CPP: Look what Kathy Made

I took a look at Kathy’s Finishing Lines site and was pleased to see that she used one of her CPP responses to make a little quiltlet. I am so thrilled! I think that this is the ultimate goal of the project – to get people’s creative juices flowing.

Nice job, Kathy!

clipped from finishinglinesbyksperino.blogspot.com

awakening quiltlet

Below is the CPP image colored with pencils and copied on Printed Treasures. Mistakenly, I heat set my colors without removing the paper back; then it was impossible to peel. I soaked it to loosen the paper and while that was laying out to dry….

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Sketching #33

Creative Prompt Response: Spiral #33
Creative Prompt Response: Spiral #33

After working so hard on the detail on last week’s response, I find that this one doesn’t have enough detail. I did a number of studies and couldn’t figure out what else to add so I am just posting it.

On one hand, the art on the wall of the dining room has a lot of detail. Perhaps it balances the sparseness of the rest of the drawing?

Review: Clear Tote

Clear Tote in Transit
Clear Tote in Transit

I decided, when I was on a recent trip, that I wanted to write a review of this bag, because it is pretty different from the others I have made from fabric.

As you can see from the picture, I packed my tote with things to do plus some tea and chocolate to tide me over. I, at least,  have the following in the bag: a zipper bag of Perl cotton, a box of tea, my handwork bag, Beach Town, a magazine, a library book and ….? Not sure what else, though I think there was more.

When I made this bag, I didn’t expect to like it as much as I do. I think I mostly like that I can see into it. I can see whether I have all of my stuff as I pack it. I can also admire the stuff that I have in there. This has led me to carrying around the pencil roll Julie made me. I can see it through the bag and admire it as I go on my merry way.

I made the handles a little shorter and they work for me at that length. They are long enough to put over my shoulder and are just the right length to carry in my hand at my side.

Pen leaks, water spills and other messes are easy to clean up with paper towel and some Simply Green or a cleaning wipe. Sometimes, I can’t avoid putting the bag down in something that someone else has spilled simply because I didn’t see the mess. It also protects my stuff quite well in the rain.

I find that the bag doesn’t look dirty either.

Some of the things that I like about this bag are also disadvantages. It is great for me to be able to see inside the bag, but I don’t want other people to see my iPod or my digital camera or my cell phone, etc. I definitely cannot use this bag to hold a table at a cafe’.

Using this bag in hot weather is not recommended. It becomes very soft and pliable. I think the handles stretch if the weather becomes hot enough.

I don’t find the pockets to be particularly useful either. The plastic sticks very well to itself, thus putting things in pockets means unsticking the pocket from the bag, which doesn’t work very well in a hurry.

I would like the tote to be stiffer so it would stand up better. As it is now, it kind of folds in on itself if I don’t have it full of the right sized and shaped stuff. I can’t think of a way to make it stiffer except to put two layers of plastic together, as I can’t line it with interfacing.

I also am more aware of how much I put in it. I think that the handles might break if I fill the main compartment with too many heavy items. This isn’t, necessarily a bad thing since I shouldn’t be hauling 30 pounds of stuff around with me. I realized that I have a sense of what fabric can take, in terms of weight, but I don’t have the same sense with this vinyl.

All in all, I really like this bag. I enjoy carrying it around and find it to be a very useful shape and size.

Word of the Day: Commitment

I am still doing the Word of the Day, even though I haven’t been posting most of the words here. I find it to be a good meditation and a good way to start my day. Today’s word is commitment and the description/passage really applies to quiltmaking. I wanted to share it with you.

The WOTD book I use is called 365 Tao: Daily Meditations by Deng Ming-Dao. I am not a Taoist and I think the word, Tao, in most of the passages can be replaced with another word such as spirituality or quiltmaking, depending on the context. Here is today’s passage:

‘One may be quite far along on the path, but if one meets a beginner who sincerely seeks guidance, then one should help without reservation. If such a beginner were to come to you, what would you say? This is what I said to someone today:

“The time of beginning is one of the most precious times of all. It can be very exciting and full of wonderful growth. The first thing to do is to make up your mind that you are going to go the distance.

“When I first began, I made a lifelong commitment. I determined that I would learn from my teacher for at least seven years. Now, it has been much longer than that, but the essential element is still the same: commitment.

“But commitment needs something else in order to be perpetuated. It needs discipline. This is the perseverance to keep on when things are tough. Adversity is life’s way of testing and perfecting a person. Without that, we would never develop character.

