Welcome to my place! It's all about my adventures making art quilts, and sources of inspiration from the ridiculous to the amazing.
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Our first summer holiday weekend is here and I don't have a lot planned for this holiday. I visited the cemetery to decorate my Dad's and inlaws graves, remember we used to call it "Decoration Day" years ago. All the graves of service men and women have small flags by them waving in the breeze. I took some time this morning to read our local newspaper a little more carefully than a cursory glance, and found some items of interest. Four young boys were featured in an article as winner of the LaPorte Tractor Maintenance competition, they will now advance to the area competition in a larger county. Maybe you didn't know of such a competition as I did not. But Good for them! Someone wrote an advice columnist with her dad's technique for dealing with children who were having tantrums. He made them search for their "composure". Physically look for it, like behind the door and under the couch. This amused me. The writer said she was about 6 years old when she figured out the her composure was not a physical object. Now that is one smart Dad. I read that a church down the road from where I live has created a Meditation Garden that is open to the public........now knowing me, that sounds like something I'll have to visit. And I enjoyed a column written about relishing these nice weather days, remembering them for when the snow flies again. That is good advice as well. We took a short bike ride a while ago, and are now back home piddling around with this and that. I'll probably step outside on the patio for a bit, maybe read, or watch the world go by. Not a bad way to spend the day, or weekend, as the case may be. Enjoy yours as well!
These are the cards I received from the May challenge in the ATC group. The challenge was to use rusted fabric or metal, or both. You can see that I am with a talented group of artists who created these cards. Remember, they are only 2.5 by 3.5 inches in size, so that gives new meaning to these creations.
If you follow my blog you may recognize the fabrics in this new quilt I've started. These are all from the dyeing I did a few months ago in which I did multiple layering of dyes and fabrics. This piece is sewn together now and awaiting the next step. I envision it as a background for something......that's the part I haven't figured out yet. Right now the size is about 34 by 40 inches or so. I think it is asking for something in a dark color, I'm thinking of the reverse applique technique, but I haven't decided yet on what that something will be. although it does make a nice top right now, with that dreamy watercolor type feeling. This is what I've been up to, how about you? Are you working on something that really jazzes you right now? send me a comment or email about it, maybe I'll feature you on my blog, with your permission of course. I always like to see what new ideas other quilters are having and what they are working on.
Isn't she great? This is my new Bella yoga garden sculpture I just purchased to bring peace and calm to my little outdoor patio here at our condo. She is 22 inches tall, 12 inches deep, and 18 inches wide. Right now I'm trying her out in this location, supported on top of a concrete block for greater visibility. In front of her are black eyed susans which will grow to cover the block. Her lap is a large receptable which I have filled with water, but it could also be filled with bird seed or a floating flower or two. One thing I like about this location is that she blends in well with the background wall, so that she is seen, but not necessarily standing out strong. I plan to buy a few grasses in pots to place next to her also, to give her a more hidden environment. So here's Bella. I have been looking for just the right piece for some time, and I was happy to find this one!
here's a quick photo of my latest labyrinth piece, a square type arrangement. It's about 28 inches square before trimming out the edges. I still want to add some free motion quilting to go over the background areas, but haven't decided exactly what to do yet. I'm thinking of using green or orange variegated threads in a grassy type pattern, sort of mimicing the fabric, but I can't decide if I should do this quilting over the whole piece, or just the outside border areas with a little overlapping onto the outside black edge. So feel free to weigh in if you have an opinion. I like the contrast between the orderly geometric labyrinth and the chaotic disorderly grass fabric. I've come to realize the possibilities for this type of technique are virtually endless.........just think of the choices for layering! anyway, this is what I'm up to this week. Hope yours is going as you hope it will as well.
Today I took my first walk on a labyrinth. We travelled about 80 miles south to a town called Tipton Indiana where there is a 39 foot painted surface Chartres replica labyrinth on the grounds of the St. Joseph's Center, which seems to be a care facility for retired nuns. That's me in the photo walking the labyrinth. It took about 5-7 minutes to walk at a moderate pace. To tell you the truth, I was busy concentrating on following the path the whole time. I have to say though that I wasn't thinking of anything else, so in that way, I did remove all other thoughts from my mind. The grounds are well landscaped, and there is a very large wind chime hanging nearby which we heard intermittently. It was a peaceful experience. This set up had benches around the labyrinth to relax on afterward. Since this is a religious facility. there were other shrines and statues about the campus. My reaction was good, I liked it. Next time I won't be so busy concentrating on the path, I feared I would step out of the lines! My husband was walking it too, and we both noticed that although we frequently passed in opposite directions in close proximity, that didn't seem to bother either one of us and our concentration. He started several feet behind me, so since the paths go back and forth, it resulted in our passing close to one another often on different parts of the path. At the center I paused and looked around, then began the walk back out following the path backwards from the middle. We were given a brochure about the Labyrinth which offered advice on how to walk the path, and a brief discussion about the origin of labyrinths. I learned that during the Middle Ages, the practice of making a pilgrimage on foot to Jerusalem became impossible, so labyrinths were created in cathedrals for the purpose of making a symbolic journey. I think this walking is something I'd like to do regularly when I find a labyrinth path near enough to my home to make that a reality. I hope to visit many more this summer and in my future travels.
