Monday, August 17, 2015

My FIL's quilt finished

I managed to finish the quilting on this one before we left for a weekend up north, our last weekend with him here with us this year. We will put him on the Zephyr train Saturday.

I am happy with the soft thickness, accomplished with a cotton/poly batting 80/20, and with quilting every 2-3 inches.

This Instagram pic, taken with my iPad, shows the quilt cooler than it is.
The other images are truer warmth.

I gave him the quilt in the car in the back seat as Don drove and his brother rode in the front. He seemed pleased. Didn't say much, but he never does. The important thing is that he knows I love him, I loved having him stay with us, and that this will keep him warm.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

scrappy utility log cabin (or housetop) lap quilt top for my father-in-law finished

I mentioned at the end of my previous post that my FIL asked for a lap quilt after I gave one to Andrea in his presence when we celebrated her birthday, and how excited I was. That was in early August, and he leaves us for Don's sister's in Colorado August 22. I want to give him a finished quilt for his train ride on the California Zephyr, and also to cuddle under while he's in Colorado through Christmas, and hopefully for a long time after that. He takes Coumadin, and he is always chilly.

During my staycation in the studio the end of July, I realized something crucial for me and quilts. Designing those two wallhangings helped me differentiate between a desire to make art quilts and a desire to make comfy cozy quilts for laps and beds. Andrea's quilt felt stiff, and while I think it will soften after washings and time passes because of the 100% cotton batting, I want lap quilts to be fluffier, softer and cozier right at the start. I also want them to bridge the past and future, to be reminiscent of grandmothers' quilts and conscious of loved ones who will cuddle under them.

I immersed myself in the quilts and quilters of Gee's Bend for a few days while designing this. I felt more than I thought. I was going to sash it more simply, subtly, but then I just started using the cut pieces on my work table, and it grew into this. I feel very connected to those ladies and am thankful their quilts were discovered so we can reap pleasure and inspiration from their hard work and lives.

I've been working on my FIL's quilt the past week or so, because it so happens that every weekend in August I am away from the studio. I burned the night oil (until 9 or so) last evening and the one before. Late for me! But you know I love it. The quilt top is finished, and I've sandwiched the layers with 80/20 cotton/poly batting and a simple pieced backing. Yippee!

Instagram photos:

I am quilting every two inches or so to keep it fluffy. The denser the quilting, the stiffer the quilt. Of course that means this will go quickly! Then I can't wait to make the scrappy binding.

I will post again when finished, of course.

Oh, and I just have to add this week's Free Will Astrology piece for Leo from Rob Brezsny. I love it! Can you believe it? :)

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Many people harbor the unconscious bias that
beauty resides primarily in things that are polished, sleek, and perfect.
Celebrities work hard and spend a lot of money to cultivate their
immaculate attractiveness, and are often treated as if they have the most
pleasing appearance that human beings can have. Art that is displayed in
museums has equally flawless packaging. But the current astrological
omens suggest that it's important for you to appreciate a different kind
of beauty: the crooked, wobbly, eccentric stuff. For the foreseeable
future, that's where you'll find the most inspiration.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Staycation and two wall hangings

"birds on a wire"
24" x 28"
at Etsy

This week has been a perfect staycation.

Well almost. It began with a detox and start of a 21-day elimination diet. A couple of friends on Facebook suggested that maybe the osteoarthritis in my thumbs and wrist could be less inflamed if I get rid of something in my diet. So these 21 days I am avoiding the usual suspects: dairy, wheat/gluten, sugar, corn, soy, alcohol and the nightshade vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes). Oh man. May I just say that the timing of this stinks? We had just dived into Mediterranean food and have been LOVING eggplant especially. And corn? Now? When sweet corn from Reese's just begins? 

But pain is pain, and something has to give. It has been much reduced since starting. This is day 10. I will re-introduce one food group at day 22 and see how that goes for a couple days. Etc.

I am still taking turmeric capsules and began vitamin B6, the latter at the recommendation of one of the friends mentioned above.


Otherwise, perfect staycation. I played in the studio every single day with abandon. The most fun was creating these two wall hangings. Below is the one I made first, and the one at top second, which was inspired by the divine graphic designs of Eloise Renouf. She told me on Instagram that she had my blessing to copy her design. :) It's not exactly copying, but complete inspiration, though figuring out how to create the design with fabric was challenging. Once I got the rhythm of making flying geese, basically, it was a snap.

This one was too much fun and was inspired by, among other art pieces, Paul Klee's "Abstraction with Reference to a Flowering Tree, 1925. One other source of inspiration were the macarons Nancy and I ate in Paris in 1997. The fabrics are after all from her stash too. So I named it "Nancy's Macarons." The little (big) breakthrough in this one is using nothing but solids. Me!

"Nancy's macarons"
27" square
at Etsy

Also, this sweet thing: This was the staycation when I gave Andrea her birthday quilt after which, at home, my father-in-law (staying with us a couple of months — love him, love having him!) said to me, "I wouldn't mind having one of those lap quilts like you gave Andrea."

!!!!! Why is it that we are SO afraid to ask for something when doing so gives such IMMENSE PLEASURE to the one asked???? I was tickled, so tickled, to begin to imagine a lap quilt to complete before he leaves on my birthday in three weeks. Joy, bliss. You see, he is on blood thinner and is chilly a lot of the time. He needs to cuddle under a throw. I have ordered batting with poly as well as cotton after seeing soft cuddly quilts around on Instagram and wanting the kind of loft 100% cotton just doesn't provide.

One more thing. I am figuring out that while I love the graphic designs of wall hangings, I love cuddly quilts for laps and beds. Now that I've tried and succeeded at wall hangings (let's hope they sell!), I can let these designs go crazy. Then quilts can focus on what I love about quilts: comfort, peace, connection, pleasure. Not sure just what this means entirely, but I'll find out.