Archive for January, 2014

Cathy and I met up this morning to work on our foreground. Things are a little simpler for me, as I am an edge piece, so I am mainly collaborating with Cathy on my piece.

IMG_7870We started by laying out what ideas and colors we had so far. My kitchen table was just wide and long enough for our two panels to lay out side by side. Cathy is going to have an iris field in the bottom of her panel. We talked about how it would look good if it extended into mine a bit.

IMG_7868I auditioned a few fabrics next to hers, to pick colors of similar values. Finally my ice dyed fabric has a place! The multi colored patterning on it matched with the effect well. I chose a green dominated color for the stem background, and a purple dominated color for the flowers.

IMG_7872I started cutting the fabrics into rough shapes to see how’d they look, and Cathy let me borrow one of her iris to get a feel. Aren’t her iris lovely?! I can’t wait to make a few of my own for the corner. I think I’ll make them slightly smaller, as my iris section is smaller. I turned on my iron, and we worked away cutting, fusing, and placing. Sometimes we’d chat, ask the other’s opinion, sometimes we’d work in silence, in our own little world. It felt companionable and pleasant. What a great new way to make a quilt!

IMG_7873Then we both started playing around with our background greens, auditioning different colors, talking about where the light to darker colors would look good, and how to not just have straight lines, but more natural looking lines. We looked at pictures of the valley, and it looks like different groupings of bushes and grasses make different colored sections across the valley. So I tried putting out a layered approach, of different greens, and then cut them to different shapes and sizes. I’m thinking my stitching on top can be where I put in detail of bushes and grass using different colored threads.

IMG_7879Here you can start to see my layers cut out and layed down. They are very plain, so I think that puts more emphasis on the stitching making the pattern and design. I am thinking I will practice some different designs that might work! Maybe sketch out a couple, think about how lines could make the impression of bushes.

IMG_7884Did you also notice the brown of my tree changed?! I kept looking at my first tree, and it just seemed too dark. I like the brown that Cathy chose for her tree branch, and decided I needed to lighten my tree color. I knew it was going to be one of those details, that if I left it in, it would continue to haunt me. So best to change it now. I didn’t have any brown colors on hand, but Cathy had a hand-dyed brown she generously gave me to use, so I cut out another tree! Don’t you think it looks better?

IMG_7878This time, I traced it onto the fusible webbing as one solid piece. The last tree I broke into smaller pieces, thinking I’d save on fabric, but I didn’t like how once laid down they weren’t one piece. This way today used up more fabric, but I think the tree being one piece looks better.


Photo by Cathy

And our end layout for this session! Our tree branches are lined up, and our greens picked out and cut.


Photo by Cathy

The last thing I did was take a piece of solvy (water soluble stabilizer), and very roughly trace the outline of our tree, both our branches together. My idea for the leaves is to cut fabric into a million little pieces, sandwich them between two pieces of solvy, and quilt the leaves roughly together. Then I will dissolve the solvy in water, and I’ll be left with a loose netting of leaves and string I can layer over our tree branches. I want to try this technique to mimic the way the background can be seen through the leaves. I don’t want to cut out solid chunks of fabric, I want the leaves to be varied in their thickness and have the background show through. We’ll see how it works! That will be next weekend’s project.

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Saturday, we got together for our January  meet up as part of our OOB panel quilt project. As I was heading over, I felt some trepidation as I hadn’t done a single thing since our last meeting. I brought supplies hoping I could work a little bit while we met, and hoped I’d leave feeling reinspired. As the panels were pinned up on the design wall, I was inspired. Everyone had chosen greens to be their foreground base color. Everyone brought little details they had worked on, to see how they’d look and where they should go.

IMG_7843Cathy had begun to make iris. She’s going to have a lot more in the quilt, but here are her first two.

IMG_7844Nela put together two quail with a nest. Aren’t they divine?

IMG_7846Marilyn made a bush using thread and netting, to go in front of her cabin. She’s going to make a few more, this was her first prototype.

IMG_7848Margaret played around with using different fabric, yarn and thread to make bushes.

IMG_7851While everyone pinned and adjusted and talked, I was busy cutting and fusing. Soon I had my sky and most of my mountain pieces fused down.

IMG_7842And then, with all the mountains pinned up, the view came together. Doesn’t that mountain line just really pop? And the sky really brings it all together. I just love it.

IMG_7854And here it is from the other end! Our space is too small to get a straight on view from the front, or actually, I just need to use a different lens next time.

