I did this watercolor landscape of Glencoe from a photograph of a recent trip to Scotland. The Highlands of Scotland are so inspiring and beautiful. I would love to go back some day just to paint. This painting was also part of an exercise in the book I am working through called Watercolor Class by Michael Crespo. The excersice is called the “The Three Zones of Landscape.”
My six year old sanguine and bubbly middle child has been anxiously waiting for me to finish her quilt. She watched me make one for her little brother and quickly put in her own order. You see her little feet poke out of the last blanket I made her so “It doesn’t fit anymore.” I have a bunch of baby quilts around the house made by three generations of quilters, but she is no baby.
I picked out the colors with her and her older sister in mind (her sister put in an order too, of course). They are much more bright and girly than I would choose for myself (but ones I still love), but that is who they are for. I chose a Amy Butler print as the starting point for the colors and prints. There is also a lot of Anna Maria Horner, a Kaffe Fassett and random stash fabrics.
I chose gray as the background color to help neutralize the brightness and busyness of the prints. Noelle has swooned at every step of me making this quilt. When when the geese were all made I let her help me arrange them. She loved this and took it very seriously.
This was my first flying geese quilt and my first quilt not using a pattern (well, that needed exact measurements anyway). It was the first time I tried machine quilting. I learned A LOT on this quilt. I made mistakes but I learned so much from each one. I learned I don’t like machine quilting a full-sized quilt. I started that way and then decided to create a pattern of machine quilting some rows (for time sake) and hand quilting the others.
I find hand quilting so much more enjoyable. It’s more time consuming but I like the final look more. I find it relaxing, cathartic and mindless. It’s a skill tha has been handed down to me from my grandma and mother and there is something very nostalgic and meaningful in that. There is a strong connection to my heritage, women in my life and past, and it is woven into every piece I’ve made.
The back was made from different grays. I always love the way the stitching comes through on the back.
She squealed when I said it was done and she could have it. These pictures are from that moment. How sweet is that?! That little finger in the picture above reminds me of hours of tracing my grandma’s hand stitches, wondering at lines and patterns and prints as I fell asleep.
I think she likes it.
Having read the War of Art, I know that feeling like giving up is normal. I know to push through it now. When I was working on this watercolor the question I asked myself was “How much and how strong of that feeling is normal?” Because I didn’t feel it like a whisper, but deafening trumpet while I was painting this. A “Why do I even bother, what am I thinking, I should just give this up” constant feeling. So far I have felt that way each time I tackle a painting. Sometimes it is not as strong and I can get past it sooner, say fifty percent of the time. I swear I felt that way during this piece about nintey two percent of the time. Painting it felt more like a struggle than relaxing and enjoyable. I am hoping that comes from being so new and not really knowing what I am doing. Somehow at the end I felt, “Okay. That isn’t horrible. That’s decent.” And then when it was done I immediately got out a new piece of fresh paper to tackle another painting, the next “puzzle”. I really want to keep a documentation of the process of learning to paint, and how this inner dialogue plays out. I read one artist say recently “Finally after fourteen years I am painting the way I always dreamed.” That was both frightening and encouraging at the same moment. Frightening because I am not far in and I have a long way to go; encouraging because it’s helpful to know how long others have had to keep at it. Sitting in front of the paper with brushes in my hands is some of the happiest moments I have. With each new painting, the more I push through and “fight the resistance,” the harder it is to imagine my future without doing it. So I’ll cling to that!
This green and gray colored quilt I made using the Sunny Day Quilt pattern found here. The project took three or four years as I started for my son while I was still pregnant, put it aside, and didn’t pick it up until years later. He is four. So that makes it five years, but who’s counting? It’s a good thing I made it twin size because by the time I finished he is almost ready out of his toddler bed. I loved the print of this fabric that was a duvet cover from IKEA. I took it apart and conviently had a whole cloth piece for the back and tons of leftover fabric from the front. It is entirely handquilted. I love hand quilting. I have hand quilted since I was a girl. I remember during some long winter nights my mom clearing off the kitchen table after dinner and spreading a big quilt out over it. I would sit around it with her and my grandmother while we all worked on it together. It is easy, mindless, cathartic work. I much prefer the look of the finished product. It is time consuming though. As I get started I always wonder, what was I thinking? Both girls informed me that their baby quilts are now too small and could I please make them one this size? They put their orders in and now I a list of quilts to work on. Jude loves it. He would check in “Are done with my blankie yet?” It is so gratifying to wrap your baby up in something made with your hands!
I was supposed to take a class with Blair Stocker on her Faux Bois pillow. A long story short, I had the wrong day and missed the class and all the fun. Having all of the supplies and instructions, of course I made the pillow anyway.
This was actually my first time machine quilting. All five quilts or so I have made I have hand quilted. This project was so fun and fast. The instructions were articulate and well written. It is so satisfying to whip up something so fast for your home that is unique and beautiful and functional!
I love flying geese so much. So much, I thought I would make a small version in needlepoint. In the picture above the needlepoint is being blocked. I’ve never actually made flying geese in a quilt. I have one on my to-do list and cannot wait to get started after some Holiday projects are finished up.
I threw it in a black frame to showcase it as art, and being neutrals, it would truly work in any room. It would also be wonderful worked into another object. My mind is reeling with the possibilities!
I don’t knit much anymore. But when a dear friend becomes pregnant with a long awaited miracle baby, the knitting needles get anxiously and happily pulled out. I made this little ‘professor-chic’ sweater for my own son years ago. I love this sweater. My oldest daughter saw me making this and begged for one exactly like it, in her size. I want one in my size! The pattern is the Rufus Textured Cardigan from Vintage Baby Knits.