January 29, 2010 4 comments

The colour of life.

1. Brice Creek, Umpqua National Forest...., 2. Kerala3, 3. Foggy Morning, 4. Nevena Uzurov - Lonely...

I picked these photos this week because I am feeling green at the moment. "Green" is such a paltry word to describe the seemingly infinite array of textures and correlating emotions that are encapsulated in such a short word, which is why I am not just feeling green, I am craving it.

The lush sensuousness of a rich, mossy green soft against your cheek or earthy yellow greens  - encouraging and wise.  The strength and maturity of smooth green leaves in their prime, or youthful blue based reeds trailing through your fingers. The restful yin of powder-y grey lichen, reminding us that one day, all our cares will be dust or the yang of fresh spring greens and their whisper of encouragment.

But  most especially, I am feeling diffused, translucent green  - that filtering green seen through water or fog: the perfect green through which to see your dreams coming toward you -  just there - turning the corner.
January 26, 2010 5 comments

Dwain the tub, I'm dwowning!

(If you don't know that knock knock joke, you'll have no idea what I'm referencing with my title. *hee*)

Anyway, I'm "dwowning" alright - I'm drowning in WIPS!!!  So, you know how I said I wanted to finish my WIPs and start the year fresh? 

Does it STILL count if most of your WIPs look this:

(Please note, that since I don't use patterns, I design the whole thing in my head and then cut my fabric, and so, of course, I now have no idea what it is I was supposed to do with all those neatly cut pieces.)

How 'bout this:

Multi-coloured but complementary shades of blue, beige and black African waxed cottons cut in a handful of squares and a LOT of triangles.  *scratches head*  Worse yet - THESE were cut nearly two years ago - so I haven't got the foggiest idea what they were supposed to look like, and given my history, they were probaby cut incorrectly in the first place, and were definitely cut before I knew how important accurate cutting was. *ahem*

These, at least, I know what was going on with.  As I gathered fun scraps, I cut them into 4 by 1.5 inch lengths and made them into mini blocks. This is an onging project and the blocks and strips will be used in many different ways as time passes.  However, there is a particular project I started in mind with.

But what about THESE?

I opened that up, and thought "what the heck?"

But it resolved itself into this:

And that doesn't look so bad, right? Right. Except.  Except (!) there are enough of those stars to make FOUR queen sized quilts, and not enough purple background fabric to make ONE. (Again, another "let's wing this puppy" project.  Works fine with my developing style - not so much with quilts based on BLOCKS.)

But wait, there's MORE!

And still more.  *sigh*  And those are in addition to my already pieced tops!

So, I've decided to give myself a break.  I mean, I REALLY want to get started on some new ideas I have! To that end, I'm going to finish the tops I have until I run out of batting (*heh*); and then I 'm going to start on new projects - finishing one WIP per month thereafter.

And THAT means that I could start producing new stuff as soon as the end of February!  *does a happy dance*

Which means, I should have all of my (current) WIPS finished by the end of 2010.  But it's best not to think that way.  Right? 


See you Friday!  :)
January 22, 2010 0 comments

Friday Flickr Faves

1. Cuore verde, 2. Untitled, 3. Tranquillità in un lago dorato, 4. These rocks actually get pounded pretty bad

Why they're my faves, after the jump.

I have always been struck by shades of green like that fern, especially when juxtaposed against a dark background like this.  A couple of years ago, I came across a photographer who done something simliar, and I fell in love with it.  Unfortunately, he doesn't upload at Flickr, but I had his site bookmarked for years, just so I could look at that photo.  (Sadly, the site was lost in the great 'puter crash of '09.  It's amazing how you can go to sites over and over and forget what they're called!)

In the photo of the ducks, I love the way the water turns to liquid gold in the setting sun,  The gold against the blue of the water is so luscious and beautiful - some day I'm going to translate that into fabric.

One of my favourites, moss covered rocks.  Even as a child, I loved vibrant green moss - whether the soft spongy kind in forests (which I used to collect and make beds out of for my Barbies - if I  couldn't sleep on it, someone should!) or this kind, which though equally beautiful, doesn't feel as nice.

I would like to translate some aspect of all of these photos into fabric some day. 

