Stitching Away

I’ve been stitching away this weekend! Thought I’d do a quick post to show where I’m at on my Kaleidoscope Quilt project!

secondary Chunks DoneI recently finished the last two “secondary” chunks and got them up on the design wall. I found pressing was the easiest when just pressing from the top down, and not caring what the back will end up looking like.Here is how they look pressed from front:And here is what the back looks like:A little messy for sure, but having the stitch lines printed really helps when piecing these chunks together… check it out:I’m so excited by this… everything is matching up perfectly and giving me really crisp points!  I’m also quite thrilled to start on a different looking section, I’m done with this secondary ring!

On a more home-based note: It’s been very windy here in Portland, so my husband built a little squirrel wall to protect their water dish.  He now has crows, songbirds, and squirrels that come running when they hear the door open in the morning. Yep… he’s definitely a squirrel whisperer!

Animation Play

I really like to sew… but I do have some other skills that I try to sharpen at times. I’m self-taught on the computer and learned Illustrator well enough to become a graphic designer for our screen printing business…  I also learned how to make a website for our business too!

So now I’m dabbling in some stop-motion animation, and I paired it up with my hand-stitching, and I made a fun little video:

 

This is the first “chunk” section that I’m making on the Kaleidoscope Quilt. This one is No.4 of 10, so I’ll be sewing these for the next month before I get to start on the next big chunk on the quilt. Here are 3 of the chunks with the center ring:

By themselves, they are very strange looking, but as they get added to the center piece, the pattern is starting to stand out – so exciting!

Kaleidoscope Quilt Progress

center Ring Back

Now that I have a hand-sewing project, I feel so much more at ease. Having something in my hands at night is great – keeps me from spinning out into negativity. Having the sew lines printed on the fabric makes this project pretty quick and easy! The hardest part is sewing in the diamond shapes in the right direction. (notice the gold diamonds below… they are sewn in the wrong direction here and I didn’t catch it till adding the next row)

gold RingStitching on the lines is pretty easy – I just pin the end points to make sure they line up.hand stitchingFinally got all the diamonds sewn in the correct direction. banana RingThen I finished the center rosette – which is the same rosette used in the La Passacaglia quilt by Willyne Hammerstein.  This is the back before pressing:center Ring BackThis reminds me of those crepe paper things we did in elementary school, where you had little paper squares that you smooshed around a pencil end, dipped in glue and placed on a poster board… almost didn’t want to iron it.center Ring PressedBut I did, and I love it!! The back is a bit messy, but because of the sew lines, my shapes and points are pretty sweet! I’m doing the rest in bits or chunks to make the piecing easier. The next ring will consist of 10 matching chunks. I picked a size that would take 3-7 days to piece, so I can get through them at a timely pace. So this is my ‘chunk’ pattern:There are 4 different yellows, and 4 different light greys – so I had to make the pattern bigger to see what was what. I also have this to follow as I add pieces on – so they are stitched in the right place.hand stitchingMy first chunk also had a neat looking back before I pressed it:chunk oneNow I only have 9 left of these guys to make, then I’ll sew them onto the center and start another round of chunks!center Plus Chunk oneActually, now I only have 8 more to stitch – just finished another chunk last night. Looking back over my notes, I have approximately 35 hours in sewing time already. Sounds like a lot of time, but it’s going much faster than EPP using a running stitch!

I would have to say this is a successful try at printing the stitch and sew lines on the back of these Kona solids! We are going to be printing more pieces and plan on opening an online store in February if all goes according to plan!

Kaleidoscope Quilt – In Progress

treasure

Pretty thrilled to report that I’ve started stitching my Kaleidoscope quilt last night! I put a lot of time and figuring into the design and layout and am happy with the look of it. The center is based off of the La Passacaglia Pattern by Willyne Hammerstein

I design on Adobe Illustrator. For this quilt I really wanted to save time – so my husband screen printed the sew and cut lines on the backs of all the solid fabric colors I needed. I used 3/4 yard of 21 different colors – which made a lot of little pieces! So many that it took two weeks to get them all cut – I can only cut for an hour or so before my joints start talking to me.

treasure

Once they were all printed, I could count how many of each piece I had in each color – and I had to adjust my layout often to accommodate my limited color palate. I like challenges like that! My whole idea for this quilt was: kaleidoscope… and the colors I chose are what I remember looking through one as a kid. I really like it where it’s at (I could re-work in a million different ways) so this is it!

Now I’m really curious as to how long it will take me to put this together! I spent 1.5 hours last night using a running stitch and this is how far I got:

KaleidoscopeStart

There are approximately 3500 pieces in this which is fewer than my Wood Dragon Hexie Quilt – and that took me a year and a half to make. My hope is to finish this Kaleidoscope quilt within 6 months, but honestly, I really don’t know how long it will take. I do plan on keeping track of my time, so I’ll have a better estimation for future projects.

