New projects emerge

Patience, patience, patience!

Our new granddaughter reminds me constantly of the need for patience………not having had a newborn for over 30 years, I have forgotten how helplessly we enter this world. Even though we develop at an amazing pace, the first few weeks are just a matter of trial and error and everyone trying to figure life out. (The cynic in me immediately wants to add that the process of ‘figuring life out’ continues for the rest of our years!)

As Miriam learns what it means to be alive, I spent much of the past week enjoying her presence and recording it for pleasant memories.

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Happily, while Miriam was developing, spring also emerged enough that it was possible to begin to plant our front yard. I now can sit on a bench by our front door and watch our plantings also grow.

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Back in the studio, the theme of patience was ever present. Obviously, Miriam has cut into studio time. However, two of the three projects I hoped to begin on have begun to emerge.

This collection of thread, hankies, and cloth will become my next ‘pocket’ as I finish up my “Patched Pockets” class with Karen Ruane. Since April brings some travel with it, this pouch will be my ‘stitch as you go’ project.

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Finally, I have made inroads into my next art quilt. Some fabric from my favorite Seattle fabric store, Undercover Quilts, and some of my own hand dyed fabric created a backdrop for a sea scape I have been wanting to create. At the moment,  possibile rock candidates are pinned to the background. I have a template for an amazing piece of driftwood that will eventually rise to the sky from those rocks……next week will focus on exploring fibers for that wood.

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I am sure as this quilt evolves, Miriam will remind me to be patient. Whenever I begin an art quilt, I am my worst critic. That backdrop hung in pieces for many days while I contemplated and critiqued. When I began to add the rocks, I was dubious, but I persisted. I have learned that I need to move forward and then step back and let it set. If I have the patience to listen, the art quilt will tell me what works and doesn’t.

 Hope that you have all had a good week. If you have time, stop over and visit NinaMarie’s Off the Wall Friday blog and feast on some inspiration.

Settling In…

Smile, breathe, and go slowly.
Thich Nhat Hanh

This was the first week of Elizabeth Barton’s Basic Dyeing for Quilting at Academy of Quilting. I am so relieved that she is taking a relaxed approach to teaching us. I was more than a little concerned that we would be overwhelmed with assignments. Fortunately, since often it is necessary to wait 24 hours before the next step in a dyeing process, it is acceptable to only devote part of each day to the class and still keep up. I am relieved since, of course, I am working on a number of projects at once.

The purpose of this week’s class was to establish a work station and use it to mix the dyes we will need for the class and to do a gradation using a black dye. My ‘work station’ actually wound up stretching from the laundry room, where I had planned to work, to the neighboring powder room. I made the untimely discovery that the outlets in our laundry room do not work (call to builder in) and so I had to move my dyed material to the powder room to set for a day or two. This was necessary as the dye had to be in an environment of at least 70 degrees and my best method for achieving that was to move a space heater into a small area. It worked great and I was quite pleased with my resulting gradation.

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Whilst I was waiting for dye to set, I did continue with my other projects – probably a bit too ambitiously as I pretty much ran out of steam mid-week. My body kindly objects to overstress and so, I probably did not make as much progress on all fronts as I thought I might.

My hand stitching project for Karen Ruanne‘s Patched Pockets got some attention. You can see some of my progress in this photo:

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Then I think I mentioned that my daughter had expressed interest in a quilt for the expected baby due in March. We made great progress over the weekend on a pattern and picking out fabric, mostly from my stash. The pattern is called Basketweave by Bonnie Sullivan. Here is how it looked on my design wall as I assembled the cut pieces.

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And, then there was my winter scene art quilt. I added some more trees and a second deer and then it sort of sat while I contemplated what to do next. I decided to next address the snow on the trees. My friend, Margaret Blank, has also been working on a quilt with trees and snow. She wrote about splattering paint to create the snow in her blog earlier this week. That got me thinking…as this week closed I was still sticking to using Tsukineko Inks mixed with shaving cream and dabbed onto the trees but splattering my show up after some “base” snow is applied with inks. I played a bit on a very rough sample with some Platinum Ink…I am sure I can use it on some of the deeper trees in the forest. Discovered that I also have some “frost white” ink that I think I will apply rather heavily on some of the larger trees at the top of the ridge. At least now I have a plan of approach…..next week I hope to disassemble the forest (having photographed the placement of trees) and begin to fuse and then apply snow. My object is an abstract sort of representation of the forest. Will be exciting to see how much progress I make – it will be a function of EB’s assignment in the dyeing class, I suspect. The photograph below demonstrates my relaxed approach to sampling – believe it or not, it was enough for me to come up with my current plan of action. The left represents the background forest and how the next progression of trees will appear over them (yes, it only took one piece of an over lapping branch to tell me what I needed to know), the right represents the ridge trees.  🙂

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In case you wondered about my Eiffel Tower project, well that did just sit. However, one of the women in my stitching class with Karen shared some excellent lettering that she had done. Lightbulbs went off and I now know my next step on that piece. It will just take me a bit to implement it.

Finally, let you think I spent the entire week tied to my studio. I did get to sneak out for a bit of shopping and found the most adorable outfit for a new born.

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On that happy note, I will link to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog. See you next week!

 

Jan 2016 start

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King

It has been a good week. That’s not to say there haven’t been the usual amount of ups and downs but I love that I am back in my studio!

One project of the week was a curtain for my second grandchild whom we expect to be born in March. I had made her sister’s curtains so I already knew what was involved – and this time I had both the luxury of my daughter being able to pick out the fabric with me and being able to run over to her home to double-check some measurements and techniques as I stitched the curtains up.

