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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mary Magdalene WOTB Block

I had intended to post this along with Dorcas, but forgot, so here she is, out of order, week 49.
Mary Magdalene's block is Mary's Star. To me it looks like the sun radiating light and symbolizes God radiating Love, Justice, and Healing, so I chose shades of red, yellow and orange to also represent the love, joy, and warmth that Mary Magdalene must have felt when Jesus healed her, as well as when she recognized the risen Jesus at the tomb.

The block was done with fused machine applique with zigzag stitches of gold thread around the pieces to hold them and for embellishment.

Mary has gained quite a reputation, that she probably doesn't deserve. Somewhere along the way people started to call her a prostitute, but nothing in the Bible indicates that. She was prominent among the women who were the followers of Jesus. Lately it has been claimed in many writings and best selling novels, that she was either the wife or lover of Jesus, once again without proof. We must remember when reading novels, that they are fiction not fact.

Her story is told in the following scriptures: Matthew 27 & 28; Mark 15 & 16; Luke 8 & 24: and John 19 & 20.

Here is a glorious image of Mary Magdalene from the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. The egg in her hand is a symbol of the resurrection. I believe that my block is a good match for this image, which I love.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

WOTB Week 50

Here is my WOTB block for week 50. Dorcas was an early Christian who sewed clothing for the poor widows in her city. Because it was a fishing community there were evidently many widows who had lost their husbands to the sea. When Dorcas died, the Apostle Peter raised her back to life.

For Dorcas' Charity Wheel Block I chose the colors red and green to go with the Heart and Hand theme that my study group thought fitted her works for the Lord. The red represents her love and energy and the green for her practical, generous spirit. It doesn't show that well in the photo but the greens are mottled with red. The gold stands for the love of God that surrounded her and her sewing ministry.

I paper pieced the rays and fused and machine appliqued the circles with zigzag gold thread.

Dorcas and Lydia seem to go together in my mind in that both worked in the fabric arts. It seems proper that we learn of them and emulate
them. You can read the story of Dorcas in Acts

When I started paper piecing the ring pattern for the rays I quickly realized that it wasn't going to work when I got to the last piece. I realized that I had to cut the pattern between the first and last pieces and do a regular seam to make the complete circle. It worked well but looked rather strange during the process so I decided to show you what the process looked like.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Design Wall and Brother's Photos

I couldn't wait to see how the Strippy Ninepatch I'm doing for the 40 Quilts Service Project was going to look, so as soon I had enough pieces I set up a sample on my Design Door. I think it will look great with a dark blue starry border to pull it together.

I've mentioned before that my brother, Steve, is a fantastic nature photographer. Today he sent me some of his photos and I wanted to share
them. It was hard to decide which ones to post but here is what I came up with.

Death Valley Patterns
(copyright Steve Metzner)

Great Horned Owl in Camo
(copyright Steve Metzner)

Death Valley Sand Sculpture
(copyright Steve Metzner)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pomegranates, Demeter & Persephone

Oh my dear friends, run, don't walk, to the nearest store where you can purchase the Jan./Feb. issue of "Cloth, Paper, Scissors". At the back of the magazine is an article, "Artist Dreaming Deep" by Loretta Benedetto Marvel. As well as a very thoughtful and poetic essay on creativity, it has a photo of the most luscious pomegranate creation in existence. Stitching, beading, quilting, it's all there.

I quote "As artists, we embrace both Demeter and Persephone. We are equal parts creativity and longing. We walk the tightrope of inspiration and seeking inspiration, possessing both the searcher and the searched, and perform a constant dance of shifting back and forth between the two. I winter I go both underground with Persephone and roam above earth looking for her." I hate to stop but you need to read it and see it for yourselves.

The pomegranates caught my eye because I love them. I long for my own pomegranate tree, since seeing the one in my Uncle Bernie's garden in Albuquerque. As seen in the photo, the flower buds look like mini pomegranates. Unfortunately, the winters here are too severe to have one in the garden. I have considered trying one in a large pot, that can be moved in the winter, but my house and sun porch just do not have the room. Right now it is stuffed with the giant Euphorbias and Aloe Vera that go in my desert garden in the summer. Pomegranates and Persian Pickles, ah such beauty! I compare my garden to the Persian walled gardens, that were so refreshing in the desert, an oasis to refresh the body, soul and eye.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

WIP Wednesday

I haven't gotten much quilting done this week due to feeling crummy and visiting the kids in Byers over the weekend, but I did get some stitching done on my current needlepoint project while visiting. This has been my favorite prayer for many years; it is from Elizabeth Goudge's book, "The Scent of Water." A couple of years ago I decided to stitch it in needlepoint so I could hang it on my bedroom wall. Since this photo was taken I've stitched the background as far as the H in "have". I don't stitch as much as I did before I started making quilts.

