Summer Projects

Find out where joy resides,
and give it a voice far beyond singing.
For to miss the joy is to miss all.
 
Robert Louis Stevenson

SAQA’s 100 Days of Creativity on Facebook, which I mentioned in my last two posts, became a wonderful vehicle for keeping me focused for over 40 days on sewing projects. It was a particularly hectic time in my life but the simple task of doing enough on a piece to post a photo each day to the group with just the right incentive to keep going. And, I discovered by simply putting the proverbial “one step in front of the other” that I could create art in the craziest of times.

I have backed off the SAQA challenge now as travel will take up more of my time and I feel I have learned sufficiently from participating in the challenge. What did I accomplish? Have a look. 🙂

This is the smaller of the two art quilts that I mentioned in my last blog. I am extremely pleased with how cloth and paper blended to create this scene. I do hope to explore the larger size version but not until fall or perhaps winter when my travel schedule is lighter.

This is the front of a very special cloth pouch that I made for one of my cousins. The “E” is from a hankerchief of her Mom’s that she gave me. Most of the other materials I used in the creating the pouch were also from her Mom.

Pouch inside

To create the inside of the pouch I created a pocket with a smaller hanky and embellished it with lace trim of her Mom’s. I added three mini pockets created out of unused corners of the hanky that formed the main pocket.

Back of pouch

My third project was a mini-cushion that I might use as a pin cushion or else a place to lay my glasses. It was done for sheer fun which suggests just how successful my summer of creativity has been. From paper piecing to french knots to prairie points to art quilts with paper and stitch, I have been following my heart all summer. 🙂

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall blog so you can follow other artists as well. 

Sacred Threads and Creativity

Everything you can imagine is real.
Pablo Picasso

I am pleased to let everyone know that my quilt, Ground Zero Reborn, is on display with the Sacred Threads Exhibit in Herndon, VA from July 11-28. It is always an honor to be included in this exhibition and this quilt is very special to me as the Wall St area of NYC was very much a part of my childhood. I am always grateful that my parents were not alive to witness the tragedy of 9/11.

Sacred Threads allows artists to share pivotal moments in their lives through art quilts. If you have the opportunity to visit the exhibition, the quilts you will experience are amazing and moving. I hope you can visit.The exhibition is at the Floris United Methodist Church and full details on the exhibit can be found on the Sacred Threads website.

Ground Zero Reborn

In my previous post, I wrote that I had decided to participate in SAQA’s “100 Days of Creativity on Facebook” challenge. After ten days, I am amazed and delighted to report that I love the challenge. Much to my surprise, the simple concept of making enough progress on an idea to be able to take a daily photo capturing the progress has turned out to be exactly the incentive I needed to create. There is so much freedom in how each participant chooses to use the 100 days that I feel totally comfortable sharing whatever I have done and I am finding looking at everyone else’s photos both inspiring and instructive. My experience is that simply persisting every day to do a little and then contemplating the next day’s step for the reminder of the day has allowed me to make concrete progress.

In the first ten days, I have moved from creating templates for two different size art quilts based on the same photo

to a roughed out version of the smaller of the two projected art quilts.

I have enjoyed the process so much that I have decided to expand upon my original plan for the 100 days. For the second ten days, I am developing a hand embroidery from some vintage fabrics recently given me. While I am embroidering I will be contemplating how I will stitch the small art work which I will resume working on for the third block of ten days. I hope to continue flipping back and forth in blocks of ten days between the two projects until mid-September. 

Wish me luck!

Linking to NinaMarie’s Off the Wall to share with other artists.

Getting Motivated

Genius is one percent inspiration
and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
Thomas Edison

My trip to Paris in May was so inspirational. A break from the routines of life and an opportunity to immerse myself in the works of so many artists. I took many photos and in the ensuing weeks one continued to intrigue me as a possible base for some art/paper work.

