Thursday, April 30, 2020

I Like #162

Welcome to another week of things to like.  We're still staying and working from home, and in spite of various things reopening here in OK, the university hasn't made official noises in that direction.  In general, I think people here are taking this a little less seriously than I might wish, but I was very pleased to see that at least half the people were wearing masks when I made my grocery trip on Saturday. Certainly many more than when I'd last visited three weeks earlier.  And of course a grocery trip Saturday means that the last few days have been full of fresh fruit and veggies and I've especially been enjoying the good asparagus.

Other things to like:

I like this hand soap my sister brought me on her trip to Newfoundland a couple years back.  I was excited to use up the annoying little sliver and get out this fresh bar.  It's designed to mimic the look of the row houses in that particular village, but I got a great laugh from the use instructions.  I'm not sure you can read them, but the label says: "To use: wet soap, lather on skin, and rinse."  I'd never have thought hand soap required instructions, but the proliferation of recent handwashing instructions clearly shows this soap to have been ahead of its time. 

Blue and I went walking around the lake this weekend.  The weather was nice, and even though there were other people out, everyone was generally very good about keeping distance from one another, so we had a nice walk.  Bentley got a short walk around the neighborhood first but he gets tired too fast for long walks.

I've been continuing my sort through of old pictures as part of a big digitization push and found this one of a very early hiking and camping trip.  In 1983, when my little sister was only about 8 months old, my mom and two of her life-long girl friends took all us kids on a camping trip to Yosemite. There were four little bitty kids ranging age from 8 months to about 5.  I'm the one in the pink tracksuit (some things never change) and was right around my third birthday, and that's my sister in the backpack with my mom.  My mom tells lots of great stories about the trip, including one where they almost missed the last bus out of the valley at the end of the afternoon and the three ladies had to pick up all the kids and run some large number of miles to make it in time.

I got my copy of the Vision 2020 catalog this week.  This show is touring around the US and Australia (or hopefully will be at some point) and is filled with cool quilts on that theme.  You can see a really nice online version of the full exhibition catalog here

I loved this mosaic piece.  It's irridescent

That's my quilt there on the left.

I kept quilting on my big illuminated quilt this week.  Here's an in progress shot showing my pumpkin dog.  She was a great big lug of a hound dog who one time stole my sandwich right out of my hand, but she died about ten years ago.

I also posted about two new sculptural experiments using wood this week.  You can see more about my paraboloids here and here.  I was grateful to cut the wood for these on the laser cutter right before the facility shutdown for quarantine.

I hope you're all hanging in there this week.  Please visit Lee Anna's for more things to like this week.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Paraboloid #2

Yesterday I shared my first attempt at a wooden paraboloid structure, and today I'm sharing another in this mini-series (of two).  The idea behind this one was the same, nested parabolas, with a couple of changes.  The first was the shape of the parabolas themselves,  these were much taller and narrower than the last set, giving a slightly different shape overall.  The second difference is that instead of using thread to attach/suspend the different pieces, I used some spools of faux suede that were in the magic Georgia boxes.  This resulted in the connecting strings having much more visual impact that in the previous one.  I was able to apply some things I'd learned from the previous version to make this one slightly easier to assemble, but it is still really hard to connect the strings so that the spacing is even and all the strings are taut.

Paraboloid #2, c. Shannon Conley, 2020

From some angles I think this one looks like an alien skeleton head or something which makes me happy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Paraboloid #1

I've been using the laser cutter lately for a lot of quilts, and after cutting the wooden Christmas ornaments I thought there might be a way to do some small geometric sculptures.  Of course having never worked in this media I had no idea how it would go, but I drafter this series of nested parabolas with the idea that I could generate something with graceful 3D curves.  Well, that turned out to be quite a bit harder than expected.  I sewed the pieces all together there through those holes about halfway down on the left and right and I thought I could just prop it up from there, but of course it kept collapsing.  In the picture below it's being held up by being pinned to my work table.

I started stitching through various holes to try to get the shape to hold, here are a couple of pictures in progress.  It was very hard to get the individual paraboloids to be spaced evenly.  Even the final thing isn't perfect.  And then to make matters worse, I actually broke two of them halfway through the stitching.  I'm so thankful I was able to glue/clamp the broken pieces back together.

