Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Solar Flare-finished


Earlier this week I shared the early steps of making my latest origami quilt structure, and I'm back today to share the finished piece.  After cutting and restitching all the pieces of the quilt that needed to be folds, I sculpted the quilt into its final form.  It's held together with hand stitching on the front and the back at places where multiple pieces or corners come together, but the whole thing still needed to be stiffened, so after supporting each petal with crumpled paper I coated the whole thing (front and back) with my trusted GAC400 fabric stiffener.  

The final piece is 31" x 31" x 7 ", always much smaller than the initial fabric (in this case it started about 52 x 60).  It's called Flare.

Flare, c. Shannon Conley, 2021, Photo: Mike Cox

Here you can see the back: it has two wooden supports in the one horizontal and one vertical.  It hangs from a wire suspended from the vertical slat.  I like the shape from the back too- I may use some of these fold patterns again in a future piece.

Here are some detail shots where you can see all the fun variety of thread.  I love that blue and orange sparkly thread- it's Ricky Tims Razzle Dazzle added via bobbin quilting.

Flare, c. Shannon Conley, 2021, Photo: Mike Cox

Flare, c. Shannon Conley, 2021, Photo: Mike Cox

Flare, c. Shannon Conley, 2021, Photo: Mike Cox

Flare, c. Shannon Conley, 2021, Photo: Mike Cox

Flare, c. Shannon Conley, 2021, Photo: Mike Cox

Flare, c. Shannon Conley, 2021, Photo: Mike Cox

Currently it's hanging on my dining room wall, but hopefully eventually it'll get to go out into the world and be seen by people in real life!

Monday, March 29, 2021

New Quilt-Solar Flare

 I started this project over the Christmas holidays at my parents' place.  Originally my sister's family was supposed to join us so I didn't have a huge plan for a project to work on there, but unfortunately she wasn't able to come (coronavirus).  So at the last minute I grabbed a giant piece of my polyester stash and stuck it in the car.  I figured I would paint and quilt a new sandwich to use for an origami or sculptural quilt.  Once at my mother's, I folded it in half, got it wet and started painting.  I didn't have a specific plan, but I was going for solar flare or fire colors.  

I got it all quilted at my mom's, and had fun using a lot of bright colors and sparkly bobbin quilting threads.  I quilted it on her Janome, while my Janome was in the shop.  I'd just come off several months of fighting with my Janome and hardly being able to stitch at all (it's all fixed now luckily), but it was just wonderful to quilt so nice and smoothly on something.

After quilting, I took it home with me and it sat around for a little while.  I had other things to work on and I was pondering what shape to make with it.  I finally settled on this 3D flower origami shape, which I thought would be doable with my quilt.

I squared it up, rounded the corners, and finished the edges with couched yarn.

The best way I've found to make crisp folds (like you'd have in origami), is to cut the fabric and then zig-zag stitch along the cut line.  I've used that approach successfully in some smaller past pieces (like this one and this one).  I'd never done it on such a large area; it's hard to see but if you look at the paper model, the fold is along a curved line and goes all the way around the piece in two different places.  I worried if I cut it completely at the beginning I'd never get them back together in the right place without bunching.  You can't really pin since in this case I was stitching two abutted pieces of sandwich rather than two pieces of fabric on top of each other.  So I decided to jus cut a little at a time.  I'd cut one side then stitch it all up and then cut the next side and stitch it back up until I'd worked all the way around.  For seams that would be mountain folds (that would be visible from the top), I couched on yarn as I zig-zagged over the cut. 

that's what you see below, the fabric partly cut along the fold line and partly stitched back up. 

Come back later in the week to see the finished sculpted piece!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

I Like #206

Welcome to another week of things to like!

I realized this week that this is my tenth blogging anniversay!  I can't believe my first post was sometime in March 2011.  It's been a great place to document things.

