October Already

Despite all the limitation we face right now the days are flying by!

wip — Commission 36″ x 36″

The Backyard Escape piece resulted in a commission from a hospital in Virginia. They selected 12 quilts from the Backyard Escape portfolio to be interpreted as square in a larger size. I love a square format and so far the design is working to my satisfaction. Luckily I had additional ice-dyed fabric that I was able to piece for a similar background. I need to add leaves to the Veronica. Then cut and applique the Butterfly weed. The first quilt had 2 butterflies. This may want more. It will tell me how many.

Last weekend I participated in a small outdoor art show in a private community. It was a perfect October day. So enjoyable to be out with people even wearing masks and “social distancing”.

Now its back to the commission. I want to work on the crane piece but that needs to wait its turn.

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Three steps forward and two steps back

The International Crane Foundation has been presenting Zoom sessions on cranes for the past few months. The sessions on Sandhill Cranes prompted me to make yet another crane inspired piece.

The background fabrics are my own hand-dyes. I’m slowly working with the composition.

I build each crane on a piece of parchment so I can move them around. I’ve re-done a couple of them more than once. I’m still not set on the number and size of each, so the background is pinned and not yet quilted. I may decide to change the size/shape.

Yes, the legs are missing. They are thin and fragile. I plan to make them from a non-woven interfacing that I will paint black. Betty Busby does this and I hope it will work for me.

I’ll keep plugging away until I have a composition I like. Any suggestions?

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If You Plant it…

they will come.

My pollinator garden is my field of dreams. I started it last summer as soon as we had a slew of overgrown Leland Cypress trees removed from the middle of the back yard. I fought with the weeds and the heavy clay soil. I planted several butterfly bushes, black eyed Susans, Coneflowers, Veronica, Joe Pye Weed, etc. I learned that southern weeds are much more aggressive than northern Michigan weeds. Plus lots of them have thorns.

Most of my perennials came back this spring. The weeds were quickly overtaking them. I found a great landscaper who cleaned the beds, put down landscape cloth and bark dust. What a difference. I am continuing to fill in with new plants. I came home from the nursery yesterday with more two varieties of Crocosmia (for the hummingbirds), Phlox and Coreopsis. I hope to plant them tomorrow since its nearly 90 degrees this afternoon.

It doesn’t look like much from a distance (the deck) but enough is blooming to attract the pollinators. The butterflies, hummingbirds and hummingbird moths have all shown up as well as several variety of bees. In the fall we’ll move some the rhododendrons to allow for more light–and more space for flowers.

Butterfly weed, Joe Pye Weed, Veronica and dwarf goldenrod all blooming.
Black eyed Susans and Purple Coneflower, three butterfly bushes

This is is what I hope a corner of it will look like next summer:

If You Plant it 18″ x 24″

I hope to find out if it will be selected to travel with the “Backyard Escape” exhbit.

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Ready for Butterflies

I think black butterflies, some kind of Swallowtail.

Working on this has been a joy. With luck it will be selected to travel and might bring a little bit of joy into a hospital.

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Dog Days of Summer

Its been hot here. I guess its hot all over. My days have developed a fairly steady rhythm that begins with a 2 mile walk with my dog, Bridget. We get out early while its still cool and we have the benefit of shade along the pretty country road which is our favorite walk. Then, depending on the day, it either out to the yard for weeding and watering or down to the studio for my online yoga practice. So I usually don’t get to work until after lunch, if at all.

I finished the “Gypsy Baby” which will be donated to the Asheville Quilt Guild Silent Auction during out 2021 Quilt Show. Like most events, our 2020 show is cancelled.

Gypsy Baby 16″ x 23.5″

I finally got around to sewing the sleeve on a piece I made last spring at the beginning of the pandemic. We’d been seeing gorgeous sunrises every day which inspired “A Brighter Day”. I used a lot of my own hand-dyed and discharged fabrics.

A Brighter Day 27″ x 46″

I have been stumbling around trying to start something new. Last week I happened upon a call for quilts for the Sacred Threads Back Yard Escape Exhibit which will travel to several hospitals and some quilt shows. I am passionate about art in hospitals so I was inspired to start something even though the deadline is less than 3 weeks away.

The best part of my own backyard is my pollinator garden so I chose 3 flowers from it, Veronica, Purple Coneflower, and Butterfly Weed. I’m using one of my ice dyed fabric for the background.

I’ve assembled the flower clusters, fused onto freezer paper and pinned more or less where they will be fused after the background is quilted. I’ll free-cut the stems and leaves at that time.

The butterfly (or butterflies) will be created once the flowers are fused and stitched. They will tell me what kind of butterfly they want to visit.

If (big if) there is time, I’d like to try a second quilt. I have an idea but it will wait until this is done. I need one to make the deadline. But having a new idea is a good thing.

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Now the difficult part

I’ve pretty much squared up the Gypsy Wife quilt. I may tweak it a bit more but for now I’m enjoying it on the design wall. Its a happy quilt.

I’ve had a hard time getting started on anything new. I have at least 3 challenges I’ve been invited to participate in. All three have good themes and doable perimeters. Still I find myself stuck in coming up with a idea for any of them.

So I set to work on a mini version of a Gypsy Wife type quilt to donate to the 2021 Asheville Quilt Guild’s Silent Auction. I am in charge of the function at the show and need to write something (anything!) monthly in our newsletter. When I finish this I can write about it and invite members to send photos of their donations.

