stuff and things

30 October 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Joie de Vivre

Joie de Vivre, Tina Rathbone, c.2000
For my entry into this fall's Blogger's Quilt Festival, I submit Joie de Vivre, another quilt of many "firsts." Completed in 2000, it marks the first time I participated in a quilt block swap, my first log cabin, my first king-sized quilt, my first professionally quilted quilt, and my first quilt to be displayed in a small quilt show.

The Brownie Troop, my Wednesday quilt group, comes up with group projects from time to time. One of our members, I forget who, suggested this block: a log cabin with a starter square in grey and then alternating black and white strips in any width, with a colored strip stuck in somewhere. We each made 12 of the same block, and I was off! Of course I needed many, many more blocks to get up to king-sized, so I solicited blocks from other quiltmakers, from my guild and beyond. They riffed on the idea by adding more than one colored strip per block, and soon each block became a story in itself. So many of my friends contributed blocks, with such an astounding variety of black and white prints: I could gaze at it for hours, and often do.

We ended up showing our Black and White quilts in a little show at our guild. Here are some others, and Brownies, please email me and tell me which one is yours so I can add captions and give you credit for your marvelous creations.

Aren't I lucky that the Brownies let me hang out with them? :)

The Brownie Troop Does Black and White, 2000

25 October 2010

Design Wall Monday

Judith Lasater in Tree Pose
Andy says I'm great at making large or intricate, two-year minimum quilts. When it comes to quickly producing one, however, it's never happened. So when Quilt Visions announced its "Leaves and Trees" member challenge, I pictured myself whipping out the requisite 12-inch quilt within the deadline and dazzling Andy. Well, it didn't happen. The Catalina trip came up, but that was only a week long, so that's no excuse. The real reason for not finishing it was that I think my concept was too corny.

I was a writer long before I was a quilter, so often the title precedes the quilt. For my "Leaves and Trees," my thought was to applique a person doing the yoga "tree pose" onto a Palm Leaves background. Get it? Leaves and trees. Yeah, it's corny. Should I even continue with it? I am an Ashtanga yoga instructor, by the way. Here's my yoga-related website.
A start on stitched yogi, with redwood bark for inspiration
The stitching at left is just the foundation for a very densely worked free-motion embroidered figure, to be cut-out on the outline and sewn onto the background. The bobbin's there to give you a sense of scale.
I wanted texture, by adding dyed cheese cloth and maybe some yarns, to give the figure a tree-bark feeling. The piece of redwood was from some firewood we bought and took to our campsite, by the way.

In the image below, you can see the Palm Leaves background. It reminds me of the brilliant fall treetops and bright blue sky we saw at Big Sur.

A block comprised of four Palm Leaf blocks
To give you an idea of how the finished figure will look (if I go on with this), here is a nudibranch I free-motion embroidered, inspired by a class I took with Ellen Anne Eddy, a wonderful and fearless quiltmaker. To see a fabulous photo gallery of actual nudibranchs, click here.
My earliest free-motion machine embroidery, awaiting an environment of its very own.
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