Tuesday, August 26, 2008

art chix

Visionary Landscape, 2008, 40" x 14"

“Visionary Landscape” was the theme for last night’s Art Chix meeting. From our group of eight women, projects ranged from a 3-D photo with homemade 3-D glasses to monoprints to paintings to color photos to an unfinished quilted table topper by me.

Presenting a fabric piece was a bit of a stretch for the theme. I was working hard to complete the table topper and ran out of time to do something different. The whole-cloth runner is hand-stitched with a metallic thread and skinny hand-dyed silk ribbon.

One of my early ideas was to color and collage on top of a landscape blueprint. When I called my inside connection at an architectural/ environmental firm, I couldn’t get a drawing. That squashed that concept instantly.

I had a few other ideas but none of them inspired me much. Just maybe my desire to spend my free time quilting overcame all other creative urges. And can’t an intriguing runner transform the landscape of a mere table?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

piece makers

The Plymouth Piece Makers met at my home tonight. The ministry team, founded by Maurine Noble, is nine years old. Our small group makes quilts for babies being born into the church, youth who are graduating from high school and companions for Plymouth Healing Communities. This evening seven of us gathered to chat about our favorite activity and show our recent projects.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

scrap quilting

Homey Squares, 2008, 48" x 72"

It’s a symbiotic relationship—a veteran quilter with lots of scraps and a neophyte with a need of fabrics.

Maurine Noble, my generous mentor, had tons of scrap that she gave to me. (Okay—about forty pounds.)

I picked up the two bags on a Friday night. That evening I began sorting them out, trying to make decide how to organize the little pieces of fabrics. By colors or patterns? It took me all weekend to get through the project, including ironing the most wrinkled ones. My collection looked almost impressive, filed by color hues in big ziplock bags, inside black plastic milk crates from Fred Meyer.

Not only is Maurine an expert quilter, author and teacher, she has great taste in fabrics. No calicoes, novelty fabrics or chintzes. Maurine loves global fabrics that are hand printed or hand dyed. So my stash is a wonderful and inspiring collection of great materials.

My fourth quilt is a green and gold scrap quilt. The square within square pattern took longer that I had expected. Each outer square is made up of four pieces. Once I made all the double squares (77 total), I trimmed them so they would line up well (308 cuts!). Then I hand stitched the quilt together.

I love scrap quilting—as the final effect has an appealing organic quality. And, as 100% cotton fabric is not cheap, it is a great way to access quilting fabrics.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

big jane

Many people call me Little Jane. That is because my mom, Jane Belyea, and I are quite alike. That is a compliment as I have the greatest respect for my mother’s ways and accomplishments.

In recent years Big Jane splits her creative time between knitting mittens for the Red Cross and making quilts for young ones. All her quilts are bright, happy and fun!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Two things overwhelmed me today at Quiltfest in Seattle. First, there were so many quilts to examine. Second, the winning quilts were the work of maniacal artists.

My hope of ever creating a quilt worthy of a ribbon is lost. The level of detail, design and craftsmanship incorporated into the winners’ quilts was remarkable. All the same, I took lots of pictures so I can continue to be inspired by the show—especially the quilts from South Africa.

Sharing the display area were row after row of vendors with quilt-related goods and sewing machines. Two of the sellers got some of my dough.

Elin Noble, the daughter of my quilting mentor Maurine Noble, sold me a beautiful piece of hand-dyed fabric (see Elin and Maurine above). Elin also dyes threads.

At Lorraine Torrence’s booth, a collection of pieced jackets caught my eye. One jacket in particular, with polka dot and jaguar fabric, came home with me. Coincidentally the seamstress for my jacket is Diane Roubal. Diane is a leader of Plymouth Piece Makers, my quilting group at church.

Quiltfest happens every two years. I wonder what my level of quilt making will be like in 2010?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

baby color philosophy

Baby Bluebell, 2007, 42" x 36"

Blue is for boys and pink is for girls. Sex not known? Yellow or green. To break this protocol, my very first quilt was for a baby girl with pretty all-blue fabrics.

Not only did I succeed in my goals, I got hooked on quilting. Now just one year later, I have completed five baby quilts, two twin-sized quilts and one lap quilt. And a quilted pillow and two table runners. I am a rank beginner who is experimenting with patterns, fabrics, and whether or not I like machine stitching or hand stitching the final quilt.

This morning I met with Liz Holland to show her some very unlikely fabrics for her proposed baby quilt. Russet red, hydrangea blue, chartreuse, bright seafoam and a hot coral dominate the bold "global" patterns. The plan is minimal piecing and extensive hand stitching with a lime green thread.

So tonight I will wash the exciting fabrics, tomorrow press them, and this weekend begin (and hopefully finish) the piecing. Oh Baby.