Monday, 1 June 2015

Seasons - Red Sky at Night Quilt

I'm really glad for this weekly date with you on this blog. I often wonder what kind of dustballs would collect here if it wasn't for this regular commitment. If you want to see what actually gets made in my everyday life, you need to follow me on Instagram, where the instant gratification of quick editing and feedback makes it my creative journal of choice. There's a little feeling of grief that this place doesn't get more attention. I believe blogging is an art, like letter writing is an art, and there's not much of either in my life these days. But I also enjoy the art of creating a beautiful and cohesive Instagram feed, so that's where my effort goes.
I'm so thankful for a family that supports me creatively. Several times this year, Tim and I have made the decision to let things slide around the house a bit, use the TV a little extra, so that I could get some important projects finished by deadlines. He's cooked more, I've done less (i.e., no) washing. It works for a time. And then in a mad scramble, we catch up. We're both the kind of people that don't mind a little chaos and cramming, so it works.
This past week Tim's been in back in Newcastle (6 hours away) giving a presentation for his Post-Grad degree and I've been at home on my own with the kids. We do this 4 or 5 days a month, and I usually set myself some kind of sewing goal to help me look forward to the evenings on my own after the kids are in bed. This week, I really wanted to make a quilt I'm calling Tent City (#tentcityquilt on IG), inspired by a 1900s Australian quilt made by a woman with eight children who slept in tents in the backyard. I really wanted to enter it into Art Gallery Fabrics' 100 Yard giveaway competition.
My first night home alone, a friend asked if she could drop in to visit. Then planned guests Tuesday, and Wednesday night Tim messaged to say, Hurray! He's arriving home early, and could I please organise a baby sitter and drive an hour to the nearest train station to get him. I managed to get quite a bit done in little snippets of time during the day, and it's quite a quick quilt to make, but alas, it's still in strips in a box on my sewing room floor.

If there's one goal I think I have achieved this week, it's that I made the decision early on not to clench my teeth and fight to get it finished at all costs, which I have been known to do. I wanted to have open hands and an open door, to welcome conversations and interruptions and my other responsibilities, and even spilt milk so that I didn't become an impatient, writhing mess all for the satisfaction of a good photo on Instagram and a chance to win some fabric. I've been pretty good at that most of the week, except maybe today, when I really did just want to walk into my sewing room and lock the door behind me and enjoy a blissful dive into a project without interruption. You see, I think I half expected to face the week with grace and have a finished quilt as my reward, to be able to say, "See! You didn't snatch and hold on tightly, and you still got it done!"
Unfortunately, that was not this week's lesson. Instead, I have only the gladness of not putting my kids through hell, and enjoying rich conversations with good neighbours. Which, really, is a pretty good consolation.

This week's block is called Seasons. It's simple and humble. It's not necessarily one I'd make a whole quilt with, but I want to make a quilt that includes blocks that hold lovely or timely messages. Little reminders from women a hundred years ago to slow down, or be patient, or throw ourselves in wholeheartedly. This is one of those blocks.


You will need: (note, the fractions for these squares are so similar. Take extra care cutting!)

Red: Six 4 3/8" squares cut in half diagonally.

White: Two 4 3/8" squares cut in half diagonally, and four 4 3/4" squares.

1. For this easy block, we're going to make four of these squares in a square below, with three red corners and one white.

2. Sew opposite corners to the centre square and press away from the centre.

3. Sew the remaining corners. Press away from the centre.

4. Trim to 6.5". Can you see my 3 1/4" points lining up points of the square? Use that as your guide for trimming each side.

5. Repeat with the other 6.5" blocks. Sew the top two and bottom two together, and then those two together to complete your block.

I often wish that this was the season for working full time for myself. For becoming a sewing room hermit without the washing turning into an avalanche. For not having to choose between projects, or between projects and healthy children. But I'm crossing my fingers that by embracing the season I'm in, I'll learn grace and joy, even if it's not in the way I expect.


  1. You sound like you have had a 'glass half full' or 'every cloud has a silver lining' kind of week - great positivity (I know full well what you mean about that feeling that comes on when you have a quilting goal set for the week but 'life' interferes!)

  2. As someone who can currently lock herself in the sewing room -- it's not all it's cracked up to be. :D I think the moments you have to spend away from the sewing machine make you appreciate your sewing time more, and approach it with more focus. As my grandpa would say: without the rain, you don't appreciate the sunshine. And the kids do seem cute enough to keep around. :D

  3. I think we all have moments or had moments where we want to lock ourselves away!!! Life has a way of getting in the way. I love this block and your quilt is going to knock my socks off when its finished!

  4. So glad you mentioned your IG - how was I not already following you there??


I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx