Thursday 12 August 2021

Congratulations, Debbi!

 Just stopping by to let you know that one of our members, Debbi, just won a Blue Ribbon at the County Fair for one of her quilts! Congratulations, Debbi! You can see the quilt over on her blog .

Monday 2 August 2021

New Theme

That was another great reveal and, as usual, it was really interesting to see all the different interpretations and techniques. 

I just came over to do this post and I was surprised to see we are nearly running out of themes.  Only two to go and we will be needing some more!

Our remaining themes are:

1. A quilt inspired by a newspaper headline

2. Emotions/feelings

From these, Mr Random has chosen:

So our next theme will be a quilt inspired by a newspaper headline, with the reveal of our pieces on 1 November.

Janine :)

Opposites Attract

 Hello friends, sorry I’m a bit late to post. Life has been a bit hectic and I just had time today to sit down and post my little project. This theme was fun and interesting. The first this I thought about was day and night and then I thought about the Chinese symbol of yin and yang -“how opposite forces may complement each other and be interconnected” - so I created this little pice representing how opposites actually interconnect with each other.

I love how it turned out in all of its simplicity. 

Sunday 1 August 2021

Opposites Attract on August 1st


When the theme was announced, I immediately thought of Cats and Dogs, Yin and Yang, and a couple of others. They would have been easy enough to create, but they just didn't resonate. It being Summer and all, I just wanted to play. So I grabbed handfuls of scraps, sat down at the machine, and started making random half square triangles. And then I went with the Opposite that did husband and me! I handed him the sewn triangles and asked him to put them together as he liked. 

He went at it with great enthusiasm, working on it for four days on the bed in the guest room while the cats howled their displeasure at being shut out. I wanted him to make a small quilt, but once let loose, he would not be contained. "Just one more row," he kept saying. "Okaayyy...," I said. And that was that.

It's 3.5 x 4 feet / 1.067 x 1.22 meters, made with what I had, heavily quilted because I love a heavily crinkled quilt. Friend Debbi asked, "But is it an Art Quilt?" I said it's going on the wall over my bed, close enough.

And there you have it, Opposites Attract on August 1st.  


Opposites Attract

 My initial idea for this challenge was to do something whimsical of two things attracted to each other, but I decided to think on it a bit longer. I asked my family and friends what came to mind when I said "opposites attract" but no ideas sprang up from their suggestions. I kept thinking about clamor vs. calm, or noise vs. quiet, initially brought on by everything we hear these days out there in the big wide world we live in. In the end, this quilt ended up being much more personal. 

I came across this quote on a blog this past week: "Art is not always about pretty things. It's about who we are, what happened to us and how our lives are affected." --Elizabeth Broun. 

So this quilt is not a pretty thing; it's quite homely, actually. But it does tell a bit about what happened to me and how it has affected my life. 

Ever since I was born, I have had very little hearing in my left ear. Up until my kids had left for college, I was able to cope with the hearing loss without hearing aids. Now I wear them, and while they help, sometimes they hinder. 

The left side of this quilt represents noise - what I experience when I am in a very noisy environment. The background print represents everyone talking; the circles making me think of word bubbles. The red bias tape are my thoughts - sometimes just a jumble, but sometimes full of emotion, but it can also mean angry voices or shouting. There is an additional word bubble, and you'll notice in a later photo that the words are all upside down, because sometimes that's how it feels when my brain is processing what is being said to me. In the upper right, there are big, jerky stitches in yellow - which represent my frustration as well as loud noises, like horns, dogs, whistles, kids screaming or crying, etc. 

On the right side of the quilt is calm, which for me is represented by water - waves lapping on the shore in the quietness of a morning. The quietness of sitting with my morning coffee in a quiet room. The peacefulness of simple things. The small writing you see along the curve between the two is "come away", the reminder to come away from the noise - or from the quiet - and enter the other now and then. The other writing on the quilt, on the bottom right, is a notation of Matt. 11:28, a Bible verse that is meaningful to me. 

Often after being in a very noisy, talkative environment, I am extremely tired from all the work of listening, and I just need to be somewhere quiet and peaceful. 

Here's the close up of the word bubble, which I stitched on with the blue, to suggest how much I want to go someplace quiet rather than try to decipher what is being said to me: 

And here are the yellow, jerky stitches: 

This was an interesting theme for me. I hadn't planned on processing quite so much while I constructed this quilt. I should add that most of the time I am very happy and thankful for my hearing aids. This is just a reflection of what it's like at times when the noise is just too much and I yearn for the quiet. 

