Though I write on the See How We Sew blog on a regular basis, I have never been as structured with my personal website blog. I think it is time to change that! So much has happened over the past few months for me. I am finally getting a chance to catch up, update my class and lecture listings, and get back to the business of creating!
You may have noticed on my Instagram page, that the hubby and I have moved out of our home for a major remodel. We have been living in a little cottage in Oakland since January. It has been quite the adventure for the two of us and Boo, my little Chihuahua. I spend most days running back to our house to meet with the contractor, pick up the mail, and try to keep the garden under control.
The good news is, when we move back home, I will also be moving into a beautiful new design studio! I have spent my entire adult life trying to carve out any space available to use as my own, and to house my overflowing art and textile materials. In a few months, I will have plenty of room, good lighting and even a lovely back porch to enjoy, while in my makers space. I cannot tell you hows lucky I feel to have this happening!
I will pop back on the blog in a few days to show you a few things I have been working on. Nothing big (because I NEED to work small these days), but lots of fun.
I have an exhibit on display at Bay Quilts during the month of March. The title of the show is Busy Hands Ground the Spirit. This is a topic that is very dear to my heart right now. Over the past year, I have realized that keeping my hands busy is key to my sanity in this crazy moment of time we are going through. With each stitch, I am given a choice. Do I stab because I am frustrated or nervous? Or do I gently poke at the fabric, because I am feeling melancholy or perhaps at ease in the moment? Pulling the thread through reminds me of a deep breath. A moment in time to appreciate what I am doing. All of this has been my "Stitch Therapy" over the past year. I practice my therapy every evening, and sometimes during the day, if needed. I preach it to my friends and students. I have even done a few online lectures about it. So this was an obvious choice for me when choosing the topic of my current exhibit.
It is a little weird to exhibit during a pandemic, but Bay Quilts has made the whole process a lovely experience. Thank you Bay Quilts! The month is almost over, but we are finishing off the exhibit with a Live Video Chat on Sunday, March 28 at 1:00pm. You can link to the chat through their Instagram feed at https://www.instagram.com/sfbayquilts/
If you weren't able to see the quilts in person, here is an overview of the exhibit. You can read more about each of the quilts by clicking on them individually.
Busy Hands Ground the Spirit
I am convinced that my creative energy flows through my stubby, needle pricked fingertips. Whether I am stitching fabric on a sewing machine, or hand stitching with needle and thread, I have learned that keeping my hands busy allows me to think, to ponder, and imagine. It’s where the ideas begin to emerge, and questions find their answers. It grounds me, so that I can get to the good stuff, my inner voice, and the creative flow. The quilts in this exhibit are examples of listening to that inner voice. Some were created by machine, some by hand, and many are a combination of both. Each began without any particular plan, but developed naturally as I busied my hands with fabric and stitch.
Stitch is my mantra. Working with color and print, creating textures, shape and line, then crumpling, twisting and layering all of these with stitch is my happy place. “Stitch” has become my mantra over the past few years. It has cured boredom, calmed anxiety, but most of all, has allowed me to ponder the “what if’s” that pop into my head as I stitch. If I become bored with a simple running stitch, I change to another. If I run out of green thread, I change to hot pink. This is where the magic happens - in the moment. This is where I step out of what is expected and into that creative flow. And when the quilt is finished, I am pleased that my stitches give my work something that only my hand can create. It is a signature for my creative spirit. It is an opportunity to listen and react to my inner voice. This voice is mine and mine alone.
I hope you enjoy the exhibit.
I was excited to be selected for the latest issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. They are hosting a blog tour this week and I am on the first stop. So welcome everyone!
The issue hits newsstands May 3, or you can purchase right now as a print or digital issue in the Quiltmaker's shop. You will find instructions for 100 original and very unique blocks.
My block, called Girl's Best Friend, block #1219, is a take on deconstructing a diamond.
I used some of Tula Pink's collection, True Colors because I had been looking for an excuse to play with them. I really like the eclectic feel of this collection.
Part of the fun that I had with this block was playing with pattern designs. I am self taught in Photoshop, so, I am always looking for opportunities to get a little more familiar with the program. So, after using it to crop my block photo, I thought I would just play with some repeats, flipping, rotating and moving around. I think this block has a lot of possibilities.
#1. This might make an interesting border idea . . .
#2. Or as a horizontal band across the width of the quilt.
#3. I love the zig zag effect in the center of this setting . . .
