Always Something to Learn……

It’s all in the journey,
not the destination.

Among my projects this week were more dye work and piecing a quilt. Both reminded me of the never-ending voyage of learning that we are on through life.

In the piecing of my quilt from Sandy Turner’s workshop, I learned something about one of Bernina’s feet that I never quite grasped before…..I have had the 34D as long as I have owned my machine but it was in piecing my “Wildlife” quilt that I really ‘discovered’ those tiny red lines.

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Piecing the Birds in the Air blocks required a certain amount of precision and I was delighted to learn that if I began with horizontal lines in line with the top of the fabric and the edge indented to the inside of the right horizontal line, I was usually in a perfect starting position. Further, I could simply keep the edge of the fabric in line with that inside right horizontal line and have a great 1/4″ seam. Previously, I had been focusing on keeping my fabric lined up with the 1/4″ line on my foot plate. This simple discovery on my part increased my precision dramatically and also my speed. Yay! As a result, ‘Wildlife” is now pieced and awaiting a decision on a backing.

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I am nearing completion of the Basic Dyeing for Quilters class of Elizabeth Barton. I have gotten a tremendous amount out of the class and am truly appreciative of Elizabeth’s efforts to create a user-friendly guide for those wishing to learn more about dyeing fabrics. I continued to explore over-Dyeing this week with two objectives. To explore the range of changes when one over-dyed with different colors, and to create some less intense lighter fabrics. I chose to work from a base of Basic Blue and overdye with a number of other dyes we used in the class. Much to my delight, my results achieved my goals!

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Left to right: Basic blue, overdyes of turquoise,fuchsia,orange,black, yellow.

It has been a good week…more to look forward to next week. I am very aware that I have the entire issue of photography to address. Next week? We will see.

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

“Birds in the Air” Adventure

Last week I participated in a one-day workshop by Sandy Turner Woods in Spokane, WA on “Birds in the Air.” I wanted an opportunity to meet some quilters in the area and thought a small workshop would be a better venue than the larger quilt club meeting. It turned out to be a perfectly wonderful day.

I come from a varied fiber arts background rather than a focus on traditional quilting. So, the title of the workshop, “Birds in the Air,” sounded interesting as did the description but I never really appreciated that “Birds in the Air” is a traditional quilt block. That wasn’t really a problem as I had used the block in some quilts I made a number of years ago and liked it quite a bit – just never associated the name.

Sandy was a great teacher. She explained early on that her objective was to teach a technique for creating the blocks and had no expectations that we would complete a quilt top by the end of the day. That certainly took a lot of pressure off of us.

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Sandy Turner

We spent a good deal of time in the morning discussing each other’s choice of fabrics and then cutting our own fabrics. In the afternoon we stitched some blocks and played with arrangements.

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Playing with block arrangements

Finally, Sandy went through some of quilts that she has made over the years. We had been asked to bring a large to medium pictorial fabric along with an accent fabric. Sandy used her own quilts to demonstrate the wide range of possible ways to design a quilt using pictorial fabric and “Birds in the Air” blocks. She has really perfected her method over the years.

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All in all it was a fun day and I came away with the start of a quilt, a higher comfort level with the “Birds in the Air” block, and an enjoyable day with some friendly Spokane quilters.

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Blocks from the class on my design wall waiting for me to sew more.

If you have the opportunity to take a class with Sandy, I would highly recommend it. You can find more info on her work on her website. She is teaching a number of upcoming workshops in C’oeur D’Alene at Bear Paw Quilting.

Linking to NinaMarie’s Off the Wall Friday.

Tip of the Iceberg

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I describe the design process as like the tip of the iceberg.
What you don’t see is the long haul: all the endless auditing and things like that.
Norman Foster

This week was definitely not about the tip of the iceberg! Moving forward as an artist and in a new studio requires much behind the scene work and I moved forward on several fronts.

First, I took some steps this week towards being able to photograph my works in my new studio. Doing my own photography has been a goal for a long time. Now that I am across country from my favorite photographer and have many hand-stitched works that I eventually want to add to my online gallery, I decided it was time to take action. That required much research and then some online ordering to begin to assemble the necessary equipment. One of the most helpful sites that I found on the website was Shoot That Quilt, co-authored by my own web-master, Holly Knott. If you would like to take a peak at what she has written, click here.

I also began to focus more on documenting the work in the Basic Dyeing for Quilters class that I have been participating in through Academy of Quilting. (Here is a listing for the next session of the class.) This week we completed dyeing work on a reference color wheel. Here is how mine turned out:

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One of the most entertaining features of this class has been discovering what dyed pieces actually looked like after all processing. I was surprised but very pleased by the mysterious results of my efforts to dye a piece of Kona cotton purple.

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The fabric on the left is supposed to be a fairly solid purple. The one on the right is my blue-purple. The two component dye solutions that were used for these pieces did not mix well, particularly in the case of the purple. Perhaps it was the temperature of my warm water? I don’t know and may experiment further in the coming weeks.

It was clear though that I will be dyeing explorations of the class long after it concludes. And so, I am taking the time to process and record notes as I go along. I also am stretching out the dyeing for a more relaxed schedule that works better with other demands on my time. It all is quite a bit of fun and I am looking forward to the next class where I am told we will discuss over-dyeing.

Winter Scene Update

I did move forward some more with my Winter Scene piece. It is now quilted and awaiting a binding. Here is a quick glimpse at how it evolved.

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And, I continued to work on my latest hand-stitching project. It should be completed by next week.  I should also have a report by then on a workshop by Sandy Turner that I am enrolled in. It looked like a fun project and a way to meet some quilters in our new second home area.

By the way, the photo of Antarctica above is one of mine from our trip there several years ago. That trip continues to rank as one of the most memorable that I have ever taken. Everything you read about the out-of-this-world feeing of Antarctica is true. Gliding in ice flows, past huge icebergs, and among mammoth glaciers is a great reminder of how small we are in this universe – a great wake-up call to the ego, and totally inspirational for the artist!

As always, linking to Off the Wall Friday. Check out what others have been up to!