Monday, September 29, 2008

Life's little surprises

Another pet emergency (and just when she seemed to be doing better), another derailment of studio plans. Ah well, life has a way of making the little decisions for you. Wondered all weekend if I could get a couple small pieces done for the show this weekend, not liking the thought of working under pressure and distracted, feeling like I should anyway - that decision kind of taken out of my hands now.

The upside was once home, I had instructions from the vet to sit with said pet outside while she slept off some sedation. I knew it was to be a warm and lovely day and that I'd want to spend lots of time in it but could ill afford to. Like I said, sometimes life just makes those decisions for you.

So I wrote a long letter to a friend (instead of composing it on the computer like I usually do), lingered over my mail, started a book from the library with a short check-out time, breathed in the fresh air, and returned to the day by day mindset and accepting that I will get done what needs to get done, and if I don't, the world won't end.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Source of Inspiration

I attended a "quiet day" at my church yesterday which actually turned out to be a lot less quiet than my normal days. It's just me and the dog working at home all day, and to be fair, you can hardly expect that many women to get together in one room and stay very quiet for long. ;-) I didn't feel I could spare the time so close to the opening of the exhibit at the church next weekend, but thought maybe some focused quiet time might do me some good. I hadn't expected the books offered for free, nor that I would find one so perfect for me to bring home.

I was immediately drawn to the photographs taken in and around churches with Gothic architecture. My mind immediately started bubbling with ideas. It was only when I got it home and read the introduction that I realized it was meant as a devotional book.. I can see pairing some of the themes and photos for future quilts while nourishing my soul in the bargain. If I hadn't gone to the quiet day, I'd not have come across this book with fresh sources of inspiration. A reminder that we need to get out of the studio and keep our eyes open, even in the most unlikeliest places.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Taking a break while moving on

Gee, thanks everyone for your opinions on whether or not one can mix matte and shiny beads. I knew the answer was "yes" of course, under the proper circumstances. I tried so many different combinations yesterday, both by auditioning and actually sewing them on only to remove them when they didn't look right. My conclusion was 1) I didn't like the sparkle in the center when there was no sparkle in the outer areas, and 2) I'd totally lost my vision of how I thought the beading would be done within the applique shapes. So I did a rather uninspired thing - ran a spaced line of black beads up through the centers, almost like place holders. I may add more in, in fact scattered additional beads to check effect, but bottom line is, I need to set this aside for a bit.

Today, on to more constructive work. Remember my April TIFC, "Change?" Remember how I sewed on border strips and announced how easy peasy it was going to be to mount it in a frame? Yeah, right. Once I got home with the mat and frame, I discovered I'd not cut the borders wide enough in one direction. And then I decided I really didn't like the seams. So I removed the borders, found a different green that I have a big enough piece of to more than fill the opening of the mat without piecing, then set it aside while I considered what to do next.

What I decided to do next was my usual - start with someone else's instructions and tailor them to my needs. The starting point was this article from Quilting Arts Magazine, and I chose the method of attaching my piece to heavy watercolor paper. Here you see my background fabric centered over a piece of the paper cut to the same size as the mat. I tried adhering it along the edges with fusible web (the instructions actually said to fuse the whole thing to the paper but I felt my next step would make that unnecessary), but found that the watercolor paper buckled under the heat of the iron. Didn't like that. So I resorted to using glue. I think any glue appropriate for fabric would work, but I used Aleene's No-Sew basting glue. It's not permanent which I think a good idea, but should hold fine over time because it only goes away upon washing.

Next I placed the mat over it and centered my little quilt, tacking it in place with the same glue.

Then I stitched it through all layers. I'd already sewn under the edges of the underlying muslin and now, using polyester thread and a 100 jeans needle, I used a basting stitch to secure it to my fabric/watercolor paper base. I used my hemming foot because in some places there wasn't a lot of muslin beyond the line of stitching securing the edge of the quilt through the batting and backing. This foot allowed riding up on the turned back batting.

Here you can see the basting from the back and how I pulled the threads to the back. I also penned all the quilt information on the back as well.

