Behind the Scenes at the Antonio Ratti Textile Center – QTM 2017

Continuing my series of posts on my Quilters Take Manhattan 2017 event experience, this post I share my awe and wonder while attending a special behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

How I Ended Up Attending QTM 2017

Before I share that experience, let me back up a moment and talk about how I ended up attending the Quilt Alliance’s Quilters Take Manhattan event.

I first heard about the Quilters Take Manhattan event on a Facebook post of someone I follow who was attending the event.

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Image credit: quiltalliance.com

I was immediately tempted when I checked the event’s website and saw that Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi and Sherri Lynn Wood would be presenting but NYC is quite a plane ride from Central Oregon for a 1 day conference.

Next I saw that they were offering special add-on events such as a behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art .

The words “Antonio Ratti” hold a lot of meaning for me. In 2012 my friend Betty Anne and I came up with the idea of creating a collection of art quilts from gifted samples of Ratti textiles (renown house of Italian couture textiles) from the 1990’s NYC Fashion District. These samples would have been destroyed and we thought it would be amazing to create a collection of quilts from recycled materials meant for couture fabrics.

Betty Anne then invited other quilters to participate and we created Quilting Meets Couture. We showed this collection of 21 art quilts created by 14 women in 2013 at several venues to include a special exhibit at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. The Quilting Meets Couture group eventually disbanded, the collection did not go any further, and it eventually became The Wardrobe Meets the Wall containing only Betty Anne and my art quilts.

Recently, I created a page on the collaborative website Betty Anne and I have, Improvisational Textiles to honor the memory of this special time which was also my first venture into “art” quilting:

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(I will always been deeply grateful to my friend and mentor Betty Anne Guadalupe for encouraging me to move from traditional to art quilting, as well as all the art quilting inspiration from Jean Wells Keenan, see my post Creative Inspiration, Quilting Mentors).

Still the opportunity to meet Dr. Mazloomi, Sherri Lynn Wood, and to attend a behind the scenes tour of the textile center created/funded by the great Italian textile manufacturer/designer was not enough to fully justify in my mind a trip across the country (and associated expenses). I then realized I could also justify my trip by visiting with my family (who all live on the East Coast) while I was in NYC.

Of course this is where I ran into trouble – I tried to cram too much into a 4-day weekend. I ended up catching a bad cold from exhausting, long air travel, lack of sleep, etc. I ran my immune system into the ground, but I had a really wonderful time. I had an incredible visit with my sister, my brother and my two awesome nephews (ages 5 and 13).

Am I rambling? I always question at what point in my post I am just rambling. Okay, let’s return to the original purpose of this post – to share highlights from the behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center!

Behind the Scenes at the Antonio Textile and Reference Library

Our tour group was led/coordinated by the quite fabulous, Merikay Waldvogel, quilt historian. We met in the foyer of the mind blowing Metropolitan Museum of Art:

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The second photo you will see a very excited Tierney waiting with the tour group to go to the Antonio Ratti Textile Center. The last photo in the series above is an archway we passed under on our way to the Textile Center. I could barely breath at this point…

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I will be sharing limited photos that I took during the rest of this post on the tour. The curator requested that, in general, we only take photos for our own personal use. They would prefer we public shared only official images from the Met’s official collection. She also stated we could not take photos of how they store textiles at the center. There were other special rules of course – we could not touch any of the pieces and had to be careful not to let anything on our person touch the textiles.

But do not worry – they said we could note the catalog number of the quilt we viewed to access their public images of the work. So for the most part, I will share their images of the incredible historic quilts I viewed.

The staff at the Ratti Textile Center pre-selected a group of rare quilts, several which have never been on display because they are so fragile, for us to view. All the images below are property of and from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Collection website.

A Selection of Some of The Quilts We Viewed:


Honeycomb Quilt, Elizabeth Van Home Clarkson, 1830

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image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

From the Met website:

Elizabeth Van Horne Clarkson made this quilt from hundreds of small hexagonal pieces of fabric. It is the earliest wholly pieced American quilt in the Museum’s collection. Although pieced quilts were popular in England in the eighteenth century, the technique did not catch on in America until the nineteenth century, as increased leisure time made quiltmaking more popular and small patterned printed cottons were less expensive to work with than English chintzes. The quilt was made in a pattern known as Honeycomb. The multicolored hexagons are sewn together with whipstitching. Elizabeth Clarkson probably made the quilt as a wedding present for her son Thomas in about 1830.

There are an amazing amount of very tiny hexagons. The photo of course does not compare to seeing all the exquisite and elaborate detail of his quilt in person – the border is a quite complex piecing.


Pictorial Quilt, Euphemia Kichlein, 1832

The Met does not have an official photo on their website, so I will share one of the images I took of this amazing quilt:

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This quilt is quite famous and has appeared in several quilting historical books.


Star of Bethlehem pattern variation, Ellen Morton Littlejohn,  1837–50

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Image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

This quilt is too fragile to ever be on display and we were given the rare, once in a lifetime opportunity to view it in person. This quilt was made by an African American woman while she was a slave for the family that owned her. It was an example that early African American quilting is not only improvisational/’make do” quilting like the Gees Bend Quilts. This was an elaborately pieced and trapunto quilted quilt. The photo above does not show you all the detail I saw in person. One of the quilt historians in our tour group (there were at least 3 including a curator from the American Folk Art Museum!) stated that many elaborate quilts were made by slaves however these quilts were kept by the families that owned them and the quilts were never credited with the work.


Tumbling Blocks with Signatures pattern, Adeline Harris Sears, 1856

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Image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

From the Met’s website:

In 1856, seventeen-year-old Adeline Harris, the daughter of a well-to-do Rhode Island mill owner, conceived of a unique quiltmaking project. She sent small diamond-shaped pieces of white silk worldwide to people she esteemed as the most important figures of her day, asking each to sign the silk and return it to her. By the time the signatures were all returned and ready to be stitched into a “tumbling-blocks” patterned quilt, Adeline had amassed an astonishing collection of autographs. Her quilt features the signatures of eight American presidents; luminaries from the worlds of science, religion, and education; heroes of the Civil War; such authors as Charles Dickens and Ralph Waldo Emerson; and an array of prominent artists. Today, the autographs displayed in this beautiful and immaculately constructed quilt provide an intriguing glimpse into the way an educated young woman of the mid-nineteenth century viewed her world.

It was amazing to see Abraham Lincoln’s signature on a quilt block. Hope I am not breaking the rules, but here is a close up image I took:

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Floral Applique Quilt, Emeline Travis Ludington, 1850

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Image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

From the Met website:

In the mid-nineteenth century, at the time this outstanding quilt was made in Carmel, New York, a town about fifty miles north of New York City, the florid and intricate Rococo Revival Style was in full bloom. The grapevines and appliquéd flowers entwined into wreaths stiched onto the surface are reminiscent of the decoration found carved into the rich rosewood backs of high-style New York furniture of the same era. While many bed quilts are quite modest objects meant for everyday use, this one would have been considered stylish and sophisticated when it was created. Its exceptionally good condition reinforces the notion that it was meant to be a “best” quilt, taken out only on special occasions to beautify its maker’s home.
Emeline Travis Ludington had an ambitious artistic vision for her quilt, laying out and stiching a stunning overall design and adding an unusual scalloped finishing detail to the edges. Ludington was married to a banker, George, and was the mother of six children. Her quilt-making skill is undocumented beyond this piece.

It was interesting to listen to several of the quilt historians on the tour in our group debating the source of fabrics (England vs. US) and other historical details. We had a group of brilliant women in our tour group!


Woman’s Rights Quilt, Emma Civey Stahl, 1875

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From the Met’s website:
This unique pictorial quilt tells two distinct stories. Three of the circular appliquéd vignettes depict soldiers who fought in the American Civil War, assuredly still a fresh memory when the quilt was made. Three other blocks feature dynamic scenes of social activism in the fight for women’s rights. In one vignette, the reformer leaves her husband and child, a “WOMAN’S RIGHTS” banner slung jauntily over her shoulder. In another she is driving a horse-drawn cart, undoubtedly going to the meeting depicted in a third circle, where she vociferously lectures the cowering audience. The quiltmaker’s comical take on one of the most serious issues of the late nineteenth century raises the question of her own viewpoint on the subject


There were several other quilts, however in this post I wanted to share examples of the incredible pieces of quilting history we had the chance to view. The staff at the Antonio Ratti Textile Center were extremely knowledgable and helpful and you could tell they were excited to share some of the collection with the tour group.

