Beth Markel

Progress and Updates

Posted on June 5, 2019 by Beth Markel

First I would like to thank everybody who sent me notes and emails after the MQG show in Nashville. My sister’s quilt really struck a universal chord, as everyone at some point must deal with grief. While we all deal with loss and grief differently, this quilt really appealed to a lot of people and I’m so grateful. Many emails addressed how the quilt sort of fades to black on the right-hand side, and this also struck a chord.  A sweet gal who had lost one of her own sisters kept saying how fun but messy sister relationships can be.  She would know, as she had 5 sisters!  At the end of making this quilt, I’ve decided you never get over the loss, but with time it sort of becomes the fabric of your life.

I have also travelled quite a bit lately and have neglected my blog, but I have been working diligently when I’m home. First, an update on Autumn: the top half is pieced and in 6 large chunks of blocks, 2 of which are quilted. This is a quilt-as-you-go, which I don’t do very often, but since the entire work will be stitch-in-the-ditch, this was the easiest way to tackle it.  It looks like it will be about 75″ x 75″ when completed, although I’m making this up as I go, so that may vary in the end:


Next, because working with 3/4″ blocks can be so tedious your eyes begin to bleed…I took 2 days and made a small quilt for Sacred Threads Eye Contact.  The parameters were it had to be human eyes, but a small size.  Any technique or surface design was accepted.  So I used an older selfie and quilted this guy in a very short period of time. The size parameters were 5″ high by 23″ wide. Kind of an odd size, but I’m fairly certain they are going to gang them all together like tiles in a mosaic that fit because they are all the same size. That is just a guess on my part, so what they actually do to display them might be totally different.  No hanging sleeve was required.

What did I learn from this? There is no love in my heart for fusible!  I have wildly curly hair and I thought pink might be a nice color, so I fused a pink batik to 2-sided heat bond, cut out the curls and heat set.  It was all going well until I began to quilt this piece and the heat bond failed.  It might be failure on my part…did I press too long and the glue was too dispersed to be sticky?  Since I seldom use it, I was at a loss, and ended up quilting every single, stupid, pink curl by itself!  Lesson learned.

Sacred Threads Eye Contact, 5" H x 23" W

Sacred Threads Eye Contact, 5″ H x 23″ W

Apologies for the quality of the picture. I only thought to photograph it when I was standing in the post office packing it and the left is mostly shadow. The whole piece looks a lot more like the coloring on the right. There is applique, fabric pens, quilting, a thread painting in the eyes…you name it, and I was willing to try it. Sometimes a small project tickles your muse and you just have to go for it!

Recently I also took a weekend to go fabric shopping in Ohio. There is a wonderful shop in Waynesville, Ohio called the Fabric Shack, just a block off of Main Street, where our family used to go antique shopping. Waynesville has grown, and the antiques are just as wonderful, but when I lived just up the road there was not a quilt shop or fabric shop in the area.  So…I spent about 3 hours shopping in this GEM of a store, and met a lovely woman who will be 90 soon, and by met her, I mean she was WORKING there! Her daughter also works there, and what a delightful, bright, intuitive pair they are! There are lots and lots of beautiful quilts hanging on the walls, and they have a smashing batik section as well. Lots of kits, lots of fabrics, lots of fun! I also might have a new fabric favorite…Cotton + Steel, Citron Lawn. Not quite neon. Not quite green apple…but totally yummy.

Just one of the rooms in Waynesville's Fabric Shack

Just one of the rooms in Waynesville’s Fabric Shack

Cotton + Steel Citron Lawn might be my new favorite color

Cotton + Steel Citron Lawn might be my new favorite color


Next, I am off to Wisconsin for a weekend workshop with one of my favorite people, Sherri Lynn Wood of The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters.  She was also the keynote speaker for the Modern Quilt Guild, MQG in Nashville this year, so I’m really looking forward to being on the student side of the table instead of the teaching side of the table for a weekend.  Do I love to teach? Yes.  Do I think I still have lots and lots to learn? Also yes!  I’ve never been to Cedarburg, Wisconsin, so the whole weekend will be something of an adventure.

I’ll try not to neglect my blog, but I also want to have things to share when I do blog…and not just the same, “I’ve been working on this Autumn piece.” “So, this week I made lots of 3/4″ blocks and worked on Autumn.”  Now that it is roughly 1/2 done, I’m hoping the rest will go a little faster.  When I travel I’ll be making lots of grey strip sets for the rocks, actually the outcropping of rocks, where I took a lot of photos of Shenandoah National Park when we lived in Culpeper, Virginia. Such a beautiful area, and when the fall colors emerge, it can be breath-taking.  I do not know if our kids remember being on one of the hiking trails when we were suddenly between a mama bear and her two cubs, but it’s one of those moments that I will never forget. We were hiking and about 30′ in front of us, two small bear cubs come running and tumbling out of the woods, only to cross the trail and keep going. When we heard mama bear call, we suddenly realized we were between mama and the cubs…so we picked up our youngest and as quietly as we could, moved back up the trail until we watched her cross where her cubs did.  Scary and amazing, all in the same moment.

Make something malapert today!








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