Thursday, August 27, 2015

Good save!

Several years ago I participated in a kind of round robin quilt design project organized by Terry Jarrard-Dimond.  After she sewed the finished composition together, I asked her if I could have the leftovers, because I just love sewing leftovers into quilts, especially leftovers from other people's projects.  I always think that the energy those others put into their work carries over and gives my work a new aura that I wouldn't get entirely on my own.

I sewed those leftovers into two separate quilt tops (see them here) and eventually quilted and finished one of the tops (see it here).  But the second top languished.  It ended up in my workshop box, being shlepped around to workshops around the country so people could see the back side of my fine line piecing.

Here it is on the wall when I taught at the Crow Barn last fall.

My students wondered why I had never finished it, and we talked about its compositional failures as an object lesson.  I said I didn't think the top half really matched the bottom half, and I didn't have enough of the blue and gray leftovers to really give those colors an adequate presence in the quilt.  I said I loved the yellow area at the top -- and then I blurted out "I really should cut this into two pieces!"

You have probably had such an experience yourself, where you are surprised to hear what comes out of your own mouth, and later realize that it was true.

So as the workshop went on, I took my seam ripper and opened the quilt top into two pieces.  Earlier this year I got both of them quilted and finished.

Fine line piecing has always reminded me of aerial landscapes, and these have names to reflect that.  I don't know if I would try to exhibit them as a pair, but that's a possibility.

Left Coast, 2015

Flyover State, 2015

It's taken almost five years to progress from leftovers to finished art, but I'm happy with these.  I've always believed that if you wait long enough, and keep your work within view, it will tell you what it wants to become.  And that's what happened here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sign of the week

Now this is what I call clever design -- the sign is a part of what it's describing.  In the London Underground.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sneak peek 2

Here's another sneak peek at my new book, "Pattern-Free Quilts: Riffs on the Rail Fence Block," just published earlier this month.

Traditionally, rail fence blocks, like those of most quilt patterns, are square.  But they don't have to be...

You could use rectangles, triangles, trapezoids, rhombuses or hexagons instead of squares.  Any of these shapes will fit together neatly, or "tessellate," to cover the entire surface of the quilt.  Here are a few quick sketches of how you might divide these shapes with rails.

As you can see from the sketches, there are a myriad of possibilities for planning a quilt with block/shapes composed of several strips or rails.  That's the point: lots of possibilities, so the quilt you design won't be like anybody else's.

To buy the book, click on the thumbnail picture in the sidebar at right, or HERE.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Julian Bond

I was sorry to hear of the too-early death of Julian Bond, one of the most prominent civil rights leaders of the last century, who went from heading the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to serving in the Georgia Legislature for many years.

A couple of years ago he was the guest speaker on our cruise to the Amazon.  It was a privilege to spend a couple of hours with him in an intimate setting as he reminisced about his crusading days.

A couple of days later we were taking a bus excursion on the very hilly island of Grenada, driving way too close to the precipitous edge of narrow winding roads, when we saw this dog sleeping on a roof.  This has nothing to do with Julian Bond but it makes me smile.