Creative Quilt Challenges & Pacific International Quilt Festival
Sep 16th, 2016 by Wendy

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Our book (by Pat Pease and I, Wendy Hill) began with our obsession for the reality television show, Project Runway. (For all fans out there, you probably know that Season 15 started yesterday!). In 2008, we challenged ourselves to make “something” based on the Project Runway challenge theme of the week/episode.

For the Unconventional Challenge, we had to make something with materials purchased at a grocery store. Pat made a very small quilt using sushi grass, other plastics and stuff. I made a tote bag using Tyvec envelopes, mop strings, plastic bags from the produce aisle, grapefruit bag netting and more.

Okay, we couldn’t keep up after just 2 or 3 weeks!!! But that didn’t stop us from doing challenges together. In 2011, we pitched a special exhibit, “A Natural Affinity…” to the Mancuso Brothers for their annual Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara. The answer: YES, for October 2013. Oh boy- we had almost two years to work on our quilts. Famous last words, because the first year went by in a flash. But we “made it work“, just like Tim Gunn tells the Project Runway contestants.

 

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The folks at C&T Publishing visited our booth at PIQF 2013, took us out to lunch and announced “we want a book!” The rest, as they say, is history. We signed our contract in early 2014. Our manuscript package arrived at C&T about a year later, in 2015. Then boxes & boxes of our book, Creative Quilt Challenges, chugged by cargo ship from Hong Kong to  the warehouse, arriving in early February 2016.

Back in early 2015, we pitched a “full circle” follow up exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival to be held in October 2016. The answer: YES! Our exhibit, “Creative Quilt Challenges“, will feature book quilts plus many new challenges by us and others. 

Come back to see sneak peeks and previews of our special exhibit. Better yet, please visit us at our booth, in the special exhibit section, of the Pacific International Quilt Festival, Santa Clara, October 13-16, at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

Sew Yourself Silly with Bias Covered Curves!
Aug 20th, 2016 by Wendy

 

 

In 1983, I  covered the curves on Grandmother’s Fan blocks- instead of piecing the curves–  for the first time. I used ribbon, not known for wanting to stretch around curves, but it worked. I made two extra long twin bed quilts, each 60″ by 100″. I apologize for the photo quality- these are my only photographs.

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I liked the way covered curves gave more opportunities to mix up fabrics while offering a short-cut to piecing the curves (and having it look professional). Anybody, no matter the skill level, can cover curves, which opens up a door to a big room of curved quilt block and free-form curved patterns. In the early 1990’s, Threads Magazine featured the work of Koos van den Akker, who (at that time) combined unlikely fabrics- such as leather with Liberty of London, with free form curves, covered with self-made bias tape. Very Cool! (Google Koos van den Akker to see his work; he died in 2015 at age 75.)

In 2001, I drew something like 60 individual free form arcs blocks, thinking I would piece the arcs together. I woke up with the idea to cover the curves instead- something I had not done in awhile. I loved the first blocks! I ended up making two quilts with the blocks – one pieced & quilted (Roads Not Taken) and one quilted block by block, assembled with satin stitching (Entanglement).

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Entanglement, Wendy Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2004, I pitched a book proposal to C&T about covering curves with self-made bias tape. It was accepted; I had a year to complete the manuscript package (fall of 2005). The book arrived from Hong Kong in time for fall International Quilt Market in Houston, 2006, and I got to be there with C&T to promote the book (my 4th IQM!)

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Do you have something to share with the world in a book? Would you geek out at seeing the ISBN number assigned to your book? Would it make you smile to think of a copy of your book at the Library of Congress for all time? Then you should consider trying to get published.

Step 1: Get the book proposal guidelines from the publisher. I highly recommend C&T Publishing. All statements below are based on my experience with C&T- other publishers methods may vary.

Step 2: The more effort you put into your book proposal, the clearer it will be to the editors at C&T (and it gives you a head start if your proposal is accepted). The proposals  get assigned to an editor, who passes it around with a checklist to other editors on the acquisition committee. The committee meets every “x” number of weeks, so it might take several weeks to months to hear the news.

Step 3: If your proposal is accepted, you will work with the acquisition person to define your book in the contract and set up the mini and final deadlines.

