Continuing my series of posts about the annual May quilting retreat I attended with my Quilting Sisters in Vancouver, WA May 17 – 20. To read my previous posts about quilting retreats I’ve attended, see my post category – Retreats.
Pulling Out the Old UFOs
For this May’s annual quilting retreat I pulled out some old unfinished objects/projects (UFOs) or as my blogging buddy Shirley @ handmadehabit calls them – “STRANDED” projects.
Continuing my latest binge of nonfiction self improvement audiobooks, I am currently listening to Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happinessby Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein.
In this book the authors discuss the concept of a “Planning Fallacy” in their section on “cognitive bias”.
Wikipedia defines a planning fallacy as “a phenomenon in which predictions about how much time will be needed to complete a future task display an optimism bias and underestimate the time needed.”
Using 2.5″ x 2.5″ scrap squares, I made an endless batch of half-square triangles (HSTs) to create a pillow top based on a pattern from the book Pillow Pop: 25 Quick-Sew Projects to Brighten Your Space by Heather Bostic.
I assembled the HSTs into this layout:
I thought I could sew all the half-square triangles together in an afternoon, no problem. Not just one pillow, I thought I might get a second pillow top done too (as I had a zillion HSTs).
However, as I began to sew them together, the pillow top started to significantly shrink and I had to add on more and more rows of HSTs to make the pillow top large enough for my intended pillow form:
This photo illustrates the difference of how wide I thought the pillow top would be compared to reality:
How my planning fallacy occurred: Based on the original pattern I thought I only needed 50 HSTs per pillow and I had nearly 200 HSTs – so I thought I could make FOUR pillow tops! However I discovered I needed like 196 HSTs for just ONE pillow and I spent most of the time I planned for sewing the HSTs together, to add on MANY more HSTs to make the pillow top wide enough.
What happened during my original planning? Well I never paid attention to the size of the original squares to create the HSTs in the original pattern (much larger than the squares I used, and if I was motivated I would get up from the sofa, find the book and give you the actual dimensions…).
As you can see from the photo above, I have half the pillow top pieced and I cannot believe how long it took me to just get half a pillow sewn together!
I will only be making ONE of these pillows. Next time I work with HSTs and a pattern, I will pay more attention and do better planning!
On a more pleasant note, my lilac bush/tree is full bloom and my backyard smells wonderful!
During an intense Spring weeding session in my backyard this weekend, I paused for a “lilac break” and stood in front of the lilac bush and inhaled the incredible fragrance.
The scent of lilacs reminds me of being in my grandmother’s backyard in Pennsylvania as a young child. Lilacs smell like sweet childhood memories.
Bear with me as I tie “Pillow Popping with the Untethered Soul” together!
Pillow Popping (What’s on the Design Wall)
I am working on my next art quilt for a future Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) exhibit but I cannot share photos on social media at this time. Unfortunately I am stalled in the progression of the piece but I want to keep myself sewing so I’ve decided to make a pillow with my collection of scraps 2.5″ x 2.5″ fabric squares.
I made a zillion (it actually seemed like a “zillion”) half-square triangles (HSTs) and Terry the Quilting Husband was nice enough to cut them apart, press and trim them (now that is true love!).
I pulled out this book from my craft book collection: Pillow Pop: 25 Quick-Sew Projects to Brighten Your Space by Heather Bostic and began laying out the pillow design per one of the patterns – Crystallized(on page 82 if you have the book).
This display made me want to eventually make all the pillows in the book!
Here it is on my small design wall (the larger design wall in the hallway has the art quilt in progress I mentioned earlier):
The beauty of a truly “scrappy” piece is you can have all sort of crazy fabrics together and somehow it works (at least in my deluded mind)!
The Untethered Soul (Audiobooks)
I’ve been listening to a wonderful audiobook I borrowed from the library, The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations by Oprah Winfrey. The audiobook is read by the author and features curated sections of the actual interviews with inspirational thought leaders from Oprah’s TV series Super Soul Sunday.
I listened to this book while I laid out the pieced half-square triangles for the Crystallized pillow patter and it was very meditative.
To lay out this specific pattern where you get the effect of concentric diamonds of light and dark, I really had to quiet my mind and focus. Listening to this book was the perfect medium to do just that.
In the middle of my pillow-piecing-meditation, Oprah’s interview with Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, played.
I’ve read this book twice a couple years ago and I’ve listened to the audiobook. I’ve also given it as a gift. I was surprised to learn that it is one of Oprah’s favorite books and that she has also given as a gift (to many more people than I have).
I would say it is one of those MUST READS, especially if you are on a path of self-insight and growth with how you interact with the world.
