Next Step… Quilting!

Manipura Quilting

Quilting is made up of so many steps… by the time you get to the actual quilting stage of the game you realize there is a whole new layer of design to contemplate.

Manipura Quilting

I think I’m going to ‘stitch in the ditch’ and after I go over all the seams, I’ll see if, and where, I would want to quilt more. The quilting of this piece can be simple to offset the busyness of the patchwork.

For this quilt, I used a plain muslin backing and wool batting – it’s already feeling quite yummy! Wool batting works really well for spray basting because it holds it’s shape better than a cotton batting.

Manipura basting

Look how awesome it looks already… and I haven’t even quilted it yet!! I’m loving everything about this – especially the process of making it.

Because this quilt is based on the Third Chakra or Manipura, I’m focusing on my personal self-worth while creating this physical piece. I’ve actually kept track of every minute I’ve spent.

Manipura NotesSo far, I’m over 70 hours into this project – cutting and sewing time only. Design, layout, fabric and decision making ponderings are not included in this time. I still have quite a few hours to put in for quilting and binding. At a wage of $20/hr, I’m making an “over-priced quilt” by the standards of today’s marketplace. However it’s priceless to me, due to how helps me emotionally.

Right now, I can use all the calm I can get… I know I’m not the only one reeling from the upcoming election. I can’t wait for it all to be over with and we can move on and stop this awful feeling of overwhelming stagnation. I’m also pulled to North Dakota and Standing Rock Sioux, and to the hundreds of other indigenous tribes from around the globe, who are trying to protect our planet and the water on it.  I give thanks daily for their efforts, and have donated funds. If you’d like to help, here is a good site to contribute to: StandingRock.org

I found out the other day that I have some nerve damage in my mouth, and it causes pain that can’t really be fixed. I noticed it gets worse with inflammation, so now with PMS, I get dental pain – so fun. There are also a bunch of failing crowns and inlays that are only a few years old that will need to be replaced. I’m trying to cut down on stress, and having to go to the dentist isn’t helping.

To top things off- we wrecked our car the other night.

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This is what happens when someone randomly stops in the flow of traffic. Luckily no one was hurt, and we were able to drive it home (only a few blocks away). The bummer part of it all is that this was our only car… and I would be surprised if it’s not a total – the airbags even went off.  So instead of quilting, I’ve been on the phone with insurance agents, and looking at cars for sale. I’m hoping to find an inexpensive, good running car – I don’t think we’re able to swing a monthly car payment.

**Deep Breathing**
I have to keep reminding myself that good often comes from change.

Speaking of which, here is where I do my meditation, yoga, and more recently – inversions. (see the inversion table?) yogaspace

This photo was taken around midnight (I practice late) so it’s a bit dark. When the sun is out, this room is bright and wonderful. I’m lucky we don’t have living room furniture yet…it leaves plenty of room for movement. You can see how calming this space is. There is no video in this room either – just plants. It’s simple and awesome at the same time!

…And very much needed.

What are you doing to stay sane this week?

 

Pondering…

Manipura Quilt in progress

I have been actively working on The Manipura Quilt. It’s a quilt made of 792 long isosceles triangles that combine and create one large downward pointing triangle in the center.  It is a quilt based on healing or opening the Third Chakra – more about that here.

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The 99 blocks are all finished, and I’m following my printed pattern – so it’s just a matter of going through the motions of  accurately sewing the blocks together. This gives me a lot of time to think, and honestly… maybe there is too much to think about right now.  I keep referring back to the mantra that goes with the making of this quilt:

“I am confident in all that I do. I am successful and release my creative energy into this reality – effortlessly.”

Confident, successful, and effortless are not words I’ve used to describe myself… ever, so – this is real work for me personally.

Manipura Quilt in progress

Success is a hot topic on my social media feeds lately (a couple great reads listed below). It means different things to different people.  Most people seem to want a success that looks like fame and wealth. Don’t get me wrong… I’d love more funds to cover health and dental work, and get out of debt. However, I need success to be attainable to me, and I may never be ‘successful’ in making money in the art or quilting world.

Manipura Quilt in progress

So I will allow myself to feel successful for: 1. Leaving a religiously fundamentalist family which was/is very hard, 2. Leaving an abusive relationship or two, 3. Stopping the use of alcohol, meth, and cigarettes, 4. Owning a home after being homeless, 5. Creating a family business that pays the bills, 6. Creating a family full of love, communication, and compassion, and 7. Creating time, space and funds to actively quilt.

