Sunday, February 19, 2017

IN WHICH WE CELEBRATE CLIMATE CHANGE!

Our area is experiencing several days of record breaking above 75 deg days.  This is so different from the Missouri I moved to in 1973.  Winters then were very cold and snowy.  Nights fell to 20 below F at night and the earth was always covered in snow.  We are slightly dryer now but the corn and wheat seems to grown very well. Summers are cooler also now.  
Maybe we are some of the lucky ones-for certain others are no so.  Mexico City is sinking as the water table diminishes.  Australia is dry, dry, dry, and hot with wild fires.  California is either feast or famine-either torrential rains and floods or extreme droughts.

Is this state of affairs to late to adjust?  Don't know!  But the days here are nice!

END OF WEATHER REPORT
ON TO MY FAVORITE:
 FREE MOTION QUILTING


This is my graduation project for Christina Cameli's Wild Quilting class on Craftsy.  I incorporated all the lessons and techniques she demonstrated but in my own style.  I love movement and I think this piece captures ebb and flow.  I know now I will always have a wild, graffiti piece at my side to think about and work on.  I began this blog 9 months ago expressing my terror at FMQ and, by practicing, doing some on-line samplers, and taking a couple Craftsy classes, now have  what my be my true love. The wilder and freer the better!

But let us not forget our nemesis:  Sweet Surrender which is slowly becoming the "undread".  Four rows assembled on schedule (this is one time when goal setting is useful: for getting something done which would rather be ignored).  These rows are reasonably flat tho not perfect-that is okay.  This will come our in the wash-that is in the quilting process as these waffles are small.  I think it is looking really pretty and I am pleased with it.



This week, I will assemble the final row and then all five rows together in one piece.  I have a nice idea for the border (which again involves triangles-will I ever learn!??!) and some pretty applique.  Maybe I will be able to begin that.  I will be very happy to applique again as this is my true love (whoops, I guess I have 2 true loves, no make that three as my best true love is my sweet husband-we live in each others pockets).

WELL-TIME TO THINK ABOUT THE NEXT PROJECT

The Village wall hanging will be next in line.  I began this about 4 years ago and got irretrievably lost in the making of it.  The pattern was from my favorite Quiltmania and is by Yoko Saito.  Here is a photo of her pattern:

I began with this format and soon diverged as my idea was to made a coherent village.  The fabric is subdued Japanese taupes in a variety of colors.  In this photo you can see the various houses, bridges, rockwall, etc that are ideas for the wall hanging.
The upper right hand section is Yoko's block which is just delightful to me.  I kept that in place and will use it except I have to remove the houses from this fabric as I need to dye the background.   Info on how to do this is from another craftsy class from several years ago Linear Landscape Quilts by Gloria Loughman. This class is mostly about using Setacolor paints for hand dyeing fabrics to use for landscapes.  

I was never happy with the layout.  I played with it some always keeping that one block of Yoko's which I felt would define how the village would work.  I gradually realized that I want sky, stream, grassy areas, flagstones, and rock walls.   Gloria's method for painting fabric to use as landscapes will be perfect for this.  You lay the fabric out and use plenty of water to create a wash effect.
More progress on the layout but still not what I want.  And still the background needs to be painted.


This is where I ended.  Progress made but still no cigar!

I am going to start with the background dyeing.  Blue sky with some sunny clouds, a stream for some goldfish and lily pods.  Gray with speckles of dye for the paving stones and flecked ecru, tan, gold etc for the rock walls and bridge.  My idea is to take the paving stone and rock wall fabric and embroider the stones with sashiko embroidery.  

Anyway that is next after the undread sweet surrender.  Its good to have the next project in your mind for your unconscious to work on for you and come up with some neat ideas.

