About Me

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Great Falls, Montana, United States
I love creating art. I love the Creator! And through that love, I find a little slice of heaven on earth and I give Him all the glory! It's a great adventure and I'm excited to see what's around the bend! Come join me, won't you?
Showing posts with label Montana Gold. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Montana Gold. Show all posts

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Flashback ~ Montana Treasure

My first 'art' quilt.
  A time to challenge myself. 
To do something 'entirely my own.'  Scary thought! I was fearful. Knew I needed to 'get beyond' ... of wondering whether I could do anything beyond just following a pattern.  Don't get me wrong... I love patterns!  I love books --- love the artsy styles and hard work of all the wonderful, talented people who do inspire us so we can make them our own, in whatever way appeals to us.
But I wanted to start from 'scratch'  --- to look at a piece of fabric as a blank canvas upon which I would embellish, quilt, and let it evolve... and see where the journey led.
I began by playing with a few leftover pieces of patchwork; some strips that were cut into triangles, that intrigued me when I started playing, and placing them on this piece of commercial batik fabric.  When I did, something surprising happened; they prompted me to think about mountains and more.  Unplanned inspiration.  And  "Montana" was born. 
So after that... it seemed I knew the inspiration, but what do next?  I wanted to do foiling.  But had not a clue as to how to achieve it on fabric.  This was before I discovered Jones Tones glue/foiling products.  The silver metal foil is real silver leaf (seen below).  Not meant for fabric!  But I didn't know that.  So I applied the glue.  It soaked in to the fabric, and the leafing wouldn't stick!  But I kept at it.  I re-applied the glue.  Eventually, it began to get tackier, and although the leaf material didn't stick as I had planned and intended, the unpredictable result was so much BETTER than I had anticipated!!  It cracked and pulled apart... an exciting result and revelation in my eyes.
Let me say at this point, I remember working on this piece every evening, for most of the summer months.  A couple hours every evening... which involved alot of thinking, more than the actual quilting-couching-sewing in many ways.
I knew I wanted to do some bobbin play.  And I decided I just needed to start 'blind.'  By that I mean I began stitching from the backside of this piece, with thick thread wound in my loosened bobbin, and did 'random placement' stitching, not allowing myself to have expectations, or to plan exact placement.  

And... much to my surprise, when I turned the quilt around, even though I found I was stressed out and intimidated by doing it that way, I found a big beautiful surprise of happiness in the unplanned threadplay. I liked it.  I liked it ~ ALOT! And that gave me the confidence, to keep going... to pursue and allow ~ to enjoy and be free.

Further!  And further... wondering each time I did something different... metallic threads, painstiks... if I had pushed it beyond 'exciting' and into the mentality of "I've ruined it now."  Not a fun thought - but real.  I think that's true for many of us. We're so afraid of 'ruining a good thing.'  And too often, that's a trap.
And I found when I kept going, turning it back and forth from front to back, playing with the empty spaces... that those were great surprises which revealed further inspiration!  And one thing led to another... like leftover bits of a silk flower ribbon (above picture, lower left in a green and purple/red flower ribbon).   Slowly, my inspiration became 'all things I love about Montana' as I thought about the landscapes of wheat fields, prairies, mountains, rivers, and treasure.  Gold and silver which is what helped give this state it's nickname "The Treasure State." This visualization helped me in my stitching and application of other embellishment factors.


The last thing I did was to top it off with beading; always the very last thing I do on a quilt.  It is all done by machine, (without a foot and just a bare needle) with the exception of the large turquoise one in the center, right of the photo below.  And a big red teardrop shaped button (in the very first photo above).  Then I knew I was done.  The space was filled.  I had a happy, satisfied, thump in my heart. Mission accomplished.

And before I knew it, I had a piece that was unexpectedly Big Sky.  Treasure State.  And inspired by all that I love about this state ~ and more.

Wide-open plains.  
Majestic Mountains.  
Roaring rivers. 

Explore.
Go Beyond. 
Be free.
Forget expectations.  
Just Be. 

God is waaaaaaay bigger~than the Montana Sky!

Joining Studio JRU! 
and The Rusted Chain 


Friday, May 20, 2011

The JOY of Learning MT Gold


In this post, I want to share some of the process of creating this piece, the challenges, the problem solving, and 'perfection' issues I think we all struggle with!  The above picture is from the backside of Montana Gold.
Out came the ripper. You should still be able to see the tension issue even though I have begun picking out stitches.  Valuable lesson #1:  ALWAYS check your bobbin tension after 30 seconds into your free motion quilting motifs.  Just to be sure!  Because more than 30 seconds... and you could have alot of stitches to pick out! And what was wrong with my tension?  ME!  It was me 'pulling' the stitches.  Sometimes I do that, much like how you might change the size of crocheting or knitting stitches if you're too tense, or too relaxed? Same principle here. It's just like that some days with free quilting.  (So, settle down... relax, pay attention, & have fun!)  I ripped these out because not only were they unsightly, but the tight tension on the back was affecting the top of the quilt.  I wanted this quilt to be reversible, and that meant my stitches needed to look good on the back, too. 

At this stage of my quilting 'life' I feel like my quilting should look good on both sides.  (Especially when it's for sale) But that has been a learning process! And with each project I complete, I improve upon one more little thing (or big thing!)  And, even more importantly, as I continue to build upon my skills, I also continue to understand the 'how to's' of problem solving!  

I used Masterpiece 50 wt cotton for my bobbin.  It performs flawlessly in my  free motion, with a 40 wt cotton or trilobal polyester on top.
 And Superior Threads, 40 weight triblobal polyester was my chosen top thread from the "Art Studio" line by Ricky Tims.  


As to the yarn I chose for those free motion feathers.  Sometimes the yarn 'skipped' --- it didn't always 'fill up the hole' of the foot, but I loved the color so much, I just decided to deal with it.  And if the skipping was an issue, or noticeable, I went back and 'patched' it by stitching over the yarn again, with my regular free motion foot.  No harm... no foul!
Notice the slight skipping on the far right on this bottom feather motif?  Sometimes it happened... I just dealt with it!

 My stitches are not perfect; they ARE excellent, tho.  and I have started to realize something I don't like so much... I couldn't always see very good... So!
Valuable lesson #2:  When you can't see... get new glasses!  Get better lighting... get a different angle of fabric under the machine... get the magnifier lens set adaptable for your machine!  Yes, I am at that age!
Valuable Lesson #3:  Not every inch of the fabric has to be 'evenly filled up" -- I used to think (and do that) for many years... but it's more interesting (at least it is to me), to have varying stitches, and 'poofs' of fabric... which appeal to me greatly --- more so, they appeal to my sense of creativity.
Valuable Lesson #4: "Stuff" happens!  Learn to live with it.  Move On! Do NOT let it rob you of your joy! I didn't notice this little 'nudgey' in the blue yarn (I held the couching foot a bit too long - as I couldn't see where I was at for a moment!)... but it's okay.  I could have ripped it out... and might have, had I noticed it in time.  Ripping it out after the fact would have made it much more noticeable as I probably wouldn't have been able to repeat the curve quite so smooth with alot of fiddley-diddley-dee. (That's an official term, you know!)  


EnJOY!


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