Making Bullseyes, Part 1

Yes, I am experiencing a period of creative lack of focus. I am all over the place, working on lots of different projects, starting new things and thinking about new ideas…and not finishing anything. Normally, this behaviour makes me crazy. I like to focus and really delve into a project and think about it hard, but at the moment I am happy to just be working on something creative. This will create a creativity chaos later, but I keep telling myself that it will shake out… later and I will be able to pick up the pieces and create order…later.

As mentioned in my Second Cup of Tea post, I am back to working with Julie and Adrienne on our Bullseye project. There are links to previous quilts in the project, so go look at that post if you have no idea what I am talking about.

I finished sewing the circles on to Julie’s backgrounds yesterday. Nothing like people relying on you to get me going. Now I am I working on cutting out the backs of the circles before I send them off to Adrienne for the next round. Above are Julie’s squares with my circles on top. These are not all of them as they would not all fit on my design wall.

These are Adrienne’s backgrounds

Above are Julie’s backgrounds, which you can also see above with my circles on them. If you want to make bullseye blocks, first you find two friends, then you cut 9″ background squares. We actually cut them 10″ inches so we can trim them to the correct size later. I am a big fan of trimming after working with TFQ on many projects.

This ends our agreed upon instructions. What follows is how I make them. Whether or not this is correct, I don’t know. It works for me. If you want another opinion, take a look at Mary Tendall Etherington and Connie Tesene’s book, Quilts from Aunt Amy. It has all the sizes and the original inspiration.

After you have cut the background squares, fold them in quarters and press, then send them to your friend. Once that is done, you need to cut the same number of 8″ squares. Then press in quarters again. Pressing in quarters helps you line up the circles on the background. Aunt Amy doesn’t tell you this as far as I remember.

Above are the 8″ squares folded and press with one of Julie’s backgrounds.

I have paper templates from the previous bulleyes- one for each size of square. I place the 8″ paper template, folded, on the folded fabric square, being careful to line up the openings and folds of the paper and the fabric.

Then I cut…
Once the circle is cut, I open it up, line up the pressed fold lines of the background and the circle and, voila’, the piece is ready to sew.

1000 Journals Project

I just finished reading Jennifer New’s book, _Drawing from Life: the journal as art). Thank you, Pam Rubert! I love this book. It has lots of great inspiration and knowing about why people create visual journals provides the background that my brain needs to do it myself.

In DFL, New talks to Brian Singer, the creator of the 1000 Journals project, which can be found at the website below. The 1000 Journals project is project where Mr. Singer sent 1000 journals out into the world to inspire average people to rediscover their creative selves.

Unfortunately, Mr. Singer has only received one journal back and he says that the odds of getting one to work on is like winning the lottery. As a result, he has created a new project, the 1001 Journals project and one of the subprojects is possible.

I would like to create a journal, which people who read this blog work on. I would like to fill it up with your art and send something to Mr. Singer that reflects the tone of this blog and its wonderful readers. If you are interested in participating, make a comment on this post and leave some way for me to contact you (not your snailmail address-I’ll get that from you later). If there is enough interest, I will work something up.

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The 1000 Journals Project is an ongoing collaborative experiment
attempting to follow 1000 journals throughout their travels. The goal
is to provide a method for interaction and shared creativity among
friends and strangers.

Those who find the journals add something to them. A story, drawing,
photograph, anything really. Then they pass the journal along, to a
friend or stranger, and the adventure continues.

Unfortunately, you’ve got a better chance of winning the lottery, then
of getting a hold of a journal. That’s the problem when there are only
1000 of them. Now, you’re best bet is to check out 1001 Journals where you can sign up for a
journal, or launch your own traveling, location, or personal journals.

You can also check out the new book, which contains entries from
journals around the world. It looks just like a journal, has these
crazy stitched pages inside. Check it out on Amazon.

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Quiltmakers, I’d like to Introduce you to the Librarians

Kathy over at Pink Chalk Studio made a small comment on her blog that made my day. Go visit your public library!

I check a LOT of books out at the library. Bless the librarians that pull the
good stuff and put it on display. Here’s some photos from the book href=”″>The American
by Roderick Kiracofe. Everything old is truly new again.

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I have been looking at my switchplates and cringing…well my whole house, actually, but the switchplates are totally doable. I happened on to PCS and found this post. Thanks!

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Switchplates were the March 2008 theme for my Out of the Box creativity challenge. I took some in progress photos but not a full-blown tutorial. I even forgot to take a stylized photo of the one I traded that night, very unlike me! Fortunately making these are extremely addictive so I had plenty more for that purpose. Guess which is Leil’s and which is Caitlin’s?