It was amazing to listen to the author Michael Singer discuss the book with Oprah as I continued my pillow-piecing-meditation.
I will close out this post with a couple quotes from this amazing book by Michael Singer:
“You have to understand that it is your attempt to get special experiences from life that makes you miss the actual experience of life.”
“The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality.”
“Your inner growth is completely dependent upon the realization that the only way to find peace and contentment is to stop thinking about yourself.”
“Billions of things are going on in this world. You can think about it all you want, but life is still going to keep on happening.”
“Do not let anything that happens in life be important enough that you’re willing to close your heart over it.”
“It is truly a great cosmic paradox that one of the best teachers in all of life turns out to be death. No person or situation could ever teach you as much as death has to teach you. While someone could tell you that you are not your body, death shows you. While someone could remind you of the insignificance of the things that you cling to, death takes them all away in a second. While people can teach you that men and women of all races are equal and that there is no difference between the rich and the poor, death instantly makes us all the same.”
“That which is holding you down can become a powerful force that raises you up.”
In late October 2017 I completed a quilt from recycled materials (denim, home decor, clothings, etc.) called Additional Conversations. My original plan was to hand quilt the piece, then my plan was to machine quilt the piece, and then growing inpatient and nervous on quilting a 59″ x 55″ denim quilt I turned it over the the long-arm quilter for “quilting by check”.
Well here is the completed quilt, I finished it with facing rather than binding:
I’ve hung it my living/dining room area along with the other quilts that fill my living/dining room area:
I appreciate the work by the long-arm quilter and I’ve decided that I am going to be more fearless in the future and quilt all my own art quilts from this point forward.
I had a specific vision for the finished quilt and I feel I could have realized it if I had quilted it myself. It is difficult to direct someone else to quilt a quilt in your vision as each person brings their own eye and perspective to a project when it is collaborative.
This experience has encouraged me to take more risks in the future and believe more in my abilities (and give myself the opportunity to learn and grow in those abilities)!
I finished the piece made from recycled textiles (clothing, home decor, manufacturing samples, hand-dyed silk samples, etc.) for our local art group’s annual show with the theme “The Threads that Bind” – The Recycled Love. The 03/29/18 post provides details of the 8 types of recycled fibers that are contained in the piece and my musing on writing the Artist Statement for this piece.
Here is my finalized Artist Statement for the piece:
The first law of thermodynamics states that the total amount of energy in a system cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. A quilt is made from changing the existing “love energy” from the quilt maker’s heart into a pieced textile; ultimately recycling that love energy into the quilt’s recipient heart
I think this piece is a better option than those materials ending up in a landfill.
This post is actually part of my ongoing series of posts, What’son the Design Wall, in which I share my latest project in progress.
Since I’ve been primarily focused on hand quilting this piece, I will call this “What’s on My Lap” instead.
In addition to sharing my latest art quilting project, I want to continue the discussion on writing Artist Statements that I began in the 8/25/16 post, ArtistStatementsand continued in the 04/17/17 post Artist Statements, Part II.
What’s On My Lap
Our local art quilting group, Central Oregon SAQA, has an annual themed art quilting exhibit (with a measurement requirement of 18″ x 40″) at the Sisters Outdoor QuiltShow, as well at several venues in Central Oregon.
This year’s theme is “The Threads That Bind“.
In response to that theme, and keeping with my series of art quilts made from recycled jeans (and other materials) I have a piece in progress called Recycled Love.
Keep in mind this piece is in progress and I have not yet evenly trimmed the sides (why it looks “wonky”), finished the hand quilting, or added the facing (or binding), etc. (I trimmed off the excess batting as I had finished hand quilting all edges/borders and wanted it to look semi-neat for the photo.)
I am still trying to decide if I will do a “facing” finish like I did for my piece The Recycled Road (the Central Oregon SAQA annual theme was “Pathways”) or bind it like I did for my piece Recycled Door (the Central Oregon SAQA annual theme was “Doors”). You can view these two pieces I reference at this link – tierneycreates.com/2017/04/11/the-recycled-road/)
But first I need to complete hand stitching the rest of the heart and the “folded quilts” in the piece.
Here are additional photos from the photo shoot I did in my backyard this afternoon:
In addition to recycled denim jeans, this piece is made from a whole lot of recycled textiles including:
Recycled upholstery fabric samples
Recycled couture silks
Various bits of recycled clothing
Recycled sample book of hand dyed silk strips
Recycled blocks (made with recycled clothing) from my piece Recycled Windows)
Recycled section from another art quilt (Color Story VII: Ohio Shifted) that I had trimmed while making the original piece
Like I mentioned above – a whole lot of recycled textiles went into this piece!
