out of commission

It began with my photo of Dad's hayrake as it lay rusting behind the shed.  As always, these old things bring back a flood of memories.  Dad is no longer here to hook it up to the tractor and it has been out of commission for years.  The old farm implements intrigue me in their complicated simplicity.

All wheels keep turning in some respects,
 whether out of commission or not.  

A Glimmer

Where to begin.  My week at Arrowmont will forever live large in my mind.  Not only does this facility have a grand work space for fabric arts, but there are nice accomodations (read nice dorm rooms & bath) in a pristine setting.  Spending the days with fellow textile artists, a brilliant teacher, and meeting other like minded artisans was simply inspirational. I was so taken with the experience that I neglected to take many photos.  Elizabeth summed up the classroom experience very well, so I won't go on about the virtues of Arrowmont here.   If you are reading, please take the time to jump over to Elizabeth's blog  to read about and see all the good stuff.

the last day at Arrowmont

Not having an art education, I had hoped to learn a bit about abstract art, and learn I did.  I must say that Elizabeth Barton is among the best instructors I have ever had the pleasure of listening to and learning from.  When I left my home design wall for Arrowmont, I jokingly wondered if I might return to this design

and make it into something more abstract.  I decided that was a good idea, but first, this one is taking up too much room in my studio and I really want to finish it up before I hop on the abstracting bandwagon.   

Here are a couple more photos on my Arrowmont design wall.

value sketches 

this design in hand dyed fabrics is the value design from the top right sketch,
all pinned and ready to be sewn & quilted.
Oh and disregard that funky, goldish strip to the right - I couldn't delete it.  
More photos to come when blogger and my internet connection are more cooperative.

Off I go to begin reading the book that my postman just delivered.  "The History of Modern Art" by H. H. Aronson.  (I ordered two editions of it, among others, after discovering it in the library at Arrowmont)  I know it is an oldie, but I thought it was a goodie.  While browsing through the huge volume, I was thrilled to discover all sorts of grand surprises.  


I am headed off to the Smoky Mountains for a week at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.  And more specifically, a week long workshop with one of my favorite textile artists, Elizabeth Barton.  Rumour has it that Elizabeth is one of the best teachers around. If you read her blog, you will see that she not only has a wicked sense of humor, but is a brilliant scholar and textile artist.  All in all, this should make for a most inspirational  week.  I don't get abstract art at all, but hope to come to a better understanding and be able to produce something decent during the week.
To top it off, I am going into this class less prepared that any of the other 3 workshops I have had.  I decided to approach this one from another angle. I am not going to practice her techniques, read volumes on abstract art, etc, etc, etc.  I am going to clear my mind of any preconceptions of abstract art, just chill and try to absorb all Ms. Barton has to offer.

Wish me luck as I leave my latest representational project on my design wall.

Hmmm, reckon I'll return from this experience and abstract this?

Maybe the workshop will guide me in the right direction with my little hexie project.  I have altered the design yet again.  At least I made these changes before I sewed all those little buggers together.

Walking among the trees,

I always take note of a dead cedar tree.
Mostly grey and sad in appearance.
Decided to give it another life
A bit happier, not so gloomy.  

It was  more difficult than I imagined.
Revival is often difficult, I guess.


Back from my whirlwind trip to Italy, full of new ideas, sensory overload, unable to settle down and start something new (well, sorta). I committed, (yet again) to get some pieces finished.  So stick a fork in 'er, she's done!  44" x 68" of heavy quilting.  

This old gravel road is long gone.  
I had taken lots of photos before everything changed on the farm and chose to document some of my memories in fabric.  A sign of changing times, new roads to be traveled, out with the old, in with the new, 
you get my drift.  

So, since I am not able to totally commit to machine quilting for hours on end, I did play around with some more ideas on the side.  
A couple of months ago, I got waylaid by 3/4" hexies.  Hundreds of hexies later, and several design idea changes, I am hand piecing (gasp) in a semi improv fashion.  I think I will call it "secret garden".
currently approximately 33" x 30ish and growing.

And then, there's the boxes of solids strips still hanging around from the Nancy Crow workshop last year.  Cannot seem to get them out of my system.  As if I don't use them, it will be a total waste.  Time to change that thought, doncha think?  Oh well, I did have a flashback idea as I was digging through those boxes waiting for something brilliant to happen.  The sights of Venice, Pisa, Sienna, Florence, Rome worked it's way into this.

the colors are not showing up correctly on my computer ,
(read terribly off),  so

I thought it might be a good idea to change it to gray tones to see how
 the design and values are working.
yet to be determined.

The ideas are still flowing.  Maybe I can stick to one of these for a finish before I begin another.  hahahahahahahaha


It all began innocently enough.  Last Saturday I rejoined the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild.  First let me just say that this is one fun group of ladies.  They even handed out goodie bags from their visit to Quilt Con in Austin, TX.  In my goodie bag was a little package of precut 3/4" hexagon patterns and 2" inch squares of fabric, along with instructions on English paper piecing.  At the top of the instruction page was the warning.  "Addicting and Contagious!"  Yeah right, I thought to myself.  I do not. hand. sew. anything. anymore.  Way too slow for my lack of patience.  But then, as I was sitting in front of my sewing machine, contemplating how to proceed with the quilting on my totally machine made tree quilt,

                           I was somehow distracted by that little package of hexies.
Okay, just for the heck of it, let me just see what the internet hoopla is all about.
  Before I could blink twice, I was hexed!  

I quickly checked the instruction page to find out how to order my own set of precut hexie patterns. Being the impatient person that I am, I proceeded to google hexagon printable patterns.  To my delight, there were all sorts of available patterns.  Instant gratification, almost.  I still have to patiently hand cut all those little hexies.  So why not increase the size.  Easier to cut, to sew, for faster quilt finish.  

But those darn 3/4 inchers are so darn cute.

After printing out a couple of pattern pages, I patiently and precisely as I possibly could, cut out the paper patterns.  After a night of watching "Call the Midwives",  "Mr. Selfridge", and "The Borgias", practicing patience has paid off.  

I must say that no matter how painful my arthritic hands might be, the mental joy, calmness and satisfaction outweigh that pain.  Patience, is indeed, a virtue that I need to practice more often.  

It seems a strange coincidence that I opened up my email box on Tuesday morning and saw the latest newsletter from Robert Genn regarding patience.  
Time to slow down and smell the proverbial roses, methinks.   
For now, back to the machine quilting.

I just cannot wait to make more hexies. I may be "watching" more TV in the coming days.

It's a never ending battle in my mind  . . . . . 

New Ways vs. Old Ways

I tried a new technique with this project.  Rather than dividing the pattern into often oddly shaped pieces, I opted for panels.  Let me tell you, it really made a big difference when sewing all the sections together.  All the panels lined up perfectly (well perfectly for me) and was quite a bit easier to stitch together.  

"The Old Road to Home", measures 45" x 70" unquilted.  

The gray geese are also sewn together and ready to be quilted.  Now to get this one quilted as well as it's mate, the bird house.  Methinks these guys will get along well together.  

Now to get busy with the quilting part.  I do know I want to use silk batting for light, summer quilts.  What I don't yet know, what to use for the backs.  Try as I may to choose a softer, neutral, perhaps solid backing, I keep pulling out all sorts of my old large scale, patterned Alexander Henry fabrics.  Can an old girl ever get on board with the new ways?