flashback

Some of you long-time readers may remember this which was originally posted on February 10, 2007:

 

 

this morning, i woke up and put my game face on.  i was going to finish  the quilt.  i wasn’t going to kill time doing other piddly things (besides…i couldn’t come up with anything new anyways).  no, this quilt was not going to go another day undone. 

just to refresh your memory, we started out with a basketful a few weeks ago…

 

 

 

 

…and we ended up with this…..

 

 

now, let’s recap the stats for this quilt:

-started January 1, 2006

-did 2 blocks a day until 702 blocks were made (december 17,2006)

-all civil war reproduction scraps

-top completed february 10, 2007

-there are 9,464 strips

 

Yes, that was almost 5 years ago that I finished my little log cabin quilt.  Five years.  !!!  Is it quilted yet you ask?  Nope….not yet.

 

 

But at least I’ve started quilting it!!

 

Yeah, I know…I had said that I was going to have it machine quilted, but golly, the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t like that idea.  This quilt is didn’t ‘call’ for machine-quilting in my eyes.  Nope,  no matter how tough it was going to be to hand-quilt this bugger, I was going to do it…and I am.  Honestly, it hasn’t been that bad at all.  I’d say that it’s “well seasoned” after 5 years, wouldn’t you?

 

I’m off to stitch some more on it while it’s snowing and so cold outside my window right now.  A roast is in the slow cooker and a fire is going in the fireplace.  Mmmm….life IS good.

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deadlines

a couple of months ago, when my life was at the height of craziness, i received a letter in the mail that both blessed and shocked me.  it caused me to sit down, re-read it again, just so i didn’t go and make a fool out of myself.  the letter was from gwen marston.

it seems as though gwen was trying to get hold of me and wasn’t having the best of luck.  if you remember, 2 weeks after returning from her retreat last september, we sold our house and moved a month later.  that meant new phone number and new address.  i notified family and friends of our new address and phone number, and although i dearly admire gwen, she wasn’t one of the folks that i contacted with the new info.  i mean, it wasn’t like she was prone to give me a ring often. 😉  so, when she got the “disconnected” recording after she called our old phone number, she sat herself down and wrote me a letter….which would take 3 weeks to reach me since it had to be forwarded to our new address.  oh, but it was so worth the wait!

remember these girls?  the quilt that i made while i was at her retreat last fall?  well, gwen has been asked to write another book, and this quilt, my quilt, is going to be in it.

…………

!!!!!!!!!!!!

………..

i know!  talk about a wonderful, slap-me-silly surprise!

in her letter, gwen asked me to give her a call for more details.  oh sure…like we were old pals, we chatted and giggled together. 😛  i gave her my cell phone number, and she promised to keep in touch, and then we said our goodbyes.  once i got over my giddiness, the reality of all of this hit me.

oh. my. gosh.  i have to have this quilt DONE and ready to be sent off  in 9 months!  i still had another month yet of school, an upcoming move, a daughter graduating college and a trip to d.c….and this is all before june!  then, i took a deep breath and remembered that  if there’s one thing that nursing school taught me oh so well, it was to be undaunted when faced with overwhelming odds.  yeah…just smile and keep on just like you planned it all that way, being ms. cool/calm/collected.  😉

2 days after graduation, i pulled the girls out along with the backing and batting (thank goodness i was smart enough to NOT stick them in storage with the rest of my fabric) and got to work.  my girls are going to be in print, and not just in any ole’ book, but in a gwen marston book!  who knew?!?

stoning giants

“the past 1.5 years have been quite interesting for me.  it’s been a time of stepping out of my comfort zone.  okay…i take that back;  it’s been a time of kicking that comfort zone’s butt and walking away from it into the sunset.  it’s been scary, fun, challenging, frustrating, thrilling and rewarding.  taking that first step, back in june of 2008, and applying to nursing school was the first big step for me.  i knew that i was going to have to face some of my giants along the path…the giants that i cowered down to when they would raise their ugly heads in the past.

done out of an attempt to distract, ignore and ponder fears that have plagued me for way too long, but i am determined (she says in a quivering voice) to overcome.”

(~what i had to say back in december 2009, when i finished piecing the top~)

well, it’s been quite the ride, i must say.  a lot of studying, praying, and not a whole lot of quilting time.  during it all  i worked my way through the making of this quilt, little by little.  finally, two days after my 42nd birthday, i finished sewing on the binding.  what a wonderful feeling of accomplishment!

as quilters we add so much of ourselves into our art, some pieces more so than others.  this quilt has so much of myself that i’m almost afraid to reveal it to the public.  at first, i saw it as a representation of my deepest fears; now i see that it also includes my hopes and dreams and the hard work that has been devoted to making them a reality.

just as there was only a very loose plan on the design of this quilt, i had a small idea on how i wanted to hand quilt it:  free form and lots of it.  i honestly didn’t think that i was going to finish it before i graduated (31 days and counting!), but refused to skimp on the quilting.  i’m so glad that i didn’t settle for less. 😉

so the question is, did the giants win?

not a chance.

~i will be graduating from nursing school in one month with a 4.0 gpa (i’m not as stupid as i thought i was).

~i still dislike driving in the winter, but i am much calmer about it than i was a year ago.

oh, i already know that there are plenty of giants out there, just waiting to knock me down.  i can name you a couple of them right now:  taking the boards and starting to work as a nurse. i’ve learned some valuable lessons during the past 2 years, and this time around i plan on trudging forward and not letting them stop me.

