This week, I felt very strongly the need to finish the blocks I have been making to remember the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas. It wasn’t on my To Do List this week and I’ve let the blocks sit for weeks on end without picking them up so they could have sat another week. But, when I stilled myself and questioned “What should I work on?” “The Vegas blocks” was the answer. As I worked on them, I still thought, “Gee, I really should do some of the things on my list” and I heard the answering thought, “No, you’re so close. Keep going.” So I did. I kept going, finished putting together the rows, and posted the picture of the finished blocks on Instagram:
I received a comment on my post from someone who lost her friend that day that it was the anniversary of her death. I didn’t realize. I wasn’t paying attention to what day it was or the fact that the anniversary was coming up, I was just responding to that feeling that there was nothing more important for me to do than to finish those blocks. And though I didn’t realize the significance, it was important that I finish them so that I could convey to a grieving friend that her loved one was not forgotten on a day that she may have been feeling her pain more intensely. I didn’t question where I was being led. I just followed and now I know why.
I created this fabric to be the background of an upcoming project and have made it available on Spoonflower if anyone else would like some. It’s in 50 pt gray Sans Serif font on a white background. This one prints Portrait style, which means that the words will be right-side up when the fabric is 36″ x 42″ long. I made a Landscape version as well, but have not yet gotten a proof yard of it so it is not yet available for purchase. Please let me know if you are interested.
The words were used on signs during the Women’s Marches in 2017.
I started a new tradition last year of writing a year-in-review blog post after I ran across some others doing it. I find the process of taking stock of the entire year to be a good reminder of just how much I actually did accomplish.
American Patchwork & Quilting UFO Challenge – I tackled the challenge again this year, realizing that I had far more UFOs (often more intended-but-not-started projects) than I knew. This year, I managed to complete all 12 projects, which means a grand total of:
- 3 tops quilted and bound
- 4 kits completed
- 4 placemats made
- 10 pillows sewn (okay, two are still waiting for backs)
- 1 travel sewing kit made for myself
I’ll be taking up the challenge again this year because I am sure that I can find 12 more projects waiting to be made.
Personal Quilts – 2017 marked my 20th year of quilting and I ended the year by finishing my 100th quilt. (I just counted and realized that I made a total of 13 of those quilts this year, which makes me a little triskaidekaphobic and if I’d realized, I would have pushed to finish one more!) In addition to the three quilts I finished as part of the UFO challenge, I also finally made a quilt for my own bed.
Protest Series – At the end of 2016, I had no idea that I would start a series of protest quilts. But, in the beginning of 2017, I found myself inspired to create politically-motivated works. For the first time, I had quilts that needed to be made and was making quilts that I really felt were pieces of art. I made seven of them this year.
Art Quilts – In addition to the Protest Series, I made one additional art piece and a commissioned piece.
It’s been an exciting year, not just because I got so much done, but because 2017 was the year that I really came into my own as an artist. I’m looking forward to 2018!
I’ve finished the latest in my accidental protest series. Entitled “Home, Sweet Home,” it is done in the style of a cross stitch wall hanging and hand quilted. But, the image of “home” is that of a UNHCR refugee tent like the ones currently housing Syrian refugees. The blue fabric matches the color used by the UNHCR branding.
Home, Sweet Home, 2017, 23″ x 23″
What it Means to Me: I was inspired to create this piece months ago when the U.S. President announced his ban on immigration from 7 Muslim-majority countries, including Syria. This announcement came on the heels of earlier refusals by many of the U.S. Governors to accept Syrian refugees. It is my belief that humanitarian efforts, such as taking care of our fellow humans who are refugees from a brutal dictator, and diplomacy will do far more to combat terrorism than nationalistic, militaristic, xenophobic, and in my opinion, un-Christian, responses.
I doubt this one needs a lot of explanation. It’s pages from The New York Times on October 3rd and 4th, 2017, overlaid with a gray sheer and quilted with black thread in concentric circles. The green gun sight image is appliqued on top.
I used actual newspapers, knowing that this piece will wear over time. I expect the pages to yellow and tear to show the passage of time. I hope that the time that passes will bring change in the use of guns in the U.S., but I fear that time will pass with little change at all.
In Our Sights, 2017. 36″ x 32″
I started a new quilt this week. I’m still reeling from this week’s news of yet another mass shooting, the most deadly of all, and I am not yet ready to start typing the names of victims to add them to the Victims Quilt. But, I still found myself sick over the shooting and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I went to bed the other night drawing gun sight patterns. I originally thought that I would create a block that looked like gun sights to create a traditional quilt, in the style of the Double T block used by the Temperance movement. When I awoke in the morning, however, this is the quilt that I had in mind:
After 15 months of work, my Victims quilt is complete.
The finished quilt is 112″ square and is too large for me to adequately photograph. Each 8″ block contains the name of a victim of a major mass shooting event in the U.S. I chose to focus on events that claimed the lives of more than ten people in one day. Those events are:
- Columbine High School, CO (4/20/1999) – 13 people killed
- Virginia Tech, VA (4/16/2007) – 32 people killed
- Binghamton, NY (4/3/2009) – 13 people killed
- Fort Hood, TX (11/5/2009) – 13 people killed
- Aurora, CO (7/20/2012) – 12 people killed
- Sandy Hook Elementary, CT (12/14/2012) – 27 people killed
- Washington, D.C. (9/16/2013) – 12 people killed
- San Bernadino, CA (12/2/2015) – 14 people killed
- Orlando, FL (6/12/2016) – 49 people killed
The block designs are representative of the state in which the shooting occurred.
The photo I showed when I first started the Summer of Scraps project only represented a portion of the scraps that I have. I also have a bin full of bits and pieces of batik fabrics:So, this week’s project, which was also a UFO on my list for the American Patchwork & Quilting UFO Challenge, was to create Block 8 from the In Full Bloom quilt pattern by McKenna Ryan using my bits and pieces:
Running a little behind this week on my Summer of Scraps project so instead I’d like to share a commission project that was recently delivered. A friend of mine asked me to make a coat of arms that he had designed for a friend’s birthday. Here’s the final product:
I had such tremendous fun working on this project and was so honored to play a part in an important birthday and a meaningful gift.
I’m at the halfway point in my Summer of Scraps and I made a huge dent in the white scraps this week with this quilt top:
The colored “scraps” for this one came from a strip exchange I did with quilting friends a decade ago. We cut 2 1/2″ strips of some of our stash fabrics and shared them with the group so we all went home with a little bit of everyone’s stash. It’s such a wonderful way to remember those friends.