Browsing back through, I was shocked to find that, for the first 8 months there were no actual dogs (just dog quilts) here.  My dogs were just as important then, but I think initially I really wanted to stay craft and sewing focused. The first dog to appear was my mom's dog Jackson (sadly now passed away) in December 2011.  But only a week or so later, my Bullett and Bentley appeared for the first time.  Back then Bentley was still a bouncy young thing, about two and a half years old.  Now he is a tired old man, but still my best beloved.  Here he is this week snoozing (or plotting) while snuggled up with the Spooky monster while Blue has his own section of couch. 

I spent a little while browsing back through the 2011 posts.  It was a lot of the same things are I do now, art quilts (early ones), baby quilts, bags and pouches, hand embroidery.  Back in that time I was doing a lot of crocheting and there were a couple of posts where I emphatically declared I was NOT a knitter.  Of course now I can't crochet very easily without a tendonitis flare up, and I knit pretty much constantly (when I'm not working or quilting).

I posted about some hand  embroidery I wrapped up this weekend,  I turned a couple of small pieces into a project bag.  I didn't really need any more wall hoops, so a bag seemed like a good option.  I don't need anymore of those either, but a new project bag is always fun.  Here's a sneak peek, but jump over to the full post to see both pieces of embroidery and the bag.

My begonia has been making little flowers all winter and I finally remembered to take pictures of it.  He's very leggy and very fragile, but I hate to move him or try to repot since he does seem to be growing there and I have a terrible history of killing begonias.

Sharing some signs of spring,  the redbud has its tiny beautiful reddish pink buds.

And my crabapple has lots of buds that are thinking about opening.  It's now that time of year when we pray we don't get a late hard freeze; last year we got one and I lost all the crabapples.

I have a couple of finished art quilts that I need to blog about, and this weekend I had a marathon pocket and label sewing session.  That's always my least favorite part, but I sewed three pockets and two labels and now everyone is actually finished (except for the blog posts).

We had some bad family news this week, my uncle had a heart attack and had to have triple bypass surgery, but my family all mobilized to support him and my grandma, and as of yesterday evening he'd come through the surgery ok.  We're all praying and keeping our fingers crossed.

I hope you're all having an ok week out there!  Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Winter Embroidery Samplers

 One of my favorite embroidery blogs is Carina's Craft Blog.  I love her brightly colored flair and her fun patterns and writing style.  I've stitched her patterns before, most notably this tree pattern and a lovely fall wreath.

Earlier this year when it was still very much winter I started working on her Stay Home and Stitch pattern.  I committed to using all my pearl cotton and other heavier threads.  In retrospect I think they were a bit heavy for some of the letter fills, but I had a good time using different fill stitches.

I love the bright yellow leaves, the purple sparkly needle, and the orange and gold scissors.

Right after starting the Stay Home and Stitch hoop, Carina did a tutorial post on the Swedish embroidery style called Bottensöm.  I loved the look of it, and decided I had to try it at once.  I pulled out another hoop and a piece of the same scrap fabric as I'd used for the piece above and started stitching.  I had so much fun usin gthis stitching approach I've recently finished a whole art quilt using it.  Hopefully sometime I'll get caught up blogging about it too.

After finishing these, I had two ~6" diameter embroideries but no need for any more wall hoops.  I decided to finish them into a project bag with some colorful patchwork stitched up from my scrap bin.  The bag is really lightweight, no interfacing, no complicated pockets, just a nice project bag that closes with a zipper.  It's about 12x12 and is nice and capacious.  I look forward to carrying around future embroidery projects in it!

The inside is just more scrappy fabric from my leftovers.

I love hand embroidery- it's a great complement to knitting in my handwork arsenal, and it was fun to finish these up into something useful.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

I like 205

Welcome to another week of things to like! While our friends in Colorado were dealing with the massive snowstorm (what a winter for extremes!) we had nice spring weather hear this weekend.  Yesterday and today have turned back cold and really crazy windy, but I guess that's just March for you!

