Friday, December 7, 2012

I'm going right to the fabric store and try mixing fabrics to make different colors.  Wonder why it didn't work.  Penny

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I wanted green !!

I thought I had a wonderful, clever idea ... when you mix blue and yellow, you get green. So I planned to do just that and play with all the different shades of green ... I cut yellow and blue organza in wawy stripes and arranged them on a piece of white cotton. Do you see any green in this picture ???
 Well - I don't see any green, too ... Lesson learnt: if you layer different colors of organza, you'll get some pretty nice different shades - of the colors you used. But not necessarily the color you were looking for ;-))

Even when there's no green in there, I still liked the piece - so I quilted it with a wide free-motion zig-zag and bound it. Maybe I put something onto it - what do you think?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Wow!! I work sooooo slowly...Part of the problem was that I'd scrapped my ideas a week ago when I realized I had very little time. I'd hoped to do a quilt-as-you-go piece, inspired by Ann Brauer's work. (Article about her in latest Quilting Arts; her studio/shop is about 45 minutes from where I live.) Then...I really had no time to work last week, except one evening, when I created this as a jumping off point:

Thought I might just slash and re-piece until I came up with something I liked. But I didn't get to a place that I liked. Got as far as what's posted below, and decided that was too busy.

So...I cut up what was left of the original piece and made it into a leaf. Then added the rest. The background is a piece from a class with Jan Myers-Newbury.

I still have some work to do at the top. And then it needs to be quilted. Hope to get to that this week!

As usual, it's been a learning opportunity! :)  I hope to develop a main idea next time and let that inform my work.

I really enjoyed making this quilt (see the picture below.  I lost the dialogue that went with it somehow).   I had lots of handdyes left over from a research project and had seen a quilt many years ago at a quilt show in Maine  that was my inspiration.  Now I'd like to make more leaves, sans the rectangles, in a bunch of crazy color  combinations a la Andy Warhol.  If I could only get someone to cook and clean for me, I could do nothing but sew and design.  What I need is a retreat or  maybe a transformation.

Oops.  The photo didn't make my previous post.  Here is my green leaf.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Start From Where You Are

Green - in the chaos of our lives. I think this started simmering unconsciously when I commented to Carol at our Rosalie Dace workshop that It's Not All Black and White (something Rosalie was saying) might make a good quilt name. I like my B & W stash. As I wrote down thoughts about green and then tossed my original ideas for the challenge, as usual, I noted that I see green as signifying newness, a beginning. I have also been recently reading a number of life guidance books about personal change and growth, especially when facing choices. Thus my title.These are all commercial fabrics, some "artier" than others. I got to practice making a thin line insert and an even thinner one, both vertical black, and I did 2 couched lines of green yarn. I also did my first faced finish. Yea! The weakest point is most of the green quilting lines don't show strongly unless you are very close. And it was the cool, neon green Mexican thread I bought from a well-known quilt instructor that was the problem, not my machine. I will use it only in hand-sewing from now on. And the piece looks great in my studio/former bedroom's black & white bathroom. Happy Daz! I'm trying to post this early as a draft.
I do have a word for our next challenge - transformation.


Sounds like we all have been having a couple of busy months.  I almost forgot about the challenge, and then, when it finally appeared on my radar, planned for a while to make a monochromatic quilt, but I got to thinking about the meaning of "green" as in "good for the earth." Instead of creating an image that symbolized this, I finally settled on actually being green and reusing fabric.

Years ago I had bought pieces of old Japanese kimonos, mostly sleeves, carefully unstitched them, and put them away--somewhere. After a frantic search, I was actually able to find these pieces.  I had forgotten that one of them contained carefully handpainted leaves that were on the lining of a sleeve, a bit of beauty that only the wearer would know about. That fabric was, by fortunate coincidence, green--a multi-shaded green with embedded dots that show up in certain lights and tiny light green dashes that must have been applied after the painted leaves (not much of this shows up in a photograph).

To keep with the green theme, I used no fusible interfacing with all its chemicals, my preferred method of dealing with silk, and did all the piecing and quilting by hand, although I did cheat and attach the facing by machine.  And here is the "Reincarnation" of those kimono silks:

And now that mine is finished and posted, I can enjoy what all the rest of you have created this time. Good theme word, Penny!


