Friday, November 17, 2017

A Dark Week, In Color, Weather and Mood

This was another week of dark colors for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Many of us are trying to finish up year-long rainbow quilt projects and making blocks from our dark black, brown and gray scraps. Perfect color choice for November, right? Why not join us over at Angela’s blog for Scrappy Saturday.

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“Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall”. The saying is taken from a song recorded in 1944 by Ella Fitzgerald (when she was with The Ink Spots) which, in turn, was taken from a line in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem entitled “Rainy Day”. (Yes, I had to look it up).  The line has pretty much summed up the last month for Bruce and me. I’ve mentioned before about a dear friend Colleen who died suddenly in late October and possibly about Bruce’s lifelong BFF who suffered a major stroke but is, thankfully, home and recovering nicely. And now our friend and neighbor - and honestly, a local “hero” - Cal, died this week. He is the one for whom I made a What Cancer Cannot Do quilt a couple years ago. Cal fought valiantly for 7 years, but lost the battle this week on Tuesday, the same day that sewing legend Nancy Zieman died. He was only 52. The rain and clouds this week have matched our moods. Things can only get better, right?  We’re counting on it!

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Back to what you’re probably here for!  These are the only dark scraps I got sewn up this week; 26 bow-tie blocks that will finish at 4”. That brings me to 240 of 304 needed.

I got both the Autumn Sampler and my Rainbow Selvages quilts basted. I should have the selvages quilt finished by next week to show you. I also pieced the tulip quilt top for a friend Diane. This is the one that my friend Terri and I are collaborating on for a Christmas present for Diane. We split the making of the tulips. Here it is without the final white sashing on the top and bottom.

I accidentally cut the vertical sashing 2.5” wide instead of 2”, so the top grew in width by an additional 4”. When the top and bottom borders are added, it will measure 72” wide and 88” long. That’s bigger than I like to quilt on my machine, but it will be perfect for Diane, who is tall. Once it is quilted, Terri will finish up the binding. But one way or another we will get a finished picture to share.

This week I also put together a trial quilt block for a project I’ll be working on next year. I have a huge store of vintage linens, both from my family and from years of collecting (and occasionally selling online). But some were just “cutter” quality, meaning they were stained or had bad parts with holes, etc. I wanted to give them a new life. So, this project will combine sweet little cotton fabric prints with bits and bobs of embroidered and lacy linens.

It will be a jumble of pieces, sizes and orientations. I’d like to make the blocks in sizes of 6, 9 and 12” so that they will hopefully be easier to sew together later. But who knows if the scraps will let me stick to that plan! I would also like to try a combination of machine quilting (in the ditch between blocks) and hand quilting and/or embroidery on the blocks. This would bring an element of crazy quilting into this piece for me, which is something I admit to missing after having not done any for a couple years. 

And finally, to beef up the visual aids on this post, here are some pictures of my “Teddy Bears". Alfalfa and Darla have taken to napping on our bed.  Both of these pictures were taken the same day - one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Because cats are Superstar Nappers.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’ll see you back here next week!

Cathy maroon


  1. I'm sorry to hear about your dark week/month. By the end of your post, though, I was greatly cheered by that burst of tulip loveliness. Then I felt bad for Darla and Alfie given how much glue you would have had to use to get them into those adorable poses. Let's hope for a cheerier holiday season.

  2. We have attending a funeral in every month so far this year. Some of our life-long friends and Terry's friends from school and past employments have died this year. They have all been about his age and it has really upset him. It' been very dreary here in Northern Indiana too with the sun rarely showing it's face. Your tulips quilt is so pretty and I can tell the cats love your quilts!

    Hope the coming holiday week is sunny at your house.
    xx, Carol

  3. Oh, those photos of the cuteness on your bed are great! I showed them to my DH who laughed :) Our kitties give us so much pleasure, don't they?

    I really like the tulip quilt. Did you use a particular pattern for that? It would be great for my softer, more pastel strip scraps. Looks like each piece is 2.5" wide, right?

    I'm so sorry for the loss of your friends. I hope that fond memories give you some comfort at this sad time.

  4. It's so hard to have friends and loved ones going through hard times and not be able to do much for them. Thinking of you! I really like your dark bow ties - lots of fun fabric there. You are really moving those bow ties along! Thanks for sharing your kitties with us - I always get a kick out of cats and quilts!

  5. So sorry for the loss of your beloved neighbor. I'm surprised that you managed to get that BLACK sewing done for the RSC. Although, that's the way it is with loss... we either aren't able to quilt at all or we sew our tears into every stitch. Hugs to you!!

  6. This month may be dark, but on Thanksgiving Day I know you willl both be thankful for all the dear ones you have been blessed with in your lives. The tulip quilt is so lovely and I'm happy to see your old linens in a new life. My dear Polish grandmother taught me how to crochet those lace edges on hankies. I wish I still had some of them.

  7. I, too, wonder if there is a pattern for the tulip quilt. Almost looks like it could be from a Lori Holt book.
    November is such a depressing month anyway, so it's really hard when sad events pile on. One day at a time, things will get better.

  8. I'm finding November a challenge too but for different reasons. I'm so sorry for all the losses you're suffering. It is that time of life for many of us I'm afraid. Meanwhile,feline cuteness and tulips! I hope you're able to follow through with your plans for the vintage linens next year, that will be fun to watch.

  9. Beautiful work! Four-inch bowties??? Better woman than I :)

  10. Love your "dark days" quilt--right in line with my mood lately--being the dark side of the Moon. And, Rain , rain rain again today. Urg!!
    Your bow ties look veddy tuxedo-classy ;)) hugs, Julierose

  11. I hope this week has more smile-inducing moments! It's always great to have fabric therapy to help smooth over the rough days...
    From the Great Minds Think Alike department: I was thinking about vintage linens and stitching projects this week, too. My thoughts were more along the lines of remembering past vintage linen workshops and projects and wondering if anyone still did such stuff. I guess you answered my question!

  12. Rain, rain go away! Little Cathy wants to play!
    That vintage linen project is going to be wonderful. I want to make a vintage linen project but most of my vintage linens aren't cutters so I'm afraid to cut into them. Maybe I'll start using them and stain them up so I'll feel better about cutting them up!

  13. 52 is far too young. I remember the quilt you made for him and I'm sure it gave him comfort. Of course you know I like the crazy quilt inspired project - and the cat nappers are pretty cool too.

  14. Sounds like 2017 has been a bit rough. So sorry for the loss of your friends and neighbors. The bowtie blocks look fantastic. I'm still contemplating my RSC project for 2017 and I really want to use up some scraps. Bowties may be a good one for that. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving.


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