Archive for the ‘quilts’ Category

Baby Quilt Completed!!

In November I got a package of 8-inch squares from my maid of honor of many years ago. Her daughter was now pregnant, and could I take her work at put it together? I remember Shelby starting these squares the first time we made it back to Vermont in 16 years. Anything for my friend of oh-so-many years!

Kathy and I go way back – and I have promised many times to keep some of our more interesting escapades from her three children (which means a WHOLE LOT of interesting stories are sealed). But I think taking me in the Big Bird costume we built for our play stuffed in the front of my VW for Halloween dinner at KFC is probably pretty harmless. Oh, if only we had digital cameras then……a moment in history gone forever……(and that chicken wire frame did a lot of poking…..)

So on Tuesday I finished the quilt, took pictures, packed it, and shipped it off, where it should be arriving today, two weeks ahead of the baby shower. Here she be –

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Shelby wanted an ocean theme, so the blue is an underwater scene, left over from another quilt project. Love this fabric, and in the light it is even more gorgeous. The border is a stencil of fish, and the two empty blocks (which is the only thing I would revisit if I were to do this again) is some free-motion quilting in a blue Fantastico from Superior Threads.

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So much fun to do!! Now for the next quilt in line, for my yoga instructor…gotta get it done while it’s still cold enough to use!

One of My Ongoing Projects

A Border Full of Geckos

A Border Full of Geckos

Hawaiian Block of the Month from my local quilt shop, Quilter’s Market – which I will SO miss when we move this spring…..

This program is a monthly get-together through our local quilt shop, Quilter’s Market – one of the things I will definitely miss when we move. The theme for this year is Hawaiian Getaway. I’ve been keeping up generally with the blocks, but I will confess to being four  five months behind right now – it’s those deadlines for other quilts…. Forgive the pics – I was in a hurry…..

I decided after my first block that it was just too intense in color, so I made one that was softer, with more light fabrics. that got me started making two blocks a month, one saturated, and one that was lighter. The shop has what they call an “Oops Pack,” for when you make mistakes with the pieces of fabrics you get. I picked up both the light and dark packs, because I really liked the sherbet colors. So instead of 12 blocks at the end of the program, I will have 24. I’m planing to set them on point, with plain blocks in between that I can free-motion. For those I’m planning to use some of my adopted mom’s Hawaiian designs. I also really like the work Judy Madsen does (Green Fairy Quilts) with straight-line quilting, so I’m looking forward to designing the motifs.

Amazing how it used to be enjoying making the quilt top, but now I look forward to the quilting oh so much. The goal is to have the blocks done (April is the last month) before I completely pack up the studio for our move. I know it won’t get put together until the months after we are settled.

Here goes…..

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 I confess to being very curious to see what I come up with for the whole quilt – I do know I am very much looking forward to quilting it!

The Christmas Quilt – Completed!

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I must confess, by Tuesday evening I wasn’t sure I would have the quilt for our good friend completed……We had plans for Wednesday and Thursday, so last-minute was going to be Tuesday evening…..and I still had to finish a rolled hem on a silk scarf………But I made it, hubby photographed it Wednesday morning and finished cutting off miscellaneous threads. It was a HUGE hit last night at the presentation – everyone needed to take a turn snuggling under it! Originally I was going to make another nap quilt, since the first one I made for our friend turned out to be too short to wrap herself in. This ended up queen size…..

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Works in Progress…

More Geckos

More Geckos

…and there are a lot! Four quilts lined up, including the one you’ll see pictures of here.

We have a really great friend here in Tucson, and several years ago I made her a lap quilt as a birthday present. Trouble was, she can’t get completely covered under it when she wants to take a nap on the couch. So I decided for this year to make her a bigger one…..turns out I processed “66 inches” differently from 5 and a half feet. This is one big quilt! It should easily cover his double bed, which is exactly what she would like.

I am using a pattern I saw from Geta Gamma from Romania – I loved the design, especially the quilting, and am doing it in shades of purples and blues. It’s getting quilted to within an inch of its life! Needless to say, I am getting very good at free motion quilting feathers. The stencil work has been interesting – at one point I forgot about the registration marks and turned the pattern, but I am the only one who knows that.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 12.26.16 PM

I caused some bleeding with one of the fabrics when I attempted to use a stain remover to get out the rest of the gray chalk marks. I will need to use a little paint to cover that up. I have 8 days to finish – started about three weeks ago, and I should make the Christmas deadline. It is really looking good.

