I Whistle a Happy Tune
I have been making some things this summer, but not exciting things. We have had a crew here off and on to replace the siding on our house — the noise and the mess and the people working right outside the windows looking in, are keeping me from concentrating. And even when they are not here, my husband spends the evenings watching YouTube videos to plan the next steps, and those all showcase power tools laboring away at gratuitous levels of noise.
The only way I can deal with it is to pull out some fabric and stitch it together mindlessly.
It has inspired me to write my own version of I Whistle a Happy Tune, from The King and I:
I guess I should call it, I Stitch My Way Through Stress.
I have been watching some YouTube videos as well, and one I saw was Karen Brown’s video, Sew Up Your Stash. Using her method of quickly calculating how much fabric you have, I figured out that I have enough to sew 100 twin-size quilts! And since I only make about four a year, that is 25 years’ worth of projects. That put things in perspective for me. Not every single thing I make needs to be challenging and precious. I don’t always need to find the perfect destiny for each piece of fabric. I just need to whip up some utility quilts to get through all these donated and down-sized fabrics I have.
So let me present the most predictable quilt I have ever made.
It started with big chunks of matching fabrics in blue and red.
The smart thing I did on this piece was to stagger the rows, so that I wouldn’t have to worry about matching corners. And that ended up giving it a nice sense of motion. I like this pattern and I will be making more like this, in different colorways.
This one is going to a fund-raiser for an American Legion post. One down, 99 to go!
I love your version of the tune, makes lots of sense to me…and as for that quilt, just love it. It’s so pretty and vibrant.. I’m sure it will bring much pleasure to the lucky recipient.
Thank you, Chris!
Your brick quilt is lovely. I like to use the same machine stitch to quilt with the same way to quilt with when making kids quilts. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, I did like the way that stitch turned out. I saw it in an Alexandra Ledgerwood book; I would have not thought to use a programmed stitch for quilting!
Your little tune brought a smile to my face. I don’t think I want to calculate my stash; pretty sure it will outlive me. 🙂
That’s my problem, I keep accepting stashes from people who want to clear things out so they have some uncluttered years. 🙂
That is such a beautiful quilt! And I love what you made of the song, too!
Thank you! Now that song is stuck in my head though… 🙂
Love the song! Sadly your process doesn’t work for me; when I’m stressed I design another quilt and quickly find lots of spurious reasons why I simply HAVE to make it. Displacement, I think they call it. I do like your ‘predictable’ quilt. It looks like camshafts…
Well, it is essentially the same thing, because I always start from the scraps and build up the quilt. I don’t design on paper. I would love to! I have containers of my “dream” fabrics that I want to get to some day, but I always feel like I need to get these odds and ends out of the way first. 🙂
Could you pass on the odds and ends, or are they too random? I bet you could find people who wanted bits sorted by size/colour… Then you could dive into your really luscious fabrics and flat out hold forth!
I have been thinking a lot about what you said here. I think I will work through a lot of scraps the rest of this year, and then next year I will treat myself to working with the beautiful fabrics I have accumulated, to make a good large quilt!
Great plan! And after that, I think maybe you’ll find working with *those* scraps a lot more inspirational, as they’ll have great memories attached. That’s how it always works for me, anyway.
Your song cracks me up–and I can relate! These days I’m more apt to sit at a loom and throw the shuttle to relax but it really helps to be able to lose oneself in the craft. And you know what’s predictable about your quilt? Someone is going to be thrilled to receive it!
Yes, I always attributed my serenity to being able to sit at a loom and thwack the beater! Maybe I should write another verse! 🙂
Love the song and your quilt, but what I liked the most was the smile I had on my face when I finished reading this post!
Often I quilt and find that I am stressing too much on perfection instead of thinking of function. This quilt is inspiring in that it is: a) Done!, b) Useful, and c) Attractive
Thank you for sharing!
The quick quilts can be so fun to make. I greatly paired down my project bags, even selling two quilt kits last month.
I love this line in your post, “I don’t always need to find the perfect destiny for each piece of fabric.” So on point! I keep my special fabrics to me or unique prints for my competition quilt entries.
I love the idea of project bags!
I have never entered a competition — I am very impressed that you do! So many angles to consider — what will stand out? what are the judges looking for? I think it takes a special focus.
I love your version of that song. I think I need to start singing it myself! Your quilt looks great too 🙂
Yes, used is better than saved for the perfect quilt is the perfect mantra for fabric. I find I use the ugly stuff first, especially fabrics that I’ve dyed. And the serpentine stitch you used makes a lovely texture on a quilt, though it is certainly more time consuming.
I’m not sure whether it’s brave or foolish to calculate how many quilts a stash will make! My motto is one I got from Waechter’s fabric shop (now, sadly, gone): I HAVE the most fabric, and I ‘m not dying until I quilt it!”
We were talking about this in my quilt group — that we have to live to be 100 to get all of our quilts done, and I said, “Yes, and we have to stop having ideas at 90, so we can spend those last 10 years finishing up!” 🙂
I love love love this quilt. I wish I had the talent — and the patience — to turn out work like you. Who am I kidding — I would have no idea where to even start! But it looks marvelous.
With all the artists whose work you view, I am honored that you also like this little quilt! Of course you could easily do something like that if you felt like it, but with your focus on delving into the creativity in the world, and writing, you have other, very important, things to focus on!
That is a beautiful quilt. I’m the same way with art supplies. I think I have enough stuff to create a couple of thousand projects, if only I’d stop waiting for the muse to inspire me (or leave half created projects sitting around for months).