Saturday 15 February 2020

A Bit of Admin :-)

While we're all beginning to mull (possibly) over our 1 May quilt, "A Scene from a Book", it's time also to think what you might want to send your partner as inspiration for our August "Round Robin" quilt!

Everyone was happy to send internationally so I've drawn partners at random out of the proverbial hat - you will be sending to the person who follows you clockwise, ie: Martha to Wendy.
 (I'm sending lots of good thoughts and wishes to Paula who has been unwell and hope that she will be able to rejoin us.)

[Quick update, just for the avoidance of confusion and ease of reference:-)  Posting is as follows:
Martha to Wendy
Wendy to Gwen
Gwen to Fiona
Fiona to Maureen
Maureen to Debbi
Debbi to Carol
Carol to Ruth
Ruth to Janine
Janine to Catherine
Catherine to Martha ]

If you could get in touch with the person who'll be sending you your inspiration piece and let them know your postal address that will kick us off!  There's plenty of time to decide what to send but please remember to post it off in time for it to be received by 1 May.

This should be fun!
Catherine :-)

Tuesday 4 February 2020

New Theme Announcement

Another set of fantastic and inspiring pieces!  I hope everybody enjoyed the reveal - I love the similarities and differences in our various ways of thinking about the theme and converting those thoughts into quilts.

Time to start thinking about the next quilt!  From the remaining themes...
  1. The Sea
  2. Memories
  3. A quilt inspired by a newspaper headline
  4. Emotions feelings
  5. Opposites attract
  6. Colour theory
  7. A scene from a book
... Mr Random Generator has chosen

So our next theme, due 1 May is "A Scene from a Book".

Now, another thing to think about!  When initially considering suggestions for themes we included the possibility of occasionally throwing something slightly different into the mix!  Ruth had a suggestion for one of our challenges.  Her idea is that we could each send one other member an item - like, but not restricted to, an inspirational photo or card, magazine cutting, or piece of fabric - to be used in, or as inspiration for, a quilt.  How you use the item, and the theme of the quilt you make, would be up to you. We thought this would be a fun and interesting challenge for our August quilts.

The item would need to be received by 1 May in order to give the usual quarter to think about and work on the quilt, so we have plenty of time to get the ball rolling.  To kick off, if you could let us know in the comments below if you would be happy to send overseas, or would prefer to send more 'locally' we'll fix everyone up with a suitable recipient.

If you haven't already read about it, you might be interested in the World Wide Whispers quilt project - there is a great article about it here

Catherine :-)

Saturday 1 February 2020

Wishes: Calm

This theme was quite challenging. I had to look up the definition a couple of times. Then on a busy, crazy day at work I though; I want to tackle this life moments with a Zen attitude. I thought I wish that in the mist of hectic schedules, loud noises, distractions I could always have the that feeling of calm. Like that feeling you get when you are in the middle of the forest (or even a quiet garden) and you see a quiet stream of water running, undisturbed.
So for this piece I used very vibrant colors, loud in a sense. And I quilted it in a very organic wavy pattern to resemble the water running through.

And in a way that is my wish for the new year: calm in the mist of chaos.


'Wishes': Say it with Flowers

For some reason I found this theme a very difficult one.  I couldn't think how to express it.  I had lots of thoughts about what 'wishes' might be about but none of them would settle into a quilt.  Eventually I set on what I would wish for someone else - happiness.

We often express our hopes and wishes to other people in the form of flowers  - either as a bunch of flowers or as a symbolic bunch of flowers on a card - so this became my plan.   I wanted to make a really jolly, happy and exuberant quilt as my quilts are usually more restrained, and maybe subconsciously I was wishing for a bit of colour at the end of a long grey January!

I was going to add a little banner at the top of the quilt, saying "Be Happy", but when I tried it out I didn't like it and although it would have made the quilt more obviously relevant to the theme artistic vanity won over.

The vase and table cloth are pieced, and the flowers are raw-edge applique, with quilting to make parts of the flowers stand out.  I thought a couple of the flowers needed a bit of extra pop so added buttons to the centres - the largest amount of time was spent in fussing with the composition.   Finally I bound the quilt round a canvas and stapled it in place.  I had a lot of fun making it!

If Wishes Were Horses...

'If wishes were horses, beggars would ride'. When this theme was chosen that was the only thought that came into my head and I rejected it as being a bit negative! But I never could get it out so here it is. I will post more about this quilt on my blog later. You can read more about this quilt on my blog, Rainbow Hare. In the meantime I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has made :)

Dandelion Wishes

When I pondered the theme of "wishes" it reminded me of those days at the end of summer, when the heat was high, the grass was getting dry and crispy, and the sky was cloudless and blue. My friends and I would lay in the sun, pick dandelions that had lost their bloom, and blow on them to release the seeds.

I decided to try to make a quilt using that idea. Not having experimented much with mixed media and three dimensional items in a quilt, I thought I'd play a bit. My husband is the tea drinker in the family, so I decided to recycle some used tea bags. I let them dry out, then opened them and tossed the tea.

