Wednesday, January 18, 2017

IN WHICH WE BEGIN TO EMERGE FROM OUR CHRYSALIS.

No posts for one month.  I have been hibernating and as all of you who have experienced a total withdrawal from anything creative, it can be hard.


Mexican Tile
This time things were a bit different however.  Instead of the usual depression and anxiety (will it ever come back????!!), I became curious as to what was going to happen.  I guess I have been thru this grueling experience often enough to know inspiration does return.  So I peacefully sat with kitten in the recliner and played computer games (I like adventure puzzle games like the Longest Journey or Grim Fandango) and just generally chilled to wait it out.

What seems to have emerged is a new emphasis on free motion quilting and then to paint the quilted design.  I know I will never give up applique as this is my real love.  Just mixing it up a bit.  The block above is my first attempt at fabric painting which I finished yesterday.  I used Jacquard textile paint on Kona cotton which was prepared for dyeing (really just washed to remove some finisher).  The batting was 2 layers: cream warm and natural and black hobbs 2/80 with black backing.  Double batting makes a nice loft and the black absorbs any bleed thru.   Here are photos of the back and the front before it was painted.


You can see the little wobbles in the quilting but this were greatly minimized during the painting process.  I looked at Mexican tiles while thinking about this and worked on designs until I realized a continuous line pattern.

I have drawn out another piece to paint-in fact it was the original drawing I made to begin fabric painting-but I decided to start on something simpler for my first project hence the colorful Mexican tile.  I am glad I did this because I learned some pitfalls and techniques.  I had not taken a class or anything but watched a couple you-tube videos.

Here is my next piece which is based on Near Eastern design especially that of the Cairo Tentmakers. (Google this).

I am not quite finished with the design yet and am thinking of using jewel tones to paint it.  Pretty exciting!

Darn Quiltmania! I was so relieved I did not want to make this year's mystery quilt-I have enough projects in my mental list.  What did they do?  In the January issue they feature the most lovely pattern by Yoko Saito called Imaginary Garden which looks like she has tossed flowers onto the background.  It is just my style.  Maybe I can paint a version.

I have begun the process of quilting Chuck, Susan, and Me.  One of the problems with beginning this was the backing fabric was too yellow.  I overdyed it a bit to subdue it and it is usable now.  


What do you think?  I was trying to make the backing agree with the yellow in the border fabric.  The original is on the left and the overdyed is on the right.  

And finally, I have resumed work on the dreaded triangles for Sweet surrender.  I have had no choice but to take this to my sewing machine.  I form the fabric around the paper pieces and then carefully sew on the edges of the paper.  The results are not quite a pretty as when I did it by hand but there's exceptionally pretty and there is completed.  It was one or the other. And completed won out! I sewed the 6 edge triangles-all that remains is 6 big triangles.



While I was hibernating I explored being a chrysalis.  They are quite beautiful and I was proud to be a part of that. Which one would you be?





I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
and Off the Wall Friday.           


Saturday, December 17, 2016

IN WHICH WE HAVE OUR FIRST DAY OF SNOW! 

Tonight's temperatures will reach -10 F.  It is good to be inside and watch the snow swirling out there where it cannot reach me.  The cats have taken to their kitty heating pads and the birds are crowding in at the feeder.

I have been making progress on Sweet Surrender.  I am slowing working away on the pieced triangles intermixing that with FMQ practice.  Here is SS so far:





None  of the applique and pieced sections are in their proper place yet-I will do the layout when all the triangles are finished.  I have 6 more big triangles to piece and and 6 half triangles for the edges.  This paper piecing is very hard on my hands and shoulders so I am taking it slowly.  Appliqueing never bothers me probably because that work requires more movement of hands and shoulders but for epp, one sits and stitches in the same posture continuously.

Finishing the pieced triangles will probably take me a few weeks.  I alternate this tiresome job with the fun one of Free Motion Quilting practice.  I told you I have been taking a wonderful class from Christina Cameli-Wild Quilting on the Craftsy platform.  I cannot say enough good about this class.  We begin by making 6 fat quarter quilt sandwiches and use these to progress thru the lessons.  I have completed lessons 1, 2, & 3.  Quilting from lesson 1 was shown last post and here is lesson 2:


This lesson was on grouped combinations. This has been liberating for me as I am being more spontaneous and less critical as I quilt.  For a person who began this blog 6 months ago describing her terror at FMQ, this spontaneity and its associated feeling of freedom demonstrates so much growth.  The actual quilting may not be spectacular but the ease with which I did it was.

