Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stopping point

My art instructor, Kim Thoman, would say there are stopping points when an artist might consider the painting done. My ribbon quilt has reach such a stopping point. Here it is this morning: It lacks the two corners from the sketch. I think it needs these as counterpoints. Since I may not have time to make those strips, I've basted the main sections together to take it as one piece to the workshop. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

3 days left

Last night I skipped Tai Chi class to work on the ribbon quilt. After more work this morning:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


4 days and 4 nights. Saturday morning I'm flying to Ohio for another workshop at Nancy Crow's Barn.

The goal is to show a finished ribbon quilt top, but I'm still not there yet. This sketch came during my daydreaming moments at work. I like the way this looks on paper and it gives me a plan to follow. Here's a repeat of the last photo of my design wall. Very little have changed. The ribbons are there. Just more wide strips of black with narrow strips of color, sew them all together and voila! Doable.

Friday, March 20, 2009

First day of spring & another beginning

First, Nancy asked for an 8'x8' ribbon quilt top. HUGE. Taller than my studio ceiling. Wider than my design wall. Too big. So I set my sights on a 6'x6'.

I made enough ribbons to cover the 80" width – knowing I'll lose some to seam allowances – so the 72" width was achievable. Tried to include them all but ribbons conflicted. Too many bosses and not enough support staff. See this posting.

Finally, I let go of the 6' width and pared the ribbons down. Keep it simple: just vertical ribbons. See this posting.

But one ribbon nagged. "Un-ribbon me!" Undid it and rearrange them all. Here's how it looked this morning:
I get stuck on an idea and beat it to death even though it does not come together. Much later, I realize my self-imposed idea is just that – self-imposed and not a requirement. That's the way it has been with this ribbon quilt. It's lurching on as one idea gives way to another.

I like the new direction. And I haven't given up on my self-imposed deadline to sew this together to show at the workshop. Only one week left.

Cautionary plaid tale

Joann's is conveniently near my office and opened until 9pm. A coupon sale and the selection of woven plaids and stripes were extra enticements. Do you know how difficult it is to find woven plaids and stripes? They're mostly printed. Purist that I am - gimme a real plaid! A nice dark plaid.

But look what happened to my fabrics after they were laundered.

The plaid transferred color to the green. Arrgggh! After washing, drying and ironing, it still bled. I tested the plaid using Paula Burch's method.
But no time to fix this with more washing or Retayne. This baby is not going to Ohio. Neither is the green fabric. It will be salvaged for surface design.

I picked up another plaid by Dan River at Beverly's Fabrics. This is a long time well known national manufacturer - unlike the one at Joann's - but cost twice as much. It's worth it because it passed Paula Burch's test. I checked it before I launder. This time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shipping out

They're off! I've shipped my fabric and supplies to the Barn. Here're the stacks of fabrics before they went into the boxes.
There aren't enough fabrics. What? How can that be? Looks like a lot of fabric. Well yes, there are about 100 lengths of fabric. Not including black, white and grays and not including prints.

But look how many skinny folds as opposed to fat folds. For this two-week workshop Nancy calls for 1.5 to 2 yd. cuts. I'm bringing the one-yarders for more color choices and more fabric. But then I risk running out of a color.

Also need more darks. I think they went into my ribbons.

So I'm off for last minute shopping, washing and ironing.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Saying and doing. Not the same.
Virtual and reality. Opposites.

Contrary to what I said before, my perspective changed as I shift around the ribbons. What if I take this one off? And then another and another. Pared down to its essence. Here's what's on my design wall now. Yep. A woman has the right to change her mind. I'm splitting the ribbons up. Probably get two quilts instead of one.

All ribbons together had an energy reflecting my internal frenzy. But that state calls for an exterior calm.

I'm feeling good about this one. This has gravitas.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Less but not more

Doubts crept in. Troubled by what ifs led to more editing with Photoshop.

These reductions are too tame for me. Less is not always more. I'm shooting for the moon (and shooting my foot too): wild energy with all the ribbons.

Next, I'll work on the width of the black spacer strips.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Virtual ribbons

Still cogitating on the ribbons and filler strips. Initially I'd pinned up black strips on the design wall. But what if the strips were another color? Using Photoshop, I tried out a variety of colors. It's down to these three: black, or terra cotta or gold. I'll try the terra cotta and gold on the wall.

I know enough about Photoshop Elements 6 to get by. In this case it was easier to test out ribbon arrangements and different colors of strips virtually than on the design wall. Sometimes it's not.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Enough ribbons

Finally! Made enough ribbons to cover the 80" wide design wall. I've split the neutrals and rearranged all 24: To make each ribbon more distinct and for more overall cohesiveness, added black strips between every other: More is more? Black strips between every one:
These 3/4" wide black strips were just hanging around - orphans from aborted attempts. So ignore the little colored pieced section.

I prefer the last one. I do think the black strips should end up 1/2" or 3/4" wide finished. And I may remove one to three ribbons. Or redo a couple.

But I'll let it sit for a day or so. Maybe rearrange it on Photoshop. Just let it cogitate.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Would've, could've, should've

Recent postings shared what I learned from my experience last fall at Nancy Crow's Strip Piecing I & II, a one-week workshop at the Crow Barn in Baltimore Ohio. My recommendations regarding fabric and supplies only apply to that workshop 'cuz that's the only one I've been to so far.

But soon I'll have another Nancy Crow workshop experience to relate. I'm going back to the Barn at the end of the month for the two-week Improvisations class. Color me masochistic!

On one hand it'll be exciting to be there again. I am leaping from her most basic beginning class to an intermediate level class. Ambitious and over reaching? But I've set my sights high and not just any instructor will do. What am I getting into!?

On the other hand I haven't fully explored what I learned last fall. I'm doing my darnedest to finish my ribbon quilt top. Should've finished this and more! Could've gone off on so many tangents. Would've been nice to have the more time to pursue these - more than a couple hours after dinner.

Time limits what I accomplish and what avenues I explore. I am a tortoise.