Monday, October 26, 2009

For Edward

Once a week I drive for the American Cancer Society. I've been doing this since last March, and it's been an eye-opening and rewarding experience. As the newbie, I have relied my passengers to tell me which route to drive and where exactly to go. Today my passenger was the newbie.

Edward is beginning his course of radiation and chemotherapy for lung cancer. He's a sharp dresser - nice coat, brimmed hat. But when he got in the car, he had an armful of various items. I'm driving him tomorrow, too, and giving him this bag. I think it looks manly.

Of course with each trip and patient, I think of Dodie and being her Week 5 driver for her radiation and chemotherapy. Perhaps that was the preparation for what I'm doing now.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Favorite of Mine

The last few years I was at Kennedy High School I had my own small office, which had a big blank wall. This quilt was made in the fall of 2002 and gave me great joy. I love the green/black background of each Monkey Wrench block as well as the batiks. The crisp black and burgundy provide the perfect frame for these blocks. And setting these sashed blocks on point gives the quilt a great sense of drama.

In June 2005 this quilt was given to Deb Ryder, the dynamic head of Kennedy's art department, in appreciation for all the fine work she does and how invaluable she was to the work that I did. 76" x 96"

Friday, October 23, 2009

Totes of Many Colors

My sister Paula saw my Amazing Technicolor Dream Tote and thought about Christmas gifts for her office staff. So I began to work on prototypes to figure out price and a less labor-intensive process than mine. The first two had horizontal stripes and look like beach bags. I also got the proportions wrong - the bags are too tall. But now check out the vertical striped one - very attractive, eh? Especially that cute little colorful inside pocket!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Amazing Technicolor Dream Tote

Jinny Beyer is a quilter who understands color and value and has an exquisite eye for design. Her website is great for eye candy and inspiration. I bought one of her quilt kits, Around the World- it's the quilt on the opening page of this blog. Recently I saw her kit for a tote bag. I love the design and love the colors but the price? Not so much. I downloaded the pattern from her website (she really is very generous with her free patterns) and began to put a palette together. And then? Some obsessive paper-piecing and sewing. The result? You be the judge. I think this is fabulous. Time-consuming but fabulous.

Question: What's the perfect sewing music for this pattern?

Answer: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat!

Truly, when this bag is carried, it is a walking work of art.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A.D.D. Quilting

Sometimes I'm happiest when I have several things going at once. This is one of those periods, and the controlled chaos of the studio reflects these several projects. I made myself finish bags 3 and 4, using the grape/vine fabric and the matching lining. These bags are boxed, perfect for groceries. I'm trying to whittle down a pile of fabrics designated for Mors bags and build up my stock. Just because.

Newlyweds Tim and Kim Gibbons began the selection for their wedding quilt. Kim really liked Tumbling Blocks, and Tim is color-blind. He responds to values of a color rather than the color itself. So to create a 3-D effect, fabric selection is tricky. To see what I need I have to see what I have. Thus, the piles of various fabrics. These tumbling blocks will go on a black background.

And as long as I'm touching so many of my fabrics, I'm putting together a 16-fabric palette for the Jinny Beyer tote bag pattern. It's an interesting and frustrating exercise, but one that was made sweeter thanks to some CD's my grandson made for me. One was by Jason Becker, a guitar prodigy who was diagnosed with ALS when he was 19. He's now 40 and writing music using only eye movements. The other CD is by Yngwie Malmsteen, a fascinating Swedish multi-instrumentalist. Both have "symphonic rock" in common and are CD's I'll look forward to listening to again and again. The album by Jason Becker (youtube him - fascinating) led me down this path: what quilt would I make if I knew it was my last quilt. The tumbling blocks and color/value exercise are just out of my comfort zone. Challenging. Nice.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

And now for something completely different...

In the spring of 2005 Lynita and I finished our collaboration on this wall hanging for her home in Orland Park. It took us three sessions to get the fabric palate right, and during those sessions we hammered out the design. She wanted this piece to have depth with the illusion of fabrics advancing and retreating, and I think this piece has that element. Click on the quilt to see some of the fabric detail. This piece is different from anything else I've done, and I like the result. Recently Lynita and I spoke, and she says she is still thrilled with it. 56" x 76"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Let the Celebrating End!

It's been a full week of celebrating, starting with John turning 70 Monday and ending with my 60th birthday today. Sewing has been on the back burner. I did get out this piece I did in a "Convergence" quilt class in Madison, WI, almost 2 years ago to begin quilting it. So far the quilting is a mixture of straight lines with a walking foot and free motion work. Click on the picture for some of the details. I think I will stipple the borders - great way to practice free-motion work. Because I didn't choose these fabrics and probably won't hang this piece, I feel free to take some risks and try some thread work.

It's nice to have birthdays, but it's also nice to have them over with and get back to normal!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Simple Baby Quilt

 One of the things I love about my quilt blog is that it's been a diary/record of what I have done. I know I should have been more diligent about keeping track of my work. Yesterday I was transferring a huge file of photos from my old laptop to a flash drive (lesson learned after losing all of my pictures from Turkey) and came across this quilt that I should have blogged about in March 2007. Cathy and I have been friends for over 50 years. Her daughters have married, and both have had 2 children. This quilt is for Cathy's only grandson Bradley. At the time I had just moved into my new quilting studio and was agog with projects and my college roommate's death. This quilt for Bradley is a simple one - horizontal stripes of varying widths of fabric - and simply quilted. This quilt may be simple, but the visual payoff is a big one. 44" x 60"

Speaking of big payoffs, today is my husband John's 70th birthday. Huge in so many ways! His hands are barely visible at the top of Bradley's quilt.
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