Once the tea papers were fully dry, I fan-folded them and tied them with string, making two large and two tiny pom-poms. Remember how we used to do that? It was easy to do, thanks to Wonder clips that held the fan-folded paper for me while I tied the string. I forgot to take pictures though!

Next up, was to make that clear blue sky and green grass. I did some improv work with some green scraps for the grass.

Then I attached a bright blue Moda Grunge to the green improv for the sky and added some wavy quilting to create some gentle breezes. Next up, a new thing for me - a little bit of thread painting. For someone who doesn't really free motion, I was a bit nervous, but I just had fun with it. What's to lose, right? I added two stems and two smaller ones.

Now it was time to add the dandelions. I did this by leaving long thread tails to the blossoms, then pulling each thread through to the back of the finished quilt and tying it off.

My dandelions look a bit like peonies, do they not? I even tried snipping them to create a more stringy look to the blossom, but couldn't quite get the effect. The little puffs above are the seeds that have been blown off one of the blossoms.

All in all, it was a fun experiment.

This little quilt measures approximately 15" x 18" and was made using scraps from my stash.

There are a few things I wish I would have done differently, but isn't that a bit what wishes are made of?

Thanks for the fun challenge!


Wishes: Magic in the Moonlight

Wishes.  I thought about many things I would like to see come true: world peace, the end of hunger, poverty, hate, and crime in the world. Acceptance of all cultures, races and beliefs. But none of those things will probably happen in my lifetime and the images I thought about to depict any of them seemed cliché.

I began a small quilt with the intention of illustrating different ways to make a wish: wishing well, wish bone, genie lamp, birthday cake, etc. and I did not like the result. It did not work in several places so I put it aside.

So, I decided to do something fun and uplifting. My wish is that all people have many beautiful and magical moments in their lives. The result is this quilt: Magic in the Moonlight.

This is the first time I put silk flowers and leaves in a quilt. The flowers are attached with beads. There are also beads scattered in the water. The fairies were cut out and fused using fusible web and the fairy dust is glitter.

Beggars would ride

It is time to reveal our quilts for this quarter's challenge, and once again I cannot believe how time has flown! This quarter's theme of "Wishes" really taxed my brain.

Early on in my research I came across a Scottish proverb, first recorded in 1628, that said "if wishes were horses, beggars would ride". For some reason the proverb stuck in my head and I kept coming back to it as the basis of my challenge quilt.

So, here is my "Beggars would ride" quilt for this quarter's challenge.

The "Beggars Badges" being tossed from the horse are made from tea light holders and a soft drink can, which were embossed and then die-cut. Beggars Badges did exist in Scotland around the time of the proverb, and there are apparently three examples in Glasgow Museums from Rothesay, which is not too far from home. I was delighted to be able to make that local connection for this quilt.

When I pulled the fabric for this quilt I wanted the colour graduation to represent the progression from town to country that access to a horse would provide. It was a very grey day when I photographed the completed quilt so the photo above is a more true representation of the colours in the final quilt.

The quilting too changes from the almost square grid of cobblestones (seen behind the Beggars Badges) to the fan shaped rolling hills above.

My original intention was to have several, smaller horses galloping across the quilt but I decided that one rearing horse figure had more impact, especially on the back of the quilt that you can see here. The horse is hand-dyed silk appliqued and then raw edge stitched. The mane is machine stitched using three shades of grey thread and the tail is couched grey embroidery cotton and textured embroidery threads.

This Endeavourers Challenge has once again been a joy to take part in. I never know at the start of each quarter quite where the challenge will take me, but I always enjoy the journey! Thanks to Catherine and Janine for organising yet another great challenge.

Head on over to Celtic Thistle Stitches to read more about the making of this quilt

I Wish on February 1st

How to make a quilt Endeavourer's Style.
  1. Think about the theme: wishes. Look up the word Wish. Find that the meaning in English is somewhat different than in other languages. In some other languages, wish and hope can be used interchangeably. In English hope is about possibility, wish is not. "I hope I'm happy with the quilt." Here there is the possibility that I will like it. "I wish was happy with the quilt." Uh-oh. Wish is a past tense kind of thing. Yeah, we wish each other Merry Christmas, but that's a special rule. English is full of special rules.
  2. Wonder why you are turning 65 soon and still can't play piano even though wanting to for twenty years. Enter "wish" in Pinterest. Discover a wry, motivational quote. Ah-ha! Decide on a fusible appliqué word quilt and dive in with the usual "only stash, only squares" rule. Find a font, print it out, transfer to fabric, blah, blah, blah. Remove the kitten about a thousand times from the middle of things. Have less fun than anticipated. 
  3. Get the flu from your grandkids -even though you had the flu shot- and be sick for the better part of two weeks.
  4. Look at the calendar and realize Reveal Day is less than four days away. Force yourself to just get the damn thing done (with time outs to lie down on couch). Wonder why you still have a fever.
  5. Finish quilt and wish you were happier with it. (Maybe it will grow on you.)
  6. Go lie back down and think about practicing piano tomorrow. 

