Posts Tagged ‘luck and wisdom’

Toes In The Water

May 24, 2017

This week in the continuing saga of the collaborative quilt: we decided to use the “toes in the water” technique for the border. I finished the inner border, and we immediately stopped to think about what we want next.

I like the top as it is, but we had discussed the possibility of another border. We’ll let the quilt sit on the design board for a bit. In the meantime, I unearthed my quilt marking kit.

When I saw this kit, I was struck by my own lack of vision, and laziness. Lack of vision because all this kit contains is a marker, a paper towel, and a piece of plastic. You put the plastic over the quilt top and mark potential quilt lines. You erase the lines you don’t like with the paper towel and start again. “Self,” I said, “you could have thought of this.” The laziness part came when I bought the kit rather than going to the craft store and buying my own plastic. The “toes in the water” part will come when I actually use the plastic and marker to design a quilting pattern rather than sitting down at the machine and falling into my go-to quilt motifs.

Shameless self-promotion alert – one last “toes in the water” moment occurred this week. I was encouraged by Julaina Kleist-Corwin to consider video blogging. New-to-me technology is scary, so I thought I would start with a tiny snippet of video on Instagram. There was a big, beautiful bug flying around one of the plants in the back yard. Out I went with my cell phone, finger on the video icon. To my absolute amazement the clip was in focus and I posted it without tearing my hair out. I tried posting it here, but discovered that would require an upgrade. As far as I’m concerned, upgrade is the single most frightening word in the English language. So – and here’s the shameless self-promotion part – if you want to see a beautiful flying critter (I think it’s a bee of some sort, but I’m not going to swear to it) you’ll have to find me on Instagram (under Lani Longshore).

Luck and wisdom!

Going Blank

May 17, 2017

Last week I discussed the quilt top my husband and I are designing together. We started with two collections of hand-dyed solids, which I am showing you now because I’ve never shown you the beginnings before.

Here’s what we bought at the quilt show

We managed to get to the last border before our concepts diverged. I found some other fabrics this week and put this draft up on the design wall.

A double border, dark blue and yellow then light blue and beige

He likes it, I like it – but here it sits. Why, you ask? Because now we have to decide exactly where those stair-stepped borders will actually step. I said he could have final approval, but then the weather got nice and the chores in the garden called him, and deadlines for my latest volunteer position piled up on me, and we have yet to sit ourselves in the sewing room and decide about this last (insert naughty word of your choice here) border.

In the meantime, I would like to begin another project but my mind has gone absolutely blank about what that project should be. Oh, there are stacks and stacks of potential candidates waiting for me, but it seems my brain is stuck spinning its wheels until we make a decision on that border. So now I’m hoping for rain over the weekend just to get him out of the garden so I can get this quilt top finished, at which point we start all over again to design the quilting pattern. Argh.

Luck and wisdom!

A Reminder About Favorite Fabrics

May 10, 2017

The universe took note of my efforts to finish projects quickly and decided to remind me of a few things. The project that I’ve been documenting on Instagram is a collaborative effort. My husband and I saw the hand-dyed solids at the Amador Valley Quilters recent quilt show and thought we could come up with a design together. I actually had the beginnings of a design, and he agreed it could work, but I consulted with him on each round just in case.

Design for us, and for Challenge Project “Deconstructing Stars”

Things went as I planned until the very end. We had decided on a concept for the final border, but not the fabric we would use. I chose to start this way.

This was when I discovered we had different visions of the perfect border

He still liked the concept, but the quilt was getting too dark for him. He suggested a very light – almost white – print. It didn’t work for me. I wouldn’t even take a picture of it, that’s how much I disliked the effect.

Then I remembered what Mary Ellen Hopkins said: “If your quilt isn’t working, take out your favorite fabric.” I also remembered that this quilt was intended to be a collaborative effort, and sometimes collaboration means you start again.

We’ll start again from here

We’ll be auditioning more borders over the next few days, or weeks, or however long it takes to get it right – which is always more satisfying than getting a quilt done quickly.

Luck and wisdom!

The No-Longer-Loved-Fabric Project

May 3, 2017

The Instagram experiment is showing success, and just when I need it. This month the Progressive Party begins The No Longer Loved Fabric Project, where we pooled our abandoned, no-longer-loved fabric and each chose three pieces. I posted a picture of a panel I colored in Betty Busby’s class at Art Quilt Santa Fe on Instagram, and in so doing realized I could combine this panel:

with this collection.

