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Sweet Sixteen finishes

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A friend of mine sent her Sweet 16 to my place for a visit.  I’ve named her “Sweetie”.  Sweetie is a bit temperamental but I have had some success with her.  I can’t tell you how amazing it is to quilt with something that not only has POWER but has SPACE.  If I was on the build-up side of my quilting career, I would be sorely tempted to invest in a machine like this.  SERIOUSLY tempted.  (That brings shivers down the spine of Mr. W because of the price!!  ha!)

In the 2 weeks she was up and running (and singing!), I quilted 4 placemats, 2 baby/toddler sized quilts, 1 lap sized quilt and several practice pieces.  I also used the basting function to baste 20 Liberty of London flowers onto a linen base for hand appliqué.  I was up at 6am each morning and out playing with her for 60-90 minutes before brekkie.  It was a total blast.

Earlier this week, she made a loud CLUNK and up came an error message.  I wasn’t able to get past the error so the plug has been pulled and she is awaiting a trip to the repair shop.  Best guess it will be February before she comes back to her temporary home.

Here are a couple slide shows of the finished pieces.

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AHIQ Hookup

Ad Hock Improv Quilter Hook-up

I have been very slack at linking to Kaja’s Sew Slowly and Ann’s Fret Not Yourself monthly hook-up.  I love the work of these two gals and hope they continue doing this in 2018.

I have no excuse other than just been so tired lately.  And uninterested in blogging.  Insomnia is my nemesis.  I used to sleep so well.  I miss those days.  Since menopause, my sleep patterns simply suck.  I don’t like it at all.   Minor issue – I know.  Suck it up Princess and know how fortunate you are!

Moving on…I have made 2 improv baby/toddler sized quilt tops lately.  Two family babies are due to arrive next year.  There will be no sweet little baby quilts from this great auntie.  🙂

This one is using 4 ‘building blocks’ from a demo I’m giving to 2 local quilt groups in February.   Crumb piecing, string piecing, curved/drunkards path and slash – with the triangle ones thrown in for good measure.  I used pretty much all of my left over grey fabric and purchased the orange Moda grunge dot fabric at a local shop (Mulberry Tree).  Left over fabrics were used on the back.

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The second one was from a bright, solid, jelly roll (20 fabrics) that had no purpose.  I posted for ideas on an Improv FB site and someone suggested a bargello.  BARGELLO?  I’ve never, not even for a moment, been interested in doing a bargello but I thought – why not?  I didn’t like the straight edges of the strips so I freehand rotary cut them a bit.  All the cross cuts were done freehand also.

The 2 inserted fabrics and borders are from Frond Studios – fabrics I bought at Fern Hill Quilt Shop while in South Amana, Iowa earlier this year.

This one is next in line to be quilted.  I have a Sweet 16 on loan from a friend so I’m maximising the amount of machine quilting that I am doing.

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My last improv to show is my indigo/shabori quilt.  This is the one I’m currently FMQing. Fabrics were all dyed by me.  I’ve done 3 dye sessions with indigo and really enjoy it.  The fabrics are so soft as some of them are up-cycled.  I’m trying to keep the quilting fairly big to maintain the softness.

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That’s my show and tell for the month.  Looks like the sun has come out so it’s time to hang a load of clothes on the line and then head to the beach for a sit-and-read.  A friend of mine gave me the book “Unconventional & Unexpected – American Quilts below the Radar 1950-2000” and I can’t put it down.  Both the writing and the quilts are amazing.

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DWR Update

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Double Wedding Ring Update.

Victoria Findlay Wolfe inspired.

Most nights I sit and embroider on it while watching TV for an hour or so.  Memories of our life together.

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Voluptuous Woman

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Let me just say upfront – I LOVE this piece.  In my eyes, it is a piece of art and chock full of creativity and thought.

Some people may think I’m full of myself.  Some people might not understand the piece or the significance.  But frankly – I couldn’t care less.  I love it and that is what counts.  I have waited my entire life to have this kind of confidence and it feels FABULOUS!

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As I have been putting on the end of my emails lately, a quote by Georgia O’Keeffe “I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.”

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Now, the long post about the creation of Voluptuous Woman:

This piece started as a tablecloth.  A well worn tablecloth given to me by a friend.  I cut it up and painted and stencilled it.  Then I sewed it back together again.

