Friday, May 25, 2012

Summer's coming...

I find it hard to believe that the first day of summer is less than a month away. It has been a beautiful spring with lots of rain to make everything lush and green. My garden flowers are loving it. However, in my time, I wonder where it has all gone. Maybe it's my age, but each day runs like a river into the next. I often have to look at the calendar to know what day of the week it is.

I got to spend some time at the Cloth and Bobbin on Wednesday talking to Johanna about possible summer classes. I sat on the floor looking at patterns and fabrics, having very little time constraints....a rare thing, indeed. Our first decision was to use some of David Butler's fabric. We chose 4 fabrics from his "Curious Nature" line. As I began to cut the initial squares, I realized that they all really needed to be fussy-cut due to the bold design and the nature of the pattern. 

Next, we chose a cool paper-pieced wall hanging that will be done in these fabrics, some of which are from M & S Textiles Australia. Rich colors and crazy Aboriginal designs are enough to get my creative energies flowing.

I've also been working on a quilt from Karen Combs' book, Celtic Pieced Illusions, using a yellow to orange range of batiks for the background with a beautiful fall-colored ginkgo leaf batik for the interlocking design.

So, how many projects do I have going on at the same time?......oh no...too many. I also just got my Block Swap partner for June, so add that to the list....oh, and keep working on the BOM for the fall....deep breath!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Create something....anything!

I was so excited when Sarah finished my placemats. I made a set of twelve.

She chose a beautiful Sashiko quilt pattern to enhance the bamboo Paintstik panel and the fabric my mom brought back from Japan 15 years ago!

Now, I have my work cut out for me binding them all, but I'm getting started.

I've had a new project in mind for a bit, and yesterday, while working in the shop, I found the perfect combination of fabrics for it. I believe I'm already thinking fall....wanting to just skip the 98 degree humid summer days in Philly.

I finished the center piece for the new block-of-the-month that I am working on for the fall (there it is favorite season). Now, I will begin the twelve blocks that will surround this. I'm ready to go...

My days are simply filled with looking for time with my machine....but the cat littler is calling again, and the dishes are begging to be cleaned....not to mention that my children want to eat. I could go without food and sleep just to be in my studio creating something...anything! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Color Wheel...

Who doesn't love color?! As a child, didn't we all love that new box of crayons or colored pencils? Before one ever came out of the package, I know I hesitated for at least a few seconds to take in the full array of untainted color. I have not changed a bit. A new stack of fabric, a new set of Prismacolor pencils, a new set of fractals for a canvas...I have to allow time to take it in. Color is mesmerizing!

I have this color wheel hanging in my studio...a constant reminder of what I love.

So when I found this pattern at Stitched in Color, I knew immediately that I wanted to make this...for me!

It was a great way to play with all of my batiks. I'm not sure if this will replace the color wheel on my studio wall or find a home on some other wall in my home. I wouldn't even mind it on the ceiling above my bed so that it is the first and last thing I see each day. Color inspires me!

I have just begun working up a sample for the new BOM class that will hopefully begin in the fall. Paper-pieced stars again in a very different setting. Should be fun!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Our online selves...

In general, bloggers keep their private lives off their blogs. We all put our best foot forward and choose not to talk about the problems that are an inevitable part of life. I have noticed that this has been a recent subject of two blogs that I follow....both bloggers decided to be adventurous and get personal. The responses were numerous, thoughtful, and genuine.

Quilting, sewing, creating....these are the things that keep my life in balance. These are the activities that help me manage the rocky terrain of life. So, this is what I talk about. However, here's my moment of disclosure. Lately, life has felt like a game of dodgeball, and when I was least expecting it, I got blind-sided with a ball and got up stunned. It happens...and it hurts like hell. I haven't even had the energy to take the cover off my machine.

Recently, I have become greatly inspired by the work of a lovely woman, Masha Novoselova. She is a remarkable fiber artist. Through her, I have become interested in the revival of the Crazy Quilt. I haven't done embroidery work in many, many years. Last night, after making a small crazy quilt block, I got out my needles and floss and began.

Masha had given me some general direction and ideas for stitches and placement, but I realized that as you work, the fabric begins to speak to you. I found myself asking, "What do you want and where?" In the process, I learned the blanket stitch, the cretan stitch, and the threaded back stitch.

I have only begun. I have a lot more to do. If I add beads, I will need to go get a tiny needle. Not everything that I stitched stayed on. You just have to love your seam ripper and embroidery scissors for removing everything that goes awry. I am hoping that I end up with something that I like. Regardless, it was fun to begin something new that progresses at a slow pace. I need slow right now!

Last week, I got the border on my morning glories. I think maybe the French knots was the beginning of something new...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Holding the World

A new friend recently shared with me the artwork of Nicholas Roerich. I was particularly struck by one piece called Holds the World. It is currently my desktop picture. I have decided to name this new quilt top "Holding the World." I photographed it this morning on my grass that desperately needs to be cut, so the quilt did not lay flat. I'm planning to enlarge it a bit with a border of some kind but have made no definite decisions. At least the bulk of it is done, and I can begin putting together something for a new BOM class that will probably start in the fall.

This pattern comes from an old Quilts with Style magazine from 2006. The 12 block patterns can be found here. My first one was done in batiks and set like this...

What a difference!

Friday, May 04, 2012

One-third of the way...

I'm sitting at my computer on a Friday afternoon thinking about the fact that one-third of the year is already gone. It's actually difficult to wrap my head around the movement of time. Four months ago, I decided that blogging might help me get some work done around here. I think that in many ways the idea has brought success. However, the prime idea was to finish projects that I had already started, and what I've accomplished has been a mixture of many things. So, I started putting my sewing into categories. I have real unfinished projects, I have stash projects, I have brand new projects where I grudgingly have to go out and buy fabric (hahaha), I have class prep projects, and finally the Block Swap Adventure.

Although I felt as if I kept very busy during April, I don't have that much to show for it. I made a ribbon quilt top for a friend, made a Judy Niemeyer quilt top, "Reflections", made the red and white New York Beauty for a class, bound four quilts, and participated in my first block swap..

So May is here, and I'm plugging away at the new setting for my brown star BOM class. I only have one more piece to construct for the corners.

Then, I need to go over to the shop and pick up the other six star blocks and put it all together. This is what I have so far...

I also finished constructing all of the morning glory squares, put them together, and embroidered yellow French knots in the center of each flower.

Now, a border?

I guess I need a new stash pick, don't I? hmmmmm...