Scrap Dive – Study no. 3 {a finish}

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Idea

A couple of years ago I discovered the Lisson Gallery in New York as I went to see a Carmen Herrera exhibit there. The next show, was Stanley Whitney. I had never heard of him. He is African American artist, and I was fascinated how he played with blocks of color in a very vertical/horizontal grid like fashion. They are such amazing compositions, maximalist with color but minimalist in shapes.

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Design | Create

His pieces are just amazing!! My mind, after seeing this work, could not let go of how to do the same color play in textiles. Around the same time, friends and I were talking about how to use larger scraps of fabric up.

What is a scrap you might ask?
I store most of my fabric, that is a fat quarter or larger, wrapped around comic book boards. Smaller scraps are stored in the white bins you see below. So to me, I consider a large scrap a fat eighth, a scrap that I can still fold nicely but won’t fit around a board.

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Pulling out these larger scraps, I realized they would be perfect to explore color play in a similar way that Stanley Whitney’s pieces speak to me.

I have done three studies exploring color with my scraps. Whitney was the first and I explored this using a similar composition to Stanley Whitney pieces. Stanley, the second exploring more the lack of color with neutral colored scraps and using other fabrics like denim, linens and feed sacks. The third is Scrap Dive – Study no.3.

I always start making each piece by putting the scraps I have on the design wall.  I edit placement and what stays or goes directly on the design wall. The initial pull and layout of Study no. 3 still had the bands of vertical color. It evolved as I wanted to play more with my own layout and explored a quadrant-like composition using a linen scrap to put up the boundaries.

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While this layout you could see the movement from warms to colds, I wanted to really show the movement more around the quilt, almost like a color wheel. I moved things around so each quadrant took on different colors – Reds/Oranges, Reds and Yellows, Greens, and Blues (ROYGBIV). The other thing I found difficult was what to put in the center. I tried adding a variety of prints until I decided on my strip piecing from a class sample I was using.
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The last design decision was the binding. I tried 20-30 different solids and prints to see what would work. Nothing. Then I was looking at recently purchased backing fabric and realized that this crazy colorful Melody Miller print from Ruby Star Society would be perfect.

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Quilt

I put the quilt top away for a while as I had no clue how I was going to quilt it.  Finally deciding on straight lines, I decided to start with a grid of 1/2″ line for the center.
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Each quadrant was then quilted with alternating vertical and horizontal straight lines. The other detail that might be hard to see is within the boundary lines, around the gridded center the lines in the boundaries are just vertical or horizontal. The boundary lines are then gridded where the two color sections are against each other.

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Details

Name : Scrap Dive – Study No. 3
Design:
 Original Design
Fabric: Variety of solid scraps
Backing: Frolic Wide-back, Tula Pink (green)
Binding: Social Bird on a wire, Melody Miller, Ruby Star Society (navy)
Dimensions:
58 x 82 in.
Quilted: 1/2″ Straight line and gridded quilting using Aurifil white #2021(center), cream #2310 (quadrants)

Smaller Projects of 2019

I find I am more creative if I don’t get too bogged down with larger projects. I intersperse smaller projects while making those larger time consuming ones. Last year, a lot of those smaller projects landed up being gifts.

My favorite of the projects, were these vintage wood egg cups that I made into pin cushions. I tried a variety of cushion fillers and in the end used felt balls. I used wood glue to glue in the balls to both the wood cups and these swan ceramic cups (its all I had on hand).

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After sorting through a boat load of fabric and pulling a destash pile out, I found this Lotta Jansdotter print. I was in desperate need for napkin sized placemats for our Bistro table in our sun room. This fabric was perfect with out color scheme. IMG_8687

Lastly for charity, pillow cases were big last year and so super quick and easy to make. Also used yardage which is great if you want ways to use some fabric up. fullsizeoutput_1585

I made more pillow cases for my son, friends kids and these neon pink ones for @wasntquiltinaday who is a pink and cat fan. Loved these fabrics by Sarah Golden.IMG_8921

This year, especially during quarantine the small projects have been the life saver. It feels good finishing stuff and then getting to gift it or use it.

Isolation {a finish}

Idea

Have you ever felt left out, or just on the outside of a group or even cast out? I assume most people at one time or another have felt like that. I have at various times, more than once. This quilt was originally designed based on that feeling of being on the “outs” from a group.

Design

I started the design with an idea of a group people being represented by 10 lines; 9 black (representing the group), 1 red (representing me or the person who was feeling left out). The other big decision I made was on the placement of the red line. Originally, I had the red line to the right but still in alignment with the group of black lines.