Step 4: You will have “x” amount of time to complete your manuscript proposal. I’ve always had about one year, although I’ve heard of authors who agree to less time. You will receive your Author Guideline packet, at least an inch thick, detailing how to put together the manuscript, the images, the how-to samples, and so on. The better you follow these guidelines, the better the final outcome will be.

Step 5: The clearer you can write and organize your text, images, illustrations and overall message of the book, the better your team at C&T will be able to give your book your voice.

Step 6: You aren’t finished after turning in your manuscript package. Now begins the second year, with timelines for opportunities to give feedback about the cover, the styling of your book, and the editing. Again, the better you are at giving this feedback, the better your book will represent you and what you want to say.

Step 7: The book goes off for printing, in Hong Kong, and after some weeks, comes back into the United States. Woo Hoo!!!!

Of all the techniques I’ve written about (thread texturing, reversible foundation piecing, stitched thread-web 3D constructions and bias covered curves), I’ve probably used bias covered curves the most, with thread texturing & 3D constructions coming in at a close second. Here are a few of the quilts I’ve made after Easy Bias Covered Curves arrived in stores in 2006:

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 Bubble Bath Day, 2006: This is my own variation on a traditional block called “Leatha’s Fan”

 

 

 

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 Falling Into Liquid, 2003: This original design uses bias covered curves  to create the surface design in the blue circle and around the  circumference of the entire circle. This quilt is part of the permanent  collect of the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum (inducted 2005).

 

 

 

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 Yellow Fever, 2009: I used zippers and bias tape to cover curves. This quilt was part of the  “Color Cascade” special exhibit, which debuted at the 2010 Pacific International Quilt Festival,  then traveled all over, including Alex Anderson’s Garden Party event in 2011, the Sisters Quilt  Show 2011, and more.

 

 

 

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I made a reversible baby quilt for one of my son’s teachers in 2006. It’s a terrible photograph,  but a good example of adapting a traditional block with bias covered curves.

 

 

 

 

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In 2007, my love of the color “taupe” collided with the fun of using bias covered curves. With  21 different quarter-circle blocks and different widths bias tape, the (auditioned) random  layout lets all sorts of things happen. Taupegraphical got included my article “Taupe, More  Than Just Brown”, Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine #394/July-Aug. 2007 (and the Electric Quilt  Co. CD-ROM with QNM) and was juried into Quilts: A World of Beauty 2007, Contemporary  Colorations: The WOW Factor (National Quilting Association) 2008, and Quilts=Art=Quilts, Auburn, NY 2009 and Fabrications- the Art of Quilting, Bend, Oregon 2012.

 

 

 

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Out Far, In Deep” 2007. Another taupe quilt with colors, I played around with the musical idea of repetition of melody, only with visual motifs. This quilt debuted at the Sunriver Quilt Show in 2007 (Shaker Challenge), then got juried into the World Quilt Show XII in New England 2008, and the American Quilters’ Society 25th Show & Contest in Paducah, Kentucky. QuiltMania Magazine featured it as a project in #73 then included it in their collection of quilts at the 15th European Patchwork Meeting 2009. It was also included in two gallery showings, DIVA in Eugene, Oregon 2009 (Solo exhibit “Wendy Hill: Not Always Linear) and Art in the Atrium, curated by Billye Turner,  in Bend, Oregon with the Lubbesmeyer Twins, Linda Spring and Alice Van Leunen).

 

I’ve always pitched book and magazine proposals with the belief I have something to say that will add to the body of knowledge in the quilt-fiber art world. After Easy Bias Covered Curves, I thought I’d said it all. But then came an exhibit of challenge quilts with collaborator and friend Pat Pease at Pacific International Quilt Festival in October 2013. The folks at C&T Publishing took us out to lunch and pitched the idea of a book to us. About 2 1/2 months later, we submitted our proposal to C&T and they said YES. That led to my fifth book, with Pat Pease, in print and in the USA as of February 7, 2016.

Creative Quilt Challenges

 

Book #3: fast, fun & easy Incredible Thread-a-Bowls
Aug 3rd, 2016 by Wendy

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Around 1997, I discovered something about Sulky Solvy: if not washed all the way out, it dried stiff. Solvy is a water soluble stabilizer, originally marketed for machine embroidery,  but has a host of other uses as well. It currently comes in many different weights and styles.

But back then, almost 20 years ago, I used Solvy to make stitched thread webs (such as scarves or “new” fabric). I also used it to make the signature bouffant thread hair for my Button Babies, shown in my first book, On the Surface.