For now I’m just trying not to obsess too much and get other work done too, but I am really happy to have another hand project to be working on!

 

 

Manic…

I’m doing a lot of pacing and cleaning lately… and today after hearing about the terrorist attack in Las Vegas, I feel like I’m spinning. You know that feeling when you just can’t relax…? That’s where I’m at right now.

So… I’m working on my Kaleidoscope Quilt today. Not really sewing yet, just working on the design in Illustrator. I need to have a plan before sewing all these little guys together.

It’s going to be 60″ x 80″ when finished, and I think I’ll just be cutting into the edges to make straight lines for binding. The biggest shape in this is a pentagon that measures 1.25″ per side. Still don’t know just how many pieces it will be, but I really like how it’s starting to come together!

I still have a way to go before I’ll start doing the sewing. I’m even thinking of sewing on the machine using Y-seams since I have all my pieces marked! I’m going to go obsess over this today, and maybe for the next few days… I find the design takes the longest. Once complete, the sewing will go pretty quickly I think. I’m going to be timing this one too – very curious about time.

Love to all out there in this crazy world affected by the hurricanes, the earthquakes, the fires, the terrorism, and the outlandish antics of our president who continues to make things worse. I feel you.

Changes…

Hexie Hummingbird No.2 Layout

Phew… boy oh boy. I have been on a crazy physical and emotional rollercoaster lately, and I’m pretty sure I can chalk it up to getting older and being female. Ugh. I’m sure some of you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Yeah, I think it’s that time. I’m 47 and the average age is 51, so it looks like I’m right on schedule. This is one of those times I wish I could talk to my mom and find out more about her health issues. Instead I’m reading up on the subject and learning a lot on my own about this somewhat intangible thing called peri-menopause.

This could be the base of a lot of my recent ‘mystery symptoms’! The thing that tipped me off was I recently started getting morning sickness… and I’m definitely not pregnant. Who knew this can be a symptom?!? I sure didn’t, and if it’s anything like the morning sickness I had while pregnant 26 years ago, I will be miserable every morning till it’s over. This along with many other fun things like hot flashes are my new reality.

As you know, I need to find a silver lining in everything, or else my depression can take hold and pull me to never never land. So… I’m excited that this may be the cause of other awful symptoms… and it all could be going away soon!!  I just have to get over the hump. To do that, I’m immersing myself in quilting.

I brought my Juki in for a cleaning and tune-up and since I’m now without a machine, I started another hexie project! Hexies always cheer me up – they are so freaking cute!

Hexie Hummingbird Finish

A good friend purchased my Hexie Hummingbird Quilt recently, so I decided to make another one with my left-over hexies. This was much harder to lay out than the first one due to my dwindling resource of made hexies… but I’m still happy with it. This photo is close to the layout I ended up with:

Hexie Hummingbird No.2 Layout

Pretty cute, right? I like it because I’m using bright, big patterned fabrics. Very different than the usual monochromatic patterned fabrics I usually choose. This is going to be fun to sew! I’m going to keep track of my time on this too. It was very interesting to see my time spent on my last quilt, and that helps give me confidence to value my work more accurately.

manipura quilt-gail weiss

Speaking of which… this is me with the Manipura Quilt at our most recent PMQG meeting – thanks to Kimberly Lumapas for the photo! I was so nervous I don’t think I was even making any sense up there… but my guild is so supportive! As soon as the quilt unfolded, there was a bunch of applause and it made me feel like a rock star! (a little embarrassed too – if I’m being honest)

I’m really happy with how this quilt turned out, but – I really enjoyed the process of making it more than any other quilt I’ve made so far.  Now that I’ve made two Chakra quilts, I think I’m going to follow through and do all seven. It will be a fun design challenge, and if I use the process of quilting for healing – it can only be good!

 

Why Do You Quilt?

Manipura blocks

The sun is out today here in Portland, and it is beautiful! My sewing machine is currently in front of a patio door looking into the backyard and it is very soothing and motivating to sew. I’ve been a little obsessive with this new quilt, and sewing every free minute I have.

Stack of Manipura Quilt blocks
Stack of Manipura Quilt blocks

Recently, a quilter I recently started following- Cheryl Arkison, wrote a wonderful blog post on why she quilts. For her, it’s a way to show kindness to others – to share her love by creating something for others to use. I think this is how many quilters feel.

I thought about this question though, because I don’t give my quilts away very often. So… why do I quilt?

