Monday, February 29, 2016

4 Hour Quilt

Hubby took P away for the weekend, so I've been home alone.  3.5 days to my lonesome.  I had SO much paperwork to do!!  I typed and wrote and wrote and typed and typed some more.  There were LOTS of quilt show phone calls to answer, and a number of challenge quilts have been delivered to my door.  Best of the Valley has been the order of the day.

All the while, a Call for Entry swirled around in the back of my mind.  Remember the "Tranquility" quilt that I made at the end of January?  This Call was for a complementary exhibit, entitled "Turmoil."  Well, we've had a bit of that over the past few month, believe you me.  When I was stitching Oceans, I had no desire to even think of making a Turmoil quilt, but apparently my subconscious has been in overdrive.  Today is the deadline, 10pm CST.

Yesterday afternoon, I blew into my studio/disaster zone, and started pulling fabrics.  Actually, I'd already pulled out one "just in case." 

I cut a piece 40" x 40", then cut a piece of batting to fit.  Then I dove into my bin of solids, and looked for somber/unpleasant fabric to stitch on top.
 Most of my fabrics are nice clear colors, that make me happy.  Happy was not the intent of this quilt.  Oh, look!  There's some piecework that I put together when my son moved to NM for 6 weeks, that will work!
I slapped and stitched and slapped and stitched some more.  All the while, I had Scripture running through my brain.  The specific portion that I kept focusing on was from Isaiah 57:

Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,”
Says the Lord, “and I will heal him.”
But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
For it cannot be quiet,
And its waters toss up refuse and mud.
“There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”  Isaiah 57:19-21

I wasn't focusing on the "wicked," I was thinking "no peace."  I worked frantically and desperately, and put together a piece that was almost done.  It needed something.
 The white ribbon seemed like something should be attached to it.  Ironically, I had a block from a Cynthia Corbin class in 2009.  The assignment had been to use ugly fabric and break ALL the quilting rules we could possibly break.  I was amused to see that the "ugly" colors were the same as the ones in yesterday's quilt.
 But it was too big, too busy, too "not right."  However, it gave me the title, which is "Hanging By A Thread."  And the Scripture meditation had me thinking of separation from God, and what if that was me, barely hanging onto Him...

 Yep.  A little person is just the thing.  But I don't want it to be a ghostly white person...maybe I have some busy/distracting/fractured fabric?  Oh, look!  I do!  This is the top, all quilted and ready to photograph.
And yet, it needed something more...

Perhaps some hurried, rushed, big-stitch quilting?  I didn't bind it, that would be too complete, too planned, too orderly...  I didn't do much quilting, and I left the needle in, because, well, just because.
And I didn't clip threads or square seams or do any of the detail work that I am so fond of. 

And the funny thing is, this quilt works.  It accomplishes exactly what I set out to accomplish.  Here is my Artist Statement:

"Hanging By A Thread"

Turmoil/Chaos/Disorder:  All are the exact opposite of the God of creation, who brings order to all things.  To my way of thinking, turmoil is His opposite.  He is not a god of chaos.  Good things go bad when rushed, hurried, or not thought through.  My best quilts are peaceful creations, with careful detail and/or meticulous handwork.  But throw the rules out the window?  My work disintegrates into a disjointed mess.  This quilt is a glimpse of what my life would look like, were I to be separated or cut free from the God of salvation.

When I showed this to my youngest son, he said, "Nailed it, Mom!"  woohoo!

I will be surprised if it is accepted as part of the exhibit, but I have to say that making it was quite cathartic.  My granddaughter returns this evening, well, in a bit over an hour from now, and I am thankful that I had a few uninterrupted hours of sewing, before going back to focusing on her.

And there you go...I actually made a quilt in February!!

P.S.  I put in a few more big stitch quilting stitches this afternoon, as I was waiting for the car to be smogged.  The technician looked at the quilt...actually, he looked a bit confused...and asked, "You're making a blanket?"  I laughed, and told him, "It's 'Art.'  It's supposed to be 'Turmoil.' "  He shook his head and went back to work.  I took that to mean that it's a bit of a mess and too much chaos to make him comfortable. 

Like my son said, "Nailed it!"  :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

So Green!

We haven't had rain for a while, but the rain we had in January?  The results are spectacular!
 The daffodils are popping up sporadically, along with a few cyclamen that survived last year's harsh summer.
 And the Johnny Jump-ups are doing their thing...along with dandelions.  That giant weed was pulled, as soon as I saw it in my viewfinder.
 Something that is not so spectacular, was my attempt at fusing.  Oh yes.  Now I remember why I don't fuse.
 All I did was make a great big mess.  Oh well.  I was finally forced to put a new cover on my ironing board, a task that I'd been pushing off for the past couple of months.
My Penny Pie is still visiting, so our days are filled with games and stories.  I've recently begged off on tromping through the park.  My leg hates it, and I end up paying for it for days afterwards.  There are others who are willing to take her, so she's not completely cooped up in the house with this old lady.

