Friday, January 29, 2016

Winter scene quilt



This winter scene was inspired by a cover of a New Yorker magazine from last winter.  The challenge from the Uncommon Threads group was to do something with the surface of the quilt. In this case it's quilted in wavy lines for snow -- nothing unusual. And then wisps of stretched out batting has been added for snow, in this photo it's most visible along the left side but there is more that didn't come out cearly in this photo.  And I used cotton for the snow on the trees. I'm still "playing" with the snow on the trees, pulling off overages and  considering where to stick on a bit more.   

For me the diminishing trees were a challenge. I had to make the most distant ones first and the continue overlapping the limbs and changing the color of the trunks and branches.  The people and dogs are a fairly straightforward copy. I actually fell in love with the dogs.  They all have their own personalities and purposes as they walk.  I take a little pride in adding the man's red jacket.  

I finished it yesterday and hung it in the dining area, taking down the autumn leaves quilt.  I'm thinking that now I have autumn and winter, I should do summer and spring.  I know what I will do for summer (a reprise of the yoga on the beach quilt but smaller) and I have a nebulous idea of what I'd like to do for spring.  .... But right now I've got a list of projects to work on and won't begin either in the near future. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Quilts that are not quilts

Doesn't this have a quilty look?  This wooden structure wraps half way around the tree and has a bench on the inside.  It's an ideal place for a person to sit and meditate/contemplate, or for two or a few people to have a quiet conversation.  This is a fairly new addition at Heritage Plantation in Sandwish, Massachusetts. As you can tell from the green leaves in back the photo was taken before autumn came. Heritage is a large botanical garden, very beautiful all year long but spectacular in the spring.  It has a wonderful little museum with changing exhibits, a collectible car museum, a couple of very old buildings, and various sections, some almost hidden. A wonderful place to explore.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New quilt top done

I think this will go to the "wounded warrior" project the Bayberry Guild has ongoing.  Quilts are given to vets at Memorial Day.  The pattern is from Quilters Newsletter, a twist pattern that fascinated me. It turned out to be red white and blue because I bought -- for fifty cents -- a bag of precut fabrics with quite a lot of navy and red fabrics cut into 3 inch wide strips. These are not commerical "jelly roll" matched fabrics in rolls but were cut by the woman having the yard sale for some project she had decided she would never get around to. 

Of course now it needs to be quilted and that is always a road block to finishing as I don't enjoy quilting but eventually it will happen. Maybe even before time to turn the quilt in to the group for this year's give away ... or maybe it's a year down the road.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Little Quilt from Scraps

I've added a log cabin block on the header partly to remind me I want to make a log cabin quilt in the near future. It will be mostly dark and light blues as I have a LOT of smallish blue pieces I want to use up.

This quilt is small - it's draped over the sofa and one can't really tell the size from the photo. It's sbout 40x42, which is to say crib size.  I made it in the last two weeks. The half-square triangles were all scraps from a year of block swaps in which snowball blocks had bright colored corners. I saved the cut offs and sewed them into strings of two-inch block and saved them. So the difficulty of making the half-square pieces had been done.  I suppose this can be called a "Modern" quilt as it's bright with a lot white and a very simple design. I did quite a bit of machine quilting, especially the folded ribbon design in the white strips. It was a very satisfying little project. I'll give it to a child for a birthday present.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Another warm Christmas

A strange Christmas  photo for a strange Christmas eve day  (yes, that's the way it was described on the morning news, odd as it sounds)

These lovely red fruits, from a market in Guanshu, China (if I remember correctly) are a fruit that has its devotees but the fruit is banned by the big international hotels. They are durans. When fully ripe and cut open for eating the smell is a great deal, I'm told, like a latrine. But their fans say the taste is sweet and delicious.  It's an experience  I did not seek out.

The only thing this has to do with Christmas is that they're a pretty red and the day is as unusual, as the fruit is.  It's over 60 degrees here today.  It rained hard, about an inch and a half, and I have just returned from the nearest supermarket which has a large paved parking lot known on days like this as Star Market Lake. Their drainage system has always been bad, today was the worst I've ever seen it. The  available parking spaces were reduced by about 80% and, conscientious as I am, I parked in a handicapped space because there was nothing else where I wouldn't get my feet wet.