AND NOW.....
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN


This endless, continuously spiraling whirl pool is the creation of artist Anish Kapoor.  Named Descension, it is located on pier 1 of Brooklyn.  It is 26 feet in diameter made with black dye and invites the viewer to loose themselves in another world.  Kapoor's artistic leaning is to destabilize the physical world so we can see the world from another view. For more info and other photos, see...... 

http://www.designboom.com/art/anish-kapoor-descension-public-art-fund-brooklyn-bridge-park-new-york-02-17-2017/   
That's all for this week-so long and happy quilting!

I am linking up with:

Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
and Off the Wall Friday.           


Sunday, February 12, 2017

IN WHICH PERSEVERANCE IS SHOWN TO HAVE PAID OFF!

I have put together two rows of the dreaded Sweet Surrender! 


They went together pretty well.  There is some floppiness in play  especially on the left hand edge but all and all-pretty good!  Here was my method:




For the first row I cut templates for all the triangles both appliqued and pieced.  However, I found that I had cut the appliqued triangles most accurately (!) so decided no paper template would be required for them.  The templates where cut allowing 1/4 seam allowance.  So I pressed the pieced triangles well, got out my trusty elmers glue, and pasted the template to the back of the pieced triangle. (I tried pinning but too slippery).  I trimmed off any excess of which there rarely was any-mostly the pieced blocks were short on the seams.  Okay!  Since I knew my appliqued triangles were good, I  matched the two ends of the triangles together and eased in any excess.  The paper template was exact and was the standard.  Lots of the pieced triangles have skinny seams.

So there you have it!  I will do the next 2 rows this week-slow but steady progress!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Usually I work on one project at a time but currently I am working on three different aspects of my craft: assembling the dreaded Sweet Surrender, completing my Wild quilting craftsy class, and painting Arabesque.

The block below represents the synthesis of all the lessons Christina Camelli has taught us.  This has been a wonderful class and I am sorry it is ending.  The block is only partially quilted.  I find I love dense quilting and I also want to make this the most interesting quilting job I am capable of.  So I quilt as the ideas as to what to quilt next occur to me.  I started with quilting the big swoop across the quilt and am building on that.  I know I am supposed to just flow from one area to the other utilizing what I have learned but I guess that is not me.  Flowing will come in time.  Here is where we stand now:

  Here is the reason for the cat fur:  Helper Kitten! She is all over "our" work with furry suggestions.


It is so hard to photograph black.I am using varigated thread but it does not really show up and the black does not look really black.  The big circle drawn in is a thought to maybe do a Krista Withers sort of thing which would emphasize the geometric. Who knows what my fingers will think up.

 When this is finished, i will move on the quilting Chuck Susan and Me-each little square will be different. I have half the body of the quilt assembled in quilt sandwiches ready to go and have purchased my thread.

My paints arrived the other day-so many pretty colors!  I am not sure how I want to use them so I made little samples of the colors with labels so I can move them around and see what is what.


I was not sure where to start so I painted the stems.  i used a jade/spruce green.  I feel so meditative when I do this like a medieval monk at Lindesfarne painting illuminated manuscripts.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I told you last week how funding for the National Endowment for the Arts maybe eliminated and how this will affect quilt museums.  Our biggest and best quilt museum- National Quilt Museum in Paducah-is asking for donations to sell as a fund raiser-kind of a quilter's bake sale.  Info is below if you want to donate-go to their webpage.  I am going to donate 2 quilts.



AND NOW......
Your moment of Zen!

Beekeeping!
When we think of beekeeping we think of white wooden boxes or maybe one of those adorable basket skeps.  Here is one even more unique from the Cevenne region of France.  Here, for centuries, they have been keeping bees in hollowed logs:


These hollowed logs like like a forest of giant toadstools. The beekeeper gets at the honey by turning over log as you can see below.  Apparently the bees love these homes as they are close to its natural habitat in an old dead hollow tree or fallen log.
We keep bees when we lived on our farm.  Here is the only photo I have of the beehives.  This was our first one-it was early spring-the big jar is filled with honey water to help the bees make it until the flowers started to bloom.  We added two more layers to the hive and as these bees outgrew the hive and began to swarm, we captured the swarms and eventually had 3 hives.  This photo was taken about 1976 before digital camera when we just used film and you never knew what kind of photo you were going to get.  I wish I had taken more.

