Thursday, May 25, 2017

I Like #19

Hi again everybody!  Time for another round up of things I'm liking.  Hooray!

1.  I like embroidery.  This is one of my current favorite embroidery blogs.  I don't speak French, but it's amazing work and lots of fabulous dimensional eye candy.

2. I like wildflowers!  Most of the campus where I work has lovely if somewhat ordinary landscaping but last week, as part of my committee work, I was doing facility inspections in a different part of campus than I usually visit. I came across this delightful field of wildflowers.  You can't really tell in the picture, but there were lots (probably twenty or so) different varieties, and all blooming in different colors.  What a lovely surprise!

3.  I like fruit!  This one is obvious, but I was just so excited to see all the blackberries on my blackberry bush!  They're not ripe yet, but hopefully soon!

4.  I like birds!  They still all fly away really fast if I try to take a picture of them at the feeder, but I love hearing them.  I keep thinking I should make an audio recording at least.  This poor guy accidentally got trapped in my building overnight last week.  I felt really terrible, by the time I found him the next day he was clearly exhausted from trying to get out a (glass) window, but luckily I was able to catch him in an empty pitcher and take him back outside.  He was flying all over the building and flew right away when I got him outside, so I don't think he was injured and I hope he's ok!

5. I like quilting!  This week I've been quilting away on a portrait of me and my dad I'm working on.  It was going well, lots of changes in thread color, but then my machine started shredding thread unexpectedly so I put it in time out.  I don't think there's anything wrong with it, but sometimes I find I have more patience if I come back a couple days later.

Thanks as always to LeeAnna for hosting, and have a great week!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Art With Fabric Blog Hop: The Squash

Alida over at Tweety Loves Quilting invited me to be part of her Art with Fabric blog hop this year. I'm pleased to share this piece for the blog hop!

Shannon Conley, The Squash, c. 2017, 9 x 9 x 9

I've recently been working on including more dimensional elements in my work and on creating 3D sculptural forms out of quilts (that is, fabric and batting held together by thread).  You can see some of my previous explorations here, here, and here.   However, I'm still in the experimental stage, trying to figure out how to give my pieces structural stability and support.  I've long been inspired by Art Nouveau ceramics and pottery, in particular by the organic forms and by the sense of dimension, and decided to use that as my inspiration for the blog hop piece.

Paul Dachsel was an Austrian potter who started out working for Amphora pottery, a famous pottery studio at the end of the nineteenth century, before starting his own pottery around 1905.  Though lots of Art Nouveau pottery and ceramics features very literal organic features (leaves, other elements from nature, human figures), I'm drawn to things that feature more abstracted organic forms.  In addition, and in keeping with my current attraction to openwork, I love ceramics that feature open areas, cutouts, and extra "tentacly" dimensional elements.  You can check out my pinboard featuring some of Paul Dachsel's work here.

Paul Dachsel 4-Handled Vase

Even though my pieces don't always look like quilts, I like to include some references to traditional quilt making when I can.  In this case, my piece is formed from a single mariner's compass block.  I started out with a quilt sandwich ~22" square (it was actually leftover from this project).  It was partially painted, but my first step was to paint both sides with my typical blend of latex and acrylic paint. I then marked my mariner's compass block and free motion quilted with a bunch of different threads.
Back and front at various stages in the quilting process.

I next cut out the star, sealed the edges with my woodburning tool, and starting fiddling with it.  This part was the most fun- trying out different dimensional arrangements to see what was stable and what wasn't, what I liked and thought looked right and what didn't.

And this is the final arrangement I settled on.  As a final step, the whole thing was stiffened by painting on a layer of fabric stiffener.

This was a fun experiment and I'm looking forward to making more pieces in this series.  I like the way this turned out, it reminds me of a squash or a sea urchin or Cinderella's carriage.  What does it remind you of?

Thanks very much to Alida for inviting me to participate in her blog hop.  Check out her blog for all this year's participants and definitely check out the others for today:

Friday, May 19th, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Like #18

Welcome to another week!  This is definitely one of those weeks where I need the reminder to find good things.  They're all around- but I just need to look.

1. I like my family!  After a scheduling snafu on my part, I made an unexpectedly early trip to Dallas last weekend to see my sister.  We took the kids to six flags, and I had a blast with my niece and nephew.  They're still too little for big roller coasters, but they went on all the little kid rides and small roller coasters.  I loved seeing them have a good time.  Alex especially giggled all the way through the roller coasters.  I can't wait for them to be big enough to ride the larger ones with me.

2. I like my labmates!  Right now I have three great ladies working for me, all of whom I've known for many years.  Shout out to Jamie, Maggie, and Lauren.  My lab is a small one and unfortunately I'll only have all three of them for just a couple of months, but for right now they add a great vitality to our lab.

3. I like my sister's dogs!  She has two young ones, one still a big puppy, and I love seeing them romp around and play with each other.  Her side yard has a set of external stairs that lead up to a small balcony/second floor entrance, and recently the youngest dog figured out he could go up there to get a bigger view of the neighborhood.  He taught the other dog, and now when you go outside you will often hear and see them barking and looking down from above.  I think they like the new perch!  Their names are Checker and Auto (all my sister's dogs have had car names).  Auto likes to jump on your lap and stick his tongue in your ear.

