Rosettes! (Adventures in EPP Continued)

This blog is about a Quilter’s Life and there is more in my life than just quilting. I have so many non-quilting blog post ideas floating in my head, but today is another quilting related post. I so appreciate my non-quilter readers in addition to my quilter/crafter readers!

Making Rosettes

So is an activity equally or perhaps more addicting than making little English Paper Pieced (EPP) hexagons (hexies) – making rosettes with the hexies!

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But first let’s recap (full stories in the series of posts Adventures in English Paper Piecing):

Here is what I started with (a collection of free 1/8th quarters from the 2016 Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop):

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Here is the book I used to teach myself EPP (All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland):

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I turned the fabric into 250+ hexies:

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In order to make something like this:

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Photo credit: Quiltfolk.com

And, so far I have made 18 of these – rosettes:

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But, now the (sort of) bad news

I counted and I only have enough hexies to make 36 rosettes and the quilt I want to make has 99 rosettes (9 x 11 row quilt). I used all the free fabric from the 2016 Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop and I wanted the hexies to only be made from that coordinated fabric (I will have to use other fabric from my stash for the background/setting fabrics).

So either I change my rules, or I accept that I am making a 36 block (6 x 6 row) quilt with my rosettes. I think that is what I am going to do, as it would be a huge commitment to make a zillion more hexies to turn into 63 more blocks!

Sometimes you got to be flexible and change your original plan…

Closing this post with my favorite rosette so far (I have 18 more rosettes to make so we’ll see if this one wins the Rosette Beauty Contest (soon to be an annual event held in Atlantic City, ha!):

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But I love all of them!

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Finishing out the Challenge Bag of shot cottons

This post is a continuation of the recent posts – Basket of Challenges and Experimenting with Foundation Paper Piecing.

Mondays am I off from work so last night I decided to do a “Late Night Sewing Session”. I sent Terry the Quilting Husband, Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer, and her adopted brother Mike off to bed; put on a Nova documentary on YouTube; and settled in for a late night sewing marathon.

I decided to just finish out the “challenge bag” of shot cotton scraps from my friend Dana (see post Experimenting with Foundation Paper Piecing) and continue making little pillow tops that I plan to hand quilt.

Here is what I started with from the “challenge bag” of shot cotton scraps:

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So here was the first piece I had made the other day with the scraps, experimenting with foundation piecing:

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And here are the improvisational pieces I made with the rest of the scraps last night during my Late Night Sew:

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Here is all I have left from the “challenge bag”:

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These are fairly small scraps, so those that were larger than 2″ x 2″ I put into general circulation, by color, in my fabric scrap collection. The rest (not very many) had to unfortunately head for the landfill…sigh…can’t save them all!

So what am I going to do with the little pillows I make? Well I am thinking about participating in my first Craft Fair in late Fall 2017. My employer has an annual Holiday Craft Fair in the Portland, Oregon office. I am thinking about taking my leftover items from my former tierneycreates Etsy shop and new items I have made and selling them at the craft fair. More to come on that in the future, still mulling it over.


Postscript

I think Smart Cars/mini electric cars are adorable! I enjoyed looking at them when I was in Europe years ago and I have sighted several when visiting Portland, Oregon. Yesterday on our dog walk, we came across an adorable Smart Car in one of the neighborhoods next to ours. I was so cute I wanted to put it in my pocket – ha! (They are like toy cars!)

So I will close out this post with the photo of this darling eco-vehicle:

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Experimenting with Foundation Paper Piecing

A series of words I never thought I would write in a blog post: “Foundation Paper Piecing”.

If you are not a quilter, foundation piecing is using pre-printed paper/specialty papers to sew precise shapes using a sort of “flip and stitch” method. Foundation piecing allows you to work with tiny pieces of fabric to get precise shapes.

Yes that sounds kind of complicated and I have avoided it for years for this reason. Of course I never thought I would attempted English Paper Piecing (EPP) but as you can see from my series of posts – Adventures in English Paper Piecing – I am addicted to it.

I had one previous experience with foundation piecing and I keep it in a tiny frame in my studio.

My extremely talented quilter sister-in-law Sue attempted in the early 2000s to teach me to foundation piece while visiting us when we lived in Seattle, WA.

We made a little sailboat block:

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Tiny little sailboat block in a tiny frame in my studio

She was a very patient teacher and I keep the framed block as a special memory of our time together working on a project. However it is now 2017 and I am returning (like 15 years later?!??!) to trying foundation paper piecing again!

As a crafter, you learn through experimentation (sometimes it feels everything I work on is an experiment, ha!) and if you don’t push yourself to take risks you will not grow as a crafter. So experiment I did and here is the story.

Foundation Paper Piecing Experimentation

A couple blog posts ago (Basket of Challenges) I wrote about my “challenge bags” – collections of coordinate scraps given to me by other crafters. Since taking them out of closed storage containers and putting them into a large basket in my studio, I am inspired to open them up and do another “challenge” (see what I can make with them).

My friend and quilting-sister Dana made me the lovely bag for my yarn/portable knitting:

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Photo does not do it justice, it is lovely!

The picture does not do it justice. She reverse engineered a bag she saw on Pinterest (she is a crafting-goddess) to make this bag from a collection of shot cottons.

In addition to the bag, she also gave me her scraps from making the bag:

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Fresh out of the challenge bag

I had them of course sitting in a “challenge bag” and decided they would be perfect for my experimentation with foundation paper piecing.

Looking through my archives of patterns of “projects-I-am-really-going-to-make-someday”, I found this pattern with pre-printed pattern paper (sort of the texture of tissue paper but stronger, like used for clothing patterns):

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The copyright is 2001 on this pattern

You can tell how dated the pattern is  – how many of us read small paperback books anymore (you could convert this pattern into a cute kindle cover though)? I think I bought it in the very early 2000s. The pattern comes with enough tissue foundation paper to make twenty-four 3″ blocks.

I began with cutting a bunch of the little foundation papers from the pattern; and ironing the scraps:

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There are 6 different patterns: Odd Fellow’s Star, Mosaic, Pinwheel, Starry Path, Square on Square, and Dutchman’s Puzzle

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All nicely pressed and ready for experimentation!

The next step was to watch several foundation piecing videos I found on YouTube. My favorite, and the one that really made things click in my mind, was Paper Piecing Made Easy Tutorial by the CraftyGemini.

I decided to work on the “Square on Square” pattern, so it was time to start the experiment. I am happy to report it worked, though I struggled a little with removing the paper from the back of the piece when I was done foundation piecing:

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I used tiny stitches as the videos instructed in order to perforated the template paper to make it easier to remove, but still it took a while to get all those tiny pieces off the back

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The completed block – I added a little border to it as I was not too sure about the stability of the edges of the paper pieced block

You can see just how small this little block is in this photo, imagine trying to traditionally piece (via sewing very tiny little pieces together) this block:

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I bordered it with more of the scrap shot cottons from the challenge bag:

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With a 1.5″ border added

I plan to make a little pillow out of it, like the little pillows on this post – More Creating – More Art Pillows. I plan to hand quilt it and I am trying to decide between two quilting threads, but I am leaning towards the very light and thin DMC embroidery thread in brown:

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Likely going with the DMC thread on the left instead of the Aurifil

Am I going to do another one (I do have 23 more blocks I can foundation piece with this pattern set)?

Not right now, I need to emotionally recover as honestly it was kind of stressful to make the tiny little block via foundation piecing. Also shot cotton might not have been the best fabric to work with for foundation piecing as it is thin and friable. I might make the rest of the blocks with batik scraps.

I think foundation piecing will be a great skill to have in my “quilting toolbelt” but for now I am happy to have made just one!

Basket of Challenges

My friend and quilter mentor Betty Anne taught me to appreciate fabric scraps, especially coordinated fabrics scraps shared from other quilters’ projects.

Like her I have gathered a collection of coordinated fabric scraps donated by quilting friends such as herself, my original quilting mentor Judy, my quilting sister Barb or my friend Susan.

Each collection of scraps is organized in a plastic bag, which I call a “challenge bag“. Each bag is a challenge to create something from a fabric scrap collection otherwise destined for the trash.