After the Textile Center Tour

I had an hour before I needed to meet up with my family after the behind the scenes of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center tour was complete. What do see in an hour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art?!!?

The Met has over 5000 years of art from around the world, according to their website. According to Wikipedia, it is the largest art museum in the United States and its permanent collection contains 2 million works!

I went to one of the docent/information desks and asked for an idea of what to see in an hour (it takes weeks or months to see the entire collection). We discussed what I was interested in and she suggested I go to the Asian Art Wing. In this wing they had an amazing exhibit – Cosmic Buddhas in the Himalayas which had some incredible textiles on display as well as iconic Buddha images.

Here is a little flavor of the amazing exhibit:

It was quite a serene and mediative experience to walk among the Buddhas in the exhibit. The lighting was amazing, perfectly dimmed and the exhibits rooms were fairly empty except a couple of others quietly wandering the exhibit like myself. There was a mystical feeling to the whole exhibit. Also I had a wonderful chat with one of the security guards/museum staff assigned to the exhibit. She was amazed herself with one of the tapestries and when I showed interest in it, she was so happy to have someone to discuss all the intricate details of the tapestry with (the exhibit was very empty of visitors so there was not much guarding for her to do!)

Of course the images do not do the pieces justice. The same for the quilts I saw in person, the images do not even come close to the experience of seeing them in person.

I would like to return to the Metropolitan Museum of Art again someday and spend more time looking through their amazing collection!


Postscript

There is so much more I wanted to share in this post but this post has grown rather long so I will save the rest of it for my next post.

Spiritual Quilting – Sherri Lynn Wood at QTM 2017

Continuing my series of posts on the Quilters Take Manhattan (QTM) 2017 event I recently attended that began with the Sunday 09/17/17 post The “Dance Partner” – Michael Cummings at QTM 2017.

I could not decide whether to title this post “Spiritual Quilting”, “Quilting for the Spirit”, “Soul Quilting”, or “Quilting for the Soul” related to sharing highlights of Sherri Lynn Wood’s presentation at the QTM 2017.

Sherri Lynn Wood, author of The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously (2015) is not only an improvisational quilter but is also a former Divinity School student who I feel now practices a Ministry of Healing through Textile Arts. 

You might be familiar with Sherri Lynn Wood if you follow her blog, dainty time.net and/or if belong to her Facebook group The Improv Handbook For Modern Quilters. Here is Sherri at QTM 2017 in front of one of her iconic pieces; as well as her signing copies of her Improv Handbook:

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Here is another one of her iconic improvisational quilts:

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You might also be familiar with the Artist in Residence (AIR) residency she had a Recology in San Francisco where she and a group of other artists were given free reign of materials from a city’s dump to create art for a Modern Art exhibit of recycled art. Ms. Wood presented an excellent presentation on her Recology Residency and the amazing pieces of textile art she made from discarded items. Ms. Wood stated she even found a sewing machine, sewing supplies, thread, materials for batting, etc. in the city dump to use to create her art!

Below is an example of one of those pieces she had on display at QTM – a quilt made from discarded military uniform pants, using the length and lines of the pants as part of her quilt design.

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What you might not know about Sherri Lynn Wood, is that she has what I would consider a “Quilting Ministry” and part of that ministry is her Passage Quilting program where she helps individuals deal with grief and loss through creating a quilt (even if they have never quilted before) made from clothes of the deceased.

Ms. Wood shared this heart wrenching, amazing and beautiful story of a young woman who lost her fiancé due to a sudden tragedy. A short time after that loss, Ms. Wood helped this woman to make a Passage Quilt from her fiancé’s favorite clothing. It was an incredibly difficult process but the woman stated it had a tremendous impact on having her work through her grief. Ms. Wood had on display at QTM one of the Passage Quilts:

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She also has a project where she works with individuals and families who have lost a loved one in combat/while serving in the military to sew a coffin onto a remembrance quilt as part of their healing process. She shared several powerful stories and images of families who lost their military family members sewing together as part of their healing. Below is one of these quilts:

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She also works with communities to create community quilts where anyone no matter what level of sewing skill can participate.

The general themes of her presentation were:

  • Building community through craft
  • Honoring the earth through working with recycled materials; and by creating art from the discarded
  • Healing and grief work through tactile textile experiences

I was already a “super-fan” of Sherri Lynn Wood before meeting her and I have read Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously from cover to cover. I was deeply touched by Ms. Wood’s presentation (tears filled my eyes at times) – my spirit and my soul felt stirred and moved by her stories and images.

This is the reason for the title to this post – “Spiritual Quilting”. I am not referring to religious or a specific faith-based quilting. I am thinking of quilting, fabric, textiles, as a medium for hope, healing and community. For me, these are part of the foundation of spirituality.


Postscript

I did have my “fan-girl” moment and upon arriving at the QTM conference center in the morning and spotting Sherri Lynn Wood setting up her quilts for display, I thanked her for her wonderful book, the inspiration, and gave her a little wallet I had made from scraps specifically for her:

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Speaking of “fan-girl” moments for me at QTM 2017, I got a chance to meet in person Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, founder of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) . I of course made her a special little wallet too, just tiny tokens for great women who inspire me! Her little wallet was inspired by her incredible Black & White art quilts!

More on that in my next post and at some point I will share my experience going on a behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; seeing one of my blogging buddies pieces at QTM 2017 (Mary P. of Zippy Quilts!) and meeting a fellow blogging buddy of Mary’s at the event; and more (I have a lot to share but I not mapped out the organization of this series of posts, ha!)

(Plus I will share a valuable lesson of how you should not try to cram too much into one weekend…I am currently recovering from a wicked cold!)

 


Feature photo credit: Nadia Szopińska, free images.com

 

The “Dance Partner” – Michael Cummings at QTM 2017

Sitting in an airport waiting for a flight seems like the perfect time to write a blog post.

I am flying back home to Central Oregon, to the other side of the country from where I have spent the past four days – New York, New York (aka NYC). I spent time with my family who lives on the East Coast and joined me in NewYork; I attended the Quilt Alliance’s 2017 Quilters Take Manhattan (QTM) event, which featured speakers Sherri Lynn Wood, Merikay Waldvogel, and Michael A. Cummings, interviewed by Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi; and I went on a behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

It was quite the four-day weekend (I am planning a series of blog posts to share various snippets from this inspirational weekend) and what is currently resonating in my mind (and my heart) is the inspirational interview Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi held with the NYC based art quilter, Michael A. Cummings.

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Mr. Cummings and Dr. Mazloomi in front of one his incredible pieces from his African Jazz series – African Jazz #10

The Dance Partner

During the interview, Mr. Cummings referred to his sewing machine as his “dance partner”.

The first time he mentioned this my heart smiled (I felt it in my chest!). What an exquisite and beautiful way to refer to one of the primary tools an art or traditional quilter’s uses to express their creativity.

Mr. Cummings stated he has been using the same sewing machine for 40+ years and if I remember correctly, it is just a standard department store sewing machine. Colleagues have suggested he upgrade to an industrial or more modern sewing machine, but he stays faithful to his “dance partner”.

Mr. Cummings and his “dance partner” tell stories through his art. He shared during the interview that he has been influenced by cinema and music to include musical storytellers such as Bob Dylan.

Here are some examples, on display during the Quilters Take Manhattan Event of the incredible dances that Mr. Cummings and his dance partner have performed (please check out his website michaelcummings.com for his official portfolio – he has exhibited his art quilts and sold works to public institutions and private collectors around the world and has work in the permanent Smithsonian Folk Art collection):

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These are very large quilts and Dr. Mazloomi (a longtime friend and colleague of Mr. Cummings) states that most of his pieces are around 8 x 9 feet. All of this huge quilts are pieced, appliquéd, and machine quilted on his 40+ year old “dance parter”.

