Sunday, April 19, 2015


When we moved to Sherborn, I went to Bloomingdale's furniture department and asked to work with an interior designer. They assigned me Andrew Reczkowski. Eventually they let him go because he was not interested in selling me furniture from Bloomingdale's. He went to work at Zimman's in Lynn and for a while continued to find us rugs and furniture that fit our lifestyle. One day he showed up with two large shopping bags filled with strips of upholstery, because, of course, I make quilts, so I could do something with it. Eventually I put the strips in a giant cylindrical basket, and as the years went by the basket moved from room to room and became one of those things you don't notice anymore.

How I came to make this pouf now is a long story. Briefly, a couple of months ago I walked around my sewing room making a list of things that I needed to deal with—piles of clutter, old projects, etc. The cylindrical basket went onto the list. Every few weeks, I would choose an item at random from the list and deal with it. The many-square Trip Around the World quilt that I'm working on now is one such project. I wanted a break from that project, so I chose another one at random. The choice was the basket of upholstery strips. I chose again. Randomly, the basket came up again. (My list is in an Excel spreadsheet, and I use the random number generator to sort the list. The first entry after a new sort is the choice.) I chose a third time, and the result was something else that I didn't want to work on either. So I decided to search the internet to find a pattern to make exactly this pouf, which is more or less what I had in mind originally. The pattern was easy to cut and sew, and the pouf is stuffed with all kinds of otherwise useless fabric that people give me because they think I can make a quilt with it.

I went back to Zimman's last year to get the sofa reupholstered that Andrew had had reupholstered for us all those years ago. I found out he had moved to Los Angeles and that he had died. He was only 59 years old when he died in 2007. He had a wife and kids, and he was from Chelsea, Massachusetts. That's all I know. RIP Andrew. I miss you.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Progress on the Big Trip Around the World

I spent many hours today picking up 2 1/2 inch squares off of the floor. Many hours.

Here's the final layout, before I picked it up off the floor:

1/4 of the quilt is visible. Each small square is actually a pile of four similar squares. The center is at the lower right. Here's what it looks like now, ready to start sewing:

Initially I sorted the squares into color groups on pieces of card stock. The groups on the left are missing a few squares, because when I took the picture, I had already started arranging the layout. The cards on the right have all the squares for each color group - 112 total.

Here's what the layout looked like when I started - note the magenta square in the corner that stands out like a sore thumb. I had arranged the 29 color groups in a color wheel. I could have chosen any color to go in the corner, but I had one particular set of squares that separated exactly into 8 and 20 groups of four, so that set became #8 in the scheme. That gave me two choices for #9, and one of them made more sense. This made bright magenta be the #1 color. In the first picture, it repeats right next to the main diagonal, and that's great, but eventually I found some more subdued colors for the outside corners.

These are mostly scraps from other projects I've made over the years. In a few cases, the set of squares was sort of awful, so I cut some new ones from my fabric stockpile. In other cases I needed one or two more squares to match what I had, and I was able to piece together squares from two bits of 1 1/2 inch wide scraps.