Audiobooks and Podcasts, Fabric Scraps Obsession, What's on the Design Wall

Pillow Popping with the Untethered Soul

I know, I know, this is the craziest tierneycreates post title ever, eh?

This post is actually a continuation of two ongoing tierneycreates series: 1) What’s on the Design Wall, and 2) Audiobooks and Podcasts.

Bear with me as I tie “Pillow Popping with the Untethered Soul” together!

Pillow Popping (What’s on the Design Wall)

I am working on my next art quilt for a future Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) exhibit but I cannot share photos on social media at this time. Unfortunately I am stalled in the progression of the piece but I want to keep myself sewing so I’ve decided to make a pillow with my collection of scraps 2.5″ x 2.5″ fabric squares.

I made a zillion (it actually seemed like a “zillion”) half-square triangles (HSTs) and Terry the Quilting Husband was nice enough to cut them apart, press and trim them (now that is true love!).

I pulled out this book from my craft book collection: Pillow Pop: 25 Quick-Sew Projects to Brighten Your Space by Heather Bostic and began laying out the pillow design per one of the patterns – Crystallized (on page 82 if you have the book).

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Image credit: Amazon.com

If you remember from my post Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop Day 1 QuiltWorks quilt shop had a wonderful Pillow Pop display with several completed pillows:

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This display made me want to eventually make all the pillows in the book!

Here it is on my small design wall (the larger design wall in the hallway has the art quilt in progress I mentioned earlier):

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The beauty of a truly “scrappy” piece is you can have all sort of crazy fabrics together and somehow it works (at least in my deluded mind)!

The Untethered Soul (Audiobooks)

I’ve been listening to a wonderful audiobook I borrowed from the library, The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations by Oprah Winfrey. The audiobook is read by the author and features curated sections of the actual interviews with inspirational thought leaders from Oprah’s TV series Super Soul Sunday.

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Image credit: Amazon.com

I listened to this book while I laid out the pieced half-square triangles for the Crystallized pillow patter and it was very meditative. 

To lay out this specific pattern where you get the effect of concentric diamonds of light and dark, I really had to quiet my mind and focus. Listening to this book was the perfect medium to do just that.

In the middle of my pillow-piecing-meditation, Oprah’s interview with Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, played.

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Image credit: Amazon.com

I’ve read this book twice a couple years ago and I’ve listened to the audiobook. I’ve also given it as a gift. I was surprised to learn that it is one of Oprah’s favorite books and that she has also given as a gift (to many more people than I have).

I would say it is one of those MUST READS, especially if you are on a path of self-insight and growth with how you interact with the world.

It was amazing to listen to the author Michael Singer discuss the book with Oprah as I continued my pillow-piecing-meditation.

I will close out this post with a couple quotes from this amazing book by Michael Singer:

“You have to understand that it is your attempt to get special experiences from life that makes you miss the actual experience of life.”

“The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality.”

“Your inner growth is completely dependent upon the realization that the only way to find peace and contentment is to stop thinking about yourself.”

“Billions of things are going on in this world. You can think about it all you want, but life is still going to keep on happening.”

“Do not let anything that happens in life be important enough that you’re willing to close your heart over it.”

“It is truly a great cosmic paradox that one of the best teachers in all of life turns out to be death. No person or situation could ever teach you as much as death has to teach you. While someone could tell you that you are not your body, death shows you. While someone could remind you of the insignificance of the things that you cling to, death takes them all away in a second. While people can teach you that men and women of all races are equal and that there is no difference between the rich and the poor, death instantly makes us all the same.”

“That which is holding you down can become a powerful force that raises you up.”

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A Crafter's Life, Fabric Scraps Obsession, Special Events

Two Quilters and a Bed Full of Fabric Scraps

I know you’ve been waiting…and here is the follow up to my 03/30/18 post  Scrap Party! , where I had a special birthday celebration play-date with my fabric-scrap-loving friend.

It started with this plastic bin of my fabric scraps:

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More fabric scraps crammed in here than I realized…

Dumped onto my bed (the bed has a plastic sheet from packaging material covering it):

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A king size bed filled with fabric scraps (awesome or terrifying?)

Before we dove into this delicious (or suspicious) pile of fabrics, first we took Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and our miniature schnauzers to Whole Foods for lunch (okay the dogs stayed in the car as it was a wee bit too cold to sit outside and eat with them).

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Mike and Sadie riding in style in the back of my vintage* 2001 car! (*hey someday it could be collectable…)

After lunch we headed back to my house to dive into the “bed-o-scraps”!

But first we needed to fortify ourselves:

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I might have a small studio but I can always make room for tea and cookies (made by TTQH!). Note we sipped our tea from schnauzer themed mugs!

After a few minutes of frolicking in the fabric scraps, my friend pulled her initial stack and got to work on making improvisational blocks.

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I set up my travel sewing machine for her to use at the desk in my studio
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Her miniature schnauzer Sadie kept an eye on her while she sewed

As a challenge, in addition to access to my crazy fabric scrap collection, I assigned my friend these pieced block discards/trimmings to try and incorporate into her improvisational blocks:

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Here are a couple of her blocks laid out on the design wall in my hallway:

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And here is her “to-go” bag of fabric scraps to finish up her piece at home:

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Note the expression on Sadie’s face like: “Are you really going to take ALL those home with us?!?!”

Sadie passed out on the pillow in my studio due to all the fabric scrap excitement:

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Fabric Scrap Parties are so exciting!

I did get a little blue seeing Sadie sleeping on the pillow in my studio as my beloved Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer used to sleep like that on the pillow before she passed in December 2018. But I did enjoy having a girl mini schnauzer in the house again and so did TTQH.

Here is TTQH hanging out in the living room with Sadie and Mike while watching the College Basketball semi-finals:

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We thought we’d let the ladies have their fabric scrap frolicking to themselves

So what did I work on? Well I thought I would take the opportunity to practice paper-piecing (Not the fun “English Paper Piecing” type but the “flip and stitch” type of paper-piecing that I suspect is what you have to do all day in the “Underworld” if you are bad in life and go there after you die…um, I would like to choose the “fire & brimstone” instead please…).

I signed up to participate in the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show’s 2018 Wish Upon A Card Fundraiser & Fabric Challenge sponsored by Robert Kaufman Fabrics. I needed to make a 4′” x 6″ fabric postcard to donate to the fundraiser, incorporating the two feature fabrics provided by Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

In general I love Robert Kaufman fabrics, but I was completely underwhelmed by the fabric pieces they sent me to make the postcard:

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Um…what am I gonna make with these?!??!

Thank goodness my friend helped me pick out some coordinating fabric scraps for my postcard.