Monet’s Giverny gardens

Of course, it would be amazing if my life then allowed me to simply devote myself to a new art quilt. 🙂 However, in the real world I have many wonderful commitments tugging for my time…….to add to the mix, in June we added a new member to our household:

River, 9 weeks old

I think you can easily see how my ‘time for art’ was going to be seriously challenged! Enter the wonderful organization, Studio Art Quilt Associates, that I have belonged to for many years and played a tremendous role in getting me started in the field of art quilts. Their ‘Weekly Eblast’ for the last week in June mentioned an intriguing idea: “100 Days of Creativity on Facebook”. 

Beginning July 1, they were sponsoring a challenging to spend 100 days creating and reporting a photo each day to a private member Facebook site. Their guidelines were amazingly simple – post progress each day, the 100 days are divided into 10 blocks so one could define purposes for each of the 10 blocks or one purpose for the entire period, or design your own process.

The serendipity of  this challenge is amazing. River has now been with us for one week and a commitment to make a little progress each day on my “Japanese Maple Tree Project,’ as I have labeled it, is just what I need. 

While the Facebook posts are for challenge members only, I will also be sharing my photos on my Instagram account using #SAQA100days (a requirement of the challenge). So, if you want to check in on my success in sticking with the challenge, check my Instagram account (my username is judywar). I think you might also be able to access it by this link.  I expect this will turn out to be a fun challenge if I stay centered and appreciate that I might have to miss a day or two occasionally (allowed in the rules). I will try to also report in here on my blog from time to time. 🙂

Linking here to NinaMarie’s Off the Wall Friday blog.

 

The Journey Continues…..

Paris is always a good idea
Audrey Hepburn

May has swept by and we are well into June. The highlight of May was most definitely a trip to Paris with my husband. There is something about that city that draws me back again and again. When I was working, I often would take a quick trip in the winter to sit in the museums when crowds were small. My favorite place is a courtyard in the Louvre with French sculptures….but this trip the highlight was Giverny and a visit to Monet’s gardens.

Since our time in Paris was relatively short, we took advantage of a tour by Paris WebServices that offered to pick us up at our hotel, drop us at the gardens, and pick us back up several hours later for a return trip. It was the best decision of the trip as the guide literally deposited us at the gardens before the official opening so we were at the head of the line and the first into the gardens. Having briefed myself from my trusty Rick Steves‘ Guidebook on how to get quickly to the lily ponds, we had the gift of walking around the ponds in near solitude.

These photos give a hint at the beauty of the moment and most definitely are inspiration for my coming art quilts! Enjoy!

Time Flies!

I have no thought of time
For who knows where the time goes?

Sandy Denny

I am amazed that it is May. My March shamrocks are still growing, much to my delight. The temperatures are creeping upwards and the days are each more beautiful than the last.

An April walk……....

Time has flown and I have little to show in fiber art projects completed. A trip back East, so much to be done outside on our property, and the distraction of my wonderful grandchildren slowed progress on my many fiber projects……I am working along in the two year-long online gatherings with Karen Ruane but I have no photos for you.

I have been busy at my sewing machine as a sundress was requested by one granddaughter. I totally enjoy the change in focus and was pleased with the outcome……

May promises to be quite busy too away from the studio. I trust my travels will yield some memorable photos for this blog…..In the meantime, I leave you with a video that I trust will make you smile. The grandchildren are very much into dressing up in all sorts of costumes. Miriam has also decided she wants to learn Irish step dancing. The results are as you can see from this video are totally entertaining and brighten everyone’s day.

Best Laid Plans…

It is good to have a plan….
but always follow your heart!

Yesterday started as a fairly normal day and I expected to move forward on a cloth page I have been working on the past two weeks for my Stitch Along class with Karen Ruane. But Thursdays are “late arrival” days for my seven-year-0ld granddaughter’s elementary school and her Mom drops her off to have breakfast with me and I take her to school. Judy Cate arrived carrying her little faithful stuffed animal, Raven. She reported that he was in real need of a bow tie and could I help. How could I say ‘no’ to such a request! 🙂

As we enjoyed our breakfast, we searched the web for patterns for bow tie pattern for doll. We found a free one, picked out appropriate fabric from my stash, and I agreed to have Raven outfitted by the time Judy Cate returned from school. Needless to say, the rest of my day got rearranged a bit with a very happy result.