If I am leaving Aruba for home today it must be November 30th and time to post November's GREEN work.   Luckily I did it as soon as it was announced so as not to worry that it wouldn't get done....have to admit I'm just like that!   I was reading Stupendous Stitching by Carol Ann Waugh and experimenting with my machine and realized that my work was on GREEN that became my challenge piece.   I had alot of fun doing it by machine along with some hand stitching and used yard to couch, etc.   I plan to do more of was not stressful and I could do some interesting things with all the stitching.   I was happy to take a class with Rosalie Dace and Sher Beller was in the class.   Rosalie stresses STITCHING so that worked also.   I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's pieces and hope I can find my in iPhoto this morning with all that hundreds of pictures from Aruba! Wonderful holiday season to all!   

The picture doesn't look as GREEN as the REAL piece but trust's pretty GREEN!   Have a red and GREEN holiday coming up............

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hi Again, Everybody!

Alas, I never got that 1/2 day I mentioned a few days ago...My piece won't be finished tomorrow :( 
I hope to finish by Saturday, but it might not be done until Sunday. I will post asap. I won't be checking our blog until my piece is done...I don't want to be influenced by others' work! Feel free to post the new word, Sher, even if I haven't finished. Will have something to share asap!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Messed up ...

Hi everyone,

I thought I had a REALLY good idea for GREEN ... and I so messed up ;-(( Right now I'm thinking how I could still make it work - but maybe I'll be a day or two late. Sorry ... (and I'll share what the problem was - so maybe at least you won't need to make the same mistake I did ...)
Hi from Massachusetts!

It was good to hear from you, Sher and Madalene! Hope all of you in the U.S. had a happy Thanksgiving!

I've been busy around here...not working on the challenge, however! (Except what I've been silently mulling.) In addition to my 30-hour+ work week and one hour round trip daily commute, I've taken on two private clients and I'm in the midst of ongoing teacher training with my yoga teacher. Part of the yoga has included teaching some classes, which of course, requires practice and preparation!

Now, I have one half-day and two uncommitted evenings before November 30! I've had to scrap a few ideas in the interest of time. We'll see what I come up with. I plan to relax and just do what I can. The good news is that I love GREEN!!

Looking forward to seeing all of your work...and...will enjoy mulling Sher's new word! 

Have a great week!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  Sher, I hope you resolved your sewing machine problems. Just made the hour+ trip down to my closest Bernina repair service two days in a row to drop my machine off and pick it up.

But I am also saying a special thank you to this group.  At the end of October just as our dining room was being ripped down to the studs to be redone, I got a request from an art gallery in Corning, NY, to see some of my work online. They ultimately wanted me to bring in any small pieces I might have for a show they were putting together for mid November.  They took thirteen of the pieces I brought up--including three of the Art 1016 challenges I had done!  I was quite excited--and thanks to this group, I had a reasonable amount of small pieces to show them.

Now that I actually have something I am working on for "Green," I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else has done at the end of November, a deadline that is fast approaching.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Machine problems. Bernina 1016, which I have loved. Have pieced my top and begun machine quilting, but my thread keeps breaking. I can tell where it's rubbing, up at top. Am using a new thread I've never tried, so will try to match the color in another brand. Will also try using the simple machine I bought for my daughter when she was pre-teen. My Bernina repairman is not close, so hope I don't have o go there until this piece is finished. It's always something. But, we have great weather that makes living in TX  far better than in summer.
Looking forward to seeing everyone's Green. Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 2, 2012


I am now fully powered after Sandy - the electricity came back on in my condominium complex last night around 7.  Its great to be warm again.  Today I'm going to bake a cake and work on "GREEN."


Monday, October 1, 2012

further reflection

Now that I've slept and returned to my "studio", I've decided to tear out my sparkly quilting and try something else. I like the quilting lines, but not the flash. Stay tuned...will probably let this simmer a bit. Post will come along following inspiration!

Thanks for the new word, Penny! The ideas are already churning!

I will have time to comment on all of your wonderful work later today!