These things make me feel good, which will help in the confidence department. There are a slew of other things that make me feel like crap about myself, so it’s a real work in progress to feel any confidence. Anxiety, on the other hand, seems to be my best friend… and is constantly whispering thoughts of ineptitude into my brain.

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As I circle around my personal thoughts, I realize I have much to work on emotionally. I’m so thankful I found quilting – it’s a sort of vent or release for me for many issues. I love working through my emotions to a place of feeling accomplished… just with some fabric and thread. On top of that, you create a beautiful source of reference for when those bad feelings may re-emerge, and you need strength to move on.

With all the craziness in the world today, between corrupt politicians, corporations, and media – I look forward to every bit of time I have to sew – time to clear my head and have success in making something comforting out of nothing.

Manipura Quilt in progress

Here are some great reads on success and art that I was turned onto by some FB friends:

Snarling Girl by Elisa Albert

Cynthia Daignault on not commodfiying your art

Ahnoni on art, corporations, and the music industry

 

A New Method – Foundation Paper Piecing

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

I recently designed a new quilt that will need to employ foundation paper piecing for accuracy. I was pretty hesitant to start making blocks until I was shown a really neat technique at our PMQG sew day by Rozina who was working on a Pickle-Dish block.

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Manipura Quilt design by Gail Lizette Weiss

After she showed me how she did paper piecing, I went out and bought a roll of freezer paper and just jumped right in. This is a pretty easy way to get accurate piecing… AND not have to rip papers out at the end.

I haven’t managed to film a good working video yet, so get ready for a lot of photos!

The blocks of this quilt are all the same – using different fabrics. There are 15 blocks in the quilt pattern that are split on an angle to make the inner triangle. Each block finishes at 6.5″ x 9″ –  I inversed my pattern and printed it on a piece of lightweight newsprint paper.

From there, I cut freezer paper to 8″x10″ sheets – this gives me plenty of room for additional seam allowance. I took 8 sheets of FP with the paper side up  (wax side down) and stapled the paper pattern to the top. I stitched through all layers without thread, then carefully took out the staple. I trimmed the paper to 3/8″ around the pattern to account for seam allowance. This gave me 8 freezer paper templates with perforated lines, ready to use. These templates can be re-used quite a few times, but I opted to make a template for each block to keep things organized better. My machine did fine with 8 sheets, you may need to test yours.

Now the tricky part:

Patternfreezer paper template

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the section of the paper pattern I’m going to demonstrate – it’s highlighted – Block #B1.

I marked the freezer paper with pencil on the paper side – so the marking is inversed. That is a hard thing for my brain to get around due to my dyslexia – I have to triple-check my markings before sewing, and I still get some things mixed up… but basically, if I flip the freezer paper over, the markings will match my pattern.

Heat up the iron, I’m ready to start sewing!

I start from the center section of the block – for this demo, “X” is for solid yellow. I put the fabric right side down, and lay the freezer paper over it (wax side down) and press. Don’t worry about the wax paper on your ironing surface – it peels up easily without residue while still warm.

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

You can see here while I’m holding this up that the fabric is now adhered to the freezer paper.  See how there is at least 1/4″ of extra fabric around the whole “X” section. There is excess on this piece I used, I need to trim that off.stucktopaperSo… lay the paper/fabric piece on your cutting table, fabric side down – and carefully peel back the wax paper to the perforated line that marks the “X” section:

Foundation Paper Piecing TutorialFoundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you are ready to trim that extra piece off, but make sure you add 1/4″ seam allowance first.

Foundation Paper Piecing TutorialFoundation Paper Piecing TutorialFoundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you are ready to add your second piece of fabric- which, for me are these dots!Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

With the paper folded over, you can check to see if the fabric is large enough to cover the perforated shape plus seam allowance.

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

Once you have your fabrics together (right sides together), it’s time to sew. I sew right next to the freezer paper fold. Sometimes I catch a little of the paper, but that’s okay, as long as it is very close to the fold.

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

Now it’s back to the iron. I lay the piece down so both fabrics are on top,

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

then I fold one fabric back and press out, just on the seam (very careful NOT to touch the freezer paper!)

