Sunday, April 28, 2013

More Unfinished Business (UFB's)

As I inventoried, I took photos of some of the things I need to finish, in their various states of 'unfinishedness' (is that really a word?).

LOVE this pattern but haven't done anything with it yet.  But I will....

Current project on my wall, "Stacks" pattern by Tula Pink, but I had to do lots of MATH to bring it down to a more reasonable block size.  Hers was 18", and I just didn't want the finished quilt to be as large as hers, yet I still wanted the same number of blocks and rows to get the same look.  LOVE this!  I have all the blocks done now, although they are not in this picture.  This quilt be done by June & I will post completed picture.

No further comment on the one below, other than the caption.  It has an undecided future.
Guild block of the month.

LOVE!  Spider web using selvages.  Definitely will finish!!

Iris LOVES this!  Can't you see how excited she is?!!  Is it the bright colors?  The geometric design??  I don't know, but she ALWAYS love when I put a quilt top or quilt on the floor.  She runs around on top, pounces, dives underneath, then frequently falls asleep in the middle of it, as her efforts were SOOOOO taxing and exhausting.  Ahhh, the life of a cat!!!   Kind of like the toddler, falling asleep in the middle of play.  Reminds me of a funny picture my brother took of his son, asleep in his dinner plate, atop a tall barstool.  How he stayed up there, I don't know, because he was SOUND asleep...... he had played so hard all day.  So cute!!!

I think it needs to be larger.  Didn't use for purpose originally intended, but it will go forward at some point for someone or something.  Great pattern, I think the book was 'Sizzling 60's', as in 60 degrees. 

Now to a few projects in boxes, neat labeled, stacked on the shelf in my studio.

Below is a 'Chippewa Nine Patch' that I started in a class with Minnick & Simpson at the Grand Hotel, May 2011.   Beautiful!

When Edyta Sitar  visited Cameo Quilt Guild & taught this class, it was the 2nd class I had with her, the first being when she visited my guild, Great Lakes Heritage Quilters sometime prior.   She is a fantastic teacher, full of energy & excitement for quilting.  I think I only need to make maybe 10 more of these blocks to finish the top.  I purchased a beautiful roll of fabric from her in class that I am using for this project.  We actually made table runners of the pattern in class, then I HAD to make a whole quilt.

Some of the Chickens (see previous blog entry if you have no clue who or what 'chickens' are) did a year along exchange of Shoo Fly blocks, using shirtings and any type of blue.  Can't remember how many I ended up with, but it's MANY, MANY blocks.  Project on the back burner for now, but I have a setting idea for the blocks ready to put into action.

Last to look at today is a box I started up based on Gwen Marston.  I wanted to keep together things left over from projects that I may want to use someday.  She calls doing this 'The Parts Department'.  I also have been 'making fabric', maybe 8-10",  in the style of Victoria Findlay Wolfe using scraps from the garbage or from one of my scrap containers, so those are a perfect additition to the "Parts Department for future to use. 'Orphan' blocks can go here too--something that was fun to make but has no purpose, so far.

Looking at all those pictures makes me want to sew! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Is it an unfinished progress or a work in progress?

UFO (unfinished object), WIP (work in progress), PHD (projects half done), PIGs (projects in grocery sacks---never heard THAT one before!!), WHIPs (works hopefully in progress), RABBITs (not an acronym, but means multiplying faster than you can finish), WIPES (works in progress....eventually), WHD  (work half-done) and, maybe my favorite, PITA (pain in the ass!!). 

What do you call them?  Do we really have to call them anything?  Do we call it something based on our progress?  Half done? Is it top?  Is it blocks?

Our January guild speaker, Cynthia Gentit, an expert in organizing all kinds of spaces,  talked about how we could organize our sewing rooms.  I went home & made a list of my projects in the works.  I'm not as bad as some, I discovered, but still have quite a few.  And did I actually go in the basement to find the rest, the older, the totally forgotten????  No....not so much.

Pat Sloan also does some on-line help towards organzing.  She says an important part is analyzing your work & making that important call "Do I REALLY want to finish this?"  Or have my tastes just changed, no longer interested in completing that project.  After all, life IS too short--sometimes we just need to move on.

So, I pulled things out, got out the label maker, made lists.  One is just a list of works in progress. That is a more positive term, don't you think?  It's more hopeful.....  They're not  'unfinished', which is cold, harsh, not optimistic.  They weren't abandoned; just  'unfinished'!!

Then, I made a list I could look at when I went into the sewing room.  What should I be doing?  I used to sometimes wait for inspiration to sew & would squander time.  If you have 15 minutes or a half hour, you don't want to have to think too much, you want to get that pedal to the metal!!  Put goals for a week----sew a border on this one, binding on that one, a few more blocks for another, baste, get ready for machine quilting. Keep a list of things you could do.

