New Season

A big Midwestern sky

We had our first frost last night and it’s a cold morning (Hello, Novembrrrrr!) I know a lot of people don’t like cooler weather but I love it. The first of November signals a new season for me. It’s the end of show season for me, and the beginning of a new time. No longer fall, but not quite winter, it’s not exactly a calendar season, just one of my own. It does coincide with cooler weather, and I love that. It means it’s time for boots and scarves, and as always, lots of coffee.

new season
My favorite boots

As I finish up the Very last of the appraisals from all of the shows and try desperately to catch-up with the housework that got neglected, spend time with my family, and touch base with my friends, I am thinking ahead. I am planning as I put away the quilts I’ve dragged out for lectures and exhibit. I am preparing…for a season of making.


new season
“fresh inspiration for the day ahead”

Although there are holidays to consider (and they can definitely distract me), my day-to-day life slows down a lot and I can spend time in my workroom exploring some of the ideas that have bubbled to the surface while I couldn’t play. I can finish up things I started and never got back to, and I can reevaluate some of the things I left hanging around. Some of them need adjustments.


Of course, Making Season has to start with a time of cleaning up the debris of fly-by trips to grab this spool of thread or those buttons, or whatever I might have needed urgently on my way to somewhere else. It means I have to vacuum and dust, tidy up. It means I have to put away the things I’ve bought here and there: new quilts, bits of fabric, books. It will start tentatively as I reconsider old projects while trying to ignore the call of the new, the fun, the what-if things. But start it will.

new season
Stone Hollow Mitts, Carol Sunday, (c) sunday knits These look so warm! They’d be gorgeous in any color!

My season will continue into winter, into long, dark evenings when I can sit and do handwork: binding, quilting, knitting, whatever. (I’m thinking I want to knit these Stone Hollow Mitts by Carol Sunday this winter. Aren’t they wonderful? They’re like the Bella Mittens from a few years ago, but not knit with bulky yarn. I can see them in this from my favorite yarn supplier, Beaverslide Dry Goods.) I love snowed-in days when there is nowhere to go and no way to get there. We don’t have many of those, but I can always dream.

new season
Yummy silk dupioni to play with

I have grand plans for Making Season this year: quilts I want to make, lectures I plan to write, workshops I want to teach, new fabrics to play with… I never know how far I’ll get in my plans. It can be hard to focus on the road ahead when I’m caught in the whirlwind. But what a whirlwind it’ll be. I can hardly wait!


For now, though, I have to get ready. It’ll be here before I know it! What will you be making?




As Promised

On Friday I promised you more about another quilt Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts quilted for me. Drum roll please…

It’s huge!

And here it is. I, the never-use-a-pattern quilter, made this several years ago, because I had piles and piles of batiks and needed to burn through them. Did I succeed? Well, yes…and no. I still have tons of good-sized scraps, and maybe a couple more pieces I’ve bought because…color.


I made this so long ago that I don’t really remember whether I used a pattern, but it looks as if I must have used “Jungle Fever” by Karen Montgomery, for The Quilt Company. This poor top hung around until I decided to get some things finished so they’d quit taking space in my workroom and we’d have some new quilts to use.

promisedThis is a very simple design, and definitely easy to make. I remember that making these blocks was sort of like eating popcorn, just one more, and one more, and one more, until I had this ginormous quilt. It ended up 96 X 96″ inches, which is huge in my book (the largest bed in my house is a queen-size). That’s why you’re having to look at photos of sections of it at a time. It’s too big to fit into one photo.

I found a piece of 108″ wide batik backing somewhere, folded it up with the top, and sent it all off to Shelly to quilt. Her question? How did I want it quilted? I was planning to use this on the bed so certainly didn’t need heirloom-level quilting on it, so I told her to just give it whatever it needed. I also told her that I really dislike “mattress pad” quilting. For those of you who’ve not heard me use that term, this is what I think of when I see a quilt with an allover, edge-to-edge pattern that has no regard for piecing or applique or anything except holding the three layers of top-batting-backing together. Like a mattress pad. There is definitely a time and place for that, but I didn’t want it on this.


My comments are not meant to sound snotty.  Really! I just have always loved quilting that considers all the parts of the quilt, that highlights the blocks and works together to make a top a coherent whole. I think Shelly might have laughed when I told her “no mattress pad,” but I could tell that she understood what I meant. And how…

If you to look at the back of the quilt (at least in photos) you can see the quilting a bit better. Take a look at how the blocks are all different, but not. Each block is quilted similarly, and some are the same, but there is enough variation between them to keep me looking. (If you click on the photos to open them, you can see it even better.)

Gorgeous, right? I think so. Ya done good, Shelly.

Each block is different

I’d like to tell you this is completely done, but it’s not. It needs a binding. When she handed this off to me, Shelly remarked that it’s a monster. I agree. It’s huge, but I am really looking forward to having the time to sit and bind this…sometime soon, I hope.  I love to bind a quilt. Those last few hours spent finishing it up are wonderful.  How about you? Do you enjoy binding?

P.S. There is BIG news! Shelly Pagliai is writing the block-of-the-month for the Kansas City Star in 2015. It’s going to be flat gorgeous and so fun to make! Goooooo, Shelly!! (She is so talented, and sweet as can be. If you don’t know her, you will soon!)