It is a little tough on the shoulders, cramming that quilt around under my trusty Bernina 1008, but I am getting much better at that. Thankfully the remaining three quilts are all much smaller. After this one, though, I am taking a quick break to do some traditional blocks in a Hawaiian theme for a block of the month, making a queen size quilt for my own bed…..then back to the list!

Some progress pics of my version –

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Sweet hubby helped with all the pinning…..

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Wrestling it under the machine….it’s looking gorgeous!SneakPeak10

Latest FMQ Commission

While I haven’t been posting, I have been moderately busy in the midst of still dealing with illness. I quilted a small wall hanging for my yoga instructor (whose house is now FILLED with art I have made for her). Here are some pics – she made the top and I finished it off.

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The brown blocks have a cathedral square pattern, the center brown and beige have a diamond pattern, the four corner blocks are a leaf pattern, and the green blocks are just a plain stripe.

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PS – this was the picture that made me realize I had forgotten to do one of the patterns……

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And….the back – one of my favorite pieces of fabric…..

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I’m still plugging away……

Out of Asia – Next Challenge from Art Quilts Around the World

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I belong to the online group Art Quilts Around the World, and we have just posted our last challenge, Out of Asia. My piece came out really well, and we pick it up from the framer tomorrow. It just had to be stretched and matted, and if it comes out like we think, it will be spectacular. Here’s the story behind “Ode to Hokusai: DragonFlight.”

This was an interesting challenge. I knew the fabric I wanted to use almost immediately the topic was announced. This was a piece of cotton lame’ that we marbled about 10 years ago. It read Asian to me as soon as I rinsed it out, and it went into the “save” pile for some time in the future for when I could figure out what to do with it. I have done a couple of pieces of cotton lame’, one  of which is on the website – green cotton lame’ called Rainforest. I wanted to do more, because of the properties of lame’, but is seems in the last ten years that formulas have changed, and there seem to be a lot more additives to the fabric. My last attempt at lame’ didn’t work well at all……

So this is the piece that sat on the design wall for six weeks.

 I knew I couldn’t cut it, even though it is slightly smaller on one side and larger on the other from our group sizes. I just couldn’t cut it………so I figured I would just quilt the lines to accent the wave, reminiscent of “The Great Wave” by Hokusai – one of those pieces of artwork I easily recognize every time I see it. It’s almost like I planned that wave, when the whole piece really was an experimentation with a different comb (literally, a small hair comb for teasing the hair).

So I started on the center section, figuring I wold just accent the lines of that wave. Normally I would have pulled out black silk thread, since I really just wanted texture, but the dark green (Silk Kimono by Superior) kept calling my name. It is so subtle, but what it did was soften the black in the design – which I liked. Who knew? And with the light on it – it’s perfect.

I loved it when it was done – so much of a great wave, you could almost match it up with the master! So I kept looking at it and pondering where I would go from there……how much more would get quilted?

Serendipity struck, in the form of hubby the other marbling artist…who took one look and said, “I thought you were doing a wave? This is an amazing dragon. ” From then on the dragon was the overall image I saw every time I looked at the piece, so I just had to listen and figure out the next steps.

There is some very light blue within the colors, so I chose a blue silk Kimono thread to accent the blue, sort of like glistening dragon wings (too much Anne McCaffrey and Pern….). Then I wanted to do more quilting in the background to accent the idea of flight, so I went with a pale orange silk Kimono, just for wind and/or wave ripples. I ripped out a few lines because it just seemed like too much. Finally I just said “done,” because it seemed to have everything it needed. It is at Michaels right now getting stretched on foam core and a 2-inch black mat, as it said “I want to be framed.”

Above all, I listen…..

You can see other fabulous pieces here.

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In Retrospect – Year 2 of Retirement

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I’ve been retired now for two years. Last year on the one-year anniversary I took a look at what I accomplished for the year. I was afraid of looking back on retirement and not seeing anything to show for it. So I tracked everything this year. The last four months have been pretty fallow, as I struggled with some personal issues, but I feel like I am finally reclaiming myself. All in all, I had a pretty productive year.

