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my traditional roots

Yep, I started as a traditional quilter. What else was there in 1974 when I started making quilts? I don't really have any photos of my work before 1993 because I didn't realize that I should have been documenting my work that long ago. Anyway, I was making mostly baby quilts in those days. They were the repositories of my experimental blocks. 1993 I have no memory of who got this one, but in a way I am sorry I don't still have it. All the blocks were made from vintage 1940's and '50s fabrics that my grandmother had brought home from the dress factory where she worked. Hand quilted and, I am sure, hand-pieced. I had challenged myself to learn to make Y-seams. Once I knew I could do i

a day in New York and one in New Jersey

I am in New Jersey for my two grandsons' h.s. graduations and have a full calendar. Tuesday, I went into New York, planning to meet my friend Sujatha for lunch. I took the bus; she was going to take the train. But our plans were stymied by a power outage on the whole Northeast train line. By the time we discovered it, I was on the bus. So I called my daughter Jessica, who works for Peleton and just happened to have a break. She met me for a delicious lunch where we both ate waaaay too much. After lunch, Jessica went back to work and I walked through what used to be the vibrant, fabulous, Garment District between 8th and Broadway from 39th-37th Sts. This wonderful big button signifies the

a little hand-sewing

About 22 years ago, give-or-take, I took a sweatshirt, cut off the cuffs and the neck ribbing, opened up the sleeve seams, and zig-zagged the edges of a bunch of fabrics onto the surface. This workhorse sweatshirt jacket is still my go-to when I need a light jacket. (ha - not too often in Florida). Here is Minnie, modeling it. Not exactly fashion-forward, but it works for me. You can probably see that it needs a little TLC. Some of the fabrics have fallen off and others are coming loose in spots. For a change of pace, I scoured my scraps for some blue and white fragments and decided to do a little boro. So I ran to JoAnn's, bought some blue embroidery thread and embroidery needles and we

off the design wall

Sunday Back in the studio on a 90+ degree Sunday, determined to get something done today. I have finally finished the piece I was working on and today's chore is to put a facing on it. I posted this on Instagram in January while I was working on it and at that point I asked what people saw and what story it told them when they looked at it. I might ask you the same question. When I started this piece I was simply working with leftover rectangles from my book, cutting them up and putting them back together. As always, I had no idea where I was going. But eventually, the bits told me what they wanted to be and once it was on the wall, the piece gave me further instructions. Yep, that's

burning the midnight oil

I slept till 10 this morning - a totally rare occurrence which screwed up my whole schedule. Had breakfast at 11, lunch at 2, and dinner at 5. Now it is tomorrow and I'm sort of wide awake, blogging. (but not for long). While I was scrolling through my photos earlier, I came across this string quilt which I probably made 15 years ago or more. I suspect I gave it to someone as a baby quilt because I don't have it anywhere. I love it because it's wonky and scrappy and I made absolutely no effort to have anything match. To me, that's the way string quilts should be. Yesterday I sent out all of the blocks from the challenge, so those of you in the U.S. who are participating should have them b

 all text & images ©rayna gillman 2019