10 Feb

Moving On…

Remember my insane hexagon quilt? Here‘s how it was looking a little over a month ago. And here’s what it looks like now:

Hexagon quilt in progress 2

Here’s what I have left to sew together:

Hexagon quilt in progress 2

I am soooooo happy to be done basting hexagons. I have also moved on to embellishing the “wild flowers” along the edge of the field. This is a fun way to use a bunch of the pretty threads I’ve been picking up. OK, the ones here are pretty normal, but I promise to show some fun ones soon.

Hexagon quilt detail

And, lest you all think that I am completely insane, I assure you I am not. One of my aquaintances in the local guild here is making a hexagon quilt in which each hexagon side is a mere 1/4.” Now that’s insane! Another lady is almost done with a lap quilt of hexs with 1″ sides. And, the original inspiration, the ladies making the quilt on the cover of QNM #370 are nearing completion! I keep saying that we should have a show or presentation of all of our hexagon quilts. The variety is wonderful.

10 Feb

I feel a rant coming on!

This morning, for the upteenth time, I got an email about how the USA should be a certain way, and assuming that I agreed, would I please pass it on.

Where do these acquaintances of mine get off assuming that I agree with their narrow-minded (at least to me) beliefs? Just because I’m nice, middle class, white, and my husband serves in the Army doesn’t mean that I’ve got your back on these rampant ideological Holy Wars the US seems to be raging abroad, in our media, in the courts, and in my email inbox! (I’m the one who deletes all chain mail no matter how pitiful the cause or how much supposed bad luck I’ll incurr, and I won’t even reply to inform the sender.)

So, I could jump up and down on my soap box, but who’s listening via email? No one who makes laws or policies. Nothing I could say here, or replying to chain emails would change the world we live in (OK, maybe the net bots in Langley would perk up if I added a few choice phrases to get their attention, but I digress). It needs to be said directly to the movers and shakers on Capitol Hill. I’ve got half a letter drafted to my congress people urging them to rethink our role in the Middle East, and I guess now that I’m all worked up, I need to write another letter expressing my support of the separation of Church and State. Long story short, if anyone out there *really* wants to change US laws on Church and State, or for that matter, foreign policy, marriage laws, abortion laws, etc, spend your energy writing to, and protesting on, the Capitol steps and keep it out of my inbox!

OK, I feel a little better now. And just to make this rant quilt related, I’ve got two cents to put in to the small v.s. large art-quilt debate. I think that working small (post card and journal size) is a great way to experiment and try new techniques. But try to get yourself taken seriously by the quilt world and, outside a few very specialized venues, you’ll be shut down. I just tried to enter Katja’s Owlz in the European Triennial, and although it’s 32″ wide, it doesn’t meet the minimum size requirements. Same goes for AQS and Mancuso shows. I have no problem with minimum sizes as it helps the show organizers hang a cohesive and impactful show (they’re doing it all for us, you know). So, experiment away on small stuff, but if you want the world to ooh and ahh, I think you gotta go big (or at least bigger than 40″ wide).

05 Feb

Felt Sidetracked

A Few posts back I promised to post pictures of how sidetracked I got after my fun felting class at Anette’s. Browsing through one of her many books, which she keeps as reference or inspiration in her shop, I was inspired by pictures of felted jewelry. Plus, I needed a few small gifts. I thought I’d try three neclaces and bought some wool, silk, and partially felted sheets. then I headed off to the craft store for wire and clasps. Well, three kinda multiplied as the process was fun and pretty easy and I had more than enough wool. Here’s what I ended up with:

2 Felted Ball Neclaces

I used some of the yummy beads Sonji sent me to embellish the neclace on the left. I gotta say, felted balls sure bely the simplicity of their construction. They look so classy, but are soooooo easy to make.

Felted Licorice-Candy Neclaces

I set out to make one of these neclaces, based on a popular licorice candy here. TS&WGH said less is more and I ended up with three neclaces! For these I used the partially felted sheets so that the layers would be more defined. They didn’t felt together as well as the balls, so I’d try it with the regular wool next time.

2 Felted

These two neclaces are made from the scraps of the others. I cut the balls in half after felting them which, of course, doubles the number of pieces you have to work with. I think they look like the geodes that fascinated me as a kid. I also couldn’t pass up adding Swarovski crystals which were half off at the craft store!

Felted Pins

After I made all the neclaces, I still had bits and pieces left over, so I made these pins (hence yesterday’s return trip to the craft store for pin backs and more neclace clasps). These also have added sparkle thanks to my ever-growing bead collection.

03 Feb

Opening the door

I’ve been keeping busy, but don’t have much to show for it yet. I have probably basted several hundred hexagons in the last week, although I’ve sewn none together. I am almost finished assembling the bottom third of the quilt top and I realized that unless I baste more pieces, I’ll have nothing portable. So, lots of behind the scenes progress there. I’m loving watching the pile of printouts on the bed shrink!

I need to make a trip to the craft store to finish off my felting project, but I haven’t had the car for a quick trip, or a large enough block of time (with willing participants) to take the strassenbahn (streetcar). Maybe Saturday will offer an opportunity. I haven’t moved on in the Color and Composition exercises, but that will probably be my next procrastination.

The last thing I’ve been working on is the most perplexing. I have lots of ideas for quilts within the theme of my planned show. But, I have yet to figure out how I’m going to construct them. I’m sure I’m like many other artists in that one day, when you least expect it, the idea comes and you realize, “oh yeah, that’s how I’ll do it!” I’ve been waiting several months now. I’d like to piece the composition, but I’m not one for lots of meticulous pre-planning a la Ruth McDowell (though I love her work!). And yes, the hex quilt is meticulous in a whole ‘nother way. I really enjoyed the strips and fusing that I did in Sue Benner’s class, but I’d like a softer finished product as i really did not enjoy quilting even the little projects. I know the answer is in some combination of the techniques I’ve learned over the years, but exactly how it will come together has been eluding me.

I found some graph paper with triangles the other night and started coloring, based on a drawing from a few weeks ago. I am pretty pleased with the results, so I count that as a small move forward. Usually I draw a design with an idea of how it will be constructed and that sort of leads my drawing. For now, I have to be satisfied with the drawings for drawing’s sake. They are far more realistic than I want the final piece to be, but they are a starting point, for lack of other direction. Wednesday, I took threee drawings to the Arts and Crafts Center and used their overhead projector to make them big. I am hoping that with the scale figured out, I can then finesse the drawings with more or less details as the scale requires. Here’s one where I’m thinking piecing is probably the way to go. Still, I have no grand plan, but I hope that by forcing baby steps, I can invite the inspiration.

Heidelberg Castle and Bridge