A Little Happiness in the AM

I was out walking one morning last week. It was dark and I was trudging along with my headlamp providing a small circle of light in front of me. I caught a glimpse of something on the curb in front of me and was excited to see this lovely collection of painted rocks and shells…

…..or in my case HAPPINESS!!!

It put a smile on my face and a bounce in my step!!!

Inspiration Tuesday

Today’s inspiration comes from a trip to China back in 2011. We spent 5 weeks in the city of Kunming and I spent much of that time wandering around Green Lake, in the middle of the city.

One of my favorite things was to watch the various exercise classes that took place around the lake. In particular, these ladies (whom I have named the “Umbrella Dancers of Green Lake”) captured my eye…..

I have already started working up some of their poses for a possible project!!

Five years ago…..

There are certain things in each of our personal histories that we will NEVER forget!!! It may be a wedding, a birth or even a death.

Sometimes though it is an accomplishment and that is what I am remembering today.

In October of 2015, Michael and I participated in a 10 day trek in the Himalayas, climaxing at Annapurna Base Camp!! On October 8, 2015 we reached what seemed to be the top of the world…..

At the top with our guide Badri

After 6 hard days of climbing stairs and crossing rivers, we were there!!

The scenery was astounding…..

….and the sense of accomplishment was huge!!!

Interestingly, one of my favorite parts of the day was spent by myself in a dry lake bed, just enjoying the sight of the mountains surrounding me and hearing the glaciers breaking and falling on far slopes

Naturally, when I got home there had to be a quilt about this trip and inspiration started with the Buddhist shrines and Stupas that we passed on our journey and also the prayer flags that fluttered in the breeze.

Those inspirations and ruminations resulted in “Himalayan Hallows”……

I was pleased when it was accepted as into the “Tactile Architecture” exhibit in 2017 and loved that it traveled during that year.

This is what I wrote about the quilt for the exhibit and I think that it is the best description that I could ever give…..

I almost feel that this quilt should be called “Serendipity” because so many things happened during the construction that were not planned by me but ended up being exactly what I wanted to portray.  I started the project knowing that I wasn’t sure how I would complete it and  that at any point, I might ruin it, but decided that I just wanted to enjoy the process and see what happened.

As I worked on it, I thought about our 10 days of trekking to the Annapurna Base Camp and how the mountain called Machapucherie was always in our view.  It is the highest peak portrayed in the quilt.

I also fondly remembered the Nepalese guides and porters who assisted us on this journey, and of the great care that they showed for each of the trekkers.  I  remembered how hard it was to say goodbye to them at the end of the trip and how we waved and waved until they were out of sight.

Finally, as I worked, I could smell the  wood smoke pouring from the teahouses and hear the sound of  the bells that hung around the necks of the pack animals that walked the trails with us. 

My  husband and I are privileged to have the opportunity to travel overseas often and I love making quilts that come from these journeys, but this one will always have a very special place in my heart and in my mind.

Crumbs complete!!

Yesterday I wrote about the start of the crumb block quilt design phase. Today I have to actually put my thoughts together into a cohesive design!!!

The first decision was to have the geese move in a left to right direction so that you can follow them across the quilt. This also meant that the crumb block would float to different corners of the block…..

The black block was going to be in the center, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to add flying geese to it so tried just putting borders around it…..

I liked that better, but it looked a bit bland, so I added a small strip of a multi-color fabric that I found on the shelf…..

…and really like the way it separated the black block from the others.

In the final piecing, I made the strip a bit wider and probably should have centered it better in the borders, but I am still happy with how it looks….

Let me say once again how pleased I am with having all of my fabric out so that I can see it at one time. I would NEVER have remembered this multi-color fabric as it would have been in a completely different box!!!

My plan was to go up the next day and pick some borders but, the more that I looked at the quilt, I didn’t want to add anything else to it. So this top is FINISHED!!!

I really like this layout design and can see where it would work with almost any 8 inch block. I am looking forward to doing some more playing with it!!

Cleaning up the Crumbs

A few weeks back, I posted about making crumb blocks and showed three that I had finished. A few days later I finished 6 more so ended up with 9 finished blocks……

They were luscious but now the question was “what to do with them”!!!

My first decision was to finish each block with a one inch black border….

I kept thinking about flying geese and decided to experiment on the green block. This was my first attempt…..

Nope….the back polka dot is TOO much!!!

Second attempt……

No again….the grey is too bland!!!

How about a mottled black…..

Okay, I like that…..let’s try another one…..

YES…..we have a winner!!

I spent the next few hours at the machine madly sewing flying geese. I do love when the pieces back up behind the needle…..

