This last month has been surprisingly productive given the craziness of my work and family life. I think my creative life feeds on it a little bit though. The less time I have, the more ideas I come up with and the more I need to make. Can anyone relate?
I started and ended the month with blocks finished for Debbie in our Bee Sewcial group. She gave us the mission of making Midcentury Modern blocks. Find her block post about it here: A Quilter's Table: Bee Sewcial Goes Mid-Century. What a fun endeavor this has been once again. I did some improv curves with inset ovals. I made up a paper piecing pattern for a MCM star, experimented with a boomerang shape utilizing the 6 minute circle technique (It worked!) and lastly made up some very geometric appetizers to finish up this fun buffet. It’s all I can to keep from sharing my month’s mission which begins in September. Can’t wait!
Of course, I have been bag making too. I am really inspired by the new book out by Anna of Noodlehead, “Handmade Style” (Handmade Style: 23 Must-Have Basics to Stitch, Use, and Wear: Anna Graham: 9781940655062: Amazon.com: Books). I channeled her Tablet Case pattern and modified it (as I tend to do) and made three bags, the last being one for my dad for Father’s Day. I used my stitched toaster for one, recycled a french knot project for another and did some more stitch sketching/free motion quilting on left over painter’s drop cloth in the shape of a camera for the third. To add interest, I used unfinished leather for the binding and tiny pockets in all of them.
My friend Sondra and I are collaborating on some bags together too so I combined vinyl and paper reproductions of her works with leather and took them back to her today as she plans to add paint, mica and other ornamentation. I can’t wait to see them finished.
In the selfish sewing department, as we are headed to some cold weather soon I combined some organic fleece I had previously hand dyed with linen and left over Malabrigo Rasta Wool for a scarf. It was picked as a Craft/Make Magazine online weekly favorite this last week (CRAFT Flickr Pool Weekly Roundup | Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos, Electronics, Crafts and Ideas for Makers | MAKE: Craft)-so fun.
Lastly, I finished up a quilt top I started in December. I call it “Stars and Stripes” though there really aren’t either to be found on this modern American Flag variation. I am excited to have a quilt that I can take out on future 4th of Julys. It’s fun to see it mixed in with my other quilts-geometric lover anyone?
Happy 4th friends.
Last winter here in Northern California we faced what they thought would be the “storm of a century”. Since we live on a piece of property with a lot of trees this typically means electricity going out, trees down and several days of time off the grid. As we prepped bringing out lamps, blankets and our generator, it brought to mind the mood and the phrase “Batten Down the Hatches” and a quilt design was born. I grabbed a large piece of orange/red Kona cotton and made it a pieced porthole with which i filled improv curved waves and sky. The huge storm as it turned out never came to pass BUT I was left with a throw sized quilt top that grew on me daily and begged for some special quilting that I knew I was not up to.
I’ve mentioned before that 2015 has been a year of collaboration for me. This latest quilt is the child of one such amazing union. The free motion quilting work of Christina Cameli (A Few Scraps) is epic, truly. To be honest I had no idea how special her art was until I held the fruits of it in my hands. As I was pondering how to finish this piece, I threw out the idea of collaborating to Christina and lucky me, she said yes.
She filled this quilt with beautiful free form art that tells quite a story. We both have since acknowledged the fact that somehow working with another makes you travel roads you would have never considered. I am so thankful we got to travel the journey together.
Christina will be teaching several free motion classes at Quiltcon 2016. One of them is titled “Wild Quilting” and uses this quilt and other works as inspiration. Catch this quilt and Christina at Quiltcon if you can. I promise, you will find her work and teaching inspiring.
What started as a friendship in creativity and motherhood turned into a challenge to expand our horizons and spend some juicy time together. My friend Robin King (@r0bingail on instagram and Robin Gail Art on Facebook) is an amazing artist and our times together are full of painting, needlework, children and dressing up. When the Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge (Umbrella Prints: 2015 Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge #umbrellaprintstrimmingschallenge) came around again this year, I knew that I wanted to do it together.
