Moving Along

It seems like progress has been slow lately, but if you just keep plugging along, eventually stuff gets accomplished.

I thoroughly enjoyed my quick trip to Santa Cruz for Maria Shell‘s workshop! I stopped at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and they had a brand new exhibit up–what a treat!

Maria’s workshop was great, and she had lots of ideas for us to try using solid fabrics to make prints.

I had this great grouping of fabrics in my tote bin, and right away I thought “wouldn’t those work together well?”

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So I used them to make these curved pieces. When I started working on them, I wasn’t quite so charmed with their colors. So I put them up on my design wall when I got home, and I am pondering the possibilities. Even if I don’t use these particular pieces, I love the technique that she taught, and I know I will use it again soon.

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My gardener was due for a visit, and so the pressure was on to finish the quilt for his first granddaughter. Do any of you have “issues” with charging for your work? I don’t ever want to do anything for free, but on the other hand, I would not pay what I charge for a baby quilt–I want to say “go to Marshall’s, you can get a great baby quilt there for a fraction of the cost.” Nonetheless, we traded work hours for the quilt. MLG has done a miracle in my yard–worth so much more than a quilt.

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Here is the finished quilt–I just quilted simply around the birds, put some radiating┬álines around the “frames,” and did simple wavy lines in the sashing. I ended up following the fabric pattern to quilt the border. I wanted it to be sturdy, but not too densely quilted for a quilt that I hope is used and loved for a long time.

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I had the idea to cut out one of the bird prints, and use that space for the baby name and info. I was really pleased with how this came out.

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In the meantime, mostly in the evenings, I kept plugging along at the little squares that I was embroidering. Last night I finished the 153rd square! Now I am going to quilt it, and add a backing fabric onto it. I had a muslin back on it, just for stability, but now for the first time I am going to try my idea of adding a second back so that the embroidery thread work won’t show on the back. I am only going to show you a few of the squares that I finished. You’ll have to wait until its finished to see the whole thing.

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(oops, I just noticed I didn’t finish the french knots on this one!)

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And now on to the studio!

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What’s Next?

In my last post I hinted at a special event coming up. I wrote about that on my other blog, Part 1 and Part 2. I was a guest on The Quilt Show! What I didn’t write about over there was some of the prep work I did for the show. I put quilt sleeves on twelve quilts!! I have never liked quilt sleeves. They don’t seem that helpful for the average non-quilty person. And I think I was a little afraid of them, because I had never done them. But I found Libby Lehman’s wonderful instructions, and now I am an expert on the sleeve of the quilt!

Getting ready for the show had me concentrating on finishing some long-overdue quilts, and putting the final touches and words on others.

I put a red border on this quilt:

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I had it on the design wall for quite a long time, trying to figure out what words and where to put them. And then I got an inspiration–just put the original words that you are putting on all the cross quilts (God so loved the world) but add them to the flower design. Hidden, and yet visible–just as God is so often! I love it!

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The Quilt Show requested three six-inch blocks. I made four–one for me to keep as a memento!

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The past two days I’ve been in my box of little two inch squares again! This is a version of a quilt I saw in a book. Only that book had 1/2″ finished squares in the four-patches. I knew that probably wasn’t going to happen, so I started thinking about this. And realized that pretty easily it could be made into a cross quilt. I like it. And I am auditioning border fabric there. I think this quilt might need a border.

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So what’s next? While I was trying to think about the words for that cross quilt, one of the phrases that I contemplated was “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”–the famous words uttered by John the Baptist when he saw Jesus. They didn’t seem quite right for this quilt. But it got me to thinking. What about a series of quilts called “What They Said,” with the words featured prominently–phrases that people uttered when they encountered Jesus. I am quite excited about the possibility. I went through the Gospels and wrote down a number of outstanding comments. This would give me a chance to do a little more work with the actual lettering–I’ve been collecting various fonts used in artistic ways. And although the wording would be the dominant feature, there is no end to what I can do with the background and/or borders in each of these. I’m also thinking about keeping them all the same size. That will be a challenge for me…

 

Discouragement

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Yesterday I made myself sit down and finish the straight-line quilting on the new quilt (that I talked about yesterday.) Sure enough, I was right. I don’t like it. Its not very interesting. I won’t be entering it in the contest. I was so┬ádiscouraged. I started that bad thinking–“what are you doing? what made you think you were an artist? what’s the use?”

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I left it on the design wall and headed out to the gym, not knowing whether I’d ever quilt again (haha, drama queen.) I had to stop at the post office and pick up a couple of quilts that had been returned from a small gallery showing. I opened the box and looked at them. Ahhh, a glimmer of hope. I LIKED these quilts!

Of course I felt better after my workout. Still, I might never make another worthy quilt…

When I got home, I decided to put the two little quilts on the design wall to enjoy them for a bit. And then I had the idea to put some more quilts up there. I cleared all the works-in-progress off the wall, and put up my own little quilt show. Wow, look at all those quilts I’ve made THAT I LIKE. And that quilt you don’t like–it isn’t such a bad little quilt. It just needs a little help (like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.)

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I’ll be back in the studio today, just sewing a couple of pieces of fabric together…