Friday 3 May 2024

New Theme

A big thank you to everyone who linked up 'Harmony' quilts. It was, again, a wonderful collection and I'm always amazed at how all the quilts are so different, given that we work from the same prompt. I'd also like to wish Barbara and Fiona Happy Travelling :)

Now we have three options remaining:

1. Vintage

2. Spices

3. Mosaic

And the random generator wheel has chosen...

So our new theme is 'Vintage'.

The Reveal Day will be 1st August at 10.00 GMT and, in the meantime, you are of course welcome to post anything related to this theme or art quilting in general here on The Endeavourers.

Happy Sewing!

Janine :)

Wednesday 1 May 2024


I struggled to think of anything interesting to do for this theme so I settled on constructing a Fibonacci spiral. So far as I understand it, this construction is used to create a harmonic composition in paintings and you can see see some examples overlayed with an outline of the spiral here. I'm not entirely convinced that features in the paintings aren't being selected to fit the template but you can see what you think.

I was also hoping this would harmonise in the Makery with the yet-to-be-finished SAHRR I made recently but, despite using the same fabrics, I'm not sure that it does!

I'm sorry I'm posting late as last night and this morning I was struggling with the internet. I really need to start scheduling these posts :(

I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone else has made this time :)


Harmony. I spent a lot of time thinking about this prompt. I looked up the definition, I thought about harmony in music and in nature. I asked hubs and friends what came to mind for harmony. Ideas popped into my head, but nothing really felt right. 

One day, I sent a text to two of my quilting friends asking if either of them would like this panel. For some reason, neither of them were interested (yes, I'm being snarky). 

As I sat and stared at this panel, a thought came to me: Can I take something out of harmony and put it back into harmony in a different way? Hmm. That might be fun to explore. 

There was cutting involved. A lot of cutting. Very fussy cutting. I took my time, and I used a few different sizes of scissors because some of the pieces were small and detailed. 

Once the cutting was done, I considered how to attach the new pieces onto the new background. I opted for a glue stick; it was not a good choice, but I made it work. I neglected to take photos of this process, but it was a sticky mess. 

Then came the quilting. I managed to find thread that matched quite well, which made me happy because I really wanted to hide the free motion quilting I was doing. It also made it difficult to photograph, so here are a few photos. Hopefully you can see a little bit of the detail. 

And here's Harmony, in a new way. Except for the background and face, all the parts are from the panel. 

This finished quilt measures 20" x 24". The background fabric is from a Tula Pink line, and to quilt the background, I randomly followed the swirls here and there, using a light blue thread. 

This was definitely not what I thought I would end up with for the Harmony challenge, but I sure had fun! 


The Secret Chord

 I had trouble coming up with a strong design for this prompt.  To me, Japanese textiles are stunning examples of harmony, but they are perfect the way they are.  I could just display some fabrics without doing anything more to them, but I think that would be cheating.  :)  And when I tried to come up with a design of my own, it was all too easy for "harmonious" to slide off into "boring."

Finally I decided to translate a piece of music into colors and textures.  I chose the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah, because its chord changes would provide some movement to a composition.

For each note of the scale, I chose the color that represents how I visualize it.  (This is based on their placement on a piano keyboard and not on their tone; it would be interesting to know if I ever had a piano instruction book that used these colors!)

The musical scale as I visualize it.

Then those colors formed triads that each represented a chord.  

This group represents A minor.

I added some decorative machine stitching for the flow of the music, and fused the blocks to some beautiful silk columns.

"The Secret Chord"

I feel that this does capture the idea of harmony, but it isn't as strong a piece as I would like.  It would benefit from being arranged with a beautiful vase and a branch of orchids!  :)

To read more about how I made this, you can visit my home blog, Deep in the Heart of Textiles.

Harmony in quilt making

When the theme of Harmony came up on the wheel, my mind immediately went to music and I had imaginings of quilts with music notes, or intricate lines weaving in and out of each other in waves like sound waves amplyfying each other.  I was very surprised that I went in a different direction. 
I think its because I was having fun just making quilt tops with no purpose in mind other than to make.  My mind enjoyed being in the moment of fabric selection and playing with colours to get them to flow and live well together, and it occurred to me that is Harmony too.   

I think it is something we do subconsciously as quilters (unless we are using contrast or asymmetry to draw attention to something specific), we strive to make the pieces fit together in a way that is pleasing or balanced.  
I was in a bee of 12 people, and the 11 hive mates made me drunkards path blocks.   I got a 5 pinks and a mixture of other colours and I was struggling to come up with a cohesive design for them.  So I decided to make 2 quilts.  Out of the 12 blocks 1 had a dark centre, and I love the block but it was fighting me in every way I used it, trying to get it to play nice with the others.  Until I added in more dark.  I call this quilt Garden Paths, as I imagine the diagonal lines as paths and the triangles as raised flower beds. Now it feels to me that the dark centre belongs and all is resolved.  Harmony achieved.

