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
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!
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...
Today I have a quilt finish to share with you! This quilt has had many lives, and is finally to the point where I actually like it and can call it DONE! Let me start at the beginning.....
In November of 2018, some friends and I took a class from Sherri Lynn Wood, hosted by the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild. The class was color exploration, using improv strip sets. When the day was over, one of my large strip sets looked like this...
Now, these are NOT colors I am drawn to and I really didn't like it one bit. To me it screamed neapolitan ice cream (of which I'm really not a fan) Not one to waste fabric, after a few weeks of mulling it over at home, I drew up a design (planned improv if you will) and ended up with this.....
which I tried to like. Really I did. I mean, there are elements I like. the partial framing of the blocks, and the way it seems to "worm around" the quilt.... something I might explore down the road. But the colors still really bugged me. I thought "maybe this could be a baby quilt?" but honestly, if I make a baby a quilt, it's because I really care about them and I couldn't imagine dumping something I disliked on a sweet innocent baby. Know what I mean?
So, like any good quilter would do, I folded it up and shoved it to the back of a shelf, never to be looked at again. Or so I thought.
Fast forward to February of this year, when thousands of us gathered at Quiltcon in Austin, TX. We hugged old friends (and new friends), snuggled up next to each other in vendor booths, touched all the things. No one was wearing a mask and it all felt right. But I digress...
On Saturday I attended the keynote address by Victoria Findlay Wolfe. The entire lecture was inspiring, but one thing really stuck with me. She talked about how she had chopped up one of her finished quilt tops because she wasn't happy with it. Then she reassembled it into something new. She gave us permission to do the same. Before we even left the lecture hall, I had found the above photo in my instagram feed, showed it to my friend Chris, and said "this one. this baby is HISTORY!".
Honestly, I had no idea where this top even was. For a brief time, I thought maybe I had put it in the guild's charity donation box. I couldn't remember. But, with a little digging, I found it, shoved in the back of that shelf, a wrinkled mess.
A couple of months ago, I took a dresden ruler and my rotary cutter and set to work.....
This is where I landed! I already loved it. I auditioned lots of colors for the background (including my go to teal blue) and even polled my instagram followers (several suggested lime green) but in the end, I decided not to compete with the scheme by adding another color. I ordered Kona Cobblestone online and impatiently waited for it to arrive.
I really love the end result! I machine appliquéd the dresdens to the background, straight line quilted it on my domestic machine then hand appliquéd prairie points and circles before binding. Don't look too close, the quilting is horrendous (so many folds and ripples. ugh) but the end result is better than anything I could have imagined.
I'm having great fun making houses! I'm up to seventeen for a swap (only swapping 15, but I can't stop making!)
These are all 6 inches finished. I got to thinking.... what if I went smaller? So I made a 3 inch house and that didn't feel tiny enough, so I did one that finishes just under 2 inches....
what exactly does one do with such tiny houses, you ask?
why, you make teeny tiny pin cushions of course! yes, I may be going a little crazy around here.
Just when I thought maybe I was nearing the end of my house making phase, I received the June prompt from Jessica for the Solid Seven..... guess what she wanted? HOUSES! woohoo, I've gotten quite good at those..... I got right on it and whipped up three houses and a tree, black/gray/white per her request, with print (GASP!) thrown in for fun. I absolutely cannot wait to see her finished quilt!
you haven't seen the last of houses from me, but I promise to bring you something else next time.
This one is the 8" (largest) version of the pattern. I had so much fun fussy cutting the windows. I'm pretty sure that is hubby in the window, sweeping the kitchen floor while I am off in the sewing room!
My friend, Diann, had also gotten hooked on house blocks and said to me, "let's do a swap!" Well you know me! I'm all in.... and we rounded up some more local friends to swap with us. We are making 6" houses and I added a couple more FPP patterns to my collections (from center street quilts shop). So far I have 9 blocks made to swap.
I can't think of anything better to celebrate these days than home sweet home! I hope you all are staying well.