Lesson: You do not need a fancy new sewing machine to create incredible art. You just need to have story to tell and a creative mind to translate that story in fabric!

Mr. Cummings had a bounty of inspirational answers to Dr. Mazloomi’s questions. Some other inspirational answers he provided included:

  • When asked when does he know a quilt is done, Mr.Cummings responded “I let the quilt tell me when it is done” (paraphrased).
  • Mr. Cummings shared that for years he worked full-time for the Department of Cultural Affairs for New York City and made himself find time every evening after work to work on his art quilts. At times he wanted to do something else in the evenings (relax after work, attend social events, etc.) but he knew that if he truly wanted to be an art quilter he would have to sacrifice and “do the work”.

Postscript

To say I was creatively inspired after the interview, would be an understatement.

I feel like I am ready to go home and continue working on my Stories My Father Told Me Series (see post Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me).

Sorry little wallets (Little Wallet Madness) it’s time to return to art quilting and tell some stories – I am ready to dance with my partner!

Well it is time to go get on my plane and return to quiet Central Oregon (quite different from NYC in so many ways) but I have much more to share in future posts from my trip and this incredible weekend!


Feature image (cropped) credit: Yan Moura, freeimages.com

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The Napkin Story

From the tierneycreates archives – I am getting ready to meet up with my sister in NYC (I am attending the Quilters Take Manhattan event) and I was thinking of the many times that she inspired me to chill out more in life!

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In my previous post Farm Girl Vintage, Part III I mentioned my past challenges with nearly OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) level of desire for order and neatness in my life.

When we lived in Seattle, WA I used to entertain, a lot. Game nights, holiday get-togethers at my house, random dinner parties, birthday party hosting, baby shower hosting, work parties, etc., etc. I was very social – and if I was not throwing party, I was attending a party or going to some event. Notice, I mentioned that “I” was very social, as I learned years later, Terry the Quilting Husband was only playing along, he would have preferred more quiet time at home with me and the dogs. (There is the Thanksgiving he always teases me about – when we out of obligation, courtesy and my desire, attended 3 – 4 Thanksgiving celebrations at various friends’ homes all…

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Little Wallet Madness

As mentioned in recent previous posts, I have been making little wallets from my fabric scraps.

Endless wallets. Cutting out fabric from templates in the evening while watching TV and then engaging in marathon assembling and sewing.

58+ wallets later, I am ready to share photos of the wallets.

First here are 55 of them (two I recently I gave away as gifts and one I kept for myself):

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An attempt at closer up photos of the wallets:

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I had so much fun rummaging through my boxes of fabric scraps and putting together various combinations. Here are photos of a couple of the insides of the little wallets to demonstrate some of the color and texture combinations I used for the inside pockets:

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Here are some of my favorite little wallets from my little wallet assembly madness:

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I plan to do a “Little Wallet” giveaway to celebrate the 4th anniversary of my blog in October so stay tuned. They are perfect for business cards, a place to keep punch cards (like frequent customer cards) or to use as a wallet.

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Limitless Library Love

(In addition to worrying about those in Texas and Florida) Today my thoughts are focused on just how much I love my local public library. This is not just a fleeting infatuation, I am talking about a deep bibliophilic obsessed kind of love!

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you have likely figured this out, especially with ongoing series such as The Library Stack featuring my latest stack of tomes on loan from my beloved library. However in addition to realizing how deeply in love I am with my local public library, I realize just how much money and space accessing my library has saved me.

Tierney the “Collector”

As my friend Michele has told me, “You are a Collector”. I am actually a reformed “collector”.

Years ago I became interested in Special Edition Barbie dolls. I did not just buy a couple, I bought a ridiculous amount. The same thing happened with collectible stuffed rabbits. I could not just have a couple, I appeared to need them all.

When I tapered down my need to collect Barbies or Bunnies, I transferred my need to collect to craft books and crafting magazines (and occasionally home decorating books and magazines).

As I incorporated Minimalism into my life (see series of posts under My Minimalism Journey) I began to honestly evaluate the clutter in my life, including whether I needed to own and continue to bring into my home that many crafting books and magazines.

I still love looking at new craft books (I get a little “makers-high” from leafing through a craft book for the first time) and I did not want to give up the pleasure of a new craft book and a pot of tea in my cozy reading spot.

The public library was the solution! I realized I did not need to own every craft book I am attracted to – I could just borrow it, enjoy it and return it. I can even take it out again to look at a couple months later if I like – it will be there waiting for me…AND it will not take up space in my bookshelf or cost money out of my wallet!

More Than Just Books

It began with borrowing books and then I discovered many other wonderful benefits as a library card holder:

  • Borrowing audiobooks that I can listen to on my smartphone
  • Magazines for my iPad for free (to include American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine and many popular home decorating magazines)
  • Free music downloads (I can download 5 songs a week…well 10 using my husband’s library card too from a huge selection of music)
  • Movies for my DVD player – we do not go out to movies very often – we just borrow them from the library (and I have learned secret tricks to be first in line on new releases at the library!)
  • Online movies – although I do have Netflix so I do not use this feature very often, our library has its own version on Netflix with older movies and TV shows.
  • Novel Idea – the whole town reads the same book once a year (a community wide book group) and then there are special programs in the Spring with the author coming to town to speak about their book!

In addition to all this there is so much more like the Author! Author! Literary Series where big name authors come to town and speak!

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Image credit: Deschutes Public Library

Okay, soon I will stop running on and on about my beloved library. But would you mind, I share some recent reads and listens? (or you can skip to the Postscript section if you have grown tired my library related ramblings and you are now ready for some crafting project related news…)

Recent Borrowings

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Last week I posted on my current library stack but I have since moved on to a new (and smaller stack). As you can see I was enjoying feeding the flames of my small and tiny house obsession. These three books are a delightful pot-of-tea-drinking, book-flipping, daydreaming experience.

My obsession is not as bad as it used to be (I used to incessantly watch tiny house related TV shows and tiny house tour videos on YouTube) but I am still fascinated by them. I also enjoy “RV porn” and love to watch videos of RV walkthrough tours. I like the idea of small compact and cozy space. It is also a space which is more difficult to clutter with stuff, and I like that idea of space imposed curation!

I recently finished several excellent library borrowed fiction audiobooks:

  • Michael Chabon’s novel Moonglow. I read a great interview with him in Poets&Writers magazine last year. When I saw he is coming to Central Oregon this fall on the Author!Author! literary tour, I thought it was time to actually read one of his books and see what all the hype was about!

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I now understand what all the hype is about this author – his sentences are so beautifully and richly crafted and his ability to tell a story is impressive. Here is my review of the book I posted on Goodreads and on Amazon.com:

I was fortunate to listen to the audiobook version of this novel which was flawlessly and excellently narrated.

The book is a memoir masterpiece, telling the fascinating story of his maternal grandfather’s life as told by his grandfather to the author as he was terminally ill. The author also weaves in poignant moment from his own life and his mother’s life with his grandfather’s (and grandmother’s story). The first hand accounts of his grandfather’s experiences in Europe during WWII are amazing and powerful. They are not battle scenes but focus on the lives of a small village experiencing WWII. The book covers a span of time from around the 1920s to 1980s.

Mr. Chabon’s writing is spectacular and I see what all the hype is about surrounding this author. I read/listened to the book because he is coming to our town to speak on a literary tour and before hearing him speak I wanted to read one of his book. He is a very gifted writer, his use of language and the crafting of a sentence are amazing. I think he might be one of the great writers of our current generation.

  • I also recently finished a spectacular science fiction trilogy by Cixin Liu – The Three-Body Problem (winner of the Hugo award), The Dark Forest, and Death’s End. I was fortunate enough to listen to them all on audiobook. And here is the really cool thing – my library did not have an audiobook copy of the second (The Dark Forest) or the third book (Death’s End) in the trilogy. So I suggested them for purchase using the special online form my library has – and THEY ORDERED THEM!