 

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On this particular day, the hair dried stiff as a board. My first thought: “Darn! Now I have to rinse it again”. But I had an immediate second thought: “How could this be useful?” An idea popped into my head:  A stiff, stitched thread-web bowl beckoned to me.  I dropped everything to make my first bowl. Wow- it worked!

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I gave a bowl to my husband’s parents, who lived in Palo Alto at the time. Over the next few days, their bowl slowly deflated. The short story is that yes, a clear residue of Solvy will dry stiff, but since it’s water soluble, it will pick up moisture in the air, and get soft again. I got the bowl wet again, reshaped it, let it dry, then sprayed it with a matte finish acrylic spray (repeated 3 times in between drying periods). I made another bowl, with the acrylic spray treatment, and gave it to someone who lived on the coast, a block from the beach- plenty of moisture there. Neither bowl deflated. (Photo of first vase by Craig Howell, Studio Craig)

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I kept experimenting and waiting for the acrylic spray to turn yellow (still waiting— hasn’t happened yet). I used a glass vase to mold a stitched thread-web as fine as a spider’s web. It still stands. The gradated color vase incorporated silk flowers within the stitched thread-web, also molded over a vase. I made dozens of “Color Bowls”, molded over the plastic lid for a coffee drink, and although it’s hard to see in the photos, there is a flower center made by pushing the thread-web into the hole for the straw. Each of these bowls is constructed with fabric confetti pieces and thread blend to create the new color.

 

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My mother-in-law and I decided to embark on collaborative art projects. This thread-web/painting was our first. We kept passing it back and forth, adding to it as we saw fit, starting with the underlying painting my MIL. We ended with a stitched thread-web that I shaped with a cake rack (pushing the wet web through the wires).

Check out my book and see how easy it is to make 3D constructions from flat stitched thread-webs. You might just find a new obsession and gigantic thread-stash. You’ll find the basic instructions needed to make anything you can imagine, as well as projects and gallery samples (in each project chapter).

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P.S. Check out Sulky Solvy too! I use it for a LOT of things, but you can read all about it on the Internet and at sulky.com

Isn’t it amazing how we can believe we’re going in one direction, but then we come upon surprise forks-in-the-road or even intuitive leaps to another landscape altogether. I thought I was making bouffant hair, but I caught a glimpse of another landscape entirely, and I jumped to explore it. Immersed in the manuscript package for my “3rd” book, I had the opportunity to squeeze in a book about stitched thread-webs. We experience time as linear. We can’t “remember” the future. Things in our daily experience go in one direction only. But our imagination is not limited to linear travels. If we are open to it, we can go anywhere!

And then came my fourth book, published in the fall of 2006:

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Book #2: Two-for-One Foundation Piecing, Reversible Quilts & More
Aug 2nd, 2016 by Wendy

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Where do ideas come from? How does a book about reversible foundation piecing relate to a reversible chicken/egg doll? (Housewife Hen/Rietta on the Town, 2003)

For me, ideas pop into my head. Often there is an obsession or a theme to the ideas that take on new forms over time. Instead of following ideas in a series, I tend to circle around, coming back to old ideas in new ways months-years- decades later.

Making reversible things (and the magical thinking that you can make 2 sides in the time it takes to make 1 side) is an idea I’ve thought about & used with clothing, quilts and other things throughout my creative life. When Quilting Arts Magazine issued their “Move Over Barbie” doll challenge in 2003, the idea for a reversible chicken-egg doll came to mind. I think this idea had been waiting around for the right moment to come back around, because as I’ve thought about this blog post, I suddenly remembered  a reversible Red Riding Hood/Wolf doll I purchased over 40 years ago. I haven’t seen that doll for over 30 years, but I’m sure it had some influence on my chicken/egg doll.

One morning, in 1995-96, I woke up with the idea that I could adapt the method of foundation piecing to make reversible pieced patterns, with great accuracy on both sides, by always sewing on a line. I wanted to try it first with the log cabin block, but why this block? Around the same time, I bought a reversible picture book* for our young son. After reading it from front to back, you flipped it over and read it from back to front, telling two stories with the same pictures! Isn’t this similar to a quilt that looks like one thing from the front and quite another from the back, even though the pieces have been sewn together in lock step through the batting with foundation piecing?