I made one round of auditions.

The panel inspired me to use black and yellow strips (black for structure, yellow for glow), and scatter the challenge fabrics over the surface. This is what I will give to the Progressives:

By photographing the piece over a period of days – and then looking at those pictures when I posted them on Instagram – I was forced to think about design elements in a deeper way. I also thought about what I was trying to say with these challenge fabrics, as well as what the fabrics were trying to say to me. Some of the fabrics from the first audition are still yammering at me. The cow tried really hard to fit into the start of the project, but didn’t make the cut. However, she and some fabric with other cows will go in the bag. Perhaps she’ll appear in one of the additions to the top.

Luck and wisdom!

Social Media and the Solitary Quilter

April 26, 2017

Creating art is usually a solo journey. I am lucky enough to have collaborators for some of my fiber art and fiction, but most of my work is done alone. Social media is useful for promoting one’s work, but first you have to get something finished. I started this blog to help me move from solitary quilter in a quagmire of a studio to fiber artist with something to show for it. It was a daunting experiment.

I called this corner Fort Longshore

I’ve worked diligently, finished some things, but my studio still looks like this.

The foundation of a fort on my sewing table

The sad truth is, I have so many stacks of works-in-progess and ideas-that-deserve-more-attention and oh-isn’t-this-a-cute-fabric that my studio will probably always look like the aftermath of a warehouse explosion. However, I figure if one part of social media could make me a little more productive perhaps another part could help as well. Julain Kleist-Corwin, a good friend and wonderful writer, recommended Instagram, and now I’m on that. I believe you can find me as lanilongshore, but if you search under #artquiltsantafe you should find my posts.

My intention is to post once a day, and focus on what I’ve accomplished. Yeah, that was the plan. I’ve already put up many days of flowers blooming in our garden because I did bupkus in the sewing room.

There is always art in the garden

I’ve also posted art quilts I made a long time ago. This is one of them.

Called Window, because it reminds me of a window open to the stars

Blogging once a week helped me to get over my fear of messing up a project, because I wanted to have something to write about. I’m hoping that posting on Instagram once a day will keep me working on a project even when I’m out of ideas because a picture of something is better than a picture of nothing. Check in on my progress (or lack thereof) if you have a free moment.

Luck and wisdom!

Happy Garlic Day

April 19, 2017

According to my food holiday calendar, today is Garlic Day.

A decorative member of the garlic family

In honor of this made-up celebration, here are my favorite garlic recipes:

Garlic and Sage Chips

1 tablespoon – 1 stick of butter (depending on how decadent you feel)

1 tsp olive oil

3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced REALLY thin (basically shaved)

1/8 cup fresh, whole sage leaves

salt

Melt the butter over medium heat in a frying pan. Stir in the olive oil. Turn up the heat to high and spread the garlic slices/shavings evenly in the pan. After about 30 seconds, stir in the sage leaves and salt. Fry until garlic is golden brown, stirring often. The garlic chips can turn into garlic charcoal in the blink of an eye, so stay alert. Use the chips as a topping for baked potatoes, salad, soup, or Brie.

Garlic and Split Pea Soup Base

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp olive oil

10 cloves garlic, peeled

1 pound yellow split peas

4 cups water

salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions in the olive oil in a medium-size pot. I prefer my onions to be nearly caramelized, but you can stop when they are translucent, or even leave them a little crunchy. Add the garlic cloves, and cook for another minute or two. Add the yellow split peas and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until split peas are soft (about 20 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste. You can strain the liquid and use as a clear soup base, or puree the lot for a creamier soup base. This is a great substitute for chicken stock when you are cooking for your vegetarian friends.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

5 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped in half

1 tablespoon butter

cream

salt

Put the potatoes and garlic in a medium pot and add cold water to just cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are mashable. Some people like a little substance to their mashed potatoes, others want it to be as smooth as yogurt, so you get to decide what done is. Drain the potatoes, put into a bowl, toss in the butter and mash away. Add cream until you like the consistency (or you start freaking out about your arteries). Salt to taste.

The proper keeper for those who really love their garlic

Luck and wisdom!

Endings and Beginnings – From The Mummy to The Mystery

April 12, 2017

The Progressive Part finished up our Movie Project. My movie was The Mummy (1932, Boris Karloff). Here is the quilt the group made.