Here was my first (actually second, as the first was a legendary-paper-piecing-screw-up disaster) attempt at paper piecing a little house for the postcard:

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Hated it!

Here is my second (okay actually third) attempt and the final version with my embellishments:

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“Visitor Arrives” by tierneycreates 2018 (note the back of the postcard is fused blank muslin covering the stitching so that it can be used as a postcard)

I mailed it off yesterday to Wish Upon a Card and I will not be offended if they say they “never got it in the mail” or they accidentally let it slip into the trash can – ha!

Now I bet you are curious: Did we make a dent in the pile of fabric scraps? Not really. Here is the tub of fabric scraps cleaned up from the bed and put back into the closet after my friend left:

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It appears I have enough for another Fabric Scrap Party (or 200+ Scrap Parties)!

A Crafter's Life, Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio

Scrap Party!

It’s no secret, especially if you’ve followed my blog for a while, that I am obsessed with fabric scraps. I won’t try to link any of my numerous previous posts on fabric scraps. If you are new to my blog, you will have to just trust me 🙂

Well one of my quilting friends, actually the one who got me into appreciating the value and opportunity for unlimited creativity provided by using fabric scraps, is coming over tomorrow for a SCRAP PARTY!

She had a birthday a couple of weeks ago and we are going to do a belated celebration by going to out to lunch and then coming back to my house and spending the afternoon playing in my fabric scrap pile:

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I did not post about it (as those of you who’ve followed me for a while may have grown weary of my constantly talking about fabric scraps) but last weekend I thinned out my scrap pile. I pulled out any remaining old lower quality fabric and donated more to a local charity thrift shop.

During a previous donation, a volunteer at one of our local charity thrift shops (for our local Humane Society shelter), told me that fabric scraps sell very well at the thrift shop. They cannot keep fabric scrap bags in stock, they sell out immediately! (See there are more weird obsessed people like myself in Central Oregon).

So what are we going to do at a so called “Scrap Party”? Well I am going to dump the whole box onto a plastic tarp on the floor of my master bedroom (as not to take up precious space in my tiny studio space that we will be sharing) and let my friend go wild playing with my fabric scrap collection. She is really into improvisational piecing (she is the one who helped me move from traditional quilting to art/improvisational quilting) so fabric scraps are one of her favorite textile mediums!

I’ve set up my travel sewing machine for her in my studio so we can sew together. I have two design walls (a small one on the closet door in my studio and then the big one in the hall way) so we won’t have to battle for design wall space!

I’m not sure what she is going to work on, but I plan to work on some paper piecing. I’m trying to spend more time with my extensive (ridiculous) craft book collection and rediscovered in my craft book collection – 50 Little Paper-Pieced Blocks by Carol Doak. Playing with fabric scraps seems like a great time to work on my paper-piecing skills.

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My friend is bringing over her miniature schnauzer so Mike will have a furry friend visiting.

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) made us chocolate chip cookies (to keep our sugar fueled energy level high for crafting!!!):

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Of course I will share the outcomes of our Scrap Party!

A Crafter's Life, Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio

Oh Scrap!

Recently a couple of my blogging buddies, Mary at Zippy Quilts and Claire at knitNkwilt posted about starting projects from their fabric scrap piles and “fabric scrap wrangling” (organizing a crafter’s crazy scrap pile).

As fabric scraps are my secret (well..not so secret) obsession, I want to join the conversation!

Last time I posted about my fabric scrap organization, I shared this photo of my fabric scraps organized in windowed boxes by color:

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Fabric scraps organized by color

Well this organization failed. Why? Because I was not using the scraps, I was just enjoying them as “decoration” in my studio!

I knew I needed to do something and rethought how I was create with scraps I realized it was too cumbersome to pull down individual boxes by color to access scraps (my studio is small and I could only pull down 1-2 boxes at a time without serious crowding!). So I did something crazy: I pulled all the scraps out of the boxes and put them into a bag:

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Yes it is a giant bag! It measures 22″ in height and approximately 22″ in diameter…and it is packed (but not too tightly…just fairly tightly, ha!). I’ve named it “Giant-Bag-O-Scraps” and I love it!

In addition to moving the fabric scraps out of their boxes by color, I also thinned out my collection of “Challenge Bags” (see post Basket of Challenges) and moved many of the scraps from these bags into the Giant-Bag-O-Scraps. I narrowed by huge “Challenge Bag” collection down to this:

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Note the random “tailor ham” in this area, hoping someday to be used to make a fabric cap…

I did keep one type of fabric scraps separate from the others – batik scraps. They have their own organization into three baskets under my cutting table: 1) light and medium-light colors; 2) medium-dark to dark colors; and 3) thin strips:

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Note the red arrow – this is Mike the miniature schnauzer’s ball storage in my studio

The reason for this separation is I want to make some landscape quilts using batik strips. I recently bought a book on Landscape quilts that I will discuss in a future post (once I start an actual landscape quilt project).

During this entire “scrap wrangling” project I did pull out a lot of scraps to donate to our local Humane Society Thrift Store. The thrift store has a crafting section and packages of fabric scraps sell very quickly there (other weird people like me who are also obsessed I guess..). Check out my post from October 2016 – A “Humane” Way to Eliminate Fabric Scraps to see how I packed up a huge donation of fabric scraps during my purging in 2016. The packages of scraps shown in that post sold within a week at the thrift shop!

Although I am not seeking out any additional fabric scraps, currently I am embracing my fabric scrap obsession. I remind myself that my quilting studio area is “my playroom” and it is okay to go in there and just play with my scraps!


Postscript

Happy MLK Day! When the political landscape feels challenging to me as a person of color and as a woman, I remember his words and I am re-inspired:

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What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design…Ironing Board?

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. It is also a follow up to my post Can We Talk About Table Runners?  on the table runners I am working on.

I had the five (5), yes five (5) table runner tops that I finished on the large design wall in my hallways but I yesterday evening I started a new art quilt and took them down. Now they are all sitting on the ironing board waiting to be completed:

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They all began as yardage of my collection of Ombre fabrics and my stash of pieced strips from brightly colored fabric scraps:

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I have decided to quilt each one of them.

In the previous post on these table runners I discussed my challenge of how long to make them and several of you weighed in with ideas on both length and width.

The unfinished group of five table runner tops measure anyway from 17 – 19″ wide and 44″ – 53″ long. The dimensions will decrease after I quilt them and trimmed them down a bit to straighten their lines. So I think I will end up with table runners from 16″ x 42″ to 18″ x 52″ or something like that.

I just flowed with whatever length the design took me as I progressed!

I will reveal the runners in all their glory in a future post once I get some quilted!


