Friday, December 3, 2010

Organized Space, organized mind!

I have made another quilt in my square series, but found myself constantly being distracted by other shapes. I tried other quilts, but nothing worked out the way I wanted, so I am going to keep that shape in the back of my mind for the future. I am finding it so interesting to work with squares, and simple quilts. I can see myself sticking with this series, and staying away from other distractions for awhile. I was never able to stick with one series at a time, but now I see how I can work in a series, and just concentrate on that one idea. Going off into another idea seems to result in a less focused effort.

I have made changes to my studio space, and have moved the futon out to another room. I had space to put in a separate cutting table, and I love having a table that is taller and bigger, and I can cover it with cutting mats. I bought plastic containers for all my scraps, and have a separate one for each color: how organized!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Black & White

After making 2 quilt tops, I finally felt I had found a good direction to go, but felt frustrated with color. So I decided to go to black and white. What a relief not to have to think about color, but just design. I made 2 black and white quilt tops in the last few days, and am ready to continue, until I run out of fabric! Maybe then I will be ready to tackle color contrasts. I could see I was beginning to use too many medium color fabrics. When I look at my fabric choices, I see I have darks, lights, and brights but I seem to not be using them!

I have also been using my sketchbook to try out ideas, and to help me find ways to start the black and white quilts. In this one, I divided the top into 3 parts, and worked in one section at a time, then put them together. I had to go back and change some of the sections, but dividing the quilt into parts is a good way to work in a quilt that is not going to be made into blocks.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

This is what I have been working on the last few days. I have spent a couple of weeks sending our youngest son off to a first job, feeling happy for him, and a little strange as he leaves home for the final time!
I spent at least a week trying to figure out something: putting fabric up on the design wall, later taking it down, trying to make something work. I made one quilt top that I was OK with, and went on to something else. This one is not sewn together, but the T shape has been interesting to work with, and something I will continue with. I spent a lot of time dyeing fabric, but when I start designing, I never seem to have enough colors.

I have quilts in several shows and locations, including Quilt National! I entered 3 quilts for the first time, and got in. That quilt has been sent off to be photographed for the book that goes with the show, which begins May 28th. Starting November 1st, I will have several quilts exhibited at the Prospect Heights Library, in their lobby. I have a quilt in the show Quilts=Art=Quilts, at the Schweinfurth Gallery, in Auburn, NY which begins October 31st.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What's New

I started another quilt in this series with the idea of using fewer colors. I ended up adding a few colors, and taking some out. Then I needed to figure out a design. In the meantime, I made a pillow with 2 of the leftover blocks. So that led, of course, to using that layout in the quilt.

I really love these squares, but I am going to go on to work on something else and come back to this. There is a lot more that can be done with squares!

I just found out one of my City quilts was accepted into the quilt show: Quilts=Art=Quilts, at the Schweinburth Gallery in Auburn NY, starting November 1st. This is a series I had struggled with, but have always loved, and it is gratifying to have others like it too.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

On my design wall...

This is what I have been working on this week: 2 series of quilts. The second, is back to a design I remember enjoying. I liked making the little squares, putting them together and then putting them into a bigger design. I was going to try to do something different than before, but I found myself putting the small squares into bigger squares to make blocks, and even thinking about borders! Agh! So I have a plan for the next one, and that will be to join the small blocks into rows, and maybe that will help me avoid squaring things up too much. I love all the colors! I started with a bag of scraps I was about the throw out and now I have used up quite a bit of my little scraps.

The other quilt was the result of wanting to work with big shapes and combine curves and straight lines. I finally got it to work in a way I like. It reminds me of bowls. I have a collection of pottery bowls, and wooden boxes too. I want to continue this too, and will keep using this bowl shape.

I have spent a little time dyeing this week-my fabric bins are almost full, but now I see I need more off-whites, and golds of all shapes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I have a Plan!

I have recovered the small futon in my studio with some fabric I found at IKEA. It was hard to resist since it has my favorite color: orange! I recovered 2 pillows also, but need to find more fabric in solid colors.I am finding it to be the perfect place to work on my laptop, and write ideas in my sketchbook.

