I’m having a lot of fun with puns for my Heart Chakra Quilt. All joking aside, this is going to be a fairly major project.
Here’s the finished look of the top:
This is NOT a perfect quilt or a quilt for a perfectionist. I purposefully left mistakes in because this quilt is turning out to be a pretty good representation of me. The more I think of how my physical body interacts with the spiritual world (which is what the center star represents) the more I realize how bumpy and imperfect my path has been.
Since it’s not perfect, straight line quilting just won’t do. It would show the imperfections in a bad way. So I pulled out my free motion quilting foot for my Juki machine and decided to free hand the whole thing.
The center hexies deserved a little more planning, so I created this ‘flower’, printed it on newsprint and used it as a quilting template. After doing these initial lines, I pulled the paper and added more in detail.
Here is the back after I quilted the center – again… not perfect, but I really like the organic nature of how it came out.
Now I’m working my way out from this center piece and working on being okay with all the imperfections – this fully correlates to my life.
If you follow my blog, you know I’ve been working on a Chakra Quilt series – to help myself work through some past emotional baggage.
I’ve been currently working on the Heart Chakra Quilt, and it has taken much longer than anticipated only due to the improv nature of the quilt – and me not knowing exactly how to create what I wanted to see. Making this quilt top created a lot of waste and as fabric costs have gone up, it just kills me to throw it away.
Thinking I could create a back for the Heart Chakra Quilt, I pieced together every bit of scrap I had from the front. The way I did it was to divide the pieces by size, or match two sides together that are exactly the same length. Then I just started sewing them together, chain piecing until I had no more pieces, or pieces that didn’t fit anything yet. I would try to add as many pieces as I could before needing to press and trim.
Once I had the smaller pieces put together, they started matching up with larger pieces, and I really just kept sewing onto each piece until one side got to 13″. Then I had about 30 blocks of varying heights, all with the same width of 13″ – from there, I could put them into rows and play with layout.
It was at this point I thought it looked cool enough that it should be its own quilt, so I made a much faster pieced backing from larger pieces, and added the green on the sides just to make it a bit wider on top and now I have a very unexpected quilt finish!! I’m calling it Little Pieces of My Heart.
Sewing is very meditative, and with these Chakra quilts, I give myself mantras to repeat while sewing to keep a certain mindfulness while creating. With this scrap quilt, I didn’t really have a specific practice – but I did think a lot about the children locked in cages with no one for emotional support. It tears me up inside what we are doing to other people. I say WE due to the fact it’s OUR tax dollars paying some private firm $750+ a day to keep kids in concentration camps.
This is future damage. We are creating future war and terrorism with this act alone (don’t get me started on global warming). So… I may be donating this quilt to try to either raise money for RAICES or giving directly to a child in need.
I sometimes feel a little guilt when it’s gorgeous out and I’m inside. I’m happy to have a patio door that opens to our backyard in my sewing space. I have a million ideas for the backyard as far as setting pavers and making a path to the print studio, fixing the patio, and adding some planters for some gardening. All these ideas flow in my head constantly… and because I can’t seem to make a decision, nothing gets finished – or started even. I’m spending time out there today and hoping some resolution comes into focus.
As far as the sewing goes… I’m pretty happy with my progress. I have the top completed for the Heart Chakra Quilt! I love it. I ended up with a bunch of scraps – more than usual, and I’m feeling pressure to piece the back of this one so I can use them up. I made this whole quilt without buying any fabric, confining myself to what I already had in my stash. So it seems appropriate to make do with what I have for the back too.
Piecing all those little pieces will take some time, so I don’t think I’ll have this one done for the next PMQG meeting Show and Tell.
I’ve also been working on the Paintbrush Painter’s Palette Solids Challenge quilt. After signing up, we received 9 fat quarters of pre-chosen solids to create a mini-quilt which will be judged on:
Best use of provided fabrics
Awesome Quilting (machine or hand)
So… I made a design using all 9 fabric colors. I’m not positive of the actual names of the fabric colors, but in the mix was: light blue, royal blue, avocado green, olive green, tangerine, coral, hot pink, and red. It was a bit tough coming up with something that made each color look good next to the others.
I’m very happy with how it came out! Now to think of some “awesome quilting” to put this into challenge contention. I’m thinking of hand quilting using thicker thread and big stitches… but can’t decide on thread color or quilting pattern just yet. I’m going to do a faced binding on this one so all that shows will be the quilt top. A little more time is needed before I can say this one is finished – but it’s getting close!
After getting my Kaleidoscope Quilt back from Nancy at Just Quilting, I updated the pattern I created for this quilt to add the photo.
