Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Making Mary Lou's Cross Quilt

All week, I've been sharing ideas for creating a "cross quilt". A cross quilt can be as simple as making traditional nine patch blogs, to as modern as graphic interlocking crosses, to as fun as liberated and wonky "slash and sew" cross quilts.

The first day: I received packages, I received these combined blocks.

I am in the process of collecting liberated cross quilt blocks from online facebook and blogging friends, and real life quilting friends to create a group cross quilt for Mary Lou Weidman.

The second day: I received packages with these combined blocks.

It has been great fun finding ideas, tossing them around the groups and getting feedback from Mary Lou, herself, who we really could not keep it a secret from! Not only, because her interest in them, starting me thinking about making blocks, to collecting blocks, to arranging blocks...where I am right eventually make her one of my own "healing" quilts where the positive thoughts and prayers of many as well as my own healing energies become part of the journey, itself, of creating the quilt.

The third day: I received packages with these combined blocks.

A quilt that can be part of Mary Lou's own healing journey with a diagnosis of breast cancer. It is hard enough to get such a diagnosis, but to be brave enough to share it with her larger friendship and quilting community only showcases Mary Lou's own inner strength and deep personal faith that no matter what happens, she will be all right. And she will.

 The fourth day: I received packages with these combined blocks.

I started this process with an overview of Cross Quilts and this blog post that tells all about them, their styles and offered my readers access to a number of free patterns and lots of ideas.

Access my ideas and tutorials post here:  Cross or Plus Quilts: Free Patterns

 The fifth day: I received packages with these combined blocks.

The next step, since we had decided on a the liberated or improvisational style of a wonky cross quilt, was to show a number of ways a block could be design and simply cut out and sewn

Access creating a cross block post here:   Designing a Liberated Cross Block and Quilt

Quilters began to share information and ideas back and forth through facebook, pinterest, and emails with me. And one by one they began to make blocks. And day by day, packages of blocks began to arrive. 

Each day, I wait for my husband to arrive home from work. He checks the mail enroute and each day he comes in holding out my packages with a big smile on his face, knowing how happy they make me. And they make me so truly happy because they show the caring, the hopes, and the positive thoughts and prayers for Mary Lou as she begins this healing journey from breast cancer, day by day, step by step. Just as the making of the blocks are done in stages, the receiving of the blocks by me, day by day and in stages. 

And just like taking each day, each step at a time, she will begin her process, and I will begin mine. And my heart is so full, knowing full well that there are not only miles between us but miles between the depth of the journey each person takes, each quilter makes. All we can do is support the process in the ways that we know how, showing love in the ways that we know how. And hoping that the sharing and the caring will create beautiful healing energies to ease the journey along the way.



 Cross or Plus Quilts: Free Patterns

 Designing a Liberated Cross Block and Quilt

Making Mary Lou Weidman's Cross Quilt


With Heart and Hands:  Free Patterns for Prayer Quilts



Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey from Alaska to Oregon with thousands of free Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Patterns and Tutorials. Help change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Snippets and Threadtales

My last snippets post was the sharing of some of our country living adventures with escaping pigs, cows, horses..and of course our own chickens!

This one is all about my very latest quick projects for all of my favorites ways of giving to others.... in a life that is lived to the fullest, but often in the simplest of ways.

The past weeks have been catching up with giving quilts for good causes and making a few small gifts....two of my favorite things to do and get done..even under pressure and in a hurry.  I just keep most things very simple and splurge a bit more time when I'm being more creative. And somehow, thanks to divine intervention and aha! insight, I come up with ideas!

I made a simple prayer flag for a lovely lady who took my prayer flag class at the Polk County Fairgrounds last year. Her husband passed away and after sharing his own journey with Parkinson's and mine with my mother's Alzheimer's, we found so much in common.

I knew I had to make a prayer flag for her, but I only had an hour to think of an idea and get it down. Aha! That quick thought that comes into your head when you're not evening thinking about it...her husband was most proud of two things about himself...he was Norwegian and left handed.

A Norwegian flag and I tied the knot on the back with my left hand..hey, I needed to incorporate it somehow!

I needed a 'Congratulations and Best Wishes' kind of card for friends who had just bought the
Keizer Florist ..incorporating flowers was a given, but how to make a of my recent Fabric+ Paper ideas??? Or something a bit different? Ah, instant insight or otherwise known as the "Eureka, I have found it"  moment. And a hang on to it before you lose it, reminder!

Found some fabric in my art scrap bag left over from my years of sewing small format art quilts for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative and made a quilted fabric card, inside and out. Quilted and with 3-D effect, besides.

I do my best work apparently on 1 hour and 45 minutes of sleep. They all loved it, bless their hearts!

And a piece of my homemade paper leftover from creating my daughter's wedding invitations a year ago for the inside. All the prettiest pieces out of 6 huge batches was used but I found a little orphan and gave her a good home.

And nope, never did take a brain doesn't work like other peoples. Crazy is as crazy does. and I do.

I've been using my little 'green' Singer Featherweight all week and wanted to keep the momentum going. Here, I'm working on one of my Alzheimer's Fidget Quilts that I donate to the Salem's
 Mid Valley Quilt Guild for nursing home residents who are really enjoying our little quilts.


A few big patches and some 3 D geese< prairie point style, to fiddle with....I keep mine very, very simple and easily laundered, as well.Too much or too delicate and they fall apart...either from the constant washing or because the residents cannot for the life of them figure out why a colander is tied to their quilt.

I fiddled and diddled around a bit more and even made another quick quilt to bring in and donate to  Alexia's Cozy Covers , for the month of April. A top that had never been finished and needed some quilted love. I just added a "Later Gator" to the simple design of skateboarding Alligators and got that puppy quickly stuffed, backed and quilted. Not fancy, not a lot of work on my part but oh, so ... Done! And speaking of  "Later Gator"...

Chicken #6 out of #7.....the proverbial pecking order...Dorothy is moody and broody right now. That's kind of like the chicken version of PMS or having one non-stop hot flash. She's pining for a little one of her own and with infertile eggs, (i.e no rooster at my house thank you very much, the neighbors' crows 15 hours a day, already!) she's going to be pining for a very long time!

Snippy, and cross, she huffs and puffs up until she is three times her normal size in an attempt to keep me away.  Didn't work, Dorothy I'm hauling you off, anyway!

Yep, busy times call for drastic measures and you do what you need and want to do.

So, I do and I did! And so what, if the chickens all think I'm nuts. I have an awful lot of fun and do manage to get things done around here. I just have to watch where I walk......

The liberated, wonky and hootchy, hootchy mama cross blocks will be arriving soon. And I'll be 
Designing a Liberated Cross Block and Quilt For Mary Lou!

And yes, I do remember to breathe, and to go outside and play with the chickens, and dig in the dirt and plant flowers and even wash my fingernails. 

It's all good.

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey from Alaska to Oregon with thousands of free Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Patterns and Tutorials. Help change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!