Goals for Fall 2014

SeptDec2014 Goals

I used to belong to the FAL thing–“Finish A Long” and loved loved it.  But because of my personal lifetime karma of Never Winning a Prize, I decided that while it was still beneficial to make up goals, I just didn’t have to link into an enterprise to announce them.  It’s enough for me to use some colored pencils and write it out.  Here they are, in no particular order:

Sol Lewitt's Patchwork Primer

1. Finish quilting and bind the Sol Lewitt Patchwork Primer Quilt.  I started quilting this at our retreat in July, but it has sat for nearly a month now, partly because of LIFE and partly because I wasn’t sure I liked what I was doing.  If I had to rip it out, I only wanted to rip out a little bit.  Time to get it out, evaluate and finish it up.

Colorwheel Blossom Quilt Top

2. Quilt and bind and for-heaven’s-sake decide on a name for this.  It’s gone by Rainbow Blossom, Colorwheet Blossom, Colorwheel Petals, that iPhone Logo quilt and too many other names to mention.  I bought the thread at Superior Thread the last time we went through St. George so there should really be nothing holding me back (except: how do I quilt this thing?).

Reina Fabric

3. Create and cut out (at the very least!) my Mexican Day of the Dead quilt.  It would be a near miracle if this were actually DONE by the Dia de los Muertos, which is November 1st, but at least it made it onto the list again.
CrossX Quilt Blocks January2014

4. Oh, yeah.  This.  It’s was a cool swap I did with KristaStitched and the top is supposed to be done by September something-or-other (better go and look it up).  The other quilters in the group are going to be done, and I’ll still be lagging behind.

FrontSideYard Plans

5. Redo the front and side yard landscaping of our house.  Here is the *before.*  Stay tuned for the after, when they  will probably have to wrap me up and take me off to some quiet location, and feed me all forms of chocolate and Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls 24/7 until I recover.  (I’ve had Cinnabon on the brain lately.  Good thing they are far away.)  And yes, we’ve already made about 45 changes to the above plans, but it’s a good start.

I’ve added back in some of the usual need-to-be-finished culprits: 3 skirts, the Good Luck Quilt (which I can hardly remember what it is, but I do know where the fabric is), the QuiltCon Pastels challenge (which should be landing on my doorstep anyway).  And you know I’m just like you that I could probably rustle up about ten more projects to throw on this list, but I won’t.

TerrySteegmillerArt Heart(from *here*)

I’m hosting the Good Heart Quilters in a week for Quilt Night at my house on September 5th, Friday.  If you’re in the area, come and join us! (And Good Heart Quilters?  Can you RSVP and let me know how many are coming so I can set up enough tables? Thanks.)

Selvage Blocks Aug 2014

And I’ll leave you with this: my five completed selvage blocks.  I’m not in a rush on this project.  (Good thing.)  It’s nice to have something to pick up for those days my brain can’t handle one crisis.

Finally, some thoughts on finishing from here and there:

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done. ~~Marie Curie

I really enjoy the finishing part of the painting process. It’s like performing the Beethoven Sonata when all the hard slog has been done to make it a possibility. ~~Leoni Duff

Ovid gets the last word:  Either do not attempt at all, or go through with it.

Straighten Up and Sew Right

Sad Seamtress(from *here*)

It had been nearly a month since I’d threaded the needle of my sewing machine and sent it to humming, and I felt like the sad seamstress in the photo, above, pining away.  I wanted to get to the machine and have a good sewing session and have something to show for it.  As one Instagrammer said, “My sewjo is missing.”  But I wasn’t idle.  First, I had a root canal, which ought to occupy anyone for a few days.  And I also cleaned out the stash a bit, filling two large mall shopping bags with swatches of fabric to let my quilting group, the Good Heart Quilters, rummage through before donating the rest to our quilt guild.  And here’s some photos to prove I have tidy cupboards, before I start messing it up again:

Straightened Up 1

 I like to organize mine by color and value (light-to-dark).

Straightened Up 2

The lower half of the cabinet.  Inside the pull-out box are browns and blacks–easier on the back this way.  I keep the Kaffe Fassets in another place, and I also have a stack of cream/tans and a stack of “low volumes” (neutrals or pastels), and stack of predominantly white/light background fabrics.

Molly Qee xfour

Here’s a close-up of my Molly Qee collection (the characters with the crowns).  They are hard to find in the States.  I started my collection when my sister Christine and I happened into a collectibles shop in Lyon, France.

More Shelf Stuff

And on the other shelf are other doodads.  My husband gives me the little Japanese dolls (ningyō).  And those fabric-covered binders are all my journals, began when I was a young woman of twenty-one years old.  Since the advent of email and cheap phone calls, I’ve stopped writing them, but I love having them around (they hold all my secrets!).