“Rice suffers when it is milled. Jade must suffer when it is polished. But what emerges is something special. If you want to be special too, then you have to be able to stick to things even when they are difficult.”

Commitment and discipline-these are two of the most precious words for those who would seek [Tao].’

A lot of the words and phrases in the passage feel right in terms of quiltmaking. I think they say a lot once I sat down and took the time to read them.

I think that this passage can be easily applied to quiltmaking. I don’t think everyone makes a really sincere commitment to quiltmaking when they start. I think it is ok to try a variety of different crafts and reject the ones that don’t appeal. Crafts are different from spirituality and religion, after all.

I do think, however, that once I decide on a media, that I should make some kind of commitment to progress. Making a commitment to progress doesn’t preclude having fun. I also think that I don’t have to always work on progressing. I don’t think buying fabric is as much of a commitment as some people think it is.

I also think that I can always learn something and one of the things that I like about quiltmaking is that there are many teachers, websites and books from which to learn. I think that no matter how accomplished a quiltmaker a person is, there is always room to grow.

I also think that commiting time to various aspects of quiltmaking and working on those regularly constitutes discipline. for me, discipline leads to progress.

For me, my fabric work is not always a walk in the park. I have projects that just do not work out. Remember Hop, Skip and Jump from December 2008? Remember all the blocks that I replaced in the Tarts, such as the yellow china tea cup?

In general, this is a passage that made me think about my quiltmaking, discipline and commitment.

Note: You can see the beginning of the WOTD project on the January 1 post. While I am still doing the project in my journal, I am only posting WOTDs here when they really related to something I have seen or done. My last WOTD post on February 1, 2009 explains a little about my thinking.

Book Review: The Quilters’ Guild Collection, Contemporary Quilts, Heritage Inspiration

Quilters Guild Collection: Contemporary Quilts, Heritage Inspiration Quilters Guild Collection: Contemporary Quilts, Heritage Inspiration by Bridget Long

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
While this book does have projects, the focus seems to be on looking at artists’ process and inspiration. In this case antique quilts were selected by various British artists from the collection of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles. Each artist selected elements from the quilts and went through the process of making a new piece inspired by the old quilt. One point I picked up is that the author, in conjunction with the selected artists, was trying to encourage people to look at quilts and elements in quilts in order to give confidence to people in designing their own pieces (rather than using a pattern).

There are different techniques discussed. One quilt, Up the Stairs (pg.5) is covered with trees. The branches of the trees are highlighted with white circles in the background. The half circles in the background really make the branches stand out, without the white screaming for attention. There are a number of fabulous examples of quilting. The quilting in the Triple X Quilt (pg.21) has the most wonderful feathers, and a great stylized egg shaped pattern in the inner border.

Within the first two pages, the author talks about keeping a sketchbook/journal with things that inspire in it. As the book progressed, there was a lot of information about process.  I liked reading about different artists and the process they went through to create their new piece. The book talks about being inspired by old quilts rather than dismissing them out of hand as too old.

I really enjoyed the descriptions of the process some of the designers went through. Dinah Travis’s sketchbook is laid out and included, page by page, which really gives insight into her design and quiltmaking process. Hilary Richardson does something in her process that I would like to try. “When Hilary begins a quilt on a specific theme, she seeks clues in the dictionary definitions of words connected to the theme. She will often make a list words and topics that relate to the theme. She then collects photographs, cuttings and printed material…” (pg.57-58).

One of my favorite artists, Laura Kemshall is also included in this book.

There are sidebars that discuss various topics related to the quilt in the chapter. Many of these sidebars discuss historical aspects of British history.

I would love to see the Electric Quilt Company look at historic quilts, like the 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet (pg.7), and create patterns in their software for these pieces.

View all my reviews, including non-quilt related reviews

More Carpet Inspiration

I must walk around looking at my shoes, because I admire a lot of carpets. I, especially, find hotel carpets very interesting. You might remember that I was inspired by some carpet in Dallas in April?

Once again, as you can see from above, I found some great carpet designs.

Nosegay Comments

You might remember that I moved the blog over to WordPress (here) in February or so of this year. The Blogger version of this blog still exists, but It is not being updated. Thus, I was surprised to get a comment on the Blogger version of my blog. I am glad people are still finding their way to my quilt words. The comment was about the Nosegay, attached to a post from January about the completion of the Nosegay. The commenter, MaryJane,  was not at all happy with my choice of colors for that project. Sadly, she did not leave an email or a blog where I could go an look at her stuff.