Happy puppy

The blog where I found the pattern was Shiny Happy World. It is a blog by Wendi Gratz. She lives in North Caroline and, according to her bio, has chosen to create “sewing, quilting and embroidery patterns especially for beginners”. If the bow tie pattern I used is typical, then Wendi is a very gifted designer. I have followed a lot of patterns in my years of sewing and this was one of the best written. I particularly loved her side comments on some short cuts that were possible. They were the sort of ones that I would instinctively explore in doing any pattern and it was great to read that she used them too and they were okay. Wendi has many free patterns on her website for quilting, crochet, felting, embroidery and sewing. Where you need a pattern or not, it is worth checking the pictorial listing out as they will make you smile.

Raven went home with three bow ties made in less than an hour with Wendi’s pattern. I spent the rest of the day in gratitude that I am at a point in my life where I can drop other activities and doing something that I know will make a grandchild smile.

More on my other projects next week….for now I am linking to Nine Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog……

Spring is coming

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Spring is still weeks away but it was in my heart this week. 🙂

Most of the week was spent on finishing up some of my stitching projects and working on ideas for my next set. As I was returning fabrics to my storage wall, I came across two panels I had purchased last year on a visit back to Victor, NY. I bought them with a purpose in mind but abandoned the idea after I returned out west. As often happens, the panels became buried in a pile…

I decided that there was a better use for the panels than sitting in my storage cubbies. It took only a few hours to create a potential quilt top to be passed on to Quilt Beyond Borders where it can bring joy to someone going through some difficult times. For the moment though, the quilt top is hanging on my design wall, brightening my days as I count down to Spring. 🙂

Linking as always to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog. She writes this week about a movement by a number of art museums in the U.S. to share images in their digital collections with the public free of charge and copy right licensing. Be sure to check it out!

Mission Accomplished

Enjoy the satisfaction that comes from doing little things well.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is an extremely nice feeling to start from a gathering of materials that attracted you and wind up with a finished project. I mentioned in my last post that I rarely purchase fabric these days as I have a stash to draw upon. There must be something truly unique about some fabric, or even buttons, or ribbons — anything that I might use in my art – before I will buy it.

Last fall I started a small grouping of purchases from trips I had made to the Manhattan garment district, upstate NY and Sedona AZ during 2018. I had no plan initially for them, but something about them created a feeling that resonated with me. This year, in my stitching group with Karen Ruane, that pile started beckoning to me to let them join in my play.

First I created a suffolk puff from a Japanese print fabric I had found in Manhattan. Then, I began playing with some bullion knots around cording in another piece of fabric………ribbon and buttons begged to be included in my design process. 🙂

As time progressed, a plan for a bag developed and I began stitching in earnest.

This week I finished my bag. Here are two views of it.

View One
View 2

I plan to use my new bag in my studio for other special items that I have brought back from trips. In that way, it will serve a number of purposes, both reminding me of places I visited, and reminding me of that sense of satisfaction from following through from an idea to a final product. In that way, I suspect it will continue to encourage me to follow through in 2019 with other ideas and projects that speak to me, whatever they may be.

Linking as always to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday….

Waste Not, Want Not

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under heaven..

Pete Seeger

I have been watching old episodes of Life Below Zero on Netflix this winter. One of the lessons that becomes clear as I watch is that when you are living a subsistence living near the Arctic Circle, absolutely nothing is wasted. It is a great lesson as figures suggest that the human population creates 2.12 billion tons of waste every year. That is a lot of stuff!

I resolved a while back to focus on using the stash of fabrics that I have accumulated over the years in my projects whenever possible. I still will purchase a special fabric here and there, but mainly I try to use my stash. My latest quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders is a perfect example of this.

I found a simple yet attractive pattern for a daisy chain quilt on Pinterest and was able find enough prints and solids in my stash to create both the top and back of a quilt that will go to a person in need. (Sorry about the poor photo of the quilt back but you get the idea. 🙂 )

Quilt front
Quilt Back

However, that was not the end of my Waste Not, Want Not story. To create the quilt, one had to slice off areas at the top and bottom as the quilt was assembled in angular strips. As I created my rectangular quilt, I created a little pile of odd shapes. I put them aside for a few days and then took them all out. There were enough scraps to be able to create a 15″ x 18″ quilt for one of my grandchild’s dolls!