Cixin Liu is a big name in Chinese science fiction and the cultural differences are evidence in his books but they only add to the story. The science part of the “science fiction” is amazing and detailed yet accessible. So far it is one of my favorite Science Fiction trilogies of all time, rivaling Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game Trilogy and Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama trilogy (previously my two favorites).

Let me close out my ramblings about my awesome public library with this quote:

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Postscript

Sending My Heart Out

First before I share what I have been up to crafting-wise lately, let me just say my hearts go out to the people of Houston, Texas and the surrounding areas. We lived in Houston for 9 years from 1988 – 1997 and many of the flooded areas shown on the news (Terry the Quilting Husband has been watching The Weather Channel non-stop) are quite familiar to us.

My heart also goes out to those in the tropical islands and to states such as Florida in the path of Hurricane Irma. I cannot imagine the stress and fear going on in Florida right now knowing what Hurricane Harvey did to Texas.

Current Crafting – Little Wallet Obsession

I will have a future post with more details and perhaps a “little wallet photoshoot” on all the different combinations, but I have made 40+ little wallets since starting last week.

I am trying to make a dent in my fabric scrap collection:

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Here are some in progress (I am having so much fun with color and pattern combinations):

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And here is a basket of the first 37 completed (by the time of this photo):

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My next post will feature all the little wallets I have completed, so you can see some of the fun color and pattern combinations. I did make a bit of a dent in my fabric scraps and I’ve made many little functional items with those scraps.

I bought way too many business cards and I have a business card tucked away in each little wallet to demonstrate how the little wallet could be used.

Recently gave one of the little wallets as part of a retirement gift (it held a gift card) and I think the little wallet was more popular with the recipient than the gift card!

I might do a future little wallet blog giveaway to celebrate my 4th year of blogging (and that fellow humans actually keep reading my blog, ha!)  – stay tuned!


Feature image photo credit: Deschutes Public Library

Update on “Scrappy Improvisational Medallion”…Pillow

The last of the four old projects (#3) I laid out in my my studio in the photo below, is now completed:

2017-08-01_19-03-27_630I first posted about this project in the post What’s on the Design Wall: Scrappy Improvisational Medallion and the plan was to make it into a Medallion Quilt.

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.)

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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:

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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.

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I am not giving up on my plan to make a medallion quilt someday! I tucked away some ideas from working on this piece.


Postscript

So what is next? Well I have become obsessed with making little wallets using my collection of fabric scraps:

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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:

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Fabric scraps organized by color

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:

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I will share in a future post all the little wallets in fun color combinations I made from scraps!

 

The Library Stack

It has been a long time since I contributed an entry to my ongoing series The Library Stack.

I took a hiatus from slogging home huge piles of books from my beloved Public Library and cozying up with a pot of tea. Instead I’ve been reading from my collection of craft magazines and books with my pot of tea.

But I could not stay away too long from my library and recently I slogged home a new pile of borrowed tomes:

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The 700s is my favorite Dewey Decimal section!

Novel Interiors

I’ve greatly enjoyed one of the books in the stack so far – Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature, by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti (2014).

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Photo credit: amazon.com

I thought I would share a couple quotes from the book that made my smile:

“We don’t just read a great story, we inhabit it.” – Lisa Borgnes Giramonti

“Jo hurried to this quiet place, and curling herself up in the easy chair, devoured poetry, romance, history, travels, and pictures like a regular bookworm.” – Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

“If people do but know how to set about it, every comfort may be enjoyed in a cottage as in the most spacious dwelling.” – Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Yes this morning, I am enjoying the comfort of reading with my pot of tea in my cottage (we nicknamed our 1300 square foot abode “The Cottage”)!


Postscript

After going to the Deschutes County Fair (see post Deschutes County Fair) and finishing 3 of my 4 crafting project laid out in my studio, I thought I might revisit my Farm Girl Vintage blocks again. I  put them all up on the design wall in the hallway:

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But I am just not “feeling them” right now and I am going to take them back down. Watch for a future post to see what I’ve stuck up on the design wall instead!

Speaking of “Farm Girl” my little farm (backyard raised bed garden) had the most curious harvest: ONE zucchini. Yes you read correctly – only ONE zucchini. I might be the first person in history to have just ONE zucchini in their zucchini harvest.

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Usually people are trying to give away their zucchini harvest (a friend told me story of “zucchini drive-bys” where you drop bags of zucchini at the front porches of unsuspecting friends and neighbors) and I have only ONE.

So what did I do with my ONE zucchini (yes there are no more zucchinis on the horizon in my garden, I checked 4-5 times) – well, I made two loaves of zucchini bread!

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I stretched that ONE precious zucchini!


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

 

 

Deschutes County Fair

A couple weekends ago we went to the Deschutes County Fair (Deschutes County Fair & Rodeo) and this is a belated post to share some photos from the Fair.

The Deschutes County Fair is allegedly (according to their website) Oregon’s largest county fair and rodeo. We have attended a couple of times, and honestly we are always a little underwhelmed.

This could because we used to live in Seattle, WA and each year would go to the more impressive Pullayup Fair (Washington State Fair) or because we used to live in Houston, TX and would attend the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  So perhaps the bar was set a little high on what we expect from a Fair/Livestock Show/Rodeo.

Lured by the Promise of “Carnival Eats”

We would have passed on the Deschutes County Fair this year, but Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) got hooked on a show on the Cooking Channel called Carnival Eats.

Basically Carnival Eats is an extreme “food porn” show featuring the NAUGHTIEST fair/carnival food ever (we are talking bacon burgers stuffed with cheese set in a glazed Krispy Kreme donut bun) around the country. Some of the carnival food shown on the show makes you gasp and you imagine if you had one glorious bite you would just immediately drop dead of a heart attack from an extreme coronary blockage by fat. But you would die with a smile on your face!

TTQH and I in general eat fairly healthy but after binge watching a couple of the show with Terry, I thought it would be fun this year to go to the Deschutes County Fair and have one very naughty carnival food experience.

Alas, there was only the standard Fair/Carnival food at the Deschutes Country Fair (corn dogs, friend twinkies, elephant ears). Below is a photo of the most exciting offering they had, and we passed on it, It was just not naughty enough to spend the calories on:

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Wandering Around the Fair

Our coronary arteries probably thanked us, but we gave up on hopes of any naughty food experiences, grabbed a lemonade and wandered around the Fair. Here are some photos from the day.

The Livestock

The livestock was owned/managed by the adorable 4H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) kids. One kids asked me if I wanted to meet her goat,  how could I refuse?

The 4H or FFA kids had posted The Six Pillars of Character:

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The Quilts

What would a county fair be without the craft section? First here is a sampling of some the quilts:

And they had a room in which you could watch women hand quilt in various modified versions of quilting circles!

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The Fiber Arts

The also had knitting and weaving displays and juried winners:

The Rides (that there was no way in heck I was going on)

In case the signs were not enough to keep me away:

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Then the rides themselves accomplished that objective:

Yes, I am a wimp, and proud of it! (smile)

Leaving the Fair

Upon leaving the fair, I asked TTQH if he was less likely to eat meat after meeting all those farm animals. He replied: “That was very cute bacon and if I knew it’s name I would personally thank it while having breakfast”.

No vegetarianism in TTQH’s future!


Postscript

Returning to what originally drew us to the fair – the promise of naughty fair food, I looked around the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s website and discovered they had a list of their Fair Food – 2017 Carnival Food

Now, look at these delicacies we did not have access to at the Deschutes County Fair:

  • Flaming Hot Cheetos Roaster Corn & Flaming Hot Cheetos Corn in Cup
  • Nutella Funnel Cake & Oreo Churros with filling
  • Flaming Hot Cheetos Pizza
  • Deep Fried Tim Tams & Deep Fried Chocolate Covered Marshmallows
  • Bacon Nutella Pickle, Pickled Cheese-on-a-Stick, & Shrimp and Pickle Basket
  • Pork Chop-on-a-stick, Loaded Baked Potato Bites & Deep Fried Nachos

So right now your mouth is either watering or your stomach is turning!

