Contained - er

Just a few minutes in left-over time.   A study:  contained.  My wool vase with flowers on wool. Yet to be completed but still worthy of a picture in its 'as-is' place on the shelf. 

VASE:  A decorative container typically made of glass and used as an ornament or for displaying cut flowers.

Reading this morning about tapestry weaving in an issue of Fiber Art Now magazine  " starts at the beginning and moves on until you
reach the end.  You can't go back and fix something you did at the beginning without unweaving."   A quote from Dr. Jessica Hemmings, head of the faculty of visual culture, National College of Art and Design, Dublin. 
So it could be said about life from beginning to end....except we can't unweave. 
  Continuing to quote Dr. Hemmings, " Tapestry creates an unforgiving record of our inattention." 
Have a wonderful day and weave it well.

Moving On ~

It's Monday, already,  and I'm still mulling over my feelings of yesterday.  I had a wonderful nights' rest and am ready to make the most of my day.  Except I need to review my feelings of yesterday for just one more minute.  

garden angel

When I'm focused, I'm the one who can work for hours on a project.  The flying geese project held my attention for a time yesterday,  but then not.

I sat down to some hand quilting for a while, but again my attention span was short.

 So I grabbed my book and read until my hands started to cramp.

 It was then that I dug out some fabric and covered it with a thin layer of gesso.  Of course, that took forever to dry with our humid air so the cycle started over again:

flying geese, hand quilting, reading, painting.  It was as though all the kings' horses just couldn't put me back together. 

                                              We had frozen pizza for dinner last night and the grass continues to grow

Not sure what was causing my anxiety....not even sure it was anxiety.  I just couldn't stay focused on any one project.

Here's to you, Monday morning......You are feeling good. 


As time lets me ~

Ginger came by yesterday with the newest Jen Kingwell fabric line - a fat quarter bundle of Moving On Lawn - that she picked up from Brenda's shop.  We split each of the 34 fat quarters right down the middle and I've been moving on with it.   Oh, heart! Stop racing ~


It fits beautifully with a Jen Kingwell's Gardenvale line from a couple of years past.  And it all fits in beautifully with my flying geese on the design wall. 

Improv Flying Geese - a work-in-progress quilt on the design wall

As time lets me, this quilt top is growing, but not in the direction I originally thought it might go.  You see, I wanted to get this quilt top done quickly so decided that six vertical rows of flying geese with big wide white sashing strips in between with big white borders surrounding would just do the trick.  This one needs to be at least 80" by 90" which is a little larger than I've been making, so this design layout immediately began to bore me.  Imagine that!

I pulled a few mixers Thursday night, but when Ginger got here yesterday and started pulling even more, I began to see the light.  This one needed to be in my usual style, not something in a picture I found on Pinterest. 

Improv Flying Geese - a work-in-progress quilt on the design wall

As time lets me, this one will grow to the needed size. 

Improv Flying Geese - a work-in-progress quilt on the design wall
I'll keep you updated - as time lets me.  TaTa for now and have a beautiful weekend. 


Flying With Geese~

It's personal, flying with geese.   How they are constructed.  How structured their formation is.  The direction the geese take.  The randomness of their stops and starts. 

The decision is made.  The new quilt in the guest bedroom will be all about flying with geese. 

paper-pieced flying geese quilt blocks

We, the HUMan and I, (well, mostly I) see, he didn't think there was anything wrong with the 20 year old drapes and shades in the living, dining, guest bedroom and office!  I didn't see anything particularly wrong with them either, so that's why they continued to hang, until I decided that there doesn't have to be anything wrong when a change is needed.....and a change was needed, I declared so all the drapes, cornice boards, window shades - all of it came down and now each window has a fresh new white Havana/Bahama style shutter.  I am over-joyed with the freshness of it all.   Except now the quilt in the guest bedroom looks tired and I'm tired of looking at it. 

The room looks just about the same now as then.....the walls are still the raspberry red, the old iron bed frame is still the bed of choice, the white wicker rocker is still in place as is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival poster.    I change the pillow arrangement from time to time and put different quilts at the foot of the bed on a whim, but it's the whole cloth quilt that's underneath all the other quilts that needs to be updated.   


Back to my flying with geese......I decided to draft and paper-piece my geese.....time consuming to make 216 geese blocks, but that seemed to be a good enough place to stop last night around 6 p.m......just in time for dinner.   I also decided to make each of my geese blocks by randomly pulling scraps from my scrap bags and by using remains of whites and creams and yellows as my background.  It felt good!   Now don't you be going feeling sorry for me because I enjoy paper-piecing and scraps and random mixes of fabric.  Kinda crazy, but I love to just let loose and enjoy the improvisational style that comes forth so don't you go feeling sorry for me.