Once I was back in the working file, I found a couple edits, and I added so much more information that it turned into a book – 46 pages! I found a great place online to print it as a self-published book and had one made for myself. The quality is pretty amazing for a print-on-demand book. I was able to add full color and use a spiral binding so the book can be opened flat while using.
I have the updated .pdf version available in the store, but if you are interested in a printed pattern in book form, here it is!
I can’t stop looking at it! It’s really beautiful, I’m so happy to have been able to collaborate with someone so talented.
I took this quick little video after I got home after picking it up. It’s been a few months since I’ve seen it, so it’s extra sweet.
Nancy went beyond my expectations, and I feel this is a real work of art.
Apologies for my squeaky voice… just so excited.
Do you see all that amazing goodness…??? I am beside myself.
I plan to bind it with a facing style binding so it doesn’t show on the front, but I need to buy some fabric for it. I’m also working on a label and a sleeve as I plan to show this quilt as often as possible!
This last month has been brutal. Especially being a woman in the United States. Debilitating emotion overwhelms creativity. You have to fight hard for your creative self.
I’ve been working a lot (Phantom Chicken) and that has been great. I really enjoy being able to pay bills! The work has me busy through lots of off hours which has put a stop to my sewing time. I’m also using work as an excuse for just not knowing how or what to do next to get this quilt to look like how it is in my head. I keep looking at it on the design wall, but the math is stumping me.
I decided to make the triangle shapes I want to use, lay them out on the design wall, and just fill in the empty spaces as I go.
The Heart Chakra has many symbols, I’m gleaning and reinterpreting the ones that resonate with me personally as I’m making this quilt for my own healing purposes.
I’m learning as much as I can as I go along in this project. I’m finding that there are many different ways to ‘see’ the symbology of each Chakra. The best thing I’ve read so far was “The Chakra systems are prescriptive, not descriptive” – Chris Wallis
There are 12 outer (white) triangles that represent the 12 Vrittas of the Heart we want to quell or sooth.
Imagine these emotions creating a whirlpool of thoughts in your mind (busy – non stop). The point of meditating on these 12 white lotus petals is settle or lessen these ‘vritties’ to create a calm stillness of the mind, much like a calm, still pool of water.
The 8 inner (green) triangles are representative of the smaller Hrit Chakra, also in the heart region. Those represent the feelings of the heart: Resolution, Atomization, Lightness, Largeness, Attaining, Irresistible Will, Control, Mastery
I haven’t found much information on this smaller Chakra, but I liked the idea of the two rounds of triangles to represent the lotus flowers of each heart related Chakra. I have all these ideas, but I’m having problems making a decision, so I’ve been creatively blocked for a bit.
I’m pushing through this one. As I study and think about the Vrittas, it seems to me that Hope and Repentance are things I used to think of as virtuous, now I’m starting to see them in a negative light. Hope is fantasy – it allows a person to be inactive. Repentance is a way to get out of responsibility. The others are much more understandable.
For this quilt, I’m trying (with difficulty) to create nice, even circles out of the triangles – it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be.
The white triangles on the outer round will be surrounded with many greens. When I was making the white triangles, I found this sweet white fabric in my stash. When I posted the photo below on IG, my friend Nicole let me know it is called: Dotted Swiss. If it wasn’t for quilty friends, I would be lost. ;) It is a very sheer fabric. I didn’t think it would do well on its own in a quilt, so I backed it with this old neon green fabric I’ve had forever… then I realized I was making a pocket of sorts, and added silver embroidery threads in each triangle. I feel like this represents the goodness one can attain by calming the Vritties of the mind.
The best part right now is that I’ve been able to sew a little every day for the last few days – I’m not fully stumped and afraid to cut fabric anymore. I’ve been meditating and doing yoga nightly – and trying to resonate with all that I’ve been learning. This is in direct opposition to the world right now where everything is seeming to be competitive, hateful, selfish, and willfully ignorant. The clash is draining mentally… and I know I’m not the only one feeling this way right now.
I am very grateful to have the ability (physically, financially, and time) to sew!
This quilt is kind of kicking my ass. It is mimicking my life in ways I would never have noticed if I wasn’t making this as a therapeutic tool. I’m happy for new perspectives, but they can be hard to mentally and emotionally digest.
For example, the center of this quilt features a 6 pointed star made of two triangles. One triangle pointing up to represent spirituality, and one triangle pointing down to represent physicality – and where they meet and overlap is the heart.
I decided to make the center out of hexies, because… hexies! I love them. So I start in the center with absolutely no plan on how to incorporate them into the rest of the quilt! Just like in real life, I did not plan this out well. I still don’t know how I’m going to sew it all together and still add a circle of 8 inner triangles and a circle of 12 outer triangles to finish the quilt per my original intention.
