New and Old Things

Let’s start with the old. Do you even remember when I started this project? I don’t. But the other day I was cleaning out my closet and I remembered this very large project. I was going to make panels with front and back, and then do that “quilt as you go thing” to put them all together into a very big quilt. The front has 7 inch squares with a one inch border, and my idea was to embroider in all the borders. So I got one out and started embroidering on it again. It takes a long time to embroider each border. So I went back into the closet to see how many panels I had left to do. When I finish this panel, there will be four panels done. AND EIGHT PANELS LEFT TO GO! I was kind of complaining about this to my BF, and she said, why not just put the four panels together into a smaller quilt? Brilliant!! There are other things I’d rather be embroidering.

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I finished this next quilt in time for the Intersection of Faith and Arts Conference. It was actually a lot of work to piece together the background, and to embroider all that writing on it. I had thought about doing a series of these, with Biblical blocks in the background, and important (to me) verses on the front. But I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to do that again. Well, I had three people comment that they would like to buy this quilt, and so that encouraged me to make the next one. Its always nice to hear that people appreciate your work. (This verse is Matt. 11:28-29 from Eugene Peterson’s The Message.)

THE UNFORCED RHYTHMS OF GRACE

I really like making these improv cris-cross blocks. No ruler or rotary cutter necessary! So I made a bunch of samples in case anyone wanted me to teach this. Very fun to make. (And yes, I did square them up at the end so I could easily put borders on them.)

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And lastly, I am always so very happy when I get a picture from a workshop participant telling me that she finished her class project! Because, to be honest, I seldom finish workshop projects. I especially love the colorful border that she put on this project. Thank you so much for sharing!

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I’m back in the studio finally. I spent half a day cleaning up (yes, still more needs to be done but there’s at least room to move around in there!)

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Projects and Project Boxes

I am a multiple project type of gal. I like having multiple projects to work on. But sometimes I get carried away and the projects multiply faster than I can work on them. And that can be overwhelming. That’s when the project boxes come in handy. I can put some of the projects neatly away for a bit. They are all ready for when the mood strikes, but they are not laying around making me feel guilty for the way I choose to work.

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Recently I saw a tiny picture somewhere. It was just a simple quilt, a kind of a square in a square, and I thought, that would be a neat way to use my kantha stitching. It seemed to be a scrappy quilt, and the main square was large with the outer square being more of a frame (where I would embellish with kantha stitching.) Here, like this:

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So I went out and went through my stash, and had great fun cutting out hunks of all my favorite fabrics, and then carefully cutting them into 6 inch squares. I have enough to make each block a different fabric!

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As I cut the squares, I had great fun re-visiting old and new favorite fabrics. It occurred to me that this is a great idea for a memory quilt. So many memories are attached to my fabric–where I was when I bought it, who I was with, and sometimes even the quilts that I have made with the fabric.

Here are some of the other projects I am working on presently. And even more are in project boxes…

Here is the piece that I showed you bits of previously. I have to take long breaks with this one to figure out what I want to do next. So far, each time it seems like “adding more” is the best solution…

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I got out the ten little pieces that I intended for the “Characteristics of God” series. I am making them into sandwiches and embroidering the words on them.

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And in the evenings, this one seems to have taken preeminence, because it is so enjoyable to stitch on with that DMC Coton Floche thread. I choose one blockĀ to work on, and then choose the threads that I want to use. It usually takes an evening to stitch one block.

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Sharing My Work

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I love sharing my work with others. What I don’t love is paying $30-40 and having someone say “no thank you” with no explanation whatsoever. I don’t have a solution to this problem. But I think for $30-40, a short explanation of rejection should be included. Yes, I’ve heard all the explanations of why a piece might be rejected. I know that the more you enter your work, the higher the chance that it will eventually be accepted. But $30-40 is a lot of money. Children are dying of hunger and thirst every day, and I do mean this literally. It is something that concerns me. And selfishly spending $30-40 in the hopes that an unnamed stranger might like my work and accept it into their show is not something that I enjoy doing on a regular basis.

 

Here’s an interesting story about that. Last fall I entered a rug into the big rug hooking contest, Celebrations. One of my instructors felt that it had a very good chance of being accepted. A few weeks ago I realized that I had never heard from them pro or con. So I started investigating. And the question I asked was, “I would like to know if my rug was viewed.” Lo and behold, my $35 entry fee went through just fine. But the rug images never made it to the judges. Now, in all fairness, I have to give kudos to the woman I was corresponding with. She could have just brushed my concern aside. But she was honest, investigated what had happened, and was very apologetic about the whole situation.

 

Anyway, all that leaves me with still wanting to share my work with others. Recently, I showed a couple of the pieces in the “what they said” series to my pastor’s wife to see if there would be any interest in sharing them at my church. She was most enthusiastic, and I ended up displaying them for Easter weekend. I really loved sharing them with others. If anyone has a church that would like to have a display of any of my quilts, I would love to share them.

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Back story on these pieces. I always intended to mount them on cradled panel boards. I tried staining the boards, but I didn’t like that look. So I decided to paint them black. I was so careful. They were propped EVERYWHERE in my little wet studio (there are 18 pieces in this series!) I let them dry for several days, and then carefully brought them into my regular studio to mount the quilts on them. 10 of them had little bits of paint that chipped off! Back out to the studio for touch-ups. I shared a few of them with Teresa, the coordinator for the Oak Hills gallery, and she said they needed mounting hardware. Okay then. Ordered that from Amazon, and had a morning of adding little screws and wire to the back of each one. I kind of resented doing this, but I have to admit that it made hanging them extremely easy šŸ™‚

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After sharing them with my church, Grace Fellowship, in Jackson for a few weeks, they will go to Oak Hills Church in Folsom, and will be there from May 14 through June 18. If any of you are in the area, there will be an artist’s reception on Friday, May 19, from 7pm to 8:30pm. I’d love to see you!

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Starting a New Series

I am finally starting the “what they said” series. I had chosen about 20 phrases that people uttered when they encountered Jesus. The different reactions people had were quite outstanding, and I don’t think I have ever seen them addressed. So I feel very firmly that this is something I am meant to do. But the HOW was not exactly established. I knew I wanted them to be somewhat simple, so that the words would take the pre-eminent place in the work. As the time approached, I got out all the little squares that I had pieced at my Lake Tahoe retreat (that retreat turned out to be a VERY GOOD THING!) and decided that I would use them in this series. I thought a LOT about whether or not I wanted the quilts to be the same size. I usually don’t work that way. Then I saw how Melody Johnson mounts her small works on a cradled wood panel,Ā and I thought that might be another way to add interest to this series. I haven’t decided for sure whether I will mount these quilts like that, but it helped me to make the decision to make them all the same size, and to choose a size that will fit on wood panelsĀ that are available. Almost all of them will be 15″ X 15″.

Then, finally, it was time to start. I didn’t plan this, and I have never done this, but since they were so simple, I put together multiple sandwiches. I am using my favorite Kona Snow as the background color on all of these. Fortunately, I had a bolt of it in the closet šŸ™‚

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One of the reasons that I continued making sandwiches was because I knew how to piece these simple tops. But, as usual, I got a little stuck at the quilting. I finally followed my BF’s advice, and did a little quilt-sketching. That broke the barrier. Yesterday, I sat down and put the words on the first quilt with my blue pen and started embroidering. I have my starting sketch all ready to go so I can quilt it as soon as I finish the words.

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I am happy.