I'm not the only one taking pictures.  Whenever she finds my Canon lying around, she picks it up and starts snapping.  Who knows?  Maybe she's got photography in her blood.  Both of my grandfathers were avid photographers, whose photos frequently hung in photo salon competitions.  I have the bug, but not the gift.
And that's it for now.  The Best of the Valley quilts have been juried, but the letters won't be out this morning.  The goal is to have them in the mail by Saturday.  Goals are good!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

So Busy!

We're playing lots of games.  Look who won the title of Crazy Cat Lady!
 We found a sewing kit at Joann's, and have done some handwork.
 Bedtime stories - and stories all day long - are a must.
 Wendy brought over her cranky machine, and P did some cranking.
Nice to see that smile, when seated in front of a sewing machine!
 Good thing Gramma has stacks of pre-cut squares on hand.
 Look what I made!  My first quilt age 4.  Start 'em young, right?
Happy stitching!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

So Busy

I guess I was right, when I thought my days would be full.  There hasn't been a bit of quilting going on, though there was one day when we played a game, then stitched a label, then read a book, then stitched a label.  I stitched out seven labels, and probably read twice that many books.  And we played Pen the Pig, all day long.  The labels are pinned to the quilts.  One day they will be stitched down.  Maybe tonight?
 One day, we went out to the walnut forest.  Here Uncle is teaching P the finer points of clay/dirt/sand differentiation.
 Inside, he introduced her to the kazoo. 
 It quickly became a favorite.
 All this photo-snapping of P means that turnabout is fair play.  Really?  I'm in my jammies!  My excuse is that it's only 7:15am.
Here I am again.  She finds my camera, turns it on, takes off the lens cover, checks the image and presses the button.  She'll be 5 next month.  I was more than twice that, before I ever touched a camera.
 On Monday, we visited the home of Best of the Valley's 2016 Featured Artist, Ann Hinman.
 This is her Grandma room, where her grandkids hang out and drink rootbeer floats.  Penny settled for reading through a stack of classics.
The past two days have actually included some "real" sewing.  I'm working on a Captain America suit for a friend.  All I have left to do are the pouches for his utility belt.  It will feel good to cross that one off of my list.  Other than that, the deadline has arrived for the quilt show, so all entries need to be processed and prepared for jurying.  The jury meets on Monday 2/22.  Good luck, if you entered a quilt!  This year's selection is spectacular!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Still Zooming By

Wow.  When I titled my last post "Zoom, Zoom," I didn't realize it was going to be a prediction.  I lost a week somewhere, and am stunned that it is already February 9.  oh my.  It's going to be a fast year, if the first few weeks are anything to judge by.

My leg is healing well, and just in time.  My soon-to-be 5 year old granddaughter is here for a prolonged visit.  She arrived a week ago, and is forcing me to become acquainted with the park at the end of our street.  "Let's go to the park, Gramma!"  It's something she and her mom do daily, so who am I to mess with tradition?
 It's definitely easier to visit the park with a 4 year old, than it is with a toddler!
 You may think this is a slide.  It's actually Sleeping Beauty's castle, in disguise.
 And there is Sleeping Beauty, sleeping, of course.
 Her uncle took her miniature golfing.  Of course she wanted the pink club and ball.
Needless to say, the only quilt-related things that are currently happening are all related to the quilt show.  It is five days until the entry deadline, and most quilters wait until the last minute.  I am daily buried in paperwork, but it's a good thing, not a negative.  If you have a quilt to enter, don't forget our online entry option.  Look it up on our website, here.

And that's it for now.  If I don't post much, I'm probably at the park!  :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Zoom, Zoom

For a person sidelined with a healing bone, I sure seem to be zooming through the days.  I can't believe it's been a week since I posted.  But I was busy, quilting.  And I finished, by the 1/31 deadline I was trying to meet.
"Oceans" by Suzanne Kistler

I squeaked it in for a call for entry with the theme of "Tranquility."  Nothing calms my nerves more than an ocean view, so I just had to sew it up.  On Saturday morning, it still looked like this:
 I sewed like a woman possessed to meet that deadline.  I'd planned to add beads, but then thought they would only distract from the calm of the waves of blue.

Something else I did during the week was to drop this chair off at Quality Upholsterers in Visalia, along with 5 yards of fabric from Joann's.
 Three days later, they had refinished and reupholstered it to create this delightful addition to my living room.  Not bad for a $35 estate sale item, eh?
Another thing that I did was to head out to the walnuts, to see our new tractor.  I am able to walk either with a boot and no crutches, or in shoes, with crutches.  I was wearing the boot.  I acted as spotter for my son, as we tried to clean up some of the mess left behind from the well drillers.
 This was the sky, the day before it opened up and rained down over an 1" of life-giving water.  Today, the snow can be seen so low on the Sierras that it looks like it's almost dusting the foothills.  It's a beautiful thing.
But, now that January has ended, my sewing time has dwindled considerably.  The Best of the Valley Quilt Show will be held April 8-10, 2016, and entries are due by February 14.  You can check out the website and either download entry forms or enter online.  It's pretty straightforward.  Which reminds me.  While I'm in the midst of paperwork, I really need to remember to enter my own quilts into the show.  Goals are good!