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.

 

It’s Been Awhile

Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion
to reach for the stars to change the world.

Harriet Tubman

I have been absent from my blog for over a month. When I went to write a post in early February, I discovered that I was unable to back up my site. I am not sure what happened but, through testing, I could determine that it definitely related to my server at MacHighway.  I have been a customer there for many years and they have always been helpful when occasionally there has been an issue of some sort. This time, though, the problem was not simple. The case kept getting bumped up in the organization and finally, this past week there was resolution. It took patience on my part and research on theirs but I am grateful the problem was resolved. I did not really want to move my site and all that would have been entailed!

Just because I was off line did not mean that I was away from my studio! One project that was completed was a second quilt for Quilt Beyond Borders.

The main fabric is some Yukata cotton I bought from Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts when I took a workshop from her last fall . The intensity of the flowers against the geometric background caught my eye.

I played with the angles a bit to divide up the fabric into four quarters and used those angles for a simple quilting pattern.

While I was off line from my blog, I also spent a good deal of my free time on hand stitching. I have been in an online class with Karen Ruane called Embroidery School 2018. We have been making many samples of stitches and that has been great fun.

Each sample gets enclosed within a border, labeled, and will ultimately be gathered into a cloth book of my making that I will have for reference.

I have also been working with some random bits that have been collecting in my studio – something about the color red attracted me to them initially.

I wanted to explore some of the stitches I was learning in Karen’s class a bit more and decided to build towards a pin pillow……….

As my play continued, the pin pillow morphed into components for a possible pouch for my growing collection of fabric bits and pieces. These components currently reside on my design wall where the proposed back of the pouch patiently waits for attention.

And so, while I have been silent on the web, I have been busy. You will notice, I have no art quilts above in this post. I have had to patient with myself these few months. Creating quilts for QBB is a priority I have set for myself for 2018. It is one small way in which I feel that I can make a difference in this crazy world. The quilts go to children in need, many in refugee camps.  Alternatively, hand stitching offers me an escape into whimsy and a meditative process that, along with my beautiful grandchildren, allows me to keep a positive mind. For a bit, I wondered if I would ever make another art quilt…….it is only in the past few weeks that I have begun to feel my way back into the world of design. I sketched quite a few ideas while I was preparing for Patricia Belyea’s class. They have sat waiting and now, finally, I have begun to play with an idea I sketched and some fabrics I had purchased last fall. My other projects have had to move over a bit on my design wall to make way for a possible art quilt. Where will it go? We will have to see!

Linking up to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog so you can check out what others have been doing this week.  🙂

Hawaiian Dreaming

Kahuna Nui Hale Kealohalani Makua
“Love all you see, including yourself.”
Hale Makua

Here in Spokane, WA, winter is in full display. It is beautiful when the sun shines but often the days are grey. My dreams turn to our beautiful state of Hawaii as I count days till I will next be there. It is one of my favorite places of inspiration for my fiber work.

I mentioned in my last post that I was working on my first 2018 quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders. As I gathered fabric and designed the quilt, I often found myself playing a Hawaiian music station on Pandora. Can you see the influence in my choice of fabrics. I have named the piece “Hawaiian Dreams.”

The quilts is made from two sets of charm packs (5 1/2″ squares). I had bought one set on a trip in November as I wanted a record of some fabric I saw. The art quilt didn’t happen but I did love the fabric. But what to do with 40 51/2″ squares?!? After playing with it on my design wall one night:

I decided to use it for QBB by purchasing a complementary set of charm squares. It is the first time I tried this approach. I actually stitched sets of four squares together in blocks to give myself a range of layout options but ultimately decided upon simply bordering the grouping of squares.

For the back of the quilt, I used some yardage that I had purchased for the contemplated art quilt. The result is quite a nice backing for the piece:

I am quite pleased with my first quilt of 2018 and the knowledge that it will be going to child in need.

 

A New Year! A New Start!

