En Provence Progresses Slowly

En Provence - October 8, 2017
En Provence – October 8, 2017

I am slowly making progress on En Provence. You can compare my progress to the previous post’s picture.

I was able to spend time working on it on Saturday night and some of the day on Sunday. I was able to add a short row vertically on the right and put together a row that I will be able to add to the top soon.

You might be wondering why this piece is taking me forever. I haven’t yet put together blocks, so I have to put the blocks together before I can put together the rows. I need to watch placement of the fabrics. While the piece is scrappy, it is not a charm quilt and I’d like to keep like fabrics away from each other as much as possible.

This quilt definitely has fewer colors than I like, but the controlled palette really enhances the curved look of the piecing. I am so pleased with how this piecing is looking that I can’t stop looking at it. That surprises me since it is just a pattern, not much original.

Terrain Donation Quilt to be

Well, I seem to be quite lackadaisical lately with the posts. I thought I would have more time this week and, apparently, didn’t. I was sewing, so there is that.

At the retreat, I started to sew together some Terrain rectangles I had laying around. You might remember that I made the Renewed Jelly Roll Race from this line of fabric. it started out as a disaster, and ended up pretty well after. At some point in dealing with the disaster, I must have cut up these rectangles, but I really don’t remember doing it. I especially don’t remember WHY I might have done it.

Regardless, they have been laying around bugging me. I brought them along to the retreat and when I was sewing the Mostly Manor Lozenge blocks together, I used these as leaders and enders.

Terrain Donation Quilt
Terrain Donation Quilt

At Craft Night on Monday we looked at different layouts and eventually settled on the one shown.

SIL and I are working on this together.

I brought some white for another project and we used a lot of it to make the background. SIL plans to quilt it.


En Provence – Almost a Quarter

En Provence - almost a quarter
En Provence – almost a quarter

I made good progress on Saturday. I have nearly a quarter of En Provence sewn together. I probably need another row of the pink stars on the top and one the side to have a full quarter, but progress is being made.

I am pleased with the way it looks. I think it is turning out well. some of the light blues are a bit light and do blend with the text fabric background. I hope that will add interest. The larger squares I am adding in are working well. I am very pleased I decided to use a controlled scrappy palette. I think it gives the quilt a cohesion it wouldn’t otherwise have.

I am not sure when I will get to this quilt again, but I hope to finish it soon. I have to day that I kind of just want this piece done. I REALLY like, but I just want it done.

Color My Quilt – September

Joelle's Instructions - Color My Quilt
Joelle’s Instructions – Color My Quilt

I realized late last week that I really needed to get busy on Joelle’s Color My Quilt piece. I was prepared to start it early, as in right after the August meeting. Somehow time got away from me.

Like I did for Amy’s piece, I wanted to make something that Joelle could cut up and use to put the other pieces together. She also really wanted solids and the combination didn’t work for me.

I just started improv piecing. It probably isn’t challenging me at all, but I seem to be focusing on the color and worrying less about the actual design. I’d be a lot happier with this project if people were making blocks, but I understand that that is not the idea behind this project.

Joelle's Color My Quilt
Joelle’s Color My Quilt

I am pleased with my piece, especially the colors. I didn’t have enough solid scraps to do the whole thing in scraps, so I tried to keep it to tone-on-tones. When I started to stray, I stopped piecing. I didn’t intend for it to be so long and skinny, but that is the way it turned out.

ColorPlay: Kahlo Detail

Kahlo: The Bride Who Becomes Frightened....
Kahlo: The Bride Who Becomes Frightened….

The image I chose comes from the detail of a painting by Frida Kahlo called The Bride Who Becomes Frightened When She Sees Life Opened. You can find more of the interpretation of this painting on the FridaKahlo.org website. I saw this painting at the  Heard Museum in Phoenix. It was one of an exhibit that was only making one other stop in the US.