Mini quilt

Now not only will someone somewhere in the world with no home benefit from my stash, but I have created joy for a child and avoided adding a small bit to that 2.12 billion figure.

I will leave you with one more statistic from that website on waste – it is suggested that 99% of things we buy are trashed within 6 months. Yuk! Hopefully, we all can do better than that!

Linking as always to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

Letting Go

Life is either a great adventure or nothing.
Helen Keller

Last week I shared with you the beginnings of my first ledger page for my online class, Ledgers-A Record of Stitch, with Karen Ruane. I had a design that I was pretty comfortable with:

This week I planned to finish up the page and move on with other projects. As I completed the French Knots on each of my crosses, I focused more and more on the circular portion of the design. My original ideas of simply stitching the two circular outlines just didn’t excite me any more. So, I began looking at what other fibers I might have in my studio that I could use.

One thing led to another and as you can see from the photo below, where I wound up with quite a ways from where I started. 🙂

My new design is much more vibrant and mysterious. I continued to explore color balance and the impact of differing proportions on composition but I gave myself permission to just let go and play. The unstructured, scattered nature of the yarn that I crocheted together to meld the blue and black carries the free form of the organic gatherings of French Knots to a more extreme form.

I left the little black circle in the lower left as information on another color balance example as this is for a ledger of design ideas. In one sense the little circle is a bit out of place. In another, it fits as it develops the progression of darkness through color proportion from the small crosses to the large circle to a final extreme expression.

You might wonder what might have been influencing me as I was working on this composition. I suspect it is the Harry Potter series where I am currently in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  Twill be interesting where my reading takes me next! 🙂

Linking as always to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

The Delights of Stitching

It is our choices that show what we truly are,
far more than our abilities.
Dumbledore

My grandchildren are reading the Harry Potter series. (More accurately their parents are reading it to them each evening.) I had read the series when it was published years ago but decided I had better brush up on the characters so I could discuss them with our seven year old. I really am enjoying the escape from current events that the books now offer. The above quote jumped out at me as I was reading and I had to share it. I think it rang true for me for my life overall.

Having finished True Power last week, I have refocused on my adventures with Karen Ruane. I have been following along with her and my compatriots in the Stitch Along class for six months now – that hardly seems possible as time flies in the class. I have continued to play with adorning vintage children’s dresses and now have begun what will be a cloth book of embroidery ideas for future projects. I simply love that we are free to do as we wish when we follow Karen. If an idea she is exploring resonates with us, we can try it; if not, then we can focus on what has caught our eye.

I have finally finished one dress that I suspect will find a home eventually with my youngest granddaughter as she appears to have inherited my love of dolls. I think you will recognize some of the adornments from an earlier fall post:

My cloth book is just beginning but I have put together the ‘front’ side of what will be one page in the book. It allowed me to play with some exquisite lace I picked up several years ago in the garment district of New York and to explore the rich effect created making suffolk puffs with silk.

Since I love the community of stitchers that play along with Karen, I have just joined another of her groups – Ledgers – A Record of Stitch. Here the focus will be upon creating a paper ledger of color studies and design options drawn from items that have caught our eye – whether photos, embroideries, really anything that we wish.

For my first ledger page, I chose an embroidery that I received from a group of women who stitch in their villages in Afghanistan. The color choices really appealed to me.

I am now working on a page where I am using those colors and expanding from my chosen ‘resource’ to create my own designs. It is fun to stitch on paper for a change! As you can see, I am just beginning my stitching process.

As you can see Karen’s classes definitely can keep you busy! Of course, I am also thinking about my next quilt projects — to be shared as they materialize. 🙂

Linking with NineMarie’s Off the Wall Friday blog for more inspirational ideas.

Honoring Nature

Wilderness is not a luxury
but a necessity of the human spirit.