I had these challenge bags stored in two storage containers:

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I decided to move them into a large basket in my studio where I could see them all the time and be reminded of the fun challenges to work on:

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While going through the challenge bags to move them from the storage containers to the open basket, I figured it was time to work on one of them.

My friend Susan gave me a collection of brown batik scraps and partial fat quarters that she had started making little wallets out of – she also gave me the pattern and the templates she had cut. I think she thought I would just use the fabrics/scraps as part of a scrappy quilt. Instead I used nearly all the fabric/scraps she gave me to make a collection of little wallets:

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Little Wallets, pattern by Valori Wells

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Perfect size to hold business cards

I am looking forward in the future playing with another “challenge bag”. We’ll see what I make next…


Postscript

Yesterday I hiked Pilot Butte (miniature mountain with 360 degree views of Central Oregon and surrounding region) and nearing the summit I took a photo of a controlled burn off in the distance. The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service has to do controlled burns in the Deschutes National Forest to control forest fires.

Prescribed Fire in Central Oregon

I used the zoom on my iPhone and although it is not the clearest photo it gives you a sense of the scope of the controlled burn:

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If you are new to my blog and wanted to read more about my Pilot Butte adventures, check out this link: Pilot Butte Adventures.

For those of you who have followed me for a while – yes, on my hike yesterday, another Senior Citizen dusted me on Pilot Butte. At least the 80+ year old (maybe even 90) was kind enough to wish me a “good day” as he effortlessly walked around me on the hike back down the Butte!

Artist Statements, Part II

In my 08/25/16 post, Artist Statements, I shared my struggle with writing Artist Statements for art quilts. In my more recent (03/30/17) post, What’s on My Lap, I again mentioned my struggle with writing Artist Statements, and  Mary of Zippy Quilts shared the following:

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I could not turn down a suggestion for a blog post!

In my first post in August 2016 on Artist Statements I only whined about having to write an Artist Statement and then shared my completed statement for a piece that was being shown at the 2016 Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF).

This time I thought I would do something more than whining!

So I spent time researching information about writing Artist Statements and used that information to write the Artist Statement for this piece below – The Recycled Road:

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The Recycled Road (2017) by Tierney Davis Hogan

Here are the basic details on The Recycled Road, I will use these later in the post to write my Artist Statement for this piece:

  • It is made from recycled materials: denim jeans, corduroy pants, corduroy shirt, curtains, sweat pants, home decor fabric scraps, and a tweed jumper
  • The art quilt is the second in quilt in my series The Recyclings (yesterday I decided the name of my series)
  • I hand quilted this quilt to give it an organic feel
  • This quilt was inspired by the Central Oregon SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) group annual exhibit theme “Pathways”.
  • The piece measures 18″ x 40″
  • I hand quilted the quilt to give it an organic feel

General Artist Statement vs. Artist Statement About A Work

A bit of research reinforced what I heard in the art quilting community  – that there are basically two types of Artist Statements: 1) A general statement about you as an Artist; or 2) a statement about a specific piece of artwork.

General Artist Statement

A couple of years ago at one of our Central Oregon SAQA group meetings, we broke into small groups to do an exercise to work on our (General) Artist Statements, the about our art and ourselves as an artist.

I was overwhelmed by this exercise for several reasons: 1) Our Central Oregon SAQA group contains many real textile artists and art quilters – I mean nationally and internationally known artists – I was completely intimidated; 2) I was a new art quilter, recently transitioned from traditional quilting to dabbling in improvisational art; and 3) I was not sure if I could really consider myself an “Artist”.

Several experienced art quilters in the group shared with me examples of their professional artist Artist Statements, which I politely accepted and graciously thanked them for sharing, but it only intimidated me more (it was a “deer in headlights” experience).

A couple months later, I realized I was just not ready to write my General Artist Statement, and that was okay. I had not established what I feel is a solid and cohesive body of textile art. Currently I am working towards this and in the near future I hope to write my General Artist Statement.

I found some great resources online for writing General Artist Statements that I will use in the future, here are the links:

ArtStudy.org Sample Artist Statement

Creativity in Action Art League Blog – 8 Artist Statement We Love

ArtBusiness.com – Your Artist Statement: Explaining the Unexplainable

Agora Gallery – How to Write An Artist Statement: Tips From The Art Experts

“How To Write An Artist’s Statement”, Contemporary Quilt Art Association

10 tips for writing your artist statement, TextileArtist.org

One of my favorite discoveries on advice on writing General Artist Statements was the article “The Artist Statement & Why They Mostly Suck” on the website bmoreart.com. I loved this quote:

“A good artist statement should enhance what a viewer sees in your work and provide a concise handle to approach a visual piece. It should be accurate, well-written, and correctly punctuated. It also should be specific to your work and offer unique insight into your process.”

Jean Wells Keenan, textile artist, has a wonderful example of a General Artist Statement on her website jeanwellsquilts.com:

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Artist Statement About A Specific Work

It is my goal/dream someday to write a well-crafted General Statement about my body of work and how I approach my art, someday. For now I am just trying to write an Artist Statement about a specific art quilt.

So I searched online for inspiration on writing Artist Statements specific to a piece of work. At ArtsyShark.com I found these helpful tips in the article: “How to Write an Amazing Artist Statement” that could be applied to either General Artist Statements or an Artist Statement on a specific piece of art:

Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing your artist statement:

  • The ideal length is one to three paragraphs.
  • It should be in first-person.
  • You should not tell your audience how to feel or what to look at.
  • You want to inform your viewer but not overly explain things – leave room for the viewer to make his or her own connections.
  • Ask yourself: Is this writing specific to my work or can it be about anyone’s?
  • Don’t use phrases like: I hope, My work aspires to, My goal is, The Viewer will, These paintings (do something).

Remember: The key to an amazing statement is to write A LOT, then edit, edit, edit. You should go through at least 3 drafts. This is not something you can do in an evening – it’s going to take time, so find the best time of day that works for you to write, such as over morning coffee. Write in a way that feels comfortable – type or write long hand.

My favorite guideline I discovered online for writing an artist statement for a specific piece of art, was from the website hysterically named – Getting Your Sh*t Together: making life better for artists (gyst-ink.com). Here are highlights from this websites had the following Artist Statement Guidelines:

  • An Artist Statement is a general introduction to your work, a body of work, or a specific project.
  • It should open with the work’s basic ideas in an overview of two or three sentences or a short paragraph and then go into detail about how these issues or ideas are presented in the work.
  • You can include some of the following points:
    • Why you have created the work and its history.
    • Your overall vision.
    • What you expect from your audience and how they will react.
    • How your current work relates to your previous work.
    • Where your work fits in with current contemporary art.
    • How your work fits in with the history of art practice.
    • How your work fits into a group exhibition, or a series of projects you have done.
    • Sources and inspiration for your images.
    • Artists you have been influenced by or how your work relates to other artists’ work. Other influences.
    • How this work fits into a series or longer body of work.
    • How a certain technique is important to the work.
    • Your philosophy of art making or of the work’s origin.
  • The final paragraph should recapitulate the most important points in the statement.
  • Ask yourself “What are you trying to say in the work?” “What influences my work?” “How do my methods of working (techniques, style, formal decisions) support the content of my work?” “What are specific examples of this in my work” “Does this statement conjure up any images?”
  • Consider – Who is your audience? What level are you writing for? What will your statement be used for? What does your statement say about you as an artist and a professional?

Okay, Ready, Write (The Draft)

I could have spent all day online looking at examples of Artist Statements, but now it is time to write my draft statement for the piece The Recycled Road:

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The Recycled Road (2017)

18″ W x 40″ L

Recycled denim, corduroy, cotton jersey, wool and rayon.

Designed, pieced and hand quilted by Tierney Davis Hogan

Artist Statement (draft)

The Recycled Road is the second piece in my series The Recyclings, small art quilts from recycled materials.

Inspired by the theme of “Pathways” for the 2017 Central Oregon SAQA group annual art quilt exhibit, this “pathway” begins at the orange corduroy boundary between the multicolor “road” and the plain gray “road”. This “road” continues beyond the top edge of the quilt; as it has no boundaries beyond the limits we set on our own imagination.  The pathway in this quilt represents one of many roads traveled by our creative spirit.

