More than one blog to post ~

I've been concentrating on getting the Quilters' Guild Acadienne blog up and running and gaining visitors and have neglected my primary day-in-and-day-out blog.    So here's just a bit of catch up on what I've been rambling around the home place doing. 

Noodlehead pencil pouch pattern - stitched up by Marty Mason

Yesterday I posted over there about the newest Anna Graham aka Noodlehead pattern I made.  I rushed around yesterday to get one made for a picture and this afternoon in no time flat, got another one made. 

Noodlehead pencil pouch pattern - stitched up by Marty Mason

One for me and another one for me! 

Noodlehead pencil pouch pattern - stitched up by Marty Mason

I'm in love with my pencil pouch ~ Thanks Anna for this fab free pencil pouch pattern. 

Finders Keepers

My, My!  Look what I found this morning while rummaging around for some small pieces of batting.   Whatever was this little treasure doing buried out of sight?  Funny thing when you haven't seen something in several years, how it takes on a different perspective. 

Once upon a time, I had the mistaken notion that I wanted to make quilts in miniature.  That was once upon a time long, long ago. 

15" x 19"

Perhaps now that I've found this mini red and green, I'll get it quilted and display during the Christmas Holiday Season. 

Beautiful Chaos

It's a post from a few years back....July, 2011, but I just found it and so enjoyed reading about - you guessed it - the beauty of quilts pieced in the improvisational style. 

CW Collectors Weekly.  The Beautiful Chaos of Improvisational Quilts ~

I have no support group locally so therefore seldom show anyone my quilts.  I often feel that something must be really mixed up in my brain for me to enjoy the chaos in improv quilts and to say unapologetically that I think many I've seen are amazing works of art made by true artisans. 

My favorite quilt pictured in the Collectors Weekly article is the red and yellow designed by Arlonzia Pettway in 1982 based on the  'housetop' pattern.  If you know anything about the Quilters of Gee's Bend, then you know the Pettway name.  I found the Pettway quilt pictured on Linda Allen's Pinterest Board  Quilts I like and followed the picture back to the original article.  News travels fast with just a tap of the finger.  Yes, Linda Allen, I like this one a lot. 

Lisa Hix begins her article by asking "what might jazz look like if it had a physical presence?"  Now I know why I like jazz and I like my quilts.   Here's just one example of what I've made that makes me toe-tapping happy. 

Improv Quilt work-in-progress on the design wall of Marty Mason

A Fabric Purchase ~ How Fun

Alice by Angela Pingel, in her Curious Dream collection....a Windham Fabric.  Jump down the rabbit hole with Angela.....

I started reading the quotes and stories on Angela's fabric and smiled at the whimsy and imagination and began to appreciate all over again how wonderful life is.   Here's one excerpt about Alice's trip down the rabbit hole.  

"Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.

There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door, so she went back to the table, half hoping she might find another key on it, or at any rate a book of rules for shutting people up like telescopes: this time she found a little bottle on it, ("which certainly was not here before," said Alice), and tied round the neck of the bottle was a paper label, with the words "DRINK ME" beautifully printed on it in large letters. It was all very well to say "Drink me," but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. "No, I'll look first," she said, "and see whether it's marked 'poison' or not"; for she had read several nice little stories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts, and other unpleasant things, all because they would not remember the simple rules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot poker will burn you if you hold it too long; and that, if you cut your finger very deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had never forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked "poison," it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later." 

and the story continued

Update - Progress -Let's go Down the Rabbit Hole

Am I speaking too fast?  Do I sound out of breath?  Am I excited?  There's a probable YES to all three questions.  You see,

Progress on Down the Rabbit Hole BOM - Marty Mason

I finished Month #3 of Sarah Fielke's BOM, Down the Rabbit Hole!  Never mind that the other 2,400 participants are finished with month 5!   Much progress from my last blog post here

Progress on Down the Rabbit Hole BOM - Marty Mason

It took a bit of coaxing, but the HUman finally saw roof tops - 20 paper-pieced roof tops completed yesterday with only 20 more to go.  Thank goodness I enjoy paper piecing because with these small sizes, paper-piecing is the only way to complete construction.  I'm loving my chosen background for this little neighborhood -  a Victoria Findlay Wolfe manor stripe.  And the Kaffe Fassette shot cotton roof tops provided the perfect contrast to make it all pop. 

