Something to Celebrate

Yesterday I received an email informing me that both of the quilts I submitted to Sacred Threads have been juried into their exhibition! I was more excited than I thought I would be. It is a good affirmation, and will offset those moments where I have thoughts like “what are you doing? making more quilts to stick in your closet?”

And now I want to go to Washington D.C. this summer! The exhibit will be held at Floris United Methodist Church, Herndon, VA (outside Washington, D.C.) from July 10-July 26.

The quilts I submitted are Hope in Uncertain Times:

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And Sing for Joy:

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Another Psalm Quilt Finished

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This quilt is a good lesson in “just continue on.” I actually had decided I didn’t like this quilt, in the stage where I just had the circles pinned in place. I was going to put it in the thrift store pile, but I do find it hard to do that, so I just threw it in the closet. A few months later, I was looking for something to do some handwork on, and I brought it back out. Well, maybe just for fun…

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The more I stitched on it, the more I liked it. And then it ended up being the one that I completely stitched over the whole surface! In my defense, one of the reasons I disliked it was because I didn’t do such a good job making the quilt sandwich. This was one of the projects I worked on in my little self-retreat up in Lake Tahoe last fall, and I only had my Featherweight with me. Anyway, I decided to let that go and just stitch away. I’m glad I did.

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The Psalm that I chose for it is one of the passages that Wendy and I loved when we started working with the kids in the village in Haiti.

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In The Studio and On My Lap

Here’s the latest work being done in the studio–

I made the giant nine patch quilt top into a sandwich. First I made a pieced back for it. I’ll have to show you that after the quilting is finished.

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And I started working on the little snowball quilt idea I had. You can see that most of the blocks are 3 inch finished blocks. Then I made six, nine, twelve, and fifteen inch blocks to insert into the quilt. I thought of a lot of different ways to do this, but I ended up using the original little sketch I had drawn in my journal. I love having my little journal with me!

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I still have a lot of the 3 1/2 inch squares that I pre-cut for this quilt. I have another little idea in the works for them.

In the evenings, I usually move into the living room and have some handwork in progress.

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I’m working on another of  The Psalms quilts. Here you can see I machine stitched in the ditch to stabilize the background. But then I decided to do kantha style stitching over the entire background.

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Well, you know all about my circle love 🙂

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And I finished the rug made from fabric strips. These rugs are so cushy to stand on. I really like having them in the kitchen, and they wash very easily too.

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After being washed:

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Its just right in front of the stove. And the little girls like to lay on them when they are waiting for me to make their meals!

Some Exciting News!

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Two years ago I had the opportunity to do an exhibit of my Housetop Quilts at the Oak Hills Church in Folsom, CA. Since then I have worked on two new series of quilts, The Psalms, and The Signature of Jesus. And Monday, I delivered 25 quilts to Oak Hills. They will be on display until Easter Sunday, April 5. Anyone is welcome to visit and view them. Of course, the gallery area will be open every Sunday morning, from about 9am-12noon. And you can also visit during the week, Tuesday through Friday. Just call the church office (916.983.0181) to make sure the gallery is open. (The gallery is in their very large sanctuary lobby.) I will be at the church this Sunday, February 22, sitting and demonstrating my handwork. Fun!

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I can’t say enough good things about this church. They have encouraged me to be an artist, and have provided an opportunity to share my work with others. When I delivered the quilts, two artists were there to help hang them, and they were laid out and arranged and rearranged to make a beautiful display. It is truly exciting to be able to see all of your work in one sitting like this. Teresa is the artist in charge of the program. She makes Pysanki eggs–they are phenomenal! Go to her website and view the galleries–you will be amazed!

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And another bit of very good news! The Quilt Show has gotten the kinks out of their system, and are set up for people to be able to view “my” show for free February 22 through March 8. Clicking on this link should take you directly to the show. THIS LINK WILL NOT WORK UNTIL FEBRUARY 22. I hope you will watch and enjoy. The Quilt Show does a wonderful professional job at producing each show. I truly enjoy watching each new episode. In addition, TQS has a wonderful website with lots of free instructions, ideas, news, and just fun stuff.

Here’s the trailer they created for my show!

 

More Finishes!

I made the sandwich for that light cross quilt, and pre-quilted a grid on it. I thought that that might make the piece look more finished  once I put the lettering on it. I actually hated the grid after I got it done (but after all the lettering was on, I liked it again.)

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Then I began the tedious job of putting the lettering on. I actually mostly like this tedious job. It involves a bit of measuring and counting, and that appeals to my mathematical side. I measured the lines at 1 1/2 inches, and used Gwen Marston’s “thumbnail method” of marking the lines. And then I used my blue pen to actually write the lettering carefully. I used dark brown thread, and planned to go over the lettering twice to make it as visible as I intended for it to be (sometimes I don’t want the words to be as visible.) In the mark once, check twice department, halfway through the stitching, I decided I needed to check the wording against my Bible. And sure enough, I had left out an entire line!! Thank goodness I found it right BEFORE I stitched it. I just had to erase all those lines of blue lettering by spritzing it with water, and wait for it to dry, and then finish the lettering.

And then this quilt. My problem child. I did this BIG quilt quite a while ago. And then I decided that I should put a lot of kantha stitching at the bottom, indicating the world. Halfway through all that stitching, I didn’t really like it. But I stubbornly continued on. And of course, the stitching really skewed an already lopsided quilt. And THEN, where I  wanted to put the simple lettering  (GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD,) there was a purple stick of fabric that would be right in the way.

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Well, I’m getting down to the deadline for this exhibit*, and so I got this quilt out ONE. MORE. TIME. I remembered that I could appliqué a patch of background color over the stick, and with the lettering over it, it wouldn’t even be noticeable. And then, with my experience of the past couple of quilts, where I have blocked them on my design wall, I was able to spray it lightly with water, and do a decent job of blocking some of the skewy-ness out of it.

Here's where I put the patch--that purple stick of fabric continued up and would have interfered with the lettering.

Here’s where I put the patch–that purple stick of fabric continued up and would have interfered with the lettering.

*The Signature of Jesus series, and The Psalms series will be exhibited at Oak Hills Church in Folsom from February 22 through March 15.

Almost Done

Another Psalm quilt almost finished. Can you spot the problem in this photo?

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Yes, it is 24″ across the top and only 23″ across the bottom. I do this to myself far too frequently. I don’t start out with a perfectly squared up piece of fabric (that part is okay.) But then I do this extensive embroidery ALL THE WAY TO THE EDGE  (that part is not okay.) Because then I hate to cut that embroidery off, so I fudge when I am squaring up the quilt and end up with a trapezoid. Sigh. I will be squaring it up later today, and putting a binding on tomorrow (binding is such heinous work, it is not suitable for Sunday.)

I am very happy with how this quilt turned out. I don’t usually have the words picked out when I start a quilt composition. As this one progressed, and the birds became more of a focal point, I came upon this Psalm (92) about singing and praise. It seemed perfect for this quilt, and the phrases I wanted to include fit perfectly in the blank spaces I had left for the writing.

Some close-ups:

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Adding the french knots in the circles is something a little new.

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I got a couple of good days in the studio last week. I’ll share another project soon!

An Ambitious Schedule

I’ve set myself an ambitious schedule for the next couple of weeks. Later, I’ll tell you exactly why I am doing this. Today I was very pleased with myself–I put the finishing touches on THREE quilts, two of which had been “in the works” for months (if not years…) Oh, and the thing that I was most pleased about? I found a particular piece of fabric that’s been missing since I packed up all my stash before the studio was built!!

First, I put the binding on “Stars in the Garden.” I think I’ll call it that since it was a star workshop that I took with Alex Anderson in the beautiful gardens at Alden Lane Nursery. It finished at about 50″X65″.

Next up, I finished “Found,” from Psalm 139. It is part of the Psalms series. I really enjoy creating these quilts and choosing just the right Psalm for the particular quilt. Most of the time I use a modern version of the Bible for the words on my quilts. This particular verse is from a favorite Psalm of mine way back when I was in my 20’s and at that time I was reading the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. I don’t read that version much any more, but I do still like it. The language is very beautiful. This quilt is about 26″X40″.

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In case you can’t read it: “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me…”

Close-ups:

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And lastly I finished the latest cross quilt, from “The Signature of Jesus” series. Its a small quilt (about 10″X12″,) so I decided to embroider the whole thing. I haven’t added the words yet–I’ll decide where to put them and do that tonight. Each of these “Signature” quilts has the same words “GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD.”

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Close-up:

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Three quilts, three different sizes, all finished. Now that’s a good day!

Finished Small Works

I wanted to write a post called “The End of Creativity.” But I decided to NOT be a drama queen. That’s just how I’ve felt for the last week or so. All the moving, cleaning, sorting, and building (okay, I’m not building, but there’s someone here ALL THE TIME,) has just sapped any original ideas from my mind. And then there’s that whole thing about all my STUFF not being available (its all packed up in the storage shed until the studio is finished.)