This has made me think about comments on blogs. It makes me wonder why people leave comments and why someone would feel compelled to say my color choice for that project was ‘quite awful.’ They might really be quite awful, but her comment was really not helpful. Why were the color choices awful? Is there some color rule that I broke? Or is the comment just a reflection of her love for lumpy colors (as the Child calls them) like grey, khaki, beige, and olive?

And granted, as I have admitted, the photos of the Nosegay aren’t that good. None of the ones I have taken do it justice. It is a large quilt and difficult to photograph. As soon as our financial situation changes, I plan to take it to my professional photographer and have it photographed by someone with a space large enough to do it properly.

In public spaces, I really try to say something nice about a project even if it is not the style or colors I would choose. I feel sorry for MaryJane. I think she must be an unhappy person who had to rain on my parade to feel better about herself. Or perhaps, she is just mean and nasty, or someone who intensely dislikes me and disguised his/her identity.

I like the colors I chose for the Nosegay and think that it is a cheerful quilt. Still, the comment made me think and, I have to admit, threw me for a loop.

The Artquiltmaker blog on Blogger has good info, but all of it has been transferred here to WordPress, so I implemented some safety features on that Blogger blog to send people over here to Artquiltmaker.com. Commenting there may not be as easy for you as it once was. I didn’t feel right in removing her comment, however, and this is a good compromise.

Everyone should feel free to comment honestly on my blog, however, it would be much appreciated if criticism were constructive. Also, ‘man up’ and put your contact information so we can have a constructive conversation.

I am not sure why I am writing this since my regular readers are supportive and constructive in the comments I have received. (Thanks, TFQ, Quilt Rat, SherriD, Beena, Julie and everyone else!) I have to remind myself this was probably an isolated incident that has really nothing to do with me put out there by an unhappy person.

Holiday Crafting – YES! Already

Melanie Falick is a goddess! I love the books she edits, her practicality and her blog.

I stopped by Melanie’s blog and found some great patterns for holiday crafting. “So soon?” you are thinking. Yes, I say. Get moving so you are not up until 3am crafting on Dec. 22. These look fun and very modifiable, only to make them your own, not because anything is wrong with them.

When I saw the printing books (click through to see all the projects), I thought that some of you with wonderful CPP responses could print them and paste to the cover of a journal or print on fabric and make a framed picture.

Of course, if you are not a holiday type, then you could make these for your living room, or for birthday gifts. I am planning a holiday projects post, so if you make any holiday projects, I will link to them in my post. If you use a CPP response in a project, I will put that link on the CPP inspiration page.


clipped from www.melaniefalickbooks.com

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Creative Prompt #33: Spiral

You should all have fun with this one!

Definition from Wikipedia: In mathematics, a spiral is a curve which emanates from a central point, getting progressively farther away as it revolves around the point.

Fibonacci Spiral.

2007 movie directed by Adam Green and Joel Moore.

Spiral anime.

Nautilus shells.

Spiral notebook.

Spiraling out of control.

Fermat’s spiral.

Miquelrius notebook.

Periodic Spiral is a unique redesign of the Mendeleyevian periodic table

Spiral of Archimedes.

Death spiral.

Spirograph Box
Spirograph Box

Spirograph (see www.samstoybox.com/toys/Spirograph.html)

See the Creative Prompt page if you have questions about this project.

Post the direct URL where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. It will keep all the artwork together.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, now, has a Flickr group, which you can join and where you can post your responses.

There is more information on the recently updated Creative Prompt Page.

Sketching #32

CPP Response #32
CPP Response #32

After looking at a few of my recent drawings and I realized that I hadn’t been adding as much detail as I had in the past. I had some bits of time this week, so I decided to try and add a few more details to this one. This is the second attempt, but I am pretty pleased with how it came out.

Yes, I am moving furniture around. 😉

Various and Sundry Thursday

I am on a trip to the Midwest so I wrote this post in advance so you would have something to read, and, hopefully, enjoy,  while I am away. I’ll be back tomorrow and the Creative Prompt will be posted tomorrow like normal. Sadly, as it is a quick trip for a board meeting, I doubt I will have time to check out any quilt stores while I am there.

