This was supposed to be my finished quilt for March for the American Patchwork & Quilting 2017 UFO Challenge, but it needed to be completely quilted and bound so I’m happy to have it completed by June. This quilt was the 2016 Block of the Month from The Quilt Show, called “Rajah Quilt Revisited.” It’s based on a quilt made on a women’s prison ship that traveled from England in 1841.
My quilt was machine appliqued, machine pieced, machine quilted and hand quilted and I am happy to say that I made it for myself so I get to keep it!
Rajah Quilt Revisited, 2017. 68″ sq.
Here’s what’s on my design wall today:
Is it a little busy? Yes. Do I care? No. Why not?
- It’s for a back.
- It’s for the back of a quilt that I am making for myself. It’s going to be the back of The Quilt Show 2016 BOM that I did.)
- The fabrics are precious ones, purchased in Provence on a bike trip for the Tour de France in 2004.
You know the story – I’d been holding onto these fabrics for years, loving them, but afraid to cut them. I finally found the perfect place for them in big blocks on a quilt for me where I will get to enjoy them every day. And, I’ve even come up a with a great new project for the scraps.
With a few days to spare, I finished the top for The Quilt Show’s 2016 BOM. Now, quilting it becomes something to add to my American Patchwork & Quilting’s 2017 UFO Challenge list.
And now, I’m on vacation for a week. See you in January! Happy New Year!
Other projects are piling up on my work table, but I managed to get The Quilt Show Block of the Month done for September. Just two more borders to go!
Never underestimate the power of the Universe. Starting in 2007, I explored “creative play,” trying a new quilting technique or creating a weekly journal quilt. In 2012, I took a maternity leave from that and by 2014, I was so far out of touch with my creative self that I wasn’t even sure she was still in there. The Universe knew better however, and started giving me the bread crumbs I needed to find my way back.
One of those first bread crumbs led me to Jane Dunnewold. I was watching an episode of “The Quilt Show” (and I was a few months behind on them). In it, she talked about an online class that she had started offering called “Artist Strength Training.” At the time, I wouldn’t have called myself an artist, but hearing about the class set off a little hum in my brain, like a tuning fork being tapped. I went to bed that night talking myself out of it. “I’m sure it’s really expensive.” “I don’t have time.” “It’s probably not being offered any time soon.” The next morning, that hum in my brain was still there so I decided to just look into it. Well, it was being offered and it was starting in a few days. There were spots still available. And, it wasn’t nearly as expensive as I thought it might be. So, I signed up. That one bread crumb from the Universe that I picked up became a lifeline that started pulling me out of the deep of the woods where I had been wandering in circles looking for the road.
Jane’s class is now a book renamed “Creative Strength Training; Prompts, Exercises and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius” and I fully endorse it. The book contains the same content in ten chapters as the ten weeks of the course, encouraging (and sometimes very direct) words about discovering who you are as an artist and what makes you and your work distinctive; learning how to dismantle the critical voices in your mind that stymie your creativity; and how to work the creative process. Included in the book are responses from students in prior classes, both their written responses to her lessons as well as the art that the course prompted, giving you access to a set of peers, which was such a valuable part of the class. If you are in need of a bread crumb too, explore this one and see if it feels right for you.
Yes, I’ve gotten a little behind in the The Quilt Show Block of the Month 2016. I’ve just finished the border for June (and haven’t even given July’s border a thought.)
I finished another UFO for the American Patchwork and Quilting 2016 UFO Challenge. It really surprises me what projects I have in my drawer. Most of them are not quilts to finish. Those I seem to get done.
This month’s project was to dye a white tee shirt that had gotten stained. (I think from sitting in a wooden drawer too long.) While I was at it, I dyed something else that was white and also looking a little dingy. So, I re-watched Sue Bleiweiss on The Quilt Show as she explained her dyeing process and mixed up some purple dye in zip-top bags and threw my shirt in. And then, because I had a 4 year old sitting in the other room talking to me the whole time and I forgot to put in the soda ash, I mixed up another batch of dye and did it all over again the following week so I got lots of practice. You can still tell where the shirt was stained, but it looks a little better as light purple on dark rather than brown on white, don’t you think? And, after, oh probably 6 years unused in the drawer, I have a new shirt to wear!
I had an extremely productive weekend. I went to the Geneva Point Center on Lake Winnipesaukee for the Rising Star Quilters annual Spring Fling and three solid days of sewing. My first project of the weekend was to get caught up with The Quilt Show’s 2016 Block of the Month, a smaller replica version of the Rajah Quilt.
I had a false start with this project because I foolishly tried needle-turn applique for the center medallion. After tossing that one and starting again with fusible, machine-stitched applique, the project went more smoothly and by Friday night, I had January, February, and March’s blocks/ borders complete.
My other project was to churn out some Carpenter’s Square blocks to become the quilt in the master bedroom of the house we built in 2009. It’s so nice to be finally making quilts for my own bed!
I have a number of projects going on for 2016, one of which is the Block of the Month from The Quilt Show. The quilt for 2016, is a smaller replica version of the Rajah Quilt, a quilt made by female convicts on the prison ship the Rajah during the voyage from England to Tasmania in 1841. That project was spearheaded by a Quaker woman as part of her prison reform efforts and the quilt has always spoken to me because of my Quaker heritage.
However, my applique skills were not up to the task of Block #1. The block includes over 100 little tiny leaves and I foolishly attempted needle-turn applique first to be a little truer to the original quilters’ work. I sewed half of the leaves and then had a decision to make about remaining faithful to the process or creating something that I would consider showing anyone. I couldn’t bear the idea of working on a quilt for an entire year just to shove it in the back of the closet because the construction was so bad so I threw out the hand applique and started again with the modern methods that I am a little more comfortable with – fusible applique with a machine stitch. The results are much better.
The Quilt Show 2016 Block of the Month – January block; Finished Size 15″ square