Putzing about

Not a lot of piecing has gone on this past week, but on Memorial Day I did have a chance to sit at my machine and quilt a top I made long ago. I’m having a little fight with myself over whether to stick with the simple outline quilting I’ve already done or to add some free motion quilting. I’ll share it when I’ve got it completed.

This weekend is Arts Fest in Iowa City. Sadly, we’re in for rain today, but last night the weather held and we were treated to a concert featuring Sarah Jarosz and Darrell Scott. Sarah’s a mere 19, but a terrific musician, singer, and songwriter—Darrell’s guitar playing made people shake their heads in awe. He’s also a powerful lyricist with a fabulous voice. The highlight was when they played together at the end of each of their sets.

Finally, I had to share a few photos of my garden. Yes, I really do live in a house with a picket fence (it’s a bit of a fake, however…it just runs along the front, but then peters out on the sides and doesn’t really enclose anything completely). My William Baffin rose and our peonies often bloom on Memorial Day weekend and it always makes me feel as though I live in some kind of fantasyland…the rose (depending on your definition) is totally out of control, or creates a charming bower that people walking by have the pleasure of passing beneath.


Finest monkey quid? Frankly more quarrelsome? Feeling mighty querulous?

When my friend Anne R. first offered to teach me to quilt, I remember the lingo she used seemed exotic. What were fat quarters? A stash? The difference between piecing and quilting? It was a foreign language, but once I learned to walk the walk, it didn’t take long to talk the talk. So I’ve learned that FMQ is an abbreviation for free motion quilting, especially when referred to online.

I’ve had my share of trials with FMQ. I first learned when I took a class at Common Threads to make the Sunday Satchel. I could handle the nice square of fabric, keeping my stitching relatively even. But when I tried to do anything larger, in particular a baby quilt, it was a god-awful mess. I can multitask with the best of ’em, but keeping myself from putting the pedal to the metal with my presser foot while at the same time moving my hands evenly…it was like the worst case of not being able to rub my head and pat my stomach. Or dial my cell phone and drive (fortunately, not quite that dangerous).

I mentioned that I got a new machine recently—the money was the result of selling my lovely Glimakra Standard loom this past summer, along with my spinning wheel. It wasn’t an easy decision—I always told myself I might weave and spin again when I retired—but they’d both sat idle for many years and it was time for someone who wanted them to use them.

With my new machine, I’m able to unplug the foot pedal and simply press a button: the speed is controllable by a sliding lever. It’s just what I needed to make FMQ really fun. This weekend I quilted an entire baby quilt—turned on my two new Christmas CDs (The Essential Yo-Yo Ma and Lake Street Dive Promises, Promises) and spent a really relaxing evening. Here are the results: not perfect, but a definite step up from the my previous attempts, which looked as though someone ought to be arrested for the maltreatment of fabric and thread.

Now I’ve got to get a binding on it. The baby for whom it’s intended was born last night—an 8 lb. 14 oz. girl. Can’t wait to meet her!