Wednesday 3 November 2021

New Theme Announcement

After another exciting reveal of such very different and wonderful quilts it's time to choose a new theme for the coming quarter.  And that is the very last theme in our bag! :


This quilt will be due 1 February


Monday 1 November 2021

Fibonacci Bargello on November 1st

Having done a less than ideal job of explaining Fibonacci numbers during the last reveal, I will try again.

These are the first few numbers of the Fibonacci sequence: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34..... You get a Fibonacci number by adding together the two numbers that came before it. For example, in the little sequence above, you would add 21+34 together to get 55 which is the next number in the sequence, and so on out into infinity. 

Fibonacci numbers are everywhere -in nature, in architecture, in the human body, but I was quite surprised to find the following headline in the Smithsonian Magazine (I don't take a newspaper, so a magazine had to do.) Anyway, the headline I used for this quarter's challenge is The Fibonacci sequence is Everywhere -Even the Troubled Stock MarketIt is subtitled: The curious set of numbers shows up in nature and also in human activities.

I came upon the sequence when I was looking for a pleasing pattern to make a striped crochet afghan; but it shows up in human activity, too?! Groovy. 

Oh, right...the quilt. The quilt is a bargello. I had a jelly roll that had been sitting around for ever so I decided to manipulate the fabric using the Fibonacci sequence. It's probably easiest to see the sequence laid out in the pink fabric (above and below) as it moves downward. The smallest middle piece is zero, then there are rows 1, 2, and 3, then the fourth row is skipped and pink again shows up in the fifth row, then the eighth, and thirteenth rows. 

Making a 
bargello quilt with it's gazillion corners to match was a big pain in the a**. If I even mention "The B Word" again, just shoot me. Nonetheless, here you have it, Fibonacci Bargello on November 1st. 

Josephine tested, Josephine approved.

What's Shakin', Minnesota?

 It took me forever and a day to come up with an idea for this challenge. In the end, I went with what I was pondering in the first place (isn't that always the way it works??), although I had to idea it would be in the context of Minnesota. 

My idea first began thinking about fractured quilts, and my final project used a little bit of that idea. My inspiration was earthquakes, and then I came across this interesting link from the Minneapolis Star Tribune about earthquakes that have hit Minnesota. Growing up in South Dakota, I do recall one very mild earthquake event that hit my area, but have not experienced any since my relocation to Minnesota. 

For my quilt, I decided to take a piece of fabric with a bit of a nature scene that made me think of Minnesota. I traced out the state outline onto SoftFuse and fused it to be back of that fabric. Then I cut the the piece into 1-inch strips. I fused it onto Grunge fabric in a deep teal that made me think of the lakes of Minnesota (since we are the land of 10,000 lakes) in a staggered arrangement, hoping to give the idea of being shaken. I stitched around each strip using raw edge applique with a cream thread. 

So that was pretty simplistic. I pondered whether I could add anything else, and considered some wording, but in the end decided to go with simple. Here's a view of the back, with the same fabric I used for the state outline. 

I had a little bit of fun with the quilting, and decided to quilt a siesmometer readout design over the fractured state outline. Thinking it would be a quick quilting idea, but it took me longer than I thought it would. I used a light variegated cream thread, so that it would show against the teal but fade into the state outline. 

Hopefully you can see that in this angled shot, where the light picks up the quilting a bit better. 

I'm looking forward to seeing the other interpretations of this theme. It was a tough one for me! 


Newspaper Headline: Friendship 7

When I first read the prompt, my mind went immediately to the question I'm often seeing on social media and elsewhere: What is the first major news story you remember as a child? And I answered, "The Kennedy Assassination," which is what most people in my cohort will say. I was nine years old, and in the 4th grade when that happened. I can remember getting the news as plain as if I were reliving the day. A couple of boys ran by our classroom and yelled in the window, "President Kennedy has been assassinated!" It was shocking news.

But getting back to this prompt, I asked myself...really? Is that really the first newspaper headline I can remember? And then I was reminded of one from earlier: John Glenn's orbital flight on Friendship 7. It was a part of the Mercury Project. I was in the second grade when he made his historic flight. I remember talking about the exciting events of the day with a boy who sat at the desk next to me. And so I went with that for my inspiration.

For some time, I've been wanting to try incorporating a human face into my quilting repertoire. So, I went in search of some news stories about John Glenn. I liked this cover from Life magazine.

After thinking about it for a few days, I worried about copyright issues if I were to use this image in a quilt. I don't know who would care, but it gave me second thoughts. I went on quite a little online journey trying to figure out if the image was in the public domain. Apparently some Life magazine covers are, but I couldn't determine if this was one of them. 

Searching further, I found another image I liked, this one from Time magazine:

But here, I ran into the same problem. Despite hours of trying, I could not figure out if the image was in the public domain, and so I didn't feel comfortable using it.

