Lewis And Clark Quilt

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This Corps of Discovery Lewis and Clark Commemorative Quilt is for sale.

Made in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, this quilt was a block of the month quilt. The journey began May 14, 1804 and according to Smithsonian.com, “the explorers reached the Pacific Ocean in November 1805, at Fort Clatsop, near present-day Astoria, Oregon.” More on the expedition of Lewis and Clark can be found at the end of this blog

This is a queen size quilt that measures 78.5″ x 86.” It is for sale for $375.00 plus $6.00 for shipping and handling. Contact me at marionberryquilts@gmail.com if you are interested.

Here are a few of the blocks:

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Each block of the quilt was designed with quotes from the journals of Lewis and Clark.

“In 1803, Thomas Jefferson wanted to find a water way across the Western and explore the western part of the country” (National Geographic).  According to the brochure that came with each quilt block, Lewis and Clark’s mission was to map their search for a continuous water route across the continent. They were to record as much data as they could about the flora, fauna, and native peoples on their journey.  They traveled up the Missouri River to the headwater, the Great Falls in Montana.  Next they encountered the Great Rocky Mountains only to discover there was not continuous water route to the Pacific Ocean.  They traveled down the Columbia River to the Pacific, where they wintered at Fort Clatsop.  It was here that a black man, York, and an Indian woman, Sacaqawea, were invited to have a full vote (an equal vote) on where to winter.  There were many times that the expedition would have failed had it not been for the help of many different Indian peoples they encountered on their journey.  Their travel home was made much easier by following the Indian trials.

An interactive and  informative website on the Lewis and Clark expedition can be found here:

National Geographic report on the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Thoughts on Conflict

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 Cheddar resting beside the sewing machine.

When I think of conflict, I think of President Lincoln and the wise words of temperance he shared when the nation was in conflict. Some would just as well avoid all forms of conflict, bury their heads like Cheddar is doing in the picture above. Some speak the truth and forget about being loving. Some believe they are being loving by saying nothing at all. Still, there are other situations where no answers can be found quickly.

President Lincoln’s words at his second inauguration on March 4, 1865 struck a cord in me of finding balance in difficult times.

Here are two references from President Lincoln’s inaugural speech:

Regarding the civil war he says,

“Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.”

Concluding his inauguration speech with these thoughts:

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

The whole speech can be found at the following web site:

Abraham Lincoln Second Inaugural Address

For a President who did not have a church home, many of President Lincoln’s speeches were laced with a sturdy understanding of the Bible and how to apply Scripture to everyday life. From these two sections of the Inaugural address, the sentence that stands out to me is, “The Almighty has His own purposes.”  When all goes wrong between good people with very different expectations and different viewpoints, there may be a bigger purpose neither side can see.  Taking the time to get to the deeper issue, in this case changing decades of ways of relating and of treating people badly is not easy. Facing the economic differences between how those in the North viewed slavery versus those in the South was alone a huge problem in itself to overcome. It is clear that President Lincoln used his presence, his wit, his skill, his training as a lawyer, and his words in a powerful moment to persevere in leading the nation to a new point of balance. He was able to see the bigger purpose and worked towards finding a path to lead the nation through the strife at the time, which was not an easy thing to do.

I’m not a historian, and I’m sure that there is much more analysis behind all of the events happening on March 4, 1865. I do admire how President Lincoln was able to face a difficult problem, and he was able to challenge others to see the bigger picture. I’m very grateful for his insightful words.

Other references:

The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, a Book of Quotations edited by Bob Blaisdell

Team of Rivals, The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

When Life Is In Pieces

November 9, 2014

Image:

“Emmanuel Ndayisaba, left, cut off with a machete the hand of Alice Mukarurinda, right, in the swamp where she was hiding and killed her baby girl during the 1994 Rwandan genocide” (nbcnews.com).

In April 1994, for roughly three months 500,000 to 100,000 people were affected by a genocide killing in the country of Rwanda (wikipedia).

This is an amazing story of healing between two people. One man, Emmanuel Ndayisaba, was haunted for years by his conscious from the things he’d done. The day came when Emmanuel found the woman, Alice Mukarurinda, whom he mutilated, and whose child he killed during the unrest between the Hutus and Tutsis.

