What’s on the Design Wall: Pre-cuts Wrangling

Pre-cuts Wrangling!?!?! What does she mean? Has she been sniffing her fabric glue sticks (normally used for appliqué, not as recreational substances)?

“Pre-cuts” = Those addicting beautifully coordinated collections of pre-cut fabrics in common sizes such as 2 1/1 inch strips, 2 1/2 inch squares, 5 inch squares (aka “charm squares”), 10 inch squares, fat quarter (18 x 22 inch sections of fabric) bundles, and various other tempting configuations.

Wrangling = “To tend or round up” (Dictionary.com)

I have a lot of precuts, more than I need. Likely more than any human needs. I appear to use them to decorate my crafting studio.

Decided to do something crazy – actually USE them instead of just decorate with them!

In my post What’s on the Design Wall: Rediscovering my Charms I discuss delving into my charm pack (5 inch squares) collections and using them to make quilts and wallhangings. Taking a break from charm packs, I have moved to a smaller size of pre-cut – the 2 1/1 inch square pack. I wrangled up my collection of 2 1/2 square pre-cut packs and selected several colorful Rowan/Westminster Fabric packs to create a series of “16 patch” blocks to turn into a quilt. I pieced the 16 patch blocks into a scrappy “postage stamp” style quilt.

I provide some very general simple directions for wrangling your 2 1/2 inch pre-cut packs into a scrappy quilt below the photos.

 2 1/2 Pre-Cut Quick Quilt (Wrangle & Design As You Go)

  1. Wrangle a couple packs of 2 1/2 squares (approximately 42 squares in each pre-cut pack) – I think I used 2 or 3 to start
  2. Chain piece non matching pairs of the squares – you will end up with a series of 2 patches
  3. Chain piece the pairs (2 patches) to another set of pairs (2 patches) – you will end up with a series of 4 patches
  4. Chain piece the 4 patches to another 4 patch – you will end up with a series of 8 patches
  5. Chain piece the 8 patches to another 8 patch and finally you will have a series of 16 patch blocks
  6. You can be careful and match your seams, and press between each patch construction or throw caution to the wind and not press until you complete the 16 patch
  7. Sew the 16 patch blocks into rows and then the rows together in to a quilt top
  8. Wrangle and Design As You Go – you might discover you need another 2 1/2 pack to get the size of quilt you want or you might have to save some 8 patches and use them on the side or bottom of the quilt to even out the rows. I used my design wall to decide what block “mathematical configuration” to use. I started with 4 x 7 (4 blocks in a row, 7 rows) but that seemed too narrow. I finally decided on a 5 x 6 quilt (5 blocks in a row, 6 rows of 5 blocks) and will take the row of blocks off the bottom of the design wall, add a couple more and add 1 additional block to each row.

 

If you are a new quilter or a future quilter and are unfamiliar with how to “chain piece”, check out numerous free online instruction videos available on YouTube or other sources. 

Creative Inspiration: What Others Are Working On!

Please check out Sassy’s Schnauzer Snips page for her latest adventures, and check out The Wardrobe Meets the Wall’s post In Progress (Vessel) for photos on my current art quilt project for our collaborative collection. 

Creative Inspiration: What Others Are Working On, continues the series exploring Creative Inspiration that began in the post Creative Inspiration: Family. Other posts in this series include Creative Inspiration: Nature and Creative Inspiration: Fabric.

Winter's Houses (2015). Based on Sandy Bonsib's "House Block", 1998. Pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

Winter’s Houses (2015). Based on Sandy Bonsib’s “House Block”, 1998. Pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

If you are a quilter, this may feel familiar: you are at a quilt retreat, or at a quilt class, or you go over to a quilting friend’s house and you see what someone else in working on – and you are suddenly inspired to make something like their piece! 

You have just received creative inspiration from someone else’s piece in progress.

This has happened to me several times. A couple months ago I went over to a friend’s house for a “Sew Day” to each work on our separate projects while hanging out together. I saw what she was working on – these adorable house blocks based on Sandy Bonsib’s 1998 “House Block” (which is easy and fun to assemble, free pattern available online).

