Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Month 12 Turning Yankee

Here we are at the end of the Dixie Diary project.
 Last month we read about Sarah and her family facing some hard choices; starvation or succumbing to pride and having to swear allegiance to the Yankee/Union side. And yes, their will to live overcame their pride and they did mutter the words of allegiance that would allow them into New Orleans.

The next step is to get my twelve blocks put together in a top. What I have in mind will require me to make four more blocks to give a square  four by four setting as well as to make the simple setting units. So, as they say, watch this space.
 To add to the excitement of this project I have tried each month to take  a fun photo of my block to share with you. It has required a little bit of a search to come up with some props each month but it has added more interest for me. This month I decided to use ceramic carnival masks that were purchased in New Orleans on a visit thirty years ago. Of course there was no time for such frivolity as this for Sarah Morgan and her family on their visit to New Orleans.
But as well I could not resist posing my block at the beginning of the first snowy day for the season.

In January there will be a new project, Threads of Memory, posted by Barbara Brackman on her Civil War blog. And yes, I expect to follow along and make the blocks. This new one will be a block of the month which gives more "breathing time" to create the blocks than does the block of the week project that was Grandmother's Choice. But somehow, the challenge to create a block a week is more exciting.

Threads of Memory will have the Underground Railroad as it's theme. Since I did purchase a number of civil war reproduction fabrics to use in my Dixie Diary project I may just carry on with using the greys and pinks. Doubtless I will still add to the collection but maybe with more restraint. The blocks are apparently all to be pieced stars at a 12" size so I am going to hold off on my decision about block size until I see the first one.

Are you going to jump on board with Barbara, Becky and Dustin and sew along with a really great group of quilters from all corners of the globe? It really promises to be another good trip!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Finished projects

I was all set to write a new post a few days ago but when I went to find the photos of the project I wanted to feature alas, there were none. Oh no, I forgot to record the finished item.

However, it was a gift for my newest great nephew and thankfully his mother sent along this photo for me.

A few years ago a friend in my quilt guild had initiated making these Scotty Dogs to give away for charity. At the time I did not make one but did listen to the others complain about how tedious they were to make. The tedious part was when the joining strip was also squares as that creates a lot of seam matching. However, I found a photo of some made where they had used a "solid" (patterned) piece of fabric for the joining strip and this seemed a great idea as it also calmed down all those different fabrics.

But I needed a gift for the baby and I knew his mother did not want a baby quilt so I thought I'd make this. The baby's room is decorated in black and white so I went to my fabric cupboard and started pulling. Since it is for a boy I wanted to avoid floral fabrics and as I was choosing I began to notice that most of the fabrics had a recognizable element to them. So the dog becomes dual purpose as it can also function as an "eye spy" game e.g. find the clock, the star, the zebra and so on.

Hopefully the baby will enjoy it and even if he does not, I really did enjoy making it (despite forgetting to take photos).

Moving on to a new project I startled myself by beginning and completing a small quilt in five days!

The quilt is small - only 12 5/8" square - but making those 2" blocks required more patience than making them at a 6" size would have needed.

The title of my piece is "There's One in Every Crowd". It was created to go into an exhibition of work by members of Great Falls Studios; the requirement was for works around 12" square that represent you.

Now, for whatever reason, I understood that to mean the piece needed to describe you. I later discover it merely meant a piece that is in your usual style. But mine was designed to say the following about me: I might take a color direction that is not the way of the crowd, I like small precise work, I rank fine detail as important, I like blue teamed with lime green, I like to work in a traditional way but with a touch of the unexpected and there are perhaps some other meanings as well. Can you find them?

Here is how my piece looks hanging alongside some of the other entries.

A different title might have been "Killing Two Birds with One Stone" as the colors chosen were deliberate; two upcoming shows I am involved in need a piece that features the color blue so I figured this would be a work that could fit in all three shows.

But the thing I like best about this piece is that it was completed in such a short time. That has been so refreshing that I really must try to do it again.

But for now, I must return to my regularly featured style which is working on projects that take months to complete. My Grandmother's Choice quilt is back from the quilter and I need to get busy with a piped binding so I can mark that quilt as another finished project for this year.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Month 11 - Just Hominy

For whatever reason this block gave me some "issues". But it is done now and ready for viewing.

