Tuesday, March 27, 2012

fun is the new green

original photo found here

Electric Drive by Smart, with the slogan ‘fun is the new green’ !

Sunday, March 25, 2012

more green

Hmm, Green and Brown.  A new fashion trend?  Or just a new TT challenge?  Picture by Billy Lindblom via Flickr creative commons  Just type in GREEN

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hey! George Washington and I have something in common!

Green is our favorite color!

I have been thinking about my turn as the 'theme selector'(it is a serious role!)
for some time
I have finally decided that the theme for challenge #6 is...

Tangled Textiles' challenge #6!

In preparation for this post,
my research has made me realize that green is quite a versatile word!!!!

According to Dictionary.com, the  word, green, can be:
1.  a noun, 'a color intermediate in the spectrum between yellow and blue.'
2.  an adjective, 'not perfectly developed or perfected in growth or condition; fresh, new', 
3. a verb, 'to restore the vitality of'!

The word, Green, is used in may phrases/idioms/words, such as...
green with envy
green around the gills
green thumb
(...I could go on all day!!!)

How about a plate of green eggs and ham?!


There is even a city named Green in Ohio! Cool, huh?

There is wonderful website I found while researching my challenge theme
and it has a wealth of information about how the color affects us physically, 
as well as the cultural/religious/political associations of green.
You might find some inspiration there!

Kermit the Frog, long known for his color, confides that it is not easy being green...

Even so,
it has become more popular to "Go Green." It is a term used to describe the process of changing one's lifestyle for the safety and benefit of the environment. According to eHow.com there are 3 changes most people make to "go green." They begin sustainable living, use environmentally friendly (or green) products, and they begin recycling and/or reusing as many products as possible.


As I look at the calendar for May, 
the weekend of May 19th is really, really not a good time for me.
I will be in costume-chair-for-the-spring-dance-performance overdrive!!!
So, in order to maintain my sanity and ensure that I, too, will be done on time,
I am going to give the green light (ha, Icouldn't resist!) for
challenge #6 reveal date to be: May 27th!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Not quite...

My piece has really taken a lot longer than it should have and although I'm revealing, it really isn't finished.
Light and Shade
It is based on a photo by Jorg Reuter which is creative commons here.  Obviously, it is about balancing rocks which we talked about recently, and appears to be a very popular hobby! 
I sketched and sketched and came up with this.
Obviously this is not the right shape for our challenges and then I hit upon including light and shade in the background and widening it. I traced my sketch onto muslin (just the lines and dots, not all the black).
Then I sandwiched it and free machined most of the lines in black thread (That was a lot of lines).
Then I painted the background in acrylic (next time I will use fabric paint as it is very hard to stich through acrylic although the lumiere is so gorgeous....)
I coloured the stones and shells with watercolour pencils and a brush.
Then the time consuming part, which is not finished began.  I wanted to hand stitch all over it as it is so flat and I wanted more texture.
I tend to embroider by thread, lol.  I will start with one thread and when that thread is finished, I go to a different coloured thread and a different area and so on.  Stops me getting bored.
In the first pic, I have basically finished the bottom rock, but I haven't touched the background here.
In the second picture, I have done some work on the lower stone and have done some background stitching.  Still need to do some black back the other way,
On the shell, I have only stitched some highlights and a strand of pink.
I find that I am beginning to like this style, with thread sketching, painting and hand embroidery, only I need to make sure I have more time for the hand stitching, as I always underestimate how long it will take.
Anyhow, even though I am in no way finished this piece, I really like it (wow, first time for everything!) and am going to take my time and enjoy the stitching process whilst I think about the next challenge.
Too much talk, sorry.

Hands Free Tote

Well I’ve finally made it.  It’s done!

I started out surfing the internet hoping to find some creative ideas.  I found pictures of balance wheels from time pieces, an elephant balancing on a beach ball, a balance scale…you name it there were many.  None really “rang my bell".
While looking at my African Collage and trying to figure out how to quilt it, an idea came to me.  Have you ever attempted to carry something on your head without using hands to maintain its balance?  Women in Africa do it all the time and make it look so easy.  So there I had it...my inspiration for this piece.

I started drawing out the image in my sketchbook.  Here is a piece of it.

The next decision was how to construct the piece.  An abstract representation or a natural one.  I chose the natural and started making templates for the various pieces that would be needed to construct the figure. 
 I was quickly running out of time.  I also needed to find an appropriate background.
Well here at last is the piece. 

