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My Creative Journal

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January 1

Quilled framed flower

Quilled Flower

Puertorricans celebrate Three Kings Day. Some call then the Three Wise Men or Epiphany. Its just a smaller Christmas. Parents tell their kids that the Three Kings are poor, which doesn't make any sense. How can kings be poor? But that's what they say because they come after Santa Claus and parents can't afford a lot of gifts. Anyway... I have to get gifts for my family so I made this quilled flower for my niece. She gave me my first quilling kit so I thought I should make something for her.

January 2 Return to top

20's coat

Hillwood Estate

Today I went to Hillwood Estate in DC. It was the home of the heiress of the Post (as in cereals) fortune. It is a very cool place to visit and its probably better in the Spring when the gardens are blooming. But going at this time was good because they had beautifully decorated Christmas trees everywhere. She lived during the roaring 20's (my favorite era) so there was a lot of really cool dresses of the era and she collected art from around the world.

christmas tree christmas tree
20's dress 20's dress 20's dress

January 3 Return to top

New direction

Trying Something New

I can never follow a pattern. I always want to change it in some way to make it my design. I took a workshop with Tighe Flanagan and got his Ottoman Rings pattern (the circles in this design). His design is a repetition of the same block. I want to make something different (and I'm already tired of piecing this complicated blocks). So I'm adding some straigh lines and see where they take me.

January 4 Return to top

Simple Lines Catalog

Simple Lines Catalog

It is always nice to see your work in print. Today I received the catalog for the Simple Lines exhibit. It is very well made and the pictures look great. This exhibit is organized by the Studio Art Quilters Association DC, MD, WV Region. I'm honored to be part of this cool exhibit and to be living in a very interesting part of the country.

January 5 Return to top

Simple Lines Catalog

More potholders...

Since I made something for one niece for her Three Kings Day present, I need to make something for her sister. She is moving out of her parents house and into her first real grown up house. So I made her something she can use in the new place. She is obsessed with the color yellow and with thunderbolts so the decision was easy.

January 8 & 10 Return to top

going in circles more circles

Running into design obstacles

Been spending the past few days playing around with this design and it is driving me crazy. Maybe I should put it away for awhile and come back to it later.

January 12 Return to top

Running out of fabric

Running out of fabric

I bought a yard for this quilt top thinking it was going to be plenty. This three pieces is what is left over. I usually don't buy big amounts of fabric because I use many small pieces of different fabrics in my quilts. This one is different so I miscalculated. Should have thought about the fact that I never follow instructions... Anyhow, now I have to go searching for more. Thankfully I bought it recently and saved the selvage so I know the name.

January 13 Return to top

All this running, led me somewhere

Olympic athletes

Today I learned an art lesson. Keep an open mind, you never know where ideas, even bad ones, will take you. Last night I was Facetiming with my mom and I showed her the quilt I'm working on. She saw it and the first thing she said "oh the Olympic Rings!". I guess people always want to find meaning in a design. What does this mean? It can't just be "because it looks cool". Also, my family is big on the Olympics. My grandfather was the vicepresident of the Olympic Committee in Puerto Rico. When I heard my mom say that I got upset. I don't want it to look like the Olympics! So the rest of the night I was in a bad mood and didn't want anything to do with the quilt. I was going to put it away and declare it a WIP (work in progress) that may never get finished.

In the morning I woke up and laying in bed I keep thinking about it. Why I don't go with the Olympic theme? Hmmm... It may be a silly idea but let's give it a try. As a graphic designer, I have always liked those icons for the different sports. I could applique little athletes doing their sports around the circles and bars. Thanks Mom.

January 14 Return to top

Villa del Encanto

Villa del Encanto

In my other like I'm a graphic and web designer. My sister and her husband bought two houses in Costa Rica that they are turning into an AirBnB. I am designing a logo for the houses. I got in my head a butterfly because it is two houses side by side like butterfly wings and Costa Rica has a lot of beautiful butterflies. Of course, my sister is boring so she doesnt like the butterfly so she is just going to use the text.

