Rose Window • Four-in-Art Quilt

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It’s Four-in-Art Challenge Reveal day today, the penultimate challenge in 2017.  We began this art mini-quilt group in November of 2012, and we are in our fifth year.  Bette, Rachel and I have been with the group since the beginning, with additions and changes here and there.  It’s been wonderful to have this to look forward to four times a year, a chance to stretch and try some new things, all contained in a mini-quilt (we are more flexible with the size now, but originally, it had to be contained in a 12″ square).

Rose Window_front

Rose Window
13 1/2″ wide by 18″ long
Quilt Number 185

Since I chose the challenge of Stained Glass Shadows, obviously I’m in love with the highly saturated blocks of color left on the floors of cathedrals and churches when the sun shines through stained glass windows.  I originally thought I’d try some figurative work, but the colors are what always catch my eye.

So I began with the warm tones, adding the layers of earth-colors as they moved toward the bottom, and celestial-colors as it moved upward.

I also knew that somewhere on this quilt there had to be a Rose Window, that enormous circular window high above entryway doors.

Then it was quilt the background, and I went with the idea of the rose window as the center, with thread-streams of color coming out from there: navy and deep colors from the top and the warmer yellow-orange-red tones as the sun filters downward through the stained glass. My solid fabrics are Paintbrush Studio Solids, and the thread is Magnifico by Superior Threads (with Bottom Line in the bobbin) with some So Fine here and there, as the color dictated.

Details of Rose Window quilting.

Rose Window_back

Back of quilt, with standard label, and added corners for easy hanging.

Rose Window_front

Please visit the others in our Four-in-Art group, and see how they interpreted the Challenge of Stained Glass Shadows:

Betty        Blogpost on Four-in-Art

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         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

All of our blocks are on our blog, Four-in-Art.

Our next challenge is Illumination, and will post on November 1st.

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National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

Mucha_Prague

Stained glass window from Prague Cathedral, by Edward Mucha

Rose Window_real

Rose Window, Italy

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Not Waving, but Drowning

notwavingdrowning_front2Not Waving, But Drowning
Quilt #173
39″ high by 43″ wide

This quilt began its life in a quilt block I designed, which I call Semaphore.   My friend Cindy saw that and made a version for a fabric manufacturer, who then put it on a world tour (see a photo at the end).  I saw it again at Quilt Market in May 2016, and decided I wanted one myself, only larger.

notwavingdrowning_detail1

I purchased several charm packs of solids, and arrayed them all out by color family and from dark to light, using several color groupings.  There were many duplicate squares, but after I felt I had a good amount, I went to work.  More information about the layout and design ideas as well as how to quilt this can be found in the pattern, for sale on Craftsy.

I titled the block Semaphore, but always in the back of my mind while I was working on this quilt was the poem titled “Not Waving, but Drowning,” by Stevie Smith, about a man who gets in trouble while out in the waves.  He drowns because people think he was waving, but in reality, he was signaling for help.

notwavingdrowning_front1

I think the half-square triangles look like a series of nautical flags, waving in the wind.  I decided to quilt it also in a wavy pattern, but didn’t want a tightly controlled wave.

notwavingdrowning_detail2

I wanted those waves loose and lanky, wild and woolly, just like those ones that come up and splat you in the face when you are wave-jumping in summer.

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I love the colors in this quilt, and the up and down fluid movement of the quilting. It calls me to remember that our lives, like the ocean, can lift us high, can hit us in the face, can overwhelm (as in Stevie Smith’s poem), yet also can bring a lovely memory of a summer’s day. In a nutshell, it reminds me that life is full of ups and downs, a blend of dark and light.  It’s also a reminder that, in spite of what we post on Instagram and Facebook, we all aren’t having tons of fun and radiantly happy all day long.  But we also don’t want to be drowning when we are in reality signaling for help.  So, take care of your loved ones and friends, and please please…take care of yourself.

And keep quilting.