*Round Trip by Ann Jonas shows- in simple black/white drawings and simple text- a trip to the city. But at the end, flip the book over, and the now upside down images show the return trip to the country! (google for more information about this out of print book)

Before I tried the idea (1995-96), a local shop owner in Grass Valley, California talked me into teaching a workshop based on this technique. She had students signed up before I tried my first log cabin block. Of course, it didn’t quite work the way I expected, but with some experimenting, I found a way to make it work with any block pattern. I had to use fabrics from her store for the class sample. The orange side is mostly fabrics by Nancy Crow. This side is electric!

Opposites Attract Side 1

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“Opposites Attract”, 65″ by 65″, 1996,  earned Honorable Mention in the juried Quilts=Art=Quilts exhibit in Auburn, New York at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center.  Next came a magazine article  published in American Quilter, Fall 2000, Vol. XVI, No. 3,  followed by book #2 with C&T 9n 2001.

I’m making the case that ideas can take you places if you give them a chance, if you jump on board, and pursue tangents and opportunities that land in your lap. While it was premature to schedule a class before I figured out the technique, having a full class list motivated me to find a solution to the obstacles. We always have good reasons for letting ideas drift by- just make sure you don’t miss too many opportunities in the business of every day life.

Just as with my first book, On the Surface, I invited a variety of people to take my idea and run with it, each in their own way. My books are never only about me and my creations. I always hope my readers will take my methods and ideas and run for their creative life—-making things I would never imagine.

“If you followed your dreams, where would they take you?”, I wrote in the Dedication. I believe everyone is creative and anyone can make a quilt.

This book includes quilts, clothing, accessories, home decorations and more, with studio and location photography, for projects and gallery examples. Here are some photos:

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Look for the photograph of the reversible doll quilt with the Grandmother’s Fan blocks- notice how one side has ribbon covered curves. In 2001, the same year as this book was published, I started making random arc blocks with bias covered curves. I’d been covering curves and seams, but this time, the idea hit me big time. In 2004, I had a book contract for what would have been my third book (Easy Bias Covered Curves), but then C&T asked me if I’d like to squeeze-in a book about stitched thread web constructions. I received an extension of 2-3 months on my manuscript deadline to work on the new book. So…..fast, fun & easy Incredible Thread-A-Bowls became my third book in 2005.

 

Random arcs layout

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Book #1: On the Surface
Jul 26th, 2016 by Wendy

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My first book, On the Surface, Thread Embellishment & Fabric Manipulation, arrived from Hong Kong in October 1997, in time for my first International Quilt Market in Houston, Texas (aka “market”, followed by “festival”, or International Quilt Festival).

It all began when my husband suggested using “that thread thing” on a big quilt in progress on the design wall. I dreaded sewing together the hundreds, maybe thousands, of little squares, rectangles and triangles in various sizes. I’d been exploring a way of thread texturing, with the feed dogs engaged (not free motion stitching), but  using raw edge collage with “surface stitching” through all the layers on a big quilt would be a first for me. I loved it!

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Finished in 1992, this quilt, Walkabout, 66″ w by 83″ h, was juried into the 1) American Quilter Society 9th Annual Show & Contest in 1993, 2) Leone-Nii Gallery “New Directions- Contemporary California Quilters” exhibit in Mountain View in 1993 (and tied for Viewers Choice, 2nd place), 3) American Museum of Quilts & Textiles “New Faces” exhibit in 1993, San Jose, California, 4) Pacific International Quilt Festival III in 1994, California, and finally, 5) Mountain Star Quilters exhibit in 1995 in Downieville, California

I loved the idea that anyone who could sit up at the sewing machine and make it go could immediately create interesting thread texture to make new fabric, to create surface designs or use as a functional quilt stitching to hold the layers together. The next year saw the publication of a book with That Patchwork Place, called Watercolor Quilts by Pat Maixner Margaret. While the author used only 2″ squares, she showed how to cut and sort by value in cardboard box lids- just like I did– and create imagery with value gradations- just like I did. As my quilt went around to various shows, people thought I’d copied the technique from this book.

I had something to say with my technique surface stitching and I imagined that someone somewhere in the world surely was doing the same kind of thread texturing. I’ll admit that I wanted credit for what I discovered on my own. C&T Publishing accepted my proposal in 1995 and I was off and running towards my manuscript deadline in the fall of 1996.

