Of friends, jelly roll quilting and embracing long unused skills.

DSC_0002This last year I have been in deep and total immersion into multicolor printing using Procion MX dyes. I have printed about 50 yards of cloth, believe it or not. And when you print that much cloth, it goes to say that you should also try to use as much cloth! At the same time, I have a back log of cloth that I have been printing and gathering for the last 10-15 years! I don’t consider myself to much of a stasher, not compared to my friends anyway, and I would love to get to the point where I am not stashing at all, but rather, making cloth per project/quilt and acquiring materials to fill out and finish said project.

I have been sorting, cutting and stacking, cut squares. I mean, Damn! Look at these fat stacks!

What you see here is  my backlog fabrics, not the ones I printed this year. These older pieces of cloth work really nicely in padding out my current multicolor printed cloth and they also show me my progress as a dyer and artist. Win!!

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This quilt, a jellyroll quilt, I put together a few weeks ago, while at my twice yearly quilt art retreat. This quilt is filled with girlfriend love. We put aside our personal projects to exchange strips of fabric with one another and bang out a usable quick and dirty beauty. This quilt has one piece of fabric from each member of the group and then then some (!!!).

Yesterday, Teri came to Brooklyn to help me bring my machine in for repair and to help me with the many, many projects that are piling up, with ‘just one last thing’ needed, before being able to call them complete.

Teri Lucas helped me complete the jellyroll in many ways. 1. Teri helped me with trimming the quilt down, teaching me how to square it and what to square it to. 2. Teri cut and attached the binding (teaching me her methods all the way through, this is a 2″ French straight grain binding, I usually cut 2.25″ bindings [the straight grain part was my idea and is related to the cloth I wanted to bind it with]). 3. Teri gave me the fantastic idea of utilizing my local quilt store to cut quilts down and possibly even baste- NYC apartment living can really crimp a large quilts style! 4. Teri got me out of the house and made me re-member how important it is to hang out with friends, I tend to be a bit of a recluse and artistic shut-in.

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 And then!! Last weekend, Stephanie Forsyth and her best friend Sally came to New York City. Beside walking up a storm, going to the Statue of Liberty, going to Carnegie Hall to see Handel’s Messiah, and eating and drinking while basking in our shared friendship, Steph hand sewed the binding on this quilt, made of my own printed cloth.

Do I have awesome friends, or what?

Want to know what I love best about both Stephanie and Teri, in addition to my retreat gal pals? I learn from these women. First, I learn what love, affection and friendship means, and I get to do it while dishing about cloth and fiber. I learn (relearn) that it is OK to ask for help. And my soul becomes fortified to what it means to have and be a friend.

Teri put forth a challenge to me to try sewing the finished edge of the binding she applied by machine. I have never done this before. I usually sew that last bit by hand. Elizabeth (a member of my retreat group) did this and I liked the ‘Done!’ factor! I mean, that is quick! Do you think I should take her up on it? Let me know in the comments.


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Comments

  1. What joy!!! There is nothing better than being with friends who teach, inspire, and share the same loves. I miss my group. Some have moved away, some have moved away from textiles (what?!!!), and others just disappeared.
    I love the sneeky peeks of the quilts you are working on. The last one with the zig zag – oh my!!! I love that design and the fabrics are beautiful.
    I have forgotten so much. I basted a baby quilt last night. How to square? How to make the squiggly lines, not squiggly? Now I am going ot machine quilt it. I think I have machine quilted 3 quilts in my life. It isn’t going to be fancy swirls, just cross hatching, but the anxiety is already present. Big breath and diving in. 🙂
    Have a wonderful weekend and love what you are doing. xoxoxo

  2. Well, I really enjoy hand sewing bindings on. It lets me savour that completion doing something that I find extremely relaxing. I have a table runner that will get the binding sewn down tonite or tomorrow (I have a pair of mitts that I am knitting for a Christmas present so they may well take priority LOL). I am looking forward to sewing that binding down…

  3. You have awesome friends.
    I too, savour hand stitching on the binding. Seeing the finished quilt appear inch by inch is very satisfying. but I machine stitch them on when time is of the essence. Although I needed to take time to begin with to practice getting it neat and tidy. My best tutorial I found was called something like no-snit machine binding, very useful.

  4. I love this post! You describe warm, loving friends who share your interests as well as themselves! Doesn’t get any better than that… as for machine versus hand binding… I love doing hand sewing, so have never tried machine binding. I think I would want to try the technique on a small piece first to see if I like how it comes out, then you could decide which way to finish the larger piece. It’s always good to try new things! Hope you post pix of the final finished quilt, and I hope you find lots of new projects to help use up that wonderful stash!