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Laurie Niles

Jazz quilting

March 21, 2010 at 10:22 PM

Last night I was riffin'.

No, I wasn't in a nightclub, playing my fiddle, though that would have been fun. Instead, I was immersed in an improvisational quilting project that required dropping everything to do this, now.

Robert was puzzled. “What are you making?”

I'd pulled out boxes and drawers full of material, and before me on the floor were leftovers: a piece of flower-patterned denim from a dress I'd made my sister 15 years ago, fleece from a jumper I'd made my daughter in kindergarten and a square of quilt batting. I was studying several strips of material from a recent bed quilt I'd made.

“Can I ask,” Robert repeated, “how that's all coming together?”

I gave him a distracted, glazed-over, slightly manic look. “Um, no.” I said. “I mean, you'll see later. It will make sense.”

“Ah,” he said, sensing a familiar madness. “You're jazz quilting. I'll let you be.”

It was all because I'd bought a pair of sunglasses that day. They didn't come with a case, and when I looked for one, I found something perfect. Perfect, but pricey: $50 – more than the sunglasses! But I wanted it – it was sturdy on the outside, soft in the inside, made with sound stitchery.

Hey, I can sew...

That's how it all began. It ended at 11:30 p.m. with a torn-up living room and a tidy little glasses case – quilted, fleece-lined, made from this and that.

“Jazz quilting” – I like it!

Glasses case

Posted on March 21, 2010 at 10:27 PM


Eye think you should make a nice shoulder rest pouch for all the faithful...better get busy 

From Rosalind Porter
Posted on March 22, 2010 at 12:23 AM

How can you tell us this story without a photo of the finished product!!!?? 

I envy people who can make/sew/design things like this.   It takes me half an hour to sew a button back on.

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on March 22, 2010 at 12:46 AM

That's cool!

I agree with Rosalind! Sewing is very useful. My mom is a wonderful sewer. She made me and my siblings Halloween costumes, skirts and pants for concerts or any occasion where you can't go in jeans since I can't fit in any commercial ones! Too tall for the "one size fits all" leg lengh and the pants always baggie too much on me.  She has saved me from many shoping headaches!  

I always tell her that I have to learn all this since I might not live next door later on lol but I can't see when I'll have time!  Later on I must find time!

So I agree this is a very useful gift!

And unlike the violin, sewing doesn't unsew when you take a break...   


From Erin Rushforth
Posted on March 22, 2010 at 3:14 AM

Jazz quilting - I like it!

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on March 22, 2010 at 4:25 AM

Laurie, you have so many talents.  The eyeglass case you made is gorgeous.  Like some of the other commentors, I can't sew at all.  I like the suggestion that you make cases for shoulder rests for us.  I use a very large one, whose name I've forgotten, which does not quite fit into some violin cases.  Your jazz quilting lead to a gorgeous product.  Bravo!

From Laurie Niles
Posted on March 22, 2010 at 5:23 AM

I don't know about the shoulder rest pouches, this one -- or this one for fractionals -- looks pretty good to me!

Truth be told, I did indeed make myself a funny little hand-sewn shoulder rest pouch when I was about 11, as I had a fitted case back then and was carrying it back and forth to school. I designed a very strange contraption with snaps so I could fit the drawstrings onto the handle and also remove them. Needless to say, I was much relieved when I finally got a case that fit the rest!

Always the critic, I'm finding my glasses case a bit flowery. I'm now itching to make a more "hip" one out of stonewashed denim or something.

From Rosalind Porter
Posted on March 22, 2010 at 9:27 AM

Wow, that's so pretty!   Perfect for the summer.

Did you learn your sewing skills from family, or in school?   I remember having to spend 2 semesters in our needlework class trying to make a blouse from a pattern...  it was one of these occasions where you quickly realise this is NOT your thing, in the end I think I spent most of my time trying to run over my classmates fingers on the sewing machine.

From Marsha Weaver
Posted on March 22, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Wow, Laurie -- very professional!!!  I'm impressed.

"Hey, I can sew!" has gotten me into a myriad of do-it-myself projects over the years.  The most recent was a violin blanket for my older violin (the new case didn't come with one) the week before last.  I've been lamenting the fact that my 3/4 shoulder rest doesn't have a case (somehow the Ziploc bag it resides in now is just SO wrong!!), so that's probably going to be my next endeavor.

From Lisa Van Sickle
Posted on March 22, 2010 at 4:05 PM

The sunglasses are pretty cool, too!

From Laurie Niles
Posted on March 22, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Thanks, Lisa! Marsha -- yes, so true!

Okay, now you all have me designing a shoulder rest pouch, in spite of myself. Ergh! If I design it, does someone else want to whip up a bunch of them on the sewing machine? I'll make like one, or two. And a pattern. But no more!

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