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
Steve Jobs

Here is what my design wall looked like shortly after the start of 2018:

I had spent the first few days of 2018 focusing on an art quilt that I had been working on for a month or two. I had full size sketches, a selection of fabrics that I thought would work, etc. However, the more I pulled it all together, the more I realized that I really wasn’t enjoying the process and just wanted to be done and move on. So, I decided that 2018 would be a year of listening to my heart, my gut, my center. I packed away all the pieces, pictures, etc. and cleared my design wall. 🙂

It was a most freeing decision!  After a day or two, I pinned a beautiful hand embroidered Christmas gift my husband gave me to the wall for inspiration:

Then I began working on projects that excited me. The first was a small needle case for traveling that used fabric that I purchased last fall in Ireland and some beautiful lace I had ordered from Switzerland.

Front cover of needle case

 

Back cover of needle case

Inside of case

I am now moving forward with an idea for a pin pillow from some bits and pieces that I collected during the Fall and had been patiently waiting to stitch. 🙂

And so, my “mantra” for  2018 will be follow my heart! It is great to feel re-energized and excited to play in whatever ways feel right. Already I have another quilt project for Quilt Beyond Borders up on my design wall! Will share that with you in the coming weeks.

A Fiber Artist Approach to Holiday Giving

Every little bit counts!

Tis the season to share with others. It has always bothered me how after giving great thought to gifts for friends and family, I find myself often wrapping my gifts in paper that will quickly go in the trash. There are of course paper alternatives such as newspapers etc that can be recycled. But, this year I am taking a different approach.

My studio has a wall of fiber stash…..cloth, ribbons, thread that, at this point in my life, I try to use before buying new. For my Quilt Beyond Borders quilts, I use this stash. This year I decided to see if I could also use some for wrapping my gifts.

I found a wonderful site that gave me an excellent start for creating fabric bags: Longanberry Handmade. The owner of the site, Susie, lives in Los Angeles and promised that it would take only 5 minutes to make one of her bags. She was right! Her measurements are for small size wraps for things like gift cards:

However, once you have made one, it is very easy to alter size. For special gifts, any fiber artist can immediately see options for creating a fancier design — and I can imagine those with embroidery machines could enhance in all sorts of magical ways. I haven’t quilted any of my bags as it really isn’t necessary but  that would be an option too.

Options include contrasting tops or coordinating fabrics among gifts for someone.

I love this approach to gift wrapping. And, one might consider that it adds another dimension to your gift as the gift bag can most definitely be ‘regifted.’  🙂

Have fun!

Linking to Nina Marie Off the Wall Friday so you can check out what other artists are doing this week. She also has some great gift suggestions for quilters this week!

The Places We Go

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
Dr. Seuss

The past month has been a whirlwind of travel and play.

Early in November I was back at our home in Victor, NY and we discovered the Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame was giving a concert. If you ever have a chance to attend one of Peter’s concerts, do go. His music is timeless, his performance endearing, and his words uplifting. Towards the end of the concert, all ‘children’ were invited on stage to sing along to Puff the Magic Dragon……..you can catch a glimpse of me in the rear to the left of a red checked shirt. 🙂

Next we were on to red rock country in northern Arizona to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 100th birthday. ‘Lovey’ is an amazing woman who still volunteers at the local high school.

Jerry and Mom

In the midst of all these travels, I have been keeping up with my fiber art….a quilt went out to Quilts Beyond Borders before I left:

I have continued to play with the online activities of Karen Ruane. She currently has two groups running  – a twelve month course in creating Artist Books and a short course on creating projects from handkerchiefs. I am participating in both of these and was able to carry along a needle case project to stitch away on in my down time.

Needle case inside

Needle case front

Composition for page in artist book

I also was honored to have two of my “ice” quilts included in the November/December issue of Machine Quilting.

And so, November ends with my studio filled with holiday projects and my heart filled with gratitude at the life I have been given.

Follow Your Heart

When in doubt,
follow your heart.

A simple trip to the Quilting Bee in Spokane to drop off JOY! for an upcoming local quilt show quickly turned my planned studio time this week upside down. As I was leaving the store, a Halloween display caught my eye.

A quick text to my daughter confirmed the images would make a perfect Halloween quilt. So, I picked out a few fabrics, did some quick guesstimates on yardage, and committed myself to sewing up a new quilt in the next few days.Soon my design wall was rearranged with ‘works in progress’ shoved over to a side while I contemplated design options. The ‘free pattern’ offered in the store was way too detailed if I was to produce this lap quilt in a few days.

