Shows and Exhibits, WCQN

Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show opening weekend, Part III

Here is the final installment in my series of posts about opening weekend of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) show Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West at the James Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida where my quilt Langston Hughes, Pioneer Poet was showing.

If you are just joining us, here are the two previous related posts:

Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show opening weekend, Part I 

Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show opening weekend, Part II 

Before I share more about the show’s opening weekend, here is a little about my time in St. Petersburg, Florida.

WANDERING AROUND ST. PETERSBURG

I’ve been to several cities in Florida in the past, but I do not remember ever visiting St. Petersburg, so let’s call it my first visit to St. Petersburg, FL. The James Museum is located in downtown St. Petersburg and although my partner John and I had a rental car, we primarily explored the downtown area where our hotel was also located.

One day between opening weekend events, we walked down to the pier area and ran into some very friendly pelicans hoping for us to feed them (which we didn’t – we listened to the posted sign!)

One of the pelicans was following me around and after a while appeared annoyed that I hadn’t fed her/him yet!

There was all sorts of interesting birds wandering around downtown St. Petersburg, here are some curious birds we ran into at a public park:

They were sort of flamingo like but I am not sure if they are in the same family. If you know what they are, let me know!

And of course I had to take some Black & White photos while wandering downtown St. Petersburg, here is my favorite of the photos I took (the rest were “nothing to write home about” so I will spare you a B&W photo essay of downtown St. Petersburg):

John and I had lunch one day and a fun restaurant, Oak and Stone, that featured a self-sampling craft beer area where you got a wrist band that you scanned and selected whatever sampler craft beers you wanted (though they did have a limit of how many samples you could buy during one visit!). Each tap had information about the craft brew selection.

We had a lot of fun sampling beers!

John and I discovered that St. Petersburg has an unusually large number of museums for its size of city – 31! We joked that since there is a lot of wealth in St. Petersburg, “everyone and their brother” wanted to have their own museum!

And now we’ll return to the show’s opening weekend.

BLACK PIONEERS SHOW OPENING WEEKEND CONTINUED

On Sunday September 11, 2022 the museum held a brunch for the artists and the show’s sponsors. After the brunch there was a panel presentation with the show’s curator Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi and 6 of the artists discussing the topic “In Search of Freedom: The Black Presence in the West”.

Each artist discussed their piece in depth and responded to Dr. Mazloomi’s discussion questions about the topic. It was an amazing panel presentation by amazing women. The women in the panel are educators, college professors, a civil rights attorney, historians, and professional artists. Dr. Mazloomi is a retired aerospace engineer and she was not the only PhD level educated artist in the room.

Some of the members of the WCQN have art quilts permanently installed at the Smithsonian Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

I cannot begin to put in to words how it felt to interact with this entire group of talented and brilliant women that are part of WCQN during the Black Pioneers show’s opening weekend. Here is the group photo I shared in the previous post about the show opening:

image credit: James Museum facebook page

How lucky I felt to stand among this group of women! I had so many engaging conversations with the other artists during the show’s opening weekend and there are rumors that in the future we might have WCQN artist retreats and I cannot wait to be in their presence again!

If you’d like to read about how I first got involved with the WCQN, this post tells the story – Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me (re-post). Thank you Universe for letting me run across that magazine that led me to reaching out to Dr. Mazloomi while browsing at Barnes & Nobles in 2016!

I will close this series of posts with this recent interview of Dr. Mazloomi, a National Heritage Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts (highest award given in the U.S. to an artist), that played on a loop on one of the museum’s walls during the exhibit. I think it is worth a listen.

We as African Americans have participated in the making of this country since we stepped off the boat. African Americans have been explorers, they’ve been business people, they were cowboys, they’ve been part of the fabric of every facet of this country and people will see that the quilts…Quilts have jumped off the bed onto the wall and they are now seen as works of art…these are not the quilts that your grandmother made, they are truly seen as works of art…with the use of cloth we tell the stories not only of our cultures but the making of America…

Carolyn Mazloomi
Shows and Exhibits, WCQN

Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show opening weekend, Part II

When I finally sit down in front of my laptop and open my blog (after a hiatus) the decision is: do I catch up on my blogging buddies posts first or do I write a new post. I am just going to go ahead and write a new post otherwise I will get distracted again (smile).

Here goes Part II, continuing the story I started in the post Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show opening weekend, Part I, about the opening weekend of the Women of Color Quilting Network show Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West at the James Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida where my quilt Langston Hughes, Pioneer Poet was showing.

At opening on Friday Sept 9, 2022

Friday September 9th was the opening reception, and on Saturday September 10 there was a “Meet the Artists” event allowing show attendees to chat with and ask the artists questions.

For the “Meet the Artist” event, the museum lined up chairs by each piece so the artist could take a break and sit down during the 2+ hours talking to the public and signing books.

I talked to a lot of people about my quilt. I was especially touched by a mother and daughter duo who told me that my piece was the reason why they came to the show. As I shared in the post Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West (upcoming exhibit)., my piece was used in the advertisement for the show. See more about the advertisement for the show at the end of this post.

I also had a wonderful conversation with young lady who asked me about how I became an artist. I think she was a preteen. I could tell she was a budding artist and in addition to answering her questions, I had her share her own artist journey to date. She had me sign her book and then brought her sisters by to have me sign their books also.

In addition to chatting with show attendees, I had fun chatting with my fellow artists in our little “pod” in the corner of the exhibit. Here they are hanging out or signing books for show attendees (we signed a lot of books!):

Wow there was some tremendous talent at the show. Here are some of my favorite pieces that I viewed at the show.

Artist: Carolyn Crump

I always “fan girl out” when I see Carolyn’s work. It is otherworldly!

Artist: Dorothy Burge

Dorothy Burge spoke at the Artist Panel during the Artist Brunch on Sunday and shared in detail the story of the amazing woman featured in her piece. I love how the quilt is only the figure of Mary Fields with no additional background.

Artist: Viola Burley Leak

The above 5 quilts were breathtaking in person, the photos do not them justice. The Watts Riot piece was huge and the colors were so vivid and powerful in person, a real masterpiece! I got to chat with the artist and she shared some of the daunting challenges of creating this piece.

Here is a little gallery below of more amazing art quilts at the show depicting the lives of Black Pioneers in the American West:

If you’d like to see all the quilts and read their full Artist Statement, the exhibit catalogue is available for Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West by contacting the gift shop at the James Museum at (727) 892-4200.

It was such an amazing show. Here is a photo taken by the James Museum’s photographer and posted on the museum’s facebook page of the entire group of artists that attended:

image credit: James Museum facebook page

Postscript

I mentioned earlier in this post that my quilt Langston Hughes, Pioneer Poet was used as advertisement for the show originally (eventually they added other quilts to the advertisement or replaced my quilt).

image credit – The James Museum
image credit – James Museum facebook page

As a result my quilt was featured in press/media about the show. Below are a couple examples:

The Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) Exhibitions webpage:

image credit: SAQA website

The Visit St. Pete (St. Petersburg)/Clearwater visitor website:

image credit – visit st pete clearwater website

WUSF Public Media (St. Petersburg area NPR station):

image credit – WUSF website

Local Today/Oklahoma News:

I accidentally found most of these when I was googling the show; and my friend Wendy sent me the SAQA one.

Here is a local television news story about the exhibit before the show officially opened:

You get a brief glimpse of my quilt for a moment. I saw this clip before I attended the show opening and got to see my quilt had a freestanding wall all to itself!

A Crafter's Life, Life in B&W, Outside Adventures!

Truly Alive

My next post was going to be Part II of this post Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show opening weekend, Part I.

But then I went to the Garden of the Gods, the national natural landmark in Colorado Springs, CO (my 4th visit) this weekend while my brother and his family were visiting.

And I stood here for a while gazing at the 300+ million year old rock formations across the grassland and got very reflective

Then I stood here for a while and got even more reflective:

I starting thinking about an Instagram post I did a couple months ago and how I feel “truly alive” in Colorado.