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Then I flip the whole thing,

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double-check the seam matches up to the perforated line,

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fold the paper back over the fabric and press.

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Now I have two pieces stitched together, and I’m ready to trim the dots and add my next section.

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So, I fold back the paper to the perforated line that denotes this section,

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And trim adding 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Add next piece of fabric (solid yellow in this case) and sew closely to the folded paper line.

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Open and press as before, careful not to iron over the wax part of the paper.

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And… as you can see… I make mistakes sometimes! This second solid yellow piece is sewn on backwards – it doesn’t cover it’s “X” section the way I sewed it on, so I had to do a little seam ripping. It didn’t affect the paper at all.

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I was able to reuse the piece, I just had to carefully place it before stitching so it would cover the whole section, and still have seam allowance.

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After stitching and pressing, this is how it is supposed to look!

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I keep adding sections, one at a time, out to one edge,

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then start in the center again to work toward the other side.

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Once all the sections are covered, I consider the block DONE! I’m leaving the paper on and not trimming the sides until I’m ready to start sewing them together.tut057

All my markings are still on the back – which should make layout a snap.

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Here are three finished blocks all lined up:

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I’m so excited to start sewing this quilt together! I guess you could say I’m a little obsessive – all I want to do is sew. Things like eating, cleaning, and work tend to become frustrating distractions, and I have to check myself to make sure I stay grounded. I have to say, with corporations trying to destroy our planet, and politicians just helping them along… it’s extremely easy for me to lose myself in a project like this.

I hope this little tutorial was as informative and inspiring for you as it was when it was shown to me!

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?

Manipura Quilt

solar plexus chakra quilt

A few weeks back I had an intense emotional release during my yoga practice, I wrote about it here. Ever since, I’ve been envisioning how to purge those emotions through quilting. I’ve also been dreaming about sewing a yellow quilt, so I designed one!solar plexus chakra quilt

I spoke with my Cranial Sacral Therapist about all this. I told her how I wrote about it on my blog and she found it interesting that I’m being so open about my emotions in that very public way. She reminded me of how I felt like an outsider when I was a kid, and how I usually try to be invisible as an adult. It’s a protective act – not be seen or noticed – to keep myself safe from ridicule/pain/nerves. This new ‘showing of emotions’ should be taken as a sign to move past the fear, and to believe in my self-worth.  I showed her my design, and we both think my Solar Plexus Chakra that is screaming for attention.

The Solar Plexus Chakra, also called Manipura, is the 3rd chakra and is based just below the diaphram. It is where our will power comes from, and our ability to achieve, self-esteem, raw emotions, and self-discipline are seated there. This energy system governs the large intestines, the stomach, the digestive system, the adrenal glands, the pancreas, the liver and the lungs. When you have a ‘gut’ feeling about something, it is this energy source that is communicating to your brain.

Yellow, fire, and sunflowers are all positive symbols of this chakra, and so is a downward pointing triangle. My design is perfect for this project.

With my anxiety, liver, digestive issues, it makes total sense that this is where I need to work energetically. I need a better sense of self. To help heal this chakra, the mantra I need to keep repeating is:

I am confident in all that I do. I am successful and release my creative energy into this Reality, effortlessly.

So I’m repeating this over and over as I stitch away. One fun fact is that this is my second try at foundation paper piecing, and I’m learning a lot as I go!

solar plexus chakra quilt

solar plexus chakra quilt

The paper piecing technique using freezer paper that my friend Rozina showed me, works great! I’m going to work on a tutorial for that soon!

solar plexus chakra quilt

Looking at the design again I see so much more symbolism – there is the center triangle standing apart from the background. That is representing my self-worth – and it’s made up of many other smaller triangles, that represents my friends and family who are super supportive. The darker edges around the center triangle sort of look like feathers, but really represent all the tears and negativity shed over the years, so I could find myself.

It might seem weird to use quilting as therapy, but for me – it works. I think it’s extremely therapeutic to work with texture and color, and to work and create something completely new with your own hands. While working on the Root Chakra quilt, I connected with that quilt, that project, everything about it, was healing for me. I’m happy to work through emotional baggage as I sew. Plus, I think the end result radiates the energy I put into it.

I am confident in all that I do. I am successful and release my creative energy into this Reality, effortlessly.