I find myself tripping up on math and I’ve made a few mistakes already with fabric calculations! Every mistake means a new decision to make – and each decision is like hitting a brick wall mentally. I can’t even work on other projects right now because I’m confused as to how I’ll finish this one. I hate making decisions – I always question myself and then question myself again. Then I get stuck in the ‘not knowing what to do next’ brain fog.
Decision-making seems to be a main theme of this quilt.
My dreams have been hard too. Not full on nightmares, but dream memories… ? Memories from childhood have been re-playing currently as dreams and they’ve taken on aspects of my old recurring nightmares too – but with new twists. This type of dreaming has been happening a lot and I wake up feeling more tired than when I went to sleep… so much happening in my dreams. I’m also having pain dreams… where you dream about a specific pain till it wakes you up. Like my new recent recurring dream is I’m tied up in a backless chair, and someone is cutting my back with razor blades – this is because my spine aches so much in my sleep. This is something I have to fix because when I become over-tired, I start getting paranoid about other little things.
So… I’ve been trying to sleep a lot and keep pushing forward on this quilt project – even though it’s really hard. I feel like scrapping it and starting something new, but if I do, I’ll never come back to it – so I’m going to follow through and push through some decision making!
I’ve been working on my ability to photograph quilts by myself. Quilt photography is very tricky and a bit expensive if you have to pay for it. However, it’s worth every penny to get a photo that will really show a quilt in its best light.
I recently got a portable quilt-hanger, and now I feel like I can really get good photos. I know I still need work, and a better camera always helps… but for what I have, I think these are pretty good.
Below find new final photos of the Vishuddha Quilt I finished last year, as well as the full photo for Neopolitan Interlaced Orbs… not too bad – eh?
This is another quick tutorial on how I sew my hexies together. After a layout, and sewing all the rows together as in my last post, I’m ready to start sewing the rows together!
I start from the left side – I have the first smaller rows stitched together already and now I’m adding the fourth row.
I’m going to start at the bottom here – with the yellow green print and the sage green solid half-hexies. I grab the hexies where I’m going to start sewing…
… and flip them over. I use a bolster pillow to rest them on while I get the stitch started.
From here, start your stitch in the middle of the two hexie sides you’re going to sew together.
From here, use a whipstitch and skim the papers to grab the edges of the hexie without pulling the fabric from the top of the hexie piece, and work your way down to the bottom edge. Avoid the seam allowance.
When you get to the bottom, start working your way back up, going over the stitches you just did. This will reinforce all your edges.
Knot at each corner and keep going.
When you get to the end of the row, go all the way to the edge and then work your way back in halfway on the first hexie before tying off your stitch. I don’t have this pictured, but it looks the same as how you start and reinforces the edges of the piece.
For these stitches, I used Gutterman Polyester thread – it works well for whipstitching.
That is all for now… I’ll post when I get this little center piece done for the Heart Chakra Quilt. Then I’ll have to figure out what I’m going to do from there… I have a plan, but it’s very vague.
I’m sewing some hexies together for the center of the Heart Chakra quilt project I’m currently working on. I’ve sewn a few whole quilts with hexies and I’m going to share with you how I sew my hexies together without any stitching showing on the front.
To start, these are the notions I use:
Needle: John James #12 Sharp
Superior Kimono Silk Thread #100
Thread Heaven (thread conditioner)
I’m starting with basted hexies. If you would like to see how I baste my hexies, please go here , or here for a full hexie tutorial. Be ready for lots of photos!
I start by laying out my hexies exactly how I’m going to sew them together. This layout is small, so it’s easy to layout just about anywhere. Sometimes I use a card table with batting stretched on top and taped down to layout hexies – the batting keeps them in place a little better.
I then sew my hexies together in rows. I start by knotting my thread with a quilters knot and pulling it up through my first hexie in the center. I personally think that sewing them with WRONG sides together gives the best results. I use a ladder stitch and sew to one end:
Then I flip the hexies in my hand and stitch back into the center:
Keep going… ladder stitch all the way to the other end.
Flip the hexies in your hand again, and sew back to the centerpoint.
Yes… this doubles the stitching. It may be overkill, but I like to use my quilts and I wash them as any other thing I own, so they have to be durable. Open the hexies and push the needle through to the back. The trick here is to avoid catching any fabric on the pass-through. If you do, you may see the stitch on top.
Then knot on the back side, close to where the needle came out. After knotting, slide the needle up to the next side to be sewn.
Knot here – one more time – this ensures that if a thread is cut anywhere, it will not unravel all your stitching. Pass the needle up through the center of the hexie, right on the edge.
Start your next hexie – just as before: ladder stitch to one end… and follow all steps again.
