What I don’t have a picture of is the little zippered wallet I made to go with it. I like to have a little something to put in my pocket, and take with me when I go into the City.
I loved adding the cork for texture, and character. The cork takes stitching well and has many uses. It’s a bit spendy so adding detail, and creating a unique look works best for me. After getting home I changed the hardware on the adjustable strap.
Once I get through the first Lucy’s Nickles Project this will become either a class or a pattern.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Way back at Quilt Market in Houston Tracy Mooney (Generation Q Magazine) did a quick interview with Bruce Magidson of SewBatik
Bruce showed us these gorgeous 108″ Indigo batiks. Sitting in a box next to me, that our package delivery system left at the front door of my home in a timely manner, are these batiks. They arrived with Oatmeal and synthrapol and retayne.
I’m remaking this quilt in Indigo and Oatmeal for the booth in Lancaster.Once the fabric is washed I’ll get started.
Monday night was so much fun. After not being able to spend a whole lot of time with the Pelham Quilters it was good to be home. The meetings have moved from the first Monday to the third Monday of the month at 7 PM. They are taking a day trip to the AQS Show in Lancaster on Saturday April First it’s $55 for bus trip and then about $25 (give or take) for dinner. If you’re interested please leave me a comment and I’ll get you in touch with the coordinator of the trip. You can also comment through the facebook page.
Speaking of character
Roses, gazanias, mums and pansies are among my favorite flowers. Each petal is slightly different, some edges have little dips in from the edge, some of the petals are more rounded at the top, while others have something of a triangular peak. Not to mention the veining in each petal. In this photo the veining is subtle however it’s there and it’s kind of random and branches out here and there. The veining reminds me of the quilting we add to our pieced tops. Imperfect stitching is perfect, adds visual interest. Stay tuned for more character, pictures that I’ve taken over the years are flashing before my eyes. Character Counts
Sometimes I look at my quilts, see things I don’t like, and thoughts of sending the quilt to the great quilt yard in the sky, would be the best. thing. ever. Between teaching, and working with quilters in shops I know that quilters want perfection from the first stitch. Doing it “right” the first time, every time is the height of something. I haven’t figured out what yet, but it is.
While encouraging the learning process, letting new and not-so-new quilter know that mistakes happen sometimes it’s hard to experience and see how the mistakes add to the beauty and character of what we’re doing.
I’m on a journey to find the character around me, and taking you along.
Twilight in the Bronx is a quilt with tons of character including a little bit of fullness in the circles. And it’s square but a good blocking would do the quilt a lot of good. It’ll stay just so as it is.
Most importantly it’s the quilt started in my 41st year of life that has led me down a path of great quilterly joy.