Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thread Lace

In thinking about "Pusteblume," or the dandelions that have gone to seed and become white balls of fluff, I've been looking at puffy, fluffy, airy, holey fabrics. I also realized that I could make my own dandelion fluff on the wind.

Using a water soluble stabilizer stretched in a hoop I experimented with different overlapping free-motion patterns.

I tried circles, bursts, circles with various yarns and cords, and bursts with bits of rayon thread thrown in. The bursts were definitely more dandelion-esque, but I wanted to try the circles with a fluffy, hairy yarn. Unfortunately, I used that yarn first and it got too buried under the other fibers and lost it's fluffyness. After rinsing the stabilizer out, my definite favorite is the bursts with random bits of rayon threads thrown it.

I'm not absolutely sure I'll end up using this, but it was a good experiment and I'm pleased with the results.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Ok - general concensus on my previous post seems to be wait and see. I'll tell Chris we are flattered but will come back to him when we actually have quilts we want to exhibit. I'm sure he will still be interested then!

A Dandelion Thread Drawing

Piecing is my preferred quilting medium. However, as I let a few design concepts percolate, I've experimented a little with this thread drawing:

As explained in more detail on my blog, I used a tracing on Press'n Seal plastic wrap to help outline the main dandelion flower before machine quilting with a heavy perle thread against my own hand-dyed background. The remaining quilting on the puffs, leaves and grass was all done freehand (with a little help from a chalk pencil). The end result is probably overly subtle but it was a fun exercise as I warm up on our first theme challenge.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Feeling Unworthy?

I've been enjoying how each of you share your thought processes on this challenge. It's great fun to see pages from sketch books, and computer generated photos, etc. I have to tell you that I have done none of that, for this first round, or in most of the work I do, for that matter. Thus, the title of this post.

When we found out what the first challenge was, I didn't immediately know what I was going to do. I tried, unsuccessfully, to take some photos of dandelions in my yard. I had a few ideas flutter around in my head, briefly. But then, one day, I knew what I was going to do....and I started. I'm not done as of yet, but I'm wondering now, after seeing how some of you are working through this, did I give it enough time? Do I need to sketch more, take more pictures, make more notes?

I'm not sure what the answers to these questions are at this moment, but I have to say that I am totally enjoying being a part of this group and sharing this experience with all of you and getting to know how you work. I'm hoping that I learn more about myself and how I go about processing my creativeness in my head and out into my work.

Too many directions

Is anyone else having the problem of wanting to go off in too many directions?

I thought dandelion would be a good theme choice because it has so many interesting aspects. And in my doodling and thinking and sketching, I can't seem to settle on what I want to emphasize in my quiltlet. The yellow flower? The downy puff? The spikey leaves? The persistent weediness? The vibrant color? Various of the above features? Yikes -- it IS only one little piece, just 12x12 inches.

It's not easy to keep things simple.

I seem to be generating ideas for a dandelion series.

Karen, dandelions

Here are some pictures and sketches I've been collecting on the dandelion theme

It's OUR group

When Helen emailed me to ask what I thought about the exhibition prospect, she prefaced her comments by saying "it's your group, so..."

And that made me realize I'd better say what I'm assuming: It's OUR group. Nobody needs my permission to do anything.

I'm the instigator (which will come as no surprise to my mom), but we're all in this together. [Cue the music*....]

I'm delighted to have exhibition prospects, and Helen, thanks for pursuing inquiries! I agree that we'd better see how this goes to commit to anything firmly, but I like knowing that what we do has a good chance of being seen. It's exciting motivation, I think.

* If you have a "tween" in the house, then maybe you've been hearing the High School Musical soundtrack as much as I have....

Possible exhibition

Dear 'Twelves',
I have Dianes 'permission' ( she would say encouragement!) to throw this out to you for your views.

Chris Howell at Midsomer Quilting ( which is half an hour away from Bath in the UK) has seen our blog and has emailed to say that he is interested in exhibiting our work. They do regularly hold exhibitions both on their premises and currently at a local museum) and I would have every confidence in his organisation. He has capacity to show about 150 quilts our size. He mentioned that he will have another exhibition already booked for November 2008 which he saw as the only 'problem'.

My own view is that it would be good to aim for an exhibition of our first years work - ie. six quilts each. He does have capacity for 12 each but that's a two year committment and seems a long time off! If we aimed for early 2009 that gives us the planned 6 quilts in that time and also the abilty to post the quilts seamail to keep the cost down if people have that as a concern. I thought that having the prospect of a show in 2009 was just enough added excitement to motivate us on the quilts without being too long term a committment. I am sure that he will take the second years too ( and third and fourth.....!!)

