Author Archive

Summer and Fall of Enlightenment – Part 2

A lot of new authors this summer – keeping the public library very busy! I think I am done with romance writers for a while – too much new and interesting stuff I am discovering! I do need some new sci fy to keep me busy. But first, Noah Gordon – a new author to me. Started with Shaman – great historical picture of medicine in the 1800’s as well as in-depth looks at life in Indian country, biases/prejudices about native Americans and Jews, Civil War and medicine. Long involved stories, well written, and really great description. This main character had so many dimensions, and a love and dedication to everything involving medicine, even when it meant being a war surgeon on the front lines of the Civil War. The story revolved around the father and son, and you could see the influence of one on the other.

This is the kind of historical fiction I love – broad, sweeping, involved, accurate….all great attributes, and you are very sorry to see it end…another trip to the library for the next book by him. It reminds me of a lot of the historical fiction I read in the 60s and 70s ‘- long historic family stories, great characters, but his later books are so much better in terms of depth of character and involvement. So yeah, it will be hard to go back to basic romance. (D0n’t want to forget to mention Five Smooth Stones from the 60’s – LOVED that book.)

Gordon’s second book was The Physician – absolutely amazing – medicine in the 11th century, with a very detailed look at Jewish life, medieval England, travels to the Middle East, and the role of Islam in teaching medicine. Thoroughly researched, fascinating picture of Jewish and Islamic life entwined, the early study of medicine, and the classical study involved to become a “hakkim” – physician – at the time. I was left at the end of the book thinking about the amazing life this main character led, all he had learned, and he ends up content doctoring in a small herding village in the wilds of Scotland for the rest of his life, as a practicing Christian, after years of immersion masquerading as a Jew. The conflict between Judaism, Islam, and Christianity is well-developed, and yet Islam seemed to be the more forgiving of the religions to difference.

I still am processing how I felt/feel about his leaving all the knowledge and learning behind as he retires to Scotland – it kind of coincides with how I feel about not teaching any more. I’m retired, but I still feel like I have much to contribute. When I have the learning that Rob Cole had, how could I leave it for the rest of my life? After this I read The Last Jew about Jewish life in Spain during the Inquisition. Some of the same thoughts- such a revelation about Jewish life, the Inquisition, and the horrid excesses and cruelty of the Inquisition and the Catholic Church. I am once again appalled at the excesses and intractability of organized religion, which has led to some more of my readings in other ares – for other blog posts.Now I am reading what turns out to be his first book from 1965 called The Rabbi.  Not nearly with the complexity of his later books, but still a good character study.

I am jealous at his ability to write such descriptive phrases – so I set myself a task to see something each day and try to describe it – which I do and it seems so “straight-forward” and bland (as did Hemingway) , but then I try and turn it into a simile or metaphor just to play around with the words…interesting how quickly I seem to go for a cliche – so something for me to work on. Love me my word play!

 

…and in looking for these, I discovered a third Cole book in a trilogy – Matters of Choice – need to get back to the library!

Summer and Fall of “Enlightenment”

Thoughts on NANOWRIMO – yes, it’s November…..been thinking about this for most of October and trying to decide what – and how – I will approach things. November 1 – I don’t have a lot of luck working through the month each day, as witnessed by the last two years of not accomplishing anything – or not even trying.  So I think for this year I want to concentrate on writing my 1637 words each day – on rewrites, character studies, essays, blog posts – just getting back in the habit of writing regularly. I know two years ago I stopped on Book 2 because I had no idea where a lot of the plot was going, what the various story lines were….and then there is so much crap happening right now in the world that sometimes it seemed pointless…but my characters need some resolution, and I still have stories to tell.