ColorPlay: Kahlo detail default
ColorPlay: Kahlo detail default

The default was very brown. I think it would make a good palette for a house. Someone else’s house – not mine, but the neutrals are appealing in some way. Perhaps I am getting used to them or am starting to be able to appreciate their value in the scheme of hues and tones.

ColorPlay: Kahlo detail n.1
ColorPlay: Kahlo detail n.1

I moved the circles around to any colors just to get some colors. There is a sherbet/sorbet feel to the first palette I made. I like the Kona Amber, though I think it looks more like a perfectly ripe apricot.


ColorPlay Sept 15 n.2
ColorPlay Sept 15 n.2

This example clearly plays off of number 1. Where the hues in n.1 blend more, this one shows more contrast. Not tons, but some. the Kona Earth looks much different that the Kona Honey above.

ColorPlay Sept.15 n.3
ColorPlay Sept.15 n.3

I made some changes to the circles to try to get some brighter colors and the pink kind of fulfilled that dream. I do think that the colors Rivera and Kahlo use are a bit on the dull side – not horrible, but not as bright as I was looking for. Still, the Deep Rose and Gold look great together.

ColorPlay: Kahlo detail - original
ColorPlay: Kahlo detail – original

Another detail I took was of this little owl. The fruit behind him/her makes it look like s/he has a big yellow beak, but I think the beak is actually small. I was fascinated by the feathers. I also liked the shape of his body. I don’t know if it is real or mythological owl (creature), but s/he is cute.

Clue 6: QST Finished

Finished QSTs
Finished QSTs

I finished Clue 6, which I described last week, and that is really all I got done today. I can’t decide if I am happy with the fabric choices or wish I had gone with the darker blues. I supposed I’ll have to see when I start putting the whole piece together.

That being said, I do like all of the fabrics individually so that has to count for something.

I did use the Marsha McCloskey Precision Trimmer. I bought this ruler a long time ago (see previous references to my love for rulers). I can’t remember ever using it, but it came in very handy for these QSTs. There is a dot that marks the center of different sizes of squares that helped me line up the ruler over each QST in a precise manner. Except for sliding all over the place, I was very pleased with the ruler. It worked like a charm I remedied the sliding with some True Grips.

I am also very pleased with the precision of the 6600. The quarter inch seam allowance is excellent, which makes for easy assembly of blocks. All in all a good day even though I didn’t accomplish much.

Creative Spark #18: The Pleasure Principle

I went to work on Tuesday still on a high from the sewing I completed over the weekend. I felt so good and wanted another day to prolong the feeling. I guess that is why it is so hard for those in recovery.

This spark is about seeking pleasure. “Your life is full and, no doubt, you have your hands full – with work, family, and other responsibilities. You probably don’t take many moments to check in with your desires because you are so busy working about everyone else’s” (pg.77). “Children seek pleasure at every turn. they don’t need reminders about how to have play, how to have fun, or how to make room for themselves. They know what feels good” (pg.77).

Bloomston asks what about ourselves?

Well? What about it?

I know that sewing makes me feel good. I must get a rush of endorphins when I accomplish certain tasks that my body craves, because I take every opportunity to sew.

Some of the challenge is about allotting limited resources (pg. 78). “Responsibilities, financial pressures, plans” (pg.78) and I would add guilt for doing something fun, “…are the reasons we forget to play and have fun” (pg.78). It is important to pursue creative activities that make you feel good otherwise you will forget how to be creative. Being creative requires practice. I find that I don’t flail around as much, because I am in the habit of being creative and I am in practice. I still struggle with the guilt of taking time to make quilts. I don’t know if I will ever get over the feeling that I am not doing something real. I may not get over it, but I don’t have to listen to the voice.

Ms. Carrie has a worksheet, which I think looks deceptively easy. the really good advice is “Unless you begin to uncover yourself from the bottom of the heaping, mountainous pile of your obligations and busyness, you might not get a crack of time to cultivate your creative self. That is why you need to get in touch again with what feels good, just for you. If you can begin to discover and uncover your desire, you can pursue the Spark” (pg.78).

