2022 Begins With a Roar!

By Sandra Bruce

Greetings from a sunny and warm Grass Valley, California! As this is my first post of 2022 I wish you all a Happy New Year. On New Year’s Day we were on day 6 of an 11 day power outage due to a snowstorm that began on Christmas night. I must say….when it’s falling it’s so pretty!

Because we are in a drought which taxes the health of trees, along with no storms to speak of in the last handful of years this storm really did a number on the trees in our area. There were scenes like the one below all over town.

Here’s a funny shot of my favorite spot during the power outage, near the propane stove in our living room. Really near! Note my favorite pjs….that I made, of a Moda flannel printed with bacon and eggs.

Even now, on February 14th, there are still some piles of snow around town. Amazing given that it’s been so warm and sunny, and not a drop of precipitation since this storm. Enough about weather! We got power back, internet back, and the leak in my downtown studio, where my longarm is, is being dealt with and things are almost back to normal. I’m so grateful my machine was not affected by all that melted snow that leaked down to the first floor. Phew!

A super fun event happened right at the beginning of the holidays, here at my house. My group Friends to Dye For (FTDF), which you have heard me speak of, had a sleep-over here. We’ve been meeting for 24 years now! Earlier in 2021 we did a quilt project. Each of us took a turn, giving instructions for what kind of quilt we wanted. When we were all assembled we sewed for that person’s quilt, and by the end of the day a top had been completed. (I wrote earlier in a post last summer when it was my turn). I had suggested this idea initially, and when I offered to quilt them everyone said “yes”! So, when we gathered in December we all brought out our finished quilts to photograph them. Here is the bunch of us in front of Marlene’s quilt. Woo-hoo!

I’ll show you each one. They turned out beautifully ;-). Here is Marlene with hers…yes, it’s BIG! She had me “write” into the quilting a list of some of the projects we have done over the last 24 years. She dyed all the fabric in hers too. The skinny strips of color are so effective, right?

Here’s a close-up of some of the “writing” I did:

Here is Michelle with hers. We had an indigo shibori dyeing day at her house one day, and these pieces became her quilt.

Robin’s is next. She also dyed her fabric. I love the gradation of the yellow into the blue strips. The back is as beautiful as the front!

Somehow I missed getting Chris in the picture of her quilt. She had seen a quilt on the internet that she liked, and we used it as a springboard to make hers. Lots of rotary free-hand curved cuts. The orange pops! Notice the edges and her irregular binding, nice.

I do have another photo of Chris, though…with another quilt she made that I quilted for her.

Last but not least, my quilt. This is a pattern by Villa Rosa Designs, called “Beaded”. I had a lot of black and white fabric at hand and love that yellow green as an accent. If you’re wondering about the top I’m wearing, (I get asked often about it) it’s printed with a quilt by Timna Tarr, by Zappy Dots, on a plush fabric. Available online.

In the middle of the meantime I made this quilt IN A WEEK. Long story as to why… I will spare you. Suffice it to say now I know I can crank one out that fast if I have to.

I’m just working part-time now on my longarm for a list of clients that have been faithful to me over the last couple of years. I’m still doing some custom work, some overall quilting, a little bit of everything. Here’s a customer quilt I recently did. Her appliqué is beyond perfect and such a pleasure to work on. It’s almost 80″ square. Inspiring appliqué!

You may recall my talking about the SAQA challenge “Prism Play” that I struggled with over the last few months. Prism Play will be a traveling show, where 60 or so 15″ by 45″ quilts will be hung side by side in a rainbow effect. Each participant picked a color and had to work exclusively in that color, only varying values. I picked blue-violet, not an easy color! There’s not a lot of commercial fabric in that color to begin with, so with the help of a friend I dyed my own, which proved to have it’s own challenges. The photo I picked to execute, which I took in Pisa, Italy years ago of a statue, proved to be too difficult to do in my Matrix technique. This is part of the photo I wanted to do:

As you can see, the edges are very soft….too soft! I’m not going to show you what I did, it just has too much angst attached to it. Lesson learned! So….on to a different image.

My left hand…I had to print it out in 2 sections since it’s so long. It was enjoyable to make, especially after my former failure, which, did teach me a lot so I guess I shouldn’t call it a failure. OK, I take it back. Here’s the finished piece:

The thread is hand-embroidered, and the dots on the thimble are French knots. I call it “Blue-Violet Hand”. If you look closely you’ll see I wrote “Blue Violet Hand” into the quilting. I hope it gets in the show!

Before I leave you, apropos to nothing in particular, I’ll share a couple more pictures. The first is a shot of me playing pickleball. It has become a passion and I am playing almost every day. It has helped me retain my sanity as of late, and it great exercise. I’ve made so many new friends too! If you’re not familiar with it I suggest you check it out. Good for the over 60 set! I play with people in their 80’s even. It is so addicting. (see what I mean about the weather, so warm!)

Since today is Valentine’s Day, here’s a valentine for you, a photo of the cookies I made (another fun day with FTDF!)

Sending you all a big smooch and Valentine’s Day wishes for a great day! See you soon with another post.

13 thoughts on “2022 Begins With a Roar!

  1. You all are amazing. No one must sleep, ever! Love your blog, so interesting. And just the interesting things you do…thanks for sharing

  2. What a great Valentine’s Day treat! Love your latest quilt with the coffee cup, as well as your superb Blue Violet Hand!

  3. OMG, Sandra. I have soooo much to say. First of all, it is wonderful to read your blog. So much positivity. You got through the bad time and looks like you’ve moved right along. My kind of girl! Loved looking at all your pictures. Jealous because I’d love to be part of your wonderful group. You ladies do great work. You know how much I love your quilts/technique. So exciting to see that you are into pickleball. So are we!! Gene is a phenomenal player, even winning gold medals. I’m not bad either but I don’t compete like he does. It’s been such a long time since we’ve spoken. Love your blog!

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