200 Quilts · Four-in-Art · Mini-quilt · Quilts

Deconstruction of Shimmery Tunnel of Memories • Four-in-Art Feb. 2107


This is the deconstruction post for my recent Four-in-Art Challenge of Shimmer.


First off: what a lame title.  I had another name picked for this (“Multiverse Snapshot”) which is a much cooler name, but I’d forgotten that I had chosen it, and instead on the label put this blathery clichéed title.  Now that you know how I really feel about it, I’ll tell you how I put this together. (And no, I’m not making another label.)


I wanted to recreate the little specks of light from Multiverse (see previous post), so cut strips of silvery metallic fabric.  This is leftover fabric from my friend Lisa’s American Flag project (a flag the size of a basketball court); she rescued me when I couldn’t find my own lamé in my sewing room. Just for the record, that stuff is a challenge to work with: the strands kept going off on their own, as you can see above.shimmerytunnel_2

I wanted the vantage point to be off the piece, so I drew a dot on a post-it note off the paper, but when that didn’t prove to be a far enough vantage point, I went further to the left, making the radiating lines in red pencil.shimmerytunnel_3

I had some strips of solids leftover from this quilt, and put them into use.shimmerytunnel_4

After sandwiching the silver/black fabric, I cut it into narrow strips.shimmerytunnel_5

I seamed a couple of those strips end-to-end, laid the resulting longer strip in the center, and chose a bright solid to lead off the piece, and stitched down one side.  I went back and forth between doing this piece in a series of gray and black fabrics vs. rainbow, but knew that I didn’t have a wide enough range to get the effect of Multiverse, so changed it up to a muted rainbow.shimmerytunnel_6

I pinned it on, flipped it over and sewed on the drawn lines, for the most part.  Sometimes I went narrower, but used these lined to keep the correct angle going.shimmerytunnel_7

A good beginning.  You can see by the red cast of this photograph that I’m sewing at night.

A lot of times I’m tired at the end of the day and don’t want to sew, but then I say: “What do I want to have done before I go to bed tonight?” and head back into the sewing room.  Often just working for ten or so minutes will engage me enough to keep going at it for at least an hour.

I was feeling a lot of pressure to get this sewn up ahead of time, because I knew that I would have had a surgery when this posted (it happened about a week ago: a repair to a severed tendon on my rotator cuff) and I knew I’d be unable to complete this, or any sewing at all, for some time.shimmerytunnel_8

But hopefully it will be good to get the pain gone (cause is referenced here) and my shoulder back in working condition.shimmerytunnel_9

I almost like the back better than the front.  If I had any creative guts at all, I would have gone with this.  My professor in my digital art class once told me: “You have a problem with tidiness in your art.”  Yep, I’m all about the tidiness, as long as you don’t look at my garage.  Or sewing room.shimmerytunnel_10

I stitched around the outside edge to stabilize it, and went to bed.shimmerytunnel_11

After thinking it over and drawing all sorts of fantastical loopy lines on scratch paper, I went linear, quilting on the cottons, not that silvery shredding lamé.shimmerytunnel_12



I backed it with this new piece of fabric, “Dropping Seeds” by Roseanne Morton.  Okay, I want this fabric in ALL colors; it’s terrific.  I chose a simple black very narrow binding, and did my usual two squares-folded-on-the-diagonal-and-sewn-into-the-top-corners for how I’ll hang it.  (I put a dowel cut to size in those “pockets” and suspend the piece on a pushpin or nail.) Happy Shimmering!

Next quarter’s challenge, due May 1st,  is Light in the Darkness.