I don't know what the multi-coloured piece is - the artist was writing about it in a language I don't understand.  But it's stunning.  The depth of colour and sheen, the way your eye moves everywhere but doesn't feel "tired" from looking at it - the textural nature of it - I want to stroke it. 
January 20, 2010 3 comments

WIP Wednesdays

Silks, satin, wool blend jacquard - as usual, you'll see the finished product on Monday. 

On Friday, I'm going to be looking at images that inspire me. 

Happy hump day!
January 18, 2010 6 comments

One of These Things (Is not like the others)

Project "Finish Those WIPs" is well underway - this quilt - just last week, a pile of blocks in a basket - finally got done.  Sadly, there are a lot more like it waiting for attention!

Click below for the back and details...  oh - and a little giveaway.
January 14, 2010 1 comments

Friday Flickr Faves

For your consideration, textue and colour:

1. Strawberry-Angel, 2. 8.4.09 (221), 3. Work in Progress - Work Quilt #2 - Layer 1, 4. Yellow, Yellow, Red, Red (S/M)

Bloggers Day of Action

Help make a difference in Haiti - post this on your blog or donate to the links below or both if you can:

January 13, 2010 1 comments

WIP Wednesdays - One of these things

Well, it's WIP Wednesday, but I fear that in the next little while, we're going to have WIP Mondays as well! 

I have 3 or 4 tops completed and ready for quilting, but I also have some like this - baskets of blocks waiting to be formed...  I really want to finish ALL my WIPs, get them off my plate, so to speak, before I go on to the fun stuff in my brain that's waiting to be developed.  We'll see how long I can stick to my guns.

In the meantime, I guess I had better get to making something with these then, yes?  Yes. 

I am sensing some pebble quilting in my future...
January 10, 2010 14 comments

He's a Man Now

The last quilt I finished in 2009, this one was completed on December 30, and was a late Christmas present for my oldest son, nineteen and about to move into his first bachelor pad. I called it "He's a Man Now"

this quilt went through a lot of iterations. Immediately after I made my first quilt, I was shopping the Garment District of our city and came across these African wax cottons in three prints of beiges, gold and black. I thought they would be perfect to make a "manly" quilt for oldest son's 18th birthday, which was about 9 months away. So I bought them, cut them to a pattern I had in mind, and then was distracted by working on my first commission quilt, which I posted about here before, called "Saucy Divo".

When I went back to the quilt a couple of months later, I couldn't figure out what the heck my plan had been with all those triangles and squares, so I went out and bought some more of the fabric (I ended up buying all that the seller had left) came up with another plan and then, a little afraid of wrecking it, I put it aside for awhile.
January 8, 2010 4 comments

Friday Flickr Faves - Betty Busby

1. urchin, 2. autumn22x34, 3. xylemdtl1, 4. lunax2 16x20, 5. xylemdtl2, 6. 7trees37.5x20, 7. push, 8. primordia, 9. pink fish24x

Today, I want to feature the work of fiber artist, Betty Busby.  Her art pieces are composed of a fabric strata of multiple dyes and dye methods; multiple discharge and discharge methods; painted stencils, quilted with thread and sometimes further enhanced with beads and other adornments; to produce intensely detailed and emotionally layered works.  She has won muliptle awards, most recently winning "Best in the United States" at the World Quilt Competition, 2008. 

More of her art can be found at her website here and her Flickr photo stream here.  If you're able, you can purchase her work on her Etsy site, or at Gallery 101 in Collinsville, Connecticut, who represent her.  I encourage you to explore her work any way you can; you'll be inspired and invigorated by the work of this prolific artist.
January 6, 2010 6 comments

WIP Wednesday, The Invention of Pinwheels

You may recall that I posted about making this top last spring.  Well, I finally got around to quilting it, and it's my first finish of 2010.

Holding true to my new determination to take my time with my quilts to let them be what they need or want or are fated to be (*s*); I nevertheless got through this one quite quickly - it's a simple quilt that needed, it turned out, simple quilting.
January 4, 2010 12 comments

2009 - Year In Review

In January of 2009, I started a quilting blog to document my journey as quilter and to connect with the quilting community as I had none in real time.  At that point, having only  two "real" quilts under my belt, and being entirely self taught, I wasn't sure where I was going or what I was doing, but I knew I wanted to get there.

