1. Looking back; looking ahead… 2. Creative “Process”


Great essay in the op-ed section of the New York Times on the 27th called “Life on the Edge,” by Akiko Busch.   I haven’t yet learned how to put links into my posts but you can search this title on the NYT web site and read it.  The piece starts out discussing the “edges” where 2 habitats merge (ecotones) , e.g. water and shore or woods and meadows.   These are examples of “places” meeting.  Then:

“And now it occurs to me, as we edge into a new year, that time has an ecotone of its own, some thin cusp where before meets up with after.  Because surely the edge effect can be a circumstance of chronology as well as one of place.  And surely the way the months, seasons, years brush up against one another can produce a similar influence of change, diversity, vitality.  Perhaps it is possible to imagine year’s end as having some temporal edge effect, to see it as a place where desire and expectation intersect with actuality.  And to look at this time of year as an interval during which one is suddenly more attentive to that friction between the finished and the unfinished, the energy that lies between the done and the undone.”

A poetic way to endorse reflection on the past and future as the new year approaches!!  I think it is very worthwhile.

Looking back….2013 brought, for me, from a quilting standpoint, completion of the Baltimore Album quilt I started 18 years ago, completion of my second Friendship Quilt and completion of my second “trio of doll quilts.”  I also started a major new project – Spirit of Japan #3 and made great progress on Spring Sonata.  I won the Best Hand Quilting award at the Vermont Quilt Festival for “Feathering My Nest” and this quilt was juried into the University of New Hampshire Faculty and Staff Arts and Crafts show.  The Baltimore Album won Viewers’ Choice award at my guild’s show.  I continued to blog and have now been doing this for 1 1/2 years!

Looking ahead….I am going to save my comments on this for my next post!

Instead, for now, I would like to fill in what I’ve been doing over the past couple weeks.  The term “creative process” rings true because in making a quilt there is the “creative” part that involves creating the design and choosing the materials and then there is the “process” part which involves the actual construction of the quilt.  Recently my quilting activity has been all “process”/construction.

I completed the corner blocks for Spring Sonata by appliqueing the centers onto the compasses and then reverse appliqueing them to the background fabric.  Here are pictures of the process:

Center appliqued on:

1229 SS#1


Iron freezer paper circle (final circle size) onto background:


1229 SS#2


Cut circle leaving at least 1/4 inch to turn under:


1229 SS#3


Using a light box, align compass under the background (By the way, I love this light box – it’s a nice large size):


1229 SS#4


Pin in place and then reverse applique the pieces together:


1229 SS#5


Voila – and then there were 4!!


1229 SS#6


I completed the embroidery embellishment of all 4 borders of Spring Sonata a few days ago and spent a considerable amount of time yesterday adding the narrow 3/4 inch border, which will separate the center of the quilt and the main borders, to the inner portion of the main borders, attaching the corner blocks, and then attaching 3 of the 4 borders to the center of the quilt.  This involved a lot of measuring, calculating, and maneuvering to make everything fit correctly so the quilt will lie flat in the end.  The center blocks left a lot of material on the bias on the outer edges and that creates potential for stretching so those areas had to be carefully fit together with the borders.  When I get the last border on, including another 3/4 inch narrow outer border, I’ll post a picture – hopefully in the next few days!  Al and I drove to Keepsake Quilting (one hour and 20 minutes away) on Saturday and I found a perfect fabric for the backing so I am just waiting for my silk batting to arrive in the mail (ordered from equilter) and I’ll be ready to layer and baste – my least favorite process of quiltmaking!  But the reward will be starting the hand quilting.  I’ve been thinking about what designs to quilt – think I’ll be quilting a lot of leaf designs in this one.

I think I haven’t mentioned that I like the symbolism of the “compasses” in the corners because they really look like suns and in spring the increased amount of sunlight from the lengthening days in “spring” is vital to growth of all plants.

I have also been working on Spirit of Japan #3: The Wheel.  I started appliqueing the quarter wheels to the their backgrounds.  Here’s the “process”:

1229 soj #1


The freezer paper template below is the final size of the background piece for the block.  I iron it onto the background fabric ( and will later trim off the excess fabric on the outside – I purposely cut the blocks oversize because many of these Japanese fabrics ravel easily and I wanted to make sure the blocks didn’t end up too small.)


1229 soj#2


Draw a line along the inside edge – my favorite marker for dark fabric is the Bohin mechanical pencil with white leads.


1229 soj#3


1229 soj#4


Cut away the fabric where the “wheel” will go, leaving at least 1/4 inch for turning under doing reverse applique:


1229 soj#5


On the “wheel” baste a line of thread on the sewing line (still present on the back because the paper from the paper piecing is still there) to match to the white line:


1229 soj#6


Matching the lines:


1229 soj#7


Pin ( I love these little applique pins!):


1229 soj#8


1229 soj#9


Reverse applique the pieces together:

1229 soj#10


I have to do this for 64 of these!! (4 per wheel, 16 wheels)  I will gradually work on these over the next few months.  Great hand-work project to take along to quilt group meetings!

Here’s a picture of the table runner I made for my kitchen table:

1229 Tablerunner


And here is a placemat I just made – am making 6 of these.  I used my walking foot on the machine and simply cross-hatch stitched one inch apart.  They are reversible:

1229 Placemat#1


1229 Placemat#2


And, finally, for any family or friends who check on my blog for family pictures, here is my son Michael home for Christmas and Abigail, my daughter’s partner Jeff’s daughter:


1229 Mike and Abigail


And here are Dmitri and Sveta:

1229 Sveta and Dmitri Christmas


Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year and I’ll be back soon with my quilting plans and goals (and maybe some other personal goals as well) for 2014 .

Thanks for visiting!!


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