Monday, June 27, 2011

Challenge quilt -- the home stretch

I've been working on this challenge quilt whenever I get the chance, and think the final elements are in place.  I struggled to find a way to unite the different sections and make the entire piece flow, and right up until the time when I'm stitching the 5-6 major sections together, new ideas/solutions come to mind.  Although one friend's opinion was that I was over-thinking it (and I do tend to do that), I knew I had to listen to my intuition, which was telling me that I needed to continue working on it and the answers would come, and they have!

Here's the top with some of the main sections stitched together and other layers pinned into place:
Almost complete

 The vertical chain of color & tucks is pinned into place.  Does it add the needed sparkle that links the sections together?

The quilting lines (next!) will also work to unite the sections.  
The final deadline for finishing this project is this coming Friday.  Will I finish in time???

Put a Bird on It (or "White Dove")

Everybody's putting birds on their designs.  I've added one to my blog, and she's a beauty.

Our visiting white dove.
Is anyone missing a white dove?  This one showed up in our yard about two weeks ago, and has chosen a perch on our hawthorn tree as her new home.
Her right leg is banded, but is too small for me to see if there are any identifying marks on it.  She lets me get within about two feet of her before she gets nervous and flies off.  And that's another thing:  she's an awkward flyer, though her wings don't appear to be broken.

See how neatly they fold at her sides?  She looks like a sculpted work of art from this angle:
(Click on this photo, and others,  for a larger view.)

In the next photo, her beak is hidden behind leaves, but it's a good shot of her beautiful white feathers.

We're trying to keep our two cats away from her, especially when she flies down to eat the bird seed that's been kicked from the feeders by other birds.  She also likes to sunbathe on the ground!  She stays next to the hedge, but is otherwise unprotected from the other three sides.  
How do we locate her owners?  We've put an ad on Craigslist.  I was thinking about calling churches in the area to see if they've recently hosted a wedding ceremony where doves were released.  Doesn't that sound practical?  But first I have to finish my challenge quilt!  This is the final deadline week.  Will I finish on time?

She keeps an eye (!) on my cat, sitting below the tree.
We love having her here, but also realize that there's probably a local flock of white doves, minus one, that would be happy to welcome her back.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Back on track with challenge quilt

Putting it all together
With a little help from my friends, I'm back on track!

Torrie came over and helped me audition fabrics for the green section, and we both agreed on this batik.  Its subtle printed design gives just enough movement to this section, which will be enhanced with lots of horizontal lines of quilting, Barbara Shapel-style.  (Not straight across or evenly spaced, but lines that are more organic.)

Both Torrie and Lisa voiced their agreement that the blue-green "squiggly" print needed to be used, and it works to introduce the blue in the next section.
I'd already sewn some vertical strips with tucks and really liked them (seen in Lois Ericson's book Options), so I made more and pinned them along the length of the left side. 

Detail of tucks going vertically down the left side

More tucks close-up

I liked my original sketched design for the bottom section, but when it came time to construct it, it felt too boring.  I also wanted to try another version of tucks from the Options book, so I made a few practice rows and pinned them to the bottom.  This might be a good thing!    Another design line will be created when these sections are joined together and the horizontal seams are added.  (They'll fill the bottom section of the quilt, and the multi-colored vertical strip will extend over it to the bottom.) 
Detail of tucks in the bottom section
I'm wondering about making a longer version of the navy-and-blue-green-yellow wavy piece (on bottom right of design board -- 1st photo) and adding it as the bottom of the quilt.  I guess the answer will come by the time I reach that point. 

Less than 2 weeks and counting!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fabric Swatch Challenge has me Stumped!

My original sketch (excluding the brown "rafters"!):
Original plan for 36" x 42" quilt

I like the SERENE (open, peaceful, simple) feeling.

Audition #1
 I pieced the yellow-orange section, then the 3 top curves.
I'd envisioned the green sect. under the top curves to be one solid piece of green, densely quilted with horizontal lines, but didn't think it was interesting enough, so began making sections of soft piecing.
[NOTE:  All white areas within the green sect. are intended to be filled with green, this photo & next.]

