If it’s one thing that I know about myself, it’s that I am very good at being excited about and starting new projects. What I am not good at is maintaining that excitement and finishing things. My quilt has languished.

And I know all I have to do is to get moving on it again. All the blocks are cut. Two of the four stitched blocks are complete. The last two are sketched. All but twelve smaller border blocks are cut out. I just need to keep going.

And yet…

This weekend we’re headed out of town. I am going to take the opportunity to sketch up more ideas in the car (it’s a six hour drive) and to take a ton of photos of whatever I find interesting.

The plan is to just get the gears moving again.

I’m sure it happens to everyone. (Right?)

As I previously mentioned, I’ve decided to make a [small] quilt as my next project. This prospect is both exciting (because it’s new for me) and also slightly paralyzing. I’m nervous not just because it’s something new for me, but because my mom is so good at it that I don’t want it to be embarrassingly bad.

Like a lot of mothers, my mom is a sewer. And a quilter. And a crochetter/knitter. And an occasional embroiderer. And like a lot of grandmothers, her mother is skilled in all those things too, and of course my great-grandmother as well. What is the funniest thing about it all is that my mother didn’t learn to knit or to quilt from either my grandmother or hers. Instead she taught herself to knit from an encyclopedia, and to quilt from books. I wouldn’t be surprised if she also more or less taught herself to sew.

communion dress

Likewise, I didn’t learn to embroider from any person, but from you-tube videos and diagrams. So when I decided to take on a quilt, I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing. I’ve always been an observer of my mother quilting and I think I absorbed a lot of her methods. I worked out everything on graph paper, made tracing templates from graph paper and cardboard and am even using fabric from my mother’s stash – so it looks like something she’d put together.

flying geese quilt

I have no clue if the sewing machine I have (which was of course, my mother’s) works. I don’t have thread at the moment anyway. So I am beginning with sketching and embroidering the larger four blocks. It’s the logical starting point anyway. So far, I have one of the four done and one almost complete (below) and ideas for how the rest will look. Also working on a centipede on paper and sketching more geometric ideas. (phew!)

Thanks to a lovely little write-up at allthingspaper, my number of visitors today has gone up a lowly 5700%.

Thanks for all the kind words and for looking around. Be sure to come back!

Next up in my Dust Bowl series is Alfalfa Bill. I like to think of him as sort of the Ron Paul of his time. When running for president in 1932, among other things, he wanted to back Oklahoma currency with cotton and wheat. He railed against banks, President Hoover, and Wall Street. And he had the best slogan ever: “Bread, Butter, Bacon, Beans”*.

alfalfa bill

I’m really proud of how this came out (there’s still some lingering marks and more ironing to do). First, I actually drew it up myself. Usually, and especially with people, I print a photo, trace portions in marker and then transfer to fabric. This time, I went from a small photo on a Time magazine cover, and sketched him up myself. So he’s not perfect. But I love his slightly crooked eyes.

alfalfa bill detail

[*That’s what I’ll be working on next. In the Time article it mentions that some women made him a quilt with the slogan embroidered on it and presented it to him while on the trail. ]


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