I used tape to hold the watercolor paper layer to the mat and put it all in the frame. This is a double mat and the frame could barely accommodate the thickness - hadn't thought about it being an issue. I would have liked to have used some spacers in the corners to give a little more breathing space between the quilt and the glass. It would also be better if I had non-reflecting UV glass but this is my first effort at framing a quilt and the piece not very important. If need be, I can put it in a different frame later. More important, I learned a few things, I like the outcome, what I did is reversible, and will try a different approach on my next effort.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mixing finishes

Should one mix matte-finish beads with sparkly ones on a piece? That's the dilemma I find myself in this morning. The beads around the outside of my TIFC quilt are matte. Now I am ready to add beads to the center portion and my selections are mostly shiny. I found a nice green matte bead, and then a darker green shiny one. I'm torn, worried that the sudden introduction of reflection makes a confusing statement.

So I'm taking a break and having some lunch. Hopefully, my subconscious will work it out while I think of something else, and all will be clear when I return to the studio.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Artwork vs Works of Art

"All paintings are artwork, but precious few become works of art - just as the fact that a pianist can play all the correct notes doesn't assure an inspired performance."

Peter Fiore, Landscape painter, September 2008 issue of The Artist's Magazine

Nothing new to show today. Didn't get as far on beading as I'd hoped - spent a couple of hours walking and driving around town putting up flyers for my art exhibit at the church. I really hate this task, but it had a few bright moments when a couple of shopowners actually had time to chat and asked questions about the event.

So in lieu of progress, I give you the above quotation to contemplate. I'm sure my joint exhibit will have some of both.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beading Has Commenced

I didn't have the patience for it yesterday, but I can't delay working on my TIFC quilt any longer. There's an exhibit coming up in October I'd love to have it ready for. I've been hesitating to take the next step for several reasons, mostly because I was unclear about the sequence of events and exactly how I will finish this out. One part of me said I should square it up before adding beads - rulers rock precariously over a beaded surface - maybe even finish the edges. Another part said I wouldn't know how the edges would be finished until I did the beading. Now it looks as if I won't be finishing the edges at all, but putting it into a frame. At any rate, it was time to get off the fence and do something.

This piece was one I took along to Hood River with me, looking for input from my art quilt friends. It was a rare treat to hear what Mary Stori, the embellishment queen, thought of my beading ideas. One she jettisoned (and I have to admit, I knew it probably wasn't right, but sometimes we just need to hear it from someone else), approved of another and suggested much the same you readers here did for the central area - beads or french knots but nothing too flashy. I decided there was too much fullness around the applique for beading or french knots alone to get under control and chose this darker variegated Oliver Twist to do a little quilting, mimicking the shapes in the applique and pulling some of that purple into another area. From a distance, it barely shows.

I'm still a little unclear of how the beading will go in that area, but I knew exactly what I wanted to do in the outer corners, so that's where I started. I was only a few beads into it when I realized I'd done it to myself again - chose a fussy time-consuming task to add to my quilt. But like so much in life, once I established a plan, I quickly slipped into a rhythm, and my lack of patience turned into the old, "Just one more bead...I'll stop after just one more bead, or the next one...definitely after one more..."

I'm actually using three slightly different yellow/orange beads here, reading not nearly as yellow as they are on my computer screen right now. (In fact, all these pics are reading a bit washed out to me now that they've been uploaded.) Beads are a lot like fabric in that you start collecting and before you know it, you're building a stash. Even so, you often find you don't have as many of one color and kind as you need to complete a project. So you find yourself substituting something similar and in the process create a much more interesting look. Such is the case here.

I nearly finished the sections using these beads today, so tomorrow I must decide what goes in the center.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Color Influence

Right on cue, our temps dropped a good 15 degrees and rains set in. The maple has started its slow turn and I find I'm not as drawn to work on my azalea mosaic piece as I was all summer. I'm ready to turn my attention to the more muted rusts and russets, golds and mustards that soon will take over outside.

I live where there are 4 distinct seasons, and this shifting of color palette with the changing seasons is something I've just recently realized I do. It's not 100%, but I do seem to want to work with the same colors I'm observing outside my doorstep. I have no desire to work with snowflakes and frost in the heat of summer, and likewise I don't care to warm myself up with tropical brights in the dead of winter.

What about you? Do your surroundings influence your color palette? If so, how?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More Fun in Hood River

Saturday morning Judi, Sherrie and I headed down to this funky coffee shop on Stevenson's main street. Here's Sherrie and Judi discussing some weighty topic no doubt, like the nutritional value of an oatmeal peanut butter cookie for breakfast. I mostly took the picture to show the wall treatment. We quilters see fabric everywhere we look, and this streaky paint job was something we wanted to take home with us. There was artwork for sale, a wall covered with a giant crossword puzzle, the chandelier of balls you see hanging in the background and a unisex bathroom.

