18 September 2018

Mapping My Brain, Perhaps

I've been thinking a great deal about this map challenge, and I have an idea, but rendering it in fabric has proven tricky.

You see, I have Bipolar 1 Disorder. Until recently I dealt with it through denial, secrecy, embarrassment and a host of other negative behaviors. I've finally begun the process of trying to heal in a positive way.

I will always have the disorder and will forever take medicine, see therapists, and struggle with "blue days." However, I can allow myself a happier, healthier life. So, I began researching positive lifestyle habits for recovery. Then one day an idea started to form which has become a quilt series allowing me to think about and deal with overcoming those negative thoughts and replacing them with positive behaviors.

Today it occurred to me that in a way this series is a map of my recovery. I've chosen several ideas that I believe can work for me. Creating an art quilt focusing on one strategy helps me to focus on the ways that I can incorporate that particular approach into my life.

I'm finding that since it takes me several hours to complete a quilt, I have ample time to do all the work of brainstorming opportunities, wading through the pitfalls and finding solutions, then constructing actions that will fit my life. It just sounds easy.

My hope is that eventually I'll be able to help others in some way using the quilt series: perhaps as a way to begin a dialogue, to teach positive lifestyle choices,  or to inform family members. Perhaps an opportunity will present itself, but for now this series is meant to help me. If we can call it a process map, then I suppose I'm playing with the rest of the group and that makes me very happy indeed.

17 September 2018


I finally started the Map challenge.  I'm making a path with these tiny flying geese units.  See more information here.

I have been researching my neighborhood and realized that not only did my great- grandparents only live 3 blocks away in 1910 but my grandfather was in that house, my great great grandmother lived across the street, my mother and I (whole family) moved in the neighborhood in 1960, and my son lived in the same area when he went to college in the 1990's.  That's 6 generations living in a 3 1/2 block area.

Hope to make some good progress.

15 September 2018

Found a great project at the Thread and Thrift  blog.  She explains and shows a project she just finished that could fit into our current challenge.  She is mourning the loss of her family home.  I really like what she has made.


12 September 2018

Roads Among the Trees

I have been stumped and the muse left me and so I was reading Audrey's last post about her process of grouping fabrics together, writing a wee note of scribble to keep the idea in with the fabrics chosen and I took a turn in the path.

Yes sirrie, it was a turn towards trying to determine how to express my love of trees and their ultimate sacrifice they make for our fresh air.

They do all the work and we continue to burn fossil fuels and not walk when we really should. Well you all know that climate change is not just coming at us, its really here! They do all the work for us and we drive our cars continuously. I like the title of Sew Slowly because after all, that is what we all should be doing. But I digress!

This piece appeal has left me, escaped me and to where, who knows?

So I picked up my big girl panties and made another attempt at this challenge! What I really see is a landscape of trees and roads. In my mind, this so surreal and complete and piecing is what my instincts are telling me to do.

I'm also taking a turn toward a new destination on my Klassen's Forest Fire Quilt. 

I had all the blocks sewn together, only to realize that my budget doesn't have squeaky room for a professional machine quilting job and my back is not up to the full on machine quilting it myself.

So par for the course, I have cut all 20 blocks up into 16 inch blocks and will proceed with QAYG method of completion. I can work in my sewing room until it gets bigger and it will be done on my dime.

Now, that these blocks are ready for hand or machine quilting, they will be done individually!

The whole stack of them are waiting to be sandwiched.

And after moving this past year I discovered I have a pile of fat quarters from Cloud 9 Organic Fabric and so these will be the backing for the blocks. This is only one fabric of several different ones that will form a cohesive pattern on the back, making their Forest Fire Quilt reversible.

@carlithequilter is my handle over at Instagram.

04 September 2018

It's Not Maps, But It Feels Like Progess

Quilting has been a little sporadic this summer. The latest Map challenge definitely sounds intriguing, but somehow my brain refuses to come up with any real way forward. The lightbulb is not going off. So I've decided to continue work on my open ended improv. projects for the moment and just try to be prepared for the eventuality of a map idea!
Score #5
I've had two open-ended improv. projects this summer that sort of stalled out. One is the Score #5 from Sherri Lynn Woods Improv. Handbook and the other is something that refers back to an AHIQ Playing with Scale challenge, and funnily enough, might also tie into Score #6 in Sherri's book. I just love when projects merge like that, so nice and convenient!

Score #5 has been very challenging on several different fronts. For one, I don't tend to follow directions very well so no real surprise when I immediately bogged down with the 'formula'. No problem, I just used the pictures as a guide. Yeah, well, I got it all wrong right away but decided to just forge ahead regardless.