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Next step was to embroider it.  I did some random embroidery.  I followed the dancing woman stencils (which were purchased from Stencil Girl).  I embroidered on some of my eco-dyed silk pieces.  I included body positive slogans.  It started to take on a philosophical theme of body shaming/body positivity.

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I have been buying naked woman greeting cards made by a local artist, Jules Sydenham, for years.  I typically have one in my sketch book at all times for inspiration.  These women have generous, voluptuous figures and are gorgeous.  I didn’t want to copy or use Jule’s work without her permission, and I was hesitant to ask for permission.

A friend and I were chatting and I asked if she thought her husband, who is a painter, would be able to sketch me a naked woman.  The result of this chat was finding out her daughter is an artist and would gladly sketch me a naked woman to use in my quilt.  I loved what she emailed me and it was just what I was looking for.  We started calling her Voluptuous Woman.

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It was a rather slow process on figuring out how to transfer the image to fabric.  I used combined techniques from Jenny Bowker and Leni Levenson Weiner.  I enlarged and pixelated the drawing with a free online computer program before printing it out to the size I wanted.  From there I identified 5 different ‘shades’ and cut the fabric and paper and fused them onto a base of crumb piecing (the lightest shade of the body).  At one point, I gave up and just started freehand cutting fabrics as it was too difficult to do it in Jenny and Leni’s manner.

There was also the dilemma of her sitting on something or having a shadow.  My artist friend suggested the shadow and it was a struggle to find exactly what she should sit on without looking like she was sitting in a puddle of poop.  Jenny Bowker came to the rescue by suggesting tulle as you could see through it and it would be more shadow-like.  When attaching the tulle, I accidentally burned it.  I could have removed it and started again but I think the holes just add character.

I machine quilted her body and hand quilted the rest of the quilt.

She is hanging over the fireplace in the little house.  I really hated it when it was finished as I enjoyed the creative process so much.  Thanks to everyone who offered ideas and inspiration!  I value each suggestion – whether I used it or not – your feedback made me stop and think before rushing decisions.

I really enjoy this ‘wabi-sabi’ style of quilting that I do…just letting pieces develop rather than having a plan before I start.  Organic.  That’s how it feels to me.

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ADHD of Quilting

I suffer from ADHD of quilting.  Seriously.  I flit and flop around from idea to idea, style to style.  I often wish I had a focus with my quilting – that I worked in a series – that my quilting had a theme.  It doesn’t though.  I could force it I suppose – but that just isn’t me.  I like to try new things.

My latest new thing was watercolour painting on fabric and then free motion quilting it.  It started with me becoming intrigued by a technique called Alcohol Ink.  It’s an alcohol based paint which you paint on a plastic-y substance called ‘yupo paper’.  It makes the most amazing paintings.  Very impressionistic.  Google it or check it out on Facebook if you aren’t familiar with it.

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Anyway – I also wanted to do more painting on fabric so while searching for ideas, I ran across a woman named Ashley Nickels/alphabet Ashley.   I continued my searching and had a plan on what to try.  At the last minute, I signed up with CreativeBug to view Ashley’s class to see if there was anything to add to my plan.  I think a new quilter or someone who has never painted with fabric before would have benefited from the class, but I had already figured it out.

I used Dye-na-Flow paint on cotton muslin.  I did 11 pieces, 12″.  After they dried, I heat set them.  Then I free motion quilted them.  I followed the paint shadowing using black Isacord thread.  The backgrounds I tried Superior clear thread and white Isacord.  Both worked fine.  It was good FMQ practice time.

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I like what I did.  I’m satisfied with it.  But I’m not passionate about it.  I look at the pieces and wonder what to do with them.  I could bind them and they could be table mats – or little wall hangings.  But, do I want to burn daylight binding them?  For what?  They might just get put on a shelf for awhile.

So, another example of my ADHD.  It’s time to dive back into improv work.  That lights my fire.  Trips my trigger.  Makes my heart sing.  I’m not sure why I continue to get side tracked.

This is my latest improv piece – from the Sherri Lynn Wood FB challenge #4.  Rules were: 2 fabrics, under 24″ square and use a triangle.  It’s ready to be quilted.

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