Fabric of the Year 2008 Project

I have mentioned dozens of times that I have been working on and off on the FOTY project all year. That is sort of the idea of FOTY (Fabric of the Year). You work on it all year, especially cutting fabric. In my case I also sewed some of the patches together. Now the top is finished and I will soon be moving on to FOTY 2009.

Basics of the project:
2.5″x4.5″ rectangles
Cut one patch from each piece of fabric purchased in 2008.

I did find one fabric that was missing and that was the purple vegetable fabric I used to make the eggplant/lemon tote. I have a little piece of the veggie fabric that I will put on the back, but I would like to make another tote with that fabric as the one I made didn’t quite come out the way I wanted. Sadly, I don’t have a large enough piece. Gladly I will be able to admire it on the back of the FOTY 2008 quilt!

This project was a joy to work on during the retreat weekend, as I may have mentioned. I didn’t realize how much fun it would be. Partially, it was one project to work on so I could focus that alone. Partially, people made really wonderful comments on how cheerful it was and what a good job I was doing, which boosted by ego a bit.

One of the huge things I decided not long before leaving for the retreat was to change the direction of the project. I started out with the idea that the patches would be oriented in a rail-fence type setting, like I show in a post from August 18, 2008.

After playing around with that stack of blues over the holidays, I was really inspired by the different blues next to each other. I played around with the unsewn patches I had madly cut in January. Trying the layout of the patches out the new portable design wall sealed the deal. I decided to work on more of a blended / color wheel type look to the quilt. That is what necessitated all that ripping. Three days worth, to be exact, though to be honest, it was all day, every day.

That brought to mind the challenge of the FOTY projects. The fabrics purchased during the year may not necessarily go together and there has to be some way to make a cohesive project. At least for me, as I didn’t want to make a project with no design cohesion. TFQ solves this design challenge by adding in other fabrics for the background.
Above are all the pieces that were not sewed together. I put them all up on the portable design wall to look at them. It looks like a jumbled mess here, but that is part of the design process. 😉

The above is an in process photo. I don’t, wherever possible, like to sew tops together in rows. The seams never seem to line up and that frustrates me. Good technique and well sewed quilts are important to me. It really depends on the piece as to how I end up sewing it together. Generally, I go for chunks, as TFQ calls it. She suggested the technique to me and I have embraced it. On this piece, I started in the upper right hand corner and sewed two rectangles together and did that all the way across the quilt. One thing that always fascinates me is the way the top shrinks as I sew. I know it is the seam allowance, but to see the big space appear as the piece goes together just amazes me for some reason.

Above I was working my way across the quilt sewing 2 sets of 2 rectangles together to make a chunk of 4 rectangles.

In the above photo, you can see that I have made larger chunks. Eight pieces are sewn together by now.The process was:

2 rectangles sewed together

2 sets of 2 rectangles sewn together = 4 rectangles

2 sets of 4 rectangles sewn together = 8 rectangles (like the above photo)

So, the top is complete. I am feeling like I can plow through some backs this weekend, so making labels is on my list. I am thinking that this might be a quilt that I can machine quilt on the longarm. I’ll let you know after Friday’s session.

Word of the Day: Orientation

The description of orientation didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. When I saw the word, I thought of the way I orient pieces in a quilt (one track mind, I know).

“Most of us embody disparate aspects in our personalities; these are our forms, the way we take shape. If we aren’t careful, we can become confused by such complexity. We should not deny any part of ourselves. We should arrange them. All elements are valid – they must simply be placed in the right context.”

I know that I have different aspects to my personality. The description of orientation in the book is a good passage to think about in relation to achieving balance with all of those different parts. Within quiltmaking alone are the following aspects: the art quiltmaker, the quiltmaker who is inspired by old quilts, the quilt historian, the machine appliquer, etc.

“…a diverse personality problematic only if some aspects dominate to the exclusion of others.”

I think what happens is that we try to feed all the different aspects of our quiltmaking personality and don’t see projects through. I am facing this a bit with the Tarts Come to Tea. I feel strongly that I should have powered through that project back in the day and to move forward with it now will mean incorporating the updated, new and emerging aspects of my personality that have changed and developed since I started the project. That means lots of ripping. I think though, that, after deciding it needs to be finished (versus abandoned) that I need to let those new aspects of my personality have some time in the sun and if that means ripping, so be it. I am reminding myself to be about the process and not the finished product right now.