I attempt to shy away from traditional quilt blocks but what grabbed my attention (and inspired me to make one too) was the very creative color palette my friend had selected: Orange, Gray and Black.

As you see from the photo – I was inspired to experiment with this color palette and create the same quilt myself. I named the piece Winter’s Houses and used a Moda fabric that reminded me of snow at night as the border. Sometimes someone else is working on exactly what you know you should be working on!

Look Look I am in a Book (Part II)

In my posts Look Look I am in a Book  and Oh Wow! I shared my excitement of having several of my quilts selected to be in a book about quilting inspiration called 1000 Quilt Inspirations: Colorful and Creative Designs for Traditional, Modern, and Art Quilts by Sandra Sider. Well the other day my copy of the book arrived in the mail and I was…overwhelmed. Quilt images from 300 artists from 20 countries were selected for this book – and I am one of them!

I am a wanna-be art quilter and I dream someday of “quitting my day job” or at least moving to a part-time version of my health care industry day job and focusing most my energies on tierneycreates and creating. Being in this book feels like a step towards that dream. One of important things I did to advance on this path is to join SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates). Through SAQA I found about the call for entries for this book as well as call for entries for other shows I have entered (and been accepted to). I was also very inspired by an article in the SAQA Journal by Carol Ann Waugh on “Becoming a Professional Artist”. I wrote Ms. Waugh to thank her for this incredible article which outlines the steps to become a professional art quilter!

After the initial “intense floating” around the house (and around town on my errands) over seeing sections from five of my quilts in this book in person, I settled back to earth and thought about: “why am I really excited to be in this book?”

I am fortunate to know and interact with several real professional art quilters who have authored their own art quilting and/or traditional quilting books, been in endless shows as well as featured in many books. I greatly admire them and their art, however I realized that is not my goal and not why I was primarily excited about being in this book.

What is most exciting about being in this book is that something that I created might inspire someone else to create. A quilter in Des Moines, Iowa who is looking for color or design inspiration might be leafing through the book and come across my pieces in the book and go – “Aha – that is it!”. What an honor to provide inspiration to someone you never met and will likely never met. I am fortunate to have been inspired by so many talented people I have never met. It is all about sharing our inspiration and hopefully inspiring someone else to take chances, risks and be bold & fearless in their quilt creations!

Below are photos of the quilts that are in the 1000 Quilt Inspirations book. Much thanks to Betty Anne Guadalupe of Guadalupe Designs for her wonderful professional long arm quilting on four of the five quilts that got accepted!

Creative Inspiration: Fabric

A quilter walks into a quilt shop and see fabric. The quilter does not just see fabric, a quilter sees INSPIRATION! In the post “Creative Inspiration: Family” I introduced a series of posts exploring my resources for creative inspiration. This post discusses another important source of my creative inspiration: FABRIC.

Have you ever browsed in a quilt shop and been strongly drawn to a particular bolt of fabric or to an entire collection? You do not have a project in mind for this fabric but you know you just absolutely positively have to have the fabric (or a sample of each fabric from the entire collection) as it inspires you to make something with it (eventually)! However, every quilter knows this is the primary source for an out of control fabric stash, eh?

Fabric/Textiles are a major source of creative inspiration for me. When I find interesting and unique fabrics they inspire me to create something that honors their beauty. Last year I was fortunate enough to be given a small collection of African textiles from someone’s estate. I was overwhelmed with the richness and colors in these textiles. This inspired me to create a piece, called African Windows, to showcase these fabrics. I used a basic “attic windows” pattern concept where shadows are created by piecing a darker solid fabric (in this case black fabric) strategically to create the illusion of a window.

Below are photos of my quilt African Windows (2014) which was long arm quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe of Guadalupe Designs.

African Windows (2014). Pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

African Windows (2014). Pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

What’s on the Design Wall: “Log Jamming”

A couple of weeks ago I was scheduled to take a quilting class called “Log Jam“. Log Jam is an innovative way to rapidly create scrappy log cabin quilt blocks. If you are a new quilter or not a quilter, a “log cabin” block is a quilting block made by starting with a small center square and building consistent standardly sized strips of fabric around the center square. The log jam concept throws the requirement of consistency sized strips out the window. “Log jamming” makes the log cabin style quilt block construction process laid back, casual, scrappy and fun! When making a log jam quilt you can use a specific palette of scraps, solid colors, or random scraps to make the piece very scrappy.

