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My Creative Journal

February 1 - 3

Corner house

Making the pattern

New month, new quilt. The first time I came to Frederick, the first house I noticed was this one in the corner of Market and Clarke Streets. So I had to make a quilt of it. I spent the last three days making a pattern of the house in the computer. I'm having an artist existential crisis. I want to make my art more abstract and loose but still be recognizeable. I like piecing better than applique, which means I need a pattern and I keep going too representational. I spent awhile erasing lines but I think I didn't achieve what I was looking for.

February 4 Return to top

The real work begins...


Today I decided to just jump in and start sewing and not bother so much with tweeking the pattern. First I pulled out the fabrics that I thought would be good to use for this quilt. I want a night scene because I want to play with the effect of light coming thru the windows. For this quilt I plan to use the colors of the house. I think in the future I may play around with different color variations. Again, trying to get away from representational art. That bright spot in one of the fabrics is a moon in a Halloween print. I will use the grey parts of the fabric for the roof. I'm trying to use mostly solids for this one but I couldn't say no to that grey and gold print.

February 7 Return to top

The Tower


I started by piecing the tower. That is the part of the house that comes out closer than the rest of the house so I thought of using print fabric for the tower and solids for the rest of the house. As I was putting it together I realized that I can make it really stand out if I make it into a separate "quilt" that sits on top of the rest of the quilt. So this section is its own separate quilt with batting and backing that I will applique on top of the house.

February 8 Return to top


The value of value

I added the sky from a batik fabric that gradates from purple to red representing a sunsetting night sky. I used the Halloween fabric for the roof of the house. There is not enough value contrast so I will be unsewing the roof tomorrow and using a lighter fabric.

February 9 Return to top

new value roof more progress

New roof installed

Changed the roof today and I'm happier about it. Don't like unsewing but sometimes it is needed. It not, it would bother me every time i look at it. I also made more progress on the house. I like the look of the solid fabrics although I'm not too happy because it looks dark and sad. Hopefully light in the windows will help but that comes at the end.

February 10 Return to top

left side done

More progress

I finished the left side of the house. It is divided into big sections that are not together yet but it is basically done. The right side eventho it is smaller, it is trickier. Hope I can get it done in a day or two.

The entire quilt is going to be 16" x 16". Im trying to work smaller to get more work done and also to make it more affordable since it will take less time. Or that is the idea anyway. It seems to be taking me quite sometime to construct this.

February 12 Return to top

little pieces

Teenie tiny pieces

When drafting the pattern for these quilts, I try to make pieces as big and simple as possible but sometimes you need to pieces these really tiny pieces. Some of them are about 1/2 inch wide. It takes patience but it is worth it to get the little details.

February 15 Return to top

house tower side view

Quilt top finished

Today I got the quilt top finished and ready to quilt. The windows are going to be cut out after it is quilted. It looks so dark and gloomy right now. Hopefully cutting out the windows will help. The tower is its own separate "quilt" that will be appliqued on top of the house so it will physically stand out, a little 3D effect. I think I have reached a wall and I need to take a break from this quilt. I need some brightness in my life. Something not so structured a more free is in order.

February 16 Return to top

messy table clean table

Clearing my head and table

I'm done with the piecing of the house quilt and I have decided to start a different project because I need a break. The best way to clear my head and get in a new state of mind is to clear my table of all the scraps from the last project. Clean slate. Ahhh! It looks so nice and tidy. It will be a mess in a couple hours. Yeah, I started cleaning during the day and ended up at night.

February 18 Return to top


New project, new fabric

So I need to do something completely different. I'm going to work on an abstract piece now. There is a semi-circle shape that keeps showing up in my head and it has a lot of design possibilities. So that's what I'm going to try out. One of the things that got me in a funk about the last quilt was that it was very dark. So this time I'm going to make a light quilt with some bright colors. Looking in my stash I found this fabric that is not the regular cotton I work with. I think it is linen but I'm bad at identifying fabrics so who knows. This will make an interesting background.

February 19 Return to top


Got blocks, ready to play

After several failed attempts at piecing semicircles, I finally got them. I made the semi-circles from a pack of hand dyed cotton fabrics from Tuscan Rose in Paducah that has a great color combination. I made a few of them, maybe 20. Tomorrow I'll start laying them out and see what I come up with. Have some ideas.

February 20 Return to top

semicircles layout

And just like that... a new design is born

Well this was kind of magical. I just laid out the blocks on the design wall and they just fell into place. This was the first thing I laid out and I think it looks great. It's not what I had mind but I'll take it. There are a few things I will fix and add but I think it's looking good. And for the first time, I already had some quilting ideas in my head. I usually dread the quilting part (I know that sounds weird) but I'm looking forward to quilting this.

February 21 Return to top

Always the contrast...

The problem I'm having with the house quilt is the clors. A friend told me to take a picture in Phtoshop and play with the colors. I did and this was one of the results. The colors are hidious but what made me realize is that it is the contrast of the house and the background that is bothering me. So today I removed some of the pink background and tested different darker fabrics. I may have to do a trip to the fabric store.

photoshop color tweaking darker backround

February 22 Return to top

Should I open the windows?

My idea for the windows is a new idea and it is a little complicated. It may be too much. Kind of gimmicky... So I decided to try it out on a smaller piece before trying it out on the quilt that I have been working on for a month. The idea is to have the quilt hang in front of a frame and in the frame have battery-powered lights. In the quilt, the windows will be cut out and a thinner fabric would go in the whole so the quilt looks good with the lights off but the light will come thru when they are on. I gave it a try on a small piece and I like the effect. Should I do it in the big quilt? I think I will.

light off light on

February 23 Return to top

Stitch Draw Book

Thread sketching

And just because I don't have enough ideas in my head (sarcasm), I want to include thread sketches on my quilts. It would be cool since I'm working on all these houses to have people walking around on the sidewalk and the outline of cars and next door houses maybe gardens... Oh my... I have never been good at drawing. All my patterns are usually traced from photographs. I bout this book to practice drawing with the sewing machine. Maybe it will be another tool in the toolbox. Here we go...

February 25 Return to top

quilting plans winner
First thread sketch

Quilting planning...

Since the begining of this quilt I have had an idea of how I want to quilt it. Just in case another idea pops up, I did a few quilting sketches to see what worked better. I found a winner. Tthe shapes remind me of birds so quilting feathers is very appropiate. It wasn't my original plan but close.

Also gave thread sketching a try. Not bad for beign the first try.

February 27 Return to top

Laying out the quilt sandwich

Ready for quilting

This is the part us quilters call "laying out the quilt sandwich". When the quilt top is sewn together, You lay abacking fabric which will be the back of the quilt, on a flat surface. They lay the batting and the quilt top goes on top. The three layers are secured somehow, I used safety pins, and then the quilt is ready to be quilted. For this design I'm quilting the feathers with free-motion quilting and then straight lines on the background.

quilting feathers straight lines

February 28 Return to top

Drawing practice

According to the book, it is a good idea to get better at drawing with a pencil and then try using the sewing machine. So I'm trying...

house house drawing