Monday, June 27, 2011

More blocks for Project Hope

click to enlarge
     My calendar is crowded and time was running out on due date for blocks; so I got busy fast, yesterday afternoon. This has been a wild week with two birthdays, another quilt show, car menu needing a fix, rain galore, NYC recovery, two 12 x 12s, pruning, kids, and the dentist. I have written before:
     In the Fall, Katie rounds up friends to make blocks for quilts for Project Hope . She brings in fabrics on a theme. People gather to take home remnants to create. There is no pressure at all. I usually make about eight different blocks; others make fewer and some, more.
      In the Spring we meet to see how things are going, to get ideas from each other and to know what is realistic to expect by the deadline in late July which is when Katie likes to start assembling the blocks. After that, we tie the quilt. It is fun to gather with those who have worked on it before and pull in others we see passing in the hall to engage them. We are always surprised by the individuality of different participants. I assure you, all are more complex and interesting than mine.
      This year, the theme is creatures of the Northeast. It will be fun working with animals. This goes much faster than the art quilts I am working on. Katie has the tough task, but she listens to books and sews away! She has come up with a cozy way to make people aware of Project Hope.  (See April 10, 20ll for two more)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bloom where you are planted: a birthday journal quilt

Bloom where you are planted  12" x 12"
     Where did the year go. My daughter-in-law is already having another birthday and my bead group is having Nita's and my birthday this Thursday. But my birthday is next month. Summer plans confuse things. Luckily we had bought Beth a present in NYC this past weekend; and today I made a journal quilt in her honor. I remember Kathy's sending me a card, when we moved to London, that said "Bloom where you are planted!" and that was good for me.
     Not only is it Beth's birthday, but she is moving with my son and grandchildren away from the Boston area. But there is excitement ahead for them with new beginnings. I found a fabric about NYC and its rivers and bridges to cross...and I fused blooming flowers, appliqueing them with the sewing machine. I wanted to hand-embroider the title but chickened out to free-motion-quilt the words, my initials and the date.  I did quilt more, loosely sketching over the entire piece.  The backside of the quilt picks up on the pink roses and is wide enough to come back over the sides to be ironed and sewed as a binding. I ironed, pinned, and again used the sewing machine. Thinking Beth might want to hang it near a reading chair, I sewed little ribbon hooks on the back corners into which a dowel could be inserted. Also, I thought the children could ask questions about the items in the background. They have ridden in the carriage around Central Park and Daddy's new office is pictured. Click the photo to enlarge.

Monday, June 20, 2011

In the Beginning...a Journal quilt

     When the Journal Quilt Connection met, they decided to let each member choose a theme for a month of the year for members to quilt. We decided to start in July, and members pointed at me to choose a theme. I said, "That is my birthday month." "We'll do 'birthdays' then...birthdays apply to lots of things: people, nations." Later I suggested "beginnings" to avoid cliche.
       Although the "Beginnings" theme starts in July, this is my third in June. I seem to compulsively enjoy making one a week. This too will pass, I feel certain.
In the Beginning...
        Joe and I went to New York City this weekend where I always get so many ideas, I hardly know where to start. We get our Metro Card and hop on and off the buses and trains at museums, book and crafting areas. This weekend we hit the Morgan, the Folk Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Met and MOMA, and Montclair Art Museum on the way home. I also got to The City Quilter 3 times and the beading area on 6th Avenue near the New York Public Library. The Strand and the book store in Grand Central were not missed either. Plus, I discovered near Rein's Deli, on the drive down, another fabulous quilting store where I got the pencils. It is Quilting by the Yard on the Hartford Turnpike, in Vernon CT.
        I think this pinwheel journal quilt with no area to rest the eye shows the exhaustion, chaos and excitement of searching out new ideas from books, places and art before I finally get to work in many new directions! In the beginning is chaos, stitched in the ditch, bordered and backed by the wrapped yellow brick road. The dots are my brain and the subway lines you see as well if you click to enlarge.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Oh Sleep It is a Blessed Thing: a Journal Quilt

      After teaching English and history to 7th graders and becoming enamored of art history along the way, I decided to go to art school on my 50th birthday. My feet were like lead in cement, walking across the street from the museum to apply to the SMFA. I painted and painted, dawn to dusk, and the best time for dreaming up ideas for my canvas was in bed after everyone was sound asleep. So quiet...I could think.
click to enlarge
      Dreaming up new ideas became a habit but that is not good if everyone in the house awakens at 6 a.m. to go to work or be walked (dog). Nevertheless, I still love to think late at night, and then when there are lots of new adventures and beginnings as there are in our family now, I really need to sleep more to keep up with the crowd. 
       This is my second 12" x 12" journal quilt for my new group in Massachusetts, the Journal Quilt Connection. For July, birthdays or new beginnings is the topic. I was planning this as an extra quilt, but the Ohm and Om fit right in with the idea, if the website I found is correct, which explains the meaning of OM. I saw the fabrics with letters and pictured them and images coming out of my head as my head was on the pillow. I made the binding by pulling the backing over the sides to hem. I used a batik fabric for the face and machine stitched absolutely everything.
         First I sketched the idea, then gathered the fabric, scissors, glue stick and Wonder Under. I was off!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Peace Crane: a journal quilt

    Recently I joined two journal quilt groups, both creating 12" x 12" memories of special events or moments not to be forgotten. You have kept up with my smaller 8" x 8" journal quilt sketches. The size change could make me too serious since I have more time to complete them. Change and growth are good. I may still make the little ones.
    As some of you know, I filmed six-year-old Hannah demonstrating folding an origami crane. Wanting to commemorate that fun in a journal quilt, I looked on-line and found that Margaret Rolfe in Australia had created a beautiful quilt incorporating an origami crane. I could not find her pattern so I drew up my own. By the time I finished I had located it at ShiboriDragon where I purchased the pattern. Using it would have been easier, but I enjoyed exploring two different techniques...that of Katie P-M and my own crippled paper piecing. 
     When I Googled "origami crane quilts," I found the Quilting Board and inspiring samples of Margaret Rolfe's peace quilt put up by Alpha39 of North Texas. Check it out!  Now that I have bought the pattern, I  hope, in the future, to have a little traveling bag of smaller cranes to put together. Small handwork is supposed to be good for one on trips.
     I usually don't add a special backing to my journal quilts, but I didn't want the other bird to languish in my stash, so I sandwiched it with the batting and front side crane. Quilting it to attach created marks on the front which I covered with hand embroidery. This added to the meaning...holding things in flight together with the homey hand touch. Still, the journal quilt needed more quilting so I used a decorative sewing stitch on my machine to make the little waves going to the corners, another layer of meaning. Other efforts new to me were spray basting (from a can), making a mini audition board from a bulletin board with flannel atop, using invisible thread basting, and finishing a two-sided journal quilt. I made mistakes every step of the way, which are visible, but I so enjoyed doing this. Very relaxing.
Front side  ~ click to enlarge photos
Back side