Here is what I wrote on Instagram:

My third anniversary of living in Colorado came and went without any fanfare but I’ve been thinking about it today.

I arrived in Colorado from Bend, Oregon (a truly magical place to live that I would’ve lived the rest of my life if life changing disaster had not struck) around April 20, 2019 to start a new life after being surprisingly widowed in 2018. Little did I know what glorious adventure awaited me in Colorado, the next chapter of my life.

I have this framed advertisement in the wall of my sewing studio. Two months after my husband suddenly died and I was sitting in my Oregon home strongly doubting my decision to move to Colorado, and I randomly opened a magazine and this ad was the page that opened! OK universe I hear you…

I am the adventure that will replay in your mind. The story you’ll tell for years and years. The invincibility you feel, if only for a moment. One beautiful, breathtaking moment. I am Colorado. And I’ll show you what it’s like to be truly alive.

Colorado.com

Whoever wrote the copy for that Colorado visitor guide advertisement I’d like to give a huge hug to.

“Truly Alive”, that is what I felt when I was wandering around the Garden of the Gods on Saturday.

I spent time with the group wandering around; and at the picnic we had on one of the over 300 million year old elevated rock formations. Here are photos of my brother and I hanging out as well as a haphazardly snapped photo of our picnic among the ancient rocks (while I was trying to balance food on my knee and take a photo):

I also spent a bit of time alone, allowing the group to wander off on their own. Here is a video I took as I looked upon a scene (which I’ve seen 3 times before) that took my breath away:

Here are a couple more select photos from the day but nothing compares to being there in person. It was a gloriously beautiful day in a spiritual sort of place.

And of course, here are some photos in Black & White:

I am Colorado. And I’ll show you what it’s like to be truly alive.

Thank you Colorado. (And thank you to me for being brave enough to move here for the next chapter of my life adventure).


Postscript

If you’d like to see much higher quality video footage of the Garden of the Gods, here is a video I found on YouTube that I think captures some of the beauty I saw on Saturday:

Shows and Exhibits, WCQN

Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show opening weekend, Part I

Last Friday, John and I headed to St. Petersburg Florida for the opening weekend of the show Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West at the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art.

The museum is really gorgeous inside (the Executive Director told us it cost 65 million to build and 5 million a year to maintain…) and filled with some amazing Western themed art, especially a lot of Native American themed art:

When we first arrived to the opening night reception on Friday, our first stop was the museum gift shop to pick up extra copies of the exhibit catalogue (they gave each artist a complimentary copy):

And we plopped ourselves down at the museum’s cafe/bar area with our complimentary adult beverage and thumbed through the catalogue to find my piece!

Yes, I won’t lie, it was pretty exciting!

After getting snacks at the cocktail reception, before we headed upstairs to the exhibit I stopped to pose with the exhibit poster sign:

Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, the show’s curator and the founder of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) spoke at in the main hall stage at the museum during the reception and had all the artists come up on stage with her after her presentation:

Then it was time to go upstairs and see the exhibit! You’ll never guess what I did first – yes, find my piece on the wall and start taking photos:

Note: The museum placard for my piece is an abbreviated version of my full artist statement. If you’d like to read the entire artist statement, see the post Update on the Langston Hughes, Pioneer Poet Quilt.

I also had Dr. Mazloomi sign my exhibit catalogue and took a photo with her:

I am so honored that she responded to my inquiry years ago about WCQN. I am so proud to be a member! So far I’ve been in two other shows: Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium (see post Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part IV), and Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young (see post Secret Quilt Revealed, Part II: Yours for Race and Country).

This is the second show opening I attended, I did not attend the one for Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young as my husband had recently died and although I was so honored to be in the show I was not emotionally ready to attend events like that. I am so happy I got to attend the opening for Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West, and it was awesome to have my partner John there with me (and he acted as my photographer when I was in group shots or busy talking to show visitors.

I am going to close Part I of this series of posts about the show with a less than a minute walk through video of the show on Instagram and a longer version (over 3 minutes) on YouTube that John took. More to come in future posts in this series to include some close up images of several of the amazing quilts in the show!

I accidentally deleted the minute long video I took landscape perspective after I loaded it to Instagram (and I even figured out how to set it to music), so darn it I could not load it on to YouTube!

Bags Bags Bags

Back to Some Drawstring Bag Making

It’s time to restock my Etsy shop Textiles & Smiles that I reopened last November and I’ve decided to first make a stash of drawstrings bags which sold well with my first reopened shop offerings.

(Previously my Etsy shop was called “tierneycreates” but there was a whole reopening fiasco that I shared in the post My Etsy Shop is Now Reopened – tierneycreates is now TextilesandSmiles. I’ve grown to embrace the new name “Textiles & Smiles”, which is part of my original tagline – “tierneycreates: a fusion of textiles & smiles”.)

I kept some of the drawstring bags for use in my studio, they are great for storing scraps:

Over the past week I’ve enjoyed picking out fabric combinations for the top, bottom, and lining for the bags. Here are some combinations I got excited about:

I’ve also selected some fun novelty fabrics that I think will make fun bags.

So far I’ve cut out 30 bags and then it is time to get them all interfaced and then get to sewing!


Postscript

A little follow up to Mike the Miniature Schnauzer’s recent post Guest Post: John, Project Man (Part II).

Mike continues to provide oversight of John’s projects and here he is on a recent trip to a tool store to help John pick out a new tool.

And here he is advising John on the correct tool to select:

I am sure Mike did his research before coming to the store (I am always finding him on my laptop…) 😉

A Crafter Needs to Eat, Guest Blogger, Miniature Schnauzer Musings

Guest Post: John, Project Man (Part II)

This is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer guest posting as Tierney has been taking too long to write Part II of this two part series of posts that began with John, Project Man (Part I). Okay it’s only been a couple of days but Miniature Schnauzers are an impatient breed in general so it’s my nature.

So I opened up the laptop and got to work:

Ready to fill in for lazy Tierney

Yes, John has been busy on projects, and I would prefer he follow my lead and do something like this:

The perfect “hobby”

He won’t listen to me about napping instead of remodeling, so I’ve had to spend a lot of time at home improvement stores supervising him:

I need to charge an hourly dog biscuit wage for all this work

So Tierney and John got it in their heads that they needed to remodel the basement bathroom, which is also the main guest bathroom for pesky humans that visit us.

And then they decided that they should also replace all the toilets in the house as they are the original toilets from when the house was built.

I am unclear why they would want to waste their money on new toilets as we have a perfect good backyard to take a pee in like I do.

And if they need to poop they could just follow my lead and do it on my twice a day walks.

But I am not going to carry around their poop bags like they do for me – ew! (What is wrong with humans, why are they always collecting my poop and carrying it around in little baggies on our walks – what are their plans with it?!??!)

I know the answer…

We have a lot of pesky humans scheduled to visit us in the near future, so last weekend they worked on remodeling the bathroom (I used the term “they” loosely as it appeared Tierney was only in charge of snacks).

Here is John removing the old tile floor:

Take that floor!

I stayed away from this as he was making a lot of noise and creating a lot of dust.

Instead I did this on his behalf:

These naps aren’t for me, they are for John so he can live vicariously…

Tierney did not bother taking step by step remodeling photos (there goes her career as a home remodeling Instagram influencer) but here are some photos of what it looked like with a new floor, new toilet (waste of money), new lighting, new fixtures (whatever that means, dogs don’t care about “fixtures”), and new shower curtain:

John has his bar near the bathroom and collects nice whiskeys as a hobby, and so they went with a whiskey themed bathroom. The shower curtain according to Tierney is a reproduction of the original “whiskey still” patent (whatever the heck that means, humans are so weird).

They also took photos that John took in 2019 when he went on a Kentucky Bourbon tour with his friends, converted them to black & white photos, enlarged them, and then framed them as art for the bathroom:

They were pretty pleased with themselves when the project was done.