I think all my efforts for Quilts Beyond Borders contributed greatly as by Wednesday I had a front and back cut, pieced,  and was assembling my quilt sandwich. 

Much to my own amazement (and selection of very, very simple big free motion quilting lines), I was able to quilt my quickie project in a day!

While the results are most definitely not ‘Houston’ standards, the most important ‘judge’ of my halloween quilt gave it a definite nod of approval.

Linking to Nine Marie”s Off the Wall Friday to see what other quilters have been up to.

 

 

A Weekend with Patricia Belyea

Always desire to learn something useful.
Sophocles

Last weekend I traveled over to Seattle for a two-day workshop by Patricia Belyea on piecing complex curves. I only attend hands-on programs every few years so this was a special experience for me. In the past year or so,  I noticed a real ‘urge to piece’ rather than relying upon fused appliqué in my art quilts. Couple that with an increasing desire to quilt children’s quilts for Quilts Beyond Borders and attending a program on piecing curves seemed a good idea.

I had met Patricia at a conference in Takoma, WA several years ago and liked her. I thought I could learn from her so I took the plunge and indulged myself. I can say that I was definitely pleased with the workshop. It was held in her ‘store’ in the basement of her house so the workshop space was small but, with only five participants, it was fine. Everything was provided from machines to lunch – we only were asked to bring fabric.  As if to enhance our learning experience, we were surrounded by shelves of the Yukata cotton that Patricia sells.

Patricia is an organizer at heart as well as a designer and this was probably one of the most well thought out workshops I have ever attended. She provided excellent teaching materials which we could take home and spaced out the teaching elements over the two days. There was plenty of leeway for each of us to proceed at our own comfort pace and Patricia was always at our sides if we asked for help, or if she, almost magically, sensed before us that we needed some guidance.

I used Yukata cottons for the workshop – not a requirement – but since Patricia has focused on using Yukata in her own extensive work, I decided to follow suit while learning from her. I knew that would be a stretch for me  as my own tastes tend more towards batiks but it was a good decision as I discovered how easy the cotton was to work with.

We progressed over two days from sketching a curved pattern, transferring it to freezer paper, cutting and finally stitching using Patricia’s method. Each of us created unique well executed 18″ quilt blocks that lay perfectly flat. Since I remembered frustrations years ago with piecing  a sketch and getting it to lie flat, I was really delighted with my results. I think it is a mark of Patricia’s skill as an instructor that each of us experienced success.

For me the real test was could I go home and have as much success as I did at the workshop. I had completed two blocks and cut pieces for a third before I left Seattle. Since I returned home I have been able to stitch together the third block and also complete a fourth block competently.

What will I do with the four blocks and what is the real value of the class for me?  I suspect the four blocks will be transformed into a set pillows. This reflects the fact that I was focusing upon technique in constructing the blocks….when I create art quilts, I prefer to start with a vision or a message that the piece is meant to convey so I can’t quite envision the blocks up on one of my walls. However I did enjoy working with the cotton and looking through Patricia’s huge inventory in person, I did purchase a few as ‘they spoke to me’ so I am sure Yukata will be sneaking into my future projects.

The real value of the weekend is some new insights into piecing curves in a composition and taking the technique forward into other areas. We had a glimpse of the potential towards the end of the workshop as Patricia shared her efforts with inset circles and curvy lines. Without a doubt, this is what made the workshop a huge success for me. I know I have learned the basics and I am sure I can adapt the process to enhance my own art.

It is always exciting to be exposed to new ideas …….I firmly believe it is what keeps us young at heart. If you are interested in learning more about piecing with curves, I hope you will check out Patricia’s workshops. They sell out early so you need to plan ahead!

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday so you can see what other artists are up to.

To Fill a Design Wall!

With the completion of Ground Zero Reborn, my design wall looked quite blank. My plans for my next art quilt were uncertain so I wondered if perhaps I would be staring at a blank wall for a bit. Not to worry! Quilts Beyond Borders NW Regional Coordinator Susan Schmidt mailed me a collection of odds and ends that had potential for some nautical themed quilts if there was someone to pick up the challenge.

