Nearly every morning I walk along a road that leads to the Mississippi River at Hannibal Missouri. I love the quiet (it’s a dead end road) and the calm I always feel even though trying to burn a few calories. As I pass one of the homes along the way I can see a barn set back in the woods. While it is on private property there is a public maintained pathway that takes one back into a clearing that branches off into another path eventually leading back to town. I think the only time the quiet of this area is disturbed is when spring mushroom hunters comb the woods looking for their delicacy and in the summer when the mosquitoes claim the area as their home.
I tried to capture the essence of this quiet space with painted fabric, photos manipulated and printed on fabric, embellished with painted Tyvek and painted fusible in the shape of leaves from the cottonwood and maple that abound in the woods.
I have taken an interest in hand applique, especially since we are going to be spending a lot of time this summer traveling–good handwork, little space needed. I love using my hand dyed vintage linens as the background for many of my projects and this project will be no exception. I dyed four napkins that were a pale pink with a dye mixture to make a tan background. Inspired by Cynthia Collier’s work I chose a Robyn Pandolph pattern to adapt as needed for a traditional four square layout. The first square will be the willow vase. To compliment the formality of the rayon napkin I have been getting silk ties from the resale shop for the leaves. A batik serves as the stem and embroidered velveteen will be the vase. More as the project progresses.
The initial block was made with a border type fabric and then fussy cut and enhanced with woven ribbon strips of color. A brave step to meet the parameters of a challenge was to cut this carefully planned and sewn block to make something new and different. That was hard to think about but , oh well, take the cutter and ruler and divide into four squares. Second cut the four squares in half diagonally. Eight giant half square triangles, now what? A star design perhaps, add some Kaffe Fasset dots and stark white. Voila, a star within a star within a star!
Or is it geese flying to the center? Whatever you see, it was fun to contemplate and to make!
Quilt shows now abound at any time of the year and all across the country, small towns and cities. Before leaving our winter home I attended one last show in south Texas. I always hope to see something unusual and/or creative that I haven’t seen already published in some manner. For me, it makes the show a little more special. It is always fun to see the different interpretations of popular patterns whether the maker chose to replicate or give their own signature to it. I also look for new to me techniques. Because I like to interpret nature in stylized form with fabric I especially liked the technique for giving dimension to the flowers in the photo below. I had designed a machine applique bouquet this winter and wanted to make again using wool fabrics. I think there may be a place for this technique to give even more dimension to a wool posie.
The Piecemakers by the Bay 2016 Quilt Show is in the books. As always, there were many beautiful quilts. One part of the show is the guild challenge. This year it was titled Texas Two Step with the following guidelines. Two sides had to be 22″ and it had to also incorporate two in some way, shape or form. Whether that was tutus or tulips or two colors or whatever the imagination dreamed of. Below are the six entries by members who took the challenge. Each is unique in their interpretation and fun to view. Attendees of the show determined the winner by their vote. Since I was in charge of the challenge I can say that each was a winner in their personal interpretation and many complimentary comments were made by attendees.
As I am finishing the Texas sewing room I am beginning to think about the “décor”. I prefer plain and simple, letting the clutter and color be the fabric and projects in progress. Yesterday, as the temperature dropped and the winds blew in colder air, I worked on my first “art” piece for the walls. Five yardsticks, cut into pre-determined lengths and then assembled into an 18” square. Now to find the perfect framing—searching the thrift stores and consignment shops or just using leftover boards from the walls and ceiling—who knows what will be the finishing touch.
This post is for those interested in the “Artistic Exploration” session in November. Photos show some examples of improvisational curved piecing. I will share how to do all of the examples but we will concentrate on two on November 7 at Arch Methodist Church from 1-4 (south edge of Hannibal across from the Fireworks store). There will be a $5 fee for those who come only for the 3 hour session. For those that wish to come and sew all day (8:30am-7pm) as part of the larger Quilting Party group there is a $30 fee which covers rolls, lunch and supper as well as use of the church. Reservation is necessary as the meals are catered.
The circles and dramatic curves will be demonstrated starting at 1:00 pm and the other two will be what we actually work on during the session. That way those who just wish to get some ideas can watch the first two then resume their sewing projects. and those who want some actually sewing experience and assistance can do so.
What do you need to bring?
To make two placemats (the low contrast pink with green leaves) you will need a half yard of two fabrics. You can make them as contrasting as you wish.
For the shaped leaves you will need at least three different fabrics (more is better) cut into twelve 9” x 12” rectangles. That will yield three 14” x 18” blocks that can be incorporated into a project. You should be able to get the three blocks and placemats made in the three hour time period (not quilted). If you wish to try the dramatic curves you may wish to split your time accordingly.
You will need a sharp rotary cutter, sewing machine with coordinating thread, regular presser foot will work fine, basic sewing supplies, extension cord. A 9 ½” square ruler will be handy. This is improv so it will be best to leave the quilt police at home but do bring your work from past sessions to share in show and tell.
On the design wall (no the other things that are in the process are not finished) right now is a group of blocks that remind of a spilled paintbox or the ones I had as a child where the colors all started running together in the tray. The blocks were inspired by the process used in Karla Alexander’s book, ” Dynamic Quilts with Simple Curves”. I made my curves a little deeper than she suggested and used 1/8 inch seams. I am framing them with black and white swirled fabric alternately. Border choices, if any, will come later. Another work in progress.
A couple of years ago one of the vendors at Hannibal’s Folk LIfe Festival had a marvelous display of mums in every color combination one could imagine. I took several photos thinking I would one day replicate them in some way, shape or form. Today I finished the quilting after using hand embroidery to blanket stitch the blossoms in place. Now to get to the blocking and binding before this year’s festival is history. The blossoms are improvisationally pieced with “leaves” scattered among the petals. It was a fun way for me to divert from a very traditional Dresden Plate that is in the works with the colors of fall.