So with that in mind I had another challenge this quarter.  A friend asked me if I would be in a bee for her and make a block for her quilt inspired by Portuguese tiles.  I had the opportunity to visit Portugal in April when we went for a short city break to Porto and it was glorious!  Beautiful weather, lots of walkign up and down hills, tasting port wine and eating very well.  There was also the chance to see lots of different tiles, all in various shades of lovely blue with white and smatterings of yellow here and there. 

Some were very intricate and some were painterly, depicting life in the city.  So I had a go at designing my own tile, and I came up with this design that I thought would repeat really well.

And here it is tiled as a quilt.

On its own though as an individual piece I thought the secondary line made it feel unfinished.  It belongs in a group and the line leading off to nowhere felt wrong to me, but I liked the idea of it, so I cropped it.  It still frames the central motif but doesn't pull you out of the frame.  This made me feel better.  Is that Harmony too- feeling in tune with your work?

And tiled it could look like this with grouting lines (aka skinny sashing) in between.

So I had a go at making it.  It was trickier than I thought and the applique is far from perfect but I think the idea works. 

Apologies it's not quilted or finished as a piece of art.  I gave it to my friend for inclusion in her quilt and I didn't have enough time to make a second one.  It's interesting where the theme will take you and I really enjoyed the journey on this one.



This was a difficult one for me. I thought about music but did not want to make a music quilt. Then I googled 'harmony in art' and figured out that anything that was pleasing to the eye was harmonious - not helpful. The other thing I thought about was people relations but, to me that has been done a million times and is almost a cliché. So I was stumped until I was looking at the wall one evening and realized I had the answer:

Aikido – The Way of Harmony – is a Japanese martial art that was created by Morihei Ueshiba in the early 20th century. “Ai” means harmony, unifying. “Ki” means spirit or energy. “Do” means way or path. Ueshiba sensei’s goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attackers from injury. The practitioner uses the energy or momentum of the attacker, usually merges with it and taking control before either throwing them away or putting them on the ground with a joint lock.

A little personal history: I began practicing aikido in 1969 and practiced for 30+ years off and on because of moving around a lot. I had instructors (sensei’s) from the west coast to the east coast and the Midwest of the US and achieved black belts in two styles the art (one from Schools of Ueshiba and the other from Shin Shin Toitsu AKA Ki Aikido). Here is a photo of the quilt as it is now hanging beside some of my certificates. I loved practicing, especially when I was the only female and could throw the males around. J Making this quilt brought back a lot of good memories.

I did not do a lot of sewing for this piece. I printed the kanji onto fabric then sewed, with black thread, around each segment. In the past I did a couple pieces of appliqued kanji but these were a little too complicated.

This last photo is of a painting that my husband did of me in 1993.

Saturday 3 February 2024

New Prompt

 A big thank you for the last group of quilts! Amazing work, everybody! I really enjoy being a part of this group!

It's time to choose the prompt for next time around. And I'll just say right here and now, that I'm going to miss this one. We're going to be traveling nearly the entire time, including the May 1st reveal. There's a lot to do during February to get ready for our March departure, and I don't see how I can fit it in. So, I'll miss the challenge, but I'll look forward to seeing what you all come up with. 

So...without further ado...


Have fun! I'll be watching to see what you do with this.

Thursday 1 February 2024

Patterns in Nature - The Lesser Adjutant

Once upon a time in those halcyon days before the pandemic, I went to Sri Lanka with Mr RH and two of our sons to go to a wedding that included a church service, a buddhist ceremony (where traditional dancers/acrobats fetched first the groom then the bride) and a reception with the biggest chandeliers I’ve ever seen, a banquet and dancing into the early hours. The other guests wore saris in all colours and gold bangles and it really was exactly like falling into a scene from a fairytale…

On that same trip, in Wilpattu National Park, I took a photo of this chap, who also seems like he would be at home in a fairy tale.

And I knew one day he (she?) would appear in a quilt, though in this quilt, I ended up selecting/making patterns using shapes cropped from my image of this striking creature and the bird itself remains waiting to be immortalised in stitches on some other occasion.

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has made this quarter :)

Walking with Giants

 I had so many potential ideas for this quarter's theme, Patterns in Nature, that I found it really difficult to decide on a project.

