It’s all about the bass

dad inside joke with friend

Reading Jasper Fford lately has reminded me of this love of playing with words. I sometimes wear people out (yeah, sorry about that Melissa, you’re so good at it though!) with this love, needing to be slightly more mindful of this…however it’s so fun. This guy was a character. I’ve written about dad a few times. One self-imposed moniker, the Rotten Poet, was my fave. Dad would have appreciated the title of the blog. It might be about the Megan Trainor song, or it could be about fishing. Either way you go.

playing with words, crafting sentences to create visuals, and dialog that another person understands, and experiences a deep sense of welcome, an invitation to actively participate in a conversation with you is an achievement unto itself. Our quilts are much the same thing, an invitation to a conversation, an opening to a dialogue, sometimes a monologue. Sometimes the conversation communicates love, and caring, others art and a deep sense of wonder, and amazement. Our quilts can speak to others in unintended ways.

Lucas Moon Over Manhattan 39 x 34

Little Miss Sassy Pants here had one conversation with me, multiple, we had multiple conversations. She had other conversations¬†with quilters. I happened to be present to witness one of the conversations. It was amusing as it was a quick glance, and “Oh that’s nice but look at this.”

Speaking of words and conversations author Marie Bostwick has me all invested in her most recent novel The Second Sister. Quilting has worked it’s way in as a way of living, and healing, and bringing people together. There is heartache, healing, and mystery. This is such a lovely read. Once I’m finished there will be more here, I just want to see where the story goes, because my gut says the emotions will be streaming down my face before the end.

I’m at QuiltCon, and will be telling the tale over on the GenQ page as soon as I can.

Have a great day friends.

Happy Quilting,

Teri

Character = Depth

coffee mugsDo you remember the Best Hot Chocolate I Ever Made? Oh sweet memories of imbibing. The memory of making that hot chocolate is as fresh as the day I made it. The after affects are as present. A chocolate hangover, who knew? Now I do, and won’t do that again. While we’re having a rather mild winter the hot chocolate consumption is limited to once or twice a week. Rather than the length and breadth of making it slowly on the stove, the favorite coffee mug gets filled with milk, popped in the microwave til hot, then hot chocolate powder is stirred in. On the odd occasion cinnamon, nutmeg or chipotle powder are mixed in, adding depth and character to the normal, every day hot chocolate.

Chocolate is proof that God loves us, and wants to see us happy.

Over the years my taste in chocolate has changed, in a manner similar to wine, and beer. As I get to know the flavors, the depth, the terroir, the distinctiveness I learn what appeals to my personal palate. Once upon a time chocolate purchased at big box stores satisfied that longing, and will do in a pinch. Now I spend a little more and savor each morsel, chocolate lasts much longer now. (Shocking, I know.)

chocolate 001Now I make Craft Hot Chocolate using cocoa powder, sugar in the raw, vanilla bean paste when I have it or vanilla from Tahiti, a wee nip of alcohol, milk, and half & half. Occasionally I’ll add chipotle, a little heat goes a long way. The recipe is never the same, like baking it’s an understanding of how things work, and proportions. Each steaming mug has it’s own depth, and character. Changing up the ingredients from the cocoa powder to the sugars and spices makes each cup unique. Using milk or half & half adds a creamy richness, making me want to curl up on the sofa with a good book, getting lost in both for hours on end.

The other option is bring that hot steaming mug of chocolate to the sewing studio for another level of hand crafted, creative inspiration.

With that, off I go to the kitchen, then the studio.

Happy Quilting,

Teri

Trees are perfect: character grows

tree in the morning

Way back when my dear mother-in-love lived in South Jersey she planted two Dogwood trees.One afternoon as we worked on cleaning up the property I pulled one of them up. It looked like a twig. The baby tree was replanted and thrived. The dogwood still lives in my front yard now, in spite of my efforts to hasten it’s demise. Its limbs a safe haven for the mocking birds that hatch in our arbor. Well, actually, they’re after the birds the berries on the branches, but that’s a story for another day.

garrison landing tree

The branches of trees add interest to their overall shape. Visually the twisting and turning, this way and that, growing.

Parrots in treeTrees do bend. Though straight and tall.

Trees grow, and change. Branches strengthen and new branches grow from them. Each adds character. The branches strengthen in the wind, and rain, and snow. These forces in their lives help build the trees.

Nature provides us with interesting things to look at. I’ve never criticized her for sunsets, tree shapes, flower shapes, leaves, bees. When I look at wrought iron, which is a passion of mine, I see character rather than flaws. This is about unique rather than an idealized perfection.

Happy Quilting,

Teri

Character: explored beauty

Melly prints 002

Melanie Testa is by far one of the most joyful, and thoughtful quilters I’ve ever met. A beautiful, creative soul. One of my most treasured memories is having lunch with her and Elizabeth, we were on the receiving end of some seriously disapproving looks from because we were laughing so much. This still brings a smile. Melanie creates unique, interesting squares of hand printed cloth. These are among some of my greatest treasures.

Melly has shared some of her process for making and printing cloth. Watching her demo in a booth a few years ago, this is messy business indeed.