I love every inch of this quilt, and you’ll see more details as I begin the quilting and embellishing. For now, here is a sample.

With every ending comes a new beginning, especially in quilting. Our next project is Abandoned Fabric. We each brought three bags containing a quarter yard of something we once loved but never used. The bags went on a table and we picked our poison. Here’s what I discovered when I opened my bags.

My assignment – make a quilt from this

I laughed, because the whole point of the project is to create a challenge. I think I’ve got a boat-load of challenge in this collection. I started auditioning fabric for what is now my mystery quilt. Here is one scrap that I thought I might include.

A scrap from another Progressive Party project

Here is another.

Auditioning fabric for this project may take a lo-o-o-ong time. I could see going through my entire stash before an idea hits, which might not be such a bad idea. The drawers could use a good sort-out and refold. Who knows what treasures I might unearth?

Luck and wisdom!

Return of the Flowers

April 5, 2017

My husband became the gardener in the family when the drought descended. He started experimenting with what could grow in our dreadful soil with very little water. Turns out, bulbs do quite well. He ripped out the lawn and put a bulb garden in part of the yard. This is year two for that section, and the results are much more interesting than any of the results of my week in the sewing room.

Such a soothing shade of yellow

The front yard used to be almost entirely green – grass, trees, juniper bushes. Having some color is quite a treat. As luck would have it, the yellow iris started blooming just a day before the blue. Blue and yellow is such a calming color scheme in quilting that I was pleased beyond all proportion for these two flowers.

Wouldn’t this shade of blue be a fabulous accent in a soft yellow quilt?

The next blossoms will be from this little sprig. I can’t remember what it’s called, but I loved the way the buds looked this morning.

I have no idea what the flower looks like, but the buds are terrific

Here’s a new flower that we got for a planter box. We had all sorts of things in there last year, but it seems they weren’t quite up to the unusual cold snap we had this winter. They curled up their toes and died. With any luck, the new plants will be hardier.

There’s a quilt in this flower

This plant survived the garden redesign. It’s been growing outside my sewing room window since we moved into the house. Neither drought nor frost have caused it a moment of worry, so we decided to keep it.

The bush is a massive thing, but the flowers are quite delicate

We’ve no idea what it is called, but it grows and blooms, and that’s good enough.

Luck and wisdom!

Spring Serendipity

March 29, 2017

My friend and co-author Ann Anastasio and I went to the Monet exhibit at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. On the way there, I noticed a house in the distance that had a striking orange paint scheme. “There’s a quilt in there,” I said. Spring Serendipity event #1, I saw this painting at the exhibit:

Regatta at Argenteuil, 1872 – postcard of painting

Here’s a closer look at the house. Although the one I saw was on a city street, not next to the water, I can still use this as a model for the quilt I would like to make.

The museum kindly sold me postcards of all the paintings that had elements I can use in projects I want to do. They would have sold me a book, too, but postcards are a lot easier to pin up on the design wall when one is auditioning fabric.

On the way back to the train station, Ann suggested we go to Britex Fabrics. Never one to pass up a fabric store, I promised myself I would only buy what I absolutely needed. Spring Serendipity event #2, I found the sashiko needles and thread I need for my lobster-beetle project.

Of course, now I have to decide whether I’ll use the red thread or the white thread, but that’s a decision for another day.

Luck and wisdom!

My Secret Weapon

March 22, 2017

I made a little progress with my lobster-beetle quilt. I’m definitely going to use embroidery, but it will only be sashiko-ish – I don’t have the right thread, and the motif is definitely not Japanese. To be honest, I’m not sure what shape the motif will ultimately take. That made me hesitate to do any marking at all until I remembered my secret weapon, soap.

I learned to use soap slivers to mark cottons from Maria Sakiyama, a good friend and fabulous seamstress. It lasts long enough for hand-work, but washes out easily. It’s readily available, easy to store, and easy to use.

That is, it is easy to mark a line. That doesn’t mean my needle will follow the line that my hand has drawn. Let me explain. This is the top with borders.

I drew a long, swooping line from the totem square down to the lower beetle strips.

Then I started embroidering. Lo and behold, my hand strayed from the line.

I have no idea why I couldn’t follow the line, but there it is. Now I have to decide if I’m going to keep the lines I’ve sewn or take them out and begin again. Since the soap line will wash away, I actually have a choice. If only all my mistakes were as accommodating.

Luck and wisdom!