Progress on Down the Rabbit Hole BOM - Marty Mason

Updates will doubt!

Take that shirt and rip it ~

Looking forward to a relaxing Memorial Day.  Mine has started already.   We'll have ribs and baked beans, along with slaw...perhaps potato salad.  Corn on the cob could also be an option.   

I've just come off a nice long weekend.  Visited with fellow members of Quilters' Guild Acadienne quilt guild.  Because of the three hour drive, I'm limited to when I can attend the meetings and other activities of the guild.  This weekend was just perfect.....drove down Thursday, arriving just in time for a wonderful lunch then lots of shopping, then the guild meeting where Sue Welton entertained us with beautiful quilts and funny stories.

Sue Welton, a Beaumont, TX quilter with her thrift store shirt quilt

 It was all about her love of quilting with thrift store men's shirting.  Who knew plaid and stripes, all purchased on the cheap,  could be so fun! 

And the cat's meow was the back of her quilts.... (not pictured) one of which was nothing less than a Ralph Lauren sheet.  Okay, quilt police I hear you screaming, but you just had to be there to appreciate the beauty of. 

Sue Welton's quilt made with thrift store men's shirts

Members of the workshop pinned their blocks onto the design wall during the workshop.   A quilt in progress!   

quilt blocks made from thrift store men's shirts

A group of us hit the streets after Sue's Saturday workshop in search of all the above-mentioned.  I came away with 8 shirts and finished off with even more after we all cut and shared our finds of the afternoon.  

Sue shared with us how to debone a shirt to get the best use of fabric, then how to fold and store for ultimate visibility of what's in our stash.  Her hints alone made the trip worthwhile. 

And memories were made  ~

While on the subject of profanity ~

I mentioned in a blog post the other day that my grandmother had a potty mouth.  Her go to bad words were 'blame it'  or 'blast it all'.   Even at five or six years of age, I knew she was being naughty.  I knew she was provoked by something to use such profanity. 

On the subject of profanity, I ask myself, if the intent is there - to use profanity - then is one word more profane than another?   Is it more profane to use a bad word in church or less profane if uttered from the front seat of a car?

Is there less sin if the words are only thought about and not vocalized? 

Is f*** more profane than s***?  Or is 'oh, hell  no'  totally acceptable?   Is 'up your fricking a** 'less profane than inserting the other F word? 

I used profanity the other day and I make no excuse except that I was provoked beyond my breaking point.  It was a knee-jerk reaction and one I'm not proud of.    I apologized to the group but was asked to leave the premises.  Yet when I hear  one among the group say the s*** word and one express herself with 'oh, hell no' ....all in the same building, then I'm led to believe that what comes out of my mouth must be sooooo much dirtier than the words from your mouth.  Life just isn't fair, is it? 

Is it because you went to church Sunday and I only said a silent prayer while pruning my shrubs?   

Is it because you give more time or money to your church than I to the one I once belonged to?  

Life gives me lots of questions, but seldom all the answers.  But, then, I really don't want to hear your rational that makes your profanity sound sweeter and less abusive then mine.  I'm simply musing today about the individual natures of folks about me. 

 I'm on my way now to forgetting about all this and moving on down the road.  Smiling already.  Yet,

I remain my questioning self.....


My Finds of The Day ~

I found out today that I can and did survive another Linda onslaught.   It wasn't pleasant, nor was she, nor was I.  

I found out something about myself today.....that is, when something is on my mind, I take it to the street.  (something Linda tells me I must never do again)

What I remember  about the morning accusations was Linda ranting that  I make her look like a mad, crazy which I replied that only she could do that to herself. 

I remember that she went on (as a  mad, crazy woman might) continuing  to accuse me of calling her a bigot in the previous blog...and she is right about that.  I came home and gave  the accusation more thought, especially since she threatened me with a libel/slander lawsuit.  You see, I guess  not being a bigot is some serious business.

In my usual research style, I started out asking Mr. Google and Mrs. Siri for word definitions and found both generally agreed that -
  •  Bigot defined:  a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her opinion and   prejudices - especially one who regards the members of a group with hatred and intolerance.  
  •  Bigotry defined:  intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.  
I found out today that I'm a bigot by definition and that I practice bigotry, Linda,  because I have been most intolerant of your intolerance toward the quilts of Gee's Bend.  Now, there you have it. Linda....we can meet in the sparring ring for many a day.  However, I would rather be looking at quilts....let us both give it a try, rejoicing in the difference of each and every quilt maker and be appreciative of their quilt style.  Let us appreciate the background, the life style, the inspiration and even the lack of resources of so many quilt makers. 

So, here is my quilt find of the day...a photo from my trip to The Modern Quilt Guild Show....more commonly called QuiltConEast, 2017, Savannah. 

Quilt made by an African quiltmaker (Siddi), India seen on display in Savannah QuiltCon 2017

I was enthralled by the construction and use of fabric in each quilt displayed.   Here is just one of several articles I found this morning.....Soulful History:  Patchwork Quilts by Africans (Siddis) in India. 


Improv Quilt-Making is Magical ~ to me !

The sewing room is in a shamble, but that's okay....lots of good stuff being made.  OR, at least the good stuff is a work in progress....and, yes, that's progress. 

We, the HuMAn and I, got a bit of garden pruning done yesterday.  The shears are now dull and oh, what a back ache I have.  There's more to trim but thankfully, we are having a rain day to give us some recovery time. 

Here's what's on the design wall.....inspired by a Tonya Alexander pattern in the March/April 2014 issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine.  Tonya calls this her fruit bowl bulls eye as seen on her Pinterest Board..... where she mixes up the log cabin and snowball blocks for interest. 

Her design interested me anyway.  I started out with a precut layer cake I had on hand and not enough background fabric (so, what else is new?) so am having to do a little improvisational block-making now.

The first few blocks came out as instructed by Tonya.......I really liked this one

and this one was okay with a solid background ~

and then the improv fun started with what fabric I had on hand~

Who knows how I will construct the alternate blocks, given the lack of the sameness of fabric!!

Well, BLAST IT ~

My grandmother had a potty mouth!  As kids, we new when Grandma shouted out "Well, Blast it all!", we better make ourselves scarce.  Grandma was mad when she started with her bad words.  Her other favorite potty mouth word was "Blame It"   I smile every time I think of my grandmother.

Grandma was a quilter and lived in near-poverty conditions in rural Louisiana.  Yet, she had a quality of life that most folks today do not understand. She was happy, knowing all her needs were fulfilled.  She laughed out loud and sang a lot. 

I watched Grandma gather her scraps and sew them together all summer on her Singer treadle machine humming a tune as she treadled along.  In the fall, she would order yards of flannel  from the Sear's catalog and when it arrived, would make backs for her accumulation of quilt tops.   The quilting now began.  If the quilt top was made with wool or denim or corduroy (as it usually was), then she would tie the quilt, then bind it.   I grew up aspiring to be a quilter just like Grandma.  A grandmother filled with pride at being able to provide warmth for her family for the upcoming winter months.

Yesterday, while with quilters who sit and sew together, I silently formed a few potty mouth words. 
Linda (last name omitted to protect the condescending)  marched in proclaiming how ugly the quilts of Gee's Bend are.  And Dorothy seconded the motion.  I saw fire!  How dare seasoned quilters mock or condescend the quilts of others. 

Quilts of Gee's Bend - photo by Marty Mason
Quilts of Gee's Bend

When Linda repeated how ugly those quilts are, I could no longer sit quietly.  You  see,  in my head, she was declaring that  my quilts and the quilts my grandmother made,  to be ugly.  My style is (by choice) improvisational as to design and improvisational as to use of fabric. Grandma didn't have much choice in her was determined by the size feed sacks and remnants she had on hand. 

Dorothy kept quiet on the subject,  but Linda just couldn't stop.  She declared that to mix fabric or to cut up old blue jeans and other clothing for fabric was just plain ugly.  By this time, I was near tears since she was describing my quilts to a T. 

Quilts of Gee's Bend - photo by Marty Mason
Quilts of Gee's Bend

I reminded Linda that since we are in the same quilt guild, we were bound to adhere to The Guild's purpose,  copied directly from the North Louisiana Quilt Guild bylaws: 

Section 1 - Purpose:
The purpose of this organization shall be to promote good fellowship among persons interested
in the art of quilting; to preserve its tradition, culture and history; to further promote the knowledge and understanding of all aspects of quilting; and to enjoy and appreciate the work of others."
I'm no longer in tears, but am incensed at Linda's  insensitivity.  Perhaps if she educated herself about these quilt makers.....that even though impoverished and cut off from mainstream America, the quilters of Gee's Bend were able to keep joy and hope and faith and warmth in their lives through their quilt making.   As blemished as the quilts were with old blue jeans and polyester, cut with scissors, laid out on a bed or floor as the design wall, pieced by hand, layered with worn out quilts or unusable fabric pieces, quilted or tied with thread on hand, they were a work to be cherished. 
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit some of the quilters of Gee's Bend last year when a group of 30 of us traveled through Louisiana, Mississippi and into Alabama to Boykin, Alabama, to  The Bend in the river.  We, of course traveled the road.....not having to ferry over to the island. 

