Monday, June 30, 2014

The Ferals Come for a Visit

The Ferals Come for a Visit
73" x 81"
This last fall, the Austin Modern Quilt Guild selected a cat face pattern for our Block of the Month.  We typically make the blocks and donate them towards making a large quilt out of our blocks that is then donated to charity.  I liked this cat face pattern (from Elizabeth Hartman), but felt like it was too much measuring to be fun to make.
Then, this spring, my dear friend entered hospice care.  I did not feel like working on art at all.  It is such an odd place, waiting for a friend to die.  And it was worse after she died.  Somehow I found solace in a pattern that made all the decisions for me (with the exception of the colors), and the cat pattern sprang to the rescue.  One by one, I pulled out fabrics from my stash.  Without much effort, I was able to stitch up a block or two at a time.  I could work in the studio, in small amounts, and not really have to think.  The sewing helped me through my grief.  Meanwhile, the blocks started to pile up.  I decided to make a quilt for my daughter, who incidentally had a new kitten. 
It seems ironic that what initially felt like too much work suddenly became the easy thing to do.  However, I have noticed that from time to time, I take a break from art quilts, and doing the piece work is such a welcome retreat.
I let my daughter select the fabrics for the back.  However, our original plan did not work with the size of the quilt top, and after much debate, I add a bit from my stash and made this for the back.  I had concerns that it would show through the white on the front, but it is most negligible, and ... she just LOVES it!  I like that it is a two sided quilt now, with the green calming tones on the back, and the rainbow on the front.
As for the name of the quilt?  We have had numerous visits from feral cats this spring.  The mama cat from last year has still not been apprehended nor "fixed", so she has a new litter this spring, in addition to her kittens from last summer that are now reproducing.  I can't help but wonder how many will wander through in the years to come?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Double Cross

Double Cross
38" x 34"
This is my entry for the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge.  This fabric challenge is offered through the Modern Quilt Guild, and if you are a member of any branch of the MQG, then you can get free fabric to make a little quilt.  Photos are posted in an on-line forum.  I have no idea how the winner is chosen, but I like the prize, free fabric for a year!
Speaking of free fabric, this is my first time to participate in a fabric challenge.  I was a bit underwhelmed by the small amount of fabric.  We got 1/8 yd samples of 6 different fabrics.  The rules say that it has to be quilted, but no restrictions on size.  You are allowed to use any solids, and any other Michael Miller fabrics, and you can purchase more of the fabrics you were given in the set.
Ding!  I am SO SLOW!  I get it now.  They are hoping you WILL buy more of their fabric.  Makes sense to me!  And they get free marketing from whatever you make.  Brilliant!
As for me, they will have to settle for just the free marketing.  I decided that I would self-impose one other restriction: to add to this set of free fabrics with fabrics I already own.  And, I have bolts of white fabric (for dyeing and batiking), so it plays a strong component of the design. 
What I thought of the fabrics?  They were soft and easy to handle.  I liked the pale color palette, especially with the pop of orange.  I did not like the grey print at all, but found it plays well with others (I used it for the composition on the back).   Would I buy any of these?  Possibly, but I am not a typical buyer.  I only shop for fabric when I need it for a specific project.  It would have to fit the color palette I am looking for at the time. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sewing AAQG Boutique Items


 In February I volunteered to run the Boutique.  It is a special shopping booth to raise money for our guild, the Austin Area Quilt Guild.  It runs during their biennial quilt show, this year Sept 12-14.  I have dedicated a page on my blog to the news of the Boutique, and a slideshow in my sidebar to show some of the items that our guild members have been working on.

 For someone who is interested in simplifying her life and does not like to shop, this seems like a bizarre choice for me.  Half of our booth will be dedicated to selling things our guild members no longer want, this includes books, and many, many other items.  It will resemble a garage sale.  I like that these items have an opportunity to live a useful life with someone else.  All part of the reduce, reuse, and recycle movement.  I hate that I am the one in charge of it.  I need help! ha!

Meanwhile, I have committed to doing this and have embraced my role wholeheartedly.  I have been sewing a lot of items for the Boutique and thought I would try to lead by example.  It seems to be a two way street though.  As I lend inspiration, I find that I gain inspiration.  Our guild members have completely amazed me by their willingness to step forward and accept the challenge!  I am experiencing joy and fun in the process. I like learning something new.  I have followed free on-line tutorials for all of these items.  I am also finding it FUN to finish something so quickly.

I never thought I would have time to make all this.  I guess when you are having fun, you find the time!