It was constructed with hand applique.  I added colour to the white and black print with watercolour pencils.  I added charcoal shading to one section hoping to give the clothing some dimension.  And the basket…well that took a bit of experimenting which you can see on my blog here.  All in all I’m pleased with the piece, but I have to learn to balance my time a bit better.  Thank you Judy for a challenge that stretched my imagination and applique skills.  I also managed to use some new products, that I will use again.

I made it.... barely!!!!

As I feverishly put on the finishing touches of my latest challenge quilt....

I am reminded
(once again)

"Life is a Delicate Balance"

Tangled Textiles, challenge #5: Balance

Aye Caramba!

I never thought I would get this challenge finished!
The theme was deceivingly easy but it took many weeks to finally come up with my idea!!!
That was in between some travel to Florida, to Toronto, 
and last night, 
I returned from a bus trip to Lancaster Pennsylvania
for a quilt show and plenty of shopping (that is for another blog post)!
I spent a whole lot of time on the bus chatting with friends while I stitched!

this quilt is done completely by hand
(that is, no machine was involved!).

The figure...

close up of... Me!

which is meant to resemble me...

(you think??)

was created using my hand painted and hand dyed fabrics
which I hand appliqued onto the background hand dyed fabric.

Then, I decided that I would use some of my lettering skills
that I have recently been working on in
Joanne Sharpe's online Letter Love 101 class.

Tangled Textiles, challenge #5: Balance
(many of my commitments)

With a pencil, I lightly wrote out all the letters
to be used and embroidered with Perle 8 cotton....

Tangled Textiles, challenge #5: Balance
(many of the activities that I try to squeeze into my day!)

and some of Laura Wasilowski's
hand dyed variegated embroidery floss.

I tried to blend those x's from the list of my commitments 
with the scattered lines of my favorite activities
together over top of my curly mop...

Tangled Textiles, challenge #5: Balance

to represent that fine balance that I am always trying to achieve and maintain.

Albert Einstein said,
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."

But sometimes, it is best to get some sleep!
Good night everyone!

Off-Balance and TIPSY!

Tipsy, 16 X 16
Hand dyed and commercial cottons, machine pieced and quilted 

I had so much fun with this challenge!  I enjoyed doing the freeform piecing over Christmas, so decided to use that for this challenge.  With the word balance, I immediately went to the meaning in art.

As I played with my ideas, I wondered if I could give the viewer the sense of being off-balance at the same time creating a work that is balanced artistically.  I'll leave it to you viewers to decide if I succeeded!

My palette is partially drawn from a quilt I made for my daughter years ago, and by my desire for COLOR after the browns and grays of a Utah winter- even a mild one!

I love circles, and wanted to use curved lines in my quilting to offset the more straight edges of the piecing.  So I sprang for a gadget for my Bernina that allows me to sew circles.  It was definitely worth the money.

So, no deep meaning in this one, just plain fun. 

In Search of Balance

For the first time ever, I decided to work from a photograph. I selected an arty foliage photo my husband had shot and changed it to a black and white image. For the background fabric I selected 20 squares of various dark prints. I made paper patterns for the leaves, fused fabrics, cut out the leaves and ironed them onto the background. As this process was proceeding, I kept having misgivings about it, but hubby assured me it was fine, so I then sewed the leaves on and when finished, I knew it was a no go. Additional photos.

I had been so proud of myself for finishing 2 weeks early, an unheard of event for the chief procrastinator. Now I had to start over. After many hours of searching for ideas on the internet I decided on an asymmetrically balanced design of black and white, more or less.

The design then had to be enlarged to the correct size, paper patterns made and fabric auditioned. This small mock up enabled me to audition fabrics over and over again until I was satisfied.

Finally I was ready to cut and sew. I am not accustomed to working from a such preconceived design. My normal method of working is to design as I go. How to quilt the piece was also a challenge. Instead of quilting an all over design, I quilted each section, which was also a new experience. Plus, I did not use any text and used all commercially printed fabric, so I can do it! 


I tossed with lots of ideas for the balance quilt, like a poem about two tightrope walkers that I would have loved to translate into an image, but got me really tangled. Then there was this saying: ‘Balance is the visual weight in design’, right down my alley! After I had sketched some designs they all were very colourful and balanced, but I wanted to dig a little deeper into this theme and try some new techniques. Then I tried to work on a feng shue like quilt, I worked out the idea of Audio Balance, a technique to feel balanced again after a burn out, which is all done with a computer programme, but none of the ideas did see the light.

