Enjoy your journey to Portland for a visit to the Pacific Northwest Quilt Festival. Portland is a great city (home of some amazing architecture, donuts, views and PEOPLE) and I think you’ll enjoy it. From conception (thanks AEF) to finishing the binding the 2nd time Thursday morning at 2:43 AM you have been so important to me. I am very grateful to Vicki Anderson of Machine Quilting Unlimited for inviting me to create you. And to Gregory Case for photographing you and confirming for me that you are indeed square and revealing to me something more about who you are. Your design is something completely new to me and is a composite of so many ideas that I’ve wanted to use in a quilt for a very long time. You helped me through a really rough moment in life bringing both great joy and some serious frustration. Thank you for both.
Greet every one you meet with a smile. There will be quilters who love you and will complement you – thank them. Gratitude is important in the world of quilting and in life. There will be quilters who don’t particularly care for you or don’t like you at all – thank them too, appreciate their honesty. There will be quilters who don’t quite get you, draw them in let them look. You will touch their hearts, you’ve touched mine very, very deeply.
Like every other quilter who has ever entered a show, my heart travels with you. I send it with you freely and unreservedly. Enjoy the ride dear quilt, enjoy the ride.
That the quilting adventure for today would include sitting on the floor of the City Quilter with this delightful quilter/artist? Well it did. Melly and I spent about 2 hours at the City Quilter looking at her printed fabric, talking patterns and trying out solids that might pair well. I ooohed and ahhed, Oh Melly! and OMG’d my way through the prints she brought with her – I imagine I looked quite in awe of what Melly was showing me. My oohs and ahhhs caught the attention of one of the employees who came overheard my monosyllabic comments and came to see what rendered me nearly speechless. She loved them too. Sigh.
We looked through books and magazines and on the walls of the shop for the inspiration Melly needed. It’s fun to watch and participate in the process of a quilt coming together. The solids were quite popular, as they should be, and a quilter welcomed a little input on a quilt she was making for her dad. She was quite fun and game for bold color. Melly was game for bold color as well and I can not wait to see the finished quilt.
All that hard slog in the quilt shop left us hungry. Luckily Eataly is 2 City Blocks away. It’s lovely. There is something just simply lovely about well thought out hand crafted food. Oh hell there’s just something lovely about well thought out hand crafted stuff. Do me a favor, do something beautiful and hand crafted.
And please do not faint when you read the next sentence I have a vivid imagination and can imagine heads hitting the floor.
I did not purchase anything!
Shocked? Don’t be. It happens every now and again. I’m ok with it. If I purchased something every time I walked into a quilt shop I’d be shopping 3 times per week.
There’s a new quilt shop opening up in Chattanooga TN. You can follow the progress of Spool on FB and at the BAQS.
In sharing yesterday’s art homework on my blog post Wherein I copy Debby’s homework. Truth is I didn’t really copy Debby’s homework. I did my own homework. I did my own homework and I like it. After finishing the first piece, title “Name” I kept going. Just to add a bit of commentary I am named after St. Therese (Theresa). Choosing her was not intentional. I just clipped into the fabric and went for it.
Debby just finished her homework and posted it over on her blog. She really embraced the Fantastic art style and brought it into quilting in a way that just makes me smile. As Debby mentions photos and messages fly back and forth as we work towards figuring these things out, encourage one another and proof text and artist statements. That kind of support is priceless.
I’d been eying this lime green Echino solid in my stash on and off all night, that and some of my Marcia Derse Collection. I quickly set the Marcia Derse aside for another project and gave into the lime green. The only thing that would have made this better is orange dupioni silk. Ahhh, next time.
This time I worked a bit differently I ironed the Mistyfuse to the wrong side of several pieces of fabric, it’s so much easier this way. I’ve also discovered that one day I will be purchasing the Goddess sheet that is really big! Shortly after I shot this image I picked the whole thing up to go press it, and no I didn’t worry about pieces flying off, Mistyfuse is sticky allowing the pieces to stay where they’re placed. Once I got to the ironing board I made a couple of quick changes, pressed it in place and I present to you: “Woman”
She is unfinished as of yet.
Debby is sending me some lime green tulle then I’ll get it ready for quilting and have at it. And this is one that I will finish.
It may be after I finish other art homework but I will finish.
Debby told on herself yesterday and I’m being a bit of a copycat (this is a bit of an inside joke between the two of us, for our own amusement) today and just coming right out with it. I’m taking Introduction to Art: Concepts & Techniques on Coursera. Debby first introduced me to Coursera by sending me a link to a writing course on there, that I immediately signed up for to improve my writing skill. I’ll admit that while I did well in all things “language arts” in school, this time not so much. I can not tell a compound-complex sentence apart from a complex sentence. I need to go back to 8th grade!
One fun discovery: the instructor Anna Divinksy is a fiber artist and there are a lot of quilters taking the course. When the course description came up I immediately signed up for it to learn more about art. I mean I like going to museums, enjoy the art, have personal likes and dislikes but want wanted to develop a better understanding and see how I can translate that understanding to quilting. Perhaps this too will lead to a deeper understanding of the art quilt, fiber art community.
This week we studied the Fantastic art movement which includes artists like Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, de Chirico, Marcel DuChamp to name a small few. In starting the reading assignment, learning more about the artists and the style, it’s something I like. The art assignment, should we choose to do it, is to create a collage. Ms. Divinsky shows us several techniques to do this on paper using magazine clippings. Yah, no.