We ended up having a nice late lunch after the fair at a local brewery.

What’s Off the Design Wall: Cozy Cobblestones

Finally the follow up post to What’s on the Design Wall: Cozy Cobblestones with the completed quilt top!

It is a quilt top measures approximately 60″ x 72″ and made with traditional piecing but not a with a traditional vibe.

I tried to photograph it using the back of my shed discussed in the post The Photoshoot Shed: Please Give Me Your Ideas, but I had a shadow from the top of my gate due to the position of the sun:

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So I moved it to the side of my house which was completely in shadow and got a better photo:

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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.

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I guess I need to work on the Medallion quilt in the photo below next as I have completed  #1, #2, and #4!

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Postscript 

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:

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I will be more diligent next Spring on planting sunflower seeds!

The Expenditure Tracking Experiment

I am still working on piecing together Cozy Cobblestones that I discussed in my previous post. The “Picnic Setting” is no picnic, and has several “Y” seams and must be pieced in a methodical way (or you are screwed!) Hopefully the next post will be to share my completed quilt top (unless I decided to throw in a post about our visit to the Deschutes County Fair a couple weekends ago…)

This post I wanted to share an interesting experiment I have committed to doing for a year and wondered if any of you have ever tried something like this – I am tracking ALL my expenditures for 1 year. Everything, even if I buy a $2 ice cream cone, etc.

I created a spreadsheet at the end of 2016, broken into as many categories as I could think of (though I had to keep adding categories as the year progressed) and starting January 1, 2017, I began recording anything I spent money on – from food to utilities.

Here is a screenshot of a section of my spreadsheet to date:

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 12.24.23 PM.pngOne of the most enlightening (actually shocking) things, was how much we spend on food (and there are only two humans in the household)!  Not to mention how many trips to the grocery store (and several different grocery stores) we make each month.

For example in July 2017, we went to one grocery store EIGHT (8) times! I am starting to wonder if my hobby is not quilting/crafting, but actually going to grocery stores! I wince at the $1.38 purchase listed above – whatever that was, why didn’t I get it during the grocery store visit in the $52.90 purchase above?

Well making a change can only come after gaining awareness that a change is needed. I thought I was a very thrifty “demi-minimalist” but my spreadsheet says I am an out of control food hoarder!

Besides the shocking amount of grocery store spending/visits I have made so far this year, I have learned a lot of valuable stuff about our spending habits and several positive changes have been made. Also it has become a game, where I will not buy something that I do not really need because I want to see if I can get the current month’s expenditures lower than the others.

One more cool thing about this (sometimes painful) spreadsheet, is I have a tool to use to discuss with Terry the Quilting Husband strategies to manages our expenses. We discussed the disaster that was July 2017 and made a conscious effort to keep the August grocery expenses under control!

I would love to hear if any of you have tried something like this.

Well that’s all for now, I got to go head out to the grocery store and pick something up 😉


Feature image photo credit: Sufi Nawaz, free images.com

 

 

What’s on the Design Wall: Cozy Cobblestones

This morning’s post is a follow up What’s on the Design Wall…a “Hot Mess”?

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!

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From the right side

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From the left side

Here is one “head on” photo taken by smooshing myself against the opposite wall:

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“Smooshed” against the 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):

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Next to a section of the blocks layout:

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Try and use your imagination of how cool this will look…

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 Basket of Challenges):

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I’m gonna be a future “Challenge Bag” – yay!

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:

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Little squares, cutting so many little squares! (42 x 9 = 378)

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:

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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!


Postscript

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:

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Here are the two cards I made:

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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!)

What’s on the Design Wall…a “Hot Mess”?

On the large design wall in my hallway is something that resembles a “hot mess“.

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The hallway is narrow – it works great as a design wall, but is challenging for photography.

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:

A little background:

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 Vintage blocks.)

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!)

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I even thought about the unique and spectacular block layout that Martha Ginn shared in her Martha’s Blog post: Shapely Challenge Revealed.

(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:

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Photo credit: Deborah Thomas, Pinterest

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:

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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!)


Postscript

Decorating with Pillows

A quick follow up to my previous post – Petite Pillow 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:

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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:  

Quilting Meets Couture

You can also check out the new page on Improvisational Textiles that showcases the entire Quilting Meets Couture collection:

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Check out the Improvisational Textiles blog if you would like to follow our collaborative improvisational art quilting journey.

Petite Pillow Power!

Last post I shared this photo of semi-simultaneous unfinished crafting project work:

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I recently finished #2 (see post I hurried); and this weekend I finished up #1 – little pillows made from scrap shot cottons, previously discussed in these posts:

Finishing out the Challenge Bag of shot cottons

Originally I had planned to hand quilt all the little pillows tops:

In reality, I only ended up hand quilting the paper pieced one (I finished this up a couple weeks ago while watching TV in the evening):

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Hand quilted (basic, basic, basic hand quilting!)

The rest of the little pillows I machine quilted this weekend:

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Petite Pillow Power Photoshoot!

When I remembered, I added in a tierneycreates label which I shared in post Embracing Orange. My tierneycreates Etsy shop is closed but I still have all these labels I might as well use them!

Except for the paper pieced pillow which has a solid light tan back, here is the fabric I used on the back of the pillows:

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This petite pillow for some reason is my favorite –  I stuck it in my bookcase:

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Tierney loves me best

Petite Pillow Power!

What’s next? Well I am going to start on #4 (Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part III) – I finally…9 months later…figured out the layout/setting for the blocks!


Postscript

Thank you so much for all the suggestions on my post  The Photoshoot Shed: Please Give Me Your Ideas– so many of you came through with some fantastic ideas!

It has been very warm in Central Oregon, and once it drops below skin-searing temperatures, I am going to fiddle around the back of the shed and decide which idea to implement.

I have a bunch of these from a failed small curtain hanging experiment and I am thinking of using these with some type of rod or heavy tension wire:

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Photo credit – Home Depot

Additionally, I appreciate the great photo tips provided in the comments!

I hurried.

No the feature photo is not of anyone I know, it is courtesy of freeimages.com and the photographer is Alex LA. 

Today I have a shocking update to my previous post on 07/31/17, Everything is Accomplished (What’s On the Design Wall) .

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

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Finished, quilted, hanging on the wall!

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.

Shocking.


Postscript

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.

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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!

  1. Decorative small pillows – Finishing out the Challenge Bag of shot cottons
  2. Applique Project (this post)
  3. Medallion wallhanging – What’s on the Design Wall: Scrappy Improvisational Medallion
  4. Traditional quilt block piecing with non traditional fabrics – Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part III

Well, as of today I am one down!

Everything is Accomplished (What’s On the Design Wall)

Yesterday I completed the quilt top for a wallhanging based on the following quote:

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

And like Nature, I did not hurry on completing this piece! It was started in May 2016 during a class at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, Oregon with the lovely Janet Shorten (see post Adventures in Appliqué ). I picked the piece back up again in June 2017 (see post Quilt Retreat Inspiration and Projects). I wrangled tangled floss and learned to backstitch (see post The Backstitch and the End of Tangled Floss) and finally completed the quilt top yesterday…July 2017!

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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”.

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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:

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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!


Postscript

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.

The Photoshoot Shed: Please Give Me Your Ideas

Looking at the feature photo for this post you are likely thinking: “Wow Tierney, you have truly run out of things to talk about on your blog. You are now talking about backyard sheds?!?!?”

No, this is actually crafting/quilting related post. Quilt photography related as a matter of fact.

I would love your thoughts/ideas on the best way to make the rear of my new 8′ x 10′ backyard shed work for photographing textile art.

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But first, let me share some background.

I am a recovering terrible photographer. My photography skills only approved over the past couple of years because they had to – if I ever wanted to have a sale on my tierneycreates Etsy shop I had to learn to take clear and alluring photos.

My Etsy shop is now closed but it was a great way to force me to become a better photographer.

In order to become a better…well okay, to become a less-terrible photographer, I had to learn some basic photography techniques. One of the first things I learned was the power of using natural light and the concept of “The Golden Hour”.

