The Trouble with Teaching

The trouble with teaching is that it takes a lot of brain power to prepare for it. At least that’s how it is for me. I can’t really think about starting a NEW. IMPORTANT. PROJECT. when I am thinking about teaching. All I can think about is “oh, I could share this,” or “wouldn’t that be great to have a sample of that to share.” And you can see, those are not bad thoughts. I just won’t be starting one of the big projects I have in my mind until after this teaching gig is done.

In the meantime, I wanted to have as many examples as possible to share with the class. I had a LOT of unfinished samples…ahem…have I mentioned I don’t like binding quilts?

In fact, I had five small pieces that needed to be finished. So one by one, I set out to get that done. I also didn’t have any handwork for my evenings, so finishing these substituted for that for a few days.

This is the “header” for the “what they said” series. It has a facing instead of a binding. This is my favorite method to face quilts now. 

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You’ve seen this before. Its not finished (I’m planning to bead it) but I wanted to take it to share with the class. So now it has a binding on it.

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And a binding on this little wonky piece, just to keep it contained. Oh, you’ll notice that I hand-stitched the binding to the front. Usually I machine sew my binding down. But I always say I think its weird that quilters do all of that beautiful hand-work on a binding, and hide it on the back.

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And this piece has been hanging around FOREVER, with unfinished edges. That was partly because I just didn’t know what to do with it. It was stitched almost to the very edge, and I didn’t want to cover up any stitching with a stupid old binding. I thought about zig-zagging the edge. And then it came to me–just do that by hand! It took quite a while. But I think it is the perfect edge for this little piece.

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Close-up. Hint: if you do this, it goes a lot quicker with #5 perle cotton 🙂

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And then I had this hexagon piece. I just didn’t know WHAT to do with it. I thought about mounting it on a board. I thought about putting it on top of another quilt (which is what I did.) But how to finish all those dang edges… I just didn’t want to fool with binding it. I was pretty sure it would not be my best work, trying to turn all those corners. So because I had “zig-zagged” the previous piece by hand, I thought, hey, that might work! I literally took 5 stitches, and said, no way am I going to go around this whole piece by hand. So then I decided to try zig-zagging by machine. I auditioned several green fabrics, and in the end, this beautiful piece won out. I placed the hexagon, which was already a complete quilt sandwich, on top of the piece, got it just where I wanted it, and pinned it carefully in place, on a flat surface. First, I straight stitched about 1/8″ from the edge, all around the piece. I thought zig zagging might distort it. Then I started zig-zagging. Three colors of thread, and three rounds of small zig zag later, it was firmly in place. Then I could cut out the back of the foundation fabric. Made a sandwich, and quilted it simply. It came out just the way I envisioned. Oh, and side-note. I thought I would just quilt it on my Janome, since I had a big quilt under the Juki. I had to stop three times in the first five minutes for stupid things, so I switched over to the Juki. Ahhhhh… much better 🙂

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Close-up:

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As I mentioned, I didn’t have any piece to work on in the evening. This was driving me nuts. I also have seen quite a few things lately that have little tiny pieces of fabric sewn together. I got this book. Her work fascinates me. So finally, after all these little quilts were finished, I decided one night to just make a sandwich out of some leftover muslin and batting that was laying around in the studio.I brought the sandwich, my bag of Cherrywood little scraps, and four or five “neutral” fabrics out to my comfy chair. I was somehow going to sew patches on top of this. As soon as I sat down, I knew I didn’t want to have muslin showing through on the front. So I set about hand piecing little bits of fabric together. Yesterday I got tired of hand-piecing, so I put the rest of it together by machine. And now I have a fun little piece to stitch on in the evening.

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So you can see, there are more good than bad things about teaching! I am looking forward to this assignment.

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A New Exhibit at the Museum

One of my quilts was accepted into the SAQA exhibit “Inspirations II!” The exhibition will be held at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. Here’s information about when and where.

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At the same time, there will be a special exhibition of Kaffe Fassett quilts along with the antique quilts that inspired them. What a great time to check out this wonderful museum.

This week I have been putting together kits for the Kantha stitching class that I am teaching next month. I decided to see what I could create with just the materials I supplied for the kit–a quilt sandwich, 3 colors of hand-dyed fabric, and 20 colors of thread. Very fun!

