Friday, November 22, 2013

Weekly Report 2013 - 11/22





Detail from ZenBlossoms

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

The word for the week is gratitude. Actually, gratitude is something I start every day with. For over a decade I have risen from bed, gotten a glass of water and then sat down to write my personal combination of morning pages and gratitude journal. As I do the final work required to post ZenBlossoms on my website and submit it for a call for entry (due December 1st) I am feeling grateful for so many things that allowed this particular piece to come together. First, a special thank you to Leah Day for posting free motion quilting motifs weekly for several years. I have learned so much from trying every single one. Second, I knew I wanted to use metallic thread for the background of the quilt, but I dreaded it. Metallic thread can be fraught with shredding problems. Not this time. Yes, it did break or shredded more than the other threads, but not more than once every 30 - 45 minutes. Not bad at all for a metallic. Third, I am grateful that although my thread order was delayed by a month due to the vendor putting the wrong zip code on the label, I was able to quilt the full piece in just three weeks AND there was enough thread. Fourth, I am grateful for your comments, stories and suggestions.

Thanks to the stars aligning, here is what I was able to accomplish this week:


ZenBlossom
43" H x 33" W



1)  ZenBlossoms

Some of the motifs used in ZenBlossoms I learned
from Leah Day, while others are of my own invention.
  • block - Done!
  • trim to finished size - Done!
  • face - I decided that ZenBlossoms would look better bound than faced, I did that!
  • take formal call for entry level photos - Done!
  • make and attach split sleeve - Done!
  • make and attach label - Not yet.






2) Leah Day's weekly assignments


Do whatever assignments Leah comes up with next. 

a) Foundation Piecing - plan out the number of hexagons I will need and determine how I will piece them. - I did manage to create an English Paper piecing sample, but that was it.


Two samples of pieced hexagons. The one on the top
is done with English Paper Piecing. The one
on the bottom is machine pieced.

I will probably go with the English Paper Piecing for the Leah Day assignment. I found the basting relaxing. I found whip stitching the pieces together, not so relaxing. My thread has a tendency to get caught on the completed work no matter what strategy I used to hold it off to the side while I stitch the next hexagon in place. Which method I use in the future will depend upon the size of the hexagon. The larger hexagon, the more likely that I will stick to machine piecing. However, small hexagons are too fussy to do by machine. My break-even point is one inch, the size I tested both methods on. 

b) Free Motion Quilting

I was uncertain about the latest motif, Modern Weave. Leah always works out her motifs on square blocks, I prefer to create random shapes first, on a 20" square block, and then test out each motif in one of the resulting "odd" shapes. This forces me to deal with awkward spaces and bouncing off of curved or wiggly lines. How would a motif based on straight lines and triangles work? Surprisingly well. I struggled at first on how to divvy the triangles with lines, but eventually found I worked best if I was, one, always stitching towards my next end point and two, eyeballed bisecting the space with my next line. This meant a fair amount of travel stitching and therefore thread build up that actually enhances the look. This would be an excellent motif to use on a psychedelic quilt.

Free motion quilting sampler, with Leah Day's motif,
Modern Weave, front and center.


3) Visioning Project - Do the next two assignments from my Photoshop Elements class. - Done!

This is turning out to be more fun and less time consuming than I had expected. Hurrah!

4) Finish sketches for Sing the Blues, the quilt that will be my next focus. - Done!

I have a sketch that I will use as the blueprint for my next quilt. I've gone from working with piano keyboards, to saxes and I arrived at three dancers. The current working title is Trio.

Next week will be busy with non studio work. Still, I hope to spend two days, instead of my usual three in the studio. My current plan is as follows:

1)  ZenBlossoms
  • make and attach label
  • add to my website
  • add to my FaceBook fan page

2) Leah Day's weekly assignments


Do whatever assignments Leah comes up with next. 

a) Foundation Piecing - plan out the number of hexagons I will need and start piecing.

b) Free Motion Quilting

3) Visioning Project - Do the next two assignments from my Photoshop Elements class.

4) Trio

a) Blow up my sketch for Trio.

b) Select the fabric I will use.

c) Try creating a painting of a city at night as the backdrop for the dancers.


I am now linking up to two blogs on Friday's. The first is Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project and the second is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays.

14 comments:

  1. Wow! You certainly are ambitious and getting a lot of fabulous things done. I helped hang the FR show at the Slater and the quilting on your oyster piece is amazing!

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    Replies
    1. I heard you were at the Slater. Thank you, Norma for helping with the hanging. Nice to know my Oyster Bay didn't disappoint. I am having so much fun with FMQ these days. Makes me wonder why I dreaded it so years back.

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  2. Your dedication to FMQ is very apparent....now if I could muster up the nerve myself!!!

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    Replies
    1. I have no doubt that you are more than capable, Mary. It is giving oneself permission to try and accept the invariable learning curve that is the hardest. Funny how we can be so generous with our students when they are learning, while expecting that everything should come easily to us.

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  3. Zen blossoms turned out so lovely. So glad you entered it.
    Looking forward to seeing your next project.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Suzanne. …and the waiting begins.

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  4. Not sure if wow even fits the bill here... your zen blossoms are incredible. I love your focus and the output. Thanks for sharing your techniques. I am so inspired.

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    1. I'm enjoying the process of doing and sharing. There is something about writing about the process that helps with focus and understanding. I am grateful that you find my work inspiring.

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  5. I love that you stitch the motifs inside random shapes. Your stitching is amazing. Thank you for demonstrating that adhering to Leah Day's FMQ lessons will pay off, big-time. Now I wish I had...but then, it's never too late to start.

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    Replies
    1. So true, Linda, it is never too late to start. When I first did the Leah assignments I did each one on a separate block. I am not sure when I opted to divvy up a block and work the motifs in odd shapes. It just made more sense, since my own work is not in blocks but odd shapes. I am glad I started in blocks first, though. I needed to learn how to quilt in rows and columns before I could navigate my way around the odd shapes.

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  6. Hello Gwyned,

    The zen blossoms are wonderful. You must be really pleased to have finished the quilting so quickly.

    Love,
    Muv

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    Replies
    1. Blown away is more like it, Muv. I had thought that it would take much longer. I fortunate to be able to devote three days a week to working in my studio. Still, I can only sit at the machine for a hour or so at a time. Actual machine time runs around five hours max each studio day. I do some intense quilting, but nothing compared to what Leah does.

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