28 September 2018

Keeping Track of Details

Caroline asked how I manage to keep track 
of my quilts and their provenance details.

I put together a detailed post over on my blog
if you'd like to take a peek into my process.

There is no one perfect system but
the mix of approaches I've cobbled together
over the last almost fifteen years
seems to be working - at least for now.

CLICK HERE to visit the post on my blog.

26 September 2018

Roads, Trees and Trails

Hi everyone, my mind mapping, map challenge notebook is getting thick. I've had sooo many ideas with this challenge and my fair share of what I think of as failures!

I love the work of @gahoulie on Istagram. She is free spirited and obviously sews like a fiend. And she is known for wearing pinafore everywhere! Go check her out.

Honestly, folks, I am spending a bit of time posting photos as I go and love the 'fast' part of IS. So if you are on Instagram, please pop over to @carlithequilter to see what I'm up to outside of this blog.

So my journey in the Map Challenge has been up and down and now its going green again. As you can see I have too much brand new fabric

OK, now that is better! Sunny day apposed to cloudy days above.

After much deliberation and discussion with my hubby who is a Certified Arborist for Oakstead.ca who loves this idea of trees as a mapping challenge in textile. We began to think in terms of seasonal changes which doesn't really change on a map, but in the physical landscape, seasons change everything.

On another note, the late wedding presents have finally  been done and delivered. Thanks Mom for taking them with you when you visited!

So onto my seasonal color fabric pick for next time!

Happy Quilting!

25 September 2018

AHIQ: another month of maps

Like Ann, I am finding map-related stuff all over the place, though mostly for me the ideas are coming through snippets of things I read, or in conversations. (What follows is a bit of a brain dump).

  • My sister went to Detroit this summer (as a tourist, and they loved it) and told me of areas where grass has reclaimed areas of pavement and even road
  • Early maps mostly had East at the top (so Robin is following an old tradition) rather than North  
  • The cardinal points of the compass are assigned colours in many cultures
  • Some cultures describe direction in terms of "towards the sea" or "towards the mountains" rather than North, South, East, West.  Similarly, "upstream/downstream", "landward/seaward", even "upcoast/downcoast"

All these bits and pieces set my mind buzzing, but for now I am reminding myself to focus and keep going with what I have started, making these blocks that, it seems, can be read as city blocks or country fields, depending on your outlook.  I rather like that.
You may spot that I am still playing around with options for my roads.  I'll post more about that over on the blog, but it's proving to be difficult to get this right.  Maybe I haven't found the right fabric yet; maybe I need to rethink my approach.

Finally, a quick reminder: it is exciting that there is such a diverse and interesting range of mapping projects going on in response to the current challenge, but if you are not playing along this time, you are still welcome to post whatever you are up to.  

24 September 2018

AHIQ Map Quilts: Month 2

More Ideas and Examples
The longer the map challenge progresses, the more map art I find. Leah Evans' maps sold at the Smithsonian Craft Show and she's appeared on Sewing with Nancy. Many of her works illustrate imaginary places but two that particularly impressed me referenced reality.

Lost Boat mixes maps and Chinese Coins. It relates the discovery of the Arabia which sank before the Civil War and was recently found half a mile inland of the current banks of the Missouri River. Crossing Over maps Gee's Bend, Alabama. Leah was inspired by J. R. Moehringer's book of the same name that described the new ferry:

It won’t look all that dramatic, just a new ferry taking a 63-year-old great-grandmother and her cousins across a Coca-Cola-colored river. But in this damp cellar of the Deep South, where the river has separated blacks and whites for 180 years, where even the living and the dead are less divided than the black and white towns camped on opposite shores, a new ferry will be like the river itself: more than it looks.

What a treat to see another artist honor the proving ground of modern improvisational quilting.

