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.

Amy’s Color My Quilt

Yes, this appears to the be the week of Color My Quilt.

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

I decided that I would start work on Amy’s Color My Quilt piece right away. I used it as leaders and enders while I sewed fabric pieces that didn’t require a 1/4″ foot. It was a good plan as I have made enough progress to hand it in today even if I do nothing else.

Don’t get the idea that I was doing a shoddy job. I was eyeballing a seam allowance rather than using the 1/4″ foot guide so I could make progress, but not being shoddy. If anything most of the seam allowances are larger than 1/4″.

Of course, I want to do more. I think it needs more blue. If I don’t do anymore, I’ll be happy and not embarrassed to give what I have to Amy.

Color My Quilt WOW

The BAMQG meeting was….sometime in the recent past. I have a lot going on and can’t quite remember.

Karen M. Color My Quilt
Karen M. Color My Quilt

Anyway, one fabulous thing that happened was that Karen M brought her finished ‘Color My Quilt’ piece. I thought it looked fabulous. She talked quite a bit about how she put it together and where she added strips and bits and pieces.

Keeping the colors in the same family with a bit of spark really made this quilt come together.

Karen was asked to do a workshop on teaching people to put their own pieces together. She may do a hands on tutorial at the next meeting.

MS Color My Quilt

Michelle's Color My Quilt
Michelle’s Color My Quilt

The Color My Quilt project reared it’s lovely head again and I got busy making something for Michelle. My goal was to use my scraps, though I was determined not to skimp and paw through the fabric closet if there were no appropriate scraps.

One of Michelle’s words was shiny and I found some fabric that had a lot of shine, so I grabbed that. I also found some perfect purples. I was embroiled very hard in another project and this little piece allowed me to play a bit.

Creative Spark #15: Doubt

Remember the Crazies in Spark #4? I think Doubt is related, but the Crazies prevents us from doing things while Doubt makes **me** think I can’t do something and should just continue on as I am. Doubt prevents me from taking risks. Not knowing the outcome is scary.

Bloomston says we have to trust the process. She says to “befriend your doubt…. Maybe even nicely ask your doubt to leave.” (pg.65). Hhmm. I have never tried this. She says that “When we are trying to get rid of something, we expend a lot of energy and we are unwittingly feeding it.” (pg.65). This is interesting and really makes me stop and think. If I have doubts, are they creating other doubts – inviting their friends to the party?

Bloomston has four ways of removing doubt: Rituals, Music, Affirmations and Talismans. Rituals spoke to me most. We do not “…have enough rituals in our modern culture…” (pg.65). To each his own, but I feel this is true for myself. I have created some quiltmaking rituals:

  • I turn on all of the switches and things in the same order.
  • I check all of my tools: are they in the right place? Are there any issues I need to resolve?
  • then I get started with the step I have set up unless I have been working through a construction problem in my mind and am ready to tackle it.
  • When I finish for the day, I always set up the next step so I can get started right away when I have a moment.

Perhaps I have more rituals, but I will have to think about what they are.

Carrie Bloomston describes a talisman as “…an object believed to contain certain magical properties that may provide good luck or fortune.” (pg.66). I definitely have talismen. I have a little shrine of photos of people closest to me. In that same space I have some objects that I care about: a shell, a smooth glass heart, some rocks with words – courage, peace, healing – carved into them. I also have a rotating ATC and a few other things there as well. There are a few places where I have placed things I care about. I guess these all could be called mini-shrines. I never really thought about it because I have created these instinctively, but these are my talismen.

What are your rituals?

What are your talismen?

Nota bene: we are working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. Support the artist. There is a lot more to each spark than what I am writing and 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 several weeks ago.

More on Sew Day

I wrote about Sew Day the other day, I had more to say so here I am again.

Belinda's Block
Belinda’s Block

Belinda was making blocks for a donation quilt. I thought the design was great. It was great for all quilts, but especially for donation quilts.

The rectangles are 2.5″ x 4.5″, which is a size I am cutting for two future quilts, so not unfamiliar to me. The blocks can be made from any size rectangle as long as the rectangles are proportional.

Belinda used a Bali Pop, which looked really great. I thought that cutting rectangles from a variety of fabrics as I cut other fabrics up for my projects would be interesting as well – a scrappy look.

I figure that the blocks are about 12×12 finished, so making 9 would make a good sized donation quilt. I’ll see about making one once I have the other two, which are in process, finished.

Color My Quilt Part 2

Gerre's Color My Quilt
Gerre’s Color My Quilt

I finished Gerre’s piece on Sunday. I was almost done on Saturday, but had a bit more to do.