Looking back, I see a lot of ways that On the Surface, was just a bit ahead of the times—

This book featured a lot of location shooting around Grass Valley- Nevada City, California, with my friends and their kids as models, and locations including a coffee shop, a State Park, a Bed & Breakfast, and a park. A friend donated her professional “photo stylist” skills and we used all the tricks of the trade (such as shaving cream- not whipped cream- in the coffee shop shoot). What fun!

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I love thread, so it’s no surprise that one of my favorite photos was taken in the studio, on a light box. This book has a chapter all about thread and how the sewing machine makes a stitch. I really got into the research!

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We even included a Rat Doll/Purse in one of the photos with my Bernina sewing machine.

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I didn’t know it at the time, but two of the projects eventually led to two of my future books. The popular Button Baby project with thread hair led to a discovery about Sulky Solvy and 3D stitched thread constructions. This ultimately led to my third book, fast, fun & easy Incredible Thread-a-Bowls in 2005, with C&T Publishing. I’d been playing around with ribbon and bias covered curves since 1983 (ribbon covered Grandmothers Fan blocks). I used self-made bias tape to finished the raw edge of the heart applique. I kept exploring this technique, and once I again wanted to get credit for my methods. C&T agreed, so my fourth book came out in 2006: Easy Bias Covered Curves.

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My editor at C&T argued to expand the book from 96 pages to 144, so I got to say just about everything I knew about surface stitching, thread, sewing machines, projects, ideas, and oh so much more. There is a chapter devoted to whole cloth, another to raw edge collage, and another to weaving. The cover designers put a photoshopped section of a woven, surface stitched vest on the cover, which inspired the book designer to use a wavy line on many of the pages.

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Here is the amazing thing about the “manuscript package”, submitted by the author to publisher: like Humpty Dumpty who fell off the wall, the book is delivered in fractured pieces. Unlike poor Humpty, the team at the publisher puts the book back together again. Your team- your advocates and helpers- might include the developmental editor, copy editor, technical editor, cover designer, book designer, illustrator, photographer, and possibly more depending on the book. So the manuscript arrives in pieces, and then everyone on the team works on it in pieces, until the book designer puts it all back together, using styling to give it personality. What an amazing collaborative process!

Dinosaur Age: 1)  Steve Buckley, Photographic Reflections, in Grass Valley, California took all of my photos (thank you!) with old school 4 by 4 large format negatives! 2) Unlike today, the printing then was subject to ambient factors, such as temperature, humidity etc. The colors could actually vary depending on these factors during the printing process. 3) In the year that C&T had to produce the book, everything got sent back and forth be FedEx overnight! Now everything is digital.

Funny Me: I thought the technical editor would actually make all the projects! Ha ha!

So what led to book number 2? That’s a story for another day.

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Why Write?
Jul 24th, 2016 by Wendy

I’m going to be on a panel with our local Studio Art Quilt Associates group in August, with other published authors, to talk about our “personal route” to publishing. Included in this group are self-published authors and authors with C&T Publishing and other companies.

What compels me to write? I’ve always believed I have something to say and share with others. Publishing in the quilt world started with my quilt, “Star Light, Star Bright”, 73″ by 73″, 1989.

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The December 1992 issue of Quilters’ Newsletter Magazine featured a project article with my original log cabin Christmas Tree quilt and pattern. Original features include:

• a wide assortment of green fabrics, including warm and cool colors in corduroy &  cottons

• tree log cabin blocks constructed with wide and narrow logs to help create depth and texture

• the bottom row of tree branches constructed with varied log cabin blocks to give the tree branches (instead of having a flat straight bottom)

• log cabin tree trunk blocks on the diagonal, using textured fabrics such as corduroy and visual textured prints to help with the illusion of tree bark

• background logs all narrow, to help the tree come forward

• metallic lame triangle points in places to create the illusion of lights on the tree and packages in the border

• reverse appliqued red balls, with loops to help with the illusion of red ornaments

• 24 loops inserted in the seams to hang our own ornaments

I had a vision for the quilt and I turned it into a reality for all to see. In 1989, it took months to collect the greens because back in then only certain colors could be found in abundance at any given time, and green wasn’t an it color. Sales clerks advised against using warm and cool green colors, but I ignored their advice. It’s the same today- I have a vision and I am generally in Wendy’s World.