That brought me up to the permeable borders which are a really important part of this quilt. Right off the bat I realized that my quilt was far too short for adding on the proper proportion of the would-be borders. Ugghh.. So I packed it up for a time and then much later, on a whim late one evening {the main reason there is no progress pics}, decided to tackle the quilt again. Amazing how working across the bottom, in a horizontal path, made it all seem so much more 'doable'. Something to remember in the future.

Then finally, I girded up my loins one day and pushed on with the border area. The left side went together so quickly it felt like a joke. Then the right side? Not so easy. It didn't need to be identical and in fact, like the original quilt portrayed, I didn't even want the fabrics to repeat very much. Using the floral fabric, which felt like a fantastic idea in theory, made the balancing act all the more precarious. Needless to say, that side took a whole lot longer than the other before I felt satisfied that it all sort of 'worked' and played nicely with each other.

Not having a large design wall definitely intensified my struggles. Not being able to follow directions very well for sure complicated things, gave me obstacles to overcome in the piecing and 'flow'. Working in random times and not keeping on top of it interrupted the flow too. I'm actually sort of surprised this is now a completed quilt top. Yay for the determined quilter! And yes, I have straightened and neatened this quilt top since taking pictures. Not squared it, no, that may be impossible--but tidied it for sure. Now it's on to the other one still in the works. Can't be giving up on the improv.!

01 September 2018

Year Two of My Journey - 2005

Continuing on with the mapping 
of my own quilting journey
in response to the current AHIQ challenge:

During my second year of quilt making,
there were lots of what I call "formula" quilts -
each one helping me get more comfortable
with quilt making skills.

There were two very special quilts that stood out that year . . . 

Quilted by Chris Ballard

The first was a quilt started in a LQS class.

The Fickle Pickle pattern is now out of print.

It was my first experience with basic paper piecing,
fusible web, and an all-batik approach.

It was also my first all-out-saturated scrappy quilt.

This quilt was such a milestone for me
and it is still one of my favorites,
including the scrappy pieced all-batik back.

Quilted by Chris Ballard

The second quilt features Sunbonnet Sue figures
rescued from my sister's childhood quilt
that had been hand-made by our grandmother.

My sister asked me if I could fix it
but the backing fabrics were just too thin
so I unstitched the girls and appliqu├ęd them
onto an assortment of reproduction fabrics.

I used the remainder of the repro fabrics
to piece my first-ever string blocks.

My sister was beyond elated
and for quite a few years the quilt hung
on the wall of her master bedroom.

I borrowed it back for our county fair
where it won a Best of Show ribbon
for its category.

That was quite a vote of confidence for me.

Not only did I rescue and re-make something 
that was deeply meaningful
but others who "knew" recognized its value. 


Trails In The Woods

As a child I loved pretending I was a maiden living in the woods. I built my very own fort on the ground in a small circle that had about 6 - 8 small saplings growing. I cut down smaller saplings to wind them in between the growing trees to make my fort. Later on, as I grew more, the shape of sapling fort took on a semi roof and the ground inside the circle of trees became trodden with so much activity the grass didn't grow anymore. It was my escape to my own queendom in the woods of rural B.C.

Rural living means knowing the important trails you've found that lead to yummy things to eat. Its very important to know where food is at certain times of the year. With trails trodden so many times that even the animals start to use them, its exciting to imagine who you'll meet on the trail.

Maps of these locations are made in your memories, First People know well their trails to trap lines, good fishing spots, to the meadows where moose will be or the mountains where sheep will be. 

I have a very good book to share called "One Thousand White Women" by Jim Fergus. A true story of an peace agreement between USA Government at the time and the bargain they made with with the Cheyenne Nation for peace and one thousand white women to become brides Cheyenne warriors, traded for their finest horses.

Food and water is paramount to survival in the woods. 

This post and challenge has become something of a true walk down memory lane, maps for me until I met my husband, were memories in my mind on trails to walk to town or walk to a good fishing spot. What the trail looked like to my friends who lived miles away, but a path was trodden between our homes. Quilts are like too, they remain, get used, loved and become threadbare.But we continue to use them.

This facination with trails may have begun when my Mother instilled in me a fear of roads where bad men could be. Over the past 30 years, Highway 16 has seen the mysterious disappearance of dozens of Indigenous women. I am sadden to understand that the same roads my Mother warned me about are these roads where not only Indigenous women, but also men and white women have dissappered. Mother knew there was something bad happening on that road and that was 50 years ago.

I began with total improvisational hand stitching onto a background. More trails are coming out of this start. Stay tuned!

Thank you ladies of AHIQ Improvisational group for inviting me to participating!