In a hurry.....gotta get on the road ~

I'm off first thing this morning for a weekend filled with Sherri Lynn Wood workshops.  It's going to be all about patchwork  doodling along with some courageous and outrageous curved piecing in two six hour whirlwind days in Lafayette, Louisiana.   My bags are packed and all the sewing gear is  ready to roll with me. 

But first a hint of what it's all about.   Here's my first 'floating square' block and finished improv patchwork quilt made several years ago using Sherri Lynn's book  The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters as inspiration and guidance.    Get fabric, cut a square and let one thing lead itself into the next. 

Floating Squares improv patchwork quilt block inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood

Floating Squares improv patchwork quilt inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood

Sew, I'll see you on the other side of the weekend with more pictures of how  Sherri Lynn and I figure it out!  Improv patchwork, now that's a cat's meow. 

Thankful ~

I'm thankful for the season and wish you all a holiday filled with peaceful moments and safe travels.

Home with one ~

Arrived home exhausted from a fabulous 3-day quilting retreat with one finished quilt top and two more quilt tops in progress. 

A "Love" panel was purchased for no particular reason while last at Mama's Quilt Shop in Independence.  The shop had a quilt hanging on the wall so I asked if I could take a picture for reference to cut my panel, add logs around each block  and complete a likeness for myself.  Likeness now completed and ready for quilting and donating to community service.   Borders were not added simply because I couldn't find just the right fabric in my stash but the size is still a good lap size at 48" x 72"

With only three blocks started, I'm already loving The Avenue....a quilt pattern by Louise Papas for the Jen Kingwell designs collective. 

Each tree along the avenue will be made from my scrap fabric bin with no particular focus on color or design.  

And then the cat's paper pieced meow.....I've begun Leila Gardunia's free pattern downloads and am on a quest to complete all 52 scrappy triangles.  

16 and counting 

Until next quilting retreat with friends !

Life's Too Short ~

.....and so time moves on and thankfully I'm moving along with it. 

One thought on arising this morning is that life is too short to stitch straight lines ~

Big stitch hand quilting on linen tablecloth ~ Marty Mason

Another thought (and along the same quilting lines) is that life is too short to take small stitches ~

Big stitch hand quilting on linen tablecloth ~ Marty Mason

and life is way too short to bury all those knots!  

Big stitch hand quilting on linen tablecloth ~ Marty Mason

I've had this buttery yellow linen table cloth for such a long time (it's about bridge club meeting table size) and was just about ready to pass it on to the thrift store when (in)sanity prevailed.  Why not quilt it?  And, so it goes.  I didn't trim the hem....nor did I get around to removing the set in stains . ...a few larger holes were patched, but not every did get pen basted....quilting lines for guides were not drawn. In keeping with my mood, a large size Perle cotton was selected along with a large enough needle to get the big thread through the eye.

Life's too short not to enjoy it's imperfections.

Nothing ever stays the same ~

There truly are very few things in my life that I would want to remain constant.  Clean air or perhaps fresh water.   But to have the same food at the same eatery prepared by the same person...or to wear the same shoes day in and day out....the unthinkable.  There's a  reason the clothing industry thrives by changing styles every season.  Yes, the makers know we get bored and know that the masses thrive on change. 

Thinking of change:   If I were to start a quilt guild, the mission statement might go something like this: 

     " We are a visionary quilt guild with members who strive to combine beauty with the everyday.                   We are trendsetters with a vision who know that the process of designing and making is                             just as important as the finished product.  
  We embrace the imperfections while altering the idea  of what can be."  

My newly formed guild would be filled with visionaries who push their quilt making and designing to the limit.  

I remember when machine quilting was scorned.  Thankfully, those who continued quilting by machine saved the quilting industry from a quick death.   I remember when there were once strict rules on fabric for quilt backings and bindings and that every quilt must have a border.   I remember being able to find only fabric that I considered lifeless, with no spark,  no color, no movement, with minimum design elements.   I don't look back as these being 'the good ole days'. 

My newly formed guild members would be those  who are willing to contribute to the overall health and growth of the guild....paraphrased all members willingly contribute their time and talent.   There would be generosity in members wanting to hold office and  make meeting presentations and willingness to join in work teams.    There would be generosity in every member coming together to aid and assist. 

What if I incorporate this line of thinking into my personal quilting style.  What if I had made only one block:  

What if  I then added to that one,  more blocks....blocks in different colorways and different sizes? 

What if a block was changed by cutting and inserting? 

What if all the different sizes and colorways with and without insertions joined together in perfect  peace and harmony?  Interesting? 

Nothing ever stays the same - so this too will pass.    

Ready, Set....don't leave me behind ~

Have I been a drag on myself?   Or others?   It's time for me to re-group, re-focus with open eyes and clear head.  Time to get moving and get ready for upcoming events.    My prep work is done for the local guild gathering, the house is clean for holiday company, the yard work is done and the frost will help keep it that way!