So – things to write about –
* the books I have been reading since summer began

*conversations with God and the Joshua books
*science books
*where I seem to be evolving as a result of the changes in this country
*coping with changes in my life with illness with hubby
*writing concerning my art – especially blog posts – need to get regular again, as it does bring in more business, and a big show coming up
*newsletter for MTD
*pictures from this summer
*my own racism

It’s been a long while for writing a blog post, but not for doing art – a brief time off after the last baby quilt was done, and then back to a new baby quilt in September, and now three new pieces finished this week – feels good to be working again. The funny thing about the blog posts – for the last two years I have been 200 blog posts away from a 1000 posts – this year only 82. Should have been a snap, right? Well…..no. That just seems to be an impossible goal. Gonna be workin’ it this month….

We have so many shows coming up, starting with two small pieces tomorrow, two pieces for a January-April show, January/February for one of the community libraries, the US attorney’s office in Burlington, and a bunch more. While helping hubby recuperate in December  from open heart surgery there will be a lot of time on the machine. I have some large pieces that need to be finished, and a major inventory to do of what goes to what show, without much repetition. Also, big art fest show in less than two weeks, and stuff to prepare for that – two patterns to write and put together, inventory for Square (and to figure that out), and the packing for the show.

There’s a l0t of good stuff going on art-wise. After all these years, we have finally found a decent way to package the fabrics – good for pictures, easy for people to see the various pieces, and we have some consistent sizes. Also, by mounting the finished pieces on canvas, we now have people thinking more about the fiber as wall art – a big jump in perception.

The three pieces from this past week – you can see in the upper portion what hasn’t been stitched. It is amazing just how much depth you get with the addition of batting and stitching. This is part of our “Leftover” series – paint left in the bottom of the tray when we clean it up. Once I add thread to it (and I used double batting for this one) it makes the piece come alive.

All the while doing this I was very aware of not having a focal point – I’ve been concentrating on that as I’m out taking pictures. It seemed like there was a consistent white stretch running from upper right to lower left – I saw it as a river, and as I used a light blue thread it started taking on some dimension, but ultimately I didn’t think the river was dark enough, and I wasn’t happy with other colors of blue that I had – so I used some of the India ink I’ve been suing for suminagashi and used a simple wash throughout the river – just the dimension I wanted.

This part for sizing/mounting canvas just didn’t seem to work. I assumed the canvas I had was an 11 x 14, and the piece was bigger than that. Hubby didn’t want to lose the lower left because of the effect, so we went and bought a 12 x 16. Turns out when we got home, that was already what I had…so it was back out for a 16 x 20. Great batik for the canvas covering, and between the binding and the extra border around the canvas, it looks like two mats for the frame. Happy with it!

Introducing: “A River Runs Through It.” $125.00 plus postage. 16 x 20 inches.

We have these wonderful polyester black linen pieces that marbne wonderfully, and I finished two of those – simple, easy to complete – not a great deal of stitching – just enough to emphasize what I want for a theme. Now they are part of a definite series – the “Moonlight” series Simple, easy to complete, and elegant.

Moonlit Garden, just starting the stitching. Finished size 8 x 10 inches.

Finished piece Moonlit Garden, $65.00 plus postage.

Finished Piece – Moonlit Winds, 8 x 8 inches. $65.00 plus postage.

Now to go through a lot of my works in progress – like the Iceberg piece – to get a couple of big pieces started/completed for show next year.

 

 

Personal Color Studies

Been house-sitting/parent sitting for the past week, with no real access to projects, so I pulled out the markers and coloring books – which I haven’t touched in over a year – that craze passed quickly! It kept me occupied through a bunch of hours of the Hallmark Channel…a refreshing change, but after three movies I realized I’ve written those plots before.

The “have to be perfect” part of me was busy at work until I said “WAIT! These are color studies, you are just playing, yada yada yada….” I still can get stuck (very easily, it seems) in a rut of criticism. So the first of my efforts is on the left. Once again I realize how much I can appreciate white space (literally)…and I got smacked in the face with a focal point – usually my trouble spot. My eye in this one went right to the light blue when all was finished. I had done all the small circles first, and then accented around them with yellow.  Overall I am pleased with the various color combinations – trying out some other colors for a change.