Why do I mention the bathroom? Because of the text painted inside and out. On the door was the admonition, "Boy or Girl, one at a time." and once inside there was the instruction over the doorknob to lock yourself in. Then there was this painted in the corner.

If you can't quite read it in the larger picture, it says, "There's more inside our imagination than we are comfortable letting on." True, oh true.

Duly fortified with caffeine and sweets, we headed back up the street to check out the tiny local quilt shop, Birdhouse Quilting, which has been in business less than a year. It may be small, but that didn't keep us from finding things to buy. Here are my purchases - a couple of batiks, and this book at 1/2 price. I've been interested in coil baskets for a long time, and I particularly like the shapes of the baskets and bags in this book. For $10 I couldn't pass it up. My friends joked that I must put it up on the blog and say I'd be trying this out to be sure the book didn't just go on the shelf to be forgotten. After all, that's one of the reasons I started the blog, so that I'd feel accountable to some outside audience, waiting waiting for me to make good on my promises to try this or finish that. So here it is, my announcement that in the dead of winter I'll be getting this book out and trying this technique!

Stevenson is right on the Columbia River, so we couldn't resist walking down to the waterfront, where we found it very windy and the wind & kite surfers taking advantage. I'd not seen the kite surfing before and almost thought I'd like to give it a try. Crazy, I know.

Sherrie needed to head back to Gig Harbor, so we bid farewell at this point, Judi & I returning to Hood River to spend a little time at Rhonda's house. I thought we'd be sewing so got out my azalea mosaic but Judi & Rhonda decided to look through quilt books instead and Rhonda shared her many quilts and quilt tops while we enjoyed typical quilter conversation and I appliqued away.

That evening, we went to the first annual Rising Moon Festival - a fundraiser to support the Columbia Gorge Master Gardeners. It was held outside, and lots of whoops went up when someone spotted the nearly full moon rising above the mountain. Besides wine and appetizers, there was great live music, including the Mamba Jamba marimba group. They were terrific with their Jamaican style renditions and soon had the crowd up and dancing.

The next day, Sunday, was fairly laid back, with a trip to the Columbia Art Gallery where Judi has her art quilts & jewelry displayed, coffee at one of her favorite coffee houses and snooping around several bead shops and interesting stores. By 6:30 I was back on the train headed for home, and it wasn't long until that full moon was up again, reflecting off the Columbia River and following me all the way home.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Well, I just can't wait any longer for my friends to retrieve their trip pictures from their balky computers. Here is the reason we picked this weekend for a get-together in the Hood River, OR area - Mary Stori! Judi and I are old friends of Mary's from our Brodhead, WI days. Mary now lives near Ashville, NC and the only time we get to see her is if we happen to be at the same quilt show.

I'm not sure how many members the Columbia River Gorge Quilt Guild has, but they put on a nice little show with about 85 quilts and quite a few vendors. There were a variety of workshops, including Mary's beading ones, but we opted just to view the show and attend Mary's lecture later that evening. Joining us were Sherrie Spangler, formerly from Rockford, IL and now living in Gig Harbor WA (she and Judi were in an art quilt group together) and Rhonda Harris, a new quilting friend Judi has made in Hood River (and member of this guild). Mary had many of her quilts laid out on tables for viewing, and I really like the new turn her work has taken with beading & embellishing on felted wool. Need to try that. See Mary's blog entry here to see some of her students' work that weekend.

After the lecture, we followed her back to her lovely accommodations at Skamania Lodge, for a few hours of show & tell, girl-talk, chocolate and wine. At midnight, Mary stood up like Cinderella at the ball, announcing that since she had to teach the next day, she needed to go to bed. Oops! We were having such a great time and ourselves had no place in particular to be in the morning that we totally forgot Mary still had to work. So we bid her a fond farewell and sadly headed back to our own not nearly so nice Econolodge motel room...

And yes, the group picture of us is on someone else's camera. Will post it soon I hope.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More Distractions and Pondering

Here's the other thing keeping me from my creative journey this week. When I got back from my weekend trip, the yellow plums were ripening and dropping as I had feared. I spend a little time each morning picking up and disposing of windfalls (the first day back, I picked up three bucket's full; today it was not even one). I pick what I can reach standing on the ground, just what releases without pulling. But I could see so many ripe ones far above my head, a few falling as I worked. So the last two days I've grabbed a limb and shook resulting in a heavy rain of fruit. Since I probably will can the majority of these, I'm not too concerned with bruising. I just don't have the time or desire to pick what must be hundreds of plums properly.