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This is the week that my online class with Karen Ruanne started. It is so great to be viewing Karen’s videos again. The theme is Patched Pockets with an emphasis on using vintage hankies. As of yesterday, I had a tentative layout for half of my first ‘pocket’ of the class.

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And, of course, there is the tsukineko ink experiments that I have been participating in. I have been doing far less than my online pals but I did explore using the inks for my current Paris project. I started optimistically as I was getting feedback that loading a brush with ink and then dipping in gel was a good approach. If you look at my explorations, you can see that my results were certainly mixed. Guess which is when I overloaded ink on the brush! I did find a way that I want to use the inks in the winter scene project I will discuss next, but I have moved on for the current Paris piece to a new idea.

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Most of my attention went to my new art quilt based on the winter scene I wrote about last week. As you can see, I am really getting into it (and that feels great!). I have a long way to go…….none of the trees are fused, nor is most of the snow……lots more to add in terms of trees, snow on trees, and accents in the foreground, rocks, etc. But, this piece is growing on me daily.

 

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My mylar ‘pattern’

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You have to start somewhere……..my first tree experiments

 

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More trees, still experimenting

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Sorry about the light reflections from my overhead lighting though I must say I like the effect. In this photo, you can start to get the feel of the forest.

That is where I am leaving things for this week. With a little luck, I will move forward with all of these projects, plus there is this quilt my daughter would like for the new nursery.  🙂

P.S. Linking to Nina Marie’s  Off the Wall Friday blog. Please check out other artists.

 

Forging Ahead with a Smile

In 2016,
may your hand always be stretched out in friendship
and never in need.

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As this year draws to a close, I continue to wind up assorted projects and plan for some new ones. This past week I finished the quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders that I had started last month.  Here is a view of finished piece:

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I also have committed myself to two new classes for the start of the year. I mentioned Karen Ruanne’s Patched Pockets last week. I have added Elizabeth Barton’s Basic Dyeing for Quiltmakers which also starts in January. I know from my last class with Elizabeth that her lessons are chock full of information. I am hoping that some will be review and that I will learn some new hints that will make dyeing seem less like a major project and something that I will be willing to play with on a more regular basis. It is only a five week course and two dear web friends will be in it, so I am really looking forward to it.

With two online classes planned, it remains to be seen how much additional fiber work I will get done. I have one stitching project relating to Paris that is in process. I also hope to tackle a new art quilt based upon this photo that I took from our front window.

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The trees will be a challenge – I hope to create a layered abstract effect so you may see a lot of experimentation amidst my reports on my online studies.

I hope you will be joining me on my journey through 2016. It is bound to be an adventure and I appreciate your companionship!

On the road again!

I am a pilgrim and a traveler
And I love the journey like I love my home.

Ellen Stapenhorst

I am heading back East this week. I have had the luxury of staying fairly put this fall as we settled into our new second home. But, life calls and it time to be back on the road again. It brought to mind a song by a dear friend of mine, Ellen Stapenhorst, called Traveler. If you would like to hear it, please visit Ellen’s website. She has an audio clip of the song on the front page. All of Ellen’s music is inspirational so I think you might find the trip over to her site worth your time.

As I head out, my studio and my head feel a bit at loose ends. Ever been there? Here is a sampling of the many directions I am being pulled in:

  • I have ideas for at least one new art quilt that I am exploring but finding the right fabrics, the right techniques is taking time. Great reminder that we can’t have everything NOW!
  • I also have another quilt in process for Quilts Beyond Borders using some cheery fabric that was sent to me. It is farther along than the photo below, actually ready for quilting, but unfortunately my Bernina 830 jammed and I had to bring it in for service.  I depend on my 830 for quilting so the pinned quilt is lying over in a corner in a roll waiting the return of my machine. A great lesson in letting go and being okay with leaving the studio with a goal not met.
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  • Playing with techniques for the new art quilt took me back to playing with those Tsukineko inks again. It didn’t pan out for the art quilt, in fact I thought the results were pretty disappointing……until I heat set my samples. I now have some beautiful small pink silk squares that I know I can cut up and use in my hand stitching projects! A good lesson is just keep trying, just keep trying – what looks like a disappointment is actually just an opportunity to create material for a yet-to-be-designed project.
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  • And then there is the whole realm of handstitching! A small project for our new home has been floating around in my studio too with progress slowly happening. In addition, I have been following Karen Ruanne‘s Sampling for Stitch class for the past two months. I haven’t been actually making any sample pages – the purpose of the class. Instead I have just been listening to the videos and taking in the information. I know I will use it in future works. That is what I love about Karen’s classes – it is fine to participate at any level that works for you at the moment.  Looking ahead a bit, I will start 2016 by enrolling and participating in Karen’s new class, Patched Pockets.  And, thinking of that new class, I decided it might be nice to complete some of the pockets from the previous class on pockets with Karen. So, I did spend some time this week completing one.
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Which brings me to the end of this bit of a ramble post. If it sounds like I am dashing off in varied directions, it is because I am – both mentally and physically! If you would like to follow my adventures while I return to the East Coast with a stop in NYC, I will be posting on Instagram under the name judywar.

Finally, I would like to offer you one more source of inspiration for your own journey. I follow the blog of Sasha Martin, Global Table Adventures. This week she has a beautifully written post, Why I am Giving My Family Nothing for Christmas. Just like Ellen’s song, it is worth your time to check it out. I am not suggesting you return all those gifts you may have been collecting for the holidays, but her thoughts are a wonderful reminder of what really is important in our journeys.