Soul Box Project

Midweek I was at the Multnomah Arts Center (Portland, OR) to view the current exhibit of the Soul Box Project. Since I didn’t get any overall photo, here is one of their photos of the whole:

1 sb canopy

This installation includes 15,000 Soul Boxes, one for each person killed or injured by gunfire in the US since the beginning of 2019, and panels from the Vision Quilt. In addition to memorializing people harmed by guns, both projects speak to gun safety.

A sample Soul Box

1 safety box

And a sample Vision Quilt panel

1 safety quit

This panel  drawing is from the youngest participant.

Both projects seek to include both gun owners and non-owners. The Vision Quilt Project emphasizes increased dialogue, and the Soul Box Project seeks to increase awareness of the problem by making its magnitude visible.

1 stats box

There were panels where all the boxes had a theme–remembering individuals from a mass shooting, remembering individuals killed or injured on a single day, for example–and panels with more random arrangements, memorializing individuals and expressing thoughts about guns. Some boxes remain plain, representing an anonymous victim.

There is a table with origami paper and instructions so visitors can pause and make boxes.  There are instructions on the Soul Box website for others to make and send boxes.   Earlier in the year 36,000 boxes were taken to Salem, Oregon’s state capitol. The goal is 200,000 to be taken to Washington in 2020; they have 50,000 to date.

ETA a comment about numbers: Numbers are taken from the Gun Violence Archive, a website begun in 2014 and considered reliable by Media Bias/Fact Check.  Installations use a variety of statistics, as in the Salem event using 2018 numbers and this one using 2019. (I imagine the 200,000 goal relates to anticipated total from 2014-2020, but I didn’t do the math.)



Filed under events, social issues

Irish Star #2

Finishing up the instant-gratification Irish Star (here) put me in the mood to get back to the “real” one. And now that I am finished with projects that had deadlines, I can. So I got out what I had sewn so far and pressed seams.

irish star 25-blocks

I thought I had finished all the pieces I could for the 25-square blocks but was disappointed to learn I had only half of the two-square pieces sewn. So there is more leader/ender work to do (and plenty of scrap squares).

You may wonder why the blocks are not finished. Well, I made a design decision at the beginning that creates a SLOW process; I decided each star would have its own background neutral.  Sounded good in the abstract. Then I realized that meant I had to wait till I saw where the stars would be to know which neutral to put where. And of course, arranging the stars will be the first design decision I’ll be making in the layout of the whole quilt. So all I can do now is have the strips readied since every strip touches a background square.

After I make the stars, I’ll get out the design wall, place the stars, then start placing the strips and finish the blocks. Before I get to that, I have to finish cutting the star pieces. I cut four sets, but then I ran out of background scraps.  I’ve come to some more in my scrap pressing, so I hope I have enough for the 13 blocks needed.  I have plenty of solid and read-as-solid scraps.

I think it would be too confusing to make the stars as leaders/enders so I’ll set aside a couple days to work on them, and I’ll make up the missing 34 pairs as leader/enders. Shouldn’t take too long. I’m planning a 50 x 70 inch quilt.

Monday is Scrap Happy day (here), and I’ll be linking with Oh Scrap! tomorrow and maybe with  I May Have a Scrap Problem Wednesday. Links to follow.



Filed under quilting

Stretching Art Project (70273) Finished

And here it is.

70273 finished

(It is more rectangular than the photo looks.) I am mostly satisfied with the result. I wish only that I’d calculated the trim line a bit better when outlining the space around the numbers. I liked it better when there were two or so rows of quilting all around it instead of the cut off on the bottom. I also forgot to calculate the loss of measurement when turning under a facing instead of adding a binding. Maybe I’ll remember next time. Once I finished the wishbone quilting in the back leg of the Xs I was sure I also liked the ruching. I’d been undecided till then on whether or not it had been a good idea. And the varied widths of the echoing turned out to be a good decision, I think. A little variety within the similarity and a ripple effect like a stone in a pond.

Here is a close up of the quilting.

70273 quilting detail

If I do stuffed quilting again I hope I can do a nice small stipple instead of the solid scribble that I ended up doing. And I’ve read that others use wool batting. Maybe that would have given a fuller stuffing, or maybe the wrinkles come from making large shapes instead of more delicate ones. I foresee more practicing in my future.

If you are not familiar with the 70273 project, here is information. (They reached the total of blocks February 14, 2019, but are still assembling quilts, and the education aspect remains.)