You can see that when you open your hexies after sewing this way, you don’t see any stitches on the outside of your work!
The running threads from one hexie to the next can be snipped when removing the hexie papers, or they can stay in place and you can pull the papers out around them.
Once I have all my rows sewn up, I sew them together using a whip stitch. I’ll do another tutorial on that as soon as I get there with this project.
I’m very excited to tackle the next quilt in my Chakra quilt series. I finally have a layout I’m going to use as my base:
The Anahata Chakra is based near the heart and connects our physical with our spiritual presence. The two triangles in the center depict the physical / spiritual connection within the hexagon they create. Twelve aspects of the heart are normally symbolized with a 12-petaled lotus flower, but I plan to use triangles for this part.
Each lotus petal contains a Sanskrit syllable in this Chakra – representing 12 vrittis. These are: lust, fraud, indecision, repentance, hope, anxiety, longing, impartiality, arrogance, competence, discrimination and defiance. “They are called ‘vrittis’ which can be best explained as waves of the mind. If we achieve to silent the vrittis that wave our mind, we will be able to see beyond. To see the bottom of our hearts.” – Anahata Yoga
So… next step is to pick fabrics. Here are all the greens I have:
Some neutrals will be added to all this too – this is the hardest, but most fun part of making a quilt for me: working with what I have! It makes me re-think things in ways I would have never considered if I purchased new fabric based on my pattern idea.
Since the center created a hexagon shape, I decided to make some hexies for that area! They’re going to be 3/4″ hexies… and there are not that many needed, so it will be a fun addition – if I can get them to look good… so much is still up in the air on this one. I’m just happy to have chosen one to start and can focus my energy and start to get some sewing done!
Yep. That’s what I feel I’m doing right now: quilting for myself.
I know many people who are very creative, and they make and make and make – and all for other people. It’s amazingly beautiful to see. I want to be that person someday… but for now, I’m working on personal mental health, and quilting is the best way into my psyche – for me to see from a different perspective from within myself. It’s hard to explain, but basically, it’s my therapy.
Not having insurance keeps me very industrious when it comes to healthcare. I need to be constantly pro-active and in tune without playing “the victim”. I change my diet, take suppliments, and exercise according to things I read and hear… and based on how I actually feel.
Now I’m tackling the mental aspect of my health and I’m doing it with fabric!
I started with the Root Chakra quilt after a few old friends passed away from liver failure – and I wanted to focus on my own liver issues. Then I created the Manipura quilt after a deep-seeded realization came up during a yoga meditation about my family. After that I made the Vishuddha quilt. This one was all about finding some self-esteem and learning to find and speak my own truth – something I’m still working on.
I have 4 quilts left to make in this series, and I feel blocked for all of them. This is already telling me there are some serious issues here to delve into and work out. I have ideas for three of the quilts, but still need some focus and study time before I start stitching.
The Interlaced Orbs quilt is almost finished – I decided to use my sample as the cover quilt and change the colors of the pattern to match. After I finish, I need to get some pictures so I can publish the pattern already!!
As some of you already know, Craftsy.com has become Bluprint.com and they have changed their platform for selling patterns. I had a few patterns posted that are no longer available there.
I do have a small online retail store set up with all my quilt patterns here. If you need to re-download a file from a Craftsy purchase, please email me with the email used to purchase the pattern and I’ll send the most current file directly to your email.
So many interesting things have been happening in my world, it’s a trip… and I want to share to help emotionally digest it all myself.
Family. If you’ve read any of my past blog posts, you know that I have lost all connection to my immediate family due to religious cult they are part of. I have a cousin whose family is also part of this cult religion, and he left it when he was 16, and is now also expelled from his family. We recently reconnected through FB after at least 30 years, and he came out to visit me on my birthday last week! It’s been great to talk with him, to hear his amazingly crazy story, and to tell mine. He is one of the very few people I have been able to relate to, on that level, in a very long time. It just feels good to connect.
More Family: I have a good friend back in Minnesota who I still talk to every once in a while, and she recently started dating this guy. She really likes him and has been telling me about him. A couple weeks ago they were talking and it came up that he was adopted when he was really young and had a name change. His birth name is the same as my maiden name and so my friend contacted me immediately to tell me that we (me and her new boyfriend) might be related! After a few questions and confirmations, we found out he is definitely my first cousin. My dad’s brother’s son. WOW! So now there is another person that is my family to meet, and he’s dating a great friend – it’s pretty cool living in such a small world!!
New Quilt Pattern I had my new quilt pattern tested recently by Belinda Betts and I’m so thankful for the input. It’s always scary putting a pattern out there and hoping that you got it right and that there’s not some sort of mistake that will wreck the whole quilt… but it wasn’t that bad. A few typos and changes and it will be ready to publish soon! I’m very grateful for another set of eyes on that work before it goes out.