Postscript

The Natural Selection Convention

Whether you believe in Evolution, Intelligent Design, Creationism, or something else, you have likely heard the term coined by Charles Darwin – “Natural Selection”. 

Dictionary.com defines it as “The process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring”.

Well last week I came across on my walk what I might call a Bird Natural Selection Convention!

First I noticed at the corner of an alley I turned into on my walk, an adorable cat sitting on a fence. Well that cat wasn’t just sitting on the fence, he was curled around a set of bird feeders!

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“Here birdy, birdy, some nice yummy food is waiting for you…”

I stopped a greeted the cat who let me take his photo (I actually took like 10 different photos to get the right shot and the kitty just stared at me while I did it). Then I completed turning the corner and here is what I found two feet from the “bird-feeder-cat” – another kitty just hanging out on the same fence:

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And then, one more foot down the fence, another kitty:

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This is why I am calling this a Bird Natural Selection Convention any bird that attempts to use the bird feeder will most likely not be having any more offspring!!!

I laughed so hard at the trio of kitties waiting for very hungry and not too bright birds!

What the Heck is This?!?!?!

Have you ever been to Costco? It is a magical place I try to stay away from (see my post Break Up Letter to My Warehouse Club). However there was something we really needed at Costco (what Tierney, an 180 count jar of olives, triple pack?) and so we went.

While strolling the aisles (okay even if you go there for just one thing, it is mandatory that while you are in Costco you stroll the aisles), Terry and I came across this:

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It looked like someone had skinned a schnauzer! We do not know if it was synthetic or some poor animal but it was a very unusual pillow. It was quite soft to the touch (you could pet it for hours) but then that added to sort of a creepy feeling I got from it.

Also – how the heck would you wash it if you got a stain on it? We had quite the laugh over it (like we did in September when they had the Christmas decorations already out in Costco) but we somehow controlled ourselves and did not buy it.

(Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer would have been quite distressed if she thought we were bringing home a skinned schnauzer pillow!)

Studio, What's on the Design Wall

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 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 another quilter gave me.

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!

Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio

Finishing out the Challenge Bag of shot cottons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Postscript

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

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

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Studio, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on Design Wall: Your Ideas

My next post was going to be about the cool projects other quilters were working on at the retreat (tuffets!) I attended last weekend. However, I do not want to lose the momentum from the project discussed in my Thursday 08/11/16 post –What’s on the Design Wall (Need Your Help).

I so appreciate all the enthusiastic responses, votes, and ideas. I have to tell those of you who commented: You made a MESS of my studio (smile)!

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You should have seen my little studio – various fabrics pulled out from my stash in many different colors, from your suggestions, strewn about everywhere. It was like a tornado of fabric options had blown through.

Reading all the comments was very fun – it was like you all were crammed into my tiny studio (where would I fit you all?!??!) and we were looking through my stash together and throwing around ideas (and fabric).

Of course, I would have to plan a snack and beverage for all my studio guests crammed into the tiny room…but where would I set out the plates and cups? (Maybe I could go scavenge some more fruit from my neighborhood to serve as snacks…but that is an upcoming post: Fruits of My Neighborhood Part III!)


THE RECAP

  • This project began with a bag of colorful Batik scraps (that I embarrassingly actually purchased…in a moment of weakness from the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop’s basket of scrap bags for sale..that shop is loaded with temptation!)

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  • I turned many of those scraps into 24 6′ x 6″ blocks:
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(BTW – I moved these blocks to my new hallway design wall which we created this weekend – but that is another post…)
  • I presented four (4) options for the layout on the blocks and here are the votes by Option:
    • OPTION 1A – Float the blocks individually in a neutral background: 2 Votes
    • OPTION 1B – Group the blocks together and then float the whole grouping in a neutral background: 0 Votes
    • OPTION 2A – Float the blocks individually in a gray background: 4 Votes
    • OPTION 2B – Group the blocks together and then float the whole grouping in a gray background: 2 Votes
  • In addition to voting on options I presented, many of you in your comments suggested different options (I hope I captured the essence of all the comments to date, my apologies if I left a summary of your comment out below):
    • Group them together on a neutral background not trying to make them perfectly square, use Misty Fuse to attach them
    • Stitch the blocks together, use a pieced binding to enclose them, they speak so well on their own!
    • Group them together on the grey but make sure all blue sides are facing opposite of the grey fabric and placed up against another block rather than up against the grey fabric not allowing a blue side to but up against another blue.
    • Float each block individually, with a PURPLE or RED background- keep the color going! And maybe put a yellow square at each “intersection”
    • Golden brown would be nice also (to float blocks).
    • I agree with some others are dark brown, plum, dark red, I’d be inclined to try them on different ones and see which calls loudest.I start to wonder if it’s be even better on the dark brown.
    • I think a chocolate brown would be so cool.
    • I would make more blocks, group them without sashing or a border, and bind with a pieced binding (NOTE: I did make more blocks, see below!)
    •  If you do want separation, don’t set them straight, in rows and columns. Use your separator in more random sizing — perhaps framing each one with the same fabric but in wonky widths. It might be easiest to pull off with a fabric that has some pattern so the seams between newly framed blocks disappear a bit.
    • If you really want to set them apart on a different background, what about looking at either a gold dupioni or a deep purple dupioni?
    • (from a text to my phone, not posted to the blog) What came to mind was floating blocks in a round of neutral logs then a round of gray logs – maybe alternate with the reverse – round of gray first then neutral – then you float and have blocks side by side – and I’m thinking of a neutral acid yellow or lime green or maybe an acid yellow orange – a crisp bright marigold color – all would look good with the blocks and gray.
    • Option Z: I love love love the blocks, but am partial to flashy colors mounted on a white background. I also like sashing between the blocks because it makes each one pop.
    • While I like both versions of placing all the blocks together and placing with sashing, I would need to try the sashing version using a variety of sizes and different shades of either the light or the grey.
  • One fellow blogger, Melanie @ Catbird Quilt Studio  was kind enough to e-mail me a photo of one of her lovely scrappy log cabin quilts, “Broken Pains” as an example of a layout she used:
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Photo courtesy of Melanie McNeil, Catbird Quilt Studio. Used with permission; all rights reserved.
  • In addition to showing you the scraps I started with, in the previous post I shared the pile of scraps I had left over from trimming the original set of blocks down to a 6″ x 6″ size:

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  • In the evening on Friday and Saturday, I turned the trimmings from those scraps and some of the remaining scraps into 23 more 6″ x 6″ blocks:
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(Now why didn’t I make 24 more instead of 23 more? I guess I lost count while piecing!) As you can see, these blocks are somewhat darker and have more piecing. I tried to use all the scraps from the trimmings which had piecing within the scraps.
  • I now have scraps left over from trimming the latest blocks and the remaining original scraps that started it all…and yes, I am going to make more blocks out of them!  (Besides 47,  24 + 23, is an usual odd number of blocks. )

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THE EXPERIMENTS

I tried out many of your color suggestions. To save time, I had a “pocket full of scrappy blocks” as I experimented. I never imagined walking around my house with a pocket full of quilt blocks!

