Posts Tagged ‘hand quilting’

An Obsession With Squares

Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

My followers know I learned traditional geometric patchwork and quilting when we moved to Denver in 1987, but after a year or so I began to make my earliest art quilts. I’ve been focused on the nice symmetry and balance of a square ever since; and while searching for my earliest mention of concentric squares, aka the Square in a Square block of traditional p&q, I found an early 2005 blog post – and it amazed me that the quilt I referenced in that was made so long ago –

“Heritage Quilt” 2005 ~70cm x 95cm (in retrospect that’s an odd title)
work in progress

These days I’m still basting square outlines of ~4inches, which must be my inbuilt comfort setting; and I’m still finding ways to use squares in/on other squares. Let me quote from that 2005 post –

And finally, a little session focused just on doodling with pencil and paper did it. Just squares and triangle thingies, dots and dashes, and all of a sudden inspiration took over.”

This is still how a lot of my design work begins….. and I concluded:

“I feel this is a new direction compatible with my interest in the origins, factual and legendary, of patchwork and quilting, and exploring the common ground between the traditional quilts and what has developed in the contemporary/art quilt world. The square outlined by the grey basting stitches is around 4″ side.”  The right half of the photo above shows just a little of the grey basting thread up near the top of the frame. 

I was a teenager when I developed an interest in early Man and his primitive activities as known only by unearthed artefacts and markings on cave and rock walls. That prompted me to to study at tertiary level the better documented and understood later ‘ancient’ civilisations of Greece, Rome and Egypt, and I’m always thrilled every time new discoveries are made on all continents. I’ve always been fascinated by markings and patterns that appear from within human groups we know were not in contact with each other. These marks probably have proper name, but I just call them ‘primal symbols’. I feel I need to thoroughly investigate ‘squares’, probably one of the great primal symbols… but today I don’t have the time – I’m stitching at full speed on the latest squares work, and have only 25/112 left to do – and have to get back to that. It’s a dank grey day outside, perfect indoors / stitching weather.

These squares are ~3.5″ across, so about 4″ must be my comfort zone! And yes, that is a big needle, in fact a darner which suites me perfectly, and with the hoop’s help, enabling me to sew each stitch quite fast, in one smooth movement..

Quilting Of PP4 Completed

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

This morning I finished quilting around the 300+ little circles on this largish quilt. Phew.

Much to my delight, the process of layering (polyester batting) and quilting around each leather circle has produced pleasingly dimensional circles – much more interesting than the flat effect of the applique – which I liked well enough, but even so this is heaps better!

So far, this lengthy project has allowed me to listen to audio recordings of Jane Austen’s novels Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park; Relentless by Mark Greaney; Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; and the first few chapters of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – which I read maybe 60 years ago. So heavily laced with sentimental goodness is it that it’s a wonder that one of the sisters isn’t named Pollyanna. Interesting. It’s the first in a collection of classics from – 10 Masterpieces You Have To Read Before You Die, part I (I also downloaded part II) Some Dickens will be next, and Jane A will appear again, and though I never tire of her writing, having so recently listened to all her major works I might skip those and go to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain and Marcus Aurelius, none of whom I’ve read. Part II has authors I’ve never heard of. All that should see me through to the other side of this other large untitled large work I put aside while I went ahead with PP4:

Untitled – gold sheer hand appliqued onto black. The patterning for that large black area needs final decision making, soon!

A Journey Through Landscape

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

An article has just been published about my work on the Quilt National Artists website here:  To compose it I looked back through the 4 works I’ve had selected into Quilt National down the years, and while putting them into their context, the title emerged.  Each has to do with landscape as the surface on which change is recorded, and marks are left.  It took me years to see a link between a landscape and a life.  You can read about it and see the pics of the 4 quilts in chronological order down the page, starting with “Ora Banda”, just a little special because it was my first successful entry.

Ora Banda copy blog

“Ora Banda”  1992      127cm h x 150cm w

I pieced it before leaving Denver to accompany my husband to South America on a business trip, and did all the hand quilting while in Montevideo and Mendoza, Argentina.   I never look at it without remembering the beautiful plaza in front of our hotel there, and how I sat out in the early autumn sun for a couple of hours every afternoon to quilt during the hours of siesta.  Autumn leaves were falling.  Occasionally people would stop and ask what I was doing and comment – goodness knows what they made of whatever I said, as I knew very little Spanish then!


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