This Week’s Work

I finished the stitching on this piece, inspired by the verse “every good thing given comes down to us from God our Father who created all the lights in the heavens.” I truly enjoyed every stitch.

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And in between, I continued to work on machine quilting P.I.N.K. I decided I could do each block differently. It keeps it from being boring. Only 6 more blocks to go!

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Most of my time was spent making all of these blocks. I used up just about all of my Cherrywood fabrics, so that is as big as I can make it. I picked out a background color, and I am now just thinking about how I want to put all these different sized blocks together, and how much or how little background I want to have showing.

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And I just finished putting a sleeve on the back of this quilt. I got a call last week from a lady who had seen my exhibit at the Oak Hills Church. She was interested in having me make a quilt for them to use when they have a worship service at the nursing home they visit each Sunday. I offered to let her borrow a quilt indefinitely, and they chose this one. I am always happy to share my quilts and have them seen by others. If your group or church is interested in displaying some of my quilts, please contact me.

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Several other projects are just waiting their turn, so I am sure next week will be another busy one in the studio. Just the way I like it!

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Inspiration Everywhere

Recently some men from my church came back from a visit to Papua, New Guinea. The area they visit is quite primitive, and the people are extremely poor. And yet. They can create these beautiful geometric designs on their handmade barkcloth. I am always inspired by people who can create beauty with just what little they have. That is why I love kantha stitching and the Gees Bend quilters.

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Of course, I am always inspired by gardens. Recently I made this bouquet, and posted it on my other blog. Someone remarked that it was an inspiration for a new quilt. I love the quiet colors in it. But notice the unexpected colors. That coral-apricot color may be the unexpected spark that a quilt needs. Or maybe its that blue in the quilt below. I’m pretty sure its NOT the red in the quilt 🙂

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This past weekend I took a quick trip to the Bay Area. The regional SAQA meeting was held at the house of Judith Content, and the topic was “What Inspires You?” Well, many times what inspires me is hearing about what inspires other artists. Judith has been a textile artist for many years, and her house was certainly an inspiration to me.

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It seemed that every wall was a different color and texture! So fun.

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Even her garden was artful. Imagine having that lovely huge lemon tree!

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Oh, I especially LOVED these colorful decorated spools. Don’t you just want to make one right now?!

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Back in my hotel room, I had time to work on a new idea project, inspired by my Sunday morning journal doodling. I had drawn these three simple “cross” shapes. I am making them without ruler or measuring. What I noticed here, though, was that I liked the pale gold floor as a background, and also as a resting place for all that patterning. I think I will keep that in mind when I start trying to put all these different sized squares together. BTW, I’m using my packets of Cherrywood fabrics for these. I love their colors (not any that I would come up with on my own,) and the texture of their fabric.

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The next day I took my mom to a new-to-us nursery, Annie’s Annuals and Perennials. Oh. My. Goodness. Color and inspiration everywhere. I wrote more about it on my other blog.

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Look around. There is inspiration everywhere. You just have to be looking for it.

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Thanks to BF, this quilt will forever be named P.I.N.K.

After sewing this top together, I spent almost a week pondering various ways of enlarging it via more sashing/various borders. Also in the pondering were my thoughts (negative) on sewing together large expanses of fabric, and my thoughts (negative) on quilting large quilt tops vs. my need for a larger quilt if I wanted it as a bed quilt. In the end, I decided I liked this quilt just as it was, and that I did not actually need another bed quilt right now. I love this quilt, and I know it will be my favorite large lap quilt to snuggle under this winter (if I ever get that cold again.)

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Can you see the square with the pale blue background, and the lady walking a dachshund and a Standard Poodle? That was one of my scrub tops. I loved it because at the time, those were the two breeds of dogs that I owned!

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I wanted to make it into a sandwich right away. I had a piece of extra wide muslin that would be just right. However, after laying it out, it just looked like a huge white sheet (it was bleached muslin.) Too new for this somewhat old fashioned looking quilt. I found another piece of muslin that was “tea stained.” JUST RIGHT. I measured it, and had three yards. I spent all night trying to figure out how three yards could be reconfigured to use for the backing. It was just not enough, no matter which way I turned it. The next morning, BEFORE I went to church, I hit up Joann’s, where they just happened to be having a big sale on muslin, and bought two yards of the same tea stained muslin, and was SO PLEASED with myself. Got home to find that the original piece was five yards?! What the what?? Oh well… NOW I have three yards of the stuff for the next project…

Made my sandwich, and yesterday I wanted to start quilting it. But first I had to play around with what thread to use. It just so happened that I had a bit of batting and muslin in the circular file :), and a LOT of leftover squares and half square triangles from the quilt. I tried out different weights and colors of thread. In the end, I liked my first choice, which says its color is “natural.” But it is a glazed cotton, and I don’t think that that will be very pleasant to sew with. I don’t like the tension/unevenness of the stitches. So I went with the second best, and quilted one square. This morning, I think I am going back to Joann’s or Walmart, or the Sewing Cottage to try to find “natural” in a 40 weight cotton thread.

Trying out threads:

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ZIG ZAG!!!

You all know about my zig zag love, right? Actually, I find my love of the zig zag stitch somewhat puzzling. To me it is a little like garter stitch in knitting. Both stitches seemed somewhat utilitarian and common to me, nothing that a “real” artist would use. Now both stitches are one of my favorites. I like the idea of taking what is common and easily accessible and making something beautiful out of it. Plus, you know. Zig zag just makes a lot of things easier 🙂

So one day last week I was looking through some quilting blogs, and someone somewhere mentioned this artist that “makes something out of nothing,” using paper and extensive zig zag stitching!

In re-reading this article, I noticed this quote by the artist, Donna Rhae Marder. I find it comforting that others feel the same way I do about some aspects of creating art.

Marder comments, however, that, “tediousness becomes the most challenging aspect of my work.  Sometimes I spread the work of a piece over years so I can stand it.  I also listen to a lot of music and many books on CD.  I periodically think about getting someone else to do the repetitive part of my work and then I stumble over something while working that I can use to make the piece more interesting…”

Donna’s work just lit up my mind. I wasn’t interested in working with paper. But fabric? This was a new way of using the zig zag than I have done previously. The next morning I headed into the studio to experiment.

It just so happens I have a “few” fabric scraps pre-cut into two inch squares. These would be just perfect, I decided. I wanted to work small.

Here’s what I came up with.

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It was very fun sewing the pieces together with the zig zag stitch. Its not quick. But in my mind, there are so many possibilities for this. I am looking forward to exploring this technique more in the future.

P.S. This mornings explorations:

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