Saturday, March 6, 2010
The first week of March!
Well, this was a tumultuous week for us. We had some bad news, and while I can't go into it, I felt my world crumbling around me. After a good crying spell, with my supportive husband and huskies at my side, I felt much better. You really cannot hold your feelings inside. You have to express them, or else they eat away at you. Or you cry....a lot.
So, why is this week colorful and full of flowers? 2 reasons.
FIRST: We got through it. And today (Saturday) was a beautiful day! We had the absolute perfect day today, and my spirits were up and all I could think about were flowers!
SECOND: I wanted to try my hand at playing with thread. So, I took a piece of bright green fabric, made a quilt sandwich, and began creating flowers out of my head with free-motion quilting, using different thread colors. So, another first! I love this project, because I am able to try a lot of different styles and techniques on a very small project.
By no means is this quilt square perfect. The satin stitching around the edge is all wonky and is not uniform. The flowers are cartoony and not realistic. And they don't have enough definition or depth. But this week was wonky. And to be able to end the week feeling like bright flowers in spite of everything...well, that's success to me!
RAIN. That's the title of this week's quilt block. It was a rainy week, the last week in February.
Knowing I needed to continue practicing the satin stitch, I created each of the rain drops falling using it.
I plan to embellish this block further with beads, but to date, I haven't done so yet.
This week was my step-son, Matt's, 18th birthday! This week's block is a tribute to Matt.
Matt loves music. 2 years ago, I made him a quilt for his birthday - the outer border had colorful electric guitars all over it. So, I definitely wanted to use scraps of that in this block.
I then took a photo of Matt from his 18th birthday party, cropped out just his eyes, and applied some fun photoshop tricks. I printed them out onto fabric that can go through the printer, and voila! The eyes on the block are his!
I then took some quirky fun prints and embellished with machine quilting. Again, as I am practicing the satin finish, I tried it again with this block.
Happy Birthday, Matt!
Valentine's Day! Well, I knew all along this week would be a red and white heart.
My husband had the PERFECT Valentine's Day for me. I got roses on Friday night, then 2 cards, a big heart full of chocolate truffles, a heart necklace, and dinner on Saturday night. I felt like a princess! It was a very romantic, wonderful weekend. He treated me like a queen.
So, this week's quilt block was a tribute to the holiday, and my love for my husband. I downloaded a simple heart pattern from the internet and adjusted the size to fit. It is all pieced and machine quilted.
I haven't finished hand-sewing the binding yet - I plan to do that on my next business trip when I have time in my hotel room.
Week 5....we ushered in the Year of the Tiger. I was born in the year of the Tiger, so I felt it was fitting to include a tribute to the Chinese New Year in my quilt project.
It was actually my husband's idea. I couldn't think of what to do for the first week of February. He said, "why don't you do something about the year of the tiger?" I thought - Great idea!
And I knew what I wanted to do. It took me awhile to find a tiger print fabric. And I knew I wanted to try my hand at satin stitching around the edges, and do an off-centered second block affixed with fabric glue for some added dimension, to include the Chinese symbol for Tiger.
This turned out to be more difficult than I thought! I decided to use the theory from the Art Glass Quilts book for the symbol. Well, when you are working with a symbol that is 3" by 3", it is REALLY tough to cut inside all those lines! I swore and cussed my way through it, and although it is a little messy, it looks as I had envisioned it in my mind.
The satin stitching around the edge was another issue. It looks so simple in the books. And of course, knowing me, I dive right in without practicing. Thank God for Sharpie markers to cover up all the flub-ups along the way!
All in all, I am very happy with the way this turned out. Happy Chinese New Year!
I have had this idea since I went to a quilt show in early 2009. I bought the center fabric at the show, pre-stamped with the flower pattern. I had envisioned what it would look like all along, but since I had never beaded before, I tucked it away, afraid I'd screw it up.
Well, in early February, I decided that 2010 was the year I would break out all of those projects that I had bought fabric for and never did anything about. And my bathroom really needed some color!
So, I took this on. There was no pattern. I basically designed the 2 borders. Then I free-motion quilted around the leaves in the outer border. I then beaded and sequined the flowers in the center.
It took me a weekend. And now it is proudly displayed above my bathtub, so when I go to relax in the tub, I get to stare at it.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
This week's quilt block was inspired by the poem, "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. Our lives have been quite topsy turvy the past several months, and I feel that with all the roads available to us at the moment, we are having to take the unknown roads...the unplanned roads...more often than those we are familiar with or have planned for. I began to think about this idea - that my journey lately is taken one day at a time - a lot especially this week. And on Sunday while taking a shower, I visually designed this quilt block. I later drafted a few drawings in my notebook, and the quilt block turned out pretty much exactly like I had envisioned it.
I am not an artist by any means, and I feel that when I do try to draw, it is very cartoony in nature and doesn't have a lot of elements or depth. But, I tried to stop judging myself and just go with what was in my head. I used two-sided Press n Steam sheets to iron the pieces together, and then used a variety of stitches and thread colors to sew each piece's edges. For the sign, I used permanent markers to give it a wood-grain look, and then chose the word "SELDOM" for the road sign. The road "less traveled" if you will. Still using only fabric from my scraps collection, I am very happy with the results of this week's block.
THE ROAD NOT TAKEN
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.