Etsy!!!

I did it! I made it a goal to add my two new quilts to Etsy. The first one took forever, and was rather painful. The second one was a snap.

These two quilts were so fun to do, and really got me back on track, working consistently in the studio. Unlike what I do many times (finish a top and then put it away to “think” about it) I decided I needed to quilt these, finish the edges, AND put the words on them. In other words, COMPLETE them! What a blast. And then as I was completing them, I thought, why not challenge myself to list them on Etsy, as this seems to have been built up into a near paranoia in my mind.

Done, and done! Wow, that feels good.

The Eyes of the Lord:

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Close-ups:

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And, in The Signature of Jesus series (because a cross appeared in my ‘improvisational’ work):

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Close-ups:

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You can see them in my Etsy shop by clicking here.

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Back at it!

Saturday I felt good enough (caught a cold at the end of my trip) to try to get back in the swing of spending a day in the studio. I was having trouble starting work again in my brand new space–you know, the inevitable messiness of a new project.

So I started out small, with an orphan block and a few solids I had left on the table before I left on my trip (remember, I made a little travel quilt to take with me.) And pretty soon I came up with this little composition that I really liked.

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There were still some bright solid scraps left on the table, and I was feeling pretty good about my accomplishment, so I thought I’d go ahead and make one more little quilt top. I went into my bin of solids to add a few colors, and pretty soon I noticed that I was choosing much quieter, more subdued colors. So I decided to just go with that. I wanted to make some smaller pieces. I made four, and then found a bit of a pale print to frame them, and I thought I was done.

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But the longer I looked at it, I realized it needed a little something more. So the next day I just took the scraps of the same colors and started adding them onto the sides.

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I really liked this composition too! So much so that I decided I needed to go ahead and quilt it today.

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(close-up of the quilting)

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SO! MUCH! FUN!

And best of all? Look–my sewing table is still clear, waiting for the next project!

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Maybe with the additional space I’ll actually be able to start a new habit of putting things away when I’m done with them. Well, I can dream, can’t I?

P.S. Here is a shot of the design wall in place. That dark piece is one of Ricky Tims’ hand-dyes. I have it up there auditioning for a big project I have in mind.

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A Deadline is a Good Thing

I was asked to speak at the ladies luncheon this Saturday about The Bridge and our trip to Haiti. It has seemed to me that my life has run along two parallel but divergent lines for the past year–my housetop quilt project and my work on The Bridge. And they practically intersected during the first week of January. I hung the quilts for the gallery display on Thursday, and Sunday I left for Haiti! So I asked the organizer of the luncheon if I could share how meaningful both projects had been in my life for the past year. And she was most enthusiastic about it!

That meant that I had to try to finish two quilts this week. Because both of them were very related to the Haiti trip. One, of course, is the little travel quilt. As soon as I get off the computer, I need to start stitching like crazy on that one.

And the second was this quilt. I’ve been calling it ‘the little crosses’ quilt. But the real name is “We Are One.” I shared the meaning behind it here. I finished up the quilting on Monday, and I got all the words stitched onto it yesterday. And today I decided what to use for the binding, and got that put on this afternoon! Whee! It sure is fun to finish a quilt. Sometimes its a little painful, when you are kinda ‘done’ with it and ready to move on to the next project but there are still a lot of finishing touches to be completely finished. But it always feels great to put that last stitch in the quilt and hang it up to see your finished work.

Anyway, here is a shot of the four original blocks–remember, they are the ones I didn’t like, so I cut them into smaller pieces and inserted the crosses.

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And here is the finished quilt:

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And a couple of close-up shots:

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And now I’m off to stitch a bit more!

New Work

I am moving right along, continuing to create new work, still in the ‘housetop series.’ Although today I had an idea for a new series, kind of a “spin off” of the housetop quilts. We’ll see if that takes root or not.

So this is a quilt that I started back in November, using large strips of mostly solids, along with a mottled shiny cotton print, and some silk and other shiny fabrics. I got 4 big blocks put together, and I DID NOT LIKE THEM. So they got put to the side for the holidays.

The blocks before .

The blocks before .

