Friday 3 May 2019

New Theme Announcement

Congratulations to you all for making such a wonderful collection of 'Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head' quilts! It really is an inspiration to be part of such a creative group and to see all the different responses to the themes :)

Our list of themes now look like this:

1.The Sea
2. A walk in the park
3. Memories
4. A quilt inspired by a newspaper headline
5. Emotions feelings
6. Opposites attract
7. Colour theory
8. Dreams
9. Wishes
10. A scene from a book

And the Random Wheel has chosen...

... Number 2. A walk in the park

The deadline for this quarter will be August 1st 2019 at 10.00am GMT, which will show on the blog at 9.00am BST. 

If you have any questions or problems arise, please feel free to email me (Janine) or Catherine at any time.

In the meantime, please post here, on The Endeavourers Blog, with any thoughts, ideas or techniques you'd like to share. 

I can't wait to see what you all will create for this theme.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday 1 May 2019

Rain Drop Keeps Fall On My Hed on May 1st

Josephine in Spring

When I first read this quarter’s challenge I groaned, “Are you kidding me?” When I finally settled in to give it a good think, the image that kept popping up was the top part of a head at the bottom of a quilt with rain drops falling and the words: Raindrops keep falling on my head, but that doesn’t mean _____. After watching my little tortoiseshell cat, Josephine, flinch and twitch while getting rained on one day last month, I thought of putting a cat head at the bottom instead of a people head. Then I suddenly remembered a cat quilt I had made twenty years ago and the final idea sprang to mind fully formed in about sixty seconds. I made a little sketch and set to work.

The cat is a variation of a cat from the pattern “There Are Cats on My Quilt” by the late Billie Lauder. There are ninety-nine 2″ blocks plus the border. It measures about 22×19 inches or 56×48 centimeters. I tried and ripped out two attempts at quilting (while uttering a few several choice cuss words) before falling back on my usual wavy cross hatch. I like how crinkly it makes quilts once they are washed and dried. Finally, the words came from the depths of my darling, exasperated and exasperating pussycat’s soul: “Mom-mee! Rain drop keeps fall on my hed but that not meen I not want go owt! Then bak in. Then owt. Then…” And there you have it: Josephine in Spring.

Is MY quilt!

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

As soon as I saw the theme for this quarter, the song came into my head. It wouldn't leave. I really wanted to divert myself from making a quilt based on the song. So I spent some time thinking about the phrase "raindrops keep falling on my head" and what that meant to me.

While processing that, I was thinking about the quilt and what I wanted it to look like. The final version I'm showing you today is about three versions beyond the original. I hope I'm not alone in doing that.

Just when I had settled on a design and had actually completed part of it, I happened to watch a series of classes by Joe Cunningham on Bluprint. In one class, he mentioned bias tape and how he used it, and a new, final, version of this quilt came to be.

The blues and gray bias tape represent raindrops. The direction the tape falls is supposed to mimic the way rain sometimes falls against windows - every which way.

As a kid, I used to love rain. I enjoyed being out in it and putting my face up to it, letting the drops fall on my head. As an adult and having more life experiences behind me, rain took on a new, less happy meaning. I realized during this process that with the rain in my life, there also is hope. So in my little quilt, the colored bias strips are there to remind me of hope.

The background fabric is a light gray Grunge. Some of the bias tape is made from solids or batiks. The quilt backing is a batik I had in my stash, and it just seemed perfect for this quilt.

This was a fun challenge; it definitely had me thinking!


I'm never gonna stop the rain by complaining....

When it came to picking a theme to put into the challenge list I chose "Raindrops keep falling on my head!"  It  is one of my favourite songs that always manages to give me a bit of a lift and puts a smile on my face like Three Little Birds by Bob Marley or Jason Mraz "I'm Yours".

Still this was a bit of a head scratcher as to what to make.  I had to have a think about it and remembered the reason I chose the song as a theme in the first place. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head is a song by B.J Thomas that was used as the theme song for Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.  I remember the scene where they were cycling trying not to fall off the bike and the music playing over it as they wobbled around the yard.  I used to watch Westerns with my Dad.  We loved them and had no problem re-watching movies and staying up til 4am on New Year's Eve watching Once Upon a Time in the West, or the Big Country, Magnificent Seven, High Noon, The Searchers...