The Golden Hour and Soft Diffused Light

Here is a wonderful description of “The Golden Hour” from photographymad.com:

The golden hour, sometimes called the “magic hour”, is roughly the first hour of light after sunrise, and the last hour of light before sunset, although the exact duration varies between seasons. During these times the sun is low in the sky, producing a soft, diffused light which is much more flattering than the harsh midday sun that so many of us are used to shooting in. 

This type of light produces less contrast, reducing the chances of losing parts of your subject in strong shadows or blown-out highlights. The warm glow adds a pleasing feel to the scene, and the long shadows help to pick out details, adding texture and depth to the image.

As an added benefit, there are generally fewer people around at dawn and dusk than there are at other times of the day, giving you a chance to capture your images in relative peace.

The Golden Hour was wonderful for photographing the handmade miniature kimonos I used to sell on my tierneycreates Etsy shop. I also discovered it was wonderful for photographing quilts. The mid-day sun occasionally works for some large quilts but for art quilts, they seem to photograph better in diffuse light.

APQS, long-arm quilt machine manufacturer, has an article on their website, apqs.com, on How to Photograph Your Quilt which states:

If you are taking your quilts photo outside, keep in mind that stark daylight isn’t a great idea as it creates strong shadows and it is just too harsh. Filtered light, like dappled light through a tree’s leaves or even the light found during a cloudy day is softer. This type of light will help you capture your quilt’s beauty more easily.

Whether it is “The Golden Hour” or mid-day with dappled light, my handmade items always appear to photograph better in natural light instead of indoor artificial light.

So when our backyard Costco resin/Rubbermaid Shed’s roof caved in from all the intense Central Oregon snowfall this past Winter and was recently replaced with a real wood built-on-site shed, I knew this was an opportunity to have a standard place outdoor place to photograph quilts.

Whether photographing quilts and quilted wallhanging for my former tierneycreates Etsy shop or photographing art quilts for show entires, I have discovered that I get better images if the quilt is hung/mounted vertically and I can photograph it from a standing position. Although I have relentlessly tried, I just cannot get a good quality photograph of a quilt when it is on the ground and I am standing over it.

I just have to figure out how to set up the back of the shed as a quilt photography area that allows me the flexibility to hang/mount quilts of different dimension for their photo shoot.

I would appreciate your ideas!


Postscript

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s latest Schnauzer Snips blog post – Schnauzer Quilt on a quilt I do not think I have shared before on my blog.

Oh, and in case you are curious, here is a photo of the front of the new backyard shed:

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Creative Inspiration: Just Cut Out the Bad Parts and Keep Going

This post continues my series of posts on sources of Creative Inspiration.

One of my quilting mentors, Jean Wells Keenan, once said in a class (paraphrased): When you are really stuck on a piece and you want to give up, don’t give up. Just push through your discomfort or unhappiness with the piece; keep going and you will be surprised how it evolves.

So what does this have to do with my featured image for this post – a pile of sweet potatoes?

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Well, at lunch today (I am a telecommuter), I pulled out the remains of a bag of several weeks old sweet potatoes. I forgot about them in the veggie drawer in my fridge and I hoped I could possibly use them (I hate wasting food) in a salad or veggie bowl if I boiled them.

As I washed the sweet potatoes, a first glance, they looked kind of icky and their only future was compost. However on closer inspection, I realized there were good viable parts to each sweet potato – all I had to do was cut out the bad parts.

While trimming each sweet potato to remove the “bad parts”, I thought how this relates to creating a piece of art. I have worked on several art quilting project when I wanted to just give up, crumple the piece into a ball (and burn it) and discard it.

Occasionally I did just this, throw away the piece and try to forgot the time I spent on expending my creativity on the piece. This was until I took a series of art quilting classes with Jean Wells Keenan and heard her statement about not giving up – it resonated with me.

I learned to work or rework what I have created already, cut the bad parts out, and keep going with creating the piece.

An example of an art quilt that I wanted to throw into the trash pile (or burn as an effigy of what-not-to-do-when-creating-an-art-quilt) was my piece Abandoned Water Structure.  This piece, which was eventually sold to the City of Seattle/Seattle Public Utilities for their Portable Works Collection  nearly made it to the trash or fabric recycling pile several times (or as potential kindling).

It began as an art quilt project based on a photo of a beach structure for a series of classes I was taking with Jean Wells Keenan, called Journey to Inspired Art Quilting. I absolutely hated the piece and it seemed like to would never go anywhere (I felt like I was stopped in my journey anywhere, much less to inspired art quilting).

The series of classes ended, and I took the unfinished piece back home with me to sit in the abandoned project pile (where projects go to die..).

Randomly rummaging through my abandoned project pile a couple months later, I rediscovered the piece and I was suddenly struck with the feeling that I was not using the correct inspiration for the piece. The piece WANTED TO BE SOMETHING ELSE.

I had a photo on my inspiration board of an abandoned/closed water power facility in Central Oregon and I knew this is what the piece was to become (or at least be inspired by)!

After reworking the piece for a couple hours, I was tempted to return it to the abandon project pile (or just soak it in lighter fluid) but luckily I heard Jean in the back of my head to “just push through, keep going“. I cut out the bad parts, the parts that were not working in the piece, and eventually it became the Abandoned Water Structure art quilt.

If I were to summarize my thoughts and advice from this experience (and my ramblings above) for my fellow crafters and artists, it would be:

Creating can be like working with a partially rotted sweet potato. 
You know there is yumminess still there but you don't want to eat 
"the bad parts".

So cut out the "bad parts" and keep the good/viable parts!

Keep going, don't give up, be patient with yourself and the piece.
Let it become the yumminess it eventually wants to become.

Well I have stretched that analogy as far as it will stretch, thanks for reading to see where the heck I was going with my sweet potato story.

Oh and in case you were curious, my trimmed and boiled sweet potatoes were delicious (full of yumminess) in my salad at lunch!


Feature image credit: khongrithSV, free images.com

More Farm House Vintage Blocks

I worked on Farm Girl Vintage Blocks this weekend.

Last time I posted about my progress, I had just completed the Cool Threads Block. I am working through the blocks alphabetically in Lori Holt’s Farm Girl Vintage book.

I knocked out 5 more blocks this weekend: Corn and Tomatoes Block, Corn and Tomatoes Special Edition block (available as special download from the Fat Quarter Shop), Country Crossroads Block, Crops Block, and Postage Stamp Block.

I know,  I know “Postage Stamp Block” does not sound like it is in alphabetical order. I needed a mindless block (created from 36 –  2.5″ squares) to work on after having to pay close attention to create the previous 4 blocks.

Once I complete a couple more blocks, I will post a photo of all the blocks completed to date.


Postscript

As I mentioned in my 06/27/17 post, Seeds, I am listening to, from Episode #1 forward,  The RobCast by Rob Bell (robbell.com). Rob Bell is a former pastor turned author, coach, speaker. His podcasts focuses on spirituality and quality of life.

While working on my Farm Girl Vintage blocks I listened to his podcast Episode #21, which featured a conversation with author Elizabeth Gilbert (best known for her book Eat, Pray, Love).

Here is an excerpt from that interview/conversation that I found particularly inspiring. Elizabeth Gilbert shared how her accountant (and friend of many years) views life:

“(When I call him) He picks up the phone, and when you say ‘how are you doing?’, he says ‘I have never been better in my life’.

No matter what is going on in his life, this is how he answers the phone. I asked him why he answers the phone that way and he responded:

‘Everyday has two miraculous moments. There is the moment you wake up and realize you have been given another chance; and there is the moment when you go to sleep and you realize that you get to put behind you all the mistakes you made.'”

– Elizabeth Gilbert

Tiny Studio Tips

I love seeing where people to create and in case you would like to see where I create, I have added a page to my blog tierneycreates Studio Tour where I will post photos of the latest version of my tiny little tierneycreates studio. More on this later in this post.

As part of my ongoing journey to curate my life (see post category: My Minimalism Journey ), I am working on letting go of more of my crafting related magazines.