I was overcome by a sense of insecurity today. I think it's a combination of working on the Art Exhibit stuff and being out of the studio for so long. I've appliqued outside on my azalea mosaic for an hour the last two mornings, thinking that would restore some calm, but it hasn't been working. I'm just good and unsettled. I got a call that my machine was ready to pick up, and the insecurities just heightened. I wasn't expecting it back this soon. I wasn't expecting him to be able to fix it. I was expecting a call next week to say it was going back to the manufacturer. Would I arrive to pick it up only to hear him say once again he could find nothing wrong and couldn't make it do what it does incessantly for me? Would I find myself in an unwanted confrontation?

He had found something, a burr on the feed dog, but admitted that he still couldn't understand how the thread was whipping back there to catch on it. And again, it hadn't performed for him as it does for me. Well, sometimes it's the smallest things that create the biggest problems. I decided to set it right up, pretend it was trouble free again and do some stitching on my August TIFC.

Here you can see what I decided to do as a first step in resolving my quilting dilemma around the central motif. I didn't like the way the green frame seemed to disappear and got the bright idea to add the same sort of "frills" along the inner edge of it as I put on the inner curve of the feathers in the outer corners. I think I really like this. But I need to do more stitching and as you can see, I'm pondering threads to do it in. I've also set out some of the beads I think I'll be using. I may use some purple thread to outline the applique and fill in some of the space around it, or I may just use black thread. I'm about ready to go back in and work on it some more.

Oh, and as to whether the machine is behaving while doing my free-motion quilting? I thought it was, quilted nearly all along the green frame before it hung up on me. Sigh. Well, at least I got farther than I was getting before I took it in. I'll keep working with it over the weekend, then call the repairman on Monday to see what he wants to do next.

In spite of this snag, this little bit of sewing did more to lighten my mood than anything this week. And afterwards, I relaxed outside enjoying what may be the last beautiful warm day we'll see for awhile. A last gasp of summer perhaps, and I'll take it.

Diverted Again

There's not been much creative journeying going on this week, partly because I'm working on the publicity for this Art event at my church. Here's my flyer which took longer than it probably should have. I'm still fumbling my way around Corel Paint Shop Pro. I have an older publishing program that is easier to use but limited in what you can do. I wanted to float images of the maple leaves, but the old program wouldn't accept an image like that. It "saw" the transparent background too.

I'm always glad for any opportunity to learn the Corel program better, and I think I finally understand how to add and edit text now. And I had great fun with my maple leaf scattering.

This is the photo I used for the background, one taken of my maple tree the first year I was here. I blurred it over in the other program, but I could have blurred it here too.

And here is the scan of one of many maple leaves I've collected. I used the "magic wand" feature to select and copy just the leaf, then pasted it over on my background as a new selection. Multiple copies later, I could twist and turn and spread them around "artistically."

No one twisted my arm to put together this art exhibit. It was my idea because I wanted to have another open house exhibit without having it in my house. I also knew there were other artistic types among the membership at my church, and I knew I'd never have enough new work ready to fill the walls on my own. I've chaired small guild quilt shows in the past, so thought this would be no big deal. What was I thinking???

So many details, so many things to remember, so much information to relay to the other artists least I don't have to do anything with the Oktoberfest end of it. We're hoping the dual event will draw more people, enticing people who otherwise might not come out for an art show but would for bratwurst and beer, and vise versa. We'll see. If I can finish the publicity this week, I should be able to ignore it next week and get back to the studio. After all, I still have a few quilts to finish up for the show...

I'm waiting on pictures from the friends I met with down in Hood River to finish out the story of my weekend. Bear with me - there are some balky computers out there refusing to give up their jpgs.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I thought I'd share a little of what I did on my trip in and around Hood River, Or. Here I am with journal quilt partner, former hand-dyed business partner, and still bestest friend Judi in front of Horsetail Falls. I'd requested a little sightseeing during my visit because I've never had the opportunity to do more than whiz by the beauty of the Columbia Gorge. Judi, who is originally from Wisconsin, has been visiting this area for years since her parents relocated here, and now lives here herself, so she was more than happy to show me around this area that she loves so much.

Next stop was Multnomah Falls, where we treated ourselves to a fabulous lunch at the lodge before checking out the falls. This is the classic shot of the two-section falls and Benson Bridge. Now THAT'S where I want to be, on that bridge, I told Judi, not realizing we were standing right where the trail up to it started. So up we went.