As an example, in the photos below are the bag of hand-dyed silk samples a friend gave me; and me piecing them together on muslin to create the first “folded quilt” at the top of the stack:
The “heart” in the piece (representing “love” in the statement: “Quilts are Love”) is made from the scraps of the “folded quilts” I pieced for this quilt! I am still working on the hand quilting in the heart.
The back of the piece is also made from recycled textiles: I used an old shirt and upholstery fabric samples (I will share the back in a future post as I forgot to take a photo – oops).
I even used recycled batting in the “quilt sandwich”! Below is a photo of me zigzagging together two smaller pieces of recycled batting (that my long-arm quilter friend gave me) to create a large piece for the quilt:
Did I carry the whole “recycling” concept too far?!?!? (smile)
Next time I share photos of the piece they will be of the completed piece!
In a recent issue of the SAQA Journal(2017, No. 4) I came across an excellent article by Allison Reker titled “Craft an amazing artist statement in less than 60 words”.
The article’s author emphasizes brevity in Artist Statements and her tips to achieve such brevity make a lot of sense to me. So my new thing is challenging myself on how meaningful a statement I can make in under 60 words.
Also I think brevity leaves more room for the viewers interpretation. I want to assist the viewer to get a feel of where I am going to (or coming from) on a piece but still give them room to draw their own conclusions/have their own private experience with the piece.
So with that in mind, here’s the draft Artist Statement I’ve written for this piece.
Recycled Love (2018)
18″ x 40″, recycled clothing, upholstery samples, hand-dyed silk samples, and other recycled textiles
The first law of thermodynamics states that the total amount of energy in a system cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. Quilts are made from recycling the existing “love energy” from the quilt maker’s heart and hands into the pieced textiles, transferring it to the quilt recipient.
I am at 58 words (just keeping it under 60) and I plan to revisit this draft Artist Statement when I actually finish the piece. I want to play more with the concept of energy not being create or destroyed, just transferred/changed. Also I am trying to decide if I want to fit in the words in the theme “The Threads That Bind” into the Artist Statement somewhere.
Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) is ready to make another quilt and this time he wants to make a quilt for our bed – and we have a king-size bed.
He has an ambitious plan, after raiding my stash of homespun fabrics (brushed cotton fabrics woven in a primitive home style weave, usually in plaids) for a very large quilt!
He discovered this book, Slash Your Stash Quilts, while I was thinning out my quilt booklets in November. I had this one slated for donation but he wanted to keep it and make the Twinklers pattern with homespuns in my stash (he was actually trying to slash my stash!).
We reviewed the original pattern he chose in depth which led to him changing his mind. He is going to make another pattern in the book that does not have all those “points”:
I helped him cut 225 6.5″ x 6.5″ squares and he has sorted them into 25 nine patch sets:
Here he is playing (spinning) with some designs with the pile-o-homespuns on the large design wall in the hallway:
And they now are waiting by his sewing machine for him to start sewing…
Update 01/14/18 – this piece is now named “Recycled Windows” and the Artist Statement and photos are posted on the Improvisational Textiles website on the Tierney Davis Hoganpage. It was added to the Recycled Denim Stories series.
This post is a follow up to my December 10th post What’son the Design Wall where I shared my piece Recycled Windows of Conversation in progress.
I completed the machine quilting this art quilt made from all recycled materials (clothing, home decor, see previous post for more details). I took several quick photos for his post and later on plan to take higher quality photos:
Here is a close up of the machine quilting. I used three different threads: orange, blue and variegated gold.
Recently we lost Terry the Quilting Husband’s (TTQH) mom, our beloved Mom Hogan. She was my very beloved mother-in-law for many years and I fell in love with her as an awesome mother figure back when I was first dating TTQH a zillion years ago!
When my mother died while I was in my 20s, she said “Well now I will be your Mom now” (I know that sounds slightly strange as that would make TTQH and I siblings, but you understand the sentiment behind her statement I am sure!)
She was also a quilter, as are TTQH’s incredible two sisters.
I was so pleased when TTQH began quilting a couple of years ago, and one of the first quilts he made he sent to his Mom as a surprise gift. It was pretty awesome to know she was snuggled up in one of his quilts during the cold Upstate NY winter.
She passed at 98 and had a full and wonderful life filled with 7 loving children, grandchildren and a great grandchild. However she will be so greatly missed. I may take a break from blogging on and off as I deal with my personal grief and of course support TTQH is his grief.
This post is a continuation of my ongoing series “What’son the Design Wall”, featuring my latest project up on either the small design wall in my studio or the large design wall my hallway.
I am working on my fourth improvisational piece from a group of recycled clothing and home decor titled: RecycledWindows of Conversation. This piece will become part of my improvisational art quilt series: Recycled DenimStories.
