A New Start

I have been absent from this place for quite some time. Our holiday season was fun, and full of food and family get-togethers, and somewhat hectic, what with one thing and another, and there hasn’t been much time to spend in the “new” sewing room let alone to write about it. Finally on Boxing Day, we had the time and some chilly but sunny weather favorable for one of our hikes, so we went out to Pt. Reyes and walked the path along Abbott’s Lagoon to the shore. Here is a photo that I took that day, which I decided to use for inspiration for an improv piece, knowing that the AHIQ linkup was coming. I have enjoyed being part of that, and want to keep my hand in.


I chose fabrics fairly quickly; that’s always the easy part for me. Then I cut up the photo in a grid shape, as a tool for deciding on the proportions of the colors, and hopefully to give me some ideas about how to compose the piece. abbots-process-2

I liked the resultant collage a lot! For my first attempt at a composition I tried making one large square block, free-pieced. I thought I might make a series of these and then put them together somehow. img_3235It is a nice looking block that I might use for something else some day, but it was way too literal for my improvisational purposes. Next I thought maybe I would riff on a traditional block and put together a more geometric, abstract rendition. I made four large-ish dissappearing nine-patches and cut them up. img_3234

I like these too, but they were not going in the direction I wanted to go. Finally I just started cutting up strips and putting them together, plus some wider bands of piecing. This was more what I was going for, an abstraction of the image of the lagoon, but using the colors from the photo, in approximately the same proportions. I’m fairly pleased with this result…and now I am pondering where to take it next.

img_3273Better late than never, linking up with Ad Hoc Improv Quilters.

Happy New Year everybody!


Made on Monday 49-50-51 and 52- The Grand Finale?

Since my last post, we have finished painting the second bedroom, bought storage shelves, and I have my sewing studio functional once again. Yesterday I was able to do some sewing in my new space. While I was out of action, I had started reading the book Art Quilt Collage, by Deborah Boschert. I have felt I needed some knowledge (if not instructions) about design, composition, color generally. Now that I’ve joined a group of artists, I’ve felt the need to learn some of the language, which has always made me slightly uncomfortable. No harm seeing what other people have to say and this book is quite engaging. So, one exercise she proposes is to choose a fabric pallette, and then make quick fabric collage “sketches” of each of her Eight Design Guides.

So, I dug into my new Wall of Stash


What fun! Here I found a really interesting painterly abstract print by Alexander Henry, and a few coordinating pieces. I have a lot of black and white, and included a few of those prints for their graphic possibilities. When I looked at this collection I realized two things: One, I had stayed in my “safe” zone of very bright, bold, saturated colors, my choices were pretty matchy-matchy. And two, I really do need to challenge myself a bit on the color combos–(more on that theme later) except looking at this made me happy.


So, I proceeded with the Eight Design Guides exercise, and along the way I have produced the four more Made on Monday pieces I needed to catch up to NUMBER 52 this week, plus five more for good measure. And here they are:

MoM 49 – Not in Kansas

Design Guide – Landscape img_3046

MoM 50 – Thirds + 1

Design Guide – Third Plus


MoM 51 – No Man’s Land

Design Guide – One Amazing Line



MoM 52 – Sailors Take Warning

Design Guide – Modular – Except I took extreme liberties with the concept of a “stack of shapes”. When I saw this background, I just knew what the image had to be.


MoM 53 – Maybe I’m a Maze

Design Guide – Dancing Grid


MoM 54 – Nosegay from Outer Space

Design Guide – Magic Three


Mom 55 – Right and Other Angles

No design guide. Just symmetrical.


MoM 56 – Symmetrical, Not

Design Guide – Symmetrical


MoM 57 – Going Off Grid

Design Guide – Grid


Now, I may want to continue on with the Made on Monday commitment, since I’ve got myself all the way ahead into the new year, in terms of Mondays.

If not, I have learned a lot from making and keeping this commitment for the past year. I have made some new online friends, the other artists participating in MoM. I have learned what it takes to keep to the task, and how much I can learn by persisting. It has given me an opportunity, even an obligation, to try things I have not done before. We’ve had our work and words published in magazines and we communicate regularly through the Textile Arts Facebook page. And of course there is Kate Bridger, herself, whose idea it all was in the first place, and who has provided constant support and encouragement. If you have not visited Kate’s page, please do. She is a talented textile artist, writer and source of lots of inspiration, and a kind and gracious person to boot.

And thank you for visiting!

For Kate Bridger‘s  Made on Monday.


