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

My flight was cancelled !

Now, why would my flight being cancelled concern me?  Perhaps because I don't have an airline trip scheduled ! !

So, why do I feel as if a trip has been aborted?  You know when you have a trip to make and everything gets frantic and with the checking this and checking that and back and forth on what to pack and what to leave out.  Well, that's the way it's been around here lately.  Except I don't have an airline trip scheduled ! !

Oh.  Well.   Perhaps things will be calm today and I can get the sewing studio quieted down and get some projects finished.

 Let's see, I can start with this wheel of fortune block -  a paper-piecing workshop taught by Gayle Wallace in May for the quilt makers of Piney Hills Quilt Guild, Ruston.

Wheel of Fortune Paper-Pieced Quilt Block

 I 'm hoping to get at least a table runner made.....maybe more since I have enough fabric for 12 blocks. 

I'm enjoying the process even though my distraction quotient has been quite high these weeks just passed.  And, I'm feeling quite bored with my three color choices.  I'm sure I can come up with some kind of fabric diversion to get me excited and keep my attention to the finish line.  Even though the fabric was on sale didn't mean I had to buy two yards of it.   (what was i thinking hand slap to head)

The attention we gave to Gayle's paper-piecing techniques paid off for me.  I learned a new trick.
Oh.  And.   I am super excited to have just returned from Bryan/College Station, Texas.  The Lone Star QuiltWorks with Jen Kingwell.  My Texas stars........what a trip.  My head is still spinning with new applique information. 

Me with Jen as she signed her "Quilt Lovely" book for me


I'm truly doing somersaults over Jen's  big thread, big stitch....quilting without a hoop, hand quilting technique.  I've tried it already and am on a hand-quilting roll.  


But, was it just yesterday that I visited the Red River Quilter's Guild meeting in Shreveport and came away newly inspired to continue my domestic sewing machine quilting.  Great information from domestic machine quilter, Jackie Pierce.  

Quilting decisions can be tough.  Hand quilting? Domestic machine quilting? Long-arm quilting? 
Oh, My! 

All about QuiltCon, 2016

I'm invested in The Modern Quilt much so that I recently purchased the latest QuiltCon magazine.  It is quite the hefty price....but the contents thereof....well worth the price.  I've already pulled some of my Cherrywood hand dyes for a quilt inspired by "Mesa" a Nancy Purvis original pictured in the QuiltCon mag.  Nancy is a member of the Triangle MQG in North Carolina. 

Cherrywood hand dyed fabric

So much to do, so little time.  It's a good thing my flight was canceled.  I need to keep my feet on the ground for awhile. 


A little snippit of practicing what I preach ~

I like to stay organized but I must admit that I've allowed my bags and bundles and baskets of silk fabrics that have been given to me to get totally out of control.   Today I sorted and trashed the soiled silk ties.  I washed the rest of them and what came out unscathed got cut and pressed. 

Bucket of silk

Silk on a pellon roll.  Now we're working it ~

silk on a pellon roll

I took all those beautiful silks that have been gifted to me and pressed as many as my time allowed onto Pellon SF101 fusible.  I think it's the stuff garment makers use to support collars and  other areas that need permanent stability.    I buy it by the bolt....just in case I need more stability in my quilt-making~

There you go -   I'm practicing  what I preach....that is, to use any and all kinds of fabric in those improv quilts!  I don't care if you stay organized or not !


I'm hearing very well, thank you ~ REALLY?

We (the HuMan and I)  had a large lunch yesterday so together, we decided on a light tuna salad for dinner last night.   And the thought was that we could have the left over tuna salad on croissants for lunch today. 

On a good day, my hearing isn't hearing very well!  I tell folks more often than not that if my response to their question seems not as it should be, then I didn't hear the question. 

Take this morning's conversation for example. The HuMan said to me......."i think i'll go to the grocery for sausage and chips" which of course didn't make any sense to me.....why would we want sausage when we are having the left over tuna salad from last night.   So I asked him as he was walking out the door why he was going for sausage.  Taken aback is putting it mildly.  He had no clue what I was talking about.  Then it hit him right between the ears.   I had not heard his statement correctly. So, in a slow voice, he repeated ....."i'm going to the grocery for croissants and chips."

I just said, yes, dear.....I heard you the first time! 


My No. 1 rule around the house is that life taken too seriously is for the birds.


And decisions were made ~ finally

Improv quilt top - marty mason and loree odom


Being indecisive is such a waste of time! Oh, I know that making a decision too quickly can lead to bedlam; however ~ I've been working (on and off) on this quilt for weeks.  When finally, I realized what was so scary about this one....I had three blocks in here that Loree made and I really, really wanted to showcase her blocks.  I allowed indecision to set in, wondering how she would set her blocks....wondering what border she would use....wondering, wondering until I was almost frozen. the background too weak for this cross?   Decision....well, maybe.  But in the scheme of things, one off block is okay!  Think placement....marty....think placement and get moving! 

or is this yellow too bright and what about those two pieces of the cross mis-matching...Is that okay?    Decision, the yellow is not too bright.  And when using scraps, use what you have in your hand!  DUH! 

And is the white floral too cutesey?  Decision....of course not! It's a light spot.  Think balance.  Doesn't every quilt need a little light, medium and dark!   Get over it and get a quilt made.

Puzzling....does that red really look good with that magenta?  Decision....a resounding YES!  I love it.  I can now keep sewing - I think I've seen the light among all that indecision.  
After I cut this big mama block in half, it fit in perfectly. 

See how the blocks nestle now and the orange and red and magenta are enjoying the moment together.

Oh, yes, decisions were made and my newest improv is ready to be quilted.  

Improv quilt top - marty mason and loree odom