Tierney did mention that her fantasy would have been to just gut (that sounds painful) the whole bathroom and do a nice tiled walk in shower but that was too expensive an option. But they are happy with the small amount of money they spent (they wasted) on the remodel.

When John is not doing remodeling projects, he is doing his other favorite hobby: cooking.

Here he is in the kitchen making my favorite of their human meals – pizza! I like when they (using the word “they” loosely again as Tierney is in charge of getting pizza making supplies out of the refrigerator only) make it because sometimes a little cheese will fall on the floor, and they always give me a piece of their pizza crusts!

John always makes a pizza for my Grandpa (John’s Dad who I visit all the time) who lives nearby; and my human brother (John’s son) and his family, whenever he makes pizza. It’s like he supplies pizza to 1/2 the neighborhood!

So this closes out the series of posts on “John, Project Man”.

Now I have to get back to my very important project:

If you’d like to read more of my musings, they are all under this blog post category: Miniature Schnauzer Musings.

A Crafter's Life, From the Woodshop

John, Project Man (Part I)

My partner John has been busy with a bunch of home improvement projects (I have helped a tiny bit) and I thought I would share. I have nicknamed him “Project Man” because he loves staying busy with projects (though I’ve been working with him on just relaxing and not always being busy).

SOFA TABLES

We like to hang out and watch movies on the sectional sofa in our basement (and it is right near John’s bar so easy access to cocktails too!) but we needed some additional options on where to put our popcorn and drinks.

We already had this tray on the ottoman that John and made (see post From the Woodshop: Tray for our Ottoman):

But we constantly had to lean over to access our snacks and beverages while movie watching.

So a little research online and John and I found a style we liked for a table that would slide under the sofa and make our snacks and drinks quickly accessible.

Here is John working on the first of the two tables he ended up making, it was his first time making dovetail joints for furniture:

Here is the first table in use:

Sometimes we set that table between us and sometimes John just uses it on his side of the sectional sofa (we each have our own areas that we “nest” on the sofa).

After that table I was made, I thought – “what about a bigger version of that table that I could sit under and working on my laptop or eat a meal on?”. So John made a bigger version and here it is in use:

It also works well as an end table:

John made sure the two tables could nest together out of the way when we are not using them:

We’ve definitely enjoyed them on a couple recent movie nights!

SCREEN FOR SWING

One of the things I loved about my backyard in my previous life in Oregon was my backyard swing. Last year we found a lovely swing on sale and installed it in the backyard.

Last summer (2021) John made a screen for the backyard patio area to make it more cozy:

Recently, I asked John if we could repeat the concept he used last year for the patio screen, for the section of the backyard with the swing. So a couple weeks ago, John made a screen for the swing so you can feel super cozy when relaxing on it:

It is now a wonderful place to read a book! (And if I bring a couple pillows over from the patio seating, it is a great place to take a lazy afternoon nap!)

I continue with more projects in Part II of this series of posts, but let me close the post with pictures of Mike the Miniature Schnauzer at one of his favorite places – a home improvement store. He loves to ride around in the cart (we call him “Mike in the Box”).

He was helping us buy toilets for the projects I will share in the next post.

Life in B&W, tierneytravels

Downtown Las Vegas in Black and White

Recently we returned from a long weekend trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. This time we did not stay on “The Strip” (the Las Vegas Strip where the major hotels, shows and attractions are located), instead we stayed in the section of downtown Las Vegas know as Freemont, or the “Freemont Experience“.

Freemont is older and grittier than the Vegas Strip and definitely filled with colorful characters. Initially I took photos in color but then I thought it would be fun to take a series of photos in Black & White and share them with you as part of my ongoing blog post series – Life in B&W.

One morning I went wandering and there were a few interesting metal art installation in downtown Vegas including a heart filled with locks and keys; and a very large praying mantis:

You’ll see the sun in some of the photos – it was only 9:00 am but it was already very hot (eventually climbing to 100 degrees F/38 degrees C) and the sun was definitely part of my walk.

Here are some buildings and street scenes that caught my eye:

Here is a little of the actual “Freemont Experience” section of downtown Vegas:

My favorite discovery during my wander in downtown Vegas was the street art on some of the buildings:

And here was my favorite:

Be a Maker! Not a Taker!

So awesome!

Oh and in case you are wondering – I donated a little money to the slot machines and called it good. I am not much of a gambler. We did take the bus and spend part of one day of the trip on the Vegas Strip and had some wonderful meals at a couple favorite eateries on the Vegas Strip: Eataly and Din Tai Fung.

We didn’t catch any shows this time but we had a lot of fun lounging at the amazing pool at our hotel (Golden Nugget) that had an aquarium in the center.

My partner John was brave and did the water slide that takes you through the aquarium. I stayed poolside sipping on my frozen cocktail!

tierneycreates, What's on the Design Wall

Starting an Art Quilt

This post is not about starting a specific art quilt* (though I will share an art quilt I am in the progress of making), it about a little of the process I use to design a new art quilt.

*When I use the term “art quilt” I mean a quilt using an original design that you design/create; not based on an existing pattern (though a pattern could inspire it); and either improvisational or based on a specific idea/concept/photo that inspired the quilt.

One of my long time blogging buddies sent me an e-mail with the questions below (some paraphrased) after she saw my completed memory quilt post (see posts Update on “The Challenge” , Update on Memory Quilt, and The Memory Quilt is Complete and Given):

  1. What do you find successful when you are creating a design? 
  2. What is one thing you do that helps you focus and get rid of all the noise and clutter that come with color, design, prints, etc.?
  3. There are so many complicated variables (in making an art quilt),  how do you start?

I let her know I would answer her questions in a blog post in case anyone else finds my musing interesting and possible useful. (And at the end of this blog post I am going to invite you all to weigh in with your answers, so start thinking about them now as you read mine!)

What do you find successful when you are creating a design?

THE MEMORY QUILT

What I find successful in creating a design is to sit down and write out my general concept and what I want to accomplish with this quilt. For example on the memory quilt I made my friend I wanted to 1) make a quilt from as many of her mother’s favorite clothes that I could; 2) make something that feels like it is a hug from her late mother; 3) try and use some of the more challenging fabrics in the design.

In writing out my general concept, I consulted some traditional quilting books for ideas. I did not want to make it “improvisational” with a lot of little pieces placed randomly (or in a format such as a free form log cabin). I wanted it to have some defined structure.

During my research (looking through my collection of quilting books) I found a pattern that had hearts appliquéd over plaid (via four patches) squares. I thought – “yes that is it!” – the hearts could represent love from her late mother; and the plaid design (four patches) was doable with the challenging fabrics I needed to work with (like velour, a polyester scarf, etc.).

MY CURRENT ART QUILT IN PROGRESS

Recently I’ve started a new art quilt for a special show I am hoping to get into. It would be my first international show. I’ve been invited to submit a quilt for it but it has to be acceptable for the exhibit in order to make it into it. That’s all the details I’ll provide on the reason for the quilt for now, but more to come in the future.

I followed the same initial process as I did with the Memory Quilt – I sat down and put my thoughts on paper. I used my art journal (see posts Creative Inspiration: Peek Inside My Journals and Creative Inspiration: My Journals) to jot down ideas and sketch out ideas for the layout of the quilt.

My art journal where I sketch out ideas, I made a cover for it to make it special

Ideas about the quilt are not just focused on how the finished quilt might look. They are also about what I’d like a viewer of the quilt to see, experience, think about, etc. What feelings and thoughts so I want to evoke when someone looks at the quilt? What do I want the quilt to say (or try to say). What is the theme of the art quilt, what is it about. I might also start to write a draft Artist Statement for the quilt to really get me thinking what I want the quilt to “say”. See my little “side bar” below for more discussion on this concept.

*** SIDE BAR ***

For example, all of quilts I’ve made for the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) shows that I’ve been in had specific themes so I had a starting point. I knew what the quilt needed to in general “be about” and from there I had to narrow it down to what I wanted to share about that topic. Example below with the quilt I did for the WCQN show “Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium: Quilting the World’s Conscience“ which was inspired by the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I was assigned (actually I got to select which Article from the Declaration I wanted to use) Article I: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” 

So that was my starting point. I knew what I needed to portray in the quilt, I just had to figure out how to get there.