1. I am a fan of the Electric Quilt on Facebook (and in general, of course!) and was directed to a blog called Piecemeal Quilts via the EQ Blog. The linking sounds complicated if you are not on FB! Sandi, from Wisconsin writes the blog. She has a number of free pattern downloads, paper piecing patterns and examples of EQ work. She is also ‘man enough’ to keep a quilting resources list! It is a lot of work to keep such a list up to date and, from what I saw, it is pretty complete.

The thing that really drew me in to her blog was her writing tone. I seem to be noticing writing tone lately, for some odd reason. She has a nice, friendly and intelligent, but not goofy or insipid tone to her writing. I enjoyed her post on books. I like the books that she likes and thinks that she and I may have the same tastes.

2. When I mentioned Quiltposium on my blog last week, MavMargi pointed  me about another online magazine called Sewn. I took a quick look and it looks interesting. Sewn is out of Australia. The styling is very Heather Bailey/Anna Maria Horner. They have patterns and a gallery as well as a fabric search function. I immediately put the Botanical Pop fabrics I still need in and got an email back pretty quickly. Worth a look.

I am not that enamored with online/digital magazines, because I can’t read them in bed (I don’t want to hear from you people who take your laptops to bed!!!) or on the train. However, I do recognize that I will have to get with the program at some point, because more and more stores are ceasing to carry magazines. 🙁

One of the sites that was a link in Sewn was called Modern Textiles. The Modern Textiles site has lots of navigation choices. I looked at  ‘Sewing Patterns’, specifically the Melly and Me Bags. These are really unique bags. The combination of fabrics are quite bright and cheerful, but the styling is also very different from other bags I have seen. I really want to see the Bon-Bon bag, because I have never seen anything like it. I would like to see the inside of it in order to determine how useful it would be.

I did find that the pattern list did not have many alternate photos of the bags, but that information may be on the main Melly & Me website.

3. It looks like our financial situation will stay the same through the end of the year, so I am gearing up to make some of my Christmas gifts this year. I don’t know if I will have time to make it before Christmas, but I bought the Pencil Roll pattern from Pink Chalk Studio. Julie made me one for my birthday last year and I have started to carry it around in my clear tote. There are a few free patterns for pencil rolls out there on the web, but this one looks like the best in terms of functionality and styling. We’ll see how difficult the pattern is when I get it.

Perhaps I’ll get good enough to modify the design like in Kathy Perino’s version, which she showed on her blog a few weeks ago, and which I wrote about on August 30.

4. Pam Rubert of the PamDora quilts fame has redone her blog. She writes a really great post about the process, and her thoughts, about the changes in the blog world. She talks about circular writing and I think her thoughts are right on point. It seems that the web is leading us around in circles. (ever notice how I link back to previous posts? I am trying to give you the whole picture, but it ends up being circular, in a way) I haven’t played around with some of the things she discusses, but hope to do so in the future.

5. Want free Moo cards? Check out this link for a free pack with your own images. They have advertising, but free (you do have to pay shipping) is still cool. Thanks to Deirdre for the link.

6. I saw a video on the Craft Zine blog for a new book called Bent Objects. it is about the art of a guy who bends wire. There is a hilarious video on the Craft site that is well worth a look. It does explore a bit of the darker side of crafts, which we all know can be the hilarious side of crafts. Take a look.

Its a Major Award
Its a Major Award

7. On 7/29/2009 Quilt Rat left a comment saying that she had given me an award and I should go look on her blog. Jill’s comment about the inspiration in my creative prompts was really sweet and made me feel great. Despite the fact that almost 2 months have passed, I am still really thrilled to have received the “It’s a Major Award.” Thanks!

Citrus Holiday and Decorating

I get a Janome email periodically and when I have a chance to look at it, I am usually impressed with something. One thing I like about the photos below is the different colors – not the usual red and green – they use for Christmas. The ideas are still holiday-ish, but very fresh. Even if you are not a Janome owner (or don’t do Christmas), check it out. There are some fun ideas.
clipped from sew4home.com

Citrus Holiday: A Lighthearted Living Room

Click to Enlarge
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Totes with Oval Bottoms

I had no idea I would ever need a book called the Illustrated Dictionary of Math. I now find that I actually might. I have mentioned Craft Nectar before and Weeks Ringle does not disappoint. She talks about the usefulness of this book in constructing oval tote bags. I might actually want to do that someday. You never know.
clipped from craftnectar.com

For example, did you know that the Illustrated Book of Math will give you the formula for the circumference of an oval if you’ve designing a totebag with an oval bottom?
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Deirdre sent me the link to this entry in Susan Shie’s blog. The post is all about the process of making one of her pieces. I was riveted reading the detail which she includes in her post. Read the post!

