Gees Bend Quilts and gourds

Back from traveling again. Nothing as exciting as Mali, but still some fun times.

Some mudcloth and seagrass twining teaching in Florida where the sun and breezes were lovely. Took some time while I was there to visit with a couple basket friends.

I also had the opportunity to see the Gees Bend Quilts exhibited at the Orlando Museum of Art. They have such a sense of down-home, honest, no nonsense-ness about them. I much preferred the earlier quilts to the more recently created ones. The recent ones, although quite attractive, did not have the same matter-of-fact necessity or individualism about them that the early quilts exude. Watching the video presentation on the women quilters was special, too. Quite a lovely exhibit, all told.

Flew home in time to jump in the car and head north to visit with another basket friend and her new grandson in Detroit. Then a leisurely spin through southern Michigan on my way to an overnight in Goshen, IN. A quick stop in Wabash to check out the awesome studio of yet another basket friend and then to the gourd festival in Kokomo.

What a hoot of a show! And people! I was amazed at the variety of gourd shapes and sizes and what people are doing with/to them. Came home with some little egg-shaped gourds that I’m thinking will need some decorations on soon so they can make their way to the boys before Easter.

That, and about 10 other things that need to be done in the next couple days. None of which can be done easily outside while enjoying this wonderfully warm spring weather we are having. Sigh…….

Busy Week

It’s been a busy week in Lake ……… sorry about that – got carried away! It HAS been a busy week, but when I try to remember what it was I was so caught up in, I have trouble spotting any one thing that took all my time. Lots of little things, important at the moment, that needed doing. Now all I remember is the time lost.

Some of my busyness was in free-arm quilting two more quilt tops. I’m feeling more comfortable doing it – and have a better control over the machine now, too. Here’s a shot of the third one – of course, the back shows my work. #3 quilt finished

Some of the time spent was computer related – getting things working correctly again. And that always takes more time that you ever anticipate. My love says I have expectations that are waaaaay too high and that I should just be glad things work when they do! I won’t go into my harangue about computers.

Two more women joined our little troop going to Mali in January! Our merry band of seven should have a grand time with each other, much less our journey. Starting to seriously think about mosquito netting and hand sanitizer and camera supplies.

The camera is the thing I’m concerned about the most. Mine is old enough that they have discontinued making the cards for it and when you can find any they are really expensive. If I can be sure of the ability to upload my pics off the card while at an internet cafe, that would be fine. Otherwise, I’ll need some other means of storing pics – either an expensive chip or maybe another camera (those one-use wonders would work if I bring a lot). Decisions…..


I don’t consider myself a quilter, but I’ve spent the better part of the last week doing just that. In an effort to help my SIL with her nonprofit quilt center, I volunteer some time one day a week doing whatever is needed at the center. Sometimes I vacuum and take out the garbage, sometimes I cut fabric and batting, sometimes I actually sew.

This past week there was a push to create some quilted holiday table runners to have as a fundraiser for the center. So, I created my first designed, pieced and quilted project. Three different red/green/white fabrics with a center red bird picture, minimal amount of meander stitching and a self binding using the backing material – not too shabby! (oh, sorry – no picture!)

The three hand-stitched quilt tops that the center has promised to machine quilt were also crying out to be finished as they are wanted for gift-giving soon. Somehow, using the Grace frame with free-arm capabilities has turned into my job. I got so frustrated with the sewing machines that were set up to use on the frame – all sorts of tension and skipping and breaking problems. We finally got the mid-arm machine fixed – and the first top was a breeze to do with the machine working well. Wound up doing a meander and what I considered to be a wind pattern (some of the material in the top had wind-looking marks on it). I actually did a little celebration dance when I finished the first good row! Not so outwardly jubilant when the whole thing came off the frame today, probably due to the fact that I had to go back and unstitch the first actual row I did that still had all the tension problems visible. But, my part is done on this first quilt and my SIL will take care of the binding.

I think I’ve got one of the best parts of the whole quilting process – I get to play on top of someone else’s piecing without having the agony of designing it, putting it all together or finishing it at the end. Don’t get me wrong, there is still enough agony with the free-arm quilting as I don’t want to mess up someone else’s work. It’s just so fun and freewheeling “driving” the sewing machine over and around the quilt.

Hmmmmmm, I better start repeating to myself “I am not starting another fiber process, I am not starting another fiber process, I am not…..”

Think that will work?!?!?