Here is Recycled Windows of Conversation in progress on my small design wall in my studio:
This art quilt will measure approximately 18″ x 40″, the same size as these two other quilts in the Recycled Denim Stories series, The Recycled Road and Recycled Door:
You might ask why did I name the piece in progress, Recycled Windows of Conversation?
The “Recycled” part of the name is to tie it to the two other 18″ x 40″ pieces from the same recycled materials shown above; and the “Conversations” part of the name is to tie to Additional Conversations, a piece I recently finished the quilt top (but have not quilted yet):
Recycled Windows of Conversation is made from the leftover blocks (and additional blocks) from Additional Conversations (which is still laying on my larger hallway design wall awaiting quilting).
In case you are new to my blog and have not followed the development of these previous art quilts, here’s a list of the recycled materials used in these pieces:
Curtain (valence scarf)
Old sweat pants
Gold home decorating fabric scraps (given to me by an interior decorator from her sample collection)
The world’s ugliest orange corduroy pants
Denim duvet cover (used in Additional Conversations only)
I plan to quilt Recycled Windows of Conversation by machine and I have selected my thread colors – gold, blue and orange:
Here is the piecing hanging out on the iron board, awaiting quilting:
In case you are wondering, I have only a tiny pile of scraps left over from these four quilts. I might challenge myself and try to eek out a small piece to make it five total.
I continue to work on having a cohesive body of work when it comes to my delusional journey towards becoming an art quilter!
A quilting friend recently remodeled her studio area in her vintage home (circa early 1900s) and asked for help organizing her fabric in the reconfigured back room (that used to be where meat was stored in the early 1900s.
Here is a photo of an alcove with newly added shelves that I found especially pleasing during my time over her house yesterday helping her organize fabric:
Her fabric used to be crammed into a dark back storage room – now it is easier to access!
Saturday November 11th was the annual PJ Sale at the Stitchin’ Postin Sisters, Oregon. Each year I attend with quilting friends and last year I started bring Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) to the sale (as a bonus he drives there in the cold, dark and sometimes snowy weather as the sale starts early).
Each of our wonderful quilt shops in Central Oregon has their own special focus when it comes to fabric collection. The Stitchin’ Post has the best selection of unique art quilter focused fabrics in the region. It also carries fabrics that would appeal to traditional quilters.
During the Pajama Sale, if you get there before 8:30 am (doors open at 6:30 am) AND you are in your PJs, you get 35% off nearly everything in the store!
I did not buy that much – a couple books and notions. My favorite part of the PJ Sale is hanging out with fellow quilters all in our PJs wandering around a quilt shop and then going out to breakfast afterwards – in our PJs! It is like the morning after a huge sleepover, ha!
I figured no one wanted to be on my blog photographed in their PJs so the photos below give you a feel but do not have any faces:
One lady had an over the top robe from the 1970s. I asked her if I could take a photo and suggested she turn around unless she wanted to have herself in her robe featured on my blog, ha!
We went to the Gallery Restaurant in Sisters for breakfast after an hour wandering around the sale. It very quite fun with a group of us gathered around a large table in a restaurant, all in our PJs (except for my friend’s 96 year old Dad who lives in town and another husband who joined us in their regular clothes).
One of my friends had a spectacular set of PJs with the words “Queen Bee” all over them:
I wore my traditional schnauzer themed PJs (they are actually Scotties in gray and black and I pretend like the gray ones are schnauzers).
It measures 16.5″ x 44″ which seems to fall into a fairly standard table runner length.
I’ve not decided if I am going to quilt the other four (4) table runner tops I made or stick them away for now (oh no they will become “UFOs”!!!). I do not think I will re-open the tierneycreates Etsy shop at this time. I’ve had some recent art quilting related exciting news, that I will share at a later date, that makes me want to focus on my efforts on building my art quilt portfolio rather than trying to make stuff to sell on an Etsy shop.
There are only so many hours in the day!
In my previous post, AGood Mess, I shared some statistics from a recent national survey (The Quilting in America 2017 survey) on how much money the average quilter spends a year on quilting related supplies and activities. The two numbers were $442 and $500 per year depending on how “dedicated” the quilter is.
I really enjoyed the comments some of you made on these figures; and wanted to share how I nearly FAR EXCEEDED this number during the Stitchin’ Post’s Pajama Sale on Saturday!
There was glitch in their cash register and my total came to $730,000! The Stitchin’s Post staff behind the register, a couple other customers and I had a huge laugh over this! I asked if my purchase also came with a new luxury home, a car, and an outfitted sewing studio with a stocked fabric closet?