We discussed how and when we are going to stitch everything down. We talked about what kind of batting we were going to use, asking Jan for her expertise and advise. I don’t remember what it is called, so I’ll tell you next time! But we are all going to use the same. We talked about what color fabric to bind each panel with. Blue and gray were colors mentioned. We talked about how we want to try to have it done for our guild quilt show in May, yikes! That’s not very far off. But we are moving along quickly, so maybe we can make it!

And I did leave inspired. As soon as I got home, I continued to work. I cut out my foothill pieces and fused them down. I cut out my cottonwood trunk, and green trees at the horizon. I worked on sketching and cutting and fusing little white snow pieces to the mountains.

IMG_7865Here’s my mountains with foothills and snow added in.

IMG_7862And here’s with the tree, and some possible greens for a foreground. Cathy and I are going to get together next weekend, to line up our tree branches that extend from my panel to hers, and to work on coordinating our background greens. After I have those placed and fused down, I can start to work on leaves for the cottonwood, and bushes for the foreground. It is coming together!

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Reflections on 2013

PicMonkey Collage

I always enjoy this time of year, of reflecting back on the past and looking forward to the future. I was startled to realize this is the fourth year of my blog! You can read my past yearly reflections here: 2010, 2011, and 2012. As I browsed through my posts and remembered the projects I worked on, a few themes stand out.


2013 was a year of stitching by hand. I think I was drawn to the meditative and calming aspect of working with my hands. In the evenings I would sit and hand quilt my ocean waves quilt. Then later in the year, I started the travelling quilt, which I continue to sew on wherever I am travelling!


I also started knitting more in 2013. A friend started a ladies’ knitting group, and it was always nice to have some type of knitting project to bring and knit while talking and visiting. Knitting is so tactile, I’ve really enjoyed the texture and feeling of the yarn and needles.


Knitting also led me to dyeing wool with natural fibers I gathered locally. In 2013, I experimented dyeing with willow leaves and coffee grounds. The process is very laborious, but rewarding. I hope to continue to learn and experiment more. I’ve been saving up avocado skins to try dyeing with, they are supposed to make a pale pink color.


I also found myself drawn to designs and quilts that have triangles. It started of course with my ocean waves quilt, then continued with my half square triangle quilts, and also showed up in my travelling quilt. I wondered why I was continually being drawn towards quilts that use triangles. From my book on zentangle, it says because triangles rotate on a center point, they indicate change. And when I think back over 2013, I think change is the best way to describe the year.

reflection rapid

Blossom Bar, Rouge River, 2009

Think of a white water river trip. A river has rapids and flat water. The year of 2013 was a class III+ rapid. It was filled with joy and excitement, just as rapids can often be fun and adventurous. I got married and went on an adventure filled honeymoon. Many friends and family also got married, had babies, went world travelling. These were happy and joyous events that I will remember with fondness. But rapids can also be heart-stopping scary, overwhelming, and hard. 2013 was also filled with indescribable sadness and challenges. We lost a close family member in a tragic accident. Another family member had a bad injury. The list of change continues: friends moved out of the area, I started a new job, I turned thirty . . . 2013 was a year of change.

reflection calm

Relaxing on the Rogue River, 2009

So my hope is that we’ve rowed the rapid, navigated the rocks and holes and waves. We picked our line and went with the flow. Now it is time for a calm stretch. The time on a  river trip where you sit back, soak in the sun, start a water fight, sing a song, play the harmonica, admire the turtle basking on the shore. I am looking ahead to 2014 as a time to heal and rejoice in this beautiful world we live.

As part of looking ahead to 2014, I have several projects I want to start and to finish.


I hope to finish hand quilting my ocean waves quilt in time for our September county fair.

IMG_7827 Stitch

I am going to continue to participate in our Out of the Box collaborative project. I am looking forward to continuing to work with a great group of quilt artists, working to produce a beautiful quilt and making time to visit and strengthen our own friendship.

etsy screen shot

Screen shot of my first etsy item for sale once my shop opens!

And yes, if you’ve read my previous reflections, you’ll see this one seems to continue to be present, but it is still real and true, I want to open an etsy shop! I got really close in 2013 . . . I have to just spend a little more time getting the billing and packaging side of the business set up, and I’ll be ready to open!

What else? I have a few baby quilts that need finishing . . . What projects do you want to finish or start in 2014?

As a friend said and I am going to share here because I thought it was a nice way to put it, “May every sunrise hold more promise. May every sunset hold more peace.” Happy New Year!

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