Pink Selvage BlockSo after a busy month, I pulled out the machine and got started.  I decided to ease my way in slowly, making a selvage block.

Basic Selvage Block Foundation

When I begin, I use my standby translucent paper, cutting, then pasting a strip on one side so it measures 10 1/2″ square. Then I draw lines on it to keep the selvages on straight.  Do I cut all my selvages off when I buy fabric?  No.  I like having them on to keep track of the newer stuff in case I need more.  Most of these selvages happen when I’m going through older fabrics that are in my stash (like those to be donated), of which I know I’ll never need the information again.  Then I slice it off, leaving about one-inch to 1-1/2″ of the fabric on top of the selvage so I have Lots of Options.

Pieced Selvage Strip

I get started by cutting two 4 1/2″ blocks, then slice them on the diagonal to make up the four triangles you see in the center above.  I pin them down, then start sewing on the selvages, placing the selvage edge 1/4″ in from the raw edge of the triangle, as shown.  Sew closely along the edge.  I like it best when the first selvage next to the color is the same, or nearly all the same, so I look for a longish piece. I think it just helps set the stage.  Sometimes I piece selvages to get the printed symbols and the words closer together (above) and other times I just let it be.   Then it’s random, random, random after that, some thinner strips, some thicker strips.  Some people like to trim the fringey pieces, but I just leave it that way.  Sometimes after I sew on a strip of selvage, I’ll go in and trim down the underneath piece just to keep it tidy.

Selvage Block Colors

Sometimes I get things off balance, like in the pink block way above (too much deep maroony-pink in the lower left) but then I figure I’m teaching myself how to let go a bit and just enjoy the process.  And I do.  I now have five colors of four 10″ (finished) blocks, so the block will be twenty inches square after all four parts are sewn together.  This is going to be one big quilt, but I’m in no hurry.

To close with, here’s a quote from The Rise, by Sarah Lewis (the book I wrote about in the Creativity post):

“Perhaps we have grown impatient with the incomplete. We are part of a generation that, as the African proverb goes, wants to eat dinner in the morning, that longs for the immediate, fully prepared for consumption. Yet the strength to linger over the long-left unfinished reminds us that something inexhaustible in us is empowered by striving, that we sense unnaturalness in blunt ends of journeys, of lineage. And that power comes from where we least expect to find it.”

Go tackle something incomplete, and enjoy the power of taking another look at something that in our hands, has had a long journey.

Where Creativity Lurks: My Around The World Blog Hop Post (done my way)

world wide web image.org

a picture of the connections of the World Wide Web, from here

We scan through page after page of blogs, fingers working the mouse, images flying by until one catches our eye.  Pinned! Now to Instagram, to Flickr, pictures and posts whizzing past —  double tap, double tap, scroll, scroll — everything at breakneck speed with us jotting a word here or there to add the chorus of wonderfuls.

Is this creativity in the universe of 500 followers? (This calls for a giveaway) 100 comments on a post (how can you read all of this?) Where you aren’t a success until you have the traffic to drive 2,000 other quilters’ eyeballs to your site, to buy your patterns, to buy your books.  Where we all strive to keep up with the intense and overwhelming pace of production out there in the world.

mountains_cloudsArctic mountaintops, from here

Austin Kleon has a wonderful image in the back of his book Show Your Work.  It’s a sketch of a series of mountain peaks, a faint line skimming the tops of those peaks like a caught line of clouds, or like the waterline showing those peaks to be islands poking out of an ocean, the mountains anchoring it to the sea floor, submerged.  Above that pencilled, horizontal line, he wrote “product.”  And below, “process.”

And it is in there, in those submerged depths or massive formations, where creativity emerges.  It can start with a sketch, a riff on someone else’s quilt, a pile of colored fabrics.  It has a thousand beginnings and a thousand endings, but it is the journey that counts. For what we see when rifling through our feeds several times a day is product, the tips, the peaks, the aha! moment after a long climb to the top, flag planted firmly on that product summit.

Sarah-Lewis-The-Rise-coverfrom here

Winston Churchill is reported to have said that “Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”  Scott Adams noted that “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”  Both of these quotes come from a book I’m reading on creativity and mastery written by Sarah Lewis: The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery. I sometimes need a break from the uber-sunshiney world of quilting, with quilt after quilt after project after quilt showing up on my reader or feed, especially if I’m in place where my own creativity is at a low ebb.