Using improvisational piecing techniques, I created this piece from all recycled materials (denim jeans, corduroy shirt, corduroy pants, tweed jumper, sweat pants, curtains and home decor fabric scraps. Seeking a bit of adventure in working with recycled clothing, I used an old pair of faded and threadbare gray sweat pants to create the edges of the road. I hand quilted the piece to give it an organic feel. Hand quilting the recycled fabrics was an unique multilayered and meditative tactile experience.

Most of the fabrics were not reusable as clothing or home decor and were destined to end up in a landfill. Reimagining recycled clothing and other materials into art quilts satisfies my desire to honor the environment and make art that is eco-conscious. Ending up in an art quilt is a better outcome than ending up in a landfill.

Okay, so now that I have written my draft Artist Statement for The Recycled Road, I am going to let it simmer overnight and see how I feel about it in the morning.


Feature image credit: BSK, free images.com 

A Happy Ending for “Happy Ending”

“The Quilt is in the Mail”

A package arrived in the mail yesterday. A very exciting package. A quilted quilt!

I could not wait to open the package and see Cindy Anderson’s, of A Quilter’s Corner with Cindy Anderson (inastitchquilting.com), long-arm quilting magic!

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How fast can I get the box open?

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Oh the anticipation, now I have to unwrap it from the enclosed bag!

Before we get to the reveal (don’t scroll down and peek yet!) here is a little background on this quilt.

I found the pattern for this quilt, Happy Ending, in a book I borrowed from my public library – Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics by That Patchwork Place. The pattern was designed by Lesley Chaisson. I used a couple packages of pre-cut 5 inch squares (charm packs) and deep blue (Ink) Peppered Cotton, shot cotton to make the quilt.

If interested, you can read these previous posts about the evolution of this quilt: Diving into a quilt (and other stuff) and What’s on the Design Wall and What’s on the Design Wall.

After  removing the quilt from the box, Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and I opened it up and laid it out on our bed to get the full effect of the completed:

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Draped on a king-size bed

My quilt top traveled from Oregon to Wisconsin and returned from Wisconsin as a quilted quilt!

I wish it was completely done and ready for use, but first I have to make and then sew the binding to the edge of the quilt to finish it.

Originally my plan was to use the deep blue shot cotton (main fabric of the quilt) for the binding. TTQH suggested a contrasting color for the binding instead of the dark blue, like an orange or a red fabric.

I like that idea! I found in my stash a reddish-orange Moda fabric that coordinates with the Moda fabric charm squares. I will post more photos when I get the binding put on the Happy Ending quilt. Photos do not do it justice, the geometric designs of Cindy’s long-arm quilting are lovely on my quilt!

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Waiting for the binding to be added

How Do You Trim?

I have a question for the quilters reading: How do you trim the excess batting and fabric off the edges of a quilt that has been long-arm quilted (or domestic machine quilted by you)?

When I began having quilts professionally long-arm quilted, I would use scissors to trim down the quilt. Eventually I moved to using a rotary cutter and a ruler to get a sharp straight edge. This takes a bit of time to complete trimming on a large quilt and I long for the day when I would just use scissors.

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Trimming my quilt after long-arm quilting completed

Rotary cutter and ruler or scissors? How do you trim?

Bonus Content

Inside the box with my quilt from Cindy were a couple extra items that made me smile:

A handmade card (not by Cindy but by another artist) from recycled fabric scraps:2017-04-11_13-30-49_944.jpeg

Scraps left over from the quilt including some fairly thin scraps that I think Cindy was challenging to make something with! (ok true confession – my quilt back was little bit short on one side and Cindy had to do some “remodeling” on my quilt back to make it work):

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And finally – a challenge piece – an embroidered napkin:

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When I saw the napkin, I misunderstood why Cindy sent it. I thought she sent it in support of my post The Napkin Story. However, after chatting with Cindy I discovered she sent it to me as a recycled fabric quilt challenge! She wants to see what I can do with it! (I took it out of my cloth napkin drawer and put it in my studio).


Postscript

I love listening to audiobooks and most of the audiobooks I listen to are borrowed from my public library’s digital download system. You reserve audiobooks just like you would hard copy books (the library is given a limited number of licenses of copies of a digital book they can loan out at one time) and the library e-mails you when the audiobook is available for download. On popular audiobooks, you can wait anywhere from a week to a couple months to get that e-mail.

So I went crazy reserving a bunch of audiobooks a couple of weeks ago when I suddenly ran out of audiobooks to listen – PANIC! Then, yesterday in addition to getting the quilt in the mail, I got an e-mail from my library notifying me that FIVE of the audiobooks I had on hold were available for download:

  • Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
  • For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men
    – Shaunti Feldhahn
  • We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere – Gillian Anderson & Jennifer Nadel (yup, Gillian Anderson of The X-Files fame)
  • Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
  • Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions – Neil Gaiman

The loan period is 21 days, so I need to listen to all books in 21 days or have to go back into the reserve book queue – yikes!

I went ahead and started listening to For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men as I was in the mood to begin with my nonfiction options. Also I previously read Good Omens and several of the short stories in the anthology Smoke and Mirrors are in the Neil Gaiman book I read last year, Trigger Warning. 

The audiobook is very interesting so far! I might share some insights from this book in a future post.

(Shaunti Feldhahn did also write with her husband Jeff Feldhahn the companion book – For Men Only, Revised and Updated Edition: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women. According to Ms. Feldhahn these books are used as reading requirements in some church-based premarital counseling programs.)

The Recycled Road

Hi there! Here is a quick update on the 03/30/17 post What’s on My Lap.

This weekend I completed the hand quilting on The Recycled Road, an 18″ x 40″ improvisational art quilt for our annual Central Oregon SAQA Art Quilting Group’s themed exhibit. Our 2017 theme is “Pathways”.

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The Recycled Road (2017) by Tierney Davis Hogan

For more background on this piece, please see the posts What’s on My LapSlow Stitching, and What’s on the Design Wall. Someday, this art quilt is going to be part of a series of 18″ x 40″ art quilts from recycled materials using the same materials/adding in additional recycled materials as needed for the design.

Here is the other quilt in this series so far – Recycled Door (the 2016 theme was “Doors”):

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Recycled Door (2016). Designed and pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan; quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe. Photograph by Marion Shimoda.

The Recycled Road quilt was made completely with recycled materials: old jeans, sweat pants, corduroy pants, corduroy shirt, tweed jumper, curtains, and home decor fabric scraps.  The jeans, shirt, pants, jumper and home decor fabric were reused from the first piece in the series, Recycled Door shown above (which is a much better photo).

All of the clothing or home decorating items used in this art quilt were destined for the landfill. There were all in poor condition, or scraps and not donate-able for reuse as their original purpose.

Currently I am working on the Artist Statement, and in a future post I will share the Artist Statement explaining the piece and share my research on writing an Artist Statement (one of the tierneycreates readers asked for more info on writing Artist Statements, something many of us struggle with!).

This art quilt will debut at the 2017 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show as part of the special exhibit for Central Oregon SAQA. Eventually become part of the Improvisational Textiles Collection – improvisationaltextiles.com.

I hope to share a better photo in the future of this piece.

What’s on My Lap

This is a follow up to my post Slow Stitching and a part of my continuing series: What’s on the Design Wall, featuring my latest projects in progress. 

I titled this post “What’s on My Lap” for two reasons: 1) The obvious: I am hand stitching the quilt,  so it is on my lap of course; and 2) As a follow up to the hilarious comment from Sandy (or Cindy?) of Gray Barn Designs, (one of my favorite quilting blogs to follow) on my 03/21/17 Slow Stitching post:

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Oh yes, I might do a future post titled “What’s in My Head” if Gray Barn Designs does not beat me to it! Of course that would be a very long post. Way too many design ideas going on in my head.

Update on ‘Recycled Road’

I decided to name to piece Recycled Road, even though I have not written the Artist Statement for it yet. I am having so much fun slow stitching it! (Notice in the photo below I included my shoe so you could see it really is on my lap!)

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I am not looking to win any “hand quilting technique competitions” but I have fallen in love with the whole experience of hand quilting. All the fabrics in this art quilt, for our local SAQA group annual themed show, are recycled (jeans, corduroy pants, corduroy shirt, tweed jumper, curtains, home decor fabric sample, and sweat pants!) and they have a wonderful texture.

