Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Journal quilts

I made a promise to myself last month that I would make a journal quilt in February. After hearing Sarah Ann Smith at the PTQG members' meeting and seeing her inspiring quilts, I made my commitment.

Although Sarah Ann suggested an 8x11 size, I decided on an eighteen inch square. This one falls a little short of that because I didn't have a large enough piece of black fabric. One day at work when things were slow, I doodled on a piece of paper and came up with this design. I love feathers and thought I might make this the theme for my monthly journal quilts. Once I painted our bedroom a soft pink and made stencils for all different kinds of feathers. I stenciled them all over the walls and slanting ceiling in a slightly darker beigey-pink color.

I may not use feathers as my theme, but I definitely want to do wreaths. The 18 inch square will be perfect for that.

First I cut the blue round piece and then made bias tape with the yellow fabric and appliqued it around the raw edges of the blue. After that I sketched some feathers on paper. Then I played with painting feathers on the black fabric. I finally decided to fuse white fabric to the background and then paint over that.

I really like the combination of fusible applique and painting. I have had fabric paints and some paint sticks for several years now. That is what I find interesting about these journal quilts; you get to try out a new technique or tool in a small quilt. I didn't commit a lot of time or money in this piece, but it was one of the most exciting pieces I have done in a long time! Since it was so small and "unimportant", I felt free to make "mistakes" and just express myself.

I decided to add some sparkle with beads, just a few clear beads along the length of the feather. Again, I have had these beads for a long time, but have I ever used them? No.

I didn't know if stitching through the fused fabric and paint would be possible, but it went very easily. I did not use free motion, just sewed fairly slowly and really like the results. This is what the back looks like.

Weasley gives his meow of approval. I used a heavy white and light blue variegated thread, like a pearl cotton, for the stitching on the blue. The quilting is like clamshell quilting, but I used my fingertip for a pattern. I wanted an overlapping feather-like pattern.

The straight stitch quilting on the black was done with a variegated brown thread. When it was done, I thought it needed a little something extra so I added the red fringe, which I really like. It adds texture, movement, and a real punch of color. Now I have all the primary colors, so of course it looks right!

I've thought about adding more paint to this piece, such as shading the feathers in the blue center. Also, shading the squares in the black background might be interesting. However, I decided to stop as the piece felt finished when I added the red fringe. I may keep these painting ideas for my next journal month!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


This morning I went to the miniature show at the Augusta Armory. I brought home some goodies from all the treasures there. A friend of mine sells there every year and reminded me of the show last month. I forgot to put it on my calendar, but remembered it earlier this week. Usually I remember the day after, which is so annoying, isn't it?

So my treasures are: the two white chairs and white table with broken legs. The legs are taped to the bottom of the table and I feel confident I can glue them back on. If not, then I have two very nice chairs for $4.00. All these pieces are for my Anne of Green Gables dollhouse. The wash basin and jug, crock, and bean pot are all seconds from Sam Dunlop. I adore them, even if they are seconds. There is a bit of bubbling from the glaze on the inside of each piece, but I don't care!

The hooked rug will look very nice in the parlor, which has green and pink wallpaper. The whatnot shelves will also go in the parlor. The desk/washstand will go in either Anne or Marilla's bedroom.

The dollhouse is meant to be 1900-ish, probably without electricity since this is rural Prince Edward Island. I don't want it to be too fancy or too Victorian. I am looking for a sofa, since Anne is always flinging herself down on the sofa. Remember when Diana drinks the currant wine? She needs a sofa to loll on for that!

A sofa in the kitchen would be appropriate, too. I remember visiting friends in Newfoundland in the 1970s and they had a wooden sofa that was handmade years ago. I remember a friend in Nova Scotia called her sofa a Chesterfield. Probably a Chesterfield in the kitchen was a kind of day bed for relaxing after lunch or supper, when the kitchen was warm in the winter and the parlor was too cold and only used for special occasions.

It will be fun to make some miniature quilts for the beds. Some knit shawls would be a good idea, too.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sharing Inspiration

Saturday was the Pine Tree Quilt Guild members' meeting in Augusta. We had a business meeting in the morning. I sat with my friends from Back Road Quilters and had a fun day. After lunch Sarah Ann Smith of Camden gave a talk on journal quilts. She had her journal quilts from 2006 with her and plenty of slides. It was an inspiring lecture and left me wanting to try my hand at it.

Some people make a commitment to create a weekly journal quilt, others a monthly quilt. Sarah Ann suggests a size of 8 x 11 as small enough to get it done, but not too small. Neither too big or to small, but just right. These journal quilts are meant to be explorations of techniques or ideas. She showed us other quilt artists work in her slides. They explored themes such as feathers, landscapes, portraits, but you could also do shells, leaves, numbers, whatever interests you. What do you collect? Start with that. I've got an idea and would like to (ahem) commit to once a month. My art quilt workshop seems to have gone by the wayside. Let's see if I can revive it with this journal.

More to share: William Morris in Applique by Michele Hill due out Jan. 2009. Take a look at Michele's blog. I think I've been bitten by the applique bug! I am really enjoying working on the blocks from Marie Henry's Teach Yourself Blocks from the Past. I finished one block at the quilt (the pomegranates in the top right picture)meeting yesterday and started another today(the green fleur de lis). I like the 125% size, but realized yesterday that I will have my work cut out for me in resizing the patchwork blocks, too. Oh, I can do that, right? I'll be like Scarlett O'Hara and worry about that tomorrow.

Jan Krentz
is coming to our PTQG May meeting! I have her Lone Star Quilts and Beyond. It has been in the back of my mind (what a cluttered place that is) to make a Lone Star quilt for quite some time. Jan will be giving different classes on Friday and Sunday and a lecture at our members' meeting on Saturday. She will be teaching a class from her new book Quick Star Quilts and Beyond. PTQG members will be the first to have a class based on this new book!

I really enjoy podcasts and want to share some of my favorites with you.
Alex Anderson's Quilt Connection
Annie's Quilting Stash...the first podcast for quilters
Sew Forth Now...all about sewing
Cast On...Brenda Dayne on knitting
Sticks and String by an Australian bloke who knits...worth it for his accent alone!
and of course, KnitPicks!

Well, the cats, DH, and the fire all need to be fed. So long until next time!