This quilt’s history


Quilting decisions

I have no other immediate deadlines. (And this quilt will get to its destination 10 days before it is due. Perhaps this is the end of my last-minute finishes.) The Stretching Art and Tradition pieces will be exhibited in Mancuso shows in Lancaster PA and somewhere in New England. I’ve lost the specific information, but will edit when I find it.)

I’ll be linking with TGIFF, Finished or Not, and Off the Wall.


Filed under quilting


I don’t always practice quilting before I start the quilting on a piece, but there were several reasons to practice this time.  Stuffed quilting is new to me. (Oh I did a brief try last year on a long straight stem, but you couldn’t really tell to look that it was stuffed. ) I don’t usually quilt so precisely that I need to follow lines, and I wanted to test a look.

I liked Kate’s suggestion for quilting on the previous post, (here) as did a couple other commenters. So I combined testing that with testing stuffing.

7 practice 1

The photo doesn’t show how awful the 2 looks; I tried following the line by free motion. it obviously wouldn’t work. So the rest of the stitching is with the walking foot. Now all that turning was a breeze with the small sample piece, but I knew it would be different with the whole piece. Even though it is small (18 x 36 inches), so is my Featherweight. So, while I liked the idea, it wasn’t going to work this time.

Photos don’t show the comparison of the stuffing too well.  The 2 has one layer of cotton batting; the 7 has one of polyester. The 7 seemed a little higher, but the 2 seemed more substantial. I wondered if I could maneuver a double layer, so tried. And by then I had another quilting idea, a modification of Kate’s suggestion.

7 practice 2

Much fuller looking (you’ll have to take my word for it). And the quilting idea was to stipple the area immediately surrounding the numerals, then to close that off with a curved line, then follow the long curved line for the rest of the quilt.  The lines will start narrow. If I get too bored, I’ll gradually make the spaces between wider. In the sample I did a real stipple; on the piece itself, I was having trouble making the spaces small enough so allowed myself to backtrack.  Then it became easier to backtrack on purpose, the first rather large shape pass would ease out some fullness, then crossing over would get the density I sought. (I vaguely remember Leah Day having a background she named “Scribble.” Maybe that is what I am doing.

And so I marked the numbers on the quilt after checking to see that the Marvi marker line did in fact disappear from the trial swatch after four days.  It still feels odd, putting that purple line on white fabric! Meanwhile, while the marking shows, I took a photo so you can see the intended layout. (I don’t expect to be able to show the quilting on the whole piece ; usually I can show quilting only in parts.

70273 top-numbers

And while it was daylight I got a photo that shows the ruching.


I have 3 full days to spend on it before my preferred mailing date. No more of this Next Day stuff if I can help it.

I’ll be linking with Finished or Not Friday (button in sidebar).


Filed under quilting

Time for Stretching Art 20

This quilt has been a mental quilt since the beginning of the year when the theme was announced.  This is Stretching Art and Tradition’s 20th year, so the theme for this year’s pieces is anything to do with the number 20. (Click here for history of the art-quit show project.) One requirement is that the size must be 18 x 36 inches.

I considered several possibilities: a line of houses and an address  20 20th Street, a pair of glasses on a quilt titled ’20/20 Vision,’ and then the one I chose.

I played with the Roman numeral XX, and two Xs made me think of the 70273 project.  Either last year or the year before the project was exhibited at our quilt show, and I was interested.  In short, the number represents the number of people  killed in the Holocaust as mentally or physically unfit. The determination was made without physical examination or consultation, only a look at medical records. Three doctors examined each set, and if two marked a red X, the person was sent to the concentration camps. The goal of the project was that people make blocks, two red Xs on white, one to memorialize each person killed. The blocks would be made into quilts and exhibited (as at our guild show) to educate the public. The goal of 70273 was reached February 14, 2019; the blocks are continuing to be made into quilts. (For more information see the 70273 website, and to stay updated follow their blog, here).

I decided to make a single 18 x 36 block (of course that is not one of the required sizes.) And the top is finished.

70273 top

I had two construction concerns: keeping edges straight with the sharp angles and matching the cross-link of the X when I added the second leg. The latter was much easier than i expected, unlike other times I’ve had the same issue. But the edges!

Luckily, I had made the templates 2 inches larger than the required size. The little half-inch jog on the left didn’t worry me. Then the bottom leg got stitched upside down on its first seam.  The photo isn’t clear enough to show that each X has one leg that is ruching (I got that idea while working on the small quilt earlier.) It seemed a way to add interesting texture to an otherwise stark design. Before that I’d planned wishbone quilting on the red legs of the letters; I think one so quilted will compliment the ruching.  However, the ruching was such a pain to baste and sew that I didn’t want to rip if I didn’t have to. And I think I’ll be trimming off only1 1/2 inches, so still in the limits for the exhibit.