Edward Abbey

As I look at the photos and art quilts that fill the walls of my studio, a good number of them are of nature — rock formations in Scotland, an Aspen tree, cypress along the Pacific Coast, the Atlantic Ocean off the west of Ireland. I find my inspiration in nature, retreat to nature to re-center myself in life, and to keep in perspective how minute my presence is in the universe. When I cannot be present in nature, these images help ground me. Today I was happy to add a new image to my wall, True Power. The title comes from a favorite quote that Tom Crum used in our many workshops, True Power is energy flowing freely towards a vision. Glaciers embody ‘true power’ to me as they move purposely on their way.

I wrote last week about how what is now titled True Power came about. In the past week, a path to completion became clearer and clearer. Handstitching the water against a backing of batting flowed into appropriate stitching for the shoreline, mountains, and sky. It was a simple matter to frame the piece in an open frame once trimmed. You can see the detail work in the photo below that contributes to the overall desired effect when viewed on a wall.

I am excited about this piece and looking forward to playing more with this genre, along with my many hand stitching projects and some digital images I am currently getting printed. I think 2019 will be a fun year!

Linking as usual to Nine Maries Off the Wall Friday blog.

Taking Stitch to Cloth and Paper

What do I need to Learn Here?
Thomas Crum

For many years, I worked with Thomas Crum as we introduced people to what we called the Discovery Model. The premise is that as long as the questions you ask yourself in life are along the lines of “What do I need to say or do to be right?” you are not operating at your full potential. Indeed, a look at the truly great inventors over time revealed that their frame of reference in trying new ideas as setbacks and failures occurred was more typically the question, “What do I need to learn here?”

As many of you are aware, I have been exploring the art of hand stitching with Karen Ruane for a number of years…what began as an interest in learning hand embroidery has grown to an exploration of expression using stitch on both fabric and paper.

The start of my current project was innocent enough. I was interested in creating a small art quilt from a glacier photo taken on a trip to Alaska last summer. Initially I thought I would follow my typical process of drafting a sketch from a photo, fusing various fabrics to muslin to create a base and then free motion quilting to complete the art quilt. It has been a bit since I had followed that model but it had always satisfied me before.

An interesting thing though happened as I began to work on a muslin base trying out various fabrics. Nothing satisfied me. The more I searched for fabrics, the less pleased I was. I finally realized that some paper I had collected to use in projects with Karen was pretty close to what I wanted. It was time to let go of the traditional and come from discovery!

I began constructing a base of fabric and possible papers for my scene:

In the above photo, I found that a matte frame really helped give me a sense of direction. The central portions in the scene are all layers of paper while the sky and water are fabric.

I wisely did not permanently attach anything to my muslin base. The more I looked at the scene I realized that while it was a fair representation perhaps of the photo I had chosen as a base, it wasn’t what had stood out for me as I remembered our trip. We saw many glaciers in varying light and, as you would expect, varying colors of both ice and water. The glaciers as a whole left us humbled by the power and raw strength of nature that created and moved them. I realized that I needed to create an art work that captured what spoke to my heart as I had gazed at all of them rather than concern myself with reproducing a specific photo.

Once I accepted that reality, I really began to make progress with my piece. I changed some of both the fabric and paper layers and added some dabs of paint.

From there I quickly began experimenting with stitch on the glaciers. I found that a combination of seed stitch and french knot offered the effect I wanted.

This piece is very much still in progress. I currently am playing with stitch for the water. In my earlier stitching stages, I worked without a batting layer as I didn’t feel it was needed and I had given myself permission to create without being bound by the current day definitions of an ‘art quilt’. As I played with possibilities for the water on test pieces, I concluded that I will now add a batting layer to the piece as I like the textural effect the batting lends to the hand stitching for the water.

Bullion loops and running stitch

Over the coming weeks, I will be stitching in the water and then exploring how to interpret the mountains and sky. Promise an update soon!

As always, linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

A Fun Portfolio Project for the New Year

A number of years ago I created a portfolio for myself using a pattern from Bernina. It was intended as an exercise in using their circle tool. A local Bernina store offered a class using the pattern so I had plenty of help on my first try.

