Friday, December 21, 2007

H Label Complete...and Farewell til New Year's!

This label is now really and truly completed, and so I will be able to attach this "fancy back" to my quilt now.

As always, you can click on the picture for a closer look.

This is a good time for me to go on a blogging I will be back on New Year's Day, 2008!

A blessed and joyful holiday to you all...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

H Label Ready to Sew Down

Like most everyone else, I've been diverted from the sewing room with the Holidays upon me...I did get the false back basted on, so am ready to finish putting the label on the pretty back.

First I had to interface the jacquard silk I am using for the pretty back so it wouldn't be so wiggly, and also to prevent the ridges from the basting lines from showing through it once it is in place. In this picture I was just cutting out the interfacing....fusing it on on the ironing board took quite awhile, to get it on there with no bubbles, etc.

The elements are pinned into place, to be whipstitched down. Then I will add the final embroidery to tie it all together.

But no rush on all this...we've got college kids at home, which is such a treat!

Max's girlfriend, Esther, is with us for the week. They look very happy, don't they? Ah, to be 21.
One thing I like about this picture is the way the little portrait I did of Max pulling on a hat--when he was two--is there on the wall just above him. Something poignant about that!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A "Slow Cloth" Project

Over at Sharon B's blog, there is a discussion on what makes a "slow cloth", and why that approach may be valuable......To me it means committing the necessary time to see a project through, not rushing any aspect of it, doing one's best every step of the way, and holding the attitude of surrender to the demands of the piece. If you click to her comments sections, here and check out her links here, you will find a lively discussion of what this concept of "slow cloth" means to different textile practitioners.

As I figured that no one would be interested in seeing another picture of the back of the H quilt currently still being basted, I thought I would share a project from back in the mid 1990's, one that qualifies as being "slow cloth" even though it was huge!

I was asked to make a decorative hanging that would cover some necessary sound-proofing tiles on a large wall in a meeting room for my church. I accepted this challenge thinking it was going to take at least a year, which indeed it just about did.

It was a "Stained Glass" style wall hanging, which finished was 12' X 17' (3.65 meters X 5.18 meters). I had to dye paint all my fabric with procion dyes before beginning constructing the hanging, as I had heard those dyes are the most resistant to fading. Here I am ironing down some of the "leading", which in this case was bonded gold lame that had wonder-under fused to the back before it was sliced into long ribbons. You get a sense of scale of this thing when you look at the next picture.

I constructed it basically in two halves, then joined it at the horizon line, with the tree trunks "leaded down" after the two halves were joined. Of course all the leading is sewn down with zig zag clear thread.
This picture was taken down in the basement rec room. I was lucky to have a large enough space to lay the thing out. (Tough on the knees, though.)

Here it is completed and stretched over the unsightly soundproofing tiles and mounted into place. Those of you familiar with the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany will recognize the main elements of the design....the trees on the right look more like they are out of "Flowers and Trees", an early Disney "Silly Symphony", however!

It took many slow months of dedicated and careful work to complete this project....I am glad I did it, too.
But that doesn't mean we aren't glad when a "slow cloth" is FINALLY finished!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Assembling the H Quilt , Underway

The final steps have to be done in a particular order this time around: the label partly embellished, then the quilt basted, then the label assembled on the fancy back, then it attached to the back of the quilt, then the binding, then the binding treatment...
So this is where things stand....

The quilt has been blocked square--by pinning it to the carpet with many measurings, and then blasting it all over with hot steam from an iron held about 4" above the surface. I let it "dry" for two days, then pin basted it with the drapery lining "batting" and the muslin false back. You can see the close basting is underway.
Also in the picture you can see my "Barbie TV", so called because I only allow girl movies and what I want to watch on it (I live in a house of guys). You can also see in the far corner that sweet, soft perch where my cat often sleeps. It is there just for her.

The components of the label will be appliqued onto the fancy back, and tied together by more overall embellishment. I do think H would laugh if he saw all the froo froo hearts and flowers I put around him! But too bad for him.....

Binding treatment supplies. I have such fun plans for these! It will be my dessert and reward for getting all the finishing done.
But there is the little matter of Christmas approaching, and my son and his girlfriend coming home tomorrow, and so work will have to slow for a day or two on finishing this quilt. My goal is now to be done by New Year's!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"For Uncle Hal" Quilt Label, continued

I sure feel rusty with a needle and ribbon or thread! (As opposed to beads.)
But the embellishment of the picture is done. I raised the picture up off the surface the same way as the fans...
The writing has been printed up, but I need to get the fancy back all cut out so I can center both parts of the label on it. That's next....

Monday, December 10, 2007

"For Uncle Hal" Quilt Label

The official title is "For Uncle Hal With Love".... there is simply nothing else to call it.

