is how I will do justice to their goals when the time comes for me to play my part.
So here’s to a new school year, a new set a students who will inspire me, push me, and make me smile. May I be worthy of them. And may we all realize the gifts they have to give us.