Now, try and use your imagination as you look at my experiments. Although I tried to put strong lighting on the design wall, if you have been following my blog for a while, you know I am not the best photographer (if I tried to make photography a career I would be very hungry).

I provide two layouts on each test background fabric: 1) floated and 2) grouped together with a border.

More disclaimers (soon you will be frightened to even scroll down and look…): I did not iron the fabric I used as the test background and I randomly selected the blocks to go onto the test fabric. (If this were a real quilt layout, I would have given more thought to the block placement and order.)

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RED – I loved this!
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Brown – sort of a “milk chocolate” brown – could take it or leave it…
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Dark Brown – I guess the “dark chocolate” brown – I liked it!
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Gold – this is a new Moda fabric I picked up – I love it!
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Different shades of gray using an ombre fabric – could take it or leave it
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Purple – lovely!
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White – in concept sounded nice put I do not use large amounts of white in my pieces
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Blue-gray – sort of denim like – I liked it! This is one of the Peppered Cottons I have on my Etsy shop
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MARIGOLD! Well as close as I could get to marigold – this is a Moda Grunge line fabric and this is my favorite!
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Looked for an “acid green” in my stash but this bright lime green was the best I could find. I like it!

THE DECISION

Thank you so much for all the great ideas. I also appreciated all the layout and general design ideas.

My decision is as follows:

  1. Make more blocks, trying to use up nearly all the remaining scraps.
  2. Do not make a quilt with these blocks, instead make a SERIES of artsy table runners for my tierneycreates Etsy shop using various combinations and layouts of these blocks and my favorites of the backgrounds above (red, marigold, gold, purple, dark brown, and lime/acid green).

Thanks for coming with me on this color and design adventure! I will update you all as I complete the table runners!


POSTSCRIPT

Here is a follow up on the post Mysterious Thrift Store Fabric Find: One of my blogger buddies, Claire @ knitnkwilt.wordpress.com, tapped into her resources and got a translation for the words on the selvage of my mysterious Asian fabric thrift store find:

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ll the characters on the left say is ‘manufacturer/maker’.  I’m guessing the ones just to the right of Watex are the company’s Japanese name. The handwritten characters say ‘Golden Age’

Thanks so much Claire for helping solve the mystery.

I had more ramblings for this Postscript, but you are likely exhausted after reading this very long post!

Studio, Thrift Shop Adventures, tierneycreates

More Creating – More Art Pillows

This post is a quick follow up to the post Creating… on 07/27/16 where I discussed pulling out from my project pile and completing a set of “art pillow experimentations”.

I spent part of this weekend finishing up the rest of the little art pillows (they range from around 6 x 6 inches to 8 x8 inches for the large one).

Here is the full set of the finished pillows (notice my new tierneycreates labels on each pillow):

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Here are the backs of the smaller pillows (made with hand dyed fabric found at a thrift store (it was quite the score!)

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I was going list these three pillows on my tierneycreates Etsy shop as a set but I decided to just list them separately (they do look cute together though): 

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Here are close ups of some of the pillows:

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I am posting this on Sunday night but you will likely read this on Monday, so I wish you all a wonderful week, and talk to you later!


Postscript

My blogging buddy, Laura of Create Art Every Day, posted a lovely painting of a quilt block, inspired by my blog on her post GEOMETRIC ABSTRACT CALL TO AUTUMN IN WATERCOLOR AND ACRYLIC (WORLD WATERCOLOR MONTH, 29/31)

I am inspired by her paintings! I might do a little quilt piece inspired by her work.

In Central Oregon we actually have a famous quilter and a well-known painter collaborating on art projects – Jean Wells Keenan (quilter) and Judy Hoiness (painter).

Here is a link to examples of their wonderful collaborations: Twist from Tradition Series.

Terry the Quilting Husband, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall

Continuing my series on What’s on the Design Wall: Projects in Progress…


Terry the Quilting Husband, fresh from his sale of two of his quilts during the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, is eagerly working on a new piece (maybe for the 2017 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show?).

Terry is using our new temporary “giant design wall” that I discuss in the post Whole House Crafting. Until we get the interior walls of our house repainted (someday) we are just using a package of Warm & Natural batting on one of our hallway walls.  A future house project is to build a nice large design wall on this side of the one hallway in our little home.

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Terry likes to work from parameters I start him off with and he does not like quilt patterns of any kind. I tried to help him learn how to follow quilt patterns, but he strongly prefers to work intuitively.

I had a stack of 2.5 inch strips from an old kit (for a very ugly table runner) that I was never going to make. After sewing sections of the strips together, he is going to inset denim between them some how. All his concept – I only gave him the strips.

Here is my stash of recycle denim he is looking through to complete his design:

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The chair in my studio with my stash of denim scraps

Can’t wait to see how it comes out!

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, Studio, Terry the Quilting Husband

Putting the “P” in Procrastination

Once upon a time there was a quilter who was also married to a quilter. The quilter and her husband-the-quilter decided to each put five (5) quilts into the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, for a total of ten (10) quilts. They finished their 10 quilts and had them all back from the magical long-arm quilter by April 2016. The quilts needed to be labeled and ready for the show by June 24, 2016.

The quilter and her husband knew they had plenty of time to get those labels on the quilts…


I think this tale will have a happy ending, but right now I am in the “moral lesson” part of the tale. Like in the “Ant and the Grasshopper ” from Aesop’s Fables (the ant spent the summer planning for winter and the grasshopper spent the summer goofing off and we know how that ended…).

We have a stack of 10 quilts needing labels (see photo above!) and Terry the Quilting Husband does not hand sew (he actually hates needles and has no desire to hand stitch anything). So I need to get all the labels on by 06/23/16 to deliver the quilts on 06/24/16 to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Office.

“P” is not just for Procrastination. “P” is for PANIC.

Studio

Breaking the Law! (Update on Recycled Door)

There is song from the 1980s by a British heavy metal rock band Judas Priest titled “Breaking the Law” where in the song, they repeatedly sing the chorus: “Breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law.”

When I lived in Seattle my friend Michele and I would enjoy singing choruses of this very campy 1980s song under our breath or at the top of lungs when we were not following standard rules of behavior or etiquette, etc.

