Friday, March 27, 2015

Innocence
16" x 16"
I finished my entry for the Quilt Alliance.  Every year they have a contest to raise funds for their fabulous organization.  The quilts are donated and exhibited and then they are put up for auction on Ebay.  I don't always enter because sometimes the theme does not appeal to me, but this year really pulled at my heartstrings.  It was easy to come up with an idea for Animals We Love!

I am also hip deep in home repair (again!), and have had very little time to sew.  Spring is calling me outdoors (the live oaks are dropping leaves again!), and I long to return to the pool and my bicycle.  The weather is absolutely perfect here in central Texas!  And so, I cherished the opportunity to make something small that wouldn't take me too long.  I finished this little kitty in 3 days!

And if you are curious, the quilt was made with 100% Mistyfuse.  All the pieces were cut into their shapes and fused into place.  I then quilted it by machine, then satin stitched in black, and add a few touches of hand embroidery.  The vase is transparent, I used some light blue dyed silk organza (Mistyfuse works perfectly for that too!).

The kitten's story:
We found him at the Humane Society, only 1 of 2 kittens there.  I preferred to adopt an older cat, but my daughter was smitten with this cute boy.  He is actually a tuxedo boy, so handsome in his black and white.  We already have 3 adult cats, all siblings.  The 4th died from bleeding out from a surgery.  He had eaten an object he shouldn't have.  The vet told us it was a sharp wire and that it really needed to come out, so I gave the okay.  It was not actually a wire at all, but a hair band.  If I had known that, I would never have authorized the surgery.  I am still grieving the loss of our Smokey cat, complicated by my part in his death.  I thought I was helping him and it unfortunately led to his premature death.  Anyway, with 3 cats in our lovely household, I falsely assumed my daughter would attach to one of the other cat-boys.  But, she did not.  Eight months later she was still not making any progress.  So, I surprised her with a trip to the Humane Society.  I was determined to find a way to integrate another cat into our cat society, though honestly, it was the last thing on earth that I wanted to do. 
yes, his eyes are really really round, perfect circles!
A year later, the sweet kitty boy is the charmer of the household.  He has filled our hearts with joy and healed our grief.  He is a hilarious ball of energy and spunk.  He quickly found his place with the other cats and held his own, despite being the smallest and youngest.  And regardless of the trouble he gets into, he never really believes that he is doing anything wrong.  After all, he is just being a cat!  Oh YES, we love him so!
I hope this little quilt earns a lot for the Quilt Alliance.  I put my whole heart into it, so much so that I might just bid for it myself!  I am even considering making another one just for me, or possibly marketing a pattern for him! 
I also did an recorded interview with the Quilt Alliance years ago for their project Save Our Stories.  If you are interested in mine or a large selection of other wonderful quilters, you can find the stories here.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Falling
a work in progress...
This quilt started as an experiment with surface design.  I had an idea.  Paint some thin batik lines on white fabric, making sure they are widely spaced, and dye different colors on each stripe.  Then capture those colors by stamping a big circle and fill in the circle with wax.  Done!   Then bleach discharge the fabric, and overdye a different color.  Repeat with various combinations of colors.  I then cut the fabric into squares and arranged the blocks...
And I do kind of like the abstract quality of the circles and squares and random arrangement.  But apparently, not enough to actually sew them together, because they sat around my studio for a long time.  Meanwhile, many other projects were started and completed, and this one just sat, waiting for it's turn. 
Eventually, I pulled the blocks down, and put them on a shelf.  This winter, I got a new idea for the blocks.  Cut the squares into circles!! Yes!! Let's try it. 
And use some curves, and surround them with tons of white empty space.  They became strings of beads, on a BIG scale.  I think the quilt is about 60" square, maybe larger?  Each "bead" is about 4 inches across (aka, diameter!).  I like it, I like it a lot!
Now, all that's left is the quilting.  I wasn't sure about the first idea I had, so I made a small sample:
Oh yes!  I like this too!  Good idea.  Now, I only have to DO it.  It is hard to free motion a big quilt, and hard to do close echo quilting from multiple starting points (each line of beads), and not run into pleats on the backs.  This will be challenging to do it right.  I can tell you that by the time I get to the hand quilting with black thread, I will be choosing Aurofil's new floss, and having a good time.  However, I am not there yet.  Hey and if you are wondering how those circles are attached, think no further than the magic of Mistyfuse