Friday, March 15, 2013

Week in Review 2013 - 03/15

Detail from Reflection

Tips, Techniques and Thoughts...

Leah Day has been sharing her fears, insecurities and disappointments this week on her blog. It got me thinking how regular practice over years and decades helps to dampen these fears, insecurities and  disappointments. Why is this so? I would conjecture because over years one begins to see personal patterns of highs, lows and plateaus. Therefore, one develops confidence that mistakes can be rectified and lows don't last forever.

When I started quilting in 1988 the World Wide Web didn't exist. That didn't come into being for another 5 years. I learned about quilting through magazines and taking classes. Magazines were also my source for where to enter quilts. The first Call for Entry I submitted was in 2000 to the American Quilter's Society. Amazingly my entry was accepted. I was so excited and assumed it was such a fluke that I actually flew half way across the country just to see my quilt at AQS. My next Call for Entry also resulted in acceptance. Maybe my work was worthy after all. Then the next was rejected. I have no idea how many calls for entry I have completed since 2000, but I have a good sense that my work is NOT accepted more often than it is accepted. Not being accepted doesn't sting the way it used to. Why? Because I have a CV with a long list of all the exhibitions and publications I have been privileged to be part of.

It is rare that I don't have at least one or two or more quilts on view somewhere in the country and even occasionally outside of the country. Currently my work can be seen in Loveland, Colorado, two venues in Appleton, WI and in an on-line catalog as a runner up for an on-line exhibition.

Does this mean I plan on sitting back and relaxing? Of course not. Here is where I focused my attention last week.

Another detail from Reflections

1) Pictorial Painting

a) Watch the next lesson. - I started to watch the lesson for the second and final project. I opted to stop a few minutes in so that I could...

b) Begin the next lesson. - I did. I printed out the 3 different blue prints for the next project. These are poster sized and require overlapping and securing pages to get the full print. I now have the templates, layout and painting guides for the canyon piece ready to go.

2) Express Your Love

Detail featuring the hair from Express Your Love.

a) Do whatever assignment Leah comes up with next. - Done

The assignment was to use the filler stitch, Cat Hairball.

I am using three different patterns and three different threads
to create the hair. Left to right they are Stacked Flame Stitch in
a pale gray cotton thread, Channels and Paths in a variegated
white through brown cotton thread and Cat Hairball using
a variegated white through pale gray nylon.

b) Finish quilting the hair.

I made some progress with this. I did another lock in Channels and Paths and tried my hand with Cat Hairball. Cat Hairball is very, VERY time consuming. That single lock took me between 5 and 6 hours and used a full bobbin of Bottomline thread.

Express Your Love as it looks today.

c) Finish the Iris Still Life by binding it and adding a sleeve. - 50% done.

The binding is done, but I still need to make and add the sleeve. Selecting a binding wasn't easy for this piece. Since I dyed the quilt and didn't have the presence of mind to dye additional fabric to use as the binding, I didn't have matching fabric. I had at least four fabrics in my stash of purples that I thought would work. I found that the light and mid value choices were dull. I went for the darkest one. My preference would have been to have dyed matching fabric at the time I dyed the quilt. 

3) Reflection (Absolute deadline April 23, 2013)

a) Finish quilting the ice and water surrounding the geese. - Done!

Reflection after the background quilting has been completed.
This is where I spent the majority of my studio time this week. It took nearly two full studio days to do this. I had underestimated the time. I thought because it was a simple all over pattern and that I was doing it in a small, but not micro scale it would go faster than it did. It was worth it though. I like the pattern I invented to give a sense of water on ice.

b) Start work on the red branches. - Done.

OK, it depends on your definition of start. I have selected the fabric. I have ordered and received the bias tube pressing bars. I have cut the fabric and sewn the first seam needed to make Mobius bias strips. If you look closely at the various images of Reflections in this post you can see pencil lines where the branches will be.

