Posts Tagged ‘quilting life’

Scrap Happy(ish)

June 12, 2019

Perhaps because we’ve had three days in a row of triple digit heat, I feel like having a moan. When I heard my friend Jeanne Brophy needed some random 2 1/2” squares, I gladly volunteered to cut some from my overflowing scrap bin.

Save the gasps and tsk-tsking, this is what is left of the pile. Here is what I removed.

And this is the pile of cut squares:

On the one hand, I’m delighted that I could help a friend and get rid of some scraps. On the other hand, I’m dismayed at the amount of scraps that remain. On yet another hand (or perhaps a foot), I’m dumbfounded at the tiny pile of cut squares in relation to the size of the pile of scraps! And yes, I do understand this is the fate of all quilters. Here ends the moan for the day.

Luck and wisdom!

Deco Done Wright

June 5, 2019

The binding is on one of my Projects in Piles (PIPs), and it is labeled, so I can check it off the list. This is Deco Done Wright, a project that began with a coloring exercise.

Betty Busby had some of these Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired printed squares at an Art Quilt Santa Fe retreat. I used Derwent Inktense pencils to color in parts of my square, then put it away for “the perfect project.” Since that never comes around, no matter how long I wait, I pulled it out for my quilting buddies in the Progressive Party to finish. They did such a great job I put the project away again because I didn’t know how to quilt it. When I started my PIPs challenge, I decided I would combine hand and machine quilting.

Once again, the power of a deadline came to the rescue and I now have a wonderful quilt. Force yourself to finish things. Setting a deadline works for me – find the way that works for you. You’ll feel a foot taller without the weight of unfinished projects on your shoulders.

Luck and wisdom!

Good Times at Art Quilt Santa Fe

May 29, 2019

For the last ten years, I have gone to Santa Fe every spring to help out with Art Quilt Santa Fe. This year was the last session, and what a wonderful time it was. Although I was there as a classroom assistant, not a student, I still got to experiment when there was a lull in class.

Metallic blue and eggplant, using a faux-mori folding technique

Betty Busby has been the teacher almost every year. Her silk painting techniques are fabulous. Although Art Quilt Santa Fe may be no more, Betty teaches all over the world, so check out her schedule and see where she’ll be next. You’ll thank me later.

Soft greens – perhaps for an embroidered forest?

The hidden treasure about taking workshops is the chance to meet other students who can inspire you. Two of the other students noticed some embroidery I was doing when the students and Betty didn’t need my help, and brought out their own hand stitching projects to show me. Since both of them are far more advanced than I could ever hope to be, it was a gift from the thread goddess to see their work. I was so inspired, I actually finished a piece I had been working on for several years.

Inspired by a Montana pine forest

I will miss my annual trip to the Southwest, but will treasure what I learned there – especially about taking advantage of every opportunity I possibly can to gain new skills.

Luck and wisdom!

What My Stuff Says About Me

May 22, 2019

I read an article the other day that said paying attention to the why of possessions can help caregivers ease their charges transitions. The writer said what a person wants to keep – be it a senior citizen downsizing for an apartment in an assisted living facility or teenager trying to navigate between mom’s house and dad’s – is a good indication not only of the person’s self-image but also of her sense of security in a new environment. That got me thinking about what I keep now, and what I might want to keep wherever I go, and what that says about me.

Obviously, Godzilla is a keeper.

I also have some items that are part good luck charms, part worry receptacles, and part totems for magical thinking.

Then, of course, there are the pieces of wisdom I keep around to remind me of the proper way to handle stress.

I’m certain you have stuff in your sewing room that have nothing to do with quiltmaking, but everything to do with who you think you are. Hang on to it, no matter what.

Luck and wisdom!

Six Inches – As Wide As The Ocean

May 8, 2019

I was working on the quilt pictured above when I detected a burning smell. It wasn’t strong, just a hint of something metallic and unhappy. Since I didn’t hear a pop or see any change in the light, and I couldn’t really tell where the smell was coming from, I asked my husband to check out the sewing room. He couldn’t tell what was causing the smell, either, but the damage was done. “The only way this room could be more of a fire hazard would be if you stored cans of gasoline in here,” he said.

He’s right, of course. Everything in a sewing (or crafting) room is flammable. As stuffed as mine is, I’m surprised my sparks of imagination haven’t burned the place down. I’m working on reducing the clutter (oh, stop laughing), but his concern was more immediate. “You need six inches around that electrical outlet under the ironing board,” he said.