Nota bene: we are working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. Support the artist. Play along. There is much more to each spark than what I am writing. The original chapters will help you. Go buy Carrie Bloomston’s book, so you get the full benefit of her fabulousness! You can see my book review, which is what started this flight of fancy.

You can find the last spark on the blog a few weeks ago.

ColorPlay: Cherry Tree

I had a hard time finding a picture this week. I am not sure why.

ColorPlay: Cherry Tree
ColorPlay: Cherry Tree

Still, I love cherry trees, so I went with one this time. This was taken a few years ago, but I still like the detail. I am curious as the palettes.

ColorPlay: CherryTree default palette
ColorPlay: CherryTree default palette

I don’t dislike the default palette this time. I am interested in that there are so many purples.

ColorPlay: CherryTree n.2
ColorPlay: CherryTree n.2

I moved the circles around to see about getting a more pink palette.

ColorPlay: CherryTree n.3
ColorPlay: CherryTree n.3

I decided, shockingly, to try and make a palette with neutrals. HA! Lots of grey. It would make a good guy quilt.

ColorPlay: CherryTree n.4
ColorPlay: CherryTree n.4

Next I focused on the green to see what I could make.

This was actually a good exercise and I am pleased.

Creative Spark #17: Inspiration

Dolores Street Decoration
Dolores Street Decoration

The first headline of this spark is “Follow Fireflies. it made me think of my ‘What If’ game. The first line also sent my mind spinning. It reads “Inspiration is everywhere you look” (pg.73). I had just been walking down a street I frequent when I saw the decoration/gargoyle on a house. I thought it looked like a semi-wild cat. I like the detail (new houses have no character) and was amazed that I can still find things to see and be inspired by on a street I have walked down many times. I think having a  camera in my pocket gives me incentive to look more carefully at the world around me.  Bloomston also says “it can be commonplace or holy. It can catch you unaware and take away your breath. It can leave you speechless” (pg.73). I think I tend towards the commonplace – looking at the world around me, taking inspiration from the line of some bricks or some green growing in the crack of a sidewalk. At certain times of the year – not summer where I live – the sky and clouds can be quite dramatic. When I travel, I often find views and cityscapes that take my breath away. Architecture often amazes me because of the sheer scale of buildings built without computers. Noticing shape and line that inspires us is what Bloomston calls “the fireflies” (pg.73). She says “when we step into a life of chasing the fireflies of inspiration, we are more able to get into a creative space” (pg.73).

I find that I worry less when I am looking at the world around and making an effort to see the details – the beauty of the world around me. Carrie says that by getting into a more creative space “we create a fluency between our so-called normal life and our creative life” (pg.73). I find that there is less of a difference between the lives or parts of our lives. That lessening of space makes it easier to move between the two. The author further says “inspiration is often just a pebble thrown onto the path. It is up to you to stop, stoop down, and investigate it” (pg.73).

Ms. Bloomston has four suggestions: “slowdown, daydream, unplug, have a net” (pg.74). Unplug speaks to me today. I have been listening to many, many audiobooks. Lately, I have to think a lot and I can’t keep track of the story, so I haven’t been listening to as many audiobooks. I realized that, while I was very much enjoying listening to stories on audio, I was escaping and keeping my mind entertained so it wouldn’t dwell on the political situation or other bad things with which I was struggling. Now that I have less time to listen, I am allowing my mind to wander a bit. It does go to the dark places, but not as often. By not engaging it with audio 24/7, I am giving it space to think creatively as well. I am getting back into the groove of daydreaming. I think I am also learning to let my mind wander and touch on various topics, let it make connections between things.

As usual, Carrie Bloomston has some worksheets (pg.75). Go get your copy and fill them out. Think about what you are writing as you fill in the worksheet and let it inspire your creativity.


Nota bene: we are working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. Support the artist. Play along. There is much more to each spark than what I am writing. The original chapters will help you. Go buy Carrie Bloomston’s book, so you get the full benefit of her fabulousness! You can see my book review, which is what started this flight of fancy.

