Night Sky

Night Sky – Quilt Top

Here is the completed Night Sky quilt. I finished quilting it yesterday – it wasn’t a simple job because I’d decided to quilt on the diagonal within the flow of the strips which meant I had to keep pinning fabric strips to the edges so I could hoop the pinned layers.

Quilting Detail

I set up a swirl embroidery in two columns, used a variegated thread which blended with the various colours of the strips. I started at the strip end, changing to navy thread when I reached the dark fabric (often in the middle of a quilting run). A fiddly job, to say the least. However, I didn’t want the light thread to interfere with the speckled effect of the navy background. In some sections I had no choice but to carry the light thread into the navy but I hauled out my handy permanent navy marker and darkened the stitching. That worked well.

This was an edge-to-edge design which actually matched up very nicely – I could successfully place the next design and have it line up with the ends of the previous one. The joins are barely noticeable – I can pick out a few but most are perfect alignments.

Night Sky – Quilt Back

I widened the backing by creating a panel from scraps leftover from the Poppy Field quilt inserting a long batik strip of a rather wild palm leaf batik. In the photo it looks black but it’s much more colourful than that with purples, pale greens, pinks which blend with the other small batik samples.

My goal with this quilt was to showcase the beautiful fabrics in the curated set from the jellyroll. In the end I did have to add a few other strips on order to have enough to make the quilt long enough. Finished size: 47″ x 60″ – a good lap size; great for a wall hanging on a large wall!

Sparkle Socks

Sparkle Socks

I finished this pair of socks on June 1. I just didn’t get around to posting the photo. You get a hint of the sparkle in the photo but if you click on the image, the sparkle becomes more obvious.

I no longer have the label so I can’t tell you what yarn I used for them. I think it might have been Opal, although I can’t find any sparkle yarns in their collection. I’ve had the ball in my stash for a while so it may be they no longer make one like this.

Re-Vision

Reworked Quilt Top

I was suddenly awake at 7:00 this morning (I normally wake at 8:00). Got out of bed and went to work (before going to the pool at 8:45 as always on a Friday morning).

First, I removed the narrow pumpkin sashing from the two “straight” sides. Then I carefully unstitched the three navy bits in the bottom right corner and replaced each with fabric that blended with the main strip in each location. Now there is no jarring bits of navy in that corner.

So, from “Poppy Field 2”, I can name this piece “Night Sky” which brings out the golden speckle in the navy fabric and implies a city scape below.

I think I’m happier with that. Next on to coming up with an idea for piecing the back.

Poppy Field 2 – An Idea

This afternoon I went through my fabric stash looking for 1/2 metre cuts which I could use for narrow sashing. I came up with five possibilities. I gathered up the panel and the fabric pieces and marched down to Deb to ask for her 2¢.

We started with the panel on her dining room table – after auditioning the five fabrics at the edge of the panel against the remaining Ruby Star Society navy Speckled we settled on a light beige Stonehenge with soft blue in it.

We moved the panel to the floor to better judge the fabrics – that’s when I had the idea to offset the panel and instead of sashing and a border, to “sash” with large triangles on the outside.

To visualize the rotated panel better, we taped the new outer dimensions with masking tape. The mitres are less jarring at this angle – now I needed to do something with the straight sides. I thought about opening seams and inserting several more navy Speckled elements at the straight edge – that would break up the flow of the piece, however.

The idea I think I’ve settled on is to sash the two straight edges using the pumpkin Grunge – that will create a finished look on those two sides; then join the filling triangles directly onto the other two sides. Rotating the panel 10°/15° changes the impact of the “ragged” edge of the strips – those joins become much less jarring; their 45° angles fight less with the new outer edge of the panel. I have just enough fabric to make this happen if I cut my triangles from the length-of-fabric!

I still plan on quilting on the diagonal – 3-4 strips at a time. I now need to spend some time thinking about what kind of embroidery/quilting will give me the continuing flow from the colour into the navy I’m seeing in my head!

I don’t know what to do with the quilt back yet – I will incorporate whatever navy Speckled remnants I have but there won’t be much. And I don’t have many scraps remaining from the jelly roll strips I started with. It’s too soon to worry about it – the “problem” will percolate and something will pop into my head when need an idea.

Poppy Field 2

Piecing of the Strips Finished

The strip piecing is finally finished. I have called the quilt “Poppy Field 2” because that was the name on the batch of strips. I will have to come up with another name for this effort.

Looking at the image, seeing the top on the floor, I can see immediately what I have to attempt next – a similar piecing but with the strips coming from a single point in one corner. That will involve grading each and every strip in order to generate the quarter circle full of radiating strips! I have more jelly roll collections in my stash so I could certainly use one to try out the idea.

Back to this quilt top. The current size is 47″ x 60″. I think I want to add a narrow 1/2″ sashing in some contrasting colour then complete the top with a 3″-3 1/2″ border which will make the quilt top something like 53/54″ wide and 66/67″ long. Colour and fabric for the sashing is a decision for another day when I get back to this. For now, I have to say I’m reasonably happy with how the piecing has turned out.