Unfortunately only three people registered for the class (myself and two of my friends) and it this did not meet the threshold to hold the class. The quilt shop was so wonderful and let us use their classroom anyway and hold our own class (two of my friends had taken the class before). So we spent 6 hours having a blast “log jamming“. The “log jam” method involves the kind of quilt block making you can do while chatting and giggling with friends – it is fun and less structured. We ended up being very silly and singing songs while we were working on our log jams. I even modified Bob Marley’s song “Jamming” to “Log Jamming”!

Now the 27 blocks I made log jamming are sitting on my design wall. I am trying to decide what I want to do with these blocks: maybe a table runner for my series of my Modern Quilt Table Runners on my Etsy shop or maybe one quilt with the blocks set into a solid background or floated. Every quilter should find space for a design wall – it helps to lay your pieces out to see where you want to take them!

If you live in the Central Oregon area, the Stitchin’ Post has a wonderful Log Jam class that my friends and I highly recommend you take!

Creative Inspiration: Nature

In the post “Creative Inspiration: Family” I introduced a series of posts exploring my resources for creative inspiration. This post discusses another important source of creative inspiration for me: Nature.

There is so much beauty around us. Whether you live in beautiful Central Oregon like I do or whether you live in a busy urban environment. You just have to stop for a moment and look around. A solitary tree on a city block can be a wonderful source of nature based inspiration for your creativity as well as a panoramic vista in a national park.

Jean Wells in her inspirational books Intuitive Color & Design: Adventures in Art Quilting (C&T Publishing, 2009)  and Journey to Inspired Art Quilting: More Intuitive Color & Design (C&T Publishing, 2012), explores in depth how nature and the environment around you can be a significant resource for creative inspiration. I will talk more about Jean Wells and her influence on my creative inspiration in a future blog post on “Creative Inspiration: Mentors”. Check out Jean Well’s publications for inspirational ideas on your fiber art or just walk around and really see the beauty and inspiration around you!

To demonstrate Nature’s Inspiration, below are photos from a wonderful trip with my friend Michele to Red Rock Canyon State Park a couple years ago. I used the colors in the photos from this trip to inspire a batik art quilt I made.

 “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

~Lao Tzu

Creative Inspiration: Family

A friend commented to me: “I thought your blog was just about quilting…”

If you have been following my blog you have figured out it is more than a discussion of quilting techniques and ideas. I enjoy writing about the creative process which includes the audiobooks I listen to while creating, food I enjoy when taking a break from creating (so I can be adequately nourished to continue creating), organizing the space in which I create and some general life topics that some how tie into creating. Of course I do throw in a couple quilting specific posts here and there!

This post begins a series on a topic I want to explore: Creative Inspiration. I will share some of my major sources of creative inspiration and if you are a creative person I would love hear about your sources of inspiration in the Comments.

My number one source of Inspiration is my immediate family which include my sister, brother, and parents (both deceased) as well as my husband. This post relates to inspiration from my biologic family and I will discuss inspiration from my wonderful husband in another post.

SISTER

My younger sister is an amazing woman and mother. She is a very creative person. She has been a major source of inspiration as it was her reaction to the second quilt I ever made (which I sent to her as a surprise) that inspired me to embrace quilting as a hobby. I have made her and her family numerous quilts over the years and they keep them until they are complete worn and threadbare and treat each one like a precious possession. How could one not be inspired to keep quilting? She was also the one who encouraged me to “get off my butt” and pursue my dream of starting tierneycreates. She worked with me on specific tasks, goals and timelines. She helped move tierneycreates from a daydream to a reality. She continues to cheerlead and be a pivotal source of inspiration.

BROTHER

My younger brother is an amazing man and father. While he was in undergraduate study he knew he wanted to be in business for himself and by the time he was in graduate school he had successfully started his entrepreneurial career. As a young man he told me “I just do not want to work for someone else, I do not want to spend my life as an employee”. He has such vision and drive that he has propelled himself toward the life that he wanted, despite and roadblocks or struggles. His entrepreneurial creativity example also inspired me to start tierneycreates. I do not see me leaving my “day job” in health care anytime soon but it is exciting to experience some of what he experiences as an entrepreneur.