SAQA quilt submitted to major show

SAQA auction quilt submission

continued blogging

Tried out Tophatter, gave it up after some really obnoxious feedback from an a-hole, who actually burned my quilt

Newsletters for 10 out of 12 months

Wrote a dozen blogs for Handmadeology

Remade hubby’s blue quilt

Participated in the free motion quilting challenge through the end of the year

Yoga instruction throughout the year, including pretty regular daily practice

Completed two more table runners for Momma BettyTableRunner4

Completed Stepping Stones table runner

Completed “Clammin’,” a small art quilt up on Etsy

Completed pattern and two samples for the table runner pattern

Sold “DesertScapes”

Machine-quilted the Forest quilt

Machine-quilted two bed-stand table-toppers and one dresser scarf

Worked at stocking and marketing the Etsy store

Took a Quilt University class with Elizabeth Barton

Finished Spring Wall Hanging

Guest post on Craft Gossip

Finished makeover of small Christmas quilt

Pictures in Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring issueMSWeddings

Quilted Ali’s green picture

Participated in three challenges for Art Quilts Around the World

Took two Craftsy classes

Joined Galleribba online gallery

Potentialgallery  representation starting fall 2013 in Tubac

Participated in StashFest again this year for the La Conner Quilt Museum

Submissions for three books, one accepted, the other as an ebook

Green and purple whole cloth quilts completed

Started commission of 7 quilted chakras, finished Root chakra

Completed two bed-stand table toppers and one long dresses scarf

Accepted into the juried Faculty/Staff art show for The Art Institute of Tucson

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There are probably a couple more, but the mind has been kind of blank. It’s nice to have this list, so I know I accomplished a lot! Now I have to start the new one for year three.

Top Ten Tuesday

Spending some time getting caught up with blogs….and wondering why Google burps up – on a regular basis – blogs I’ve deleted. There is enough OCD in me to want to keep my list clean. I think I may have discovered a permanent way to fix this….we shall see. But a lot of interesting stuff this week!

From NBC News, the diver who saved the dolphin.

Fractals – built from business cards – what a great student math activity this would be!

A lot of interesting stuff from the 365 Project. First up – tips for winter landscaping photography

Here’s some more amazing photography:

Fire and Ice, Jake Sorenson

A Muppet spoof on Downton Abbey – LOVE Lady Violet!

Quilling – an amazing technique, and check these out. Gorgeous!! Quilled Paper Anatomy by Lisa Nilsson

Alison Schwabe’s blog has a story about the tent makers of Cairo – absolutely fascinating. I would love to see the finished documentary.

The Textile and Fiber Art List is three years old! Here’s a celebratory video of over 400 artists and a sample of their work. Amazing eye candy!

Art Quilts Around the World just finished their new challenge – Portraits. (and yes, I’m one of them….) Loved looking through all the entries and overflowing with ideas!

And finally, a 360 degree look – from occipital.com. 360Verse. Very interesting.

Have a great week!!

52 Sparks, Week 2 – Appreciation vs. Approval, Plus FMQ

 This week of 52 Sparks had a really interesting question that I pondered a bit. The question: How do you appreciate yourself? I had to think long and hard about this one. I think I was confusing appreciation with approval, and it took me the longest time over the years to not worry about family approval. I needed to start appreciating me for me, and what I did and succeeded at because I was pleased, not someone else…..kinda rambling, but I hope it makes sense.

Appreciation: I go for walks to think about what I’m doing, I take time off to read – some times days at a time to just immerse myself in some books. Mostly, though, I appreciate myself by giving myself free rein to make art. And with retirement, I am taking more time to appreciate what I’m learning and creating. In fact, three new commissions over this week. It is just so delightful to quilt away for hours (with the occasional back break) and see the progress.

That said, here’s what happened with art this week. Last time I had the stencil traced on to the green fabric in preparation for my first whole quilt. Now all I need to do is square it off and bind it. I LOVE IT!!!! I NEVER thought I would be able to free motion a whole cloth. Yay me!

So here they are – better pics when the binding is finished.

 All are Superior Threads, Bottom Line in bobbin, Silk Kimono in background, and Fantastic variegated in the design.

 

52 Sparks – Week 4 – Aloneness

This was an interesting question this week: How do you feel when you are by yourself?

