Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Cloudy with a Chance of Sashiko

When Mistakes become Something Marvelous . . .

How This Quilt Came About . . .

Quilt Title:
"Cloudy with a Chance of Sashiko"

Thanksgiving weekend I woke up at 3:00a with vertigo.  The entire room was spinning, and I ended up in the emergency room.  This imbalance thing (vertigo = dizziness; inner ear imbalance) can go on for months, and it has.

The vertigo started out quite awful--as I couldn't walk to the bathroom without bumping into walls and throwing up.   The first month I spent in bed, and by Christmas eve I'd advanced to sitting in a big chair in the living room and was mostly ok if I didn't move my head fast.

January I started physical therapy, and two months later--I'm about 80% my old self.  I still have dizziness if I bend over to leash the dog, but at least I can walk down the stairs without losing it.

The last three weeks I was able to resume sewing from the red dining room table on my 1939 Singer Featherweight.  I framed scrappy 16 patch blocks with dark fabric, and soon I realized I didn't have enough dark fabric to complete the quilt.

Off to Joann Fabrics I went, and they looked up the bar code info and found more dark fabric at another store.  A week later, I was back in business with the extra fabric framing the 16 patch blocks, sewing rows together with sashing and borders. 

I assembled the backing with two art panels I created from left over 16 patch blocks, and other fabric scraps.  Got everything pressed, and loaded on the long arm frame. 

I began free style long arm quilting.   15"w x 10"h quilt sequence design I created called Feather Bouquet,

and just for fun I added an extra swirl here and there.

The dark fabric is actually a really deep teal and black diamond print.  Lots of contrast.

I used a Cornflower Blue thread for the quilting--it blended well, allowing me to see where I was free style quilting.  I auditioned other colors, but they didn't fit the bill.
The sun was shining through the double doors in the studio . . .

I couldn't ask for better lighting.  Everything went smoothly
UNTIL . . .
I took the quilt off the frame and put it on the layout table to square it up . . .
Suddenly I saw something bad.  The two dark fabrics were not the same color lot.  The extra fabric I bought at Joann's was a slight shade lighter.  All that work, and now what can I do?
To the right of the turquoise cotton thread ball--can you see the lighter shade of dark fabric in the sashing?  Also the border has the lighter shade of dark fabric.  Aye-yi-yi-yi!

I decided to bite the bullet, and disguise the lighter shade of dark fabric by adding handstitched running stitches in various colors of #10 cotton crochet thread (nearly the same type of thread I use to do blanket stitches on wool penny medallions and decorate wool purses I make. 

(right) marking stitch lines with chalk . . .

Folding quilt as I marked and sewed running stitches . . .
sorta like Sashiko?

Well, at least I got in a lot of practice time towards trying real Sashiko stitching in the future.  

That's when I thought about the title for this quilt: 

It took an additional 20 hours to do the hand stitching on the quilt.  But it did the trick--it helped hide the mis-match of dark fabric.

and . .
Counting the lengths of each row lengthwise and across, x multiple stitch lines, and the border--it was about 4,150 inches of hand stitching. 

I used #10 Garden Secret Cotton Crochet Thread from Herrschner's in Stevens Point, and selected a Pumpkin and Christmas Green from Herrschner's Best #10 Crochet Cotton Thread.  They also have an online store.  Check them out.

After all of that hand stitching--I went to the studio to add a scrappy binding.  Another way to trick the eye away from the mis-match dark fabrics.

Sitting at the dining room table, turning binding and hand stitching in place.
(about 5 hours)

Mission accomplished.  I will offer it for sale at the craft shows I do. 

Thank you for listening to my story.  I am feeling better each day and the vertigo (inner ear imbalance problem) is less and less each week.  I am not able to put in long hours quilting like I used to, but I'm ok with that. 

There will be more stories this summer to share with you.  We are going to 1) paint the 125 year old barn, 2) take down two trees on the west end of the lawn, 3) add more surface materials to the driveway--get it looking and working lovely again, 4) build drapes for my brother's 1892 Wild Rose Victorian House.  Check out the photographs of his restoration at

Talk to you later.  Drop me a line sometime, ok?  I love hearing from you.


  1. Hello Linda, I am so sorry to hear about your bout of vertigo, but am glad that you seem to be getting over it. That really is a horrible syndrome to go through. I am amazed at always at your talent, which includes knowing what to do when something goes wrong. That dark background gives the quilt quite an exotic look!

  2. Linda, I had the same thing happen to me about 10 years ago. Got out of bed and everything spun! Threw up0 about every step. Went to dr and got some anti-nausea pills. Lasted about 2 days and have not been bothered since...knock on wood! Horrible feeling I never want to feel again. I'm impr43essed with how you covered up the color difference of the 2 fabrics. Clever you. Love all your work. I also admire your patience when doing these quilts. Keep up the good work and keep sharing your new things with us.

  3. Loved seeing the photos and solution for the die lot issue. Your solution was so creative, I love the depth of color in the quilt and somehow the different dye lots enhance! Goodness the hand stitching is just beautiful! So glad you are feeling better and hope you are now 100%.