So here's where I learned something: All commemorative postage stamps created after 1978 are copyrighted. Those created before 1978 are all in the public domain. In my online journey, I found one that commemorated Project Mercury that led to John Glenn's orbital flight. When I found it, I had my inspiration. Here's the original stamp:

And, honestly, how old to you have to be to remember when a letter could be mailed for 4¢?

It seemed like applique would be the best way to recreate the commemorative stamp. My cat, Sadie, is an excellent helper in the sewing room. She helped me trace and cut the perforated frame for the stamp.

I had some perfect fabrics for creating the stamp background, and so I fused the "frame" to the background fabric. Also, I took a little creative license with the layout of the stamp. The globe on the original stamp bothered me. I wanted something that looked less stylized, and so I recreated one that included what was then Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The most difficult part was deciding how to recreate the space capsule. This was fused together on a teflon pressing sheet...

And then moved to the background for fusing and top-stitching.

The most tedious part of this quilt was cutting out those little letters. Here again, I took some creative license, moving the "Project Mercury" lettering to the top of the design to avoid covering the globe.

After that, it was ready for top-stitching. It was first layered with its batting, and top-stitched through the batting. 

It's a little difficult to see, but the background fabric is glittery with stars. Nevertheless, I tried adding some hot fix crystals to give it a little more sparkle. They don't show very well against the glittery background.

All that I needed to do then was to add the backing fabric, do a little more quilting, and then bind it. This is my finished quilt:

It ended up at 13 x 20 inches. Here's how it looks from the back.

I hope you like my quilt! I still haven't attempted to make a quilt from a human face, but I'll save that for another time. 

Relentless Static

I turn to quilting for respite from all the terrible happenings that surround us, so this topic, A Headline from a Newspaper, was a stressful one for me.

I wanted to create a portrait as a reminder that all of the tragedies happen to real people; people who have to live through the events that are so terrible they cause panic and depression even to others who are thousands of miles away and safe.  The headlines take over our heads; we cannot get away from them.

"Relentless Static"

The batik fabrics in the background, with their contrast and motion, suggest the constant surge of noise and hazard we are subjected to.  Even if we turn it off, we know it is there.

Her face is fragmented and she "can't keep it together"; pieces are blowing through the atmosphere around her. Her once starry eyes have turned into that deer-in-the-headlights look as she tries to cope with every new barrage.

The halo of orange around her head, and the spiky orange stitching, show how these headlines keep us at a level of high alarm.

 As I worked on this, I thought about how many hours my fellow teachers and I spent trying to instill a sense of teamwork and unity in our students, who came from all over the world, and how satisfying it felt to see a good group discussion, or a proud presentation.  And then in contrast, I thought about how now my friends' conversation turns so often to fears of others taking away what they think they are entitled to, and I wondered how much of that comes from headline overload.

Also as I worked on it, when I was auditioning fabrics, and chose those with nature motifs, I immediately felt a little better. I would like to make a companion piece, with the headlines I wish I saw every day, like, "TxDOT Plants Native Flowers Along Highways," or "Congress Works Together as Well as Fifth Graders Do," or "Art Classes Added to Curriculum."

B****y Covid

My quilt doesn't need much explanation - it represents the majority of headlines at the moment, and pretty much sums up my feelings!

As the current situation drags on we're probably all getting a bit fed up so I had wanted some way of adding a small bit of hope to my quilt.  When I dug this newspaper print out of the drawer it seemed perfect because it is actually full of positive thoughts.  I'm not always keen on fabric like this but I thought that the message 'be gentle with yourself' and references to the good things in life - beauty, friendship, family, home and garden, etc, - were a good reminder that although Covid sometimes occupies centre stage, as it does in my quilt,  the things that make life worthwhile are still there.

My 'headline' is painted with fabric paint and I quilted in black round the letters, which are based on a font called Impact.   There is a double layer of batting under the white 'paper' which is stipple quilted.  The background newsprint is quilted in random geometric shapes inspired by the print.  I liked the way that the asterisks look vaguely like the Covid virus under the microscope!

I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling uninspired to be creative recently, and it was very good to have this challenge! As usual I'm looking forward to seeing what has inspired the other members of the Endeavourers.  

Man Walks on the Moon


This quarter, I couldn't really complain about the theme because I chose it myself so apologies to anyone who struggled with it as much as I did. It was a long time ago before the headlines became Brexit, Brexit, Brexit, Covid, Covid Covid. We don't take a newspaper anymore and, although, from time to time I used to notice an interesting or amusing headline, whilst waiting in the post office (which is also our village shop), as soon as I wanted to make a quilt that came to an abrupt stop.

