April 23, 2022: Thoughts and Happenings

Greetings dear readers! The Maple Leaf Rag top needs only the vein and stem embellishments on the lower two corners’ leaves in order to be finished! It is 91 inches square, doesn’t fit on the design wall, and is impossible to lay out flat anywhere in my house. Yesterday when the sun was shining I did my best to get some photos on our porch. These will likely be the last photos I post of MLR until it is quilted – by a long armer, not me! I started it in late September 2020, so a bit more than a year and a half ago, and I’m thrilled to get it to this point!

I’ve also been working on April’s mini and slowly removing the foundation papers from IROS.

This quilt has had me thinking of pins and pinning! So much important pinning is needed for accurate Y seams. I have not bought new pins in forever and started to notice a lot of bent pins. I think this just happens with use over time and I decided to treat myself to some new pins. My guild gave me a gift certificate to a local quilt shop as a thank you for doing a demo on prepared edge applique for them, and here’s what I bought:

Two sizes of ”Magic” pins. The fact they’re heat resistant doesn’t mean much for me as I don’t iron over pins, but I like the easy grip handles. I stocked up on my favorite Tulip hand work needles and I added to my upgraded collection of Quilters Select rulers, which I LOVE! I started with the 3×18 inch and these new ones are 6 1/2 inch square and 12×6 inches.

Before I leave the topic of pins, I want to confess that I routinely sew over pins with my machine. I usually slow down as I go over the pin, especially when I’m using a short stitch length, and this allows the needle to slide around the pin. I very occasionally break a needle, especially if I forget and go too fast, but I often go months without that happening. I have never, ever – in 28 years of quilting! – had a sewing machine needle hitting a pin and cause any kind of damage to my machines; Berninas for the past 21 years. I know I have read some quilters say ”never!” sew over pins, but recently I was happy to see another experienced quilter say it’s OK as long as you slow down. Feel free to share any thoughts you have on this and also any pin recommendations – are the relatively new Karen Kay Buckley pins worth the cost? I’m thinking of trying some.

At this week’s guild meeting, I won one of the 2 door prizes – first time in years!😊 A mini wool pressing mat and a kit to make a quilt block for Ukraine:

My lucky day! Our speaker for the meeting was Pam Weeks, the curator of the NE Quilt Museum, talking about some of the quilting pioneers of the early 20th century who actually created businesses lecturing and creating and selling patterns and kits – Marie Webster, Ruth Finley, Carrie Hall, etc. She had a few quilts with her:


She pointed out the “negative space” on these quilts – room for quilting! – which is so in vogue with modern quilters right now.

Look what’s in my driveway right now – a huge dumpster!

We demolished our 49 year old shed which was seriously deteriorating and hope to get a new one installed this summer. Meanwhile, having the dumpster is a great excuse to clean out our garage and attic of ”so much stuff” that we really don’t need anymore. This is cutting into my quilting time, but absolutely worth it!🙂 Almost 6 years into retirement, I’m finally throwing away all the stuff I cleaned out of my office and saved ”just in case” I decided to go back to work. I now know that is never happening! I’m saving one small folder with a few performance evaluations to remind me of all the things I did. I’ll remove from their frames and save the certificates of my med school graduation and my Internal Medicine Board Certification. I have a few cards from patients and staff and a fun CD full of photos from my 32 years of working at the University. And that will be all that’s left to remind me of 45 years of devotion to medicine! And I’m perfectly OK with that!

But is it any wonder that I’m reading books about loss?!😐 I highly recommend both of these books:

The Mary Pipher book is a re-read and well worth it. The Bruni book is the story of his sudden loss of vision in one eye in his early 50’s and how he handled it, but he also talks about dealing with loss, in general, which we ALL need to do, and gives many examples. He’s an excellent writer so the book is a pleasure to read, as is the Pipher book.

One of the very best ways I deal with stress and loss (along with quilting!) is my quiet walks in nature; there’s nothing like it to calm and center myself, correct my perspective, and make me grateful. So, I will end this post with some recent photos of spring’s arrival in my neighborhood:

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi

24 thoughts on “April 23, 2022: Thoughts and Happenings

  1. Marjorie Farquharson April 23, 2022 / 1:02 pm

    Maple Leaf Rag is stunning. What a great quilt to enjoy, especially in autumn!

