Sunday, December 15, 2013

Threads and Fibers

I keep noticing that many people are posting self portraits, either to FaceBook, Twitter or on their blogs. I truly dislike looking at photos of myself, and yet I also see the benefit of having some idea of what a person likes like - especially if you are  kind enough to be following their blog or posts. So I took heart in hand and took a 'selfie' yesterday, without realizing that 1) I had not combed my hair and 2) I had no make up on. So this is a real WYSIWYG. It gives you an idea complete with wrinkles, or as friends on Facebook put it, laugh lines!

My days have been spent with some quilting, and that feels mighty fine! The quilt above is coming along well, although I don't do too much on it in any day. I am trying to go slowly. You may remember this from September when I started making the blacks from 5" sample square of batiks that I had collected over the years and could not bear to part with during my fabric purge. Each block uses two squares; one for the cross and one for the body. I really did have a lot of these squares! I like the 1/4" border a lot, but it definitely shows each and every wrong stitch and mismatched seam! Because the border is so small I still have to be careful to line up the crosses just right, or the quilt would  look even extra, wonky. I had started it on one machine that I needed to calibrate a true 1/4" seam with and then switched to a different machine that has a programmed perfect 1/4 inch seam setting. The first section of the quilt is most imperfect, but I simply cannot bear to rip it all out!  I am hoping that by the time it is all together, with most of it being quite right, and it is quilted the mistakes will not prove to be as obvious. It is, after all, just a smaller, "feel good" quilt, but I really like it a lot!
The quilts that I like to sleep under are very different than the art quilts that I make. I tend to like to sleep under traditional quilts made with reproduction fabrics. I find them to be very calming and comfortable.

These 25 patch blocks were to be the beginning of a very traditional quilt called Amelies's Story, Many Blessings by Darlene Zimmerman. I had posted about this quilt last April when I was working on it at quilt camp on Vashon Island. I ended up finding that I really was tired of making 25 patch blocks. They had to line up, be cut and pieced perfectly etc etc. I tend to like a bit more freedom. The Pixi of Imperfetion bit me !
Lest you think that there is no Pixie of Imperfection here she is all of her glory!
 I made her as testament to the benefits on imperfection!

Back to my dilemma of 25 patch malaise!  DH mentioned that a friend of his was retiring in March and, shall I say, strongly, hinted that he would like to give him a quilt in honor of the occasion. That's easy for him to want of course, another matter for me to make! I suggested a nice sized sofa quilt. In reply I received a vigorous head shake (indicating an equally vigorous negative) in response. A bed quilt was what he was asking me to do. Just ask me if I felt enthusiastic over it! I wanted to begin an ART quilt series that I had recently been inspired to begin - not a bed sized quilt. 
Of course, I was raised to do "guilt" quite well. It's been one of the banes of my existence for as long as I can remember. As I pondered how I would convince DH that a sofa quilt really could be used on a bed, I started to think about those blasted 25 patch blocks. The question was what could I do to use what I had already made and make something that would look good too.

 I considered a truly wonky block, but somehow that just was not the right path to take with these oh! so traditional blacks. There was, however, another way to proceed and that's what I am doing. The blocks will be set on point. I'll be adding sashing and cornerstones. Quilting will add a lot of dimension to the open spaces that setting blocks will leave in their wake, and I think that I have enough 25 patch blocks already done to make it work out quite painlessly. At worst I may have to make another 5 blocks or so. Not bad. I'll be making DH happy, saving a lot of work on blocks that would never have been used otherwise. I should be able to start working on my art quilts soon then too!
Auditioning possible backgrounds
Of course, there is always something on my needles too. Since I discovered knitting I have never turned back.  This is a 'challenge' shawl, made using only Sunshine brand yarn, it needs to be done by the 25th. I had the yarn for the body of the shawl (First Light) on hand, but I did have to beg and buy some more of the charcoal color which will be lace a deep lace edge that i am finally beginning now. I'll actually make the deadline for it too. 
This pattern is called Xenia by Vanessa Smith and it offers a unique - at least to me - way of making a stripe. The stripe turns it to be more textural than separate stripe. You add a stitch to each knit stitch on one row and then knit two together through the back on the next row - it results is a great slant-wise stripe that looks as good on the back as it does on the front.

This week I am wrapping and mailing off gifts. What's on your holiday to do list?
Be well and spread joy!





4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. meant to say,
    I Like that pixie of the imperfection as she makes visible,
    shows, the heart by hand. It is part o the mystique of us!
    good solution to bed quilt request!

    great head shot!

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  3. I love to see people of the blogs. Thanks. Your work is terrific. And Merry Christmas

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  4. Love the idea of the pixi of imperfection! pretty much describes my art life :-) I especially like the quilt with the + design, very simple but bold and modern and great colors. I love geometry and find it so soothing, except that when I try to actually make something geometric it comes out all lopsided because the pixi of imperfection takes over!

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