“Their story of ethnic violence, extreme guilt and, to some degree, reconciliation is the story of Rwanda today, 20 years after its Hutu majority killed more than 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus” (nbcnews.com).

I am overwhelmed with the number of people who died in such a short time.  In only a matter of months, a million people were killed. Some people were killed by their neighbors; people they went to church with on Sunday. I wonder, how could something so devastating like this happen?

When life is in pieces, who or what keeps you tethered?  How do you put the pieces of life back together again?

Emmanuel Ndayisaba’s spirit of reconciliation propelled him to go beyond his guilt and shame to talk to a woman he maimed not for a day, but for her life.  The article describes how Emmanuel gathered the courage to talk to Alice and plead for her forgiveness for what he had done to her.

I love Alice’s response:  She needed to think about it. She took two weeks to think about what to say to Emmanuel.  After years of living with grief and loss, two more weeks of examining her motives seemed appropriate.  None of this, “Now make up, say your sorry, and be friends. He said he was sorry. Forgive him.”  She wrestled with how to respond.  She wanted to talk it over with her husband. I think Alice is very wise.  She knows if she forgives him, she frees him from his regret. She knows she has the power to free his heart of the burden he has carried, –all the while knowing she will still live without her baby, the dreams of all that she had hoped for her child to be one day, and without the use of her hand.  Some might think, don’t forgive him. She may have thought to herself, “No, you (Emmanuel) just live with the pain of regret for what you did to me, just as I do everyday when I can’t use my hand and I don’t even have the chance to care for my child.”  Withholding forgiveness would give Alice a power over Emmanuel, a negative power…a power with no positive outcome.

But that is not what Alice did. She forgave Emmanuel. As the article describes:  “We had attended workshops and trainings and our hearts were kind of free, and I found it easy to forgive,” she says. “The Bible says you should forgive and you will also be forgiven.”

Alice let go of what Emmanuel could never repay her. She let what was taken, violently taken from her, go. This choice restored the relationship between them.

“Yet today, despite coming from opposite sides of an unspeakable shared past, Alice Mukarurinda and Emmanuel Ndayisaba are friends. She is the treasurer and he the vice president of a group that builds simple brick houses for genocide survivors.”

“Whenever I look at my arm I remember what happened,” said Alice, a mother of five with a deep scar on her left temple where Emanuel sliced her with a machete. As she speaks, Emmanuel — the man who killed her baby — sits close enough that his left hand and her right stump sometimes touch.”

When life is in pieces, the heart of a person needs to be tilled. The soil of their being needs to be “disced” or prepared for something new to happen.  The disc is the tool a farmer using on the back of their tractors, or of an animal, to prepare the ground for planting a new crop.  For Alice, she had been to many workshops and trainings that prepared her for her response to Emmanuel.  The hard ground of a person’s interior being, the very soil of their thoughts needs to be broken up for a new way of thinking or of doing things to begin to occur.

I don’t think experiences of inhumanity can be simplified or rationalized. When my life is in pieces, I’ve wrestled with my heart being “tilled.”

Three things that have helped me:  acceptance, responsibility, and forgiveness.

Accepting the full reality of what happened is healing.

Taking responsibility for my end and how I contributed to the problem is the first step to making an effort to change these behaviors. Blaming others delays the ability to move on.

Forgive myself for mistakes I’ve made and find a way to forgive the mistakes other’s have made that have affected me.

I want to be like Alice. I want to have a heart that is like hers –“kinda free” to let things go.

Alice and Emmanuel’s remarkable story of friendship challenges me to be a better person.

Their story can be found at the following web site:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/rwandan-woman-forgives-man-who-killed-her-baby-during-genocide-n74006

Forgive Yourself

November 9, 2014

One of the reasons I like working with fabric is I can make mistakes and nobody needs to go to counseling.  When you work with people, make one mistake, slip up on how something is said, you can watch the domino effect of problems begin.

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Just before I took the picture below, I messed up. I tried to sew a thicker piece of the back ground fabric around the four middle star section to see what it would look like. I didn’t like how it looked. Using a seam ripper, I took it off and put this thin green piece on before adding more of the background fabric.