You can just make out the bees on the landing.  They are stretching their spring legs.

SO LONG AND HAPPY QUILTING!

I am linking up with:

Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
and Off the Wall Friday.           



Sunday, February 5, 2017

IN WHICH PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE ON THE DREADED SWEET SURRENDER!




Above are the 6 remaining diamonds for SS-completed as you can see!  I almost packed the whole thing away as it feels so un-sympatico to me right now.  But I persevered and have begun the assembling process.  

This process is also fraught with potential disasters as each piece is sewn on the diagonal and, given my piecing skills, is likely to end up a some bizarre trapezoid.  I have given this some thought over the last several months and decided on using a foundation piecing method.  ie:





This method was working pretty but things got out of kilter very quickly.You can see the appliqued diamonds are placed higher than the pieced triangles.  Also, though you cannot see it in the photo, the edge of the last appliqued diamond rests against the drawn line so there is no seam allowance.  AAAARRRGGHH!  Back to the drawing board.

My next idea:  since I have nice template the exact size without seams of the triangles, I am going to draw a pattern with seam allowances for each diamond, carefully pin the diamond to the pattern piece, and stitch at 1/4 inch.  This should prevent stretching on the bias and size up nicely.  Who knows???  We will find out-more next week.

ON TO OTHER THINGS!

Below is a photo of our yellow lab, Rommy.  You can see his relationship to the squirrels-they are not exactly terrified of him.

Here they are sharing the downfall of sunflower seeds from the bird feeder.  


I visited a quilt museum a while back.  We are within driving range of several good ones: Paducah, Des Moines, Lincoln NE, Omaha, and The Poos in Kansas city.  I got to chatting with the management of one the quilt museum we visited about the importance of National Endowment of the Arts funding for quilt museums.  The NEA provides the majority of the funding and now Congress is talking seriously about completely ending the funding for the NEA.  This generally means these museums will close.  Our taxes and our government at work does so much and many good things that we don't even notice until they are gone.  Please write your congressman about this funding before quilt museums disappear.


I had a busy with business week-a visit to KC for stuff and a visit to the eye surgeon.  I have developed cataracts and will have lens replacement in a few weeks.  I asked the Dr exactly what a cataract was and he described as clouding and distortion of the lens.  I asked him if cataracts result in vision which is like looking thru old glass and he said that was a good analogy.  One's vision becomes is as if one is looking out this window.
This is a different process from lasix which improves vision by shaving the cornea.  UHG!

And Now....
Your moment of Zen

Isn't this the crosswalk you always wanted?  Turns a mundane walk across the road into a high wire, twisty foot bridge over a school of fishes.  Are they piranhas?  Maybe it is a clear jungle stream below and it might be nice to fall thru the foot pieces and swim with the fish below.

This urban art is the work of Canadian Peter Gibson who also did the painting below.  I believe these two are in Montreal.


This one Peter created in sympathy with refugees in holding pens in different parts of the world.  You can really see the imagination, scale, and detail in this photo.  

So long and happy quilting!
I am linking up with:


Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
and Off the Wall Friday.           


PS-don't forget the GBBW on Feb 17!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

IN WHICH WE DEMONSTRATE OUR NEW FREE MOTION QUILTING SKILLS!!

I have lots to talk about today but first I want to show you what I have been working on:
I am really proud of this piece!  This is my interpretation of lesson #5 in Christina Cameli's Craftsy class Wild Quilting. The object of this lesson was to demonstrate that wild quilting is a continuous process-that is one stitches from one element to another rather than going back and filling in.  I started with the big curvy feather filling in the empty spaces with the little spirals gradually working outward to the next feather. And so on.  What I like about this piece is how nicely the feathers fill the space and the sense of movement which is echoed by the spirals.