200 Quilts · Quilts

Illusion of Colors, based on a design by Kevin Umaña


Illusion of Colors Quilt, #172
24″ square

This was the second of two designs I made using Uppercase Fabrics and designs from artist Kevin Umaña, who now lives in New York City.  I first wrote about him when we started our collaboration, and he was a delight to work with and has great punchy graphic designs that translate well to quilts.  illusionofcolors_2 illusionofcolors_3

I had this pinned up and awaiting quilting for the longest time.  You all know that my shoulder has been giving me trouble (wah wah wah) and last week when I went for a 3-month check-up, the doctor said don’t do anything that hurts.  Well…sleep hurts.  Getting dressed hurts.  Sitting quietly can hurt.  And then I thought if I can’t do anything that hurts, I may as well suspend myself in green Jello or something.  Or, since everything hurts, I’m going to quilt.  That night, I finished off Kevin’s great design.illusionofcolors_4

Of course, sitting quietly, sewing on the label hurt my shoulder.  (eye roll)  So I apply a lot of this:


Brenda thinks I should get a real ice pack, but this seems to work okay.  I’m on my second one.  And yes, I’m still going through doctor hoops, hoping one day to do stuff without hurting too much.  But I will keep quilting, because if I can’t quilt, what can I do? (No need to supply answers).

I’m just happy to have finished up Kevin’s quilt.  I’m mailing off to him as a thank you for sharing his designs.




tiny nine patches

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200 Quilts · Four-in-Art · Quilts

Jill in the Pulpit: Four-in-Art Challenge • Aug 2016


Jill in the Pulpit
Quilt No. 166, August 2016
#3 in the Color Series: Purple Passion


I have no serious thoughts about the color purple even though there’s a novel with that title, and even though it has so many interesting connections (which were explored in my last post and which seems like it was written about a year ago, but really it’s only been several days).  Where do summer days go to?  To family picnics, visiting relatives, long interstate drives, trips, lounging around in hot weather cleaning house. . . the usual.  And then I had to ponder what I’m passionate about?  Quilting, for sure, so in the end, the reality is to Get The Thing Done, diving into my passion of quilting, but hampered by. . .

only a flesh wound

. . . my shoulder going rogue, rendering me only a bit less helpless than the Black Knight in Monty Python, which is the standard by which we judged all injuries when raising the children.  Yes, “tis only a flesh wound,” became our rallying cry for getting up and going, and so I did, and got the quilt done. Cause? Pretty sure it was the cheap-o yoga class I signed up for early this spring, and couldn’t finish because of the pain. I’m sticking to walking.  Or sword-fighting.


All the purples in my stash (with the exception of the Kaffes) were purchased about the time of the Knights of the Round Table — all plummy and grayish and dated — so while in Utah, I visited *this* shop and *this* shop, acquiring a few new fat quarters.

JillinPulpit_pattern JillinPulpit_cutting JillinPulpit_cutting1 JillinPulpit_cutting2 JillinPulpit_cutting3 JillinPulpit_cutting4

Just before sleep one night, I sketched out an idea (top).  The next day I proceeded to massacre my idea (the rest of the photos).  Finally I decided that I should just slash it where it had problems and insert other fabrics, so I did, using *this video* for help in sewing curves.


I line up fabric underneath the slash, position it, then move it about 1/4″ back from my imaginary positioning line, then rotary cut along the shape.  Stitch a 1/4″ seam. Press.


Repeat with other side.


Keeping the bag of frozen peas balanced on my “flesh wound,” I quilted this, stopping often to rest and ponder the state of the universe. . . or what I was doing.  I hate that I have a new quilting machine, and haven’t really been able to use it much.  “Soon,” my husband says, as he rubs my shoulder nightly and soothes my worries.  “Soon.”JillinPulpit_10

I whacked it here a little, there a little, turned it and whacked it again, until I got this ungainly flower-like thing quilt in a sort-of balance.
JillinPulpit_7 JillinPulpit_8

Now you know why I named it Jill in the Pulpit.  It’s irrelevant whether you like the candidate or not, as the Big Deal is that we have come far enough to nominate a woman, and I thought that deserved some recognition.JillinPulpit_9

So there you go–my Purple Passion Challenge.

Please visit the rest of our group, to see how they interpreted Color: Purple Passion.  We also have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, where you can find us all.