One aspect of the piecing I’m not completely happy with is the mitred joins – when you see the quilt from the corner the angles are interesting:

straight on I think the mitred joins are awkward. My intention is to quilt along the strips (on the diagonal) 4 rows at a time using variegated thread and bringing the design and colour across the dark blue background. If I come up with a suitable design those mitres will be overstitched and I may be able to create the illusion of a starburst.

Now to start exploring designs to use for quilting the project.

Fish

Fish 4 & 3 – Finished

For now I have the finished “Fish” pieces 4 & 3 hanging on the closet door. That’s it, I don’t plan on doing any more of these. They’ll go in the closet along with the other “skinny quilts” – I may take them to Parrsboro for the summer exhibit there, we’ll see when I start pulling work from the closet closer to the end of July.

One friend commented she’d put small bubbles coming to the surface – I did think about that for a moment as I was finishing the stitching on Fish 4 – but in the end I left the fish swimming peacefully among the seaweed.

Now back to the partially assembled quilt top. Really!

Corner Filled In

Exhibit @ The Craig Gallery

I got an email middle of last week wondering whether I’d be interested in exhibiting some of my work in the two outside window cases of the Craig Gallery at the Dartmouth Ferry Terminal (Alderney Landing).

How did they know about my work? A couple of weeks ago, I sent out proposals to five major galleries in the Halifax area – The Craig Gallery was one of them.

Of course I said yes? Short notice wasn’t an issue – I have a closet full of quilts and wall art projects – the challenge was how to limit the exhibit. On Friday morning I drove across the bridge to visit the gallery to get an idea of the size of each window. (I took along a suitcase with a range of pieces to show the curators – their reaction – “The photos don’t do the work justice!”) I know that, but the only way I can get any attention is with photos. While I was at the gallery we talked about me submitting a proposal for a solo show inside the gallery at some time in the future. I plan on resubmitting late in the summer for the 2024 season!

I arrived early at the gallery this morning with eight pieces in my large travel suitcase along with monofilament fishing line, straight pins, gorilla tape, a hammer and level, a few hooks… I forgot small brass nails, but in the end that was OK – we used tiny bulldog clips to hang the work from the window case ceiling using the monofiliament (the two lower portrait pieces are pinned to a plinth top).

Exhibit in the Large Window Case
Floral Art Pieces in the Smaller Window Case

It’s too bad I couldn’t get photos without the reflection from the windows behind me but you get a hint of how the exhibit looks.

While I was looking at the finished windows one of the artists from the Dartmouth Visual Art Society (who are showing inside the gallery for the same month of June) was looking at the work as well. “I must bring my sister-in-law to see this! She’s a quilter but she just follows patterns. She need to see this free-form work.”

If one person brings a second, quite a few people may actually stop and peruse the work – you can get close enough to the windows to examine the appliqué and stitching detail and wonder how in earth did she get those portraits so photo-like. I explain how in my “artist statement” and “biography” if anybody bothers to read either.

At first glance you think you’re looking at photographs – when you get closer you realize you’re looking at textile compositions! Precisely the effect I’ve been trying to develop with these works.

Flowers In Bloom

Bradford Pear In Bloom

The street leading from my apartment building has a line of Bradford Pear trees. Last week they were just starting to bloom. I love seeing the flowers come out. They’re strong and showy and the trees become a mass of white.

Then my friend Marlene had two orchid cacti blooming in her greenhouse – the flowers are gorgeous. However, fully open, they last but a day. These two obviously bloom during the day. She has a white one that blooms at night – it’s a special trip to see the open flower.

I haven’t taken many photos this spring. Not sure why that is. We’ve had some lovely sunny warm days but I haven’t been motivated to wander with my camera the way I was last spring.

Here are a few I’ve taken:

I need to pull out my camera more! Pay more attention to what’s around me.

Fish 4

I wasn’t intending to carry on with the “fish” but I’m stuck with the quilt I started so I went to work on another “fish” piece.

Fish #4

Because I’d cut bindings from the leftover piece of purple ombre, the leftover piece was a bit shorter than I wanted it to be, so I added some batik to the dark bottom end of the purple and filled in with seaweed-like shapes.

Not so many fish this time, they’re more spaced out, with one behind the seaweed (which meant I had to stitch it in place before fusing the seaweed to the panel. The other fish are just laying in place for now – I don’t know precisely where I will put them, I’ll know that after thread painting the seaweed elements.

I worked away at my machine yesterday, edge stitching the seaweed then adding three seaweed embroideries for texture. Late last evening, I fused the remaining fish in place.

Seaweed stitched

Next will be to edge stitch the remaining fish and add an eye to each. Again, I think I’m not going to do any background stitching, I like the water-like flow in the ombre print and don’t want to interfere with it.

OK. This really is the last of the fish pieces. REALLY.