Number 2 – two colors, although I started with the intent to do blues and oranges – a favorite combo from a year ago when I was playing. As you can see, I only used two and then STOPPED – I do have trouble knowing when I am at the end….Very Cat in the Hat effect, I think. I do like it. It was hard to stop and not add some other color – but I do find this pleasing, and that’s what this exercise was about….right??? “Of course, right!” (Nod to “Fiddler…”)

I was also pleased with the white space on this next one. In other colors – more subdued browns and golds – it would remind me of William Morris. As it is, would be a nice wall paper border – too much for a full wall!

Interesting choice of colors on my part – I’m not really an orange/violet person, but I am really starting to like ORANGE – need more in my stash!!

Last piece – not finished but happy with where it was going. Biggest issue….I keep wanting to fill in some of the white space in the little pockets between the ribbons. I get into the “If I don’t like it, I’ve ruined it” mode, which makes no sense, since this is an exercise…..ah, how that inner critic can be so busy!!

Till next time when I don’t have other projects – no more color studies….except winter is coming….lots of time for activities away from the sewing machine be=ut still inside……

Spring Open Studios in Vermont

This year for Spring Open Studios we traveled ourselves to see what was in the neighborhood, including immediately down the street where I lived when we were dating. Precision Studio and Theresa Somerset made me seriously hyperventilate – she is amazing, the studio is to dye for!

Her dyeing areas and assorted tools:

Pieces of eggs she has decorated – basically no egg is safe!

Mixed media work – this has so many amazing techniques incorporated into it.

Completed Eggs:Theresa’s photography set-up:

More mixed media work – part of a Vermont Arts Council challenge:

More mixed media – the puzzle piece was part of a state-wide challenge.

Who knew you could find an amazing sculpture garden in the heart of Winooski, Vermont? I could have sat there forever! Gorgeous property surrounded on two sides by tall cedars for privacy.

My favorite piece!

Also a visit to in Jericho – GREAT location, wonderful grounds! I loved this shelf for all the shapes and glazes.

Last stop for the weekend was John Churchman and his farm, where the sheep were being fleeced as we watched. She managed 20 sheep in three hours, with lots of skins to feel. It’s a great working farm, but John is also known for his photography and his children’s books about Sweet Pea. Fun fun time!

Who Knew “Women’s Work” Would Be So Controversial?

There is a law office in town where we have displayed our fiber work in the past. We were asked to add 3-4 larger pieces for one of the walls to go through mid-October. The three pieces we decided on are to the left. Given that we have a solo show and two other venues for our work over the next 6 weeks, we were careful as to what we chose.

We have two wall hangings that use traditional quilt blocks, but are made with marbled fabrics and heavily free motion quilted. The third piece is our “Women’s Work,” done as a call to the Threads of Resistance. It wasn’t accepted for the national show, so we started thinking about where we could display the work (Vermont Quilt Show next June…).

Keep in mind there have never been any restrictions on what goes in the law office, but I’m sure they were expecting Vermont bridges, barns and landscapes. That’s been their usual fare, but our fiber has been very well received there. We framed a small artists’ statement about the design of the quilt and all the meaning. You can read about that here.

I know the quilt could be potentially controversial, but it certainly isn’t “in your face” like so many of the quilts accepted in the Threads of Resistance show…and what better place than in a law office? First Amendment, women attorneys who no doubt had some struggle because of their gender in law school…seemed like a good fit.

Not the case…our wonderful organizer met us Friday to hang all the works, and then Monday morning called to say the work was taken down on Friday because the law office “felt it could offend some of their clients.” Okay…. So Wednesday we went to retrieve our work, having decided to take all the work down and leave them with a blank wall. When we got there, the two quilt pieces were evenly spaced along the wall and looked really nice. The secretary/legal assistant greeted me and said she would get my quilt. In the meantime hubby took down the other two pieces. She was disappointed that we were taking those – “they’re so pretty.” At which point I said, “I’ll leave those two pieces if you let me put a statement up in the blank spot that says the office was worried about offending clients.”