Reflection - On American Conflicts

I had other, kinder & gentler ideas for using Reflection that weren't solidifying in my mind. I was/am affected by all the political polarity in our country and all the demonstrations and bombing of American embassies in the Middle East. So what surfaced in my fabric painting and stitiched & fused piecing is a reflection of conflict. I mounted the basic piece on denim that I slightly discharged with bleach. The quilt stitching does not show very well in the photo or on the piece, and I want to try to showcase the quilting itself more on my next piece. But I did have a good time with my acrylic painting and stamping.

I am envious of your northern, autumn weather. It's still too warm here, as usual.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Help. I posted my project as a draft several days ago, but can't get it to publish it today.

October word

I've  gone through a gazillion words and settled on - drum roll needed here - GREEN.  Penny

Deborah reflects

Was anyone else struck by the opposition of the meanings of "reflection"? The visual reflection, as in water is superficial; the personal or introspective reflection is not. The introspective option had me thinking of creating a self portrait, but trying to come up with visual representations of personal characteristics didn't appeal to me. Instead, the chakra system, which is part of Asian spiritual practices, was my inspiration. It appeals because of the representation of the whole person. Each of the 7 chakras corresponds with a color of the rainbow...voila! I worked through a few sketches, first thinking I would depict some sort of "mirror" reflection. Eventually, I decided on what you see here. The slash through the middle was inspired by my husband's suggestion to chop the original up somehow to create more visual energy. I liked the idea of the contrast, both by adding curves, and by flipping the color progression. That also represents for me the dynamic nature of one's self. I'm not satisfied with the thread I used for quilting. (Sulky "sliver") Too flashy...I would have preferred more quiet, but I had trouble choosing thread that would work on the colors and on the black. I now think a medium gray would have been better. Oh well, it's been, as usual, a great learning experience!

Penny's Reflection

I came across a scene in Maine where the water was absolutely still and the image of the trees and rocks  was identical to the real scene.  That's what I've tried to picture with this work but I didn't want to do lots of green trees and brown rocks.  So I played with some fabric that I dyed for another project.  Still some green trees and blue sky but at least one magenta tree and some vary-colored rocks.

Reflection from Frauke

This theme was a pretty hard one - not technically, but emotionally ...

My first idea was a pictorial reflection on water, I take pictures of them all the time. But ... something kept nagging at me. And more and more I realized I needed, I wanted to do something different.
So, my quilt shows the two different reflections of one and the same person: the top part shows what the world sees: an energetic, happy, active person. The bottom part shows how this same person sees its own self: a lonely human being, numb, no energy left. The red-and-white strip between the two is the German version of "Do not cross beyond this line" ;-))

A huge "THANK YOU !!" to Stefan Wensing, he allowed me to use one of his pictures he published on his blog. Just click on this link to see more of his work - he does wonderful work !!

Reflection--from Madalene

I had several ideas about how to interpret the word "reflection," but then life shouldered its way in and what little time I had to reflect--and to design--was filled with major and minor distractions. So I ultimately opted for a rather literal interpretation:

But, as I started to work on it, I realized that the image I had chosen involved five shapes that at one point in the process vaguely suggested human forms and may reflect more of the turmoil I am going through than I realized. Our basic family unit is five--two parents, three kids (with each of those kids now representing a family unit of their own), but this summer and fall has made me think a lot about these family connections. Anyway, that's a personal insight that a casual viewer is not going to be expected to "get."

All the fabrics here are my hand-dyes. I was playing with an oatmeal resist earlier in the summer and decided to try it out in this piece as the upper background. The images are hand appliqued with some machine quilting and also some hand stitching with perle cotton.  The frame lines are bobbin work with perle cotton.

Still not sure it all works. . . . But can't wait to see what everyone else came up with!

Well, that was my original post but as I looked at this piece I really felt it needed something more so I added more hand stitching.  See what you think.


As I walked out of the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown PA one evening I took a picture of the back of the Mercer Museum with the beautiful reflections in the windows (top picture).   As I was thinking about reflection I remembered a piece I had just started and abandoned a few months before using fabric I had buried in the ground for three weeks and it had decayed...........the building was tonally similar to the fabric and so I put the two together, copying the picture on fabric and then embellishing with colored pencils.   This is not only reflection in the windows but reflection back to the past and old structures and crumbling fabric.   The eerie quality of the windows and the marks on the fabric that was buried interests me.    I hope this completes REFLECTION......    I am looking forward to the next WORD and challenge...........I love thinking about these things!