I especially love stitching through the sweat pants material. It is so soft and supple and I like to brush my hands along the fabric after stitching a section (ok Tierney are you getting weird now with your hand quilting?!?!?). Was that “oversharing”?

Interestingly, Terry the Quilting Husband’s two sisters and mother are quilters and one of his sisters is really into hand quilting. My sister-in-law Sue is a serious quilter. Like a paper piecing and hand quilting quilter. She is an expert hand quilter. I remember years ago watching her hand quilt while she was visiting us and thinking “yikes, why would anyone want to do that?”

Now I get it. I was teasing Terry the other evening as we sat in front of the TV and I hand stitched: “Terry, I have become your sister!” (In reality, the only thing I have in common with Terry’s very talented quilter sister, is that we both hand quilt now. My skills are light years from hers!)

I feel like I am on this cool ongoing journey related to my quilting, even after 17+ years of being a quilter.

(I will unveil a photo of the entire piece once I have it completed. I have to keep up the suspense…or at least the imaginary suspense…)

Postscript

I do plan to return to more Farm Girl Vintage blocks in the future. Hopefully!

 

Slow Stitching

I decided to hand quilt the piece I am working on for our Central Oregon Art Quilting Group’s annual themed group exhibit. The previous post, What’s on the Design Wall, I shared images of this piece in progress.

I rarely hand quilt. As far as hand quilting an entire quilt, I think I tried that once or twice in my life and hated it. I grew inpatient. It seemed to go on forever…endless repetitive stitches.

I am that way with machine quilting and this is why in the past I have preferred to send my quilts for professional quilting. If I was patient, perhaps I could become a decent machine quilter (perhaps) but it just seems to take so long and i just want it to be done.

But, for some reason, I am really enjoying hand quilting this 18″ x 40″ art quilt made from all recycled materials (jeans, sweat pants, corduroy pants, tweed jumper, a curtain, etc.). It is very meditative and pleasurable. I love seeing the stitches sink into the fabric and relishing the slow process. I am loving: Slow Stitching.

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Slow-Stitching in progress

Maybe it is the point I am in life. Maybe I have quieted down enough in my head and in my spirit to be able to enjoy slow meditative work. I am not going to overthink it, I am just going to embrace a potential new evolution.

More photos to come as I complete my hand quilting. The name is still up in the air but I am now thinking “Recycled Road” (keeping with this year’s theme of “Pathways). I still need to write my Artist Statement to know the final name. But that is a month or two away. No hurry. Just time to sit and stitch quietly in the evenings.*

*Why yes, of course I am going to sneak in a couple more projects – my mind won’t completely slow down enough to focus on just one project at a time!


Postscript

Something funny (and perhaps only funny to me) just popped into my head:

Instead of this post being part of my “What on the Design Wall” series, it could be part of a new series “What’s on my Lap“!

Okay that was very lame hand quilting humor (but I cannot always control the talking hamster spinning about on the hamster wheel I call a mind).

Speaking of “hamster wheels in our heads”, recently I read a fantastic article by Quinn McDonald (quinncreative.com) in the latest SAQA Journal, titled “Fool your mind into doing art – instead of laundry” (SAQA Journal, 2017, No. 1).

In this article, the author shares an example of a familiar situation for us crafters: You plan a day (say a Saturday) dedicated to working on craft projects, however before getting started in your studio, you run a couple of errands, maybe throw in some laundry, all the time telling yourself you will still have plenty of time that day for crafting…

But, before you know it, your day entire day of planned time in your studio has ended.

In addition to discussing the challenges with having a lack of discipline – “the kind of discipline that helps you stay focused”, the author also discusses the problem of having too many choices.

I am closing this post with a quote from article that gave me something to about in regards to having too many choices (like which quilting/crafting project to work on):

“Having too many choice derails creativity. You’d think all those choices would be good for your creativity. At the brainstorming stage, it’s helpful to have many ideas. But when you get to execution, too many ideas are dangerous time-wasters. Getting to the studio and getting the creative work done requires fewer, not more, possibilities.” – Quinn McDonald


Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s musings on her blog Schnauzer Snips!

What’s on the Design Wall

It’s time to continue my ongoing series, What’s on the Design Wall, on what I have on either the small design wall in my studio or the large design wall in my  hallway.

I am taking a break from working on Farm Girl Vintage blocks, and began working on my art quilt for our annual Central Oregon SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) exhibit. Last year our theme was Doors, and here was my art quilt for the group exhibit – Recycled Door:

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Recycled Door (2016). Designed and pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe

For more on the group exhibit see the posts 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Part II and First Friday Art Walk 09/02/16.

For 2017, our theme is “Pathways”. Inspired by a SAQA online workshop I attend on “Working in a Series” and Elizabeth Barton’s book Visual Guide to Working in a Series: Next Steps in Inspired Design (2014), I want to repeat most of the fabrics used in Recycled Door (2016) and developed the art quilts from my annual participation in our SAQA group’s annual exhibit, into a series.

Recycled Door (2016) was created with all recycled fabric – used clothing and recycled home decor fabric scraps. See the post Blog Tour Day 4: Unlikely Materials for a list of materials used.

I am repeating the same recycled materials for this year’s art quilt and adding two additional fabrics for the 2017 piece: 1) the fabric from a pair of recycled sweat pants; and 2) a recycled curtain.  Tentatively I am naming it  Recycled Pathway. (I will have to complete the piece and draft up my Artist Statement before I decide on the final title).

My 2017 piece will be truly “recycled” art –  in addition to using recycled fabrics (including fabrics from the 2016 piece), this quilt is being created from recycling of blocks made for another art quilt I started for another project – Sherri Lynn Wood’s (The Improve Handbook for Modern Quilters) Make Do Challenge (#makedoquilt). Please see the 09/13/17 post Make Do Quilt Challenge for photos of the progress I made on the piece (which I eventually abandoned because I was stuck and honestly just did not like it).

Since my improvisational pieced blocks for the #makedoquilt were just not going anywhere (except to gather dust in back of the closet), I cut it apart to reimagine it for the 2017 Central Oregon SAQA exhibit.

Here are photos of my progress “Recycled Pathway” (tentative name), on the small design wall in my studio. I am using the dark gray recycled sweat pants fabric to border my “pathway”piecing of recycled denims, curtain, tweed jumper, gold home decor fabric and orange corduroy pants:

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The completed piece will measure approximately 18″ x 40″. I plan to be bold and either machine quilt or hand quilt the piece myself.

Here are the basket of recycled clothing scraps I am working from:

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I really like working with the recycled sweat pants and I want to incorporate the “wrong side” of the sweat pants fabric into the piece also as I love the texture:

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More to come, I was happy to be visited by Inspiration today in order to start this new piece. Also it was fun to return to working on some improvisational art quilt making!

 

Quilt Studio Archaeology and Purge, Part III

This post is a continuation of yesterday’s post: Quilt Studio Archeology and Purging, Part II.

How well do we know each other? Are we at the point that I can bare my soul and share with you my deepest secrets? Can we talk about “Fat Quarter Pathology” (and can you try not to judge…okay you can judge a little..I deserve it…)

But before I bare my fat quarter hoarding soul here’s a couple definitions so we are all on the same page:

Fat Quarter – a quarter yard of fabric cut into a rectangle that measures 18″ x 21″, commonly packaged with other fat quarters into a themed fat quarter pack.

Pathology – any deviation from a healthy, normal, or efficient condition (Dictionary.com)

Are you ready? Alright here is my darkest fabric hoarding secret…

Fat Quarter Pathology

When I started quilting around 1999/2000 and discovered the magic of fabric shopping, I also discovered my love of little “fabric samples”. I was not into collecting scraps yet (or making many scraps as I only had a quilt or two under my belt). I was intimidated to buy a bunch of yardage when I saw a fabric collection I liked, but I did like buying a fat quarter bundle of the fabric collection that gave me a sample of many of the different fabrics in a collection.

This attraction to fat quarter bundles (usually or 6 – 8 fabrics) morphed into an attraction of fat quarters in general, including individually fat quarters. Quilt shops would display baskets of individual fat quarters and sell them in “baker’s dozens” so if you bought 12 you got 1 free.

Perhaps I only need a couple fat quarters (or likely none) but how could I turn down getting ONE free. So I would buy 12 to get the 13th free (makes sense, huh?)

Fat quarter bundles for a future project, individual fat quarters, fat quarters given to me as gifts, fat quarters won at Quilter’s Bingo, fat quarter found at thrift shops, and more, and more and more fat quarters…

I kept them organized, I kept them…IN THE CLOSET:

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I knew as part of the Quilt Studio “Archaeological Dig” I needed to go beyond just looking through them in their containers, I needed to go through them, find the treasures I wanted to keep and let go of what I would never use. I always try to keep lessons from Marie Kondo’s book – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing in mind.

Marie Kondo says you have to actually look at and hold every single item you own in your hands and decide if it is brings you joy. Every single item.

I knew I needed to go through every fat quarter. Then I needed to create a better system to store them which encouraged me to use them, not just try to create the world’s first Fat Quarter Museum.

The big step first – go through every fat quarter – here is my secret revealed – it was all laid out in the huge pile on my floor:

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I am a fat quarter hoarder!

There it is, now you know. Watch for my story on a future episode of the American TV show Hoarders (there was a UK version of this show but I forgot the name of it). I will be the one sleeping in a mattress in the corner surrounded by piles and piles of fat quarters. The Health Department will send a public health worker for an intervention…

But seriously, I was shocked at the sheer volume of the amount of fat quarters I had in my collection. I just kept accumulating them. I had purged a little in the past but obviously not enough to make a dent.

The Intervention

Similar to what you might see on a reality show about hoarding, I had to get honest with myself, deal with this pile and then find a meaningful way to organize what I kept.

Previously I organized my scraps by color (see post When all else fails, reorganize your fabric scraps) and I tend to think in colors rather than in fabric lines or fabric collections when I am working on a textile project, so I decided to organize the fat quarters I was keeping into the following groups:

  • Black, white, black & white patterns, and gray
  • Creams and fabrics where cream to light beige is the predominant color
  • Browns
  • Yellows
  • Oranges
  • Reds
  • Purples
  • Greens
  • Blues
  • Teals & Turquoises (I struggle with sorting these into blues or greens so I decided to just let them be their own group)

Interesting, the colors I had the most of in fat quarters, also reflected the colors I had the most of in my fabric yardage:

  1. Green
  2. Blue
  3. Red & Orange (tied)

I cleared out another standing storage drawer set and arranged the fat quarters in drawer set so I could easily access them. I also had to use the bottom drawer of another drawer set for the Blues.

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When I dumped out the fat quarters from their previous containers, I pre-sorted them by color into piles on the floor (see photo above). When I put them away by color, I looked at EACH fat quarter and made a decision whether to keep or donate.

Here was my criteria:

  1. Do I love this fabric and do I find it visually pleasing?
  2. Is it high quality quilting cotton (when I first started quilting, I would only buy inexpensive fabric at chain craft stores)?
  3. Would I use it in a future project and is it still my style (our tastes change over the years)?

Using this criteria I was able to pull out many fat quarters for donation:

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At one point I likely loved all the fat quarters shown in the donation pile above but not any longer – there is no joy for me in that pile!

Epilogue

Now that this project is over, I know I do not need to add any more fat quarters to my life (as I appear to have enough for several lifetimes!)

If you have followed my blog for a while you likely know a little about my minimalism journey and my quest to curate my life with only those items that bring me joy. I have removed and donated so much from my life such as household items, trinkets and kitsch and clothing (I probably own only 25% of the clothes I used to own).

The challenge with my craft supplies is that they BRING ME JOY and I think this is why I have saved this deeper dive into my crafting related supplies for last.

Another bit of Marie Kondo always in the back of my mind:

The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.

So fat quarters I no longer love – be gone! I am not going to worry about the money lost for bringing you into my life. I hope via my local thrift shop you will find your way into some other crafter’s life who will appreciate you (or perhaps hoard you in their collection, oh no….).

Thanks for letting me share with you my true confessions and my ongoing journey to curate my life to only the things that are useful and bring me joy.

Quilt Studio Archeology and Purging, Part II

I consider myself an organized person. I try to keep everything nicely organized in my crafting area.

However it is just organized clutter.

In two recent posts Quilting Studio Archaeology and Quilt Studio Closet Purge I discuss going through the stuff in my sewing area with a critical eye and beginning to purge. Perhaps “quilting studio archaeology” is not the most appropriate term as over the past couple of days I have been engaged in Crafting Archeology.

You see, I am not just a quilter. I am also:

  • A paper crafter (card making)
  • A beader/jewelry crafting
  • A knitter
  • A crocheter
  • A small fabric craft maker (bags, potholders, pillows, etc.)
  • A various miscellaneous crafter (like my foray into felting…)

Each craft involves related paraphernalia and supplies. I had all of them organized in the closet in my studio, along with sewing fabric:

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Above the closet doors is this a painted sign a friend gave me as a gift – Simplify. I kept this is mind as I go through everything left in the closet and make some honest decisions. I had already purged my unloved knitting, crocheting, and beading supplies. I have avoided until now my card making supplies, random crafting supplies and my fabric fat quarter storage.

Papercrafting Supplies

Between making cards and scrapbooking I have acquired quite a bit a paper and paper crafting supplies.

Over the past couple of years, on my journey towards embracing the minimalism movement and only have in my life that which brings me joy, I have donated a large amount of paper crafting supplies. I completed a huge project in 2015 – all my loose photos  were either put into a scrapbook or discarded. I have no more loose photographs.

When I completed this massive scrapbooking project, I decided to give up paper scrapbooking. If I craved another scrapbook in the future, I would have a digital scrapbook professional created.

However I had not decided what to do with my card making paper and supplies. I did sell a set of handmade cards on Etsy a couple years ago and I still like making handmade cards.

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Initially my plan was to just box up all my card making and remaining scrapbooking supplies and donate them all. However the I am continually inspired by the beautiful paper crafts I see on blogs I follow such as PaperPuff (paperpuff.wordpress.com) and I want to continue to make cards.

So here was the compromise…

What I kept:

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What I let go:

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Next post, I will continue sharing my archeological dig and purge; and talk about my “Fat Quarter Pathology” and the big decisions made around my obscene collection of pre-cut fabric/fat quarters.


Postscript

I am waiting until I have a couple more blocks done to provide an update on my Farm Girl Vintage blocks (see posts Farm Girl Vintage, Part I and Farm Girl Vintage, Part II and Recent Audiobook Delights). I just finished on called “Chicken Feet”.

One of my blogging buddies is also working on Farm Girl Vintage – check out peggycooperquilts.com for her blocks (she has made much further progress!)

Monday 3/6/17 is my last week of my 28 day Fast Metabolism Diet (FMD) that I shared in previous posts. I do not like scales but I feel like I have lost at least 5 – 10 pounds. When I have my annual wellness exam with my MD in April I will find out the official number.

My clothes are definitely looser and I feel great. I am looking forward to having a little dairy when the 28 day program ends!


Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s posts on her Schnauzer Snips blog – schnauzersnips.wordpress.com/blog/

Feature photo credit: Russell Hugo, free images.com

Quilt Studio Closet Purge

Continuing the momentum from my Quilting Studio Archaeology, each evening last week I have continued to evaluate what I have in my quilting studio/sew room.

I decided to take an honest and objective look at all the crafting paraphrenelia and projects in queue that have gathered over the years in my quilting studio closet. As a result I was able to unload and remove two tall rolling organizing/storage drawer sets. I donated them to our local Humane Society Thrift Shop along with some of their contents from my purging.

Here they are in my backseat awaiting their next adventure (I hope they go to a good home). They served me well for at least 15 years:

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In one of the drawers I kept my large collection of art brush markers, gel pens and Sharpies. Most of these markers and pens came from a coworker in the early 2000s. She loved cool pens and markers at her local speciality stationary store and would impulsively buy pens. In the early 2000s I was into card making and she decided to purge her huge pen collection and give most of it to me for card making.

I moved all these pens with me from Seattle to Central Oregon in 2005 and most of them have just sat in a drawer since 2005, unused.

On a mission not to keep stuff that is not functional/does not work and that I do not love, I checked every single pen/art marker on Thursday evening (I know you are very envious that we have such wild evenings as “pen checking” in Central Oregon). I was able to toss 30 pens that had dried up.

Here is what remained (still a lot but they all work and I like the colors):

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Terry the Quilting Husband and I are planning on doing some remodeling in our living room this Spring/Summer. We want to put in built-in bookcases/entertainment unit/fireplace along the largest wall of the living room.  I have spent (or wasted) a lot of time on Pinterest looking at “bookcase porn”.

The plan is to repurpose 1 – 2 of the existing free standing bookcases in the living room as studio closet storage. To make this work, I will need to have less stuff in my quilt studio closet and removing the two storage units gets me a lot closer to that goal.

POSTSCRIPT

Recently I am quite inspired by a newer blog I follow – DEVISE.CREATE.CONCOCT – Finding frugal ways to live more with less (devisecreateconcoct.com). This blogger’s tips on managing your spending on the necessities of life have inspired me to also take an honest and objective look on how we spend money each month, beginning with January 2017.

Today I created an expense tracking spreadsheet and recorded expenses for 2017 year to date. It was very enlightening – for example, I did not realize how much we are spending on groceries!

Now with my quilting studio closet purged (as much as I was willing to purge at this point); and our expenses all documented, I can perhaps return to working on Farm Girl Vintage blocks (see post Farm Girl Vintage, Part II and Recent Audiobook Delights)


Featured image credit: L. Emerson, freeimages.com

Farm Girl Vintage, Part II and Recent Audiobook Delights

Farm Girl Vintage

I recently finished another block from the Farm Girl Vintage book by Lori Holt. In the post Farm Girl Vintage, Part I I shared the first 8 blocks I made from the book.

Here is the latest block: Canning Season

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You might have to use your imagination but this block is supposed to be 6 jars of canned goods in a farm’s cupboard. Yes, these colorful “Mason jars” of food may look suspicious but the fabric is pretty!

I had fun selecting fabric from my basket of fat quarters and scraps for this block:

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If happen to also have this book and plan to work on the blocks here is a tip: Each block has cutting directions for both a finished 6″ block or a 12″ block. If you are working on the 12″ blocks, like I am, cover up the directions for the 6″ block so your eye does not accidentally cut your fabric to the 6″ block directions (BEEN THERE!)

Recent Audiobooks

In my post Cozy Quilt and Audiobook Delights, I shared that I was listening to the wonderful audiobook Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David. Well I finished that book (I highly recommend it) and now I have moved on to listening to another “self-improvement” genre audiobook – Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within by Chade-Meng Tan.

Instead of providing and overview of this awesome audiobook, here is a link to brief article on mindful.org by the author that provides many of the key concept in this book:

Joy on Demand The art of discovering the happiness within

Early in the book the author shares a wonderful quote by Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

“If you want to become an agent of change, you have to remember to keep your sense of humor.”

I love this quote!

I am mixing my endless nonfiction audiobook consumption (thank you local library!) with some fiction lately – a couple of mystery/suspense novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Postscript

How about a photo of an adorable senior dog to close our this post?

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I was visiting a friend who was babysitting a tiny 13 year old “Pom-Chi” (pomeranain and chihuahua). He was so tiny but he did not know it. He was trying to be alpha to a large golden retriever and very large golden doodle!

He was totally a miniature with a big attitude!

Quilting Studio Archaeology

Mondays I am off work from my pay-the-bills-job and I thought this Monday would be a great day to do a little Quilt Studio clean up (or archaeological digging).

Quilting for over 16 years, I have acquired quite a bit of quilting paraphernalia to include templates, rules, quilting aids, tools, and well…quilting thinga-ma-bobs. I thought I was fairly organized and diligent on cleaning out the stuff I no longer use, but then today I remembered the cabinet in my sewing desk where I had shoved a bunch of rulers and templates.

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The cabinet now empty but once filled with curious archaeological finds

Crafters, you know what I am talking about when I mention those rulers, templates, tools that you were (suckered?) required to buy for a class or a specific project. You have never used them again but you are not sure if you should part with them.

If it wasn’t for a class then it was from a demo you saw at a quilt shop, retreat or conference that you thought “why yes, I definitely need that”. Or maybe it was something given to you by a friend who finished their project, gave you the pattern that they were NEVER GOING TO DO AGAIN and the accompanying special ruler or template.

Keep all that in mind as I show you what was unearthed today during my “Quilt Studio Archaeological Dig” (and don’t judge – ha!):

Thangles!

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Oh look I have never used Thangles in a nice variety of sizes!

Yes, they are actually called “Thangles” and they are used as a shortcut to making “half square triangles”(HSTs). I purchased them when I lived in Seattle, likely in the early 2000s when I saw them demo’d at a quilt shop.

I have made a zillion (okay I am exaggerating, perhaps only a million) HSTs over the years and never once (never) have I thought about the Thangles I was storing for posterity in my cabinet. Imagine if I had actually used this tool as it was intended! Perhaps it would have made a couple sets of HST’s quicker.

Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates

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Are these collectible?

A burning question plagues me (a question besides why the heck did I buy these?): Why do I have Set A, Set B and Set D, but no Set C? Was Set C too controversial to purchase? Or by the time Set C came out did I decide it was silly to buy anymore sets I have never used but had a moment of weakness when Set D came out and bought it anyway?!?!

Great and mysterious question to ponder…

Rulers Gone Wild!

Oh so many rulers only used once (or never).

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I was going to lay them all out and take a photo of them, but right now I am in denial so I merely placed them all in a basket for now. I am simply going to keep them all in sight, out on my cutting table for now, and continue to pretend like I might use them someday.

Just for fun, here is a list of some of the likely useful and likely very obscure rulers in my collection:

  • Easy Diamond Template (never used)
  • Easy Heart Template (never used)
  • EZ Quilting Hexagon Shapes (never used)
  • 60 degree Diamond (never used)
  • Quilt Sense Rulers (never used, I guess they made so much sense they scared me)
  • Flying Geese Bloc Loc Rulers (I am really going to use these someday, maybe)
  • Fons & Porter Binding Tool (if my friend Lisa is reading this, enjoy the private joke now about my quilt binding skills)
  • Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Corner Trimmer (yikes all these years I have let my corners go un-perfectly trimmed!)
  • A whole slew of Kaye Wood rulers (I do not want to talk about my Kaye Wood obsession in my early days of quilting and just how many of her rulers I purchased…and never used)
  • A Girl’s Best Friend Diamond Cut Ruler (obviously not one of my best friends as I have never used it)
  • Easy Circle Cut (never used)
  • Japanese Jigsaw Ruler (well a friend of mine DID make a quilt with this ruler, does that count?)

That’s enough I cannot bear to list anymore. Honestly though, I cannot bear to part with any of these never used rulers. I still plan to use them all – SOMEDAY!  (Note I do have at least double the amount of rules I just listed which I have actually used or used at least once).

Have any of you discovered any dusty ancient gems in your crafting room lately during an archaeological dig?


Postscript

One of my readers asked for some photos of food from the Fast Metabolism Diet (FMD) I mentioned in my previous post. I just started the FMD today but here are photos of breakfast and lunch:

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Breakfast of steel cut oats and blueberries

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Lunch of a turkey bacon wrap on a spelt tortilla (yup I was hungry while photographing and couldn’t resist a bite!)

No, no I am not going to post photos of every meal I have for the 28 days of the FMD. At a later date I will do a post about it and share more meal images for anyone who is curious.


Featured image photo credit – Russell Hugo, free images.com

Farm Girl Vintage, Part I

Not a Farm Girl but In Love with Farm Girl Vintage

I am not a “Farm Girl”. I spend my teenage years in Upstate NY where there were farms and I have visited farms but there is nothing remotely “farm girl” about me. I did however absolutely fall in love with Lori Holt’s quilting block book – Farm Girl Vintage .

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Photo credit – Amazon.com

The blocks and quilts in the book are not even my style (they would not fit in my home decor) and still I am completely in love. This book contains a wonderful collection of sweet farm-themed blocks and quilt layout options. It is very delicious.

So a couple quilting friends bought the book also and we are working on blocks and comparing notes. Here is my progress so far (to date I have completed 8 blocks):

My fabric selection/palette

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Initial pull of fabric from my stash (primarily fat quarters)

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Organized nicely in a basket

Setting Fabric – Using White/Off-White Fabric Scraps

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Eight Blocks Completed (3 are duplicates):

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My Favorite Block So Far (Baby Chick):

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I will try to have better photos next time to showcase my next set of blocks.

Fat Quarter Stash Busting

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a “dirty little secret” – my ridiculous stash of fabric precuts (jelly rolls, charm packs, fat quarters, etc.). One of the cool things about this project is that I am using fat quarters and scraps fabric to make the blocks. I am not cutting into any yardage at this time.

I had a blast visiting with my crazy stash of fat quarters (purchased from over 16+ years of quilting) and pulling fabrics for my Farm Girl Vintage blocks!  As you can see from the photos my palette is not traditional “farm vintage” fabric but more “calico” and modern style “brights”.


Postscript

I just realized I have not posted in a while.

Besides working (that darn pay-the-bills-job), I have been busily cooking up lots and lots of slow cooker/pot crock meals. On Monday I start my first ever formal diet – the Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy.

I am not one for formal diets and having a nursing background and knowledge of general good health principles, so when I have wanted to drop weight in the past I have done it through good nutritional choices and exercise. Recently however two of my quilting mentors (Jean and Susan) have gone on this diet and look fantastic. My friend Susan got me interested in looking into this diet as it restarts your metabolism. I read the book and it made a lot of sense scientifically.

I am not one to just jump into a formal diet plan, especially after never doing one before, so for the past couple of weeks I have made significant changes to my food choices such as decreasing dairy, gluten, and sugar intake; and learning to drink a large amount of water each day. Also I have worked on learning to snack a new way (life without peanut M&Ms) and learning to eat every 3 hours while awake. Finally I have been trying out the recipes.

So I am hoping to get off that pesky 10 pounds I have been wanting to lose – and if all goes well maybe I can lose 20 pounds and return to the weight I was when I was first dating Terry the Quilting Husband (you know before starting to put on those “love pounds” – ha).

We’ll see how it goes. I have been running my slow cooker non stop it seems,  portioning out and freezing meals (and labeling of course).

Terry the Quilting Husband has agreed to eat some of the meals (the food, much of it made in a slow cooker, is absolutely delicious) so that will make life easier instead of cooking two separate meal plans.

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Photo credit: hayliepomroy.com

 


Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s latest musings at schnauzersnips.wordpress.com/blog

Adventures in English Paper Piecing (Part II)

Hi there!

Here is an update to my 10/03/16 post  Adventures in English Paper Piecing (Part I) – I’ve made quite a few EPP hexies:

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They have been the perfect portable project and now I understand the fun of EPP. All the fabrics are from the 2016 Central Oregon Shop Hop – fat eighths given out by area quilt shops (from a set collected by both Terry the Quilting Husband and myself).

This weekend I hung out with a couple quilting buddies and we opened up Pinterest and starting playing with some layout options on the kitchen counter:

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I still have many more hexies to make so I am not ready to decide on a final pattern yet but I am leaning towards the randomly placed design as opposed to a more traditional “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” design.

So more to come.

I will close this post with a lovely sign I saw recently at a shop:

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Quilt Shop Tour (Sew Many Quilts) and Sewing Machine Maintenance

This post has two parts: Part I (the fun part) is a tour of the new Sew Many Quilts quilt shop location; and Part II (the less fun part) is a little discussion on sewing machines and their maintenance (with a request for your input).

Part I: Sew Many Quilts’ New Shop

We have wonderful quilt shops in Central Oregon. I have a full list and link to the shop’s websites in the right sidebar of my blog.

Saturday I need to take by Bernina QE in for service (more on that in Part II) to Sew Many Quilts and Bernina Center. They recently moved to a larger location and Terry the Quilting Husband and I were looking forward to seeing their new shop and layout.

We have lived in Central Oregon for nearly 12 years and Sew Many Quilts is one of the first quilt shops I went to when I moved here. They used to be in a very very very tiny location and you had to sometimes back out of an area so another quilter could pass by the area you were shopping in. Then they moved to a semi-industrial shop area but it was tucked away and I wonder if they were not getting enough traffic. Now they have moved to a highly visible store front strip mall type location.

This quilt shop is always dear to my heart as it is where I bought my first “high-end” sewing machine (but more on that in Part II).

Enough rambling, here is a photo tour of their new location (note they do not have their sign out front yet so I did not take many outside photos).

General quilt shop photos:

The Bernina Center (warning this section contains “sewing machine porn”):

There were many wonderful quilt samples on display, but this one was my favorite:

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So next time you are in Central Oregon, be sure to add this wonderful quilt shop to your visit list!

Part II: Sewing Machines and Their Maintenance

Here are a couple questions for those of you who sew (at first I wrote “sewers” but I thought hmmm that would be like I am addressing all the underground conduits following my blog, ha!):

  1. What type of sewing machine(s) do you have; and if you have multiple machine – which one is your favorite?
  2. How often do you get your sewing machine(s) serviced?

My Sewing Machines

I have 2 sewing machines – a Bernina 440 QE (my primary machine) and  Bernina Active 210 (for travel/classes). I nicknamed my beloved Bernina 440 “Berny”.

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My beloved Bernina 440 QE (“Berny”)

I began quilting on a Singer sewing machine and then upgraded to a Husqvarna Viking sewing machine. At the time this was a huge purchase as a new quilter – $400 (on sale of course) for a sewing machine – could you imagine someone spending that much on a sewing machine, I could not (little did I know what was to come…)

After a couple years of quilting and taking classes and drooling over the higher end machines that other quilters had, I decided that to feel complete in life I needed a Bernina. I was very attracted to Bernina because of its reputation for being well constructed and reliable with durable internal metal parts. I did of course have “sticker shocked” when I saw what Berninas cost!

I would visit Sew Many Quilts and drool over their Bernina display. Then they had a sale with 12 months same as cash no interest and I decided to make the investment and purchase the Bernina 440 QE.

Overall I have been pleased with my Bernina and a couple of years ago bought a smaller Bernina for classes during another sale at Sew Many Quilts.

The one thing I wish my Berninas had is a thread cutter. I borrowed a friend’s Janome with a thread cutter and I fell in love with the whole automatic thread cutting experience (it made me coo with delight!).

However after years of quilting and talking to other quilters, I realized I could have bought at least one of my Berninas used and saved quite a bit of money. I have also sewed on other machines such as Janomes that a pretty nice too (and are less expensive).

My friend Betty Anne has used/older Berninas that work wonderfully (I borrow one when I go over her house for a “Sew Day”). I now realize you do not always need the newest shiniest thing when it comes to sewing machines!

Maintenance

Berninas require regularly service/maintenance and you have to oil them (they come with a bottle of machine oil) to keep them running smoothly. We have one (that I know of) Bernina Service Technician in Central Oregon so if he is busy you have to be patient.

The recommendation is a once a year service which I have to confess I have not always followed. I am pretty good at regularly oiling my machine and keeping all the areas I can reach free of dust and lint. So sometimes I go up to 2 years before bringing it in for maintenance (clean, oil and adjust).

In the 8 years I have had my Berninas I have only had one major issue and that was because one of them got dropped on the way to a quilting retreat by an airport shuttle company. I did pursue a claim with the airport shuttle company and they did reimburse the repairs.

I look forward to reading your thoughts on sewing machines and sewing machine maintenance in the Comment section – thanks!


Postscript

I have listened to a bunch of interesting “self-help” audiobooks lately while sewing or walking the dogs. In a future post will share a little bit about those books and key inspirational insights.

What’s on the Design Wall

I was playing a game with myself: I could not write another blog post until I completed the top on the quilt discussed in the post, Diving into a quilt (and other stuff)Happy Ending.

Alas, I am writing a post and I have not finished the quilt top, but I have made some progress with this half-square-triangel (HST) pattern and sections are on the design wall (note – my design wall is in my narrow hallway so I can only photograph large pieces in the works from angles):

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I am still wrangling with piecing the HSTs into the setting fabric and there are sections all over my little sewing room:

At the sewing machine table:

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On the ironing board:

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This quilt is going to be a collaboration with my blogging buddy Cindy of A Quilter’s Corner with Cindy Anderson (inastitchquilting.com) who is a long-arm quilter. I will be mailing the quilt top and the backing to her for her long-arm quilting artistry. So I bet she will have this quilt on her blog too after she quilts it.