Here's another view of the bridge.

And here's the upper part of the falls. That large rock by the pool is extremely large and the reason the trail to that area is now closed to hikers. The story goes that it fell during a wedding ceremony being staged there and fortunately no one was hurt.

On the way up the switchbacking trail, I spotted these large trees covered with thick moss.

We'd dawdled quite a bit over lunch so the rest of the falls along this stretch of road would have to wait for my next visit. (To see some of the sites we missed along the scenic hwy, go here.) We needed to get to Stevenson across the river to meet up with other quilter friends at a local quilt show. More on that in the next post.

It's a classic...

...and it's mine!

I'm back from my trip, the dog's home from the kennel and I'm ignoring the next batch of ripening plums for now. The trip was a bit of a belated birthday treat to myself, and the quilt is a belated birthday present from the friend I visited in Hood River. Judi, who is also my journal partner when we journal quilt, knows I have a small collection of antique quilts, spotted this at a yard sale and figured I would like it. It's the double wedding ring pattern so popular during the 1930's & 40's, although this is is probably made later. It is hand pieced and hand quilted and appears to have polyester batting (thus the later date). It is in near mint condition and I love that it has a pink background rather than muslin or mint green as is often the case with this pattern. I haven't had time to cross-reference the fabric in the rings with my fabric dating books, but it is a wonderful variety of prints possibly spanning 30 years or more. Plus it fills a gap in my collection perfectly.

I'm sure I was the envy of all in my train coach accommodations on my return trip home. For some reason, Amtrak seems to think the cars should be refrigerated and I was uncomfortably cold on the way down. Not so coming back as I snuggled under my "new" quilt and nodded off.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Almost Gone...

The dog's at the kennel, the marmalade's in jars, last minute e-mails are sent...time to pack and be off to Hood River, OR. See you on the other side of the weekend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I'm going away for the weekend. I'm starting to stress about the things I need to do towards the art exhibit I'm organizing at my church in less than a month. My machine's in the shop again and I'm wondering how and when I'll get the little pieces I'd planned to make for this exhibit made up with only my less than perfect older machine to work with. Of all the things I thought I had to do this week, dealing with plums was not one of them.

But nature waits for no one. I have three red plum trees which decided yesterday that their fruit was ready to pick. There's a limit to how much fruit one person needs to put up, so I just picked what I could easily reach from my regular ladder and let the landlady and maintenance gal know the rest was up for grabs. Of what I gathered, part is going into marmalade. Well that's what my mother called it. It's simply plums chopped in a food processor with equal amount of sugar added. This sits overnight and I will cook it and seal it in jars in the morning. The rest has gone into jars with a light syrup and been processed in a hot water bath. Fingers crossed that all lids seal.

I remember eating my mother's canned plums when I'd come home for a visit. I'd been raised up on the store-bought ones and loved them. But mom's were not pitted in advance. I really hated working around those pits as I ate. After pitting the plums for the marmalade, now I know why mom didn't bother with the canned ones. And guess what? Neither did I. One note - if you're not going to pit them, then they need to be punctured with a needle (I used a nut pick) so they don't explode during processing. Kind of like baking potatoes.

I'm not done with plums though. I have another tree loaded with little yellow plums. The branches are so thick with them that they look like huge clusters of grapes. These are wonderful eating plums and will probably be ready to start picking as soon as I get back. I'll definitely need help getting rid of those. Any favorite plum recipes out there?

Monday, September 08, 2008

A slight diversion

My nephew's birthday is coming up soon and I thought I'd get the 12th installment in his freedom quilt out of the way while I continue to ponder the next step on the TIFC quilt for August. To learn more about this project and see another block made for it, go here. While looking for a suitable block to represent something in his life this year, I came across a block called Twister by Michael James (it can be found in his book, The Quiltmaker's Handbook, copyright 1978). This is a perfect combination. My nephew lives in the part of the country frequented by tornadoes, oftentimes referred to as twisters, and Michael James is one of my longtime quilt idols. Plus I thought my nephew might be a little more interested in my quilting if he knew GUYS do it too.

This is a fairly simple block based on a 5 division grid. Just rectangles, triangles and a single square. My BlockBase program prints out the block and rotary cutting directions. I made the 1/2 triangle units by starting with squares placed right sides together. One is larger than the other simply because I pulled from my box of pre-cut 3-1/2" squares for the dark, but cut the other to size (3-1/4") from yardage. I'm not one to buy every gadget to come on the market, but there are a few specialty tools I feel worth the price and Quick Quarter 2 is one of them. You line it up with the diagonal of the square and draw along both sides to mark your sewing line.