I spend a huge amount of time time by myself, usually working on something artistic. It seems like I have always been by myself growing up…and yet, you can never be by yourself when you have a good book. And that is still true.

But I never had a lot of friends. I am quite the introvert, so moving to something artistic just seemed a natural. I think my introversion became even stronger, given my position in a family of extroverts, coupled with emotional abuse. So I am accustomed to being by myself. My husband and I do most everything together – we are each other’s best friend. The fact that we can – and do – work at art together is a great plus for us.

I can remember my dad asking me how I was, one time when he came to visit. I said I was lonely. I did a lot of things by myself, and I could always read, but I think it was more a case of seeing friends with others of the opposite sex, and I would wonder what was wrong with me. I finally decided if I was going to be single, then it would not keep my from doing whatever I wanted to do.  Alone can be very good – I get a lot of work done on fiber pieces, a lot of planning. Especially with retirement. So when I do have “alone” time, I plan projects or lose myself in a good book.

So since I haven’t started something new, I decided to try a “whole cloth” quilt because of the class I’m taking on Craftsy with Cindy Needham. I had the really great stencil from about 12 years ago…..I finally found where I had “stored” it. I pulled a green piece with some interesting tonal print to see what would happen. Here’s the latest “in progress:”

Of course, most of the yellow marker has already rubbed off…….

Work in Progress – More FMQ

Sewing sewing sewing…lots of thinking and planning and actual sewing. Loose ends galore, but I am slowly working through them. I don’t have enough projects, so I took apart a second Christmas quilt I made when I was practicing rotary cutting and piecing from either Better Homes and Gardens or American Quilting. I pulled it how for the decorations, but the quilting is appalling, given what I know now, so I took it all apart one night. This time I was smart enough to take a “before” picture. The lighting is off, as the top portion is as white as the bottom part.

One of the things I learned in doing this quilt is that we have borders for a reason. When I did the layout, I was surprised to see that I had unwittingly planned the stars on a white and a beige, and everything went together perfectly. It looked fine to me, I didn’t think I needed a border. Once I got the binding on, the quilt just looked so unfinished. Since all the Christmas fabrics are out again, I know I can get some more of the red and green that will be the same tones. I also don’t like the backing – too “dull” in color, and doesn’t really work with the reds and greens. So this goes on the list.

I took advantage of the sales on classes at Craftsy, and I bought two of them: Cindy Needham and Jane Dunnewold. I am five lessons through Cindy’s already, and it has been more than worth the money – learned loads so farm, and as I progress, I will have several quilts that I can practice on.

Including the two dresser scarves to complete the set in our bedroom. I started the long one  on one end, planning to do a lot of experimentation. So I used some Razzle Dazzle thread in the bobbin and did a complete stencil in the middle of that fat quarter. Not bad. Then I was thinking about how to finish off this one-third. I squared off the stencil motif and did a small decorative stitch around the stencil. Wasn’t happy with it, so I made the decorative stitch larger and went around again. It certainly stabilized the quilt. The I decided to do a variation of a tangle, with curved criss-crosses. Biggest lesson? Space the lines further apart…..this is going to take a while to finish….Here’s progress so far.

It will be good to use these scarves to practice all the FMQ patterns that Cindy will be showing. And then I have this “portrait” project to work on….and the pattern….and the list goes on…..

Work in Progress

I definitely have work in progress…I just never manage to get it up on a Wednesday….so here goes anyway. I finished my table topper for my bed stand, and I was really pleased with how it turned out. I used ideas from the October and November FMQ challenges. First time I used a stencil when I wasn’t hand quilting, and I tried all kinds of techniques, including a not-really-successful trapunto, but I’m learning. Both table toppers are bound in the same purple, even though the designs are totally different on both of them.

This is hubby’s topper.

From Last month:

I was very pleased at how it worked out. My first experiment with water-soluble thread was somewhat successful. But the amount of free motion I managed to do really surprised me. We still have two dresser scarves from the same set of fat quarters. I have an idea for hubby’s using some of the techniques I’ve seen in Diane Gaudynski’s book, but that will have to wait till after the holidays. I am still working on the last table runner for my second mom, due next week in time for Thanksgiving, so that’s the next priority.