Here is an early sketch from my journal as I was working on the quilt:

And here is the completed quilt:

I am not sure how to put in to words how I got from the sketch to the completed quilt but it was through trial and error, and lots of experimentation. But I knew I wanted it to be a classroom with a person who looked like my father in the 1970s teaching because he was the one who taught my two siblings and myself the values in Article I. Also I come from a long line of teachers and I wanted to honor education/teaching.

If you know what you want to accomplish with the art quilt, then it helps you have a clearer vision.

Okay that the end of the side bar, so back to the current art quilt in progress….

This time the quilt was inspired by a collection of machine embroidered blocks a friend gave me years ago along with coordinating 10 inch x 10 inch sections of coordinating fabric; as well as a group of fabric printed “trees” I designed and printed years ago in a fabric ink printing class.

What I want to accomplish with this quilt I am still working out. I am thinking through whether I want it to be a deeply personal piece about grief based on the somber colors of the quilt and the tree images, or it if I want it to be more uplifting (or some blend of both).

After I came up with my initial concept/idea/layout, I laid out all the fabrics I’d selected for the piece on my cutting table in my studio:

All the fabrics I am considering laid out on the table

Then I put up a sample of each fabric and the special blocks (the embroidered blocks and the printed trees) up on my studio’s design wall:

One of each laid out on the design wall

Having the fabrics up on the wall helped me think about addition and subtraction (what I need to add to the design as far as fabrics, and what I need to take away) and I decided not to use the gold tinged fabrics in my design. I decided to just stick with muted grays, browns and taupes.

Here is a close up of some of the embroidered blocks I am using in the piece, one of the printed trees, and an example of the cool fabric my friend gave me:

If these fabrics looks familiar (and you’ve been following my blog a long time) I first shared them back in 2018 in a post called What’s Simmering on the Design Wall. But I abandoned the project as something else caught my attention (I guess I let it “simmer” too long and the inspiration evaporated away!).

Here I am with the quilt design right now – I am thinking of a medallion quilt layout…

Okay time to move on to the next question…

What is one thing you do that helps you focus and get rid of all the noise and clutter that come with color, design, prints, etc.?

Writing down my ideas on in my art journal, that is the number one thing that helps me focus. If my ideas change as I play with the fabrics on the design wall or the table I have them laid out upon, then I write down my new ideas.

As far as eliminating “the noise and clutter”, for me that is reduced by having a clear concept of what I want to accomplish (see “SIDE BAR” above).

I usually select a color palette early on in designing a piece. I’ve noticed that I am attracted towards “Southwest” and “Desert” type colors – rusts, beiges, greens, sky blues, etc. and I have repeated that palette in several art quilts. I read somewhere that if artists select a palette that they usually work from it can become a signature of their work.

Here is an example of an early art quilt I did called Central Oregon is Central to Me which uses that palette:

And then you can see I repeated this palette years later in a quilt I made for the WCQN show Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young”. The name of this piece is Giant Among the Sequoias.

Color is very powerful and I’ve read a couple books about select coloring in the design of quilts. Two that I highly recommend were written by one of my teachers when I lived in Central Oregon – Jean Wells Keenan: Intuitive Color and Design and Journey to Inspired Art Quilting.

It was actually in her Journey to Inspired Art Quilting Workshop series that I took at the Stitchin’ Post in Sister, Oregon that I began the quilt Color Story V: Abandoned Water Structure, which was the first of my art quilts purchased by the City of Seattle for their Portable Works Collection (the City of Seattle now owns 4 of my art quilts made from recycled silks which they rotate through their municipal offices).

If you want to know more about this piece, see my post “Your Body of Water” Exhibit, Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery in which you will see the photo of an actual. abandoned water structure that inspired this piece.

I might be rambling at this point, but I want to take a moment to share two additional major things that have helped me “get rid of all the noise”: 1) reading books about art quilting; and 2) taking classes with experienced art quilters (ongoing workshops are especially helpful – a series of classes with the same instructor helps you build upon concepts learned). You can also find a mentor and that can come from joining either a local or national art quilting group.

You cannot become an art quilter on your own (well maybe you can but I couldn’t) – you need mentors and teachers and it is very helpful to learn some formal art quilting concepts and techniques so you have them in your “tool bag”.

I know I need to take some more in person classes in the future. For now I just read art quilting journals, watch YouTube videos, and read books. So many awesome books have been written by some very talented art quilters!

Now on to the last question.

There are so many complicated variables (in making an art quilt),  how do you start?

See above (smile).

So those were my answers to the three questions:

  1. What do you find successful when you are creating a design? 
  2. What is one thing you do that helps you focus and get rid of all the noise and clutter that come with color, design, prints, etc.?
  3. There are so many complicated variables (in making an art quilt),  how do you start?

I INVITE YOU TO SHARE YOUR ANSWERS AND FEEL FREE TO RAMBLE AS I DID 😉

Studio

Treasures Discovered in my Fabric Stash

Yesterday I discovered treasures in my fabric stash: a collection of what I believe to be South African Shweshwe fabrics.

Many years ago, an art quilting mentor in Oregon had shared with me some of the bounty of fabrics she inherited from her friend’s aunt who had died, who was a world traveler, and had collected fabrics from all over the world during her travels (primarily small samples and pieces, rarely yardage/metres).

I was able to select a sampling of fabrics from the huge stash of fabrics and I was attracted to a collection of blue and white fabric fabrics, that had a lot of texture to them, that I thought were Japanese textiles.

I end up shoving this collection of blue and white fabrics away with my collection of Asian fabrics and I did use a some of them to make this simple blue and white quilt years ago, along with a large collection of Japanese blue and white fabrics I got from the inherited stash:

I was just trying to put to use a bunch of the awesome fabrics I got from the late aunt’s stash, little did I understand the treasures I was using up….

So, as I shared in the August 2021 post Awesome Surprise Treats in the Mail!, my South African based long time blogging friend Mariss (@fabrications) sent me some treats in the mail all the way from the other side of the world, which included these awesome Nelson Mandela fabric pieces:

At the time I received these fabrics (June 2021), I did not make the connection to the similar other fabric in my stash, which I had mistakenly labeled as “Japanese”.

But yesterday a light bulb went on in my head (oh how dim my brain has been sometimes) and when I came across that stash of blue and white fabrics again, I took a close look at the label most of them had on the back:

3 Leopards fabric by the Da Gama Textile Company in South Africa! A little further research and the fabrics appear (and please correct me if my brain bulb is being dim) to be South African Shweshwe fabrics.

From the Da Gama Textile company’s website, here is some background on Shweshwe fabrics if you are not familiar with Shweshwe:

Shweshwe has a history going back thousands of years, with the shweshwe we know and love today making its way to SA for the first time in the early 1840s. Today, we produce shweshwe by the traditional processes, using a weak acid solution to bleach out distinctive designs. This gives the fabric an authentic look and feel, as well as the distinctive smell that consumers know and love. Shweshwe is a unique Eastern Cape fabric and Da Gama Textiles is aptly referred to as the “home of the original shweshwe”. It is not uncommon to see patrons taste, smell and feel the fabric before committing to a sale, to ensure the cloth is authentic. Shweshwe is sold by folded bolt and not on a cardboard core in roll form, staying as close as possible to its roots of origin. All of these unique characteristics date back to the long sea voyages from the UK to South Africa, which formed the original transport route for this cloth. A strong starch is used to preserve the fabric, resulting in the hard handle and distinctive smell, which disappear after washing.

The Shweshwe fabrics I am lucky to have in my fabric stash are so beautiful and have an amazing texture and feel to them. Here is a sampling of some of the fabrics I have:

All the backs are marked with either a full or partial version of the Da Gama Textile Co. label.