I had no more luck searching the internet, where the only front pages in the first thousand or so search results seem to record deaths of celebrities, wars or terrorists attacks. You could be forgiven for thinking nothing positive ever happened in the world! 

So, with the deadline fast approaching, I resorted to quilt pictionary.

I'm very much looking forward to seeing what everyone came up with :)

On a lighter note...

The news can be quite depressing at times, and you really have to hunt for the good news some days.  When I saw the headline that Ed Sheeran was going to be playing in Thomand Park next May, (home of Munster Rugby) in Limerick, (my home town) I knew that was going to be the headline I'd pick for inspiration for a quilt.  Something happy and fun.

My sketch of a guitar in fabric scraps.
Limerick sits on the Shannon, founded by the Vikings and has a city charter older than London.  Limerick also has a population of about 100,000 people so we don't get the big gigs that often.  Most people go to Dublin. 

Ed Sheeran is also really popular and tickets sold out really quickly.  One of my very best friends from childhood has a birthday the week in May that he's playing so I took a chance and bought 3 tickets when I saw the extra tour date go up.  I kept my fingers crossed my friends are ok & happy to go - they are! We are all so excited to have something to look forward to.  After so much lock down in the past 18 months it feels a bit strange.  

So once I had decided the headline, I knew I wanted to make a guitar themed quilt.  I got as far as 3rd grade classical guitar in school and don't play very often but acoustic guitar is my favourite kind of music.

 Two weeks ago, I was asked to teach the ticker tape workshop I had put together a good number of years ago and one of the samples I had put together in an unsewn state was an abstract guitar.  This sample was showing how you can create shapes and create emphasis with scraps of different colours or values.  

I decided to finish it off and pulled out all my orange scraps.  I quilted it with straight lines echoing around the curves of the guitar and some extra lines on the guitar strings to make them look like they were after being plucked.  Ticker tape is a quilt as you go method and in this piece I didn't sew around the scraps just quilted over them in a raw edge state.   

I used an Ikea frame and modified the mat to make it bigger to frame the guitar and hang it on the wall.  The whole family loves it and its wonkiness.  It makes me smile when I walk into the living room and it definitely brightens up the space.  Ticker tape quilts are a lot of fun and sometimes you just need to play.  It's good for the soul!

Beach Belles

 I thought that I had this theme sussed ages ago but, then, naturally, I changed my mind at the last minute :)

We are hoping to get back to our holiday house in France soon, we haven't been able to visit since October last year. Like many others our summer holiday this year was a home stay and that, according to the headline below has resulted in a huge increase in the price of that Edwardian staple - the beach hut!


 So, my quilt for this month's theme is a look back at the beach hut in it's heyday.

Once again, I turned to the Crafted Applique technique that I used in this raindrop for a previous challenge for my strolling beach belles.

She looks very swish for a stroll along the beach, doesn't she? I would love to have an occasion to wear a hat like that!

For more information on the construction of this mini quilt head on over to Celtic Thistle Stitches 


I look forward to reading about my fellow Endeavourers responses to this challenge, as always I am sure that I will be amazed and inspired :)



Headlines: Fire

 For a number of years there have been numerous wildfires on the west coast: Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada, to name a few states that have been affected. There have been others in other countries.

 For me, they have affected my family:

In 2016 my cousin, Judy, lost her home near Feather Falls, California, so she bought a house in Paradise, California. Her brother also bought a home in Paradise.

In 2018 Paradise burned to the ground in a very fast burning fire that began when a power line coming in contact with dry trees caused a spark. They both lost their homes.


In 2020 the CZU fire, started by lightning, spread across the San Mateo and Santa Cruz mountains, burning more than 86,000 acres of redwood trees. This was near my hometown of San Jose, California. I spent many wonderful summers in those trees and one of my memories is of the smell of redwoods in the early mornings when it was foggy. We had breakfast under a tarp that covered the outdoor kitchen listening to the dripping of the water from the fog.


That same year we, on the Oregon coast, had several days where the sky was red orange.


In 2021 Oregon had the Bootleg fire that covered more than 400,000 acres while California had the Dixie fire that burned almost 1 million acres. There was also another fire in the ancient large Sequoia National Park where they covered some of the oldest trees with foil so they would not burn.

Most of these large fires burn for months while thousands of firefighters battle the flames day and night. And those are just the major fires, there are dozens of other, smaller wildfires that are little reported. My heart goes out to the firefighters and all those who lost their homes, family and friends.


Every year I hope there are fewer fires, and every year there seem to be more and larger ones thanks to global warming, lightning and the carelessness of humans.


                                           General Sherman giant sequoia – KNP fire 2021

This tree is the world's largest tree - 31 meters in diameter, 83 meters tall, weighs 6167 tons and is about 2000 years old. It would be a terrible shame to lose it to fire.

                                                                  Bootleg fire 2021