Sunday, May 27, 2007

When Fabrics and Colors Speak...

Part 1. Ceretta O, a woman from Lawndale Christian Quilters, made a fabulous reversible quilt using ethnic and animal prints last year (look in the Lawndale, Chapter 2 album). And the beauty of that quilt has had an impact on me. Slowly but ever so surely my stash is including some wonderful new fabrics, including one that was the key of Ceretta's quilt.

Part 2. About five years ago I bought a piece of student art, mostly because no one else bought it and partially because of the color scheme - lots of greys, blacks, and a big shot of yellow. This combination of colors I find appealing.

So these two piles of fabrics - the ethnic/animal prints and the grey/yellow/blacks - wound up on the floor together. And I'm working on log cabins in the new workshop. I've been trying to picture these two groups in the same quilt. I've even gone through various quilt books trying to find a suitable pattern to merge these two fabrics groups into. One of the problems is that several of the fabrics are not suitable for piecing because they are so lovely on their own.

Yesterday it dawned on me. I love Ceretta's quilt so much that perhaps the reversible pattern would work well again. I did make a reversible quilt last year (look in the same gallery for my Night and Day quilt) , but it was a gift to young Sean Parkes and his parents. So I could certainly make one just to live in the studio. In playing with these fabrics, some slipped from one pile into another. Some of the yellows/golds are now with the animal/ethnics and all the grey/blacks are together.

The beauty of a reversible quilt is that it's an opportunity to use of leftover batting, of which there's a constant supply. Within 24 hours I've gone from, "I need to begin a new project" to "Woo Hoo, I've got this great project going and can't wait to get back in the studio!" Of course I have other projects that I'm finishing, but there's nothing like the glow of being in love with a new project. And to Ceretta: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Decision made!

After a bit of thinking - not too much - I decided to go through my scrap basket for my demonstration log cabin. My scraps are fabulous; even my grandson Ryan says so. My scraps were divided into lights and darks. In keeping with tradition, I did find enough reds so that the center of each of the 36 blocks is red. As I was working on this traditional block with its perfect proportions, I realized that not all the Lawndale women would want to tackle this block because they are a very busy group of women with limited time.So now I'm about to begin a second log cabin for demonstration purposes. This one uses a bigger center square and thicker strips. Instead of a block having 17 pieces, this block will have 9. Fewer pieces means faster sewing. But then the old problem: what colors to use?

Since the center block is so big, I found one of my special fabrics - a goldish sort of snowflake pattern that looks Christmas-like. Aha! Christmas! The two biggest collections in my stash are red and greens. And really, who doesn't love a Christmas quilt.

Note on January 12, 2008
: Kennedy teaching buddy Paul Lyons and his wife Marcy have a vacation house in St, Joe, MI about a mile from my sister Paula and have offered it to us. Since her house tends to get crowded over the holidays, we accepted Paul's offer - so convenient. The Scrappy Log Cabin now lives in the Lyons house in St. Joe as a thank you.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

What to do? What to do?

The Lawndale Christian Quilters have been on hiatus for the past 2 months. When we resume meeting on Monday nights in May and June, we will by general consensus work on a Log Cabin Quilt. The Log Cabin is one of my favorite patterns because it's so versatile. My winter quilt is a blue and white log cabin. Every time I get in bed I think about those wonderful snow days in 1993 when I was forced to work out of my stash, and this was the result.

It's also my favorite art quilt pattern. In my dining room hangs a fabulous log cabin that is quilted in metallic threads and just sort of sparkles. I call it "A Tribute to My Mother" because she said every room needs a touch of red. That's what the red in the center is all about. Part of the inspiration for this quilt came from a stage setting at Shakespeare Rep in downtown Chicago. There was a one-man show about Charles Dickens, and the stage had one huge frame that was set an an angle.

I firmly believe that modelling is the way to teach anything. So I do want to model a log cabin quilt, using the exact same measurements that the Lawndale quilters will use. My whole stash is open - all I need to do is make a choice. Perhaps some inspiration will come in another day or two. Really, how hard can this be? Two colors? Multi-colored, like Susan's Mexican Wedding Quilt? The group resumes in 10 days. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Nieces and Nephews and HS Graduation Quilts

When Chris Thompson graduated from St. Joseph, MI, high school in 2000, he knew he was going to the University of Michigan. So for his graduation I made him a quilt of Wolverine Blue and Gold. And then it dawned on me: I started a tradition that must be followed for the remaining kids. Jennifer Thompson graduated from the same high school in 2002 - her quilt was a lovely blue and yellow with an appliqued dancer in one corner. Then Laura White and Candace White both decided to go to the U of I after their hs graduation in 2003. The girls had matching orange and blue quilts using an "attic window pattern." Leslie White graduated from Richards in 2005, and Ali White is graduating this May.

For Leslie's quilt I tried a technique new to me that involved creating fabric from strips of 17 other fabrics and using curved templates. The colors and fabrics in Leslie's quilt were ones that spoke to me, and the design is subtle and rich.

Ali's quilt is the same pattern using the curved templates. The use of sashing strips and corner stones give this quilt a much different look. Her quilt is Burgundies and Golds and bright and curvy and in-your-face, a bit like Ali in some ways.

These quilts contain all the possibilities of the future. When I sew I naturally think about the recipient. My thoughts become a prayer and a blessing for having such interesting siblings who have such interesting kids. Ali's a bright girl who doesn't know what she wants to do. I hope she reaches for the stars. She'll figure things out.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

My Turbinates for a Quilt

My sister Paula is married to Dennis Thompson, an ear-nose-throat surgeon. When my snoring was bad enough to interfere with John's sleep, Dr. Den was a great resource. He first used Pilar implants in my soft palate, but my snoring persisted. So then he shrank my turbinates with radio frequency. For the first time in years I think I am breathing clearly and well. When Paula and Dennis purchased a building for their practice in St. Joe, MI, Paula of course handled the decorating (as well as everything else) of this new space. There's a wonderful tall wall in a central spot, and Paula asked for a wall hanging. What a great opportunity to begin to repay Dennis for his services!

Armed with some mini-quilts, sample wall hanging, and fabrics in Paula's palette of browns, neutrals, and blues, I drove to St. Joe. They both spotted a design they liked, and Dennis seems to like bold graphic lines. Paula and I then hammered out the specific fabrics. The result is lovely - contemporary, quiet, eye-catching. There will be a better photograph once this is hung in its space.