Can't wait to see what everyone else did......
Carol Esch

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Like Deborah, I am working away at my challenge piece but should be ready by Sept. 30.  Took time out for a long walk with the dog today in this perfect fall weather. The extra time for this challenge was much appreciated since, among other upheavals in my life, the beginning of September was the opening of the local guild's month-long biennial show and I am always involved in its hanging along with other tasks.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I changed direction this past week and finished a different piece.   The first one I started I was trying to do alot of thread painting which I'd never done before.   I will continue to work on it.....but meanwhile had another idea of finishing a piece which would be good for "reflections".   Guess we have a few days left before the REVEAL and new word.    Looking forward to seeing everyone's work.........have a wonderful week!  Be back Saturday or Sunday to upload pictures........see you then!
Carol Esch
Beautiful FALL weather in New Jersey......sunny breezy and cool.....

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Challenge 4 from Penny

This was the first idea I had when I saw the word 'light'.  I rejected it as being too literal and went on to several more ideas.  Nothing jelled. Finally, while I was in Maine, I went back to this idea and I like it very much.  I used two colorways of the Kaffe Fasset fabric 'paperweights' and matched the lighter to the darker to make the light shine.  That was the most fun.  The light filament was embroidered with metallic thread and highlights were added with fabric pastels.  I quilted rays of light with yellow thread.

The fabric pastels were not very satisfactory as they were not as crisp as I had hoped.  I would use fabric paints instead.

This piece was really fun to do once I got over trying to do something that wasn't in my nature.  Perhaps I'll always be 'literal' in my art and I might as well embrace who I am.

I would also like to apologize for being so late.  Bursitis, muscle relaxants (which kept me zoned out), Lyme disease, all interfered with my getting this done.  Once I got over those hurdles, I went to Maine and got moving.  thank you all for being patient.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Word #4

I didn't realize how difficult a task choosing a word would be.  I have been thinking about it--and rejecting possible words--for a while.  I finally chose one and then was giving Penny some time to get her quilt done. But she has assured me it will be a few a more days before she is ready to post a picture.

So, my creative friends, here is our next word: reflection.

Hope it is a source of inspiration to us all!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Path to Light

I did finish this one, but am doing a companion piece to incorporate the following poem that I wrote to convey what I was trying to express. Life has challenges for all of us; this past 5 weeks were so hard for me I didn't feel like doing anything artistic. Finally I "found" some strength in spiritual thoughts. I began thinking of a simple crucifix form, but it morphed as I worked the mosaic path pieces. I used leftover fabric I had from Katie P M's method of 7 oz. canvas treated with GAC 100 and painted with acrylic paint. I added highlights of iridescent paintstick to some pieces, others are just my paint-blended colors. She teaches this method for creating fabric in her stitiched paintings workshop that I took last Fall. You can also find it on the net. I stitched my mosaic "stones" to black duck fabric instead of sewing them to each other. I just backed it with black felt since it was rather thick already. I quilted all but the whitish the stones with a charcoal thread. Used a silver thread on the white. Had a good time making this and it brought me out of my funk. Thanks for that, group.
We seek all our lives
A path to the Light.
With Faith we trust
It is not beyond but within us,
And we, within Light's sight.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

"Light" - the third challenge

Before I started writing this post, I looked through the already posted "light"-themed quilts. And I had to grin when I saw Madalene's quilt ;-)) One glimpse at my quilt, and I guess you know why I grinned ?
Some of you may know that I mostly work with bright, vivid colours. But after I thought about my theme for a while, I started to ask "what if?" What if I started with white and only used some light, muted colors? I guess I just wanted to know whether I could work with such a restricted palette!
My starting point were white linen and white batting - and my embellisher. Next came white cotton jersey, a crinkly quality. And a light blue very thin curtain fabric made from polyester. The cotton was felted on the piece; the blue polyester was put on the back and felted through. Then I painted the bottom part with a light green acrylic. I added quilting to give an idea of hills in the foreground. The last step by machine were the rays of light, done with a metallic thread and straight stitching.
For a bit more interest, I glued the white flowers on. I'm sorry about the not-so-good-picture, but I had to hurry ;-)) a thunderstorm was coming up!