When this photo, from our visit a few years ago to the Giant's Causeway in Ireland, popped up on my screen one day I knew that I had found my inspiration! The Giant's Causeway, which is the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. comprises around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns many of which are hexagonal in shape. The perfect inspiration for a quilter :)

Here, therefore, is "Walking with Giants", inspired by the natural phenomenon that is the Giant's Causeway. 

 I rarely buy quilting magazines, but in a recent, rare purchase I came across an advert for the Cottage Cloth collection for Andover Fabrics by Renee Nanneman and knew that it would be perfect for my basalt columns. Fortunately, I discovered that I could purchase appropriate fabrics from the collection in 10cm increments at Midsomer Quilting

Rummaging in a sewing room cupboard I happened upon these hexagon templates and papers from a long forgotten magazine purchase. I knew that they would come in handy some day :)

It took me a while to work out how to get the hexagons and columns combined, but I eventually settled upon half basting the hexagon papers and leaving the bottom of the hexagons to form the columns.

Given that the inspiration for my Challenge quilt was set in Northern Ireland I wanted to continue that theme with the fabrics that I chose for the rest of the quilt. Ireland, and Northern Ireland in particular, is famous throughout the world for the quality of its linen fabric, so I wanted to use linen fabrics for the background and trees in the quilt. (You can read more about the history of linen and linen production in Ireland here)

 I didn't have any light blue linen fabric in my stash for the background, but I did have an old linen/cotton mix shirt of my husband's so thought that was appropriate enough. I did have these two lovely green linen lengths, although they are Lithuanian linen rather than Irish, but I thought they would be ideal too.

The hexagon columns were built up on the background fabric and machine quilted with invisible thread and you can see the hexagon shapes more clearly on the back of the quilt below.

The green linens were appliqued to the background with double-sided fusible web and then FMQ'd.

I added a few clouds to the sky to break up that expanse of blue and to give a more accurate representation of Irish weather :)

As ever, this Challenge was delightful and daunting at the same time. I am looking forward to seeing how my fellow Endeavourers met this Challenge, I am sure I will be inspired all over again!

P.S. If you would like a more fanciful story of the origin of the Giant's Causeway you can read it here.

Spectrum Secrets

For this challenge of "Patterns in Nature," I wanted to present those patterns that are outside the range of human vision, but are visible to birds and insects.

Sdixon27, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons 

Using batik fabrics, and glow-in-the-dark and neon threads, I managed a "four-for-one" look: under ordinary light, you see orange flowers with pale butterflies on the front, and dark blue flowers outlined in orange with colorful butterflies on the back. Then under black light, both front and back reveal different lines and colors.

Spectrum Secrets, front, under daylight


Spectrum Secrets, front, under black light.

Spectrum Secrets, reverse, under daylight.

Spectrum Secrets, reverse, under black light.

I should note that the threads and paints I used didn't produce all the color effects I was hoping for, so I gave up on any scientific accuracy and just had fun.  

I enjoyed working on this, and you can read more about the exact materials I used at my home blog, .  That is a WordPress blog and it has a great "image compare" feature with a slider, and I think it's a better way to view these pictures, so I hope you drop by!

Patterns in Nature: Freckled Frog

This was a fun prompt. My quilt was inspired by the Northern Leopard Frogs we encountered while hiking in Fort Ransom State Park in North Dakota. This is my original photograph. You can see more pictures from our hike at that link I've given you.

Using the photograph, I went to work rendering him into fabric. These are time-consuming, and they can be frustrating. This one actually went together more easily than anticipated. When he was finished, he looked like this. 

Then, I created a background for it. 

From there, I peeled him up off the teflon pressing sheet and fused him to the background.

Then it was ready for quilting and binding. First, I went to work thread-painting and stitching down the edges of the frog.

That was done just through the quilt batting and prior to adding the back.

When it was finished, it looked like this:

Searching through my stash, I didn't have a fabric I liked for the back. I went searching online and found the perfect back for the frog. The rest of the quilting was done after the back was added.

And then I went to work quilting a place for the frog to live...and some friends to have over for dinner.

This is my rendering of a dragonfly.

Also, he wanted some lilypads and cattails in his pond.

On both sides, if you don't mind.

When the quilting was finished, I found this binding in my leftover binding scrap bag.

The quilt was actually all finished and hanging on the wall. Every time I entered the sewing room, I felt as if it needed something else on the right side. And so I carefully fused this rising sun (or setting sun...not really sure), and quilted in a few rays.

And then I could call it finished. 

I hope you like my quilt. It finishes up at 17 x 22 inches.