Saturday 6 February 2021

New Theme

That was another spectacular reveal!  

The following themes remain in the hat:

  1. A quilt inspired by a newspaper headline
  2. Emotions/feelings
  3. Opposites attract
  4. Colour theory
And Mr Random has chosen... our theme for the next quarter is "Colour Theory" and our reveal date is 1 May.   

I'm already looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for this theme!

In the meantime, keep safe and well and remember you are always welcome to post progress posts or anything else related to art quilts here,

Janine :)

Monday 1 February 2021

Not here...again.

 Dear friends,

I was so looking forward to joining in this quarter. My theme was chosen, plan made, fabric cut. Then my husband, Ray had a heart attack last Tuesday night, so all things quilty came to a standstill. He has been in the hospital since the attack, and is having open heart bypass surgery Tuesday afternoon. I sincerely hope to join in next quarter, and I am thoroughly enjoying viewing what you all have done this quarter.



Memories: Blue on Blue

When the theme was announced for this challenge, "Memories," my immediate thoughts were of family and travel. Fairly quickly I dismissed the idea of making a memory quilt related to family and turned my thoughts toward travel. 

My husband and I are RVers. (International readers might better know an "RV" as a "caravan.") When he retired in 2017, we took a trip we'd dreamed of for decades around the perimeter of the United States. We left our home state of Oregon in September of that year, reaching home again on March 30th of the following year. There were quite a few items on our "bucket lists," including seeing the manatees that live in Florida. It wasn't easy to find them. Even finding them, it wasn't easy to see them in the murky and dark waters where they live. We finally found them at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Florida.

We saw the most delightful prairie dog town at Caprock Canyon State Park in Texas. I like doing animal collages, and so these guys got some serious consideration.

I'll admit this albino squirrel from Florida was tempting too.

Some of our most desirable bucket list items were to be found in New York State. For example, we really wanted to see Niagara Falls:

Another item high on the list was the Statue of Liberty. A friend and native New Yorker encouraged us to take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry for the best view of the Statue of Liberty, and he wasn't wrong. It was thrilling to see Lady Liberty for the first time.

More soberly, we wanted to see the rebuilt World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

As I looked through my pictures, I came across this image of the one commissioned work of art in the memorial museum. It was created by American artist Spencer Finch. When I saw this image, it inspired me to attempt to recreate it in fabric.

For his work, "Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning," Finch hand-painted 2,983 squares of Fabriano paper — one square in a unique shade of blue for every person killed in the September 11 attacks and in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. 

To create the quotation, I first chose a font and font size, and then printed it onto paper.

That was traced onto a tan solid and hand embroidered using Perle cotton and a stem stitch.

Then I cut ninety 2-1/2 squares of fabric, selecting as many different colors of aquas and blues as I could find in my stash. I'd hoped to make them all different, but some of them are repeats.

When it was all sewn together, I quilted it with a straight-line diagonal grid. This sky fabric was also in my stash, and it seemed the right choice for the quilt back.

When the quilting was finished, it was ready for binding.

Here is my finished quilt, inspired by my original image taken at the museum during our visit. It ended up at 19 x 19 inches.

Here's how it looks from the back.

I enjoyed making this quilt, and was glad for the excuse to take another tour through the many images shot during our travels. When friends asked us where we were going, I told them we were driving east until we reached the Atlantic Ocean. Then, we turned right and drove to the Gulf of Mexico, where we turned right again. Then we drove to the Pacific Ocean, and turned right again, reaching our home in Oregon, and the end of our trip. It was a journey of over 10,000 miles, and packed with memories. I hope you like my quilt. I'm looking forward to seeing what you all have created for this theme.

Memories: wedding

 I had a lot of trouble getting something done for this challenge. First I thought of doing a portrait of my mother who passed 6 1/2 years ago. I began that project but did not like it at all, ended up taking it apart. 

Then I decided to try making a quilt of an orchid since my parents grew a lot of them  and they filled the house and green house when I was growing up. Both of those tries did not work - one was thrown out and the other still sits on my table not knowing what will become of it.

The next thing I tried was something with symbols from all my travels. Since I have a sewing machine that does embroidery, I put a few designs on cloth, then became disillusioned with that one, too. Just did not inspire me.

Went back to the first idea of my Mom. Got further along but then I just stopped. It is still sitting there on top of the orchid. Maybe I will finish it....someday.

So here is one that I made a few years ago. It was part of a challenge with a few friends. We each made a list of things about ourselves and shared the list. This is the soft book I made from what others, and myself, made.

I took a picture of my wedding, transferred it to cloth and sewed it onto the background along with an embroidered heart and rings and the date of my wedding.