Quilt Show Currently at Lincoln Hall at Portland State University, there is a quilt show hanging called: Outspoken: Modern Quilts. It will be hanging until March 15, 2019. I am very honored to have a quilt in this show. It is my Never Again Quilt made from the design by Mike Mitchell. It’s a small, but very powerful quilt. It’s a beautiful show, and if you can arrange to see it, I highly recommend it.
A New Year Since my birthday, I’ve been able to eat well and do a good daily yoga practice every day so far, and I want to keep it that way for the whole year. I’m seeing my ND next week for new bloodwork and checkup. I’m hoping I got my blood sugar, CRP, and cholesterol numbers down, and my iron, thyroid, and Vit D. numbers up. I also need to check on my hormone levels. I think I’m in full on peri-menapausal right now and my emotional state is not where I’d like it to be, and I can’t seem to control it, or those heat flashes, at all.
This is a very good time for me to be working on my Chakra Quilts – I should use this emotional time to focus that cruddy energy into fabric. I just need that spark of an idea to know which direction to go first. Plus… I REALLY need to clean my work space! When everything is put away, I get so much more done!
So… I’m off to clean and get ready for a busy, productive, and hopefully lucrative new year!
I’m finishing another revolution soon, and it’s a big one. I don’t know how to feel about it. Being older is strange. I never expected to make it past age 25… so this is double-bonus-plus!
It’s been a very interesting new year so far. Spent the first two weeks so sick – it hurt my head to think. Still, I was able to be productive, and created a new site for our T-shirt printing business. I’m quite proud of it, it was my first foray into PHP coding – and while there were times I wanted to pull my hair out, I got it figured out and working pretty well.
Another thing I’m working on for the new year is a database for all my quilts, with date completed, size, descriptions and pictures. I thought it would be a fairly quick process, but I was surprised to list 43 quilts – how did I make so many quilts?!? Bigger question: Why did I not list each one here (with size info) as I completed them? That would have made this a whole lot easier. *Note to self*
This time of year means it’s tax time – or paperwork/accounting time for me. Between that and the new site, I haven’t been working on any new sewing projects – and I’m going a little crazy. I have a few ideas in my head for what I want to work on, but I’m having a hard time starting another Chakra quilt. They are emotionally heavy.
Yeah… still stuck on family issues. Every time I start working on emotional balance in my life, it always comes back to these people, and how much damage they caused. Honestly – I’m kinda tired of them and thinking about them and their religion, and how their religion (cult) has them so brainwashed. Yet at the same time, I have to think about it in order to ‘let it go’. Kind of a catch 22.
This is the basis of my Chakra quilt series: To heal from the grief of conditional love and intentional loss by immediate family. It’s hard to have family treat you as if you’re dead to them… for decades. They will never talk to me again. There comes a point where you have to stop trying and face facts. Fact is: I need to say goodbye, feel the grief, and move on.
Each quilt so far has been intensive and a step in that mindful disconnection to family – and I’m doing the easier ones first. I know by starting another in this series, it will mean more introspection and reflection – and that can be difficult.
My goal is to have all 7 major Chakras represented in quilts. Represented by how they affect me personally, and what resonates for what I need for my own emotional healing. Each one takes me on its own journey. Right now the 6th Chakra is the one I’m thinking about most – so a Purple quilt may be next up in this process. I study the Chakra as I’m creating – I use mantras to positively influence my work and to open my mind to different perspectives. I try to symbolize my thoughts and feelings into the imagery of each quilt. It’s been an amazing process so far.
It has been a wild ride the last few weeks in the land of the interwebs! It was a real practice of patience for me… and perseverance.
You hopefully will notice nothing different, but I did change host servers, moved my whole site, and added SSL security. This included moving and reconnecting databases and reworking all links. Like I said, it’s amazing you are even seeing this now!
My apologies for the last few weeks of many error messages. I’m still working out some bugs, so please bear with me… and feel free to let me know if you see a link that is not working, it is helpful for making fixes!
During the long waits between uploading files to the server, I made very good use of my time. I started a new quilt pattern design! This one is called: Interlaced Orbs. I think it will be a great scrap-busting, and skill-building pattern. I’m writing it so there is no trimming needed, meaning accuracy is important… but I think I’ll add the extra measurements if someone wants to cut extra, and then trim to perfection.
There are also some curves in this pattern. There is a template for accurate cutting which makes the accurate sewing much easier. I made my first sample with unpressed fabric, so my squares were not as accurate as they could have been… and the quilt still looks fine to me, even with some mismatched points. I know with some diligence in pressing, and accurate cutting, I could have done a lot better.