Problem Child - February, 2009


This was a quilt I had started in August of 2008 while recovering from surgery. I made the blocks on my tiny Kenmore sewing machine while sitting up in bed. They were fussy, quite difficult for a newbie quilter, and I couldn't figure out why in heck I had decided to make such a difficult thing. It was the third quilt I'd ever made.

Schrodinger's Box - March, 2009


When I made my first "real quilt" back in April of 2008, I made up the pattern as I went along - using my scraps and making them fit. When I was done, I liked the result so much, I decided to try the pattern again with this group of fabrics (various versions of cats in boxes, hence the name). It was my second attempt at free-motion quilting, and it left a lot to be desired, but it was a satisfactory beginning. You'll see that my picture taking ability improves along with my quilting throughout the year!

A Day at The Zoo - April, 2009


This was another quilt I'd started in 2008 and finished in 2009. The patterned fabric are various zoo animals and in their little block "enclosures" I thought the quilt was rather zoo-like.  I didn't like it much when it was done, but this quilt was where I finally figured out some of the more important points in free motion quilting - the key one being "run the machine quickly, but move your hands slowly". It was a counter-intuitive process for me, but it made all the difference in the world - you can actually pin-point on the quilt where I had my "epiphany". The difference in the stitching is amazing.

My Mis-Steps - April, 2009


Another 2008 start and 2009 finish - this quilt was a great disappointment to me. It contained every mistake a newbie quilter could make, and the finished product looked only a tiny bit as I had imagined it. I hate this quilt.

Strangely though, it gets the most use out of any of our quilts! We keep it around to throw over ourselves if we get a chill while watching t.v. - saving the nicer throws I've made for when company comes over. So it gets used a couple of times per week. One of the little ironies of life.

Oma's Pocketbook - May, 2009


This was a very simple quilt, but one I really loved. Inspired by an online friend's quilted daisies, I bravely tried quilting some flowers myself - and I loved the result.

But more importantly, while making this quilt, I came to the acdidental realization that I could tell a story with a quilt; that a quilt could be used as vehicle to share something personally important. The knowledge that quilting could be a medium for something bigger than the quilt itself percolated in my sub-conscious for awhile, until it became its own conclusion.

Autumn Steals In - May, 2009

autumn steals in

Another 2008 start and 2009 finish, I first saw a version of this quilt online. I ended up changing the pattern a fair amount, and the addition of sashing between the blocks changed the look of it significantly, but this quilt was important in my quilting development because my free motion quilting was good enough that I realized that even though it still wasn't there yet, it would be, maybe somday soon.

Despite the significance of this quilt, I stopped quilting for a few months. Family stuff was happening, and I fell into a fallow period while, it turned out, things were percolating.

Strawberry Sunday - July, 2009


I began quilting again in July, having decided that I would have to make a series of "journeyman's quilts" - quilts that were for no other purpose than to hone my skills.

With that in mind, I made another "story" quilt - this one about the relationship between myself and one of my brothers. It's a simple quilt, and again, not one I particularly like as it doesn't speak at all to my aesthetic - and yet, I have quite an emotional attachment to this quilt because of things I learned about my brother and I while making it. 

One of the more interesting things about quilting is how meditative the process is, leaving your heart and spirit free to remember, explore, or take wing.

Kinda Blue - August, 2009


This was a commission quilt of sorts - it was for a birthday gift for my sister-in-law, who loves turquoise blue. I found this quilt easy to make from a physical perspective, and difficult to make from an "emotional" perspective. I was trying to make something to suit someone else's tastes, home and colour scheme, rather than my usual "inspiration has struck/I saw it in a dream" approach, and I found the process very trying.

In the end I was very pleased with it, but was pretty sure I never wanted to make another commission quilt again!