MOTHER

My mother was a very creative woman and used to teach drama. She loved color and enjoyed interior decorating. I remember as a child we had many themed rooms in our house all uniquely decorated. She passed when I was in my 20s from breast cancer. I think I inherited her flair for color and design.

FATHER

My father (who passed in 2008) is my greatest source of inspiration. He was an educator, social worker, civil rights activist and community leader. Growing up in the 1970s where not a lot of African American history was taught in schools, my father thought it was important that I learn specifically about great African American innovators, inventors, activists and leaders. From a young age this inspired me to take risks despite adversity. My father grew up in the segregated South during the 1930s -1940s and he was involved in the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950s and 1960s (he even met Martin Luther King, Jr. and other great Civil Rights leaders). Despite his experiences with great adversity and segregation he taught us to always treat everyone equally and never to think anyone is less than you because they are different from you. People are just people. He inspired my openness to new experiences, new people and new ideas, which I think is important in the creative process and defined the core of who I am as a person.

My father shared many inspiring stories with us from growing up in the South during a difficult time for minorities, here is one of them:

In the late 1940s I got on a bus and sat near a man who called me a (racial slur) and loudly said “I don’t like you, (racial slur)”. I calmly responded “but if you got to know me, you would like me.” This relaxed the tension and opened friendly dialogue. At the end of the bus ride we shook hands and pleasantly parted ways. – Raoul Davis, Sr.

Strawberry Fields - Central Park’s Memorial to John Lennon, taken 2008 during my trip to NYC.

Strawberry Fields – Central Park’s Memorial to John Lennon, taken 2008 during a family trip to NYC.

What are your sources of inspiration? 

Retreating is not necessarily “retreating”

I am honored to be invited to teach a hand piecing/quilting/spiritual art class at the Women’s Relaxation Reiki Retreat in Finland, August 19-22, 2016 and I am working on developing Northern Lights (aka the aurora borealis) themed project options for the class since the Northern Lights will be in view during the retreat.

This will be a working retreat for me where I get to attend some classes and teach a couple of classes. I started thinking about the whole idea of going on a retreat/retreating and Quilting Retreats I have attended in the past (and those planned with my quilting friends in the near future) and this post shares my thoughts.

If you look up the word retreat in a dictionary you made find definitions like these below:

  • movement by soldiers away from an enemy because the enemy is winning or has won a battle
  • movement away from a place or situation especially because it is dangerous, unpleasant, etc.
  • the act of changing your opinion or position on something because it is unpopular

(Source – http://www.merriam-webster.com)

None of these definitions have anything to do with the type of retreats I enjoy! To retreat is commonly thought of as backing away and/or pulling into yourself. There are retreats such as spiritual based and meditation retreats where the purpose is to back away from your daily life and worries and to pull into yourself to gain perspective or spiritual enlightenment.  I admire people who attend these type of purely inward focused retreats. However the type of retreats enjoy involve connecting with people.

I am so fortunate to have a wonderful group of quilting friends from various parts of the country. I met these women through quilting retreats and because we deeply connected, we continue to retreat together year after year. We even plan our own special group retreat where only our private group attends. Yes, I will admit it – sometimes I bring a couple projects to these retreats and do not get much quilt piecing done. However what are you going to most remember about a quilt retreat: 1) that you completed 5 projects; or 2) that you hung out with some amazing women and had many laughs?

It is magical to connect with a stranger at a retreat on other common ground beyond being a quilter. I am originally from New York and I have bonded with another quilter because she is also “a Yankee”.

If you are a quilter/crafter, I bet you could not imagine attending a quilting/crafting retreat in which you just “back away/pull into yourself”. I have met a couple people at quilting retreats who just wanted to focus on their projects and were not very social – however I am not sure they had as great a time as those that did not get as much done but had a blast connecting with other retreat attendees.

