Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Orphans, leftovers, and failed experiments

Hi everyone!  How is your week going?  Do you realize that we are in the middle of November and Thanksgiving is *next week*?  Yikes!  I'd better get to planning for that, especially since we're having relatives coming from Wisconsin for the holiday.  Hmmm, what do you think we should have for dinner?

I've been really busy and really, really stressed, and I haven't had a ton of time for stitching, so of course I started a new project this week.  No, I'm not kidding!  To be fair, the two that I've been working on are just about done and this one is another in the same vein-- no pattern, just kind of winging it.  Here's what I've started:

Well, that looks a mess, doesn't it?  These are most of my orphan blocks, leftovers, blocks I liked enough but don't want to make a whole quilt from, failed blocks, and various other bits of finished projects.  I see a rejected block  from the Constellations quilt, a leftover block from the Celtic Solstice quilt, a leftover elephant from the Mutant Elephants quilt, and some minis from the Classic Stitches quilt along.  So, yep, these have been in a box for a while!  I did save out some of the smallest ones for coasters and what not, but why not put all of these together into a quilt?

These are all different sizes, so how to make them all fit together?  Well, like this:

I plan to add strings to bring the blocks all to the same height and make them into rows.  The larger blocks, of course, won't need strings but will be surrounded by them as sashing. Then I can join the rows into a quilt top without weird pieces hanging off.  This isn't an original idea-- I think I got it from Cynthia at Quilting is more fun than housework, and was also inspired by Julie at Me and My Quilts, Exploring the Possibilities. Looking at the first few blocks, I'm liking it, but I wonder if I shouldn't have put a dark frame around each block so they don't get lost.  Maybe a white frame? What do you think?

Gosh, I hope I have enough!

Anyway, this is another quilt with no rules!  What is happening to me?  Is the stress frying my brain?  I don't know, but I'm having fun!  And that is the point, after all!


This afternoon, just before I pushed the button to publish this post, I learned of the death of sewing pioneer Nancy Zieman.  I am so deeply saddened by this.  It's like losing a friend.  I know that anything I say can never approach the well-deserved tributes from her friends and other sewing greats, but I do have a story:

It happens that Nancy's Notions was founded in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and was not so far from our home there.  Every May, they had a huge Warehouse Sale, and some friends and I would go every year.  It was so much fun!  They would literally open the warehouse and sell everything, and you could get screaming deals on fabric like you wouldn't believe.  It was very festive, almost like a party or at least a church picnic. (Now it's more of an "industry event," which is fine, but nothing like it was back then.) We would show up at the opening, spend way too much, stand in a dozen lines, and have lunch at Larson's Family Restaurant, which is gone now, too.  Through the whole sale you could find Nancy on the sales floor, taking pictures of the awesome projects displayed, teaching some demonstrations, and making sure the whole thing ran like clockwork.  We got to meet her several times, the last time at our 15th sale, after she had sold the company. She was very gracious to the many, many people who stopped her, and would gladly point out where the restrooms were (for what I'm sure was the 300th time every day) and answer all questions. In between sales we would sometimes get together to watch her shows on tape, along with some nice wine, of course.  We learned so much! Nancy, may you rest in peace.  Thank you for the lessons, the inspiration, and most of all for the fun and the memories.  We will miss you terribly.


And now I'm tearing up! There's a fun finish coming up on Friday, I promise. Hope you get some happier stitches in this week!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social and Oh Scrap!


Sara said...

My design wall looks much like this too. I need to do something with those orphan blocks too. Pot holders come to mind.

Jo said...

It's sad feeling this way but always remember you have the fun memories of these shopping trips and seeing her. That can never be taken away. Your scrap quilt will look fantastic. I have a few of these on the go. My next one is going to be like the gypsy wife quilt but using orphan blocks. I'm yet to decide if I just use scraps for all the strips or use a jelly roll with a theme or a set colour. That's why I havent started. Watching you make your quilts will spur me on. Thank you.

Home Sewn By Us said...

Hi Mari,
I was going to tease you about what to serve for Thanksgiving, but now I'm feeling too sad and sober to joke around. I have attended that sale a few times too, and cannot believe that she is gone so soon. I'm sure it is a blessing for her and very hard for her family and friends. RIP and many blessing for all that are impacted, which are a great many. Roseanne

Quiltdivajulie said...

Your orphan project plan is a good one -- let it evolve as you work. It will be a super quilt when you're done. Thanks, too for sharing your happy memories of Nancy Z.

Alison said...

This is so smart to use your orphan blocks this way! I actually just went through some of my orphan blocks and - brace yourself - cut them apart to reuse the fabric for something else. I didn't feel like trying to unpick everything so I just sliced them at the seam allowances. It made me feel like a real rebel.

Louise said...

I'm also working on an orphan block quilt, but I don't have nearly as many blocks as you do. So it will be small and each block will be outlined in purple and floating on a light background. Yours looks great so far!

Nancy clearly had a wide and positive influence in the quilting world. May she rest in peace.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

I love the idea of putting all your orphan blocks into a quilt, and what you have laid out on the design wall looks like a fun grouping! Thanks for sharing your story about Nancy Zieman. I've never watched her show, but can tell from the notes on so many blogs that she was well-loved and will be missed.

Alycia Quiltygirl.com said...

I like all your fun orphan blocks. Sorry to hear about nancys passing

Kate said...

Looks like you've got a fun plan worked out. It seems to be the time of year for stress, thank goodness we can stitch. May not solve the world's problems, but it certainly helps put mine in perspective. Hope things get more relaxed soon.

Karen's Korner said...

That will be a fun quilt when done. Enjoy the process.

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

I love your design wall with all of those orphan blocks on there! I like the direction you are headed by adding various scraps, etc. It adds so much charm! Thanks for sharing with Oh Scrap!

Nancy will definitely be missed. She was one of the quilting greats!

Sandra Walker said...

Well here's me living under a rock again...I had no idea Nancy had died. I used to watch her show, not regularly, like I did Alex Anderson, but still, she was amazing, more so after making such a comeback after her stroke. Sigh. Your story teared me up too.

Preeti said...

I missed this post??? Must have been while I blinked. I love that swirly block in the middle with Good Neighbors fabric. Have a few audition blocks lying somewhere. Should I send them to you? You seem to know what to do with them :-)