Friday, November 30, 2018

Week in Review 2018 - 11/30

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Gwyned's family after a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.
 Thursday is my final push day in the studio most weeks. I find writing a blog to be shared on Fridays acts as an incentive. However, there are times when family must take precedence. Last Thursday was Thanksgiving. This was our first home hosted Thanksgiving with both our children, their spouses, and our five grandchildren. Our daughter did the honors at her home. If you are only counting four grandchildren, that is because the oldest preferred not to join us for the family photo shoot. He is in the background, upper left, under the blanket.

I began by quilt gently quilting the sun and intensely quilting
the bits of sky between the rays. This gives the sun a bit
more dimension and puts the sky into the background.
Detail of the quilting motif in the background/sky
of Cohasset Sunrise.

The week of Thanksgiving was spent sandwiching Cohasset Sunrise in preparation for quilting. I used to pin baste my quilts, as my go to method. Then I tried hand basting them with long zig zag stitches. This had the advantage of not catching the safety pins in the quilt roll while quilting. Still, it meant cutting thread regularly in order to avoid having the basting caught permanently under the quilting. I never tried, but was aware of various methods to fuse the front and back to the batting. These included sprays (best done outdoors and with a mask) and a fusible batting. Not for me. I've switched to fusing my quilt sandwich with a fusible web as my go to method. Betty Busby recommends Spunfab from Museum Services Corporation. Apparently this is what textile conservators turn to for repairs. It is described as "an acid free, low melting thermoplastic adhesive in a fine web form. It is a webbing prepared from plasticizer-free copolyamides especially formulated for textile bonding." I like the fact that I can buy it in 60" widths and 10 yard lengths. I find it doesn't change the hand of the quilt. I love that I don't need to stop to unclasp pins or cut threads. 


Now I can go to town on the sky beyond the sun. I find I prefer horizontal, looser quilting works best for skies. I can never resist busting out with a few irregularly placed puffy clouds.

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Friday, November 16, 2018

Week in Review 2018 - 11/16

I take Vinyasa Flow with Mike Birmingham. Fortunately,
he doesn't make us do anything as complex as this. :) 
If you have been following my blog, you know I have attended several yoga classes a week for seven years now. Our move from Appleton, WI to Cohasset, MA, this past May meant finding a new place to practice yoga. Fortunately, there is a studio with a range of classes from Yin (holding poses for 5 - 7 minutes to allow gravity to stretch the body) to Bikram (taken in a room with the temperature jacked way up there) and many between the two extremes, just a mile from our home. In Appleton I took from one teacher. Here in Cohasset, I take classes with four different teachers. The theme this week in all my classes is gratitude. Each teacher introduces the concept in a different way. Nearly all have focused on "heart opener" poses and stretches. I am grateful to have the ability and opportunity to practice yoga with such an inspiring  group of teachers.   

Now that I think of it, piecing the
back to Cohasset Sunrise with
scraps left over from the front
could be my equivalent of an insane
yoga pose. It took years of practice
to be able to whip something like this out.

I'm also grateful to have reached the point with Cohasset Sunrise, where the back is pieced, the batting is pieced, and the quilt is sandwiched. I begin quilting it next week. Hurrah!

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Friday, November 9, 2018

Week in Review 2018 - 11/09


My third attempt at intuitively
piecing with fused appliqué.
It's been a busy week. I've divided my time between nose to the needle in my studio as I manically create the backside for Cohasset Sunrise and being 52Quilters featured quilter of the week.

Units 1, 2 and 3 are pieced. One more unit to go!
Close to a year ago I applied to a call to be considered to be a host of 52Quilters and was selected. The premise is every week a different quilter takes over the writing of the blog and posting on Instagram (@52quilters). This year it was decided that each month would have a theme. November's theme is being hosted by art quilters. I surmised that the audience for 52Quilters is made up of a majority of newer, young quilters who are versed in traditional and modern work, but with a dearth of knowledge in art quilts. This lead me to writing a series of seven posts on my own journey from traditional quilter to art quilter, those who have influenced me along the journey, and a brief discussion of a different element of art in each post. There are seven elements of art, conveniently. :) Being the over achiever that I am, I opted to follow a very different theme, sunrises, with my Instagram posts. Each day I have posted a sunrise photograph taken by my husband or me around our neighborhoods (Appleton, WI and now Cohasset, MA), along with one of the quilts I have made inspired by sunrises.

No surprise, currently under my needle is yet another sunrise themed quilt, this one titled Cohasset Sunrise. I had the brilliant, but VERY time consuming idea that I would use the scraps from the top to make the back. Much of it is pieced, but I have fused many odd shaped pieces to muslin and anchored them with a stitch designed for stretch fabric. I really like the way my third attempt at this came out. I was very tempted to turn it into a quilt top.