Also I thought by just working I may get inspired to begin one of the challenges or at least start on the next pollinator piece. So far lightning has not struck.

I enjoyed making the blocks, particularly the new ones. Playing with bright colors is just plain fun. Now the difficult part: figuring out the strips and the placement. The quilt needs to be no larger than 24″ x 24″. I started by using my small portable design board and sort of winging it. I see that I may need to get out the graph paper.

My goal is to have it quilted by next week. Wish me luck.

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Gypsy Wife Assembled

I meant to post this on Monday but had a little runaway kitty incident. I found him up a tree in the woods behind the house, after hopping the fence, tripping over vines and cutting myself up rather badly. When he saw me he came down on his own and is safe at home.

The Gypsy Wife quilt is pieced. The last section gave me fits. Isn’t that always the case. I am not sure yet if it will square up and lie flat. For now it is “resting” on the design wall. The long-arm quilter thinks she can take it in July or August. Glad I am not attempting to quilt this myself.

In the meantime I finished the binding and sleeve for a small abstract for a group challenge. The group was intrigued with the catalogue from the Studio Art Quilt Associates “Sightlines” exhibit (2010-2013). https://www.saqa.com/art/saqa-exhibitions/exhibition-archives

They decided take a slightly different route. Essentially the pieces were to “connect” via a black line that was 3/4″ when it entered and exited the piece. The line could change size and move wherever it pleased within the composition. Unfortunately for me I was not at the meeting where this was decided and had no say in these rules. You can probably tell from my tone that I did not like the rules but apparently everyone else was fine with them so I had no choice but to go along.

The first piece which may be called “A Brighter Day” resisted the line. I still need to put a binding on this one.

27″ x 46″

The second piece is totally abstract and worked better with the black line. I enjoyed working on it and may play around with this concept in some different colors and without having to extend a line.

23.5″ x 25.5″

Here’s a picture of my little runaway, Magnum PI. He’s a good studio cat. Doesn’t get into my fabric or even my yarn.

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More progress on my Gypsy Wife

Finished section 8 today and began section 9. Need to make another Old Maid Puzzle and then section 9 will be ready for strips.

I only used 4 fabrics for Hope for the Hartford block (bottom left). As hard as I tried I could not find a 4th fabric I liked in this combo so as usual I did my own thing.

The black batik is special for me as it has a story. Years ago Princess Mirah batiks commissioned a quilt based on my own photo taken in Bali.

They sent me 25 yards of assorted batiks and I need to make the quilt entirely from what they sent. They showed the quilt at the Houston Quilt Mart and featured it in ads. The following year they returned it to me with another 20 yards of batik. I’m still using the batik years later. The black is the border and some jewelry. I’ve used other fabrics from this quilt in Gypsy Wife.

Here’s the design wall today. I’m getting closer to completion.

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Immersed in the Gypsy Wife Quilt

This has turned out to be more fun that I imagined. I’ve worked on this every day this week and made great progress. I’m not a traditional quilter and don’t know quilt blocks much beyond Log Cabin. I do know how to sew and I can usually figure out diagrams.

I have 5 sections completed and I’m ready to sew the background strips into the next section. I hope I continue to enjoy this when I get to the sections with lots and lots of 1-1/2″ strips.

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May Projects

I know its been a while since I posted. I had so many changes in my life and though they are positive changes my rhythm and flow of my days have been altered. Some things inevitably fall through the cracks. The blog certainly did. My intent is to update once a week. Let’s see if I can make the habit stick.

This winter/spring I have been somewhat productive in the studio. I finished 3 pieces in the new Pollinator/Plant series. Bob made the frames and they frame to 20″ x 20″

There will be at least 3 more in the series but right now I’m taking a break to take part in a “Gypsy Wife Quilt Along”. A friend came up with the idea and with the social distancing and all I jump on it.

Yes, its a pattern and its traditional piecing both of which I haven’t done in 15 years. Each block is unique at least in fabric choices so none of my blocks will match. Mine will not be as scrappy as this. I am enjoying the process immensely. I get to play with fabric without having to create a composition. I started with the intention that I will use only what’s in my stash & scrap boxes. I’m using fabric had for more than 20 years that just doesn’t fit in my style. It fits into this so its also a bit of a trip down memory lane. Here’s a photo of the design wall. I began on May 19. I’ll post my progress as we go.

The piece on the right is in need of binding and a sleeve. Less exciting than playing with color. I will talk myself into finishing it before the end of the month. I need the space for more Gypsy Wife blocks.

I also picked up my knitting again. Over the years I have tried to learn to knit and abandon the projects. The last time I started one I got sidetracked by this new man who has been my husband now for almost 2 1/2 years. Last winter I picked up the abandon scarf and finished it. “Bear” is modeling.

Next a small shawl from yarn I dyed. I found lots of mistakes when I blocked it. I’ll still wear it in the fall.

I love the pattern (“May I Borrow This Please” on Ravelry) so I made it again in a light weight yarn. Fewer mistakes.

Next I thought I’d try something larger in a finer weight yarn. Loved the yarn but the resulting shawl is more elongated that anticipated. I stopped before the last two repeats of the pattern since theta tails were almost to the floor. (“Touchstone” on Ravelry)

Hope you are doing OK during this pandemic. I find enough to keep me motivated most of the time. There’s the garden, my online yoga classes and of course Bridget is always up for a walk.

Time to get back making fun blocks and maybe cutting the binding for “A New Day.”

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