Posts Tagged ‘ribbon’

The “Look, There’s A Squirrel” School of Quilting

September 17, 2014

The topic for discussion at the last Art Quilt Critique Group was “What do you want to say with your quilts?” I’m still in the discovery phase of my artistic growth, and I get distracted easily, so I suggested we found our own movement – the “Look, There’s A Squirrel” school of quilting.

Later that day, I thought about crows.

My spirit animal - a little dusty, but mine

My spirit animal – a little dusty, but mine

I took one of those silly personality tests and discovered my spirit animal is the crow. Crows are cool birds (they are also easy to draw, and one of these days I’m going to make a crow quilt). There are lots of other cool birds, some of which take ribbon and fluff and weave their baskets with pretty colors. Heaven knows I have enough ribbons to fill a forest with bird nests.

Lani Longshore ribbons

Some of my friends are making Quilts of Valor projects with eagle motifs. I don’t know much about eagles, but I suspect I could decorate a few bald eagle/patriotic quilts.

Lani Longshore red, white and blue

Of course, anyone who has seen my studio knows that my spirit animal should be a bower bird. I have enough beads and shiny stuff to outfit an island of bower birds for many generations.

A small box, in a larger box, in a larger bin . . .

A small box, in a larger box, in a larger bin . . .

Nevertheless, I think this new artistic movement should definitely showcase the value of distraction and squirrel-like behavior. I bet we could get a lot of followers, too. Maybe we could even have tee shirts, and . . . oh, look –

Luck and wisdom!

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.



A Sense of Place

November 21, 2012

The Challenge project for December is to represent a real place in fabric – city, country, whatever. I thought I would use the assignment to finally make a quilt about our family reunion in Alaska. I brought out the fabrics:

and the embellishments:

Then I found the notes I made from the book Maphead by Ken Jennings. The book is great, with lovely maps that could become quilts, and terms that could become quilt titles (“wanderwhim” as opposed to “wanderlust” – is that great or what). I stared at the first strip of my Alaska quilt –

– and realized that I have no sense of place (or direction – I still get lost in Livermore, and I’ve lived here almost thirty years). Home is where I am, wherever that may be. I’ve moved around enough that I don’t get attached to any particular location. So I sliced up the strip and will make small projects.

These small projects will represent my approach to place. I look for one familiar thing to make sense of all the unfamiliar things. If I’m very lucky, I’ll interpret my environment correctly, although I have been known to find the worst part of any town purely by accident when left to my own wanderings.

These projects will also give me a chance to play with embellishments:

Those are fireflies on the ribbon – they glow in the dark

and technique:

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Although I don’t have a sense of place, I do have a good sense of where I like to be, and right now, that’s my studio.

Revenge of The Collections

July 18, 2012

I was so proud of myself last week, what with my plan to turn the pecan pie quilt into a table decoration and use more beads than originally planned. Silly me. Yes, I used up more beads than planned. However, I needed more than planned.

Here is the piece that I thought I would end up with:

These are the beads I wanted to use:


The picture is a bit out of focus, but what’s important is the color. With my practiced quilter’s eye, I was certain I had enough of these lovely, buttery beads to go all around the edge in a gentle scallop. About three-quarters of the way around I knew there would be more edge after the beads ran out. Turns out there were nearly four inches of edge left over, so even if I tried restringing the whole thing I would still be short.

I searched through all of my brown beads, and there weren’t any that matched. This is what came close:


This picture is out of focus, too, but again what’s important is the color. Which isn’t at all like the other beads.

Then I looked at some of my other collections – my ribbon collection, to be exact. This is the lemonade I made from the lemon the universe (aided by my not-so-expert beader’s eye) lobbed at me:


Mary Ellen Hopkins said that if you put a color in a quilt, people will think it belongs there. I’m expanding that advice to embellishments, too. The bow covers the different color beads fully and evenly. If anyone asks, I’m calling it a design decision.