So far I have only one plan for the quilting, to make the numbers 70273 run diagonally from top left to bottom right in stuffed quilting. I have practiced one and am testing the marker whose lines are to disappear in a couple days.

70273 practice

I remain stumped on the next quilting steps, other than there will have to be something close to each number to help them puff up, and it has to be detailed because of the starkness of the piecing, and I don’t want quilting to detract from the two Xs.

I’ve considered sectioning it off with 1/2- to 1-inch unquilted lines with small background pattern inside the spaces made, but how to arrange the lines? Two thoughts so far: One option is 6-inch spaces echoing the lines of the two Xs. Another is rays radiating from either the numbers or the Xs. I’ll have to start quilting in a couple days, but would welcome any suggestions that get here before I start.

I’ll be linking with Needle and Thread Thursday and Off the Wall Friday–you might enjoy seeing what others link up.



Filed under quilting

Festival of Quilts

It’s quilt show time, and I was amazingly restrained in photo taking. There are two ways of looking: snapping photos or enjoying the moment. I like both ways. This time,  I’d actually intended not to take any (didn’t even take my camera), but succumbed and pulled out my phone a couple times.

First a modern looking quilt (though it is an adaptation of a traditional pattern):

1 Lone Star with Rays Irena

Lone Star with Rays by Irena Swanson

I love this variation of the Lone Star. Irena is a math professor and she enjoys calculating how to sew tubes of strips and cut them to get intricate, traditional patterns. Often she tells how many seams it took when she shows her quilts at show-and-tell, but she didn’t write it in her description.

And a traditional looking quilt:

1 Grannie's Crazy Spinners

Grannie’s Crazy Spinner by Diane Woodruff

This quilt was huge.  And I didn’t take a close up to show the ’30s fabrics.  I have a stash of 30s and may borrow this idea for some of them.

And a miniature:

1 monkey whole

Monkeys and Monkey Wrenches (top) by Carrie Perkins

She fussy cut the monkeys for the center of the Monkey Wrench blocks. I can’t take photos with one hand with my phone, so I couldn’t put my finger in the picture to show size, but the Monkey Wrench blocks looked to be 2 inches square at the most.

Here’s a detail:

1 monkey detail

Don’t you love the little escaped monkey hand appliqued on the side? And as you can see this one was hand quilted. Every year the show has a featured quilter and this was Carrie’s year.  She had a wide variety of styles and techniques.


Filed under quilting

Orphan Blocks on National Quilting Day

You knew today was National Quilting Day, didn’t you?  Of course you did. As usual I didn’t get as much finished as I had planned, but oh well, the back will wait.

A couple months ago I picked up a charity kit at guild. I usually avoid that table because I have enough stash to make charity quilts from, but that day the colors appealed to me. I think the kits are made up from blocks left on the freebie table that are not grabbed up. Then someone assembles some that go together into kits. Minimum size is 40 x 40. So I took a kit and laid them out. (I remember when these were blocks of the month, and even made a couple several years ago.)

PMQG orphans layout

Oh good, it looks like they fit. There are a couple more.  One I snatched to go with another kit I’d taken a LONG time ago as it was the same block. One would be a loner and end up in a doll quilt, most likely. One would go on the back; however, it needed corners.  I bought some orange for the corners and purple for the back.

1 block for orphan back

In the first layout, it looked like the top and right rows might be a tiny bit big, but I assumed that would be taken up in the 1/4 inch seams. If anything, I expected to be trimming the checkerboard part (Trip Around the World blocks?) I was quite surprised when the border blocks were about 2 inches bigger than the squares set.

I gave about 2 seconds of thought to making a new row of squares for two sides.  Not being much of a perfectionist, I decided this was the moment for liberated quilting. I think it was Gwen Marsten who said, “If it is too long, cut it off; if it is too short, sew something on.”  Knowing I couldn’t match the colors already there, it seemed better to do a strip than a row of squares that clashed. (Sounds better than saying that I was too lazy to sew up two rows of squares, doesn’t it?) It would have looked more planned if the side strip had been on the right, but not enough better to be worth getting out the seam ripper. The purple is what I’d bought for the back and binding, so it will appear again.

Of course I didn’t go with the original layout. Half the fun is playing with possibilities. I ended up with this.

1 orphan top

It measures 47 x 47 so I won’t need to add a border.



Filed under quilting