Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I finally put a hand project I have been working on for the better part of 6 years, up on the wall.  I only work on this when I am waiting.  Waiting endlessly for planes or doctors or any place else you have to hurry to just to find out you have to wait.  I have recently started taking my project bag with me when I ride along in the car.  Every where we go takes at least 30 minutes to get there and when I am not driving I am "Waiting".  I've been wanting to speed this project up and the ride along fit the bill.  I really get a lot done in that time.
The pattern for this quilt, I think I got from one of the Nickle Quilts books. 
It requires 4.5" colored squares, 2.5" X 4.5" colored rectangles,
1.5 inch white squares, and 2.5 inch white squares.

One of those sleepless nights I needed something quiet to do and reading didn't fit the bill.  I decided to cut out a quilt.  This pattern had been in the back of my mind for several years.  I wanted a star quilt and didn't want to piece one that had all the points meeting in the center.  This is why I picked this pattern.  This was supposed to be a relaxing endeavor.  Searching through the stash I found a white on white with a minuscule flower pattern on it.  It looked like I had an adequate amount of fabric to complete the cutting (I squeaked through and over the years I have lost pieces and mis-cut when piecing,  Now I will be hunting in the stash for a white which is close in pattern and value to replace the shortage.).

When I finished cutting all the white pieces and sat down to read the instructions (remember read the instructions all the way through first!) I realized all the 1 1/2 inch squares were to be attached and then trimmed to make the star points.  I also realized how small these 1000 plus squares were, and thought,  "There is no way I want to sew all these by machine, who am I kidding!"  I put the project in a bag with a copy of the pattern (the pattern has since been lost).  That was approximately 10 years ago.  Six years ago an Internet friend from Australia came to visit.

This was to begin my interest in hand piecing.  She taught me the fundamentals of hand piecing and explained how she could hand piece faster than people machine piece.  She could!  She was amazing.  After she left I looked for appropriate patterns to start a hand piece carry-a-long project.  I remembered the fabric pieces I had put away so many years ago. I had been in a 5 inch charm square swap for three years.  Another influence was I was privileged to hear Pat Spath speak and take an afternoon work shop with her. 

I decided the charm squares would be great to use for this.  But I wanted some continuity to this quilt.  I am a bit of a control freak.  When I do a "pull the strip out of the bag and use it in a scrap quilt challenge", If I come across one that to me doesn't go with the one I pull out of the light bag, I throw one or the other back and draw till I get something that I like.  You can see by the above photo I even had to have the 4 squares in each of the blocks be coordinated. 

To "coordinate" things I decided all the sashing rectangles should be blue or read as blue.  What made me finally hang the quilt blocks and pieces on the wall I needed to find out how many more blues I needed to finish the project (I was running out of rectangles).  I am trying not to repeat any of the blue rectangles either.  I don't think I have more than 10 blues left in the stash.  With the blocks hung up it looks like I will need somewhere over 70 blues.  At least now I will be able to re-look at the blues in the quilt to see which ones in the stash I haven't used yet.

I am thinking I am going to add another four block row to each row.  I am not happy with the long skinny look of the quilt.  If that is the case I will be needing possibly another 80 blues..unless I have mis-counted, which is entirely possible.  Any one who knows me personally knows I am mathematically challenged, especially if it requires figuring with a gizmo.

One of the major things I have learned while working on this is; I should have never used a printed white on white.  The dyes make the printed areas stiff and are very difficult, when hand piecing, to run a needle through and you can't do a running stitch of several stitches on the needle.  It is too, too stiff.  Next time I will pick a background fabric with a looser weave. 

Each block of four blocks,  represents more than an hour of time.  Hanging on the wall I can see time which would have been lost.  Writing this last sentence has had a side benefit; I have found the name of my quilt.


Not only is it moments which would have been lost forever,
but while piecing I was thinking of a treasured friend and the time we shared.

The minutes spent with fabric in my hands,
Thinking of friends I have in many lands, 
Not counting stitches, not counting the time,
The memories I see, they are all mine.

Each of them, joined as if they were a seam,
Blending the real world and the one in my dreams,
A crazy quilt made of many thoughts,
Of happiness and sadness, life has brought.

These quilts warm me in my mind,
They are there when I need them, any time,
I make another, there's no need to measure, 
They are great for storing a memory I treasure,

 Article on this blog: 
A mystery quilt designed with the novice in mind
Other blog sites by me:

Where I have stories of my cats and other pets
a blog about my courtship with my husband,
and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.
A "Soap box" blog where I do air my opinions.

blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry,
blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures
Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle
New Blog:

A blog about our two dogs

All recipes, pictures, and writings are my own.
I give credit for items which belong to other people in my blogs .
Please do not copy without permission


maggie said...

Dear Gloria,
I do so love that star quilt and I think that going back to piecing by hand as Jen did, is wonderful. Its how I learned and really found it so relaxing and comforting albeit slow. So now you've inspired me to start and hand pieced block again. Its been years. and yes, you are correct, it uses up wasted moments, in Doctors' offices, or just "waiting." I wish we could be near enough so that we could so this on occasion while we visit. just dreamin'. Love you my friend.

Anonymous said...

What a story and what a poem!! Thank you. have a good visit, hope you can enjoy it. Aune