Here is my work for lesson #4:
I personally think this piece is a bit stiff.  Part of the definition of wild quilting is spontaneity.  This piece was planned out.  I had a hard time with this lesson and sketched out the pattern to quilt.  Christina says she does this also especially when she was beginning.  There are several elements to this piece which I like:  I like the undulating lines which create movement (big movement lover) complemented by the rigid up and down lines.  I love the center motifs I created.  All in all, I think it is good for a beginning piece.   Lesson #6 is next where we put together all we have learned.

And finally, I quilted the pattern for the Arabesque which I will be painting:
The paints should arrive in the mail tomorrow so maybe I will be brave enough to get started.  Most of the quilted lines above are continuous lines.  You can see where I have improved my control skills to make more even, smooth lines but still have a ways to go.  The square is about 16x16 inches.

There you have it-free motion quilting-I am proud of myself!!

Update on the dreaded Sweet Surrender

Okay, I have done some work on this-all six triangles have their 10 diamonds and 5 triangles made and in individual bags to keep them separate.  Maybe this week I will do some actual stitching. 

Speaking of Sweet Surrender, Judi Madsen has very kindly given me permission to display her quilting job on a Sweet Surrender she did for a client.  It is stunning!!  She makes the quilt come alive.  Here are a few photos:


Isn't this lovely!!  You can see more on her blog Green fairy Quilts.  Also she has a new class thru Iquilt called Fabulous background for Applique  which looks very good.  I will probably take that class in hopes it helps me quilt SS.


GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT!

It is that time of the year again.  No matter where you live in the world you can record bird populations for Audubon/Cornell University.  You can spend as much or as little time as you want-they appreciate bird info from all sources.  You can find more at: http://gbbc.birdcount.org/ 
It is fun and you become part of something bigger.

Speaking of wild life, my husband saw an amusing sight on his walk in the woods.  He was walking by a frozen, snow covered creek.  There sat two beavers with their heads together over a hole in the frozen creek.  They looked for all the world like two engineers discussing how best to proceed with this important piece of work-how best to keep it open, maybe deciding work rotas or any improvements as this is their life line from their den to the world outside.

A NEW BIT FOR MY BLOG:

Your moment of Zen:
(Thank you John Stewart-we miss you so much but we are thankful you have bequeathed us Samantha Bee and the madman Steven Colbert)


I intend this new bit to be a look at some whimsical, natural, or other image which might give one a different outlook on life.  Last week it was the beauty of chrysalises. This week it is the unbelievable magic of this castle fairyland of the frozen north which takes us all back to our childhoods and being read fairy tales maybe the one of the Ice Princess!

So long and happy quilting!

I am linking up with:

Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
and Off the Wall Friday.           




Wednesday, January 18, 2017

IN WHICH WE BEGIN TO EMERGE FROM OUR CHRYSALIS.

No posts for one month.  I have been hibernating and as all of you who have experienced a total withdrawal from anything creative, it can be hard.


Mexican Tile
This time things were a bit different however.  Instead of the usual depression and anxiety (will it ever come back????!!), I became curious as to what was going to happen.  I guess I have been thru this grueling experience often enough to know inspiration does return.  So I peacefully sat with kitten in the recliner and played computer games (I like adventure puzzle games like the Longest Journey or Grim Fandango) and just generally chilled to wait it out.

What seems to have emerged is a new emphasis on free motion quilting and then to paint the quilted design.  I know I will never give up applique as this is my real love.  Just mixing it up a bit.  The block above is my first attempt at fabric painting which I finished yesterday.  I used Jacquard textile paint on Kona cotton which was prepared for dyeing (really just washed to remove some finisher).  The batting was 2 layers: cream warm and natural and black hobbs 2/80 with black backing.  Double batting makes a nice loft and the black absorbs any bleed thru.   Here are photos of the back and the front before it was painted.


You can see the little wobbles in the quilting but this were greatly minimized during the painting process.  I looked at Mexican tiles while thinking about this and worked on designs until I realized a continuous line pattern.