I used about 6-8 different “whites” ranging from Kona Snow to Kona White with some white on white prints for the background. The effect is subtle, but I like how the background has more interest. The circles could “sparkle” with different shades of dark pink too… but I didn’t have any other fabrics close to that color on hand.
Now that my site is up and running (for the most part), I will be adding the finishing edits to this pattern, then I’ll be ready to hand it off to someone for some pattern testing… would YOU be interested? I’m going to divide it into 3 sizes: 28″x 28″, 52″x 52″, and 76″x 76″ – 1, 4, or 9 (24″) blocks with a 2″ border. Let me know, I should have the test pattern ready in a week or two.
Oh… HAPPY FxxKING NEW YEAR!!! Can’t believe it’s 2019 already! My biggest resolutions for the year are: to drink more water, do more outdoor meditations, cook more, and to learn to let anxiety go.
Recently, I entered a quilt into another show: QuiltCon. It was a big decision this year. I have to be patient and wait to find out if it’s accepted or not. My expectations are set very low as I’ve entered every year and have never had a quilt accepted.
I entered my Manipura quilt. I’m hoping it has enough visual power to make it through the jury stage where I’m not sure if they see full sized photos of the quilts or if they are seen in an album as large thumbnails. I know it’s all about those photos – and that first impression. I don’t care about winning any prizes, but it sure would feel good to be able to get in the show.
Luckily I was able to trade with my friend Bill for some photography. I finished a couple amazing Hawaiian quilt tops he’s been collecting. He has a nice camera and is very skilled. He got an amazing photo for me! It’s the reason I feel I have a chance this year.
When thinking about entering this show, it dawned on me just how privileged I am to be a quilter in general. I’ve entered and shown at other shows, and having the ability to not only make a quilt, but to take pictures, send in entries, pay for shipping – it’s really amazing I’m able to participate at all. There was a time I could only wish to have my own place, my own business, and the time to make things. Even though I still have to save up to make some fabric purchases, I’m feeling overwhelmingly grateful right now.
So… whether or not the quilt is accepted I already feel accomplished!
Oh… I’m so close to being finished with the quilt I’m currently working on – and it is my favorite quilt so far. Isn’t that always the case?!
I thought I’d write a little about it here before showing it tomorrow night at PMQG because this one is packed with back story and I know I won’t get through it all, while up in front of all those people. Hopefully I get my blog mentioned before forgetting!
I started a series of Chakra quilts two years ago when I made my Root Chakra Quilt, then made the Manipura Quilt last year. With each quilt I explore my own energy relating to that Chakra, check it to see if it’s positive or negative, and then work hard to correct any terrible learned behaviors. I’m not going in order they are in… I’m going with what my meditations and my heart say I personally need to work on.
This one, Vishuddha, is the one I needed to work on the most. It’s about ‘speaking your truth’ and centers around the throat area of the body. By not voicing certain emotions, we can end up with a ‘blocked’ Throat Chakra which can cause physical ailments. I would love to feel better. Read more about this Chakra here.
The idea for this quilt came with our PMQG Word Quilt Challenge last year. I wasn’t sure of the exact words I would use, but I knew I had something important to say.
I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I wanted to say with this quilt, but while sewing, the Kavanaugh hearings were happening. The rage I felt building in my body while hearing this man talk was overwhelming and completely surprising. I then knew what this quilt was going to be: it was going to encapsulate the feeling of humiliation and isolation one feels when someone assaults you and no one believes you, or worse – people blame you for what happened. Hearing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford give testimony made me shiver with understanding.
In the religion I was raised in, women were objects. You were taught to be happy about being subjected. If someone wanted you, you were to be elated and thankful. My upbringing was all about cooking, cleaning, and caring for babies. We were told that we would not need an education because our men would provide for us. When women were abused by husbands, they were told to be more submissive, kind, … and more pleasing sexually. When children were molested, they were told to dress differently, not be so seductive, and to be forgiving. This way of thinking has done lasting damage to me.
Because of low self esteem, I pretty much could blame myself for anything bad that happened to me. When I was date-raped at 16, I could not tell anyone because I had snuck out of my house, went to a party and got drunk… all behind my parent’s backs. I knew if I told anyone, I would be reprimanded and kicked out of my house, and I was terrified.
This first time led to other times, other situations, other people… and I could always find a reason to write it off. I was kicked out when I decided not to go door to door preaching anymore (religious differences), and spent my young adulthood as a homeless gutter punk. I drank and did drugs to forget. The drinking and loneliness led to more bad decisions, and more guilt. I became very good at finding the greatest guys for abusive relationships.
