Friday, January 31, 2014

Week in Review 2014 - 01/31

Gwyned Trefethen posing in front of her piece,
Botswana Bounty.

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

I got my hair cut this week. It is about half the length I was sporting in this relatively recent picture of me in front of Botswana Bounty. I am in the minority. I have never dyed my hair. I think of that choice not obsessively, but frequently. I prefer the contrast of salt and pepper hair to an all over brown or even the auburn I would be tempted to try if I ever did dye my hair. I feel fortunate to make many conscience choices like this and have no regrets. There are so many choices to make when quilting: which quilt to make, what fabric to use, what techniques to use, which tools to use and one of the biggest choices for me, whether to attempt to earn a living as a quilt artist. I really admire those who can support themselves with their art. I am also acutely aware of how much time is spent to achieve this. Also, how much of their income comes not from selling their quilts, but from lecturing, writing books and selling other products. I am comfortable with my wishy washy stance of doing what I love, being grateful when I sell a piece, but not being driven to spend the time to develop my passion into a sustaining career.

One of the advantages of not writing books, touring the country lecturing, selling my wares at quilt festivals or teaching on-line is that I get to spend more time in the studio doing what I love, making art. Here is how I spent last week:

1) Got Jazz - This is an invitational for Fiber Artists Coalition. It has been giving me conniptions. I did do some research into an idea I had based on using my 9 degree wedge ruler. I think it just might work.

a) Select the fabrics - Not yet.
b) Plan out the basics of the quilt - Part way there.
c) Start the quilt - Not yet.

2) Express Your Love II - Leah Day project.

a) Continue piecing the arms from hexagons. - So close. I will probably finish today!
b) Baste the face, torso and arms to the quilt. - Not yet.

3) Do Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting lesson. - Done!

Leah Day's free motion quilting motif - Kidney Stones

I loved this motif. It was easy to execute and I think, very aesthetically pleasing. 

4) LifeBook 2014 - Do the assignments.

My take on Marieke Blokland's
mixed media assignment.

Our teacher this week was Marieke Blokland. Her instruction was so good that I was actually able to create highlights and shadows by layering paint on the face and then use what I learned to do a similar layering on the arms. Marieke is known for her exaggerated faces with large luscious lips and fanciful hair. 

5) Tumbling Blocks I 

a) Finish cutting out the blocks. - Done!

b) Cut out the background pieces. - Done! OK, not really. I decided that I didn't need the challenge of all these extra pieces just so that the tumbling blocks around the perimeter could be seen in their entirety. This is a gift for a nursery, not a quilt I am planning on entering into a show. I opted to cut myself some slack, especially since I have a very tight deadline with a show quilt.

c) Start piecing the quilt. - Done! This is proving to be more time consuming than I thought. Fortunately the pieces are easy to line up and with some judicious pinning most of the points are meeting as they should or close enough so that only someone with their nose to the quilt can see the lack of alignment. 

6) Little Lake Butte des Morts in Fall - a commissioned quilt - 

a) Draft the contract - Not yet.
b) Select the fabric - Partially done.
c) Start piecing the quilt - Not yet.

Next week I must stick to my convictions and remember that the choices are mine and stay confident in the choices I make. Here are the next steps in my current commitments:

1) Got Jazz - Due March 15th

a) Select the fabrics
b) Plan out the basics of the quilt
c) Start the quilt

2) Express Your Love II - Leah Day project.

a) Finish piecing the arms from hexagons.
b) Baste the face, torso and arms to the quilt.

3) Do Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting lesson.

4) LifeBook 2014 - Do the assignments.

5) Tumbling Blocks I - Continue piecing the quilt.

6) Little Lake Butte des Morts in Fall - a commissioned quilt

a) Draft the contract
b) Select the fabric
c) Start piecing the quilt

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.


  1. I think your hair looks lovely, some people pay a lot of money to get the frosted look and you get it naturally. I also like the shorter length. I would like to cut mine, but my husband seems to like it longer.

    Your fmq "kidney stones" looks wonderful as always.

    Have a wonderful week!

  2. Your mixed media piece is a fun one.

  3. I love the kidney stones! I love pink on black too. :-) Somehow I missed that post, but I did see her broken eggs one. Your work is incredible, clearly at a very high level, yet you continue to follow Leah's lessons, which indicates to me, true humility. I can't wait to see your goddess. What are you quilting the new designs on? It looks intriguing!

    1. I chose the pink thread versus the variegated fiesta colored thread I had been using, because there is a fair amount of traveling stitching with Kidney Stones. I prefer a solid when travel stitching is a regular part of the motif.

      I prepare block sandwiches for the sole purpose of practicing Leah's weekly motifs. I find I prefer to quilt on black for the contrast. Also, for my own entertainment value before I start quilting on a new practice piece I divvy it up with long wiggly lines. This creates odd shaped segments to be filled with the quilting and forces me to practice in tight, irregular areas.

  4. Gwyned I like how your kidney stones came out and your haircut is very pretty...

  5. Clearly, your time is well spent!!! After 20+ years ON THE ROAD.....I'll be more than ready to not have to balance teaching with studio time!!

  6. As always, your quilting is beautiful and your to-do list exhausting! You look great in natural salt-n-pepper, and as a bonus you have a lot more money available for quilting! :)

    1. I never thought of that, Karen. I have frequently commented to my husband on how much money we save because we are not smokers, coffee drinkers or drinkers of any kind of alcoholic beverage. Now I can add that I don't pay to have my hair frosted or dyed!

  7. I love your Botswana piece. I bought a wedge ruler with hopes to play with it this winter. Still on my growing to do list.
    Your fee motion is lovely. Will you use the sandwiches together in a project or save them as a stitch journal?
    I like the haircut. I too sprot my real salt and pepper hair. I started graying early from the bottom up in my late 30's. I am almost all silver on the bottom and it's a dark mix on top. Many asked why I highlighted the bottom or why I just didn't dye it. I've never dyed it but for a time I highlighted the top to balance it out, once a year. I'm now just going with what I've got and get compliments on it. Enjoy your salt and pepper mix, it's lovely.

  8. Thank you, Suzanne. I've made several pieces using the wedge ruler. It suits my personality of being both highly organized and enjoying happy accidents. In fact the piece I plan to start on next is going to have a large section created with the aid of my wedge ruler. I just may be able to share a sneak peak on next week's blog.

    I had no idea how many comments and all positive I would get from sharing my decision to go with my natural hair color. It is nice to know that I am not alone in relishing and sporting the look of salt and pepper hair.

  9. Love seeing your list of projects, Gwyned. I agree totally with your opening thoughts. I also feel fortunate to be able to create as I wish and not have to do so much else to create an income.