For those of us doing journals I think it would be good to exhibit those too, either the actual thing or photos from the pages - I saw an exhibition of embroidery recently where they had done that and seeing the design process was the best bit!

What do you think? Would you rather not commit to a show at all? Would you rather wait for two years worth - so we are 12 x 12 x 12 ( a neat title - thanks, Brenda for suggesting it!

If we are up for the show I can also see if I can make it a little touring production here with another venue or two.

Let me know your views.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thinking about scale

So, after I showed you some of my Illustrator sketches, I fiddled some more and came up with this:

I was kind of pleased. Then I slept on it for a day or two and suddenly smacked my forehead and said to myself, " Twelve inches by twelve inches!" Way too much going on here for such a small piece. That's one of the elements of designing something that I find easy to forget and just make a thing larger or smaller to fit the measurements I need to use. So I am now thinking about what that size piece is going to need. Back to the (digital) drawing board.

Dandelion Sketches

I've been holding back on sharing what little I've been pondering for our challenge, wondering if it's better to "work now, talk later" (or something like that -- I can't remember who said it). I decided today that, duh, the purpose of this blog is to work together to further our creative journeys and sharing the process is part of that. See, it says that over on the right there, below the pretty mosaic of all our work.

Diane asked earlier about journaling, so here's a few dandelion-reated pages in my sketchbook. Normally, I don't even bother with the colored pencils -- I just draw a few lines that mean something to me (artistic shorthand perhaps?) and add lots of written notes and arrows. Today I HAD to work out something in color and got a bit carried away "colorizing" the drawings on a few other shorthand notes as well.

I've since sketched a few more ideas and I may actually be focusing in on something. Or not.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Yellow in Leeds

Following my dandelion-less trip to London ( Even after a two hour walk around Regents park - none!) I travelled this week to Leeds. As I was thinking about adding a photo of a grey colourless city scape to my quilt, I set off one evening to take snaps. The problem is that Leeds centre is actually quite an attractive place - either ornate Yorkshire stone or sleek gleaming glass. Setting the camera to black and white helped but as you can see, its not really the grungy look I was seeking.

I started seeking out yellow and realised that in cityscapes yellow is a warning, or attention grabbing colour...

Which got me thinking - what are dandelions for? Are they too a warning? That life is short and we should pay attention, perhaps? My goodness Diane - you have me coming all over philosphical!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Nikki's New Sketchbook

I had fun painting paper and creating a journal to hold all my dandelion ideas. I have a lot of preliminary ideas, but nothing I am particularly happy with. I've taken pictures of dandelions in my yard, attempted to sketch dandelions and played with all the little yellow buttons, brads and scrapbooking supplies I have hanging around. I've also been on a search for yellow yarns, but yellow doesn't appear to be a popular color at this time.

I attempted to create the flying seeds from a piece of wire and some white eyelash yarn. We have a lot more seeds around here than flowers.

I tried flower pounding for the first time. I found that I especially don't care for the smell of crushed dandelions. Between the smell, mess and poor results, I don't think I will be trying that again.

In another experiment, I tried thread painting dandelions on various fabrics and then cutting up strips for a new little quilt. I like the bright colors, but it doesn't say dandelion to me.

I have some yellow fibers on order, so hopefully I will have something new to play with soon.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Any one planning a trip to the International Quilt Festival in Houston in November? I went last year and had an amazing time. I'm pulling the details together for another adventure this year. I'd love to meet up with some other "twelves."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dandelion Images

Being only early spring in Australia, the dandelions have not yet attained their summer stranglehold glory. Nevertheless, I found one or two around when I set out with my camera today. Unlike Terry, I have not sufficiently mastered the intricacies of Illustrator software for it to be a useful tool in my quiltmaking. However, I often use digital photography and manipulation in the design process:

I like the quilted effect of this "embossed" dandelion image:

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dandelion chain

Ever notice how you may not think of something for a long time...and then once it crosses your radar, you notice it everywhere?

That's how it's been for me with dandelions lately.

Look what was on the cover of the latest SmartPak dog-supply catalog that came yesterday:

Dandelions everywhere.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

mark making, dandelions

I was fooling around with the tjantjing tool (thank-you Diane) and came up with this simple design

The piece is way to big but I'm kind of liking the image so I may try it on a smaller piece

Sneak Peek

painted dandelions on fabric
Well I've made a start on my dandelion piece. I'm going to paint a design I drew on fabric. Here's a peek.