From Madalene

I had more difficulty with this challenge than I thought I would have. I had what I thought was a great idea that just didn't work out when I started putting it together in fabric. So I began again.  I finally decided to keep it abstract, focusing on color, the contrast of a very dark and a very light, and keying off the idea that the light is all the brighter for the very dark shadows that may surround it.

I had a lot of fun playing with shapes in several dark colors of my hand-dyes and also a commercial black, and was concerned they wouldn't show up well in the photo, but my main problem in photographing it was to make it as dark as the piece really is.  So what may look dark blue is actually a darker red purple.  I also ended up doing some hand stitching in some of the black that you may be able to see if you click on the photo to enlarge it and then look closely.

deborah's light

Hi All,

I'm writing this Thursday evening as I'm preparing for a.m. departure tomorrow for my husband's family reunion. My quilt isn't quite done. I've begun some machine quilting... Will finish it and post another photo on Monday.

Anyway, I was inspired by the patterns of light on tree trunks and the forest floor. This quilt has diverged from the image I originally had in mind. Started with Jean Wells-inspired piecing with colors that spoke to me. Had planned more complicated representation of trees and shadows, but I was so pleased with the background, I hated to cut it up/cover it. Also, I didn't have time for more detailed piecing. So, I made some tree trunks and left it at that. The quilting will be fun!

Can't wait to see the others!


Friday, June 29, 2012

Piece finished but NOT quilted............I hope this shows the "light".............
Have a wonderful week-end.   I look forward to seeing your posts when I return.............
Happy 4th........and look forward to new challenge......

I have to find the picture!!!!!

I may be posting a day or two early but I'm going to be gone over the week-end.   My piece is NOT quilted yet, but it has been done awhile.   It is based on some birthday flowers a friend gave me that I photographed.   I am posting the photographs of the flowers and then later today I will post the quilt.   It was fun to make and done "freeform" style which I seem to love doing......ala Rayna Gilman's book and inspirations.   Light has so many possibilities.   I am excited to see how everyone interprets this......much light and love to you all.   My quilt, however, is not based on flowers but the colors of the flowers more or less............

To be continued later..........

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Third Challenge Theme

Sorry for the delay !! I just did not realize it's my turn already ;-)) Thanks to Madalene for that email that put me into motion! For a while I was thinking "what should I pick??" ... and than "my word for 2012" came to my mind! So - how about


What I love about it are all those different meanings the word can have - and to me, most of them are very happy ones. So, I hope you have fun playing with "light" ;-))

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

word for May

Hi Frauke,

Do you have our word for May?  I need all the thinking time I can get.


From Carol

Penny's Serendipity Quilt

This is my second attempt at "serendipity."  The first was a flower (picture to be posted later) that turned into a dead end.  I had decided to just sew stuff together and it was coming along fine until I couldn't figure out what to do next.  It will be a very nice 8" x 8" quilt.

So I moved on.  Serendipity reminds me of parties, birthdays, and, hence, cakes.  This one was supposed to be a seven layer cake but that didn't work either so its a six layer cake.  It was kind of plain so I decorated the cake and added some flowers with Wonder Under. 

I'm not sure I got the perspective right - I always have trouble with perspective - and it was a little small so I added borders.  Also, I'm really getting better at free-hand quilting.  It's so nice to have a project you can finish in a short time.