And here is the whole pile including the Nelson Mandela fabric that Mariss sent me:

I revisited that blue and white quilt I made many years ago and winced to see fabrics such as this example below in the quilt:

I was thinking: “I should have saved that fabric for something really special.” But then I remembered that I look at/enjoy this quilt every day as it at the foot of my bed on my partner John’s grandmother’s antique chest. So the Shweshwe I’ve already used in my stash has gone to good use!

POSTSCRIPT

I found this awesome blog post from 2018 by Urbanstax called What is Shweshwe, that is worth a read:

urbanstax.com

Did you see that blue and white wedding dress photo in the blog post made from Shweshwe fabrics – WOW!

tierneycreates

The Memory Quilt is Complete and Given

The Memory quilt I made my friend whose mother passed, using her mother’s favorite clothes, is completed/quilted and I’ve given it to her.

This is a follow up/end of the story for the following previous posts about this quilt:

I decided to quilt is myself and did a combination of hand and machine quilting. I talk more about this (and share photos) on the previous post “Update on Memory Quilt “.

Slogging through machine quilting
Mike the mini schnauzer providing emotional support under the table while I quilt

I used a floral fabric with the colors in the quilt top as the back and the binding.

Here’s the completed quilt (which is of course a rectangle, it just looks triangular from the camera angle) in my studio:

A couple more photos:

And yes that is me at the bottom of the photo above awkwardly trying to take a photo of the quilt on my cutting table in my studio while trying to use my ring light.

Something I did not mention in the previous post on this quilt – before I quilted it, we met my friend and her husband for dinner while my sister was visiting a couple of weeks ago. I brought the quilt top (not quilted yet) with me to show her.

At the restaurant I pulled out the quilt top and handed it to her to look at before our food arrived.

She started crying. She was so touched and overwhelmed with seeing her mother’s favorite clothes made into a quilt top she could not contain her emotions. My eyes started to get moist too and I was touch.

She was very happy with the final product which was delivered to her on Saturday. She wants to hang the quilt on the wall but I strongly encouraged to cuddle under it and let it be a “hug from her Mom”.

Guest Blogger, Miniature Schnauzer Musings

Guest Blogger: Ladies Please Control Yourselves…

This is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer that lives with Tierney and John. I see that pesky Beastie has had like 4 guest blog posts recently; and it is time for me to have one. (Plus I am a REAL miniature schnauzer, I am tired of that allegedly cute little fake miniature schnauzer – Mikelet.)

Last time I did a guest blog post for Tierney, I wrote about how Tierney and John tried to scare me to death in the post Guest Blog Post: How to Completely Terrify Your Miniature Schnauzer. And before that I wrote about some of my adventures as Dog Camp: Guest Blogger: What Happens at Dog Camp, Stays at Dog Camp.

In my Dog Camp post, I shared my challenges of being EXTREMELY popular at the Dog Camp I attend whenever my humans go out of town (though occasionally I stay with John’s Dad who refers to me as “his dog” even though he now has a miniature schnauzer puppy living with him).

The Dog Camp is only for smaller dogs and I am always surrounded by the little female dogs that attend camp for daily dog daycare or are boarders when their humans go out of town like mine.

Recently I spent a stint at Dog Camp when my humans went to Chicago and oh my goodness – from the minute I arrived the ladies went crazy!

The human that runs Dog Camp took this video and my human Tierney uploaded it to YouTube so you can see what happened the moment I arrived at Dog Camp!

Ladies, there is only one of me, calm down!

I am so glad to be back home and take a break from the ladies. I am neutered but it still does not matter, they all follow me around!

It is not all “Mike-stalking” by the female dogs at Dog Camp, I did also have time to play lots of ball with my buddies there:

Life in B&W, tierneytravels

Chicago in Black and White

Early July we met my brother, his wife and son in Chicago for a long weekend.

I’ve been to Chicago, Illinois many times, and each time I visit it is like visiting for the first time as I have a different experience each time.

While visiting I took a bunch for B&W photos and this post is a photoessay of my visit.

STARBUCKS RESERVE CHICAGO ROASTERY

We went to our first Starbucks Reserve Roastery while in Chicago and it was so cool! I rarely go to Starbucks and would rather support a small independent coffee shop, but I would recommend if you come across on you should visit it at least once, it is quite an experience.

Here is a photo from first entering the roastery:

MILLENNIUM PARK

We spent a bit of time in Millennium Park which is a “mandatory” place to visit on first trip to Chicago.

DOWNTOWN CHICAGO

Here are some photos from wandering around downtown Chicago.

360 CHICAGO OBSERVATION DECK

On our last day in Chicago we went to the the 360 Chicago Observation Deck at the top of the former John Hancock building. I’ll close the post with these photos from 1000ft above Chicago on the Magnificent Mile.

Beastie Adventures, From the Woodshop, Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: A Desk for Me!

I bet you are surprised to hear from me again so soon! This is the tierneycreates Beastie, and I am sneaking in for a post about my new desk that Tierney’s partner John built for me yesterday.

Tierney had a post planned today on Black & White photos she took in Chicago (my monster eyes are rolling) but I asked her to delay your boredom a day while I shared news about my new desk (which I am writing you from right now!):

Thanks to the suggestion by Catherine @Cedar51 in the comments sections of my post Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I, that John should build me a desk, John did it and now I have my very own wooden desk!

First John came up to Tierney’s studio (which is also the home of my dog Mikelet and me) to take my measurements for the desk:

He went down to his woodshop in the basement (where my partner John Beastie lives, yes we stay in separate sections of the house its a long story – but it best not to let two Beasties hang out continuously, trust me…).

An hour later John returned with my new desk:

Then Tierney and John did a photoshoot (and I am not sure why they were giggling so loudly during the photoshoot, it was quite rude) of me at my new desk:

We also discovered the desk is great for me to sew on my Beastnina, so I can help Tierney out with her backlog of UFOs (unfinished objects for the non-quilters reading):

My dog Mikelet was getting impatient during the photoshoot because it was time for his after dinner walk:

So I stopped playing with my new desk, and took Mikelet out for his walk:

So that’s my new desk story. Now that I have a great place to write I might pop in more frequently with blog posts.

And don’t worry Tierney will be back tomorrow to bore you to tears with more of her B&W photography from her delusion that she is a photographer (but just keep playing along).

Oh and to close this post – here is a photo of me back in my area of Tierney’s studio, with all my accessories made by Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties (crawcraftsbeasties.com):

A Crafter's Life, Studio, Sunflowers!

Update on Memory Quilt

Thought I would give a little update on the memory quilt I am making for a grieving friend who lost her mother, with her mother’s favorite clothes. Here is a link to the previous post if you’d like some additional background – Update on “The Challenge” .

Here is the quilt top completed that I shared in that previous post:

Originally I was thinking of sending it out for professional long-arm quilting and my friend was going to pay for the professional quilting. Then I got concerned with there being issues over the unusual fabrics I had used in the quilt (acrylic sweater, polyester scarf, velour robe, etc) with the long arm quilting machine.

I discussed it with my friend and she was good with me quilting it myself (though it would not be nearly as lovely quilting as a professional long-arm) and she would give me money for the cost of the batting, etc. She is not a quilter and does not have expectations of super high quality machine quilting on my part – whew!

Last week I was trying to figure out the logistics of domestic machine quilting and thought I better hand stitch some of the blocks that have special logos, embroidery, etc. to secure them instead of trying to machine quilt around the logos. I found some heavy embroidery thread from my stash of thread of Sashiko* stitching and did some lap quilting (in the middle of the hot summer):

(*but wait a minute Tierney: I’ve followed your blog a long time and I do not remember any posts about Sashiko stitching…Why yes, I have the supplies and started a piece like 10 – 12 years ago…but someday I am really going to pick the piece up again and then blog about it..)

It was fun and for a moment (yes only a wee moment), I actually considered hand quilting the entire quilt. But I came to my senses as that would not be very fun in the hot summer and I would like to get this quilt to my friend, who is facing some other life challenges right now, sooner than in 6 months to a year! (Exhibit A – “Seattle Scrappy” which took me over a year to hand quilt – Seattle Scrappy is Done!)