Original portfolio

I still am using that portfolio and about two years ago decided to make versions for my daughter and son-in-law. They loved their portfolios and continue to use them. This fall I got way more ambitious and decided to make a series of portfolios as Christmas gifts.

Playing with variations

I took the basic idea of the original portfolio but decided to give myself more leeway in the design process. Rather than focusing upon circles, I took the basic form of a long rectangle and used assorted materials from my stash along with decorative stitching and some ribbons to create the outer portion of each portfolio. This decision really allowed me to have some fun with both novelty fabrics and vintage Japanese cottons I had collected over the years.

To line the insides of each portfolio, I simply chose a coordinating fabric. Using some double sided midweight fusible stabilizer to join the outer and inner sides of the portfolio and some bias binding to edge the rectangular shape, my gift portfolios were near completion. All that was left was to fold the rectangle to create the pouch and the cover sections, stitch the sides of the pouch section, and add a velcro fastener.

The gifts were a tremendous success and I really encourage everyone to play with this idea. It is a great way to use some of your stash. While I created portfolios that could easily hold a notebook or letter sized documents, one could easily create other sized portfolios by altering the size of the starting rectangle. (I began with rectangles roughly 15″x 28″). I wasn’t able to find my original instructions online but did find some references on the Bernina site for a similar idea that you could easily use as a jumping off guide: https://weallsew.com/embroidered-circles-folio

Below are images of one of the new portfolios from various views:

Wishing you a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year!

Tis the Season

For it is in giving that we receive.
St. Francis of Assisi

Wishing everyone the very best in this holiday season. May you find happiness and fulfillment and a path for 2019 that brings peace and comfort to you and your family and extends beyond to your little corner of the world.

My life has been very full this fall with all good things. Finding time for everyone and everything has meant reduced time on my computer. Be assured though that my studio has been busy with many projects including the one pictured below.

These tiny hats are for the Little Hats, Big Hearts project of the American Heart Association. Begun in Chicago in 2014, the project honors babies and moms in a very special way. These tiny red hats, on thousands of babies, symbolize our shared mission of heart-healthy lives for everyone. The effort also raises awareness of congenital heart defects, and what we can all do to help prevent them.

I saw a mention of the program on our local tv station and was intrigued. The AHA offers patterns for both crochet and knitting. Friends will attest to the fact that I am a dubiously successful knitter. 🙂 However, crocheting has always come naturally to me. My goal is to create as many of these little hats as I can manage in December. The hats will be handed in to our local AHA chapter and distributed to newborns at local hospitals during February which is American Heart Month.

If you would like to join in this effort, the AHA suggests contacting your local AHA representative for details on the program in your area.

Have to get back to crocheting now! You can check out Nina Marie’s Off the Wall for what other fiber artists are up to.

 

Time Flies

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus

The month of September seemed to fly by as I followed through on my new classes. Combined with a quick trip to New York, I have most definitely been busy.

My “Stitch Along” class with Karen Ruane thankfully has a 12 month timeline. I used the class as an excuse to wander the Garment District while in New York City to gather some materials to use in the class. In my spare time, I have been playing with some samples of lace and stitch and slowly developing a theme for the year.

The Visual Design workshop with SAQA is a much shorter commitment. I am in the second component of the workshop, Principles of Design, the first two weeks being devoted to Elements of Design. Each week is rich with resources through video interviews, some video chats, and links to many articles. There are no assignments as such. I have enjoyed the review of design principles. One immediate application has been in reviewing my photos from our Alaska trip. I have appreciated a bit more why my eye is drawn to particular scenes and why in culling through hundreds of photos, I have selected a few to print and perhaps use eventually in some art works.

Here are two examples where line and shape were important.

Zodiacs along the cliffs near the Dawes glacier.

Early morn view from our boat approaching LeConte Bay.

Looking forward to learning more as I continue exploring the wonderful world of fiber.

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog for more inspiration from other fiber artists.

Looking Towards Fall

To every season there is a purpose.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

The temperatures are dropping at bit and there is even the mention of showers in our forecasts…..stores are stocking Halloween decorations (at least it is not Christmas). Hints of fall are everywhere.

