A QAL Project For Me, Day 4


Day 4

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My mapped-out outline for Day 4, as shown above, was to continue the process of creating additional building blocks. Yet to be explored was the construction of curved pieces. I originally learned how to make these while studying Rayna Gillman’s book Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts: A Stress-Free Journey to Original Design. With the mindset that we should strive to continually learn new things, I decided to explore Cindy’s techniques for curved strips.

Beginning on page 56 she walks her reader through the six easy steps. Each time I have attempted to make these I have grown to better understand the method.

Mystery-QAL-Day-Four-Curved-Pieces-Before-Sewing
Mystery QAL Day 4, Curved Pieces Before Sewing

Here are four strips waiting to be sewn together. Its hard to imagine how they can be be stitched but it really works.

Mystery-QAL-Day-Four-Stitched-Curved Strips
Mystery QAL Day 4, Stitched Curved Strips

This is how the strips looked after they were sewn together and the photo below shows how they looked after being pressed.

Mystery-QAL-Day-Four-Pressed-Curved-Strips
Mystery QAL Day 4, Pressed Curved Strips

Using four different color combinations I was able to end up with eight brand new curved strips.

With the curved strips finally tackled it was time to make a commitment on some of the auditioned fabrics. Shown below are two of the blocks that received new borders.

One More Project

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Mystery QAL Day Four, Pieced Strips
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Fabrics Selected for My Mystery QAL Piece

Before calling it quits for the day I decided to stitch together one very long strip of pieced fabrics to be used as a building block for future units. When choosing the colors I tried to make certain I used as many of my previously selected fabrics as possible.

Let’s Compare

The two photos above show a comparison of Day 3 and Day 4’s progress. Day 4 definitely looks more crowded and shows a lot more activity.

Here’s a recap of Day 4 as per my notes.

Mystery-QAL-Day-4-Recap.jpg

Did you see the comment labeled #11? I think it’s funny that I thought it was pertinent to include it. Who makes a note about cleaning their iron??? LOL!

Well, that’s it for today! Time to ponder my next moves.

Thank You

Thank you so much for sharing your time with me! I love receiving your comments and interacting with you. Your participation makes this journey more interesting than you could ever imagine. I look forward to each of our visits. 🙂

Talk with you soon!

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A QAL Project For Me, Day 3


Mystery-QAL-Day-Three-Progress.jpg

I’m so excited to share more of my Mystery QAL adventures. I’m using Cindy Grisdela’s book  titled Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting as a reference. This is Day 3!

A Diary

As you can see from the photo above, by the time Day 3 rolled around I had started keeping notes on my progress. I don’t always immediately share my projects on my blog; without notes and photos I would have a hard time remembering what I did on any given day. Writing about my progress gives me a wonderful opportunity to document my art pieces; to record part of my own history.

These posts are a great place for me to refer back to. I can revisit them at anytime to analyze my outcomes and learn from my disappointments; one could say this is my public diary.

I chose to write my notes on recycled paper. I buy my batting by the roll. As the material unfurls a continuous feed of brown paper accumulates. Rather than toss the paper into a re-cycle bin I roll it up and save it for future use.

When I decided to begin taking notes I thought it would be fun to use the saved paper. So, that’s why you will be seeing most of my notes written on the brown paper. Now back to Day 3.

Mystery-QAL-Day-Three-Design-Wall
Day 3 of my Mystery QAL Project

Day 3

Shared above is a photo of my design wall at the end of Day 3. The board saw many, many versions before I called it a day. The most noticeable changes are the eight filler fabrics I decided to audition. There is one in the top left corner. Just to the right of that is a lime green piece under one of my angled blocks and there is another bright green fabric resting beneath a severed strip from one my angled pieces blocks. I’ll let you find the other five. Also new on the board is three additional improv circle blocks, and a few new angled strip blocks.

Each one of the new additions helped to reinvent my evolving art piece. I was very happy with my progress and so thrilled with the color combinations.

Before we continue lets talk a little bit about the improv circle blocks. The improv circle blocks have turned out to be one of my new-found favorite techniques. I’m so amazed at how four squares of differently colored fabrics can be turned into such interesting designs.

I don’t know why I haven’t thought about using this method to create such interesting circles. Maybe it’s because my focus typically is directed toward angular lines rather than curves. Both, meaning circles and curved lines, if not repeated adequately throughout an original art piece could demand all of the eye’s attention. Typically that is not an artist’s desired outcome. But oh how much impact they can have when used properly.

