Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I am on an unexpected break, connected to an IV drip. A nasty Strep bug has sent me to hospital last thursday. Thank God, the worse is over and I was admitted right on time. Now the soaring fevers are gone, my kids think all these tubes coming out of me are cool, and I am making the best of my alone time, enjoying my private room and catching up on my naps. :)
Not the vacation I was hoping for, however a great time evaluate things and be grateful for the happy domestic chaos that is my life. 
Too bad I cannot stitch! :) However, there has been lots of quilt-y plans and things to report.
And I have a new appreciation for pin-cushions! :)   
 -- as you can imagine 'parking my needle' will never be the same...

I, like all of you, I'm sure, have a file marked: Inspiration. Here I collect ideas of designs and colour-combo's that I would some day like to translate into quilts of my own. I have been revisiting this file these days, on my laptop, since I cannot do much else, and notice the trends that emerge in my 'likes' and my 'OMG's... I think it is important to notice that there are designs that are timeless and colours that keep recurring. I love trendy quilts, you know I do, and I love playing around with colour, however there are the classics, those quilts that I have to make. Many of which are simple geometric designs and very Amish in flavour, so I expect a shift for fall and winter.

The other thing I have to share are thoughts on my work schedule. The experiment of this year is working. Last year I tried: monday is for this, tuesday that, and who can forget wednesdays hexies! however, it doesn't work for me, and my time demands. I realized I need to focus on one project at the time. This is how I work best, and fastest. This is how Klosjes got done, and this is how I was able to stay focused on Camelot. There are many minor projects that flutter in and out of the main focus. This makes for a very boring blog, I know. But it makes for a happy quilter, as I feel I am moving forward in my stitching. 

Lazy stitching by the sea-side: a wedding gift for a special friend.
the other images are from their magical wedding celebration

This has also made me look at my stash differently:  Organizing according to colour and style. As you all know, I am a scrappy quilter. I rarely buy yardage, and rarely meet a fatquarter I don't like. But I have stopped trying to adopt all the little lonely fatquarters of the world. These days they only come home with me if they can strengthen the cast at home, are in a colour that I do not already have, or can add that 'je ne sais quoi' to a quilt. This has had some very interesting results. A far more effective and harder working stash, and an interesting new way of choosing fabrics for new projects. Now I use the 'basket' method'. Once I decide the flavour I want my new quilt to have, I go shopping in my stash. I load my basket with the colours I would like to use. If there are colours, textures or yardage missing, I enjoy shopping for them. But what I have noticed is that my projects have more cohesion and internal harmony, as all the colours already live happily in their basket until the end of the project in question. Then they move back to the main stash or to their designated scrap bin.

I have also come to embrace my shift towards hand-piecing. Like most of you know, these days I need to be portable, doing most of my stitching around my kids' activities. I like the pace of it, and I have become more precise in some ways and much more forgiving in others. Nothing like hand-stitching to bring you back to the basics. And for me, it is has meant a deeper savouring of our craft. My quilts have always been stitched diaries of my everyday experience. How much more now that they travel with me through the mundane and extraordinary. Teaching me that 'every stitch counts', and that 'slow and steady wins the race'. But most importantly, it has thought me to evaluate if this is a quilt I want to commit my time and energy to... The butterfly has turned into a caterpillar, and I like it! Because now, instead of me being the butterfly, my quilts are.

Camelot is at the point of getting assembled. Dear Jane is being enjoyed on the side, and 'In my Garden' needs some attentive TLC. My summer plan was to dust my charm hexies off the shelf and press for the finish, since I am not far from the final assembly there as well. So I am looking forward to being discharged in a few more days and take up needle and thread again.

Cyprus is in the midst of national mourning due to the tragedy that happened yesterday. We are in shock as a nation and grieving the loss of life and ready to face the sacrifices of restricted electricity and water in hot summer ahead. 

So, this puts everything in perspective, doesn't it?
Thinking of you,


  1. I very much enjoyed reading your post Valentina, I have returned to the basics as well, enjoying the peace and satisfaction it gives. I hope you recover very soon, and my thoughts go to the people of Cyprus.

  2. Sorry to hear that you have been sick, but glad to know that you are on the mend......I really enjoyed your blog post.....seems a lot of us quilters are thinking along these lines of creativity......get better soon....

  3. Oh Valentina, I hope you are completely recovered soon and back home with your family.

    Great thoughts on your quilting and stash. I love hand stitching because it is calming and soothing. However, I still like to have several projects going at once.

    My condolences to all the families affected by that terrible blast. :(

  4. It's good to hear you will be up and out of hospital soon.I'm sure your little guys will enjoy having their Mama at home again. I enjoyed reading your post and your words give food for thought. I enjoyed shopping from my stash for a new project this week - very satisfying :-). And I'm sure your blog will never be boring - I always find it full of interest and inspiration. Take care...hugs.

  5. I love your posts Valentina, you always give me something to think about. So sorry to hear that you have been unwell but pleased you are getting the rest you need to recover.

  6. My prayers for all touched by the tragedy.

    I know that as quilters we all go through a cycle of experemental growth and crystalising of the ingredients that reflect us.

    The wedding quilt is lovely.

  7. Hi, my Sissie ;>)
    Reading your lovely post is giving me such a relief, and such pleasure as well, for all those interesting thoughts you're sharing.
    Not being able of sewing for the moment, I am however taking this opportunity of totally re-thinking and mentally re-organizing my quilting life, as well. We sometimes need those breaks (either forced, or not), to re-consider, to put things in perspective AND stick to the essentials... ;>)

    My deepest thoughts and prayers also go to those poor victims and their families.

    THANKS for this lovely post, (can't wait talking to you).


