Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Nicene Creed Quilt: Finished

Today I'm here to share my finished Creed quilt.  If you missed it, scroll back a few days, there are two in progress posts from this week.  This quilt is fairly large for me, 40" wide by 61" high.

I Believe, c. Shannon Conley, 2020, 61" x 40", photo: Mike Cox

Here are Blue and Bentley in the top window.  The background is an overpainted blue synthetic velvet.  The trees are trees from home, an apple tree, a piñon tree, and aspen trees.  And underneath that are fun quilting doodles.  One of my favorite things about illuminated manuscripts are all the doodles and flourishes that fill in extra space around the text.  Those round ones right below the window element are trinity symbols.

The decoration of the large C for credo also features more Trinity symbolism.  The background of the C and P are hand-dyed silk velvet.  The bled a little onto the surrounding quilt which makes me really sad.

Blue with his tennis ball, and more fun quilting doodles!

Pumpkin staring up at Blue with the tennis ball!

Here are Missy and Angel dogs sitting in front of our Sierra Blanca mountain in the bottom window.  The mountain is again overpainted synthetic velvet, and the flowers in the foreground are indian paintbrush.  I remember pulling out the centers and sucking the nectar as a kid.  They grow here too, and I always love seeing them.

This side has another tree-from-home, the ponderosa pine.  We used to try to braid bracelets out of the long ponderosa needles as kids.  That's Sam cat there under the tree, and Becky's rats Silky and Puffy (not-to-scale) up in the tree.

This is the other side, my lovely brown dog Shooter sitting under a blooming cherry tree.

Here are a few more fun quilting doodles,  the flowers there are red hot pokers, a favorite from where I grew up, but I can't get them to grown here

 The borders are a mix of applique shapes and very dense quilting.  The pale grey green pebbles is all just dense quilting.

I carried that dense quilting motif up into the area surrounding the top window, the light blue pebbles interlaced with the applique elements is all just dense quilting.  The quatrefoil elements are actually the leftover centers after cutting out the borders for the Lord's Prayer quilt.  I cut the centers out of those centers, so now I have a pile of even smaller middles left to do something else with.

I love the way this turned out.  All bright colors and intricate shapes and fun quilting with dogs and flowers and trees and New Mexico and prayer.  It seems like a pretty personal representation of me :)

The back turned out really pretty too.  It's an orange silk sari.  There are some quilting bobbles and places with uneven tension, but overall it's really cool to look at the back where you can see just the quilting.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Nicene Creed Quilt: In Progress

Last Friday I shared the early stages of my Nicene Creed quilt, and I wanted to come back today to share some progress on the borders.  I mentioned in the last post that I wanted to populate the quilt with my animals residing in scenes featuring flowers, trees, and landscapes of home.

I started with all my animals.  I turned them all into angels for the quilt, there are lots of angels and angelic beings in illuminated manuscripts so it seemed fitting.  These were tricky,  a couple of them use touches of paint/marker, but they're mostly made from different pieces of fabric.  However, they're very small.  Most are about 1.5" x 3", so it was tricky to try to capture them.

My Angel beloved.  She was my very first dog as a grown-up.  All black, with gold accents.

Samcat! He's probably the one I'm least happy with,  I think it's the face that bugs me.  These guys are just so small and I'm not very good at faces to begin with.

The Bullett Dog!  He's the one I still miss the most, I had him for so long and he was such a good little sausage dog.   He chewed up so many things!  The pictures with signs-around-necks were from a Christmas card photoshoot many years ago.  One side spelled out Joy and the other side was a "dog-shaming" caption.  Bullett's said: "I eat anything I can find and then I pee on it afterwards.  I steal all the rawhide bones from my siblings and won't share even though I don't like them. *Not Sorry* -Bullett"

Pumpkin.  I like the way she turned out.  She was a bouncy active dog, and I love this arched back pose.

 Missy.  Precious Missy.  She was such a prima donna and we loved her anyway.  I didn't capture her exactly either, but maybe you can at least get the feel of her.

My Bentley!  He's such a good boy.  Very much old dog now, he falls off of sidewalks and bonks into things twelve times a day (he's almost completely blind).  Still super sweet, I try to love on him when Blue is off barking at something else, because otherwise Blue just pushes him out of the way.  Serves him right though, Bentley spent year pushing Bullett out of the way....  Bentley's dog shaming sign says: "I grab things off of the counter and out of the trash to share with the other dogs. *Such a helpful brother* -Bentley"

Shooter dog!  She's my precious brown dogs!  She's still happily living, but she lives with my parents now with her mama (Swatch) who my parents adopted.  Shooter was mine but my parents kidnapped her a few years ago, and I get to visit her and give her lots of snuggles when I go home for a visit.  She's really turned into an easygoing dog, but of course she lived at my house during her puppy years.  Her dog-shaming sign says: "I chewed up mommy's new sneakers, my daddy's house shoes, and my mommy's new magazine.  Then I barfed up my breakfast. *Not ashamed* -Shooter"

And last but definitely not least, big precious Blue dog!  He's such a big galoot, he always flops over on his back to waggle his legs in the air and get a big belly rub.

Most of these guys are eventually nestling under trees, all that we had growing up.  

Cherry tree

Ponderosa pine

The ponderosa actually also includes Silky and Puffy (my sister's two pet rats) in honor of all the rodents we've had as pets over the years.  Here you can see how I used shiva paintstiks to create the pine needle clusters.

Apple tree

Piñon pine

Aspen trees

Here's a picture in progress as I was working on the interlocking elements around the top.  Trying things out!