This did not come out as I envisioned, but I still like it. I saw that butterfly and it made me think of Gerre.

On both pieces, I had blocks on the mind. I really didn’t feel Improv in my piecing plan this time, so blocks it was. I had some leftover bits that I didn’t use, so I included them with the packet as well.

Creative Spark #14: Inner Kid Care

This chapter is about finding the original flame of your creativity. So many people I meet see one of my quilts and say something like ‘I could never do that’ or ‘I am not creative like you.’

Baloney.

What I do isn’t that special. I may get special results from my choices, but anyone can sew a straight line. Really. ANYONE. The key in this chapter is to read the text and think about it. Remember ‘images of your creative life as a child.” (pg.61).

I was fortunate that there was always plenty of opportunities at my house to be creative. We painted plaster 3D objects, we made stained glass and painted canvasses. The theme was not perfection but to make stuff and keep trying. the items I make are not always perfect, but I don’t get discouraged; I keep trying.

People I meet or know use negative self talk as the basis of their life, it seems to me. The phrase: ‘I did that terribly, which makes me a bad person’ is one of I heard in various iterations a million times, many times from women friends. It is VERY important to “replace those negative messages with some others. Take each of the negative messages” you thought “and write the opposite.” (pg.63). Then practice positive self-talk. Anytime something negative starts to escape your lips, spit it out (quietly) and say the opposite. It doesn’t make you cool to degrade yourself.

This chapter is all about exercises. If you only buy the book for this, buy and do these exercises.

Nota bene: we are working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. Support the artist. There is a lot more to each spark than what I am writing and 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 last week.

Creative Spark #13: Get in Your Body

The first thing I noticed about this chapter was the sidebar on the chapter’s image. It says “Phoenix, Arizona yoga teacher Anton Mackey encourages students to turn off their minds and look within by closing their eyes as they practice their yoga: ‘You don’t need to see the pose, you just need to feel it.’ Trust your body to take you where you need to go.” (pg.56).

What I thought it said was that the teacher could teach students to turn off their mind. I got a much more adamant message from the sidebar than what is actually there. I need someone to tell the way to turn off my mind, because when I am not listening to something (usually an audiobook), my mind is reeling. This chapter’s main message is that “…sometimes you just need to get out of your head.” (pg.57). I do need to get out of my head, but I also find that if I let my head roam free for awhile, it goes crazy at first and then settles down to some interesting and, possibly, enlightening commentary.

Some of this chapter is about moving your body. I don’t want to use the word exercise, which has a billion nasty connotations, but moving my body helps my mind. “Regular exercise increases the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood to the brain and body.”(pg.57). More blood to the brain means more creativity, right?

The whole package, blood, brain and quietening the mind, is about providing “…space between yourself and your thoughts.”… “For creativity, it is important to turn off the incessant chatter of your mind and to bypass the intellect…” (pg.57) I really believe this. I listen to audiobooks when I am sewing, but more and more I am turning off the story to just be with my fabric. Sometimes I get the monkey mind and incessant intercranial chatter. More and more, I get peace. It is practice.

Is it connected that I exercise regularly (and I am not trying to make anyone who doesn’t move as much as I do feel bad-I am not judging!)? “The mind often seeks the comfort of the rational solution, the safety of habits and the status quo. It’s filled with those dudes that limit us: critic, judge, axman of dreams.”(pg.58). These guys are quieter when I exercise. I don’t always push myself, but I do always get my heart rate up and sweat. The more I do those things, the quieter the monkeys tend to be.

“Creativity comes from innocence, openness, curiosity, and playfulness.” (pg.58) and there are other ways to achieve these things than exercise. Exercise, IMO, is kind of a shortcut. “Your rational mind doesn’t always serve you. It can impede your intuition and the strong messages you are receiving. Learn to turn it off so you can get to the business of tending to your soul,” (pg.58) improving your creative self and being creative more frequently and without fear.

Nota bene: we are working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. Support the artist. There is a lot more to each spark than what I am writing and 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.

Layer Cake Explosion Gets Started

Yes, I am starting another project. Mostly I am starting it because Daisy said I should and then the omens were good. I found a layer cake I liked at $15 off and found some American Made Brands background at a $1 off per yard. Perhaps this will be boyish enough for one of the nephews?

I couldn’t have done it without my recent travel. I got the layer cake (left) at Fabric Depot in Portland. That place is huge-HUGE and they were having a pretty good sale. Yes, both new items add to my fabric usage totals, but I am hopeful that I’ll be able to finish something larger than a handbag soon.

