A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

Posts tagged ‘Quilting’

Talent and/or Gifted

What do you think of so-called talent or being gifted? Me? Neither. Even the famous artists had to start somewhere. I don’t become a Van Gogh or Mozart overnight.

When I want to knit or quilt, I try techniques and learn new skills. By practicing these, I see my “art” develop and feel myself grow as an artist, a knitter, a quilter, a spinner, a crafter…a human being. I am growing my talent each and every day. So are you.

If I had a gift, it was my desire. My desire to create. My desire to learn everything under the blazing sun. My desire to push past every point of frustration–where I felt I couldn’t do it or sew a 1/4″ seam–where I was merely too embarrassed that I didn’t want to show anybody.

It’s all learning–every step of the way. When I knit, sew, or doodle passionately every day, I learn something new. So what I weren’t born with a talent or gift. I sure can learn a skill. We are all born artists, after all. Go for it.

Are you ready for autumn? Today’s selection for queue enlightenment Horizons Hat (click link to FREE pattern)–easy, warm, and comfy with a fun reversible waffle stitch pattern. It’s slouchy enough to fit around the hair when you have it up in a bun. The hat is worked in lace-weight, held doubled; a light-fingering yarn would be a good substitute. To commemorate Tsunami Knits’ first Ravelry pattern launched, this perfect stash-busting pattern is FREE with coupon code lovefall, good through Monday, August 31.

Thank you for stopping in and sharing my blog with friends. It brings me great pleasure, once again after a long hiatus, to take you along on my journey of self discovery, self love, and crafty (mostly quilting of late) adventures! Visit me on Facebook here for more inspiring projects. As always, they are FREE.

Sunriver, Oregon

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, Instagram, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

Reawakening and Relaxation

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world~~Robin Williams

Sometimes I simply need to remind myself I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Dare to play and experiment.  This is a 7″ by 7″ mini-quilt (with double-binding–corded and regular bindings) made for my friend as shop-warming present.  It’s a proportionally replicate of her shop logo–Nicole Michelle Decor.  Beautiful first-class shop. Check it out. I free-motion quilted with Silk threads and had to redo a few times.  Not perfect, but, it’s the thought that counts, right?!

I have been seriously itching to paint my own fabric for a long time–accumulated a ton of books on the topic since last year–so many possibilities and one of a kind cloth. A month ago, I got a hands-on demonstration for watercolor-pencil painting on fabric from Kristin. Why did I procrastinate the play? Craftastrophe, maybe? These exercises are really about courage, I guess. To make a blank piece of cloth to some sort of art and then show it to people can be scary. I open myself up to ridicule. It is always nerve racking.

Summer time is a time of reawakening and relaxation. What better way to relax than to reawaken a plain cloth (fat quarter) with a burst of color!

Organizing my threads

I spent a better part of Tuesday night adding layers–1) first tried light sketching with Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100 pencils. It’s too faded to make a difference. My poor eyes couldn’t see the lines. 2) Mixed 1-part Martha Steward Fabric Medium and 2-part water–worked out great here and half the price of my go-to Liquitex Textile Medium.  3) Paint small working area of cloth with watercolor pencils, 4) Touched up with Inktense pencils.  Now that I get some idea of how it works, I can easily skip Step 3 altogether.  Inktense is the way to go.  Go on smoothly.  Colors are vibrant.  I only need very little of it unless I want the color dark on the fabric.  5) Let the cloth dry overnight.

I treated the colored cloth with dry hot iron next morning, washed it gently by hand with mild soap, and hung dried. Surprisingly, no color was lost between rinses even though I did not wash the sizing off beforehand or let it dry for 24 hours as some suggested.  I believe the fabric medium played a major part in this result.

Stroke by stroke, “Traveling down the childhood memory lane” is born–the boats, its shadows, water fluidity, stone wall, rope posts, and row houses (awaiting thread painting to give more details.) I love my first child-like painting!

Wish I could wash the birds off the sky and start over though. Typically, I can paint over it. But I won’t as I will be fine-tuning the cloth with threads later in the quilting process.

No matter how badly I mess up, there is something of value here. I always say some of my best ideas came from my worst ‘mistakes.‘ Once a couple of strokes in place, I wasn’t afraid to take creative risks. I now call this creative fertilizer for my crafty garden. Oh and…sometimes it’s good to know when to stop adding ‘one more thing‘ to the designs. It’s why I left the sashing plain.

This is a blast to work with, literally had me giggling (in a good way,) but it was the brilliance of Inktense Blocks and fabric medium that lured me into a late-night paint party! I can’t wait to seam the pieces up, add cotton batting and some pieced-backing, and start embellishing/quilting it. Meanwhile, I washed a few more clothes, awaiting to be dried for more experiment. I am thinking of using all the acrylic paints and washable textile medium by Delta, Ceramcoat, Folkart, Liquitex, Deco Art, and Chromacryl I already have.

It’s a good thing to take a break from the computer sometimes and pick up a pencil. I love to doodle, dream, sketch, and do what I please on this once white cloth. It is all about inspiring self to spread my creative wings. I need all of the positive creative inspiration I can get as it isn’t easy for me–not at all. Is there something you’ve been procrastinating? Be brave. Have courage and confidence.  Dive in. What the worst thing can happen?