Flying With Geese - the saga will continue after I decide what to do with all these blocks.  Keep in mind that we live in a  modest house in a  pretentious neighborhood.  I don't try to keep  up but don't mistake - my gaggle of geese will be flying high with the best of them. 


Aimlessly Waiting ~

I've been waiting for something large and wonderful to blog about.  Something witty. Something important.  But none of those adjectives describe anything I've seen or done lately.  So, I'll just talk a little bit about what's going on around here.  Naturally, there is always a quilt work in progress. 

improv pieced half rectangle triangle quilt with big thread slow stitching - marty mason

We dined out last night and dinner was wonderful.  It rained as we dined - he on a steak, a medium to rarely cooked ribeye and I on grilled halibut.  Servings are large,  even at  fine restaurants,  so we'll have a steak sandwich for lunch today.  I didn't think a halibut sandwich sounded very appetizing, so I left my remains at the restaurant. 

Micro stitch quilt basting gun

Moving backwards.....I basted four quilts Friday.  You see,  I have a new way of basting quilts and so far it's almost worked out.  I say 'almost' because I'm still having to  wrestle around with the larger quilt tops.  I use my dining table as my basting surface which isn't as wide as the large quilts.  But anyway, next comes my 1" layer of foam that I purchased at JoAnns' last week.   The quilt back smooths out nicely on the foam and, of course, the batting takes care of itself.  If I use cotton batting then the quilt top usually snugs down and smooths out without a hitch.  Wool batting, which I adore, gives a little more of a smoothing struggle.  But my new basting technique is with that little Micro Stitch (as seen on TV).  Those little tacks are just the trick.   And, as they advertise, say goodbye to pens AND  there is no spray basting required. 

Moving forward my zeal to do more hand quilting, I started another one yesterday.  After quilting four lengths up and down the quilt, I decided that the thread was too heavy.   I had some Valdani 8 weight that was a nice variegated color mix for my quilt but 8 weight is just too hard to pull through the layers and it was puckering the back.  I bit the bullet and pulled out the 4 lengths of quilting  that took all morning to stitch in.  Now I'll start with a #12 weight and see where that takes me before making an investment in heavier weight quilting thread.  Perhaps by Houston Quilt Festival this November I'll know more about my likes and dislikes on using heavy thread in my slow stitching.  I'm sure they'll have a thread vendor that will be more than happy to assist. 


Now you see, there doesn't have to be an earthquake to shake a blog post out of me.  It just takes a minute longer to type as I ruminate on my everyday happenings.

That's it from the home front.    Happy Sunday to you all. 


I walked and slept at the same time ~ oh, dear !

A perfect daytime nap quilt  at 53" x 66".  I've read that I will seldom walk in my sleep while napping  - if I keep it brief.

Hand quilted  - baby building blocks - kaffe fassett fabric ~ Marty Mason

 I've been told through the years that as a child, I walked in my sleep.  My mom or grandmother or whoever found me walking about in the night would just nudge me back to bed without waking me.  I never remembered any part of it so don't know the truth of my walking about in the night.   I did  jar myself awake many, many years ago as I rattled the safety chain on the front door - heading out in my nightshirt, I guess !  I must have been in my mid-twenties when this happened. 

But I don't recall sleep-walking since that time - until last night when the cold water I was drinking woke me.  WHAT Am I doing in the kitchen?  Drinking ice cold water!   HOW did I get from my bed down the hall to the kitchen - I don't remember. I don't remember getting a glass out of the cabinet nor filling it from the water cooler.  Wide awake I did come when the cold water hit my throat.  Oh, My - did this ever scare me.   I did tell the HuMaN to be on the alert for bumps in the night.   There is some safety in knowing that he might call out to see if it is I before he pulls the trigger or that the alarm will wake me and everyone else should I try going out to walk about the neighborhood!

So, what else is new for me?  I have been enjoying hand quilting all over again.    I once hand-quilted all my quilts but it has  been 20 years or so since I decided I didn't have the time.  I've thought about hand quilting on and off through the years - remembering the calm brought about by the simple act of stitching.    

Hand quilted  - baby building blocks - kaffe fassett fabric ~ Marty Mason

Excited  by this finished project and jumping with joy that I did it myself.  Yes, I loved the one-on-one quiet time this quilt and I have shared the past couple of months.  The project stitched up rather quickly since I used 12 weight Perle cotton me the totally imperfect big stitch I wanted.   Perfect will come with practice.  At 53" x 66", this will make the perfect daytime nap quilt.     

Hand quilted  - baby building blocks - kaffe fassett fabric ~ Marty Mason
Hand quilted  - baby building blocks - kaffe fassett fabric ~ Marty Mason


Hold on to that quilt pattern ~

Once upon a time there was a quilter who used patterns to make quilts.  That would be me, once upon a time.  While I continue to enjoy coming up with a quirky improvisational design of my own, I hold dear some quilt patterns - for instance,  here's a work in progress inspired by a Valori Wells pattern in Quilt Mania Magazine, January-February 2015 issue.  I have two - or maybe three more flying geese borders to add.....