We were greeted with warmth and left with a spiritual melody still resounding in our ears. 
Linda, here is one link to their story of how the government tried to stop the  civil rights movement, how the community was further isolated when funds were cut, eliminating the ferry across the river, thus eliminating their privilege of voting or getting back and forth to work.  They shopped in nothing more than the property owner's country store.   Yet, while doing without the freedom  or money to motor out to the local quilt shop or JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby for pure cotton quilter's cotton, they found a way to enjoy an aspect of quilting with the commodity on hand:  SCRAPS.  Our scraps, Linda.  
I ask you....if  you didn't have a rotary cutter, 24" acrylic ruler, cutting mat, electric iron or computerized sewing machine....if you didn't have quilter's cotton batting or yard after yard of lush designer cotton fabric, would you be the quilter you are today?  Would you have the fortitude to enjoy the art of quilting just using left-overs and hand-me-downs?   Or would you be more apt to languish in your self-pity.   The quilters of Gee's Bend take great pride in their work and workmanship.  While the style might not please you, it is a style much admired by others and has a quality worth preserving.  
Quilts of Gee's Bend - photo by Marty Mason
Quilts of Gee's Bend
Linda, if you had only said that the improvisational style quilt is not a style you enjoy making, or that you did not understand the artistic style,   I could have and would have appreciated your point of view.    But you took it a step too far when you referred to the ugliness of the Quilts of Gee's Bend. 
I left the group yesterday.....I came home and I cried.    I cried not because I am ashamed of my quilts, but because of the bigoted attitude and lack of understanding of the art form that surrounds some quilt makers in my quilting community.
Peace be with you

Puzzling Over Borders ~

sewing in circles quilt sampler - marty mason

There are reasons my quilts don't often have borders.  First and foremost, my quilt style doesn't require borders.  I've heard quilt makers say they add borders to enlarge the quilt, but oftentimes I find a border takes away from the beauty of what's within. 

Secondly, a very definite reason I don't always add borders, is that I agonize over what fabric might make just the right in point:

I volunteered to do a table technique (one of five)  for our July guild meeting and decided to demonstrate cutting and sewing circles.  Since I always like to have a quilt sampler ready to show, I made this little ditty out of some orphan blocks that were on hand.....but it just needed more.  It wasn't talking to me:  not much, anyway. 

I started pulling fabric for borders late one afternoon and finally made my final decision late the next day.  My head hurts just from thinking about how much I agonized over what should have been a minor addition to my quilt sampler. 

sewing in circles quilt sampler - marty mason
While I loved this indigo blue (designer unknown) with the aqua inner border, it came across just a tad too dark and detracted from my circles which are suppose to be the focal point. 
sewing in circles quilt sampler - marty mason
and the same was true for this Kaffe Fassett from his
Striped Heraldic collection.   Brilliant design that enhanced my quirky little sampler perfectly....
but the surround sound came in too loud. 
sewing in circles quilt sampler - marty mason
This Rifle Paper Co. with peach inner border lightened the look up slightly,
 but I'm still hedging for less.
sewing in circles quilt sampler - marty mason

Cotton and Steel is always my go-to-fabric, but this one is in the wrong shade of gray.  I  continue to dig in my fabric bin.

sewing in circles quilt sampler - marty mason

This Heather Bailey floral would make a great border, but not on this quilt!
sewing in circles quilt sampler - marty mason

Oh my goodness, oh my gosh....I'm so excited to have this Rifle Paper Co. in my stash and will use it soon.....but now I'm going too light.  Is there a happy medium somewhere?

Now, we're cooking.  Let's find a lighter inner border.
sewing in circles quilt sampler - marty mason

The perfect orange inner border to compliment this Brandon Mably 'Pebble Mosaic'.   Yes and Yea!

sewing in circles quilt sampler - marty mason

It finished at 50" by 62" 
Life is good
so is my little circle sampler