They re-rang my purchase and with my 35% off discount (we arrived at 6:50 am and I was in my PJs) my purchase came to $73 instead of $730,000.
This post is a continuation of my ongoing series “What’s on the Design Wall”, featuring my latest project up on either the small design wall in my studio or the large design wall my hallway.
I spent this weekend working on a new improvisational art quilt made with recycle clothing and recycled home decor fabric – Additional Conversations.
On Instagram I shared a couple previews/peeks over the past week, like the example below:
Well here are several initial images of the completed quilt top:
Better photos to come – I was challenged with taking photos of my large design wall, at an angle, in our narrow hallway. Note: My enthusiasm to get the finally sewn together quilt top up on the design wall exceeded my enthusiasm to do a quality job of final pressing on the ironing board.
I am thinking of hand quilting this piece like I did The Recycled Road (made from many of the same fabrics).
Now what to do with the left over scraps from the piece – perhaps a smaller companion piece called “Additional Small Conversations“!
Additional Conversations is the fourth piece in my series Recycled Denim Stories(see my TierneyDavis Hogan page on the Improvisational Textiles website).
This post is actually a continuation of my ongoing series “What’s on theDesign Wall”, featuring my latest project up on either the small design wall in my studio or the large design wall my hallway. It is also a follow up to my post Can We Talk About Table Runners? on the table runners I am working on.
I had the five (5), yes five (5) table runner tops that I finished on the large design wall in my hallways but I yesterday evening I started a new art quilt and took them down. Now they are all sitting on the ironing board waiting to be completed:
They all began as yardage of my collection of Ombre fabrics and my stash of pieced strips from brightly colored fabric scraps:
I have decided to quilt each one of them.
In the previous post on these table runners I discussed my challenge of how long to make them and several of you weighed in with ideas on both length and width.
The unfinished group of five table runner tops measure anyway from 17 – 19″ wide and 44″ – 53″ long. The dimensions will decrease after I quilt them and trimmed them down a bit to straighten their lines. So I think I will end up with table runners from 16″ x 42″ to 18″ x 52″ or something like that.
I just flowed with whatever length the design took me as I progressed!
I will reveal the runners in all their glory in a future post once I get some quilted!
The Natural Selection Convention
Whether you believe in Evolution, Intelligent Design, Creationism, or something else, you have likely heard the term coined by Charles Darwin – “Natural Selection”.
Dictionary.com defines it as “The process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring”.
Well last week I came across on my walk what I might call a Bird Natural Selection Convention!
First I noticed at the corner of an alley I turned into on my walk, an adorable cat sitting on a fence. Well that cat wasn’t just sitting on the fence, he was curled around a set of bird feeders!
I stopped a greeted the cat who let me take his photo (I actually took like 10 different photos to get the right shot and the kitty just stared at me while I did it). Then I completed turning the corner and here is what I found two feet from the “bird-feeder-cat” – another kitty just hanging out on the same fence:
And then, one more foot down the fence, another kitty:
This is why I am calling this a Bird Natural Selection Convention – any bird that attempts to use the bird feeder will most likely not be having any more offspring!!!
I laughed so hard at the trio of kitties waiting for very hungry and not too bright birds!
What the Heck is This?!?!?!
Have you ever been to Costco? It is a magical place I try to stay away from (see my post BreakUp Letter to My Warehouse Club). However there was something we really needed at Costco (what Tierney, an 180 count jar of olives, triple pack?) and so we went.
While strolling the aisles (okay even if you go there for just one thing, it is mandatory that while you are in Costco you stroll the aisles), Terry and I came across this:
It looked like someone had skinned a schnauzer! We do not know if it was synthetic or some poor animal but it was a very unusual pillow. It was quite soft to the touch (you could pet it for hours) but then that added to sort of a creepy feeling I got from it.
Also – how the heck would you wash it if you got a stain on it? We had quite the laugh over it (like we did in September when they had the Christmas decorations already out in Costco) but we somehow controlled ourselves and did not buy it.
(Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer would have been quite distressed if she thought we were bringing home a skinned schnauzer pillow!)
However, I was not feeling inspired to keep building the improvisational Medallion Quilt, even after I pulled out my copy of Gwen Marston’s book Liberated Medallion Quilts. (This book is about breaking the rules and making improvisational medallion quilts instead of traditional accurately pieced medallion quilts.)
I even found among my scraps a wonderful collection of coordinating fabrics. Still, I was not feeling inspired to make it into a quilt. I did however want to make it into something and to be done with this project, so I made it into a pillow for my sunroom:
This pillow joins my collection of handmade items on secondhand love-seat in my sunroom that my neighbor gave me. The love-seat is plaid and not really my style, so I covered it with homemade and other second hand items.
