Simple Sewing

Along with my “simplified life,” I am finding that I can pretty easily do some simple sewing. So far, no major works of art have come forth during this construction/renovation work. But I’ve managed two baby quilts and a new pillow cover!

Both of the baby quilts started with a baby/kid print. I just chose some solids that would coordinate and put them together.

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The pillow cover is for the “European pillow” that I prefer for sleeping. Regular pillowcases don’t fit, so I had made a quilted cover for it a while ago. I was tired of that one, so I used another cute print (one of those darn fabrics I can’t resist buying and then don’t know what to do with them when I get them home.) This one was even more simple. Just kept the print as is and did some very simple quilting on it. Very nice to sleep on, I must say!

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It feels good to finish some projects, even if they are simple. In the meantime, I do spend every evening doing some hand stitching on my more serious work. I’ll share those when they are finished!

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A Quilty Vacation

I wrote all about my trip to Sisters here. Suffice it to say, I had two whole weeks in Sisters, and the main activity was quilting! I arrived on a Friday and set up shop on the dining room table of the house I had rented. That gave me a couple of days to fool around before the Rosalie Dace workshop started. I had brought a LOT of fabric with me, both for the workshop, and for use outside of the workshop. So I picked out a few colors and pieces that I wanted to play with–mostly blues and greens, and put together some little pieced blocks. Then I played around with putting them on a background. I left a lot of space on this one on purpose–so I can add some words, probably for the “What They Said” series. (that edging is just the backing pulled around to the front of the sandwich to keep the edges clean.)

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I had leftover pieces, and I liked that backing fabric, so I made another little composition just for fun. Got some blank space on this one for words too 🙂

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And then it was time for the workshop to start. This was a workshop taught by Rosalie Dace about the influence of Kandinsky in the world of art, and how that could be used/interpreted in quilting. Rosalie is such a talented artist, and she is also an excellent teacher. If you ever have a chance to take any of her workshops, I would really encourage you to do that. This workshop was held at the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop, and I highly recommend it as an excellent place to take a workshop! Plenty of workspace and wall space for each student, comfortable chairs, good lighting, and an excellent lunch was served each day. Plus, you get a coupon for 15% off of any purchase made during that week!

It was interesting to hear the various reasons that people had signed up for the class. Many of the people said “I don’t like Kandinsky, but I wanted to take a class with Rosalie.” That was sort of how I felt. But as the class went along, I found that there was a lot to learn from studying Kandinsky. Rosalie spent time every day discussing various interesting aspects of his work.

Remember this little piece? In the evenings, after the workshop, I would go home and relax and stitch on this little piece. I thought about how maybe my work has been influenced by Kandinsky after all–the curved lines, the straight intersecting lines, and of course the circles. The influence came second hand, though, since I had never looked at a Kandinsky painting before signing up for this workshop.

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Close-ups:

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Back to the workshop. Our first assignment was to draw a bunch of geometric designs using some of the things that Kandinsky used in his work. Okay, that was fun.

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Then we were to choose one of those, and interpret it in cloth. I think I chose this simple one  because I thought it would be fun to add my stitching to.

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Rosalie came along, and said, now try it with a different background.

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Ahhh, much better. You can see I added a few other little embellishments.

Next, we were to draw just some circle designs. LOL, nothing new for me. But I tried to challenge myself to do something different with the circles.

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In the afternoon, I stared at these four drawings, trying to decide what to do. Rosalie came by, and I pointed to the one with the most circles, and said, I like that one, but SO MANY circles to cut out. And her reply was “What else are you going to do this afternoon?” That was actually a good learning point for me.

So here’s the little circle composition I did. You can see its not an exact copy of the drawing, but its the same feel. (BTW, these little compositions are only about 10-12″ square.)

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And then the next morning (I think) we finished up one of the little compositions. I really like this little piece.

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One thing I learned from my table-mate was to use the zig-zag satin stitch to make these narrowing lines. Very cool, I think. You just set your machine to satin stitch (zig zag set on the narrowest width) and then start at one size of stitch, and keep decreasing it gradually as you stitch along (like–5.0, 4.5, 4.0, etc.)

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One morning, Rosalie did a slide show that included several of Kandinsky’s works. I saw one that piqued my interest enough that I drew a quick sketch in my journal. It was of overlapping rectangles. I thought that might create an interesting background to put other shapes on. I liked that idea well enough that I decided that would be the composition I would choose to work on for the remainder of the workshop.

I chose one of my hand-dyed pieces that I liked the most, and then pulled out a bunch of browns for the rectangles. Here is the beginning of my piece.

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And this next picture is as far as I got by the final day of the workshop. One thought I had about creating in a workshop–you are working in a pressure cooker. I usually only work on “art” pieces when I am alone. When I get stuck, I stop and think about it for a day or two. You don’t have that luxury in a workshop. So, while I like this piece enough to finish it, I don’t have any illusions about it being a great piece.

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The last day of the workshop, my BF came to town. We were going to have our own private mini-quilting retreat!

I took a break from the workshop project, and started sewing the leftover blue and green strips from the beginning of my trip into nine patches. Then I didn’t quite know what to do.

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I remembered some little trees in the quilt store that had caught my eye. I started playing around with putting those on top of the nine patches. Ooh, how fun! So fun, that I made one for each season! I thought I would put these together into one quilt, but my friend suggested making each one into its own small quilt. I think they might work really nicely in my new kitchen, or in the dining room!

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After my friend left, I got the workshop quilt back out and tried to add a bit to it. I put in quite a few quilting lines, and then played around with adding the black lines on top. I added the three vertical lines and was pretty happy. My friend suggested something needed to be done at the bottom, so I am auditioning the horizontal lines. They are not sewn down yet.

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And so my excellent adventure in Sisters, Oregon came to an end. I came home to a HOUSE UNDER CONSTRUCTION. I have found that it is very difficult for me to settle down to the serious work of creating when all this other stuff is swirling through my mind. So I have been working on hand stitching a previous project in the evenings. That is progressing very nicely, and I will share that in a future post.