“Oh, no,” she replied. “That’s not it at all. This office is apolitical.”

To which I replied (one of the few times I was really on my game with a comeback…) “We can’t afford to be apolitical in this climate. Are you familiar with the famous poem about the Holocaust?” I quoted several lines and then ended with the last line “…and then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.” I added, “I thought you would be more supportive of the First Amendment.”

So now I have officially welcomed the cachet of banned artist. I know this is but a ripple, but ripples lead to waves, and waves lead to tsunamis. Here’s the Holocaust poem in its entirety.

This should be a warning to us all…who will speak for us when we are the only ones left?

The 40th Birthday Quilt (not mine….I wish…..)

This was actually the 7th project for this spring, and I got everything done – and then some – although not necessarily on time…..

I promised our good friend and “almost son” a quilt for his 40th birthday, which was May 18 (sent around mid-June – not too bad….) He and most of my Peter Pan cast from 1990 turned 40 this year….Needless to say, I am feeling rather old….

I saw a pattern by Leah Day for a bargello which I’ve always wanted to make – problem was it was 24 by 64 inches – not wide enough for a lap quilt. By the way, her patterns are EXCEPTIONALLY well done. I made the center panel, learned a couple of tricks, and then decided on adding a panel to each side to make it snuggle-able for two.

A good friend gave me rolls of fabrics from her stash, so I had great fun choosing fabrics – two sets before I came up with the colors I wanted. A lot of careful cutting and piecing to get the design I wanted – again, learned a lot, got great points and connections, and figured out how to change the order for a new wall hanging.

Close-up of all the free motion quilting – went through one whole chalk liner doing those grids…and I got better acquainted with my walking foot – no more using regular foot when stabilizing quilt tops.

Seattle Lights

Accented without detracting…..

Love you, Scotty Whips!!

 

The Year (so far) for Baby Quilts

Two quilts for teachers at a school I used to teach at – I just did the quilting. The best quilt was the remake of a quilt given to my best friend of 43 years when she had her son some 35 years ago. He just became a daddy for the first time on July 1. The quilt was shipped June 30 – cutting it close! Kathy took her quilt apart from 35 years ago, repaired blocks, and completely changed the setting, sashing, and borders. It is really gorgeous and was quite a hit with the new parents. Visit a baby quilt here and here.

Two of the teachers who made the blocks above I taught with – so some nice connectivity.

Love doing this for folks! Welcome to the world, Miles! Congrats Jen and Tucker!

Contemplative – Personal, so skip if you wish……

free motion quilting practice

This has been an interesting two months of contemplation, not just on politics, which will certainly govern how I live the rest of my life, but also in terms of how to lead the best possible life in the years I have left. Note to self – aiming for three digits. The work on the resistance quilt brought up a lot of unresolved issues concerning emotional abuse by my mother ever since I can remember. The work I’m doing in attempting to lose weight talks about getting to the root of whatever is unconsciously holding you back. It’s my relationship with my mother.

So between energy work, meditation, reading, and hypnosis, I am coming to terms with issues. I feel mentally healthier. I am slowly letting go of some of the dramatic episodes – I no longer hyperventilate when that issue rears its head. It has been an extremely productive 6 months for art, although not for writing. My mantra needs to be “writing, creating, marketing every day.” I

know I need to get a therapist to help me bring closure as a result of the work I have done so far. Especially after Saturday – I was scheduled to teach a free motion quilting class, and I called on Friday at 11:30 AM to see if it was still canceled, as she had called about it the week prior. No, it was a go. So I hurry around getting ready, and when I show up Saturday morning, there are only two paid students. When I asked her since she knew one canceled the night before, why she didn’t cancel, she verbally attacked me, saying that I owed a class to those who had paid, it was my responsibility, I owed it to those who had paid. I was so stunned at her attack I wasn’t able to respond.