The thing that saved me was getting pregnant and having a daughter. Thinking about things in a parent’s perspective has really helped me get some of my own self esteem back. If she deserves to be heard, so should I!
When she was five, I met my husband, who was the first guy in my life to show me what love really is. We’ve been together over 20 years and he’s adopted my daughter and things have definitely gotten better in my world after starting our own business and buying our first home.
The tough part is with stability and soberness, feelings from the past come up from out of nowhere and I just need to feel these things without exploding.
So, I’m using quilting as art therapy. With fabric and color, I’m somehow able to work through some of these overwhelming waves of emotion. Completing a quilt gives me a sense of accomplishment that feels great.
Opening up about some of my past is a good thing, and I saw a counselor this year for a few sessions. She encouraged me to talk about past traumas, and everything always ended up coming back to abandonment issues and having no self worth.
All this cutting and sewing, and cutting and sewing ended up making something really beautiful and powerful to look at, and I like that metaphor for my own life. Every time something has happened to me, I go over it and over it and over it trying to figure out what I could have done better. I’ve cut myself apart and put all the pieces back together again a million different times… it might look pretty, but there are a lot of bumpy seams or imperfections if you look closely.
At the center of it all is light energy that sustains us and propels us to continue moving forward. I used Violet Craft’s “Flight” fabric in the center with the gold birds to show freedom from within. This quilt also has 16 rays that signify the 16 vowels in the Sanskrit language. Vowels are necessary to speak words, and the words I needed to say…?
I’ve been working a lot lately which leaves little room for writing. Not just work work, but emotional healing work too. I’ve been getting close to finishing the top of my Vishuddha Quilt and I’m very happy with how it’s turning out, and how I feel when I look at it.
We watched Leah Remini: The Jehovah’s Witnesses last night. It aired on A&E and is probably still accessible, and if you’re interested in what the JW’s are all about – this is an excellent program. It touched on all the main problems I have with that religion, and the control it has over its followers. Seeing video of that lifestyle, and those speakers – it stimulated all sorts of memories. It’s still hard… and I really don’t want to think about it much anymore – but there are some real feelings there that I need to address. What makes it hard to work through is that most people you might talk to have no idea what it was like growing up in that environment, they don’t have any real advice on how to recover.
I’ve been wanting to just ‘be normal’ and enjoy being around people. Unfortunately, I get overwhelmed so easily, so in groups I have a hard time focusing on one-on-one conversations. My anxiety hasn’t been that bad lately – and for that I am so grateful!! The issue that’s bugging me now is just how tired I get all the time. I feel like I can’t get enough sleep… and when I eat, I have to be ready to nap – because when my body is digesting, I have no energy at all. This makes me super spacey and it’s hard to get focused on any project… or on any conversations.
So I’ve been working on the Throat Chakra quilt and letting all this emotional crap work itself out while I’m sewing. I have been tears and shouting with frustration and anger and love and more frustration while working on this. It’s a personal piece. It is me. How many times have I cut myself apart and put the pieces back together hoping something different would come of it? Too many times to count. Every time being necessary.
I’m so excited to share my newest quilt pattern: Swirling Oceans. This pattern is for machine-piecing, which is different than my other hand-piecing patterns.
This pattern will require a bit of accuracy in cutting the fabric, using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance and in the trimming or squaring up of the blocks. There are a lot of half square triangles (HST) in the quilt, and many steps that require pressing and trimming. That said, you can chain piece through most of the steps making it go pretty quickly for what it is.
I re-wrote this pattern 3 different times and I’ve made a few test quilt tops to get the right flow to the pattern. I’m dyslexic, so that was my biggest problem. Once I know the issue is me and not the writing, I could move on.
While writing this pattern, I also released The Kaleidoscope Quilt Pattern for hand-piecing. I wasn’t going to make that quilt into a pattern until someone asked for one… and I had all the ‘maps’ and math already laid out in Illustrator, so it wasn’t too difficult to wrap it up and make it a pattern – or so I thought! Only AFTER I released it, I realized there were some additions and a couple edits that were needed. My heart sinks when I make mistakes like that… but all changes were made and the revised version is now accurate.
So, when it came to releasing Swirling Oceans, I’ve been a bit reluctant. I really wanted to make sure there were no edits to make – that it was all accurate BEFORE I publish it. Even now I’m a bit nervous to let it go… I want to create patterns that are easy to understand and make – not cause headaches.
I feel as though I’ve spent my whole summer in ‘recovery mode’. I’ve been working hard on my digestive and pain issues with diet and exercise. I’ve been working on my emotional issues with meditation and quilting. And I’ve been working on financial issues with extra time working, budgeting and flushing out new ideas.