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A Second Cup of Tea

I was incredibly pleased for The Child when he received a package from famous quilt artist, Pamela Allen last week. In it she had created a quilt-let inspired by a drawing that The Child did while she was doing a teaching-visit last year.
It is so fantastic to see her interpretation of The Child’s drawing in fabric. I especially love her quilting designs. Can you see the trees at the top?

The Child, admittedly, was a bit mystified, but I told him that Pamelala was a famous artist who had interpreted his fabulous design in her medium. I think that his reaction was a good example of how we, as a society, devalue, and as a result squelch, what children can do. I will hang the piece in his room to remind him that he has value and that other adults, besides his adoring family member-fans, think he does good work.

Normally, Saturday mornings, if I am not rushing off somewhere immediately, are filled with Qi Gong, cups of tea and bottles of water, Saturday morning cartoons, and me trailing around the house in my pajamas picking up the debris from the week, loading the dishwasher and generally reveling in being unfocused. This morning is somewhat different. The boys took off at the crack of dawn for a hike, so I have the house to myself for several hours. The peace and quiet are a treat.

I have been struggling for at least a week, probably longer, with an exhausted kind of malaise that has no discernible medical cause. A large part of it stems from my day job, which has turned, somewhat, into a source of anxiety and stomach problems. I am on the BRAT diet almost full-time now, daring to eat salsa and guacamole only on Friday nights, so I have two days to recover before the week starts again. Some of it stems from the creative juices that constantly inhabit my mind, demanding attention, about which I have no time to do satisfy their greed. Some of it stems from the fact that my wireless network is not working properly so my workroom does not get Internet access very well anymore (those of you with no wireless or who have dial-up connections are calling me a spoiled brat right now and you would be correct). This forces me, if I am working up there to constantly run up and down the stairs to look up something on the web or write in my blog. With the malaise, I haven’t been doing it and you, dear readers, have suffered. Some of it stems from the constant drudgery of modern living. Finally, the constant blaring of bad news on the radio and headlines creates a feeling of limited options that produces further anxiety and is not conducive to anything more than going to sleep early or writing book reviews on Goodreads.

On the positive creativity front, I think there was only one evening this week that was so packed that the Child and I did not engage in our creativity time. Oh the Fury and Wrath of the Child for the few activities he deigns to engage in that prevent him from drawing with me at night! The other nights, though, while The Child draws cartoons furiously with his Sharpie in a giant drawing book, I have been cutting purple squares for a new sibling to Feelin’ Blue and Seeing Red, called, for the moment, Passionate Purple. I may change it to the Passion of the Purple, but I don’t want people to think about Lent and the death of religious figures when they look at my quilt, so I may not.

Friend Julie and Friend Adrienne have already cut their squares. The ones I need to work on arrived from Julie yesterday. Thus, I am the only slacker in this project right at the moment. Despite my incredible exhaustion, it was mentally easy to allow The Child to drag me upstairs for our creativity time. I have to cut 40 squares of 10×10″ each. I was able to cut about 25 last night, so I am well on my way. I can finish today and send them off on Monday.

One fun thing about this project (and all of the bullseye projects) is that I get to look at fabrics that I haven’t looked at in a while. I cut into some fabulous purple batiks and looked at some pieces that had strange shapes cut out of them, trying to remember what I made!

In the last little while, I made two more of the Eco Market totes in 15 minute increments over the period of several weeks (damn straps!). I did spend all day last Sunday sewing the bags together, breaking the cycle of 15 minute creativity.

This is my bag. As I mentioned in a previous post, the idea of these bags is wonderful to me. These bags make a relatively easy series (except, of course, for the damn straps!) and they use fabric in a different way than quilts. They are also useful.

In this version, I made the straps with a piece of fabric filled with batting. I like them even if they were a bit fussy to make. The straps are a bit fluffy, but don’t look fluffy. Since I usually drag around two books, a journal, and a bottle of water MINIMUM, I am glad to have straps that aren’t digging into my shoulder.

The fabric was a gift from a friend, who lives in France part of the year. She brought me back some big pieces when she first bought her French house. Awhile ago, I used some bits of the fabric for a small decorative bathroom curtain before we remodeled, but had large pieces of it left. I decided that those big pieces would be great for a bag, so I made two!

Above is the bag for my friend. It came out well (above), as well, but the thing I learned is that it is too confusing to make two bags at once. I had a problem with the fabric (not enough!), so I had to dig around around to find some fabrics that would go with the real French fabrics. If I had made one bag first, I would have known I wouldn’t have enough fabric to make the second and could have arranged the fabric differently when making the second bag.