If anyone wants to see more of the book, it is on my web page from March 2020:

Memories: The Yellow Chair

 We were taking a road trip, heading north, along the shores of Lake Superior. Just before leaving, we had heard of the death of a friend. She had lived for many years in a cabin on Lake Superior, and we had enjoyed staying at her cabin and visiting her. We decided to pull over and walk the shore a bit in her honor. 

As I came down to the shore, there sat a yellow chair. An ordinary yellow kitchen chair, like those I remember growing up. The bright vinyl back and seat, with aluminum legs. It was just sitting there, empty, facing the lake. 

Perhaps it was the poignancy of the moment, but I wondered what memories that chair held. Did it sit in company around a table, filled with the swinging legs of little ones enjoying cookies fresh from the oven? Was it grandma's chair, where she sat as she shucked the corn for dinner? And how did it come to be on the lakeshore? Who brought it there, and why? What memories did it have to tell about life on the lake? Did the old man sit in it while tossing a stick for his dog? Was it a resting spot as the fisherman waiting for a bite at the end of his line? And now it sat empty, looking a bit forlorn and sad. But oh, what memories it must have. 

The greenery behind the chair is simply green scraps pieced together, spliced with light green added, then squared and sewn together. The sand was also improv piecing without the added splicing. The chair is added by raw edge applique. 

This was an enjoyable challenge, and I'll share more details about its construction on my blog this Wednesday. I continue to have fun with each theme, finding ways to challenge myself and create something unexpected. Even that builds fond memories! 

Lost Connections

It was difficult to pin down a project for this quarter's theme "Memories" as there are just so many memories to choose from. In the end though I didn't pick any of them!

Instead I chose to base my Challenge project on the loss of memory that Alzheimer's caused for my Dad in the last couple of years of his life. Lost Connections is my representation of the confusion and withdrawal that my Dad experienced as his memories of his life and the people in it started to disintegrate. 

The strongest connection that my Dad retained was, naturally, to my Mum to whom he was married to for over 64 years so she is shown as clearly as she appeared to him every day. Their wedding day is also clear in his memory as he always knew who my Mum was to him no matter what else he lost.

I revisited Ann Small's Layered Cloth technique for this quilt, so these two blocks are photos of my Mum and Dad with our children (top) and myself,our son and grandson (bottom) hidden behind layers of slashed and torn fabric. Again my Mum was a clear memory for him but his grandchildren less so, and his great-grandson was a connection that he struggled with. Our second grandson was born a few weeks before he died so he never actually met him, but was very pleased to know and make the connection with the inclusion of his own name in our grandson's given names. 

One of the places that my Dad often retreated to in his mind was the Inner Hebridean island where his family came from so their farmhouse home is the backing photo for this block. The place was, however, more of a sense of home rather than a bricks and mortar building so the photo is hidden behind a layer of organza and is only glimpsed rather than in full view.

The next two blocks, shown here pre-washing, were built upon photos of my parents more recently at our son's wedding (top grey) and out for a coffee (purple) on a sunny day after we moved to the same town. In both of these blocks the main reference point for my Dad was as always my Mum, so the fabric is slashed and stitched back (the purple block) to reveal her. 

The final block of the quilt (seen on the left above) has no photo behind it and in places the fabric has been slashed through all of the layers. It portrays those memories that have been irretrievably lost already.

When I came across this weird and wonderful Newspaper Yarn on Oliver Twists website I knew that I could use it in this quilt collage! So, as images provoke memories so do words but again with Alzheimer's they can get lost or confused in the transmission. 

I used the Newspaper Yarn to connect the quilt blocks vertically but left the ends loose and frayed and when one of the strands snapped as I was stitching I left it in place as another lost connection. 

Similarly when the metallic thread that I used to connect the wedding photo to the central block began to fray from the core I used it to represent another connection beginning to unravel.



I never know at the start of each quarter where these challenges will take me, and this one, in particular, took a very surprising direction. I am, however, immensely grateful to both Janine and Catherine for organising this group and giving me the opportunity to flex my quilting muscles in ways that I would never have thought possible!

If you want to read more of how this quilt collage was created head on over to Celtic Thistle Stitches

Looking forward as always to seeing how my fellow Endeavourers chose to present their Memories in quilt form :)

Memories: Treasure Box

My piece for this quarter is about the relationship between our memories and who we are - the way they contribute to who we are as a human being. We can have experiences but it is the memory of those experiences that allows us to learn and change and develop as a person. Memories are layered and stitched together, colouring and shaping our personalities, and our attitudes to the world.  

