The Parkinson’s Comfort Project is growing and Sonja has decided to combine outreach with fundraising by choosing to vend at two quilt shows in 2015.
There will also be objects that folks can own in exchange for donations, handmade items plus books and patterns.
This bag, number one in a series of 19 (each a little different) is designed to wear across-the-body and has an adjustable strap. These are great for shopping, roomy enough for a wallet and other smallish items that leave your hands free.
The outside is sturdy canvas, the inside is fully lined, and it’s just so darned cute!!!
Most of the time, most of us go through our days without stopping to be grateful.
But then—once in a while—you receive the gift of a magical day, one that you know makes life worthwhile.
I had that experience on Saturday at our first annual Piecing for Parkinson’s day.
I founded the Parkinson’s Comfort Project in honor of my Mom and Dad at the end of 2010, the year my Mom died of complications of Parkinson’s disease. The last quilt I made for her was smallish—quilters call them lap quilts—because the bed quilts I’d made for her had become too heavy for her to manage.
After Mom died, I looked around for an organization that would take quilts I made in her memory and distribute them to folks with Parkinson’s disease.
Well, no such organization existed. So I had to start one.
The Parkinson’s Comfort Project is now growing into a full-blown nonprofit that provides comfort in all sorts of way to people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers.
One of the other members of our board, Annette Houston, is a quilter as well. We had been talking about putting together a day of quilting for Parkinson’s. But the woman pictured here, Maureen, is the one who got it jump started.
Maureen lost her Mom to a rare form of Parkinson’s disease last year, and like me, was looking for a way to give support to those similarly afflicted. She heard about the Parkinson’s Comfort Project, and emailed me to ask: Do you ever have sewing days to make quilts? If you do, I’d love to be involved.
So Annette and I got to work, and the result was a magical day with a lot of stories brought to us by the people who came to help. I’ll be telling them all week long, right here.
And since he’s the child of DIY parents, that always means there’s something handmade among his gifts.
A couple of months back, I heard his fiancé say that they could use some new placemats.
Now if you’re a beginning quilter, placemats are the very best place to start learning because they are, essentially, very small quilts.
These got started when I was inspired by a pattern in my guild’s newsletter called “Cheaper by the Dozen,” a scrappy quilt made from sets of six rectangles measuring 6 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches.
I thought “Cheaper by the Dozen” was perfect for making Parkinson’s quilts so I took nearly all my fat quarters and largish scraps, cut them all to size, and now I have precuts to make easy tops any time I want.
I was laying out a single block (which measures 12 1/2 inches square unfinished) when I thought it would be fun to cut the two ends off and reverse them to make something a bit more interesting for a placemat.
So I did and liked the effect. But I obviously needed to add something more to make them long enough horizontally and that’s when I remembered that I had this stack of back pockets from old blue jeans just sitting around waiting their turn to be part of something.
Presto–placemats like no others.
The pockets are perfect for the inserting of napkins and silverware. Roll them up and take them on a picnic.
I even got to use up some of my 2 1/2 inch binding strips. I just love scrappy projects like that.
The Parkinson’s Comfort Project keeps growing with wonderful donations from some very generous women. I spent the afternoon with the organization’s executive director, Jesse Davis, creating our new brochure.
And last night, at the holiday potluck celebrated by the Northern Lights Quilt Guild, I was given three more beautiful quilts to add to the Parkinson’s comfort quilt inventory. There will be pictures later.
Just wanted to spend a few minutes sharing some of the quilts donated in the past that are now providing comfort on a daily basis to someone with Parkinson’s disease.
Believe it or not, the stitching you can see waving across the top of this block (especially visible over the red fabric) continues its journey over the blue fabric.
You can’t see it?
Nope, neither can I.
That’s because the top thread in my machine is variegated.
I’d noticed this phenomenon in previous quilts but didn’t focus on it until I heard a comment from a long-arm quilter who called variegated thread “the most invisible thread you can use.”
Strange, isn’t it, that something supposedly designed for maximum visibility (or so it seems to me) actually disappears.
On reflection, I think there’s a gardening analogy here. When I first started laying out flower gardens, I had a tendency (because I like so many different plants) to buy just one or two of this or that.
Then I’d sit back to watch the show—and not see much of what I’d planted.
That’s when I discovered a basic law of flower garden design—much better to plant twenty of the same plant, and keep the variety small than to buy twenty different plants.
It’s the visual impact thing.
That’s why variegated thread disappears. There’s not enough of any single color to have an impact on the surface of a quilt. Looks good on a spool but really, that’s about it.
I’m going to use up what I have left in my thread stash because one of the basic laws of quilting is that you never waste anything. But from now on, it’s single colors all the way.
I’ve developed a simple way to machine quilt that’s not stitch-in-the-ditch but can still be done with the feed dogs up, and the walking foot in place. I guess you could call it shadow meandering.
My first quilts were quilted in straight lines, the most difficult pattern to quilt. Boring.
Then I tripped across Lise Bergene’s book, A Passion for Patchwork, and she has all these wavy lines criss-crossing her quilts. Have I told you how much I love this book? I haven’t made anything from it, so far, but her design style inspires me.
So I started quilting in wavy lines. It’s pretty easy, actually, especially if you are wearing sticky-fingered gloves to move your fabric around. You set yourself a steady pace of stitching, feed dogs up with walking foot engaged, and while the quilt is in motion, hold your fingers in one spot on the left. The quilt will pivot around the point you set so your stitching curves.
Lift your left hand, put down your right, and do the same thing so your stitching waves in the opposite direction.
Or plant both hands on either side of your needle, and use them together to shift your quilt gently from side to side as you stitch.
You can see the results from this in the detail of my Treehouse Steps quilt pictured above.
This was fine, as far as it went, but the result looked too scattered to me. I wasn’t completely satisfied.
Then during a conversation with a quilting friend, she happened to mention how much she likes to shadow quilt—making two identical lines of quilting, most often around a particular shape in a top to emphasize it.
So what would it look like if I shadowed my meandering quilting? I’m here to tell you, I loved the effect. I stitch a single meandering line from top to bottom, side to side or along a diagonal. When I reach the end, I return to my starting point, align the outside left edge of my presser foot with the stitching I just put down, and follow that line to the end.
Most of the time, I sew only two lines together but for my Werthy Sampler, pictured above, I used three and sometimes four, using different color thread.
Now I’m shadow meandering (shandering?) with different kinds of stitches, like the wide-open zig zag I’m applying to my orphan block quilt, a detail of which is pictured above. So far, I like the slightly ruffled quality it adds to the surface. I’m withholding final judgement until I get the stitching done in the other direction so I can see if it causes wrinkling problems at the intersections.
This is quick, good-looking utility quilting that adds a level of interest to a piece. Try it. Send me pictures if you do, and I’ll post them here for all to enjoy.
There are only three rules in life—create, create and create