In the quilt pattern world there are many beautiful quilt blocks. Some of the blocks are labor intensive. In contrast, with the wonky circles it takes relatively very little time to turn squares of fabric into an abstract design. This abstract design adds just as much punch, in my eyes. 🙂 Of course you could say my opinion is ever so slightly slanted toward the abstract direction. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong…I think quilts created from patterns, with specific intended dimensions demand just as much praise as my wonky creations. I just happen to prefer abstract art. Moving on!

Well, that’s it for today! Time to ponder my next moves.

Thank You

Thank you so much for sharing your time with me! I love receiving your comments and interacting with you. Your participation makes this journey more interesting than you could ever imagine. I look forward to each of our visits. 🙂

Talk with you soon!

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AQ # 5: Sunrise (An Update)


One of My Favorites

Sunrise, Art Quilt # 5has always been one of my favorites. While small in stature, measuring only 11 7/8″ x 8″, it’s visual impact makes it appear much larger. This piece has a prominent place in my home where I can see and enjoy it every day.

Beading Class

I participated in a beading class in early June at the QSDS held in Ohio at the Columbus College of Arts. This was not my first art quilt beading class. In fact it was the third time I took a class with this teacher. The instructor was Lisa Binkley.

Sunrise
Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise
What to Pack?

Before packing for my trip I was supposed to decide which quilt I wanted to embellish. I found the decision difficult to make because I had so many wonderful available options. Rather than make the selection on my own I chose to take along several small pieces. I figured the instructor, with her many years of experience, would help be decide. Through a process of elimination I chose Sunrise (pictured above) as my candidate for embellishment.

Bead Box
Beads galore from various vendors
Also traveling with me was this box of beads. I have been collecting them for the sole purpose of enhancing art quilts. I have absolutely no intention of making jewelry.

A Tour

Now let’s take a tour of the textures and adornments added to my mini art quilt.

Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise (view of right side)
Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise with added seed stitch
I added a variety of beads as well as stitching to my Sunrise quilt. First to be incorporated was a seed stitch. Using a variegated thread I filled in the yellow areas of the white dotted fabric.

Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise (side view of top left corner)
Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise with lime green and teal beads
In the multi-colored strip along the left edge I added stacks of lime green and teal beads.

Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise (upper left corner)
Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise with chili pepper dangles
Traveling a little further to the right, in the vertical yellow strip with white dots, I added three groupings containing a shiny, square, blue bead connected to an orange carrot or chili pepper.

Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise (view of middle right section)
Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise with two stacks containing a teal, and orange and a teeny-tiny green bead
Just up and slightly to the right of the dangling chili pepper is a stack consisting of a teal, an orange and a teeny-tiny, lime green bead. Below that are two teal beads embossed with a copper colored bird.

Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise (view of top right corner)
Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise with three tiny teal beads
Slightly higher that those stacks are these three tiny teal beads.

Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise (view of bottom right corner)
Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise with iridescent face grouping
In the very bottom right corner is a medallion created from an iridescent blue face, five orange chili peppers linked together with teal and lime green beads.

Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise (view of bottom edge)
Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise with dangling bird beads
Along the bottom edge of the art quilt I stitched seven groupings of bird beads.

Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise, The Quilt
Art Quilt # 5: Sunrise with its many embellishments
Here’s a photo of the entire piece.

One of a Kind

With the addition of numerous embellishments this tiny, but stylish, quilt dances to the beat of its own drummer. Nowhere else on earth is there a quilt quite like this. Sunrise truly is a one-of-a-kind art piece.

Even though the process was lengthy I had a great time dressing up my Sunrise quilt. However, I don’t intend to give each of my quilts the same attention. Only the chosen few will experience this special treatment.

Did I Loose You?

I have a hunch that the guided tour we just took may have lost a few of you somewhere along the way. Sometimes my attempts at pointing out details go a bit overboard. While my ramblings make total sense to me they may sound like white noise to you. If you are one of the readers that found the excursion to be confusing don’t feel bad. I often confuse myself!  🙂 Hopefully the last photo speaks for itself.

Thank you for your visit! I look forward to hearing your comments and reactions.

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.

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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

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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

Quilt Retreat Day Five


If you are joining me for the very first time or have been away for a while, I’ve been sharing my latest adventures at my Little Cabin In The Woods (LCITW). This is the fifth posting in the series. If you would like to read the other four I will have links to them at the bottom of this page. Welcome!

Day Five

I awoke this morning to another absolutely gorgeous day in the north woods. The sun is filtering through the trees creating a dappled light that gently illuminates my work area. I feel so blessed to have this space.

Artful Improv

Last night, when I crawled beneath my covers, I took with me Cindy Grisdela’s book “Artful Improv.” After finishing the quilt top for the commissioned project yesterday I wasn’t quite sure what to tackle next. By reading Cindy’s book I thought perhaps it might be the spark to lead me in my next direction. Unfortunately my overwhelming fatigue allowed me to only briefly browse the many colorful and interesting pages.