The charcoal is from Yoder’s in Shipshewana, Indiana. They had the whole line, which was awesome! I got a bit more than I needed, but you know, mistakes. The fabric is now washed so I can start cutting.

The quilt is called the Layer Cake Explosion. You can find the free pattern on Craftsy. Also, check out Daisy’s blog for more information. I did look at the templates for the alternate block and I am thinking I might do something else. I am not a fan of the way that little triangle looks. We will see.

The pattern calls for the Creative Grids Stripology Ruler. There is a YouTube video which shows you how to use this ruler. As much as I love rulers, I don’t think I will be using it. I think I will use my Accuquilt, though it is possible I don’t have the right die for the strip size. Stay tuned.

Creative Spark #12: Go Window Shopping

“Retail, in our capitalist society, has cornered the market on creativity in so many ways” (pg.53). I have to say that the opening line makes me happy and sad. Sad, because retail=shopping=spending money, sometimes unnecessarily. Happy, because creative people work in retail who create beautiful environments that are free to peruse. We have to just keep a tight hold on handbags and wallets. The opening line is a double edged sword throughout the discussion of this topic.

ColorPlay: Tableware original
ColorPlay: Tableware original

I always look into windows as I go past, especially in areas where there are small shops rather than chains. Some chains have great displays, but other all look the same.

The photo, left, used in a recent ColorPlay post, is an example of a great display I saw in Graz. In a way, it is an interesting example of repetition with variety. It is a display I enjoy looking at a fantasizing about buying and using at my house.

Additionally, “[t]he creative aspect of consumerism is that we are all curating our own story through the things we buy” (pg.53). While we can all curate our own story, stories from others creep in. Great Grandmother’s sewing cabinet has sentimental value. The antimacassars lovingly tatted by Aunt Margaret take up space in the linen cupboard. If you have someone with whom you have merged your life, their stories take up visual space as well. Also, we, usually, can’t buy everything in a line, so we have to fit in bits and pieces with the story we have already been creating at home. Sometimes, we get something home and it doesn’t fit at all with the story we have previously created. Then we have a choice of changing out everything or adding in an incongruous piece.

I find this to be true with fabrics. I love French General, but the colors don’t fit with my other fabrics. I get some of their dusky rose red home and find it looks dull and unappealing. I think this is why people like to buy lines of fabric. They know everything would go together.

I really like just wandering around a new city, looking in windows, checking out the various streets, photographing facades of buildings new to me.

Regardless, looking is free. Look, take a photo and be inspired by those who get paid to create beautiful environments. Commercial things I like to look at:

  • signs
  • window displays
  • whole display ‘rooms’ of furniture
  • wrapping paper
  • gift bags
  • repetition of items – like jars of candy, rolls of ribbon

I can’t use inspiration of the things around me if I don’t see them. “Being creative means wandering through your life like an openhearted warrior, paying attention to the world around you.” (pg.54).

Nota bene: we are working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. Support the artist. There is a lot more to each spark than what I am writing and 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.

Kelly’s Color My Quilt

The guild meeting was Saturday. It was a good time, but I wasn’t really in the mood for some reason. Last week was busy and I had a lot of people to deal with in stressful situations, so I might have just been overloaded with external stimulus. Still, I was glad I went.

I always feel like I am offloading a truck when I go to a BAM meeting. I hand off donation quilts, pet beds, donation blocks, free table items. At the meeting last weekend I also had a Color My Quilt piece to show and give.

Kelly's group of Color My World chunks
Kelly’s group of Color My World chunks

It was Kelly‘s month and she she had an interesting idea. The responses were very cohesive, I thought, which was great. Some others seem to think we weren’t doing the challenge right, but I like cohesion in a quilt, so I thought this group was very successful.

My Color My Quilt Piece for Kelly
My Color My Quilt Piece for Kelly

My piece is at the top and I was pretty happy with it. It was one of the largest, as you can see. As someone pointed out, I don’t make small quilts. 😉

I learned this technique when I took my second quiltmaking class at Fort Mason from Sonya Lee Barrington back in the Dark Ages. I really had fun using it this time. It was nice to make swooping curves. I didn’t want to use black and didn’t have the Pepper that Kelly suggested on her sheet, so I stayed with brights.

There was some discussion about ‘chunks’ at the meeting.I have used free form piecing on two of the pieces. I thought I used that technique on all of them, but I made a checkerboard for Cheryl’s. This has led me to think about what could be a chunk besides free form piecing. I know a strip of Flying Geese could be a chunk, but blocks seem to be out of favor in terms of chunks. If I get a month, it probably won’t be until next year, so I have a long time to think about it.