Betty         https://www.flickr.com/photos/toot2

Camilla         http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simon         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

Susan         http://patchworknplay.blogspot.com


Good Friday: Four-in-Art Challenge • May 2016


Good Friday
Quilt No. 164, May 2016
#2 in the Color Series: MusicFourinArtMay16_2 FourinArtMay16_3

This quilt was inspired by time spent in Antonio Gaudi’s magnificent creation of La Sagrada Familia, a basilica in Barcelona, Spain.  We visited there in March of 2016, on Good Friday of their Santa Semana (Holy Week).  It was a fitting capstone to our visit to Spain, and to other of Gaudi’s architectural buildings, and from the moment we walked in, we were overwhelmed.  Gaudi based a lot of his structures on natural elements, curves inherent in draped forms, local mountains, rock and nature.  So I took my cue from the same, as well as trying to weave in a representation of my experience there with color, music and the Spirit.FourinArtMay16_SagradaChristIn most of the Catholic churches we visited on our trip, the center crucifix of Christ was based on what we perceived as physical pain: the suffering that Jesus as a mortal man endured on the cross for all those many hours of the crucifixion, his head bowed, the expression on his face, agony. Yet in Gaudi’s church, Christ was under a canopy that appeared almost like upside-down blossom of a trumpet flower, surrounded by a vine laden with clusters of grapes, the expression on his face transcendent, his eyes focused upward.FourinArtMay16_La Sagrada FamiliaAnd high above him, nearly 200 feet in the air, is a golden arrow or tree that points to a further high point, a representation of his ascension to heaven.  The symbolism is rich and layered for those who are familiar with the story of Good Friday.  I sat down in the chairs in the nave to think and to let myself fall into what I was seeing, and surprisingly, hearing.  As I sat there I became aware of music, just below the level of hum of the crowd.  It was hard to decide what the score was, whether it was some oratorio like the Messiah, or a choral rendition, such as Ave Maria (which was later played at noon).  The beauty of the stained glass, the unique and thoughtful Christ in the unusual baldacchin, the representation of the Resurrection by this golden motif pointing upward and the music were a fitting celebration of the events of Good Friday.

FourinArtMay16_SagradamotifLaSagradaFamilia_13 LaSagradaFamilia_12On a more practical level, during our entire trip I had been puzzling what I would make for our May Four-in-Art art quilt, with its dual themes of color and music; I knew that day that I wanted to attempt to recreate some portion of what I had experienced, however puny my attempt might be.FourinArtMay16_5

This is my third try at this structure.  I had started out with the swirly pink, yellow and blue batik, but first used a yellow solid.  Then when we went to visit my son in San Diego, I found a fabric store that sold silk shantung, and a bit of the glistening crisp fabric came home with me.


I worked those diamonds multiple ways, but finally had to settle for a tepid reference to the intricacies of Gaudi’s design.  I’m not too happy with the blue pieces, wishing I had instead something more grayed to bridge the swirling pastel batik to the outer gray, but again, I was aiming for a representation of the experience.
FourinArtMay16_7 FourinArtMay16_8Because of the lattice shape, the dimensions of this quilt are quite different than the usual 12 inch square quilts I’ve been making in this series.

FourinArtMay16_9I backed it with more of the batik, quilted it up on my new quilting machine, and bound it in more batik, wishing to let the edges flow, not constrain, the design.
FourinArtMay16_10 FourinArtMay16_11 FourinArtMay16_12 FourinArtMay16_13 FourinArtMay16_14I was surprised when I laid it out on my flagstone for a photograph in the sun, how the sheen of the silk echoed the glinting bits in the rock underneath it.  The label reads: “The intense spiritual experience of Good Friday in Barcelona, as I sat in the nave, with color, sound and Spirit blending around me, prompted this quilt: an attempt to recreate one of Gaudi’s motifs.”