Gaslighting, just like my mother always did to me. I realized that was what had shut me down – I was being attacked in the same way by someone else. Yes, I need to definitely figure out how to bring closure to my family issues, but I also need to do what’s right for me when I’m teaching. After time to think about it, I emailed and asked her to send the check – she didn’t even have it ready for me because I was in the way of the printer during class. I told her to cancel the August class, as we had already talked about that, and she knows from experience that classes don’t go in the summer. If she decides to call me to schedule new classes, there will be a contract for her to sign. She also didn’t want to make copies for me (a total of 12) since she is leasing a printer and it costs her money. Keep in mind she is getting 30% of the class fee and I told her I was holding strong at a class of at least 3 in order for it to be a go.

The contract will indicate a whole bunch of things: she gets 25% if she doesn’t want to raise the class fee, she will make copies as needed, and anything less than three students the morning of the class, she will cancel it. If someone doesn’t show and doesn’t call, I receive half the class amount to compensate me for my time. (Yes, one of the two for the class didn’t show….that’s $7.00 an hour for my work…positive me, I may have a lead to teach in another shop.) Usually I have been able to work very simply with people in the field, but her personality is not right for me or her long-time customers and business. Lesson learned….

Thoughts are welcome….

“Experimenting with Textiles”

I am currently (like right now) watching a video from the fellows who bring you textileartist.org. I’ve subscribed for several years, and they are introducing a series of videos on finding your voice with your textiles. So far, 11 minutes into the video, I can see the various paths I have taken and why I had problems with them.

First, early on in working with stitching on marbled fabrics, I felt intimidated by mo own machine quilting skills, and I felt like I needed to do a huge amount of practice on smaller pieces before I came to the bigger works I wanted to do. A cyber friend kindly said to me – do the work you want and the skills will follow….and so they did. I started weaving strips of marbled fabric after I machine-quilted them, and I didn’t look back.

Second, I’ve always experimented with lots of techniques – marbling happened to be the latest one (embroidery, knitting, crocheting, painting), but the marbling hooked and and hubby. Now I have a body of work that utilizes marbled fabric and new means of quilting and embellishing. I picked up bead work only in the sense it could add to the overall design.

Lots of ups and downs in learning and trying to determine a niche for ourselves, as well as work within limitations of what we could afford.  I finally decided that what other marblers do is fine – so is our work in its own unique way. I didn’t want to marble paper – I wanted fabric – first limitation, and we made it work. We perfected our style on white fabric – very unforgiving – a second limitation.

How can I push the boundaries of the basics? Hubby and I laugh about what I have him end of trying to marble – “pushing” to do ribbon, silk flowers, canvas…all because I don’t want to waste paint in the marbling tray. Lots of additional projects opened up, mostly with embellishing what we were already creating. Any new techniques were pursued in how they could expand our marbled fiber art.

Making marbled art is expensive –  a pound of carrageenan is about $50.00 now. So because of our extremely limited financial capabilities we had to work within a very tight budget – and we succeeded. Looking at a display of our work several months ago, both of us marveled at what we were able to create with so little resources.

Embracing what we can do on our limited budget led me to learn how to manipulate my 1008 Bernina workhorse sewing machine to do what I wanted it to do. Yes, I miss “needle down” and variable speed….but my skill with this basic machine has led me to teach very successful machine quilting classes to folks who think they can’t machine quilt unless they have a long-arm or other fancy sit-down machine.

In terms of skill level, I am completely self-taught, with only one marbling class from a master (Galen Berry). Everything else has been trial and error….no color theory of design, so I started with putting everything with black fabric. Hubby has the color sense, and I slowly came around to improving mine. Now I can put marbled fabrics with a range of other colors and designs. I attended a workshop with Tony Conner, water colorist extraordinaire, who talked us through a painting he created. It was like a design class with a master, listening to him talk through his decisions. I kept referring to pieces I was working on to see that I was naturally doing some of the design elements. I was trusting my “eye” and myself.