4.  I like finishing things!  I finished two things this week, one was the small 3D piece I talked about last week, and the final post on it will go live tomorrow so check back in to see it!  I also finished my crochet dress, just in time for my memorial day trip (which was my goal, so yay!)  I'm excited to start crocheting something new.  I think I'm going to make a prayer shawl for one of our outreach ministries.  I'm using some of the yarn I have at home that I've never used, and I'm not sure how it will crochet.   I'm trying to decide between a fairly simple pattern (in case it doesn't work up very well) such as the very pretty Erigeneia Shawl, or a slight more interesting pattern like the also very pretty Edlothia Shawl.  The two pictures are not mine, they're from the pattern links above. Mine will be two colors, but the same two colors (I'll be crocheting two yarns together) throughout. Thoughts?

Erigeneia Shawl

Edlothia Shawl

Thanks as always to LeeAnna!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I Like #17

Happy week everybody!  Hope everyone is doing well.  It's been a good week here; not any nuttier than usual which is always a good thing! Things I'm liking this week:

1. Mike and Missy!  Mike and Missy were at my folks for all of April and though they actually came back last week, it's just good to have them home.  Mike started a new part time job (fun for him), and everything just feels better when they're around.  Missy is as grouchy as ever, but just got a haircut so she's pretty cute right now.  Of course now that she's back, she and Bentley commandeer the pouf and overstuffed armchair in the studio, and once again Bullett is left without any nice soft spot.  I need to make a second pouf I think!

2.  Local wildlife!  I might have mentioned this last week, but our frog (toad) is back!  I thought I might have chased him away with my lawn mowing the other day, but then in the evening he was back camping on the sidewalk between the studio and the house.  I think he likes the warm concrete.  We also have lots of bunnies just now especially in the mornings;  this one was in hanging out in the backyard.

3. Mint chocolate chip scones!  I don't make scones very often, but recently the lady who has the lab next to mine has brought in mint chocolate chip scones to share twice and they are very tasty!

4.  Exploring new ideas!  Right now I'm experimenting with some 3D structures starting from mariners compasses or star blocks.  Always fun to try something different!  Check back in later in the week, I hope to have more progress!

Back to work now-we're in a productive moment, but wishing you all a good week, and thanks to LeeAnna for hosting!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Finished Cardigan

I've been regularly attending knit night at our church for the past few months so I've been getting more crochet done than I used to.  A little while back I finished this brown cardigan.  It's made from the brown alpaca yarn my aunt gave me, and is nice and warm.  It was the first thing I ever made that had to fit, and it definitely isn't what you'd call tailored.  This is what the pattern looked like, it's called Jewel of the Shrug and was very nicely written and easy to crochet.

I'm not one for paying much attention to gauge or swatches, so it isn't really anyone's fault but my own that it's too big.  But it's ok, slouchy-comfy is fine.  It's somehow a little crooked even though it was worked from the top down in rows.  It's very strange- if I center it on my shoulders so that the sleeves are the same length, one side is much longer than the other.  I'm not sure where I went awry, but again it's so loose fitting that it's not too obvious.

Sorry for the terrible pics, I asked Mike to snap a couple of pictures of me before I left for work one morning, but our kitchen has terrible light.

Now I'm working on a pineapple top, with some weird but colorful rainbow yarn my mom's friend Georgia gave me.  I'm planning to make it tunic length to wear with leggings.  So far it's going well, as always I've fiddled around with the pattern, but as written it's great.  We'll see how mine turns out.  I really don't think my yarn is meant to be made into clothes; it's pretty hard to see the pineapples, but I'm hopeful that once it's finished you'll be able to see them if I wear it over something black.

This is the pattern picture.

This is the yarn I'm using.  It's sort of ribbony with rainbow colored pieces wrapped around it with black thread.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

I Like #16

Well late is better than never!

I just sat down at 2pm in my office for the first time today, its just been one meeting after another.  Too bad really because it was a week filled with likeable things.   Most importantly, my family visited!  I like (love!) having them visit- for this trip it was my parents and my sister and her kids.  We did crafts and hung out and went to the museum, and did home repair projects and enjoyed being with each other.

Other things I liked this week:

1. My blackberries are blooming and have lots of fruit on them (still green).  Keep your fingers crossed that they don't get all eaten by the birds.  We have tons of birds now at our feeder, the dogs just ignore them and I love looking out the window and seeing them.  Maybe someday I'll get a picture!

2. I had jury duty this week; it was unremarkable apart from the fact that I got a lot done on my crochet project, but I loved these ornamental elements on the courthouse.  We have largely unremarkable architecture here, but those caught my eye!

3.  Bentley sits in the sun just inside my studio door.  (Love)

Thanks as ever to LeeAnna

Monday, May 1, 2017

Valentine's Day (Belated!)

I've been trying to make it in at least once a week to share an I Like post, but the craziness in my work life has meant that both progress and blogging about my art and projects has fallen by the wayside.  Even though I feel like I haven't sewn much recently, I still have a variety of things to share.  I have two new art quilts in the works, and I'll be back to share them in upcoming posts, but for now I thought I'd just share a grab-bag of miscellaneous things.

The first is my valentine's block for this year (and actually the last several years).  I just realized that I don't think I've shared my mom's annual valentine's blocks since 2013.  Every year my mom makes a block for Becky and I, with the idea that sometime we'll sew them all into a quilt.  It's a fun tradition, and always neat to see what technique or approach she's chosen.  Usually it's somehow related to some other project she's working on- so it makes a nice time capsule.

In 2014 mom was working on an applique dinosaur quilt for my new nephew :)

In 2015 she was doing lots of wool applique, and Sue Spargo-inspired embroidery.

2016 was when we were experimenting with felting.

2017 is back to her core piecing!

Love you Mom!