Friday, November 14, 2014

Week in Review 2014 - 11/14

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

The second LifeBook 2014 lesson I completed this week.
It works like an Advent calendar. The feathers
lift up to reveal positive messages below. What looks like
doilies is actually my newest stencil.
I have been practicing free motion quilting designs that
might work for my sister's quilt. I stumbled upon
this on a YouTube video that appeared on the sidebar while
I was looking at something else. It is going to require
a lot more practice for me to achieve the "backwards"
feathers and transitions from one heart to the next.
Like many artists who work with fabric I started my journey as someone who enjoyed handwork for relaxation. I had done needlepoint, crewel, knitting, crocheting and sewn some clothes for myself and my daughter. I tried quilting in 1974 when the only book I found was on English paper piecing. I bought Laura Ashley remnants to make the quilt with. I worked on that "quilt" on and off for a couple of years and don't think it ever grew to even a 12" square. There is a reason you don't paper piece thin wale corduroy. :) I gave up on that quilt, but not on the idea of making a quilt some day. 

Then Eleanor Burns came on the scene with her Quilt in A Day series. I took an evening class at the local high school. It was an 8 week course to make a quilt in a day. Thank goodness that quilt was auctioned off for charity. Ugly is too kind of a word. What that class and that quilt did give me was the courage to make another and then another. At first I followed patterns, considering myself quite adventurous when I changed the colors. Then I started modifying patterns. Now  all my work is my original design. What I called myself has changed with time, too. I have been a quilter, quilt artist, textile artist, fiber artist and now, although I still gulp when I say it, I call myself an artist. 

I was getting so frustrated doodling and redoodling the
feathered heart motif that I played with a simpler pivoting
heart motif that is echoed.
This week I have started to call myself, Gwyned Trefethen, Private Eye. Clearly I listen to far too many mysteries while I work. Why the new title? I lost some ground this week when my thread started breaking while I was free motion quilting. It takes perseverance to follow each lead in order to resolve the dreaded thread breaking problem. I tried all the usual tricks without an improvement. Then I added a bead of Sewer's Aid to the spool. I've done this before for metallic thread, but I was using my favorite Superior King Tut cotton thread. I'd never needed Sewer's Aid for that before. Sewer's Aid is a liquid silicone that allows the thread to glide smoothly through the eye of the needle, but also through all those other eyes and the tension discs. I could tell the hang up was in my tension discs, but loosening the tension didn't help and I feared if I loosened it too much the tension needed for even stitching would be thrown off. It was the combination of dogged checking the usual suspects and the eureka moment when the problem was diagnosed and resolved that allowed me to close yet another case of (said in a deep resonant voice) the dread thread break.

Another section of Night Vision is quilted!
I didn't spend all my week as a Private Eye. You can see by what got accomplished that I was mostly in artist mode.

1) Night Vision - (Due January 1, 2015)

I continued to free motion quilt the leaves of Night Vision. I have about 1/3 of the quilt to go. I am setting myself a goal of finishing one bobbin's worth of free motion quilting every studio day. Since I use Bottom Line thread those bobbins last for hours.

a) Finish the quilting 
It takes courage to make the most
of a bad situation. 
b) Blind stitch the frog in place
c) Square up the quilt

2) Free motion quilting practice. - Done

3) LifeBook 2014 - Do the assignments. - Done

I completed the assignment from the week before and this week's as well. Yeah! I am caught up again. I am rather fond of the self portrait. It doesn't look much like me. However, I made another leap forward with capturing light and shadow. Even more impressive I very creatively got myself out of a jam when the left eye was ruined when my pen gushed just as I was adding the pupil. My solution was a very creative, contemporary, runway worthy hairdo. :)

4) Surprise for my sister (Due November 24)

a) Finish piecing the cut strata. - Done!
b) Sandwich the quilt - Done!
c) Start the quilting - Not yet.

A teaser from my sister's quilt. This is the one that will
be quilted with a heart motif.

Which persona will dominate next week? Personally I am rooting for the artist, since there are many things I am eager to tackle. 

1) Night Vision - (Due January 1, 2015)

a) Finish the quilting
b) Blind stitch the frog in place
c) Square up the quilt

2) Free motion quilting practice.

3) LifeBook 2014 - Do the assignments

4) Surprise for my sister (Due November 24)

a) Start the quilting
b) Square up the quilt
c) Bind the quilt
d) Add the label

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


  1. Oh, I am intrigued by your Night Vision quilt. Can't wait to see the whole thing.

  2. Ah,yes the dreaded thread breakage. We all know it well. Sometimes I think my machine is possessed. I've never heard of sewers aid. Thanks for the tip :-)

    You made me laugh about the early quilting days. When I look back at some I've made - wow, we have come a long way baby!

  3. Hello Gwyned,

    Love the runway hairdo!

    The second FMQ design that you have sketched looks as though it will be much less trouble to quilt - less risk of going astray on patterned fabric. The pieced strata looks really effective, with the different width strips.

    As for Night Vision, those greens are just so lush, I'm really looking forward to the frog hopping back on to his leaf.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

  4. Gwyned, your Night Vision leaves are looking very rich!!!