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Friday, November 19, 2010


This Month I participated in a challenge from a former guild member, Carol, who was cleaning out her fabric stash areas, (a.k.a. hiding places from the hubby,) and decided to GIVE each guild member a piece or pieces of fabric. That's right, she GAVE US FREE FABRIC!

We got our fabric in April at our guild meeting, and we each got at least one piece of fabric. On the fabrics were tags with stickers. My fabric was a group of two colors I really liked but my sticker was a picture of a hair dryer. Apparently hair dryers are lucky, because I got to trade up to a bigger "Mystery" bag of fabric. I asked the girls if I should trade, and they all said, "YES!!!!" So this is a photo of the fabrics in my big bag of goodies. Are you inspired by these colors? I was! Our project could be whatever we wanted and it was due at the November meeting when prizes would be awarded. Check some future posts, to see the results!
Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quilter's Poetry

This is a poem I wrote, hope you like it!
Patient is the Quilter
by Meg Tryba

Sharpened pencil, paper: graph,
Quarter-inch seam, quilter’s math

Patient is the quilter, Sketching star blocks
Second chance, colors dance, cotton in stock

Quilt show, must go, judge’s ribbon best
Don’t touch, just look, fingers never rest

Inspiration comes from every which way
Color, value, quilted curves, file them away

Log Cabin, Pinwheel, Broken Dishes, Fan
Toad in a Puddle, Dutchman’s Puzzle, purse-holding man

Grandmother’s Flower Garden, Double Wedding Ring
Oh-so-pretty patchwork, needle on a string

Way-home-stop, quilt shop, thimble, rulers, cash
Cutting mat, quarters fat, always adding stash

Tree of life, Feathered Star, Lady of the Lake,
Wall hanging, table runner, many quilts to make!

Home, supper, bath and bed? No! Quilters never sleep!
Sewing room, time alone, long late hours keep

Wash, starch, press, fold, colors in a stack
Floral, plaid, strip, batik: choices never lack

Measure twice, cut precise, strips across the grain
Piecing, pressing, squaring up, hours entertain

Call a friend, advice to lend, how to quilt the top?
Mark, stretch, layer, baste, once you start can’t stop!

Rock the needle forth and back, lines are crisp and clean,
Patience required...
Fingers tired...
Finish by machine?

Strips of binding, true and right, corners mitered neat,
Warmth and love in every stitch, quilt at last complete!

Friday, November 12, 2010


There is something you should know about me. I make mistakes in quilting. Big ones, and here I am, writing about it like a teacher with my "red pen." I do make darn good binding, and our guild raffle quilt even won a ribbon once because my binding tipped the scale. But, if I were to evolve as a quilter, there would be a seam ripper on the end of my finger. Alas, there is not. However, I have accepted the inevitable need to rip, or un-sew, or frog if you're a knitter, which I also am. In fact I embrace the need to rip, or correct mistakes in whatever project I'm working on. I am not perfect; I believe that nobody is but God. I am just a person who cares. I care enough to rip. My mother taught me to garment sew when I was twelve and she taught me to rip. As I recall the experience, I should kiss her feet and send her roses, (or more practically, a ham,) to thank her for her patience. Without it, I would not be able to convey any good stories or wisdom about any kind of needlework, let alone quilting techniques! Like the rest of us, she hated ripping. I even knew her to say bad words when she had to rip. "That is going to take so much time to fix!" But she would do it. She had and still has, at age 80, the patience of a saint.  

If you are going to be good at something, you must be humble. Do I sound humble here? In rereading this, perhaps, no, having tooted my horn about the quality of my binding. I am confident in my abilities and I know my strengths and weaknesses. But none of that matters because inevitably, I find myself reaching for the seam ripper again and again. In fact, I got so annoyed with my ADHD self that loses and misplaces everything, that I just had to figure out a place to put that seam ripper where I wouldn't lose it. (No, I didn't attach it to the end of my finger.) I put it on the side of my sewing machine with a little thingy called a gripper. I bought it at Wal-Mart or Target in the checkout lane. They come in a three-pack. It sticks VERY FIRMLY to whatever you touch it to, so put it where the heck you want it, the first time. I was lucky. I got it right. This little thing grips a pen or pencil to the dashboard of your car as well, or whatever you need - a pen by the phone, etc. But I've found it most useful on the end of my machine, near the wheel. It is in a place where I can still fit the large hard-side cover onto my machine. I do have to remove the seam ripper first, but for as often as I use the hard cover, that is not bothersome, as my machine stays uncovered 98% of the time.
Every time  I sew, I see that little seam ripper/gripper sitting there. It is not a sign of foreboding or sign of weakness. It is a comfort to me, that reassures me that it is okay to make mistakes. Make some yourself. Make big ones. I have made some doozies! It always leads somewhere. There are some very serendipitous quilts in my pile, all because of some silly mistake I made, and thank goodness. Hitting a wall in the maze forces you to go in some other direction. Sometimes you can retrace your steps and get right back where you were; sometimes not... You have to find another way. That is a great thing; it stretches out those underused brain muscles. When I finally get to the end of a project that has given me unexpected challenges, I am better, I am humbled and I am grateful.
Monday, November 8, 2010

When I Think Back

When I was a third grader, (circa 1978) our teacher gave each of us a piece of graph paper one day. It was the jumbo kind - or what seems jumbo to me these days, as I love a 1/8" grid to sketch quilts. Anyway, she was not my favorite teacher, but I'll never forget absolutely falling in love with that project. She had us make curved lines in each of four squares, configured like a four-patch block. When colored in, the lines created tessellated shapes, that made boring old squares into a swimming lively dream of color and form! I asked for additional sheets and I even changed the curved lines to pointed ones, already breaking away from conformity and "doing my own thing." Graph paper became a new and exciting thing in my world that day, and I suppose Mrs. Nelson went up a couple of notches on my post, despite her policy that each and every math assignment be done perfectly start to finish, before it was recorded in her grade book. 

When I think back on this, it occurs to me that it may have been a foreshadowing into my love of graph paper, which eventually led to my ideas that I could create something original in quilting. Taking up a ruler and a mechanical pencil and drafting block after block, and finding unique ways to fit them together is something I can do for hours. I try to take a pad of graph paper or at least paper wherever I go. Ten minutes of free time can lead to a myriad of ideas, as once even a couple of lines are drawn, ideas begin to flow. One of my favorite quilts I've ever made came from a sketch I did while waiting to go into traffic court. Go figure. At least some good came out of that bogus ticket - I won third prize in a challenge, which was a ten dollar gift card at the sponsoring shop. So perhaps Mrs. Nelson for all of my woes about her, and math class, did me a wonderful service. Thank you Mrs. N. I am grateful for the simple art project you gave us and the math skills. I want you to know that I'm exceptional with fractions!