“Just as the sun is the center of our solar system, so too must the mind of wisdom be the center of our diverse personalities. If our minds are strong, then the various parts of our lives will be held firmly to their proper courses, and there will be no chance of deviation.” There will be balance.

Another Reason to Mention the Creative Mom Podcast

clipped from www.etsy.com
Sweet Pink and Green Birdhouse Lovee - Small Quilt
blog it

I have been listening to the Creative Mom podcast for a couple of months now and it has been on my list of things to tell you about. Amy Cowan creates CMP, where she offers essays, book reviews, pattern reviews, a community of like minded people, creative prompts, enthusiasm and a travelogue of her journey through the creative process.

This is a very professional podcast. She is organized and prepared for the podcast. The sounds is perfect. Her voice has a calm and relaxing timbre. There are few ums, uhs, like, hemming, hawing or dead air. Amy rarely mentions her personal issues. On the occasion she make s a brief mention, she doesn’t go on and on about them and she often weaves the explanation of the issue into the theme of the podcast. This is a podcast for the creative person who thinks about art on many different levels: the physical act of making, a daily creative discipline, and something to be studied.

I know the mom part may turn off some of you, so I want to get that out of the way too. Amy’s two boys are definitely involved in the podcast.Mostly they work as headline readers for her next section. Listeners hear their little voices saying “I am the art and the art is me” or “books to read, books to read” for the book review section. Amy reviews books that she reads to her children as well as adult books. Amy observes her children and weaves those observations into the theme of the podcast as well. I don’t think the involvement of the children would annoy those of you who are sensitive to the child worship that sometimes occurs on the web. That doesn’t happen here.

While Amy does different kinds of art than I do (more sketching and photography, mostly), I have found that I enjoy listening to her talk about her process and what she does to keep going. I feel inspired when I listen to her podcast. She has been working on a bird project for at least a year. Listening to the podcast makes me consider whether or not o focus on one word or subject for a period of time.

As I have gone through Amy’s older episodes I came across a collaboration she is doing with one of her listeners, known as Gooma8x, and was directed to their joint Etsy site. The quilt above was posted there and it is gorgeous! Amy and Opal (Gooma8x) also have a joint blog called Here2There.

Finally, I also discovered another Amy goldmine in Threaded Thoughts, another blog.

It is apparent that Amy is in her creative sweet spot right at the moment and we are the lucky recipients of her largesse. I urge to check out one or all of the various media streams Amy has created.

Word of the Day: Lovemaking

Oooh! Scary, love and sex in a quilt blog! I guess that is the breaks with a Word of the Day type project.

“Too many layers of meaning have been imposed upon sex. Religions straitjacket it, ascetics deny it, romantics glorify it, intellectuals theorize about it, obsessives pervert it. These actions have nothing to do with lovemaking. They come from fanaticism and compulsive behavior.”

“Making love is something mysterious, sacred, and often the most profound interaction between people. Whether what is created is a relationship or pregnancy, the legacy of both partners will be inherent in their creation. What we put into love determines what we get out of it.”

Word of the Day: Scars

Another difficult word….

“Throughout our life, but especially during our youth, many scars are inflicted upon us…Others arise from bad education…Unless we recover from these injuries, the scars mar us forever.”


“The only way is through self cultivation…The true course of healing is up to us alone.”

I think that poor teaching, and thoughtless comments are the root of scars and lack of confidence in the quiltmaking world. People are flexible and can learn anything. If one is told s/he can’t, shouldn’t, won’t, or musn’t, the small nicks and cuts that lead to scars are inflicted and internalized. Often these comments come from the utter’s own lack of confidence. I must avoid the possibility of getting more scars or inflicting scars on others by gaining confidence in my own skills and being supportive and not critical of other works.

Word of the Day: Accountability

“Eventually, someone has to be at the top. And who will that person turn to? Let us invoke not deities but pragmatism. It is experience that is the ultimate teacher. That is why wise people travel constantly and test themselves against the flux of circumstance. It is only in this way that they can truly conform their thoughts and compensate for their shortcomings.”

