Art Quilts, A Trip Down Memory Lane

As you know I recently revealed my 31st Art Quilt. Woohoo! Please pardon my temporary pause to celebrate! 🙂 After sharing the last one I was reminiscing abut the stories and photos behind each of my art pieces. Even though I was the person that created them, the older I get I have to admit it is sometimes hard for me to remember what they all look like. To satisfy my curiosity and fill in a few of those hazy recollections I decided to search back through my notes and my posts to refresh my memory. My travels brought back many fond memories and aha moments. Thank goodness for photos as they many times are worth a thousand words.

To celebrate my milestone I decided to share photos and links to all 31 in one place. Their combined history spans a period of more than a year. While that probably doesn’t seem like a long time to you for me it feels like ages ago. So much of my time and my heart has been poured into each and every one. They represent a small piece of my journey through fabric as an art form. Please enjoy my trip down memory lane.

AQ # 1: Bloom

Bloom
Bloom

AQ # 2: Paws for a Moment

Paws for a Moment #1
Paws for a Moment

AQ # 3: Quilting Friends

Quilting Friends
Quilting Friends

AQ # 4: Flowers

Flowers
Flowers

AQ # 5: Sunrise

Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise, The Quilt
Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise with its many embellishments

AQ # 6: In the Right Direction

In the Right Direction
In the Right Direction

AQ # 7: This Way

This Way #1
This Way

AQ # 8: This Way # 2

This Way #2
This Way #2

AQ # 9: Moo

Moo
Moo

AQ #10: Crossroads

Art_Piece_10_Crossroads_1
AQ # 10: Crossroads

AQ # 11: Birch Trees

AQ # 11_ Birch Trees.jpg
Birch Trees

AQ # 12: Autumn

Art_Piece_12_Autumn_3
Autumn

AQ # 13: Ticktock

Art_Piece_13_Tick_Tock_2
Ticktock

AQ # 14: Tulip

Art_Piece_14_Tulip
Tulip

AQ # 15: Hodgepodge

Art_Piece_15_Hodge_Podge_2
Hodgepodge 

AQ # 16: Bird House

Art_Piece_16_Bird_House_2
Bird House

AQ # 17: The Chosen Nine

Art Quilt # 17_ The Chosen 9
The Chosen Nine

AQ # 18: Four Friends # 1

Art Quilt # 18_ Four Friends # 1
Four Friends # 1

AQ # 19: Four Friends # 2

Art Quilt # 19_ Four Friends # 2
Four Friends # 2

AQ # 20: Rising Star

AQ# 20_ Rising Star
Rising Star

AQ # 21: Backwards

AQ # 21_ Backwards
Backwards

AQ # 22: Crossroads

AQ # 22_ Crossroads (Finished)
Crossroads

AQ # 23: On The Fringe

AQ # 23_ On the Fringe
On the Fringe

AQ # 24: Multicultural

AQ # 24_ On the Fringe (finished)
Multicultural

AQ # 25: Towne House

AQ # 25_ Towne House (finished)
Towne House

AQ # 26: Blue Condo

AQ # 26_ Blue Condo (finished)
Blue Condo

AQ # 27: Summer Picnic

AQ # 27_ Summer Picnic (finished)
Summer Picnic

AQ # 28: Buttons

AQ # 28_ Buttons (finished)
Buttons

AQ # 29: Pink Cadillac

AQ # 29_ Pink Cadillac (finished)
Pink Cadillac

AQ # 30: Harvest Medley # 1

AQ # 30_ Harvest Medley # 1
Harvest Medley # 1

AQ # 31: Harvest Medley # 2

AQ # 31_ Harvest Medley # 2
AQ # 31: Harvest Medley # 2

Well, that was quite the tour! I like all 31 but I have to confess that I have a few favorites. Actually, let me rephrase that. I have ten favorites. Making my Top Ten Favorites list are:

  • AQ # 1: Bloom
  • AQ # 3: Quilting Friends
  • AQ # 5: Sunrise
  • AQ # 10: Crossroads
  • AQ # 14: Tulip
  • AQ # 15: Hodgepodge
  • AQ # 16: Bird House
  • AQ # 22: Crossroads
  • AQ # 25: Towne House
  • AQ # 28: Buttons

If I were to narrow it down even further I would select these as my top five:

  • AQ # 1: Bloom
  • AQ # 10: Crossroads
  • AQ # 22: Crossroads
  • AQ # 25: Towne House
  • AQ # 28: Buttons

Then my all-time favorite, if you must know, is……

  • AQ # 25: Towne House

After reading my lists you have probably noticed that I made a slight booboo when choosing the names for my quilts. Oops! Somehow I gave AQ # 10 and AQ # 22 the same name. Who does that? LOL! I mean, it’s not like I have oodles and oodles of quilts that are hard to keep track of.

