Monday, June 21, 2021

A tribute to Lois

 I don't know all of you who read my blog. There are many of you that I've never met, and some friends and acquaintances have joined along the way. 

Yesterday, I learned that a blog reader passed last week, and I want to acknowledge her. Lois was a wonderful lady and her and her daughter used to read my blog over breakfast. She was the most amazing hand quilter, although she did take a machine quilting class from me and did some small projects. She was in her 80's when she did that. She was in my class for Sylvia's Bridal Sampler and created a gorgeous sampler quilt. 

She was from Western Canada (OK - the prairies), like myself, and well - those girls from the prairies have a kindred spirit. She was a member of the local quilt guild and was always showing off projects she made. The thing I remember the most about Lois is her smile. I don't think I ever saw her with a scowl on her face. She was 92, and while I haven't seen her in person for a while, I've followed her adventures on Facebook. She was a spunky lady (those good prairie genes!). 

She passed suddenly, and while a shock to all, it's the way I want to go. I want to thank Lois for all the joy she brought into my life over the years, and I sure hope she finds a way to continue reading my blog from heaven! 

Condolences to her family. 

It was a crazy day with lots of classes, and I was more or less stuck in front of Zoom for the entire day. But that's OK. 

First, let's have a quick peek at how to piece that background I shared yesterday. This is a safe (and easy) way to build an "improv" background. All the pieces are squares or rectangles. So no angles to worry about. Lay the pieces, so they sort of fit together. Don't worry - you can add and subtract or change the fabrics if you don't like them. 

The pieces for the improv background are laid out

Then grab two pieces and sew them together. These are not the same width and come from the bottom right-hand side. After I sewed these together, I trimmed off the excess. 

Trim off the excess

I kept going like that and built sections. 

Building sections

Here are the sections together. Notice that I changed the fabric on the lefthand side as I didn't like it. 

The sections are together

Trim off any edge that isn't straight. Super easy, and don't worry if the lines are not perfectly straight. There are NO quilt police. 

Trimming the edges with a ruler

And this is the final piece. No need to trim the outer edges - yet. This is the easiest and most interesting way to get a background to play with. Pick any color you want to play with, but I recommend keeping the background to ONE color. You'll see why later this week. 

The improv background

I'm trying to come up with 10 backgrounds that are all different. So I dug out my orphan block box. I might find something that'll work. 

The orphan block box

Hmm - several flying geese blocks. That could work. 

Random flying geese blocks

A series of machine embroidered letters. 

Machine embroidered letters

I found some 9-patch blocks. 

9-patch blocks

But I settled on these three purple blocks. Where did these come from? I don't think they are mine. 

Three purple blocks

And I found four drunkard's path blocks. I'll play with those as well. Everything else went back into the box. 

Four drunkard's path blocks

I dug out a couple of somewhat matching fabrics to make the fourth purple block. I just made a block up, but if you're stuck, find a pattern for a 6" block(or whatever size you need) and make it. Remember, this is supposed to be fun and freeing, not stressful. My fabrics are NOT the same, and I'm OK with that. They are close enough. Remember - this is ART; it's not going to become an heirloom. 

Fabric to make the fourth block

Here are all four blocks. That's a pretty good match. Good enough!

The four purple blocks

I did try rotating the blocks and thought this was the best configuration for what I had. 

Another background to embellish

I think I'm going to leave this piece just like that. This is one of the backgrounds I'm going to work with. Notice that while they are not quite the same value, the colors are the same. You might want to be bold and mix colors, totally up to you. But I wouldn't - not yet. 

I'll share with you what happened to the drunkard's path blocks tomorrow. No time today. 

But I also pulled out a single piece of fabric. I have something in mind for what I want to do with this. I've got this idea brewing in my head and literally pulled the first piece of fabric in the cream basket. I opened it up to see if it was the right size. Yes - it's slightly larger than the backgrounds I'm making. And then it hit me - the pattern on this piece will be PERFECT for my idea. I love when that happens. 

A plain piece of fabric for one more background

So in between Zoom classes yesterday, I had to zip to the drug store for my second shot. Then I had to wait 15 minutes, so I browsed the store. I ended up buying a couple of things, but not before I checked my blood pressure. I haven't done this in a LONG time, and I love how the screen has changed. Look at me - I'm in the optimal range. They have an optimal (green), normal (yellow), and high (red). My pulse was a bit higher than normal, but hey - I just got jabbed in the arm!

Optimal blood pressure

Well, that took all of two minutes, so I wandered all the aisles. I even went down the baby aisle. OH MY GOD - you are kidding me!!!!  A stroller mount for a tablet or a smartphone! Seriously?? I won't even comment on this. OK -- I can't hold back. What happened with talking to your child while out for a walk and teaching them things around the neighborhood or looking at things together. OH - I forgot because Mom probably has a mount for her phone on the handle, and she's too busy talking to someone else to pay attention to the child. Sigh.............................

A stroller mount for a tablet

Back home where I spent the afternoon with MY peeps on Zoom. All the components for the Double Wedding Ring quilt are pieced and trimmed. This is the one that I'm finishing on behalf of the daughter of one of my students. 

Double wedding ring components - trimmed

I'm setting it aside for a couple of weeks, but I have used up all the fabric that she had cut. How many blocks can I make from that? No idea, but we'll start piecing and see where it goes. There's more fabric in the box. But I'm down to three project boxes and two bags instead of the EIGHT or NINE project boxes delivered to me. 

It's Monday sewing, and I'm ready to go. I had to clean my machine this morning after the five bobbins ran out. I changed the needle, and I'm ready to go for a good week of sewing. It wasn't that dirty, so that was a good thing. Don't forget to take the lint out of the feed teeth. 

Lint from the sewing machine

At the moment, my ender and leader project is another row of trees for my All in a Row quilt. 

Flying geese for my row of trees

It's a fairly calm week this week, although I do have some random appointments that are scheduled. And I have to prep for the upcoming classes this weekend. Yikes - it's like being on a sewing treadmill. 

I have five items on The Task Master from last week that didn't get completed. And I added eight this morning. It's about setting priorities! I simply look at that list and see what needs to be done. Although I will say that I need to sit my butt at the computer and get some writing done! I'll move back and forth between the computer and the sewing machine this week. 

Don't forget that there's a Virtual Retreat this weekend. Saturday, June 26 from 6 - 9 PM and Sunday, June 27 from 10 - 8 PM. It's going to be loads of fun, and I've got lots of stuff to sew. Hey -- if you're working on the backgrounds for your art pieces, I'd love to see them. 

On that note, have a super day!!!!

In closing, I want to send a shout-out to Lois!! Thanks for all the memories. You were a remarkable person!


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