You owe it to yourself to watch the first of these videos – maybe you are new to the idea of limitations. We had natural limitations through finances imposed on us, and it led to who we are as artists now. Check out our web page to see our range of work. Find textileartist.org on Facebook and get your free video.

PS – no more pima cotton fabric, special order didn’t work because it was too light, so we “over-marbled”…and it’s good to go…..making due with a limitation……

Organizing for Marketing

This image is from my time with adult coloring books last year – trying out colors, experimenting. I love symmetry, but then I also like something a little unusual….which is where I am right now as I approach a new project. I really need to develop  more sources for passive income. I’m taking a free class right now from Convertkit on Product Creation – great ideas, and after two weeks of reading the information (a daily lesson), I decided to start at the beginning and develop a series of products that are useful to others. Hence, Organizing for Marketing.

The title is going through some revisions – still not catchy enough for me. But I already have all this content – in an iBook that isn’t selling  – and yes, I really haven’t done much to market it in the three years it’s been available (or is it four? Funny how time stretches out when you’re not teaching….).

So this is my first brainstorming at trying to make sense of what I want in this ebook product. I am very good at marketing and creating and organizing, so it makes sense to focus right there. When I reviewed the book last night, there is enough information to make it into three or four smaller ebooks and develop a continuous stream of ideas and techniques for people.

The first key is targeting my market. I work in fiber and textiles – pretty much a niche market when looking at the art world, although we are slowly making progress into mainstream. Thus I want to focus this on those of us who do art that is generally out of the mainstream. What can we do to get our work looked at, sold, appreciated?

Here’s my accountability checklist for this coming week, ending Tuesday, May 16, with my initial thoughts:

  • Determine revised structure of the ebook. I need to break up the information in the original book into smaller segments for action, and increase the information included in each of the segments.
  • Determine my ideal customer for this book. Who is my audience…artists without a lot of money to spend on marketing, artists with unique products, artists who have issues getting organized and accomplishing tasks.
  • Write two additional blogs this week – what questions do you want answered in a marketing book for those of us working in a niche market, and how would this be different from all the other marketing books out there? I need to make sure I start getting feedback from folks to help direct my work.
  • Evaluate ebook publishing sources and ease of use. CreateSpace seems mostly for print; research it more fully. Kindle seems easy and quick to do. IBooks seems too limiting, although I do have experience with that platform.
  • Plan for a “bonus” for people who buy this ebook. Already thinking about many of the blog posts I’ve already done in my Top Ten series. I think these could be manipulated into a bonus, once links are checked, and focus determined. Happened to just think about expanding ideas for Top Ten for other Bonus offerings.
  • Keep playing with title ideas. Suggestions certainly welcome! Organize, marketing, niche products…….
  • Determine launch date for the ebook – probably beginning of August.

Feel free to give me ideas and help keep me accountable to this project! You can be in the book with your website and product for helping out.

ORIGINAL BOOK

Ready, set, go – give me feedback!

World Peace Day – 45 Years Later

Yeah, it’s been reflection time these past two weeks about a student project from 45 years ago. At the time I was teaching at Baldwin High School on Maui, and I was advisor to the Pacific and Asian Affairs Club. The beginning of my second year, Claudia Otsuka and her twin Dawn came to me with the idea for a World Peace Day that spring. It was my second year on Maui and my second year teaching, so why not? Little did I know how memorable the journey would be. I wrote about it here for the 40th anniversary, with all the news clippings.

In 1972 we were at war in Vietnam, cities were on fire with protests, marginalized groups were trying to speak up and have their voices heard. What bothered me this week – and as a history person, nearly every week – is that nothing has changed. We’re marching for Climate Change tomorrow the 29th. We’re in two wars, and the prospects of getting involved in North Korea scares me. I really thought I was done having to worry about where I lived and what part of the house would be the best place to hold out in case of a nuclear attack.