Here's a finished view
Paraboloid #1, c. Shannon Conley, 2020

The string is different colors of sparkly Ricky Tims razzle dazzle thread.  I bought a bunch of spools of it a few years ago, but then didn't wind up doing much bobbin quilting, so I thought this would be a fun place to use it.

I had fun with this experiment (sort of) and like the end shapes that were created.  I have two more wood "sculptures" to share, but I can tell you I don't think I'm going to be changing my primary medium any time soon!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

I Like #161

Welcome to another week of things to like, circumscribed by my local environs!

My dahlias have started to sprout!  Not all of them are up, but enough that I'm confident we'll have some this year.  After I planted them we had three more late freezes so I was worried.  The dahlia is the sprout in the middle of the sack there.  Those are a few petunias I bedded near the edge.

My begonia is blooming like crazy!  I'm so excited I haven't killed this one yet!  It's in kind of a small pot, but I'm really hesitant to disturb it since it seems to be going gangbusters right now.

I worked some more on my quilt that the animals are going into.  This small vignette features my cat Sam and my sister's two pet rats Silky and Puffy (I couldn't help including them).  I'm about to start quilting this project, and I've been pleased to make progress on it.

 I saw this giant pillbug worm thing while walking the dogs yesterday and it made me laugh!  It's actually some sort of inflatable thing you put over your car to protect from hail (which was expected but didn't arrive yesterday), but I've never seen anything like it before!

I love this pot!  It's been by far my most used pot for all the years when I lived by myself, and especially in the last couple of months.  It's small, so no good for cooking for multiple people but I love it.  My mom gave it to me when I got my first apartment 20 years ago I guess because she didn't use it as much as some of her others.  I don't use it as a double boiler, but it's great to have two pots that nest and use the same lid.  And it fits my vegetable steamer perfectly.

I love the pups!  I can't believe Bentley is comfortable like this, but who knows!

I love old pictures!  I have a box of miscellaneous (REALLY miscellaneous) pictures from my mother that I will digitize at some point, but in digging through it for something I didn't find the other day, I found this cute family picture.  It was taken about six months before my sister was born when I was about 20 months old.  

I blogged about another finished kirigami quilt this week, see it here and here!

I hope everyone is staying safe and had some things to like this week!  Click over to Lee Anna's to see more!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Kirigami #4: Creepy Crawlies-Finished!

Yesterday I shared about this latest installment in my Kirigami series and today I'm back to share the finished piece.  Even with fabric stiffener, this piece felt like it needed a little bit of extra support so I attached it (with tiny nails) to a wood backboard.  There were a few baby blue paint accents on the red quilt front, so I gave the board a very light wash with light blue acrylic paint to just tint it in a complementary direction.  I also thought the green arms were a little plain looking so I accented their edges and base with paint and polka dots.

Here's the whole finished piece.  I named it Kirigami #4: Creepy Crawlies, because even though the arms are sort of like pinwheels, the remind me of bug legs!  Interestingly, in normal RES domes, the center circle is raised up off the ground/backing, but even with stiffening, the fabric doesn't have enough structural integrity for the form to stay up, so the arms stick out from the background, but the red center circles are also nailed to the backing board.
Kirigami #4: Creepy Crawlies, c. Shannon Conley, 2020, 18" x 32", photo c. Mike Cox

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

New Quilt: Kirigami #4: Creepy Crawlies

Welcome to another installment of my series of Kirigami quilts.  This one started with this fabric I painted red orange for the front and dirty desert green for the back.  And of course quilted together!

Ever since I started learning about kirigami, I've been entirely captivated by RES structures (rotational erection system), a method of creating really fantastic 3D geometry from a single flat piece.  Professor Yoshinobu Miyamoto has really pioneered these structures, both from the mathematics side and from the origami/kirigami and architectural side.  I got completely lost in his flickr stream:  check it out here.  You can adjust these structures in a lot of different ways depending on the angle, shape, and size of the cuts and folds.  There are some mathematical programs for designing them that are above my level of understanding, but after looking at millions of pictures I figured out how to draft them.  I made a couple of different ones with different fold depths and angles, just to see what would happen.  Interestingly, a couple of them weren't well suited to application to quilts (I'll blog about those failures at some point).  This one worked well enough and I liked the shapes enough that I decided to make it in a quilt.  I cut the paper model on my silhouette after drafting in Adobe illustrator.