I can’t say that I would ever have purchased most of the prints but, hey, a challenge is a challenge. So, over the past weeks my design wall has been busy.  This first top used a number of blocks that had already been pieced. I was able to sort through the miscellaneous strips and odd remnants and come up with what I considered an acceptable layout:

The next top that I sent Susan used some of the fabrics that appealed a bit more to me. Once again, I received a few blocks and miscellaneous strips. These were accompanied by a large amount of that mini-anchor fabric. I instinctively would have preferred the border to have been some of the darker blue fabric but I needed to work with what was before me.

The next group of fabrics that I tackled were quite strange and I have not yet actually completed a top. However, I have a plan! 🙂

I have purchased some blue fabric that matches the blue in those mini blocks quite well and plan to fill in blue so those pictorials are surrounded by blue strips with those mini-blocks interspersed. I haven’t quite found the energy yet to tackle the math for cutting the needed pieces so this group is now sitting in a pile on my floor while I play a bit with Karen Ruane on a project called Artist Books (more about that in another post). There will be one more top at least, I expect, for Quilts Beyond Borders, using up the remaining fabric. It has been a good use of my time. I find the quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi to be quite true: “For it is in giving that we receive.” I find great comfort in the thought that these functional quilts may bring comfort to children who are in difficult times.

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday so you can check out other artists!

 

Goodbye 2016!

The last day of the year! Perhaps, more than ever, I am grateful to have 2016 fade into memory. Looking back over my blog, it has been a good year. Perhaps my eagerness to let it go stems from the fact that the post-Thanksgiving weeks of 2016 seem to have been filled with family illness and stress. Who would not want to have that fade away!

But, when I step back and glance through my posts for the past year, I have to admit that it has been a pretty productive year.  I completed a number of art quilts that I am pleased with, donated a number of quilts and tops to Quilts Beyond Borders, entered a few shows and was pleased to be accepted, took the time to take two classes with Elizabeth Barton, and continued throughout the year to be part of Karen Ruane‘s hand stitching groups.

Ghost_Trees

Ghost Trees appeared in exhibits in Taiwan and Washington State

After_The_Storm

After the Storm made its debut at the La Conner Museum Annual Quilt Fest

In my personal life, it was my first complete year living out west and the most memorable event undoubtedly was the birth of my second grandchild, Miriam, in March. Her arrival certainly dominated my life for the remainder of the year. Of that, I have no regrets.

img_0697My beautiful grandkids

2017 holds so much potential…….I am still sorting my goals and projects for the coming year. For now, I am content to say good bye to 2016 and wish everyone:

Happy New Year!

‘Tis the season

“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy.
I woke and I saw that life is all service.
I served and I saw that service is joy.” 

― Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran’s words have been one of my favorite mantras for years. I first heard it in a workshop I took with author Tom Crum many, many years ago. It was probably one of the spurs that drove me to work with Tom for twenty-five years facilitating getting his work out in the world.

As the holiday season descended upon us, it felt only appropriate to me that one of my goals should be to complete another quilt top for Quilts Beyond Borders.  I mentioned in a post last October that Susan Schmidt, my region’s coordinator, had given me a huge bag of fabric cuttings, all from one manufacturer, and asked if I would like to try to ‘design’ a few quilts out of them. I had already sent Susan two quilts and what was left was an assortment of strips of varying widths and lengths that looked as though they were mainly selvedge strips, perhaps from backings that long-arm volunteers used in quilting tops. I emptied out the bag, cleared my design wall and started pinning up random pieces to confirm if there were enough for an actual quilt.

img_0789

I could see that there were just enough if I was really careful in how I pieced the strips. So, for a few days, as I worked on other projects in my studio, I gradually rearranged my ‘raw material’ into a more pleasing layout.

img_0832

I gave the project a working title of “Waste not, want not” as I stitched pieces together. There was a certain amount of pleasure in knowing that even the remnants of other donations were being sewn together to give someone a gift of warmth in this holiday season. Hats off to this wonderful organization that provides comfort and support to those in need throughout the year.

