Yo Yo’s!

Here is a project that I have been working on for YEARS! And by that I mean–I started it, and then got bored so it went in the closet. And then maybe a year later, I ran out of handwork, and thought–Yo Yo’s! And got them out and worked on them for a while until something more interesting came along, and back into the closet they went. And on it went, and still goes.

The project started with a group of fabrics that I really liked, in colors that I don’t usually choose–mostly browns with a few greens thrown in. And originally, I think I saw some scarves made out of yo yo’s and that is what I wanted to do. I started joining the yo yo’s into blocks 4X6. And I liked them so much that I thought, I’ll make a quilt! Do you know how long it takes to make yo yo’s? I timed myself last night. One yo yo takes 5 minutes, and so 24 of them takes 2 hours, and that does not include sewing them into their 4X6 block!

Anyway, I kept thinking about combining them with little “quiltlets.” Like make mini quilts the same size as the yo yo blocks and alternate these quiltlets with the yo yo blocks. I thought I would use the same group of fabrics I had been working on, and it would just be very scrappy.

When I finished the kantha blanket, I got the yo yo’s out again. And this time, I had the thought to use one unifying fabric for the alternate blocks. I got out this favorite dark fabric, and I LOVE the way the yo yo’s look on it.

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So now I am a little more motivated to work on my yo yo’s in the evening. If I want to make a quilt 54″ X 63″, I need 54 yo yo blocks. (I am using the “small” yo yo maker. The finished size is about 1 inch.) I have 12 made. I am not going to do the math of how many hours that will be. I will just keep making yo yo’s between projects, and someday I will have a yo yo quilt 🙂

And kind of along the same lines (taking a long time to complete a work) but completely different–watch this short video of this incredible artist at work. He took 3 1/2 years to complete this. It took my breath away.

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Back in Business

The Juki arrived back the Friday before Thanksgiving week. My gardener (and general helper/builder/handyman) was able to come over and help me lift it back onto the table on Monday. He had helped me with the original set-up and so I was very grateful that he was able to come and help me get it back in place.

I was unreasonably nervous about working with it, and so  I planned to practice on a couple of small quilts before attempting the quilting on Hallelujah!

First, I finished the quilting on this little piece. This was made of some very small courthouse steps blocks I had made. I enjoyed making them, but after getting this far, I realized that I was never going to finish enough of these blocks (with 1/2″ finished logs) to make a whole quilt. I always loved this verse, and thought it was the perfect one to go with “courthouse steps” blocks.

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Next, I dug out a really old little quilt. A long-gone dog had chewed on the edges, and I didn’t know what to do with it. Then when I looked at it again, I realized I could just cut the borders smaller, and no one would ever know a dog gnawed on it 🙂 I had fun quilting it.

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So I was almost ready to start Hallelujah! But I decided I wanted some different thread for quilting. I decided to treat myself to a trip to the quilt shop after the last shot in my knee, the day before Thanksgiving. Because I was determined to start this quilting the day AFTER Thanksgiving.

Look at this wonderful fabric I found at the shop! I could not resist getting a piece of it.

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And right on time, Friday morning, I made myself go out into the studio, I practiced a feather or two on a practice sandwich, and then I just went to town. I alternated outlining the lettering with making feathers.

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Next I am going to fill in between the feathers with some crosshatching and some pebbles. I’m not sure what I am going to do around the lettering–thinking about some straight line quilting just to make them stand out.

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And in the Evening…

At some point mid-day, I am usually done in the studio. Either I’ve started early in the morning, and I’m ready for my afternoon coffee break, or I stop what I’m doing and go to the gym.

After that, its time to sit in my chair and indulge in some mindless stitching. Back in July, I told you about my “obsession” with making a kantha blanket. Most of the time I stitched on this, I was thinking about how it wasn’t a very good composition, and why was I spending so much time stitching on something that I wouldn’t even like when it was done. But my BF encouraged me, saying that the stitching would pull it all together.

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When I could see that an end was in sight, I stitched more consistently. It was very relaxing and enjoyable to work on. I used a very light weight cotton gauze for the “batting” and plain muslin for the backing. This made it very easy to stitch through all three layers.

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You can probably see–I had one main color of thread (I ordered five spools of the #8 perle cotton in that color) and then I added bits of other colors in the turquoise range, and some oranges, and one lime green. Whatever color I chose, I carried it all the way across the blanket.

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Here is the only place I changed the stitching direction, just for a bit of fun.

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You can see I used mostly prints, but I made a few of my cross cut squares, and a few with circles to add to the interest.

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Pretty much the whole time I worked on this, I was mad at myself for choosing muslin as the backing. How boring! But now that it is done, I like it the muslin back. I can see the stitching, I can see the “mistakes,” and I like that.

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When all the stitching was done, I chose one of the multi-color fabrics to use as a binding. I sewed the binding to the back, and hand-stitched it down to the front. And then the part I like the best–I washed it! After washing it (on delicate cycle, because I wasn’t sure about those long stitches,) it is so soft and cozy. I laid it out on my bed, to see it as a whole piece, and my BF was right–the stitching pulls all those colors and prints together. I really like it. Its nice to like a project when you have spent so much time on it 🙂

And Lastly…

 

While patiently awaiting the return of my Juki, I started work on a new series. It started out with inspiration by this weaver. The more I looked at her work, the more I saw the “quilty-ness” of it. Then I started drawing little sketches in my journal. And I decided to let myself play with my collection of hand-dyed fabric–some Cherrywood, some Ricky Tims’, and even some of my own hand-dyes.

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These are all really simple designs. But I enjoyed creating them, and choosing “just the right colors” for each. The small pieced squares that I am using in each were created on my Colorado retreat!

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I am going to use these pieces for a series on “the character of God.” I wanted to use characteristics that most people could relate to. And then I found an article where the author made two lists–one of characteristics that applied only to God, and the other of characteristics that He shared with man. That helped to define what I was thinking about.

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So although they are simple, they also provide a somewhat blank canvas that I can use to embellish with quilting or embroidery just the way I want.

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P.S. Just got word that my Juki has been shipped! Yahoo!

Selling my Work

Our church is having a little pre-Christmas boutique sale for the first time this year. I decided I would participate, because I have quite a few quilts from my early years in quilting, that I finally got quilted when I got my Juki. I had the idea to sell them reasonably so that I could donate the money to children in third world countries.

I thought about how sometimes people just want something small at a craft show. I am famous for just buying the cards that artists sometimes offer alongside their paintings. So I decided to make some smaller wall quilts. I started with some of the cross cuts blocks I’ve been making, added some borders, chose Bible verses for each one, and then machine quilted on my Janome. For the first time I used those triangle pieces on the back for hanging. Much easier than adding a sleeve by hand!

So far I’ve made five little pieces:

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In the Meantime…

Its been a month since the Juki stopped working, and two weeks since I shipped it to get a new motor. I finished ALL the embroidery on the Hallelujah quilt, so it is waiting patiently for the Juki to return so it can be quilted. In the meantime, I have kept busy with other small projects.

I finally made myself sit down and work on one of the blocks for the Genesis quilt. For some reason, even though I had in mind doing primitive figures for this quilt, I was still intimidated to start. But once I started, it was fun. At first I was only going to put birds and fish on this block, but then I read the verse again, and realized I had to include an octopus and a crab to represent the things that scurry.

Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

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I’ll be back with a couple of other posts showing the small colorful projects that have been keeping me busy.