Lose six inches, was he kidding me? The space underneath the ironing board was – in my opinion – prime storage space. I use the past tense because there are no longer as many piles as there were. Although six inches seemed as wide as the ocean, I cleared out space.

You don’t want to see where I put the stuff that once lived there. Some of it got sorted into other bags, some of it went away, but most of it is in another pile in the aisle. And I’m really hoping my husband has forgotten about the other outlet in the room until I can figure out how to clear six inches around it.

Luck and wisdom!

Spreading the Joy of Quilting

May 1, 2019

100 kits in the boxes – we went through at least half

My guild was offered a booth at a local historical event – Sheep Shearing Days – and I volunteered to staff it. I knew we would be in the kids crafts section, so we brought kits of felt and cotton squares, with embroidery floss to stitch them together. I figured parents would haul their young ‘uns up and say, “Try this!” I was wrong. It was the kids who came up, eyes sparkling, waiting for me to ask, “Would you like to sew?” Not all of them knew how to keep the thread in the needle as they stitched, but all of them loved the feeling of fabric against their fingers. Will any of these children – boys and girls – become quilters in the future? Who can say. All I know is there are at least 50 families in the area that have a new appreciation for quilting. Not bad for an afternoon outreach event.

These blocks really drew in the visitors!

Luck and wisdom!

Color and Balance

April 24, 2019

One of my friendship groups is experimenting with color and balance. I thought I had a good grasp of the concept until this week. I feel it is important to give more weight to value than to color, but the group experiment adds the brightness of the color into the mix. Since my current Project In Piles has lots of dark (but bright) golds and orange, I thought this would work well for the assignment. It did work well; in fact, better than I expected.

This flower is eye-catching. Without going into color theory, if I tell you it glows in the garden, you know what I mean.

The fabric with the deer (upper right) has a background similar to the blue iris. It also glows like the iris, but since it is surrounded by bright orange and red I thought the balance would work. I was so sure of myself that originally the block was three times that size. The fabric features several framed animals and I like them all, so I cut a large square. Luckily, I left the blocks on my design wall and checked the effect under different lighting conditions. The day I intended to start assembling the top happened to be very sunny, and the animal fabric turned into an eye magnet. Even trimmed down to the same size as the surrounding blocks, the deer is prominent. I can live with the effect, but I will be more careful in the future about value, brightness, color, and balance.

The buds from last week bloomed!

Luck and wisdom!

Waiting for the Reveal

April 10, 2019

I am making progress with the PIPs (Projects in Piles), but nothing to photograph. Luckily, the front yard is in the process of blooming, which illustrates the way I feel about the last couple of weeks of work. I put borders on three UFOs (UnFinished Objects), and made backs for them. I suppose I could photograph the tops but I would prefer to wait until they are done. They’ll be donated when completed, but before I can get to the quilting I need to finish a few simple sewing projects. In the meantime, I will enjoy the message of the flowers – patience + perseverance = progress.

Luck and wisdom!

To The Sea Again

March 20, 2019

When I finished this quilt and showed it to my husband, he said, “Well, that’s clever, to have the sailboat surrounded by a boat.” I almost refrained from admitting that I hadn’t intended to piece the sea so it looked like a another ship, but I’m happy he likes it all the same. I decided I didn’t have the energy to quilt in more than a few words, so all I wrote was “to the sea again.” That’s also the title of the piece.

I used the fabric at hand, partly as an exercise in creativity, partly out of laziness, and I used a modified improv piecing technique. I wanted the sand and the sky to angle a bit, but I did use rulers to make sure I had a clean edge. Rather than try to fit the angle where the sky meets the palm trees, I sewed the strips part of the way, then folded back the tree fabric, finger-pressed the seam, and used the crease as my guide. When I was finished quilting, I trimmed the bottom so that the sand  ran at an angle, and squared the rest of the quilt against that line.

Luck and wisdom!

Sailboat Block

March 13, 2019

One of the Progressive Projects had us doing individual blocks of houses or transportation. This sailboat, although lovely, didn’t fit in the quilt I envisioned with the other blocks. I kept it aside for “the perfect project.” Now it is one of my PIPs (projects in piles), and it will be made into something.

I read that humans like pictures of meadow-like landscapes surrounded by trees because we evolved in that environment. I prefer seascapes to meadow-scapes, but the palm tree fabric gave me the idea of combining the two views. The next problem to solve is how to quilt it. I’m auditioning phrases that incorporate the word ocean or sea so I can use this for the Challenge assignment, “Use Your Words.” Getting double or triple duty out of one block would please me out of all proportion.

Luck and wisdom!