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I was thinking about how working on projects compares to life. I have made mistakes in life. At times, it’s hard to see there are more options in situations than I realize.  It is good to know life provides options.  what I need to do is forgive myself and move on with life.  Life provides many redo’s, new opportunities to make changes and try things in a totally different way.

There are times where all I can see is one side of a situation, and it looks messy.

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It takes time to play with fabric to get it to come together.

Problems take time to work out.

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I believe we all need a place to create, to try new things, to learn to accept how things turn out, to forgive, to be forgiven,  and to see things come together.

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Working with fabric has been a peaceful outlet for me to try new designs of sewing projects.

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This is how the Christmas Table Runner is coming together. It will be 40.5″ x 13.5″ when it is finished.

Have a good day!

Giggle and Squeak

November 7, 2014

This is for the inner monster in you!

Monster Quilt

Running errands around Eugene, Oregon one day, my daughter, Hayley, and I stopped at a fabric store where I found the Giggle & Squeak pattern by Carrie Bloomston produced by Such Patterns Designs.  I knew Hayley and my son-in-law were thinking about having a baby sometime in the future, so I showed her the pattern. Hayley agreed that she liked it, saying something like, “I love monsters!”  So, I bought the pattern, and it looks like this:

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Another design option looks like this:

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Hayley and I found a color palate of fabrics at the same store where we found the pattern. Together, we picked out the fabrics for her future baby’s quilt. Because she has an excellent eye for design, photography, painting, and visual layout work, I asked Hayley to draw a sketch of which colors she wanted for each monster. I wished I could show you a picture of her sketch; it is cool looking in it’s own way.  I don’t have it, because I gave it back to her.

The quilt began taking shape.

 I looked at several shades of green minky fabric for the back of the quilt.

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The layout of this quilt reminded me of an animated monster Brady Bunch scene.

 I used matching colored cotton perle DMC floss to button hole stitch by hand around each monster design. The finished quilt size is 43″ x 43.”

The final layout of the characters looked like this:

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I like to use quilt bucks, or stands, when I hand quilt with various sizes of soft 2″ x 4″ pine wood. I have two sets of quilt bucks. The first set was made by Brian and Yvonne Devers.  Brian saw how I was always bugging his wife to show me  how to do yet another quilt project…her quilts were beautiful…and always hand quilted!  So, after a year or two he quietly made me a set of buck stands, to which I am very thankful for his time and generosity.  The second set was graciously made by my husband, Tim, at my request. What was I thinking? Like I really needed two sets!

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Matilda was born to Hayley and Cameron less than a year ago. I was tacking the binding on her quilt when she was born!  She is a dear baby!

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 Hayley took this picture of  Matilda on her Monster Quilt!

What I’m Working On Today

November 7, 2014

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I have a lot of fabric to use up, including winter and Christmas fabrics!  I want to show you two projects I’m working on right now.

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I’m using the EZ Quilting template called Tri-Recs Tools by Darene Zimmerman and Joy Hoffman to cut the pieces for these blocks.  These cutting template help to create perfect points. The templates make stars anywhere from 1 inch to 6 inches.  I want to make one or two more blocks, quilt it, and sell it as a table runner.

Also, I’m playing around with this winter wall hanging.

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This pattern is called Country Christmas found in a book called,

Little Quilts All Through the House by Alice Berg, Mary Ellen Von Holt and Sylvia Johnson.

I’m using Perfect Patchwork Templates Set A made by Marti Michell to cut the pieces out for each basic Star Block.

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The basic layout looks like this:

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I apologize for the blurry picture. I uploaded this picture from my iPhone!

This wall hanging is also for sale.

I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going…

Hope you are having a good day!

Molly

November in Oregon

November 6, 2014

Because the weather is so mild in the Willamette Valley, November in Oregon is unique.  Sure, it might be raining from time to time, but compared to other parts of the country that have snow already, Oregon is nice.  Our yard has a few things still happening in it.

The grapevine looks like this now:

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We still have raspberries growing!  True story!

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Mushrooms flourish in this damp and mild weather. These mushrooms are not edible.

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 November is also a good time to visit Bauman Farms. With the store’s permission, I share a few of the items we enjoy from their farm!

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Bauman Farms is where I can find several varieties of preserves and syrups, including one variety of berries whose name this blog site uses, Marionberry!

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Marionberries are a real produce in this area!

