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Monday, February 12, 2007

February 12 x 12 Dancing Rabbit Moon

Sometimes when the full moon rises over our prairies it appears huge and brilliant. I love to sit at the top of a hill and just watch it. I’ve often told Joe that I don’t see a Man in the Moon. I see a Dancing Rabbit, and not just any rabbit, it is a rabbit from a Mimbres bowl. For a couple of years I’ve known that I would make a quilt of my Dancing Rabbit Moon.

I began researching Mimbres bowls, specifically bowls with rabbits on them. In my research I was amazed to find that to the ancient Mimbres culture, the rabbit was a symbol for the moon. Did they also see the dancing rabbit in the moon?

When thinking about what to do for the February 12 x 12 Challenge piece, I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to try my rabbit moon. I wanted to continue my theme of the use of hexagons since I really like quilts that use traditional patterns in non-traditional ways. I first thought that I would sew a base fabric of hexagons and fuse the moon/bowl and a landscape photo over them.

This piece then morphed several times until it created itself. I ended up using a dark blue mottled fabric, the same fabric that was the background for January’s Snow Flakes, and began arranging various photos and hexagons until it ended up looking right. I then fused the hexagons, the photo of a Mimbres rabbit bowl printed on cotton, and another photo, printed on cotton, of cattle feeding in a snowy field in evening light, to the base fabric. I wasn’t sure why I had to place the brown hexagons at the bottom until I realized that they symbolized the rocky bluffs just across the river as well as grounding the piece.

This front and a backing of the same dark blue mottled fabric with a light weight cotton batting were assembled envelope style. I used no stiffener, this time, other than the stiffness of the photo printed cotton fabric and fusing material, because I wanted to see the puffy effect of the quilting around the hexagons. I read in “Quilting Arts” that EQ makes a highly recommended photo fabric that is less stiff than others, I plan to try it.

I then machine quilted around the hexagons with matching thread. For the moon and halo, as well as the edge of the hills, I used a metallic silver thread.

I learned, in making this piece, that it is essential to get a clear plastic foot for the walking foot, so I can see exactly where the needle is; stitching blind is frustrating and neck tension making. It also reinforced my goal of learning to do free motion quilting and thread painting this year, in order to create certain effects I’d like to use to embellish my quilts. I’m concerned that my machine is just not as responsive as I need to do the work I want to. I’m using a basic mechanical Bernette 75, distributed by Bernina. I crave a computerized stitch regulator. Maybe I’ll win the lottery, except that is hard to do if you don’t buy a ticket.

I’m already mulling an idea for the March quilt; and I’ve decided that since this Challenge is to help us build up a portfolio of a body of work, I am going to create a fabric portfolio to keep these pieces in.

14 comments:

Brigitte (SE. Louisiana) said...

Fran...your quilt is wonderful. You are one very creative lady.

paula, the quilter said...

Fran, this is wonderful. Your quilt was right to tell you to add the bluffs. Nice work.

Deb H said...

I wish I could come teach you to free motion quilt. It's such a freeing thing to do. Your Quilt is beautiful.I love how you've meshed something as old fashoined & coventional as the GMFG hexes with the photos.

Sande said...

I love this quilt and your write-up on it. I also like the idea of the fabric portfolio. Your webshots galleries are great. I hadn't seen them before and enjoyed looking through them.

dee said...

qrmltqgmdOh Fran, I realy love what you've done here. I got interested in the pottery of Lucy Lewis of San Ildefonso and that led me to Mimbres pottery. Wonderful history there. I wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying your Women of the Bible blocks as well. They are so beautiful and it's a treat to hear the stories behind them. I particularly like the Dorcas block. Great work!

dee said...

sorry Fran, I think I was leaning against the keys-or something like that

Vicki W said...

Fran, this is a really nice piece. I love the traditional hexagon (GFG)combined with photo printing.

Suze said...

Wow..you really are growing fantastically as an art quilter - it's so fun to see what you come up with. I love this piece and the symbolism...Great job!

And I hear you about the lotto tickets!!!

Barbara C said...

What a beautiful piece Fran. The combinaton of photos and hexagons is truly inspired.

Kay said...

You should be so proud of this. It's wonderful the way you have combined so many techniques, and the quilting seems fine.

You don't need a fancy machine--just practice. I say that, not being great at free motion myself, but I can do passable work on small things, and you can too!

McIrish Annie said...

FRan, came upon your blog through the quilt studio ring. love, love, love your feb. 12x12x12, what cool way to bring in the old school hexagons into a contemporary piece.

Deb Geyer said...

How very creative!! I love it.

quiltnbee said...

So wonderful, Fran! You're doing amazing things...

Barbara said...

Fran, your quilt is gorgeous.

Did you know that the Japanese and Chinese see a rabbit in the moon as well?