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  • Kudos to Charlotte

    Sometimes I think of myself as a mama bird, anxiously watching her hatchlings feather out and take wing. I am always proud of my students achievements whether they complete their assignments or not – they always get an A+ for effort and enthusiasm; I do not ascribe to Yoda’s admonishment to Luke – “Do or do not, there is no try”. I applaud ‘trying’, I’d rather see that than to have someone not even attempt something through fear of failure. \

    In my experience, my students always produce something they should be proud of, sometimes I get to see it and sometimes I don’t. In some cases, they stay in touch either giving me progress reports or asking for additional mentoring as they finish their project (which I’m always delighted to give).

    Those of you who follow me or check in on my posts regularly may recall a post I did several weeks back showing some landscape quilts in progress from some students. One of them – Charlotte – has been in touch off and on, asking questions and showing me picture of her quilt in progress. The other day she finally sent me a photo of her finished quilt and here it is for you to admire – Great job Charlotte!

    Charlotte's Landscape Quilt.
    Charlotte’s Landscape Quilt.

  • Van Gogh By Thread

    This is my latest Embroidery project – Van Gogh By Thread! I gave a class to my embroidery group last month on creating little scenic still life themes with embroidery; for my own project I chose one of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers paintings as inspiration. The stitchery was done mainly with six-strand floss (with a little pearl cotton) onto wool felt. The panel, which measures about 10″ tall by 6″ wide, originally started square but ended up wonky with the distortion the stitching created, I probably could have kept it more squared up with a stabilizer beneath the felt but I really like the asymmetrical presentation the way it turned out.

    The entire embroidery was done on the improv – no preliminary drawing, I just picked up a needle and started stitching by eye so my rendering is not an exact reproduction of the painting, just a similar arrangement. It was challenging but fun and I think I’d like to turn this into a class if people are interested. I want to explore more of Van Gogh’s paintings for future projects, maybe one of his landscapes. His work is particularly well suited to this because of the brush strokes he employed – they are perfect to represent in stitching. Once again, I will simply improvise by eye rather than draw out a detailed master plan.

    Van Gogh's Sunflowers improvised with thread.
    Van Gogh’s Sunflowers improvised with thread.

  • Holy Molas!!!

    Yesterday I gave a private class to my small quilt group on making Molas. I love making them by hand applique but also have a fast machine made version and for this class. I allowed the group members to choose which method they wished to learn – I usually restrict a class to one method or the other because they really are quite different techniques but my group members were willing to sit through the instruction for each method with courtesy and patience. I had eight students, two made their Molas by machine, the others all worked with hand applique. Five created their own unique designs while three used patterns from the collection I have designed.
    Our hostess, Jane, was the Superstar completing her machine made Mola from start to finish using a new pattern I had created by her request of a Native American pot; it turned out gorgeous but I – Miss Swiss Cheese For Brains – was so busy helping all the students that I neglected to take a photo of her Mola. I will do so at a future date but for now, I am posting a few photos of my own Molas.
    We worked and ate homemade coffee cake made by me, chewy gooey oh so delicious brownies made by Jane’s grandson, luscious bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes and heavenly Moonstruck Chocolate graciously provided by a group member who is one of Moonstruck’s leading Chocolatiers. We got to taste a preview of an upcoming flavor being developed for next Mother’s Day along with the last batch of a flavor – ‘Cherry Blossom’ – that was specially developed for the Portland Japanese Garden’s grand re-opening earlier this year. The Cherry Blossom chocolate is being retired and will be seen no more to my dismay, it was delicious.
    Speaking of things retiring, we capped off the meeting/class with a trip to member Steve’s home for a last shopping trip at what was left of his fabric inventory; he closed his online store One World Fabrics for good last week and gave us all unbelievable deals on the fabric he had left, I wish my budget had allowed me to buy more and I focused on the fabrics I knew were not likely to cross my path again.
    Now that One World is gone, your next best bet to pick up those lovely Taupe Fabrics is at Pioneer Quilts, they still have a fairly nice selection of these hard to find fabrics. I am now working there part time and just posted a piece about Taupe fabric and quilts on Pioneer’s Facebook Page.