Friday, September 19, 2014

Color Journals: Grey for Lisa

I couldn't wait to get my turn at this project. Lisa chose grey as her color, and rather than making a book, she asked us all to make small panels that would hang together in her meditation room. I'm next-to-last on this project, so I had the delight of looking at her amazing collection of pieces for the whole Aug-Sept month. I didn't want to presume to photograph other people's work for my blog, and I am sorry that you, my Faithful Readers, can't see it. It's astonishing how much color variation exists within the realm of "grey."

I used 1" diamonds in 36 different fabrics to build a hexagon, then I quilted it with -- what else? -- the flower of life motif that works so well with this pattern. I added a little swirly feathering in the grey border, and some beads for some sparkly contrast along the edges.
Lisa's grey hex panel
I wasn't sure what to do for the back, but just as I was getting this project together, Urban Threads offered a free (!) pattern that was perfect for the "healing" theme that Lisa requested. Serendipity!! The border fabric is a text piece with words like "zen", "wabi sabi" etc.---another bit of serendipity brought to you courtesy of the Strategic Fabric Reserves.
Reverse of Lisa's grey hex panel
In the lower photo, you may be able to make out the snowflake obsidian beads that I used to attach it to the neighboring piece. I'm sure she'll be sharing this next summer at the Greater Hartford Quilt Show -- don't miss it!! I am super jealous (not in a Deadly Sin sort of way, just in a Profound Appreciation sort of way) that I didn't come up with this idea for my own project.

We're in the last round now, so I have to make a green garden page for Holly...and then I can post photos of my own spectacular orange hex book!!

Color Journals: Blue and Brown for Rose

I made this page earlier in the summer, but since Rose was on vacation when I showed it, I held off on blogging so she would see it in person first. Her colors really aren't "mine" although I do appreciate the sky/earth concept that she has mentioned several times. I know that Rose's family enjoyed a trip to Alaska several years ago, so I started with a Google search for "Alaskan art." The native motifs of salmon, bear, and orca jumped off the (virtual) page at me, and I fine-tuned the search for some clipart that I could replicate in fabric.
Within the bowels of the Strategic Fabric Reserves, the perfect fabric was lurking. I must have purchased it specifically for this very project; the colors were spot-on and the motifs looked like they were lifted directly off a totem pole.
From the Andover Facets collection
I started with scrappy strips of the focus fabric and other coordinating browns and blues to make a frame, then I created the whale on a piece of ultra pale blue batik that had a very faint chunky swirl print, just the right background for this style. I fused every piece separately and satin-stitched around the edges. I used a Micron pigma pen to draw in smallest eyes (in the brown diamonds on the dorsal fin and tail), free-motioned spirals all over the background, then added a beaded plume.
Rose's orca journal page
Detail, Rose's orca journal page
For the back, I used another of the Facets print:
Alaskan orca journal page (reverse)
 My husband has requested a copy of this project to hang in our house.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Museum pieces

The New Britain Museum of American Art is opening a quilt-related exhibit next month, and for the holiday season the lobby tree will be decorated with small art pieces by the Studio Art Quilt Associates members (that's me, finally!!), for sale to museum visitors. These are the ones I have prepared so far.
"Ave" (5.25 x 6.75")

"Maypole Dance" (8.5 x 11")

"Wavelengths" (8.5 x 11")

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Gypsy Wife quilt (top), September 2014
Assembling the ten segments of the quilt was a process that required, above all, organization. I laid out 63 1.5" strips across my entire ironing board and cutting table so I could keep them in the correct order through the whole assembly. I also numbered the strips on the pattern before cutting anything, to make sure a single fabric ran the entire length of the quilt (even across three different segments). I don't know how I would have done this if I didn't have a dedicated space where I could leave the strips out for the entire time. Having the big wall was also critical. Due to the space hogging reality of this quilt, it practically demanded being finished rapidly. I can't live with that kind of mess for too long, and I need the wall back so Cedric can finish his Settlers of Catan quilt and Ingrid can get her Cloud Nine rows together.

If I did this again (?), I'd do a few things differently. First of all, I'd put together a big chart with the complete cutting requirements (width and length, subdivided into piece lengths) for each strip, cross referenced by segment. I can do that in Excel. Second, as I made the blocks I'd sort them into ten envelopes, arranged by segment . It would be a lot easier to just pull out one segment at a time instead of sweating over which piece belonged on which area of the wall. It got a little confusing sorting out which blocks were 3" v 3.5" or which width border belonged in which position.

Ultimately, I think of this project in three ways: (A) a test of one's ability to complete a jigsaw puzzle, (B) a clear testament to one's shopping prowess and preferences, and (C) a spectacularly eye-dazzlingly beautiful thing.

My mental processes are now considering how I could achieve this kind of effect on the isometric grid (hexagons!) at a larger size...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Our Guest Bed

Cleaning closets. Unfolding quilts. I like to store my finished projects on the bed in our guest room so they won't get permanent creases. Here's how I "made the bed" yesterday. Gulp. I'm starting to worry about the ceiling collapsing onto our family room.

Rapid City in autumnal scraps

California Kendra Cousin Challenge from 2012

Nouveau New Wave

Log Cabin a la Lewitt

Northern Lights - full spectrum

Just Can't Cut It

Comic tumblers

Grad Plaid

BQ Intrepid Explorer quilt

Taupe batiks


Tracking Sandy

Perfect Square in black and white

Bright scrappy triangles

Modern Sochi!

Seahorses in hexes

Holiday Grand Opening

Pink Rink

Batik Challenge -- my first attempt at FMQ

Made but not submitted for Keepsake's Nine-Patch challenge

Hunter's Star

From class with Carol Taylor

Cheddar No Crackers -- Tula Pink charms

Ghastlies meet the Bard

Serenity Now!

I made this in high school (1988?). Candlewicking blocks, bad hand quilting.

Forest Floor Lotus

Mister DJ in cool scraps

Cloud Nine in Floragraphix
 And then, quilts happily stacked, I basted up another:
I scream!!
OK, maybe it's time to start an Etsy shop...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Gypsy Wife, Part 6 which the blocks are finished!

I had enough time to squeeze in one more stitchery marathon before my classes (and the boys' return from Camp All-Fun-All-The-Time-Grandparents). The gypsy blocks are done!! The assembly is going to be kind of a bear, but I'm up for the challenge. I want to finish the cutting this week so I can clear out my sewing area. I can't stand all the piles of fabric leaning and draping over every flat (and semi-flat) surface. I know "they say" that creativity is messy, but my left-brained self can only handle so much of it before I snap.

So, photos!

Square in a square with pinwheel centers (various sizes)

Gypsy Wife "Square in a Square with Pinwheel Centers" blocks

Bordered Square in a Square with Courthouse Steps (various sizes)

Gypsy Wife "Bordered Square in a Square" blocks

Square in a Square with Courthouse Steps (various sizes)

Gypsy Wife "Square in a Square with Courthouse Steps" larger blocks
Gypsy Wife "Square in a Square with Courthouse Steps" smaller blocks

Square in a Square in a Square (4" finished)

This one required a complete remake. The pattern called for the use of one of the small square-in-a-square blocks that I made yesterday, but when I added the third row of triangles and trimmed to 4 1/2", it was obvious that every one of the points would be cut off when I sewed it into the quilt. This is the Very Last Block. All of the others look very nice and very pointy. There was no way I could be happy with cutting off four points, even applying my typical "Can you see it from the back of a galloping horse?" metric. (Thanks, Lisa, for that one!) I drafted the whole thing out on paper and made a new one in less than ten minutes.
Gypsy Wife "Square in a square in a square" block
And that's it!