Coneflowers in Leslieville - August 2009

"Coneflowers in Leslieville"

Oh, and hey, speaking of working to the constraints of others, I had joined a swap, and my partner was someone whose very being seemed in direct opposition to mine. There wasn't a point where we didn't differ in terms of taste, colour preference, personality or even, as far as I could tell, way of moving through the world (!), and after making and discarding several versions of quilts for her, I finally finished one that I believed would suit her tastes.  But I hated it with the passion of a thousand firey suns! So I destroyed it. I mean, I literally ripped it apart with my hands and then cut up the pieces. If I'd lived near the ocean I would have scattered the pieces to the sea.  I HATED IT.

And the next day, very early in the morning, I began constructing this quilt. It was extremely labour intensive (about an hour per square inch); but when I was done I was proud to send it off into the world with my name on it.

It was my first art quilt - which was significant, but it was also this quilt that told me I had to be true to myself as I pursued this newfound passion.

P.S. Although the recipient was kind, she hated it. *laughs*

Zoopendus - September, 2009


For my next trick, I wanted to try my hand at applique. When I was done, I realized my mistake with this quilt were the borders - they're too much - simpler would have been better - and I still may take them off somdeay soon. I learned with this quilt when to say "when".


But for my first attempt at applique, I was quite pleased with it.

Baby-Go-Round - September, 2009


In constant pursuit of learning, I wanted to try a different (raw edge) applique method, and see if I could make my "grown up" aesthetic work in a baby quilt. It did work rather well, I thought, but I was particularly pleased with the quilting, which was vastly different than anything I had tried before.

It was intensely time consuming (it took me about twice as long to quilt this baby quilt as it usually took me to quilt a queen sized quilt); but I loved the end result - a quilt made reversible by virtue of its quilting. (The back is plain black with high contrast thick white thread for quilting.)

It also taught me that to get the results I wanted, I needed to really take the time. This was a signficant lesson for me as up to this point, I was interested in producing as many quilts as I could as quickly as possible. From here on out, my focus switched to making the best quilt I could and taking whatever time it needed to be so.

After that, for a couple of weeks I made some "cat quilts" - practicing different quilting and piecing techniques. Since they're small, I won't bother posting pictures of them, but you'll see them in the coming year as I make people sized versions over the next several months.


Pinocchio - September, 2009


My "not-a-log-cabin" quilt, I don't actually like this quilt from an aesthetic point of view - it's too busy, too brash, too much for my tastes, but I was at the point in my quilting where I felt I ought to try and make something that followed the rules, that looked like something a "quilting lady" might approve of, and by so doing, I would be able to claim my place as a "real" quilter.

I of course, failed miserably in my not very valiant attempt to follow the rules, but decided that whether or not my quilts ever received the approval of the "quilting ladies" of the world, I was indeed a quilter in my own right, and that I didn't need their approval after all.

It was quite a relief, and quite freeing.

Mans' Fans - September, 2009

Man's Fans

This was another "big moment" for me in my quilting journey of 2009.

This quilt top is what set me on this year-long pursuit to improve my abilities. I made it early in 2008, but realized that at my then-current level of quilting ablity - I would ruin it.  If I was going to make the quilts of my dreams, I first had to learn how to do so.  So, when I took this top out to quilt it this fall, it was with some trepidation: Was I good enough to quilt this the way I had imagined it?

It was scary proposition to try. I was delighted and actually quite surprised to learn that I had reached at least one of my short terms goals - the quilting looked exactly as I had imagined it.

Quilting on Man's Fans

When this quilt was done, someone who saw it called me a "Fibre Artist". This new name was one I was beginning to be ready to claim.   But the possibility of so calling myself set me on a new path to dream into fruition.

Make Something Purple - September, 2009

Make Something Purple

The self-imposed pressure was too much to live up to. Despite my newfound path, I crumbled into self-doubt.  But I knew if I stopped, I'd never pursue the dream again.

To get myself into the sewing room every day I started making a nine patch using fabrics I'd had for years, and never used.  Because of my disinterest in those fabrics, I threw it together quite haphazardly. I didn't expect to like the finished product and before it was even constructed I knew its intended use was as a "car quilt"; but the whole was somehow greater than the sum of its parts and I was sorry in the end I hadn't been more careful because it would have been quite pretty if I had actually taken the time to plan and execute it well.

Another lesson learned!