Seeing as the song is so personal I thought I might do a self portrait in thread.  Originally I thought about a collage of different fabrics but couldn't find enough of what I wanted.  So in the end I went for a cartoon style with sketch stitching.

"Raindrops keep falling on my head,
Just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed,
Nothing seems to fit.
Those raindrops keep falling on my head,
They keep falling."

So that's me sitting up in bed with my feet sticking out (I'm 5ft tall so that's the ironic bit!).  Gordon is snoring his head off beside me. Charly our 12 year old Jack Russell has a habit of hiding away on our bed when she can so not having enough room for her on the bed, I have her framed on the wall (artistic licence!)  I'm trying to do the healthy thing of getting up early for a morning routine but I have a habit of hitting the snooze button so there's the alarm going off and me happily ignoring it!

"So I just did me some talking to the sun,
I said I didn't like the way he got things done,
Sleeping on the job,
Those raindrops are falling on my head,
They keep falling!"

So there is a bit of smiling sleepy sun about to wake up.  Clouds in the distance with their silver linings and of course after every sun shower there is a rainbow! 

"But there's one thing I know,
The blues they send to greet me,
Won't defeat me,
It won't be long,
Til Happiness steps up to greet me"

It's been a difficult time lately with managing workload, voluntary committee work finally coming to an end after 3 1/2 years and I had a bad back for much of last year.  So I found myself worn out, feeling stressed and wired with too much going on.  It's been a healthy, take a step back, prioritise and let some things go moment for me.  I'm loving Spotify and happy cheerful music gets me through the housework and cleaning the kitchen and I'm coming back to myself again and making again so I thought a portrait (is it a portrait if it is only the back of my head?), with me talking to the sun, enjoying the morning, with the rain clouds billowing away into the distance summed all that up.

"Raindrops keep falling on my head,
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turning red,
Crying's not for me,
Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complaining
Because I'm free...

Nothing's worrying me."

I didn't quite get it finished so it's unbound, but somehow that feels right too. In a week that had Avengers: Endgame, Game of Thrones: The Long Night (aka Battle of Winterfell), new home heating boiler installed, Birthday lunch for a friend, Storm Hannah blowing down a fence in the garden and a busy work week, I'm forgiving myself for that! 

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

When I first learned that this was our theme I initially felt a bit despairing as nothing came immediately to mind except Paul Newman on his bicycle and the song in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, but luckily we have a whole quarter and I started to really enjoy thinking about it.

Once I'd got Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head out of my head it quickly got replaced with Chopin's Raindrop prelude, which is a beautiful piece of music evoking the kind of lovely, peaceful, heavy, but gentle rain you sometimes get (except where I live, where as more often than not it is accompanied by a high wind and coming at you horizontally).

I thought of rain falling on greenery, on a still dark day, and so eventually I settled on the idea of rain falling on a pond and its surrounding plant life.  Since the raindrops also had to be falling on someone's head I added a frog, who is making the most of the wet.  The pond is surrounded with marsh marigolds, water forget-me-nots and rushes. The rain drops are creating rings on the shiny dark surface of the water and there are fish below.

I used a new-to-me technique to create the water, and place the fish below the surface, by sewing a piece of gauze over them.  You can see more photos and read further details on my blog.

The Empress's New Umbrella

I can't wait to see how everyone has interpreted this theme. It seemed to me an extremely difficult one so I made this very literal illustration. The empress's uncovered umbrella frame shows up a bit better in real life than in this photo. I will say a bit more about it over at Rainbow Hare.

Rainy Day Recall

On rainy days, I am so happy to stay inside and work on digitizing old family photos.

Outside on a rainy day.

Inside I spend the day with old family photos.
These photos may not have had raindrops actually falling on them from above, but many of them have suffered the effects of rising water.  They have gone through a flood or two, been pulled out of soggy photo albums, separated, dusted with talcum powder, and left to dry.  Eventually, while more pressing flood repairs called, they were tossed in a box to deal with "later."

