Posts Tagged ‘Challenge’

The Shiny New Year Will Have To Wait

January 3, 2018

I can still see carpet in my sewing room. To be honest, I haven’t put back all the stuff I squirreled in other places, and I just barely started a new project when my iron died. I took that as a sign from the universe that the shiny New Year will have to wait for a bit. Having no wish to revisit all of 2017, I decided to enjoy an extended Christmas. A bit of carpet still showing is one of the holiday happy things. This moose is another.

Karate Moose and Raku Moose

My daughter sent me a collection of karate forest animals. The moose, of course, will have premier status.

I know this period of limbo won’t last forever. The new iron will arrive tomorrow and I’ll be forced to review my list of project deadlines. The first is a collection of blocks for Community Quilts.

After I finish the blocks I’ll need to make some blocks for a friendship group, then start a new project for that same group. I’ve promised to make some baby quilts, and there’s the guild challenge to finish a project a month. In the midst of all that, I hope I remember my own personal, private challenge to restore some order to the sewing room. Perhaps this book will help.

My guide for 2018

Luck and wisdom!

The Music of Deadlines

November 22, 2017

Deadlines have two kinds of music. The first is a lovely “tah-dah!” when you finish everything on time. The second, which I hear too often, is a sad cello solo followed by a soft “whoosh” as the deadline passes.

I’ve explored all sorts of systems for keeping on task, with varying success. The last attempt for my quilting projects involved putting fabric collections in clear plastic bags. The idea was that if I could see the collections I would be more likely to have an inspiration for them.

Fabric collections waiting for inspiration

It didn’t work quite as well as I hoped. As you can see, both shelves are crammed with bags. There might be good news next year, however, because Amador Valley Quilters will offer a challenge to finish our projects.

Step one is to identify all them. That is more complicated than you might think, as some of my unfinished tops are nearly inaccessible.

I have no idea what is under this stack

I stacked my unquilted tops, some with backings and batting, on a shelf in the closet. Over time, stuff got piled up in front of the closet. I can clearly see (and probably reach) three projects here, so they’ll go on the list. Heaven only knows what I’ll find when I manage to extricate the projects on top.

The brilliant part of the guild challenge is that we’ll be paired up with another quilter. Accountability is essential (at least for me), so I’m hoping my buddy will be on the taskmaster side of the personality scale.

All of which is to say if I’m ever going to take over the world, I’d better have a friend help me meet the deadline.

Luck and wisdom!

The Year For Design

January 11, 2017

I prefer to make New Year’s projects rather than New Year’s resolutions, and this year’s big project just made itself known. My art quilt critique group started the exercises in Art Quilt Collage by Deborah Boschert. The latest assignment was in design basics. I had a few minutes and very little brainpower, so I knew I wouldn’t overthink things. I grabbed some scraps of fabric and batting. A long strip of batting and a piece of watery fabric became the beginning of a high horizon seascape.Lani Longshore seascape

I decided to continue with the water theme, mainly because I unearthed a strip of trout fabric and a batting strip of the appropriate size. The next step was to experiment with grids, so I quilted the trout to the batting, cut out nine squares, and zig-zagged them together again. This is the back, showing the basic grid.

Lani Longshore grid back

I didn’t mind the back seams showing, but I wanted to cover the ones in front. Narrow strips zig-zagged in place did the trick, and I added some extra strips to enhance the grid.

Lani Longshore grid design

The best part about these exercises is that I really like using commercial print fabrics in my art quilts, but a lot of fiber art today is made from hand-dyes and solids. If I cut into my stash, I feel as if I must have a brilliant idea to complete. Since I’m only using leftovers, my ego investment is limited. If the project works, great; if not, at least I’ve reduced the size of the scrap pile. As it happens, I like what I’ve done so far, and have some ideas for embellishment that will turn these exercises into art. Someday.

Luck and wisdom!

Managing Days Like These

September 28, 2016

I’m not sure whether my guardian angels are asleep, the household gods are otherwise occupied, or the pixies under the stairs are bored, but for some reason things have been going wrong. Not wrong in the “ohmygod the sky is falling” sense, just “well, that’s something I’d prefer not dealing with at the moment.” For instance, I was making what I thought was great progress on a quilt top when I discovered I hadn’t measured correctly. The good news is I have more fabric for the original project, because the bad news is no amount of reverse engineering will make the units fit. Oh, and now I have a new project (and I’m not certain if that is good news or bad).

Perhaps I can start my architectural series with this mistake

Perhaps I can start my architectural series with this mistake

The other thing that went wrong is really my own fault. I’ve been doing beading on the couch. This is my “set-up.”