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In the end, I moved the red line down 50% and decided to emphasize the mis alignment.

Create

The piecing was relatively simple. I did stitch the Width of Fabric (WOF) black and white strips together before I cut them to size to make it easier and more precise. I used Robert Kaufman Kona cottons for the piece; White, Black and Ruby.

Backing is Moda Fabrics Chicken Wire print. I choose this as it fit the theme of being in prisoned or cordoned off.

Quilt

Since COVID-19 isolation, I have been looking at this unfinished quilt top, and it speaks to me now of self-quarantine and the distance from our friends and family. As a person with Asthma, considered to be in a riskier group (if I catch COVID-19 my symptoms may be more severe), I am realizing I might be here in quarantine for a couple more months.

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These feelings of being into quarantined introduced the idea of ripples and how things effect other elements. I decided to show this effect by using overlapping circular designs around the two groups. The top negative space is then finished with vertical lines and the bottom with horizontal lines, again showing different forces with the direction. All the quilting is 1/2″ lines.

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Finishing this quilt did lift a weight off my shoulders, I did not know needed to be lifted. It was great being able to express yourself through art. The feedback from the community and how people have related has been so wonderful. Thank you all.

Details

Name : Isolation
Design:
 Original Design
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Kona Cottons White, Black, and Ruby
Backing: Moda Fabrics, Chicken wire
Binding: Carolyn Friedlander, Carkai
Dimensions:
34 x 41 in.
Quilted: 1/2″ Circular & Straight line quilting using Aurifil #2021

 

Market Bag {a project finish}

For the longest time, I have wanted to make the market bag from Anna Graham’s book “Handmade Style“. I was at Sewtopia a couple of years ago and my room mate, Corrinna, made one for a gift (and not for me!!). It was so good, which made it a top of list item to make.

Then last year, I decide it was time to make one, as a friend’s birthday was upcoming in June. I had an idea of the outside being AGF denim with scraps for the bands that go round the bag.
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I got the scrappy bands sewn and everything cut out. The project then came to a grinding halt. I finally picked up some leather handles of Anna Graham’s shop, spurring me to getting the bag finished as a Christmas gift for the same friend.

I loved the quilted look with the scrappy bands. It was my first time using leather scraps. Another friend, gave me a lesson on attaching them. There were a couple of small issues in a couple of extra wholes in the lining that I fixed (oops).

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The inside of my bag has some precious and the last of my Anna Maria Horner Canvas butterflies with the amazing Carolyn Friedlander print. I did add lining or interfacing to the pocket (one of those was missing and I thought it needed it).

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I am so happy how this bag turned out!! I managed to meet the Christmas deadline this time and it was well received. Now, I need to make myself one and buy a rivet press.

This was an easy and quick project in the end. High recommend the pattern.

On the angle {a finish}

Just before Christmas, I made a couple of mini quilts as gifts. I have not shared those makes with you yet. One of those quilts was a striking black and white minimal quilt.

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Idea

This quilt was inspired based on a drain cover discovered on our family walk around the neighborhood. I loved the diagonal pattern of lines.

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Design

During the design phase I used those 45 degree lines in the top part of the design. In the drain you have this bar 1/2 way across the lines, giving it a broken line feel. For me, that translated into this break a a random angle with the lines then being distorted back the opposite angle. fullsizeoutput_13c6

Create

The creation was relatively simple, using PBS White solid and black fabric at 1″ unfinished, I stitched 16 pieces together. Making sure the angles were at a 45 degrees I then cut an angle that closely matched the design above. The remaining fabric, I removed the excess lines and added a much larger white section to the stripes for the lower negative space.  I lined up and pined where the lines best connected. Once pinned, I cut the fabric at the appropriate angle and stitched the two pieces together. It was both liberating and a little scary as I did not measure or carefully planned these connections. Luckily, it turned out as expected.

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Quilting

As this was a small piece, I kept the quilting design simple. I stitched about 1/8″ from exhaustion of the stitched lines (both sides of the line). I did not bind the quilt to finish, as the final piece was framed and ready to be hung.

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I swapped this gift for 6 ginger pear galettes from a local baker, Meg. The family loved them. So amazing (including the extra banana pecan bundt cake that was added)!!

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Details

Name : On the Angle
Design:
 Original Design
Fabric: Black & White Painters Palette Solids, Paintbrush studios
Dimensions:
12 x 14 in.
Quilted: Straight line quilting using Aurifil #2021

Published!!