Speaking of hot summer, I recently got my first full sized tomato (as opposed to the grape or cherry tomatoes I have successfully grown) in my little container garden on my upper back deck and I was so happy!

As I joked on my @tierneycreates Instagram account, I wanted to frame it! As of this writing, I now have two full sized tomatoes. Right now both tomatoes are sitting as decoration on my kitchen counter and I better use them before they go bad!

I am also celebrating the appearance of the first sunflower in my garden. I love love love sunflowers and I’ve blogged about them several times in the past especially when I lived in my house in Oregon where I grew sunflowers every year.


Postscript

We are at that point in summer (August), where for me I am OVER summer and the heat, longing for Fall/Autumn.

I was so longing for Fall that I made one of my favorite colder weather dishes – chicken pot pie:

I made two because we help feed John’s recently widowed father (John’s stepmother suddenly passed at the end of 2021) who lives nearby and he loves my chicken pot pie!

Yes it was lovely (not) having the hot oven, in the heated up kitchen due to the hot oven, in the hot weather outside. Brilliant, eh?

Also just sitting around one evening with that memory quilt on my lap hand quilting it made me yearn for cooler weather.

But then I reminded myself that come early March, I am only dreaming of warm weather! I have to always remember to just embrace the current season I am in.

So back to relishing in my 2 full sized tomatoes and my sunflowers (smile).

Beastie Adventures, Quilt Retreats

Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part III

Hello Everybody, this is the tierneycreates Beastie returning for my 3rd and final installment about the quilt retreat I recently attended with Tierney and her quilting friends in Shelton, Washington at the Riptide Retreat.

If you are just joining us you can check out my other two posts: Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I and Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part II; as well as a post I let Tierney slip in yesterday day – Riptide Retreat 2022 in Black and White (I let her slip this post in so she could pretend like she had actually returned to blogging…).

In this final post in the series of my posts (of filling in for Tierney who fell off the blogging bandwagon for awhile) I wanted to share what the quilters attending the quilt retreat worked on. But alas, as my paws are not really good with the camera phone, I had to rely on Tierney to take photos and she did not take a lot of photos of much beyond the LITTLE WALLETS they worked on. But I will get to those in a moment.

She did take photos of one quilter’s quilt they were working on – the Legendary quilt – pattern by Elizabeth Hartman – also known as the “Sasquatch Quilt”. Tierney has made one herself in the past after seeing a couple of her quilting friends make on (see post A “Legendary” Christmas Gift and “Quilt Photo-bombing”).

Here is her friend Dana’s Sasquatch in progress on the design wall at the retreat center:

Dana has made the quilt several times in flannel and is now making the quilt in quilting cotton for a charity raffle. This is the same quilt in progress you saw pieces of in my photo from a previous post in this series, where I am trying to gain access to Dana’s rotary cutter (unsuccessfully):

Dana is using a rain drop printed fabric as the background for the quilt.

The other quilters were working on very cool projects such as a Japanese fabric tote bag and a very colorful quilt, but Tierney did not bother taking photos. Actually she was goofing off most of the retreat and just visiting with her friends or hanging out on the back deck overlooking the water. She was very unproductive.

I thought I was going to have to whip out my Beastnina and get working on the projects she brought. Below is a picture from earlier in 2022 (when it was winter as I have on the lovely Aran sweater that Helen of Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties (crawcraftsbeasties.com) knitted for me):

(And who needs a $25,000 sewing machine like the one in my previous post, when they have a awesome wool Beastnina?)

LITTLE WALLET MADNESS

Speaking of Dana, she brought several packages of pearl snaps, some cool fabric such as Essex Linen (Dana had put together awesome fabric combinations from her fabric stash for the quilters to make into little wallerts), and a SnapSetter set to the retreat so the quilters could make Little Wallets.

image source: snapsource.com

Tierney has a long history with Little Wallets (see posts such as Little Wallet Madness and The “Madness” Returns) but she stopped using pearl snaps and switched to velcro from her little wallet closure after the “Great Pearl Snap Disaster” in which no matter what she did, she could not get the pearl snaps to set right with the SnapSetter.

Well Dana did a “SnapSetter Intervention” with Tierney and had her practice putting on pearl snaps with the SnapSetter and a rubber mallet until she got it right and got over her fear of snap-setting!

Dana, Kathy, Judy and Tierney all made little wallets with pearl snaps and here is a photo of most of their little wallets they made during the retreat:

Here are some close up of some of the little wallet sets they made:

Dana’s little wallets
Kathy’s little wallets
Tierney’s little wallets

They stayed up until late into the night one night of the retreat (or early into the morning), making little wallets. This was the same evening the also had a silly dance party (sorry no photos) as this is what happens when you mix quilters, wine, and 70s Disco Music – ha! (Tierney had brought a bluetooth speaker to the retreat and acted as DJ for the entire retreat).

So, and I am not sure Tierney wants me to reveal this, but it was a 4 1/4 day, 4 night retreat and all Tierney has to show for it is 10 little wallets!

I will close this series of posts with sharing a couple photos from the small quirky country convenience store we walked to during the retreat. Here I am checking out the snacks:

(in case you are wondering, there was some naughty food at the quilt retreat – one evening the attendees brought back to the retreat a sampling of 5 different delicious desserts from a diner they went to for dinner…oh wait – Tierney just told me to be quiet because “What happens at the quilt retreat, stays at the quilt retreat”…)

And here I am in front of a very strange poster on the door of the convenience store. We could not figure out exactly what activities would be occurring at this festival…

Either there is a lot of hugging going on, people will be taking mushrooms, there will be alien abductions, or a combination of all the above…


Postscript

Thanks to Catherine @Cedar51 for her suggestion in the comments sections of my post Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I, that Tierney’s partner John the Woodworker, make me my own Beastie wooden desk so I no longer need to use the (sad) makeshift desk Tierney made me to write:

Tierney and I spoke to John (she does have a little more influence than I do) and he has agreed to make me my own wooden desk! I cannot wait to show it off someday to you!

Life in B&W, Quilt Retreats, tierneytravels

Riptide Retreat 2022 in Black and White

Well thanks goodness the tierneycreates Beastie got my blog restarted with her two previous posts about the quilting retreat I recently attended in Shelton, Washington: Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I and Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part II.

She’ll be back tomorrow with Part III to finish the story, but I am slipping in today and sharing ten (10) B&W photos I took during the quilt retreat. I’ve numbered them, let me know which one(s) you enjoyed the best.

From the upper back deck of the quilt retreat:

#1
#2

From the lower back deck of the quilt retreat:

#3

From the back of the quilt retreat on the beach level:

#4
#5
#6
#7

From my walk along the beach:

#8
#9
#10

Black and White photography makes even the most mundane interesting in my opinion. The tire on the beach was sad (the pollution of our oceans) but beautiful at the same time when photographed in B&W.

My favorites of these ten photos are #4, #5, #9, and #10. I do love also the creepy mystery of #8 – the beach house obscured by trees.

I guess if I had to just choose one then I would choose #9. The beach was covered with oyster shells.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I am just briefly popping in on the story of this retreat, the tierneycreates Beastie will finish up the story of our adventures tomorrow.

Beastie Adventures, Guest Blogger, Quilt Retreats, Quilt Shop Tours

Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part II

This is tierneycreates Beastie and I am continuing my post from yesterday Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I about our adventures at the Riptide Retreat in Shelton, Washington.

So where I left off on yesterday’s post, one of the days of the retreat we headed out to  Annie’s Quilt Shoppe .

Here I am all buckled up in the back seat of the car headed to the quilt shop:

And here is a little video on Mikelet enjoying the fresh air on the car ride through some back country roads to get to the quilt shop:

Mikelet was safe during the car ride, we only let him hang out the window when the car was going slow and Tierney did hold onto his back legs so he would not fall out!

