Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Path Never Traveled?

To say, I take the path less traveled would probably be inaccurate, so then we have the path never traveled. Well, until now.

As my friends know, I don't always do things according to plan. The logical plan for making my rose would have been to piece the outer ring and then applique the inner rings onto it. But because some inner voice was speaking to me that day, this entire rose was machine pieced, meaning I curve pieced the inner rings to the outer ring.

Some things you find you just have to do for the challenge of it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Rose of Sharon

On this crisp winter day, I am thinking of the brilliant colorful blooms of summer flowers. The beautiful part of being a quilter is that you can create your own bright and cheerful world through your quilts. This is the Rose of Sharon inspired by one of my favorite Bible verses.

What are you doing today to brighten your world?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cleaning up my Life?

In a effort to use some of that stash, I have been busy sewing. Since the thread didn't show, I went through my thread collection.

Is it a collection? Have I been busy "collecting" thread? Apparently, because I found many spools of thread that were almost thread bare (great pun!!) I hear you laughing at me....

I picked through the green and blues and pulled out and finished 13 spools of thread in one afternoon. No picture because I threw them away so fast... before I could think of any reason to save empty spools. You know, for some crazy crafty project.

Today, I'll move on. There are spools of red, yellow, and orange to look through. Not to mention all the neutrals.

And, I don't want to know the clever uses you have found for empty spools. They are gone!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Love/Hate Affair

Here it is! It's overwhelming. It's grabbing at me. It's taken over my studio and I can't control it. My box of scraps is overflowing.

Should I grab a garbage bag and pack it in? Should I shout and wave with joy as the garbage man carries it off?

But then again, I keep finding reasons to dig into its treasures. A bit of green for an appliqued leaf. A bit of yellow for a flower center. A variety of blues for a one color quilt. Some hot reds for a classy bag.

Do I love my scraps or do I hate the fact that I reach back into them instead of cutting my new luscious fabric? Should I keep them, my old friends, around or trash them for new acquaintances?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Leaning on the Fence

I was thrilled to have my quilt selected as one of the finalists in the New Quilts from an Old Favorite competition. But it was a bittersweet moment when I packed it up to be sent in. I would not see it again for two years since the quilts travel from venue to venue during that time.

So my quilt started its travel by way of Paducah, KY. After final judging, "Leaning on the Fence" was awarded third place. If you are in Paducah for the quilt show, stop and say "hi" to my quilt and reassure it that I am anxiously awaiting its return and the stories of its adventures.

Isn't it wild when your quilts travel to more places than you do!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Leaning on the Fence

Last September, I relaxed and had fun hand piecing a sunflower block. Cotton batik fabrics were used for the flower and a linen fabric was used at the background sections. As you can see, the block made its way into a quilt where it was machine quilted and hand beaded. It was joined by several other sunflower blocks.

At that time, I had no idea that I would later finish this quilt and enter it in the New Quilts from Old Favorites - Sunflower competition sponsored by the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Red Hot Chili Lily

The flowers on this quilt were not the important part for me, therefore I placed them high on the quilt, actually almost off the top of the quilt. The colors also blend into the color of the background making them less noticeable.

The flowers are three dimensional and beaded but you have to look close to see them. Isn't fun to have a main focal point, then fascinating details that draw the viewer in for a closer look?

Maybe next time I'll try a more subdued background. And then, maybe not!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Red Hot Chili Lily

I enjoyed the challenge of using the bright red and yellow batik as a background. Although it may look like one fabric, the stripes with the small design are from another fabric that I cut, mirror imaged and fused to the batik. This added more dimension to the background and a frame to ground the stark black stems.

What challenges have faced today in your artwork?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Winter's Garden

This evening, you are invited to a Garden Party - Artists' Reception at the Riverfront Art Center in Stevens Point, WI. "Winter's Garden" is an exhibition of floral art with live orchids in bloom. I love this exhibit because the live orchids and the artwork compliment each other so well. What a lovely setting to contrast with a cold winter outdoors.

I am pleased that my piece "Red Hot Chili Lily" was juried in and is a part of the exhibit which features paintings, photography and other art forms. (Both orchids and artworks are for sale.)

"Red Hot Chili Lily" was a challenge quilt for me. The self-imposed challenge was to use my fire-hot batik as a background instead of an accent fabric. It certainly posed a different way to look at a piece of fabric. It took a while to ponder through possible solutions but I'm happy with the outcome. What do you think?