Studios Magazine

I have a stash of Cloth Paper Scissors STUDIOS magazine from 2008 – 2014 (magazine is no longer in publication). This publication featured “artist studio porn”: essays and articles about professional and hobby artists’ studios, tips on designing and organizing your studio, and endless photos of studio layouts. The tagline for the magazine was “inspiration & ideas for your art and craft space”.

There are so many online resources (aka Pinterest) on studio organization ideas, I do not need these magazines. I can let them go, donate them to my beloved local Humane Society Thrift Shop and let them go to someone else to enjoy.

But, I wanted to read through each one, one more time, before donating them.

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Working though re-reading the pile with my tea each morning

When I got to the Winter 2010 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors STUDIOS magazine I noticed it featured a collection of tips by various crafters/artists on small space tips.

Recently I re-organized by studio to try and make the best of the small space. I thought I would share some of my favorite tips from this issue from the various studio tours in case my readers find them useful.

Small Studio Tips

In Her Shoes by Catherine Thursby

  1. Get a space of your own, even if it has to be small
  2. Make it personal to encourage your creativity
  3. Have a place “off-site” to keep bulky or seldom used materials

Snowman Season by Sue Pelletier

  1. In a narrow space, set up tables end to end so you can have several projects going at once
  2. A dartboard makes a graphic yet compact inspiration board
  3. Remember that if you want studio space badly enough, you will find a way

The Glitter Fairy by Laurie Davis

  1. Use shelves with cubbies to hold and display rubber stamps
  2. Use under-the-counter space as much as possible
  3. Use stackable containers to hold small items

In a Nutshell – A small space dedicated to creativity by Janice Avellana

  1. Keep supplies out in the open so the work is ready when you are
  2. Disguise a small, open studio behind a tall bookcase
  3. For flexible organization, use painted pegboard

Room of Requirement by Liza Julien

  1. Maximize small space by going vertical with ladder-style shelving
  2. Store papers suspended from pant hangers on a wooden dowel
  3. Install hooks on table legs, the sides of shelving – anywhere that’s handy and out of the way

Studio in the Sky by Victoria Grobels

  1. Store supplies in baskets hung from the ceiling
  2. Make your worktable an inspiration board, too, by slipping photos under a clear, plastic mat
  3. Make a small space seem bigger by positioning it near a beautiful view

The Love Shack by Roberta Philbrick

  1. Use “regular” furniture to hold art supplies
  2. Color-coordinated caddies keep small items organized, portable, and attractive
  3. A glass-topped table cleans up easily and looks polished in a small living/creating space

Strategic Design by Michelle Spaw

  1. For an eclectic approach to organizing, try using non-conventional items such as stackable trays, bento boxes, and takeout-style containers
  2. Removing the doors to your closet is as strong incentive to keep it tidy. Because the contents are always visible, you will be motivated to maintain order and curb the clutter
  3. When purchasing storage boxes, think of color and pattern as a way to identify what you’re storing

Beaddazzled by Linda Dolack

  1. Glue a sample of what’s in a drawer to the front so you can find and retrieve the object quickly
  2. Use simple skirting to hide clutter stored below counters
  3. Install shelving above windows to hold books and display art work out of the way

Where Whimsy Reigns by Elizabeth Holcombe Fedorko

  1. Use collectibles as storage containers that can be displayed
  2. Attach a folding table to the wall: pull it up to work, down to put it out of the way
  3. No matter how small your space, make room for pets!

As you will see on my page tierneycreates Studio Tour I followed Ms. Fedorko’s tip #3 and made room for pets (well actually my manager Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer):

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Sassy hanging out in “cave”

If you have a small studio like I do (or a dream larger studio) I hope you find some of these tips useful!

 

Update on “A Chicken Named Tierney”

Several months ago I posted that a friend of mine named her baby hen chicks after her close female friends. This is an update to that post – A Chicken Named “Tierney”.

A month or so ago I took photos of teenage “Tierney the Chicken” and her brand new chicken coop; and recently I took photos of young adult “Tierney the Chicken”.

The Teen Years Weeks

Here is the deluxe coop she and her hen sisters live in. It has an inside section and a sunroom:

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Chicken Cooping in style

Here is teenage “Tierney the Chicken” and her sister “Gabrielle the Chicken”:

 

Here is “Tierney” and the other teenage hens getting a snack:

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My friend Marla, mother to all the young hens, has a photo in her house of what “Tierney the Chicken” will look like when she grows up and becomes an adult Dominique chicken:

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Young Adult “Tierney the Chicken”

“Tierney” is now a young adult and getting closer to her egg laying days. No eggs yet but my friend Marla thinks in the upcoming weeks she and her sister hens will lay their first eggs.

Here is a current photo of “Tierney” and her sister “Gabrielle” (and some other chicken “photo bombing” the shot, ha!):

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My friend Marla reports that “Tierney” is the friendliest of all the chickens. She runs towards you first when you come into the coop and she likes to snuggle:

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Chicken Cuddles

Truthfully I’ve never cared about chickens beyond enjoying the eggs they lay or an occasionally tasty chicken dinner. This is the first time I have ever seen a chicken snuggle! (Is it my fate to eventually become vegan now that I suspect most farm animals will snuggle?)

Maybe it is slightly weird my friend named one of her hens after me (and her other close female friends) but how many people get to say they have a chicken with their namesake!??!

I will close this post with a photo of the cool wind vane inside Marla’s backyard:

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2017 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

For this year’s post on the 2017 Sister’s Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS) I am going share my 2017 SOQS experience in one post instead of breaking it into a series of posts like I did last year. Warning: There are a lot of photos in this post!

For more background on the SOQS and for photos and stories from previous shows, see my blog category Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.  

Also watch for upcoming posts and videos from two other local bloggers Woolie Mammoth: wooliemammoth.blogspot.com and  Kristen Shields: kristinshieldsart.com/blog on the 2017 SOQS. There was an incredible Lion King Exhibit I did not get photos of and perhaps these bloggers will feature photos of this mind blowing photos to share on this traveling exhibit.

It was very hot yesterday (imagine the witch in the Wizard of Oz: “I’m melting, melting”)

in Central Oregon and this year I decided to go to the show in the afternoon instead of the early morning as previous years. I had plans to meet friends for dinner after the show and I thought I would be completely melted by the end of the day if I went early!

Pathways Exhibit

I shared the progress on my art quilt for the annual Central Oregon SAQA exhibit, Pathways, in several previous posts (most recent Artist Statements, Part II). It debuted on Saturday July 8, 2017 at the SOQS.

Below are photos from the exhibit which featured the works of some majorly talented art quilters in the SAQA group I belong:

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My SOQS Wandering Partner

My friend the NY Times Bestselling Author, Marie Bostwick, was in town for a book signing at Paulina Books (a wonderful indie bookstore, please support your local indie bookstore!).

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I retrieved her after the book signing to extract her from the comfort of an air conditioned bookstore so she could experience the sweltering heat and wander around and look at quilts!

Inside Sisters City Hall: Respite from the Heat

Here is a secret to SOQS: If it is sweltering hot, you can take break from the heat inside of Sisters City Hall and look at quilts (or pretend like you are looking at quilts and just sit inside and relax!)

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Inside City Hall, when you first enter, they had an incredible quilt on display by Jean Wells Keenan that is a tribute to the town of Sisters Oregon:

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Walking into the City Council meeting hall, there was an incredible display of art quilts, the Quilt for Two Rivers project, inspired by the Whychus Creek in Sisters:

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It was very empty in City Hall towards the end of the SOQS and Marie and I spent a leisurely 30 – 45 minutes or so sitting in the comfortable chairs of City Hall, in air conditioning, visiting. Finally the SOQS volunteers came in and kicked us out as they had to lock up City Hall.

More Around SOQS Photos

I did not take the volume of the photos I have taken in previous years attending SOQS. I hope I do not sound too jaded but it is a very nice show with a lot of very nice quilts, but I  no longer think I need photos of every spectacular quilt.