    • gladiporsche April 23, 2022 / 8:55 pm

      Thank you Marjorie! I’m going to be on the Cape (South Chatham) the last week in July – any chance of getting together for a walk?

  2. Cynthia @ wabi sabi quilts April 23, 2022 / 2:29 pm

    Maple Leaf Rag just glows – so beautiful. I love your nature photographs. It’s a great feeling to get rid of stuff and renting a dumpster really helps in that process (we’ve done it a couple of times).

    • gladiporsche April 23, 2022 / 8:56 pm

      Thank you Cynthia! The dumpster is definitely a great help! The amount of stuff that accumulates over the years is horrifying!

  3. Randy Danto April 23, 2022 / 3:14 pm

    I love seeing your quilts but your pictures from your walks are always amazing! You live in a beautiful area!
    How impressive that you are shedding your work “souvenirs “! And how great that you have no regrets! I am waiting for the Frank Bruni book from the library!
    I’ve never heard of magic pins. They look very different.
    Have a great weekend

    • gladiporsche April 23, 2022 / 8:59 pm

      Thanks so much Randy! You’re right – it feels pretty good to be able to let go of all that “stuff” with no sadness; just gratitude for a great career.

  4. Janet O. April 23, 2022 / 4:28 pm

    Maple Leaf Rag has the warm glow I love about autumn. It is a wonderful quilt, with eye appeal galore! 🙂
    Oh, I feel validated! I have always sewn over pins–especially when working on minis. I have never tried the Magic pins and I was not aware that there are Karen Kay Buckley pins. I’ll have to be more observant in quilt shops and see what is available. I typically use the Clover Patchwork Pins (Fine). I probably buy a new package of them every few months, and I always keep a package or two on hand. They are very slim, so they don’t distort the fabric when you pin–very important with minis. But because they are so slim, they get bent easily when I do hit them as I sew. 😉
    On that subject, I think in all the years I have been sewing over pins (and I go slowly, too), I have only ever broken needles twice, and I have never thrown off the timing of any machine. I have sewn on Berninas, Vikings, Pfaffs, and a Singer Featherweight.
    I just picked up a new Quilters Select ruler at a shop yesterday. They are the best! I gave all the Creative Grid rulers to my daughter, who was upgrading from Omnigrid.
    Those appear to be very good book recommendations.
    And I always love the photos from your walks.

    • gladiporsche April 23, 2022 / 9:04 pm

      Thank you Janet! Fine Clover pins have been my “go to” pins for years and I still like them a lot, but thought it would be fun to try out some others. So glad you enjoy my photos!

  5. Gayle in Tennessee April 23, 2022 / 7:32 pm

    Your MLR is one of the prettiest quilts I have ever seen. Congratulations on finishing it!

    • gladiporsche April 23, 2022 / 9:04 pm

      Thank you so much Gayle for your kind words!

  6. acityquilter April 23, 2022 / 8:37 pm

    love maple leaf rag…i love autumn and it evokes the season perfectly! i am a perpetual de-clutterer….closing the door on a career or a life of work is a stress situation even tho many look toward retirement longingly…great review on pins…i am nearly due and yes i love the quilters select rulers too!

    • gladiporsche April 23, 2022 / 9:06 pm

      Thank you so much Grace!

  7. Kelley Secrest April 23, 2022 / 10:51 pm

    Maple Leaf Rag is so beautiful. I love the way the leaves glow. Thanks for the close up of the corner leaves and berries. Good luck cleaning out files and mementos. A time intensive job, for certain. Love the nature photos, as always. Wishing you a blessed weekend!

    • gladiporsche April 25, 2022 / 8:51 pm

      Thank you Kelley! Getting rid of unnecessary stuff is work, but it feels so good afterwards!🙂

  8. Nann April 24, 2022 / 1:59 pm

    I’m so glad I clicked on your post in today’s Bloglovin’ feed — the Maple Leaves pulled me in and I stayed to read the rest. The quilt is gorgeous. Major-quilt-show-worthy! The border applique adds so much to the design. I guess that gift certificate was “pin money.” I recall an Erma Bombeck column where she wrote about using cookie sheets that “looked like the drip pan of a ’38 Chrysler” — the idea being that we can buy new ones, be they cookie sheets or straight pins. It took me a couple of years into retirement to realize I could manage without those two boxes of work-related files. (And as it turns out the filing cabinets in the library office STILL have many files and notebooks that I created — and there have been three directors and two interim directors since I retired in 2014.)