 In this months story from Sarah Morgan's Diary we hear about the anguish facing the family who are starving. All they have had to eat in their current location has been just hominy for the past ten days. The question is whether to remain there and perhaps see the death of Sarah's mother from starvation or to move to New Orleans where they would have to take an oath of loyalty to the Union movement.

Both choices are equally stark.

Ms Brackman's blog suggests making the star points have a strong contrast to represent the two choices. However, I decided to make them both in grey as they were similarly difficult decisions. And I continue on with my idea of not re-using any fabrics other than the pink on white toile. Yes, I did have to augment my fabric collection just a little so I hope the final block does not require too many different fabrics or I will be faced with some difficult choices myself - albeit my choice problem will be minimal compared to Sarah Morgan's.

I wasn't feeling too inspirational for this months fun photo so I decided to take a lead from the photo of hominy in the Civil War blog story that goes along with this month's block.

One more block to go. I have made a little start on the sashing/setting for my top but a goodly amount remains to be done before I will be able to call this project finished.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Wrap Up Report

Maybe you have been wondering how my "something bold" experience from the weekend of October 19/20 went. I have been somewhat delayed in posting this report because of a sad family event that needed my presence in New Zealand.

 Here is my space on Sunday morning. That's my lovely artist friend Linda Jones who had invited me to join her and set up a "pop up" studio in her living room for the tour. Linda has hosted visitors to her studio for this annual event since the very first one ten years ago. By her estimation (based on a somewhat unscientific tally of who signed the visitor book) we had 140 visitors at our location.

Above is the view visitors had as they entered the home and walked down the short flight of stairs into the living room. I had some smaller pieces on the display rack on the right with various round robin quilts in the center and left. In a daring move (given the weather forecast) I also had a couple of quilts draped outside on the deck; Linda's back yard has a stunning wooded aspect and with the leaves starting to turn it provided a wonderful view so my motive in placing quilts out there was to draw visitors out to enjoy the view.
 As you can see I did set up my sewing machine.  The theory was that I was going to be showing how I create my quilts but the reality was when there were visitors in the room I was talking up a storm. Over the course of two days I maybe sat at the sewing machine for an hour total. But I was quite content with that. I did have to suck on quite a few cough drops to soothe my throat from so much talking! On the round table in front of the sewing table I had a binder which had full page size photos of quilts I have made that were not on display.

As a visitor turned to go down the stairs to Linda's studio area this was the view they saw. I apologize to my friend who was helping out as a greeter - this photo catches her in an awkward pose! My biggest quilts were draped over the upstairs railing. Although only one was seen in it's entirety this was a good place for them. You might notice that second from the right is my most recent project, the Grandmothers Choice quilt top (you can see a quarter of it).

In a basket that I placed centrally I had "party favors" containing three pieces of candy wrapped in a twist of lime green tulle tied with ribbon and a label giving my email and this blog address intended as a way that visitors could carry home a record of how to contact me.

On the days I also passed out flyers with details of  the larger local quilt group that I belong to along with advice on where I buy my fabrics, where to go locally if you have a quilt needing repair and verbal information about the quilt show I am curating at ArtSpace  Herndon in January-February 2014.

At my suggestion we decided to ask visitors as they arrived to look at all the works on display and then, as they left,  to please vote for what was their favorite painting and their favorite quilt. This had an unspoken message of suggesting that a visitor look carefully at all our work on display. Of course not everyone did this but it was a great ice breaker.

There was no clear winner among my quilts. 31 visitors cast their vote; the leading quilt was Savannah Snapshot with a total of 6 votes closely followed by I'm from the South with a total of 4 votes. Of note about these two quilts is that both of them are the product of my Remarkable Round Robin group.

Overall I was very content with this, my first testing of the waters, participation in the Great Falls Studio Tour. The experience of talking with a variety of visitors - some came specifically to meet the quilter, some were just enjoying the entire event and some were regular visitors to Linda's art studio - was very positive. It would be wonderful if I had some feedback here from visitors or perhaps some who wished they might have been able to join the tour.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

And Now for Something Bold from Me!

If you are in the area I would love to have you visit me in my "pop up" studio at stop 32! This tour offers a marvelous chance to visit and chat with a variety of artists in their "natural habitats".

Come see what the buzz is all about!