Starting.....Again ~

Why is it that when one thought gets finished, another just pops right in?  Oftentimes the pop-in rudely interrupts the not quite finished previous thought.  What the......?  Can't they wait their turn! 

The same is true  in the case of making pillow cases:  one can't get finished before another one just begs for a chance.   When I have a yard of fabric, 27" gets cut for the body of the pillow case.  So I need 9" from another yard for the cuff.   Now I have 27 inches left over from that second yard!   Can you see where this is going?  One pillowcase just leads to another and another and another.   It's as if one piece of fabric is grabbing onto the fabric just left behind. 

hand made pillow cases - marty mason

Imagine a trail of pillowcases marching  into the battered women's shelter or gleefully running into the arms of children in distress while being removed from unsafe conditions.   

hand made pillow cases - marty mason

What the....?   Another finished project just popped right in....scrappy triangles!  One leads to another and another and.............!  Can you see the red polka dots left over from a pillow case or two?  I have no shame  (nor do I apologize) when it comes to interjecting left over fabric where needed. 

improv quilt scrappy triangles by marty mason

Reading and quilt-Making ~

What a life!  The sun is shining on a new day and I just finished another book and I cried.  Yes, I feel strongly that animals talk and also have feelings.  They are sensitive to our needs and to the needs of their fellow-kind.  I've seen pictures of a chicken nurturing kittens or a cow allowing a lamb to suckle.   It's us human kind that are most insensitive to our fellow man that is so often bothersome to me. 

Speaking of chronicles....the quilt tops continue to roll out  after watching  Sarah Bond's Scrappy Triangle  MQG webinar.    Two down and my scrap bins still overflow!  These scrappy triangles were so easily constructed and are so versatile in the design process. 

improv scrappy triangles - marty mason

.....and an improv background piecing work-in-progress. I didn't run out of fabric, just the pastel lavender stripe!  The red polka dots will finish the improv job nicely. 

improv scrappy triangles - marty mason

Happy Anniversary to the two of us ~

It will be a low-key anniversary for the two of us:  the HuMan and I who have been married now for a mere 22 years.  We'll celebrate today in our usual way with a good morning kiss, then a hug.  He'll go his way to watch the weather or piddle in the back garden...water for the birds, blow away a few fallen leaves.  He's a tidy person:  well, actually, he is more than that.  He is a down right cantankerous person when things are imperfect to his perfectionist mind. 

Sometimes, it's absurd, his perfectionism.   But it sure saves me a lot of work.  For instance, he doesn't think I smooth the sheets adequately when making the bed!!!!  So, he does that.  He thinks I don't sort the clothes correctly when 'throwing' them in the washing machine.  Well, guess who does most of the wash! 

Like many men, he doesn't like change and therein lies a problem.  I've learned through the years to make suggestions, then give him a few day to ingest.  If he doesn't come around to my way of thinking, well, guess what.....I do it anyway (most of the time).  Sure, we have our ups and downs but continue to move on together.   We don't usually look back, but when we do, we can laugh. 

He's not a complainer, nor does he nag.  He likes cars, I like quilts.  We are different, but we like each other.  I'm blessed and know it and am thankful every day that the two of us share a little bit of the world together.  My heart is his on this anniversary of our marriage.

I'm Blue ~

It's not my mood that is blue.....all is well here on the home front - but my latest quilt in blue homespun has gotten me in a very good blue zone. 

blue homespun - improvisational quilt top finished by Marty Mason

Having all theses blues on hand, I was inspired by the Sugaridoo quiltalong (the one in which I didn't participate) and the Marston/Jones Free Range Triangle Quilts....particularly page 88 showing free range triangles designed and made by Joanne Salz. 

Totally improv triangles with a few 9-patch  and churn dash blocks for variety.  I had to add a few filler strips to get the columns sewn in and decided the spots of red added a bit of excitement to an otherwise not so lackluster blue quilt that finished at 55" x 76".   

blue homespun - improvisational quilt top finished by Marty Mason

And while outside yesterday getting pictures of my blue triangles, these Agapanthus just begged to be included.   

Agapanthus - Lily of the Nile - in the garden of Marty Mason

Agapanthus - Lily of the Nile - in the garden of Marty Mason

Looking back: What a day it was filled with a finished quilt, flowers and a blue sky.

blue homespun - a finished improvisational style quilt top by Marty Mason

Is it squared?

Is it squared?  No....but it's finished!  My molehill fans are stripped, pieced and quilted....finished.

Was it back in 2016? that several of us from way down here in Louisiana flew up to Ann Arbor to joyfully participate in a Glamp Stitchalot workshop hosted by Pink Castle Fabrics.  Oh how we did love the improv lineup of  teachers:  Latifah Saafir, Sherri Lynn Wood, Daniel Rouse, Luke Haynes, Nydia Kehnle and Nick Ball, each with an enlightening improv technique for us.  I talked about it here in a December, 2016 blog post.

It's taking me a while, but progress continues.

Latifah Saafir inspired - @latifahsaaafirstudios - Improv Molehills ~  This one was a challenge stripping 4 whole molehills and two half ones each one 24" across. So, have empathy for me and know that's why there are so many solid molehills pieced in.