This song was played my head when I made the decision to do a traditional quilt binding instead of a “facing”on the back of my art quilt Recycled Doors for the upcoming Central Oregon SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Art Quilt Associates) exhibit at the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Please see my post Update: Recycled Door for more information on this piece.

(If you are unfamiliar with “facing a quilt”, here is a link to the Quilting Daily’s page on Finishing a Quilt with a Facing. Facing creates clean edges to the quilt with no edge binding.)

Facing the back of an art quilt to create a smooth edge appears to be the expected and acceptable standard and is what I have always done in the past on any quilt I want to be classified as an “art quilt”.

I feel feeling very rebellious after talking to my friend Wendy who suggested, as an option to finishing the quilt, a binding to bring out the orange in the center of the piece. I was reading to do some “law breaking” and did a traditional binding instead of facing the quilt.

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“Breaking the law, breaking the law…”  Recycled Door (2016)  – designed and pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan; quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

It felt good to be a rebel, ha!

Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. – Albert Camus


Postscript

You may notice my new blog template – quite different from the previous one. I really enjoyed the Chalkboard Template, but after reading that article on making blog pages easy for all readers to read and the feedback you all provided, I am going to try this new format for a while.

Studio

Adventures in Appliqué

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s page Schnauzer Snips for her latest musings…


It was about more than just improving my appliqué skills

Yesterday I took at wonderful appliqué class at the Stitchin’ Post in Sister, Oregon. The class was more than an appliqué skills building class, the class was about creating stories with quilts. It was a day long class from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (with flexible time for lunch whenever we wanted).

The class was titled: Historic Story Quilt and was taught by the wonderful Janet Storton. The focus of the class was to work on blocks for story quilt (bible story blocks were used as an example) using various appliqué techniques for appliqué skill building.

I signed up for this class to build my appliqué skills for a future of series of quilts I want to make based on stories my father told us growing up (see post Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me). However I got way more out of the class than just improved appliqué techniques!

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At the Stitchin’ Post we don’t attend our classes in a regular classroom – we study in a Textile Education Center!

The teacher, Janet Storten is the Director of Sisters of the Heart Foundation .

Sisters of the Heart Foundation‘s mission is bring hope, build a future, and empower a community in impoverished areas of the world such as Uganda. Janet spends part of the year teaching women in Uganda to create quilts and other crafts to sell in order to economically improve their lives and the lives of their communities.

You can read more about this incredible foundation at www.sistersoftheheartfoundation.org. They greatly appreciate fabric donations from quilters purging their stashes!


Here is Janet with a heart quilt (Sisters of the Heart) where each one of her students in Uganda made a different heart. She just got it back from long-arm quilting by Barbara of the Stitchin’ Post and trimmed off the extra batting before I took the photo:

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Two other quilts made by her students in the community in Uganda, these quilts are sold or raffled to raise money for the quilters’ community in Uganda:

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Here is the Bible Stories appliquéd quilt made by her students in Uganda:

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My Adventure in Appliqué (what I actually did in class)

Here is what I worked on as I brushed up on my needle-turn appliqué technique and learned buttonhole appliqué techniques:

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Our teacher instructed us to create folk-art looking elements, so “imagine” on the left is an acorn!

So you now thinking: “Whaaaat?!?!?” You spent 7 hours in an appliqué class and made two elements on a beige piece of fabric? Well…yes!

It is actually a story quilt I am working on that has to do with an acorn and a tree. Janet helped me perfect my needle-turn appliqué on creating the acorn (and help me select the scrap fabrics I used); and she taught me how to do buttonhole appliqué for the beginning of the tree.  I also learned how to stitch words onto fabric so when I am ready I can add the words that go with my piece.

For now it will be a UFO (Unfinished Object for the non quilters reading) until I finish some of my pending urgent projects (due dates zooming closer!)

The class was a joyous way to spend a Saturday and in addition to the teacher, I got to meet some other wonderful people – the fellow students. They had incredible stories to share during class too.


Postscript

One other thing I learned in the appliqué class was just how meditative working on an appliqué project can be – I think I might fall in love with hand stitching.

I needed good light to do the needle-turn appliqué on the acorn section and found that sunlight worked best. I spent quiet meditative time sitting in the window of the classroom (it was a glorious sunny day in Sisters, Oregon) and just hand stitching.

Wow. Now I get it.

I plan to take more “techniques” classes. I have been quilting since 1999 or so but I am ready to spend more time “studying” quilting.

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Studio

Update: Recycled Door

In the March 2016 post BLOG TOUR DAY 4: Unlikely Materials I shared a work in progress called Recycled Door. This art quilt is part of the Central Oregon SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) group exhibit “Doors” that will debut at the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt show.

We were challenged with making an 18″ x 40″ art quilt/wallhanging that represented our interpretation of a door. I found a door image I liked on Australian door and window manufacturer’s website Brisbane Timber . I created my interpretation of one of their doors, using recycled materials: jeans, corduroy shirts, a tweed jumper, and home decor fabric.

I just got this piece back from Betty Anne Guadalupe, my long-arm quilter and collaborative partner in The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection.  She quilted it to represent the texture/grain of an wooden door.

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Now I need put finish the facing for the back (finishing off an art quilt with a smooth edge instead of binding the edge) and it is ready for the July 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show!

As it was made with recycled materials, it will become part of The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection.


Postscript

I am listening to a new non-fiction audiobook, The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves by Grosz, Stephen.

It is pretty DEEP. The author is a British psychoanalyst who shares 25 years of his client’s stories (confidentiality maintained of course!) in relation to baffling behavior based on hidden feelings.

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The narrator also is British and I am enjoying the British English pronunciation of words such as “schedule” and “garage”!

One of the most interesting parts of the book so far, besides all the interesting stories, is the author sharing a very profound interpretation of Charles Dickens’ famous story, A Christmas Carol. He delves deep into what actually made Ebenezer Scrooge change his ways!

A Crafter's Life, Quilt Retreats

Quilt Retreat Weekend: The Projects

This is post #3 about my recent 4-day quilt retreat long weekend at Sew N Go Retreat in Vancouver WA. See posts The Road to the Retreat and Sew N Go Quilt Retreat, in Pictures for more on this retreat.

Why do quilters go to quilt retreats? Yes of course to spend time with quilting friends or meeting new quilting friends. Quilters also attend retreat to relax; to see what others are working on and get new ideas; and to work on our BACKLOG of projects!

At a quilt retreat you have the opportunity to focus on getting those quilting projects D-O-N-E! (While not having to cook, clean, or even get dressed out of your PJs.)

