Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Happy Hibiscus

The week is pretty full both days and evenings - It is all work stuff so nothing fun to share.
I thought I would show how happy my hibiscus plant is though. I think it has recovered from the move!

Friday, 26 March 2010

"Walking to New Orleans"

"Walking to New Orleans" may not seem to have much to do with Gees Bend and African textile motifs but that is where I ended up. The guild that I belong to sponsored a workshop that explored the history, energy and art of the quilts of Gees Bend with an eye to traditional African Motifs.
The technique is simple: use colour, traditional blocks in variations, don't use a ruler; then have fun steppping away from all the tradtional quilt rules like matching corners and exact measurements.
The results from everyone were fantastic. So much colorful play with geometry.
Here is a selection of the blocks made by some of the group over the 2-day workshop:

This first set of 2 wall hangings in this photo were the teacher's samples (Stacey Littlejohn).

Stacey also made a bed-size quilt. I love it's bright funky look.



I know that the can-can does not really represent African motifs or the rural south but I love this print by Roisin (bespoke uprising) and felt it needed to be used.

I love green (any shade), purples and orange because they are such happy colours. Really this all is threaded together because Melissa recently returned from New Orleans, I am working on a red and purple quilt for her, I already made her an orange quilt and Roisin is Melissa and Cara's very good friend. There must be a dance party somewhere in New Orleans so the dancing legs work for me!
I figure that perhaps I must not have listened somewhere along the way because my result is not quite the same as the rest of the group's work (which I really liked).
After dinner on Sunday I was obsessed to finish this piece (sorry Heather) and worked till 3 AM quilting it and adding the binding. I spent the rest of my free time this week stitching down the binding and now it is done.
P.S. The oranges were all hand-dyed by me, the greens and purples were hand-dyed gift fabrics, the prints were hand screened and dyed by Roisin, the backing is a true African textile (which I forgot to photograph).
The basic blocks that I made were:Roman Stripe and Bulls Eye in 5 variations of each (and an additional pinwheel block).

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Weekend workshop

Gees Bend by Way of Africa - I guess I don't listen well. The orange green and purple is my set of blocks.

There were 14 in the class... I will post photos of the great variety of blocks that were made, and a photo of mine all finished. I have been so busy completing this one that I don't have time to resize the pictures yet.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Postcards and Progress

I thought I would catch up a bit and show some recent postcards.










This set was an exercise in raw edge applique. I wanted to look into the sky.




The next is colour play with green. I set up a bargello background and then did threadplay to create blades of grass.

I am adding these fabrics to Heather's Wall Hanging Prize.


The red and purples are all organized by colour value. I will start cutting these later this week since I need to work on my class project. I have thought about what I need to do for it all weekend but have not set up the pages.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Red and Purple and Orange

There are a few projects on the tables in the studio now. I have started to pull oranges so that I can make Heather her prize from My Olympic Challenge and  30K Celebration, a wall hanging.

I washed and pressed the well-aged collection of reds and purples for Melissa's quilt. A few years ago she told me that she had seen a picture of a quilt that she wanted. It actually was not a picture of a specific quilt but rather a quilt in the background of some fashion or home decorating magazine. I was only able to study the picture for a short time as the magazine belonged to her friend. So of course I had to start collecting more fabric.....

Horizontal  random stripes of alternating  purples and reds.  I could not really forget that image. This is my best interpretation.

I was ready to press the stacks. I realized that they were unwashed and so that had to be done first. What a pile...

Then a few hours of ironing while watching 4 more segments of Babylon Five (Season Three, shows 12 through 16). Babylon Five or Battlestar Galactica is the usual  accompaniment to my quilting projects.

..and here is the pallette ready to be cut into strips.






My plan is to cut the fabric into strips across the full width of fabric, then:
  • Piece the reds and purples together into a few  long strips
  • Cut these long strips vertically
  • Rotate the pieces so they do not match when placed side by side
  • Using other shorter strips of reds and purples,  join the shorter sections of red and purple bands already prepared to create  4 vertical sections
  • Then lastly, sew these 4 vertical sections side by side to create the quilt top.
This sketch is from EQ6; my interpretation of the design

Who knows how long these steps will take because I do have to complete a night-class assignment and  still show up for work every day  (and  still do all  my usual procrasternetting).

I am glad you will be keeping me company along the way.
P.S. a super thanks to Karen, who so kindly sent me some great purple and green paisley with flashes of gold and blue. I am thinking hard about what I will  make wth  my paisleys.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Sunshine and promise of spring

A few wonderful days of sunshine, the temperatures rose above freezing and people were smiling. We visited the Stratford Garden Festival. Definately the promise of spring - seeds. We have a fresh pallette this year and so we are planning our vegetable garden and some flower gardens.
My last 10 years gardening has been a struggle against an insidious lawn. It was more of "I fought the lawn and the lawn won" story than a gardener's delight. I have had great success in the long ago past. The house on Delaware Street had a beautiful back garden. It felt like an outdoor room long before this became the trend-word. We benefitted by having a well-defined small space and raised beds.
That little yard became a wonderful floral haven. This success was hard-earned. I tilled the soil nearly 8" deep and let nearly every bit of that soil went through my fingers as I removed rocks and weeds.
I'll try to find some pictures of these past attempts as we try to bring colour to this little pocket of the world.