You can find the last spark on the blog a few weeks ago.

DONE: En Provence Clue 4

En Provence, Clue 4 - Peaky & Spike
En Provence, Clue 4 – Peaky & Spike

Yep, I finally finished all of those Peaky and Spikes I talked about in July.

I thought I would never finish and while I was taking a piecing break last weekend I put all the rest of the undone pieces together and sewed.

I never thought I would finish this clue. I have to admit that I am getting sick of all of this prep and would like to sew some blocks together. I am fighting with myself about whether to sew a block or two together or to just follow the clues.

I just looked in the folder and I have two more clues, then I will be, presumably, finished.

The next thing I need to do is make a bunch of half square triangles. Now to figure out the colors.

Amy’s Color My Quilt Finished

Amy's Inspiration
Amy’s Inspiration

After hearing Karen talk about her quilt, I decided that I would do more of a strip piece for Amy, so she would have some pieces she could use to connect other pieces. I tried to keep the pieces long and thin-ish.

Amy's Color My Quilt piece in process
Amy’s Color My Quilt piece in process

Partway through the process, as I mentioned, I took out the piece and took a look at it.

I was trying very hard to adhere to the spirit of the words, but color balance kept creeping in to my work. In the case of color balance, left, of the in process piece, I thought it needed more blue towards the top.

After working through all of my thoughts and feelings, I am pleased with the way this came out. I worked on it over the course of several weeks in between other things until I ran out of time. I also focused on the placement of the color rather than the width of the strips, etc. I did try to keep the strips from getting to wide, though I really wanted it to be long, so some are quite wide.

Amy's Color My Quilt piece
Amy’s Color My Quilt piece

I wanted to make it about a foot longer, but ran out of time. I am pleased and hope Amy will be, too.

Colorplay: Glass n.2

AirBnB leaded Glass Window
AirBnB leaded Glass Window

I decided to use this photo again and try to make palettes with Kona colors and see the differences. Obviously, I am going to try to put the dots in the same place.

You can see my first effort, from last week. I used Bella Solids on last week’s post. It was an accident. I meant to use Kona, but Bella was turned on so I went with it.

Leaded Glass-default-Kona
Leaded Glass-default-Kona

The default palette is very similar to last week’s default. I guess if there are no neutral colored areas in the uploaded image, it goes with similar colors or as close to neutral as possible.

I do like that very dark, Kona Espresso as an addition to the pinks. I think I would swap out the Crimson, though it looks more purple than crimson to me, to allow the Espresso to shine more.

Leaded Glass - palette n.1-Kona
Leaded Glass – palette n.1-Kona

The obvious differences in my first palette are the first red is darker and pink is more blush than grape. The first three colors (from left) are the stars as they were in the first Bella palette.

Kona Pool is such a great color and the yellow, Kona Wasabi, though looking much brighter on the bottom is a nice addition. I am not fond of the sand, but I am sure it would be a good unobtrusive hue to help the others shine.

Leaded Glass n.2-Kona
Leaded Glass n.2-Kona

I gave up doing a scientific experiment and just had some fun. The next palette had a circus feel.

The colors are not pure primaries, so I don’t think it looks kid-like. I think it looks very cheerful. The Baby Pink as well as the Tomato keep the whole palette from being too much like a young child’s playroom.

Leaded Glass n.3-Kona
Leaded Glass n.3-Kona

I tried for another cheerful palette and got one similar to the circus palette above, but with greyer hues. Not completely, because Pool and the Citrus are VERY cheerful. I am not sure I have seen citrus show up in a palette before (it must have and I didn’t notice). The Ultramarine and Grass Green make this palette into one that the parents of the children above could use.

Leaded Glass n.4-Kona
Leaded Glass n.4-Kona

The blues stood out to me. Since I can resist them I made a palette with blues and greens – towards the darker, tending towards neutral.

The plum was an unexpected addition. I can’t pretend it just happened, because I put the circles in place. I was surprised at how well it went with the greens, especially the Celadon.

