Saturday, April 20, 2013

Friends are such a gift!

This past week has been such a good week for me...I got to meet up with two good friends from the west!  First I got to see my friend Kathy...she made me presentable ... and I'm so thankful!  (My husband will be "walking on May 4th" to receive his Doctorate of Ministry and I of course want to look my best.  I'm so proud of him!

Kathy is my hairdresser...since 1996 or 1997, I don't remember which year.  Kathy and I used to sitting side by side in a Precepts Bible Study together for several years. One day I came to Bible Study and Kathy noticed my bangs.  I had tried to cut my bangs under the directions of another hairdresser which turned out disastrous! Kathy corrected what I messed up, and encouraged me to never try that again!  She's cut my hair ever since. We have such good talks, and I love hearing her heart!  She is a great confidant for me!

Then after my time with Kathy, I was able to arrange a time with Jeri -- both on the same day!  Jeri is someone special to me as well.  She not only is helping me become a better quilter but she also helps me "see" in a way I wouldn't normally see.

But our times together are not just quilt talk ...she's the kind of friend that listens, and helps me get over "bumps" and encourages me to avoid pitfalls.  We basically talk fast and furious when we get together...we talk about everything with lots of laughter thrown in. This week we entered the circle of "horsetrading".  What fun!  I savor the laughs and ideas shared until my next "Jeri fix".  I am so thankful for this gift!

This morning I was able to have some time creating/playing in my sewing room.  I was supposed to be doing other things but I kept feeling this pull, this sense of being drawn to create more.  It was so much fun... Sometimes I think I could play for days!

So what am I  up to?

  • I am currently working on 3 new works.  I'm trying more new techniques...its quite the combo.  Its a zentangle drawing I made, that I'm putting into fabric that will have lots of thread play as well as quilting.

  • Then there's an art piece that I'm calling "Dregs from the Cutting Board a la Booat', and it will be along the lines of the Stupendous Stitching class I took on Craftsy.  

  • The third piece is for my new little grandchild that will be arriving in late June.  This is an owl quilt (as my daughter-in-law loves owls, and when I showed her this pattern and explained that I wanted to make a baby quilt for her, would this pattern be okay? And she said "Yes, please, please, please!" So I'm making 16 owls, 4 trees, and some small blocks too.  And that will be only the front.  The backside is being planned, and it should be fun and playful.  I LOVE decorating the me, each quilt offers 2 opportunities for creativity!

Do I have other projects waiting?  Oh yes, and I'll continue to finish these, some as gifts and some as "samples".  That's another Jeri-ism.  She has helped me over a major pitfall!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Caught Up for Now!

I am participating in an Art Quilt of the Month Sew Along with Joanne-Threadhead . I'm testing different fun techniques on small art quilts so as not to consume tons of time. Today I finished a birthday present (an art quilt but not part of the series, and then I've completed March and April. I am loving this!

March's quilt is machine quilting feathers and different background fillers.  Joanne-Threadhead has a posted a challenge on Sew Cal Gal, and I'm just starting on this challenge. (Sew Cal Gal hosted a yearlong program on free motion quilting. And she even arranged sponsors to give big prizes  as well as monthly prizes. Each month was hosted by a different well known teacher!  It was like taking a class every month with a "big name" free motion quilt teacher. I would never have been able to afford classes that Sew Cal Gal offered.  Thanks again Sew Cal Gal!) Joanne offers a tutorial on free motion quilting, quilting feathers and a whole lot more.  She is so very versatile and productive! So check it out -- its really great!

Here is "Pearls Adorning Feathers" which is my art quilt for March.  I'm thinking about adding more pearls...just don't know.  I've quilted another feather piece (as part of Joanne's challenge and there will be more of this type of quilted pieces to come.)  My goal on this piece was to quilt on a satin sample to see the effect.  I've also quilted on silk  Each fabric offers different qualities. I'm also working with different types of batting as well.

My friend Linda, (Joanie's mother-in-law) makes fancy dresses and has given me some beautiful satin scraps. Its fun to have such a colorful supply handy!

April's quilt is "Sunrise over Orchard Hill".  I took a landscape plan and the scribble tree idea from a Laura Wasilowski and Frieda Anderson book that I got from a PBS special.  I love the fusing! But I learned the hard way that its easy to "kill the glue".

One of my childhood memories is picking cherries just before the sun came up. We would actually arrive at the orchard as it was getting light. I remember being so cold, and not wanting to move.  But up the ladder we each would go and the sound of a few cherries "plunking" in a large bucket was so daunting at times.  Sometimes it seemed like it took forever to fill up that bucket!

Here is a birthday present that I'm giving to a friend.  Its my first attempt at mounting a smaller picture on a larger background.  The background is machine quilted beforehand and it has a hanger on the back to mount it on the wall.

I'm still embracing my imperfections and yes, I like it!  Yes, there is room for improvement but isn't that true of everything?

 This is Hidden Lake, and I've got a bit more to do on the mountains for shading but other than than it is done.  I will mount this picture a different way than the previous picture, but it will also be hung on a wall.

This is the next beach picture I'm working on.  Its a post-card size, and I've added some beads to it for tactile reasons.  Will be adding some thread painting to this as well as the other.  I love making art quilts.