Other yummy’s our family enjoys from Bauman Farms are Apple Cider Cake Donuts and Sugarless Pumpkin Cookies.

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 Are these pictures making you hungry?

What native fruits or plants are unique to your part of the world?

I’d like to hear from you!

Happy November!

It’s Not Just About Quilting…

November 5, 2014

It’s not just about quilting; it’s about creating!

It’s about the process!

The first quilting ‘off road adventure’ I took making a quilted wall hanging with no pattern –just playing and designing– was one of my earliest quilting experiences. I was drawn to this card at a store, because I liked the folk art in the drawing on the card.  The card reminded me of the Shaker saying:  Hands to work, hearts to God.

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Instantly, I was inspired to see if I could make this card into a wall hanging. Several weeks of playing with fabric, experiencing moments of pure delight in crafting and design, I came up with this:

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I usually bring this wall hanging out around Christmas time.  The hand in the middle is my own. Using a buttonhole stitch, I was able to tack the heart to the hand and then stitch the  hand to the quilt. The quilting is all done by hand.

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I became a perfectionist about hand quilting, when I was first learning to quilt on a community quilt.

Can I say I was a Quilt Lady when I was still only in my twenties?

I’m not sure about that.

One day, I saw the group rip a person’s stitches out of the quilt after she left for the day.  The problem:  Her stitches weren’t close enough together, and they were not blending with the groups stitches. I caught on fast, real fast, to making near perfect stitches. I felt challenged to to do my best.  After a day’s worth of quilting, I didn’t want my stitches taken out of the quilt. Peer pressure takes many forms.

Using cookie cutters and my children’s, Hayley and Ben’s, outline of their hand prints, I crafted the quilt’s edges.

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This is what the back looks like.

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This is the pocket I made to put a dowel rod through to hang my fabric art work!

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I make my own binding with a 2 and 3/4 of an inch of fabric folded in half that is then machine sewn to the top of the quilt. Using a seamstress tacking stitch, I put the rest of the binding in place on the opposite side of the quilt.

This wall hanging is over 20 years old, as Hayley and Ben are in their twenties now and each have their own children, whose hands are just a bit younger and smaller in size than their parents were on this quilt!

What a cool thought!

The Quilt I Just Finished

November 5, 2014

Life is full of twists and turns. A recent crisis brought an anxiousness out in me that I could tell I was not handling well. Tough things were happening, and I realized that this is the way it was going to be for awhile.  This stressful time came with a ton of meetings, a lot of waiting to see the direction things would go, and a bit of hand wringing.  I found the only thing that calmed my nerves was keeping my hands busy with something, like cleaning, cooking, or working on this quilt I just finished.

I found the pattern called Leaves about two years ago in a fabric shop in Eugene, Oregon.  The pattern was designed by the authors of The Modern Quilt Workshop and has a medium level of difficulty.  I figured I could probably make this quilt without buying any new material.  So, I began pulling fabric from several different spots around my sewing room.

I like to keep different colors of fat quarters and medium sized pieces of fabric above my sewing machine, having the colors out where I can see them inspires me!

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Soon, I had a pile of fabric to begin cutting out the pieces.  One of the challenges of this quilt was working with curves, which I have never done on a quilt before.  I think that working on this quilt was a test to see if someday I could make a Double Wedding Ring Quilt.  I have always been intimidated by all of the curves in a Double Wedding Ring Quilt.

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I made the stencils and began cutting the fabric.

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This is my son Wesley’s cat, Cheddar, who likes to ‘bless’ each of my projects by laying on whatever is near the sewing machine.  She is one of the nicest cats we have ever had. She has an easy going temperament, likes people, and purrs easily.

Pinning each block gave my fingers something to focus on especially when I was feeling anxious.

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Drinking more water, taking long walks, trying my hand at cooking, emptying out bedrooms and closets, taking unused items to Goodwill, and keeping up with cleaning only calmed me for a short time. Working on these blocks eased my stress to the point that I even bought more pins so, I could keep putting blocks together at one time.  Seeing the fabric being used up made me feel good.  Fussing with each block until I got it together the way I liked gave me a sense of accomplishment.

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After each individual block was sewn together, I pressed them and re-sized each block.

This is what a block looks like when it has been pressed and sized.