Besides connecting with fun people, the other wonderful parts of quilt retreating are a scenic peaceful location (I do love a retreat where you can go for a solitary walk in a pastoral location and take break from the group setting), impromptu outings to local quilt shops (with old or new quilt friends), and yummy food to enjoy (that I did not have to cook!)

“Happiness [is] only real when shared” – Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

A Novel Panel Idea

Our library has a community wide book club book once a year called A Novel Idea. In the fall, our library unveils the selected novel and everyone in the community is encouraged to read the book. In spring the book’s author is invite to town to speak for the ultimate book club meeting. As part of the Novel Idea celebration in the spring the library has an art show to feature art inspired by the community read novel.

I read the book, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki as soon as it was announced as the selected book and loved it. I was determined to enter the art show and create a piece of fiber art inspired by this wonderful novel.

But where to start…

I have a collection of pre-printed fabric panels that I have collected over the years. Some panels in the collection, that I bought long ago, I look at and go “what was I thinking?” Others I look at and think: “what am I going to do with that?” Some quilters look down on using panels and think they are cheating because you are not piecing the entire piece.

Remembered in my collection of panels I had a lovely kimono panel printed with images of the sea and sky – that seemed like the right place to start as part of the novel took place in Japan. I mirrored the palette of the panel to create a flowing extension of the panel’s scene.

Here are photos” from my design wall to completed piece just hung in the downtown branch of our library for the upcoming show

On the back of the finished piece I put a label about my inspiration:

Jiko’s Secret Robe (2015)

Quilt inspired by Ruth Ozeki’s novel A Tale for the Time Being: Nao’s great grandmother, Jiko, is a humble and wise 100+ year-old Buddhist nun who wears simple robes and lives a simple life. This quilt represents Jiko’s secret robe – a robe not visible to the eye but visible to the soul – representing the complexity and depths of Jiko’s spirit, experience, wisdom and compassion for all beings and the earth.

“For the time being, the entire earth and the boundless sky.”– Ruth Ozeki

What’s on the Design Wall: Rediscovering My “Charms”

If you would like to see what is on my design wall in regards to new pieces for The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection, check out the post In Progress on The Wardrobe Meets the Wall blog.  To stay up to date on Sassy the highly opinionated miniature schnauzer’s check out her page Schnauzer Snips

CHARM PACKS

If you are quilter you know exactly what I am talking about – those addicting little charm packs. If you are not a quilter – charm packs are collections of precut 5 x 5 in. squares in coordinating fabrics. They are a great way to sample a new fabric collection – they usually come in packs of 40 squares and have at least one of each fabric in a collection. They can also come in solid fabric collections.

I fortunately or unfortunately have acquired quite a stash of charm packs over the years.

You go into a quilt shop and see a new fabric collection and daydream of a yard of each of the new 20 fabrics. Then you remember you need to eat and keep a roof over your head so you don’t give into the temptation of such a glorious shopping spree. Walking away from the collection you were coveting, you spy over in the corner the charm packs sets for the new fabric collection! You now think – “Yes! I can have a taste of the new collection (and still be able to pay my mortgage)!”

You bring them home, with no particular plans in mind for them and put them with the rest of your impulse buy charm packs…

Examples of 5 inch charm packs

Examples of 5 inch charm packs

A year ago I decided to stop hoarding charm packs and to actually use them. There are many wonderful books with charm pack specific patterns – patterns designed to start with 5 in. squares and go from there.  I made a couple quilts from these pattern books, but quickly burned out of this structured traditional quilt making. So I put the rest of the charm packs back in their display (gather dust) area and forgot them.

I was reorganizing my fabric a week ago and came across my stash of charm packs again and thought: Why do I have to use a pattern? Why can’t I just do something initiative and “modern quilting” style? So I took two charm packs of collections of various solid color batik fabrics and randomly sliced each 5 x 5 in. square into three sections. Then I reassembled this huge pile of charm pack sections into random columns. I experimented and sliced up one of the columns to make thinner columns and alternated the columns.

I am still experimenting and plan to create table runners out of these columns. Below are photos of “playtime” on my my design wall.

I think they are on their way to becoming quite CHARMING. I am glad I rediscovered my CHARMS!