I found this works for me really well!  I don't have to think too much, don't have to 'be in the mood' already.  When you get moving, you ARE in the mood.  Make the most of your time.

I have a drying rack in my studio; its wonderful to see tops hanging there.  Once you start putting things together & iron them well, it's a shame to fold them up & put them in a box.  Plus, they're right there where you can see them.

Active sewing projects go on my design wall.  It's covered in a beige flannel & blocks stick to it without pins.  I can stand back, see how I like the arrangement.  A design wall is an absolute must!

 Other projects go into stacking boxes, with labels on the outside.

This all goes along with my 'chasing squirrels' theme.  There is nothing like the excitement of a new project that you NEED to do---pulling fabrics, piecing.  Sometimes once I can start to see the outcome,   my fire cools, work slows down.  If it's on a LIST, I will get back to it.  I'm also a prolific, motivated quilter, and want to finish things.

But, OMG, look at that new issue of Modern Patchwork 2013, look at that pattern!  I've GOT to make that!!  As my friend said, 'LOOK there's a squirrel.....

OFF I go! works for me!

Monday, April 15, 2013

International Quilt Festival Cincinnati - more photos

Not going to say too much today, just post some quilter's eye candy.  More quilt photos from the show.  AMAZING quality, beautiful work.

a cityscape
The quilt on the right was made in Sweden, I think, by a large group of people.  The quilt was IMMENSE, so TALL.  When I see something this big I always say it will go on the wall of the condo/loft, very modern, I fantasize about having one day.


 The quilting on this  was absolutely AMAZING.

 I'm not usually into a really 'brown' quilt, and try to avoid vendor booths that are yellowy/gold or brown, but this quilt was FABULOUS.  Made in Japan, by hand, hexies & some other shapes.  Beautiful rich neutral fabrics. wonderful work.
the photos don't quite do it justice.  There was a crowd around it when I first saw it.

Inspired by the maker's trip to Australia.  It had a MILLION hand appliqued little circles.  It was beautiful!!


 I found this quilt, a self-portrait titled "Fifty-Six" by Naoko Hirano of Japan, very fun & whimsical, but the description she wrote was not so whimsical; reflective, moving & made me a little sad. She was looking forward to her 'Kanreki', 60th birthday, celebrated in traditional Japanese fashion.

"Thinking back on my life, I have a lot of good memories, gratifying, as well as unhappy ones.  Age related memory loss, menopause, they are now my friends, because, at Fifty-Six, I am almost 'Kanreki'.  I think my favourites, quilting & flowers, saved me from the sadness of losing my mother & from depression caused by child-raising failure.  I'd like to say thank you to them, from the heart.  I may not be rich, but I am proud of my quilting"

 This really touched me in so many ways.  'Kanreki' looms on the horizon,  I lost my mother not too long ago.  Is she childless?  That's what I took it to mean.  Happy to say my children are my pride, no sadness there, although we always think maybe we could have given more, done better.   And Naoko, I strongly feel my quilting has saved me too.  I am thankful for it every day, and proud of the work I have done and hope to have in my future.

SO glad to be a QUILTER!!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

International Quilt Festival Cincinnati 2013

My friend Suzanne and I headed down to Cincinnati for the International Quilt Festival and had a great time.  We packed as much into 2 days as you can, and spent about 4 1/2 hours in the car each of those days.  Walked countless miles, ate awesome food, saw beautiful quilts and shopped the vendors for quilters' 'must-haves'.  Even if we didn't KNOW it was a must-have until the salesperson did their spiel......just kidding!  We really DID need those things!

First of all; 4 hours south of us, it is SPRING.  Trees & shrubs have green leaves unfurling, flowering trees covered in flowers, grass is totally green and pansies are growing outside, in the ground.  We didn't happen on very warm weather, although the 2nd day was warmer.  They've already had their share, I think it had been 70 til we got there.  But it does the soul good to see spring advancing. May it PLEASE speed up its advance here in Michigan!!!

I was particularly interested in two modern exhibits:  The Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild, a chapter of the national group, The Modern Quilt Guild, had an exhibit where they re-interpreted the traditional block Dresden Plate.  This was very fun to see.  Although it is clear to see that if a group is invited to show an exhibit, the same stringent requirements do not apply as if you were an individual trying to get a quilt into this same show.  Hopefully this doesn't sound too snarky, but I believe quilting & sewing are a skill & our quilts deserve good work, be they traditional or 'modern'.  Here are a few from the 'Dresden' group:


  Also, The Modern Quilt Guild had an exhibit entitled "The Modern Quilt Guild Showcase 2012".  Exhibitors come from various chapters around 'the world', according to the show program.  It was very fun to see several quilts from quilters I have admired, having their books and following their blogs.  Those included Jacquie Gering and Victoria Findley Wolfe, among others.  For me, 'modern' quilts are like a breath of fresh air for the more 'jaded?' quilter's palate.  So many of those induce a bit of the ho-hum for me.  When I see one of these, I wake up!  Although, I still want to see quilts that show SKILL and quality in their sewing and machine quilting.  YES, it should be square, and flat, and well-made.  Here's a few of those:


One quilt that really excites me for its concept was done by a group of 4 quilters.  They took a photo, cut it into 4 parts, then each quilter made that section, in a designated size.  All four panels were then sewn together in one quilt.  I've seen something like this before, last year, at the show put on by the Oakland County Quilt Guild.  The quilt below was done by a group of 4, including Victoria Findlay Wolfe.
If you look closely, you can see the 3 joining seams.  I would LOVE to be included in a project like this, but not sure I know quilters willing, interested & able to do a challenge like this.  WHAT fun it would be!

My friend Carol, an extremely talented longtime quilter,  is interested in 'modern' & constantly quizs me 'is that one modern?' 'that one?', trying to grasp what in the heck it is, what makes it modern.  I texted her a photo from Cincinnati and said 'YES, that one's modern, LOL.  She possesses the most amazing color skills and has done some of the best work I have seen.  She is a traditional quilter. 

My new guild, Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild, doesn't have an active website yet, although it is in the works.  They will have a great definition there of what a 'modern' quilt is or what that term means.  Until their blog goes live, you can go here to see how the Modern Quilt Guild describes a 'modern' quilt.  Here you go, Carol!!

I'm feeling like this post may be long enough; I don't want to lose you.  So I will end here, but tomorrow will post more pictures from the show and some other info about it.

In closing,  I have to say how IMPORTANT it is to do these things as a quilter.  Your guild, taking workshops, going to shows INSPIRES your creativity---it is a fire that needs fuel, a plant that needs nourishment to grow.  Nothing you can do is more important than feeding & nourishing your creativity!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Chickens

So I had made a reference in my last post to the Chickens & promised to explain.  Here it is:

Back in the first couple years after my quilt guild, Great Lakes Heritage Quilters, began, I was invited into a small group, along with a couple of friends.  A few years went by, the group was up to between 10-12 members, and for some reason we became interested in the concept of chickens and quilts.  I think right after we had a speaker that had a quilt with chicken in it as roadkill, with tiretracks over it.  So we decided to have a challenge with Chickens as the theme.

We had quite awhile to work on them, at least 6 months, then would present them at a certain meeting.  We thought about renting a limo & driving to Frankenmuth for a chicken dinner, but decided against it.  At the unveiling, we ate deviled eggs, chicken wings & other similar things, and showed our quilts, which were all different & quite fun.

You're getting tired of reading now and wish there were some pictures.  Here you go---this was my Chicken quilt:

  Rather drab, huh?  Not my style any more.....

 Sometime later, at guild, someone heard us talking about the Great Chicken Challenge & began to refer to us as 'you chicken people'.   Thank you, Barb!!!!   We began to refer to ourselves that way as well, and so our brief, never loved name of The Material Girls went to the wayside, and ever since, we have been "The Chickens". 

We've been together as a group for 15 years or a little more and changed from a room of almost strangers to good friends who have now together been through almost everything life has to offer. Our kids have grown from young to young adults, some married & with young children themselves.  We frequently have sewing weekend getaways at member cottages or travel for quilt shows, quilt retreats, etc.

2008 Chicken

Chickens are a recurring theme, and in 2008, at a girls weekend at our friend Jackie's on Torch Lake, we had  Gwen Marston, reknowned quilter, come for a couple of days to do her "Henny Penny by Gwenny' Workshop, and we all designed our own folk art custom chicken quilts.  I don't remember how many of us finished ours, but at least a few.  They were all wonderful & I wish I could show them all, but I only have a photo of mine, to the right.

OOhhhh, colorful!

So our area has a new local chapter of  the Modern Quilt Guild  called the Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild (DAMQG).  YES---it's called the DAM Quilt Guild!  So we can all say, 'honey, I won't be home---I'm going to the DAM Quilt Guild'!

We are going to have a round robin challenge & needed to make a block for our project.  They will then be passed around, from person to person, and over one month, you will add something to it, then it will get passed to someone else.  At the end, you'll have your top back.   This is the MODERN Guild, so bright colors, graphic design etc.
  This is my block that will get added onto by others in the group.
Close up

I have been making 'made fabric', a la Victoria Findlay Wolfe and "Fifteen Minutes of Play", and used a piece of that fabric, fusible web, and a chicken pattern by Sandy Klop.  Then decided it needed to be perfectly clear that she was a MODERN chicken, and my Bernina 820 helped to clarify.

So, before I go for now, here is one more chicken, a FREE chicken, in Key West, roaming around, enjoying the sunshine!