Gravity was intimidating but now it’s not. 

I saw a quilt kit that really wowed me. I usually grab a kit that’s on sale just for the fabric bundle. This kit by Jaybird Quilts is simply beautiful. And looked really complicated. Normally I stay away stars, but I have a compulsion to do this one. Using a special set of rulers (you can make this quilt from templates), Inhave found this is way easier than it looks. Lots of best press to stiffen up and prevent bias cuts from stretching it helping too. 

Here are my first four blocks for my #GravityQuilt

   
     

Creatives Worldwide Blog Hop

As you all know, I’m a fan of Rose Hughes and her fast piece applique method. I have all her books and I can’t recommend them enough for anyone wanting to get into art quilting. She is now participating in a blog hop with this . I decided to follow along too.

Four questions to answer and I think it might clarify some things in my mind.

#1 What am I working on?
I’m working on four projects concurrently. The first is my giant rainbow elephant applique that is currently on my long arm. The second is a first time attempt at a drunkards path. I’m a member of the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild and so I’m using a ‘modern’ ashy grey solid and mixing it with my beloved batik. All shades of blue in this case. I have no idea how it’s going to come out. Currently the blocks are all over my dining room table while I get inspired as I move them around. Hubby calls this “working on your puzzle”. The third thing I”m working on is a “fast piece appliqued” sea-horse art quilt. My friend Carol wanted to learn how to do it and so we each picked out a scene to do. We’ve got the piecing done but not the couching and quilting. I can never be working on just one thing at a time. I love having something arty that needs embellishing around that is portable so I can work on it in the car or on a plane. The fourth thing on my quilty agenda is outlining and making samples for my free motion quilting class that I’m teaching in November. I decided having some sample of thread tension and speed related issues would be nice to show. I think it’s like doing a foot book or a stitch out of all the stitches one’s machine can do. I’m learning a lot. The process of teaching and prepping to teach is very educational to me. It’s making me grow and be a better quilter myself.

#2 How does my work differ from others in the genre?
I supposed I don’t have a style yet. I’m still learning, trying other’s methods and muxing them together to invent easier ways of doing them. So I don’t know that it differs, other than I really mix it up a lot and you’ll find lots of different techniques on my work. Right now, you probably won’t see anything done the same way twice either. I don’t really like rules. So I suppose free form and rule free is more the way I do things. Though my drunkards path quilt now has a lot of straight lines between the blocks. hmm… guess I’m breaking my personal ‘rules’ too.

#3 Why do I create what I do?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. But most of all, I get inspired when I’m told I can’t do things “that way” or “that’s not going to work” or “no one does it that way” or “that’s not art.” Hearing statements like that just fire me up and make me want to prove that it can and is and is possible.

#4 How does my creative process work?
With my career in coding and web design work, I have always had the philosophy “work hard now, so I can be lazy later.” That translates to thinking about things a lot before starting work. I would rather get it right the first time and have a plan for dealing with the problems than get blind sided by issues later and have to apply a lot of bandaids to the code. Do it right the first time, so it wouldn’t have to be redone a second time. Take the time to do it right. That said, my philosophy, while great for programming, can get in the way of art. What ends up happening is that I tend to ponder on something for way too long before I go for it. But I am not fixed once set on a path. I also tend to switch strides in the middle of a plan and morph it into something else, something better.

Baby quilts never end up being easy

I am making two baby quilts. Thought I’d make something simple and plop an appliqué on them. Nothing ever turns out simple in my world of no quilt top patterns. I suppose it’s because my father turned me on to Robert Frost when I was a child.

This was the first Robert Frost poem Dad ever recited to me.

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

That poem along with a chorus from a John Coltrane song pretty much explains my whole life AND my quilting habits.

I think that’s why I tackle the hard things and try to do them. I think that’s why I often start a quilt pattern or plan and change the plan in the middle of the project. Ok, I’ll admit it. I ALWAYS change the plan.

That brings us back to this baby quilt. I started with a plan of a quickie Jelly Roll race with a border all in blues. Followed by slapping a sailboat appliqué on it. Good plan. However, as I sat down to the machine, I decided I wanted it to kinda look like ombré. The idea was light blue at the top for a sky effect with dark on the bottom for the sea. Did that and it looked boring. So boring that I had to chop it up and so I frog stitched (seam ripped) apart every 6 rows. Cut those to make quarter square triangles and boom had a chevron design. Cool!

Not cool. Now I had to miter the border. Ok easy peavey.

Now the quilt isn’t big enough. Have to add another border. Bigger border. Now have to miter that so it matched the smaller already mitered smaller border.

I learned why you want to see all your borders together first before you put them on the quilt for mitered corners.

I cut out a paper sailboat to see where I wanted to place it and quite frankly it sucked. So now I scrapped the idea of the appliqué.

Found a cool fishy edge to edge longarm pattern and am long arming that on this quilt.

A two evening project turned into a week.