I have quite a few pieces that I've stitched during the last 30 years that I never made into anything. I didn't stitch to have a finished product, I stitched to be stitching. It has always been so soothing to me, especially when waiting in doctor's offices or hospital rooms with my Mom or Dad, or my previous husband, Lou, who died of cancer after a two year fight. At that time it saved my sanity. (Needlepoint and walking) I've designed quite a few of my needlepoint pieces and I prefer to stitch onto a blank canvas, from a chart; it always seemed more magical to me than stitching on a painted canvas.

I decided that I should let my kids choose which one they wanted and if they wanted it made into a pillow or a wall hanging (these I stretch on canvas stretchers.) I took a stack to Byers with me and the girls chose one apiece.

DIL Lori chose the flowered heart and it will be a pillow. DIL Jennie wanted the log cabin pattern as a wall hanging. (Even before I started making quilts, I loved them.) My daughter Kat grabbed the octagon; it will be made into a pillow since I can't find octagon stretchers. Now my other DIL Robyn, and daughters, Michal Ann and Shay will get their choice when I see them.

As you can see the stitching tends to warp the canvas so they now have to be blocked to get them back in shape and sewn or stretched so they can get out of the drawer and be enjoyed.

Now to get back to stitching the Strippy Fourpatch for the 40 Quilts Service Project of Quilt Studio webring. I'm really getting the quilt itch since a few days without working on one.

Snowed In

We got snowed- in in Byers and had to stay an extra night as the highways were closed. This is the fifth weekend that Colorado has had a blizzard. There has been snow on the ground continuously for over a month. This is a photo of our son's patio before the 5th blizzard started. Only 6 inches fell this time, but the winds blew up to 60 miles an hour and caused whiteouts and drifts over the highways. As always, it was good to visit with family. Doug and Jennie are great cooks, so we ate, laughed, talked, and watched movies. Here is a photo we brought home of three of our grandchildren; we think that Crystal, Brian and Breanne are quite good looking. And growing up so fast.

Of all things, Mandy had a swimming party for her 16th birthday at the school's indoor gym in Deer Trail while the blizzard started outside. Luckily, it didn't get bad enough to close the roads until the next day.

As we drove home on Monday, there were drifts higher than the cars in the center of the street, many cars and four wheel drive trucks were off the road and a snow plow was stuck along I-70. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the snow covered Rocky Mountains looked splendid as we drove west toward Denver.

I've also posted a photo of snow on sunflower seed heads in our garden, and a winter sunset. The garden even has winter beauty.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007

I Love Silk! must be a girl thing

Santa showed up on my doorstep this morning in the guise of a mail lady. She brought me a box of fabric scraps and pieces from Debra. Words
cannot express how scrumptious these fabrics are, many of them are silk. They are leftovers from when Debra's mom worked in a fabric store and Debra sewed her own clothes. These were sent to me to encourage me to go ahead and try making crazy quilt blocks, instead of just threatening to do it. With these gorgeous fabrics I ought to be able to make something pretty special. Are any of you old enough to remember Scrooge McDuck rolling around in his money? That's what I feel like doing in these fabrics.

I also have a good size piece of the candlelight satin that my Granny made my wedding dress from (1956, first marriage); it's still wrapped up on the bolt. It was with the fabric that my Mom gave me recently when she was cleaning out her closet. I hadn't even realized that she still had any of it. I just wish we had some of the organza that was used for the bridesmaids and maid of honor. They were in lovely colors of lavender and bronze and that glimmered in the candlelight.

Well, it's off to visit the kids in Byers this weekend. This trip has been postponed for 3 weeks due to blizzards. Snow is forecast again, but just flurries. I hope the weatherman is right. We've had snow on the ground for five weeks now and that is unheard of around here. It usually snows and then a Chinook (warm, downslope wind off the mountains) comes along and melts it off. We are learning what it's like for those in other parts of the country. But I have to remain thankful for the moisture. At the height of the drought when breathing smoke from all the forest fires I swore I would never complain about rain again, and that included snow.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

WIP Wednesday

Wednesdays sure seem to come around fast! This week I am working on another WOTB block, this one for Dorcas. It's called Charity Wheel and I'm doing it as a combo of paper piecing and applique. I really enjoy these blocks, the blocks that Carol Honderich chose for each woman are so diverse and interesting (that means not simple) and I love putting together the colors to match the women as I see them.