#4. And this last one looks like layers upon layers of diamonds.
What do you think? It 's kind of fun to just build a virtual quilt once in a while, just to get the inspiration flowing.
Be sure to follow the rest of the block tour. There are giveaways and lots of talented designers that will posting this week about their block designs.
I have not produced many quilts in the past few months. There is a reason -
Meet my latest quilt, Give Me Liberty. I don't normally post photos of myself with my quilts, but I wanted to show some perspective as to the size of this bugger. Give Me Liberty is about 84 inches square.
The background is foundation pieced with a crazy amount of selvedges. It is embellished with hand appliqued petals, that have been stuffed with an extra layer of batting. I used Liberty London prints for all of the petals, and then layered those onto solids (mostly Michael Miller's Cotton Couture) to give each individual print an extra sparkle.
Oh my gosh, I get exhausted just talking about it. This quilt took about 2 months longer than I ever dreamt it would take to complete. But I wanted to share it with you, because I think the story behind how this quilt came to be is pretty special. Here is the story behind why it is appropriately named, Give Me Liberty.
I have always loved Liberty London Fabrics. There is something about the colorful designs of the prints that makes my heart skip a beat. I have a hard time saying no to anything Liberty.
I began collecting a stash of Liberties a few years ago, to create this quilt. I had seen an image in a magazine that sparked the idea. As time went by, my stash got a little bigger, my ideas changed, and the quilt began to bloom into a tribute to the community of quilters that I am blessed to be a part of. They were instrumental in my completion of this quilt. My community of quilt friends is an eclectic and a unique group of, all incredibly talented.
Piecing a selvedge background was the bright idea of Tracy Allen, a long time friend that is my go to when stuck for ideas. She is amazing.. I am so glad she thought of it.
The majority of my selvedges were a gift from Kerry Reed, the awesome longarm quilter that I rely on for most of my quilts.
The story continues with the collection of Liberties used create the flower. On two separate occasions, two very special quilters heard I was collecting Liberties and offered to share their vintage stash with me. Some of the prints that they gave me were 30 years old. Wow! Thank you Diana McClun and Darra Williamson, for sharing your treasures with me. It made me smile every time I sifted through my stash.
And so it began. I started sewing and sewing and sewing. . . selvedges.
My dog, Betsy was slightly neglected during this endeavor.
The next step? I took an image of a dahlia and blew it up REALLY BIG. I printed out each petal to use to create freezer paper templates. I had a lot of design issues along the way. Things get a little confusing when they are that big, with that many pieces . I am thankful for all the awesome advice and tips I received.
And so, more words of gratitude go out to those that were at my January Quilt Retreat, and also to my wonderful quilt group that I meet with once a week.. There were many times I couldn't "see the forest through the trees", as they say. There were so many quilters that helped me navigate my way out of the woods!
The applique was a project all on it's own. I blind stitched my Liberties to the solids by hand. Using an iron, liquid starch and my freezer paper templates gave them a crisp, clean edge. I felt it need some structure, though, so I added a layer of fusible batting between the Liberties and the solids. Next, I trimmed out the solids to about 1/4" larger that the petal shape. The raw edge that I left played nicely with the raw edges of the selvedge background.
Probably the biggest challenge I had was to complete the layout of the petals. Each time I tweaked one, I fell into a black hole of a time sink, moving and readjusting every petal that was near it. At some point, I just took a deep breath and glued everything down. Betsy was seriously needing attention by this point.
Then, more hand work to attach the layered and stuffed petals in place. Sorry, Betsy, this is gonna take a while. Getting a needle through all those layers did quite a number on my thumb.
The last step was to take a toothbrush to the edges to emphasize the raw edges of the solids. And then it was off to Kerry Reed to work her magic!
Yep. That is definitely some magic. Thank you, Kerry!
Kerry gave me a hard time because she said she couldn't find any of the selvedges from my fabric line in the mix. And so, I decided to pull some Capri out of storage to use as the face binding on the back.
Hey Mark Lipinski, here's a flashback for you!
I barely finished this quilt in time for the installation of Stitch Modern. The East Bay Modern Quilters put on yet another awesome show. I am so happy to be a part of it.
Be sure to check out all the scheduled events on the website. It runs throughout the month of April.. Stitch Modern 2016
And so, as I said in the beginning of this post, this is a quilt that definitely embraced all the amazing people I am fortunate enough to know in my quilting community.