I sort them, scan them, repair them, and upload them for future generations.

What better way to bring them back to life than with an art quilt?
"Rainy Day Recall," the computer screen and photos, translated into thread sketches and a mini-quilt.

A suggestion of a portrait, in green thread.

A photo revitalized, printed on Lutradur and sketched with threads.

I took this particular box of photos, mostly from the 1920s to 1940s, out of the family homestead garage when my mother-in-law downsized.  About six weeks later Hurricane Harvey hit, leaving five feet of water in the house.  They would have been a soggy mess not worth saving one more time.

Not only am I working with old family photos, but a lot of the trims and notions were handed down from family members as well.  They have little notes about when and where they were bought, and how much they cost.

I had so much fun blending different techniques into one piece, and you can read more about how I created it here.

Bring on a rainy day, and let me see which photos call out to be next!

Reflections in the rain

Today we reveal another project for this wonderful quilt group, this time on the theme of "Raindrops keep falling on my head", what a brilliant theme that has been to work to!

My piece is entitled "Reflections in the Rain" and is made up of 4 pieces of slubbed silk which were quilted, appliqued and beaded before being joined together and stuffed to create a raindrop.

As soon as the theme for this quarter was announced I knew that I wanted to create a 3-D piece for the reveal. You can read about my inspiration for this piece over on my blog at Celtic Thistle Stitches

My initial intention for creating the faces for my raindrop was to make several stumpwork heads and stitch them around the base, but when I came to it the scale was all wrong and as I had never tried stumpwork before I was wary of attempting it on an even smaller scale!

A rummage through my craft books unearthed this unused gem which provided the ideal means of applying the heads that I needed to the bottom of the raindrop. Another rummage through my stash uncovered an assortment of "heads" for the applique too!

The technique involves coating the reverse of your fabric with Mod Podge and then cutting out the desired shapes when dry. The book states that the resulting applique shapes will adhere to the fabric when ironed but I didn't find the adhesion particularly strong. I had always intended to stitch the applique down too, so it wasn't too much of a problem. The author suggests using invisible thread when there would otherwise be lots of thread colour changes, which I did but the bobbin thread does show through in places, however, I can live with that!

I quilted radiating lines from the top of the raindrop and finished them off with hand stitched seed beads, then joined the raindrop shapes together and finally stuffed the raindrop to give it body.

Once again I have had great fun putting together my project for this quarter and I am really looking forward to seeing the amazing pieces that I am sure the rest of my fellow Endeavourers have come up with!


Raindrops keep falling on my head...... because the wind blew away my umbrella.

 I researched countless images of rain on Pinterest.  Most of them seemed to show streaks of white falling rather than discrete drops.   That is what I portrayed in my quilt.  The only tedious part was having to do each row separately. I wanted to vary the placement of the streaks in each row, so I had to go back and make sure each one was different.  Actually, the backstitch at the beginning and end of each streak resemble the tiny drops seen in the photos.
 This was truly a real challenge.

Rain Drops Falling On My Head

This month's theme was a little tricky for me... I had a hard time coming up with ideas on how to interpret the theme. So I decided to be literal and go with that. I used various techniques to achieve this quilt: raw edge appliqué for the cloud, hand quilting for the rain and embroidery for the girl. It was fun figuring out how to create the hair so it will look three dimensional.
I really like how it turned out. I just love how these challenges push us to try new technique and ideas that otherwise we wouldn't do.


Raindrops On My Head...Nope, Just Couldn't Do It!

RAIN DROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD is the theme for the May 1st reveal.  I just could not think about depicting rain on my head. Mostly because I am a deep thinker and because I take these challenges to a personal level and my interpretation most always comes from my heart.  I speak more about my thoughts on this subject on my personal blog.

The rain is falling all around this frog with the drops plunking in the water all around him.  Yet he is happily enjoying the day under his leaf umbrella.

One thing I would have done differently is to have stitched the  words onto the fabric before I stitched that band to the piece.  But heck, frogs don't have very good penmanship anyway.

I plant to use this piece in a wall display of the frogs I collect.  Frogs are one of my Animal Spirit Guides.