The Paths to My Bliss - No. 1

The Paths to My Bliis - No.1

This one was a weird little number. The textiles in it kind of grabbed me in the middle of the night and more or less forced me to work with them, and it turned out to be another "channelling a quilt" moment like I had experienced with Coneflowers in Leslieville.  I called it "No.1" because I knew immediately that there would be more in the series, but unlike what I thought at the time, they won't be like this one.

The little quilts in this series are all going to be those "aha!" moments on my quilting path - so they likely won't look alike at all. But they'll tell a story that I'll be able to follow and I think will be quite an interesting collection as the years progress.

Although I LOVED this quilt when I first made it, I feel  "meh" about it now. But I do love what I learned while making it, and those techniques will be put to use in future quilts.

Berkley Square - October, 2009


And then: well, and then, I made Berkley Square. It's subtle, and quiet, and not at all my usual colour palette, but it's probably the truest reflection of the kind of quilts I want to make. Contemporary. Textural. Sophisticated.

Which is not to say that every quilt I ever make will always fit those paramaters - sometimes I'll just want to have fun - and more often than not, I'll have to make more practical quilts; but this type of quilt will always be what I aspire to produce when I'm at my best as a quilter.


The quilting on this lap-sized quilt took about 45 hours. Crazy. But I loved the whole process and love this quilt.

Zen Garden - October 2009

Zen Garden

And so I produced another subtle, quiet, contemporary quilt.

The quilting on this one is like waves in the sand, but to me, the real beauty of it isn't captured well in photographs: the fabrics are spectacular and they were what inspired the quiet subtlety of this quilt. From the unbelieveably soft grey/green tweed of the front to the quite astonishing Japanese silk chiffon of the "stones" and the back, this quilt not only embodied my personal style, but the texture I've always been so fascinated with.

The Littlest Hobo - November, 2009

The Littlest Hobo

And then I made something fun, but not so challenging. After the prior two, my brain needed a bit of a break. Not much to say about it other than that it was fun and bright and made me happy while making it.

Love Drops - November, 2009

Love Drops

Funnily enough, this is the quilt that started it all.

Back in 2007, I was wandering around the net, visiting sewing blogs and clicking on random links, and I came across a woman who had a made a doll quilt she called Confetti. At that time, the idea that someone would make a doll quilt was quite befuddling to me, but I really loved her little quilt and wanted to learn how to make one. I've never been back to her blog again; but it was seeing that quilt that made me decide to learn how.

And so I finally made one for myself.

Winter Moon - November, 2009

Winter Moon

Another art quilt that was made to be sent out into the world, my intent is to re-visit this theme, refine the technique and make a tryptch. And then I think I'm going to enter it in a show. It'll be my first time entering a show, but I think I'm ready.

The judges will let me know if I am or not. ;)


Since Winter Moon, I was in another fallow period, and took the time to work on some WIPs; making one twin-sized Amish style quilt, two queen sized quilts and another art quilt, but at the beginning of December, my computer crashed and burned and I lost all the photos of every quilt I'd ever made. Thankfully, I had this blog so I could recover some of them, but the art quilt went off to its intended recipient in the American Samoas and I don't know if I'll ever have pictures of it again.

As for the other quilts, I'll take new pictures and do separate posts about them since I haven't done so yet anyway.

And that was my year in quilting.

Twenty-five quilts, a learning curve that catapulted me into the near future (I didn't think that I'd achieve the kind of quilting I'd done on Man's Fans  and Berkley Square until 2011 at the earliest); some "aha" moments that changed my path as a quilter, and I found that oddly, quilting  helped me achieve some quite significant growth as a human being.

And so, in 2010, I have found a new purpose and new ambitions for my quilting.

From an artistic perspective I want to delve more deeply into texture and colour and how those two things play with and against each other; I want to make some more art quilts and discover whether I can find a place for myself in that world (or even whether I want to be in that world);  from an emotional perspective I want to explore using quilting as a medium rather than as  the product; and as for ambitions - well - I have some of those too, but I'm holding them close to my heart for now.

If you stayed with me through this very long post, thanks for doing so, and for following along throughout the year. 

Happy new year, and creative blessings to us all!  I'm looking forward to seeing what 2010 will bring.