And, yes, those are fold wrinkles you see in this work in progress. I was digging around for projects to take to an upcoming quilters' retreat and stumbled upon this bag.  Now that I've pinned it up on the design wall, I'll get it finished!   

flying geese pieced quilt work in progress  - marty mason

And here is an idea I have for a modern quilt inspired by those flying geese. 

design idea for a modern flying geese quilt by marty mason

And while gathering quilts for my half-rectangle triangle program to locals last week, I re-discovered this quilt I made last year....from a pattern designed by Stephanie Prescott,  also out of Quilt Mania, same issue. 

ZZZZZZZZZZZZ  quilt by marty mason

Oh, and there are several more in there that I hope to get to one day.  And very interesting pictures and story line featuring quilter and quilt historian, Barbara Brackman.    Oh, so much inspiration. 

Quilt Magazines and quilt patterns - now, those are good things.....

ZZZZZZZZZZZZ  quilt by marty mason

And a happy Sunday morning to you too. 


Comfortable In My Own Skin ~

big block patchwork quilt top - and may the critics be damned ~

It took a lot of critical, but I think the critics have finally toughened me to feel comfortable in my own skin.  That's where I was this morning when I got up close and personal with Anna Maria Horner's Mod Corsage fat quarter bundle, with asymmetrical big and bold borders using  a Valori Wells designed fabric.  Adding a little bit of Kaffe and Downton Abby....what's not to love? 

Yes, I was comfortable in my skin this morning as I sewed to completion this big block patchwork.  You see, I've just been itching to do more big stitch hand-quilting and decided these fabrics set the perfect stage.   

big block patchwork quilt top - and may the critics be damned ~

Thank you critics for being patient with me until I could say out loud to you - I'm comfortable in my own skin and am very much enjoying the freedom of making my quilts my own.  You shamed me for years, you snickered behind hands over mouth.....then went public with your comments.  Thank you again for helping me realize that I don't care what you think or say because I am comfortable in my own skin and enjoy my style. 

I wish for all the happiest of days and hope you are enjoying the freedom of doing it your way. 


Breath In.......Breath Out

Japanese Koi at Garvan Woodland Gardens, Hot Springs, AR

Coming up for fresh air.  It has been a self-imposed busy year prepping for guild workshops and programs.....the one on half-rectangle triangles just completed/presented yesterday to my local quilt guild group.   Don't let the boring tag - half-rectangle triangle - fool you....not boring at all.  As a matter of fact, once I got into making them, the more design alternatives I discovered.  Who would have thought that a program on HRT's would be so fun for me. 

Okay, so coming up for more fresh air and a bit of catch-up.  The HUman and I took a mini vacation the other week to Hot Springs  - staying at a wonderful bed and breakfast - The Hilltop Manor.   We landed for a couple of days in The Spruce Suite and it was divine.  I took afternoon naps - a real luxury for me.  We had wine with dinner at a couple of fantastic restaurants.  And we visited the Garvan Woodland Gardens.  Acres and more acres of water and stone, flora and fauna.  Even the common was beautifully displayed. 

We were officially greeted at the front gate by the official greeter.....

and enjoyed that even the most common of common flora was beautiful


Enjoying people watching in the gardens -

Not my man - stepping stones

and delighting over the whimsy of the crickety wooden fence

and the deadwood swan neck sticking out of the rock

Watching - ever so slowly the beauty of natural decay

and enjoying the orderly way of coming down, going up

But what a treat when we rounded the corner and first glimpsed Brushwood art installation approximately 450 feet long and 6 feet diameter in a serpentine shape made by bundling natural material gathered from the Garden. 
Brushwood Dance by W. Gary Smith - a natural art display in Garvan Woodland Gardens
Brushwood Dance by W. Gary Smith - a natural art display in Garvan Woodland Gardens

Don't let the brushwood dance get you. 

Happiness Abounds

On this the day to honor fathers, happiness abounds.  The HuMan is hanging out with the water hose.....watering the back garden on this hot June morning, doing what he enjoys on this, his day as a father.  He's dressed for his special day in his favorite summer uniform - short, shorts and t-shirt. 


And I, on the other hand am hanging out my just rinsed Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics. 

Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics  hanging out to dry
The white fabric hanging out to dry isn't from's a scrap that I thought to overdye while rinsing, but the dye didn't hold.  That's what I get for not buying my own dye. 
Lesson learned.....thou shall not steal dye from Cherrywood Hand Dyes !
Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics
After drying and pressing, this load will become a part of what is already on the shelf. 
I have two projects that are calling these fabrics by name.
Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics