Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Small Quilts, Large Stacks

March 21, 2018

My quilt guild’s year-long challenge to get things done is working. I finished the project due next month. It’s a small quilt, but it was on a large stack of projects so making any kind of a dent in that pile is a victory.

Trees in my neighborhood – palm, pine, deciduous

In the interest of full disclosure, I will probably add more beads to the quilt at a later date, but for now I’m satisfied with this one embellishment.

While I was inspired, I made a few more small quilts. This one is called Equilibrium, in honor of spring, which is today.

Not pastels, but still a spring quilt

I also finished one of the blocks from the Peggy Martin workshop for the Display Block Committee of Amador Valley Quilters. The guild has a collection of 16-inch blocks that we can show at schools, libraries, or other events.

Seeing all the progress in my sewing room made me take another look at the stacks by my computer. I have almost as many writing projects as I do quilting projects. As with my quilting, I envisioned creating a body of work that I could submit for contests. That didn’t happen. As with quilting, when those Call For Entry emails arrive they are usually accompanied by guidelines. I’ve tried writing artist statements that would convince a panel the quilt I had really does fit the contest, but those statements rarely made sense even to me so I knew a judge wouldn’t buy it. There’s even less wiggle room with writing contests. That’s why I’m going to start posting twice a week now–once for quilting, once for writing. Wednesdays will still be quilting day. I’m not sure which day will be writing day, but I’m leaning toward Monday. Now that I’ve put my intentions out to the universe, I have to be accountable. I’m putting myself on the journey to finishing what I start in all aspects of my life.

Luck and wisdom!


Experiments for Pi Day

March 14, 2018

My husband asked for pecan pie to celebrate 3/14, Pi Day. I have a great recipe, because it’s easy – when you have all the ingredients. When you don’t, well, how else should one celebrate a made-up math holiday than by experimenting?

The pie for Pi Day

First, I had some Trefoil Girl Scout cookies that needed eating and not entirely by me, which is a problem because I’m the only one who really likes those cookies. I decided to make the crust from them, which worked fine except I ended up with more cookie crumbs than required. My experiment was to add a little more butter and use them all. It worked. Then I discovered I didn’t have corn syrup for the filling, so I used molasses. That made the filling a little bitter, so I added chocolate chips – and more butter. Heaven only knows what the calorie count is, but the pie tastes good. That’s all that matters with cooking experiments.

The same is true of quilting experiments. I took Peggy Martin‘s Jelly-roll Jive workshop on Sunday, only instead of a jelly-roll I brought some 2 1/2″ strips from my stash. I chose from the not-quite-scraps drawer, those pieces too large to go in the scrap bag but too small to make an entire quilt. I figured if I got a decent block out of it, great; if not, I hadn’t lost much.

Perhaps I’ll call this Blueberry and Pecan

Turns out I got a great five blocks. I made four blocks from blue and beige fabric. My first thought was to make a traditional 4-block medallion wall-hanging, but turning it on point is more interesting. I’m not sure how I’ll fill it out, but that’s an experiment for another day.

A second experiment for another day is this last block that I made from fat quarters I bought in New Mexico. I have enough fabric of a similar nature to make a small wall-hanging, and a boatload of beads that might find a home on the piece.

I hope all your experiments go well today and every day.

Luck and wisdom!

Baby Quilt – A Project For Another Week

January 24, 2018

I said in the previous blog that the baby quilt was a project for another week. Turns out that was last week.

Cats in huts

The top will be quilted after I finish a couple of pieces with more pressing deadlines. The child who will receive this quilt is already born. Her older brother didn’t get his quilt until close to his first birthday, so I’ve got time.

The Art Quilt Critique Group helped a lot with this project, not only in setting the assignment that inspired the quilt, but in advising me about borders. If you need to kick-start your work as an artist this year, find or create a support group. Not only is there strength in numbers, there is also creativity.

Luck and wisdom!