I am not giving up on my plan to make a medallion quilt someday! I tucked away some ideas from working on this piece.
So what is next? Well I have become obsessed with making little wallets using my collection of fabric scraps:
I am not sure what I am going to do with all the little wallets, but I am having fun playing in my different boxes of fabric scraps organized by color and finding pieces that working with the templates for the little wallets:
Here is a bag of turquoise and teal fabric scraps I cannot wait to play with next once I finish playing with orange and brown scraps:
I will share in a future post all the little wallets in fun color combinations I made from scraps!
So I moved it to the side of my house which was completely in shadow and got a better photo:
I decided not to put a border on it because I plan to put it into the rotation of quilts I rotate through my living room. A border would make it too large for the space I want to hang it. It coordinates well with the colors in my living room!
So I am working on piecing a backing together with various 1 -2 yard pieces of browns I have (trying to use my stash) and then send it to a long-arm quilter. I will likely bind it in the Stonehenge fabric I was going to use for the border.
I guess I need to work on the Medallion quilt in the photo below next as I have completed #1, #2, and #4!
Around this time last year I was posting about the sunflowers in my garden. Well they did not return this year and I did not plant sunflower seeds – so I am sunflowerless!
Luckily my neighbors on the corner have several raised bed boxes of sunflowers in their front yard for me to enjoy:
I will be more diligent next Spring on planting sunflower seeds!
Yesterday I worked to turn the “hot mess” and former unfinished object (UFO) into something resembling a quilt top. I’ve named the quilt “Cozy Cobblestones” as the fabric is the Northcott Stonehenge Cobblestones line.
I promised better photos, however I was unable to keep my promise. Still struggling with the narrowness of my hallway, I had to take entire layout photos at an angle. Alas, this is one of the “cons” of having a design wall in a narrow hallway!
Here is one “head on” photo taken by smooshing myself against the opposite wall:
You are probably wincing at the lighting on the photos. Once I sew the blocks together, I am going to take the quilt outside for a proper photo!
I am likely going to “float” the quilt top in additional Stonehenge fabric (I think I have enough yardage to put a “float” border around it). Here is the fabric I might use (it is my only choice unless I go out and try to find some more):
Next to a section of the blocks layout:
I might use the same fabric for the binding too as I am trying to use what I have in my stash. A contrasting binding might be nice but I would have to purchase it new (and I am taking a hiatus from buying fabric right now).
Speaking of my “stash”, I put the scraps and the two remaining fat quarters that I did not use up, in a future “Challenge Bag” (see post Basketof Challenges):
Inside the scrap bag you will see the blue scraps that I loved (from another Stonehenge line that a quilting friend donated) but could not work into the piece. We’ll see what I make in the future with this small bag of scraps.
The remaining scraps are fairly small as I worked hard to harvest any piece I could turn into a 2.5″ x 2.5″ block:
Quilters reading this may wince, but I did not have enough length of any of the scraps from piecing the original 12″ blocks to make the 6′ nine-patch blocks using the quick “strip-piecing” method. Instead I had to cut out individual 2.5″ x 2.5″ pieces and sew them together to make 42 6-inch nine-patch blocks! I did “chain-piece” the heck out the pieces after a while became a nine-patch block factory!
It was definitely an old school traditional piecing!
I am feeling pleased with my progress on the “UFOs” in this photo, this quilt top is the #4 in the photo below:
Once I get it all sewn together, I guess I need to work on the only remaining “UFO” – #3 (Medallion quilt) – but I am not feeling inspiration on that one yet!
In addition to a push to complete my unfinished projects, I’ve recently experimented with a couple paper-crafting/card making projects in the paper-crafting/beading area I set up in my sunroom:
Here are the two cards I made:
I am not sure if the recipients of these cards actually liked them, but I had fun making them. I listened to a classical radio station on my new(ish) thrift shop radio and found card making very meditative.
Card making was actually my first official crafting hobby that I did with others.
My friend Michele got me started in the late 1990s. I think it opened my mind to starting quilting, which I learned shortly after. I still have many of my card making supplies from the late 1990s and early 2000s. I donated about 1/2 of those supplies to charity organizations but I still have some wonderful supplies to make more handmade cards (whether people want them or not – ha!)
On the large design wall in my hallway is something that resembles a “hot mess“.
This “hot mess” actually represents quite a bit of progress. I struggled with what to do with the 20 blocks I made during a “traditional piecing” binge I went on October to November 2016 and discussed in the following series of posts:
Prior to working these blocks, it seems like the last couple of years I was primarily focused on improvisational quilting. I was craving structure (and a break from designing my own quilts) and pulled out my old Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool by Connie Chunn (2007) and started making blocks using a jelly roll I found in my stash of Northcott Cobblestone Stonehenge; and some Stonehenge scraps another quilter gave me.
