Category Archives: Quilts

Quilting: My Two Blocks

We all run into bumps in the road. I feel I fell into a ditch and have had a time getting out of it. I think it started with a Mercury Retrograde. For those of you who don’t know what that is — it is very similar to Murphy’s Law: what can go wrong — will go wrong.

Usually it has to do with Mercury the Messenger in Astrology. This condition occurs four times throughout the year. I always mark my calendar in January so I know when it will occur.  If you start a project during this time you can be pretty certain you won’t finish it.

It seems I started organizing my workroom space during a Mercury Retrograde. It has also occurred to me that is the only time I get back to working on organizing it.

Last organizational spurt a small piece of fabric (10″ x  20″) turned up on my work table. I kept shifting fabrics around still there it was. It kept coming up to the surface. So I thought there must be a message here — guess I am just a little slow sometimes. So I measured it and I could cut it into 4 1/2 inch squares. I thought it would be perfect in the center of some Sawtooth stars. It was one of the first patterns I fell in love with so many years ago.

I made TWO stars. It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon and just about dinner time. There is not need to rush this.

My TWO STARS:

stars-blocks-003

It’s a beginning.

What are you doing?

Are there days you find yourself circling looking for something you want?

I wrote on my morning pages all the things I could do today. My list involved things I could do in my workroom. Clear out empty boxes that are taking up space. I checked that off. Then my stair stepper was in the way. I always kept it under the sofa in the living room should the urge to exercise strike. When we put down a new rug in the living room the stair step was moved to my workroom — yeah like I am going to exercise there?  It went back downstairs to live under the sofa again. I need all the floor space in my workroom. Moving the stair stepper opened up enough space to set up my ladder to put yarn bins back on the shelf.

yarn in studio 003

yarn in studio 001

If you have followed what I’ve written you may remember I started sorting, and then I sorted some more, and then more. It was like an obsession. I am not an obsessive person. I just got to a point where I couldn’t find what I wanted when I wanted it. It happened again.

where did I put it 013

Since I have been going around in circles I thought it might be better to stop making new work and go back to working in a series which is what I like to do. I have to follow my instinct and my intuition. I wanted to find the last piece of art that was almost finished, but where did I put it? I am to the point where I can find everything.  I have separated my finished works from my unfinished works and labeled it all.

WIP bins 001

I looked everywhere that I thought it could be for three days. Then I told myself, it will turn up I am certain. I was lost for what I may have done with it. Where did I remember having it last? The living room next to my favorite chair where I do my hand quilting, yes I still hand quilt special pieces which will probably never know a washing machine. One morning I thought of the most obscure place I might put it. I was knitting pet blankets in December, but then company was coming, so I fast gathered. Under the stairs there was a basket with bulky yarn. On top of the basket was the lid to a box I was using to put donation books into. I lifted the lid covering the yarn. Almost completely covered by the yarn was a corner of the quilt — hiding.  I found you, my Very Colorful Quilt, a reason to celebrate.

Quilt -- very colorful 003

 

 

 

 

 

A Groove or A Rut?

Years ago I sat at the Old Town Mexican café with Libby Leman talking about making quilts. She said so many times we thing we are really “in the groove” we are making quilts and having a good time. But are we in a groove or are we in a rut? There is a tendency when we are artists to make the same thing over and over, perhaps it’s a Log Cabin quilt. Years pass and we are still making the same quilt, just in a different color. Are we moving forward, or are we standing still?

I’ve found myself sorting and organizing but not doing much else. My motor is running and my wheels are spinning but I am getting no where fast. I tell myself, “Today I am going to . . . .” and I start shuffling fabric from here to there and there is no action behind my movements.  At the end of the day all I have is a bigger pile and nothing accomplished.

I did make a list of all the work I have “in progress” truth is, seeing that on paper was very impressive. I have managed to finish a few of the smaller works, but not the quilts. It’s a rut when you find yourself annoying friends and frustrating yourself. The challenge isn’t there.  You feel that the world is moving past you.  You aren’t excited about getting up in the morning and working in your studio.

Did you start this project with all the best intentions and somewhere it lost its steam?  Was it a bad idea to start to begin with?  Maybe the timing was bad, you didn’t allow enough time to meet the deadline? Are circumstances conspiring against you?  Maybe the rut is caused by being too technical, what you thought was a good idea and now it isn’t.  This can happen in a lot of areas of our lives, not just with our artwork.

Maybe what you liked last year, five years ago, or more is not you today. Your color preferences are different. It’s time to change it up, go on a creative date with yours. Go to a botanical park, an art gallery, even a movie or buy some upbeat music.  Buy a new box of 64 crayons. You may not be as prolific as you were 10 years ago and that is bothering you. Stamina does diminish. Try getting together with younger people,  buy some blank paper and share your crayons. Don’t over analyze, don’t question your inability to get out of the rut. If you are in a rut question everything but the rut.

Best to you,

Joanne

 

Quilt: Pink & Purple

Abi's Big girl quilt copy
I made a set of BOW blocks with a friend perhaps 5 years before I made this quilt. someday I might need a gift for a little girl. I had two weeks to make this quilt before the gift was needed. What could I make quickly? I remembered these blocks. I thought I would have to pass on a quilt. I searched high and low for the blocks. Finally I found them. I decided to make a simple design, using strips in her favorite pink and purple. When she opened the present she shrilled with delight and I couldn’t be happier.

Cedar Fire 2003 Quilts

turquoise and purple quiltpink+teal qlt 3x3Rty-red+yellow 3x3
The Cedar Fire was a wildfire which burned through a large area of San Diego County, in Southern California in October 2003. One house consumed in fire, burned to the ground in Ramona, was shown on the television over and over. The family lost everything. As it turned out the house was owned by a family that my son and daughter-in-law knew. I met them at my grandson’s birthday party. I made these three quilts for the children at the suggestion of my daughter-in-law. I was so happy to help even a little.