What ever happened to World Peace?

img_0212

‘World Peace’ was the working working title for the art quilt I blogged about in early September. The irony of that title often had me chuckling this fall. It was a great idea – combining the old Irish language of Ogham with popular symbols of peace to create a vertical wall hanging. The 3 inch square blocks containing the symbols offered an opportunity to spotlight my hand stitching. A technique I had used years ago to reverse appliqué blocks using some of my Bernina’s decorative stitches felt like just the right touch. I had the perfect piece of hand dyed fabric for the background.

For six weeks I sampled and played. All seemed to be going well. But then I began to pull it all together. The thought ‘world peace is never easy’ went through my mind repeatedly. The best laid plans just didn’t come together just right. I found myself thinking ‘ well, that doesn’t look too bad’. There came a point where I stepped back and realized that I was thinking that thought just too many times.

And so, ‘World Peace’ was put to rest. I withdrew from the challenge and redirected my energy to other projects. I have been busy with Quilts Beyond Borders and my class Wrapped and Bound in Stitch with Karen Ruane. It has been a few weeks now. I think it is the first time I have actually stopped creating a piece so far into the process. It definitely felt strange at first – particularly because no other art quilt project replaced it. It was the last piece that I had planned to make in 2016.

And, world peace? Well, it certainly doesn’t look like the world is embracing it just now……..the past few days I have wondered about cutting up those less than perfect elements of my abandoned quilt and reconstructing a more chaotic portrayal, perhaps with lots of question marks… After all, ‘world peace’ would be messy and certainly not simple. The bottom line though is that, really, it is not a concept to be given up on.  We will see what 2017 brings. For now, I will leave you with a song that speaks to the need far better than any words I can write. How sad that this performance was 26 years ago and we are still waiting.

Making Choices

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven!
Ecclesiastes

It’s been a month since I last wrote. For my own sanity, I needed to take a break. I hold that life is good and can always find the silver lining in every cloud. But, even for me, the optimist, there are times when life can get pretty overwhelming and lots of deep breaths are called for. 🙂 And so, about a month ago, I realized that I was going to have to make some choices and one choice was to let my blog rest for a few weeks so I could put my energy to other purposes.

I will say that while I haven’t been blogging, I have been sewing. Unfortunately, I can’t share my major hand stitching work just yet as it involves some gifts. But, I can share a photo of my latest quilt top for Quilts Beyond Borders. I had the pleasure a week or so ago to have lunch with the regional coordinator for my area, Susan Schmidt. She is totally dedicated to getting as many quilts made as is possible for the refugees in this world. At our lunch, she handed me a huge bag of fabric cuttings, all from one manufacturer, and asked if I would like to try to ‘design’ a few quilts out of them. Always up for a challenge, I took the bag home with me. My cousin and I sorted the pieces and there were enough for me to piece what I call my ‘string quilt.’

qbb

I estimate that I should get at least two more tops out of the scraps. There are a number of larger rectangles which should easily yield one top. After that, I will have a collection of much smaller pieces. Any thoughts on creating a top from them are greatly appreciated.

I should mention, if you happen to be visiting the Houston Quilt Festival in early November, Quilts Beyond Borders will have a table in the Expo. It was just a year ago in Houston that I learned about the organization. I understand they will have 300 kits there for anyone to pick up and take home to piece a quilt. Do take home a few if you are there.

I do hope to share more of my activities over the past few weeks in time – just re-learning to pace my writings. In the meantime, you can go over to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday and draw some inspiration from some other artists.

Thought I would also share a rendition by Judy Collin’s of my opening quote. It is timeless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Been a Good Week

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.

Tagore

It is always nice to feel validated. I create to make my own statements and follow my heart in doing so. But, then it is always good to be acknowledged.

Earlier this week, I learned that one of my quilts, Ghost Trees, has been accepted into the exhibit, “Material Measurement – Magnitude, Meaning & Makers”. It will be on display from October 1 – November 26 at the Museum & Arts Center in the Sequim – Dungeness Valley in Washington.

Ghost_Trees

No sooner than I had sent the piece off to Sequim, the latest copy of the SAQA Journal showed up on my computer. I was delighted to find that one of my favorite art quilts, Journey, is featured in the Member Gallery. The theme for the gallery is ‘adventure’.

