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Deconstructed Circles For SAQA’s 2017 Online Auction

Friday, April 7th, 2017

The annual online auction to benefit SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates, comes up again, opening on September 15th and continuing through October 8th.  I’ll be reminding you closer to the time, of course.  For further information and updates including some of the works already received, go to SAQA’s website  Right now several hundred SAQA members including yours truly are preparing their 12″ x 12″ donations, and over the last few days I have almost finished mine – shown here with quilting in progress:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excess fabric and batting will be trimmed off once the quilting is completed – and yes, I do darn in the ends as I go!  I may do a fine black binding, but will audition other coloured fabrics anyway, just in case one of them adds a bit more zing.  This is the third in a deconstructed circles theme that has emerged in the last few weeks, and I’m pondering a more meaningful title for what is clearly becoming a series – as ‘Deconstructed Circle #3’ is a bit unexciting.  I’ve started a list, with entries such as ‘Whirlwind’, ‘Cyclone’ and ‘Tornado’ under consideration.

 

 

‘Maelstrom’ 2009  was my first deconstructed circle design, to which I have turned again, and maybe it is now the first of a series of that name; meaning the one I’m nearly finished would be #4, but maybe I’ll come up with something else.

 

Scraps and Deconstructed Circles

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

I’m still here and still working with the glorious coloured scrap collection I featured in my two previous posts:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contrary to my usual experience I am noticing that the volume of them on the table is actually decreasing. I and fellow users of small pieces of saved fabric have always believed that scraps have a secret reproductive life, as the pile or bag never seems to get smaller.  This time it is, because I am sticking to the chosen palette, and not augmenting it by further random scrap bag diving as I go.

I’m now using a black background for a 12″sample-sized piece which will probably be for SAQA’s annual online auction later in the year. If I can finish the remaining two blocks, assemble and quilt the piece without further procrastination, I might even be ready later today to paint the dots around some edges as I plan. For many months, since before last year’s illness, I’ve had some some new plastic bottles with nozzle tips to use painting dots as I did on some of the works in the recent Kimberley series, for which I used a sawn-off paint brush –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I need to press on!

 

 

 

New Life From Scraps

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Somewhere the other day – and I’m sure it was Margaret Ramsay’s blog but of course can’t find it now 🙂  I found a comment about how liberating the artist found it to just use scraps and offcuts in her surface designs instead of cutting into pristine new yardage.  I totally agree.  I keep all reasonable sized off cuts from earlier projects, and blogged about this some time back.   We all know the thrifty ethic thing that is supposedly part of the back story of quilt making, so there’s a bit of the feel good thing there, though that’s not why I do it.  Scrap bags accumulate scraps of fabrics that you’ve already liked  – you’ve bought them and used them in something.  According to my theory stuff you like goes together as a rule.   So scraps are ‘auditioned’ for their next project appearance, and piecing begins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For every work of mine that has segments of colour forming a shape, as in all the Ebb & Flow series (see gallery elsewhere on this website) the process of putting bits of fabric together into strings before cutting them to the next edge shape, is fairly fiddly but very calming.  Once you have your heap of scraps extracted from the scrap bag – which is about the only colour designing you do  – then it’s time to put the bits together and just sew, iron, cut and sew.  Repeat.  You sort of know how they’re going to look, but don’t always, and some are better than expected.   This little sample on grey has silver metallic edging on the curved strips which are about 3″ long – gorgeous but a bit daunting to make into a larger work.  Having said that – heck, why not? It’s on my mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m currently working with scraps of summery colours on a cream background, and really, to do the lines of patches and then cut and sew them into the rough square takes a total of about an hour for each one from start to stop, with plenty of ironing.  This wall quilt will comprise sixteen  8″ squares, which means the piecing alone will take me another 10-12 hours before moving on to the sandwiching, quilting and edge finishing.

Fishing around for another pic to go in this post, I found one of a miniature I’d quite forgotten –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s exciting because it reminded me that in a drawer somewhere I have several colours of this fairly thick very bright neon thread I can consider using to quilt the current project, and I might not have remembered it without seeing this.  All this just goes to show how a bit of looking back can sometimes be inspiring.

Deconstructed Circles

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Someone commenting on my latest work said last week wrote “deconstructed circles are popular now”, and she’s right, they are appearing in more art quilts, though I’ve been using them on and off for some time.  For someone who loves grids and works freehand the way I do, the deconstructed circle has great appeal as a design unit, as these two works in progress show: early stages in the construction of Maelstrom (2006)  left, and Anna’s Quilt (2008) right respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What new work? you might be wondering.  True, it’s been a long time since I blogged, chiefly because I wasn’t creating (not even sewing hexagons) during a long illness late last year and the subsequent recovery period.  But recently I’ve found mental+physical energy coinciding, and have begun exploring ideas that have been on my mind a while.  I’ve keenly followed the the rise of  the Modern Quilt Movement with light clear colours plus greys and white that are so appealing to many that they are even beginning to populate traditional designs.  MQM’s website calls this overlap ‘modern traditionalism’, I just noticed.  A favourite Uruguayan artist, Mario Giacoya uses wonderful greens and yellows with small amounts of other light bright colours in his many rural landscapes.  A primary influence in my work is still landscape shapes, and earthy Australian colours, but I’m finding I’m wanting more ‘light’ and ‘bright’ in my work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I’ve used the unit before, and am always happy with lines that don’t connect, I drew a diagram this time to emphasise that I’m thinking of some units having many lines of fabric in them, others few, one or possibly none, and I’m still mulling over that and will continue as the work proceeds.  This sample has more in common with Maelstrom above as the arcs are segments of colour.  My sample shows a complex set of them.  These were a bit tedious to make, but I’ve been thinking about this too and will rationalise and synthesise what I learned in this sample making stage:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When sample making I normally just go as far as I need to learn something.  But this one I finished and bound because I plan to hand it on as a gift, hence this documentation.  I still have to think about

  • hand v machine quilting ?
  • any role for glitter here ?
  • what about dots?
  • And what a shame I only bought about 20cm of this wonderful striped fabric …

English Paper Piecing or EPP

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

I’d seen this abbreviation a bit lately and had to look it up as I had no idea what it meant.  If you don’t know hexagons, (hexies) and other shapes by EPP, you can easily learn.

This is my then-decades old project in 2006 – I’m getting closer to finishing now, just a couple more rows of cream hexies and that will be enough for a decent size bed quilt.  Someone mentioned in a post today how thrilled they were to discover hexies, as apart from the crisp shapes we all love, the portability of a few paper and fabric shapes, a needle, thimble and thread in your handbag or pocket helps keep hands busy while waiting for kids or others.  It’s relaxing and therefore quite therapeutic I feel.  Any simple geometric shape can be EPPed as long as the sides match in length – there are lots of patterns built from basic geometric shapes here and elsewhere on the net  – http://tinyurl.com/zpd8wwr.  and in addition you can do clamshell patterns, too. There’s a class at the IQF in Houston today on this very subject, though I thought the fabric chosen for the sample not entirely appropriate.

Here’s a link on how to EPP –  http://www.thezenofmaking.com/2013/06/tutorial-english-paper-piecing-hexies-part-1/  with step by step instructions.  The requirements and process are simple.   I learned from my friend Heather Stewart of Launceston Tas, one-time hexagon queen of Australia, who did not use the glue step and neither do I – quite unnecessary imho.  So if you’ve a mind to join what feels like a growing wave of popularity, grab a few of your many scraps and have a go.  You could be easily hooked in no time.

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