 

She had stuff all over her hands. Her exuberance, though, quite catching.

What I see though in her process is a lot of work, thought, preparation, experimentation. There’s a lot of “this isn’t going to work” until “hey this is magic”. When Meadowlark (Windham Fabrics) came out I designed a few quilts for her including several seen in her booth.

Melly has recently published a new book with Carol Soderlund that I’ll share more about sometime very soon. It’s a beautiful book. I’ll share this…for now, the it is very much the result of working, trying, things working, things not working, things almost working. A lot of practice getting things just the way you want.

And so, I go looking for more character. Which is often found in the mirror.

Happy Quilting

Teri

Inspired, Character

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There are habits in life that well worth cultivating, an affinity for quirky literature is a good thing. The details of discovering Jasper Fforde escape me, however the long lasting memory of the telling of the life and times of Thursday Next, and the twists and turns of her life bring a smile to the heart and mind. This week two long standing items on the to-do list were accomplished the renewal of the library card, and checking out e-books from the library. The discovery of the lapsed library card brought some consternation, irritation and something of an annoyance as I tried logging into the library on more than one occasion getting nowhere, because lapsed card. In the meantime the purchase of a kindle added to the reading options.

Several times in the last months I’ve tried going to the local library with a city dweller problem, all the street parking spaces were taken. Mind you there’s a school, several restaurants, and businesses within walking distance but, seriously every single time. No parking. With a wee bit of persuasion the house Sweetie that taking me was a great idea. There is the matter of the book he needed to pick up but yeah, whatever. So the library card obtained I accomplished task two, borrowing e-books for the kindle. Both authored by the aforementioned Jasper Fforde. Just in time for a quick trip to Las Vegas to help a friend at a trade show.

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Yeah there’s a repeat on the picture, when you talk a lot there has to be a return to the original conversation. This sunset is one that occurred outside my studio window. These kinds of visual treats happen with enough frequency that I look for them as each one is different. The clouds are different, the light is different, the leaves change from day to day. Like the moon, sunsets enthrall me, capture my attention. Sunsets are moments of rest. Sunsets are moments to enjoy the beauty.

And they are characters. When I hunted for a photo for this post memories of first grade drawings popped up. Clouds, mountains, trees, people all have a certain feel, stylized in a child like way, open to the possibilities and mindful of how others in life might think of them. This is a good thing, in so many ways! I can see how these things that I’ve drawn since childhood are making into the quilting I do now:

tree-1
Moonset in process

While working on Moonset there was a moment that adding a squirrel hole somewhere near the area of the major boughs, it’s something I remember doing in a few of the childhood drawings. The funny thing is that I don’t remember seeing a single tree with a squirrel hole, and yet, there they were. The imagination kicked in somewhere along the way. The roots of the tree in the foreground remind me of the old pine on the big hill where we would play in summer, and sled in winter.

The fun thing is bringing the character of those moments into the quilting in these moments, adding interest and character to the stitching.

The beautiful thing about character is that it shows up, does the work, doesn’t worry about perfection, is interested in exploring, and goes places.

Happy Quilting!

Talk about a quilt with Character

double-irish-chain-full-viewTalk about a quilt that is a character. And I’m going to share some of its most interesting character traits.

But first, let’s see how Kelly Ann measures up. Worth the visuals alone.

I’ve talked about this quilt here and here.

I love this quilt, always have. The character in this quilt rests in the memories of making the quilt. Buying the fabric. The physical memory of the rotary cutter and the left index finger meeting. The machine quilting complete with bad tension, pigtails on the back. The quilting decisions. Oh how I loved making those decisions.

Were they the right decisions for this quilt? Yes!
Would I make these same decisions now? Probably not.

So about the character in this quilt? It built mine.

Happy Quilting!

Teri

Character Building

lily-pond-nybg

As I started thinking about character, texture, and thread a character from about 25 years ago popped up in my thoughts. He and his wife both volunteered with local school students after school. One afternoon he demonstrated asymmetry through showing the students how his eyes, ears, arms, etc were asymmetrical. Most of this someone wouldn’t notice by simply glancing at him, one would have to really look.

Scrolling through photos for a different blog I came across the photo I took at the Bronx Botanical Gardens about 6 years ago. I’m pretty sure I changed the photo to black and white to get a feel for the texture, and tones. What struck me this morning, because I was looking, is all the great texture of the lily pad. The veining is similar and different, the texture on the left is remarkably different than the texture on the right. The lily pad is such a beauty in and of itself. The asymmetry adds to the overall visual appearance of both the photo and the lily pad.

Let’s take this to quilting.¬†its-bigger-than-i-thought-border

Here on the border of It’s Bigger than I Thought the curve of the border made the perfect spine for the feathers. Each side a little different as I stitched along. The full quilt is below.

its-bigger-than-i-thought

I quilted this on my BERNINA 1080 shortly after a Ricky Tims Super Seminar. Ricky reminded us that we, as quilters could do anything we want. He showed us how to do some feather work on the machine, and when I got home, off I went, stitching feathers all over the surface of the quilt. I can guarantee the level of character in the quilt is at a high level. However the overall result is amazing.

Happy Quilting,

Teri