Another detail from Reflections

I've been talking about getting those red branches added for several weeks now. Next week for sure! Of course I won't stop there. Here is my game plan for the week ending March 22:

1) Pictorial Painting

a) Select the fabric for Canyon.
b) Cut the fusible backing according to the templates.
c) Use the fusible to cut the fabric.

2) Express Your Love

a) Do whatever assignment Leah comes up with next.

b) Continue quilting the hair.

c) Finish the Iris Still Life by adding a sleeve.

3) Reflection (Absolute deadline April 23, 2013)

a) Make and adhere the red branches to the quilt.

b) Make the binding.

c) Square up the quilt for finishing.


  1. Each time I see your quilt Reflections I see a different detail, love it:)

    1. Thank you, Margarita. Coming from someone who so effectively adds layer upon layer to her own art, that means a lot.

  2. Love your duck quilt, great reflections :-)

  3. Your quilt, Reflection, is really eyecatching. And I love the flow of the FMQ in the background. Thanks for sharing your experiences with acceptance or not for quilt shows. Gives me some perspective.

    1. I am blushing to admit this, but I am rather proud of coming up with my own FMQ pattern for the background. It is good to know that it works.

  4. Reflections is seriously good work, but honestly it also just make me smile when I see the ducks. First of all, who doesn't think of feeding ducks at a pond when you see them? Secondly, ducks are just all kinds of cute, from their paddling to their chatty nature.

    Using variegated thread in channels and paths is wonderful. Not only is it a great design for variegated thread, but stepping back a bit, it looks like sleek and shiny hair.

    1. It is so easy to project our own anthropomorphic thoughts onto the water fowl. It is one of the reasons I selected this particular photo to interpret in fabric.

      Often I am drawn to use this fabric or that thread which feel like a long shot and than WHAM, they work even better than I imagine. So was the case of this particular variegated thread.

  5. The geese, and their reflections, are amazing! Beautiful work!

  6. I love your work, Express Your Love is turning out beautiful and I'm amazed with the Reflections quilt, I keep on thinking of the Wild Swans at Coole poem, doesn't matter it is about swans rather then geese but they both give me the same feeling.

    THE TREES are in their autumn beauty,
    The woodland paths are dry,
    Under the October twilight the water
    Mirrors a still sky;
    Upon the brimming water among the stones
    Are nine and fifty swans.

    The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me
    Since I first made my count;
    I saw, before I had well finished,
    All suddenly mount 10
    And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
    Upon their clamorous wings.

    I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
    And now my heart is sore.
    All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
    The first time on this shore,
    The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
    Trod with a lighter tread.

    Unwearied still, lover by lover,
    They paddle in the cold,
    Companionable streams or climb the air;
    Their hearts have not grown old;
    Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
    Attend upon them still.

    But now they drift on the still water
    Mysterious, beautiful;
    Among what rushes will they build,
    By what lake’s edge or pool
    Delight men’s eyes, when I awake some day
    To find they have flown away?

    1. The poem was new to me. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. It is very apropos.

  7. Hi, Gwyned- Your cat hair-ball stitch is so dense... it is really quite amazing. When I practiced this stitch long ago when Leah had released it originally on her blog, I couldn't imagine ever using it. But it looks really lovely- elegant even the way you've done it.

    I appreciate your comments (and Leah's) on fears and insecurities. It's great that we have an online community to be able to express these to, and to give each other support for the times when we're feeling low. Congratulations on your current shows!

    1. I used Leah's example in the Duchess Reigns to set my density. I actually find it easy (but often boring) to work at a micro level. It is more open work with broad sweeps that continue to challenge me.

      I feel fortunate to be part of several art groups, some but not all, made up of fiber artists, that share their experiences around making art, exhibiting art and those times when they wished things were different. I agree with you about the value of this.

  8. Very wonderful quilts and great words of wisdom. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I love seeing your progress on reflections, it's such a beautiful quilt!!! Picking out fabric for the branches is totally starting! :)
    Happy int'l quilting day!

    1. That is what I thought, too. However, since selecting fabric didn't give me much to photograph it felt odd to call that item done.