Since I was looking at my fabric differently, I also decided to look at the flowers from a different view-point. What would I see if I were a tiny mouse running through the grass?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Swaying in the Swirls

Following my walk, I attempted to translate the blowing winds and the swirling snow into a fabric composition. I chose an off-white batik for the background and sheer fabrics as accents. A pale yellow sun is almost obliterated by the sheer force of the swirling snow. The cattails were hand-stitched. Beads add a bit of sparkle to the snow even with the sun's limited rays. The fabric piece was quilted, finished and mounted on a painted canvas.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Winter Walk

With the cold temperatures of winter in Wisconsin, the bay in front of our house freezes over and provides a new world to explore as Shadow and I take to the outdoors. On bright sunny days, we are blinded by the reflection on the snow but on cold windy days we battle the elements on our trek across the frozen water. The snow whips through the air and the cattails sway in the swirls. When we come in from the cold, we feel cleansed and refreshed.

I am again reminded of God's great power.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Four Star Quilt

I saved the half square triangles cut from the corners of the flying geese blocks in "Keep Your Quackers in a Row". Using these triangles and the small amount of remaining fabric from the project, I arranged the elements into the Four Star Quilt. The centers of the stars are "freedom blocks" from my book "Log Cabin Quilts with Attitude".

I was challenging myself to use up the fabric from my "Quackers" quilt, and the top of the "Four Star Quilt" put a major dent in the excess but there was a small amount of fabric still left. I decided to make blocks, squares, and whatever units that used up the fabric and place these on the back of the quilt.

It was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle arranging the pieces for the quilt back and I did need to supplement with more fabric. Several black and white prints were my favored choice. The quilt back became a creative, free spirited quilt that reminds me of the many quilters who made due with what they had.

Now, sandwiching the quilt, quilting and binding.

I did save just enough fabric (pieced from two of my "Quackers "fabrics) for the binding.
Well, at least, I think I have enough! We will soon find out.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I've done it!

This is all that remains. I've used it all up. These tiny scraps can be thrown away with absolutely no regrets. Don't you wish this happened with every project?

A few days ago, I mentioned that I had a pile of half square triangles left from a previous project. They sat on the corner of my cutting table for many months. The fact that I loved the colors kept them in sight and in the corner of my brain. They were just waiting for their opportunity to become a quilt. Well, with the new year comes the idea of cleaning up my life.

So, I did---------or should I say, sew, I did. A top is completed and a back is completed. Come back tomorrow and I will post the pictures.

Today, I will be celebrating because I have reduced the excess fabric from my "Keep Your Quackers in a Row" project (pictured below) to just a couple "practice stitching" scraps.

By the way, "Keep Your Quackers in a Row" is a great fast quilt, with flannel on the front and fleece on the back. It is so cuddly and warm, making it a much loved and appreciated gift. The pattern in available on my website

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Record keeping

Do you keep a list of the quilts that you have made?

I have found that this a valuable resource for so many reasons. I make an average of about 20-30 or more quilts a year and I can't remember all details (and it seems my memory is getting worst, ugh!)

When I first started quilting, I thought it was pretentious to name my quilts but I soon found out it was much quicker to say "GPS- Geese Phying South" than "the red and green quilt with the mariner's compass in the middle and the flying geese blocks surrounding it, and the quarter mariner's compass blocks in the corners, you know the one". So my quilts began to have names, and with the names came stories of how they got their names. Or why they deserve their names, i.e. my friend's quilt named "The Quilt from Hell".

Along with the name of the quilt, there is information about making the quilt including the year made, the size, the materials used including the batting, and perhaps awards that the quilt has earned. All this should be included on your list of quilts. This past year I (finally) finished a quilt I started in 1995 and I certainly don't remember details that long.

I wish I could tell you I always keep up to date on this, but I would rather be making quilts than recording them. My resolution is to start off this year keeping track of things. A new year, new beginnings!

p.s. Don't forget photos.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Enjoy the New Year

I've been busy celebrating the Christmas season with my wonderful family. Now it's time to put things away and start an exciting new year full of new projects and new ideas.

Although, I've just read a German proverb "Who begins too much accomplishes little." With that in mind, I am reconsidering the new projects and thinking it would be a better plan to finish some UFOs. At least a couple of them. I've been looking at a pile of half-square triangle on my cutting table for several months and it's time to put them into a quilt (or maybe just hide them??) We'll see what the day brings.

What is your plan for the New Year? New projects or finishing up remnants of last year?
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