My less traveled path sometimes takes more time. But I am pleased with the result. IMG_2412.JPG

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Happy students

John and I completed our freeform table runners this past Saturday. Carol had to leave before finishing and we will finish it up later this week. She picked out some amazing colors of yellow, pinks, oranges and green.

No two table runners ever come out the same because every strip you cut is curvy and done as you are inspired in the moment.

John and I went with colors we can use during the great Watermelon Month of June here in Luling, Texas. Some might say these are Christmas colors. But, here in Luling we know better.

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Wonder tape makes for professional looking pillowcase finishes.

I have discovered Wonder tape! Love this stuff. If you are doing a pillowcase type finish and just can’t get those pesky edges to fold in and stay aligned, wonder tape is your friend! It is two sides and tacky so you can reposition the cloth to your hearts content and when you are happy you can use an iron to fuse it down to it will stick really hard. Then you can sew it. It’s a convenient 1/4 inch wide so makes getting that seam to match with the other side of the opening you want to close really easy. After you sew it, it will seems kinda stiff with that tape in there. But it sewed easy and didn’t gum up my needle. The wonder part comes after you wash the item. The tape dissolves away and disappears leaving no trace it was ever there!

I used this in my free form table runner class yesterday and the students projects came out fabulous. Even the beginner never ever sewed before student produced a really well done project. You could not tell where the opening was that was used to turn the table runner inside out.

Detailed Information about the Free Form Table Runner Class Feb 22, 1014

The Free Form Table Runner class being offered Feb 22, 2014 from 10 am to 2 pm. at the Texas Art League Gallery. Sign up at the Gallery. There will be a break for lunch, you can bring your lunch or some students may wish to work on their project so we arrange for lunch from the Coffee Shop, or perhaps a taco run. Iced tea and water available during the class.

Click here for PDF to
save and download.
TALfiberart-tablerunnerfreeform
For more detailed information, Please click on this image for a pdf you can save and print. This flyer will also be available in the Texas Art League Gallery; and, in the Watermelon Shop next door if the Gallery is closed.

The Gallery has limited hours but is open most afternoons Tuesday – Saturday. They would really appreciate more volunteers who would like docent at the gallery so that it may open more hours of the day.

The Texas Art League Gallery is at at 509 E Davis Street, Luling, Texas 78648.

Finally working on a pattern I bought so I can learn a new technique

Going to quilt shows always inspires me. People come up with so many ways to do the same thing. At the Houston a International Quilt Show 2012, I saw a beautiful stained glass style wall hanging in a vendors booth. But it was odd, the ” leading had no seams and wasn’t ribbon or bias. It kinda looked like stitch and slash, but was way more refined. The pattern maker, Linda Everhart, was there with her husband selling her patterns talked w me a bit. She also sold me two patterns. The instructions in the patterns were very clear. As often happens, I got home put the patterns away and got busy with other things.

I have been sick for a couple of days and going stir crazy. So I decided to do a quick project but being sick didn’t feel creative enough to start something from scratch. Also didn’t feel like manhandling some big heavy thing that needed some free motion, didn’t feel like standing at the long arm… . I pulled out those patterns I had laying around and found Linda’s Inspired Dreams. Here it is in progress.

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This is basically a whole cloth reverse applique. It’s really fun and fast to do. It’s a combo of fusing and applique as you quilt. You don’t do any sewing at all until you quilt the layers together. Now, for the part of assembly I think is the most fun, stripping off the last of the freezer paper.

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I’ll post a photo after it’s quilted.

Hummingbird courtesy of Layne

20130705-023624.jpgMy friend, Layne, posts all kinds of wonderful pictures on her Facebook account. She shared a wonderful hummingbird feeding from a flower last week. I decided today, my first full day off in six weeks that I’d do it up in fabric.

I like how it turned out though there are some things I would redo a little differently. I learn a little from each piece that I create. I would cut my layers of fabric more carefully and closer to,the stitching line. I would also take more time during the couching step. I would also,use a more appropriate foot for my machine. I left my two favorite couching feet at the shop. So, I made do ny using a 3/8 inch rolled hemmer foot instead. It worked great for guiding the yarn and thread, but it would have worked better with fuzzier or thicker yarn.

So, I learned that a hemmer foot will,work for couching. It doesn’t turn corners well. It needs to have its channel filled up. And, I had fun anyway and made a pretty geegaw for my sewing room.

Couching closeups

I wish i remembered whose blog I saw an example of this technique on… I read about it and tried it during some design exploration exercises. Basically you use a very near color to create a feeling of motion and or depth. I used a slightly lighter blue and a slightly paler yellow for the swoop of air across the top. The batting has been added at this point too. It’ll help hold any Hans stitching I’m gonna do.

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Deciding colors

trying to decide on colors, I used my ipad to try out some things.
trying to decide on colors, I used my ipad to try out some things.

I took a picture of the freezer paper drawing with my ipad. Then I tried out some ideas by coloring in the sketch on my ipad. I liked the look of this one and decided that I’d go with it, if I had the fabrics for it in my stash.