I have drawn out another piece to paint-in fact it was the original drawing I made to begin fabric painting-but I decided to start on something simpler for my first project hence the colorful Mexican tile.  I am glad I did this because I learned some pitfalls and techniques.  I had not taken a class or anything but watched a couple you-tube videos.

Here is my next piece which is based on Near Eastern design especially that of the Cairo Tentmakers. (Google this).

I am not quite finished with the design yet and am thinking of using jewel tones to paint it.  Pretty exciting!

Darn Quiltmania! I was so relieved I did not want to make this year's mystery quilt-I have enough projects in my mental list.  What did they do?  In the January issue they feature the most lovely pattern by Yoko Saito called Imaginary Garden which looks like she has tossed flowers onto the background.  It is just my style.  Maybe I can paint a version.

I have begun the process of quilting Chuck, Susan, and Me.  One of the problems with beginning this was the backing fabric was too yellow.  I overdyed it a bit to subdue it and it is usable now.  


What do you think?  I was trying to make the backing agree with the yellow in the border fabric.  The original is on the left and the overdyed is on the right.  

And finally, I have resumed work on the dreaded triangles for Sweet surrender.  I have had no choice but to take this to my sewing machine.  I form the fabric around the paper pieces and then carefully sew on the edges of the paper.  The results are not quite a pretty as when I did it by hand but there's exceptionally pretty and there is completed.  It was one or the other. And completed won out! I sewed the 6 edge triangles-all that remains is 6 big triangles.



While I was hibernating I explored being a chrysalis.  They are quite beautiful and I was proud to be a part of that. Which one would you be?





I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
and Off the Wall Friday.           


Saturday, December 17, 2016

IN WHICH WE HAVE OUR FIRST DAY OF SNOW! 

Tonight's temperatures will reach -10 F.  It is good to be inside and watch the snow swirling out there where it cannot reach me.  The cats have taken to their kitty heating pads and the birds are crowding in at the feeder.

I have been making progress on Sweet Surrender.  I am slowing working away on the pieced triangles intermixing that with FMQ practice.  Here is SS so far:





None  of the applique and pieced sections are in their proper place yet-I will do the layout when all the triangles are finished.  I have 6 more big triangles to piece and and 6 half triangles for the edges.  This paper piecing is very hard on my hands and shoulders so I am taking it slowly.  Appliqueing never bothers me probably because that work requires more movement of hands and shoulders but for epp, one sits and stitches in the same posture continuously.

Finishing the pieced triangles will probably take me a few weeks.  I alternate this tiresome job with the fun one of Free Motion Quilting practice.  I told you I have been taking a wonderful class from Christina Cameli-Wild Quilting on the Craftsy platform.  I cannot say enough good about this class.  We begin by making 6 fat quarter quilt sandwiches and use these to progress thru the lessons.  I have completed lessons 1, 2, & 3.  Quilting from lesson 1 was shown last post and here is lesson 2:


This lesson was on grouped combinations. This has been liberating for me as I am being more spontaneous and less critical as I quilt.  For a person who began this blog 6 months ago describing her terror at FMQ, this spontaneity and its associated feeling of freedom demonstrates so much growth.  The actual quilting may not be spectacular but the ease with which I did it was.

Here is lesson three-blended combinations:


Christina is such a lovely person and her lessons are so instructive.  I really recommend this class!  It is a 10!

As I said, the snow is falling and winter is definitely here.  The birds are arguing over the sunflower seeds and we cannot kept the feeders full.  Here is a pretty wren:

And here is one of the many goldfinches visiting us right now:
He is waiting his turn at the feeder.  The sparrows are such greedy, aggressive birds that it is harder for the smaller goldfinches to claim a perch.  In the winter, the pretty yellow of the goldfinches dulls to this muddy yellow.  But wait until spring!

The next couple of weeks will be very busy for everyone.  I send out best wishes for everyone to have a merry and happy Christmas time!

If you can squeeze it in your busy schedule, happy quilting!


I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
and Off the Wall Friday.