I couldn’t wait to hold the magazine issue in my hands, but imagine my surprise to see the words that my pattern had been modified to make it simpler. For all those who followed the directions, their tree quilt would look vastly different from mine in the photograph. How disappointing to have my pattern dumbed down!

I did (and do) continue to publish in magazines, but perhaps this experience planted the seeds for writing my own book, where I’d have more control over the content. Of course, authors never have full control, but we do have a great deal of influence and say in the final product of our book. In my experience, C&T Publishing is dedicated to preserving the authors voice and style.

In 1997, C&T Publishing published my first book, On the Surface, but this is another story for another day.

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Sneak Peek: UFO Makeover
Jul 11th, 2016 by Wendy

 

UFO Makeover Challenge: Pat Pease and I traded stalled quilts. Coincidentally, both were constructed through all three layers (top, batting, fabric back). With complete freedom to do anything- anything at all•- the quilts are almost transformed (finished).

• We’ve heard from readers, fans and followers that these kinds of challenges are difficult because it’s hard to let go of one’s own quilt. Some people think Pat and I trust each other so it’s not a big deal, but we think it’s more about an understanding of the design process. Sometimes ideas work out- sometimes they don’t. Makes no difference to us whether we’re collaborating or working on something from start to finish-what’s the worst that can happen? The idea doesn’t work out. Or in our case, we’ll have to scramble for the deadlines we need to meet, but that’s another story.

 

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Pat says that when she started cutting up the quilt, and moving pieces around, one piece fell to the floor. “Aha!” she thought when she saw the back. One thing led to another, and now there are fish and bubbles and who knows what else? See it at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California, October 14-17, to find out!

 

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I (Wendy), remembered seeing a simple black & white line sketch of happy hearts. I wanted to reconnect this quilt with the feeling I had when I saw the sketch. I cut it up into 9 pieces (about 13″ square each), keeping 6 in a 3 across, 2 down layout. Now look- it’s in a 2 by 2 layout!

Blood clots have halted my progress, but the answer is yes, the other two blocks will get transformed too! Somehow the blocks will get put back together, possibly with a new fabric back and satin stitched outer edge, but these are decisions yet to be firmed up. See for yourself at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California, October 14-17, to find out!

 

By happy accident, Pat discovered she had a choice between using the front, or the back, or some combination. When we are stalled on a surface design, sometimes we keep spinning our wheels trying desperately to save the composition by doing variations of the same thing over and over. With Pat’s makeover, she shows how sometimes we need to be open to a totally new perspective. Remember in the movie Contact when the aliens send instructions for building something, but the pages can’t be put in order? Then one of the scientists realizes the pages go together in 3D shapes! It’s the same kind of thing when we are problem solving. Sometimes the answer is found in an unexpected way.

Pat’s original line sketch inspired me to find a way back to happy hearts. Sometimes the solution is found in back tracking and taking different turns at the forks in the road. Many of you know I hate to be boxed in, so I tend to have a Big Picture idea first, but not this time. I’ve hit some bumps in the road, but so far, no dead ends! 

 

We hope to see you at PIQF in October! Celebrate my 65th birthday! See the Shape Shifting Challenge quilts, made by people from Canada and the USA!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IRL
Jul 10th, 2016 by Wendy

Meanwhile, in my real life, I’ve been sidelined by blood clots. It’s in a superficial vein (good) but this vein does dive to deep vein system at the groin (bad) but I’m doing daily injections of anticoagulant drug and the clots aren’t creeping up (good) but the one clot is 5″ long and the other clot is big (bad) but it should get better over time (good) yet meanwhile I can walk to bathroom or to get food, otherwise, my leg must be elevated (and snugged in a compression sock to my upper thigh for some unknown period of time (difficult to accept).

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Lynn from C&T dropped by my house on her way to Sisters and Quilters Affair and the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show aka Quilt Show Week to pick up dye stuff. She came bearing a bag of home grown lemons (lemon trees in Berkeley?). When you get lemons, make lemon juice (literally). I freeze lemon juice and zest because it’s hard to find a decent lemon at a reasonable price at our local grocery store.

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Times UP! Back to the super leg elevation (not the mini elevation at my desk) and my friend the hot water bottle.

