Bonnie’s 8 pointed star antique quilt

Like thousands of others, I follow Bonnie’s blog over at Quiltville – that woman is amazing – so much energy!!

Her recent post Antiquing through Virginia bought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye! She went to visit Mt Vernon quilters in Virginia, one of several chapters of Quilters Unlimited. Yay….I used to be President of Mt Vernon quilters – can you believe it??!! It was 15 years ago now, while my family and I were living in the US for three years. We lived in Northern Virginia – my girls went to Washington Mill Elementary school, named after the mill which serviced George Washington’s estate – which is called………………you guessed it, Mt Vernon.

Oh what happy, happy times we all had there. I absolutely fell in love with the two antique quilts Bonnie purchased. I have already made myself a basket quilt on point, so was drawn to the second one. Despite being up to my eyeballs in bridesmaid dresses, I just had to drop everything and start making that block.

It wasn’t hard to figure out that it is based on an eight pointed star grid – the octagon in the centre is a dead give away! Some 8 pointed star blocks are trickier, and on first glance almost look like nine patches, but you soon find out your mistake if you try and draft it that way.

I ran to my fabric stash, pulled out a pile and quickly made two blocks. Because of the inset seams, these are an ideal candidate for hand piecing. Most of my quilts are machine made, but I do like to have a hand piecing project on the go. It is portable, and pick up and put downable and rather soothing. If you are going to go the trouble of hand pieceing, it may as well be something tricky with inset seams or strange shapes that have to be cut from templates – can’t see the point of hand piecing a nine patch which you zap out with a rotary cutter!

I don’t know how long it will take me to get enough blocks to make a quilt- it doesn’t matter. There isn’t a deadline and I am making this for me, so I can go at my own pace. I do know that I will want to hand quilt this one – probably with Baptist fans, which I love.

It feels good to get back to doing something soothing – and recreating antique quilts is a wonderful link to the past. I hope my grand children and others cherish my quilts when I am gone – and even if they end up anonymously in an antique shop – or, heaven forbid, an thrift store, as long as they go to a good home, where the new owner fondles the worn softness lovingly and wonders about the long gone woman who held the needle that made every stitch – well, I think I will rest peacefully.

Blog anniversary – Not!

People normally celebrate the anniversary of the day they started their blog – I thought I’d do something different and resurrect mine after a year of no posts. Why no posts? I won’t bore you with tedious excuses – suffice to say I am back after an unplanned but necessary break. Thank you to those kind souls who contacted me off line to see if I was alright – how thoughtful bloggers are!

This is going to be a very big year for me – one daughter getting married in a few weeks – I am up to my neck in chiffon and satin making three bridesmaid dresses -never again! Then in May, another daughter will make us grandparents for the first time – a pretty big milestone. And, while all that is going on, our house at the coast will get underway in April. By the end of the year, we will be living down there half the time and commuting to Canberra mid-week as part of our transition to retirement plan (not to mention, try and recoup the large amount of superannuation that has gone up in smoke in the financial meltdown plan). Oh well, we are so fortunate compared to many who have already retired and don’t have the chance to recoup. I think there can be nothing scarier than carefully planning your retirement to ensure that you will be financially secure then suddenly finding that you are anything but.

I have done minimal creative stuff in my one year blogging absence – part of the reason I didn’t blog, I think, as I didn’t really have anything textiley to show/say and didn’t want the blog to turn into a whine about all the things in my life that were driving me crazy.

But I have faithfully followed the many blogs that I read regularly and realise that they all talk about the ‘stuff’ going on the background of the artist’s lives – none of us create in a vacuum and what we produce – and even if -is often influenced by the personal/health/family stuff, so maybe I will be less concerned in future to feel I have to have some new creation to show, or else it isn’t worth blogging.

So here is my something for now – if you haven’t already heard about Prudence Mapstone’s Pink Project – check it out. I made these scrumbles for the project – looking forward to seeing what the clever Prudence makes out of them all. Pink isn’t my colour, so I won’t be bidding for anything, but it is nice to know they will end up somewhere in the world as part of a bag/jacket, whatever. And all the money going to a great cause.

By for now – and I promise to blog again soon!