Minimal technology in this endeavor – mimeo machines, typewriters and carbon paper, phone calls to Washington, DC to our House Representative Sparky Matsunaga who was a keynote speaker…..arranging lodging, going to Honolulu to talk to the legislature about getting an official World Peace Day through the legislature, getting parade permits for our Walk for Peace to raise money for the event – and being consistently called a Communist for protesting for peace. I guess nowadays my label would be “libtard.”

Sparky was the first person, aside from the high school support (which was mild) to believe in what we wanted to accomplish. From the webpage:

So here we are again…..still….searching for that elusive peace……My generation is a transitional one – from starting out believing life would be better for us to wondering in our older years if anything will be left for us. Back to the barricades…..

Threads of Resistance Entry Finished

I spent a lot of time just coming up with an idea I felt would work, and then some of the time spent rehabbing my knee by walking the halls helped it come more into focus. Then once I started, ideas kept coming – what was a month’s project stretched out into two months, with a lot of time writing what would become the messages on the piece. Women’s Work s Never Done – the topic lef me in so many directions, starting with Susan B. Anthony and the Declaration of Sentiments in 1848 as a result of the women’s congress. The complete document can be found in the right-hand pocket of the jeans. Using a Sharpie, I started to painstakingly write in the GRIEVANCES woman had against men at that time…and as I was writing, I realized not a lot had changed. The best part of this piece was traveling back in time to read in full this document and realize how far we still have to march.

Here are the jeans about two-thirds complete with the writing – each letter gone over two-three times to ensure legibility.

I worried about fading and having to re-do the writing – but isn’t that what we women have had to do through the ages? Prove ourselves again and again? Rewrite or own accomplishments so they aren’t forgotten? If the piece fades – any part of it – that’s the story of us as women.

Next came a woman’s required piece of clothing – the apron. I made it reversible – the front is traditional quilt design and somewhat traditional fabrics, and in each of the squares are messages to women – either from my own family or from society. I put a ruffled border on, and written on it is the litany of what women were expected to do: cooking, cleaning, babysitting, housework, laundry, cooking, etc. sex, birthday parties, planning dinners, sex, cooking…..you get the idea.

Click on the next picture – for some reason it isn’t clear….

Then came the apron strings. Not completely happy with how they worked out…but I love the message (original copy is in the left pocket of the jeans: a manifesto by Joyce Stevens from International Women’s Day in 1975.

 

Now the reverse of the apron is more a modern design, with fabrics of the same hue but considerably brighter. On that is written positive messages I have given myself as a daughter of Women’s Liberation.

Next step was the background – actually background and backing – same fabric. I initially thought I would only quilt what would actually show before I began my writing on the front, but I realized why not continue on the back with more “hidden” women from history. So I ended up quilting the whole background. Then came the burying threads – which I don’t normally do, but since the back suddenly became important, I went and did it…..there were a lot…….

I spent a lot of time online looking for missing/unknown/hidden women and I found amazing stories – most I didn’t know – even as a history major. I started out writing every other line, from the middle to top and bottom so everything would remain even.

Then I filled in everything and started on the back.

  I am very pleased that it came together as I had envisioned – learned a lot (I usually do…), but very pleased.

Comments? I’m taking names to continue the back of the quilt with other “hidden” women – send  ’em along!

Busy Busy Busy…….Two of Seven…..

So it’s a crazy time in the studio right now – 7 projects, five of which are big ones. Two deadlines coming up this next Monday for photography…see, Kathy Nida – I’m calling the photographer ahead of time to get myself to the deadline!

Here are the first two of the seven….I’ve been quilting baby quilts for a friend who works at the middle school we both did, me back in the mid-seventies. You can see the last baby quilt (before all the deadlines hit) here. I enjoy doing them, we usually get a free lunch together, and it gives me a chance to practice my free-motion skills – kind of like practicing free throws before you need them for the big game. You can see the children’s literature theme – the books usually stay the same, and the colors change to the new mom’s preference. ALL pictures copyright 2017, Linda A. Moran. PS – thank you, Superior Threads!