I have been trying different ideas, trying to come up with a plan and today I think I have something that will work. I am going to do 2 series, one in a method I used to do. I know squares and log cabin type quilts are done over and over, but I love squares, and want to see what more I can do with them. The second series I am going to do is to challenge myself to use shapes that are not square! I want to use large pieces, that are curved. And a by product of that is the machine quilting: what can I do that is different?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Studio Space

I have just about finished the move to a new studio space. I decided to paint the walls white, and use accessories and fabric to brighten it up. The room is small, and it was hard at the end to figure out where to put things. The hardest job was going through all my quilts from the past 3 years and reorganizing them on rolls, and labeling. It is hard to look through work you have done, and feeling there are just some things you don't like at all! But it has been 3 years of learning what I want to say, and I feel now I am working slower and more thoughtful--and have a nice room to do it in! I plan to have something to show at the end of the week. One thing that has worked out well, is that I have a nice big design wall to work on, but have to work on the lighting situation more.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back Again!

I guess I needed a break! There was a lot going on for me last spring, and I felt confused as to what quilts I should be showing on my blog. I always feel like fall is the beginning of the year, and although I don't have anyone going back to school this fall, I am ready to have time to get a lot of Art done. I was accepted into the Illinois Artisans Program, so I have 2 quilts in the shop at the Southern Illinois Art & Artisan Shop. In the early summer I made a few small quilts as I decided which ones I should send.

Last week I realized we have an extra room, just sitting there empty, except for the occasional guest. So I am taking it over, and moving my art from a corner of the laundry room, to a new space! I have been excited thinking over where everything will go, and trying to figure out where to put the things that are in there now. I can't wait to get started, although since I plan to paint, I know it will be a lot of work. It is a small room, but at least I will have a door I can shut, and a (small) space of my own-finally!

Does anyone have an opinion on paint color? I suppose it should be white...

Monday, March 22, 2010

City: Spring

Since my last post I have made several quilts that I decided to abandon before finishing, feeling that they just did not say what I wanted to say, or they used an old technique I was not happy with. When that happens I find it is best to just admit it and move on! I then begin again, first finding a focus, a group of colors. I have made a few in this series since then, but will just show this one. Taking a picture and seeing it on my computer really helps me see it a little more objectively.

I also am getting ready for a show in April at the Raue Performing Arts Center in Crystal Lake, IL. I have started choosing which quilts will be in this exhibit: I have to show at least half of the six quilts I submitted. I was able to find room for 2 new quilts, and several that are small.

In May I will be taking an independent study class from Nancy Crow, so I want to bring some quilts along I can show there. I would like to be courageous and get some specific feedback from her! I think that is what I need right now. I am enjoying this series I have started, and feel quite obsessed with what I am doing. I hope that is a good sign!

I also have a show of some of my quilts at the Elmwood Park Library. I may have scheduled too much at once, but I think if I am organized, it will work. Luckily when I visited the library I found I do not need many quilts. It will be a busy spring!

Fiber TwentyTen

This quilt was chosen for the show Fiber TwentyTen, in St. Charles,MO. The show runs from April 2 - May 14, 2010 with the reception on Friday April 16.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Finished QAWM

I used up some of the strips to make a border, and the quilt is about 60x70. I used the rest of the strips to make the binding. I did the best I could without many light colors! I do have some more fabric left in my stash to try something else.

What was Left and Street after Street

This quilt was made in January, but I just realized I forgot to put up a picture of it. As I look at it, I remember the roundabout way it came to be. I had originally laid background pieces up on the design wall, in different shades of gold/bronze shades. But as you can see, nothing came of that! I did make a block using some of the shades, adding just a few other colors, and black and white. I like the colors against the golds, and the yellow and black. I went back to a method of sewing strips together, then cutting them up and reconfiguring them.