So a not-so-pretty quilt, but meaningful to me. 


Opposites Attract: Tragedy Comedy

The prompt for the latest challenge was "Opposites Attract." I had a few ideas about this prompt: Yin and Yang, and a few others. I finally settled on making a quilt from a small stained glass art piece I purchased at a gift shop on the Oregon Coast many years ago. I have no information about the original artist. It used to hang in my office when I was a social worker in private practice, and so Tragedy and Comedy were the "opposites" I chose for my piece. 

Here's an image of the Tragedy Comedy masks gleaned from the Creative Commons website:

(Image credit: "Tragedy and Comedy" by Tim Green aka atoach is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

There's a good article explaining the history and meaning of the Comedy and Tragedy theater masks. In a nutshell:

[T]heatre masks were used by actors during performances so as to clearly depict emotions to every member of the audience, even one who was sitting in the seats far away from the stage. The large faces added a sense of exaggeration to the actors’ emotions, which helped them convey their emotions to the entire open-air theatre. These masks also allowed actors to play characters independent of age and gender, as all the actors in ancient Greek theatre were always men. Theatre masks allowed them to play female roles with ease. Similarly, one actor could play more than one character with the help of these masks. 

Working from a photographic enlargement, stained glass applique was the obvious choice to recreate this piece. First, I traced a pattern from a photograph. I gave a little extra room for the "leading" in the stained glass.

There are other ways to do stained glass applique, but I like the method described in this book:

When I had the "leading" portion traced onto fusing medium, the next step was to fuse it to a solid black fabric, and then cut those thin lines. I've done this method many times. When the cutting is finished, it looks and behaves like a pile of spaghetti.

Open it up and flatten it out, and it looks like this:

From there, I chose the fabrics I wanted to use for the "stained glass." Batiks work best for this.

And then, I traced out the "glass" portions of the applique, giving a margin around the edges to be fused to the "leading."

The challenge is to get complete coverage while still leaving enough fusible for the adjacent pieces.

This is the one and only use I've found for this little craft iron. For this, it is an indispensable tool.

Turning it over, it looks like this:

Okay, and then I continued on...

until I had complete coverage.

Flipping it over, it looked like this.

I used one of Vicki Welsh's hand-dyed fabrics for the background. Fusing the whole to the background, my quilt top was complete.

And now, I finally had a use for this piece of fabric I purchased long ago. 

Originally, I was trying to recreate this block created by a kindergarten student. I wasn't sure how I was going to do that center rainbow, and so I went in search of a fabric that might work.

It wasn't a perfect recreation, but it was good enough.

And there's the piece I cut from it originally. Aside from that I had a yard of fabric still intact.

Quilting for these stained glass pieces consists mainly of top-stitching both sides of the "leading." It recreates the pattern on the quilt back.

All that was needed then was to add a binding, and my quilt was finished.

Opposites attract: Tragedy and Comedy. Certainly I saw plenty of that in my work. Retirement is good. I hope you like my quilt.

Opposites Attract - Purple and Orange

I have to admit that though I found the theme a really interesting one to think about I really struggled this time to come up with a quilt.  Probably I am not the only one who is finding that the pandemic is starting to take a toll on my mental energy?!   In the end, I decided to follow on from last quarter's theme and, thinking about the use of the colour wheel in the garden, make a quilt showing how using opposite colours together can bring each colour to life. Unfortunately my camera is not picking up the glowing oranges and purples of the Oakshott cottons I have used here, and the effect they have in proximity to each other,  but here is a cheery bunch of flowers!

I made this little piece in great haste and it is not a work of art - but it was very encouraging doing it and feeling a bit of creativity returning!   Being forced to be much more spontaneous than usual was fun and quite liberating, and the scribbly raw-edge appliqué in black is something I will come back to.    Once again I am very grateful to be a part of this group!


Opposites Attract: Big/Small

 Well this was another really wide theme that could have gone in a million directions.  Right from the beginning though, I knew I wanted to do something with gravity.  I'm always amazed how weak a force it is and how strong a force it is.  Weak in that we can jump and lift things and throw things and strong in that it can tear planets and moons apart.

So I came up with the idea of doing something based on Saturn and showing how the might of Saturn breaks its moons and captures the pieces in rings.

I used a collage technique I had learned in a workshop with Kim Caskey, teaching a Laura Heine pattern.  You use steam a seam to bond fusible to patterned fabric and cut out flowers and motifs to use to build a collage. The technique is explained really well in Laura Heine's patterns so if you are interested in collage look her up.  She has some fun patterns like roosters, camper vans, and bees.