Kelly seemed pretty happy with her chunks. I talked with her about her thoughts regarding putting them together. Obviously, it is too soon to really know what she will do. In the course of the discussion, it occurred to me that I could make chunks to intersperse among those from friends and that could help to bring the different pieces together.

So far, I have participated in:

This month is Gerre’s month and I have to get busy on her piece as I have a lot going on between now and the next meeting.

Creative Spark #11: Jar of Markers

The picture on the title page of this chapter speak to me in a way that is hard to explain. The picture is of two full pottery jars, one of felt markers and one of colored pencils. The jars are full and the variety of each says that the person who sits near them has whatever they need to draw or color whatever they want to draw or color. Carrie Bloomston calls them ‘artful bouquets’ (pg.48), which I think is a fitting description.

Bloomston writes “No matter if your creative passion is playing guitar or glassblowing, you need a jar of markets or colored pencils on your dining table (or some other table that you sit at regularly)…..They sit in the center of the dining table where we eat every day, three times a day…., like an artful bouquet of creative possibility.” (pg.49) I adore this idea. I am sad I didn’t think of it when the YM was small. We had pens, felt tip markers, paint and paper galore, but we always had to get it out. There was never a moment of whim that could be fulfilled in an instant. “No matter what your creative fantasy is, you need ready access to writing, doodling, planning, and sketching tools. Creativity can strike at any moment, and you want to be ready for it when it does.” (pg.49)

She goes on to say that creative ideas are ephemeral and flit away as easily as they came. I am sure you have seen shower noteboards, which must mean that that rote activity is what people need to churn out ideas. I am amazed that office blocks don’t have shower cubicles yet. “the jar of pencils is a butterfly net for those fleeting thoughts and ideas. If you can capture them in their pure, raw state, you have the makings of a new idea, a new beginning.” (pg.49)

Carrie tells us that the jar of pens is an emblem, but it is also a reminder…”they “will quietly call to you, gently reminding you to listen to the call of your heart.” (pg.49). She shows reminders in other people’s studios: rolls of fabric, a bowl of embroidery floss.

I find that my cell phone camera is a wonderful tool, not for the pictures that it takes but for the reminder that I can take pictures and, therefore, must look at things I see in my daily travels in order to notice them so I could photograph them. Although Instagram can be a little bit of a competition, it is a tool that can be used to post reminders, if that works for you. Scrolling through the photos always reminds me to go and be creative, if for no other reason than so I can show something.

As with other chapters/sparks, this one has a to do list of things we must do to remind us to be creative.

Nota bene: we are working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. Support the artist. There is a lot more to each spark than what I am writing and 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 about a month ago.

BAMQG Design Wall

SIL's Design Wall
SIL’s Design Wall

We had Craft Night at SIL’s the other night. Her design wall was awash with BAMQG projects.

One thing that is cool about this is that SIL never belonged to any guilds (that I remember her talking about) when she lived back East. The other thing is that she does more of the various challenges than I do.

  1. SIL's Design Wall n.2
    SIL’s Design Wall n.2

    The first project is the text project. SIL is smart and makes small projects for the challenges. The blue fabric is a text print and her piecing of the striped fabric is truly genius.

  2. The green and pink piece is actually a quillow. That fabric was truly a challenge for SIL as she normally works in a different palette.
  3. The blue and white square and rectangle piece is the latest challenge from BAMQG. This year’s theme is scraps and the first challenge has to do with using scraps to make a piece from squares and rectangles. I like the white as I think it adds a lot the the piece.
  4. You might recognize the postage stamp blocks from the various posts I have written about donation blocks and quilts. SIL is using sashing on hers as I often do.

There is a certain cohesiveness on her design wall that appealed to me.

Color My Quilt – Cheryl

Cheryl was fortunate enough to grab the February spot and her piece was the second on which I worked. As I said Saturday, I had two pieces on which to work right off the bat. I missed the February meeting, but got my hands on the color sheet and made a piece.

Cheryl's Color My World
Cheryl’s Color My World

For some reason I wanted to do something a bit more straight-laced and block-like. It couldn’t be too straight-laced, so decided on a checkerboard.

Kelly is next and I am curious to see what she comes up with as her colors.

I have making my own color sheet on my list. I have an idea in mind, but need to find a photo. I’ll wait a few months so I can see what other people bring to the meeting. I doubt my slot will come up before next year.