Anyway, last week, I went through the pile of finished/almost finished quilts on the chair in my bedroom (I will be so happy to have a dedicated closet to keep these in.) And I found quite a few small quilts that only needed the binding or a few last quilting stitches to complete them.

The little 7X10 SAQA quilt received a tradition binding edge. Because I measured like 20 times, double checked the entry paperwork, and then cut it 7X10. Only I had wanted to put a facing edge on it, and that would have required leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Aaagh.

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These next two little pieces (both about 12 inches square) I don’t exactly remember what I was trying to accomplish. Just experimenting, I think. I spent quite a bit of time on them for experimental work.

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These next two quilts are in the “Psalms” series. Both of them are about 18″X24″. I really enjoy working on these quilts–choosing the fabrics, figuring out where to place them, and then choosing a verse for them, and adding some hand-stitching. I hope to get back to these as soon as the studio is finished.

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I used a variegated brown thread for the lettering on this quilt. It really fades out on the darker background at the top. I think I’ll re-do those words.

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This next quilt has a crazy amount of hand-stitching on it! And I let it sit like that–almost finished- for I think almost two years! I’ll tell you the story of this quilt in another post. Its also about 18″X24″.

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It felt good to get all these little pieces finished. It only took a couple of days. Well, two years and a couple of days : ))

 

 

A Day in the Life

Labor Day was a very good day of work for me. I’m not sure you can call it Labor, when you are doing something you love. Something put me in the mood to document how a day goes in the life of an artist.

Sunday I had written myself a little note:  “clean off work table so you can start work on the next Psalms quilt.” I didn’t get that done. So that was my first task Monday morning. This is what my work table often looks like. Then it reaches critical mass, and I can’t work there any more until I clear it off.

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These are bits and pieces of a bigger project that I am working on. The idea for it is not completely formed, so I just do a little of it once in a while.

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But first, before I put it away, I had the idea to make another “leftovers square” as the background for one of my little cross quilts.

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I am loving making these–lately that has been my Sunday morning meditation–to complete one.

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That little project completed, I organized the leftovers of the leftovers and put them away.

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Then, I got it into my head to organize another messy craft–my rug hooking “worms.” That is what some people call the leftover strips from hooking a rug. I have an exhorbitant amount of these leftovers, considering how few rugs I have actually hooked.
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The teacher for the next class I am taking (at that big conference at the end of the month) said that it is fun to use the bags of leftovers when they are organized into color families. So I did that.

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Finally, I could lay out the group of fabrics I had chosen about a week ago for my new project. Ahhh…I love this part!

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Oh, but then it was time for a walk with Noah before it got too hot. (forgot to document with a picture!)

And when I returned home, I needed another cup of coffee, and I still hadn’t done my morning reading. I am loving sitting out on my “new” deck.

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Finally, I was ready to start the day. I put in a phone call to my rug hooking friend. I wanted to talk to her about whether or not I had time to put a border with lettering on the rug (before the conference at the end of the month.) I told her I could finish the interior of the rug by the end of the day. Here’s the part I still needed to finish:

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And here’s what my side table looks like. Hooking rugs is a rather messy affair.

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So that was it. I sat and hooked and hooked. And hooked some more. The little girls were rather bored with my long stitching session.

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And by 9pm (I NEVER work this long on one project–most days end creatively at dinner time!) the rug was finished!!!

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And that, my friends, is a really good day in the life of an artist! (and BTW, I still haven’t started that Psalm quilt. I had another Big Idea yesterday morning, and I started on that instead!)

P.S. I wrote my thoughts on “being an artist” over on my other blog.  Check it out to see what goes on inside the mind of a working artist.

Lots of Experimenting

Since I came home from the Nancy Crow workshop, I have been experimenting with the strip piecing and restructuring, and also have reverted to some of the style of work I was doing just before I left.

I made one composition, and then decided to see what would happen if I tried to insert a lattice-type of strip piecing into it.

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And then I had the idea to make a BIG quilt (56 inches square is big for me.) I wanted to try to include strips and circles together in one quilt. This was very fun to do, but also took a lot of time to put together all those strips of fabric.

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And then this one, which is back to the style that I started, and is the style I am using for “The Psalms” quilts. It is very calming. I will probably add some circles or other shapes on top of it, but it is all ready for me to start hand quilting.

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And that’s what I’ve been working on for the past week or so!