My Work This Month
Everyone has such unique visions of the Map Invitation... everyone but me. I'm so literal. And so limited in my skill set. {Not asking for encouragement. Just noting I'm a 99.9% piecer.} Obviously my skills need to be broadened and developed. Using the same peach fabric with white solid, I pieced small samples of intersections. Valerie Goodwin uses lasers to cut some of her elaborate roadways. Too bad I don't have access to one. Or maybe not. I'd probably burn down the building or put my eye out. I can envision sewing slightly curved streets but reverse appliqu‚é, fusing, or regular appliqué are the only ways I can think of to sew cul-de-sacs, switchbacks, and hairpin turns.

This month I realized I don't need or want a large quilt... yet. I spent quite a while thinking about how to get detail in miniature. How can the broad stroke of piecing convey that? I made sketches on sheets of paper to try to simplify places of personal significance. I'm starting with the simplest one in hopes it can be pieced.

Finding focus for a map quilt
Even that has had issues as I struggle to find a cropping that interests me without becoming too intricate to create in a smaller scale. Living on the plains means many towns are laid out in a grid. That makes it easy to sew but perhaps lacking interest. This area, although mostly gridded, has offset and angled streets.

I pulled some fabric. I love the plaids and stripes Kaja is using but hoped I had enough florals and conversation prints for this one. When I searched the stash, most of my florals had white backgrounds. If I use those they need charcoal roads. There were smaller groups of blues which might work with white roads and greens which probably need brown roads.

Fabric choices for map quilt

Continuing in the 20-minute style, I'm waiting a while to decide.

Thanks, Ann

23 September 2018

Years Three and Four (2006-2007)

2006 saw my "making quilts for others"
ethic swing into full gear.

In addition to several baby and prayer quilts,
I made what has become known as
The Brotherhood of Quilts
for our three nephews.

Panjii (above) was a queen-size wedding quilt
for our oldest nephew and his bride.

(Panjii is Japanese for pansies -
the quilt's colors look like the flowerbeds
planted around municipal buildings here each fall)

(And all photos in this post should super-size
for more detail when double-clicked)

This is Kudzu - a twin extra-long quilt
for our middle nephew's high school graduation.

(green was and still is his favorite color)

And this is Fiesta!
A twin extra-long for our youngest nephew's
high school graduation using his 
favorite colors of purple and orange.

(not sure if they are still his favorites,
but there are lots of orange shirts 
in current photos on Instagram)

2006 was also the year I chose my alter-ego's name.

With Amy Bradley's permission,
I appliqued her design from a t-shirt
onto the back of my denim shirt, 
adding a few dozen hot-fix crystals to the mix.

Designed and pieced by Julie Sefton.  Quilted by Chris Ballard.

2007 is the year I made And Sometimes Y
during Tonya Ricucci's first-ever online class
for her free pieced letters.

SO many long-term friendships
came out of the interactions  during
that international online gathering.

Designed and pieced by Julie Sefton.  Quilted by Chris Ballard.

Even the quilt's back was fun!

 Y was juried into the 2008 AQS Nashville show,
published in the 2010 AQS Engagement Calendar,
and published in Tonya's 2010 book Word Play Quilts.

During 2007 I made a small journal quilt each month
using the tattered remains of my late mother's quilt,
bits of lace and embroidery from my grandmother,
and buttons from countless button boxes.

Each month had some sort of theme
related to whatever was going on in my life
at that point in time.

There is so much of me in each of those little quilts.

(with stories, notes, and quotations written on the backs)

And in July 2007, I started my blog
to give me a way to celebrate the good things
during a time when there were more than enough
health-related challenges in our family.

(My blog's avatar above is a quilt block
that I made for Tonya after that first online class -
each of us in the class made her a thank you quilt block)

Blogging has become an important part of my life
and I cannot imagine missing out on the 
amazing inspiration and far-flung friendships
that have come about in response.

(and this new AHIQ group blog
is offering that same opportunity 
to interact with and inspire each other -
thank you to Ann and Kaja for setting it up)


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 4 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 4 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 appliquéd 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!