A Crafter's Life, Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio

Pinwheel Therapy

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

Here was my first load of pinwheels:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Postscript

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

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

 

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

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

Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio

Pinwheel Piecing Party

Saturday I hung out with a quilting colleague and we had a “Pinwheel Piecing Party” in her home studio.

I was handed a bag of Moda triangle scraps that were already pieced into 1.5 inch blocks, so I could make them into pinwheel blocks.

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

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I turned them into a Pile-o-Pinwheels!

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

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

 

 

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, Studio

Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part I

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

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

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

Filmstrip and Book
Filmstrip quilt – four images 0001-0004 are featured in the book 1000 Quilt Inspirations
1000 Quilt Inspirations
Photo Credit: Quarry Books

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


Making Blocks

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

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

AIR CASTLE

AUNT ELIZA’S STAR

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

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CHURN DASH

 


Thinking About Settings and Borders

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

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

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

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

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

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

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Photo credit:Amazon.com

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


Postscript

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

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

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

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The back of a carefully pieced block

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

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

The Four Agreements are as follows:

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

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

A Crafter's Life, Studio

Revisiting Traditional Piecing

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


Creative Roadblock Stops with Returning to Traditional Piecing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

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

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

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

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


Getting Started on My Traditional Piecing Project

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

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

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

A Crafter's Life

The Tao of Quilting (re-post)

More new posts in the near future, but for now here is a re-posting of a November 2013 post – sharing  a page discovered in a quilting magazine long ago. The page is hung in my studio and each time I read it, it brings a smile to my face.


Are you familiar with the Tao Te Ching?

This ancient Chinese text, was according to legend, was written by Lao Tzu in the 6th century BC. It it a philosophical text which provides instructions on the way to live a virtuous life of harmony. There have been many versions of this text written and reinterpreted over the years to include The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff which shares practical life lessons from the perspective of Winnie the Pooh.

Many years ago, in a special publication quilting magazine Quilts with Style, I came across “The Tao of Quilting” by Stephen Seifert – a one page take on the Tao Te Ching. I have kept this page in the front of my binder of patterns-clipped-from-quilting-magazines to continually inspire me.

THE TAO OF QUILTING by Stephen Seifert

Our lives are full of obstacles causing stress and discontent.

But a quilt can be a bridge to overcome diversions and chaos.

Water ripples in the wind, never considering who is in control.

Yet its fluid nature gives it strength to serve as a foundation to life.

Soft fabric stitched together in a quilt fills the hardest heart with love and beauty.

The simplicity of love can penetrate all, including the the most cynical mind.

Rigid stone shores appear impenetrable, but their yielding surface gives rise to life.

Evergreens soar triumphantly above the lake shore, reflecting the paradox of life.

Problems emerge and seem pressing

But over time our thoughts evolve into understanding.

Nature’s silent teachings are taught without words

Instilling integrity into every quilt.

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Section from Tree Outside My Window (2015)

 


Feature photo credit: jhraskson, pixabay.com

tierneycreates

Using Categories!

I have been blogging for over two years and have experienced a learning curve on using the cool features of the my hosting platform, WordPress. If you who have followed me for awhile, you know I have experimented with various themes and formats to my tierneycreates blog. (Maybe I have left your head spinning over my frequent format changes…)

I do not have a web background (I am a RN by profession) and I appreciate all the user friendly interfaces of WordPress (as I learn them) including setting up special navigation side bar options to make a blog easier to navigate for my readers (and I appreciate each and every one of you!).

WordPress appears strongly committed to the ongoing education of its bloggers and provides great tips in its blog The Daily Post. Recently I learned how to create Categories on the tierneycreates and assign a categories to my posts from a The Daily Post article on Categorizing.

CATEGORIES are located in the left navigation pane. Assigning “Categories” to my posts will allow readers to browse my previous posts by a specific theme they are interested in.

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Say for example, you only want to read about “Terry the Quilting Husband” – click on the Terry the Quilting Husband and read only those posts. If you only want to read about my sources of creative inspiration, then you can click on Creative Inspiration and see all the posts from my series on Creative Inspiration.

Setting up “Categories” was a cool exercise as it made me think about what are the general themes of posts I want to have on my blog? What themes/topics/ideas am I passionate about and want to write about?

The seven (7) categories above capture what I want to focus on as a blogger. Thanks for reading!

 

A Crafter's Life

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Crafters

Do you have a favorite inspirational book of all time? A book whose message you have woven into the core of who you are as a person?

I do – Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend that you do.

Recently revisiting this book got me thinking: “how would the habits discussed in this book apply to creativity,  making handmade crafts, and creating a collection of art quilts?” Can I apply Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to the work I do on my tierneycreates business: striving to make a catalogue of handmade items infused with smiles to offer to my Etsy shop customers; and to working towards my dream of becoming a professional artist?

I came up with The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Crafters, based on Covey’s 7 Habits. If you have read Covey’s spectacular book then you know the background on each habit listed. If you have not read the book, read it, it is a life changer! 

THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE CRAFTERS

  1. Be Proactive: Those projects will not just start or finish themselves, Tierney! This habit reminds me that if I want to move forward with my goals, I have to get off the couch (and stay away from those highly addictive iPad games) and start working on projects and actions to achieve my goals.
  2. Being with the End in Mind: This habit helps me when working on an art quilt. When I get to the point when my intuitive and free-form design appears to have gone awry, I step back and think: “What do I want this piece to be? What do I want it to truly express and represent?” Taking a step back and thinking about what I want the end (the completed piece) to accomplish helps me refocus.
  3. Put First Things First: I use this habit when deciding on what priorities of projects to work on. It is very attractive and fun to work on another set of log jam blocks (read about my addiction to “log jam” blocks on my post “Log Jamming”: The Sequel) but it does not move me towards my goal of becoming a professional artist. What I need to put first is working on a new art quilt to build my catalogue of art quilts. This habit is also important when there are times I need to step away from the sewing machine and focus my attending on spend time hanging out with my husband and dogs.
  4. Think Win-Win: This has been a helpful habit on rare Etsy shop issues. Recently a customer mistakingly ordered the wrong fabric for a quilt project she was trying to complete. I did not carry in my Etsy shop the hard to find exact color she needed, only a similar color. I offered to accept a return on the fabric and I spent a bit of time researching for her where she could find the hard to find color in rare fabric line. She decided to keep the fabric she ordered by mistake and she used the links I sent her to work on locating the rare fabric for her quilt.
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: The meaning of this habit is actually much deeper then how I am about to apply it to crafting: Sometimes you have to step back, slow down and try to understand why something is not working on a piece in progress. I get so focused on trying to complete something it is as if I am trying to force a square peg into a round hole. If I take a step back and try to understand what is really going on with the piece then I can come to solution. This habit is also an invaluable habit when working with other quilters on projects and working with my Etsy customers.
  6. Synergize: This habit comes into play when I am consulting on designing and piecing a new quilt with my quilting friends. Their external ideas help fuel and enhance my internal ideas.
  7. Sharpen the Saw: I am an experienced quilter but I need to continue to take quilting classes and workshops to learn new techniques and refine existing ones. I also need to continue to network with other quilters and crafters, both those doing traditional quilts and those doing art quilts and experimental art quilting techniques. Inspiration does not come to me in a vacuum.
photo credit: Wikipedia
photo credit: Wikipedia