Journey

While it feels good to have my work acknowledged, for me the best feelings come when I can be of service. Happily, while so much good news had been coming my way, I was able to create another quilt top for Quilts Beyond Borders. It is a very simple design of 5″ blocks that I found on the web, but I am really pleased with the results:

img_0196

With hope that you all have an equally good week in your futures!

One Step at a Time

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.
Charles Spurgeon

Progress is made one tiny step at a time. So it was with this week. As I gaze over at my design wall while I write this, I see reminders of this week.

img_0162

No more progress on the ‘World Peace’ theme piece and that ‘Aspen 3’ art quilt is still waiting to be bound. However, the ‘Morning Walk’ art quilt is now completely quilted. Threads are hanging and binding remains but the basic quilting is complete. I am relieved. I am getting antsy to move on. ‘Morning Walk’ is the last of the major summer projects and fall is beckoning!

Over on the right corner of my sewing table you can see two piles of fabric squares. They represent my next Quilt Beyond Borders top. I picked a very simple almost random block pattern and got those pieces cut this week. I hope to have it completed by next week.  🙂

My goals for fall obviously include the ‘World Peace’ piece but also a new class with Karen Ruane. This new venture is called ‘Wrapped and Bound in Stitch‘. The project for the class is what Karen calls a wrapping cloth. There is considerable leeway, as always, in what we create. Her emphasis will be on a pieced cloth with a child theme. However, I  think I am going to choose to work in primarily white-on-white with a circle theme. Back in June, I posted a photo of some lace cloth that I had made. Over the summer I gradually added on to that start and as I begin this new class, I hope to continue to grow those pieces into a fuller cloth. It will be an adventure and I am eager to begin now that my summer projects nearing finish.

This week also brought some pleasant news. My art quilt, Emergence, was selected to tour in Brazil for 2017 with Patchwork Design 2017. It will be part of a group of quilts representing the Contemporary QuiltArt Association that I joined this past year. I am delighted to have one of the 28 quilts that the Brazilian organization picked and will be shown in venues including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Final reminder!

The 2016 SAQA Benefit Auction that I wrote about in August will be starting on September 16. It is a wonderful opportunity to acquire some beautiful works while supporting a good organization. You can learn more here.

Linking to Nine Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

Where did the week go?

“How did it get so late so soon?”
Dr. Seuss

It seems the last time I looked at the calendar, it was Monday. Where did this week go? All of a sudden, it is September! Fortunately I try to keep a photo journal of my days so I can look back and confirm that I have been involved in some productive activities.  😉

Along the way, I made an executive decision that I personally was dissatisfied with the quality of my finished quilts for Quilts Beyond Borders. The bindings must be machine stitched to guarantee they will stand up to wear and tear that one might envision in refugee camps, etc. And, my skills at machine stitched bindings have never been great. Rather than abandoning an organization that I truly want to support, I inquired more about doing simply quilt tops. For now, this seems a better path for me. So, I created my first top this past week.

IMG_0113

For several weeks, I also have been considering ideas for a quilt challenge that had drawn my attention. The challenge, entitled Dream On, is sponsored by Stretching Art and Tradition. If you would like to learn more about the group and their history, please check out their websiteDream On is their 18th year of challenges!

Of course, the first step was to decide on a theme for my piece. The description of the challenge suggests:

For Stretching Art and Tradition 18, Dream Big! Dream house, dream job, dream body, dream quilt – if dreams were reality, what dream would you have come true?  This year, complete a quilt 18″ wide by 36″ long using any technique you choose to represent your dream.

After meditating a bit on the words ‘dream on’, the persistent image that kept repeating in my mind was my daughter’s classic response when someone asks her what she wants: “World Peace”. 🙂  And so, I chose ‘Peace’ as my theme as since way back in the 60’s, peace has been a theme and value that has always resonated in my life.