What was Left, the top quilt, came after thinking I was going to work in 4 colors, using 3 shades of each. That became frustrating, and I gave up, and decided to do what felt right! I put up a few pieces of fabric, in large pieces, which just felt good to me. I may have gone to far, as this is quite stark, but to me it has reminded me of the way I want to work right now. I feel a need to show shapes and colors in big sizes and make them relate through the lines that join them.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

QAWM finished

I couldn't get the whole quilt in the photo. It is about 55" x 65". Last week I changed the layout of the quilt each time I walked past my design wall. Friday I settled on a vertical orientation. I cut some of the half pieces in half too. I feel I had such limitations on value, that making blocks seemed to be too busy. And even this seems pretty wild! But that is what happens when you are using up what you have. I may try to add some type of border, and I need a backing fabric. It has been fun seeing what everyone has come up with.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I have made about 14 blocks for my project, and see that I don't have any really light fabric, so I will go along with what I have. The plan is to cut the blocks in half, and this is the first layout I came up with. I am only using a few different colors of hand-dyed fabric. I can see that I will have to move things around more if I use this layout.

Monday, February 1, 2010

In Search of Sun

In this quilt I challenged myself to use yellow. Maybe it was an unconscious reaction to the lack of sun in Chicago (7 days of no sun!), but it was a realization that I want to learn to work with other colors. It started out lighter, but needing a contrast, I used a beautiful dark blue I had recently dyed.

I am taking part in Melody's quilt project. (Fibermania) As I went through my small stash of fabric I realized that if I used all the greens and purples/reds, I would clear out half a drawer, and have used up a lot of fabric that had just been sitting around. I am adding light greens and shades of purple from my hand-dyed fabric. It has been such a good feeling to clear out that fabric. But as I read Mel's start to her quilt, I am reminded that every quilt seems to have the same set of ups and downs until the end! At first you are excited about your idea, then you run into frustration, then you solve that and feel good, and so it goes. I have found that if I just go along with it, things work out somehow, and frustration leads to some type of solution.
I have not used many fabrics lately that are not hand-dyed, but I found I have a lot of Kaffe Fassett and batik. I will post later pictures of the beginning of my quilt.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Running Late for the Train

Remembering something from Nancy Crow's workshops, I took pictures of the process of making this quilt. I am glad I came up with a design I liked, because this quilt has come a long way. I can see now as I looked back over the stages I went through, I needed a focus. I started with the horizontal blue and white, since I tend to start with vertical pieces, then try to add horizontal later. The red log cabin block seems to grab my eye as I look at it.
I have decided to come up with more creative names too. Since art quilters are encouraged to work in a series, the names tend to become numbers. I related that to music where a composer will use the name, sonata No. 1 in G. But I began to forget which quilt is which when I used names like that, so I have started to use names that come to me as I am working on a quilt. Yesterday I looked through a book of poems and found phrases that I liked that might be used as a name for a quilt.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

first quilt of 2010

I started this quilt in December, but finished it recently. I used a cross hatch typed of quilting, and now feel I am not liking how that looks, at least on my quilts. After spending last week dyeing fabric, reorganizing fabric, going through quilting magazines, I feel ready for the new year! I started a quilt this week, and am quilting it now, but it reminds me of how I am thinking more about how I machine quilt. I have read what others think, and respect what they say, but want to come up with my own theory for myself. Also, I think lately I have stuck with the same colors! So finally the sun is out and it makes you look at the world a little differently.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I was so involved with how to get my quilts hung, that I wasn't prepared for the feeling of seeing a group of them all displayed together! I have 7 quilts in the gallery at the Wellness Center at Northwest Community Hospital, Arlingon Heights, IL. It was hard to hang them using the system set up for other kinds of art work, but I did get it to work, and then I realized I had not seen any of my quilts all together like this before.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I know this is a terrible photo, but I don't have a good place to take a picture! So I will show you anyway, with apologies.

I have spent the week getting pictures of all my quilts off the computer and putting them in a book with names and dimensions so I have a way to see them all. I have a couple of gallery shows coming up in the spring, and I thought this would help me figure out what quilt to put where. I am sure there is a more high tech way of doing this, but this works for me. And I like having something to hold and page through. I have one more quilt to take a picture of, and one more to finish. I also hung 7 quilts at the Wellness Center at the Northwest Community Hospital (Arlington Heights, IL) as part of a gallery program I am in. They will be on display until April 4th. I will post a picture of that too.
All images and works are property of Gail Baar, and cannot be used without her permission. ©