Enabler Alert. I am delighted to share a couple of knitting and crochet patterns published this month. Diamonds and purls knitted shawl pattern is FREE for the month of August.  No coupon code needed.  Thank you, Jenny, for a fine lace beauty.

Are you as crazy about Mandala as I am? Take a good look at what Dedri Uys designed. The vivid colors.  The lotus-like flowers in the corners.  Raised petals.  All the little details in Sophie’s Garden are stunning!  What’s more?  The pattern is FREE as a bird.  Would you make it?

That’s the wrap, folks. Visit my Facebook page here for another inspiring project to be shared later today.  As always, it will be FREE.

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

3 a.m. Inspiration

Reliving First Friday at Quiltworks is as fun as it did last week. Not kidding. It literally kept me up past 3 a.m.! So many beautiful quilts and so different. I am particularly intrigued by the different ways in which free-motion quilting is incorporated as part of the art.

This month was as wonderful as ever with June Jaeger as featured quilter and SAQA as featured group.  (From right to left:  June Jaeger, Kristin Shields, and Patti Stewart.)

I’m not much of an artistic quilter, nor can I create pictures like these. But I really admire and enjoy looking at ’em. There’s a lot of talent in the quilts and wall hangings. Take your time looking at these and tell me if there is something really pops out at you or inspires you in any way.

Doesn’t that look like a fun party?  We all love shows and festivals for different reasons—attend for different reasons. Me? I enjoy the fun, laughter, textile/quilt artists sharing their amazing quilt art, talent and camaraderie.

Let’s not forget the amount of effort Marilyn, Dave, and their hard working staff put into this monthly event for their customers and the community. Coordinating, hanging, setting up, picking out door-prizes, serving homemade delicious appetizers, beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverage …are no easy tasks. Thank you everyone at Quiltworks. You gals and guy are awesome!  I love you all.

The exhibits are up through end of August. Trust me you won’t want to miss seeing this incredible collection of masterpieces up close when you get this rare chance. Stop by if you are in town and show your love and support to both the shop and artists.

Summer is flying by.  August already, along with the fast approaching back-to-school. Wow…..so much happens this time of year as I prep for teens’ Fall schedules and figuring out wooly projects. What’s on your plate?  (Another post on this luxurious silk mittens soon.)

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.~~Max Lucado

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

Wisdom from the Heart

The world is nothing but my perception of it.  I see only through myself.  I hear only through the filter of my story.  I will live by my own choices and consciousness.  For then, my life is my own and I am truly free.

At times, I don’t see myself as much of a meditative person, especially since sitting around for long periods of time–focusing on mantra, image or contemplating spiritual concepts–seemed boring and useless to me.  Under stress, my attention is immediately turned toward crafting (lately, it’s quilting/sewing.)

Within a few moments of stitching, the body’s relaxed.  The mind is unfrazzled.  Free-hand doodling (aka free-motion quilting) with needle and thread, in the home sewing machine, is liberating–perfect relief from stress, slowing down the pace of the modern life.

The effects of this practical turning of attention were more than I could have ever expected.  “Cuz I experienced such relief from neck relaxation, naturally, my attention would turn to other areas of my body gradually, more and more over time–until I eventually began noticing subtle sensations at the soles of my feet and then the top of my head.  Anything distracts me is balancing.  When life is crazy, it’s good to take time to do something that relaxes me, finding a way of breathing artistic life into materials–whether it be yarn, roving, fabric, paper, paint, or pencil.

The more aware I became of the sensations in my body, the more life was working out for me.  Such that the particulars of life were transpiring in ways that made me aware of possibilities that I never thought possible for me.  Sounds weird?

It has everything to do with awareness of the sensations within the body structure–rather than imagining or focusing the mind on any thought, image or sound.  As soon as I was sewing or knitting, my whole body rejoiced as I suddenly recognized that–not only was I already used to practicing meditation–it was taking me way deeper into that practice, through crafting.

I have become consciously aware of subtle sensations in my body.  When an habitual thought occupies my mind, I can immediately recognize and experience its corresponding feeling.   In that recognition, the habit dissolves (most of the time, anyway.)

Today, I went through a strong purification process.   It felt as if my entire body was passing through a fire, and all the while, I smiled at the pain and tears as they arose and passed away.  It was a great day–with an irresistible Absolute Bag, designed by Marilyn Ulrich of Quiltworks–added to my wardrobe necessity.

“Wow, you made that?  How did you do that?  Where did you get that pattern, design, tool…etc?”  Is this something your hear a lot?

I consider myself blessed as I am surrounded by amazing textile artists, fabulous quilters who are very encouraging. (From left to right: June Jaeger, Laura Wasilowski, Jackie Gehring, and Rosalie Dace at Quilters Affair–Picnic in the Park with Jennifer Keltner)

Guild night was fantastic. I enjoy connecting with people and to learn skills passed down from other generations–skills my grandparents knew.   Next year’s challenge is officially out.  You will see a lot about that in coming months.