Over my trip to Seattle, I contemplated how to create an art quilt on ‘peace’ in the size constraints of the challenge. About the same time, I was reminded both by a DNA test that I participated in and a note from a new-to-my-knowledge distant cousin that my heritage is strongly Irish. Coincidentally, a ring that I had purchased years ago with an inscription in the ‘old Irish’ language of Ogham resurfaced. Ogham is written with a series of lines running down a central line. It can run horizonally or vertically. With that knowledge, it was a natural jump to the gaelic word for peace, síocháin, and its depiction in Ogham along a vertical line.

And so, this week I began to draft out the beginnings of my challenge piece. The design is far from complete but a base plan  is hanging on my design wall – in paper and in cloth – for inspiration as I make further design decisions.

IMG_0114

Am I as far as I thought I would be with the design process at this point? Definitely not! Life does have a way of intervening. But, at least I have started!

Linking to NinaMarie’s Off the Wall Friday.

On Course

My legacy is that I stayed on course…
from the beginning to the end,
because I believed in something inside of me.

Tina Turner

This was a challenging week to stay on course here in the U.S. The events in Orlando were horrific and rightly monopolized the new media online and on screen. Juxtaposed for anyone who follows the soccer world were major series in Europe and the Americas that offered hours upon hours of sports relief. Still, I did manage to use the week to plug away at my drawings for Elizabeth Barton’s course and make progress on other fronts.

Hidden nicely away in a corner of my studio was a quilt waiting to be completed for Quilts Beyond Borders. It offered an easy opportunity to stitch away at my Bernina in the midst of all my sketching. It now off to QBB headquarters and will soon be on its way to a young orphan or refugee somewhere in this world.

IMG_9341

I continued to sketch for Inspired to Design and produced many images, a few of which I deemed worthy to share with Elizabeth.

IMG_9351 IMG_9350

veggies

I found her comments quite helpful, as always. She thought the last of the three did hold promise. The first sketch of the flower stalk also was ‘interesting’ but likely needed some companions to be a successful quilt. The middle sketch of the woman walking excited her the least – being too static. Of course, that would be the sketch that I most want to follow through on. I do like the flow of veggies in the bottom drawing and will probably work on that more in this week’s exercises. However, that woman intrigues me. She was dressed totally in black and walking along a street in a village in Crete. I definitely see an art quilt entitled Morning Walk in it and will continue to play with it on my own. While I enjoyed sketching the flower stalk, I don’t feel it would hold my interest long enough to follow through with its detail, so I suspect it will be filed away in a folder for another time.

I did spend a number of hours watching both UEFA Euro 2016 and COPA 2016 soccer this week and that fit in very nicely with my hand stitching. You might recognize the background of this piece. I am working on the back side of what will be a pouch.

IMG_9343 IMG_9344

This coming week promises more sketching with Elizabeth and undoubtedly some more hand sewing as I follow both soccer events. I will be linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday, so please go check out what other artists have been up to. I always find the entries inspiring.

 

 

Life is good!

The present moment is the only moment available to us
and it is the door to all moments.

Thich Nhat Hanh

IMG_8741

When you are 5 weeks old, it is natural to be in the present moment. A shoulder to lean on creates contentment. If only we could all stay so present and find contentment in where we are currently in our lives.

As always, this week provided its own challenges to being in the present moment for me. But, moving forward one step at a time with my art, it really was a good week.

A note from my contact person at Quilts Beyond Borders revealed a definite need for quilts to fill requests from India, Ethiopia, and for Syrian refugees. This spurred me on to work not only with some fabric provided by Quilts Beyond Borders but also to delve into my stash for other ideas. Some fabric squares I picked up at Ikea a year or so ago magically formed a base for a second quilt top.

IMG_8744

IMG_8745

At the same time, my mind was busy with ideas for my next art quilt. I enjoyed working on a sea theme so much in my last piece that I have decided to do a series. Taking inspiration from a photo of the Irish coast, my studio floor is now laid out in possible fabrics. With luck, I will be sharing more in the coming weeks on this exciting project.

IMG_8751

And, finally, I leave you with a breath of spring. The weather in Spokane has been absolutely perfect the past week and spring is definitely in the air. My hand stitching simply could not resist celebrating the re-emergence of wild flowers around our property by taking on a flower theme on this delicate antique cloth I have been working on.

IMG_8749

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