Sunday, September 21, 2014

Around the World Blog Tour

P. at The Way I Sew It, invited me to join in the Around World Blog Tour.  Once an avid quilter, after a long hiatus, I am trying to again give quilting a prominent place in my life.  So I was happy for the opportunity to participate!  Thanks P.!

What am I working on?  The Pansy Quilt - named after the pansy focus fabric.

I'm currently quilting the outer green border and will soon start on the butterfly border.  This quilt was the result of a block exchange.  We sent each participant a piece of our focus fabric - in my case the pansy fabric - and watched as the blocks rolled in.  A block exchange is loads of fun.  First of all, there are blocks in the quilt that I would have never created.  This appliqued and embroidered Sunbonnet Sue is a good example:

Or this paper pieced spiky beauty:

The other fun aspect of a block exchange such as this is it forces you to work outside your color comfort zone when making blocks for the other participants. It also provides a low stress way to try a new technique because you are making only one block, and not committing to a full project.

Why Do I Create?

Interesting question.  Um...., because I enjoy it?  It's fun!  Seriously, I feel like I am supposed to have some deep philosophical answer, kind of like in literature class when the instructor asks you to find the underlying meaning, and I'm wondering what is wrong with the apparent meaning.  :p  Teenage angst?  No, I'm 50, so that won't work.  Because a box of 64 Crayola Crayons wasn't enough for me as a child?  I have at times found quilting a way to relax and decompress, but I enjoy it even if I don't need to decompress.  Heck, I'm going with my original:  Because I enjoy it.

How Does My Work Differ From Others of It's Genre?

Differ?  Not sure my work is all that unique.  My quilts tend to be scrappy - even when color controlled.  Scrappy is kind of my hallmark. I enjoy the tones and textures, and so even if I am making a color controlled quilt, it will sport a lot of different fabrics like this one:

The thing I like most about quilting is the colors and textures.  Fabric is like my paint pallet.  I also enjoy the geometry - which may be why I tend more towards pieced blocks than appliqued.  Applique tends to be more organic.  A beautiful genre - but I only rarely enjoy creating with applique myself.  And since biting the bullet and buying the Juki, I am learning to enjoy the actual quilting.  What a cool way to create texture!  I aspire to these examples from the Common Threads Quilt Show, held every other year in Wichita, KS:

For years, I didn't have a machine that was adequate to the task.  Consequently, I have a backlog of tops waiting to be quilted.

My Creative Process?

It usually starts with, "Ooh! Shiny!  I want to make that."  Unfortunately, I do have a propensity for starting new projects before I get the others done.... Then I reacquaint myself with my stash, piece by piece, as I search for the widest variety of suitable fabrics.  I often find much loved pieces that I forgot about, or revisit a piece that's simply lovely, but has proven to be difficult to incorporate into projects.  This is a much enjoyed ritual.  Then it's on to cutting and piecing. I'm not much for strip piecing, often preferring templates.

Now to pass along the quilting baton to the next round of bloggers!

I have been following Karen of Quilts....etc., for a number of years.  Karen often hand-pieces, and hand-quilts.  The results are nothing short of incredible!  And she's FAST!  I do not know how she manages to get so many projects completed.

Next up, Elzaan of the blog Huisvlyt.  Elzaan lives in Mauritius - making this a truly Around the World Blog Tour - but was born in South Africa.  I like visiting her blog because her work is distinctly different from mine, utilizing techniques that I do not - such as applique and embroidery.  Sometimes she blogs about her part of the world, which I find incredibly interesting.

Lastly, also from Mauritius, but born in Norway is Astrid of Grandma's Red Needle.  Astrid is a woman after my own heart with multiple projects going at the same time.  You can count on her site for some lovely eye candy.  She seems to be in Christmas mode at the moment.  Smart to be working on it now.  I always seem to start with the Christmas theme too late to actually complete it in time for Christmas. (Unfortunately, I have not heard back from Astrid.  I am wondering if I caught her at at time when she is on vacation.  Deciding there were no quilting police, I tagged her anyway, figuring whenever she posted - it would be okay.)

Thanks for including me in the fun P.!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2 Minutes Quilting; 30 Minutes Ripping

I saw a really lovely border design I wanted to try - the one at the bottom of the picture:

(courtesy of Green Fairy Quilts)
(Check out her blog; it's awesome!)

Yeah...., Although I did trying drawing it on paper first, and really wasn't able to consistently emulate her beautiful consistency, I decided to give it a shot.  My quilting didn't look any worse than my drawing, but I discovered my brain really balked - a lot of "duh..., which way now."  Spastic!  I like free motion quilting, but wasn't enjoying trying to make this design.

As with anything, my first thought was to keep going; I'm bound to get better.  But I am working on an outer border.  There is going to be too much time spent finishing it to do a design I don't enjoy.

Next up, the nestled circles above it!  :D