Many thanks to all of you, from the bottom of my heart, to the very tip of my bruised and swollen thumb.
If you would like to see Give Me Liberty, it will be at the Piedmont Arts Center for Stitch Modern 2016.
Then, Give Me Liberty, will move to the Vallejo Piecemakers Quilt Show, where they have, so kindly, asked to be the featured artist. I am totally excited! More about that soon.
I'm not sure how I managed this, but after putting so much effort into redesigning my website, I have not written one post. Whoops! Time to make up for that!
I just got back from a really fun trip to my home state, Iowa, for a week of quilt-filled events. The trees were dressed in their glorious fall colors, the air was cool and it definitely felt like Autumn had arrived.
I had a few of my quilts with me for show and tell at the quilt event I was attending, so I decided to take advantage of the scenery and get a few new shots.
One of my high school classmates organizes a fundraiser twice a year to support scholarships for high school graduates. Quilting in my home town? Well, you know I am there! So off I go, at least once a year, to Quilt Fest - 2 days of sewing with home town friends. It is so much fun! I was so busy sewing that I forgot to take photos of the event! Ooops!
This trip, I had a bit of soul searching to do in terms of where I am as a quilter. I am fortunate enough to be able to choose what I want to spend my time focusing on. But lately, I was feeling like I was not getting where I wanted to be. What do I enjoy? What do I NOT enjoy? What do I really want to be doing? So many questions and no clue what the answers were. This seemed like the perfect trip to mull these questions over.
But of course, first, I needed to start with visiting a few quilt shops. That would definitely help, right?
First stop was one of my favorites, Quilts & Other Notions. Don't let the unassuming store front fool you - this shop boasts 6.400 square feet of building and over 7,000 bolts of quilting fabrics. You can do some serious damage here - if it weren't for weight limits on a suitcase.
Next, I was off to . . .
Fons & Porter Quilt Shop, located in the same town that boasts John Wayne's birthplace and the covered bridges of Madison County. Sadly, the shop is closing and will now be an online shop only. Not to worry, the building has been bought and will re-open soon with lots of new quilt inventory! I know the new owner personally, and trust me, this shop is in very good hands!
I make at least on trip to my home town per year - Why is it that I just learned that the Missouri Star Quilt Company was only a drive away from my home town?
So, a quick trip over the Missouri border was also on my shop hop wish list, of course. It is literally an entire town of quilt shops. Wow! Each shop carries a different style of quilt fabrics - 30's and Civil War in one, batiks in another, and oh if you could have seen the wall of solid fabrics in the last shop I visited. Awesome!
I also checked to see if there would be any interesting guild events while I was visiting Iowa. Get this - the Des Moines Area Quilt Guild was hosting 2 lectures by Jacquie Gering while I was visiting! So, for a small guest fee, I got to spend a day being inspired by incredible quilts - and meeting some very nice Des Moines quilters!
I have to say this was the best part of my quilters quest to Iowa. Not only is Jacquie uber-talented and inspiring, but she is truly a warm and genuine person. I had the opportunity to visit with her between lectures, which was a great treat for me.
Thank you Jacquie, for sharing your story, your amazing quilts, but mostly for motivating me to move on to new ideas and challenges in my quilting life.
And thank you Iowa, for always reminding me of who I am and where I came from.
If you are here, that means that means my new website is up and running!
After many, many frustrating revamps with Blogger and then Wordpress over the years, I went DIY and switched to Weebly.com. In the past, I have had to kidnap my tech-son for help every time I needed to change anything. With Weebly, the entire site is literally drag and drop - so the only the only step I needed his help for was to switch the domain name. I didn't even need to watch a tutorial in the process. Wow! I am over-the-moon-happy!
I have not been very active with blogging on my site for the past few years. With weekly posts to See How We Sew, I didn't get much further than the "repost" button. Things are changing now. I have so much to share with you! My Etsy site is up, with oodles of patterns and tools to be added by the end of summer. I am offering a new selection of Workshop and Lectures and. . .
I have been invited to be the featured artist for a local quilt show - details to come soon.
Which means I need to make some new quilts! Sooooo excited about that!
So hit the like button, follow along, and let's Design. Stitch. Quilt. Blog. together!
Michael Miller Fabrics just released their new Look Book for their Cotton Couture Collection. It is beautifully done and very inspiring. And guess who has projects featured in the Berry and Garden Green collections? Yours Truly!
Take a moment and get a little color inspiration . . .