….except when I realize that I ran out of bobbin thread ELEVEN geese ago!!!!

I did make one other decision about the black block…..

I felt that the white was too prominent but rather than re-piecing it, I simply got out a grey Fabrico marker and toned down the whites…..

It isn’t greatly different but I think that it is better.

Now to figure out the layout and borders!!!!

And we’ll have fun, fun fun…..

These arrived……

…..SIX new Westalee rulers designed to make wonderful wreath/circular designs!!!!

I immediately pulled out the first one and started playing!!! My first choice was the Spin-E-Fex #11…..

I was happy to see that each ruler came with a long strip of grip tape!!

I started out with the one of the simplest designs that can be made with this this ruler…..

This was quilted by placing the more rounded point at the center of the block…..

….and stitching all the way around the ruler….

When you get back to the center, you simply line the ruler up on the next registration mark……

….and sew again!!

The second design that I made used the same ruler but alternated which end was placed at the center…..

The final design used 16 registration marks and quilted each round with the ruler in the same orientation. I had one small slip-up but it still looks good…..

These are only a few of the designs that can be done with this one ruler…..and I have FIVE other new ones to play with after that!!!

Travel Log Quilt #4

The next quilt in my “Travel Log Quilt” series is one that was made from a trip that my daughter, Jenny, took back in 2006.   Now I know that this isn’t MY travel quilt, but I had been to the same area LONG before digital cameras were a thing, so I claim it anyway.

She was a Freshman at University of Georgia and decided to do “May-mester” (a short 2 week term) in Australia.  Since she had been born in Australia this seemed to be the most natural thing for her to do!! She had a wonderful time there, studying the flora and fauna of such an amazing continent.

Probably her favorite part of the trip was time spent on the ocean in the North-eastern state of Queensland.  She enjoyed snorkeling, sky-diving (NOT part of the course) and watching the sea turtles as they made their way from the nest to their home in the ocean.

When she returned with photos from the trip, I was enamored with this picture of a gorgeous sea turtle floating along in the ocean………

….and also these photos of other undersea creatures……

At the time I was doing a lot of work with photos in quilts and wanted to do something that mixed the photos and fabric.   I started out by setting up a “new” photo that placed the turtle slightly off-center with lots of ocean surrounding……

Each of the lines in the photo represents a small portion of the ocean that I “grabbed” from somewhere else in the photo. It looks choppy here, but the final printing looked great. I printed this photo on fabric using “Printed Treasures” fabric and then started adding”stuff to it.

The three yellow and black fish are all the same photo but just printed in different sizes. They are appliqued to the ocean…..

The reef picture was also printed but I placed it over some fabrics that had a similar look…..

Back then I didn’t have the confidence to free-hand the thread corals but drew them on a wash-out stabilizer, sewed them in place, and then washed the stabilizer away.

The other small fish were simply cut out and appliqued in place without any detail added. I really wanted to give the impression of a school of fish swimming along……

Finally, I added a fabric “coral” and then thread painted over it…..

I was SO pleased with the final quilt…..

“No Barriers”

I loved mixing the photo prints, fabrics and thread work, and I loved the way the quilt spilled out into the border!!

But mostly, I love that it is a fun reminder of Jenny’s trip to Australia……

Inspiration Tuesday

Back in 2011, Michael and I enjoyed spending a week in Thailand with two sets of friends that we knew from Australia. We had 2 days in Bangkok and the rest of the time in Chiang-Mai. While there we visited an elephant preserve and spent many fun hours there. The post about the day can be found HERE.

As we were wandering around enjoying all of the amazing animals, this little guy did a ballerina pose for the camera…..

He has stayed in my mind for many years and I think that it might be fun to make a collage quilt using”Ballerina Boy” as the focus. Who knows, I MIGHT even go out of my comfort zone and do him in non-traditional colors…..but don’t hold your breath about that!!! I mean, they call it a “comfort zone” for a reason!!!

I’m being mysterious again!!

On the first of each month, we are given the next clue in our “Morewood Mystery” quilt presented by Meadow Mist Designs.

This month was fairly easy…..just making some four patches and another patch that will become part of an Irish Chain design.

The instructions called for using a “WOF” (width of fabric) for each set of patches, but since I was going with a scrappy approach, I decided to use lots of smaller strips…..

After they were all sewn together, it was time to Sub-cut them into 30 units. I did a video of this process giving a hint about an easier way!!

After the 4 patches were done…..

…..it was time to make the other units. It would have been good if I had realized that these two units are NOT the same……

Twenty-three of the ones on the left had to be un-sewn and re-done in the correct orientation!!!

But at the end of the day, step three was completed…..

Now I just have to wait a month to keep going!!!