Monday, July 7, 2008

Pillows and Comfort

Ready for a Color Journey with Me??
Along with being nurse-mom to Monica, I am helping her spruce up her new apartment. It has been fun making do with what she has because what she has is so much of what she has made! Check out these great pillows that were inspired by her journey into Amy Butler's book In Stitches. Pillows are fun to make and they go together so simply. In Amy's book, she has created a great explanation for how to make a button tufted pillow. When you go to our web site and study the books we have available, you will also see that our team has (with permission) been able to add pictures from the inside of a book. WOW....this is so helpful when I look through a book, I love to see what is inside and the Internet doesn't always make that so easy.

Therese has been playing back at the store with some photos from the store. She sent me this great picture that shows Fairy Dust in the background and a stunning image of the flowers at the store. We are fortunate to have our friends at Brucemore in Cedar Rapids bring us flowers every week for us to brighten your visit at the store. We love the florals they bring since they are such a great expression of florals typical of Iowa. We especially love them these days since the flowers from Brucemore are a good expression of Cedar Rapids motivation to re-build its beauty from the flooding.

When I went to their web site, I found a fascinating piece that describes Brucemore's efforts to educate the community about restoration of historic buildings as were affected by the recent flooding. Check them out.

Until I got this photograph, I hadn't really noticed how stunning the color shading can be in a tiger lily. I think we tend to shy away from using such vibrant coloration in our work. However, seeing the lilies in this image inspired me to also share the work I have been doing recently with the oranges, pinks, reds and yellows. I had started to dig through my scraps from several projects when I was working with the half yard cuts of bundles that I had been working out of for a couple of quilts you will be seeing soon in the store. I forced myself to ONLY use my scraps as I put this together. It is a little harder working from the outside to the inside on a quilt but the challenge is like reading the end of a book and then going back and trying to figure out how it attaches to the end. (If you understood all of that....consider yourself in MY universe.) Nonetheless, I am keeping my mind vibrant by going at creativity from every angle. Enjoy my vision of Tiger Lily...which is a batiks quilt that is like nothing you have seen. Of course, it doesn't match anywhere in my house. But it will always make me think of the Flood of 2008 as I had started cutting this out the first day we were hearing reports of the water.....for future reference, I will call that the F-word.....have we NOT hear enough about that nasty word. I will now only refer to flood in small letters for big actions....such as the flood of support and the flood of energy and the flood of empathy for those suffering through the tremendous loss. How appropriate that the vibrant colors of tiger will represent new hope and a new vision for Iowa as people recover. To that end, I will close with a couple of other pictures that we recently captured that show the beauty of these grand colors before I finish this quilt top. One is a raging fire in our fire pit and the other is the radiant sunset on the night we enjoyed the fire. Seems my Tiger Lily inspiration is about everywhere. Now I can see why I got so excited about playing with this color box of fabrics in batiks and others in the color wall. I can't wait to use the YLI Variations thread "Sunset" to quilt this.

If you haven't been inspired to machine quilt because you just can't get into meandering or stippling, you aren't alone. I used to struggle with this too. However, as I am piecing a quilt, I often let it speak to me as to that which I hope to pull forward in the design. The tiger lilies and the fire are actually great inspiration for design work in free motion quilting. As I work through machine quilting, I may actually use the tiger lily as a root for my initial design work and then use the flames of the fire as an inspiration for the fill stitches around the lilies. For me, meandering and stippling has never worked because it is a very short and abruptly changing design, which requires a lot of changes in directions....more movement in my shoulders and forearms. I prefer long swooping designs that don't require a lot of circular motion on the fabric as it is easier for me to sustain consistency in my design and keep from having to change directions. In short, I don't breath as much when I am having to swing the direction around 360-degrees for every inch of movement on my quilt. When I don't breath as much, I don't think well and my muscles don't work well for long periods of time. Machine quilting should be like a long leisurely jog and not a sprint. If it isn't that for you, come into the store and ask us to show you how to make it easier. I personally have developed a real love for machine quilting after I quit trying to do what everyone else does and do what works best for me.

I am off now to put more of my quilt together so that I can envision more of the quilting. Look around your world and see what colors are calling to you!
All the Best to You.....jill

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