Perhaps I should write a book about the lazy woman's guide to beading

Perhaps I should write a book about the lazy woman’s guide to beading

You can see immediately that this is neither a smart nor safe way to keep beads. As often happens, the top came off one of the tubes. The truly amazing news is that the spill was localized, and I rescued at least 99% of the little darlings.

So, what does one do on Days Like These? After I finished pouting, I remembered the mantra of a former boss: “If there are no dead bodies to hide, the problem can be managed.” That’s when I decided to take some time to enjoy the garden.

A lily in the sun

A lily in the sun

This is part of our lily collection. They sit in their beds and bloom their little hearts out.

Beautiful and bizarre, yes?

Beautiful and bizarre, yes?

This is a new plant. We bought it because of the flower, and the vine has rewarded us for our choice.

Just keep growing

Just keep growing

The morning glory is a tough little plant. It simply grows over any obstacles. If I am clever, I will take a lesson from the morning glory, and manage Days Like These by growing, not pouting. Wish me –

Luck and wisdom!

Closer to Finished

September 21, 2016

Thanks to good friend, writer and quilter Sally Kimball, I am closer to being finished with one of my Colors of the Vineyard challenges. She gave me a blue solid to use as an under quilt. I’m planning to hand quilt it (those marks are made with chalk that releases from the fabric easily – I checked first, then marked).

Sorta, kinda, maybe a modern quilting design

Sorta, kinda, maybe a modern quilting design

Here is the lesson for the day – always bring your fabrics/quilts/threads/embellishments with you when choosing a companion piece. If I hadn’t had the little tree quilt with me, I would never have believed that the blue would work.

I like the effect, and I think the tree does, too

I like the effect, and I think the tree does, too

I hope to be closer to finishing the other quilts in the series, especially the one based on Art Map Quilts by Valerie S. Goodwin, in a week or so. I brought the map quilt to my Art Critique group and received some terrific advice. My task is to make time to use that good advice. This is the perfect opportunity, now that it is the first day of fall and the temperatures are dropping, and before it gets too close to the holidays.

The picture is fine – I designed the quilt off-center

Luck and wisdom!

Colors And Vineyards And All That Jazz

September 7, 2016

I’m working on a couple of challenge quilts that may never be finished. Oh, they’ll be turned in, but they both keep telling me there is always room for one more bead.

This looks more like a grape vine if you squint

This looks more like a grape vine if you squint

The challenge is Colors of the Vineyard. I started with the background fabric and put a vine on one and a tree on the other. My usual procedure is to quilt, bead and bind. This time, I bound them in the middle of beading so that at some point I can say the project is done (even if it is merely abandoned).

Beads, lots of beads

Beads, lots of beads

I started beading grapes. That got old real fast, so I started beading around the motifs. Since I bead while watching TV, the needle kind of takes over. It’s like eating popcorn while watching a movie. Suddenly the bowl is empty and you don’t know how that happened. In this case, the fabric is encrusted but I have no idea when it happened.

My mossy tree

My mossy tree

For this quilt, I intended to use a blanket stitch around the tree applique and leave it at that. Then I looked at all my beads, and realized the quilt desperately needed a bit of sparkle.

Finally, a place for these tear drop beads

Finally, a place for these tear drop beads

I’ve been beading this quilt in front of the TV, too, but I forced myself to cover only one side of the trunk. I want it to look like moss.

Auditioning fabrics - better one?

Auditioning fabrics – better one?

I hadn’t intended to enter the tree into the challenge because it doesn’t meet the size requirement. My quilting buddies reminded me that if I made an underquilt the tree would meet the requirements just fine, thank you very much. The above fabric was my first choice (and not just because I could reach it easily).

Auditioning fabrics - better two?

Auditioning fabrics – better two?

This is my second choice. My third choice is to go shopping. I know which path my budget tells me to take, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to listen.

Luck and wisdom!

Art Lessons

July 6, 2016

I think I’ve mentioned that the art quilt critique group I belong to has decided to give ourselves art lessons. Specifically, we’re going to explore elements of design in a semi-structured way. None of us are in a position to enroll in a formal art program, so we’re going the do-it-yourself route. In the past, I’ve incorporated our assignments into a project I wanted to do anyway. I planned to treat our latest assignment, exploring negative space, the same way. Then I changed my mind.

The tree wants to disappear

The tree wants to disappear

This is not the start to the project I need to get finished. It is, however, a good piece to explore negative space. The fabric for the tree limbs seems to drop away from view. That’s partly because it is a delicately grayed green, and grayed colors retreat. The background contributes to the effect, because it is so exuberantly busy.