Monday, April 30, 2012

From Deborah

I love the word serendipity. It was the first word that came to me as I contemplated the challenge. I kept saying to myself, “You can’t use that…it came to you so automatically…you need to think about this. It haunted me. Clearly, it was meant to be the next word.
Happy accident is the concept that has inspired me all along. It was a sequence of happy accidents that eventually led to this piece. I’d been playing with some of Jean Wells’s piecing techniques in some 3 ½ x 5 ½ minis that I’ve been making. Then, I read about Gwen Marston’s book, 37 Sketches on the blog Had to have it. Gwen doesn’t do credit card sales, so I popped my check into an envelope, waltzed down my driveway, and left it for the postman to whisk away. Went directly to my computer and checked e-mail. Well…there was an invitation from Carol, one of our challenge group members, to join her for a “Sketches” class with Gwen Marston. Really??... I just mailed her a check for that book! How could I refuse? Not only would I be traveling to Carol’s place for the class; her husband would simultaneously be traveling north to take a painting class that my husband was teaching. When he’d registered for the class, he wasn’t aware of that happy accident.
Gwen was delightful. I managed to sew together a bunch of strips during her one-day class. Many of the components are waiting to be plunked into other sketches. There’s a 3”x7” chunk in the middle of this finished piece that I’d completed that day. The rest I did at home during several days after the class. It’s no accident at all that periwinkle and chartreuse figure in…they’re my 2 favorite colors. It will be good for me to work with some less familiar colors as we go along with our challenges.
This piece doesn’t comply with our minimum dimension guidelines! It’s about 9 ¼ x 11 ½. I struggled to stretch the width, and inspiration just didn’t arrive. So here it is. I enjoyed the sketching process and I intend to keep playing with it! 
Serendipity.    Of course it was serendipitous that I met Deborah in the first place at a class.......and serendipitous she asked me to be part of this........and last month she had ordered a book from Gwen Marston and had been to the mailbox to get it.....when she came in and looked at her email there was an email from me inviting her to a class we were having with Gwen in New Jersey.   AND at the same time my husband was going to Hudson River Valley Art Center where I first met Deborah, to take a PAINTING class with guess who?   Deborah's husband!   I had given him a class for Christmas now realizing that it was Deborah's husband.........and so while Don was there with her husband, she was in New Jersey with me taking a class with Gwen!   Serendipitous!   And the fabric I used I had hand-dyed over the years and I used little pieces of it in the exercise we did.   All so unplanned........I like it that way!

This is before it was quilted.   I will put the quilted ones up shortly as soon as find them in iPhotos!   This was lots of fun to do.   If any of you haven't seen Gwen Marston's 37 SKETCHES book or had a class with her, it is alot of fun to do these small studies.  

I am looking forward to the next WORD and CHALLENGE.   Deborah is coming back to visit and take a dyeing class so I am sure the next challenge will include some of that.   I am looking forward to seeing all the creativity here.............

Serendipity - oh yes !

To be honest - I had a really hard time to come up with an idea for this challenge ;-)) After a while and lots of fruitless consideration ... and while I started to give my studio a major spring clean ... a first vague idea started to form in my head. What if I only used what I "find" around? And make do? Hmmmmm ... a very old UFO turned up.
I cut it down to size ... and stared at it ... till I realized that it is spring outside ! Lovely weather - the sun is shining, fresh green everywhere! So - how about quilting plants?
After I was done with my quilting, I looked at my piece and liked it - so far. Of course it was not finished ... so I went back to organizing my studio. And yes, another lucky incidence happened - I found some artificial flowers I bought some years ago. I teared them apart ...
... and added some stems with couching. After I did the binding, I added the leaves (by sewing) and the flowers with hot glue. And here it is - my finished quilt "Serendipity" !!
A very old UFO and some other remnants - and the result is a happy, cheery little quilt! The size is about 16" x 14".
I'm pretty much relieved that I got my quilt done in time this time ;-)) - and I'm looking forward to see what you all have been up to!

Pennsylvania Serendipity

I really wrestled with this challenge, coming up blank for a number of weeks until one day I realized that I was just trying too hard.  If I was making a quilt based on the word “Serendipity,” I should make it serendipitously. And so I began.  I could think of no more serendipitous fabric than one of my snow dyes, and I chose a piece with teal-y blue highlights and lots of the texture that snow-dyeing produces. I put in some cerulean blue slashes with hand reverse applique to bring out the blue highlights and then I was stuck so I set it aside until the next serendipitous moment.

I decided to sandwich the top and do some machine quilting to emphasize the textures in the background. I was playing with shapes to applique on top of this when I serendipitously thought of the nautilus shape, a shape that has always fascinated me, and wondered what it would look like if I exploded it.

I obviously liked it so much I added another and then exploded some circles as well.  In the spirit of serendipity, these are all non-fused, raw edged, and machine appliqued. And this was a stretch for me, since usually I like to finish the edges, but I think the frayed fuzziness fits the serendipity theme.

 I added some clusters of French knots in perle cotton for a little more texture, faced it and it was done!