Interestingly, all of these kirigami quilts rely on folding, and fabric does not fold well.  I've discovered that the folds crease better if you stitch them down.  In addition, I wanted to figure out a way to mark the folds using the cutter since many of the folds have very precise angles but you don't want to cut them completely.  I thought if I used a dotted line in illustrator it would cut a perforated line in the fabric and that would serve as a fold guide.  Unfortunately, the laser cutter doesn't interpret a dashed line from illustrator (it reads solid lines only).  So I had to convert the dashed lines into outlined paths which was kind of a pain the first time.  Anyway, it worked out, and below you can see the fully cut solid lines and the dashed cut lines which are for folding.

After cutting, I used paintsticks to add some color and depth to the red sandwich.

Here you can see it "popped up"  the arms are pretty floppy since this is pre-stiffening, but I love all the arms!  Come back tomorrow to see the finished piece!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

I Like #160

Welcome to another week of things to like!

1.  I liked meeting up with Lee Anna and Sally via zoom this weekend, it was fun! Next time we will pick a non-weekend day for those that couldn't make it then.

2.  I liked virtual Easter church!  I started the day listening through some old recordings from our church choir at Easter and then had two Easter morning Zoom services, one with family, and one with some church friends.  I was really struggling about missing Easter worship, but we made it through!  I haven't seen another person face to face in a week, so at least seeing them on Zoom is good.

3.  I like the birds!  They eat at the birdfeeder outside my back door so I get to see them while working.  Unfortunately I can't ever get pictures, but their chirping reminds me that spring is here (in spite of three nights below freezing).

4. It made me really happy to move these window screens around.  There were no window screens on my bedroom window, because after a few times of taking them on and off to crawl in after forgetting my house keys over the last fifteen years (so bizarre), they'd gotten all bent up.  I don't crawl through the window anymore, and it's that time of year when I want to have the windows open (EXCEPT FOR THE STUPID THREE NIGHTS BELOW FREEZING), so it made me very happy to take a screen of an unused guest bedroom and put it on my bedroom.  Hooray!

5.  I love Jane Sassaman and her prairie gothic fabric line.  Jane is a pretty famous art quilter, but she also designs fabric.  This line is one of my favorites, but it's very old.  The other day though she posted on her instagram that she'd gotten a few bolts of these old prints up on her online shop.  Most exciting to me, they're home dec weight!  I bought a yard of each and I'm going to use the top one to make a new laptop bag at some point.  

6.  A good friend of mine who is in a local nursing home has tested positive for the coronavirus.  Luckily even though she is 90, she is so far one week out from the diagnosis and asymptomatic (amazing), but in the process of learning all this, I discovered that the nursing home was accepting masks, so I made a couple dozen more of those.

7. I like using things up! While digging through bins of cotton fabric (I don't use them very much), I found a bunch of already pieced red white and blue flying geese strips and a bunch of precut squares.  They weren't mine, and not really my colors, more sort of shabby chic red white and beige.  Just not my style!  But someone carefully pieced them and somehow they made it into my scrab bins (who knows how), so I pulled them out, made HSTs with the precut squares, and pieced up this top.  It's a weird size, about 38x55, but I'll quilt it up at some point and give it to someone.  Hooray for using things up!

8.  I love this tea bag mug!  My mom made it for my grandpa in 1987, and when he passed away I got it (along with a bunch of other pottery my mom had made for my grandparents).  My grandpa was a tea drinker, and my mom came up with these mugs that have integrated pockets for your tea bag in case you want to use it a second time.  I've been drinking more tea lately since it's been chilly and it made me happy to get out his mug and think of him!

9. I love the pups!  They're fine, and as part of a long-term big illuminated manuscript quilt project I haven't blogged about, I worked on their little mini portraits.  All 8 pets will be in it as little angels.  Here's Blue, he's hard to see in pictures because he's so grey.  They're all about 2" square, so pretty small.

10.  Being at home means I recoup commuting time, so I blogged about another one of my Kirigami quilts this week!  I love catching up sharing the backlog of projects;  I never feel like things are 100% finished until I've documented them here, and it's such a nice way for me to track my progress over time.  You can see posts about this week's quilt here and here!

I also blogged about a baby quilt I finished right before the chaos started.  It's for a friend of mine at work and I am praying for her and her baby!  I hope everything goes well with the birth!  You can read the post here if you want to see more!

I hope you guys are hanging in there and staying healthy!  Click through to Lee Anna's for more things to like!