Made on Monday 46-47-48 – Catching Up a Bit

Life Happens

Well it’s been very busy around here for the past few weeks, and my opportunities to work on projects has been quite limited. For starters, I have gone through, weeded out, discarded, donated, boxed and organized everything in my stash of fabrics, art supplies, office supplies, family business paperwork and about 50 years of family photos, so that it could all be moved out of my sewing space (daughter’s old bedroom) in preparation for removal of a large piece of furniture (her old bed) in there, and then for painting and re-furnishing into what I will think of as my studio. It’s been a lot of work and has limited what I had to work with. I set aside a box of the bits and scraps from my Made on Monday projects and vowed that the remaining pieces, counting down to week 52, would be made with what was in this box. Then, there came the monthly meeting of my art quilt group, requiring some work on my part, and some family business that took precedence over everything, and then this week, the election. I really needed to take some time off and have a little fun, though, so yesterday I went into that strangely bare room and spent a very pleasant, quiet afternoon putting together these three pieces, and making up for the last three weeks I have been absent from this project. These are more pieces from my collection of color removal experiments, discussed in this post. So, without further ado–

MoM #46 – Storm Brewing

Discharge paste stencil on commercial fabric, colored pencils, machine stitch.


MoM #47 – Not Afraid of the Dark

Discharge paste stencil on commercial fabrics, machine stitching.


MoM #48 – Night Design Wall

Discharge paste stencil on commercial prints, fabric collage, machine stitching.


Even though my studio has vanished, the act of making is calming, I am still working, and thankful that I can. I wish the same for all of you. Thanks for coming by!

For Kate Bridger‘s  Made on Monday.


Bright Elusive Butterfly

I have been limiting posts to my Made on Monday pieces over the summer while I am immersed in a lot of other activities. This week, it is going to be late, because my entire “studio” aka sewing room is being packed up preparatory for painting and refurbishing. It will be wonderful when it’s done, but for now my tools and materials and working space are mostly unavailable.

Last spring I joined an art quilters group which has occupied a good deal of my time. As I wrote about in an earlier post, on the day I joined the group they issued a challenge to make a quilt using only black and white and one color. After I’d completed Marguerite’s Dream, I had another inspiration one evening, while watching a film called The Flight of the Butterflies.

I’m always trying to photograph butterflies on our walks, but they don’t like to hold still for the camera. I was thinking about the way you never really get a good look at them (except in this film) and they are always kind of fluttering out of sight. I had been playing with cropping images (like Marguerite) and liked the effect of a partial view. Also, I have found I really like fused applique techniques, decorative machine stitching and freeform quilting, and this project gave me some more good practice in all three.

Here is the result. The title will ring a bell for those of you who are roughly of my vintage. It’s small, only 16″ square. It was well received when we revealed our challenge quilts at our October meeting, as was Marguerite’s Dream. dsc02179

Linking up with Kaleidoscope of Butterflies over at Ann’s Fret Not Yourself.

Thanks for visiting!

Made on Monday 45 – Expanded Square #3

This week’s MoM is another of my Expanded Square experiments, as I wrote about last week, from Jane Dunnewold‘s Creative Strength Training course. It follows the rules a little more closely, in that it is just in black and white, but it’s also done in fabric and embellished a bit with stitching. I really like the bold graphic designs that can be created with this technique. 

For Kate Bridger‘s  Made on Monday.

Thanks for coming by!


Made on Monday 44 – Cacophony

I have begun working through Jane Dunnewold‘s Creative Strength Training course, actually a third time through reading it and really trying to do the exercises and get with the program generally. It is a way to develop a habit of artistic practice. She likens the practice of art to the way an athlete might practice, but in the case of artists, the ‘cross training’ comes in the form of writing and other types of exercises, contemplations to help a person define what their intentions are with regard to their art, and create a system to achieve them.  The exercise in the second chapter is called “Expanded Square”. The challenge is to make some following directions, and then to see what happens if you don’t follow the rules. The chapter has to do with acknowledging our “inner rebel”. Initially, we were to create the expanded boxes using black and white paper and a pair of scissors. Okay, well, I didn’t have any black paper, but I had some other-colored paper, so I used that instead. Here’s my first set:1

I was quite taken with the graphic look of these shapes. I can see using them as a repeating overall design of one or more of them. There is a sort of surprise in the design that happens as you flip the cutout pieces out of the square and stick them down. Next, I thought I’d try to expand some boxes using iDraw. This resulted in expanded boxes within boxes.


Naturally, having broken the “color rule”, I also immediately wanted to try this in fabric, so I’ve been making a series of interpretations in cloth, in the MoM format of 5″ square.

Made on Monday #44


Harsh discordance of sound; dissonance: a cacophony of hoots, cackles, and wails.

discordant and meaningless mixture of sounds. Frequent use of discords of a harshness and relationship difficult to understand.


For Kate Bridger‘s  Made on Monday.

Thanks for coming by!