Sher's Challenge Quilt

My piece is serendipitous for several reasons. I have been wanting to do a small art quilt for my dad's apartment. He was just 86 last week, lives in the Quad Cities (on the border between IA and IL), and he's lost much of his sight due to macular degeneration. The Quad Cities (he lives in Davenport, IA) hosts the Bix Biederbeck Jazz Festival each summer along the Mississippi waterfront. It's a hot, but great music festival and 7 mile run. Where it runs through Davenport is the only location along this major river that the Mississippi runs east to west; everywhere else it flows from north to south.

So I rescaled a map of the Quad Cities' boundaries and the river as a pattern and used the orange dyed fabric to represent the summer heat and sun, the colors to show the liveliness of the music. It is bright enough for him to see even if he can't make out all the detail. I did some metallic thread hand-quilting on the orange. Also used fused and mostly raw edge piecing. I didn't really like the way the small white strips look; they represent all the bridge locations, but it's done and he'll like it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How is everyone doing?

Happy spring to you, too, Carol, and to all of you.  I kept meaning to respond earlier but April, like March, seems to be flying by. I don't know about the rest of you, but I have been having a tough time coming up with an inspiration for our challenge word. And it's one of my favorite words, so it should have been easy.

I even spent time looking up its origins, which seem a bit convoluted and, well, serendipitous. It supposedly came from "The Three Princes of Serendip," a supposedly Persian fairy tale, but Serendip was actually an old name for Sri Lanka. And the discoveries made in the fairy tale were not the "happy accidents" we now usually associate with serendipity but were more like Sherlock Holmes discoveries, based on keen observation and strong analytical abilities. This was becoming a dead end so I abandoned that path.

Anyway, last week, I serendipitously came upon an idea and have finally begun work as the deadline has begun to loom.  And how are the rest of you doing?


Monday, March 5, 2012

Connection - late, but: finished !!

Phew - thanks for your patience! Yesterday evening I made the last finishing stitches on "Connection" ;-))
After the theme was named, I knew immediately I wanted to do something about the emerging connection between the 6 of us. Finding the idea took me a while ... how about doing 6 different figures?
The first picture shows the six different figures, already ironed on white fabric. Five of the six were cut from my own hand-dyed fabrics, just for the dark purple I used a print. Now - how do I connect them ? Off to my yarn stash - and yes ! I found a beautiful colour combination. And started to do loops of yarn - by handstitching. Pretyy soon I realized - no way I get this finished the way I want to do it in time! Hand-couching takes so much time ... but I love the look of it.
After the hand-couching was done, I did small-scale stippling, from the outside in, added some more areas of stippling inside. For the finishing touches, I did one line of zig-zag on the outside first to stabilize the edges. As I did not like the plain white edge, I stepped yarn on top of the zig zag.

To me, this first challenge was truly about connecting. The six figures stand alone on background, but the yarn ties them together. That is exactly what I hope to become true for us, too!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Next Challenge Word!

Hi All,

I didn't keep you in suspense intentionally! I'm just home from work and leaving shortly for yoga class. I have a long list of potential challenge words...The one I have chosen is a bit self serving, I'm afraid. In my continuing attempt to stop being so literal...I have chosen the word serendipity as our next word. It's one of my favorite words. I wish you all lots of fun playing with it!


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's still 29 February!

After having ruminated about the possible meanings and representations of "connection", I couldn't escape the realization that, ultimately, everything is connected. Hence, the familiar, perhaps overused, symbol. It is an expression of one aspect of myself that I continue to attempt to modify, and that is my literalness! Working with you all in this challenge group will afford the opportunity to continue to stretch my boundaries in that arena as well as in others!
I love the visual effect of satin stitching; that may be what I consider most successful here. Although, I struggled with thread breakage when using the purple thread. Despite a couple of needle changes and several tension changes, the breakage persisted. No problem with the green thread. Still not sure what the problem was.
The other nod to connection here involves my appreciation of my grandmother who was an amazing seamstress. She was sent away from her family home by her stepmother at age 13, this was in the mid 1800's, to learn this trade to help with financial support of her family. (She died when I was in high school; I didn't know her well.)The small purple circles are genuine 1930's fabric that she had cut into Sunbonnet Sue shapes in preparation for applique. She actually cut, turned and basted the 3 small circles. I've left the white basting thread intact. Alas, Sue's bonnet was sacrificed for the larger circle. I'm not sure whether Grandma would be proud or appalled!

I'll toss a new word out tomorrow!