This summer has been a time of enjoying grandkids, recharging energy and nurturing spirit. Earlier this month, I spent a week in the glaciers and forests of southeastern Alaska (photos will follow as I am still sorting!) but even before that trip, I knew my self-imposed sabbatical from “serious” art projects was working. When I returned from Alaska, there on my design wall was  a quilt top with batting and backing ready for quilting…… the first art quilt I have created in quite a bit with an eye to entering in some Calls for Entry. Refreshed and inspired from my travels, I set to free motion quilting my work. With my Bernina newly tuned up, the quilting went amazingly smoothly. For most of the stitching time, I listened to my favorite cellist, Zuill Bailey, on my new Sonos system and just enjoyed being back in the interpretative process that free motion quilting is for me.

Since the quilt will be submitted to a call this fall, I can’t share the results of my efforts in full, but here is a tiny peak.  🙂 

Now with fall approaching, I have enrolled in several exciting opportunities to continue to feed my creative spirit :

My friend, Karen Ruane, is offering  a new 12 month “Stitch Along.”  I have so enjoyed my studies with Karen and the community of ‘stitchers’ around the world who participate in her sessions. This “Stitch Along” is paced in a way that I can easily work on more art quilts that I am sure will emerge for my Ice Worlds series.

Here is Karen’s description of the class:

Join me for 12 months of creativity, a unique fly on the wall experience. Observe my process, my day to day, my working practice over a full year. Who knows what will crop up, what will inspire and develop over this programme. We begin with a blank page of time and fill that page, that time developing embroidered works on paper and fabric. There may be artist books, there may be delicately embroidered laces along with decorative silk surfaces. There will definitely be buttons, ribbons, sequins, beads and all manner of added titivation.

Isn’t that enticing? If you are interested in joining me in a fun experience, you can sign up  on Karen’s website.

I have also signed up for the SAQA Seminar  2018: Visual Design.  The seminar will cover four units: elements, principles, process, and evaluation with new material released every two  weeks. You have to be a SAQA member to participate, but there is no added fee for the course which promises “access to articles, tutorials, book reviews, links to inspirational resources as well as video conversations with leading artists in the art quilt field.” There will also be a Facebook group for participants with opportunities to participate in weekly live video chats.If you are a SAQA member, or thinking of joining, the seminar begins September 10. Registration information can be found on the SAQA website.

So, it looks like I am set for the coming months stitch-wise. And, now, I must get back to sorting through all those photographs I took in Alaska! If you would like to take a peek at what other quilters are up to, here is a link to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog.

Summer Days

Inspiration comes from within yourself.
One has to be positive.
When you’re positive, good things happen.
Deep Roy

It has been a hot July and much of the western area of our country has suffered through massive fires. I recently encountered one along I-90 while driving from Seattle to Spokane. We have been relatively lucky in Spokane so far – rapid responses, low winds, and luck have kept most fires small and minimized damage.

I have been spending my summer on a range of activities with my adorable grandchildren.

Judy Cate has been off from school so we have been doing things like cherry picking followed by baking a most delicious tart.

I discovered that she has an uncanny ability to focus when it comes to  painting pottery.

When not enjoying my grandkids, I have been filling in time with stitching. My cousin Kate visited and I was able to give her a piece that I designed using bits and pieces from her childhood first communion dress.

I also created another quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders.

And, finally, while I have nothing to share photo-wise, I think I finally have an art quilt project that is inspiring me. Proof for me that a positive mind and filling my days with positive activities would eventually yield an idea for a piece that I could get excited about creating. With luck, I will work on it in August and eventually be able to share on this blog.  🙂

Keeping Focus

True power is
energy moving freely
towards a vision.

June has sped by in a flash in many ways. Stitching, quilting, travels, and a bit of illness all contributed to an upside down month. 🙂

If there was any doubt that we are living in a relatively rural area, we need simply to look out our windows. Earlier this month, a patch of grass outside my studio provided a place for an afternoon rest for this grouping.