It's been a while since my last quilting retreat so I'm excited to get away for a couple of nights and days to be with kindred spirits.   Most of the other participants are new to me so I'm really looking forward to connecting with other quilters in my area.  We'll be at Kings Place in Mer Rouge, Louisiana, just  so you'll know that I'm not venturing too far from home this time.

However, my next quilting adventure will be with Sherri Lynn Wood a little farther down the road.    Sherri Lynn is fabulous at taking an idea and with a scrap from here and a scrap from there,  making most intriguing quilts.  I'll be in the Lafayette area in south Louisiana for a few days in mid-December knee deep in Sherri Lynn's  Patchwork Doodles and Grid Busting Improv Curves workshops. 

Time passes so quickly when planning for fun things.  Before I know it, it will be the semi-annual Tangi House Retreat with friends after Christmas and into the New Year.  Here's  a finish of the little square quilt started when we were last together.  It's not yet quilted, but I'm wishfully thinking it will be soon enough. 

Quilting with buds.  How fun.

Even with all the quilt retreat planning and scheming, there's been some finishes around here.  These little Atkinson Design Cash and Carry pouches come together so quickly with minimum time and fabric.

Sew it goes.  Pass it forward. 

Oh, the value of value ~

I've been humbled in the past few weeks as the HuMaN and I  continue to downsize our stuff to become more and more the minimalist that our hearts crave.   Together we sorted through all those plastic records and album covers until we finally decided that we had finished with the sentiments and that the look of the barren closet shelf was most becoming.   It took a few hours as we shared where we were and what we were doing when that Jackson Browne or Sting or Beatles tune was a hit.   Oh, the value of sentiments?

Deliberation done, it was time to do some online research as to the "real" value.  This got me nowhere!    Surely Carole King's Tapestry was worth more than a buck or two.  It is a classic. Of course my album is worth more than that!!    Plugging along, I made a list to sum up what might  be expected from that very eager buyer I was destined to find.   

On that fateful day, with list and albums in hand off we went to the market place where reality smacked us in the forehead.  The man laughed when he saw the list and inflated values.   He did look  at our stuff and made an offer.  I scoffed.  I scorned.  I bickered.  He held steadfast.  We took his offer.  Looking back, we are thankful to have those records off the shelf. 

You see, the lesson learned was that sentimental value has nothing to do with material worth.    My sentiments naturally inflate the value because of my personal and emotional association but those sentiments cannot be brought into the picture when establishing a street value.

Hand painted by Marty Mason....a ceramic bookend pictured with a vintage book suitable for children.
Neither have  a significant street value but bring me beautiful memories of a day gone by. 

A fun day with family and dogs where everyone was important
enough to get in the picture.  

So that's your, hear mine!  

How much is that birdie in the mirror?  

Cackle Cackle, Cluck Cluck 

So, having said all that.....I've been pricing donated stuff for the annual Council on Aging Christmas Bazaar coming up this weekend.  I first put like things in piles and considered the overall quality of material and construction  to come up with a  middle-of-the-road price, knowing that an average price  might be over-pricing or under-pricing.     My thoughts were that on sale day, there will be no time to explain that the construction or material of one tote bag over another is why one is priced substantially higher or lower.  Made sense to me!

Perhaps those who don't go along with my logic will gather and price all that stuff  next time.

Two heads together are often better than one.

I'm Fried 

Just Because ~

You've heard it and I've said it....."Just because you can doesn't mean you should!"  Not taking this to heart,  and having a roll of Tyvek on hand, I decided I could.   After a bit of painting and sewing,

painted tyvek zippered pouch - marty mason

the fruit of my labor - a painted on Tyvek  zippered pouch.  Loving the way it distressed when the pouch was turned inside out after completion.   Now filed under the tab of I-must-do-this-again.

Enjoy my ride and smile with me.

It's The Little-est Things ~

Simply the little-est things are so fun.  In my quest to downsize the city dump, I've made these little 10" square kitchen wipes with fabric scraps that you might also see in one of my quilts - backed with terry cloth - to use rather than paper towels.

They are the perfect size to wipe the counter and scrub the kitchen sink ~

or use to drain the just-washed bunch of grapes, celery stalks or juicy red tomato ~

or just use to wipe my fingers dry ~

Oh, I'm still using paper towels but not to the extent that I once did!  One little kitchen wipe at a time .....whittling down the size of the city dump.

Going In and Out of Circles ~

Being in a funk for the past several weeks has been no fun at all!  Reality check time!
Are you alive?  Yes
Do you hurt?  No
Are you sad?  Yes.....Well, now, missy, miss....if that's all that is wrong with you, we can take care of  that! You know the remedy without being preached to.  Just get sewing to get out of that funk mood.  Sew, she did and conquered the blues  while sewing in and out of circles. 

