Posts Tagged ‘Progressive Party’

An Outdoor Quilt Show

April 22, 2020

Amador Valley Quilters joined the Hang Your Quilts Outside event. All over the region, sheltered-in-place neighborhoods were treated to quilts on the porches, quilts on the landings, quilts on the driveway. I put up two quilts just as my neighbor was getting ready to leave. We had a nice conversation from across the street, and I told him to look for other quilts while he was out on essential errands.

These quilts had to come down in the afternoon because the wind kicked up and the frames toppled. Luckily, I had a smaller quilt that I could hang on the railing outside our front door.

All three pieces are Progressive Party creations, so thanks to everyone who contributed to the quilts and the outdoor quilt show.

Luck and wisdom!

Read Carefully!

August 8, 2018

You know one should read directions carefully. You think you have. Guess again.

The Progressive Party project I’m working on this month will end up being a full-size quilt. I read the instructions and saw “make a floral block.” So I did.

The Batchelor’s Button block

The next day, before I finished the last seams of the block, I read the instructions again. This time I noticed that we’re supposed to attach our floral blocks as shown in the diagram. Where was that line the first time I read through it? Okay, it was in the same place and I didn’t notice. Lucky for me, I started the project early and had plenty of time to make the fill-in blocks that go with my floral unit. Also lucky for me, I chose a block that goes into a unit that someone else had started.

My unit, finished and ready to go

The good news is the person after me won’t be shaking her head at my inability to read a simple set of instructions.

Luck and wisdom!

The Snarky Woman’s Guide to Home and Travel

February 7, 2018

The Progressive Party often has a little rejuvenation session between rounds. I call it our One Month Wonder routine, as we take a month to make one block for each member of the group. We pick a theme and hope for the best. Those hopes are well-founded, as this last collection shows. I plan to combine them into a quilt called The Snarky Woman’s Guide to Home and Travel.

Homes, modes of transport, and sassy ladies all in a row

You may recognize the spaceship blocks from an earlier post (Quilt Dreams). I made extras, so I’ll have two in my quilt. This one has bling.

While I’m not really keen on tootling around the country in an RV or trailer, if I would do such a thing this is the trailer I would use.

I love this block because the house reminds me of Joseph Eichler’s classic California houses. If I could manage to keep a clutter-free lifestyle, I wouldn’t mind living in one of these homes. In truth, I belong in one of those fussy Victorians that everyone expects to be stuffed beyond the laws of physics. Perhaps that is why I have been writing a blog about cleaning my sewing room for so many years without actually getting the space tidy.

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!

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!

The Landscape of My Memory

January 18, 2017

Once again, the Challenge Group project has given me a chance to explore my beads, my stash, and my world view. The theme is “I Remember . . .” but I’m rapidly reaching that time of life when I really don’t remember. The little gray cells are aging. I thought of the implications of the graying of the gray cells, and started this project in the brain quilt series, which I call The Landscape of My Memory.

My mind as a map

My mind as a map

The central background is one that the Progressive Party made when I asked for small art pieces to embellish. It really is a landscape. I added the borders and the beads. First I quilted lines with little blue crystals that represent those ideas/memories that seem to bubble up without a care in the world. Then I added the pearls, which represent those ideas/memories that bubble up but are actually worth capturing.

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

The twisted red border comes from my brain fabric stash, and represents my neural network. Bless its heart, it tries so hard. I added some dark beads to represent the little nuggets of neurons that keep hanging in there, anchoring me to reality as best they can.

Work those neural nets

Work those neural nets

The bottom dark gray border represents the memory swamp where ideas go to hide. They aren’t necessarily bad ideas, but they don’t have a lot of staying power. Still, I always have hope that if I’m very lucky, someday I’ll be able to reach those ideas/memories. That hope is represented by the thin line of shiny crystals, just because I can.

Who knows what lurks in the shadows? Not me!

Who knows what lurks in the shadows? Not me!

Luck and wisdom!

Design by the Seat of Your Pants

June 15, 2016

In the writing world, there are plotters and pantsers. Plotters know where they’re going at every step of the way. Sometimes their plot outlines are so detailed they basically just have to add a few “ands” and “buts” and the story is done. Pantsers, not so much. They start writing and see where the words take them. I am a pantser, not only in my writing but also in my quilting.

A footed flower vase and falling petals

A footed flower vase and falling petals

The gray top is one that the Progressive Party made for me to embellish. The rose petals and leaves were made by someone else, too – Bella Nonna. They’re silk, but feel like a thick, handmade paper. I won the package at a silent auction (don’t ask why I put a bid on them, I’ve long since forgotten). The bag with the rose petals was on the ironing board, which reminded me of my collection of red beads, and then I started working.

Without a plan.

That happens a lot in my studio. There’s no better feeling in the world when things go well and the project tells me what it wants. Nevertheless, to make a quilt one actually has to sew the top to a batting and backing, and that’s when things get dicey.

Handquilting with beads

Handquilting with beads

Forget the trouble with sewing the quilting lines after you’ve done the embellishment. Just marking those lines is a pain in the . . . pants. You’d think I would learn my lesson and consider the end at the beginning, but it doesn’t always work. In my writing, sometimes the end is as much a surprise to me as it is to my readers – so also in my quilting.