However, I had to take some sewing time strictly for myself. I took this ten-plus-year-old quilt apart late summer, and I finally am getting to redoing it for the holidays, plus turning it into a new tutorial for quilting marbled fabric, this time the nonpareil pattern, a very traditional marbled design. It was just quilted in the ditch and looked really blah…..

Now I have some photos of quilting the marbled fabric in the center of each of the stars. I really want them to pop out.

I’ve just started quilting the center of the star.

I’ve got the centers of the stars done now, and I am doing micro-stippling in all the green. Going pretty fast, which bodes well for getting the tutorial completed! Hopefully more time tomorrow….

A UFO Finally Finished!

About three years ago (I date time from where I remember living while making this piece) I started what I called my “forest quilt,” as a result of Stripper’s Club, at my local quilt shop. The quilt looked masculine, so I figured it would be good for hubby. I got the top done in about a month of working on it school nights…and then it sat, because I just didn’t know how to quilt it. Didn’t want to do stitch-in-the-ditch,” and I just couldn’t imagine stippling the whole thing.

This past January I started the Free Motion Quilting Challenge with SewCalGal. I have learned SO much! From the very first pattern of leaves, my skills have grown by leaps and bounds. When I made my list of unfinished projects, this was on it. When I finished the last table runner for my second mom, I decided to work on this, because now I had a bunch of ideas for what to do in a quilt with a lot of straight lines and ninety-degree angles.

Before I actually started the quilting, I read Karen McTavish’s book of McTavishing, which I got for my birthday. I really liked what she said about adding texture to the quilt by using threads that are thin and blend in with the background. So….Bottom Line by Superior Thread in the bottom, and a light and dark Bottom Line for the top. I decided on a rosette (a variation of a feather) for each of the centers, and partial rosettes for the partial blocks. Along the way of quilting this large quilt, I got very used to moving it through and around the machine. One of the best lessons in free motion came early on, with the advice to learn how to do your pattern sideways and upside down. The only place I had to wrestle and turn the quilt was with the straight lines in each block.

Frances Moore leaves, Angela Waters swirls, Diane Gaudynski feathers/rosettes, and about 15 hours later the quilting was done.

The back looks amazing, if I say so myself. And….my border is to die for! Love the feathers, done with a Rainbow thread also from Superior. The quilt overall was a lot of fun to do, as I had a lot of variety within the quilting designs. The safety pins worked for basting, and I think I only had two tucks in the whole backing. I used a thin batting, and I’m so glad, because the quilt is actually pretty heave. It’s hanging on the wall right now, because since it’s still 90-plus degrees, I’m still weeks away from needing it to stay warm.

Here it is. For no blocking, it hangs pretty straight.

You can see the texture from this angle. I was looking at it the morning after we photographed it in the dining room, and with the natural light coming from the right, I could see the quilting. Lesson learned for the photography in the future.

Close-up of one of the edges. You can see the partial rosette.

The border – all the way around – and it really didn’t take that long. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the border!! NEVER thought I would be able to do feathers!

On the bed – another look at texture.

The back….

…and the back again…..

Learned so much! Thanks SewCalGal for this amazing year of challenges!

Second Design Photo Analysis

I worked with another photo last night, and I didn’t have nearly the success with adjustments and filters as I did with the first photo. Now I need to think through why that is so. Here’s the new photo – driftwood from Vashon Island in Puget Sound.

Well, crap….seems like I did it again in saving…or not saving. I need to remember to save everything as a psd file first to preserve the layers, and then save each piece individually. Okay, bottom line, nothing really spoke to me with the different adjustments, so I need to think through why that is so.

Is it because this is a fairly abstract image to begin with, mostly line and color? Perhaps that is why I am so fascinated with tree bark to begin with. The lines, shadows, differing colors to create the texture. And this picture, knowing it is driftwood, also reeks of a hidden history after being tossed in the water and then left high and dry. But how would I create some of that mystery?

What initially prompted me to take a picture of this? Probably all the smooth curved lines and the knot.

Looks like all kinds of interesting lichen within all those folds. The colors are so subtle, but at the same time I see a nice interplay of line and shadow.

I look at that knot and see a captured sea spirit. The more I look at this one, the more I am intrigued by it. The curves are so soft amidst all that hardness.