I did look out the car window a little myself, it was so relaxing in the backcountry:

Finally we arrived at the quilt shop:

Here are a montage of images from my visit to the quilt shop, and most of them featured ME – because isn’t a photo better with me in it??!?!

We saw a $25,000 sewing machine while at the quilt shop and I had to take a photo with it.

It seems like a sewing machine would have to do a LOT for you in order to be worth $25,000. I think you should be able to throw fabric at it and it turns it into a completed quilt in 10 seconds or something!

Tierney and I did find some fabric to buy while at the shop, including the Figo fabric she ran out of when making her drawstring bags for her Etsy shop Textiles & Smiles (see post Three Part “Harmony” and Experimenting with “Mass Production” ), which all sold out. Now she can make some more bags! (Tierney really needs to restock her Etsy shop, it is looking pretty empty right now…)

Tierney has agreed to post tomorrow some of the Black and White photos she took during the trip (you know she has this fantasy that she is a real photographer, just check out her series of posts – Life in B&W; yes she is quite delusional..) and then I will finish up with Part III of my series of guests posts about the quilt retreat with a little about what was made during the quilt retreat (yes sewing actually occured).

Beastie Adventures, Guest Blogger, Quilt Retreats

Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I

Well I am tired of waiting around for Tierney to do a blog post, so once again I’ve had to take matters into my own paws and do a guest blog post (if you are new to this blog, my story is on this post –  I’m A Monster!!! and you can see all my posts at this link: Beastie Adventures).

Tierney was allegedly going to start writing blog posts again once she caught up on reading all her blogging buddies’ posts after her very busy summer (so far). But you haven’t seen a recent post from Tierney have you?

So I’ve pulled out my laptop and written a post to start to update you on our summer:

Pulling out my laptop and using my make shift desk since Tierney fell down on the job

A week or so ago (not sure at this point, the summer is a blur…) Tierney, Mikelet (my dog) and I attended a quilt retreat at the Riptide Retreat in Shelton, Washington with some long time quilting friends (including the lady who originally got Tierney into quilting).

Tierney wrote about this retreat (which has sort of been annual) in the past in a couple previous blog posts: The Fabric Incident, A Drawstring-bagalicious Retreat, Part I, and A Drawstring-bagalicious Retreat, Part II.

Sign inside the retreat center
On the back deck of the retreat on the water, beautiful weather every day!

Tierney’s quilting friends who live in Washington state and drove to the retreat, brought her a sewing machine to use during the retreat so she wouldn’t have to bring hers on the plane from Denver to Seattle. Here I am supervising the start of her sewing on this loaner machine:

At least it is a Bernina…

I am a little obsessed with rotary cutters since Tierney never let’s me play with them (see post Guest Blogger: October Quilt Retreat Part I), and I did try to get access to a rotary cutter one of the other quilters had lying around during the retreat but Tierney thwarted my efforts, sigh.

If I could just get a little closer…

Not everyone was sewing at the retreat, one person was learning to crochet and I had to check it out:

I think I would need a Beastie sized crochet hook to attempt that…

As I am a Knitted Person (knitted by Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties – crawcraftsbeasties.com), I am not sure how I feel about crochet…

We had delicious food during the retreat, the Washington based quilters at the retreat pre-prepared a couple meals for the attendees including this homemade lasagne with from scratch tomorrow sauce and handmade meatballs:

Trying to figure out how to dive into that pan of lasagne when no one is looking…

In addition to eating and sewing (and lounging around on the deck overlooking the water), several of the quilters went on daily walks. I accompanied them on walks and here are a couple of photos from my walks with either the quilters or when I took my dog Mikelet (who was very well behaved at the retreat) on walks:

It was cool to be back in the Pacific NW and take Mikelet for a walk in the majestic wooded areas in the neighborhood of the retreat center!

Huge trees everywhere!

As Tierney mentioned in her post A Drawstring-bagalicious Retreat, Part II about a previous visit to the Riptide Retreat, the owners of the Riptide Retreat also own Annie’s Quilt Shoppe a very reasonably priced quilt shop in Shelton, Washington.

So one day during the quilt retreat, we ventured for an outing to Annie’s Quilt Shop.

Tomorrow I will share photos from that adventure and more on the quilt retreat.

Studio, What's on the Design Wall

Update on “The Challenge”

I keep getting away from blogging as I seem to be having a very busy summer. We just returned from Chicago where we met up with my brother and his family for the weekend. Tomorrow my sister arrives and we go on a road trip to celebrate her birthday for a couple days and I show her a little of Colorado. Then the following week I head to a quilt retreat on the Washington coast.

I did in between traveling, get the quilt top done on the quilt I discussed in the post The Challenge… , of my friend’s late mother’s favorite clothes that she asked if I could turn into a quilt. As I shared in that post, here is what I started with:

The challenge laid out

The sweatshirt, T-shirt, jean jacket, jeans and shirts did not scare me. The sweaters, scarf and the velour robe did!

I bought woven interfacing (like 12 yards of it) and fused it to all the deconstructed clothing (my first step was to deconstruct the clothing).

Deconstructing the clothing

I was able to pull out the logos on the t-shirt and sweatshirts; and embroidery on the jean jacket. After fusing all the non denim fabrics to the woven interfacing, I was able to cut them into 5.5 inch x 5.5 inch blocks and create 10.5 inch by 10.5 inch 4-patch blocks.

What to do with these sweaters?

I did consult with my friend Wendy who suggested Solvy, a water soluble stabilizer. Wendy has a lot of experience with Solvy. Wendy did a little workshop for me at her house years ago and I made a little thread bowl with thread scraps like in her book Fast, Fun & Easy Incredible Thread-A-Bowls: 2 Techniques-5 Projects-Unlimited Possibilities. I still had a sample of it that she gave me.

image credit – amazon.com

Solvy is a little on the messy side and I decided to just try using the woven interfacing on a section of one of the sweaters as a test. It worked, not perfectly, but good enough. I was able to cut some hearts out of one of the sweaters, and then fuse the heart to a 10.5 inch by 10.5 inch block and satin stitch it down:

Ta da – was able to use one of the sweaters

I did not use the other two sweaters, I am returning them to my friend.

So here is the completed quilt top which I will machine quilt myself to batting and backing fabric; and then figure out what to use for binding.

up on the design wall

It’s not my greatest work as the fabrics were very challenging to work with and I cannot believe I added a thin polyester scarf to a quilt, but I did it! Don’t even get me started on the velour robe – the deconstructed fabric shed everywhere and was a disaster when I tried to press the blocks with it in it. But I made it work also…

It does look better in person, you’ll just have to trust me (smile).

When I get it quilted and the binding sewn down, I will give you all the final photo as well as what ended up being the measurements on the quilt.

From the Woodshop

From the Woodshop: Getting Control of “Spicetopia”

My partner John and I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. As a result we have a large collection of spices in our kitchen. We call our collection of spices “Spicetopia”.

Lots of spices, however the “organization” (= none) of our spices was not working to find the spices we needed in an efficient manner (like under 10 minutes, ha!).

Exhibit A – the state of the cabinet where “Spicetopia” was stored:

Cabinet of Curiosities

John is a woodworker and figured he could come up with a simple solution to organizing the spices but every option we discussed still gave us a cluttered or semi-cluttered cabinet.

Then we thought: what about putting the spices in an entirely different area – in a drawer!

So a couple Fridays ago, we began with purging and consolidating our spices. Why organize stuff that is expired or that we never use?

Yes, we had cocktails while purging spices, it was our wild Friday night!

After seeing what was left to find a new home for in a drawer, we purged one of our kitchen drawers and consolidated our cooking utensils (sorry no photos of this exciting event, ha!).

Then John built drawer organizers which were a series of slopped risers for the spices, out of scrap wood:

Slightly raised and ready to hold some spices!

