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How I Found Time to Quilt Again

Posted by Cheryl Malkowski on Aug 20th 2019

Life doesn’t always happen the way we envision it. Last year I was all set to take a little break from design work after finishing the manuscript for Doodle Quilting Mania. I had delivered my projects to C&T, traveled home to Oregon for one night, then went north up to Spring Quilt Market, which was held in Portland, OR, that year. I came home a day early after not finding what I was looking for. As soon as I got in the house and checked the phone messages, there was a message from a hospital that my mom had fallen and broken some bones. My summer of relaxation and learning new things turned into an intense year of elder care, which I hope to have modeled well for my children. Fast forward fourteen months, and we have buried Mom, cleaned and sold her house, and done all those estate-related projects that seem to eat up one’s life. We have dealt with the extra stuff that came from her house and cleaned out a significant amount of our own, since we were in that mode. 

This last week I have spent in Sisters, Oregon, with several dear quilting friends that I met at the Schoolhouse B&B, which is a band-and-choir fundraiser where they convert classrooms into dorm/sewing rooms for the week before the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. It is a special week that I have missed for a few years. It is so wonderful to be back here with them, and to have dedicated time to sew! This is a little bit of “normal” for me, and my happy place, besides! 

There wasn’t a lot of time for me to prep new projects, but I did bring a quilt that I had begun here in 2002, and hadn’t looked at since. I know it was from that year because there is a group quilt hanging in the hall that was made by the quilters who stayed here that year. It has fabric from this quilt in it. I was midway through the quilt, so it was interesting to see what I needed to do to get it finished. That quilt only took about four hours to figure out and finish up. Really. Seventeen years, and I didn’t have four hours? I also finished up another quilt that had been hanging on my design wall for at least seven years, then designed and stitched another little baby quilt. A person can accomplish a lot when they take time to work on things! 

I brought a quilt for a baby shower that just needed binding and a label. The baby mama’s registry included only items that were black, gray, white, and a bit of dark blue. So I made this quilt below for her little boy. I was shooting for something a little modern, with plenty of room for fun quilting. In the background, I used a random grid, which sometimes was vertical, sometimes horizontal, and sometimes overlapped. I used a ruler to chalk in the spines for some simple feathers. For these, you start at the base of the spine, make a teardrop, then echo back to the center. (Please refer to my Doodle Quilting and Doodle Quilting Mania books for shape identification). Repeat on the opposite side of the stem. The rest is just a series of double hooks that kiss the top of the one made before on the same side. Alternate sides going up the stem, except where you need to make more on one side to accommodate the curve. When the feather is done, echo again around the whole thing before adding the background grid so it will stand out. I used a very fine thread to quilt Teardrop 1-2-3’s over the Churn Dash blocks so as not to overpower what little piecing I had done. I’m hoping Baby R will get some good tummy time on the floor with this in the next year! 

It is so good to have this little piece of my life back, and I am looking forward to stepping back into my old, almost-forgotten life of sitting in front of the sewing machine or the computer, and letting the dog in and out! Life is good!

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