The good news is, my idea for quilting continues to develop. I decided to start with diagonal lines and scattered beads. I like the look, but will have horizontal lines along the bottom and vertical lines on the remaining side. Today I thought, “Self, bind it in red and add more rose petals to extend the flowers beyond the edge.” We’ll see what ideas I have tomorrow.

Beaded centers

Beaded centers

The beading may evolve, too. I thought adding a few beads to the flower centers would look nice. It does. I may add beads to all the petals. Heaven knows I have enough to encrust those things.

With any luck, the creativity inspired by this project will spill over to The Chenille Ultimatum. I’m working on the last chapters now, and the characters have been better at telling me what they want. Every so often, however, one of them throws a tantrum and decides something else is needed. Just like my quilts.

By the way, today is a palindrome for those of us who write the date month-day-year – 6/15/16. Sounds like a reason for a cake.

Luck and wisdom!

The Value of Gray

June 8, 2016

I’ve been known to binge on color. Mostly I binge on pink or purple, but a while ago I fell for gray. After accumulating a stack I could never get through alone, I packaged some of it and gave it to the Progressive Party to make backgrounds for me. Here are some of the pieces they made.

Three backgrounds, waiting for embellishment

Three backgrounds, waiting for embellishment

I asked for something I could use for applique, beading, embroidery – any kind of embellishment. Here is a piece that will push my design skills to come up with something worthy.

I like this just as it is, but my bead box is overflowing, so embellished it will be

I like this just as it is, but my bead box is overflowing, so embellished it will be

Luckily, I met a writer and painter recently whose work has given me a few ideas. Harry Freiermuth wrote and illustrated Lo! Jacaranda, the story of a gypsy woman who escapes the Spanish Inquisition and ends up in colonial California.

Harry's book

Harry’s book

Harry is a much better painter than I am, but I’m thinking I could try mixed media techniques to evoke the feeling of being at the coast on a foggy, misty day.

Harry's paintings

Harry’s paintings

Perhaps I’ll take a field trip to Ocean Beach in San Francisco for additional inspiration, with appropriate side trips for chocolate.

Luck and wisdom!

Star Wars Day, and The Mummy

May 4, 2016

May the 4th be with you, and happy Star Wars Day. Have I mentioned that I love made-up holidays?

There actually is a connection to the work I’ve done lately. The next Progressive Party project is about movies. I looked through all of my fabric collections, the ones that I packed in clear plastic bags, hoping for inspiration to strike. I adore movies, but not all the ones I watch over and over can sustain multiple visuals suitable for a quilt made by a committee. Then I came across my Egyptian collection.

I put embellishment options as well as fabric in the bags

I put embellishment options as well as fabric in the bags

“Self,” I said, “you watch the Boris Karloff mummy movie every Halloween. This could work.” The myth of the mummy’s curse started after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. Advertisers, artists and even architects started using ancient Egyptian motifs (think Camel cigarettes, Art Deco and the Chrysler building). A good part of classic flapper fashions of the ’20s came from Egypt-mania. If it worked for them, it will work for me. So, I sketched a mummy out for a walk among the pyramids.

Anything is possible with the quilter's secret weapon - graph paper

Anything is possible with the quilter’s secret weapon – graph paper

After a little experimenting, I found a suitable fabric for the ink I wanted to use and the vision I wanted to express. This synthetic blend gives me good texture without letting my pen drawing bleed into a fuzzy mess.

The beginning of another collaborative art project - hurrah!

The beginning of another collaborative art project – hurrah!

Now I get to unleash the creativity of the Progressive Party – and I get to take one of the plastic bags off my shelf.

Luck and wisdom!

Serenity Is Driving Me Nuts

August 19, 2015

I’m making a story block for a Progressive Party assignment. The block can be any size, any style, but it has to have a story behind it. I came up with a title – Serenity with Beads – and a story. The day of my husband’s back surgery, I was filled with calm. I knew everything would be fine. Don’t ask me how I knew, I just did. Friends and family sometimes have visions, so I accepted that this was my message from the universe. This was the feeling I wanted to convey in my block.

This is my first attempt at making the block.

All that is left of my calm feelings

All that is left of my calm feelings

If something could go wrong, it did. I finally put the pieces in the trash where they belong. My next attempts at designing a block went equally awry. I suppose it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The last time I tried to create a piece that conveyed serenity, I nearly lost my mind.

Now it's peaceful

Now it’s peaceful

I almost called the quilt Obsession, because I was determined to make it work regardless of the pain (and the stream of naughty words coming from the sewing room). Every seam was a struggle, every unit fought me, every fabric demanded to be a focus fabric.

There are still a few weeks until the Progressive block is due. Some of my quilting buddies gave me good advice on my next attempt. Also, I have a back-up plan.

Falling leaves convey peacefulness, right?

Falling leaves convey peacefulness, right?

If push comes to shove, I’ll border this cross-stitch with soothing fabrics, sew on a few beads, and call it good. And never, ever plan a project called Serenity again.

Luck and wisdom!