An online friend Rhonda gave me a few good tips I wanted to pass along. First, you can do the stitching and quilting all at once. Layer your two fabric piece with batting and backing at the outset, then proceed to stitch as instructed, and quilting will be done at the same time. Great time saver. Second, stitch from the back of your piece to avoid damaging the top of the piece stitches when you are removing the paper. now that's one I hadn't thought of.......just remember, your bobbin should have the thread you want to show on the top of your quilt, since you'll be stitching from the back. This could give you a chance to use some metallic threads in the bobbin to show on the front, since they won't have to go through a needle when used in the bobbin. Sometimes metallics are easier when used in the bobbin. If you make one of these, send me a photo!
I have become interested in Labyrinth patterns recently. While exploring about them online, I learned a lot about the various designs of labyrinths, and on one site, this labyrinth was offered for visitors to print out and use as a "finger labyrinth", one to keep at your desk and use your finger to follow the direction of the path to the center and back out. Walking or following labyrinth patterns is said to be a meditative calming experience. I decided I wanted to make one like this one in fabric, but a little larger. I took the photo of this Minoan Seven Circuit labyrinth pattern and enlarged it in photoshop, then printed out a pattern to use to create a fabric wall quilt as my "finger labyrinth". I have found the experience of creating this art quilt itself has been meditative, maybe you will as well. First here is a link to a very informative site about labyrinths on which you can find this labyrinth pattern. http://www.lessons4living.com/labyrinth.htm This is a very interesting site with lots of good information about labyrinths you may want to explore at your leisure. I made a pattern poster size, composed of four sheets of paper, for a final size of 16 by 16 inches. I taped the pattern together so it was complete picture of the labyrinth.
1. Select two fabrics and cut about an 18 by 18 inch square of each. Layer them together, both with right sides facing up toward you, like in the photo: I used a background fabric that looks like a marble or stone floor, and a black striped fabric. Colorful batiks would be excellent! Next.
2. Lay your pattern on top of these two pieces and pin in place. Now you will sew in black thread, or in one to match your top fabric, along the lines of the dark line on your pattern, right through the paper. Adjust your stitch length of 1.0 or 1.5, this will make a tighter stitch and allow you to more easily tear away the paper when you are done stitching. If you want to, you could use wash away stabilizer with the pattern on it, then when done you could just wash the pattern away. I didn't have any, so I used paper. This created some challenges tearing away all the paper, but I tried to be patient.......after all, this was a stress reducer!!!! lol You will find that just following along the black lines is like walking the labyrinth, so you will start and end at the same place. Convenient! Next...................
3. After sewing, it is time to remove the paper, carefully, or wash it away.
4. Once paper is removed, it is time to cut away in the wide spaces between the black lines to reveal the background. If you start at the entrance to the labryinth, you will again follow the path all the way around and into the pattern. Clip close to but not INTO the stitching line.
5. After clipping through the labryinth, you will see your design. Isn't it great? I ironed it then with a little sizing or spray starch to make it flatter and crisper. Now, you can stop here and finish off your quilt edges however you like. But I wanted to add some batting and quilting. So I layered it and stitched on the edges of the background fabric, both sides, close to the black fabric but not on the black fabric, with a thread color to blend with the background fabric. After stitching, square up your piece, bind or finish the edges as you like, and you have created a labyrinth for your wall. Here's a photo of my final piece:
You can enlarge by clicking on it to see I extended the quilting outside the pattern and out into the edges of the background too. This is a very basic labyrinth pattern, and a little exploring on the web will show you many others labyrinth patterns. I plan to make more labyrinths in other colors for my collection, and maybe you'll want to do that as well! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!
This photo is of the Roser Chapel on Anna Maria Island. It was built by one of the original settlers on the island, and stands now, connected to a larger church and community building. On most days, a sign is posted outside the chapel that says Open for Prayer. I like that......the fact that I have, on a moment's notice, stepped in and taken advantage of that sign. There's probably about 30 pews in there, and a small altar, and you can sit in there all by yourself and enjoy the place in whatever way you choose. I think this is a good example of incorporating a spiritual experience into your daily life. Right near the entrance is a lectern that holds a typewritten list of prayer requests for the week, so you can have others to pray for besides your own personal intentions if that interests you. This is one of the places I miss when I'm not there on the island. The weather has gotten cool again here in Indiana, not really a surprise, but still not altogether welcomed. Fortunately I haven't bought any annuals or vegetables yet for my small garden, so I'm not having to cover anything at night in case of frost. Yesterday I was able to finally return to my daily 30 minute walk after 10 days without it since I had some sort of virus which kept me down. I've been walking daily for over 20 years, so you can imagine I'd miss doing so. I'm glad to report I haven't lost my stamina and speed. I usually go 2 miles in 30 minutes, give or take. As far as quilting goes, I am sort of in another of those creative ruts, which I expect won't last too long. I have enlarged one of my photos for my next piece in the Anna Maria Island series, so next I have to make the pattern then I'll get started. I'm going to make one of the boardwalks to the beach that are at the end of many streets, which you walk over to get to the shoreline. I'll post a photo later. So that's where I am this Tuesday, missing Roser Chapel, glad to be walking again and over the virus, and looking ahead to a hopefully warmer week. Hope your week is a good one too.