I don't have to talk about global warming. Last year Christmas and early January were unusually warm also. Then we got hit with record breaking blizzards in February. It's going to be this way, that is to say unusual and unpredictable, far into the future. An article I read last week about the plight of Miami Beach and the rising sea level was dire.  A lot of people are going to lose a lot of money. Extrapolating, because all the seas are going to rise, not just in that southern most American penisula, but up here. This northern peninsula, not in my live time I assume, but in what is the foreseeable future for those who are willing to take a serious look, disappearance is inevitable. At least we don't have a  mile of tombstone-like high rises  that will become accessible only by motor boat -- or gondola.

What cheery thoughts for a happy holiday!  Well, it feels nothing like the stereotypical holiday so my thoughts are not at all stereotypical.  We will have a festive dinner tonight and tomorrow will be a quiet day ....possibly with a long walk on the beach as Iwill take within the next hour today.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

On Display

This woven quilt -- the second large one I've done, (30"x42") is now on display at the Yarmouth Cultural Center here in Cape Cod.  They do many, many art shows a year in their converted bank building with a great central room and three little rooms in which to do smaller shows. To fill the center room for a couple of weeks they published an open call for art works by people of all ages, no show fee, and they encouraged people who do not ordinarily think of their work as art that will be displayed in public.  The wanted to know the decade in which the artist's age fell.  They will sell any quilts that have a price noted.

I thought it was a grand idea so I took this quilt on Tuesday. Along with all the other entries it was hung that evening and a reception was held last night -- the reception was also for three small art shows in the other rooms.  It was so well attended parking was a problem. I went and enjoyed seeing the variety of art.  I think there was a six-year old's crayon drawing. I remember a combined display of two pieces of art the same size, one by a seven-year old and the other by his 77-year old grandmother.  Although the quality of the art was not exceptional, there were several pieces by recognized local artists. Two other quilts were on display, both by people in my age group, both representational, one a "tide line" quilt -- quite nice -- and another of a huge butterfly, closely stipple quilted with the words "Hope is the thing with feathers."  Not only did I dislike the visually distracting quilting but a butterfly is NOT "the thing with feathers."  I am literal enough to be irked by that ... plus I have been working on a small fabric/quilt book with Emily Dickinson quotes including that one -- which will be illustrated with birds and an actual feather.

I was pleased they hung this quilt in a spot with good lighting. It has small beads on the squares (which are diamond quilted  as well); the beads catch th light very nicely.  If it should sell that would be fine.  Looking at it and at the autumn quilt I just finished which also has a woven background, makes me want to do a few more in different colors. I have the next one in mind ... but I have no idea when I can get around to it. It will be a spring quilt so I  hope I can do it by spring.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Autumn Quilt Finished

This is called Autumn of My Life with Double Self-Portraits.  One cannot be in the mid-70s without realizing it is the autumn of her life, even if she thinks there is a possibility of living to 100.  So this quilt was complex to make, as my life is now a complex of bright and wonderful elements. 

First I wove the background which I've left up on this blog too long, but that was because the making was more complex than I foresaw.  

I gathered -- and a friend also helped -- the leaves which I photocopied onto fabric.  I also found the full face portrait and Rachel took the profile picture.  The leaves, especially the big red maple leaves lost their brightness quickly and the computer's printer did not do a good job either with the color.  So I needed to rev up the color with Crayola pastels. I made many arrangements on the background - to which I added the brown batik as border and as backing

Then I realized, as I so often do, that an artistic weakness is my inability to visualize tone of color and what will blend into another, what will stand out. I thought the red leaves in the middle would be a visual draw, but instead they almost disappear into the brightness of the background.  But I can say that up close, their complex coloring and even the texture of the leaf is very interesting. I made a little trek across the street to take some small bright red leaeves from a bush I had been admiring. But they, too, refused to photocopy truly red, so I used a hot pink marker which also seemed to fade into the fabric. The yellows worked and I'm pleased that they are also complex with pinks touching them.  The green leaves include a purplish pink. All this complexity of both background and leaves is important to me metaphorically as a statement about the life I know which is complex and many colored, more than it ever has been in my life. 

The portraits are fused to the background but the leaves "float" held by the embroidered veins, with crewel wool, they are each fused to a solid color backing that gives them body.  When I finally had everything in its place it needed some final touches of color, so I was back to my Crayola boxes, especially to touch up the outside edges of the leaves and to add a bit of depth to the faces which had faded into ghosts -- totally inappropriate for the metaphor of the quilt. 

The whole is 24x24 -- and, also a usual fault of mine -- it is not precisely square, it is a bit askew -- that too is  part of the metaphorical (entirely unplanned and, I think, unavoidable) statement about my life as I know it this autumn ... which, by the way, is probably going to be one the warmest and loveliest (due to, alas!, global warming).