Monday, January 28, 2008

Thoughts on Colour

I've been playing around with the colours for the Take It Further Challenge. I strip pieced greens and purples together and then appliqued strips on top in the lighter purple and ecru.

It is interesting how the lighter strips appear varigated. I like that effect. My problem is, I don't know where to go from here. This is the place my quilts usually start talking to me. They tell me how to quilt, the colour of thread to use, etc. But I can't figure it out.

I am afraid to quilt over top of the strips and ruin the subtle effect it has right now. Originally, I thought to add beads, but again, I can't decide if that would ruin what I've started. What to do, what to do? I is a good thing this is the second quilt, not the first as I wouldn't have finished on time!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Take it Further (Take Two)

The other night, I pulled purple and green from my fabric stash and sewed a few strips together.

Originally, I was thinking of fading light on windows, but once the strips were sewn together, it seemed more watery. I reminded me of deep woods and hidden fairy lakes. I'm adding strips of the lighter colours and am thinking of possibly embroidery ferns or applique...

I have some amazing varigated thread in my collection and access to a wonderful store that carries everything from cotton to silk thread (many hand dyed). Will have to let the piece speak to me and see what it says now.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Take It to Colour

So I completed the concept for the first Take It Further Challenge. Instead of editing my novel, I've been dreaming of colour. Purple and green to be precise. I love these colours together. Seeing everyone's work done in these colours has me thinking. So with only one week left of January (definitely not enough time to finish something), I started digging through piles and bins of fabric. I came up with a little pile of fabric that look close. I even have an idea. Does anyone have some extra time I can borrow?

Valuing Ourselves (and Our Work)

Yesterday I finally hung my large quilt at work. I had to put a hanging sleeve on it. That meant picking out quilting on the left over fabric to match the backing as it was the only fabric I had left. Not time consuming, but not enjoyable either. That done, the quilt now hangs not where I wanted it as it is too large, but the next wall over.

A co-worker came in later in the day and stopped in her tracks.

"Wow," she said (along with a bit more). She loved it. Later, she was talking to someone about the piece and said that when she had come in earlier in the day she'd been in a horrible mood, but seeing the quilt instantly made her feel better. The colours imparted a joy that she needed. Cool! She then asked how much commission I would charge for creating a piece like that.

Okay, that isn't a question I've ever thought about, but looking at the piece, the size and labour involved, I knew that I had to ask enough to cover not only the materials, but the time it took, so I said $600. Her response: "That much, eh?" Well then. My boss defended the price by pointing out an art installation he had recently viewed, quietly commenting that one piece sold the opening night for $10,000.

We as artists should value our work, the time involved, the materials involved and the creative energy it takes to produce the work.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Take It Further (To Completetion!)

I finished my Take it Further Challenge last night. Are we allowed to say we like our own work? Usually I'm hyper-critical of anything I produce, so it is nice for a change to be uber excited about the final outcome. Maybe it is seeing part of my mom's face and part of Elizabeth's face looking out at me. I dig the enigmatic look that results in the combination of the two faces and the addition of the hair. I almost think the border fabric has some of the colours from the challenge, but it is hard to tell. I'm itching for the next one!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bias Rectangles

Here is a quick how to for creating bias rectangles.

Lay a dark and light fabric face down on your cutting table (both fabrics are right side down).

Fold your fabric in half (you will have four layers of fabric at this point).

Using your bi-rangle ruler, place it square against the two lower right edges of your fabric. Lay a regular ruler along the bias line of the bi-rangle.

Cut strips for your rectangles. Usually strips are 2 1/2" wide, but can be larger or smaller depending how big you want your triangles.

You have four pieces of fabric now all cut into strips. Separate the two pieces so you have two sets of strips.

Sew your strips together, alternating light and dark. Using your bi-rangle, square one edge of the fabric and cut strips (usually 3 1/2" wide, but it will again depend on the size you want your finished triangles).

Line up the bias line of your bi-rangle ruler and cut along the edge of the triangle, flip the triangle, line up the bias line again and trim all the edges flush with the ruler.

You will wind up with two sets of triangles facing opposite directions.

This is the type of quilt you can make:

Friday, January 18, 2008


I spent some time yesterday checking out blogs of participants in the Take It Further Challenge. Wow. The amount of stunning, beautiful pieces created is amazing and I only made a dent in looking at the list.

It made me realize that I do admire people. The creativity that is out there is amazing. Many of the women are participating in multiple challenges (and completing them--early). As I contemplated admiration some more, I realized that you women in this challenge are the embodiment of what I admire. Drive, resourcefulness, hard work, a constant drive to learn and push ourselves dare I say it--further.

It was one of those epiphany moments. The whole reason I admired and loved my grandfather as much as I did was his constant drive to learn. I hate complacency and mediocrity but...

No one I looked at yesterday was mediocre or complacent. The level of workmanship is something I admire. This was such a great way for us to start this challenge. Here's a question: at the half way point as we reflect more, how many of us would say that those we chose for our challenge are people we admire because of their love of learning and their need in life to take things further?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Taking it Further

In that stage of wondering where to go next, I contemplated adding borders. I came home from work yesterday and Elizabeth had one of her school projects leaning against the table.

It was one of those ah ha moments. I'd seen the start of this and loved the hair. Elizabeth had never heard of Gibson Girl's, but this reminds me strongly of those images. I had to recreate it it fabric.

Now this I like. Of to quilt it and see how it looks complete. Hopefully two weeks is enough time to finish it!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Stage Two

Here is the second stage of the creation of someone I admire.

I've decided to amalgamate the photo of my mom and my daughter. I added colour using Shiva paintstiks, pastels and graphtint pencils. I placed it on my design wall, stepped back and thought to myself: "Good beginning, but I need to take it further." Hum, do you think I got it?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Taking It Further

The first challenge for Taking It Further was posted on Monday (January 1st down under). Unfortunately, Monday and Tuesday I spent in bed with a fever, so didn't see it until Wednesday. We are to do someone we admire. I've been pondering this one. Deeply. I realized I don't tend to admire people. Well, that isn't totally true. I admire a pair of shoes, the turn of a leg, the grace of certain individuals, but to grow up to want to be like someone?

There are only two people in my life that have had that kind of impact on me. One was my grandfather, the other was my mother. When I was young, I wanted nothing more than to grow up to be like my mother, now I barely remember what she was like.

The other person was my grandfather--a gentle man with a kind word for everyone, a ready smile and a warm heart. I think that is where my mother got those same attributes.

My grandmother was the fiesty one. Like me, we made up for small stature with fierce natures. I often wish I had turned out kind and soft-spoken like my mother, but I didn't.

I could also use my daughter, Elizabeth.

More than anyone in my life she has the best of both attributes. She is soft-spoken when she needs to be, but fierce as well. Already at 20, she has faced down the biggest scare of breast surgery and won. What a woman.

Now to chose which to do and how to do it!