The other project that has priority now is the child's quilt I am making for the
40 Quilts Service Project for the Quilt Studio webring. Beth sent me this great striped solar system fabric and I'm figuring and measuring and cutting. There will be four strips of this stripe across the width of the quilt with ninepatches on point between. There was also enough of this fabric to use it as backing. I'm getting ready to set up an assembly line to produce the ninepatches. I think this will make a very cute quilt for some child somewhere.

It is all of 46 degrees F out here today! I am spoiled by living in the Banana Belt of Colorado and not used to the kind of cold and snow we've been having lately. Some snow expected again this weekend, I hope it doesn't keep us from going to visit the family as it has now for 3 weeks. Mandy is celebrating her 16th birthday Saturday and has some new artwork she wants to show me.

If we don't get high speed internet soon, I'm going to go battier. With all the blogs I need to check on and the graphics I need to download and upload, this dial up is just wasting so much of my time. Joe thinks we don't need high speed but he doesn't use the internet the way I do. He did put in a big chunk (technical jargon) of new memory to speed up our computer but it doesn't do a thing for the dial up. "Lord, I need patience, but I want it right now!"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Zebulon Pike and Theodore Roosevelt

Compare this photo of Pikes Peak taken yesterday on the drive home from Pueblo with the one in the banner above. We have had blizzards for 4 weekends in a row and the temperature went to -14 degrees F. last night. We hope this means that our drought of many years is over. For those years we have had very little snow in the winter and next to no rain in Spring and Summer. Now the reservoirs, that we depend on for summer water, are beginning to fill up again. (Click to enlarge.)

200 year ago, this winter, Zebulon Pike and some of his men tried to climb this peak in the snow and cold, wearing summer uniforms and makeshift foot covering, because their boots had worn out while exploring to try to determine the southwestern boundary of the newly purchased Louisiana Purchase. PIke decided that no one would ever be able to climb this mountain, but today tourists drive up, there is a car race each year, and runners jog to the top. After giving up the climb and continuing their journey they were arrested by Spanish military in the San Louis Valley, south of us on the west side of the Sangre de Christo Mountains. It's probably just as well that they were taken by the Spanish because they were in bad shape from frostbite and malnutrition and were treated fairly well by the Spaniards.

A new version of Pike's Southwestern Journals was printed last year in honor of the two hundred anniversary of the expedition. It is a fascinating tale made more exciting by the fact that it happened right where I live.

On a sadder note: I am heartbroken; my dream house burned Sunday. The 110 year old De Weese Lodge was an Adirondack style log mansion built by pioneer Dal De Weese in the Lincoln Park area, south of Canon City. It even has it's own lake (reservoir) since De Weese developed an irrigation system, bringing water from the mountains, to establish the large orchard industry that blossomed (heehee)( we even have a Blossom Festival each spring) for the first three quarters of the Twentieth Century. De Weese was a world class hunter who hunted with Theodore Roosevelt and Roosevelt visited him here.

The Lodge was an architectural and historical gem for this area and is just an unbelievable loss to the community. The owners had just completed renovating the Lodge to run as a bed and breakfast and were out of town, in Denver for the Stock Show, when the fire happened. I dread driving by. No matter how often I drove past the Lodge, it enchanted me all over again.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Snowflake Variations 12 x12 Challenge January

I chose "Nature Through the Seasons" as my theme for the 12 x 12 Challenge and here is my January quilt, Snowflake Variations. I wanted to see how to integrate my nature photographs in various ways in these quilts. In the 2006 Journal Quilt's Challenge, there were several hexagon quilt pieces that I used from Granny's stash, that I inherited. In the past few years I've gotten more and more enthralled with hexagon quilts, especially vintage quilts, and more especially, Australian vintage quilts.

Since we have had weekend blizzards for 4 weekends here in Colorado, the nature most available to me was snow. I took numerous snow photos of both large scenes and small details and chose some to include in this piece. I also researched snowflakes and ice crystals and downloaded photos of actual ice crystals as well as snowflake artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum's Christmas catalog. These were printed on cotton fabric and several silk fabrics. Of the silk organza, crepe de chine, and chiffon that I used, I preferred the organza because of it's stiffness and transparency.