After I returned from Haiti, I was still thinking about those blocks, and in looking through some magazines I saw a tiny picture of a quilt with some skinny plus signs in it. And I thought, hmmmm, that’s kind of like crosses. So I took those big blocks, and I cut them into little pieces, and then I cut them some more, and inserted skinny strips into them to make crosses. And then I put all those pieces back together. Now I LOVE it.

And after the crosses were inserted.

And after the crosses were inserted.

Now, the only problem was, with all those crosses on there, the original wording I planned to feature on the quilt would not work at all. So I stared at it for a while longer. And then it came to me that it portrayed the message that Wendy shared with the church at Carrefour Poy–that even though we are from different countries and different cultures, we are still one. We worship the same God. All over the world, people from different cultures are worshipping the same God, but in very different ways. “We Are One” will be the title of the quilt. The words from Ephesians 4:4-6 describe this perfectly:

For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.

I’ve been staring at the finished top for a few days now, and I have a good idea of how I’m going to quilt it, and where the words will be placed. I’m anxious to start on it tomorrow morning.

Quilt Show!

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I figured out how to make a slide show! So proud of myself. So here are the quilts I have hanging in the Art and Soul Gallery in Oak Hills Church. I will be there this Sunday from 9am to about 3 pm. If you’re in the area I’d love to see you.

This is the description of how I started this Housetop Quilt project:

The Housetop quilts began as a simple challenge: to work entirely with solid colored fabrics. I had never worked with solids before, as there were so many beautiful prints that I loved. I looked and looked, and finally decided to make a ‘housetop style’ quilt. “Housetop” simply refers to the block pattern/structure that is used. It is similar to the more familiar “log cabin” block. The Housetop pattern was made famous by the Quilters of Gees Bend, a group of African American women in rural Alabama. I had the privilege of meeting these women several years ago, and was so inspired by them. In spite of their difficult lives, they made beautiful art out of just what they had on hand. And more than that, I was inspired by the way they seamlessly integrated their faith in God into every part of their lives.

So as I started on the first housetop quilt, I happened to read a verse in the Bible that I had never noticed before. “Jesus said, ‘What I have whispered in your ear, shout it from the housetops.’ ” Hmmm. Isn’t that interesting? I am making a housetop quilt, and here is a verse using that same term. I also thought to myself, Hmmmph. You never shout anything from the housetops. What is wrong with you? I thought about these two things–the housetop quilt and Jesus words– all day long. And then it occurred to me. I COULD PUT JESUS’ WORDS INTO MY QUILTS. And that was the beginning of The Housetop Quilt Project. It has been a wonderful year of re-discovering old favorite verses, and finding new-to-me beautiful words of God to put into my quilts in various ways and using various techniques.

And here is a link to the slide show:

Housetop Quilt Project

The Last Quilt

Tomorrow I go to Folsom to hang my quilt show! I can’t believe the day is finally here. This has been a wonderful almost-year-long challenge to make 20 quilts for this exhibition. I loved almost every minute of it. From the ideas that came flowing freely–many times during church my eyes would light upon a verse that it seemed I had never seen before and had fresh and new meaning for me. Or sometimes the fabric or the thread would start the idea, and I would find just the right phrase (or chapter!) to embroider on that quilt.

I finished the final five quilts shortly after Christmas. Tonight I went over all the quilts, checking for uncut threads, and then rolled them up for the trip tomorrow. (I roll them on those foam ‘noodles’ that they sell for the pool in the summertime. That keeps them from getting creases. And hopefully, keeps them from getting any dog hair on them…)

Here is the very last quilt I did:

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And some close-ups of the quilting:

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My BF encouraged me to quilt around the lettering to give it some definition. I had never done this before, and I really like the way it looks.

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If you are in the area, the quilts will be on exhibit at Oak Hills Church in Folsom, CA, from January 6 until February 10. I will be at Oak Hills on January 27 from 1-3pm for a small reception. I’d love to see you there!