Martha Green said once that crazy quilting reflects how we stitchers are feeling day to day as we work; our stitches are a record of our inner experiences. That has surely been the case for me.

On a longterm project such as this one has been, my deeper feelings and thoughts had to inevitably come into my work, especially because crazy quilting involves so much day to day decision making while in progress. If we are working spontaneously, what we create will be inexorably informed by what is going on with us, whether we are conscious of that or not.
So it was that this quilt evolved to be about my uncle, whom I lost a year and a half ago; about our relationship, who I think he was as a person, how his views of art impacted my own. I have gloried in all of this, too....

So now for the label! This is just the initial work....

The writing will be printed on another piece of fabric and appliqued at the bottom edge of this.

*note* My email is back, btw. Yay!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Unbeading the Fans....And Some Trapunto

I almost got one of the whole fans beaded before I decided I just didn't like the look. I had wanted the fans to stand out on their own as one of the dominant elements from the beginning, and the beads just made them blend in too much. Plus, I couldn't get those size 8s perfectly spaced and straight, which meant what was noticeable was the crookedness of them. Unacceptable!

So out they came.

I ended up treating the fans in a way that had been lurking in the back of my mind since the very beginning of this project. But before I show you what I did, let's go back to the beginning for one last review of how this whole thing evolved.
But just for the record, in looking over my pictures I realized it was June of 2006, not 2005. Somehow that makes me feel better!

Old-time readers will remember how I snuck taking this picture while deep in the aisles of Powell's Books in Portland. I didn't want to buy the whole book, so....I engaged in some espionage. I do enough business with Powell's that my conscience doesn't feel too badly...
The colors and lay-out here look familiar, don't they? I wanted my quilt to be a contemporary take on very traditional crazy quilting.

Here is an early lay-out. I went through several.

What a technical nightmare this was. Getting this all square and straight has been a battle all the way along.

This was as far as I got at John Campbell.
The fans have never been consistent in size, which is a constant source of irritation...but when you piece on the fly in a workshop setting it is hard to be focused and accurate. That's my excuse, anyways. I even used newsprint for my foundation piecing of the fans, as I had run out of muslin. That felt very old-timey and fun at the time, but it meant the fans were pretty floppy when the newprint was torn off.

So let's fast forward to this morning. The quilt has had a few surgeries along the way, mostly to get that inner tan border to straighten up a little. Elements have been added, stitching and beading completed...but the fans were still too insubstantial and were not "featured" quite like I wanted.
Hey, what about raising them up off the surface of the quilt, just a little? And the "H" too? The parts that aren't beaded could be stuffed trapunto-style instead...

The interfacing behind the H was ready made for trapunto.

Nothing to it...three layers of batting used here.

For the fans it was a simple matter of cutting the batting layers to size, and fusing the interfacing over the layers.... that.

So what is the end result?

It hangs better..the blades aren't floppy anymore...they're not too busy with the beads....this is going to have to do it!

From here comes all the technical finishing...those border blocks need to be straightened up after the quilt top is blocked...then the false back goes on, being closely basted over my usual drapery lining "batting", the pretty back constructed and tacked on with beads; then I have to figure out the binding....(and maybe bead it)....there's a lot to go, but this is definitely a big stage completed!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Beading the Border Blocks, Part 4

They are done!
I really got into this, it was fun working on the smaller scale of these 3 1/2" blocks. Lots of tiny beads found their way into the little corners...

The bottom right corner of the quilt...

I had to sneak just a little of my printed flower fabric in here. Just a little...

...and my initials...

Martha Green made the FIMO geisha girl. Hard to believe I started piecing this quilt while at the John Campbell Folk School in Martha's workshop, back in June of 2005. "The Fan Quilt" took a long siesta during "Crazy for Flowers" and the "Summer Mandala"...and woke up as "The H Quilt".
But now it is really almost done...

Except for beading all the fan friend Judy said she knew this was going to happen, but she didn't want to tell me....

My lower back is really starting to complain about all this beading. Same thing happened last December when I was finishing up "Crazy for Flowers".
At the end of January when I go to the annual quilt retreat at Point Bonita, my favorite miracle worker Heidi will be there....we have two massage therapists, whose main practice is quilters, come and they spend the week there working on all of us...last year Heidi said my right leg was over an inch shorter than my left one, due to the muscles on my right side being so constricted from my crazy quilt work. She spent 90 minutes just reefing on me; by the end she was up on the table with one of her knees ground into my lower back and her right hand pulling my right leg up, up, up and out. Sounds painful but you can't believe how good it felt. For three days afterwards I felt like there were about 100 square miles of wide open new territory in my lower back.