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After the blocks were all lined up on my ironing board, I began the piecework of laying out the quilt on my wall that has a long stretch of felt board on it.

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Having the pieces organized on the wall helped me to see which colors I had used and to arrange the light and dark pattern in a rotating sequence. After I aligned the squares the way I liked, I labeled each row and numbered each pair in the row. Then, I matched the seams in each pair of circles and sewed them together. I ironed each finished circle block and began sewing each row together. Labeling each piece kept me from sewing the wrong blocks together with the wrong row.  Back in the day, I might have thought this was all a bit too much work, but when you’re stressed and you need something to focus on, all of the fuss was exactly what I needed.

From cutting all of the pieces to sewing all of the blocks into rows together, it all took  about two and a half months to have the top of the quilt sewn together.  I did need to buy more of the lighter lime color of fabric and a few various shades of pink colored fabric to have enough variety when laying out the light and darker blocks.

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The finished quilt is a queen size 93.5″ x 93.5″ and was machine quilted by Tom Korn, a local quilter in the area.  Slowly but surely, the stress of the crisis that hit a few months ago is starting to ease. Finding a new ‘normal’ is a tricky thing to do. At least it is for our family.

Thanks for listening!

Back in the Day

November 4, 2014

Back in the day, I really wanted to pass hand crafting skills on to my daughter. So, when Hayley was in elementary school –home on sick days, or she just had days off of school, I had her practice embroidery skills by outlining pictures of animals with embroidery thread. I traced pictures of animals Hayley liked onto fabric squares from a coloring book using a window or a light box. (I can’t remember.)

Here is an example of one of the blocks.

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After Hayley had six blocks done, I put them into a simple quilt I hoped one day she could share with her own children.

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To make the quilt memorable, I traced the outline of everybody’s hands in our house around the quilt

and used the hand prints as part of the quilting.

It is fun to see what Hayley’s hand print looked like then.

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And our son Ben’s hand print

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and our youngest son Wesley’s hand prints when he was a baby.

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He is 20 now.

I sent Hayley a few pictures of this quilt.  This Thanksgiving she will be visiting us with her husband and her daughter, Matilda. She said she wants to take the quilt home with her for her new little one.  That warms my heart.

It is so nice to see the full circle of a project. The baby quilt is making it’s way back to the person it was originally made

for…which is Matilda and any of her future siblings.

My First Quilt and My First Entry!

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November 3, 2014

I think it is fitting to have a picture of my first quilt on the first post of this new blog.

I made this quilt for my son, Ben, who was just a baby at the time, because the colors reminded me of him. I was intrigued by the sail boat pattern when I saw it in a craft magazine. My older daughter, Hayley, was just starting school at a private school found along a sleepy road in Western Pennsylvania called Soap Hollow Road.  This school had a tradition where the very first quilt made by a quilter was donated to the school auction and then bought back by a relative of the quilter. And that is what I did. I donated the quilt to that year’s auction and my husband, Tim, bought it back for me.

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I was also drawn to the quilt pattern used in between the sail boats as shown in the picture above. I made the quilt stencil used above with an old plastic notebook cover.  I didn’t know much about squaring up a block or working with triangles, but I did enjoy putting this quilt together.  Because this was the first quilt I put in a quilt frame, I was a bit unsure of how long it would take me to do a whole quilt by hand.  So, a few friends came over one night a week for about five weeks to help me finish this quilt in time for the school auction.

I was into tea-dying fabric which I did to the fabric used for the sails on the sail boats and for the blank blocks.

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My name is Molly, and it has been over twenty years since I made this quilt. A lot of life has happened since then. I live in Marion County, Oregon where you guessed it…Marion berries grow the size of your thumb!  Marion berries are a variety of black berries. I have lived in Oregon for over 18 years where my crafting itch has only grown since I’ve been here. I taught a block of the month class at a local fabric store for a time, taken classes and taught in classrooms over the years.

Something I love about the internet is the ability to read about other artist’s and craft people’s work, see their studios, view the projects they are working on, and read about the creative process of the work they are doing.  I want to join this craft community. I want to share my work and learn from others.

I want to share the stories of how the pieces of life come together to make something beautiful, even if it isn’t planned.

Thanks for joining me on this new journey!