You would think that I would have a master list somewhere that monitored the name assignments. Sadly I did not. I do now though! I’ve taken the time to organize my blog posts and created categories to make the management of my art quilts easier. The categories also make it simpler to find all of the posts related to each quilt. All this organizing probably makes me sound slightly analytical but I am a numbers kind of gal so it only makes sense that I would do it.

So, which one is your favorite? Notice I am not asking for your top ten or your top five; just your # one choice. I know it probably seems unfair to ask you for only one favorite but I didn’t want you to have to work too hard. Leave me a comment sharing your thoughts of the tour as well as which art quilt is your favorite. You can also ask me questions. I love receiving and responding to comments from my readers! 🙂

I know you probably have a limited amount of time set aside for reading blogs and because of that I want to thank you for stopping here. I’m so glad we had the chance to visit and catchup.

If you like what you have seen and are not currently a follower why not become one! Becoming a follower is a really easy process. In the right margin of my blog there is a box provided for entering your email address. Type your address there and voila you are all set. Then every time I publish a post you will receive a copy in your email.

If you are already a follower let me give you a big HUG! Thank you so much for being a faithful reader. You are the reason for my success!

About Cindy

The world of art has always brought me joy. From my childhood explorations with chalk and paint to my creations using fabric and thread, I have utilized art as my vehicle to stretch my wings and explore the world around me.

My favorite art form has been given many names; I know it as “free-form” quilting. This direction has taken me on a journey resulting in the formation of more than 200 art pieces. Most of them center strictly around the manipulation of fabric. Some of the later pieces have added elements of hand stitchery. All of them have brought me an immense sense of joy.

I use this blog to share glimpses of my art and the environment in which it is created. Most of my art pieces are available for purchase. You may see a sampling of them at Raven’s Wish Gallery in Janesville, Wisconsin.

My art is periodically on display in a variety of venues. To learn about my current exhibits you may send an email to cindy [at] inastitchquilting [dot] com

Now go and create your own masterpiece. With warm hugs…

Cindy Anderson

AQ # 21: Backwards Update

Fifth Installment

Can you believe I am already on my fifth installment of sixteen quilt finishes! You are probably thinking, “Hurry up and get this thing over with.”  Sometimes I get so excited about sharing my progress that I forget how boring it might seem to you. I know this is taking a long time and for that I apologize. 🙂 If you can bear with me I promise to not turn this into a novel. Okay!

Being showcased today is AQ # 21: Backwards.

AQ # 21_ Backwards.jpg

I took a nine day solo retreat this past summer. Many, many projects found new life during my time away. One of them was the origin of this mini art quilt.

I have been on a very long quest to re-purpose a grouping of blocks I received during a block swap. The only one I liked was my own. Of course that’s no surprise. It would be pretty sad if I didn’t.

Block Swap_2
My Courthouse Square Block

I didn’t document the process of cutting the blocks apart nor how they were stitched back together so I have no way of knowing exactly how this piece evolved. LOL! I can, however, share the journey it took on my retreat.

The Transformation

The transformation of Backwards was a rocky one. I don’t usually want to admit defeat but this stubborn critter darn near pushed me over the edge.

This was how it looked after one of my marathon efforts to make it behave.

AQ # 21_ Backwards-Version One.jpg
AQ # 21: Backwards (before being sliced apart)

If you look closely you can kind of see the remnants of the original swap piece straddling the center teal strips.

Slice it Apart

Being totally frustrated with its appearance I followed the mantra I learned while taking one of Rayna Gillman‘s classes. She told us that there is almost no block that couldn’t be rescued. Sure, that’s what they all say! If we weren’t happy with a block we were told to slice the block apart with our rotary cutter. Using those segments as new building material, we could then begin the process all over again. It gave us a clean slate. Sad to say but that’s what I had to do with this.

Clean Slate

I definitely had a clean slate. I tried numerous times to turn my shredded block into something I could live with. First I added some red fabric.

A Touch of Red
AQ # 21: Backwards (with the addition of red fabric)

Then I tried lime green. Lime green is one of my favorite colors so how could I go wrong. Right? It was also already present in some of the other fabrics. To achieve a well-balanced piece its important to distribute a color in multiple areas.

Lime Green Added
AQ # 21: Backwards (after adding the lime green fabric strips)

I certainly accomplished that. But the green seemed to be screaming, “Look at me, look at me!” Argh! So now what? Well, I figured I needed to tone-down the screaming child and what better way to do that than by adding black.