Here is lesson three-blended combinations:


Christina is such a lovely person and her lessons are so instructive.  I really recommend this class!  It is a 10!

As I said, the snow is falling and winter is definitely here.  The birds are arguing over the sunflower seeds and we cannot kept the feeders full.  Here is a pretty wren:

And here is one of the many goldfinches visiting us right now:
He is waiting his turn at the feeder.  The sparrows are such greedy, aggressive birds that it is harder for the smaller goldfinches to claim a perch.  In the winter, the pretty yellow of the goldfinches dulls to this muddy yellow.  But wait until spring!

The next couple of weeks will be very busy for everyone.  I send out best wishes for everyone to have a merry and happy Christmas time!

If you can squeeze it in your busy schedule, happy quilting!


I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
and Off the Wall Friday.           




Sunday, December 4, 2016

IN WHICH WE ARE JUMPING UP AND DOWN!   
He did it again! And so beautifully with a stunning queen sacrifice. 

Since the advent of computerized chess so much of chess play has been defensive. Computers have taught the effectiveness of defensive play: of always thinking solely of ways to prevent your opponent from making progress than of thinking  how to make progress yourself.  Now Magnus is a genius at both offense and defense but loves offense.  His opponent only does defense-granted he is a genius at it and almost brought down our hero.  But Magnus blew him off the board with an incredible QUEEN sacrifice giving his opponent only two moves both of which were death.  It was so creatively beautiful and such a stunning victory.  We were hysterical in our amazement and joy! 

We have seen Magnus play in St Louis two times.  St Louis is becoming the US chess center largely because a very wealthy man there has set up a chess center.  He rehabbed a lovely old home in a historical part of St Louis near  Forest Park which is a cultural center of St Louis.  Each year Mr. Sinquefield hosts a tournament with a million dollar prize and invites the top 10 world chess players.  We go to this tournament each year and get to see chess played at the highest level.  It is quite a privilege.


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On the quilting front, I have enrolled in a craftsy class:  Wild Quilting taught by Christina Cameli. 



I love wild, free form quilting such as that sewn by Christina or Kaylee Porter with her graffiti quilting.  So I am learning some techniques and know how.  Here is my version of what we learned in lesson one.


You would have to take the class to know  the assignment of lesson.  Just suffice to say that this is my original design to carry out the assignment.  Divide and Conquer.  This was a bit of a departure for me as I did not do much planning on the quilting or censor myself or do much marking.  I just let it flow for better or worse.  The quilting is pretty good, awkward in places but that was not the point.  I don't think you can do wild quilting if you censor yourself and try do to it correctly.  

I have also been working on the infernal epp triangles for Saucy Strawberries  which seem guaranteed to cripple my hands.  I will post an update on them soon.  I think I will work on them slowly and devote most my time to FMQ practice and beginning the quilting on Chuck Susan and Me.

Well, that is all the excitement in my week!  How has yours been?

HAPPY QUILTING!
Linking to:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
and Off the Wall Friday.           

Magnus Carlsen photo from Slate on line magazine which has a great article attached if you are interested.




Sunday, November 27, 2016

IN WHICH WE LOOK OUT OUR WINDOW AND SEE A WINTRY DAY

I know the sun will not do its solstice thing for another 22 days or so but, to me, winter begins just after Thanksgiving.  It is grey outside and the leaves which remain on the trees are shivering with the cold.  The squirrels have tucked away all the walnuts and other edibles.  And the landscape is taking on its stark, dramatic winter hues and outlines.

When I was gainfully employed I had a commute of about 35 minutes.  This was my favorite part of the day travelling through rural Missouri. At first the road was straight, running between corn, soy, and hay fields.  And then the road turned into a twisty hilly ride.  Each season was different.  Sometimes ice would cling to the barb wire fences and glitter in the sun like row upon row of diamonds.  Sometimes the new born calves would caper with each other over bright green fresh grass.  Sometimes the trees would be leafless and stark against the blue sky so dramatic with their dark twisting limbs and accented by dull orange and gold of winter.  That is the season we are now-beautiful in a remote, unfriendly way.