And, now as July approaches, we are seeing the first of this year’s turkey hatchlings. We will be watching them grow through till fall if past summers are any prediction.

I did take time off from wildlife viewing for a quick trip back to NY state. I found a few minutes to take advantage of the antique mall near our Victor house and search for some laces, etc. for my hand stitching. These are becoming more and more difficult to find it seems. Last visit I was not very successful, this time was better.

Inbetween trips and wildlife viewing, I continued to work through Karen Ruane‘s Create and Embellish class. This surface continues to fascinate every time I pick it up to work on it more.

I also finally finished a pouch I had been making for the past few months from some samples I received from one of my favorite stores, French General.

And, I felt compelled to continue creating quilts for Quilts Beyond Borders. I call this one “Upside Down World.” My intention was to reflect the upheaval globally that refugees face as they are forced to leave homelands and search for new lives. What you might expect to be a predictable quilt layout surprises with an ‘upside down’ turn to the pattern.

I hope that this posts finds you continuing to find a path of positive movement in your life despite the chaos that may be happening around you.

Appreciating Life

Remember to
stay centered

in the moment!

These are the beautiful days here in Spokane where everyone wants to just be outside. The Spokane river is flowing rapidly, the skies are clear, and the temperatures are perfect for a walk or run…..

May has been a busy month. I flew off for a quick trip to visit family near Sedona and, as always, was enthralled with the red rock vistas.

Back in my studio, I completed one fairly simple quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders that I had mentioned in my last post.

I have another top on my design wall……..

This top grew from a 16″ square that I had made many years ago…..I am gradually using my stash to create these QBB quilts, finding the challenge a fun design effort. When exactly this top will get quilted remains up in the air. There are some very wonderful distractions whom I look forward to playing with everyday!

 

I have also continued creating hand embroidery surfaces with Karen Ruane in her latest class, Create and Embellish. Here are a couple of my favorites. I don’t have a plan yet on how I will use them, I am really just enjoying the almost zen feeling of creating them!

The coming month promises to busy too – I will be fitting in stitching around some more travel, a bit of construction on our property, and plenty of fun time with the grandchildren…..for now I will leave you with a bit of wisdom on life from the perspective of  my six-year-old granddaughter.  🙂

Time Passes……..

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.
Michael Althsuler

Since I last posted I have spent some wonderful time in Hawaii, begun another quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders, and continued my hand stitching adventures.

The place where we normally stay in Maui is along the coastline where some of Hawaii’s Green Sea Turtles make their home. One of my delights on this past trip was a daily conversation with some of these creatures who liked to rest on a small stretch of sand near us. They are quite wise.  😉

My latest quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders is in process. I am pleased that I devised a way to use some left over pieces from a past project in creating this quilt. I had a number of strips that I had previously sewn together and stored away. I was able to blend them with fat quarter thirds to create a simple but attractive design.The pattern came from a post on June 24, 2014 of the Fort Worth Fabric Studio Blog. When I finish quilting my piece I will be sure to share.

As I mentioned in my last post, I participated in Karen Ruane’s Embroidery School 2018 this winter. The online class has finished and I am currently creating a cloth book of my samples. Each sample has its own page and I am really loving the feel of each page. Hope to have it completed in the next month.

Pages for my sample book

I am just starting up another of Karen’s classes, Create and Embellish  where we will be creating our own cloth surfaces and then hand embellishing. Here is a sample of my first surface that I will be working on. It should be an adventure as we proceed! By the Way, if you are interested in listening to Karen discuss her work, there is a podcast interview with her here.

 

As I move forward with my WIPs, spring is making its presence felt here in Eastern Washington. Each day the temperature warms more. Our yard is always filled with wildlife and they are all celebrating the end of winter. I am totally enjoying their antics. Just yesterday, I caught this photo of a wild turkey in full glory.

I am looking forward to more time outdoors along with more quilting and hand-stitching in the coming weeks. I will be back to share again. In the meantime, I am linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday so you can see what other fiber artists are exploring. She has some great suggestions for organizing if you are in the spring cleaning mood.