Free-Form Quilts

Even though the quick tour was not really enough time to glean a lot of information it did bring back memories of the class I took a year ago this last May. It was a class led by Rayna Gillman called Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts. I wrote about the retreat in several posts. This is a link to one of the posts. I enjoy creating art through patterns as well as improvisational methods or improv. Since my stay so far had been focused on a pattern I decided today it seemed only natural to turn toward the improv direction.

The Candidates

While packing for this adventure I included, in my project box, the blocks I had created from a previous block swap. The blocks I received were not at all to my liking. Rather than leave them as they were I cut them up and turned them into smaller improv pieces. The new inventions were surrounded by white fabric and stitched together to form a quilt top. To let the quilt’s appearance solidify in my mind I set the quilt top aside to stew.

After weeks of revisiting the quilt’s visual impact I still couldn’t make peace with it’s existence. With quilt top in one hand and a seam ripper in the other I removed the stitches connecting the blocks and placed the blocks in a pile. Eventually a few of them were used to create the art pieces found here: Art Quilt Number 4, Art Quilt Number 6, Art Quilt Number 11, Art Quilt Number 12, Art Quilt Number 13 and Art Quilt Number 14. The remaining blocks have been patiently waiting for my attention. Today’s their day, well at least for some of them.

3 or 24

There currently are 24 blocks that have not been re-purposed and three that obviously have. Big decision now! Do I play with the three or do I focus on the 24?

Todays Specimens.jpg

The 24 blocks, although a much larger undertaking, is the direction I went.

There were many of the 24 blocks I really liked and the rest not-so-much. I decided to sort them into two piles, yes & no.

Yes and No

The ones on the left are the yes pile. There were seven blocks in the not-so-much or no pile. That left me with seventeen blocks.

Down to Seventeen

The seventeen were then sorted by color theme into a pile of nine somewhat subdued colors and the other eight slightly more vibrant colors. The stack of nine were shuffled through several arrangements until I found a color flow that I found appealing.

Next I had to decide if I wanted to leave them in their current size or shrink them down. Eventually I decided to leave the white border as is. The version with the larger white border gave the eye more room to rest. Here’s how they looked after being stitched together.

Art Quilt # 17: The Chosen 9
Art Quilt # 17: The Chosen 9

I’m calling them Art Quilt # 17: The Chosen 9.

The other eight blocks were divided into two groups of four. Each grouping was left as is. No changes were made in their dimensions. Here’s how the mini quilts looked after they were assembled.

Art Quilt # 18: Four Friends # 1
Art Quilt # 18: Four Friends # 1

This one is called Art Quilt # 18: Four Friends # 1

Art Quilt # 19: Four Friends # 2
Art Quilt # 19: Four Friends # 2

and this one is called Art Quilt # 19: Four Friends # 2.

Rising Star

One other small block was modified with the addition of a few fabrics and a striking yellow border. This sweet little gem, which I have named Art Quilt # 20: Rising Star, looked like this.

Art Quilt # 20: Rising Star
Art Quilt # 20: Rising Star

All four art pieces are awaiting the quilting process. I will update you when they are finished.

Unplanned Excitement

Before closing today I must share a brief account of my exciting afternoon. I discovered the presence of a winged insect, of the scary kind, inside my LCITW. This was the fourth one I had encountered. To explore where these creepy things might be coming into my cabin I went outside to take a look. Our air conditioners are located on the roof of the cabin. As I looked up at the one above my bedroom I noticed a fairly steady stream of critters flying in and out.

Multiple alarms (that’s putting it mildly) started sounding in my head. There was no way I could let that continue. After a few phone calls I found a local expert that could rectify my situation. Much to my delight he was able to make a service call within hours. Before the gentlemen left he knocked on my door and asked if I wanted to see the nest he had removed. Who wouldn’t want to? I grabbed my camera and went to see what he had found. I was absolutely shocked when I saw the nest. Take a look.

Nest of a Pest.jpg

Isn’t it huge!! Thank goodness he took it with him! I was so glad he could remove the nest and not get stung.

That’s All

Well this brings Day Five to a close. At the beginning of my post I told you I would share links to the first four days. Here they are: Day One, Day Two, Day Three and Day Four. I look forward to our next visit. If you like what you have read and are not currently a follower, why not join in. To sign up just enter your email address in the designated area. It’s location varies depending upon what type of a device your are reading this on.

Thanks for visiting! Until next time, Happy Quilting!

Cindy Anderson