Last week was busy for me as it was for most women.  Aside from preparing the usual T-Day fare, I had to spend a day in Kansas city at the dentist dealing with a cracked and broken molar.  I have fragile teeth. On the day after Thanksgiving we had a lovely luncheon (I have to call it that and not simply lunch but because it was such a special time) where we saw friends we had not seen for awhile as well as other close friends.  A delicious meal was prepared for us and we enjoyed a lot of good conversation and reminiscences. My contribution was a french silk pie which promptly fell on its head before serving but was just fine after I rearranged the whipped cream back into order.  Luckily it was still covered in saran wrap!

So, all in all, I, like most, did not get a lot done work-wise. I completed a couple of the pieced triangles for Sweet Surrender.


After some thought and practice, I have decided to make these using the epp method.  I have worked out some angles to make it easier and this helps a great deal.  My main aid has been to use a clip to keep the two pieces together while I stitch.


The clip is very sturdy and holds the two pieces firmly in place while I stitch up to the clip and then remove it to finish.  This seems to be working very well.  This method also keeps everything out of the way of my right hand as it tries to stitch.  

Here is what the back of the pieced triangle looks like after it is stitched together: 


Two of the diamond epp have fallen out.  The next big hurdle with this quilt will be to stitch the pieced triangles and the appliqued triangles together.  All those biases-this has the potential to swoop and swagger.  I hope that does not become its new name:  Swopey swagger!

Free motion quilting?  check! did that.
I finished Lori Kennedy's Sunflower Sampler


I am exceedingly proud of this sampler-not because it is so great or anything but because I am beginning to understand how FMQ patterns are created and to be able to translate this knowledge into thread and fabric.  Here are some closeups:






All the patterns I choose were from Lori's FMQ tutorials (these are great!).  Some differ from those she put on her version but they are all from here tutorials.

This blog was visited by a lovely lady in Oman this week.  I always wonder about my visitors and what their life is like:  what will they cook for dinner, how are they dressed, what their home looks like, how the weather is affecting them, have their children been naughty.

I hope you get to do what makes you happy this week!!

Pinning my work to:
 Slow Stitching Sundays, Bambi's Blog
 Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
 Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
 Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
 and Off the Wall Friday.           



Sunday, November 20, 2016


.IN WHICH OUR 43RD ANNIVERSARY IS CELEBRATED.

Our anniversary was a lovely day.  There were record warm temperatures of 77 degrees which at this time of the year can bode ill tidings.  A harsh winter storm to our north brought up gusty southern winds which blew so strongly picking up all the beautiful fallen leaves and swirling the up into the air in whirls.  The sky was a beautiful sunny blue.  For our anniversary dinner we went to a unique and lovely restaurant by the lake and and had a very sweet time.  

I have done some good work this week both in finishing all the appliqued triangles for Salty Sourmash (Sweet Surrender).  Juki came home better than ever and we worked on some free motion quilting.  My photography skills are improving as you will see and Microsoft (I guess) has downloaded a wonderful new photo finishing program into my laptop.  Who knows where it came from or how it got there but it is niiiicccee!! to work with.

Here are the five triangles I appliqued this week.  They are also the last so I have finished the applique on this quilt until I begin the border.

                                         






I added some flowers I designed in this last set of appliques.  I felt there were too many repeats of one particular flower motif.  I also changed the stem layout on a couple.  For the most part though, I have been faithful to the pattern.  I think it is a charmer with its whimsical flowers and twisty stems against the rigidity of triangular and diamond shapes which will also show up again in the border.  Next week I will work on the pieced diamonds.

Here  is the entire project so far:



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am so happy to have Juki home again.  We have been practicing our FMQ and we feel we are really getting a handle on it.  I have been using a sketch book to draw out a new pattern over and over until I feel familiar with it.  Then I try out my skill on a practice piece.  If that goes well, I FMQ the pattern on my sampler.  Lately I have been following Lori Kennedy's sunflower sampler.  (http://theinboxjaunt.com/2016/10/25/sunflower-sampler-adding-petals/).   I am behind others in the group  because Juki was taking in the sun in San Diego for a while but here is what I have so far:


I am seeing so much improvement in our FMQ skills both in understanding how the motifs work and in translating them to thread and fabric.