Here is what some of the “busy bees” were working on during this year’s annual Sew N Go Retreat:


Tula Pink Would be Proud

Tula Pink is a very talented fabric designer and I had the opportunity to meet her at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 40th Anniversary celebration last summer (she is absolutely lovely in person). She has several publications but one of her most popular publication is Tula Pink’s City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks.

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Photo credit: amazon.com

One of my Quilt Sisters at the retreat has been working (for many months) on a sampler of all 100 blocks! Below is a photo of initial block layout on the design wall at the quilt retreat (she is still deciding the final layout):

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Here are a couple of my favorite blocks on the design wall:

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What patience to complete 100 blocks for a sampler!  I own this book, but I have not completed one block to date from this book (but I am now inspired to consider completing a block – ha!).


Study in Black and Gray

Another amazing quilt different Quilt Sister worked on quilt retreat weekend was a star block in black and gray flannels that had a 3-D effect due to the placement of the colors.

Here it is in progress:

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Completed with the borders added (she is going to put beautiful special gray and black Minky fabric on back!):

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The Mother of All Embroidery Machines

One quilter and her daughter worked on a major embroidery project with their fancy embroidery machine – an embroidered doll house for their great granddaughter/granddaughter! They had to make each panel separately and then assemble it into a house. They got 3 – 4 panels finished but unfortunately I only took a photo of one of the panels, darn!

The Machine!

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One of the doll house sections (the courtyard):

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Pretty amazing!

Other Wonderful Projects

I did not capture a photo of all the projects, but here are some of the other wonderful projects in progress or completed by other Quilt Sisters during quilt retreat weekend:


Tierney, Where are Your Projects?

Well…

I had good intentions. I brought 5 – 6 projects to quilt retreat including some vintage style beer label fabric coasters to work on for my tierneycreates Etsy shop. My stock of offerings in the tierneycreates Etsy shop is dwindling due to sales (which is good); due to being busy and stressed at my pay-the-bills healthcare job (and not wanting to face a sewing machine after a long day of work); and due to focusing my extra time on art quilting projects.

So I brought several projects related to items I wanted to make for the tierneycreates Etsy shop. I ended up making nine (9) sets of vintage style fabric beer coasters during the quilt retreat weekend.

What happened to those coasters? Well they never made it to the Etsy shop, all 9 sets were purchased by quilt retreat attendees and the quilt retreat owner to give as gifts or keep for their own home. I cannot complain – I made stuff and sold it at the retreat.

I call it “fleecing my friends”!

Here is a photo taken by a Quilt Sister’s husband after he got his coasters she brought back from the retreat:

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Next post: Tools & Stories from Quilt Retreat

A Crafter's Life, Terry the Quilting Husband

The “Downsized” Quilt

Today a thought popped into my head: “tierneycreates is a quilter’s blog, perhaps I should post something about quilting!”


The Original Plan

I completed the binding on a “log jam” (free form log cabin block piecing) quilt I am putting the in the July 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS) called Modern Bedtime.

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It measures 63″ x 72″ which is short of a Twin size quilt and more like a large Lap size quilt.

This quilt was meant to be a King size quilt. I originally made its dimensions 98″ x 100″. I worked within the limit of the dimensions of acceptable quilts for entry into the SOQS (a maximum of 104″ on any side).

Last year the quilt I sold at the 2015 SOQS was a large Queen size quilt and I thought I would have a better chance of selling another quilt in the show this year if it were also bed size. I thought: “Maybe there won’t be a lot of large Queen/King size quilts in the show; so if someone attending the show was looking for a large bed size quilt my quilt would be available for consideration!”

Below is a photo of how the quilt started out. The original design had the log jam pieced center floating in a large khaki border. It is draped over a King size bed and you can see there is a nice drape (which I trimmed down to meet the less than 104″ on each side limit for SOQS).

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The Universe however did not want this quilt to be King size (or Queen size, or Full size, or Twin size…).


Disaster Strikes!

Something very bad occurred when I pieced the border, I am not sure what exactly as I have been piecing/sewing borders on quilts for many years.

The long-arm quilter discovered that the borders where extremely uneven when she loaded it on her professional quilting machine. Not just uneven, they were “majorly wonky”! She tried to fix it but the borders were so strangely pieced she could not fix it without disassembling a large amount of the quilt.

Additionally, there were several other strange and embarrassing quilt piecing errors (I am too embarrassed to mention these).

What the heck happened? I do not make mistakes like this! I do remember that I was in a hurry to finish up the quilt to get it to her to put it in her queue of customer quilts for the SOQS (she gets very backlogged with customer quilts prior to the SOQS). I was always working long hours on a challenging work project and very tired at the end of the workday.

Perhaps I should not have engaged in “Piecing While Tired” (PWT).


Downsizing

I had a painful phone conversation with the very kind and patient long-arm quilter as we tried to figure out what could be done about this quilt. She had tried removing one of my borders and trying to fix it for me. I kept thinking: “I am so disappointed in myself, I so wanted to sell this quilt at SOQS as a King size quilt”. I wanted so badly for this quilt to work out as I had planned.

Then suddenly I decided to just let it go. I asked the long-arm quilter to just cut off the offending borders and finish quilting the quilt.

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Modern Bedtime (2016) by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe

I trimmed off the left over borders, put on the binding and have embraced the quilt as it. I am still showing it/listing it for sale at the SOQS.

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go – Rumi

Warning: Never work on a quilt while tired and stressed from work! Lesson learned!


Postscript

I am working on something exciting right now but it is a secret. It is a piece for an invitation only special juried exhibit. More to come!

Studio, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the…Table

Congratulations to Beth T. who won the free copy of Creative Quilt Challenges from the random drawing of names from those who left comments on my Creative Quilt Challenges Blog Tour post – BLOG TOUR DAY 4: Unlikely Materials. Thank you to every who visited the tierneycreates blog for Day 4 of the tour and thank you to those who commented. I so enjoyed reading the comments and they got me inspired to keep experimenting with “unlikely materials”!

What’s on the…Table: “Ohio”

This post is a continuation of my ongoing series: What’s on the Design Wall.

However, this time I am going to share what is laid out on the table in my Studio, instead of up on my Design Wall. This post also demonstrates another example of using “Unlikely Materials” (recycled silk garment scraps) discussed in my Blog Tour post on 03/31/16.

Yesterday I posted about being inspired to create after a walk on a beautiful Spring day and inhaling the delightful fragrances of neighborhood Dogwood trees (Creative Inspiration: The Scents of Spring). Well later that day I pulled out the piece had I started a month or so ago (see post What’s on the Design Wall: Silk Squares) and got creating!