I have been a little on the slow side sharing some of the great news over the last 4 months or so. The first is that I was lucky enough to be included in Uppercase new encyclopedia “Quilted“.  This volume includes two types of articles, Artist Profiles and Interview and Quilt Stories. My quilt, Sunday Best, was selected for one of the quilt stories. I am so happy in getting to celebrate Sunday Best in this beautiful book.

The celebrations continues though. At QuiltCon this year, I shared a room with a friend who woke me up with gleeful text messages and then a wake-up call, to explain that Sunday Best published in Quilted was highlighted by Mel Giedroyc (on her new instagram account @melgquilting). I was like who??? Since then, I now know that she was one of the presenters/judges from The Great British Bake Off, who has started a new and the funniest weekly podcast, Mel Giedroyc is Quilting. I listen every week, and am honored for the mention.

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In January, I received my copy of Curated Quilts issue 10: Black & White. Inside was my article on learning how to see the world around you to find inspiration for quilt design. This was the first time, my photographs were also published, which I was super excited about. The photos are my forever memories from a trip to New York, Morocco and a family beach vacation I took last year. When I saw Amy and Christine, they commented on how much they loved the photo’s. They also suggested I submit again. Yay!!

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Lastly, in Curated Quilts Issue 11: Appliqué, Manicured Gardens was curated into the issue as one of Gallery quilts. This issue is so special, as it also includes quilts from my close friends, Ginny Robinson and Melissa Herboth (our quilts share gallery pages).

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I am super excited to start my year off like this. Who knows what else will come for 2020?

Surviving COVID-19 Quarantine

Who knew that we would find ourselves self-quarantining for at least 12 weeks, wearing handmade masks when we go out, and worrying about 6 feet apart rules. Yesterday, here at home in NC, we finished 6 weeks of quarantine; my company has extended the work from home policy through May 31st; schools in NC are now finishing the year out at home until early June.  I am relieved and thankful that the government and my company are thinking of people’s safety. But y’all it’s been scary.

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I can honestly say that we are doing ok. It has not been all roses. There are days where anxiety gets the best of me and that usually means I can’t sleep. My husband, son and I, though, have got into a good routine. I am somehow, surprisingly, managing work (constant conference calls that can be from 8am – 9pm), supervising school activities, and getting food on the table.

We are adapting to talking to family in different continents at least once a week instead of one or twice a month. It is hard knowing that you can not see them in these times, especially your parents and for us when one of our siblings (my husband’s) is hospitalized, not for COVID other health issues. Thankfully, they are back at home and everyone is doing well.  We are still hopeful that we may make it home (NZ) for Christmas.

Adapting and managing would not be possible though, if I didn’t find balance in doing more creative things. I took a vacation day a couple of weeks ago and just enjoyed being out in the sun in our backyard, spending time collaging, stitching and drawing. It was very calming and stress free. Likewise, updating my quilting journal, cutting fabric swatches, gluing designs images and inspiration photos down, and making notes….it’s just enjoyable. FYI….I hit 50 quilts documented in my journal this week and amazingly I have 31 of those finished. The other 19 are at various stages from not started to tops complete.

And then what would you do without friends?? They are there when my day goes south, if we need to complain about our kids or just share good news. (BTW, if you have not seen John Krasinski’s Some Good News you should). FaceTime once a week with an alcoholic beverage has been a much needed touch point. We just catch-up on all the craziness in our lives.  A couple of weeks ago, we even got together over zoom and sewed a Juniper basket together. It was almost like being in each others sewing spaces, chatting, laughing and enjoying each others company (almost).

I have been thinking too, that I wish I had invested in a flour or yeast company at the moment. I did join the bread making movement this past week too. I have been finding baking, in general, has been rewarding. It has just been nice to have a sweet on hand every week that folks can grab and enjoy for snack. We have enjoyed Chocolate chip cookies, Oatmeal Raisin cookies, Orange Lightening cake, Chocolate nut and raisin bars and fresh No knead bread. This weekend, Lemon Pound cake is on the menu.

The only thing, right now, I wish I could improve on is exercise. I was hoping during this period that I would be able to walk more but that hasn’t happened as much as I wanted. So let’s see. My new challenge for myself, this week, is to get to bed between 10:30 and 11pm, and walk between 7-8 am every week day.

I hope you are all staying safe and doing what you need to get through.  Thinking of you all, especially my friends on the front lines, those in New York area, Italy and Spain. I would love to hear about your coping mechanisms.  What new skill are you learning? What are you, family and friends are doing to stay in touch? What are you baking? Any good recipes?