So often in these past 4-5 years something has happened in our country or in the world that makes me want to create things as a response to feelings of outrage. I’ve scrapped so many ideas that focused on negative quotes and statements in the news – the thought of intensely stewing in bile for the 20-40 hours it takes to make a quilt is simply toxic.
With this in mind, I focused on imagining what I wanted to happen. Inspired by a giant “blue wave” sign made from thousands of blue Post-It notes at the March for Women, I set out to create my own blue wave.
The background is various blue/violet Kona cotton fabrics and was pieced using a variation of the “Disappearing Nine-Patch” design. I cut it up further and pieced it back together to create a more jumbled background. It finished as a wall hanging at 36″ x 36″.
I knew I wanted to make the waves by quilting, but was worried the busy-ness of the background would make the quilting get lost. My first attempt at this was to create and sew three bias tape waves that I’d fill in with big-stitch hand-quilting using various white and blue colors of pearl cotton. Once I did this, however, I thought it looked cartoony and silly.
I was disappointed as it really didn’t have the feel I was going for. So – there’s always the seam ripper! I sewed around the bias tape, pulled it out and added a lot more quilting and, while still subtle, am very happy with the end result.
This quilt invites you to take a closer look. From farther away, you see the patch of blue, and a few shadows swirling across it. Closer up, the eye wanders around and through the stitching like a labyrinth.
I take such joy in repurposing fabric from clothing. I’ve used my downtime during the pandemic to clean out closets, “get real” about what I really like to wear and will be wearing in the future, and donating clothing to Goodwill for better purposes. I set aside a set of linen dresses that I’d worn out, or just didn’t fit or look right on me, and cut them into various long strips and pieces and began to put back together as a quilt. The result is the Five Dresses quilt (56″x79″). Once pieced, it was quite saggy and droopy. Before quilting, I heavily spray basted it (in my backyard – why haven’t I been doing this back there all these years and instead cramming myself in my enclosed garage?) and then densely quilted it. I love the process of just sewing strips and pieces together without much though except for trying to get light/dark variation, and using up as much of the fabric as possible. Using what I had on hand, the colors just turned out to work together. It definitely has the feelings of Gees Bend and Rose Lee Tompkins. I’m looking around our closets to see what else I might repurpose – nothing is safe!
I just came back from a whirlwind business trip waltzing across Texas. It involved driving over 600 miles from Dallas, Austin, San Antonio to Houston in just 5 days. Having grown up in Houston and being a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, I always love getting back to visit my state, family and friends, even when it’s well over 100 degrees in each location!
It was definitely worth the side trip – I’m so glad I went! The Texas Quilt Museum is in a beautifully renovated 1890’s building with three lovely gallery spaces. The entry gallery features 21 of the “Ruby Jubilee” red-and-white quilts that were previously on display in 2014 to celebrate the 40th – or “ruby”- anniversary of the International Quilt Festival. Another gallery featured “Animal Instincts” by Annie Helmericks-Louder.
But I was especially excited to see the third exhibit: “On the Fringe: Innovative Art Quilts from California and Nevada” that features 20 art quilts by members of the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA). Even better, that my Bee Modern San Francisco quilting buddy, Cathy Miranker‘s quilt “Sorta Sonia” was on display at the exhibit! The docent let me take a few photos because I told her I knew Cathy and was pointing it out to everyone there (photos are not allowed by the TQM – but the willing docent took the photos for me – I was legal, promise!)
Me with “Sorta Sonia” by Cathy Miranker
Gallery space of SAQA exhibit
Next door there is also a fabulous quilt and knitting store, The Quilted Skein, with a very large selection of gorgeous fabrics – things I have only seen together online. I was told that those who are both knitters and quilters have a hard time deciding where to focus! Knitting on the right hand side of the store, quilting on the left. Both look great!
Make a trip to visit the Texas Quilt Museum if you are between Austin and Houston – worth the trip!
It’s been awhile since my last post – not that I haven’t been quilting and sewing! This is a gift I made for a colleague who really went above and beyond on a recent event for a program within the nonprofit we work for. The program acronym is YES – which fits nicely on a pillow! I think she liked it.
This is a detail of a “made fabric” improv block I hammered out last weekend. This is about 10 inches of a bigger piece that so far is about 20″x20″. I adore creating these! I don’t know what I’m making, how big it’ll get, what it will look like or what it’s for – I just take my latest pile of teeny tiny scraps and go into my sewing trance. In this case I’m using leftovers from the Tomato & Tangerine quilt and contrasting pillows in turquoise and greens. FUN!
Orange is my favorite color! I’ve wanted to make an orange quilt for our room and started by experimenting with giant blocks made from large half square triangles (finished block is 16″). I used Kona Tangerine and Tomato Cotton Solids. When view it from far away – like on the design wall in my sewing space in the garage – I like they way it looks. However, it’s overwhelming up close! Quite eye searing in our small bedroom! The window light reflects bright orange all over the ceiling and walls to boot. I’ll give it a try for now – it needs pillows in a cool color to on it to mellow the burn!
I’m honored to have received two ribbons in the San Francisco Quilters Guild 2015 show In March!
I received 3rd place for Selvedge Salvage. This quilt uses the, often thrown away, selvedge end of the fabric. While making other quilts over the past decade, I’ve diligently saved all these pieces in the hope of eventually sewing something out of all the selvedge scraps I’ve been collecting (Confession: a few pieces I actually bought just because I liked the way the selvedge looked!) I enjoy text patterns in fabric and get a kick out of the names of some lines of fabric (like Michael Miller’s “Dysfunctional Family”!)
I love the idea of letting nothing go to waste. Also, I enjoy looking at the quilt and remembering what project each little fabric piece came from and, in many cases, to whom the original was gifted. I already have a bag of extras for the next selvedge quilt project!
Selvedge Salvage – a collection of selvedges from a decade of sewing
Selvedge Salvage detail
I received an Honorable Mention for Scrappy Jewels. This quilt is a rainbow collection of 4″ “made fabric” squares on point, that were created from very small scraps of leftover fabric. I just love sewing together these little random pieces into squares! Each square created seems like a little precious artwork jewel to me, hence the name Scrappy Jewels. I started this project with the intent of clearing out my scrap bin but it appears to have hardly made a dent in my scrap piles!
Scrappy Jewels detail
I was unable to attend the show as I was away for work, but am so grateful for the talented and dedicated folks from my guild for their devotion and hard work to put on the show. Thank you, SFQG!
I’ve not been much on mini-quilts, but this may just change my mind! This is my “challenge” entry for the San Francisco Quilt Guild 2015 show in March. The theme is “Ocean” and the quilt must be 20″x20″. It allowed me to do something very detailed, very small and very quilted. I was inspired by the work of Ann Brauer.