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We had a goshawk in the back yard a couple days ago.  He landed in the leafless walnut tree, spent some time searching around, considered some squirrels (the birds made themselves scarce), and finally saw a small snake some distance away.  He majestically flew across the yard, radiating strength and grace, landing near our patio gathering up a small snake.  Here is a photo of said goshawk completing his meal.

Here are a couple more shots of this predator.



My camera is so cool!.. The goshawk was about 35 yards away all the way to the back of the yard.  These photos were at max telephoto.

Here is a photo of one of our beautiful fall trees:



And here is our outdoor cat Yoshi.  He may be a biter but he does the slow blink better than any I who has ever lived with me.

And lastly here a couple of other furry neighbors: 

These two photos as well as the goshawk photo were taken through the double pane, cat tv window which looks out over our back yard.  The texture of the bark and feathery tails of the squirrels is amazing.  That is some camera I have!

I have had some comments from followers who ask if I experienced culture shock when I moved from Berkeley to back to beyond rural Missouri.  I did and also we only knew each other for 2 weeks before we married.  Maybe I will tell that story next week.  In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy T-bird day!

I HOPE YOU CAN QUILT SOME THIS WEEK!

Pinning my work to:
 Slow Stitching Sundays, Bambi's Blog
 Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
 Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
 Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
 and Off the Wall Friday.           

Sunday, November 13, 2016

In Which We Try To Move On..... 

Applique Paintbox received visits from three new countries this week:  United Arab Emirates, Estonia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  This reminds me of what I love so much about the internet and quilt blogging.  No matter the country, be it the USA or one of the 196 other countries, we are all connected.  We all want and love the same things.  My husband who plays internet chess has the same felling of inter-connectedness with the bigger world.
  
I was born and raised in California in the San Francisco bay area, and began studies in design and art history at the University at Berkeley in the 1960's.  Now I live in the back of beyond in rural Missouri.  Two diametrically opposed positions.  I have a foot in both camps.  I yearn for my lively diverse, culturally open, forward and outward looking coastal home.  Yet I live in the heartland of the US where people feel left out, left behind, betrayed by increasing globality.   Anger focuses on "otherness" be it racial, political, marital, or fear of foreigners.  

The best we can do is try to understand what is behind people' s thinking.  Change is inevitable especially with increasing automation.  But how we deal with change is up to us all.  Let us hope we can face change with love and understand that people are all the same and, at heart,  want the same things for their families and themselves.  Teresa Rawson's blog post of 11-12 at http://fabrictherapy.blogspot.com/ is  the most moving summation of this week. She is a wonderful writer as well as quilter.  Her sense of loss and letting go made me weep.

Personally, I have had a hard week.  I could not work for several days but, after reading some of my best-beloved bloggers, began again.  I would say I began  again with a vengeance but, while I have had new ideas and concepts spring up, vengeance would misrepresent my feelings.  I am not motivated by feelings of revenge but rather with hope that art, which is all I can do, can bring more love, beauty, and happiness into the world, and make us realize we are all the same.

Let us hope the best for 11/9.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lets move on the what all of us quilt bloggers care about: quilting!!

Here is some work I have completed since last we met:


You can see I have completed 4 of the large diamond triangles and the 4 appliqued half triangles for the edges.  There will also be 6 half triangles made up of one half of the large diamond triangles.  Here are closeups of the small appliques. 

 
For fun and to be different, I did some broderie perse using the peacocks on one side and a butterfly and worm on the other. 


I have also begun work on the last 5 appliqued triangles but they are only basted and may be changed here and there.  

The final score for Sewingmachinesplus.com is an A++.  I can recommend them as having good customer service.  My Juki has been repaired and renewed and will be home on tomorrow, Monday.  Apparently a whole nest of thread had wrapped around the wheel.  They adjusted the tension and the timing so looks good!  I am so excited to have my Juki back and resume fmq practice.

Well, another week in front of us as we slowly come to grips with a potential new world.  Do some quilting or sewing or whatever makes you happy and don't read any more news articles.

HAPPY QUILTING!

I am linking up with :
Slow Stitching Sunday
Patchwork Times
Em's Scrapbag
Easter's Blog
Let's Bee Social
Whoop, Whoop
Off the all Friday