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!!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Uncia Shawl

You guys!  I finished my Uncia Shawl!  I am so so happy, it was by far the hardest most complicated thing I have ever knit.  It was the first time I'd ever done cables and it turns out the whole thing is made of different cables.  I love the pattern, I think it's gorgeous and I love how the shawl came out.

The pattern comes from The Book of Haps, by Kate Davies Designs, but the Uncia Shawl pattern is by Lucy Hague.  It's a fantastic book, with lots of history about haps and north sea knitting as well as traditional hap patterns and a variety of contemporary hap-inspired patterns.  I bought the book when I was in Scotland last year, but you can also get it on Ravelry.  I have the hard copy and PDF;  it was great to have the PDF while I knit (that's how I keep track using a PDF editor on my ipad).  The pattern and charts are very well written, but it was definitely very complicated.  The pattern was introducing not-yet-used stitches right up until the last ten rows (!!)   It had a total of 39 different stitches (only about 8 of which I knew before starting) including 22 different cable stitches.  Whew.

I ran out of yarn about 80% of the way through.  I was so aggravated, especially because I'd bought this yarn years ago for some other project I decided not to do and didn't have a ready source for more, not to mention it was mid-quarantine.  And of course I couldn't even find the label anywhere and the prettiest part of the pattern is the end (it knit from the skinny end to the fat end).  I finally found the label though and was able to pick up a ball from someone on Etsy.  (HOORAY!)

This was such a complicated knit that I really had a hard time working on it if there were any other people around. Since my usual dedicated knitting time is at our church knit night, I had been making only very slow progress.  But all the evenings at home during the shut-down provided a nice opportunity to work on it!

You can see the size a bit better here.  I always feel like a dork posing with the self-timer.

Here are a couple of pictures I took while working on it.

Right there are some of my very first cables :)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

I Like #165

Welcome to another week of things to like.  Still around my house, but I'm not getting bored enough to weed flower beds, so sorry for those pictures.

I'm loving my outside plants!  The petunias are going gangbusters, the marigolds I planted from seeds have the first buds so hopefully should start blooming soon, and my dahlias are growing well.  Blue doesn't like the hose but likes to be near me, so he's never sure at watering time.

I had to go to the grocery store this week and while wandering down the wine aisle I saw one of the little hanging things was selling ping-pong balls.  What ever possessed someone to think oh, the ping-pong balls should go over with the wine?

I love my Bentley!  He was super super gross this week, I have no idea what he rolled in but it was bad, so on Tuesday I gave him a bath.  He doesn't like it but tolerates it, and now he's clean and nice and fuzzy.  So much better for snuggling.  Although he's shedding badly right now and that's always worse after a bath.  I was brushing him yesterday and clouds of fur were going everywhere and then Blue rushed up and sneezed directly into my face, so it was grossness all around.

This is one of my houseplants and it has started blooming (tiny little round pink flowers sort of in the background).  It's never bloomed before!

I finally own a wheelbarrow cart thing!  I'm going to be hauling pavers later this weekend, and thought it would be really nice to have one.  I didn't want a traditional wheelbarrow, they always seem tippy, so hopefully this will be serviceable.  I had to assemble it but it feels nice and sturdy.

Balled up yarn for a new knitting project this week.  For some reason I find this task very enjoyable.  I love the spinning swift.  This was the last skein I got on clearance when our local yarn store closed a year and a half ago, and it's very nice yarn.  I'm excited to work with it.

 My apple trees and crabapple trees have apples!  I was worried because we had a couple of late freezes, but everyone has fruit, so we'll hope for a nice harvest later this year!

I blogged about another dimensional piece this week, It's my interpretation of a wall lantern.  You can read more about it here.

I hope you are all staying healthy!  Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Lantern: Finished

Yesterday I shared the in-progress pictures of my newest origami corrugation quilt, which I've titled Lantern.  Today I'm back to share the finished piece!

I really love the muted colors and the soft slouchy feel.  It reminds me of a furry caterpillar or a piece of modern furniture.  I wish I had somewhere to hang it, but hopefully it will get to go visit some shows.

Lantern, c. Shannon Conley, 2020, 34" x 18" x 9"

This pic taken from the bottom shows the barrel shape.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

New Quilt: Lantern

Some of you may remember a few years ago I made this quilt (called tesseract) that was made out of separate quilted triangles reassembled and sculpted.  I'd wanted to do something more in this vein, and while being inspired by all the kirigami I also discovered contemporary origami artists doing really cool things with corrugations.  See for example, the flickr streams of Ray Schamp and Beth Johnson

Upon closer inspection, I realized that one of the easiest "Beginner" corrugation patterns used flying geese blocks, so I figured I had to try it!  I dug out all my already quilted scraps (edges cut off and practice swatches), and started cutting out triangles.  Here they are pinned to my design wall.

To hold the triangles together, I sandwiched them between two layers of pale tulle and quilted around them.  Here you can see the colors are a bit muted from the tulle.

One of the things that was troublesome last time was keeping the loose triangles straight while I quilted them between two layers of tulle.  To solve this problem, this time I hung a sheet of plastic drop cloth on my design wall before pinning up the triangles. I then used tiny dots of hot glue to stick the triangles to the tulle.  I figured the plastic would peel off, but alas no.  So now the piece consists of a layer of tulle, a layer of quilted triangles (front/batting/back) another layer of tulle, and a layer of drop cloth.  Oops.

Here you can see it (from the back) in the initial stages of folding/sculpting.

To help keep the spacing between each unit even, I stitched chunks of old straws (previously used to hold up kirigami legs) between each unit using my long doll making needle.

In envisioned it as a half-barrel shape, kind of like a wall-mounted lantern, and I had to figure out a way to give it that curved shape.  I decided on a chicken wire/wood armature, and of course my arms suffered a bit for that.

Come back tomorrow to see the finished piece!