Sunday, May 5, 2024

May the 4th swap time!

 Each year, I look forward to participating in the May the 4th swap on Instagram.  It is a Star Wars themed swap, and in my opinion, the best swap of the year.  Everyone involved is highly motivated, talented, and has a geeky love of Star Wars.  It is awesome!

This year, my secret partner gave me a pretty wide range of likes, but did mention that she likes both the strong women characters and the droids.  Since I did Leia last year, I decided to take on a droid.

I found a fun pop art themed pin on Pinterest.  From what I can tell, the pin was created by a Hungarian man named, Dragonya, who is a huge fan of Star Wars.  I am assuming he made the graphic - thank you!  I chose it as the inspiration for my mini.

I am not sure why I do these things to myself, but instead of using my usual fusible applique methods, which I have become quite adept at, I chose to make this mini using the Applipiecing technique that I have recently learned (my most recent class taken was by Sheila Frampton Cooper).  Anyhow, this technique requires a lot more finesse and cursing than fusible applique.   However, it does result in a quilt top with fewer layers and no fusible to sew through.  Well, I did put a few fused pieces on the quilt, but the majority has zero fusible.  

Then I got to the part I have started to dread - the quilting.  I think I have just gotten out of practice a bit.  It feels like every time I put a quilt together and start quilting it, it takes me a long time to get into the groove of things and my stitching to start looking acceptable.  Sadly, I just don't have time to quilt a practice quilt before I start on actual projects.  I usually need them done yesterday.  So, I have to live with my stitch quality being a bit inconsistent from start to finish.  Usually, one can't tell.  

I think R2 turned out pretty good in the end.  He looks great from the front, and while the back had a couple of spots of inconsistent tension, I managed to cover most of them with the label - ha!

Cool design, right?

And while extras are optional for this swap, I also made this BB-8 in watercolor for my partner.  I made several mistakes while painting it, including dropping my brush full of orange paint, not once, but twice!  Also, some of the shadows didn't soften as much as I was hoping.   I think it turned out alright despite my mistakes.

The person who had me as a partner, Sarah Jay, didn't disappoint!  She made me this awesome Grand Admiral Thrawn mini.  

I don't think I would like Thrawn as much as I do if I hadn't read Timothy Zahn's book series that features Thrawn as a main character.  His development of Thrawn's character is amazing, and really sheds light on why he is so ruthless and successful as an Empire commander.

I hope you enjoyed these Star Wars inspired minis.  While I am publishing this on the 5th, remember May the 4th be with you, always!


Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Colony Collapse - a diptych of art quilts

Do you ever have a chat with yourself that goes something like this?  "Now, Jen, you only have a small amount of time before the deadline.  You have to do less (insert activity here) than usual if you are going to finish in time.  Alright?"  And then once you get started, that chat goes completely out the window?  It seems to happen to me all the time.

I really wanted to enter a call for SAQA for "Joining Threads".  It was to create a diptych of two related concepts and make two small (less than 12 inches square) art quilts of them.  As you know, I love bees, and thought a pair of quilts depicting what the world might look like if the bees disappeared might be interesting.  I came up with the following.

art quilts depicting bees

But as usual, once I started quilting these quilts, I couldn't stop myself.  I just kept adding more and more thread.  SO many starts and stops and thread changes.  It is somewhat comical.  I think the only thing consistent about my "style" at the moment is heavy quilting.  lol

art quilt depicting bees

Because I couldn't hold myself back, I ended up quilting straight through the deadline for the call.  Ah well!  That is ok. 

art quilt depicting bees

I finished them up and had the thought that I would like them better in a different size.  I think they would look better in maybe 12 x 18 portrait configuration.  Since I used my Cricut to cut out all the bees and flowers, I could make another set.  Do I want to?  Decisions.  I have several other calls I want to work on (this time with plenty of time before the deadlines!  Ha!) so it may have to wait a little while.


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

A quick update before I move on to the future.

What have I been doing since May of 2021.  So much, so little, so much!  It seems every to-do list still has items on it, but when I look back, I did quite a few things.

I spent a lot of time in my garden.

I made my first SAQA benefit auction quilt in June 2021.  I am currently working on this year's now.  

My kids convinced me to adopt 3 little (very naughty) kittens, which helped soothe the heartache when my Professional Quilting Cat, Tookie, passed away that Christmas.  All three of these kitties have taken on the role of quilt helper, but I still miss the Tookster every time I am working on a quilt. 

I've made several more One Block Wonders, and discovered a new book allowing you to use a panel as your fabric, One Block Wonder Panel Quilts.  Since you are always looking for large scale prints, panels are awesome to use, and you can choose to incorporate a whole panel into your quilt or not.  It has been a fun option to play with.

I've also participated more Star Wars mini swaps.  I created this "band poster" for the Max Rebo band (plays in multiple Star Wars movies).  I think this is my all-time favorite of the ones I have made for the annual swap.  It is so fun and different, and I designed the entire thing myself instead of using someone else's design.  

And last year I made this Leia mini for my partner.  

I participated in the Graffiti challenge for Cherrywood Fabrics.  I must admit I didn't enjoy this one as much as some of the past challenges.  It also had me questioning if I really wanted to participate in future challenges, and I haven't to date.  

I went to a bunch of quilt shows, soccer games, and diving competitions, and traveled with family to some amazing destinations like Sicily, and Fargo, ND (which I list as a funny thing, but was actually a great place to go!).  And I had a quilt accepted into Road2CA that wasn't part of a Cherrywood challenge.

I took a drawing class, finally!  And feel like this is the ONE essential skill that has tremendously helped my art quilts progress.   I am currently in a second drawing class because I couldn't keep up the drawing habit without the accountability of being in a class with homework and grades, etc.  

I also took two painting classes recently and have learned so much!!!  I highly recommend you expand into other mediums if you are leaning toward making art quilts in the future.  The oil painting class was my favorite of the two, probably because it is more forgiving than watercolor.  Both classes were great, and I hope to continue with both these mediums.  I'll share more on that experience in a future post.

That's it for now!