My snow photos were all in white and neutral colors and I needed a focal point with a bit of color. I downloaded a photo of a cardinal in the snow from the Colorado Birder's Rare Sightings site that was taken by C. Kalmes of Wheatridge. I've never seen a cardinal around here and my winter birds tend to be greys and browns so, unfortunately, I couldn't get a picture of one.

The basic hexagons of fabric and snow photos printed on fabric were fused to the background fabric of a mottled dark blue batik. I originally planned to use a white on white that looked like mini snowflakes but the hexagons needed more contrast to show up well. The white ended up as the backing. I chose fabrics in cold blues to give the effect of a wintry day. The silk transparent snowflakes were fabric glued on (just tiny touches) until they could be sewn on.

I then found a great irridescent Sulky thread to quilt around the edges of the hexagons and embellish the snowflakes. I used machine satin stitches or various widths, zigzags, and similar stitches for the embellishment. I considered doing some beading but decided I didn't need it to get the effect I wanted on this piece. I wish I had used thick batting instead of making it stiff like a postcard because I would like to see puffiness of the hexagons from the quilting.

The two small photo hexagons are favorites of mine. One is of the hexagon design in the snow on the chickenwire cover over my pond that I had on hand. The other was a track of my husband's work shoes on the front porch that I discovered after I had started making this piece. It was one of those "Voila!" moments when I spotted it and ran for my camera. Joe couldn't figure out what on earth I was doing. Why would a woman get so excited over a footprint. More of my "Society for the Easily Amused."

You can see what other quilters are doing for this Challenge over at the Quilt Studio blog.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Crystal's QOV Quilt Arrived

Such excitement! Crystal's quilt arrived in the mail this morning. It is absolutely gorgeous! Vicki had it wrapped so well but I had to open it and look. I didn't unfold it completely because I was afraid I'd never get it refolded so neatly but I did photograph it in the box to share with you all. Look at the great label that Vicki made and attached. It gives all the pertinent info.

My husband thinks I should set up a presentation ceremony with a photographer from the local weekly paper to take a photo . I do think the community needs to know that we have a heroic wounded woman warrior in our midst. I'll talk to her Mom and see what she thinks of that idea, and if she approves, she can help me set up a time.

This is one of the quilts that is being done for the 40 Quilts Service Project of Quilt Studio. You can see the whole quilt in Vicki's blog.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

WIP Wednesday part 2

Here is the second half of my Journal Quilt Challenge 2006 pages:

July_Hunting Fairies
September_ Granny's Flower Garden
October_ Aunt Edie's Apple Core
November_ From Granny to Rie
December_ Passing the Torch

I am so glad I took the plunge to join this challenge. I had never done anything like this, had only been making quilts for 4 years, and not many of them. I so admired the work of the Art Image Challenge and wanted to do something similar but had no self confidence at all about creating journal quilts. I had wanted to do some sort of quilt project about Granny's life and after seeing the fabric book that Debra made in the AIC , I knew I wanted to make a fabric book. This challenge gave me the ideal opportunity to put those two ideas together. (I'd like to leave a link to Debra's book but do not know if the AIC is still available online.)

I was forced to learn many new skills and techniques and don't know when I've done anything more satisfying with my creative urges. I look forward to learning and stretching and improving more this year through the 12x12 x12 Challenge. I'm even considering using some of the techniques I learned here into larger art quilts.

I realize now that while I was enthralled with quilting, I would not be happy just making traditional quilts from others patterns. I've always preferred change and learning. I prefer creation to maintenance. For proof, you would only have to look at my housekeeping, or lack thereof.

WIP Wednesday

My main WIP today is the January 12x12 project and don't want to post it until it's due later this week. Debra suggested that I show all the pages of my JQChallenge 2006 together before I assemble them into a book, so I decided this was what I'd show today.

My fabric book was designed as a tribute to my Granny who had such an impact on my life. She was a wife, mother, grandmother, quiltmaker, gardener, reader, and great cook who also compiled a family history of her pioneer ancestors. Except for the cooking, I was influenced by her in my love of reading, gardening, quiltmaking, and genealogy. She left her quilt patterns, sample blocks, and ephemera to me as I was the only family member who was interested, so I used much of this as inspiration and material for the pages of the book. I was also fortunate to fall heir to many vintage family photos, and using these photos to print onto fabric for this project has turned me onto photography as another source of material for my quilts.