Needless to say… this year is flying by. I think I’m pushing myself a little harder lately because I’m having a mid-life ‘thing’. I have a big birthday coming up and I feel (sometimes) I should be doing better – or have more – or at least feel better than I do. One of my new affirmations is to have compassion for myself, so I’m trying not to be too harsh… but it’s a difficult task to be kind to yourself when you see so many areas of potential improvement.
I am excited about pattern-making right now. THAT has been keeping me super motivated. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time writing my first machine-pieced quilt pattern. It’s been a huge learning curve and I’m enjoying the challenge of it. Even though I’ve spent more time on it than I should have… I really like the process. I’m so close to releasing it too – I just have to get my best test quilt quilted up and photographed, and it will be ready. Or as ready as I can make it 😉
I’ll be posting again as soon as I publish my pattern! Pretty excited about it. I’ve tested it enough to know my math is all correct, and I think it has a good flow to it. I designed the cover quilt to be blue – and had specific Kona Solid colors chosen, but when I went to the fabric store, there were only 8 blues all together to choose from – I was lucky to find this gradation.
I had to get a print for the lightest color since there were no blue shades lighter than Capri available. I also was not planning to take it to turquoise in color – I wanted to keep it in the royal to baby blue family. Oh well! On the plus side, it turned out the print I chose was designed by Violet Craft, who is very sweet and local to Portland too!
Here’s a peek at some of the blocks in the pattern – so happy with my points… and the math that led to them. Can’t wait to be done – so close!
I’m excited to show it at guild tonight – and to publish the pattern to this in the next few days! More to come as I figure out how I’m going to quilt it, or have it quilted – just wanted to share the finished top!!
I have kept pretty good track of my actual time spent sewing the Kaleidoscope Quilt together. It was very accurate time-keeping for the most part. I used the timer on my phone and would deduct for bathroom breaks and any other time I stopped sewing for a while.
I kept track of minutes: 28,738
This is stitching time only. The design, layout, printing of pieces and cutting them to size were not figured into this time. Yes!! We screen printed the pieces on the back to show the stitch and cut lines for each piece… I call them NEPP Kits and Pieces for NOT English Paper Pieced.
28,738 minutes = 478.9 hours = Approx. 3 months at full time (40hrs/week).
Have you ever kept track of your time when sewing? I highly recommend trying it. It really helps to value your quilting work properly!! Plus, when people ask how long it took, you can answer confidently!
When I get a good photo of the fully completed top, I will post… for now here it is: almost done!
I’m so excited right now… I finished all the smaller chunks of my Kaleidoscope Quilt, and I’ve started sewing them onto the center piece of the quilt. It’s going much fast than anticipated and it’s making it really fun!
Here are some of the outer chunk pieces laid out on my cutting table:
And here are my progress shots so far:
As you can see, I have added 4 outer chunks out of the remaining 15… so only 9 left. I’m pretty sure I’ll be bringing the finished top to the next PMQG meeting in August – if you belong to our guild and will be at the meeting, you can see all the stitching on the back before I get it quilted.
I have kits and pieces of these fabric shapes in our store, if you’re interested in trying straight stitching hand work. I really like it. Here’s a link to check out.
Still not sure what I’m going to do for quilting… I have a couple options, but still am unsure.
I’m very happy to see an end in sight for this project. Pretty soon I can really focus on my Vishuddha Quilt. I’ve realized I can only really work on one project at a time.
I’ve been pushing through life lately. I’m sure you can relate.
I’m working on my emotional issues and that has been draining. I just keep going back to sewing when I start to spin out mentally. – Do you know that feeling? When there is so much going on AND so much to do, you start to go from one idea to another – not giving anything the needed time and attention it deserves… not getting anything done…?
I call it spinning out.
But – I have been working on my Kaleidoscope Quilt and it is coming along very nicely. I only have 3 chunks left in the whole quilt! SQUEEE!
Then I need to sew these larger chunks onto my centerpiece, so I still have a bit to do, BUT I think I’ll be able to finish the top to show it at Show and Tell at PMQG in August!
If so, that will mean I hand stitched a 60″x80″ quilt in 10 months. NOT BAD!
The time saved is all because of the stitch lines on the back – not having to use paper pieces saves so much time! If you’re interested in trying them, we have some in stock in our store here. I call them NEPP pieces or Not English Paper Pieced pieces. I’m already starting to plan a second quilt like this… in a totally different color story.
I think the only negative compared to EPP is that when you press the fabric, the back looks messy. With EPP, the seam allowances are all neatly basted into place. With a good pressing… it doesn’t really matter.
I’m really excited to finish this project… but it’s sort of like being halfway through the last book in a long series – I’m going to be a little lost until I find another hand-sewing project!