Backwards with Added Black Fabric
AQ # 21: Backwards (after adding the black strips of fabric)

The black made somewhat of an improvement but it still wasn’t what I was looking for. For whatever reason I decided to flip the piece over to see what it looked like on the other side. The colors were definitely more subdued and the texture created by the multiple layers gave the piece an organic or earthy feeing. Hmmmmm? What if?

What If?

What if I designated the back as my new right side, or top? I enlisted the assistance of my camera and phone to take photos. I flipped back and forth between the two sets trying to decide which version was more appealing. Eventually the back side was the option I chose. Finally I had an art piece that I could fall in love with!

A View of Backwards From the Back
AQ # 21: Backwards (before the addition of the outer black border)

Let’s Finish It

I surrounded the outside edges with a frame of black cotton. Then, just like with my other art quilts I also added a layer of batting, black so that it wouldn’t show through, and a layer of black cotton fabric for the backing.

Backwards Ready for Quilting
AQ # 21: Backwards

The quilting on this one was slightly different from my other projects. If you recall, the center had exposed raw edges. I wanted to prevent some of them from unraveling so I added a row of stitching. In the outside black border I did straight line quilting with my Pfaff sewing machine. This is how Backwards looked when it was finished.

AQ # 21_ Backwards.jpg
AQ # 21: Backwards

The End Result

AQ # 21: Backwards measures 19 1/4″ long and is 11 1/2″ wide. While it is a bit unconventional I think this art project turned our rather nicely. Naming this piece was super easy. I think it’s pretty obvious why I chose to call it Backwards. No further explanation need there.

Just Getting Started

While the journey of AQ # 21: Backwards has come to an end my series has not. I only have eleven more to go. Yippie! I hope you will return for all eleven. For those that missed the first four installments I have included links to them below.

Thank You!

I apologize for my lengthy rendition. You’ve been so patient and I appreciate that. Thank you so much for sticking with me to the very end!

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Quilt Retreat Day Nine

I’ve been on a private sewing retreat for the past eight days. Over those eight days I have shared the events that made my time meaningful.  As much as I would like to stay longer, by day nine I have to admit that I have expended every ounce of energy. My tank is absolutely empty. So empty it is challenging to go through the motions of packing and cleaning the cabin. When all was finished, I turned the key in the cabin’s lock one last time, then grabbed Sadie and climbed inside the truck. Together the two of us are heading south for our long trip home.

This has been an absolutely amazing adventure. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity. Much has been accomplished but, for the majority of my projects, the adventure has just begun. Stay connected to watch the progress I make as I bring each of these items, as well as many, many more to completion. Shown below are photos of some of the projects I worked on.

Thank you for supporting my work through your likes and comments. Your continued interest is what makes this blog worthwhile. Links to all of my quilting retreat installments are listed below. Use them to catch-up on the ones you may have missed.

Cindy Anderson

Quilt Retreat Day Six

Another Day

Gosh the time goes so fast! I can’t believe I’m ready to start my sixth day at my LCITW (little cabin in the woods). We had storms forecast for our area again last night. They predicted two waves. One was to occur somewhere between 10:00-11:00 pm and the second was due to roll-in around 2:30-3:00 am. Storms make Sadie, my five year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, very nervous. She has anti-anxiety meds that I can give her to help calm her down. I knew the medication would really help her out but wouldn’t last long enough for both rounds. To help minimize her stress I chose to stay up and work on projects until the first set of storms had rolled on by. Sadie kept a close eye on me as I moved from my sewing machine to ironing board to cutting table and back again.

Progress Is Slow

Making improv blocks definitely is a much slower process than blocks made using a pattern. Especially if I’m struggling with my approval of the block. I’ve been working on re-purposing a set of blocks I received through a block swap and the process has been incredibly slow. Sometimes I think their reincarnation may not be worth all this effort. About the time I’m ready to throw-in-the-towel I look at the block from a new perspective and voila, I’m back in business.

A Final Chance

The block I tried to salvage tonight had elements that were appealing. If it were not for those factors I probably would not have taken another stab at saving it. As my evening progressed I made cuts here and there while also adding strips of new fabric. All of the expended energy was suppose to bring about a pleasant outcome. Things don’t always go as planned though.

As my frustration increased I decided to call it a night. Just before turning off the lights I made one last effort to pull together fabrics that just might save my block from the recycle bin. This is a photo of the block with the new potential addition. Hopefully it will breathe new life into it.

A Touch of Red.jpg

Stranger things have happened!