I finished pages for 10 months of the year and felt that I had completed my original mission so I decided not to go back and make up the other 2 months. I finished both front and back of the pages and in some cases added additional pages to the main page. I'm going to show mainly the fronts in this post.

The months in order are: January_Lalia: Pieces of A Life
February_ Family Heritage
March_ One Flesh
April_ Sunshine & Shadow
May_ Bless My Kitchen

Can't upload the rest in this post. Stay tuned for the next post.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Da Gama Indigos

Look at these great fat quarters that I got from Grandma's Attic Quilting online. I'm in a monthly program that will send me six fat quarters of these wonderful da Gama tradtitional African Indigos from South Africa. I'm not sure what I'll do with them, yet, but I'm nuts about fabrics dyed with indigo and the traditional designs are quite attractive to me. I love blue and particularly the indigo denim color, I even dress in denim as much as possible.

I've been a member of another of their monthly fabric fat quarter clubs for a couple of years and have been very pleased with the fabrics I've received. I'ts always a big surprise and I've gotten a wide variety of fabrics. As a quilter of only 5 years, I needed to build up my stash and this way I got more variety than I'd probably get if I chose for myself. I'd probably have all red and blue batiks & florals.

I so love fabrics. Now I need to start adding some elegant fabrics for crazy quilts. I've always admired CQs and am just going to have to make at least one. I also love the glam fabrics that I have no use for otherwise. Maybe I could make a CQ vest or jacket to wear with my denims. That's what I like about denim, I can wear it with chambrey and sweat suits or with yummy fabrics.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Martha & Mary of Bethany

I've finished the blocks for weeks 45 and 46 in the Women of the Bible quilting and study group.

Martha was the older sister who was overwhelmed by the household duties necessary to prepare a meal for Jesus and the Apostles, and complained to Jesus that her sister Mary was sitting and listening to him teach instead of helping Martha. Jesus lovingly rebuked her and told her that Mary had chosen to do the right thing.

I chose a red fabric to represent Martha's strong will and green to represent her practical nature.

For Mary I used pink for her great love and aquamarine for her desire to grow spiritually by being close to Jesus and soaking up his teaching. The gold wash in both blocks always represent God's presence.

These blocks were both a combination of piecing and fused machine applique.

The stories of Martha and Mary of Bethany can be read in Luke 10 and John 11 & 12.

As I studied these women I came to realize the necessity of balancing
out the Martha and Mary nature's in me. As an oldest child I have
tended to be driven and a perfectionist who felt the need to
micromanage (control) those around me. A wise woman of age once told
me that our senior years are the time to "make our souls" and I am
thankful that I have lived long enough to appreciate what she meant. "Too
soon old, too late wise."

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

WIP Wednesday

A new year and here's what I'm working on.

The 12x12x12x12 Challenge will have it's first viewing starting January 12. I've chosen the theme "Nature Through the Seasons" and for January the gift nature has given me is snowflakes. I have a thing for hexagon shapes in quilts and snowflakes are basically hexagons. I'm fusing the main hexagons and then overlaying snowflake photos printed on silk organza and other techniques that seem appropriate to show off the snowflake designs. My designs seldom proceed from a completed design to the finished project in a straight line. I put down some ideas and then start moving them around and do a lot of looking and then the lightbulb goes on and I get additional ideas to try and move around. The actual construction of my pieces is not what takes up the most time. The time is spent in trying and looking and cogitating until it seems to fit together into a finished piece. This is amazing to me because I always thought I was one of those people who is uncomfortable making a trip without a detailed itinerary to follow on the map. Creation requires me to become a pathfinder rather than a path follower.

I'm also working on the most recent WOTB blocks, sisters Mary and Martha of the New Testament. These are more straighforward follow the pattern with the only decision on what colors to use and what piecing or applique technique to use, but these are satisfying in their own way.

My other WIP is a healthier me with a little help from my friends at the Quilter's Lounge of the Quilt Studio webring (see button on sidebar). We are improving our health and fitness through heathy eating habits, more exercise, and drinking more water. It is not easy to drink 4 quarts of water a day but I will do what I must to get the results I want. Maybe I'll be working so hard on the drinking that I won't have time to eat too much.

I had hoped to take part in Sharon B's Take a Stitch Tuesdays this
year but my arthritic hands are particularly painful, weak and stiff right now so have to delay my stitching for a while.

Hope you are all enjoying your Works in Progress.