The first circles quilt picture taken a couple of years ago....for the Improv to the Nine Patch Demonstration.   Circles were cut out, then a circle inset in plaid was sewn in (by machine).    Hand applique stitches took care of adding each flower petal while free motion quilting finished it off. 

inset circles, improv 9 patch, applique, free motion quilting - A quilt sampler by Marty Mason

Life is now going in circles while prepping for an upcoming demo on set-in circles.  I'm a strong believer that while folks enjoy learning  how to do it, they enjoy as much or more seeing how a project ultimately comes together. 

inset circles, improv circles patchwork sampler by marty mason

This improv inset circles patchwork sampler isn't yet quilted, but my heart beats faster with each glance toward the design wall.  What's not to love about an inset circles work in progress. 

And another work in progress on the design wall....incorporating inset circles with the quilt-as-you-go quilt finishing technique. 

inset circles, improv circles patchwork sampler by marty mason

inset circles, improv circles patchwork sampler by marty mason

Nothing like multi-tasking.  When prepping for a demo, I like to incorporate several quilting techniques into one performance.   One never knows what might be the thing to bring a new quilter into our fold. 

Alive, and well, quilting and happy. 

Huff Puff Guild Stuff ~

It's been a week for helping to take care of quilt guild business.  Whew!  What a relief to have some of that behind us.  Now to get on with getting a mind grip, realizing that some things we say in haste aren't meant to be hurtful.  Could it be that we need each other as sounding boards? 

Don't we all think of ourselves as very important people with very important things to be said and to be heard?  If we don't, then we should.  Oftentimes, the more urgent the message, the louder it becomes.  It might be one of those 'can you hear me now' moments.  When all is said and done and sorted out, it's a wonderful thing to know that the group is one that forgives.   Whether we agree or not in any given conversation, we know we are in a group who has the guild's best interest and well-being at heart.  It's huff, puff, guild stuff.

And, I continue waxing fabric in preparation for being a part of the July 6-10, 2020 Featherweight Retreat at Gray Center.     This jubilant double gauze just begged to be waxed for food wraps.  Two colorways....two sizes. 

bundled waxed double gauze cotton food wraps by Marty Mason

Continuing in my search to rethink the recycle possibilities ~  When I received my  new shoes this week, they were stuffed with the best tissue paper just begging to be waxed.  Yes, we can recycle - one tissue at a time.  I'll be using my waxed paper as food wraps just as I would waxed fabric to wrap cheese, bread, fruit and raw veggies for preservation in the fridge instead of using plastic! 

Smile with me and enjoy your day.

Sunday in September #4

Being silent isn't a bad thing.  Being quiet doesn't mean one doesn't just means other things are going on.  Doctor visits, trip to Books a Million (old school habits require refrigerator calendar to get in touch with self every day),  successfully prepping a casserole for guild luncheon yummmm.     You know, the hum-drum 'busy' time in and out of the house.

But it's now 'fess time in very loud voice - I've finished hand quilting my project for a December showing.  Because of it's vintage style, I chose to finish it with facing rather than binding.  The hanging sleeve is absolutely attached and now there is plenty of time to get that label on.  Yea for being silent long enough to get this job done.

It's made with fabric salvaged from old shirts in the style my grandmother might have gathered and pieced.   This particular quilt design was inspired from quilt shown on page 51 in Roderick Kiracofe's Unconventional & Unexpected....American Quilts Below the Radar.

Hand quilted in Baptist Fan pattern with #12 Perle cotton thread

Continuing in loud voice - I've just finished constructing 75 little pouches to hold beeswax pellets for the July 6-10, 2020 retreat in Canton, Mississippi -The Gray Center

Oh, am I excited to be a part of the Nova Montgomery Featherweight week!  There will be 60+ attendees, each going through an intensive day of cleaning their coveted Singer Featherweights.  In their spare time,  Gray Center host, Anne Robertson, has elicited others to share what they do.  That's where I come in.  I've been invited to share the how to's of waxing fabric and what I do with waxed fabric....linen, silk, wool and canvas.   I'll be surrounded by lots of talented ladies and gents and am looking forward to this beautifully planned retreat.  Stay tuned for scheduling and details and keep an eye on the Gray Center events page.

Beeswax waxed pouches pieced in improvisational style by Marty Mason

Yes, I've been silent for too long.  Quiet doesn't become me when I have so much to share.  I'm so excited, I could scream.

Beeswax waxed pouches pieced in improvisational style by Marty Mason

Waxing Fabric ~

Oh! What Fun!  You've heard of doubt, to remove unwanted hair!  But waxed fabric?  As much fun as the waxing is the making something out of that waxed fabric....that's where my fun week began and one thing led to another until  ~

Marty Mason waxing fabric demo

Marty Mason waxing fabric demo
demonstrating a waxed food wrap 

Marty Mason waxing fabric demo
Wool and Canvas waxed tote ~ An Anna Graham design 

Marty Mason waxing fabric demo
Poolside Tote - an Anna Graham design 

raffia place mat waxed then made into a duffle bag.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch ~ an Anna Graham design

Waxed canvas tote measures 16" x 16"....great carrier for all my stuff

Open wide zippered pouch 

Don't you just love those Anna Graham AKA Noodlehead pouch and tote designs...her open wide zippered pouch was my first.  I was hooked on her designs so purchased the waxed wool tote pattern and finally the poolside tote.  What a way to gather and go!