I love seeing beautiful quilts.  I love seeing the cumulative work that comes from thousands of hours of trudging up that mountainside.  But I try to also value those who show me a block, or a stack of fabrics, or those take a long time to get that quilt finished, label and all, for we are being creative, finding away to express ourselves as surely as if we had written a novel or painted a masterpiece.

Sherri of A Quilting Life wrote and asked if I would join her and others, writing about creativity.  Some questions to consider are:

  • What am I working on?
  • How does my work differ from others?
  • Why do I write/create what I do?
  • How does my writing/creative process work?

Or you can do what I did and let your creative juices run a while, and come up with something else.

Pineapple Blocks nine

tutorial for paper foundation pieced Pineapple Quilt Block is here

And since no quilt blog can publish a post without a quilt photo, one of the projects I’m currently working on is shown above.   If you write about creativity on your blog, please paste a link to your post into your comment so we can see what you are thinking.

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Occasionally my blog posts links and video below, so I can use this software for free.  I do not control the content.

Summer Report

What I Did This Summer
(And can it already be over??)

Kneaders Crab Sandwich

1. Went to Utah and ate a Crab Sandwich at a Kneaders Sandwich Shop

Beachy Maddy

2.  Went to the beach with my grandkids and two of my kids

puzzle

3. Entertained grandchildren with puzzles

Quilt Fort

4. Entertained grandchildren with forts made out of quilts (luckily I have a few)

Summer Guest Room

5. Put the lighter summer look in the guest bedroom, loving how it makes Kaleidoscope shine
(on the end of the bed is my friendship quilt, which includes signatures from all my granddaughters)

MCM July Bee Block

6.  Made a starry block for Susan for the Mid-Century Modern Bee in July

MCM August Bee Block

7.  Made my August Mid-Century Bee block for Mary

Pineapple Bee Bocks So Far

8. Been arranging the blocks that come in from my turn at the Always Bee Learning Bee.  Everyone must be on vacation, because they are dribbling in, little by little.  But I love to see them all together!

Zagreb Cathedral

9. Went to Zagreb (and Ljubljana and Dubrovnik–all in Slovenia and Croatia). . .

Budapest2

. . . and Budapest, Hungary.

Giveaway Banner

10. Hosted a giveaway!

I did the Random Number Generator thing and got #3, but Susan said she already had that book so not to consider her.

Book Giveaway

So I did it again, and Carly was the winner.  I’ll be in touch by email.

But I can’t let this go by without telling you all how thoughtful and interesting your comments were.  I like how you read each other’s and answered each other; I love seeing community in our quilty world.  It made me remember that I’m also inspired by quotes and sayings, as well as nature and other quilters.  I love how Harlan said that when the creative juices are clicking, “something new and needed is created.”  I appreciated Anne’s parsing out the difference between flat-out copying vs. being inspired by someone’s work.  All of you brought excellent ideas to the conversation and I wish I could give you all a prize.  You are all the best.  Hope you also had a good summer!

Inspiration. . . and a Giveaway!

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Nancy Crow Crosses Info

In the book I just finished reading, Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, he writes that “Nothing is original.”  He quotes Jonathan Lethem who notes that “when people call something ‘original,’ nine out of ten times they just don’t know the references or the original sources involved.”  And in our quilt world, I see this all the time manifest in the copyright squabbles, the this-is-my-original-pattern-syndrome and it’s only a variation of a log cabin, the insistence by some in the modern quilt movement that they dreamed it all up — this modernist stuff, without any regard for where the idea first surfaced. . . and then resurfaced.  When I see this stunning quilt by Nancy Crow, made when many young quilters’ parents had not even started dating, I think, as did Kleon when he quoted the Bible, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

But Kleon goes on to say that this idea fills him with hope, rather than despair:  “As the French writer Andre Gide put it, ‘Everything that needs to be said has already been said.  But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”  Kleon encourages us to note where our influences come from.  I say, if you don’t know about some of the earlier quilters, try heading to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum and browse for a while.  Take a look at these early masters and be inspired.

Steal-Like-an-Artist-Kleon

To inspire you, I’m giving away a copy of Austin Kleon’s book, a small little treasure, perfect for some end-of-summer reading.  To win a copy, leave me a comment below and include a source of inspiration, whether it be another quilter, a photograph, an image, nature or something else–something or someone that provokes or triggers your spark of creativity.  Rather than just saying “nature,”  or “Michael James,” try to be specific, such as “the moment the sun drops to the horizon” or “Michael James’ ‘Aurora’ in his early work”  so that we can learn from each other.

I’ll announce the winner on my next post, and send you a gift card from Amazon so you can order it yourself; for this reason, it will work for international as well as domestic. Have fun, everyone!  This post will close on Saturday morning.

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