Needless to say, I cannot wait to see Heidi again this year....

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Look at the Back

I'm halfway up the last row of beading the border blocks, but thought I'd just show you a bit of the back of the quilt. I just love how this looks!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A little meme

The Carolina Quilter has tagged me for a meme. These can be fun! Jody, here you go...

4 Jobs I had...
1. Selling candy at the D & C 5 and 10 Cent Store for $1.25/hour
2. Waitressing at Farrells' Ice Cream Parlor (I was terrible.)
3. Graphics person for the New Mexico Solar Energy Association
4. Co-Owner and "udder" slave of Sundara Dairy in Bandon, Oregon

4 films I can watch over and over…
1. Smiley's People (it's actually a BBC production)
2. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (ditto) I can quote entire scenes from both of these, and have been known to perform them for captive audiences.
3. The Blues Brothers (I have always and will always be hopelessly in love with Elwood.)
4. Caddy Aller Family All Time Favorite. Bill Murray's finest role.

4 Tv-shows I watch...
1. Everyday Italian some days
2. evening news some days
3. nothing else!
4. except I have just discovered the Ovation Network that looks pretty good and arty.

4 Places I have lived...
1. East Grand Rapids, Michigan
2. Los Angeles, California (Occidental College for 2 years)
3. Ithaca, New York (Cornell University to finish up)
4. Santa Fe, New Mexico

4 favorite foods
1. oatmeal raisin cookies, the breakfast of champions
2. peanut butter sandwiches
3. pizza. It's like sex; even when it's bad it's still pretty good.
4. BBQ ribs, which is a shame because I am mostly vegetarian and never eat red meat except once in a verrrrrrrrryyyyyyyy long while.

4 favorite colours
1. sky blue
2. periwinkle blue
3. sunset orangey-pink
4. grass green

4 places I would love to be right now
1. with my seester anywhere, because it is always fun no matter where we are if we are together
2. on the ranch in Wagon Mound, NM
3. back to India
4. on that tropical island that my DH has a picture of on his screen saver...

4 Names that I love but would not use for my own children...
1. Avrillia (a character from one of my mother's old children's books, The Garden of the Plynck)
2. Endora (from Bewitched)
3. Gwendolyn
4. Otto

4 People I would love to tag with this Meme...
1. Baumcat
2. JoWynn
3. Jules (and I want you all to go meet her, too!)
4. Betty Pillsbury

Beading the Border Blocks, Part 3

We are marching right along here! This morning I watched one of my all time favorite movies as I worked, True Confessions, with Robert DeNiro and Robert Duvall. Made in 1981, it's a tough story about two ambitious monsignor in the Catholic diocese of 1940's LA and his cynical police detective brother...and the hypocrisy and redemption in both their lives as a horrible crime that involves them both gets solved. The story is from a novel by John Gregory Dunne, no slouch at telling the wicked, wicked truth. It is fabulous...if you haven't seen it, do!

Some of the beads I used were really small! These are mixed sizes 20 to 24. (Sorry I wasn't able to get any other way of sizing them while at Beadcats. You can just call these "dust" and it would be pretty accurate.)

Top row, left to right....

I am going to have hell to pay, getting this all evened up properly, I know....

I had to put that airplane in for Robert, of course.

One more row of blocks to go!

Yesterday we got 1.75" of rain, while Seattle got 4". Twenty miles of Interstate 5 are closed both north and south, and several hundred people are still stranded by flooding in our region. We are sending out prayers to them!
But meanwhile, it is clearing up......

Monday, December 3, 2007

Beading the Border Blocks, Part 2

We've got a corker winter storm underway here in the Northwest....hurricane force winds on the NW Oregon coast and flood warnings for all rivers and streams in our region. The best thing to do is to hunker down and bead!

That's my bead soup in the upper right.

The left hand side of the quilt's border is now beaded...starting from the bottom and moving up....

Ah, Elvis. How did he get here? He sure is cute, isn't he? And that looks to be a handknit sweater he's wearing....

My friend Willa gave me this butterfly fabric, and it always makes me think of her...

Halfway done now with the border blocks!

I have to apologize...I sailed out the door yesterday to go to the Beadcats open house and as I was barreling down the driveway I realized I had forgotten my camera. Being in no mood to turn around (having just made my great escape from husband and son who were disappointed I would not be around all afternoon), I just kept going. Plus, it was pouring! Sorry about that...

I did find some beads that may very well end up along the inner edge of my binding. What's another week of work at this point, right?
Stop laughing at me!!!
And thanks for all your viewing all sounds good. My inclination is to start with "Deadwood"....

Thankfully, most of these were deeply discounted....we'll see how they work. Nothing like designing in the heat of a shopping trip.....