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Yep, there was plenty of thread and fabric included in each kit! I still have some thread, and about half of the hand dyed fabric left over.

I’m Teaching!

Next month I will be doing an evening lecture and trunk show at the San Luis Obispo Quilters, on Monday, May 9. Tuesday, May 10, I will be doing a workshop on Kantha stitching, and Wednesday, May 11, will be a workshop on Improv Patching and Piecing. I am excited to have the opportunity to share the way I love to work with other quilters. If you are interested in attending any of these events, Click here to go to their website. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, there is an email address.

Here is an example of the improve patching and piecing, with some kantha stitching in the circles:

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And a close-up of kantha stitching:

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I am always careful to clarify that my stitching is “kantha inspired.” I know what kantha stitching is, and I can tell you how to do it, but what I do is a little different than traditional kantha.

Look at this! I think I mentioned being intrigued by this artist’s needle weaving. Well, I tried it out. Its a bit painstaking, but it was also fun to do as a former weaver. Seeing how the colors interact when they are woven is what I like the best. This is just a small piece, maybe 9″X 11″.

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Close-up:

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Next

Lots of stuff happening in the studio and on my lap (handwork.) I made a sandwich of this large quilt, and got to quilting it. It was so cumbersome, so I decided to try to be a little bit organized. Folding all the edges up neatly like this really made quilting it a lot easier.

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All finished! This one is slated to be donated to the scholarship fund auction at Cambria Pines Rug Camp this year. BTW, if any of you are rug hookers, I can’t recommend this experience highly enough. I really love going. Its in a gorgeous location, with great food served three times a day, and wonderful teachers. All for a very reasonable price.

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I didn’t have enough of the “inn signs” so I sub’d a big bird print, and some paper pieced blocks. Makes it more interesting. It was hard to get a good picture of it–its not quite as wonky as it looks 🙂 Close-ups:

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I finished the big rug! Now to block and bind it.

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Close-ups:

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This little piece (that I started a year ago, was all finished, hand quilted, and just needed to be bound. It looked a little boring, so I added some perle cotton stitching, echoing the colors in the blocks.

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Close-up:

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There’s more handwork going on. I’ll save that for next week’s report! Have a fun, stitch-filled weekend!

 

A Little Idea

A few years ago I made this little quilt. I pieced a background of various green plant fabrics, and then I just cut out motifs from fabrics that I loved, sometimes of things that I loved, and had fun placing them in “just the right spot.” I think it was a travel project, because all the motifs are sewn on by hand.

Anyway, what to do with it when its done? Its kind of childish. When we were kids we had a couple of books that we loved our parents to read to us. But mostly we loved looking at the pictures and naming all the things we saw on each page.

So I had the idea that this would be a good baby or little kid present. I finally got around to mailing it yesterday to my niece, who has 4 little kids.

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You could use fusible or zig zag to sew the motifs on, to make it more kid friendly. It was fun to make, and I hope will be fun to receive.

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I enjoyed looking at it again yesterday, and remembering putting it together. I’m glad I took these pictures so I will have a memory of it.

Two More Finishes, and a New “Station”

I call this first one “what was I thinking?” Because that’s a lot of work for a quilt that is quite jarring. Well, after looking at it, I remembered that I had a lot of strip sets leftover from the Nancy Crow workshop, and I used them in this. This quilt was completely quilted, and had been put away. I just needed to put a binding on it. Yay!

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I really like stars 🙂 This one was also almost completely quilted except for the border. I put long feathers all around the border. They don’t show much with the print, but I enjoyed doing them. Both of these quilts had enough backing that I could do the “pull the back around to the front” for binding.

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And here is the new “station.” My wet studio is finished! The first picture makes the room look ridiculously long. In reality, the room is about 6’X15′. Tons of room for storage, several nice smooth surfaces to work on, and good lighting. I especially like the shallow shelves I requested so that I can see all my dyes without digging through them. Those are anti-fatique mats on the floor.

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We used leftovers from the kitchen–some subway tile that I somehow ended up with and couldn’t return, and the leftover pieces of granite from the kitchen counters. I bought J. the Contractor’s old stove, and I even have my old microwave out there should the need arise!

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Now for some nice warm days that entice me to get out there and do some dying!