And here is our new “Spicetopia” drawer:

Oh look, I can now easily find/identify our spices in “Spicetopia”

We put the spices in alphabetical order for even more ease of use! We did get challenged with things like “Cayenne Pepper”, “Black Pepper” and “Red Pepper” – do you file them under “P” for Pepper or their first name?!?!? But we figured out these complex life decisions…

And here is the cabinet without all those spices cluttering it (we also did some purging and organization of the entire cabinet):

Much better!

John and I are weird, we find organizing our kitchen a fun thing to do on a Friday evening!

Studio, What's on the Design Wall

The Challenge…

My friend lost her Mom, who she was very close to, and she is having a difficult time with grief.

She’s kept some of her Mom’s favorite clothes and she asked if I would make a quilt out of them.

I agreed to making the quilt, without knowing what the clothes looked like as she planned to snuggle under the quilt and feel comforted by her Mom’s beloved clothing.

When she dropped off the clothing, I realized I had a challenge ahead:

I’ve made art quilts from recycled clothing; and when my Father passed, I made my brother and sister each a quilt from the T-shirts he used to wear, so I was comfortable with the idea of deconstructing clothing and turning them into fabric for a quilt.

However, I’ve never worked with knitted fabrics such as these in a quilt:

I think I can work the first two sweaters on the left into the design, but I might have to return the black and white sweater to my friend to just keep. I bought some special interfacing (and softer one, not the Pellon SF 101 I usually use that I think would be too stiff). I am sitting outside (lovely day) writing this blog post and sorry I do not feel like running upstairs and seeing exactly what interfacing it is – ha!

I also have this challenge – a scarf, but I think I can just use interfacing for it also and work it into the design:

I have found a pattern that I want to use (I think) that I will share in a future post. Right now I have deconstructed the clothing and sorted them.

I am looking forward to working her Mom’s favorite T-shirt and sweatshirts into the design, as well as her beloved velour robe:

And the embroidery from her Mom’s favorite jean jacket should be fun to incorporate also:

I’ve deconstructed the jean jacket, saving the embroidered flower separately and saving any salvageable denim as fabric for the quilt.

I’ll update you as I make progress on this challenge!

I welcome ANY THOUGHTS on how to best interface the sweaters to incorporate them into a quilt.

A Crafter Needs to Eat, Sampler Quilts, What's on the Design Wall

Quilt Top Assembled!

Whew, I fell seriously behind in blogging again. Let’s just say I’ve been distracted by curious things going on in the country I live in (and somedays I am thinking of moving to a different country, I might be over the United States…).

I know you might be tired of reading about this quilt, but I have this one more post on it before I send it off to the longarm quilter for professional quilting.

This is a follow up to the post – And then there were 100 (yay)! – I’ve sewing together all 100 blocks for the Tula Pink’s City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks quilt:

I had looked at those blocks on my design wall so much my eyes were crossing, so I asked my partner John to come out with an initial design/layout. He likes symmetry and order and he created an initial layout and then I refined it a little.

He did it in “color rings”, where the outer ring (well square ring, ha!) is teals/blue-greens and greens with gray blocks as corner anchors. Then the next set of rings are yellows, browns and reds. The inner ring is purple with then blues in the center.

I know to some it looks like a “hot mess” but I love it!

Sewing together 100 blocks can be daunting so I sewed it together by breaking it into 4 – 25 block sections. I sewed 5 rows of 5 blocks together to make each section twice and sewed those two sections together. I repeated the process for the other side and then sewed the two halves together.

As there is so much piecing of small pieces to make each block, I stitched the entire edge of the quilt with a 1/8 inch seam to prevent unraveling during travel:

In case you are curious – the actual measurement of the quilt top came out to be 60.5 inches x 60.5 inches.

Currently I am piecing together the backing with a collection of teal/blue-green yardages I have:

And then off to the longarm quilter. You won’t see another post about this quilt (whew) until it returns to me quilted and I have put the binding on. Then I will show you the finished quilt!


Postscript

A little follow up to the post Potsticker Adventures.

We are continuing to experiment with meal prep and making meals out of the cookbook Damn Delicious Meal Prep by Chungah Rhee.

Recently I made Skinny Gumbo (a lower fat version of Louisiana Creole gumbo) and I was able to have enough for dinner that night and 3 additional servings. John’s father is in his 80s and lives alone since his wife passed in late December 2021, so we bring him meals (he lives less than a mile away) and this new meal prep process is great to make up meals for him also!

Also, strawberries were on sale, and I made homemade vanilla sugar scones and we had strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream for dessert!

A Crafter Needs to Eat

Potsticker Adventures

My partner John and I love potstickers, we have them anytime we go to a restaurant with any sort of Asian cuisine. Recently we discovered a recipe for a vegetarian version of them in a new cookbook we are experimenting with (to try and make healthier food choices): Damn Delicious Meal Prep by Chungah Rhee:

So during John’s lunch break (he works remotely) we took a stab at making the potstickers in the cookbook, which made enough to be able to also freeze a large batch for future use.

Neither of us have made potstickers from scratch before, and it was a fun adventure to work through the recipe together.

I didn’t take any photos of assembling the filling for the potstickers but here are a couple photos of John filling the wonton wrappers and then pan frying the potstickers (you pan fry, then steam, then cook off the liquid):

The cookbook did not include a dipping sauce but we found one on the web:

And finally we could sit down to a nice potsticker snack!

We froze the rest (though we wished we had cooked up more after tasting them – YUMMY!):

They will freeze on parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet for 24 hours and then I can place them in a freezer bag to store them up to 3 months in the freezer. It will be nice to have homemade potstickers handy when we are in the mood for them!

I cannot for copyright reasons share the recipe published in the cookbook but the author did have a version of her potstickers made with pork (what is commonly used) that I found online:

And here is a garlic ginger chicken version by the same author I found on YouTube:

I think we will try this version next time we need to restock our potstickers stash!


Postscript

In case you are wondering, I have tried another recipe from this cookbook before we made the potstickers. The reason why we got this cookbook was to find a way to better prep for our lunches and dinner when we are not really in the mood to cook.

John and I love to cook but sometimes we are tired and sometimes we made “bad food” decisions when we do not feel like cooking. This cookbook has recipes to prepare meals that you put in individual containers that are ready to eat – breakfasts, lunches and dinners. You can cook on Sunday and have a week’s lunches all planned.

You can also make dishes to freeze for dinners. Or you can have things like potstickers on hand when you want some tasty like you would have at a restaurant but not spend restaurant money!

I’ve planned out two more dishes to make with the cookbook next – a shrimp gumbo and a dish that mirrors a tuna roll we have a favorite sushi place (but used canned tuna not fresh). 

The author did publish some of her meal prep recipes on her website and here is a link to some of them if you want to experiment with meal prep:

 

https://damndelicious.net/category/meal-prep/

damndelicious.net
Sampler Quilts, What's on the Design Wall

And then there were 100 (yay)!

Finally!

I finished the 100 blocks for the Tula Pink’s City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks quilt:

I was able to stay focused and not get distracted (even if a friend sent me some delicious distractions, see post Quilter Distractions: Good Mail filled with “Taupe” ).

I’ve decided to sew the blocks together without any lattice or other design to separate the blocks; and to not add a border. As a result this will only be a lap size quilt (100 – 6.5 inch x 6.5 inch blocks, minus 1/4 inch seams to join the blocks…no sorry I do not want to do that math* but will let you know the final measurements when I sew the blocks together!).

Next time I post about this quilt, I will share the quilt blocks sewn together in their final layout – I still need to decide how I want to organize the 100 blocks…

Oh if you are just joining us and want to see the evolution of this quilt, I put all the posts on this quilt under a new category I created for my blog: Sampler Quilts. I am hoping to do more sampler quilts in the future to go under this category. Note if you click on the link for Sampler Quilts you will see this current post again also.

*Okay I did sort of do the math and I am guessing around 60 inches x 60 inches will be the final quilt size. But let me know if you disagree (I took 10 x 6.5 inches = 65 inches, minus 20 x .25 seam allowances which = 5 inches – for 65 inches – 5 inches = 60 inches…)