To start our project, we had an image in our minds of a child holding something precious and stumbled across a picture of her daughter at a younger age holding one of their ducklings. This picture became the basis for our piece and Robin drew her image on inexpensive painter’s drop cloth. Taking inspiration from the work of Kristin LaFlamme (Musings | Kristin La Flamme | Textile Art), I tried my hand at free motion quilting for the first time and stitch sketched over the image with my sewing machine. Robin and I added some eyelet for a dress and then cut up the beautiful Umbrella Prints scraps into feather shapes that we then glue basted down in the shape of a duckling. There was little more then lint left after using all of the scraps! From there I free motion quilted the feathers and fabric down with invisible polyester thread and backed it all with waterproof oilcloth to make a picnic blanket that we got to test out with our kiddos at Robin’s house.
The best part of this project was spending time with such a special, creative lady and trying out so many new things. I have no doubt we will spend more time together pushing and nurturing each other in our paths as mothers, friends and artists.
I love the Goodwill. How fun is it to find treasures among cast off and used clothing? These items for the most part are lovingly dropped off with the hopes that they can be used and they represent to me the beautiful mixture of our society. Young people, old people, people of every color under the sun, big and small people, gay and straight, rich and poor-their cast offs all show up and are equally treasured.
I purposely try to limit my exposure to “the news” and it’s 24 hour stream directed my way but the Indiana’s recent anti-gay law and the current case being argued at the Supreme Court have riled me. How can we deny many of my friends and their families the same rights guaranteed other couples and families just because of their sexual orientation?
So of course, I made a quilt as that is how my emotions are often best expressed. My Triangle in a Triangle block uses the stripes strategically to make two equilateral triangles (TWO EQUALS) and how better to show them off using all varieties of striped shirts from the Goodwill (where people of all sorts are represented)? All different and yet all the same. They remind me somewhat of Kaffe Fassett’s shirt quilts. I purposefully surrounded the crazy pieces in a solid denim border to ground them a bit and hope to show off some special quilting I have planned.
Love is Love. Let’s hope the Supreme Court agrees.
Losing myself in some thoughtless creativity this week. My work has been especially brutal from an emotional perspective-too much tragedy for certain. Can sewing be therapy? YES, YES, YES!!!
I finished a quilt top that has been several months in the making. I was initially inspired by wood panelling made by artist Ariele Alasko (ariele alasko) For me, is easy to see many of her designs interpreted as quilts. It morphed in the making, as my creations always do and required sewing and unpicking several times to get right.
On my daily drives I pass by a beautiful abandoned gas station. It is a remnant of the old Lincoln Highway that is now virtually unused since they built Highway 80 here in Northern California. The blue wall and wood paneling of the station called for pictures (and that color combo deserves a quilt too don’t you think?). While I stopped and set up my portable backdrop, the elderly owner came out to chat. No question he was leery of me at first but warmed quickly when he saw my quilt. It is hard for anyone to be threatened by that. As I drove away I realized the quilt needed to be called “Old Blue Eyes” as the blue diamonds remind me of a steel blue gaze and in reference to the lovely old man who let me take pictures on his property.
I finished my pieced Maze and Vale Circle Quilt today. It reminds so many people of donuts that I am calling it “A Quilter’s Dozen” Quilt. (the name was suggested by an Instagram friend. Thanks T. Ninoe) To see the details of my planning and piecing look back at my previous blog post about it (Quilting Calm | Entropy Always Wins).
Concentric Square quilting with Aurifil thread centered over the upper secondary square pattern was done in hopes of highlighting it. I used pepper cotton in a blue for the backing to match the Japanese indigo dyed circle on the front and bound it all in a natural linen.
I am about to embark on a complicated bias tape quilt (my first attempt at bias tape quilting). Wish me luck!
I think most of us who “make” would admit that half of the motivation to do so is in the therapy it provides. Have you ever made something because you needed the excitement or the calm the object channeled? I’m not often conscious of these motivations until I’m done with a piece.
Lately I’ve needed a little calm and this quilt top filled the bill. At the end of December, I took advantage of a sale Leslie Keating was having and bought some beautiful Maze and Vale fabric along with one of her quilts. If you don’t already know, I have a huge soft spot for hand printed and dyed fabric. Leslie’s work is amazing. (Maze & Vale.)
