Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thread Rack

Here it is, my muse.

This thread rack caught my eye on day when I was talking on the phone. I was really enjoying both the color runs & the occasional  'misplaced' spool.

So I decided to make a quilt about it, making a big effort to match threads with fabric swatches.

Unfortunately, when I was
documenting this quilt I had the wrong lens on my camera, so I wound up not being able to shoot the whole quilt.  

On the vertical edges of this piece I added three rows of skinnier swatches to stand for bobbins loaded with thread.

I quilted it by machine sideways to stand for the horizontal thread wrap.

Later I found the quilt a super home.
My friend Joan Bennet, knitter extraordinaire, has just moved &, I thought, needed a housewarming present for her knitting studio.

You can see why I would think of this!
So here is Thread Spools & Bobbins in its new home.

And here is Joanie on a trip we took with her & her husband in Alaska.
Some times I go over to her house to knit with her. I think she knows nearly everything about knitting, so I am getting a lot of tutoring, as I was largely self-taught.

That's it for now.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Color craving

I don't know what happened to me when I was in Vermont, but ever since then I have been craving a certain combination of colors.

Over the past 3 weeks I have done 4 quilt tops, one of which is now on the frame for hand quilting, and one of which is in embryo.

So here are the quick sketches of the 4 pieces, in various stages of development.

This was the first. It's now being quilted up. It is also a replay of the play with curvy distortions of rectangles. I did a grey I red quilt just a short while back. I wanted to revisit those lush shapes.

While I was doing that work some fabric from a [!!] 1958 dress that I adored & had saved came to the fore. So the next piece totally favored that cloth. I wore the dress to my brother's wedding.

It now has a band of white across the base of it.

Then this one was made from the scraps of the first two. I think of this as the windows on the snow storm. I have done many confetti quilts like this in my life. 

And finally, in the course of all of that, I discovered in my stash a small piece of hand-dyed, paste-resisted cloth done from about 15 years ago that totally 'went' with some wonderful commercial cloth I had with graduated dye.  I am completely fascinated with the X-ray feel of this one. 

This is the one in embryo.

Maybe I have worked this particular color-craving out of my system. I think it might have something to do with winter & my response to it-- VT and winter in YVR, but really I am not sure.

I went through an intense green period recently & suddenly it was over. I'm very curious about these color cravings. 

That's it for now.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nice Girls/ Good Women

When I was growing up there were a few things we were cautioned about.

"Nice girls do not boast."

One of the worst things you could say about a girl was, "She is so conceited." I never wanted that said of me! And I would say it of others with much scornful disapproval.

So doing a blog is a complicated thing for me because it really is a kind of boasting, & someone could say I am conceited. I worry I have put myself on that path. I talked with my sister Lynne today. She has the same problem. She doesn't dare price her paintings too high, lest someone think she is conceited! We had a good laugh about it.

I have to trust that I will not be "punished" for this blog-form of what might be seen as tooting my own horn.  

I believe this caution wasn't part of the boys' training, not the boys I grew up with. I think they must have been trained to toot their own horns. That's what their fathers did! Indeed, I believe the Women's Movement tried to undo some of that tendency! We Women tried to get Those Men to listen better & boast less.

So today, in honor of being brave & not shy or conceited or boastful, I thought I'd post some self-portraits that I have done in the last year or so. Just for fun! 

So tell me, what's the difference between conceit or boastfulness & the celebration of enjoyment of self?
That's it for now.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cross Play

I have just finished a new piece today.

At first I thought I'd call it Black & White Cross, but then someone pointed out to me that I've been doing crosses for a long time.

And sometimes crosses [+] lead to  mandalas.

This was a bed quilt for a raffle to raise money for a playground project.

This was a baby quilt for Emily Tolmie, I think.

This one I called Tapestry of Children. I put quotes from pre-schoolers around the border. 
It is in this photo basted & on the quilting frame.
Joanna Steniskis  inspired this quilt.

There are others, but they are on slides & not transferred to digital yet.

The first course I took from Nancy Crow was in Portland during the time Erica was dancing there with Oregon Ballet Theater, in the mid-1990's.
I learned new piecing techniques leading to looser lines. I did 4 Seasons of cross quilts, 2 of which are here.


None of these are terrific photos because I was a) in a rush & b) unwilling to go back... which means c) a lazy non-perfectionist!

So now I thought it would be fun to show you one of the decision points in the making  of Cross Play.

This was how the layout was oriented during the design process.

But I grew to be uncomfortable with the imbalance of it, so I tried all the possible positions to chose the one that felt better &, as it turned out, most stable!! 

That's better.

The other design issue I had was that when I got through with the main piecing, where tan unevenly circles the cross & color I liked the irregularity of the jags in the tan edge, so I added the beige to "keep it" but also to rectangulate the whole piece. Sometimes I just don't want wonky!

That's it for now.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Going East Again

I was very nervous about being in New England in the Winter-- even for 6 days. I worried about driving dangers & getting caught in a blizzard. I needn't have.

The weather was sunny, crisp, and there was snow on the ground, & the roads were fine.

My decision to go was based on my offer to Sal Warren, my dear friend from babyhood days. Her son had died in mid-November. It was a terrible unexpected shock. She said she'd love to have me tree to see her through the memorial gathering weekend.

I hadn't been in a New England winter since the sixtes. That's a lot of years ago. It was sublimely beautiful. 

I didn't do much photography, but I did stop to collect just a few shots of snow-on-rooves. 

How could I resist?
When the snow comes off these metal roofs it is with a great thundering for those indoors. 

I also found my eyes gravitating towards pastels: particularly light aqua, light blue & pale yellow & peach,  peach like in this wonderful house:

I really want to try something in cloth with this palette.

And finally a wonderful Robert Frost that was read at the gathering:

Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I rued.

And Sam with his parents last year.

That's it for now.