Perhaps to someone who wasn’t there, it may seem puny or very far from that design motif high above the nave.  I agree.
But it will do.

tiny nine patches

Please visit the other quilters in the Four-in-Art group, so named because we work towards quarterly challenges (next challenge will be August 2016):

Betty         https://www.flickr.com/photos/toot2

Camilla     http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine    http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone       (sitting out this round–her daughter’s getting married)

Please also visit our blog: Four-in-Art Quilts.

tiny nine patches

5XmasTreeMaySee you tomorrow for STEP FOUR of the Oh Christmas Tree QAL.


[in Just-], Deconstructed


4-in-art_3buttonin Just_in the garden

Yesterday, I revealed my quarterly art quilt challenge, and as is my usual, this post is about some of the how-to’s.

in Just_1

When trying to think about how to illustrate this poem, I kept thinking of all the pictures I’d taken in Washington DC during cherry blossom season and was thinking that they might work for this.  I first searched for a picture of a balloon seller, and found an illustration from what looked to be c. 1950s, perfect for I wanted–a nice, clean interpretation.

Photoshop Balloon Man Poem

This is a composite of several photos; I added in the balloon man last.  I saved all this (multiple times) and then started to prepare my fabric.  I wanted to use the Bubble Jet Set again, like I did for an earlier art quilt (more info *here*), so soaked my Kona white squares and hung them to dry.

in Just_2a

I ironed them to freezer paper, then tried to feed them through the printer just as they were.



in Just_4a

So this time I trimmed down the edges and taped it to a piece of cardstock on three edges and then fed it through the printer (I have a flow-through feed path, but I have done in those printers that do a U-turn).  Success.  I didn’t care that the image was a bit wider and spilled out onto the tape, as I knew I was going to sew fabric strips around the edges.  I let it sit for 30 minutes.

in Just_3

The other part of using Bubble Jet is to rinse the printed fabric in their Bubble Jet Set, so after waiting the allotted amount of time, I rinsed the printed images, and hung them to dry (below).

in Just_3b

in Just_4b

I’d printed two different versions of the balloon man.  One with all full-out color everywhere, and one where I had lightened the background by about 30% to let the man and the children pop out a bit more.  That one worked best for fabric.

Contrasting Balloon Man Pix

On the screen, they don’t look too different (lighter background is on the right).  But my husband said the full-color print was “all a bit much,” language for toning down one part of the picture so that the other could shine.  He liked the difference.

in Just_5

in Just_5a

I cut the strips 1 1/4″ wide as I wanted a narrow range of gradated colors.

in Just_5b

Strips on.  I made it a wee bit bigger than our 12″ so when I sew all four of these together at the end, I’ll have room to maneuver.

in Just_6a

I drew out the balloons on some waxie paper squares that they use in delis. I’d purchased a big box ages ago and I use them to try out quilting ideas.

in Just_6b

I tried drawing it on with a white pencil, but it didn’t show very well, so I just pinned on the waxie paper, and kept flipping it back and forth.

in Just_6c

If you read the post about the quilt and the meanings of the motifs, you’ll know why these balloons are here.


I like to attach the label before the reveal date.  On this day, my father was going into surgery for a broken hip.  He fell when he was hanging a painting in his art studio.  Did I mention that he’ll be 90 in December, and is still a source of inspiration for me–still going down to his studio to paint daily?  But today, while I thought about him, I couldn’t make the labels at all–something I usually can do in my sleep.  The middle shows the label. . . printed on the freezer paper backing.  Next.  The righthand side shows the label when I forgot to print only the first page, plus I obviously put the fabric down too low and it printed partially on the masking tape.  I finally got it the third time.  He had his surgery, and is fine, but to say I was feeling a wee bit distracted and out of sorts would be an understatement.

Spiffing up Other quilt

Now I’m thinking that the other quilt needs to be spiffed up with a photo or two.  I need to get those woods darker and deeper, but will have to think about how to do this.

PostscriptI always enjoy trying to interpret a theme or an idea in these little quilts, but there are some days I approach the task kicking and screaming.  It’s always soooo much easier to just pick up a block or two, start whacking away with my rotary cutter and tada! a stack of blocks is sewn and done.  It is harder to take the time to think about what I want to say and how to say it.  It’s on days like that I’m keenly aware that I’m not an fine arts artist like my sister Christine, or my father.

