Friday, April 30, 2010

Conspiracy theory

Wouldn't you know it. Happened the last two time and it is happening again.

Life would be quiet and smooth for months. Then everything breaks loose the month before and especially the last two weeks before I'm off to a workshop. All demands ramp up.

It's a conspiracy I tell you.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

At the guild's Monday general meeting, they announced 2780 people attended the EBHQ's biannual show, Voices in Cloth, held three weekends ago. That averages more than 200 persons each hour! Wow! Good show! Thank you, my buddies, for coming. 

Great quilts! I will post some of my favs from the show. Start with this delectable eye candy.

Joan Samuelson stitches a face every morning. She put together 49 for this arresting assemblage.

Take a closer look. Terrific fine motor control. So expressive and impressive.

See more of Joan's terrific faces on RoseGardenQuilts.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Two weeks - yaa-owwl!

Okay, I've decided: I'm not finishing the ribbon quilt. So there! My rationale: quilted means more weight and less space in my suitcase. So doesn't this make sense?!
For the next two weeks, I'll have time to work on more motifs. To pack up fabric & supplies for shipping. To take up again with fmq practice. To clean up the studio. To take care of personal business. To relax a bit.

Then earlier to bed and earlier to rise. Shifting from California to Ohio, I want to be a fully awake workshop participant.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Orange in a different light

I finished the orange section last night. Not without a few missteps of course. After all, what would life be without them?
The bottom strip of black and fuschia isn't attached yet. But the section is taller than I thought it'd be. It's not attached to the rest of the ribbon quilt yet either. Opportunities for adjustments await.

The whole ribbon quilt  will be more than three feet wide and could be six feet tall or so but the proportions seem off. My design wall won't allow a long view so I must find someplace to hang it all. Tonight it's going to my quilt therapy group for a different light and multiple eyes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Old tricks

Three weeks ago, I dared to think I could finish the ribbon quilt before the workshop in Ohio.

One week ago, I dared to think I could finish the top in a few more days so I could get some space and helping hands to pin baste it.

Today I haven't totally given up on this quilt, but I have missed the latter goal and have serious doubts about the former one.

Intending to accomplish more, I set up mini-goals each night – i.e. sew strip A to piece B x 6 times. A couple of nights later I'd look and really see what I've made. Ugh! So I've spent the last three weeks piecing and un-piecing. Repeatedly. If I had enough fabric to cut more or had bought more, I wouldn't need to un-pieced for reuse.

What I've learned so far:
• there's no point in rushing just to get it done (didn't I say this before?);
• adding to an existing project may be harder than starting from scratch when working improvisationally;
• to make visual decisions, I must really look and see (didn't I say this before too?);
• to minimize un-piecing, take it one piece through all steps first rather than all pieces one step at a time;
• to minimize un-piecing, look and see after each step (and this before?);
• to get in the right frame of mind after one project, take a little break (not a month) before the next.

My Quilt Therapy Group, is meeting tomorrow night. Dare I think I could show them the ribbon quilt with this orange section added?

This old dog, same old tricks.

Cave habit

Most nights I'm in the studio which occupies part of the basement rec room – a dark wood paneled low ceiling room that could use a thousand watts of light.  The ritual of descending the stairs each night, turning on a few lights and the tv (my timekeeper) prepares me for creative focus.

The room looks out into the garden if I would bother to open the shades and pull aside the drapes. But I don't at night when I can't see out much. On weekends I can and I do. Then working in the studio can be problematic because I am distracted by beautiful weather and the lure of the garden.

So though the weekend promises many more studio hours, I go into my creative cave at night. That's my creative habit.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Where did it go?

It's gone! Deserted me! Aiyah! Such a struggle now. Multiple do-overs. Where did it go?
I want it back! So I can do what needs to be done. So I can move on. Where did it go?

I had it a year ago. I want that mojo back. That strip-piecing mojo. That narrow strip-piecing mojo. That mojo that enable me to do these:

What will it take? Is it a problem with the thread? the needle? the tension? the pressure foot? the speed? What is keeping that mojo away?

I plead with you for help. Help me get back my mojo. All you have to do is sing Looking for My Mojo (to the tune of Going to a Go-Go – Na-a-h, nah, N-A-A-H, nah, N-a-a-h, nah).

Thank you very much.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Back two, forward three

The first attempt to finish my ribbon quilt was disastrous. I threw pieces together in a hurry. Didn't look. Unstitching became the name of the game. I'd forgotten the maxim: make visual decisions visually.

I had to step back and take another approach. Satisfactory results come from listening to my instincts and taking time to play, to look and then be critical. No point in rushing through the process if the finished product is not acceptable.

After another week I'm quite comfortable with the new section. This photo shows it with some colors I've auditioned. There are a few more decisions to make. Back into the studio tonight.  

Maybe I'll meet my goal to get it to the guild drop-in tomorrow. Maybe not. I'm not going to push it just to get it done. I've learned my lesson – until next time anyway.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Can do!

The past weekend was lost to the EBHQ's quilt show. Saturday's dinner didn't happen until 10pm whereas Sunday I was in bed by 9pm. A great event but whew!

Only three weekends remaining! Yikes! Then I'm off to the Ohio for another two weeks with Nancy Crow. Feeling momentarily ambitious, here's my plan for the ribbon quilt, fmq and workshop homework.

Finish the quilt top for sandwiching on Saturday at the guild drop-in. That'd give me three weeks to quilt it. I already have an idea about that. Squeeze in more fmq practice sessions to give it a go. Sets and variables motifs will just fit in wherever and whenever.

Yes, I can!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

EBHQ's Voices in Cloth

East Bay Heritage Quilters did it again! Another fabulous show! Don't miss it if you're in the area. It continues on Sunday from 10am to 4pm at the Oakland Convention Center, 10th and Broadway.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thinking and seeing

Sometimes what I get is not what I want.

I've taken up the ribbon quilt top where I'd left off last spring. I've extended ribbon tails and pieced more ribbon together for the bottom.

The concept seemed good at the time but it just didn't work out visually. A case of too much thinking and not enough seeing. This pattern is too regular and the coloring too lightweight. Doesn't balance nor anchor the rest of it. Why didn't I see this before?

So it won't be finished tomorrow. But I now have a better visual idea about finishing it. I threw other ribbons on the design wall to see if they'd stick. Back to the cutting mat.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Simple beauty

The prestigious Pritzker Prize for 2010 went to SANAA architects - Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa - of Tokyo. They've designed buildings all over the world with two in the United States: the New Museum of Contempory Art in New York City and the Glass Pavilion for the Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio. Christopher Hawthorne, the LA Times architecture critic, writes about them winning the award here. In an earlier review on August 23, 2006 he praised the pavilion. From that review:
". . . Minimalist architecture deserving of the name pares itself down not in the pursuit of style points but in an effort to frame the relationship between solid and void, nature and culture, and color and its absence -- and to explore how the eye sees and the mind understands those differences."
How about applying this poetic definition to quilts? Minimalist quilts.