The grapevine wants to show off

The grapevine wants to show off

This is the project I need to get finished for a challenge on the theme Colors of The Vineyard. You can see that both projects use the same background fabric. I originally planned to use the yellow and green fabrics on the same piece, but a little voice said, “Think before you cut.”

So I thought, and realized that I had the opportunity to do something new in my art quilting. I could use a project as an art journal page, in effect giving myself permission to abandon a piece if it didn’t work. I fused the green branches onto a small bit of the background and immediately realized the fabric wouldn’t do at all for my challenge piece.

I will show the green piece at the next art quilt critique meeting, and ask the other members what they would do if it were their quilt. If I like their ideas, the project may evolve, but if not it has a place in my art journal. I’m already beading the yellow piece for the challenge. And I’m very excited to be taking baby steps toward becoming a more dedicated art student.

Luck and wisdom!

What Remains

December 26, 2013

This year began in chaos, and dreadfully long to-do lists filled with undone tasks from the previous year. As Christmas approached, I thought I might – for once – be able to tick off the last obligation and begin the new year focused on new assignments. For one brief moment, I reveled in the luxury of thinking I was done.


The next day, I tried to find a specific rubber stamp in my sewing room.


Of course, I couldn’t find it. After searching in all the places it should have been, I knew I had to pull out the scary boxes and pry in the piled-up corners. It was time to put away the things I had put down in order to have room to finish projects. Even after two days of sorting, stacking and general puttering about, I faced a table full of of stuff.


Stacks, stacks, stacks!

Stacks, stacks, stacks!


My stamp is still hiding. I may end up making my own, which is probably for the best. In the meantime, I decided to start on new projects (perhaps if I pretend I’m not looking for the stamp it will creep back where it belongs).


Lani Longshore Egyptian quilt top


The Challenge project for February is to make something based on an art or architectural style. Years ago I started the Egyptian quilt pictured above. Now is as good a time as any to finish it.


I almost finished another project. It’s quilted and bound, but when I started beading it I realized it needed another type of embellishment, something with paint or ink.


My first Mars quilt

My first Mars quilt


I brought out my Shiva paintsticks, but still can’t decide what I want to do. There are a few days left in the year, so perhaps I’ll figure it out. If not, there’s always next year. At least the list of undone tasks is short.


The Rainbow Project

August 28, 2013

I like fish fabric. For years, I’ve collected yardage of trout, angel fish, koi, sharks – even whales and dolphins although they are mammals, not fish. For years, I’ve snuck the odd piece into other projects when I was low on ideas for my fish series. Now, I have the Challenge Group Rainbow Project.


Lani Longshore trout fabric


It turns out these are speckled trout, but a few swipes with some watercolor pencils and they become rainbow trout. I also got to use the remnants of some rainbow ribbon, which made me very happy.


Lani Longshore rainbow trout


The quilter's rainbow trout

The quilter’s rainbow trout

When the fish top was pieced, I decided I needed to do a project that followed the rules of the Challenge. We were tasked with using all the colors of the rainbow, not just the theme of rainbow. My job was made easier in that some of the scraps on my cutting board could be drafted for a rainbow-esque treatment.


Lani Longshore rainbow music


Lani Longshore rainbow music detail

The deadline for this project is October, so there’s a chance I might have these pieces quilted, bound and embellished by then. It won’t happen today, however, because we’re having company for the Scottish Games, and my sewing room is going to become a guest room for the weekend – assuming I can find a wormhole in the fabric of the universe to hide all my treasures.



The Best I Can Do

June 26, 2013

Three quilts waited for me this week, layered and basted. The sewing table was cleared (well, cleared enough), but my calendar was not. This was one of those weeks when I had to accept what I accomplished as the best I could do, because life got in the way of quilting.


The good news is, I finished a gift quilt.


Lani Longshore Landon Leveille quilt


This will go to one of my brother’s grandsons. Here is the back.


Lani Longshore Landon Leveille fish


The quilt for my brother’s second grandson is next on the stack to be quilted. Here is the back for it.


Lani Longshore Avery Longshore elephant


The third quilt is the Challenge project. It is much smaller, but will require some embellishment. Lucky for me, I found a new bead shop.


Lani Longshore Challenge


Yes, I know, I probably have beads just like this somewhere in the sewing room, but I think finding the new bead store was my reward for not grumbling when I had to spend a day in an unfamiliar city for family matters. Sometimes, the best you can do is to take the bead in the hand and ignore the bead in the bin.