“thou comest to me with a sword and with a spear,and with a shield: but i come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of israel, whom thou hast defied…and all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”

🙂

biqr- remembering who i wanted to be

remember this quilt?

pnqe-2007 by you.

i first saw this quilt over 3 years ago and have had it stuck in my head since, but it would take me 3 years to decide the direction i was going to head with it.

who i am

finally, last january i started in on making my little girls.  i had a definite plan and even took the time to draft it all out, however, time was limited (as usual), and by the time september rolled around, i only had 5 girls made.  i then decided that these little girls were going on a road trip with me to see gwen.  i packed up all my fabric, loaded up the featherweight along with my detailed plans for the quilt, and off we went to michigan.

wednesday was our first sewing day and i hit the ground running.  i was able to finish up the last 4 girls needed for the quilt and then set them all together with this really cool retro aqua fabric.  my plan was coming together nicely.

the girls

i absolutely loved how it looked.  come thursday morning, i jumped right into things and started making the border that i had decided on several months beforehand.  once i had made a 12″ strip of it, i plopped it alongside the girls, stepped back….and instantly knew that it wasn’t doing anything for the quilt.  after brainstorming on my own, i was at a loss, so i decided to pick gwen’s brain a bit.  she had a unique approach-take my center and place it on one of her finished quilts to see how different borders would look.  brilliant!  we found one that we both loved, and i switched gears and got busy.

liberated squares

the liberated squares border definitely was the way to go.  i finished it up friday morning and was thrilled with the results.

the next border i had planned required a focus fabric…one that i had already purchased and brought with me. just like before, i pulled it out, placed it alongside the girls…and the instantly rejected it.  okay.  !!  i decided to step away from the quilt for a bit and have some lunch with the other retreaters at a local restaurant.  afterwards, we headed to a quilt shop that i was sure would have a focus fabric that would work.

after almost 2 hours at the quilt shop, we came up short.  absolutely nothing was working.  these little girls were really starting to become unruly!  fine.  if there wasn’t a focus fabric that these girls found acceptable, i’d just make one with the load of fabric i brought with me.

liberated strata

some liberated strata did the trick.  it was late friday night by the time i got it all together and sewn on, and i was exhausted.  as i walked back to my room that evening, i didn’t even want to guess what the third and final border was going to be.  i figured that it was safer to not even try what i had planned, because those girls would reject it anyways! 😉

saturday morning, bright and early, i headed up to the lodge and checked in on those 9 little darlings.  after studying them a bit from a distance, i got to work.  i worked steadily all morning and right through lunch.  finally, at about 7 that evening, my girls had a final border.

remembering who i want to be

it’s hard to see in the picture, but the solids vary from aqua, to orange, to a coral solid.  that was done out of necessity.  i used what i had until i had no more, and then moved onto the next solid.  no planning, just steadily working through it all.  once i stepped back and look at the final product, i was quite surprised at how it had all come together.  it didn’t look anything like what i had planned (big surprise!).

well, of course, the quilt has to be named, right?  the name(s) came about at different times throughout the week.

one evening, while i was walking back to my room, i saw a bumper sticker on a car that read, “remember who you wanted to be.”  that struck me.  this year has been a crazy busy one and on the drive to michigan, all i was hoping for by the end of the week was to feel calmer.  life was just so hectic with school, work, selling the house, building another one not to mention all of the other day-to-day things that life throws at you.  i was feeling quite frazzled.  that simple saying really hit home.   there was a plan in all of these things when they were started, but all i was seeing was a crazy, hectic mess.  i just needed to remember.  later that evening, as i mulled those simple words over, i knew that i had found the name for this quilt.  not only had i come to michigan to spend some time with a fabulous quilter, i (unknowingly) needed to be reminded to  simply remember.

the second name for this quilt came about from a story from another retreater; she was sharing how excited she was to attend gwen’s retreat for the first time a few years ago.  she had called her husband on her first night there, and breathlessly rambled on and on about how much fun she was having and how wonderful gwen was.  after listening to her for several minutes, she said that her husband interrupted her and asked, ” you are coming home, aren’t you?!?”  when sharing this story with gwen the next morning, they had a good laugh and proceeded to throw around some ideas for “gwen’s home for wayward girls” that needed to be started.

i have high hopes on starting the quilting on this sometime during the winter once i finish my “stoning giants” quilt.  progress is…well, nonexistent at this time with the move and all.  i’ll get there. oh, and wait until you see the backing fabric i plan on using on this quilt.  LOVE it!  i know that i packed it and brought it along with me to this house, but i couldn’t even begin to tell you where that box is at this point.  and then there is the problem with the missing camera….

biqr- a week of liberated sewing

i had heard from past retreaters that gwen knows how to run a truly relaxing retreat, and i couldn’t agree more.  gwen made herself available for advice, but for the most part we were left to create whatever we wanted at our own pace.  there was a constant hum of sewing machines at most hours of the day and night, and come saturday afternoon, there were some stunning results.

liberated tia

liberated baskets

liberated porcupines

seriously, can you imagine not walking out of this place without feeling totally inspired?  it was such a fun, relaxing, creative time that gave me the oppurtunity to create something that took on a life of its own and is totally different than anything else i’ve ever done.  i’ll share those pictures next week….