Ripple

Ripple

Hello readers… adding beadwork to yesterday’s quilt, a time-consuming yet very satisfying process. Yesterday I took my supplies to the beach and sat in a chair with my needle. This afternoon I spent time in my studio as it is hotter than Hades outside. Tomorrow I will continue and then back and bind the quilt.

July 16

Today I switched up my machine and used the felter to build a quilt top around a little hand-beaded piece of fabric I’ve had pinned to my work board for a while.

The felter is great fun because you never know exactly how the two pieces of fabric will meld together. Also, It’s a nice way to use tiny scraps of fabric that normally would have been tossed out. 

I first set the large pieces with a fusible web to give them a bit of stability. Then I cut the scraps and arrange them in a pleasing way, and felt each scrap to the larger piece. It takes little time, unless you snap a needle! The felter runs with 5 and it’s a bit of a pain to change one out. 

After the pieces were attached I added more beadwork to the whole piece.

One down, Fifteen (give or take) to Go

One down, Fifteen (give or take) to Go

This one’s finished…. hooray!

When I started out this summer, I told myself I wanted to complete the pieces I had started over the past year. Recently I counted those unfinished works and came up with a figure of 16… of course that didn’t include sketches in my notebook or stacks of fabric I’ve bought with patterns in mind. That might make a quilter feel overwhelmed, or it could make her feel really inspired. I know one thing – it feels good to finish and be satisfied with the work! I’m going to focus on the inspiration part, and pick out a new piece to focus on tomorrow. 🙂

Button Details

Button Details

This is the two steps up, one step back method of quilting. I separated the crooked section from the backing, re-attached it so it was straight, and then edge-stitched all three sections down onto the backing with an embroidery stitch. You are looking at the re-attached portion and some buttons that are starting to make their way onto the black kaleidoscopes. I ran out of buttons, of course. That will be tomorrow’s project…

July 12

I worked this morning on machine quilting and adding the buttons and sequins to the Bling Quilt. There’s an issue with the straightness of one of the elements, so I will be fixing that tomorrow.

Also, the photo is a small exercise I did last night after dinner, using scraps and some of the ripped out thread from the reverse appliqué quilt. Waste not want not… 🙂Image

A Little Bit Crazy

I went on a hike today, to an expansively lovely place called Garden in The Woods. Located in Framingham, it is the brainchild of a landscape architect named Will Curtis. In 1931 He had this idea to create a woodland garden, highlighting and conserving plants native to North America. Brilliant, right? I thought so too.  The 45 acre property is an amazing space which showcases Curtis’ lifetime of work “displaying the beauty and diversity of native plants”.  Now in the capable hands of the New England Wild Flower Society, I definitely recommend a visit if you are ever anywhere near Route 20 in Framingham Mass.
Where am I going with this, you ask? 🙂
I do have a point to share with you – actually I have two, if you can bear with me. First, being witness to a person’s lifetime work was at once humbling and inspiring. I was reminded again of how necessary quilting continues to be, for my own well being and ultimate happiness. Second, (and this was a relief) I found out I’m not the only crazy person out there.
Tucked in and among the many garden spaces on the property was this fabulous sculpture show, made up of many artists. A common theme of all the displayed work was the artists’ use of recycled materials.
On the very last path, at the very last sculpture I received my revelation. The sculpture was a curved, darkly polished piece of stone, astoundingly suspended between two trees – about 15 feet off the ground – with what looked like a grappling hook.
The artist’s name was Greg Spitzer. He called his work “Talisman”. As much as I loved the piece, it was his artist’s description that got  me:
“The wedge-shaped rock made it to the top of my stone pile and began pestering me about the form it had in mind. It evolved slowly… I’m no longer sure which came first, but I did make a drawing of an object resembling this piece some time ago.”
I read his words and I thought, Eureka! Here (most likely –  and Mr. Spitzer, I write with the most respect for your art and the process you follow) – here is a person who works with the same Tornado-like creative intensity as I do. The form pestered him? Yes! It evolved slowly?? Absolutely!  There was possibly a drawing? Oh, just look at the pile of sketchbooks over there on the floor…
I was so energized. I walked right through the sprinkler system doling out water to some thirsty ferns with hardly a blink. I got home, and counted up the number of unfinished quilts needing  my attention. Sixteen. No matter! I closed my eyes and listened a moment, and the path cleared up – just like the winding gravel walkway through the woods.
It’s okay not to start and finish quickly. It’s fine to have more than one plant in a pot, one stone on the carving bench. In fact – truthfully – it’s a wonderful thing. After all, a lifetime of work is just that. And who wouldn’t go a little bit crazy with it?

Backing

Backing

Despite the cat’s best efforts I successfully attached the felt backing to the quilt this afternoon. Looking forward to adding thread and bead details tomorrow.

Bling Quilt

Sometimes you have to admit you’re beat, and walk away. After my third try machine quilting the reverse appliqué quilt I gave up and set it aside, with the ever-useful seam ripper, for another day. 

Instead I pulled out three abstract quilt pieces which have split their time hanging on various walls or sitting in piles in my studio over the last 2 years. I’ve had an idea in my head about how to finish them. They certainly could’ve  been complete quilts separately; but I wanted to link them together – the more difficult exercise – and I’ve been mulling over how to go about it for months.

The three pieces remind me of designs from the 1950’s and early 60’s, a lot of free form shapes. They also remind me a little bit of Vegas, and the shows out there. I think because of some of the beadwork and color combinations. 🙂

I wanted to pull the three pieces together on a backing that highlighted a similar, free-form silhouette. I have done this in a couple other smaller quilts with some success. but this is the first time I have worked this large. I started by layering the fabric, then I traced out a shape, and marked some cutouts. I think the cutouts add visual interest and help your eye move between pieces.

To be a quilt, by definition, there has to be three layers – top, batting, backing. I chose to put the batting underneath each separate piece. The backing will be three layers deep, and it’s like a reverse appliqué where you cut away the top layer to see what’s underneath. The final back will be black felt (found a use for that “fake felt” polyester stuff I bought!).

I’ve uploaded pictures that show the steps so far. Tomorrow I will be working on attaching the felt back to the rest of the quilt. I’m not sure yet how to do this… typically I spray the layers with a quilt adhesive, sandwich them and they are fairly stable for quilting. This piece with it’s cutouts presents it’s own challenge. After all the pieces are assembled   I will add more stitching and possibly a little more beadworkImageImageImageImage

 

 

A Thread Painting, completed and finally backed and bordered correctly

A Thread Painting, completed and finally backed and bordered correctly

So the seam ripping has gotten to be a habit this week. 🙂 I went back to this quilt that I had been very happy with when I completed it, until there were problems with the backing. After I took it off the first polyester background and redid this with a doubled square of wool felt, I stitched around the exterior with a decorative setting (which you can’t see well in the photo). The wool is a bit more expensive than fake felt but I think it’s worth the price for the better finish.

Removing

Spent another couple hours with the seam ripper today, pulling stitches out of the reverse appliqué quilt. They come out three times as slow as the go on. On the bright side, I get a second chance to decide on the kind of stitch, as I was between two patterns.