The Last Push

I have been working away on the quilts for my Housetop Quilts gallery show in January. Here are the two I just finished up last night. All washed and blocked, ready to go. They probably wouldn’t need to be washed since they are small wall quilts, but I use the disappearing blue pen on them, and it must be rinsed out. And when I work on the quilts with all the kantha embroidery on them, it takes months and they do get quite dingy IMO. I have three more I am trying to finish, and then I need to stop and make sure all the little annoying details are taken care of, like inspecting the backs for stray threads, and making some labels for them.

This first one is more of the traditional style of housetop quilts:

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I really like the hand stitching enhancement I did with just a few lines of perle cotton. It has the words to the verse from Joshua 1:9 on it: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

And this next quilt is, I believe, the only quilt with a non-Biblical quote on it. I love this quote so much. I saved the scrap of paper that it was originally written on for ten years in a drawer!

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The quote is from John Donne, and says “Since I am coming to that holy room where with thy choir of saints evermore I shall be made thy music; as I come I tune the instrument here at the door, and what I must do then, think here before.”

This type of stitching takes me months to complete. But I love every stitch. My inspiration for the circles was the verse in Hebrews that says “You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the Living God…and to countless thousands of angels in joyful gathering.” Since it was a seascape (it is a piece of hand-painted fabric) I also thought about seashell shapes. Something between angels and seashells–you choose.

A close-up shot:

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The Housetop Quilts will be exhibited in Folsom, California, in the Art and Soul Gallery at Oak Hills Church from January 6-February 10, 2013. I will be there on Sunday, January 27 for a reception from 1-3pm. I’d love to see you there if you happen to be in the area!

Steady Progress

Not much to report today.  I am making steady progress on the God Speaks quilt, or the red quilt as I call it for short.  I am really starting to like it now.  The circle of spirals over the abstract squares is more stylized than I originally envisioned, but I like it.  There are a few more spirals to fill in, but I started working on the grid because I knew it was going to be a lot of boring quilting.  I don’t mind boring for a while.  But at this stage in a quilt, I am done.  I had the idea, I played with the colors.  Time to move along…

Having a goal of making 20 of these housetop quilts by October is good for me.  It keeps me working steadily on them until they are finished instead of moving on to the NEXT.  FUN.  PROJECT…

Spirals and Steady Progress

So I actually had an idea about how I wanted to quilt this before I even started piecing it.

It started with this little doodle on my “practice sandwich.”

Ooh.  That was fun.  I like doing spirals.  So I did some more.  I definitely like doing spirals.

Has anybody noticed how the spiral is a repetitive pattern that God uses in his creation?  I have.  So using these spirals on the quilt with the theme “God Speaks” seems like a natural choice.

I knew how I wanted to quilt the large white outer border–with a large spiral all the way around it, which would include all the words that God was speaking.  But then the quilting would be very dense in the center and very loose on the outer edges, and I knew that wouldn’t work.  I consulted my BFF, and she suggested putting a grid around the border, and then quilting the spiral as loosely as I wanted on top of that.  Perfect!!  (I like doing grids too.)

(the blue line is just a mark for where I want to stop doing the small spirals.)  I love those blue disappearing pens.  So far I haven’t had any trouble with them disappearing completely.

Back to the Housetop

Last week, before I went out of town, I started a new “housetop” quilt.  I had the idea of making random patches of color, and machine quilting concentric circles on top of the square shapes.  The title is “God Speaks,” as in “God spoke from the whirlwind.”

So I started with a wonderful bundle of Robert Kaufman Kona Cottons in all shades of red.  I got this at Hancock’s during my trip to Paducah.  It looked so pretty like that, it was kind of hard to take it apart.

This is where I left off last week.

And this is the organized pile of strips and squares that was waiting for me.

I worked pretty steadily all day, and finished up by 4pm.  Just in time for my afternoon coffee and snack!  I am not 100% sure I like this quilt.  There is a lot of blank space for quilting, and I do have a lot of ideas about what I want to include on it, so we will see.

When I work on these quilts, I do no measuring, and I just cut the strips with scissors.  This makes for some interesting joins, but it is a very fun and freeing way to work.  You might notice that I used some prints in this quilt.  I have only been using solids in the housetop quilts.  I think I like the solids better.

And now, lap time with the doggies, and a little more stitching with the perle cotton!!