So Debby and I messaged a bit last night and I told her I was hesitant to cut up one piece of fabric. After her very honest comment that essentially I’m hoarding – which is a very quilterly trait, I decided to go for it. I thought only of filling the space.
The rest of the fabric used is from Paula Nadelstern’s Fabrique-Istan line, the detailing and a good pair of scissors just filled in the rest of the area. I decided to layer this with tulle and quilt it using MonoPoly while listening to the Yankee game last night. Finishing around 1 AM this morning.
I’ve also decided to create a 2nd piece and leave a bit of negative space just to see the difference and if I like it.
I picked up this little poster probably 25 years ago when I lived in Americus, GA working at Habitat for Humanity through the church I belonged to at the time. I put a push pin through the plastic to pin it to the door. It was my motto for the year.
I’ve been tidying up and rearranging my sewing room on and off for the last week or so. I’ve been holding onto scraps of fabric I’ve quilted with the thought that I’d make more tote bags with them. Nope. It ain’t gonna happen. Out that all went. What I found really fascinating, encouraging really, the machine quilting has really improved in the last 6 years since starting machine quilting. My method of practicing has changed incorporating fewer prints and more solids and tone on tones. What I teach hasn’t. Stitching on border prints, over and through highly details prints (kaleidoscopes), dots, prints to commit the idea of line and shape and understand stitching patch is essential to good machine quilting.
Or how to make sure the tension is balanced
Yesterday afternoon I started working on my practice piece for an upcoming competition quilt. The piece told me what I needed to know. Several photos went off to the piecer of said quilt and I’m waiting for her feedback. Since I knew I’d be waiting for a bit I picked up and started stitching on this beauty. The top is a medium gray from Cherrywood fabrics. I’ve already stitched out spiraled flying geese and started filling in several areas with quilting. There are two things here that I want to share with you:
1) I’m using different threads on the top and in the bobbin. I found this quite helpful when I first started learning how to machine quilt to help me get the tension balanced and really develop an understanding of when to tighten and when to loosen the top tension.
and 2) I play peek a boo. As I’m stitching I’ll occasionally stop to look at the back of the quilt making sure that I’m not seeing the top thread on the back.
I play peek a boo even when I’m using the same thread top and bobbin because the tension can still be off meaning that some adjustment is necessary. Because I prefer balanced tension in all of my quilts I frequently use different thread top and bobbin even on competition quilts. I get dinged for this frequently in the judges comments however I’d rather know personally that I did a good job balancing my tension rather than hiding a problem. No I’m not going after the judges or the critiquing process this is simply a statement of personal preference.
My gratitude to Sherry Reynolds for taking the time to visit the exhibit and take photos for me to use on my blog. This is a gift for me as I was not able to attend HMQS.
My gratitude to Vickie Anderson and Kit Robinson of Machine Quilting Unlimited for inviting me to participate in the wholecloth challenge.
I’m going to be somewhat brutally honest about my own quilt here, it needs to be blocked. I can see it from here. I’m passionately in love with this quilt and it’s generating all kinds of ideas in my for new ways to envision this.
I’m going to make a bit of a confession here. It’s challenging to admit this because although in thinking about it my facebook postings while I was in the middle of quilting “@play” gave a clear indication of where I was headed at the time. I kept talking about the quilt as “the unruly teenager” and for a while that’s almost the name the quilt went with however I came to my senses and the quilt ventured into the world as “@play”.
The aftermath shocked me though. I felt completely drained. Drained in a way that I never, ever expected. At first I thought if I’d only finished this sooner instead of just in time to get it to MQU. Well actually with all the other things going on like: work, teaching in Portland and Houston, needing to get things done for Jeanie and a few other thing I just couldn’t.
For the first time in a long time I couldn’t just wing it. This quilt demanded some planning and (shock horror) marking. As a general, personal rule, I do not mark quilt tops. I just go for it. Wholecloth quilts over 15″ are a bit different for me. I need to pay different attention to the design and quilting.
Not for nothing 36″ of quilting with mostly Kimono Silk is a lot of space to fill. Between design and quilting I spent about 100 hours on this quilt in a relatively short amount of time. I started the design work right after I got back from Houston. Met with a friend of mine to talk about which two Ideas made more visual sense. What I find interesting is that the strongest presence in the drawing is the flying geese, which are not quite as prominent in the quilt.
The hours spent quilting were amazing in a great and not so good way. For most of the quilt everything went fine. The red flying geese must have close to 500,000 teeny tiny pebbles. If I’d been using anything other than silk the quilt would have been really bulky. One thread I was using kept breaking ultimately meaning that I had to change something and the end result ended up better than I thought.
After all of this tight quilting the quilt shrunk – it’s to be expected but 1 1/2″ at the point where I realized it is a lot. I must add here that I’m grateful for friends who quilt that offered me encouragement when I was ready to toss this into the corner and go cry. I’m grateful for the commitment and due date on this quilt. Going from @play to “the unruly teenager” and back again was a challenge. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Yes I would. Even with this the aftermath of feeling like I’d given everything, just everything I had to this quilt. This has been the strangest 3 months ever in my quilting life.
The creative funk I’ve been in over the last several months is finally starting to lift. The ideas are starting to flow again. I think spring has something to do with it, this renewal of life, color popping out here, there and everywhere is amazing.
Going to the NY Botanical Garden and the Cloisters help a lot. Nature and architecture inspire me in so many ways. As did the piano concert I went to the other day. As the pianist played I could see machine stitching in my minds eye being stitched out over the surface of a quilt. Quilterly inspiration is filling up and I’ll have something to share with you soon!