I thought about the treasure box I keep under my bed, and about the way the objects in a collection like this represent their owner's individual memories. The collection as a whole is more than the sum of its parts too and also reflects the owner as a person. 

In fact a person is like a treasure box - we are all treasure boxes! Together the box and its contents symbolise us as the keepers, and the product, of our memories.   So here is my imagined 'Treasure Box'.

The box and its contents are entirely textile bar some wire in the corsage, and almost entirely stitched, with the top of the box in crazy patchwork - all to symbolise the way we are layered and stitched together from our memories. Together the box and contents represent an imaginary person and what is important in their life and character . 

There is a (very) extended version of this post on my blog, with (lots) more pictures and details.

Memories Made and Found

This theme was so big I didn't know where to start with it.  So I pro-craft-inated for quite a bit.  Over the Christmas my sewing machine had to make its way from the dining table to the boxroom, so we could all fit around the table on Christmas day.  Somehow that physical move disconnected me from sewing altogether and I turned towards paper crafts that only need a small bit of the table to work off of.  

I found a series of You Tube videos by Amity Bloom using vintage papers to make journals and I was really drawn to them.  Watching all those videos on You Tube and pondering the theme of memories got me to thinking.  I started collecting things as a memory keeping idea, birthday cards, favourite bits of fabric and Mum gave me my grandmother's wedding rings to keep.  

I'm not a jewellery wearer (except maybe for a watch) and all the pieces mum gives me end up in a fancy box or somewhere safe where I can't find them again.   So, I decided to make somewhere nice to keep them.  I used some birthday money I had gotten from my mum for art materials and purchased Amity Bloom's course on the Artists in Bloom journal, thinking I would make a memory book and include bits of quilting and fabric and paper and anything I could think of to use including my grandmother's rings.  
I didn't quite make it exactly the same as Amity Bloom's or use vintage looking materials but I did follow her process and use my fabric scraps, pages from magazines mum had bought me, watercolour card stock, quilted fabric and some wallpaper we had leftover from doing up mum's house.  

The quilted panel was from a workshop I did with Mary Palmer (award winning quilter and Best in Show at Festival of Quilts so very privileged to have had a workshop with her!).  This has been covering my sewing machine for years and some of the quilting is grand and some of it's pants!  So, I chopped it up to use it to bind the book.
The music paper is wrapping paper from a Christmas present and the little flip our window picture comes from the Simple Things Magazine.  I wish this was the view from my window while I am working from home.  I get to see the roofs of other peoples houses but we do have starlings nesting under the eaves and they sing to me all the day long.  Along with a neighbours barking dog.  Sometimes our dogs answer back but I think he annoys them so they mostly ignore him.

This is a gift bag I was given, so I used one side of it and made a pocket to keep little notes in.  Cotton and Steel fabric on other side with coyotes howling at the moon.

More dogs! Cards I got for my brithday back in November and a stitched card from Christmas made into flip outs and more pockets to put keepsakes into!  Friends and loved ones make it into the book too this way.

Wallpaper, fabric scraps and some texture paste used with a butterfly stencil and some watercolours.  I love this cover as it reminds me of my Dad.  He was an amazing at whistling and could whistle songs and have the birds whistle back at him.  There are so many things my Mum has given me in this book, its nice to have a reminder of Dad too.

I know there is a whole debate on useful objects being art but when you are making with the intention of art and it happens to be useful too I think that's a double bonus!   

So that's it.  My take on Memories for this month's challenge. A bit of everything, some recent memories, some distant, some not even my own but all connected to me and now bound up in a quilted fabric papery something!

Waste Not, Want Not


This little quilt is a celebration of my first piece of textile art, though I didn't know that until I'd finished making it. I made it to illustrate a memory of the contents of my first sewing box, when I sewed everything together in the hope of making a stylish garment and got myself in a deal of trouble for 'wasting' it all. You can read more about it at Rainbow Hare.

I hope you are all keeping safe and well and I'm looking forward to seeing all the quilts this quarter :)



When trying to decide what my piece would be about I suddenly had the image of bugambilias (or bougainvilleas) and my afternoon chats with my mom. Growing up there were a couple of houses with huge bugambilias covering the whole front of the homes just across the street from our home. My mom and I we would sit in the afternoons in our front porch to chat, people watch and knit or embroider (whatever little project we were working on at the time). Our street was always bustling with kids running around, neighbors chatting with each other and the colorful blossoms covering the street in a bright pink blanket. I miss those days... I miss my afternoon chats with my mom.

So for this piece I wanted to capture the bright pink hues of the bugambilia blossom and the blocks interlocking to me represent how our memories are what keep was connected.