Crafting isn’t just good for the soul.  It’s also good for the body and mind.  Americans spend more than $29 billion a year on crafting—a figure that has remained pretty stable in spite of the wobbly economy.  Craft making is on a pendulum, indeed.  Do you have a crafting/meditation story to share?

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

The Bug (Repost–Third Time a Charm)

(Forgive me, please. I had to delete the previous posts due to technical difficulties.) I confess. It’s true. I’ve caught the quilting bug in huge strides fearlessly. A playful path is the shortest road to happiness.

It all started when I participated in PNW Modern Quilt Guild Meet-up last August with some fantastic peeps from my guild. Beyond amazing. Full three-day of excitement, experience, friendship, workshops, inspiration, sewing, eating, walking…

and don’t forget about eating. Portland Cartopia is da best. (I did take a ton of pictures but they are stuck in my old computer. Some day I hope to archive ’em.)

After breakfast on Sunday, we drove to Cool Cottons and waited outside for 45 minutes to be first of 40 crazy quilters to get a free 4-pound scrap bags.

The catch? Each lucky recipient needs to make something quilted using some or all of the scraps and may add one solid for background. (Shown is just a few of the bag.)

What was I getting myself into? I felt pretty dorky as I wasn’t even quilting then. I only made this bag (inspired by this pictorial) for the Robert Kaufman-sponsored tote bag swap two days before the trip (hand-stitched the lining and quilted the straps on the way there.)

The following weeks, I surfed, surfed, and surfed for pattern ideas and found none strike my beginner fancy. When in doubt, design your own. That’s the ticket. Here’s the prototype.

It worked out for the best too since I can’t sew a perfect 1/4″ seam worth a dime, anyway lol Improv quilting is my best friend! So liberating for me to find other women who share the same interest in cutting up fabric into little tiny pieces and sewing them back together as I do. I used up nearly every piece from Cool Cottons’ scrap bag, coupling with one Kona Solid Natural as background and binding. To meet my guild challenge, I made up various sizes of Ohio Star, double stars plus various wonky blocks with the scraps. Personally, it’s a monumental challenge.

Thanks to generous bloggers and guide members, youtube, magazines, books, and gazillion photos taken from past quilt shows/exhibits, the challenge top and pieced backing were finished and sandwiched in late October. I attempted to hand quilt it. Hah. It sat, sat, and idled ’til a week before deadline. From the start, I wanted to do the quilting myself. I was too scared to start. No more time. No more excuse. It’s serious action time to take a free-motion quilting class from sweet Jill Monley at Quiltworks. I quilted two straight days after the Jil’s 6-hour class–free hand, no marking, without a specific plan–quilting’s in after consuming over a thousand yard of Aurifil 50 wt thread. Yep, the 52″ x 64″ quilt is heavily quilted. I just love it. Beautiful drape with great cuddly handle. Next up, the miter-corner binding. I did it with the sewing machine and walking foot. All finished in time for the group shoot. (I ripped out the binding right after group photo so I may execute the invisible binding seam by hand. Crazy, right?!)

There were many happy “first” and fond memories in making this quilt. First “club”. First Quilting meet-up. First quilt challenge (double-dipping.) First design from scratch. First free-motion quilting in my regular sewing machine. It’s a perfect “what not to do” quilt (like quilting with a plan!)

// My Ohio Star challenge quilt details (click here) via Handstitch Studio.

It’s all like a dream, isn’t it? That’s my story. A new crafting charter. Since then, I have taken one more free-motion quilting class from Jill and a sewing curves without pin class by Stacy Vanderlip at BJ’s Quilt Basketand gave birth to 6 more quilts. Yep. Not a typo–SIX quilts. Three of which are global fabric challenges. If you follow me on Facebook, you already knew that. Although quilting was not a part of my family heritage–like it or not–it has become a part of my children’s lives as I indulge my long-time passion for quilts and fabric as an artist.

Now, how do I know I’m addicted?

  • People are cool but quilting is my preferred social activity.
  • I carry a quilt
  • I carry a quilt (as I do with my knitting and spinning) with me at all times ‘cuz I never know when I’ll have a spare minute to add some hand stitching.
  • I legitimately don’t understand folks who say they don’t quilt.
  • I honestly can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday than surfing the net for quilt images, ideas, tutorials, or reading a quilting book, and drinking chai.
  • I buy more quilting books even though I have a stack of ’em that haven’t been read yet.

Joining Central Oregon Modern Quilt Guild (part of a bigger, global organization The Modern Quilt Guild) last year has been the best move. The generous, supportive members gave me all the confidence needed to experiment beyond a beginner quilter’s limit. I have learned so much since last summer. My first challenge quilt (part of COMQG Special Exhibit in this year’s Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show) will always hold a special place in my memory! If you’ve been/are sitting on the fence to cross to the “bright” side, find a local guild to join and jump right in today.

Don’t get me wrong. I still knit and spin. Just need to stretch more hours of a day to fit more play time in. What’s on your plate on this glorious, summery day?

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)