Living This Creative Life

I have two favorite quotes. The first one is by Emile Zola, "If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I would tell you that I came to live out loud". I don't know who the second one is by, but it goes like this, "If you're not living on the edge then you might as well jump". Both of these sentiments sum up my personal philosophy of this experience we call life on earth. Enjoy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Block #87 in the Machine Quilting Challenge

Good Morning Again,

Since the last block was so similar to the previous block, I thought I'd throw in another one.

In the past two weeks, I've completed my first article for Quilting Arts and moved. My new space is twice as big as the previous one. It's funky and fabulous and I love it.

I hope to finally use my new machine this week and stitch out some more new designs. Hopefully this one will tide you over in the meantime.

The design features largish paisley shapes with swirls inside. Begin by stitching a paisley shape (teardrop) near the middle of the block. Mine are about two inches long and 1 1/2" at their widest. Once the paisley is complete, stitch a line up the middle that ends in a swirl then double back down and out of the paisley. Stitch another paisley as close as possible to the first one but positioned in a different direction then stitch a swirl in it's center. Continue making paisleys with swirls, changing up the position and size of each so that they all nestle into each other and leave little or no negative space.

Hope you enjoy doing this one. It's very pretty!

Till next time,

Block #86 in the Machine Quilting Challenge

Hi Gang,
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Mine was just right. Both daughters and one of their delightful friends. Great food and company and perfect gifts; art and music!

I've been meaning to get this design to you for a couple of weeks! Since I put up the last design that is very similar to it.
It is done the same way as the previous block but instead of stitching in continuous, wavy rows, it is stitched in arcs and straight rows.

Begin by stitching the up and down, in and out rectangular shapes in a small arc that begins along one edge of the block. Then continue making rows above and below the original arc. Next, stitch a second arc that curves in a different direction from the first one. Continue stitching rows above and below the new arc. Keep stitching rows of arcs then fill in any space between the rows of arcs with straight rows of the rectangles.

As I said, it's really similar to the last block only it has a different kind of rhythm and I think it is more interesting.

Till next time,

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Block #85 in the Machine Quilting Challenge

Good Evening,
Boy, it's been a busy couple of weeks - sorry to say that when the proverbial s**t hits the fan, this blog of mine is usually the first to suffer!
But, an end is in sight. I've been busy packing to move and am now done with it all except for what we need to use for the next few days. The movers arrive bright and early Wednesday morning and we move to a flat in an old mansion downtown that is about twice the size of where we are now and just 12 blocks from where my hubby works and 10 blocks from where my daughter lives! I'm so excited. A new studio space that is almost twice as big with three walls of wrap around windows and a west facing view!

I've finished my first article for Quilting Arts and am working hard on a my first design CD that I plan to have complete for Road to California next month. I managed to sneak in a few minutes of quilting before I packed up the last of my studio this morning, so here's a new design.

I call it Tracks, cause it looks like the tracks made by tires or hiking boots. It's really easy to do and makes a nice interesting filler or background.

Here's how you do it. It is a series of ups and downs and back and forths all about 3/8" to 1/2" in size. They are stitched in rows with one or two big waves in them and the rows are stitched right next to each other. Beginning on the left side edge, near the middle, stitch a 1/2" straight, horizontal line. Turn and stitch up 1/2" forming a 45 degree corner. Stitch over 1/2" forming a second corner then stitch back down forming yet another 45 degree corner. Continue stitching these open ended squares/rectangles forming a line that moves from the left side of the block to the right side of the block with at least one curvy undulation in it. Once you reach the opposite side, stitch another row either on top of or under the first row, keeping subsequent rows about 1/8" t0 1/4" apart and following the undulation or wave of the original row.

Hope you enjoy this stitch -out. I'll talk to you again on Thursday or Friday from the new house!

Till next time,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Block #84 in the Machine Quilting Challenge

Good Morning All,

Great news.......I've been asked (and I've accepted!) to write an article on machine quilting for each of the six issues of Quilting Arts Magazine for the year 2011! I will present it as a learning challenge just as I have done here on my blog. I'm so excited!

Here is another new motif, designed for wide, outer borders. It features multiple designs including, a five petal flower with a swirled center, stems, leaves and veins as well as tall grasses and background filigree. If any of these motif elements are new to you, doodle it out first. I used three different thread colors. To show you two different ideas, on the right hand side of the strip I quilted the flowers farther apart and on the left side, they are closer together and overlap some.

Load your machine with the thread you want to use for the flowers and beginning at one end of the rectangle, stitch across the bottom about 1 1/2" with a wavy line then stitch up to about the half way point to form a stem, again with a wavy line. Stitch a small swirl, about the size of a nickle then stitch back out again and form your first petal. Continue making petals until you have circled the center of the flower then stitch back down the stem. Stitch over along the bottom edge about 2" then stitch up to form the second stem, then second flower and so on. Continue stitching flowers until the border section is filled, trying to keep them all an equal distance apart.

Load up your machine with a thread color for the long grasses and leaves. Beginning at one end of the strip, start stitching the long grasses. Stitch a long wavy line up about 2" then stitch back down again forming a long, sharp point and keeping the distance along the base of the grass blade no wider than 1/4", stitch back up again, either longer or shorter than the first blade and form the second blade. Keep forming long blades of grass of various heights from as tall as the flowers to as shot as 1". When you reach a stem, travel up it and form a leaf on one side of it then a leaf on the other side of it and travel back down it again. Keep forming grasses and leaves until the border section is filled.

Load your machine with the thread color for the flower accents and filigree. Travel along the bottom of the strip with a wavy line until you reach the first stem. Travel up the stem to the leaves and stitch a long, wavy vein in each of the leaves. Stitch up to the flower and stitch a curvy vein in each of the petals. Stitch out of the petals and fill in the area above the flower with thin, curling, filigrees. Stitch back down and between two petals of the flower, back down the stem and over to the next flower and do it all again. Strive to fill any background space with a filigree so that all of the space in the rectangle is equally filled with stitching.

Hope you enjoy this new design,
Till next time,