Slow Stitching During Recovery

After knee surgery a few weeks ago, I thought the perfect project for me to tackle would be
hand project that I could work on while recovering, since I would not able to sit at sewing machine for a while.

While I was at QuiltCon last February, I had the great opportunity to meet one of my favorite quilt designers, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, who has published several patterns, books, etc. So I decided to buy a set of templates for her “Victory Block,” a very fun project that I thought would be perfect for hand piecing.

I’ve been collecting vintage fabric for while, waiting for just the right project. When I saw these templates, and what one could do with them, I knew I’d found it.

So here I am, relishing the experience of hand piecing, which in a way is the perfect interpretation of Slow Stitching. I believe there is even a “movement” called “the slow stitching movement.”

So far I’ve completed 6 blocks, each block about 9 inches square. I’ll probably piece a total of 9 blocks, which will make a nice 9 x 9 square throw quilt. Since this is a hand project, ultimately the quilting will be done by hand too.

I find this method of quilting (and piecing) quite relaxing, just what I need to regain my sanity after the grueling and painful days after surgery.

Recovering

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My Newest Challenge – Or, Am I a Sucker for Punishment?

Another year, another challenge. I received the fabric for the 2017 Riley Blake Challenge a couple of months ago,

Riley Blake fabric

so I got busy with my design. True to the spirit of the challenge, which it’s all about improvisation, I did my best to put fabrics together with no preconceived idea of the design, and this is what came out. The circular shapes that float in front of the horizontal motif suggest bubbles of exuberance, and the dynamic diagonal line, of a striking black color, adds movement and somehow connects the circles to the rest of the composition. The mountains in the back suggest a far off landscape that may be a nod to the mountains that surround me.

My 2017 submission

Now all I have to do is WAIT. Yes, wait and see if the Powers that Be deign to accept my submission and grant me the opportunity to actually show the quilt at the next event so that I can stand the chance–albeit small–of being considered for an award.

Do I sound skeptical, even pessimistic? Perhaps. I guess this is what multiple rejections do to a person. Which is what might explain the title of this post. But at the end of the day, am I doing this for my own artistic pursuit, or for a reward? After all, isn’t it better to do things because we enjoy the process, instead of for the recognition that takes the form of a somewhat arbitrary reward? I think so.

So stay tuned. All will be revealed soon enough.

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Some Amazing Sights from Quilt Con

This has been a whirlwind of activity!

I have always adored the Modern Quilt Guild, and of course, I have always loved quilting. This makes my current participation in the Quilt Con just such a grand old adventure!

This was a photo of one of the awesome presentations that taught us the value of dissecting pieces so as to come up with more interesting design possibilities. It is true that we tend to accept at face value what is given to us: if we have a bunch of squares, we are likely to use them as squares, as opposed to coming up with other more innovative ways of using them – even if this includes DEsquaring them. As well, there are many ways to cut up squares, such as by imposing lines of fabric through the segnemts of a quilt, as shown here.

The conference center itself is so exciting! Full of big screens, expansive floor space covered with giant, amazing, unusual quilts, each one more exciting than the last. Here is one of the presenters doing a demo, one of many that were given throughout the day, every day. The bonus: they were free! Many celebs in the quilter world gave these, to the delight of us “poor mortals.”

Here is Amy Gibson, http://bit.ly/2lXc3Pc one of my faves, talking about paper piecing

And yes, this is a podcast booth. I am not surprised that this event, and the Modern Guild in general, boasts an official podcasting station, since podcasting is very much The New Thing. The medium has been gradually rising in popularity in the past five years. The ubiquity of listening devices and the mobility of contemporary existence makes podcasting an ideal medium for stocking up on ideas of our favorite hobbies and subjects. Kudos to the MQG for staying on the cutting edge of technology!

As you can see, there’s a wide expanse of quilts on display, from Modern Quilters all over the country and the world! As I had discussed in a blog post a while ago, the Modern Quilt Guild specializes in liberating the craft of quilting from its traditional patchwork beginnings, with its homespun geometric conventions, and raising it to an artform of simple, experimental shapes and colors, all referencing a midcentury aesthetic. Their mission statement is a bit different from that but reads:

Some of the guild’s aesthetic elements include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work.

You can see these principles at play in the image above. For example, that one to the center left with the 3 large globules is the epitome of solid color, high contrast, and expansive negative space. The one to the left of that one achieves a great level of high contrast (black and white!), and alternate grid work. In this quilt, it almost seems as if the grid completely disappears. Our granny quilters, whom all quilters owe so much to, would at first faint in surprise, until she recognized the way this genius subverted the paradigm of the logcabin quilt block by seemingly piling what are blocks of an otherwise traditional-looking pattern on top of each other in the middle, then having them break pieces off each other towards the edges. All this framed by a large expanse of whiteness which still manages, thanks to the invisible tactile white, reference the actual block pattern. This is a truly masterful offering and I feel privileged to have been in its presence.

Here I am with my “hero” Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company

And of course the city itself is fun! I haven’t been to Savannah in years, since I lived in Georgia and would, at one point in time (before we started vacationing in North Carolina very habitually), go there on holidays. The town, though infernally hot for most of the year, is fairly placid at this time of the year – in spite of the fact that this year in particular has been unaccountably hot.

Cozy little used bookstore
“Old Lady Books” store, my kind of place

All in all, I had a fantastic time! I learned a lot during the workshops and lectures, did some (ahem!) judicious shopping, and connected with a lot of new quilters from here and yon. Overall, it was truly a great gift.

Old-timey diner!! Love it
Famed Savannah waterfront, and the ferry that connected us to the “mainland”
I have to again thank my husband and his mother Gail for giving me such a wonderful gift last Christmas. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.

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