Quilt Dreams

January 17, 2018

In my quilt dreams, all my old projects are finished. The fabric for new projects is washed, ironed, folded, and stored in drawers. There are no scraps. The reality is so very different. If my quilts have dreams, they probably feature me finding the perfect fabric already in my stash to finish them instead of using what sorta kinda maybe fits because I can reach it and there’s enough of it. Dream on, quilts, dream on.

Although I do smoosh things together that I probably shouldn’t, sometimes the results are interesting. Here is another collection of house blocks I made with two orphans and a scrap of a novelty fabric.

Three houses for jungle critters

I’ve found some fabric in my stash that holds a promise of turning these blocks into a cool baby quilt. That is a project for another week. I am currently working on creating transportation-themed blocks using another novelty fabric.


Quilters in space

These are for the Progressive Party. We’re exchanging blocks with either a transportation or a dwelling theme. The novelty fabric will appear in the windows of either the transport or the building.

Snarky quilters in space

I’m not sure what kind of quilt I will make from these blocks, but I’m certain there’s a fabric in my stash that will sorta kinda maybe go with them. If only I can reach it . . .

Luck and wisdom!

First Discovery of 2018

January 10, 2018

The Progressive Party will start a new round soon, and I resolved to design my project rather than throw a random block in a bag with some fabric that I could reach (which is what usually happens). I hauled out my bags of tree fabric, and made the first happy discovery of 2018.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t make this landscape. I think I got it from Ann Anastasio in a pile of fabric she didn’t want to move to another state. In any event, my Progressive Project once again will be a random piece in a bag with fabric I could reach. So much for new year resolutions.

My replacement iron arrived, and revealed the second discovery of 2018 – ironing is a lot easier with an appliance that works and a clear space to stand.

I must admit that the space around the ironing board is clear because for yet another week I have left the bags that once lived there in the hiding places I stashed them before Christmas. Eventually I will have to bring them back to the sewing room, but that’s a chore for another day.

For now, I will admire the last project I got back from the Progressives. I started with a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired fabric, and they made this.

The new year may bring many more new discoveries and challenges, but one oasis of stability is the creativity of my quilting friends. I hope that 2018 will find you surrounded by creative, supportive people.

Luck and wisdom!

Beading Projects, Holiday Miracles, and Me

December 6, 2017

The first of the holiday miracles occurred this week. I finished the beading-projects-in-progress. The shy little orange piece finally told me what it wanted.

I considered making more tassels, but then I saw some other large beads and knew that less would be more with something that measures only 4″ x 6″.

The less is more school of beading worked for the green stripe piece too. I added a few extra lines of embroidery after I did the running stitch around the edge and called it good.

The piece begged for minimalist embroidery. I used a turquoise silk ribbon. This is my first foray into silk ribbon embroidery, but definitely won’t be the last.

This piece really kept its wishes hidden. I put on the two small gold beads, waited a day, beaded the lines with the large wooden blue beads, waited a day, and attached the bronze rectangle. By that time I was done listening to the piece. A double row of running stitches seemed sufficient.

My holiday wish for you is that all your projects go well throughout the season.

Luck and wisdom!

When You Inherit Fabric

November 29, 2017

Being a quilter is a little bit like being a crazy cat lady. There’s always one more cutie that needs a good home, so you open the door and say, “Come on in! We’ll find a corner for you someplace.” The problem is when you go to that Great Fabric Store In The Sky someone else has to find a new home for your treasures. I’ve inherited a little bit of fabric from relatives, but a lot more from other people’s relatives. I don’t feel bound to finish someone else’s project, but I do enjoy seeing if I can be inspired by it.

My friend Sue Waldron gave me a small bag of fabric cut and ready to make pins. I actually intended to make a few, but when I looked through the bag some of the pieces whispered, “Say, wouldn’t we make great miniature beading pieces instead?” So that’s what they’re becoming.