Nevertheless, it should come as no big surprise that it was no problem to find a couple of extra fabrics that were suitable. One was an old fabric (see the blue kind of swirly fabric next to the fabric with leaves in the picture below? or the straps in the full picture of my bag a couple of photos above). That blue was one of the first quiltmaking fabrics that I bought. I found that I could never cut into it, because I really liked it. I wanted to use it in a project that I could admire frequently. The color blue is not really a color that I use or wear a lot, so it has been languishing. Now I know why. 😉

The gold with the blue jaggedy, swirls motif is another I found as well as the one from which I cut the vase motifs.

At the last minute I decided to add the large pocket to the outside of my bag. A large pocket is very useful and I don’t know why I considered NOT adding it. As you can see from the photo above, I had to piece together some leftover pieces of fabric to get a piece large enough to make the pocket. You need double what you see there, because the pocket is lined. This task, though frustrating, because it felt like I could never finish these bags, was great because it allowed me to fussy cut that little vase and use it on the outside. Also, instead of finishing the pocket with a button, I sewed down one side of the vase to create two pockets out of the big pocket. There is a smaller pocket on the inside and by sewing over it, it was divided and I created a perfect spot for a pen or pencil.

The smaller pocket looks like the above, but the one pictured is inside of the bag pocket not the inside of the big pocket pocket — if that makes any sense. I turned one of the bags inside out in order to get a picture of the pocket. Shooting into the bag didn’t work very well for various reason, especially because I don’t have four hands.

This is the entire bag turned inside out so you can see the placement of the pocket. This pocket is not in the pattern and I realized, as I was about to sew the bag together, that since the inside pocket was not part of the pattern it didn’t remind me to sew the raw edges. DUH. I turned under the edges and sewed them neatly so that pocket wouldn’t fray apart with use. This pocket is good for a transit pass and, perhaps, a bit of emergency cash.

This is the same vase as is on my bag. I did the same fussy cutting for my friend’s bag as well.

So, dear readers, I am on my third cup of tea and if you have made it this far, I hope you haven’t given up on my musings. I am still musing away. I’ll try to figure out the new work processes that I require so I don’t leave you hanging again.

National Quilting Day This Weekend

A fellow librarian sent me the note about National Quilting Day. Our plans were changed, so i will be able to stay home and, perhaps, even sew.

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National Quilting Day

National Quilting Day 2008Join us in the celebration of the 17th Annual National Quilting Day on March 15, 2008. Whether you celebrate with your quilting friends or alone, take time to reflect on the rich traditions of quiltmaking and the contributions to family and community made by quiltmakers for many generations.

National Quilting Day 2008

The NQD logo for 2008 is a block called “Eight Hands Around”. In her block reference book, Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, Barbara Brackman cites the first publication of the pattern in 1895 or earlier in the Ladies Art Company #149. LAC is listed as the first mail-order quilt pattern company – another tradition generations of quilters have cherished: shopping from catalogs (and now the Internet) and waiting anxiously for delivery of those special packages!

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Visual Journaling Work

I have been spending 10-15 minutes each night doing something creative. I like DS to draw each evening to kind of settle down, so I spend the time with him doing the same.

I have a bunch of special (perhaps handmade?) paper from somewhere and I have been trying to use it for various things. Mostly, I want to do some different things and do some quicker work.

I was thinking about simple shapes in quilts and decided to use the paper to replicate what I had been thinking about. These are the two pieces I made.

Happenings in the Workroom

I am a little busy right at the moment. Too much to do over the weekend, so I didn’t get to catch up, so here is a quick post for my faithful readers.

This is what is on the Design Wall:
Here is what is on the floor:
I recently spent some time cataloging my books and the above are the newest.

Here is some progress on the Flowering Snowball (Cross Blocks):

Ode to Pamdora

Sometime ago Pam RuBert, who has a new blog address BTW, recommended the Jennifer New book on journaling.

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Drawing from Life

November 19, 2007


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I probably went on and on about how I couldn’t find it at the library in a previous post, so I won’t bother here. I solved the problem by finally biting the bullet and buying it. While my flight was delayed I started to read it and it is a GREAT book. I almost like New’s words better than her illustrations, though the pictures of the journals are great, too. One of the quotes that I REALLY like is “journals are the working stiffs of creative life.” That phrase totally makes it ok to just mess around in a journal. I really like it.

Whirligigs and Pinwheels

You may remember the Whirligig/Wheel of Fortune/Whirling Star/Whirligig blocks that Jan over at Be*mused posted in June 2007.

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These were on my mind when I went to Seattle in February. When I got there I saw that TFQ had played around with this pattern after I posted and came up with the following

The above pattern scheme came about because she wanted dots, but didn’t want it to scream dots. So far she only has been playing with the project (you saw the other stuff she has been working on!) and who knows where it will go, but I hope it goes somewhere. I also can’t wait to see what Jan from Be*mused does with her blocks. Read the post, because she gives some good tips on piecing when using templates, as I mentioned before.