    • gladiporsche April 25, 2022 / 8:55 pm

      Thanks so much Nann! Ha – I well remember the phrase “pin money”!😊. I actually had a lot more than 2 boxes of work related books, journals, papers, and files – so, so happy to finally get rid of them!

  9. Diane Muldoon April 25, 2022 / 3:05 am

    Maple leaves is stunning. It took a long time for me to let go of certificates and licenses…thinking forever the world would still need me. Next stage was to let go of the books and print outs, the lectures and notes of my wisdom that no one wanted. Change is so hard. Finally I can accept the next stage of life and enjoy xoxo

    • gladiporsche April 25, 2022 / 8:59 pm

      Thanks Diane! Retirement is definitely a process to come to grips with over time for most, especially for those of us with rewarding careers who loved our work. When I finally stopped at 67, I was ready and have no regrets.

  10. marissthequilter April 25, 2022 / 10:52 am

    Another rich and thought provoking post, thank you Gladi.
    Your Maple Leaf Rag is a masterpiece. Congratulations on all the beautiful work that has gone into its making. Can I ask why you have called it a rag?! It seems wrong (if I may) for a magnum opus.
    I was fascinated by your report on pins. I have never found the perfect pin and have a container full of bent and broken ones. It’s not that I am collecting them (!!) but that I don’t want to throw them away in case they cause damage to the handlers of the rubbish bags. BTW I don’t machine stitch over pins, but you have tempted me to reconsider this practice.
    Congratulations too on the big clean out and on pairing down the reminders of your professional medical career.
    Thank you for the book titles on loss. It is a subject close to my heart.
    Enjoy those walks. I too am lucky to be able to ‘escape’ into nature and my daily dog walks through fairly wild terrain are very important to me.

    • gladiporsche April 25, 2022 / 9:06 pm

      Thank you Mariss! I’m calling the quilt Maple Leaf Rag after the great piano piece by Scott Joplin. At the same time I started making it, my husband, whose main hobby is playing the piano, started to learn to play that Rag (pieces of music in that style were often called “rags”). We had a contest to see who would finish first – he won!😊. You’re right, though – the quilt is definitely not a “rag” in the traditional sense!!

      • marissthequilter April 26, 2022 / 8:02 am

        Ah! Pardon my narrow focus.
        And thank you for the delightful background story

  11. Wendy C Reed April 25, 2022 / 12:24 pm

    Oh how I love that Maple Leaf Rag! It is sensational. I’m wondering if you have used those “Tulip” quilting needles before? I’m anxious to hear how you like them. I love the applique needles, in fact they are the only ones I use for applique, however, I do not like the quilting needles as much. I still go back to my “Piecemakers” or “John James”. I’m so glad to hear you are having no problems “cleaning out”. That is our next big project her – the barn! I love your nature walk photos. We saw trailing arbutus (May Flower) on both our walks this weekend. Spring is finally here!!

    • gladiporsche April 25, 2022 / 9:15 pm

      Thanks Wendy! So far, I would have to say the Tulip “betweens” are not better than John James or Jenna Kimball betweens. And way more expensive! Last fall Christine Wickert introduced me to the best hand quilting needles I’ve ever used – unfortunately only available from Japan. I don’t have their name at the ready, but I’ve been hoarding the one pack she gave me!😊. I want to order some online from Japan, but not sure how that will go! If I do manage to get some more, I’ll give you a pack to try.

  12. barbvedder April 26, 2022 / 1:00 pm

    Your quilt is jus stunning! Oh happy day when a big quilt like this is nearly finished.
    Interested to read about your pin preferences.
    I’m very jealous of your dumpster. I am getting one soon I hope to purge my house. I am gearing up to not feel guilty about getting rid of things I took out of guilt the first time.
    I listened to a podcast with Frank Bruni. He has a very inspiring story and I admire his life changes.
    Lovely nature photos.

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