I started cleaning up the "garden" outside this weekend and uncovered this delightful large toad!  He was huddling under some debris, but I was glad to see him!

The pups are good, they were enjoying sunning in the warm weather this weekend.  Spooky keeps eating things (ahem furniture) that don't belong to him, but is otherwise fine.

I made my donation quilt for the SAQA spotlight auction this weekend.  It's a great fundraiser for a great organization,  I'll post about it again once it goes live.  The quilts are 6x8 and bidding starts at just $20.  I started by printing out (on fabric) one of the micrographs I took of my grandpa's grass specimens from his lab notebook.  This one is a picture of the infertile spikelet of Andropogon scoparius.

I painted it with watercolors and then quilted it and couched sparkly thread over it.  I like the way it turned out!  I hope someone else likes it too.

I also finished some knitting this week and started new knitting!

I finished a pair of socks I'd been knitting this winter.  The legs and tops of the feet have a heart pattern on them but the yarn is so busy they're a little hard to see.  They're nice and cozy though so that's good!

Yesterday I shared this green quilt on instagram for St. Patricks day.  It's really more springy than St. Patrick's day, but I guess green is green.  It was one of my very early quilts from 2012, back when I was doing a lot of experiments with precision cut vinyl silk screens.  My work has become a bit less traditional since then, but I love the bright colors and quilting on this still.

I hope spring is coming for most folks and that our snowed in friends can unbury soon and stay warm in the meantime!  Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

I Like #204

Welcome to another week of things to like.  

This was a busy week at work and home, but the weather is getting nicer and spring definitely feels like it's here (though late freezes are always a possibility).

I had a fun outfit this week, great knitwear and colorful leggings so I thought I'd try a rare selfie.

This really cool moth was hanging out outside my studio the other evening.  If anyone knows what he is, I'd love to hear.

My copy of Discovering Dahlias  arrived this week.  I've had it on pre-order forever and I'm so excited it's come.  It's by Erin from Floret Flowers who is one of my favorite dahlia growers and breeders.  The book is gorgeous, filled with glorious flower pictures but also tons of info on growing and breeding dahilas, so I can't wait to dive in.

Here's a youtube video of me talking about one of my quilts that is currently part of the SAQA show Beyond the Mirror if you're interested to hear about my thinking and motivations.

I love love love the patchwork landscapes of artist Rebecca Vincent.  I encourage you to check out her site here.

I hope everyone is having a good week.  Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like! 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

I Like #203

Welcome to another week of things to like.

I was lucky enough to see my sister and the kids this weekend.  I didn't take very many pictures, and we didn't go anywhere, but we had tons of fun playing games with the kids at home and doing other fun stuff like playing with the super sweet rats Cotton and Puffy.  My pups ignore the rats (while they're in their cage) but apparently my sister's mother-in-law's dog does not.  They were staying with my sister during the big winter storm and their small shih tsu Okie apparently really agitated the rats (even though he's quite small and their cage is large and off the ground), so the rats kept throwing bedding through the bars of their cage at Okie until he went away.

We went for a nice walk in my sister's neighborhood and saw this pretty heron (he's right in the middle of the picture a little toward the bottom center of that pond)

I found this fun old picture of me and my sister with my dad at Dad-daughter week at Camp Mary White (girl scout camp) back in around 1987.  I loved going to camp there.

My pups are all good, just as snuggly as ever and of course had fun with Becky's pups.  They were snoozing all nestled together right before I took this picture, but of course as soon as I even twitched toward the camera they sat up.

This is one of my favorite instagram accounts- always fun thoughts from Dog, and this week the dog with the zoomies reminded me so much of Spooky (who often gets the zoomies).

Here's a cool historical find from this week,  a newly uncovered marble floor in a roman-imperial era villa in France.  Beautiful color and pattern, very much square-in-a-square quilt blocks.

I hope everyone is having a good week!  Click over to Lee Anna's for more things to like this week!