Wish Drops

For our previous theme, Dreams, I focused on the "hopes and aspirations" connotation of dreaming, and I even titled my piece Wishes and Dreams.

So when our current theme, Wishes, was announced, I felt like "I just did that, now what do I do?"
But an image quickly popped into my head, based on a childhood practice of blowing dandelion seeds up into the sky to make a wish.

This piece is definitely influenced by two of the other Endeavourers.  First, Janine, with her magical story-telling pieces like Dream in Color, and second, Catherine, (especially her piece Cycles) because of the way she chooses illustrative elements -- to me she chooses elements that are essential, but never predictable or dull. 

So in this piece I was going for more of a pared-down look, but one that evoked a story.

As I said, when we were young, we blew dandelion seeds up into the sky to make a wish.  I am amazed the grown-ups never stopped us, because we must have been spreading dandelions all over their perfect lawns.  Maybe they were just glad for a moment of peace.

I decided to make my own folklore to add to this childhood belief, to say that the wish seeds sail up to the moon and slowly fill it up.  As we all make wishes and wait patiently, the moon fills up to overflowing, and then our wishes fall back to earth as beautiful, unique drops.  If we reach out and capture them, our wishes come true, but maybe not in the sense we were expecting. 

"Wish Drops"
Detail of the dandelion heads and leaves.
Detail of the full moon and the waning moon.
Detail of the falling wish drops.

I had so much fun working on this piece.  I try out new techniques for every piece, and this time I played with decorative machine stitches, bobbin work, and making covered buttons.

Although I tried on new styles inspired by Janine and Catherine, I stuck with my usual vocabulary of materials -- silk, Lumiere paints, Lutradur, beads, and all kinds of shiny and sparkly threads.  I also repeated some techniques I have used before, such as mixing realistic and abstract imagery, padding shapes for more 3-D effects, and placing shapes to expand the regular quilt rectangle.

I would like to add more beading, and more stitching to integrate the free-standing shapes with the background better.  But I enjoyed working on this piece and I look forward to spending more time with it.

If wishes were kisses...

For some reason when I saw this quarter's theme was "Wishes" what went through my head was the refrain "If wishes were kisses...".  Now I don't know the next bit and when I asked Gordon he told me never heard of it but had heard "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride".  That rang a bell so I thought I had it all wrong and it wasn't until I typed "if wishes" into google and it came back with both and "if wishes were fishes'! 

I guess I shouldn't be surprised because wishing is everywhere: wishing wells, throw a penny in the fountain, enter a church for the first time, playing the lotto, wishing upon a star, Amazon wish list...
But that saying about beggars might ride kept popping into my head and I looked it up and was surprised to see it was Scottish but not surprised that we'd know it too with all the connections between Ireland and Scotland and the UK in general. 

Another thing I found surprising and not surprising is the good and bad sides to sayings.  Like "He who hesitates is lost" and "Look before you leap".  Kind of contradictory but kind of not.  "If wishes were horses then beggars would ride" meaning everyone would have a horse and that's not the case, wishes don't all come true, get on with things and make it come true yourself.  As opposed to "When you wish upon a star, makes no matter who you are, When you wish upon a star your dreams come true." 

So I decided to grab some fabric and build scrappy background and make some wishes.  I found bullet journalling last year and have a wish list page with my version of a dandelion clock 'cause whether you believe in wishes or not, its tremendous fun blowing dandelions.  I quilted all of those sayings into the background and had fun choosing fabric that looked like a stem, a dog added in and some flowers on low volume fabric. 

I added in 4 boxes for wished for items and thought about adding something in but left it blank as most of the time we have all we need and don't thankfully don't need to wish for much.  I very nearly added in a scene from Miss Confidentiality where Sandra Bullock's character is on stage being interviewed in the beauty pagent following everyone who has wished for world peace.  She comes out with longer prison sentences for repeat offenders and when that falls flat as a burst balloon adds world peace to rapturous applause. 

I ran out of room to quilt all that in the background so I am calling the piece Miss Confidentiality.  It seems to fit to me as for some reason in lots of cases if you tell anyone your wish it won't come through - who came up with that one?   

Anyway that's it; what started as wishes as kisses ends up with amazon wish lists and world peace.  Now wouldn't that be nice.


Wishes.  Wishes are easy to make.  You might wish on the first evening star, or a shooting star.  Your favorite time to wish may be on a wishbone, or birthday candles. Or maybe you toss a  coin in a fountain.   People wish on all sorts of things usually asking for something they might want.

Wishes are given heartily or sometimes frivolously.  You might read on Social Media that someone is ill or that their friend is ill so you quickly  type a well wish.  Do you really mean it or is "just what people do".

Wishes swirl around in the Universe.  Sometimes someone catches a wish.  A thought pops into their head and by doing something for someone else the are also fulfilling one of their own wishes.

If you are interested, I have a post on my blog with more personal thoughts on Wishes and creating this piece.