For me, quilting is meditative. I ponder over life decisions at the same time I’m picking fabrics, and each piece I choose is for a reason, and has a purpose.  As I’m stitching, I’m healing. Sewing is such a positive action, you are creating something from nothing… and we have the ability to make any choice we want, which makes each quilt artistic, unique, and valuable in it’s own right.

I’m not going to lie, it feels wonderful to make beautiful things! The feeling of accomplishment I get from finishing a project that I am proud of, is one of the best drug-free experiences I’ve had.

The quilt I’m currently working on is the Manipura Quilt. It is all about the third chakra and self-worth, so I am keeping track of all my time spent on making it. I have a stopwatch app and so my figures for value will be accurate when I’m finished. I feel I’m a slow stitcher on the machine, but to be precise, I need to take my time.

Manipura Quilt notes

This quilt has (99) blocks that finish at 6.5″ x 9″. They are all paper pieced, and some have a few more elements than others. So far, I have 52 blocks completed – and I have spent over 32 hours just on sewing them together. I spent another 12 hours creating the design, creating the patterns, picking fabrics and cutting strips.

Manipura blocks

Basically, I’m making an unaffordable quilt. So… another reason I quilt is to share. To share in the process of making, my reasons for certain choices, the emotions I have while making… and to eventually show quilts at quilt shows.  I don’t care about winning any prizes (although I would not complain!) but I do care about having opportunities to share my work. This blog is pretty small – so showing at shows is a great way to connect with others. I’m going to be researching shows to enter other than QuiltCon for my quilts, since I don’t think my style fits their aesthetic – been rejected every year.

My quilts mean a lot to me because of how I piece them together and all the charged emotion that goes into them. When I see them, I feel things. That’s how I hope others’ see my work too – however, I find that each quilt speaks differently to each person, and I don’t hold it personally if someone is indifferent to my work. I just know that when I share my quilts, I’m sharing a part of me that I can’t articulate with words – and I love that voice!Manipura Quilt fabrics

So… why do you quilt?

Root Chakra Quilt Progress

bottom row log cabin blocks

I’ve recently started work on a new project, and I’m using the root chakra for inspiration. A while back, I took the ‘Process Pledge‘ on Rossie’s blog and so I wanted to write a little more on the process of this quilt.

This quilt symbolizes a path to heath and healing to me.

I’ve been having health issues – nothing new, or that dire… but I have a lot of old spinal injuries that have developed layers of scar tissue causing pain and other problems. On top of that, I found out I’m inuslin-resistant (body is making too much insulin, but the cells are not using it) and very close to being diabetic. I also have a fatty liver and need to lose weight.  My ND says it’s related to low thyroid and an exhausted adrenal system.

The reason my adrenals are exhausted is because of my earlier lifestyle and the things I’ve seen or lived through being homeless and an addict. Part of the reason I liked to get ‘messed up’ was because I felt the need to escape the overwhelming feeling of abandonment I had after being disowned both by family members, and my whole religious community.

Even though the drama is all in the past, I’m still dealing with it’s consequences. Energetically speaking, my root chakra is blocked and needs to be opened.

The Root Chakra influences your physical vitality, physical survival instincts, “fight or flight” response, and the emotions of anger, jealousy, desire and greed. The Root Chakra governs the lessons of surviving the material world. This Chakra holds information involving family loyalty, superstitions and beliefs, and your ability to stand up for yourself; your sense of safety, self esteem, and security are based here. The Root Chakra controls the energy of instincts, physical pain, pleasure, and touch. Imbalance may manifest as losing interest in survival in the “real world”, physical addictions and obsessions, selfishness, restlessness, volatile emotions and a lack of vitality.

So… this is my focus: to create a strong foundation (root chakra) from which to stand up and grow upon.

Since the color of the root chakra is red, I pulled all the reds out of my stash and cut them into different width strips:

Cut strips of fabric

For the large center square, I was going to make one big log cabin block, but decided to make a few smaller ones and put them together to make one big center.

Log cabin blocks on wall

This big red center square is supported by two layers – the bottom black/dark layer signifies my youth, strict confines, and empty hearts. I chose the log cabin block because the centers are suppose to symbolize home and hearth – that’s why the centers are usually red.

bottom row log cabin blocks

The second layer signifies my young adulthood where my boundaries were all over the place, we had no home… and everything seemed a little crazy.

on design wall

The big red square symbolizes the foundation I’m currently creating in my life now: not perfect, but solid. Next I’ll be making white log cabins for the background.

I’m a little concerned that it might be getting too busy looking, but I’ll wait till I get the background blocks done before I start over-thinking things.

So far, this has been a joy to work on. I’m thinking about every little piece I sew into it, and giving it a little love with each stitch. I think it’s helping my healing process nicely…