Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tikal- Guatemala

I've never been to any of these places, but it's nice to be able to travel this way! When I work on a square I find myself thinking about the timelessness of some of these ancient sites. It's a cheap way to travel. Not completely fulfilling, but cheap nonetheless. I also find myself solving all my personal problems, not that I have that many, but sometimes things, family things, come to my thoughts. Father remarrying. Yikes! Sometimes these conversations in my head are so intense, I can look at a quilt I did 10 years ago and remember what I was thinking when I made it. Weird. But I'm sure it happens to others as well. It's a contemplative craft, quilting, when you're not measuring. Maybe THAT'S my problem!! :)

Tikal National Park in Guatemala is still being excavated today, and excavation only started in 1956. Not that long ago. Of course my little square does not do justice to the grandeur of this structure, but that would be hard to do under any circumstances. For what it's worth :

And the overview of the last section, again, a little "patch" of some pipers on the cliffs in Iceland used as a filler.

They look a bit washed out now but hopefully jump out with some machine quilting added.

In the Groove

I'm there. Completely caught up in the development of this quilt. The one I wasn't excited about doing is now the thing I can't wait to get back to. Partly because it really is going together much more easily than I thought it would...must be because of all that 'special planning' I did. NOT. I'm definitely flying by the seat of my pants on this one. I told a new friend just yesterday one thing I'm having the hardest time with is the math part. Measuring. I would like to believe it's because I haven't had to really measure in years and not that this, too, is part of the aging process. Not only do I have to measure once, but two or three times because I forget...was that strip 1" or 1 1/2" and does that include the seam allowance? I have these idiotic conversations in my head constantly.

But Sunday was 11 hours straight, eating occasionally. I consider myself very fortunate to have long pieces of uninterrupted time. And because the first section has gone together so well, I now have a footprint for the remaining three. I now know the length, and width of each and I know I can layout the different 'postcards' and they'll fit. And will work together. That was one of my big concerns. All so different, will they work side by side? I think they do.

This is the center piece of the top section. Today I get to quilt it. This is the Bubbles at "Champagne" in Dominica...the bubbles will actually be shell white buttons of different sizes traveling up the quilt. Above this piece was an empty space that I filled in with three blue squares to look like continuation of the water. (Patchwork is so forgiving.) The bubbles will travel through these and out the top.

Even though the fabrics are different in each one, I've tried to keep at least one element common to all. They all have the same 1" frame surrounding htem and each has some brightly colored 1/4 " border inside the frame, a fabric which may occur in another square.

So this section combined with the previous post make up 2/3 of this top section. Tomorrow I'll post the last section, Tikal-Guatemala, which I'm happy with. I've also finished the quilting on the side piece, 20" by 90". Looks like this:

Friday, September 21, 2007

On the previous post I have a picture of the border strip with all kinds of funny trees here and there. I decided-(brainstorm)- to do the machine quilting before I added all those trees. This is a new concept for me, but probably not for all youn professionals out there. I always thought the whole top had to be completely together before you could begin to do the quilting. OF course, I also know there are really NO RULES. Doing it this way will save me so much aggravation in not having to work around so many things in my path. Plus, it has the added benefit of actually feeling like I'm accomplishing something BIG!

Tomorrow: the underwater bubbles at "Champagne" in Dominica. It's like going to all these places without leaving the comfort of home!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I've Forgotten all the Rules

I didn't think I'd ever forget sizes. And how to figure out fabric needs. Or more importantly, how to DRAFT a pattern. I've been stymied on how to start this quilt, procrastinating because I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me that I didn't just dig in and GO. And then I realized I didn't remember how to do a REAL BEDSIZE QUILT! Or a 'traditional' (as traditional as I can get) quilt. I've been working too long on free-flow ideas and construction, never sitting down and drawing something out before I begin. I just cut fabric and throw it on and if it doesn't look good I take it off and throw something else on. So I have an idea in my head and I'm going on a wing and an prayer and hope it all comes out in the wash....oh yeah, I've had to WASH all these fabrics first too. How long has it been since I've done THAT!