So the pondering and procastination started all over again. Both my husband and I have been diagnosed in the past with vestibular neuritis (caused by a viral infection in the ear) and experienced an extreme balance disorder. So, there it was, my theme for the quilt! Vertigo! *

I painted fabric and lutradur with blue and yellow inks to obtain that (not so nice) green colour, that you get when you have vestibular neuritis. I printed a drawing of the ear and the inner ear (equilibrium) on lutradur, fused it to the fabric and stitched it down after I basted the quilt layers. With red shining paint and a thermofax screen I printed lines on the lutradur. These lines stand for the ‘short circuit’ that takes place in the equilibrium.

I used a variegated thread and elongated the screen print lines with the quilting. I was still missing the dizzy factor, so I quilted circles with another thread (no quilt without circles for me he?)

When you have this severe dizziness your eyes move rapidly from the left to the right or in circles and it feels like the world is spinning, so you can’t focus. You might experience problems with speech and sight. I stamped the words balance, giddy, tumble, woozy, speech, fuzzy, nausea and blurry in one of the circles, and stamped them again with a darker colour, to make it all a bit more blurry. Then I stamped little stars in another circle but the effect was almost nill, so I embroidered over the stars.

I wasn’t too happy with the overall result and needed something to lighten up the greenish background colour (green is my least favourite colour you know... ) and made a yellow binding with some red fabric pieces that I had painted with the SG paint.

I allowed myself too short a period of time (5 days) to make this quilt, so I miss my happy colourful self a bit, but well, you win some, you loose some.

Thanks Judy for this interesting theme that should have allowed me to work like I love most, simple and balanced but also challenged me to look further.


*(Vertigo (from the Latin Verto, ‘a whirling or spinning movement’ is a type of dizziness, where there is a feeling of motion when one is stationary. The symptoms are due to a dysfunction of the vestibular system in the inner ear. It is often associated with nausea and vomiting as well as difficulties standing or walking. There are three types of vertigo: objective − subjects are moving around the patient; subjective − patient feels as if moving himself; pseudovertigo − intensive sensation of rotation inside the patient's head. It can be caused by vestibular neuritis which is probably caused by a viral infection of the inner ear.)

Frayed around the edges

you've got
and you've got
and if you're not careful, the edges start to fray
This was my response to the balance challenge presented by Judy.  This idea came to me very quickly, but it took until Friday for me to actually make a start!
The straight line quilting through the work section indicates the structure that exists there - it is a pretty controlled environment, with a known objective.  The Mctavishing through life expresses my desire for a more creative outlet.  But, I've learned that you have to maintain this balance or things start to fray.  I work on this balance everyday, otherwise the fraying takes over!

Thank you Judy, I enjoyed this challenge!

Attempting Balance

'Attempting Balance' began as one of the two finalist from my balance brainstorming. The idea that didn't make it to fabric was based on Itten's 'contrast of extension'. I enjoyed studying Itten back at school and thought the idea of using one of his theories to create a color-field-like quilt would be fun. I did a few sketches in my sketchbook of several ideas and then tried a few in my Nook. I need to find a better app or just improve my sketching skills! The following are sketches from my Nook.

 I ended up choosing my original idea which stemmed from my yoga practices. Balance exercises are often a challenge and I wanted to portray this in my design so after starting out with a very balanced figure, I realized I needed to throw this figure off balance as one often ends up after trying to hold a pose beyond our balance limits. This idea is not limited to yoga and I think of it as the attempt we make in all areas of our life, trying to find balance with what we need to do, what we want to do and the time and resources we have.

I had never made a whole cloth quilt so decided to use paints for this piece. I mixed old acrylics with fabric medium and did the background of red swirls on a commercial yellow print. Then lots of chaotic swirls of stitching. Then to create a figure I was happy with was much more time consuming than I expected! I cut out paper pieces and moved them around, trimmed them, etc and finally painted a figure that I hoped conveyed 'attempting balance'. More wild stitching and finally more swirls of stitching going over my figure as well as the background to 'tie' the figure into the swirls.
I thought a raw edge would work best with this concept but decided I did want a binding so created a raveled edge binding. I liked how that worked out and will use it again.
Thank you Judy for a great challenge!

Monday, March 12, 2012

From Yikes to Yippee!!

I was right there with other members of the group saying "Yikes!  Where has the time gone, and how am I gonna get this done?"  I took a mental health day from work today, and sewed.  Much to my delight, the piecing came together beautifully, and my Balance pieced is now sandwiched and ready for quilting.  I am a happy camper!!

Just to tease you, here's one little corner. . . 

Can you tell my eyes are starved for color after winter?

Can't wait to see what the rest of the group does!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tipping Toward Completion

No matter what tools you are using, our challenge is due on March 18.  I hope this fact does not disturb anyone's equilibrium or throw things off balance.

If you need some inspiration or a minor diversion, watch one Vancouver gentleman who has turned balance into an interesting past time.