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!
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 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.
With all that is happening in our world at this moment, I have been working hard on not letting it get to me, so I don’t become overwhelmed and depressed. It’s very difficult to live in a dichotomy where you KNOW things are wrong with our government (and globally too), yet you still need to eat and pay bills – so you continue to go to work and pay taxes and continue to do what you can. Meanwhile, more horrible things happen.
I’m not sure what to do, but I do know we need solutions and not just memes. So… I’m trying to live my best life and to be positive. At least by adding positivity to the world, I feel like I’m helping… even if it’s miniscule.
I’ve also started some emotional therapy that has been very hard and exhausting… but obviously necessary. I’m still stuck in my past and I really need to live in ‘the now’ – but it is hard to try to re-wire my thought processes. It’s just hard to unlearn certain negative ways of dealing with people… and now I’m hyper-aware of them, and realizing I come from a negative point of view almost all the time. It’s going to take a little work, but I’m doing it.
I’m so thankful to have my quilting to keep me sane… quite literally. I really process a lot while sewing. Because it can be so meditative, I can ponder things deeply. Then all this shows itself in the actual quilt work. Right now I’m working on the Vishuddha Quilt and just finished the center New York Beauty block sections. It’s getting close to being done, but I can tell there is still something more I need to do with it.
I’m also getting close to finishing the Kaleidoscope Quilt!! I’m so thrilled to have only 7 sections left! I think I might be able to finish within the next month – Squeeeee!!!! My design wall is fun to look at right now!
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!
I 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!
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!
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)
Stitching on the lines is pretty easy – I just pin the end points to make sure they line up.Finally got all the diamonds sewn in the correct direction. Then 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:This 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.But 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.My first chunk also had a neat looking back before I pressed it:Now I only have 9 left of these guys to make, then I’ll sew them onto the center and start another round of chunks!Actually, 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!
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.
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:
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!
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.
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!
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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…