I drew out the shape of Saturn and some rings on Pattern Ease (a background material you can build collage on and leave it in your project).  I had fabrics already fused left over from another project and I wasn't sure how to do Saturn's ring so I pulled everything out and had a play.  I thought these circles would work as abstract impression of the rings so gave it a go.

Instead of making the whole planet from motifs I used blenders from my stash.  I pulled some yellow and purple fat quarters and used strips and larger pieces to give the impression of Saturn and then added some swirly motifs on to show the gaseous nature of the planet.  

Over to the ironing board to fuse everything down. The thing with steam a seam is you can move the fabrics around and they will stick to each other until you press them.  When you press them on to where you want them then they fuse but the glue can be sticky when trying to quilt through.  

The trick is to press using steam to release all that glue and to use lots of steam, then the free motion quilting of the planet was easier and I just echo quilted around the rings and planet with a walking foot to give the impression of the gravitational pull that Saturn creates.

This was a lot of fun and I was glad to re-visit this collage style of quilting.  Now to find some where to hang it.  It's getting crowded on the wall now with all the art pieces we have been creating!

Opposites Attract

I really struggled to come up with anything to make this quarter and also with finding time to make anything at all so this is definitely a better-finished-than-perfect offering, which I eventually managed to make yesterday. 

Amazingly, I started by bagging a layer cake square with some wadding and backing (having absolutely no idea what to do with it) and then had to go out. By some kind of miracle, by the time I got back and re-staked some rows of runner beans that had been razed to the ground by high winds, the butterfly/flower idea had popped into my head and I sewed it up very quickly in the evening.

It reminded me of a Ted Talk, I think by Elizabeth Gilbert (I will look it up and edit) where she speaks about her daemon (but I think it could be our subconscious or something) and says she if she sits ready to work, she's done her part of the job and making that commitment allows the universe, or whatever to come with the inspiration. Sorry this is vague and may be quite wrong but I have two minutes to the deadline!

Anyway, the rational behind this quilt is that the shapes are opposite each other in space and the colours are complementary opposites...

And the 'attract' part is indicated by the flower and butterfly because butterflies are attracted to flowers.

I stitched mainly in white and painted (in colours) the shapes comprising the 'opposite' elements. Then I used black stitching to illustrated the flower and butterfly details - so black and white for the non-opposite elements.

Apologies for such a rushed and garbled post this quarter! I can't wait to see what everyone else had made :)


Opposite Day

 I had a very hard time with this theme -- each pair of opposites I thought of (curvy/straight, thick/thin, vintage/modern) seemed to cancel each other out. I could picture them in a nice background pattern, but not in an interesting focal image.

Then I thought of "Opposite Day," which we used to do for fun when my kids were small (usually on a rainy summer day).  You would think of all your normal routines and try to do them opposite.  Eat popsicles for breakfast, write backwards with your non-dominant hand, etc.

It was fun to approach my usual quilting process from the "opposite" direction, and try new techniques.  Usually I have some sort of representational image, so I thought it would be "opposite" for me to just use simple geometric shapes.  I chose this image for a composition inspiration:

I clipped this from a magazine years ago; I am not sure of its original source.

I decided to make my quilt sandwich inside out, using painted batting for the top layer, and then doing reverse applique, with the fabrics of the middle layer revealed.

"Opposite Day", a small art quilt based on reversing my usual quilt process.

Detail showing the dyed, painted, and stitched surface.

I think this quilt would have been a good solution to our Texture challenge as well.  I had fun re-thinking my quilting habits!

You can read more about how I made this piece at my blog, Deep in the Heart of Textiles.

Opposites attract


I was confused by this topic. The only thing that came to my mind about opposites attracting was magnets. And that was not something I wanted to portray in a quilt. Started thinking just about opposites and the first thing that came to mind was black and white.

Thought about male/ female, love/hate, etc. but I was not sure they would be “attracting”.

Thought about “you can’t have one without the other”, like in an old song by Frank Sinatra (guess that dates me!) Yeah, I know that song has nothing to do with opposites.

So then thought more about opposites and that if one did not exist, neither would the other. Maybe that’s what attracting means?!

Opposites both attract (bees and flowers?) and repel (cats and dogs?) and both are necessary for this world to exist.

Kinda like yin and yang in Asian philosophy.

Getting way too philosophical here!

 I really did not want to do something complicated so went back to my first thoughts: black and white even though I don’t know if they attract.

This quilt is titles: Cold nights, Birds fly. I know birds do not fly at night, but here they do.