Unfortunately, I did not have enough of the blue Stonehenge scraps to use them in more than just one block so I had to return those to the fabric scrap basket.
(Now I could have titled this post “Revisiting Traditional Piecing…Part IV” but this binge of working on “traditional pieced blocks” has intermittently continued while I sporadically work on Farm Girl Vintageblocks.)
The dilemma – designing the final quilt layout
The reason why the 20 blocks pictured below got put aside after my “piecing binge” was that I could not find a pleasing way to lay them out. I auditioned many different ways of setting the blocks to include traditional ways such as lattice, putting them on pointing, floating them, and various ideas suggested by my readers (much appreciated!)
(Martha and met through this quilt: She bought the green ombre setting fabric for this exquisite sampler quilt through my tierneycreates Etsy shop…glad I met her before I closed the shop!)
Alas, none of the numerous options I explored appealed to me.
Farm Girl Vintage Strikes!
My next venture into traditional-block-piecing-binging was with Lori Holt’s Farm Girl Vintage. In this book I discovered the perfect setting for my blocks! It is called the “Picnic Setting”
For copyright reasons I did not want to photograph the page in Farm Girl Vintage showing the setting, but I did find this photo on Pinterest, pinned by Deborah Thomas, of a quilt in the Picnic Setting:
The setting is a mixture of 12″ (finished) and 6″ (finished) blocks. The 6″ blocks are the setting for the 12″ blocks!
At first I thought of returning to the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool and creating a bunch of different 6 inch pieced blocks. Thinking through this idea, I realized the quilt top would NEVER get done if headed down this path. How daunting to make 36 different 6″ blocks to set my 12″ blocks! I needed at least 36 of them to make the block setting work, and it would be 2020 before I posted about this quilt in progress again!.
Nine-Patch, an old stand-by
Finally I settled on making “old school” 6″ (finished) nine-patch blocks using up the scraps from the original jelly roll from piecing the 12″ blocks.
Here is the beginning of playing with the layout as I make the nine-patch blocks:
There will not be a lot of contrast, and that is intentional. I want the quilt top to have the feel of looking at a stone floor and the patterns and the colors of the stones flowing into one another.
More to come as I progress on the quilt top (perhaps even better photos, but do not get your hopes up!)
Decorating with Pillows
A quick follow up to my previous post – PetitePillow Power!– here is a little vignette in my living room with one of the new pillow, a batik basket I made (the top one), a lidded store bought basket, and a Longaberger basket someone gave me as a gift 20 years ago:
Quilting Meets Couture
In case you’d like to learn more about the project that got me started on my art quilting journey, check out this post on the collaborative website I have with Betty Anne Guadalupe, Improvisational Textiles:
I actually finished (quilted, binding done and hung on the wall) the wallhanging I started in an appliqué class in May 2016, inspired by Lao Tzu’s quote:
“NATURE DOES NOT HURRY, YET EVERYTHING IS ACCOMPLISHED.” ~LAO TZU
I am not sure what came over me, as I really was going to continue following Nature’s example and not hurry – ha! I figured in another year or so I would get it finished. Instead I finished it under a week.
A couple of days ago I snapped this photo in my studio. I was laughing to myself at how many projects I had in progress, at the same time, in the same area.
I assigned numbers and below is a link to the most recent blog posts on each ongoing project. I am on a push to complete open projects!
At first I was only going to stitch the Lao Tzu quote going around the tree. However the right side did not seem balanced, with the left side having the acorn. Also I thought at first glance it might not be apparent what the odd thing on the left was (my loose interpretation of an acorn), so I decided to risk becoming “Captain Obvious” and stated that “The tiny acorn becomes the mighty oak tree”.
I am not going to win any “stitching words on quilts” awards, but I really enjoyed slow stitching the backstitching of the words on the piece and learned a lot as I progressed. I wimped out at the end and did not do the letter “i”s french knot top dots (or whatever the official word is for the dot/period on the top of the letter “i”), but maybe next time.
You may be curious about my fabric choices but let’s just say the whole piece is “multicultural”:
The saying/quote is from an ancient Chinese philosopher.
The piece was inspired by an African Bible Verses quilt and the original fabric for the acorn and the tree were from the teacher’s stash of African themed fabrics.
The border fabric is an Aboriginal style print.
Here is the fabric I have planned for the binding – it reminded me of a tree branch:
I plan to do a combination of machine and hand quilting on the piece, so by 2018 I should have it done (smile).
But then I am only following Nature’s example…and eventually the piece will be accomplished!
