Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spring Cleaning

For my day off, I thought I would spend a few minutes tidying up my studio, before I got down to working on my newest quilt.  Starting at 7:30 am, I got to work organizing a few things...and didn't finished for almost 5 or 6 hours!!  In that block of time, I managed to tackle every nook and cranny as I accomplished a lot of long overdue projects:
Skippy staking his claim on leftover blocks from past quilts
Purge baby purge:  scraps, yardage, books and more
  • purging fabric yardage that is no longer relevant.  Much of it was purchased when I first started quilting and was naive about quality of fabrics.  Some no longer matches my aesthetic or quilt plans.  So I bagged it all up, and hope that others might be able to find use for it rather than end up in the landfill. 
  • discarding scraps that are too small for my use in future projects, but can be used to stuff dog beds for local animal shelters.    
  • walk down memory I found samples of the various fabrics used to make past quilts.  I had forgotten about so many of these quilts so it was fun reminiscing about each quilt and how the recipient inspired the design.  I salvaged a few pieces to add to my scrap collection.  And there were even some leftover blocks that I may look to incorporate into future gifts.  
  • cleaning out dust bunnies...include from my sewing machine.  I took it out of its set in shelf and yikes!  I hadn't realized how long its been since I last dusted out the bobbin case.  
  • Reorganizing my quilt library.  I managed to free up some shelf space by donating a few older books to my guild's boutique, where I am hoping they will provide inspiration and guidance to fellow quilters.
  • And now I have room to actually quilt without shuffling around non essential stuff.  Bonus, I now have space to add more fabric and books to my stash!
And yes---by 1 or 2 pm, I was ready to get to work on my quilt.  Here is a sneak preview of the block components laid out on my design wall.  More posts to come as I continue my progress.
Celestial Rings in Progress...more to come!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Going 3-D

This month's SCVQA meeting featured Susan Else and her quilted mixed media sculptures.  She presented her "Off the Wall:  Quilting in Three Dimensions" lecture that include slides of some of her dioramas and free-standing pieces.  She also brought several of her pieces to display on the stage including:  Gaining (top left), Rapunzel Considers (right) and Underwater (bottom left). 
I was immediately drawn to her work on so many levels:  her fun sense of humor incorporated into each piece, her attention to details and the way she combines fabric to create each piece's surface.  It was a lot of fun to photograph each piece from different angles to capture all the details and scale.  Her presentation/slide show was incredibly inspirational and I was torn whether to enroll in her next day workshop:  3-D Adventures in the Garden or work on the many projects waiting for me at home.  I kept thinking about her art all afternoon and evening and around 8 pm finally called the VP for programs to inquire whether there were still openings and started packing up my quilting supplies for the next day workshop.  

The class supply list was fairly basic as the $10 class kit fee included all the fabrics and supplies we would need to create our own 3-D flower.  Upon arrival, we were issued a large nut, knitting needle, 8 pieces of floral wire, and we were teased with an amazing selection of fabric kits to create truly one of a kind 3-D flowers.  

But first we were treated to a presentation of how she creates multiple layers to her art as she assembled a jungle diorama and explaining how she used color/value to create such depth on a piece that only measured 7-8" deep.  

After watching this piece blossom and grow, we were ready to create our own 3-D flower, similar to the one on the right.  

Susan was an amazing teacher.  I especially appreciated her commitment to the hares and tortoises of the quilting world---able to challenge the hares that can speed through projects, while not losing or frustrating the tortoises, like her, that prefer to take more time to work on their pieces.  Surprisingly, I usually fall into the hare grouping, but this class I felt more like a tortoise as I found myself totally absorbed in the details of each component!  I don't think I completed any of the individual components in the workshop, but had the information/direction to go home and finish my piece after dinner.  I absolutely love the finished piece...and may need to explore 3-Dimensional work more often!  

Fortunately she lives only an hour south of us, so I hope to have more opportunities to take workshops with her and to see her work.  She currently has a piece included in the Milestones:  Textiles of Transition exhibit currently on display at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles through July 21st, that I may just have to check out!

My 3-D Adventures in the Garden

Sunday, May 12, 2013

UFO Stash: Black and White Slashed Four Patch

My UFO's are lurking everywhere, including our hallway, where two UFO quilt tops have been hanging for almost 2 years now.  Both quilt tops were started more than 3 years ago, while still living in NY.  Out of the blue, I woke up this past Sunday and decided it was time to tackle the "Slashed Four Patch," a 4 Patch Fun pattern from Patchwork Quilting magazine.

Not sure what prompted this renewed energy to resume working on this UFO, but I promptly took it down and started pulling out fabrics to audition for possible borders.  After auditioning more than 10 different fabrics and not thrilled about any of the combinations, I questioned whether the quilt even needed borders.  I dug out the original pattern ripped out years ago, and realized the pattern never called for any borders.  So this settled borders!  But I was able to use some of those pulled fabrics for the backing and binding...and set to work layering/basting the quilt and working out a plan for quilting.  I kept it simple and did a series of lines that created stars at each intersection.

I especially love the binding...its truly a magical fabric that appears to be glowing and radiating around all four sides.  It especially pops against the bright green backing fabric.

I finished the last few binding stitches this morning, and was able to capture some pictures at work during my lunch break inside one of the dog parks. 

After 4-5 years, I am happy to say this quilt is quilted and complete!  Woo hoo! 

                What's black, white and bright?!?                              You're next...on my UFO tackle list!