I have the first square pieced, along with the dark borders that will separate every different sized square. This one is about 12" by 18". You can see the photograph I went by in the upper left corner.

The lighting is bad, taken at the end of a very long day, but I think you can get the idea they're very steep mountains and an orange tent by a lake. The part that hangs down on the sides (I'm sure there's a technical name that eludes me) will be about 20"by90" and will look like this:

Just a row of wonky trees made from all the fabrics used in the quilt. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


What have I been up to, you ask? Well, I've had a lot of things on my mind. A new commission from a friend and neighbor, for one. She wants a queen sized quilt for her husbands 50th birthday of scenes from all their adventures. Queen. I just didn't want to do it, but she REALLY WANTED ME TO. So with an attitude adjustment on my part and some creative thinking added in, I figured out a way to do it and also enjoy it. Attitude adjustment=it's really just 12 to 15 individual pieces of beautiful places and I can do them any way I want as long as they'll handle the wear and tear of a bed. Meaning I have to cut down on the doodahs. Creative thinking= I'm going to use that old fashioned 'quilt as you go' method so I'm not trying to do fancy machine stitching on a queen sized piece of quilt. Some people can do it, but it gives me the heebejeebees just thinking about it. So, I have the first square (rectangle) pieced and I quite like it. All the pieces will be different sizes and divided by dark pieced latticework. Challenging, and now a little exciting. As a matter of fact, I can't wait to get into my studio! Just what I needed. I'm sure I'll be needing help and advice now and then so please drop in often and offer advice freely! First pictures tomorrow, hopefully.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Little Flowers

I love to have special cards on hand for little notes and what not (is that a "Maineism?"). I spent one very delightful day making these.

Noonday Sun

Sitting outside eating my lunch, taking a break from my latest project (perhaps pics tomorrow) this was in my view...a tall ornamental grass my friend Kate gave me. The sun was brilliant on it and lit it up behind the stone wall. Beautiful rich fall sun.

Bountiful Fall

I try to walk every day. Sometimes I listen to books on tape and sometimes I just listen to the constant chatter going on in my own head. It's a great time to resolve problems I may be having with a design or figuring a way to use that certain fabric in a piece. I have several different walks but my favorite (for the view at the top and for the amount of exercise I get) is trekking up Moe's Mountain. It's 15 minutes straight up an old country back road before you get to the top. Along the road is an old stone wall that the birds have, over the decades, deposited their droppings and an abundance of old crookedy apple trees line the way. This is a bumper crop year for apples in Maine. I found at least 6 different varieties yesterday. I started out carrying three and then I just HAD to take my sweater off to hold all the rest. There are some surface blemishes, but for the most part they're BEAUTIFUL. And free for the taking.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day Weekend Happenings

This has been a perfect weekend weather wise. The nights have changed to cool :), as have the mornings:( but the days are sparklingly warm and sunny. Anyone who had planned outdoor activities has definitely lucked out this year.

Sarah and I spent Saturday afternoon taking in the Dianne Hire exhibit at Aarhus Gallery in Belfast. I can remember the complete excitement I felt several years ago when I first viewed some of her work at an exhibit she had done with her small art quilt group, The Renegades. It was very soon after this that Joan Acord sent word around that Maine should have a group of like minded souls start a guild of 'art quilters'. I can't remember how many years ago that was but life has never been the same since.

If any of you are faithful readers of Sarah's blog, you know what a challenging summer it's been for her, so to take an afternoon to play was just right. Dianne's pieces are small as you can see in relation to Sarah, but they are so full of fun things to look at. Her use of buttons on her pieces, which I've never really liked, is perfect. It may be the different sizes or colors or styles or all three together, but they are so cool.

We also stopped at a new (for me) quilt shop on Main St. Sarah Johnson Quilts.
She carries all the latest in designer fabrics. I was happy to walk in and see a nearly complete selection of the new Heather Bailey line.

We finished the afternoon with a picnic in the park, overlooking the comings and goings of the different sailboats in the harbor. No pictures since we were too busy eating and chatting. Such a nice day.

And one more picture. Another birthday bites the dust, but here's one happy little girl wrapped up in Neena's new fuzzy bathrobe:

I am surely blessed.