  8. Speedy recovery to you! I could never have had fixed days were I do this and that, I have to feel for what I want to do each morning, which makes life much more relaxing. Sorry to hear about the blast. My heart goes out to all persons involved.

  9. I like it a lot and think you are going to be a better quilter for examining the process more closely. As our lives change so should our quilting.
    Get better soon!!

  10. Be well, my friend; I'll be sending you a mental hug from way over here. Glad to hear you're finding a more fulfilling approach to your creative work; I think we do go through stages, and yours sounds like it's going to be a happy one. I can't send you power from here, but do let us know if there's any way we can help your neighbors through this trying time.

  11. Glad you are on the mend, Valentina. So sad the tragedy. It does put things in perspective.

  12. Glad that you are on the mend and will be released very soon. My heartfelt condolences to those families affected by this terrible blast.
    It is interesting to read your thoughts about the process of quilting, I too, have been drawm more to the needle and thread than the speed of the machine. Yes, I'll still piece by machine, but projects for pure pleasure will be slower and savored.

  13. Dear Val,
    Sorry to hear of your vacation, glad that you are on the mend. I heard on the news last night of the tragedy, always a sad thing to hear of losses of life.

    Let me tell you how I came to do patchwork. My inspiration folder was full of room ideas as I intended to do a curtain making class. When I rang the college to book the course they told me it was full but there was space on the patchwork class, so, I booked that instead. I went back to look at my folder and all the pages had patchwork items in them - it was meant to be.

    I am excited to hear that you are ready to put your Camelot blocks together. I have hit a stone wall but must get back to it. Lots of food for thought.

    Love from Shirley.x

  14. Valentina,
    I always enjoy reading your posts, and seeing your beautiful work. It's most interesting (and inspiring) to read your thoughts on your stash, quilting projects and working by hand. Hope that you're feeling better, and home soon.
    Debbie R.

  15. Heel veel beterschap en wat goed te lezen dat je nog op tijd was. Wat een narigheid toch. Pas goed op jezelf en nogmaals heel veel beterschap.

  16. Oh you poor love, glad you are on the mend now!
    yes we heard on the news last night of the tragedy, such a terrible time for all those families. Please know that people in far away countires are sad about what has happened.

    I love it that you are a slow poke quilter like me, why race to finish one quilt just to race to start another.
    People are always offering me "quick" methods, but I like to plod, to contemplate and relax with my sewing.
    I listen to audio books and when I look at my quilts I can remember which stories I enjoyed as I made them.
    Enjoy your sewing, lovely girl.

  17. Dear Valentina!
    I hope so, you're now well and my thoughts are with you!!¨
    Your thoughts are so interessting!! In a quiltgroup, I had sewing a bag with old clouths...bag to the routes..And you now, I mean, thats patchwork! Sewing with Hand and old clouthes!
    My english is nod soo good, but, you now wath I will say?;) I understand you and your thoughts!!
    So are well and all the best for you!!
    Take care, Hugs, Rita

  18. Akelig dat je zo ziek was en hoop dat het heel gauw over is. Bijzonder toch dat je zo anders kan gaan denken na een tijdje en helemaal je draai gaat vinden. Ik vond handwerk niets voor mij en waardeer het nu des te meer. De laatste weken probeer ik ook meer af te maken zodat het wat minder 'druk' wordt in mijn hoofd en kasten.

  19. Valentina, I've been thinking of you after the tragedy in Cyprus. I'm so relieved that you are not effected. I love your little quilt too, gorgeous - Hugs Nat

  20. you are well soon. beautiful words

  21. I'm sorry to hear you've been so unwell!! I love what you made as a wedding gift - so pretty! I hope you're feeling better and back to stitching again soon!

  22. Very thought provoking post, and must say nice to have you here. Sorry you had to visit hospital, but your reflection time goes to show that good can come from bad.
    I'm glad you have a plan for your quilting and that it brings you peace.It is hard when we keep seeing all these most wonderful things to make! Sometimes I want to scream, because I want to make them ALL!
    Hugs to you!, from me in New Zealand

  23. Rest and heal, Valentina. We can count on you to turn an unexpected, unpleasant episode into a time for reflection and inspiration for the rest of us.
    I'm sure most of us have developed our own pace and style of quilting, whether we realize it or not. You know what you're doing, what makes you comfortable, and the way to be most productive. Hopefully some day we can all recognize what makes each of us happiest with our quilting.
    Hugs and positive wishes for a speedy recovery, sent from me to you across 9850 km, or 6121 miles.

  24. Your arm is resting on a quilt! :)
    I foung the dily thing worked for as well, for a while...then God had other p,ans. Seems inspiration comes to you from nature also. Thank you for reinforcing that one must follow their heart and do what is best for them in order to make everyone else happy. If mama is happy... Evetyone is happy!

  25. So sorry to hear of your illness Valentina, I hope that you are soon back to your normal self and able to stitch and play some of the time.
    Rest and relax during this time too.
    Your quilt is really lovely.
    Warmest regards,

  26. Dear Valentina, I hope you are on the road to recovery now. I really like the wedding gift you are making for your friend, the fabrics are gorgeous. Take care and all the very best to you and your family. Ann


Thanks for your comment! Please, feel free to write in EspaƱol, Nederlands or Papiamento if that is easier for you . And I will try to answer any questions as soon as possible, as long as I have access to your e-mail.

My Patchwork Family Through Adoption

A Bit of Africa and China
Came knocking on our door
And in a home where there was longing
Now empty rooms no more

Like a Quilt of Many Colours
Our Family stitched together into One
God's Love and Grace for us Abundant
In the Miracle of our Sons

Written by Valentina