I think that the jist of this passage and word of the day is that being a leader means that you have to guide people through uncharted territory and not let your ego lead. It is easy for me to let power go to my head, but is definitely not best for most situations. I think that quiltmakers who have achieved some success forget what it is to lead. In quiltmaking, participants need leaders to guide through the creative process while allowing participants to head off on their own as well. Participants need to respect their accountability as well and not suck the leaders dry.

Word of the Day: Feasting

When I saw this word, it conjured up a bunch of knights in shining armor around a big table covered with food having a grand time eating and toasting some victory.

“In the past, feasting was a way to bind. Whether they are cultural gatherings, times of group worship, or even special dinners with friends, we all need moments where we come together and reaffirm the importance of our group.”

On the CQFA quilt retreat we had a big dinner at Ma Maison in Aptos. the table was set up like a big square donut so we could all see each and talk together. It was a celebration of our group, the retreat and our creativity, in my mind.

The ‘feast’ part is so simple, too. Everyone has to eat, so celebrating while eating makes sense.

Finished Top!

I finished this top, the Fabric of the Year 2008 top, at the quilt retreat this past weekend. It was a great project for the retreat, because it was enough work to consume almost all of my sewing time there.

The FOTY concept was created by TFQ, who decided that it would be a good idea to try and use a piece of fabric shortly after buying it for a couple of reasons:

  1. If she liked the fabric, she would find out while the fabric was still available.
  2. It would be a good exercise to confirm what fabrics she commonly used so she could buy similar ones later.
  3. She would still like the fabrics

I really like this top. I think it glows. It is very cheerful.

I will have more about this later, but I had to post this for your viewing enjoyment.

Pat Sloan Website/Blog/Podcast etc

Last week I was tootling around the web on my lunch hour and went from Margi’s blog to Pat Sloan’s blog/website/bonanza.

I first went to her blog and liked the little designs she has up to illustrate her posts. They remind me of Mary Engelbreit’s artwork. As I wandered around I was simply amazed at all the info and links she has on her various media. I was interested in the webcam on her design wall. It would be interesting to see in action, e.g. if she were working on a quilt. I also liked the cheery way she writes.

There is a shop, free patterns, blog, Good Book Cafe, Amazon search button, website, webcam, podcast and much more. Take a look.

Word of the Day: Adoration

The book talks about adoration in terms of imagery and icons in religion. The author says “external worship is merely a means to point within the true source of salvation.” When I saw this word and read the associated piece I immediately got an image of sitting at the sewing machine ripping out a bit of stitching and then sewing it again. For me, stitching is a meditative process that allows my mind to swirl around touching on parts of my life that need attention.

Word of the Day: Uselessness

“Useful trees are cut down. Useless ones survive.

The same is true of people. The strong are conscripted. The beautiful are exploited. those who are too plain to be noticed are the ones who survive. They are left alone and safe.”

This gives those of us whose specialness has not been validated by the media the opportunity to do great things. As a blogging-quiltmaker I can share what I know so others can enjoy this creative process.

Nosegay: Finally, Completely, Really Finished

The Nosegay is finally finished.

The binding is on. The piecing is finished. The sleeve has been handstitched on to the back. It is a large quilt, so I will have to post it again after I get a professional photo taken.

I finished sewing the sleeve on to the back while watching The Queen last Saturday night while the boys were gone. I had to watch some of the bonus features (sadly, no deleted scenes) in order to get the last bit done.

So many “hands” have touched this work. By that I mean I have received so much help with this project: TFQ, quiltmakers from CQFA, Doreen Speckman, the teacher of the class in which I started the project, Colleen.

I am thrilled to have a finished project – a quilt project.

Little Bag

My sister asked me to make her a cute bag to carry her retainer around in. I thought she was being totally revolting at first, but she showed me that the retainer has a case.

This is kind of the gift bag pattern, but I lined it using the same technique as the tote bags, because I wanted to see how lining the gift bags would work. It turned out to be too small for her purposes, but it was a good learning experience.


  1. Measure
  2. For a bag this small use thinner lining fabric
  3. Make the main part of the bag the size of the object that will go into it, then add on the measurements for the ribbon and the piece above the ribbon.

At least she likes the fabric, which is good since I am making her a tote bag out of the same fabric. I have the correct measurements and will make another one to send to her.