Possibilities

While pulling fabrics to audition with the block I stumbled upon a couple of combinations that just might lead to new artwork. Here’s photos of the two possibilities.

Option One.jpg

 

Option Two.jpg

Time to move on from this recap and start making new memories.

Rescue?

I’m not usually a quitter but the block I ended my day with yesterday proved to be a challenge. There were many small segments that really appealed to me and so many others that made me want to gag. I really didn’t want to admit defeat but this block was testing my patience. I set the block on my cutting mat, reached for my rotary cutter and began hacking away.

One of the many ideas I learned during the class with Rayna Gillman (I talked about her class in yesterday’s post) is her philosophy on ugly blocks. She impressed upon us that there is almost no block that can’t be rescued. If you can’t seem to make peace with it, grab your rotary cutter, and slice your block into segments. Using those segments as your new building blocks, begin the process all over again by adding new fabrics, new colors. It’s a clean slate.

Clean Slate

I definitely had a clean slate. Do you remember the fabric strip I had pulled to audition as a possible addition to this block? Using the red strip I added it in multiple areas. But, even after making those additions I wasn’t satisfied. I had big hopes for the red because I really liked the design and texture. Oh well, on to the next!

Chosen for my second color was a lime green. Lime green falls into my favorites category, when it comes to classifying colors. The green was chosen because it was already represented in one of the other fabrics. Rayna told us to make certain the colors we used were represented in multiple areas of the art piece. This practice helps to keep your eye moving about the quilt.

Now What?

After adding the green I was really disappointed. The green seemed to draw all of my attention. It was screaming, “look at me, look at me!” (Insert BIG sigh!) Okay! Now What? Well, I figured I needed to add something that would drastically tone-down the screaming green. What could be more opposite from the green than black?

I rummaged through the tub of fabrics I had brought looking for a piece of black. At the very bottom was a generous sized piece. I laid the black on my cutting board then set my stubborn block on top. The transformation was amazing. The black really made my block seem quieter–more pleasing to the eye.

I cut several strips of the black and inserted them in strategic places then stood back to survey my new item. For some reason I also decided to investigate how the piece looked on the backside. The colors were definitely more subdued and the texture created by the multiple layers of fabric had an organic or earthy feeling (insert aha! moment). Hmmmmm…what if?

What If?

What if I designated the back as my new right side, or top? I enlisted the assistance of my camera and phone to take photos. I flipped back and forth between the two sets of photos trying to decide which one was more appealing. The earthy, much more interesting side is the one I chose. Finally I had an art piece that I could fall in love with!

I added additional black strips around my block forming a frame. Some of the strips still have the fringed edges that were there when I purchased the fabric. I decided to leave them because I thought it added more texture, more character.

Tada!

So there you have it! My new art piece. I can’t wait to quilt it. Below are a few photos of my new piece. I’m calling it Art Quilt # 21: Backwards.

Backwards with Lime Green Added.jpg

After adding lime green

Backwards with Added Black Fabric.jpg

After adding black strips

A View of Backwards From the Back

A view from the back

Backwards Ready for Quilting
Art Quilt # 21: Backwards

Backwards with added outer border

What’s Next?

Do I continue rehabbing the leftover ugly block swap squares? Do I work on the three kits I purchased to make pillow cases for my granddaughters? Or, do I start a brand new improv project?

Pillow Cases

To give my artistic side a break I chose the pillow cases. The pillow case kits were purchased from a local quilt shop. I got the pattern years earlier from another shop. It’s been a while since I made one and I know the directions are poorly written. Let’s see if I can read-between-the-lines.

The first pillow case proved to be a challenge. Reading between-the-lines didn’t work too well. I ended up having to take most of the stitching out because the pillow case didn’t go together correctly. After reassembling the three pieces, this time in a different order, and stitching it once again, I was able to successfully finish. Before proceeding with the other two cases I made notes on the pattern, filling in where the author left off. The other two cases went together perfectly. Here’s a photo of all three.

Pillow Cases.jpg

I’m Done!

It’s been a very productive day and I am very, very pleased with all I was able to accomplish. Tomorrow’s another day. Time to turn out the lights. Before I do I would like to thank you for sticking with me to the very end. I know this was a terribly long post but I had so much to share. I hope you enjoyed following along on my journey.

If you would like to start at the beginning of this series and read the other segments you will find them here: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, and Day Five.

You are the reason my blog is successful. Without your interest and participation my efforts would all be wasted. If you would like to stay in touch and receive future posts signup to receive updates via email. I know you will not be disappointed.

Go and create your own art piece!

Cindy Anderson