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cindyquiltsemaphore

Cindy’s quilt at Quilt Market, using the Semaphore block.

 

(NOTE: This post has been updated with different content after original publication.  It was originally about depression.  Thank you all for your comments; I have them saved and will reread them often.)

tiny nine patches

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My blogging software puts ads here so I can use their site for free. 
I do not know about, nor choose, the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
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Shine: The Circles Quilt, finished

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Shine: The Circles Quilt
Quilt #170
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This quilt finally finished, I took it out for a photography session with the help of my husband.3shinecirclesquilt

I started sewing the first block in June of 2014, and finished the top a year later.  The quilting was finished at the end of September, but it wasn’t until now that I could get time to take it up to our university’s Botanic Gardens to get some photographs.
4ashinecirclesquilt

My husband’s favorite block.  As some of you know, many of these blocks were inspired by art in a church in Slovenia, as well as designs from our travels.  Most of the patterns and accompanying tutorials are free on this blog, found *here* as well in a tab labeled Shine: The Circles Quilt.  4shinecirclesquiltl 5ashinecirclesquilt

This shows the quilting.  I was trying out double batting (polyester with wool), and found it was a challenge to move the heavy quilt around on the machine.  It took me nearly 4 months to quilt this thing, as I was hobbled with a shoulder injury.  But I was able to finish it!7shinecirclesquilt_label

As I quilted, I thought a lot about my brother-in-law Tom, who passed away a little over a month ago.  He maintained a beautiful small garden in his backyard, and so in one of the corners I quilted in a flower in his memory (shown below).  Many offered advice and help while I was quilting: thank you, everyone.6shinecirclesquilt shinecirclesquilt_detailback

detail of quilting from the back

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This closes a chapter in my life.  Lovely to see you here, Shine!

tiny nine patches

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My blogging software puts ads here so I can use their site for free. 
I do not know about, nor choose, the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚

New Quilting Machine

HQ Sweet 16_1 HQ Sweet 16_2 HQ Sweet 16_3

So here’s a short story:  This all started two years ago when I test drove a Bernina FancyPants Machine during one of my Road to California classes.  That thing could do everything but cook dinner, and I pined about it for a year.  I love my current Husqvarna Quilt Designer machine, but it is coming up on it’s 14 year-old birthday and one morning, I woke up with an unhappy touch screen.  Horrors! and so the intensity of my search increased, or at least the anxiety of wondering when my machine would conk out on me.  Then I took a domestic free motion quilting class with David Taylor this year at Road to California and at first, I was unhappy that we were working on Handi Quilter’s Sweet Sixteen machine–what?  No teensy weensy harp space of my regular domestic?  But the techniques are the same, so I took to this machine like a duck to water.

HQ Sweet 16_4

Now I needed TWO machines: one to replace my aging Husqvarna and this new Sweet Sixteen quilting machine.  But I only had resources for one.  After some time to think about it, I decided I could prolong the life of my Quilt Designer if I took the quilting tasks off its back.  One afternoon last week, Richard of Quilter’s Cocoon toted this up to my guest bedroom, set it up for me, gave me my first lesson (so happy I’d had the day with David Taylor to augment what Richard was teaching me), and I was up and running.

Except I wasn’t.

I didn’t touch if for two days.  Scared? Excited? Thinking I was out of my mind?  All of the above?  But I finally put together a mini quilt sandwich and went to town, trying out new stitches, using the two rulers I’d purchased, taking it out for a test drive. Notice how all four corner blocks are different; I was having fun.  No, I don’t name my machines (but know a lot of people do, and invariably it’s always my childhood nickname of Betsy — which explains why I don’t do it) but we do refer to it as the “quilting machine,” to keep it distinguished from my “regular machine.”  (By the way, the pattern for this quilt — Ribbon Star Beauty — will be up on Craftsy later on this week.  It’s a fun little mini that sews up quickly.)HQ Sweet 16_5

My daughter has a new shop in her small town of Kingman Arizona, The Farmhouse Kingman.  I plan to send this to her so she can use/sell it in her shop.  If you drive through Kingman on your way to somewhere else, stop by and see her.  She’s in the old section of town, with a cute shop of fun farmhouse decor items.