Now that I look at a couple of additional questions, I am stumped. Main idea? I like the thought of a captured sea spirit. Areas worth keeping? I can see leaving out everything else from these two crops. Other elements to add? No clue. But as I ponder, the first thought that comes to mind is to carry the lichen out into a border, and maybe the overall piece doesn’t need to be square or rectangular, maybe more oval so that the spirit seems encased and surrounded but is really still there. Don’t know if that is making sense….

How and where can more pizazz be added? Again, no clue. But…perhaps a lot of thread painting would be needed for surface texture.

I can see this going to sketches as the next step and seeing what develops from there. Comments?

Work in Progress Wednesday – Learning Lots!!

Well, this has been a week of learning experiences, including running the machine needle through the tip of my finger. I’m somewhat frazzled deciding on a project, since I don’t have any looming deadlines. I do, however, have a list of projects that need doing, so I picked one from that list and then added another.

First, from the UFO list. Several years ago (going on three?) I took a class with a friend on a Judy Niemeyer pattern, Stepping Stones. You can see the pattern here. Originally it was going to be a king-sized bed quilt, but I was still teaching, so that got put on hold. When I reorganized the studio (twice), the blocks made it into the UFO pile, and when I made my list in May of projects, I listed these. But….I listed them as a potential table runner, figuring that way they would be done, and I could actually use the table runner, as we have a new dining room set (new to us – we’re babysitting it for a friend). I would also have enough for 6 placemats, too.

Well, there were loads of problems. Could I find the black fabric I was using for connector strips (three searches)? Could I do all the matching, since it had been about 3 years? How would I quilt it? What would I use for backing? I got the four completed blocks into one runner, and then I spent the next three hours taking out all the paper….note to self: you still need to vacuum. The blue I thought to use for backing was a stretchy polyester that wasn’t long enough, so plan B was leftover dark blue from another quilt back. Then I had to buy batting.

Finally everything is together and ready for quilting…..and I had no idea what to do for the quilting. Didn’t seem like feathers would work. Didn’t want to do a stitch-in-the-ditch. Tried some outlining, but I didn’t like it. Then I thought about the overall loopy pattern from the May challenge, but ended up picking all that out. I realized I would need to go with monopoly thread, so the stitching wasn’t obvious. And I was playing around with tension, including two more ripping sessions.

I tried doing some partial circles on each block, so it would look like rippled water. And then I discovered the settings on my machine were set for the decorative stitch I used in the black borders. Seems like I still had the setting on one of the decorative stitches, and I was trying to free motion and there was a lot of drag. I also discovered that I could use a variation of a zigzag stitch and still have the feed dogs up. Turns out I liked the ripple effect, and that’s what I went with for the rest of the runner. Here’s a pic:

Here’s the finished table runner, which is absolutely perfect on the table. It will work with any of the leaves when we put them in.

Then I was feeling somewhat at loose ends. I had been watching The Quilt Show and following the color lessons from Michelle Jackson. I decided to do the first color study, and again I learned a huge amount. The first lesson was really interesting, especially since I have a lot of trouble choosing and working with color. This was to take  a monochromatic color and determine dark, medium, and light. I chose greens, because I have a lot in the stash. I discovered that when I’m choosing, I really need to analyze tones and hues. I also need to be sure there is definite contrast. The first study I did was the one where you had a light, medium, and dark, with not a huge amount of contrast. I did not have enough contrast within those three colors.

I also was working with fusing for like the second time ever, and my pattern pieces were not always meeting up. I spent a lot of time trying to make this piece look like something – going back to linear me and not being able to just work without it having to be “something.”

I finally got all the pieces ironed down, and I felt I was moderately successful. Mostly because I learned a great deal about choosing the colors. I was still trying to figure out what to do with the piece. Yes, it’s just an exercise, but the linear part of me needs it to be “something.” Ideally I want to be able to work with light, medium, and dark marbled fabric, but I can see I have a long way to go.

Again, I couldn’t figure out what to do with quilting it. I tried out one decorative stitch and didn’t like it. I reverted back to the satin stitch I was doing two table runners ago. All of a sudden I began to like the piece more. It began to look more “painterly,” and pretty abstract in a pleasing way. I ended up binding in, and the piece would work as a nice little runner or table mat for a vase. It’s going up in my Etsy store.

Who knows where I’m headed next? There are 6 placemats to finish…..

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