Here is the piece in progress, I am going to name it “Ohio“:

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What do a bunch of miniature log cabin style patches (2″x2″ and 2.5″ x 2.5″) have to do with the State of Ohio? Absolutely nothing, but they are part of a story. An ongoing story. Here is a visual summary of that story:


1) The piece started out as my attempt to create an Ohio Star (a traditional quilt block) from recycled silk

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Ohio Star, recycled silks (in progress)

2) I was very unhappy with the accuracy of the points on the star (although I interfaced the back of the silks, I had some challenges with accurately piecing the points). So I attempted to save the piece by reimagining the piece, slicing up the Ohio Star and sewing it into a new configuration. I was still not pleased with it.

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3) I gave the piece and the coordinated recycled silk pieces I have selected to a friend. She reimagined it into a completely new piece, while integrating all the elements from the original Ohio Star into the piece.

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Ohio Star (2016). Designed, pieced and quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

 


4) My friend gave me the leftover scraps from this piece which included scraps from my original piecing and new scraps from additional recycled silks she used in the piece. She challenged me to make something from those scraps!

 

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5) So, I started working on this piece over a month ago, and I am calling it “Ohio”

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Right now I am just continuing to make tiny blocks (2″ x 2″ and 2.5″ x 2.5″) and enjoying the challenging of using up small pieces of recycled silk. I find it to be meditative to quietly work on small slow piecing.

Will post about this piece again when it is nearly complete.

Studio, tierneycreates

Getting Ready for My “Blog Tour Stop”

Tomorrow the tierneycreates blog is a stop on the “Blog Tour” for Pat Pease and Wendy Hill’s new book Creative Quilt Challenges (2016).

When I join the tour on 3/31/16, I will discuss Challenge #3: Unlikely Materials from this wonderful book.

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The Blog Tour opened on Monday 3/28/16 and here are the other “blog tour stops” posts to date (if you would like to read them prior to the tierneycreates Blog Tour stop tomorrow 3/31/16).


Blog Tour Stops to Date:

C&T Publishing – Creative Challenges Blog Tour Kick Off

Tales of a Stitcher – Creative Quilt Challenges by Pat Pease and Wendy Hill 

Sandra Clemons – Book Review Creative Quilt Challenges

Upcoming Posts:

Thursday, March 31: Tierney Hogan, tierneycreates.wordpress.com

Friday, April 1: Gina at BOLT Fabric Boutique, boltneighborhood.com

Monday, April 4: Yvonne, quiltingjetgirl.com

Tuesday, April 5: Kristin Shields, kristinshieldsart.com/blog

Wednesday, April 6: Paula Marie, paulamariedaughter.com

Thursday, April 7: Teri Lucas, generationqmagazine.com

Friday, April 8: Wendy Hill, wendyhill.net/blog

 You can enter to win a free copy of Creative Quilt Challenges at the C&T Publishing blog  (a Rafflecopter giveaway)! Giveaway ends 4/4, and winner will be announced on the C&T Publishing blog.


See you tomorrow for the tour stop at tierneycreates!

Here is a little something lovely I found in the garden today: my first opened tulip (Spring arrives a little later in Central Oregon)!

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Studio, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall: Silk Squares

This post continues my ongoing series on “What’s on the Design Wall”?

In my previous post We Will Not Be Discarded’s Debut, I shared:

Also debuting in this show will be the piece that Betty Anne created from my abandoned recycled silk Ohio Star project she rescued (see post Surrendering My Piece to “Rescue”).The piece is amazing – she used all my original piecing and reworked it, with additional recycled silks and linens, into a completely new and deliciously intuitive design. I will post a photo after it debuts at the show. We were so inspired by this “handing off of the start of a piece” to another person to reimagine the piece, that Betty Anne gave me her start of another piece based on the same group of recycled silk and linens scraps. This will be a new challenge – I will create a piece based on her leftovers from her work on my piece that I abandoned …but that is another post…

Well, I have started on the piece inspired by the scraps my friend Betty Anne gave me (from her reworking of a piece I had started and then abandoned). She also gave me a small “square within a square log cabin style block” she had made from the scraps.  I used this block as the starting point for my challenge.

It is now in progress on the Design Wall.

Here is the story of it’s evolution to date, in photos:

The stash of recycled silk and linen scraps that Betty Anne gave me from her silk piece (which was a reworking of a piece I started, then abandoned)

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I made approximately 56 – 58, 2 x 2 inch and 2.5 x 2.5 inch free form “log cabin” style blocks. (I do not remember exactly which one of the blocks is the one Betty Anne originally gave me to start the challenge; but I know it is one of the black silk blocks with a bright center.) 

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I played around with potential layouts (like floating them in a solid silk like you see above photo) and I am leaning towards grouping them all together. I love the intensity of all the colors together.

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Here is a close up of one of my favorite 2.5 x 2.5 inch blocks – I am having so much fun coming up with combinations from the limited fabric options I was given. I enjoyed the tiny piecing challenge and many of the silks had to be backed with interfacing to stabilize their delicate weaves.

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Now the blocks are on the Design Wall.

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Now I can decide, from the remaining fabrics, what additional blocks I need to add and their color combinations.

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It is a work in progress!

Studio

Surrendering My Piece to “Rescue”

This is a follow up to the post What’s on the Design Wall: “Ohio Star” (a taste of “Big Magic”).

Starting out with a strong idea and good intentions…

In this previous post, I shared my excitement over my sudden inspiration to create a traditional pattern quilt from nontraditional fabrics (recycled garment silks and linens). I knew it would be an experiment and in this first experiment, I created a traditional Ohio Star block from my collection of recycled silk and linen samples from garment manufacturing.

If you are not a quilter, an Ohio Star block is a “nine patch” block made from quarter square triangles around a central square. This block is a very traditional quilt block and was used in early pioneer and Amish quilts in the 19th century. The pattern I used was for a “Star-within-a-star” Ohio Star.

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Ohio Star, recycled silks (in progress)

The plan was to make a small wallhanging. I pieced the Ohio Star block, and as I auditioned fabrics to use in the border, I grew more and more unhappy with the Ohio Star block.

At first I could not figure out what specifically was bothering me, as I was pleased with the color combinations/palette.

I realized what was bothering me – the piecing itself. My prior work with recycled silks involved intuitive free-form designs for art quilts. This was my first attempt at making a traditionally pieced structured quilt block from recycled garment silks and linens.

When I used to make traditional quilt pattern quilt blocks I would use crisp quilting cottons – this fabric was easier to manipulate to achieve accurate piecing and star points.

Working with silk and linen samples intended for garment making can be challenging, especially when attempting to accurately piece shapes such as star points. In order to work with the delicate silks, you need to put a backing/stabilizer material on the back of each silk section. Silk backed with a fusible stabilized can be cumbersome to cut into small accurate sections. Silk also frays.