Leaded Glass n.6-Kona
Leaded Glass n.6-Kona

I guess the neutrals have gotten to me, because I couldn’t finish the exercise without a neutral palette.

One thing I noticed is that I have to really notice all the colors when I made so many palettes. I didn’t notice the dark brown, actually Cocoa, when I started on this exercise last week. The Kona Pepper looks more dark blue to me than black, but it adds a tinge of optimism to the palette.

Leaded Glass n.5-Kona
Leaded Glass n.5-Kona

The Pepper with its blue tinges sent me off to make one more blue palette.

The Ivy, which isn’t a favorite allows the Oasis and the Holly colors to shine. This might be might favorite palette, but I am also partial to n.2 above.

It is really a lot more fun to use a photo with many colors. I’ll have to find some others to use and do it again.


BAMQG Round Robin Returns…Again

Rhonda brought my BAMQG Round Robin back to me when we met at the CQFA meeting. I had to hunt around the blog for which challenge it came as I couldn’t remember. I also wanted to see the changes. I remembered that Kathleen worked on it and Kelly had it, but I couldn’t remember anything else about it. 🙁  Kelly had it for a long time and since she is much more into quilting than piecing, I wasn’t surprised to see no changes.

BAMaQG Round Robin
BAMaQG Round Robin

I remember Kathleen and I talking about ways to make the piece more horizontal as it started out very vertical. As it is now, it is very traditional in layout. It is turning into a  medallion quilt, which I don’t find that interesting.

Round Robin detail
Round Robin detail

The piecing is really good. I have asked for some other volunteers to work on the piece. We’ll see if anyone volunteers. If not, I will finish it and give it to a kid I know, I think. I don’t think I am really interested in working on it anymore.


Related Round Robin Posts

Colorplay: Glass

AirBnB leaded Glass Window
AirBnB leaded Glass Window

Today, I decided to try a photo that was super colorful. This is a leaded glass window I saw in a house on Guerrero Street. It is an AirBnB and my friend stayed there. I saw it when I dropped her off. the female shape in front of it is a statue. I am going to focus on the glass.

Apparently, I chose Bella Solids this time.

Leaded Glass- default palette
Leaded Glass- default palette
Leaded Glass palette n.1
Leaded Glass palette n.1

The first palette, always the default, is very grape heavy. It isn’t unpleasant at all. I am struck at the similarities in the colors chosen by the program. Although, the hues provided tend to be somewhat dusky, the Bella Off-White seems have a pink tone when put next to the grapes and pink fabrics.

My first palette looks very circus-y. The Bella Sunflower next to the Little Boy Blue looks very cheerful. I got the red – actually Mango – by moving the dot very slightly up on the same piece of glass.

Leaded Glass - palette n.2
Leaded Glass – palette n.2

The Bella Sprout really makes the second of my palettes. I wanted something different than the yellow, but was concerned about that Longhorn (gold-yellow). with the other colors, I think it works. This palette is probably my favorite.

Leaded Glass - palette n.3
Leaded Glass – palette n.3

My immediate reaction to the third of my palettes was that I didn’t like it. However, I looked again and while I have concerns about the Bella Avocado, I think, overall, it works.

The colors come from one flower and I know the light affected the colors appeared.

I might do this exercise again with Konas just to see the difference.


Final Tula Quilt

I wrote about the Tula quilt we were making for our friend Kelly who was moving to Scotland. We got together a few weeks ago to present the quilt. We had breakfast, chatted and made Kelly cry.

Kelly's Good-bye quilt 2017
Kelly’s Good-bye quilt 2017

Rhonda hosted the party and did the most work on finishing the quilt. Amanda and Gerre did the amazing job with the letters on the borders. Some of those pieces are tiny!

The rest of us made 2 blocks or the equivalent and did some of the quilting. The whole process was pretty fun and went smoothly.

Kelly's Good-bye quilt 2017 with peeps
Kelly’s Good-bye quilt 2017 with peeps