Thursday, June 30, 2016

Quilt Horizon

Here's one of my favorite vintage quilts from the current SJMQT exhibit that I was lucky enough to see recently with friend Jaye. It was displayed horizontally so please pardon the strange photography angles. This quilt was jaw-dropping. All the silks and velvets and fancy fabrics, the jewel colors, the sharp edges of the shapes, the use of dark and light. So beautiful. The label said the servants of the estate made this quilt and I could easily imagine that each fabric might have come from the lady of the house's fancy dresses. Perhaps scraps from the ones that her servants made for her? Who knows, but the variety contained in this one quilt is astounding.

 It was interesting to see the way this was put together, in three columns of three different blocks. Almost as if they were three separate projects done at different times and then joined together.

Detail of the corded edges between each shape. Every single one was outlined in this fine small gold/cream silk cording. So elegant and it makes the whole quilt shimmer.

This quilt is also pictured in Kaffe Fasset's book, "Heritage Quilts."  (affiliate link to amazon)
Seeing the inspiration quilt displayed right next to the quilt Kaffe created made a whole lot more sense to me in person. I didn't really get the connections from reading and seeing the pictures in the book until I got this opportunity to see the quilts side-by-side.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Owl Extension

 As par of the re-starting I got in some good old-fashioned wardrobe refashioning! But this time for my niece, Ilaria. When I'd been visiting, my sister-in-law, Carolyn passed me this knit shirt I'd gotten for Ilaria a few years ago. She'd outgrown it and still wanted to wear it. She still loves owls (and this embroidered/embellished design was too cute to just pass away.)

Challenge accepted...
I found a similarly colored t-shirt dress in her newer big-girl size. It was hard to find the exact shade of pinks but it's close enough I think.
I wanted to keep the ruffle at first, but I didn't think it went well enough with the style of the new garment.
I cut the main design and some extra background out of the original garment in a rough oval and then evened it up. I didn't want too much of the background pink.

I stitched it on with a lightweight stabilizer on the back with one of the overcast knit stitches on my machine. I even remembered to change my needle to a knit and then back again before trying to sew woven cotton.
I think it turned out pretty well and I hope she enjoys wearing the owl for a little longer.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Begin Again

I was sitting in my folk's beautiful living room a couple weeks ago with two of my awesome nieces. They were fooling around on the other couch, I think they like the slipperiness of the leather. This is the only picture I could get without their feet being in it. As I sat there listening to their giggling I was struck again by how much I love these quilts that I made for this room, (and more importantly of course, for my parents.) They suit the space so well and they turned out just how I'd imagined and sketched them.

I can remember cutting out the strips for them as my husband and I talked to an old friend of ours who was visiting us for the day. He was a surprise visitor and I already had the project underway and had a looming deadline for the quilts that was coming up so as we all chatted I steadily went through box after box selecting and cutting. He had all sorts of questions about how I was making decisions about which fabrics to use. It was hard to explain my process to someone who is an engineer and not an artist, but I managed well enough.

As I sat there, I started wondering if I could make these quilts again if I had to. My answer to myself was that I honestly don't know. I'm in a much different place physically and mentally. but I can viscerally recall how I made them, I can remember the process and the mindset I was in at the time, but I'm really really rusty at this whole 'making thing.' Years have gone by now where I haven't made all that much of anything. I'm out of practice, that's what it comes down to.

Turns out that whole thing about creativity being a muscle is completely true. And boy howdy am I ever out of shape! To fully recover from these last years of non-production I have to restart that practice engine that I was regularly feeding. That's part of why I'm blogging again, trying to recapture the momentum and focus I've lost. Here's hoping that it works!

Everything present is included in the past somewhere; nobody's present pops out of nowhere. ~ Twyla Tharp


Here's "Retreat" a 15" x 15" small quilt made to donate to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles  FiberShot display.

It is made from scraps that were machine needle-felted together,
then quilted and lastly glass beads hand-stitched to the surface.

 This shows the origin of the scraps, I cut out a quilt top to piece out of Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Well Hello Again

 Hi! Long time, no see! If anyone is still reading this blog, here's a new quilt I just finished recently.

It's called "False Flag Sorbet" and it measures 43x43".
It was made for the Riley Blake Modern Quilt Guild challenge.
 Surprise! The black and white isn't pieced, it's from the Sashing Stash collection. It honestly felt a little like cheating using it, which is where part of the title comes from. But it was actually fun to use and figure out how to make something interesting and unexpected with it.
I am glad I did the straight line quilting, because it suited the piece, but it was kind of boring to sit there and do. I did use my walking foot though to help keep it all as flat as possible.