ALL pictures copyright 2017, Linda A. Moran.

ALL pictures copyright 2017, Linda A. Moran.

Now for the next project – I decided to make quilts for my great-nieces and great-nephews when they turned 13. You can see Gracie Mae’s quilt from two years ago here. Now it’s Gavin’s turn, and I did another “modern” quilt with the colors he wanted. Again, a great chance to practice design and free motion quilting. In looking at the one two years ago, I can see the improvement in my skills. In two years I owe two new birthday quilts.

Love the backing – perfect for an adolescent boy!

ALL pictures copyright 2017, Linda A. Moran.

ALL pictures copyright 2017, Linda A. Moran.

ALL pictures copyright 2017, Linda A. Moran.

ALL pictures copyright 2017, Linda A. Moran.

ALL pictures copyright 2017, Linda A. Moran.

I really wanna learn to use rulers like Judy Madsen…..

On to “Eruption” and the “Threads of Resistance” quilts…….

Another Baby Quilt

Been a while – SO many things going on, especially politically…and LOTS of sewing/quilting for deadlines and new artwork for an August solo show.

My friend Kathy gets the teachers to create squares for a faculty baby quilt, and then she puts the top together. After the last quilt, we decided the squares needed to be stabilized before the overall quilting – and I show Kathy the joys of spray-basting….this new quilt was a dream to work with. Big and little baby bubbles throughout the border strips and then following the pattern in the outside border fabric for a cross-hatching – which I love, but I will NEVER do it with a regular sewing foot – free motion all the way, otherwise I would still be working on it….Used a New Bryte in orange from Superior Quilts – love the effect and the color is perfect.

The theme is always children’s literature, and the new mom gets a copy of the book that’s in the quilt as a shower gift. Here goes:

 

There’s another one in the queue – along with a Threads of Resistance quilt, a birthday quilt (actually 2), a reconstructed artquilt, and a LOT of writing….its’ good to be busy!

Free Motion Quilting!

Can you tell I love me my unpolished red satin? This is “Mandala 1: Core,” also published in Linda Seward’s book Ultimate Guide to Art Quilting Techniques. It’s free motion quilting, but the nice thing about using marbled patterns is that you have lines to follow!

I taught beginning free motion quilting this past Saturday and had a FABULOUS time!! When I did my lesson plan for the class, and then as I was going through it with my students, a few things became very clear to me.

  1. Everything starts with a straight line done with the free motion foot. It helps develop rhythm and hand placement. No longer will I start with a motif when teaching beginners.
  2. It’s easy to go from straight line to stippling (large, medium, and micro) as well as figure out how not to get in a corner and have to stop. My students found it very easy to move quickly and easily into curved lines.
  3. At this point we stopped to talk about threads and tension. It seemed a good point, and there were questions cropping up. The biggest problem they (and probably most of us) have is silencing that Inner Critic and realizing we have to practice – most of us aren’t willing to approach it that way at the beginning. (Ask me how I know that…). One person had bobbin issues, and the rest were concerned with moving that upper tension dial, as well as determining if their machine like same thread top and bottom, or another combination. I need to remember for future classes that “same thread top and bottom” may be more helpful to beginners. I’m so used to the quirks of my machine and how to work with different top and bottom
  4. Next pattern was a basic heart-shaped leaf, first learned by me in the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge by quilter Frances Moore.
  5. Pebbles were next – large, medium, fill-ins, different sizes. This seemed a natural progression.
  6. Then spirals, grid patterns, and feathers. No one really got frustrated, mainly because they could see how previous learning morphed into a new pattern pretty easily.

Lots of samples from me so students could see practical applications within actual quilts, as well as all my practice fat quarters that I now use to practice or check tension before beginning a new project.

Best part? Everyone signed up for Intermediate FMQ in March!

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