Monday, August 3, 2020

house swap quilt

Well, I just realized I never wrapped up my saga of all the house blocks! House blocks were swapped, and I adored every single block I received from my friends (people, there is an advantage to being in charge of a swap! YOU GET FIRST PICK! although I will say, every single block turned in was a masterpiece so it was a win/win situation). The blocks only spent a few days on my design wall board and I was off and running. I added some low volume rectangles to stagger my blocks but there was still something missing. If you know me well, you know what that something was. WORDS! Improv letters were quickly in the works and added as two borders (because, assymetry! ha!)


Oh, yes, I did add in a little red car to represent my RAV4 (named James) because it's my quilt and I do what I want, so there! It was quickly quilted up with a walking foot grid on my Janome and bound with a tiny low volume polka dot. I quite love this finished quilt and need to find an empty wall to display it (not an easy feat in this house!)

Also, why have I never thought to photograph quilts on this pretty stone wall on my front porch? I wish I could leave it there but unpredictable Texas weather does not allow for that. sigh.....

my little house quilt finished up at 34" x 36".

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Collaborating with Brooks

My friend Brooks does amazing work with mixed media collage. Her pieces all tell a story, which I love. I've been finding that my quilts recently tell stories too. We have connected with each other's work for a long time. Recently, after she saw my quilt Urban Emergence, she made this collage in response...

  Look at the two pieces side by side....
We got together on zoom and chatted about collaborative work we could do. Brooks told me all about her art studio she is preparing to build on their property. She even built a 3d model to share with the architect. I was so intrigued by her plans....
 We decided to each make a piece that reflects her dreams for her studio. We talked for a long time about the plans, set a color palette and went to work. Although we had planned to work separately and not share until we were finished, we found ourselves texting and sharing photos along the way. Our pieces ended up more literal and alike than we had originally planned.
 I love the colorful circles bursting from the roof of the studio, representing all of the wonderful creative ideas happening inside. At first, my circles looked like the balloons from the movie Up, lifting the studio into the sky, hahaha! I worked at it and I think i finally got it right.
Brooks and I have another collaboration in the works. We are working off of some photographs I shared with her. This time, we really plan to keep our work to ourselves until we are finished. I hope we can stick to the plan! This is a real learning process. I can't wait to share our next project with you!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

recent weaving

I've had a couple of orders for hand woven towels lately, in beautiful colors requested by the customers. First for Sarah....
 I'd really love to see Sarah's kitchen where these will live!
Then these for Nicole.....



These were all woven in 8/2 cotton from Webs on my rigid heddle loom (double threads warped in a 10 dent heddle, double weft as well for inquiring minds).

And now my loom is empty, but not for long, I'm sure!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

more watercolor

Hello friends! We are still sheltering at home here, as Texas has seen a recent surge in Covid19 cases. This nasty virus has impacted several friends and their families, so far our family remains healthy. I hope this finds you healthy as well.

I'm still enjoying dabbling in watercolor doodling. Most recently, I've been experimenting with flowers.



trying out different kinds of doodle flowers
some more delicate flowers. A set of four that might become cards
and a coordinating page in my art journal.

Have you learned anything new lately?

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Urban Emergence


I am just now beginning to be able to tell a story with my quilts. Until recently, often my story was "I wanted to play with triangles" or "these are the colors in my bedroom". Sometimes my story would come to me after a quilt was finished (or someone else would tell a story from my quilt!) This latest finish definitely has a story to tell!

It started months ago when I decided to ask my Solid Seven beemates to make me small, improv minimalist blocks with the prompts urban and architecture. I requested that they use any medium to dark blue for the background and kona white for the details, with a tiny bit of yellow if they wished.  If you know me, you know that I love cities! Love to visit them, explore them, even make quilts about them apparently.

Just as my bee blocks began to roll in, I started seeing pictures on the news and online of major cities around the world emerging from the smog. Because of the pandemic, fewer cars were on the road and the air quality was improving. Cities like New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, and many others had clear blue skies above them. An idea began to take shape in my head.

I started making gray on gray blocks that fit my theme, to represent the cities before the quarantine. A couple of friends (Debbie and Chris) chimed in and made me some gray blocks too. As I played with the blocks on my design wall, I began to see the cities emerging from the smog! Thus Urban Emergence was born.

The finished quilt top measured 40"x42". It cried out for matchstick quilting and who was I to argue! I used several shades of gray and blue thread for the quilting (and 10 or 11 bobbins.... I lost count).

Today during a zoom sew day with my McKinney Modern Quilt Guild friends I hand sewed down the faced binding. I'm so pleased with the finished quilt!
Do your quilts often tell a story?

Check out #thesolidseven on Instagram to see more of our shenanigans.

Monday, June 8, 2020

another quilt finish

I will say, sheltering in place has given me the time to finish up a bunch of UFOs! Last fall, my beemates from the McKinney Modern Quilt Guild made me pink and orange x & + blocks using this tutorial.
I added a giant version of the block. I sent my finished top over to my friend Diann so she could work her long arm magic. I even pieced the back, something I don't often do.
I love the fun modern floral Diann chose for my quilt.
Checking this one off my list!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

100 days of bojagi

It's been 100 days since Quiltcon 2020 in Austin. 100 days since we hugged new and old friends, stood in lines (close together!), ate tacos in crowded restaurants, chatted with vendors with no masks and thought nothing of it. 100 days since I sat in a classroom at the convention center with new and old friends and learned to do Korean Bojagi from Daisy Aschehoug.

Daisy is a warm, kind, bubbly human who currently lives in Norway (yes, she flew across the ocean to teach us, another thing people could do way back in February). She's an awesome teacher. By the end of the evening, I was totally in love with this new hand sewing technique.
For the record, I used several colors of Kona cotton for my bojagi project and a spool of 12 weight, Wonderfil Spagetti thread that I bought at Quiltcon. Size 24 chenille needles worked perfectly. I also highly recommend a clover needle threader that I never knew about before quilt con and now cannot live without. It's so sturdy, and perfect for large eyed needles and thicker thread.
 This is how far I had gotten that first night. My stitches were a bit uneven and way too tiny and tight, but the more I stitched, the better they got. I casually said to Daisy "I really want to get good at this...." and she suggested I make it a 100 day project. Well, I had always wanted to do a 100 day project but had not found something I wanted to commit to for that long! This was it. I started counting that very day and stitched on my bojagi project for the next 100 days. Some days I added one small piece. Other days I put together a whole section, or joined larger sections together. You can see my progress pictures here, at #ellynlearnsbojagi.

Today, May 31, 2020, is day 100. Here is my final piece....
While it is not perfectly square, it measures approximately 28"x28", and, if I'm counting right, it has 145 pieces, varying in size. If you look closely, you can see how my stitches relaxed, got larger, and more even as I learned, which was exactly my goal.

One of the cool things about bojagi is that the back is finished (no raw edges) as is the front. kind of hand sewn flat felled seams if you will. Here is the back of mine...
My plan is to hand hem the edges (Daisy taught us how) and keep this as a sample/art piece. I'm so happy with it, and very happy that I stuck with it and did the work for 100 days! Now if we could just get back to hugging people again, I'd be even more pleased. Be well...