However, I’m my own kind of quilt artist, and I choose to keep doing these little art quilts because it stretches my brain and pushes me to explore new techniques.  Everyone has to find a way to keep growing in their quilting, otherwise we become stagnant and stale and slip out of the conversation.  For me, this is one way to remain in the stream of creativity, and I’m always glad to have these art quilt challenges come around again.

Many thanks to the other quilt artists who participate–they inspire me!


Jazz, Light, Montreal, a Four-in-Art Quilt, November 2014


JazzLightMontreal_frontJazz, Light, Montreal
#5 in the Urban Series

When the challenge theme was announced, of Light, I started looking and noticing urban light–both that which sheds or projects the light, and that which receives the light.  Multi-hued lights intrigued me, as well as light fixtures (as you saw before).  I was also interested in reflections of city lights on windows and in rain puddles.  But in the end, I went with a memory–the graceful arching lights of Montreal, swirling over the Jazz Festival that was in its final days.

montreal-street-lightsMontreal City Lights

Yet the artistry in that photograph comes partly because of the different widths of the light poles, changing from thicker to more slender as they were sited in the field of view.


I fiddled and widgeted my stuff, moving and trying to get that look but with my bias tape, I could not really manipulate the widths easily, although I tried.  So mine resembles a spider the day AFTER Halloween, squished beyond recognition.  How appropriate that today’s reveal date is November 1st. Since this little foray into representation is not one of my favorite art quilts I’m not going to do a deconstruction post.  I tried out multiple brown fabrics and thought about trying to mimic the interesting placement of windows as shown in the photo above, but in the end, went with one that conveyed the pane-pierced facade.  Okay, maybe not so much, but I gave it a try.  I fused it on, satin-stitched around it.  Sewed down the light posts, then used a zig-zag stitch to quilt clouds into the sky.

In fact, the more I write about this, the more I realize that not every art quilt will challenge me to learn a new technique, which is what I want to do.  Sometimes you come to the project tired and worn out and your brain cells look more and more like the spotted building in my art quilt, or perhaps that splayed spider thingie and pulling out the stops means Getting It Done and Moving On.


I do like the back quite well.  No complaint about that Anna Maria Horner fabric from eons ago.  And ever since Betty started putting labels on hers, I’ve copied her example and now have a lovely collection of art quilts, properly provenanced.  The quilt is 12″ square, and I used a fancy little bit for the binding (hoping it would redeem the front?).


But the best thing is the memory of that horribly hot night, sitting on the steps listening to jazz, getting photo-bombed by a tourist behind me who turned out to be a quilter, and we spent a long time showing each other quilt photos from our phones.  I look somewhat different now, but it was a great night watching people bee-bop to the doo-wap (try and find them!), sitting under that graceful swirling street light.

JazzLightMontreal_bylightNormally we only have four challenges a year (hence, the name: Four-in-Art), but this year we decided to jive up to the calendar year, and so added in this last challenge, making it a #5.  In the next cycle we’ll be back to four, and we’re trying something different.  Our overall theme will be Literature, but each quilter will think up her own quarterly challenge, instead of having a group challenge.  We’ll still reveal on the first days of February, May, August and November.  We have also had some subtractions and additions in the last few weeks, so won’t have a full compliment of eight quilters until next February.


Come see what other quilters in our Four-in-Art Group have done!
Amanda at www.whatthebobbin.com
Betty at  Flickr//www.flickr.com/photos/toot2/with/12251011196
Nancy at patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com
Rachel at rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com
Simone at  quiltalicious.blogspot.com
Anne at SpringLeaf Studio

and please head *here* to vote for Anne’s Cascade quilt, a finalist in the Craftsy Pattern Design Awards!!


Circles EPP Button

Coming in a couple of days. . .

Circles Block #6!