The blue sect. was going to be this one long piece, with one pieced-section just to the left of center, but auditioned a section of curved piecing here (folded under; it's actually twice as wide)

Audition #2

Extras for piecing
More extras for piecing
 Here, the middle blue section's removed, and add'l green-blue pieces are inserted. (The intention was to "blend" the greens into blues, but add'l blues weren't added anyway!)

Also, not sure I liked the add'l shades of green.  Suddenly it seemed too chunky and messy, not at all serene.
 [No, that's not a #1 in white!]

Here are more sections of piecing prepared for inserts, etc.  The blue strip on the far left was to be sub-cut and added as an insert for curved pieces as in the next photo below -- the blue section on bottom right.

Same for the pieced strips of green.  They were used in the same way in the photo above, as inserts in a soft curve.

 In Audition 3, I've moved the greens around to balance them out.  Added the wide blue strip in again, and let the green-blue pieced curves intersect the blue area.
I kind of like that part, but still need more in the blue area.  But what?

Last night I played around with it some more, and just for the photos, added some plain green under the top curves so eliminate the distracting white spaces.  Very tired of looking at it.  Worthy of rescuing?

Audition #4
 Of course, I've only shown you the top 2/3.  The bottom is figured out, so no need to discuss that section.
What do you think?  Do you like the curved piecing?  (It would be softened up so the pieces flow together, which they don't do now.)  Or do you think I should go back to the original plan of using one green fabric, with dense horizontal quilting lines across it for texture?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lisa as Miss November

Here's the cover of next year's calendar, where our member Lisa Encabo is Miss November!

No, wait, I have that all wrong . . . it's Lisa's quilt that's featured for the month of November!  She entered Quilting Arts' 2012 calendar contest (theme:  Are You Feeling Pet-ty?) and won a spot with her artful depiction of Cutie, memorialized for all time as the playful dog with an awesome appetite.   RIP, Cutie.

(Her 12" x 12" quilt is the one in the middle, last row, as shown on the back of the calendar, below.)

Back cover of QA's 2012 calendar

Friday, June 3, 2011

Art in Salem

Our downtown (Salem, OR) has an art walk on the first Wed. of each month.  I haven't been in awhile, but decided to take our house guest, Dean,  who's here this week for classes at a regional weaving conference.

First we hit Venti's for some "good, clean food" (and it was!).   Actually, there was another reason:  to see Dayna Collins' mixed-media show, which is hanging at Venti's through the end of June.  We sat at one of the two booths, where Dayna's "littles" hung on the wall next to us.  Those were my favorites!

Here's the postcard about the show:
(Back of postcard)

The other highlight of the evening was finally discovering the gallery Pheromones.  I remember reading about it, but forgot it was there.  Wow, was I amazed!  The artist, Christopher Marley, collects natural artifacts from around the world, then mounts and frames them into the most unusual assemblages.  What are these artifacts?  exotic beetles, butterflies, and other insects with iridescent, gem-like colors; tiny, intricate fossils; botanicals such as carnivorous pitcher plants; and deep sea organisms.   The colors are brilliant and 100% natural.  No touch-ups with metallic paints, no varnish to add shine.  (I know; I asked!)

An insect mosaic from Pheromone Gallery
Many of these insects came from South America, where their native habitat was being destroyed and converted to farmland.  However, Marley's team is helping reverse that trend by training locals to collect these insects, which helps their economy and places more attention on the importance of preserving the natural habitat.

According to the Pheromone Gallery's brochure, "Leading environmentalists and entomologists agree that insect collecting can actually aid in the preservation of insect species by offering an economic incentive to preserve the habitat in which this 'sustainable rainforest crop' thrives."

This is a fascinating show.  Though some parts of it felt downright creepy to me, all I had to do was shift my focus away from the spider crabs to the intricate, gossamer wings of a dragonfly, and I was back to seeing beauty.

Don't miss this!  It's like a trip to a science museum, jewelry store, and art gallery all rolled into one!