Instead I took photos of a sampling of sights to give a mini experience of attending this mind-blowing show. The entire downtown of Sisters, Oregon is closed to traffic and the entire downtown, every building (and seemingly every nook and cranny) is covered with quilts!

Here is a glimpse inside the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop (Jean Wells Keenan of the Stitchin’ Post started the show in 1975):

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 During SOQS it is pure madness inside this quilt shop as compared to the rest of the year for us locals. I do not attempt to shop there during SOQS (as I can shop there anytime the rest of the year) but I do like peeking in to see the craziness as quilters from all over the world try to take home a little of the magic.

One thing I have to say about the Stitchin’ Post, besides having a fantastic staff (which includes many talented fiber artists), is that it has a fantastically curated selection of fabrics and yarn. If you are an art or modern quilter this is definitely the place to buy unique and hard to find fabrics.

At the show I ran into Donna R., an extremely talented art quilter and long time SOQS volunteer. She had on a handmade and dyed dress created from previous SOQS volunteer T-shirts:

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The SOQS volunteers are quite an amazing group. I volunteered once in 2007 when I had my first quilt ever in quilt show at 2007 SOQS, but I have not been able to volunteer again since that time. Maybe in the future.

Speaking on volunteers, Jan T. another incredible art quilt and head of our Central Oregon SAQA group, presented a quilt story book in which each page of a giant book had a story on the right and a quilt on the left inspired by that story:

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How often do you get to see something like that? Only at the SOQS!

While at the show I ran into the wonderful teacher and incredible person, Janet Shorten the head of Sisters of the Heart Foundation which brings medical teams and community enrichment teams to struggling villages in Uganda. Janet teaches women in Uganda to do crafts, including quilting, then helps them sell those crafts to raise money for their communities.  Here she is with one of the quilts the women she works with in Uganda made:

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They focus on community empowerment and if you are looking for an organization to support with your donation, I recommend this wonderful organization!

So that is my reporting from the 2017 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Check out the other blogs I mentioned early in this post for additional photos.


Postscript

While at the show, I did stop at the Sisters Habitat for Humanity Thrift shop and found this lovely sunflower fabric for $2:

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I do love sunflowers and if you have followed my blog for awhile you might remember my obsession with sunflowers, like in this July 2016 post Waiting for the Sunflowers.

It is July again and I am once again waiting…so I just had to buy this fabric!

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Blogger’s Recognition Award

Linda Kelley at kelleysdiy.com nominated me back on June 27, 2017 for a Blogger’s Recognition Award:

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This post is to thank her, as I have been very remiss as it is now July 8, and to recognize some blogs that I follow. I cannot find her original post with the rules, but I did find her notice to me on my June 18th post Cabbage Rose Quilting & Fabrics, Ft. Worth TX.

Since I cannot locate her post with the rules, I am just going say thank you to this very talented DIY Craft & Lifestyle Blogger. She is celebrating a year of blogging and will have a series of giveaways to celebrate the 1st year of her blog July 17th and ends Aug. 14th. Winners announced Aug. 15 – Giveaway Update Daily.

If you are a blogger who has ever dreamed of having a lot of followers she is the role model – she has been blogging for 1 year and has amassed over 5000+ followers.

I am also going to nominate some blogs I have not previously recognized in my other blogging award posts.

The Non WordPress Blogs

For those of you on WordPress (WP) we are sort of spoiled. Using the WP Reader it is so easy for me to sign up to follow and to follow other WP blogs. It is easy to click “Like” on their posts and to comment. On non WP blogs it can be a bit trickier to do this (and some do not have a “Like” button). Usually I have to sign in and verify I am a real person, etc. to comment. I have to admit sometimes even though I want to comment, I do not because I am pressed for time and it is not as easy as with my WP fellow bloggers.

I want though to send some love to the awesome non WP blogs I follow:

  • Mary Fons: Writer! Quilter! All Things! – I met Mary at Trends in 2016 through a fellow friend and immediately liked her. She also gave a great presentation on the history/evolution of quilting (she is a quilting historian). She is the daughter of Marianne Fons of Fons & Porter. Her blog is well written and documents her travels, quilting adventures and life adventures and challenges (she suffers from Crohn’s disease/Ulcerative Colitis).
  • Lady Linda: ladylindateacup.blogspot.com – Linda is a dear quilting friend of mine who is one of my “Quilting Sisters” that I attend and annual quilt retreat. She has been blogging many years and is an Etsy guru/goddess. She was the one who first inspired me to open my (now closed) tierneycreates Etsy shop. She is an avid collector and seller of antiques especially dolls and small sweet vintage items. She is also really into tea. She knows how to do a proper English tea and has a beautiful collection of tea cups and tea service. She is also one of the very nicest people I have ever met. She is a retired 2nd grade school teacher and she is who you would have wanted to be your teacher!
  • Woolie Mammoth: http://wooliemammoth.blogspot.com – I have mentioned this blog several times in the past, as well as her wonderful YouTube channel, Quilt Roadies. Anna’s blog focuses on the happening in the Central Oregon quilting scene as well as her travels in her RV across the country. Her YouTube channel provides many wonderful walking tours of quilt shops across the country, visits with famous quilters, and other travel adventures.
  • Wendy Hill’s Blog: www.wendyhill.net/blog/ – My friend Wendy Hill is a very talented quilter, quilt teacher and quilt book author. Central Oregon is “infested” with nationally and internationally known quilters/teachers/book authors. She blog documents her projects, book writing process, and travel adventures.
  • Kristen Shields: kristinshieldsart.com/blog – Kristen is a member of the local Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) group I belong and is a very talented quilter, knitter, painter and all around crafter. Her quilts have been featured (and award winning) at QuiltCon. Her focus in modern quilting.
  • SimpLeigh Organized – I love the title for this blog which combine the word “Simply” and the blogger’s name “Leigh”! This blog is filled with excellent home organization and cost savings tips!

WordPress Blogs

Now I will send some love to WP blogs I enjoy following that I have not mentioned in previous posts on blogging awards:

No rules for anyone to follow related to this nomination (as I cannot find them), just know I appreciate reading your blogs!

Now with this post I am finally caught up on nominations! In the future if anyone nominates me, I might just say thank you in the Postscript section of the post and call it good (smile).

Update: Terry the Quilting Husband

So unless you live in Barrow, Alaska (1300 miles south of the North Pole/320 miles north of the Arctic Circle), you are probably not thinking about flannel, much less daydreaming of wrapping yourself in a flannel quilt right now.

We are currently sweltering in Central Oregon right but I am still going to share an update on Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)’s latest quilt top: A flannel fishing themed quilt:

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He actually finished it a couple weeks ago but I am just now getting around to posting about it.

If you check out my 04/30/17 post  Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop 2017 you will see the fabric TTQH purchased during shop hop.

He finished the quilt top in late May when we happened to have some cool days, and I found him and our miniature schnauzers taking a nap under his new quilt top (the “cuteness factor” was very high when I walked into the room and I had to tip toe out and grab my camera!):

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He has not worked on the back for the quilt as it is kind of warm right now to even think about looking at flannel in our fabric stash much less touching it. We might just put the top away for now until the weather gets out of the 90s and we can start to think about flannel quilts again.


Postscript

With the warmer weather TTQH is working on other things in his spare time besides flannel quilts – like taking Mike, one of our rescued miniature schnauzers on a bike ride. We have two doggy backpacks and Sassy rides with me (the girls together) and Mike rides with Terry. The photo below is from a week ago when we had a break from the heat as Terry and Mike head out on their bike ride:

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If you would like to see more photos of Mike (and Sassy) bike riding, see these posts on Sassy’s Schnauzer Snips blog:

What’s on the Design Wall: Scrappy Improvisational Medallion

This post is actually 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.

Got Medallion?

Obviously I have been influenced by my quilting mentor Betty Anne Guadalupe (see post Improvisational Medallion Quilt) or by my fellow blogger buddy Melanie at Catbird Studio (see post The Six-Pointed Star and per page Medallion Lessons) but I have a burning need to make a Medallion Quilt.

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:

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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:

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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!

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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.

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I had fun “bunkering” on the 4th!