…just add (a) wild life
Jun 27th, 2016 by Wendy

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Not shown in the photos, another batch of blue jays made the rounds this morning with mom or dad. At the bird bath, the “babies” flapped their wings, begging to be fed. The dutiful parent gave them each sips of water, then flew away: “You’re on your own!” We have rabbits, Clark’s Nutcrackers (who decided to live year around sometime over winter), birds and squirrels of all sorts, and the nocturnal creatures we don’t usually see.

 

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It’s another kind of wild life going on in the sewing room. I went to bed thinking “I’m on the right track” but I woke up knowing I had two quilts going on, one on top of the other. How to integrate them? It reminded me of another time around 1991, when I woke up realizing I’d made a serious math error, and the commissioned banners would be much too small. Back then, I stayed in bed until I had a solution. But yesterday, I got up and got help from a quilter friend. I’m back on a path again— now just a zillion decisions to make, with fabric bits flying around like crazy. Just like the baby bird, I’m on my own, but it’s nice knowing I have friends standing by.

“Drive the Message House”
Jun 21st, 2016 by Wendy

I just checked the messages in moderation, and one spammer told me I could use their  help to “drive the message house”. What a difference a word makes! (Who can forget the gamer who typed “all our bases are belong to us” or the stand up comedian from the Soviet Union/Russia who joked “I slept like firewood”, showing how fluent in English he really was.)

 

A relative asked me to make a pillow using her Elvis Tee Shirt. I did not expect Ballet Elvis. She loves the pillow!

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I made a baby quilt for the new baby in the family, but it’s large enough for big brother and sister to lounge on with the baby. Great grandma is in heaven with a baby on her lap. (She also likes to hold Peaches, the small dog in the family.)

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Cotton + Steel won the “best vendor booth” award at the International Quilt Association Spring Market in Salt Lake City in May. http://cottonandsteelblog.squarespace.com/blog/    I loved their shelf of assorted items in a rainbow of colors. I’m starting my own Color Shelf with items found around the house and a few picks from The Second Tern, our local thrift store that supports the Sunriver Nature Center. More stuff will be added (the folks at Cotton + Steel painted many of their items, but I hope to find things already in solid colors, at least to start with).

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Oliso Goes Up! Oliso Goes Down! (Miata Fans will recognize this variation on a slogan. Oliso owners just need a tee shirt!) http://www.oliso.com/smartiron/   When I watched the Oliso videos online, I realized the different colors (blue, purple or yellow) represent different models. I chose the yellow because I liked the color, not because it was the top of the line- but–  if I had known, I still would have chosen yellow.

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A scrappy quilt in QuiltMania January/February 2016 led to my rediscovery of the Fence Rail pattern, also known as interlocked braid. This pattern first appeared in print in 1898 in the Ladies Art Company mail order catalog, according to Barbara Brackman’s book, Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, but I first discovered it in the 1970’s. Don’t be daunted by the log cabin construction with partial seams- it’s better than Sudoku for keeping the brain alert! A quilting friend and I made 2 units each- it’s fun! Now maybe I will finally make a charm quilt, first dreamed of decades ago….only 46+ more units to go!

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This pattern is a bridge between me and those women of the late 1800’s who created this pattern. I bet they exchanged fabrics with their quilting friends, using up scraps, just like I am doing. We quilters/fiber artists/makers of today stand on the shoulders of these women who came before us. Is it perhaps true that circumstances led these women to make only functional quilts while today we have the luxury of making quilts intended-to-be-seen on a wall? Isn’t it all lower case “art” when we create something out of our hearts, hands and minds? Let’s not quibble amongst ourselves about who is or isn’t an artist, who does or doesn’t follow the “rules”, who can or can’t call themselves this or that kind of quilter. Let’s just keep making!

I have to stop procrastinating and get going on the remaining challenges for our special exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara in October 2016 (www.quiltfest.com).If you go, come visit with Pat Pease and I about the quilts from our book, Creative Quilt Challenges (C&T Publishing, 2016) and all the new challenge quilts, including our group challenge Shape Shifting with a dozen or more quilters around the USA and Canada. Here is a sneak peek of our UFO Make Over Challenge, in which we traded stalled quilts to reimagine and finish. The next challenge, Big Flowers, is in the dream and initial planning stages.

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Small routines remind us of the larger passing of time. Here is another 36 days of cat food, which always reminds me of 36 days of litter box scoops. Round and round we go!

It’s another beautiful day in the sewing room with Cooper the Cat.

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