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Friday, November 2, 2018

Week in Review 2019 - 11/02



EQ8 Blue Print


Times like this I question my sanity. Last week I had the ingenious idea of using the leftover scraps from my quilt top to make its back. I loved how this allowed me to be creative and more environmentally friendly. I'm in my element piecing. Clearly, this would be a win, win situation. Not this week. I began the work of laying out the many units I'd created from the scraps and calculating the filler fabric necessary to piece the units together.

Listing of pieced units,
section dimensions, and
and math worksheet.
I began by measuring all the units and listing them by like sizes. Next I went to EQ8, using the Custom Quilt layout, I added blocks matching the dimensions of my units. I had hoped the grid would print out so I could easily do the math to calculate the size of each filler block. Apparently, that hasn't been programmed into EQ8. I spent several hours working it all out the old fashioned way with pencil and paper.

Backside of
Cohasset Sunrise
partially pieced
Finally, the fun, OK with some angst, could begin again. I used my blue print to layout the units for section #1, add the filler fabric, and piece everything together. Not bad. Section #1 and #2 are pieced and sewn together. Next week will be Section #3.

A common comment I receive from non quilters is, "I'd never have the patience to make a quilt." Times like this, I wonder if I have the patience. Then I step back, see what I have accomplished, and think, "Yes, it was worth it."

When I wasn't in my studio working on Cohasset Sunrise, this week, I was putting the finishing touches on my posts for 52 Quilters. I have been asked to be the featured quilter from November 5 - 11. I will be posting on the blog daily and on Instagram several times a day. Most of the readership for 52 Quilters are traditional and modern quilters. Last year the featured quilters mirrored the readership. This year it was decided to invite art quilters to take on a week each for the month of November. Linda Bratten, one of the volunteers for 52 Quilters will introduce the month. After me will come Susan Miller Jones and Sue Bleiweiss.  Do stop by for month of art quilt immersion.

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays


Friday, October 26, 2018

Week in Review 2018 - 10/26





Cohasset Sunrise
Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

After a two month hiatus, when we moved out of and back into our home for a renovation to take place, I am finally back in my studio working. Whenever I am away for a long absence, I find the best way to get back in the practice of creating is to start simple.

When I stopped working I had just finished piecing the top for Cohasset Sunrise. Therefore, the logical next step was to prepare the backing, sandwich the quilt, and start the quilting.  With two months to let my mind wonder I had time to think about the backing and the part of my process that drives me crazy.

Strip pieced scraps
For years I have been storing strips of fabric, left over triangles, and other trimmings of a usable size. I have tried various ways of organizing these leftovers in hope that someday I would I find a use for them. Periodically, I simple clean house, tossing all my leftovers out, along with my good intentions. Not this time. I have decided to randomly piece all these scraps together into units and use them as part of the back of my quilt.

Crazy quilt pieced scraps
The precision cut pieces were easy to pull together. I found combining odd shapes more difficult. Crazy quilts to the rescue. I layered a piece of muslin with fusible web scraps and then topped that with overlapping leftover odd shapes. Once everything was fused, I used an embroidery stitch, slightly more elaborate than a zigzag, to secure the raw edges without building up a lot of thread.

 I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Friday, August 31, 2018

Week in Review 2018 - 08/31

Sunrise at Minot Beach, Scituate, Massachusetts 
Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

One thing that sold us on our new home is its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. We are far enough and high enough up to be safe from rising waters and storms, but close enough to walk or bike to the beach. No surprise, ventures to the beach provide me with a fount of ideas. Sometimes it is the palette of a sunrise, other times lines in the sand, and the view is always tempting to interpret.

Lines created in the sand
during an ebbing tide

Yesterday I began work on my September MAP (monthly art project). My premise is to use something from my studio collection of tools and supplies I haven't picked up in more than a year. I interpret this quite liberally. This month I selected a piece of hand dyed, sun printed fabric I made more than 10, could be 15 years ago. Ugly is too gentle a word for it, that is until I turned it to the backside as I was pressing it. Now that side had possibilities. I decided to use it for a whole cloth quilt that has percolating ever since I spied the pattern of lines created by the ebbing tide at Minot Beach in Scituate, Massachusetts.

September's MAP in progress

 I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Friday, August 24, 2018

Week in Review 2018 - 08/24

I make art quilts. Why the modifier "art" and why not just say quilt? One reason is because of how far some art quilts have grown from most people's definition of a quilt. SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) defines an art quilt as  "a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure." A key word in this definition is "references". Note also, there is nothing in the definition which refers to fabric. 

This is my entry,
Sunrise Over Little Lake Butte des Morts - #2


My personal work hasn't strayed far from quilts of yesterday year, but I am a huge admirer of the work of others who have, including those who are making sculptural art quilts. I am a Juried Artist Member of SAQA, regularly renew my membership, and volunteer for the organization because I believe in its mission, "to promote the art quilt through education, exhibitions, professional development, documentation, and publications." If you believe the art quilt deserves promotion and/or if you just can't get enough of seeing art quilts, I recommend you check out SAQA's annual benefit auction. There are 443 art quilts, all 12" x 12", up for auction starting on September 14th. 

 I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays