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 – 1o 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 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!

Pinwheel Therapy

In my 11/6/16 post Pinwheel Piecing Party, I shared how I started making small pinwheels from a friend’s collection of trimmed triangles, that have otherwise been destined for the trash.

Here was my first load of pinwheels:

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For the past week, as a way to escape from all the hate and unhappiness that seems to be seeping out of every corner of my country, I have been focusing on, during any spare moments, making more scrappy pinwheels.

In order to distract myself for awhile, I created a goal that I had to empty out the bag of pieced triangle scraps my friend gave me.

So I was busy at work “chain” sewing, or “chaining” little half square triangle blocks together. I was quite meditative.

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As a result, I now have approximately (I counted quickly) – 72 pinwheel blocks, each measuring approximately 2.5 inches x 2.5 inches!

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Also have two “oops” blocks, which I guess you might call – pieced “square within a square” blocks. My “pinwheeling” went awry during my piecing of these blocks!

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So what am I going to do with 72 (or more) 2.5 inch x 2.5 inch pinwheel blocks? Well your guess is as good as mine!

For now I am going to put them into my new “Parts Department” I created in my stash after seeing a trunk show and presentation by the Australian quilt designer, Jen Kingwell (see my post Revisiting Traditional Piecing). During her trunk show presentation she talked about using blocks from her “Parts Department” (leftover blocks from other projects, etc.). I was also inspired by the huge “Parts Department” my friend Betty Anne has in her scrap collection.

Another project I worked on this past week was to go through my stash of fabric scraps and pull out all the scrap triangles and scrap small squares. I put them in separate bags to use for future improvisational quilting projects.

The quilt below, by Betty Anne Guadalupe, is made from her “Parts Department” (collection of already pieced blocks, discards from other quilters, fabric scraps, and new pieced blocks from scraps):

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Scrap quilt by Betty Anne Guadalupe

As I mentioned in the original post related to this piece, Pinwheel Piecing Partyseveral of my leftover pieced blocks from a quilt project that I gave to Betty Anne, are in this quilt! It is very fun to see your unwanted blocks put to good use!

What’s next on the horizon for my crafting therapy? I am going to return to work on the traditionally pieced blocks last discussed in my post Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part II.


Postscript

A dear old friend in NYC, who has also being feeling blue about current events, sent me this photo to cheer me up a little – a photo of her sweet rescued kitty – Chummy – on a quilt I made her.

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Kitty cozy on a quilt! It is hard to resist smiling at that!

Look carefully at the blocks in the quilt! Do any of them look familiar?!?! They are in Betty’s Anne quilt! So you do not have to scroll up and try to find it, here you go:

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What timing !  The quilt that inspired me to start scrappy pinwheeling (which provided a therapeutic distraction) is connected to the photo a friend recently sent me to cheer me up!

Maybe the Universe at work, you never know (smile).

Free Webinar: CREATIVE QUILT CHALLENGES

In several previous posts I have mentioned the book, written by my friends Wendy Hill and Pat Pease, Creative Quilt Challenges (C&T Publishing, 2016).

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I wanted to let you all know they are having am hour long, free webinar sponsored by Sewing Online with Sulky on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 9:00 pm EST (6:00 pm, Pacific Time).

There will be prizes and other perks according to the authors! 

If this interests you, you can click on the link below to get registered:

CREATIVE QUILT CHALLENGES

Wendy Hill and Pat Pease, authors of Creative Quilt Challenges invite you to Take the Challenge to Discover Your Style & Improve Your Design Skills. – Sewing Online with Sulky

I am signed up for the webinar, so maybe I will see you online!

Pinwheel Piecing Party

Saturday I hung out with my friend Betty Anne and we had a “Pinwheel Piecing Party” in her home studio.

Betty Anne is one of my quilting mentors who introduced me to the magical world of fabric scraps and using them to create intuitively pieced improvisational quilts. She also introduced me to rescuing discarded blocks and bits and piecing from other quilters’ projects.

Betty Anne has a lovely improvisational quilt hanging in her home that she made from bits and pieces left over from other projects, scraps (hers and other quilters) and recycled blocks (there are cream and orange 4-patchs that are recycled blocks/scraps from a quilt I made 12 years ago and had in my scraps stash that she adopted!):

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Betty Anne Guadalupe, Guadalupe Designs

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I fell completely in love with the pinwheels sprinkled through this improvisational quilt and wanted to make some.

But let me back up…

Betty Anne and I had not had a chance to get together for a “Sew Day” in a long time. I was so excited have a “Sew Saturday” at her home studio (she sets up a sewing machine for me) and I did not arrive to her house empty handed:

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A package of scraps? Not just any scraps – a package of trimmed triangles from other quilters’ projects (some friends of mine sent me a package when I told them Betty Anne pieces small triangles into 1.5 inch blocks – no scrap left behind!).

Within the first house of our Sew Day she had pieced many of the scrap triangles into pinwheels!

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For my Sew Day project, Betty Anne handed me a bag of Moda triangle scraps that she had already pieced into 1.5 inch blocks, so I could make them into pinwheel blocks.

Sitting on the floor, I laid them out on the rug to play with:

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I turned them into a Pile-o-Pinwheels!

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They are kind of addicting to make and I have more in the works:

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No, I do not know what I am going to do with all those pinwheels but I will have them available for when the design for the piece they would be perfect for appears in my mind!


Postscript

Betty Anne is friends with the lovely Innkeeper, Elizabeth, at the Crooked River Inn, a wonderful Bed & Breakfast and we stopped by for a tour on Saturday.

Here is their website with an engaging in-depth tour the Inn – crookedriverinn.com and their Facebook page – Crooked River Inn.

The Innkeeper, who just opened the Inn earlier this year, did an incredible remodel of an early 20th century farmhouse. The property and the house are amazing. She has chickens and serves her guests farm fresh eggs.

Also she bakes fresh cookies everyday. While we stopped by, even though she did not currently have guests, she was baking cookies! She was making several batches of cookies for the gentlemen tending to her yard maintenance!

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And yes, she let me sample a cookie!

If you happen to be visiting Central Oregon, a recommend a stay at this incredible Bed & Breakfast.

 

“Ohio Shifted” Returns from Road Trip to PIQF

Ohio Shifted (2016) has returned from its road trip to the Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF).

Wendy Hill and Pat Pease, authors of  Creative Quilt Challenges (C&T Publishing, 2016) invited me to participate in their Shape Shifting Challenge, an exhibit-within-an-exhibit at PIQF – October 13-16, 2016, in Santa Clara, California.

Here are the blog posts related to the invitation and the story behind this art quilt made from recycled silksCreative Quilt Challenges: Shape Shifting and Artist Statements.

This art quilt  has sort of a long story. It began as an experiment in traditional piecing with recycled silks (I attempted to make an Ohio Star wallhanging). It was not working out for me; adopted by my friend Betty Anne to re-imaginge; and evolved out of a challenge to make something from the scraps Betty Anne gave me from her piece, Ohio.

Here is the piece which has now returned home and will become part of The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection:

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Ohio Shifted (2016) – Designed, pieced and quilted by Tierney Davis Hogan

When Wendy Hill returned my piece to me, she also gave me a copy of the PIQF 2016  brochure and the placard that had my Artist Statement and an image of what the piece looked like before I “shape shifted” it!

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Here is a clearer photo of what the piece looked like before it’s makeover:

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It was not bad in its original form, it just seemed very boring.

If you would like to read about the road trip adventures of Wendy Hill and Pat Pease on their road trip from Central Oregon to Santa Clara California and their PIQF experience, check out Wendy Hill’s blog at: Wendy Hill’s Blog (wendyhill.net).

Here is the description of their Special Exhibit in the 2017 PIQF Supplement: Creative Quilt Challenges – Wendy Hill & Pat Pease

Pat and Wendy have been working together for 8 years exploring color and design through a series of self-designed challenges. These quilts show their differences and similarities in personal style and fabric choices. View in-process photographic displays of their work, and also a group challenge from quilters from the USA and Canada. Their 2013 exhibit at PIQF led to their new 2016 book Creative Quilt Challenges (C&T Publishing). You’;; want to Take the Challenge Too!


Postscript

Just for fun, and to save you time from reading through old blog posts, here is a photographic history of the Journey of this piece, in “legs” of its “creative flight”:

First Leg – It tried to become an Ohio Star Wallhanging, I wanted to experiment with traditional piecing and with recycled silks as a change from making intuitively free formed pieced art quilts:

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Ohio Star, recycled silks (in progress)

Second Leg – My friend Betty Anne agreed to adopt it and the coordinating scraps of recycled silk I had to go with the piece in progress. She disassembled sections of the stars, adding in the coordinating recycled silk I had selected for the original piece and a couple small pieces from her stash of recycled silks; and created this incredible piece: Ohio (2016)

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Ohio (2016) by Betty Anne Guadalupe. (Note you can see the some of the points from the original Ohio Star recycled into the piece!)

Third Leg – Betty Anne gave me her unused scraps of recycled silk from her Ohio piece. These were the fabrics I had originally selected. From that I made the piece below, which was not officially named:

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Fourth (and final) Leg – I took the borders off and took the miniature log cabins apart and then floated a section of my previous piecing in shocking bright fuchsia recycled silk (I believe it was recycled home decor fabric, and yes it was found at a thrift shop!):

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But is this the Fourth and Final Leg of the Journey? I did give Betty Anne a small bag of remaining recycled silk scraps. Will she make something from them someday and keep it going??!?!?!


Feature image credit: Dragan Sasic, free images.com

When all else fails, reorganize your fabric scraps

As I shared in previous posts, a month or so ago I was in the midst of a creative block. I first picked up English Paper Piecing and then revisited traditional quilt piecing to get myself creating again.

Before I got to this point however, I was trying to figure out a way, short of forcing myself to sew something, that I could “get my creative energies flowing”. On a whim I decided to reorganize my fabric scraps.

I first shared my fabric scrap organization in the 01/01/2016 post Inside the StudioMy fabric scraps were organized by individual color – Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Cream, Black/Gray/Black & White, Brown, and Yellow. Each color had its own bucket.

Reorganizing my fabric scraps I decided to group colors together that sometimes I have trouble telling apart and to make it easier to work with by having less individual buckets.

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As you can see by the photo above, the new groupings are:

  • Orange & Brown
  • Black, Gray, and Black & White
  • Red & Purple
  • Blue & Green (interestingly this was my largest group of scraps)
  • White, Cream and Yellow

While I was regrouping the scraps, I got to revisit my fabric scraps and I could feel creative energies start to percolate!

Interestingly, one of the books from my latest library stack (The Library (Mega) Stack) – Living the Creative Life by Rice Freeman-Zachary – addresses creative block. The author interviewed a group of artists for this book and their wisdom and experiences are peppered throughout this inspiring read.

One of the artists  the author interviewed, Bean Gilsdorf, an art quilter out of Portland, Oregon (www.beangildorf.com), shares the following tip for dealing with creative block:

When it starts to stress me out that I’m not doing anything in my studio, I try to make myself do something to get my hands busy again. The ideas will come back eventually…Clean out your files, rearrange your paints,  or clean everything so that when you’re ready, everything is in order. – Bean Gilsdorf

I read this book after I reorganized my scraps, but this book reinforced that I was headed in the right direction!


Postscript

I am currently listening to a wonderful nonfiction audiobook – Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. In this book the authors discuss “Gravity Problems” and how we get mired in “Gravity Problems”.

What are “gravity problems”? They are problems that are not actionable to resolve.

The authors share a great example (paraphrased):

A friend asks you what is wrong. You reply “I am having a hard time in life, I just cannot make it up hills as easily as I want to due to this thing called gravity. If I just did not have gravity in my life pulling me down, I would be fine and I could run up any hill I want”.

The authors humorously share that unless you are able to change how the earth spins on its axis and its rotation around the sun, you are not going to be able to resolve your “gravity problem”.

Now perhaps the real problem is you are not at your ideal fitness level and/or you need to improve your cardiovascular health, so you can more easily climb up a hill. That is an actionable problem.

Here is a wonderful quote from the book that I will leave you to ponder:

If it’s not actionable, it’s not a problem. It’s a situation, a circumstance, a fact of life. It may be a drag (so to speak), but, like gravity, it’s not a problem that can be solved. – Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

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That pesky thing called gravity…


Photo credit – Michael Lorenzo, free images.com

Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part II

Sharing a quick follow up to the post – Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part I in which I shared the first 8 blocks I made for a traditional block sampler, made with non traditional fabrics (a collection of fat quarters from Northcott’s Stonehenge fabric line) for a wedding gift.

Here are the next 8 blocks I have pieced – four (4) different blocks from the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool by Connie Chunn, each in two versions:

This weekend I got to play with different layouts now that I have 16 blocks completed. I tried out a traditional sampler layout with sashing and corner stones; and a layout setting the blocks “on-point. I liked the “on-point” version (diamond) instead of square next to square layout.

McCalls’ Quilting has a nice online pdf on Setting Blocks “On-Point”

I also came across this cool article on Blossom Heart Quilts web page with wonderful examples of block layouts – FINISHING A SAMPLER QUILT: USE YOUR QUILT BLOCKS

My plan is to make a queen-sized bed quilt, so I determined I need at least 4 more blocks for a total of 20- 12 inch (finished size) blocks. I tentatively plan to do a 4 by 5 block layout and borders.

Today I completed 2 additional blocks (for a total of 18) and I will post them on the next update. I am also now looking through my quilt book collection and the web for innovative “on-point” sampler quilt settings (and of course going to make the remaining 2 blocks so the blocks can be finished).

More to come but wanted to get this update out there. Happy Stitching!

 

Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part I

This is a continuation to yesterday’s post – Revisiting Traditional Piecing.

In my previous post I mentioned the first set of blocks I made with the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool by Connie Chunn (while participating in a Block-a-Month Quilt Club) were turned into a sampler quilt, Block Filmstrip, around 2008.

What I forgot to mention was that details of four (4) of the blocks in this quilt ended up in the book 1000 Quilting Inspirations by Sandra  Sider, Quarry Books (2015). It is funny that a a sampler quilt that I was not sure if I even wanted to finish around 2008 ended up as the opening series of “Quilting Inspiration” images in the book – images #0001 – 0004 of the 1000 inspirations!

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Filmstrip quilt – four images 0001-0004 are featured in the book 1000 Quilt Inspirations

1000 Quilt Inspirations

Photo Credit: Quarry Books

In addition to four (4) images from Block Filmstrip, the book also contains images from four (4) of my recycled silk art quilts that were quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe and are part of The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection.


Making Blocks

Using the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool by (2007), I have made eight (8) 12 inch blocks (finished size) using a fat quarter packet, scraps and yardage of Northcott’s Stonehenge fabric line, so far as I created a queen-sized sampler quilt to be given as a wedding gift to a young couple.

I made two (2) of four (4) different blocks from the Block Tool:

AIR CASTLE

AUNT ELIZA’S STAR

BIG DIPPER (I made 2 of the same color way)

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CHURN DASH

 


Thinking About Settings and Borders

In case you have not figure this out yet, I plan to set the blocks “on point” that is why they are all turned on point. I originally meant to photograph them in their traditional square orientation instead of this “diamond” orientation. Also I took the photos on the design wall in the hallway where the light is not the best. Life has been busy and I figure if I took time re-doing the photos then I will never get this post up, ha!

Next set of blocks, I will take better photos (smile).

In addition to wanting to set the blocks “on point” I have already started looking at different options for settings. I am currently looking through a book I recently borrowed from the library – The Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson (2016). There is a wonderful block setting option in this book called “Point Taken”. I am leaning towards that setting.

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

I am also thinking about what type of border I want and I have decided to make a pieced border. I want the quilt to be special and I think a pieced border will add a nice touch.

Looking through my collection of quilt books I came across an old book in my craft book library called The Border Workbook by Janet Kime (2006). This book has great ideas for creating lovely pieced borders.

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Photo credit:Amazon.com

More blocks to come (and better photos next time)!


Postscript

Traditional piecing seems to be what I need right now. My mind feels overloaded from my non-crafting life, especially related to my job in the healthcare industry. At the end of the workday and the end of the workweek I am feeling “all thought out” and was not inspired to create any art quilts.

Creating these blocks from patterns feels mediative, centering and peaceful. All I have to do is follow the instructions, cutting the fabric to the dimensions indicated and sew the pieces together.

I am also enjoying carefully pressing the different components of each block as I assemble them and trying to ensure the back of the block is nearly as neatly pressed as the front.

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The back of a carefully pieced block

While piecing the first couple of blocks I listened to a wonderful and engaging audiobook read by the actor Peter Coyote – The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz (1997).

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

The Four Agreements are as follows:

  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best

These seem logical and on the surface very simple. What makes the audiobook so engaging is the author’s discussion and exploration of each of The Four Agreements. Powerful and centering stuff to listen to and ponder while peacefully piecing my blocks!

Revisiting Traditional Piecing

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s page Schnauzer Snips for her latest musings and recent experience with the “ongoing herd”!


Creative Roadblock Stops with Returning to Traditional Piecing

A couple weeks ago I discussed an art quilt I was working on as part of the recycled materials “Make Do” challenge (Sherri Lynn Wood, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters) in the post What’s on the Design Wall.

Well I gave up on that piece for now, bundled it up and put it away for now. I was feeling burned out on creating improvisational quilts.

Around this same time I went over my friend Susan’s house who was working on the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2017 raffle quilt which has some lovely traditional block piecing in it. I found the piecing so pleasing.

I also thought about a blog I follow, Texas Quilting, in which the talented blogger does a lot of traditional block piecing including an incredible sampler she is working on.

Finally, as if the universe was telling me to take a break from improvisational quilting and return to traditional piecing for a while, I was invited to attend a trunk show and talk by Jen Kingwell, Australian quilt designer. She used traditional blocks and piecing in innovative and colorful ways – and she uses lots and lots of scraps in her work. If you would like to see highlights of her talk you can check out the post on the Woolie Mammoth blog – Jen Kingwell Australian Quilt Designer.

Here is the one bad photo I took of one of Jen Kingwell’s awesome quilts from her trunk show (look at the sweet little traditional “Churn Dash” blocks in her quilt, she uses a lot of traditional pieced and appliqué blocks in unique colors and combinations in her work):

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To see more of her beautiful work, I recommend checking out the Woolie Mammoth post mentioned above or check out Jen Kingwell Designs website – Amitié Textiles; or her Facebook page Jen Kingwell Designs.

I realized I need to starting working on quilt to be a Wedding gift and wouldn’t a traditional block sampler be a timeless gift? I checked with the bride to be and found out she liked earth tones and then I found a beautiful collection of Northcott’s Stonehenge fabric line.

Now what pattern to use? Should I pull out the old quilting books filled with traditional designs? After pouring over patterns in 10 – 15 books as well as patterns I had clipped from magazines, etc. I came across my old Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool by Connie Chunn (2007).

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

I first learned of this tool around 2007. I had recently moved to Central Oregon and joined the Block-a-Month Quilt Club at the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop in Sisters, OR. The goal was to make a block a month from one of the patterns in this tool and then create a sampler quilt from the blocks.

Here is are sections of the quilt I made from those traditional blocks in the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool:

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Block Filmstrip (2008?) – pieced and quilted by Tierney Davis Hogan

After making this quilt I shoved away this block tool/block pattern collection. Now, 8 – 9 years later, this tool would be my solution to my creative block! I would make traditional blocks selected from the 160 rotary-cut block patterns in this tool!


Getting Started on My Traditional Piecing Project

Here is my Block Tool and the fabrics I will be using.  I only had a little of the blue you see on the right and I later decided to remove it and make the palette oranges, rusts, browns, greens, and creams. I only had one small strip of the blue in the Stonehenge line and although it would had many an interesting accent, I would need to purchase more to make it work and I am trying to work with what I have in my stash.

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I also think the blue was too dark, if it had been a lighter blue that would have worked even better.

As of today, I have made 8 blocks and next post I will share my progress so far!