My blogging buddy Melanie at Catbird Studios, asked her readers in a recent post how they choose their next quilting project to work on. I responded that for me it is random, which is usually true, however I realize that lately I appear to be focused on working on unfinished projects (which is a very good thing) instead of starting something new when it catches my attention.
I am also influenced by this page I tore from a Keepsake Quilting catalog for a medallion style Block of the Month (BOM) sampler. The only problem is that monthly participation in this BOM is $42.99 plus shipping! As lovely as this quilt is that would not be in my budget, so I just added the image to my magnet inspiration board on my studio closet door:
Rummaging Through the “Challenge Bags”
For the 4th of July, we were “bunkered” in our house with loud movies or music playing in the background, all the windows shut and the air conditioner (actually we have 2 evaporative or “swamp” coolers) to try to keep our extremely fireworks terrified dogs calm. Each year we plan to get from the vet some anti-anxiety medications for them but we forget, so instead we distract them with other sounds. This works most of 4th while neighborhood kids are playing with their fireworks. It only stops working in the evening when there is a VERY LOUD fireworks display at local attraction near our house.
Since I was “bunkering” on the 4th, I decided to spend some time in my studio looking through my collection of “Challenge Bags” (see post Basket of Challenges). Inside one of the bags I found an old felt and tweed Schoolhouse block pillow top I had purchased 14 years ago for $1 in a clearance sale at the back of a quilt shop. Tucked in with the Schoolhouse block were several strips of “Pyramid” borders that my friend Betty Anne gave me either from an old project of hers, or an old project of another quilter.
With Medallion Quilts floating around in the back of my mind, I started playing with the pieces on the design wall:
I had just enough of the Pyramid pieced strips to border the Schoolhouse block twice on each side and ended up with the beginning of a scrappy improvisational medallion quilt!
My very first Medallion Quilt in progress. I plan to make it using only fabric scraps and recycled pieced items from my challenge bags. I am going to read through Melanie at Catbird Studio’s lessons on for making Medallion quilts as inspiration and then let myself get all improvisational once I understand any helpful concepts.
What Comes Next?
I pulled from my “Basket of Challenges” (my stash of challenge bags) a bag of scrap squares and a bag of scrap triangles. I am going to just keep this piece up on my design wall and slowly add to it as I am inspired.
Before I get to the update on my quilt, Happy Ending, I wanted to recommend a blog if you are an antique sewing machine aficionado: Vintage Sewing Machines.
Elena, a couture tailor, shares photos and stories about her incredible vintage sewing machine collection; and a lot of educational information about the workings of sewing machines. Reading her blog I have gained a huge appreciation for the beauty and mystery of vintage sewing machines!
In my post A Happy Ending for “Happy Ending”, I shared that I received my Happy Ending quilt in the mail from the long-arm quilter, Cindy Anderson, of A Quilter’s Corner with Cindy Anderson (inastitchquilting.com), and it was time to put on the binding and finish up the quilt.
Slogging through the binding
How do you feel about binding a quilt? I am torn. On one hand, it is exciting because the quilt is nearly done; and I enjoy snuggling under the quilt as I sew down the binding. On the other hand, I find it tedious and irritating and want it to be quickly done.
My desire to have my binding quickly done was evidenced in my early quilts which had sloppily sewn binding. If these quilts were still in my possession, over the years I have either replaced the binding completely or unstitched the hand sewing on the binding and restitched the bindings.
It seems like there are so many steps to binding a quilt:
Creating the binding
Sewing the binding strips to the quilt
Selecting the thread to hand stitch the binding down
Stitching the binding down
After stitching enough 2.5 ” strips together to encompass the entire perimeter of the quilt, it all begins with sewing down the binding:
Here is the quilt with the binding sewn onto it, waiting to be hand stitched down (now comes the opportunity for major procrastination to set in):
The thread I selected for hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt (I usually select a lighter thread that will blend):
Finally the hand stitching is done and the quilt is complete:
It’s done, it’s finally done! (The Reveal)
Terry the Quilting Husband holding up the quilt for its quick photo shoot:
I want to put it on the bed, but our miniature schnauzer Mike thinks there are “snakes in the bed” and has to scratch and spin before laying down. So for now I will keep it on the back of the sofa and put it on the bed on special occasions:
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!
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 Fabricsby 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.
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:
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!
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.
Rotary cutter and ruler or scissors? How do you trim?
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:
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):
And finally – a challenge piece – an embroidered napkin:
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).
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.)
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”.
For more background on this piece, please see the posts What’s on My Lap, Slow 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”):
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.
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:
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!)
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…)
I do plan to return to more Farm Girl Vintage blocks in the future. Hopefully!
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.
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!
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!