When I sew, I err a bit to the left (or towards the center of the square) of the line. I usually have to square these units up a bit and this will make sure that your unit does not end up a little too small. You can chain stitch multiples of these, running down one stitching line, then swinging the group around to sew down the other. Then cut through the middle to separate what are now two 1/2 square triangle units.

I pressed the seams toward the dark as this will make opposing seams where units meet up. And then I can do any trimming. This kind of unit is easy to square up with a square up ruler - just aline the diagonal on the ruler with the diagonal seam on the unit.

Using the printout diagram for reference, I arrange all the units in order and sew them together. The center is essentially a nine-patch, the outer round forming a sort of border. Viola! Twister! When set side by side in a quilt top. pinwheels form where the blocks meet.

I admit this isn't the most exciting block with these fabrics, but there's a reason I chose them. The background and center fabrics are some of his mother's scraps from dressmaking - another level of meaning I try to add to each block. It will also go well with the fabrics I've used in the previous 11 blocks.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Back to Pondering

Now what???

As you can see, the quilting is done around the outside of my quilted "frame" and I am so in love with it. But as I stand back and look at the piece as a whole, that frame definitely needs some sort of defining on the inside. It almost seems to need a little bit of orange for balance, but as West Country Buddha noted in her comment here, I don't want to lose the contrast of the black around the applique.

Her thinking of how to quilt down that section, by the way, is so in line with what I'd been thinking to do that it's scary! I'm still considering a sprinkling of beads in there too, much on the same order as her french knots suggestion. I was considering purple beads for those spaces within the applique itself, but perhaps some orange echoing the line of the frame. What do you think? I'll be pondering this for a few days and hoping for a brilliant idea from one of you!

Thursday, September 04, 2008


More thought, more thread unearthed to test, and a chalk marker helped clear up my confusion about how to proceed on my TIFC for August. This motif is definitely "stolen" from Dijanne Cevaal's Seventy-Two Ways Not to Stipple or Meander but I believe I'm using it in a slightly different way than I've seen her use it. Actually, it reminds me of my birch trees and the way I sometimes applique down bias strips used to form them (see here). I "sketched" the main lines with the chalk, "erasing" and redrawing until I had them the way I liked, then free motion stitched this with an Oliver Twist hand-dyed thread. I really like the way it frames the center design and provides a visual separation between what I added in the outside corners.

I tried a few other ideas before returning to the one tested on the sampler in the previous post. I found a King Tut variegated thread that was more orange than the one on the sample and decided it was perfect. I stitched a few more variations and decided to do the main design in the green, and use the orange/yellow to make those little circles along the inner curves. It is time consuming since, as I noted before, I can't travel between areas - lots of starting and stopping with just a little quilting in between. But I do like it a lot. It's giving the balanced glow I was hoping for and does not overpower in proportion or value the central design. Click on the picture for a larger view that shows the colors better.

Not sure what I'm going to do in that space around the applique, but because of the heaviness of the rest of the quilting, I'll have to do something - it puffs up too much. Perhaps some beading?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008 usual

Here's some of the threads and design ideas I played with today in preparation for quilting my August TIFC quilt. As usual, the picture in my head did not begin to match the reality, and I am at a loss as to how to proceed. I don't want the quilting to overpower the design, yet I want it to be interesting in its own right. The red/yellow variegated thread in the lower left looks too red to me now. I really like the green but is it interesting enough on its own? Does mixing the two add interest or distraction to this particular quilt? I even retrieved one thread I'd eliminated during the auditioning process - that's it in the upper left.

At least I got the quilting along the edges of the applique done, using the green rayon sulky twist thread resting near the top. I started playing with the background quilting idea by sketching as you can see to the right. I think I have Feather on a Wire to thank for my thinking to add the circles along the curve of those shapes. See this blog post where she is adding circles to her wonderful feather design. I like the idea but not sure if I should use it here. Using a different color for the circles seemed to make the other color sort of disappear. Then I thought to try adding them in the same color - the green sample near the top right. That could work well, and can be done as part of the continuous line quilting. When adding a second color, there's really no way to travel from one line to the next. (Click on either picture for a larger view.)

After folding the sample this way and that, and placing it on the quilt top here and there, I suddenly hit upon an idea, but the color of thread is still up in the air. At least I have a cool little sample...