I actually drew out a design but then quickly abandoned it and started piecing half circles and circles. I hated the idea of cutting this gorgeous fabric up so tried to make big blocks to keep it intact as much as possible. I threw in a Japanese Indigo dyed linen and some mustard linen as well. Can you see my inspiration in the printed mustard circle of Leslie’s baby blanket?
There is a hidden square on the piece on the top middle. It was a completely delightful “accident”. I LOVE this quilt top and the calm I get gazing at it. This one will go on my wall once finished. I’m auditioning names for this guy and somehow the cheesy 80s songs which have been my naming inspiration of late don’t seem right. If you have any suggestions, I am all ears.
Working in an Emergency Department sometimes feels like being at ground zero of a community’s addiction issues and my medical career thus far can be classified by the locations and eras I have practiced and favored drugs of abuse: Seattle – Heroin, Cleveland – Crack Cocaine, Sacramento – Methamphetamine and now in Northern California – Prescription Narcotics. Wanting to portray the mixed blessing of prescription narcotics and inspired by the modern painter Cecil Touchon, I dreamed up a statement quilt. 5/325 stands for the most common dose of hydrocone/acetaminophen my colleagues and I prescribe. I have long admired the hand dyed fabrics of Kim Eichler-Messmer and am a huge fan of her book. This quilt and a few others I have planned call for these kinds of special fabrics. With limited time to make my own, I went straight to the source with my kooky ideas. Although Kim didn’t know I was planning to make a quilt specific to prescription narcotics, amazingly she was willing to play along and hand dyed fabric for me on commission. (If you ever get a chance to see or purchase her quilts, fabric or book do it!)
To start this piece, I grabbed my laptop and projector, found a bold font I liked and traced 5/325 onto the white fabric.
I then hand basted the it to Kim’s beautiful blue fabric. Channeling Touchon, I cut up the fabric randomly and then needle turn appliquéd each wonky piece.
Finally, I put together the pieces like a mixed up puzzle and machine sewed them together again. I got to try out Y seams for the first time with some luck. Finger pressing the seams as I wanted them to lay then sewing on the folds I had formed seemed to work.
I’m hoping to hand quilt this piece and would like to explore finishing the edges without binding.
Wish me luck.
Let me introduce you to my Minimalist Baby Quilt.
My son who was riding his scooter all over the property was kind enough to stop and hold up my quilt for a picture. It tickles me to see a quilt with he and his scooter in the background. 🙂I got the idea for this design from a modern poster that I saw somewhere but can’t remember the exact source. Yep, I’m all about cirlces these days. I must admit this was a pretty darn easy design to make with a large pieced circle that I then cut in half and inserted a strip of Kona white. The striped fabric is Ikea canvas. The tight quilting I used with the design made up for the ease in piecing. I used my walking foot with aurifil thread and tried to emphasize the simple pieced shapes. I don’t know that I have ever done such tight quilting before and it was interesting to see how it changed the feel and form of the quilt.
It felt great to finish this lovely up before I embark on a busy work week.
Have a good one.
For those who have not already met him I would like to introduce my submission into the Modern Category of the Fall Version of the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, Big Blue. (And for the folks who have already seen this quilt on my blog thank you for bearing with me.) This quilt along with many of my recent makings is inspired by the clean hard lines of Modern Art. Specifically, the work of minimalist painter Alain Biltereyst and one of his tiny paintings highly influenced my big quilt.
As I made this quilt believe it or not I did not draw up a plan but instead started cutting and sewing pieces together. Crazy as it is, that is how I make up most quilts and also likely why this quilt that was meant to be a baby quilt became much larger then expected. I used Kona Cottons on the front and Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen for the back and it measures 60 by 86 inches.
The quilt was beautifully quilted by Emily Sessions of Emerson Quilting.
emerson quilting | longarm quilt design.
Please check out my quilt as well as all the beautiful quilts being featured at the Blogger’s Quilt Festival via the link below.