I might be keeping this one as it brings back another childhood memory of a family vacation we took when my baby brother was maybe one year old.  So that would have been in the early sixties.  Its wonderful that the Lord gave us the capacity for memories!

Now I am caught up ..... current for the time being.  May is already half done, and I will be doing some machine applique over some fusible, and thread painting as well.  And yes there will be machine quilting as well.  My goal is to improve.  I want to find a way to bind quilts that doesn't include handwork.  Though I dearly love it, it is not always possible.  I will savor times of knitting.  Oh, and I've got May half done.  I'm planning June and July as well.  New techniques coming!  I love it!

I'm starting to want to piece some quilts.  I've got some large quilts to finish up.  So I'm thankful for my mom's machine which is great for piecing, and my own machine which is great for free motion quilting!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Embracing my imperfections!

In March (or was it February), I finished up some projects.  Right now they're hanging on my kitchen wall (which is kind of like a trophy case), but who knows where these will end up or with whom....

But for the record, and with the wonderful encouragement of Jeri, they are finished, and Jeri I thank you for helping are a gift!

This little quilt (7x10") reminds me of the morning glories and other flowers that grew by my grandmother's backdoor in Wapato, Washington.  I can still hear the banging of the wooden screen door in the summertime.  Hollyhocks also grew there, and I remember them fondly. This is a fused quilt pattern from Laura Wasilowski.  I love her sense of humor and how she includes hand stitches to add depth to her patterns.  She has several wonderful books out and the latest includes stitch directions as well as some beautiful patterns.  Its called "Fanciful Stitches Colorful Quilts.  She is the Dean of the Chicago School of Fusing, and has a wonderful sense of humor.  I was temporarily "kicked out" because I became a glue killer!  She's a lot of fun.  Visit her blog Artfabrik and have some laughs!

The next quilt (another pattern from Laura Wasilowski) includes some wool and hand embroidery. I was wanting to keep the project simple, and so where I could've added more stitches (I'm sure the Dean would've encouraged that!), I just finished it. Sometimes, done is good.

Accepting imperfection is hard for me, especially letting you see all the mistakes. But I'm using the excuse, "this is an organic art piece which adds to its homemade charm".  

Last but not least is a favorite piece of mine.  This little quilt is called "Stacked Bricks" and I made it originally while living in Missoula.  I love this odd little quilt with its darker colors...I was coming out of my Amish quilt phase at the time.  And I do love my Amish quilts.  That was such a special time in my life.

I'm learning much these days.  You can know a lot of things about quilting but there is nothing like experience to prove the theory.  And I have the mistakes to prove it.  Oh,...but wait...they are organic art pieces and originals (because of my imperfections) which adds to their homemade charm!....

Time For Show and Tell! Art Quilts 2013

Its April 1st which typically means " watch out for those who would play a joke on you", but for me its a catch-up day.  I've been working on an art quilt a month and posting with a new friend via email/blogs. Her son nick named her "Threadhead" and so she has become Joanne Threadhead.  Here is a link to her blog And today I get to reveal my art quilts for January and February.

These art quilts don't have any special criteria expect for the fact that they will be 9x7 as they will be bound in a book at the end of the year.
This is Borealis falling - January Art quilt

 For January, I chose to play with special threads and some fabrics I just love.  I had some "what if" ideas, and tried them out.  And boy am I learning
alot! I couldn't get my flash turned off....

All the things you might find around trees...even an inchworm!Then two weeks before Pediatric Clinic started at University of Puget Sound Occupational Therapy Program (that's where I work), they needed a mirror cover.  The mirror is used at times, and they wanted to cover the mirror when it wasn't in use.  The mirror is 2' by 5'.  I was up for a challenge!  I had so much fun playing and making this a very tactile and 3d child's mirror cover.  February's art quilt mimics the mirror quilted cover.
The leaves are three dimensional, the owl is made of wool, felt, and even the material used to put on the feet of children's sleepers, and the tree trunk is made from flannel.
March's gift of pink tulips

March is my birthday month, and one of the things I love is that the tulips begin to bloom.  This month I wanted to try a technique of fusing used by Frieda Anderson. I am using her hand dyed fabrics, and her pattern....and I've run out of month.  But I am continuing anyway. Frieda has a wonderful technique of mounting art on a peltex frame, and that I what I will end up doing.  I will do one for my book and then one as a gift.... maybe for myself.  Take a look and try these out! They're great!

These will be tulips in two shades....but right now you can't tell that!  LOL.  I love the background fabric and can't wait to quilt it.  There will be some serious stitching time spent on this -- which I dearly love.

Then I'm trying to decide how to end this.  This is a stupendous stitching class by Carol Ann Waugh, and I've entitled it "Breaking Out of the Box". Its ended up as more hand stitching than I had planned ... I do enjoy it. I haven't decided whether I'll mount it as part of my "series" or just what.  

Breaking Out of the Box, Stupendous Stitching, Craftsy Class, by Carol Ann Waugh
April?  April will be an interesting project.  So interesting I'm torn between which technique to try next.  There is a birthday coming up, and I plan to give a gift, so that means I need to get busy.  It will be a two-fer.  One for my art quilt book and one as a gift.

Thank you Joanne for allowing me to join you on this creative trek!  It means the world to me!  Its so great to be trying out all these different techniques!