Susan Shie's Savannah
Susan Shie’s Savannah

Process is something that has been on my mind as I have worked on the Tarts. I used to be only focused on the end product. I found it to be very unsatisfying, because the end product had a short-lived shelf life. What do you do with a finished product? Put in the bed, hang it on the wall and …. There is nothing after that. I would be finished with the piece. There isn’t much more interaction with a finished piece.

It occurred to me at some point that the process was what was important. I have, since then, tried to focus on the process. I wrote about it in blog post on March 14, 2009 and also mentioned process on January 1, 2009 in the 2008 UFO Report.

In focusing on the process, I try to work on what I am working on right at that moment fully and completely. I try not to think ahead to the next step or the next project. This was brought home to me in a big way as I worked on the Tarts. That project required my absolute full and undivided attention. Any time I thought “oh this will be fine” meant trouble and I would end up ripping something out. The lesson was, however, that Lorraine Torrence’s advice about making visual decisions visually was correct. I knew it was, but the Tarts hammered the mantra into my mind.

One of the other things I realized about process is that while I work on something, I am completely engaged with it. I feel the fabric in my hand. I feed the thread into the machine or hand sewing needle, feeling it with my fingers. I am close to the fabric and the project supplies.

Susan Shie’s post goes through her process in minute detail. It would bore me if I had heard it before, but I haven’t. I find everyone’s process to be different and, often, fascinating.

The other thing about process is that a process does not necessarily stay within the bounds of a specific project. A process can continue to another project once I have finished with a piece. Susan talks about making her Kitchen Tarot deck, which is a multi piece project. She is making a quilt for each of the many Tarot cards in a deck. I really admire someone who can commit to such a large project. Her pieces aren’t small either. She has committed to the process.

The Word of the Day for Labor Day, September 7, 2009 was Reverence. My immediate reaction was a sinking heart and steeling myself for a lecture. The reverence that the author talked about was multi-faceted and had nothing to do with a harangue about organized religion. The passage talked about reverence for a process and reverence for materials.

“Everything that we do should be imbued with reverence and so one would think that we should begin with this concept. But no. Reverence only comes with experience and care.”


“In our own small way, we must create and bring order to our lives each day. We must be responsible, and at the same time express the wonder of all we know as human.”


“The stately determination to make something worthy of the materials and the moment is reverence.”

I think that by engaging in a process, we gain experience. The more time I spend working on pieces the more experience I gain. I also think that being appreciative of the materials and what they are contributing to the process helps me work better.

It seems to me that reverence is part of a process.

In the process of writing this post, I became much more interested in Susan’s work, classes, blog etc. Perhaps there is a class with her in my future?

Julie Tote

I spent some time sewing yesterday in between soccer and a movie. As a result, I finished the Anna Maria Horner Multi-tasker Tote. I keep thinking of it as the Julie tote, since Julie looked high and low and found the blue Denyse Schmidt fabric for me. She may get a gift. 😉

AMH MTT, finished!
AMH MTT, finished!

As I mentioned in my review, the construction of this tote is amazingly elegant. Putting the straps on was no exception. There is a part where you fold over the top and that becomes the channel for the straps. I am still completely in awe of AMH and her ability to imagine the construction of this bag.

In the photo below, I tried to show you the channel. Aside from having to turn the straps inside out, which is a big pain in the patootie, I got the straps on and the bag ready to carry stuff in a couple of hours.

AMH MTT, detail
AMH MTT, detail

My only concern is that the way the straps are held on means that I won’t be able to carry heavy stuff in it. I don’t plan to use this for groceries, but I routinely carry:

  1. a journal
  2. my Clairefontaine
  3. a book (can be hardback or paperback)
  4. the Word of the Day book (paperback)
  5. a pencil roll
  6. a water bottle

I don’t think the above list is outrageous…. I do have to have my stuff with me.

I plan to make another one now that I know the drill. I have ideas for different ways of combining fabric. I ended up buying some of the Peltex 2 from SewThankful (I think), so I need to do something with it. This Multi-tasker tote bag is a nice change from the Eco Market tote.