Molehill quilt inspired by Latifah Saafir - pieced and quilted by Marty Mason

Luke Haynes @entropies ~  I was  inspired by his take on deconstructed shirts and finished this one in 2017 shortly after returning from Glamp. Every now and then I'll make quilts with borders.....but, you have to look for them.  I usually get bored with obvious symmetrical borders on my quilts (and yours).

improv patchwork - Marty Mason
Two deconstructed thrift store shirts..........a quilt with borders
inspired by Luke Haynes

Sherri Lynn Wood  @sherrilynnwood -  Her Glamp workshop was all about ruler free strip piecing with emphasis on use of color.
Pictured is my first improv quilt inspired by Sherri Lynn - Floating Squares - from her book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters.  

improv patchwork - Marty Mason

Nydia Kehnle -  Improv applique

A little bit of the work in progress....slowly progressing with needle and thread in hand.  A few finished 2 1/2" improv applique blocks.

improv applique   - Marty Mason

I know I've already finished my projects inspired by Nicholas Ball and Daniel Rouse.....but wouldn't you know, I can't find either picture and have probably donated both quilts to community service long ago.   Speaking of Nick Ball...did you by chance participate in his (Quilts From The Attic) Improv Triangle Sewalong?

I think I got my monies' worth out of Glamp, 2016!   For now, its almost a square deal and I'm finished.

Eyes Wide Open ~

It was still very dark outside but my eyes popped wide open:  it was only 5:45 a.m.!!!!!  While I am a very early morning person, the get-up time has been inching closer and closer to 7 ish.  Sometimes when my eyes pop open, I'll force them (and my what's-in-store-for-me-today brain) closed for a little longer nap.  But this morning, I didn't push those eyelids closed and am super enjoying my early morning time alone.

What I've been doing with my eyes wide open in the past several days:

Sewing  more wide mouth zippered pouches , a Noodleheads' design.  Here's one with my painted and waxed fabric ~

and just finished twelve pillowcases for community service:  perhaps for the children in the CASA program or for those in the safety of the women's shelter or dear ones in a nursing home.  The need for our sewing and giving is endless.

pillow cases for community service made by marty mason

pillow cases for community service made by marty mason

With eyes wide open, I've been hand quilting my  "The Avenue" quilt:  a Louise Papas design for the Jen Kingwell collection.    Slowing getting there and loving the peace while sitting and stitching with no cares in my self-contained life.

I've been watching with great envy the projects of those participating in the Bernina Sugaridoo Quilt-along.  When it began in November, I didn't join in because of lack of time.  Now, there's plenty of it!   The  various quilt blocks set in columns has inspired me.  With homespun in hand, I've cut and pieced a number of triangles.  Doesn't fabric change once it's cut!

Not sure yet what the next block might be but I'm leaning toward my favorite quilt block, the churn dash.

Saturday in May

The weather is still perfect - not too hot, not too cold and to top that off, the quilt back for yesterdays finished quilt top Mirror, Mirror is also stitched up.   Using practically every scrap of fabric left from the front and then some, it measures big enough to do the job. 

The grill is photo bombing but I don't care!  We'll be splitting a steak, baked potato and baked onion for dinner tonight and he's doing all the cooking.   Perfection.

May 1 and I'm dancing ~

Yes, doing a Happy Spring dance.  The mirror, mirror quilt top is finished! and I'm rather enjoying the Tula Pink  Tent Stripe in Fern surrounding all those hexagons.  No, it's not in perfect symmetry as the Kathy Doughty pattern might have suggested,  but what counts is that this quilt maker is okay with the out of sync-ness!   The Material Obsession pattern has 10 finished 'mirrors' but life just wouldn't let me take it that far so I gladly stopped at 7 and it's rather a good finish at seventy by seventy...ish. 


While out taking the picture, I enjoyed.....

A beautiful Louisiana May day here at home....not too cold, not too hot as I strolled the back garden.

Even with all the garden down sizing in the past couple of years,  there's still plenty to see....but not a weed in sight.  Staying home has been a good thing in my back garden. 

May your day be filled with serenity. 

Playing with favorites ~

Do you have favorites?  I do:  And one of those favorites is Gwen Marston and one of my favorite of her books (with Cathy Jones) is Free Range Triangle AQS Publication.

In their book, there are conversations on inspiration, lessons learned,  construction tips and free and open range triangles.  It's the free and open that drew me in. 

Being under 'house arrest' for the past several weeks has given me an opportunity to browse through my favorite scraps.....that would be all of come up with a couple of free range and care free triangle quilts. 

Here are the first free range triangles surrounded by a minimal style patched border.  I know, I know, we aren't suppose to add borders to make a larger quilt, but that's exactly why and what I did to this one. 

A quilt - patched triangles with improv patched borders - marty mason

A quilt - patched triangles with improv patched borders - marty mason

And the second set of free range triangles were sewn in columns separated by various widths of a Tula Pink betsybug red.  This one also needed to be enlarged and a Bonnie and Camille on the shelf just fit the bill.

A quilt - patched triangles with asymmetrical borders - marty mason

patched triangles sashed by Tula Pink betsybug red - marty mason

 Mary Elizabeth Kinch shared in a workshop I attended her thoughts on the 'power of ish'.  Interpreted here to mean that a 5"  border strip might be enhanced by adding a 4" ish border to the other side.  Oh, it's powerful when there isn't enough of one fabric to be symmetrical. 


Moving On ~

I had to get a grip.....just before ripping out many days of hand stitching these hexagons together!!!!

I was rocking along pretty well yesterday afternoon, being almost finished stitching down the hexie frames for these seven 15" x 24" rectangles.  It wasn't until I finished stitching all seven framed rectangles into one whole that I noticed they weren't properly aligned. Well, rats behind!  I've done it again.

Oops!  Isn't  the spacing at top and bottom suppose to look alike?  

Taking a deep breath, remembering my mantra to rethink the possibilities and never envision a finished quilt until it is finished.  Turns out those are pretty positive mantras since my look alike of  Kathy Doughty's quilt Mirror, Mirror didn't mirror the image I saw of her finished quilt.   Time to get a grip, breathe deep and know that patterns are meant to be guidelines, not rules of life. 

To be continued ~