So…to shorten what could grow into a very long and tedious story of my explanation why the Ohio Star was not working for me (and to avoid putting my non quilter readers to sleep), let’s just say: I was quite unhappy with the imprecise piecing of the block.

For a moment, I started to – just throw it away (gasp) ! Then I thought: let me try reimagining it – into some sort of “fractured” Ohio Star, where the accuracy of the piecing would not be as much an issue.

I sliced up the Ohio Star and sewed it back together into a new configuration. I revisited my stash of recycled silks and linens to audition other combinations to try to build some sort of abstract wall hanging art quilt piece around the “fractured star”.

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“Fractured” Ohio Star

Frustrated and drained of inspiration, I put the piece and its potential coordinating fabric away. I did not know where to go next with them.

Time to let someone else “rescue” the piece

I have several previous posts about working with “rescued” and “recycled” quilt blocks. Another quilter started a piece/making quilt blocks and abandoned the project; I then “adopted” the project and created a new piece based on the original blocks and my imagination.

While sharing my dilemma with an art quilting friend (that I was going no where with my Ohio Star silk and linen experiment), my friend offered to “adopt” the piece and create an art quilt with it.

I was delighted! Not only was I delighted but I felt a great sense of relief! I realize a textile project is not a living being but I felt as if I had recklessly abandoned a piece in progress, filled with creative energy, to the lonely “Projects on Hold” box in the back of my closet.

My experiment is going to be adopted and go to a good and loving home, where it can grow into something wonderful! 

(Yes I will share a photo when my friend completes the piece from wherever her imagination takes her!)

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go – Rumi

Studio

Update on “The Tree Outside My Window”

This is a quick follow up to the post What’s no longer on the Design Wall: The Tree Outside My Window – the quilt has been quilted by the talented long-arm quilter, Betty Anne Guadalupe!

 

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Close up details:

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Terry the Quilting Husband

Terry the Quilting Husband Hard at Work

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

Quilt in Progress

Terry the Quilting Husband has been hard at work finishing another quilt for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in July 2016, hoping to get into the Male Quilter exhibit (in the upcoming weeks he will submit his entries to the selection committee).

Over the past couple of months he made 82 9.5 inch blocks from my flannel scraps using the log jam method (see previous posts on “log jamming”) and sewed them into 9 rows of 9 blocks each:

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Rows of flannel scrap log jam blocks waiting to be sewn together

If you do the math – 9 rows with 9 block each equals a 81 block quilt. So what became of the 82nd block? I was wondering about that also and went into Terry’s “studio” (he uses the guest bedroom as his sewing studio) to discover the fate of the extra block.

Here is what I found: he kept one of the blocks that had a schnauzer in the center (from a flannel dog fabric scrap with different breeds) and displayed it in his sewing area:

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Note: our guest room is extremely dog themed. You would not want to stay at our house if you do not like dogs – ha!

The Pillow

The one block displayed made me smile and I wanted to make it into something more permanent for him, so I made a quick little throw pillow for him with the block.

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Now he is focused on sewing the rows together so we can get it to the long-arm quilter.

I suspect when the quilt is quilted, we are going to struggle with wanting to part with it if we decided to put it for sale at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show!

Studio, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall: Making Progress

This post is an update on the post What’s on the Design Wall: “We Will Not Be Discarded!”.

I have been working on assembling the blocks designed from discards, from another quilter’s block piecing, and a solid coppery-rust fabric, into a piece called “We Will Not Be Discarded”.

I am playing with the block arrangements and looking at two different arrangement options for the 15 blocks in progress:

OPTION #1 – All blocks pointing the same way:

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OPTION #2 – Blocks pointing opposite ways:

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I am leaning towards Option #2 as it makes the piece appear to have more “movement”. Once I finish all 15 blocks, I will play again with the final arrangement.

We Still Will Not Be Discarded!

I am playing with the idea of making a second piece (“We Still Will Not Be Discarded!”) from the discards/trimming of the original discards! (And the scraps from the solid fabric they are set in)

That would be taking recycling to the extreme, right? The challenge does seems interesting…

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Trimmed discards from the “trimmed discards” in my little trash basket – tempting!

 

Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall: “We Will Not Be Discarded!”

My collaborative partner on The Wardrobe Meets the Wall, Betty Anne Guadalupe and I have been fascinated with the idea of “Rescuing Blocks” that other quilters have discarded and we have an ongoing obsession with fabric scraps given to us by other quilters.

A quilting friend of ours (we think it was our friend Judy?) gave Betty Anne “Trimmed Block Discards” a while back (a couple years ago at a quilt retreat?).

What do I mean by by “Trimmed Block Discards”? I mean the ends of sections or blocks pieced for a quilt that trimmed off to make the quilt fit together. These are usually tossed in the trash by quilters (except those pathologically obsessed with scraps).

Betty Anne recently gave me these discards and challenged me to make an art quilt piece out of them. I could not turn down such a challenge: The ends of someone else’s blocks meant for the trash – recycled into a quilt!

I have already named the piece: “We Will Not Be Discarded!”

I started with figuring out a uniform way to make the discards work. I decided to float them in a  coordinating solid:

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Trimming the discards into triangle shapes:

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The discards all trimmed into various sizes triangles and ready for the design wall:

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On the Design Wall – waiting for what happens next…

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To be continued…

 

Postscript 

Here are several other posts on playing with rescued blocks and discards from other quilters:

What’s on the Design Wall: The Tree Outside My Window

What Was On the Design Wall: Rescued Blocks

 

 

 

Studio, Terry the Quilting Husband, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall: Backlog

Not all quilters are like me: saddled with a backlog of projects. I know quilters who (they are freaks!) work on ONE project at time, seeing it through completion, and not starting another project until their current project is complete.

My mind does not work that way. I am basically that golden retriever in the movie Up, who says “Squirrel!“when I see a new project to start. I am easily distracted and I tell myself I will get back to the current/previous project eventually.

I was having a bit of creative block on designing a new art quilt and I realize I need to work through my project backlog. So here it is sitting up the cutting table, festering:

 

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In this pile under the cutting table, I discovered 120+ 6.5 inch log jam blocks (scrappy pieced log cabin style blocks) that I had pieced earlier this year. With the assistance of Terry the Quilting Husband, I got them sewn together and now they are on the Design Wall awaiting assembly of the rows.

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I have a total of 10 rows with 12 blocks in each row. I am hoping that by floating the pieced blocks in a solid color border, I can make it a twin, full or queen size quilt top. I will post a photo when the top is complete (before it journeys to the long-arm quilter).

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.” – Mark Twain