Pretty fabric, beads, and black felt – what could be easier?

This turquoise one wanted to be minimalist. A disc and a few beads and snap! We’re done.

How fortunate to have beads that match the green stripe!

This one begged for a little loop. It might be begging for a fringe or a tassel, but I’m not sure. It could be the extra piece of chocolate-cherry trifle I ate talking and not the art piece.

Still in progress

This one is a little shy. I used a variegated thread to attach the silk to the black felt, then put down a squiggle of beads. It needs another squiggle or two, but after that, who knows. I’ll have to listen a little more carefully, and avoid overindulging in cherry-chocolate trifle.

Luck and wisdom!

Rodeo Robots

November 15, 2017

I took a workshop from Alexandra Von Burg. She planned to teach free-form piecing for boats or houses, but mentioned she also has used this technique for robots. That was enough to make me pack up my sewing machine and schlep it down to the class. As she demonstrated making robot legs with feet, I was seized by a compulsion to make boots for my robot.

That was just the beginning. One of the other students said I ought to make a cowboy hat for this robot. Sondra cut the pieces for me and shaped the hat.

I already knew this robot was going to be female, so I gave her a waist, which gave her a bit of attitude, which tickled others in the workshop to no end.

She may be a robot, but she’s also a baseball fan

She needed a companion, so I made another block. Someone suggested I put a bandanna on that robot. She even had some fabric I could use. I made the scarf from a prairie point.

Here’s the finished robot.

I want to make a spaceship for them, and maybe a steer (for the bull riding competition, of course). This doesn’t resemble the quilt I had in mind at the start of class, not one little bit. And that’s fine with me.

Luck and wisdom!

Surprise and the Lesson of Letting Go

November 8, 2017

Two words – origami frogs.

I didn’t make them, but I do treasure them

These little darlings were the surprise in the bottom of a container I cleaned out this week. They were under an old flip-phone that I never got around to recycling. My husband discovered the manuals for the phone and decided it was time I had another lesson in letting things go. My reward was finding these cute frogs.

The universe gave me another surprise reward when I decided to let go of my desire to make the perfect piece of art. I wanted to combine a batik and a wool square, but couldn’t come up with an ideal design. Tired of the frustration, I basted the batik to the square and started embroidering lines. Then I cut the fabric away from some of the lines. Here is the result.

I added more embroidery and some beads.

Always let your materials tell you where they want to go

Now I have to decide on a finishing technique. One of the candidates is to add a beaded fringe that has been sitting in my lace and trims box.

Learning how to let go is a lesson I’ll probably need to study again and again. As long as I get the occasional surprise at the end, I guess it’s okay.

Luck and wisdom!

Creativity with Clutter

October 18, 2017

I made a quilt with tea towels, because I needed to get creative with my clutter.

Scotland forever, warming up my toes

The towels were gifts, so I knew from the get-go that I could never dry the dishes with them. I still wanted to use them, but for the longest time couldn’t figure out how. The absurdities of aging gave me an idea. I very often have cold shoulders and hot feet, so I made a small snuggle quilt. It is also a good size for when my shoulders are hot and my feet are cold.

The borders and binding came from my blue and green fabric drawer. I pulled out the smallest pieces, the ones that were essentially cluttering up the drawer, cut them in strips and sewed until I was satisfied.

My guard hippo and lucky egg

This is one of the non-fabric collections that lives in the sewing room. I call it a decorative display. My family calls it clutter. My friend Bettina suggested I write a story about monsters hiding in the sewing room. I glanced around at my toy collection, and an idea was born.

What secrets does the black-eyed seal hide? Will the roadrunner tell?

I think my toys are cute, but those are the things that make horror stories even more frightening, yes? So, now I’m thinking of the stories as well as the quilts that can come out of my sewing room clutter. There are still a couple of weeks before Halloween, so maybe I’ll come up with something to celebrate, either in words or in fabric.

Luck and wisdom!