I'll show many more up close pictures of the quilting when I show the final quilt tomorrow (too many pictures for one post), but I wanted to talk about how I finished the edges.  In the picture above, you can see that the silk sari had a wonderful gold-thread woven selvage edging.  I really wanted to have that as the edge, but the quilt was just a bit too wide (proportionally) and I didn't want a binding or facing to cover up the pretty edge.  Finally I decided to carefully cut off the golden edge and then use it as the facing, only sewing it onto the back and wrapping it around the front.  I did that after all the quilting except the background fills in the borders was done.  That way the background quilting could go right up to but not over the gold edging.  In the picture below you can see the edge of the pink fabric on the left where I cut off the gold border.  

I sewed the gold border (right sides together) to the back of the quilt, then flipped it around to the front and stitched it down on the front.  This is what the finished edge looks like from the back and front.

Afterwards I went back in and filled in the background quilting, you'll be able to see that in the pictures tomorrow.

Friday, May 29, 2020

New Quilt: Nicene Creed

As long-term readers may remember, I'm working on a series of quilts inspired by illuminated manuscripts and featuring parts of the Episcopal liturgy/worship service.  Well over a year ago (in fact before I started the most recently finished piece in the series, my Lord's Prayer quilt), I started this project depicting text from the Nicene Creed.  It's obviously not the whole creed, that's way more words than I wanted to mess with.  I've done enough of these word quilts to know that there's a balance between enough words to convey the meaning or import of the prayer/text while still maintaining the artistic composition.  Anyway, one of the central dogmas of Christianity is the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and this concept of the trinity is one of the main things captured in the creed.  The text I decided to put in the quilt is excerpted below.  If you're interested in the whole thing, you can find it here (our whole service is in English, don't be scared by the Latin below).

CREDO in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem  (I believe in one God, the Father almighty)

Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum (And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God)

Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem (And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of Life)

I decided to use a bright pink silk sari for my background, and began by setting up the text in illustrator and cutting it out on my silhouette cutter.  I'd say I have a love-hate relationship with my silhouette, but it's really a hate-hate-hate-love-hate-hate-hate relationship.  It's the only way I have to cut out the really precise letters, but it never cuts cleanly (and I've tried everything).  I'm doing more and more cutting on the laser cutter these days, but discovered it way after starting this quilt.  In addition, the laser cutter is only accessible under very limited conditions, so alas.

Anyway, here are some shots aligning the text (always very challenging), and working on the initial letters.  Doing the fancy initial letters is one of my favorite parts of this series.  The background of that "C" is hand-dyed silk velvet, which of course bled onto the pink quilt while blocking at the end, but I suppose that's life (at least in my studio).  Several of the other initials are made from fabric I harvested from old silk neckties.

And then the piece sat in this state for many many months on my design wall.  I never got it down, and the large initial was just pinned on because I knew I'd need to get some border elements under it.  I kept having to carefully fold it vertically out of the way if I needed to extend some other project onto that section of the design wall.

Finally I got back to designing the borders.  Medieval illuminated manuscripts were filled with images, including flora and fauna, rich with symbolism and meaning throughout the borders.  I love looking through them  and seeing all the fantastic animals hiding there.  There are tons of different ones, both real and imaginary who often lurk in the borders doing the nuttiest things.  I have a whole pinterest board full of medieval illuminated animals, I encourage you to browse through if you're interested.  

I think my favorite might be the rat family rowing a boat,

but other favorites include a monkey playing the bagpipes

a half-stag-half-snail

a rabbit and a dog jousting with the dog riding another rabbit and the rabbit riding a snail-human monster?

a dog writing a manuscript

and a dog taking care of another dog tucked in bed.

Anyway,  back from the tangent.  The things that keep my heart grounded and joyful are my home and family and dogs, so I decided to populate the quilt borders with my dogs and cats (all masquerading as angels), and even Becky's rats (in honor of all our rodent friends over the years), and images of my true home in New Mexico, with mountains and flowers and trees I grew up with.  Come back on Monday to see more in progress pictures!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

I Like #166

Welcome to another week of things to like!

I like having comfy fabric masks!  I kept four for myself to wear at work, and I much prefer them to the elastic band surgical masks (we don't interact with any patients at all so surgical masks aren't necessary in our lab).  As someone who loves color, it's a fun (and also horrible to be necessary) chance for more color.  This first one is my favorite.  I don't always wear the same earrings day after day, but I've discovered that my dangly earrings get tangled in the mask straps.

I love reducing the mud!! The backyard is so so muddy, the dogs have made three or four pathways to their favorite bark spots.  We're in the rainy season here, and the mud and mud ponds are just horrific.   My sister recently redid her backyard and kindly saved all the pavers they pulled up.  She brought me the first batch this weekend.  There's still lots of mud left, but we made a good start.  It was also wonderful to see her after so much time isolated.

Luckily Blue's friend Auto came along with Becky, so they had fun playing together.  Blue was a bit sad that Auto got his place on the sofa, so he decided to sit on top of the cushion so all three dogs would fit on the sofa.

Not sure why Bentley decided to lie down on the sewing machine,  it can't possibly be comfortable.

And Auto decided to cur up on the hearth!  None of my many dogs have ever thought to get up there, but Auto hopped right up and curled up!

 I like hiking!  We took the dogs out and found a nice new trail with no people and not far from home!  It was a lovely hike, but unfortunately Blue got very tick-covered.  He was so sad that we manhandled him afterwards to get rid of all the ticks and then gave him a tick bath.  He hates baths, but I think he is now tick free.  I guess that will be a no-dogs hike going forward!

I had Monday off from work and got to do a bunch of quilting, here's a sneak peek of the project I'm working on now.  I'm about finished with it, so I'll hopefully post about it soon.

I also blogged this week about my complicated cabled shawl.  It was my first time doing cables in knitting, and I'm so happy with how it came out.  You can see more of that project here.

Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like!!