Monday, February 15, 2021

Process: Piecin' Crazy

Since posting last Tuesday, a lot of piecing has been happening in the she-cave. Last week I set upon my quadrant quilt project to make it a completed top by the suggested due date of February 14, and I made it!

What I'm talking about is the quilt I started on January 28 in the first of four three-hour virtual classes with Maria Shell talesofastitcher. The workshop I took, along with 21 other students, is "Asymmetrical Symmetry." Each student were to choose four different ideas or inspirations, and translate them (not literally), into four pieced units that made a cohesive design measuring 40" X 40" up to 40" X 50.

In my last post, I was at this stage, still working on the quadrants. 

By Thursday evening, February 11, each quadrant was finished. I used all 30 of the solid colors I chose in the beginning. These quadrants represent:

my ukulele with it's tuning pegs, frets, fret marks, and happy sounds;

an Iowa wind farm with its long poles and blades;

the Bismarck palm in our front yard with overlapped trunk, finger-like fronds, and occasional seed pods;

and, I'll Fly Away based on a favorite song - "flying" and "...from these prison walls."

On Friday, I emailed this picture to Maria, asking if this rearrangement would be acceptable. Her affirmation set me on a course to figure out what in-between bits would turn this into a cohesive design. 

This is when I really got to work, beginning with another rough design.

Maria is keen on drawing, but it isn't my thing. For me it's ineffective because the bits (units) I draw never come out exactly as I imagine, or if I make and use the bit, I end up not putting it where I originally thought it would look right. Color placement plays such a big part in design. 

Though my process works - and it is very much "work!" - is also very tedious because I'm always making and remaking; and it's painful because I cut up (waste) so much fabric.

For example, I was at this point Saturday night. Then, Sunday morning, as I stood across the room and studied the quilt top on my design wall, that vertical pink strip at the bottom jumped out and said "I don't look good! There's too much of me here."  

On the left is the Saturday night strip; on the right is the remade Sunday combination of strips to replace it.

Like I said. Lots of making and remaking.

This is the debris/fall-out from making this patterned improv quilt. Maria shared her methods for dealing with all the leftovers, so I'm doing the same: sorting cut pieces by color, and organizing pieced bits by blocks and ribbons. 

I'm naming this 43" X 47" quilt "Zing" because it's certainly lively-looking! It actually turned out better than I thought it would, which is a surprise to me given how burdensome it felt to make. (I could never have drawn this entire design on paper!)

After piecing a backing, inevitably using some of those rejected bits, I'll sandwich the top with Quilter's Dream Puff. Then, I'll domestic machine quilt with using rulers, and maybe a little free motion quilting in some blank spaces... if I can find any! Ha!

Because I felt so "free" after finishing the quilt top, I started another Kawandi. Ahh. It's delicious to sit in my aqua chair and do mindless handwork. This Kawandi is 15" X 15" and I'm making it with more of my grandma's vintage fabric scraps.

While working on "Zing," I couldn't always listen to an audiobook because I needed to focus on design decisions, but time spent exercising and doing housework has still given me plenty of listening time. 

Book Recommendations
The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate is the best book I've read in 2021. The more books I read, the more I'm understanding different plot layouts. This one is familiar.

It's 1987, and Benny is a middle school/high school English teacher new to a small Louisiana town where few people talk about the history of nearby Goswood Grove plantation, though the Gossett family runs everything in town. Alongside Benny's story is the 1875 story of Hannie Gossett, a young slave who's sold and separated from her mother, siblings and everyone who's important in her life. Years later, she's returned to Goswood Grove plantation. When she disguises herself to follow the young mistress, Missy Lavinia, on a secret mission, Hannie finds herself on an adventure that takes her to Texas, and the possibility of finding family.

As each chapter ended with either Benny's or Hannie's story, I wanted to know more! At the book's conclusion, author Lisa Wingate shared that this fictional story is based on the Southwestern newspaper's column called "Lost Friends," where, following the emancipation, former slaves could ask for information about family members. Also, the book taught me about "pooparoos," and prompted me to bake cookies!

Linda's score: 4.9/5.0

The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher is unique!

Juno is a 68 year-old, gray-haired woman living in a classic old house with a family - Nigel and Winnie Crouch, and their teenage son Samuel. To observers, including Juno, the couple appears to have the perfect marriage. When Juno, a former therapist, overhears an argument, she begins to question what she knows, does some research, and uncovers a secret she wants revealed. 

I don't like categorizing this book as a psychological thriller (which it is) because the story unwinds very gently. I especially like that this book strung me along to a conclusion I couldn't have guessed.

Linda's score: 4.4/5.0

Devotions, reading, exercising, and creating continue to be regular pastimes. No going anywhere except for necessities. Sigh. Though we followed a neighbor's suggestion and visited a COVID vaccination site the day after we were told about it (no appointment needed/no waiting), the site was already shut down/out of vaccines. Except for the state database, we haven't had success getting our names on any COVID vaccine websites. The state list is so long it will be many more weeks until we hear anything. In good news, my 90 year-old dad has received both his vaccinations. Fantastic! Linda


  1. SEW glad that Zing worked out and you are now enjoying some therapeutic slow stitching, Linda!

  2. Your quilt is a visual feast. I have enjoyed watching your progress and look forward to seeing how you choose to quilt and finish it.

    I really must have a go at kawandi. It looks like an activity I'd really enjoy. Slow stitching can be very therapeutic.

    Thanks for the book suggestions. I've now reserved The Wrong Family at my local library to pick up early March.

  3. I'm so glad you stuck with it. The end result is juts wonderful. Great decision to turn some of the blocks. I really enjoyed The Book of Lost Friends. I've read several of Lisa Wingate's books and while there is a similar underlying story line, I have liked all of them.

  4. I'm glad you stuck with it and finished it. It is amazing, just so much fun to look at! I'm sure you are a bit worn out from all the mental processing and work on it, but I'll bet it will always be a favorite, or at least a quilt with a story!

  5. You are an amazingly persistent quilter! I'd have thrown in the towel on this project weeks ago, but you plugged along and created something wonderfully interesting and beautiful. Your new kawandi looks like a refreshing change of pace for you. It looks like at least some of your leftovers might make the core of a nnew string quilt or log cabin project?

  6. Oh I love your final Zing design! Cool to 'see' your inspiration in each of the quadrants, but I'm also really intrigued with the parts you filled in - They definitely feel 'inspired!' Really impressive!

  7. You did a great job with this quilt!

  8. Zing is a pinnacle of piecing, Linda! Your perseverance paid off. And oh my gosh, all those leftovers. Nicely done.

  9. Oh my goodness, at first I did not see how that improv quilt was going to come together but I loved reading the meaning behind the various blocks and could see how they truly represented what you said. I think the finished quilt top is fantastic, I loved how you brought the blocks together. Thanks for the book reviews, I may have to read The Book of Lost Friends. I have been reading Louise Penny series on Inspector Gamache (set in Quebec) and a Rhys Bowen series called the Royal Spyness during the past year. Sometimes I listen to them on Audible, and then others in the series I read. Either way I am enjoying the books. The Royal Spyness is so funny - makes me laugh out loud.

  10. Love your work, Great how you did it

  11. Your top turned out great. You really pulled all those great bits together.
    Thanks for the book recommendations! I am an audio book girl when I walk and do housework.

  12. Well, that's impressive! 30 colors and you managed to balance them throughout the design! And I agree about sketching--it's not much help to me, either, pretty much for the same reasons. Congratulations on finishing!


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