It is late so no additional ramblings at this time. Tomorrow is Saturday and I am determined to keep wrangling these HSTs and their setting fabric until they become a quilt top!  (More later on my thoughts about using a “shot cotton” type fabric as a setting fabric…kind of challenging even if it is a heavier weight shot cotton).

Quilt Seating!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am on five-day holiday from work and I planned to spend time working on my project backlog.

One of my backlogged projects, was deciding what to do with a small (baby or doll sized) quilt top I made from a collection of 2″ inch squares. I decided this weekend to recover the stool I keep under my computer desk in my studio with it!

Here is what I started with – a lovely stool given to me by a friend (who originally bought it second hand):

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The butterfly fabric was nice but the fabric was dated, had a weird velour-like feeling and did not bring me joy.

So – on top of the current cover, with a layer of batting placed underneath, I recovered it with my 2″ squares (aka “postage stamp”) quilt top:

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It fits my studio better and goes with the general studio theme of quilting and creating.

Postscript

Here is my next project in queue from my backlog – Tango Stripe, a pattern I bought in 2011 or 2012 by Jean Wells of the Stitchin’ Post:

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I am very excited about this quilt, I fell in love with the store sample at the Stitchin’ Post (see list on my blog of “Central Oregon Quilt Shops” for links to my local shops).

Follow up on Creative Quilt Challenges Webinar

Link to Webinar & Handouts

Good Morning! I realized I forgot to follow up on my post from 11/9/16: Free Webinar: CREATIVE QUILT CHALLENGES and provide to those of you who did not get to attend, the link to the presentation and handouts.

My friends Pat Pease and Wendy Hill provided a wonderful presentation based on their book, Creative Quilt Challenges, published earlier this year, that will spark your creative art quilting fire. If you are not a quilter you might find something interesting it in it also. In a future post I am going to talk about how non-quilting related books and resources inspire my ideas for art quilt design.

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

Ah, I am starting to ramble without providing you the link, so here you go:

Sulky Creative Quilt Challenges

In addition to the video of the slideshow and presentation and the class handout, the link above also provides the answers from the Webinar Q&A.

Postscript

Today I begin a 5-day holiday break from my pay-the-bills-job (two of those days are courtesy of my employer, one is a vacation day and two are the weekend!). I am so excited I am not sure what to do with myself…oh wait, I should probably start working on my backlog of projects…

Some of the backlog that awaits…

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Tierney, please help us become something…

 

Little Bits of Oregon Warmth

I finished the baby quilt I was making for a friend having her first baby. She has received it, and appears to really like it, so now I can post photos!

I named the baby quilt – Little Bits of Oregon Warmth – it made from recycled flannel pieces from flannel quilts I have made or my quilting friends have made. I selected flannel scraps that evoked a feeling of my beloved adopted state of Oregon (my friend lives in Oregon).

It is very “green” – it is made from fabric that some quilters would have discarded. Instead these pieces have a new home and purpose – to keep a baby warm this Winter! (I’d like to  think that this recycled quilt is part of my efforts to be environmentally friendly and try to preserve the world the baby will be growing up in…) 

It is so fun to work with scraps from other quilts and remember what quilt they came from (or if they are another quilter’s scraps, wondering what quilt they went into!).

I pieced the quilt using the “Log jam” technique (free-form log cabin style piecing). If you are new to my blog, here is a link to some previous posts on Log Jam/Log Jamming.

Photos

The quilt on the design wall prior to machine quilting:

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The quilt freshly machine quilted (yes the quilting would not win any awards, but it worked for a baby quilt and I did it myself…):

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A close up on the quilt to see some of the flannel scraps – all of which are somehow related to our beautiful state of Oregon:

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The quilt is fully machine washable and I pre-washed it before sending it to the expectant Mom so she would know it can be washed and dried as much as needed!  I also made clear it was a UTILITY quilt – to be used – not hung on a wall!

Postscript

Speaking of “Oregon Warmth”, here is a gratuitous shot of my delicious cup of hot chocolate I got on Monday while running errands with my neighbor and her son (Winter errands must include a stop for a yummy hot beverage).

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Stay Warm!

Improvisational Textiles

I am excited to announce that the collaborative art quilting project I have with Betty Anne Guadalupe, The Wardrobe Meets the Wall, has been reimagined into our new name:  Improvisational Textiles: A Collaborative Art Quilting Journey.

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I invite you to visit our new site and follow the blog if you like:

Improvisational Textiles Blog

If you would like to read the story behind the name change, please see the post Improvisational Textiles.

What’s on the Design…Bed

As sort of a follow up to yesterday’s post Terry the Quilting Husband – Update – as I mentioned – Terry the Quilting Husband is hogging the design wall in the hallway.

I like one of my blogging buddies, Claire of knitNkwilt, I had to use the “Design Bed”, and lay out my latest quilt on our bed.

I admit, I am spoiled. I am friends with an incredible inspirational textile artist and generous person, Betty Anne. When we got together for a sew day (see post Pinwheel Piecing Party), she was cleaning out her UFOs (if you are not a quilter, please see the post Lexicon of Quilters’ Acronyms) and she gave me 12 – 12.5 x 12.5 inch blocks she pieced with beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabrics. They were from a “Block-of-the-Month” club she belonged to and she was not interested in making them into a quilt.

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example of one of the 12 blocks I was gifted, on the background fabric they were to be set in

At first I put these block in my “UFO” pile but yesterday I felt suddenly motivated to just make them into a quilt.

I used one of the sampler quilt layouts in the book The Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson (yep, this was one of the books from my posting The Library (Mega) Stack, I returned the book to the library but borrowed it again…when I can justify another book purchase, I am probably going to buy it…)

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Photo credit: amazon.com

Here are the 12 blocks on the “Design Bed” waiting for me to sew the rows together. Then I will bring the quilt to Betty Anne on our next Sew Day for her to do the long-arm quilting on the quilt (hope she does not get any ideas and suddenly want her blocks back, ha!).

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all bad photography/bad lighting disclaimers apply

I set the fabric in a gold Peppered Cotton (a shot cotton type fabric). Peppered Cottons by Pepper Cory, Studio E Fabrics are a lovely line of fabrics.

I used to sell 8 beautiful fabric selections from this line in my tierneycreates Etsy shop. However, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to stop selling fabric and pulled the yardage, fat quarter sets and jelly rolls from my Etsy shop.

My decision was based on that I did not enjoy cutting yardage for people (I will never own a quilt shop) and I do not want to compete with quilt shops. (You can read from the tierneycreates archives, my first attempt to cut “fat quarter sets” – Adventures in Retail).

So, no judgement on people who sell fabric online, it was just not something I wanted to do any longer.

My plan is to focus my Etsy shop on handmade items. It is called “tierneycreates” after all. Recently, however, Tierney has not been doing any creating for the Etsy shop but has some ideas for 2017 and beyond.

For now Tierney will keep working through her personal UFO backlog (and obviously accept donations from other quilters’ UFO backlogs, ha!).

Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part III

This post is actually a continuation of my series “What’s on the Design Wall” in addition to Part III (well actually Part IV) of my series of posts about taking a break from improvisational quilt design and piecing, and returning to make meditative traditional blocks.

Here are the other posts in this series to bring you up to date. I decided to make a “sampler” quilt by making blocks from the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool:

In the previous post in this series, I had only 4 more blocks to go into order to have 20 blocks to create a 4 x 5 type of layout.

I completed four additional blocks, of two different block patterns in different color ways:

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So here is what all 20 blocks look like on the design wall in our hallway (disclaimer – I do not have the best lighting in my hallway and it is narrow so I can only take photos from an angle or by standing in the laundry room!):

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My plan is to set them in a light fabric from the same line (Stonehenge) and then do a cool border (well in my mind it will be cool) with the fabric scraps from the fat quarter set I used to piece these blocks.

The next time I post on this series about revisiting traditional piecing, I will show you the completed quilt.

But…for now…I have to put it aside (No! Please Don’t Go To the “UFO” pile!!!) and immediately work on a baby quilt for an upcoming baby shower.

Happy crafting!