And that’s the whole story.  Now back to quilting.

Teaching Schedule through Late Summer

I’ve signed up to teach a few classes at our local quilt shop, The Quilter’s Cocoon, and thought I’d let you know about them.  The first three are mini quilts, where you learn a new skill with each one.  There’s a discount for signing up for all three.  Then in June, I’m teaching the Wonky Baskets quilt, to use up a lot of scraps.  July’s class is Machine Appliqué, making an originally designed Lollypop Tree block (pattern included in class) in either Christmas colors or summery/spring colors.

Finally, we’ll finish off with Beginning Machine Quilting, using your domestic sewing machine.  Hope you can join me for one or all!

Rolling Rainbow Star_labeled
April 19, Tues: 10:30-2:30 Rolling Rainbow Star
This brightly colored mini quilt is where you’ll learn about the color wheel and how to piece Y-seams (easily). Class materials fee is $2.00.  I’ll be teaching a series of three mini quilts.  It’s $30 for one class or $75 for all three.  I’ll be teaching at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)
Spectrum_front
May 3, Tues: 10:30-2:30 Spectrum
This mini quilt is composed of multiple Kaffe Fasset fabrics, all done by hand with English Paper Piecing.  Class materials fee is $10 (pattern included). You’ll learn the basics of paper piecing, and some tips in working with the color wheel. I’ll be teaching a series of three mini quilts.   It’s $30 for one class or $75 for all three.  I’ll be teaching at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)
May 17, Tues: 10:30-2:30 Home, Sweet, Home
This fun neighborhood centers around a town star!  Pick up the cutting directions when you pay for the class, and come with all your pieces cut. We’ll talk about how to get the perfect points on a half-square triangles and snowball blocks. Cost: $35.  Class materials fee is $10 (pattern included).  This is the third in a series of three mini quilts.  It’s $30 for one class or $75 for all three.  I’ll be teaching at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)
Wonky Baskets
June 7, Tues: 10:30-4 p.m Wonky Baskets Quilt
A scrap-happy quilt with wonky baskets.  You’ll need one short ruler to help you cut the sides and one long ruler (to cut the bias), but other than those two things, it’s wonky happiness!  Bring a collection of scraps (more info on class handout, available when you pay) and we’ll sew sew sew all day long.  Instructions for the borders will be handed out at the end of class. Class cost: $45, at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)
Christmas Treat final
July 16, Sat: 10:30-4 p.m Christmas Treat
This Christmasy wall hanging can also be made in spring colors in Kaffe Fasset fabrics.  (See below).  In this class we’ll talk about combining fabrics, freezer-paper machine applique.  Instructions for the borders will be given out in class, in case you don’t get to them.  See class supply sheet for more information. Cost: $35.  I’ll be teaching at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)

Spring version of Christmas Treat

Thread Doodle MiniSmall
August 27, Sat: 10:30-2 p.m  Beginner’s Free-Motion Quilting
If you know your machine well, and are ready to finish off that stack of quilt tops in your closet, this is the class for you. I can not do tech-support for your machine, so make sure you are familiar with the basics of your sewing machine, have a free-motion quilting foot (see your dealer if you are not sure) and are ready to learn how to quilt with your domestic sewing machine.   Cost: $35. Class materials fee: $15.  I’ll be teaching at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)

–OR–

Sept. 8, Thursday: 10:30-2 p.m Beginner’s Free-Motion Quilting
If you know your machine well, and are ready to finish off that stack of quilt tops in your closet, this is the class for you. I can not do tech-support for your machine, so make sure you are familiar with the basics of your sewing machine, have a free-motion quilting foot (see your dealer if you are not sure) and are ready to learn how to quilt with your domestic sewing machine.   Cost: $35. Class materials fee: $15.  I’ll be teaching at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)