January 15 Return to top

Athletes

The athletes move in

I made small appliques of the Olympic sports icons and spread them around the quilt top. I got to admit. It looks pretty cool. I don't like appliqueing that much but this is just a little so I'll power thru. The few people that I have shown it to ask me where did I find the little people. BTW, see that little corner on the left without background fabric? That is the only extra fabric I need! I did find it and it is on the way.

January 16 Return to top

Hate my photos

me me

An exhibit I'm in, asked me for photos of myself in front of my work. I hate pictures of myself but I guess it is necessary sometimes. I should post more pictures of myself to see if I get more comfortable with it. I read from some quilter, I think it was Zak Foster that he finishes a quilt, he always takes a picture of himself in front of it to kind of have a memory of him at that point in time. That sounds like a good idea I may try.

January 21 Return to top

label

Quilt top finished. Now the back.

I finished the quilt top and today I pieced the back. Because I don't usually buy big pieces of fabric, I usually don't have a piece big enough for the back of my quilt. I used that opportunity to use the fabric that is not so pretty and I will probably wont use. It sometimes makes for some interesting backs. People often say "oh I almost like the back as much as the front", which is not a good thing to say. It also gives me a chance to include the label as part of the pieced back. I print my labels in my regular Epson printer on cotton fabric.

January 23 Return to top

In the ditch

With the quilt sandwiched (quilt top + batting + backing) and basted, is time to quilt it. The first thing I do usually is quilt-on-the-ditch. That means quilting right on the seams. If you do it well, You can't see it. So why do it? It is a very subtle effect but it gives definition to your piecing.

no qod with qod

In the back you can see the stitching better. It outlines the piecing in the front. After quilting in the ditch, I did a row of echo quilting around each shape. Echo quilting is quilting outside the shape mirroing the shape. In this case, it is 1/2" away from the edge of the shape.

from the back echo quilting

January 28 Return to top

diagonal quilting

Quilting diagonals

Now the quilting is almost done but there are big areas that don't have shapes that need to be quilted. I thought about quilting a diagonal grid but then decided to just quilt diagonal lines that point to the center to guide the eye of the viewer. Also, I've been thinking of giving it to my niece as a graduation present. She is always cold so I think she would like to use it as a lap quilt instead of a wall hanging. Therefore I don't want it to be too heavily quilted and that way it is softer.

January 29 Return to top

kitchen quilt

Kitchen Quilt Collaboration

I was going thru my quilt storage and found this quilt that I made in the late 90's. It was a collaboration with Timna Tarr. We were members of the same quilt guild in Massachussetts while I was going to college. We were both getting started in quilting and we were both the yougest members of this guild that had maybe around 50 members. We where both in our twenties and everyone else was about 25 years older than us so naturally, we connected. One day we decided to make a quilt together. We met at her house for dinner to plan out what we were going to do. We decided we were going to split up a photo, each one would work on different sections and later put them together. While we were trying to figure out what picture to use, we looked at the mess in the kitchen. Took a picture and that was it.

We cut up the photo in four and each of us worked in two sections. After that we sewed them together and she quilted them. I don't think we ever did anything with the quilt afterwards. Maybe we showed it at the local quilt show? It was a fun project and it brought us closer together. And made us practice our sewing skills which were pretty rudementary back then. It also made us think outside of the traditional quilt box. Amazing the directions our lives have taken after that quilt. But I'm glad the thread between us hasn't broken in all these years.

January 30 Return to top

binding

Binding

Finally the last step to finish the quilt, the binding! It is a boring task that most quilters hate but I kind of like it because it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I usually attached the bidning by machine but doing it by hand gives it a nicer finish and it heps me catch up on 90 day fiancee. Awful, I know but it is my guilty pleasure.

January 31 Return to top

quilt finished

It's all about the journey

This is done! Perfect timing. Last day of the month. I can't believe I started this quilt in October! It didn' take me 3 months of non stop work. There where a lot of things that got in the way but I'm glad I finished it. Just in time for the Olympics to start. As the quilt says It's all about the journey, not the outcome. I need to remind myself of that more often. It's 37" square.