Lacking dandelions in London

I am working in London this week - not the nice leafy park areas but gritty, run down Hoxton today. There are no dandelions anywhere, either in nature or in other people's art! Which has me thinking about where all the colour went in our cities? Specifically of course, where did the yellow go? ( That at least is a working quilt title - where does it go between bright flower and white seed head anyway?). Maybe I will superimpose dandelions on a cityscape. Of course maybe I won't because I am just starting to think.... but I do wonder - of all these people teeming past me on the street and streaming out of tube stations, how many are thinking obsessively about dandelions?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A blue dandelion

I'm still playing with my pictures...


Hi everyone,
I'm so so sorry for being late to the party. My name is Karen Rips and I live in Thousand Oaks CA. I have 4 kids, age 27 -19 with 2 still living at home. As they started moving out I started incorporating their rooms and I now have a great big studio to work in. I'm married to Ted for 30 years. He is retired and has gone back to school for a masters in history and now that he's almost done, he's starting over as a freshman in fine art. He works with glass, fusing and kilnwork. As you can see, we are having a lot of fun. I'm retired from neonatal nursing so I get to do this full time.

I have been making quilts for 25 years, but turned to fiber art about 6 years ago. I have taken a lot of classes over the years, thinking back I used to take classes to make a specific quilt, but now I only take technique classes. I dye my own fabric and am enjoying the process of "mark-making" I have been busy the last few months getting ready for a gallery show in November.

I love challenges so this will be really fun for me. I met Diane this year at a class by Carol Soderlund that Diane organized in Santa Rosa. Thank you so much for including me in the group. I'm somewhat computer challanged (menopause seems to have killed my memory) so bear with me please. I'm waiting for my husband to get home to put up a picture of me!

Dandelions should be challanging, it kept me awake last night thinking of the possibilities. Very nice to read all your intros and thanks again for the invitation. Karen

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Dandelion Quilt

Ever since Diane gave us the theme, I have had this memory of a dandelion quilt that I have seen. I finally realized that is was by Carol Bryer Fallert. She scanned dandelions and printed them on fabric. You can see the quilt here. She named it Splendor in the Grass.

Today, the members of High Fiber Diet delivered their work to the Japanese Garden for our show and sale. One of the members, who does incredible Katazome stencils, had a beautiful scarf with fluffy dandelions screen printed and discharged. I was in awe. It was a thermofax screen. This is what I have been planning to do - make a screen of a fluffy dandelion. She said that she hand drew the dandelion because the photo just didn't give the detail that she wanted. She offered to send me a scan of the drawing. Oh, I was tempted, but I said, No thanks, I want to come up with my own design.

It is really fun to see how dandelions are suddenly in my radar!!


I was telling my friend Rita about our challenge, and this weekend she emailed me to say that her 10 year old granddaughter had an idea for me. Sophia noticed that my name fits rather neatly into the word "dandelion," so she suggested that I make a field of dandelions, all of which have my face in the middle.

It's going to make me smile every time I think about dandelions, but no, I don't thinks that's what I'll do for 12x12!


Good morning. I've got dandelion ideas simmering about in my brain. I think I'd really like to do something very spare. A composition that isn't over the top. That doesn't try too hard. That sings with simplicity. This could be challenging. It's not that I don't find dandelions dynamic and exciting and full of potential, I think it's more that I'm looking for opportunities in my life to simplify. To choose what is really important and leave the rest behind.

When I went to my first Dallas Area Fiber Artists meeting about a year ago, the program recognized women who had been members of the group for more than 25 years. Each of them stood up and shared some recent artwork and some older artwork. It was amazingly inspirational. One woman went on and on about dandelions. She had traveled the world and taken pictures of dandelions everywhere she went. I ran into her again this summer at a gallery opening and she went on and on about dandelions again. I don't think I even prompted her, she just wove the conversation right back to her beloved weed. I'll be sure to track her down and let her know about our group challenge.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


It's interesting to me that we all have different approaches to the concept of journaling, but that most of us seem to do a bit along the way when working toward an idea. I agree with you, Kristin, that the idea of creating gorgeous artful journals is art-creation in itself, and that takes away from precious fabric art time.

What's a girl to do?!

And I hadn't thought about it, but the computer files of images I acquire on the way to finalizing an idea, and the blog entries I've made while thinking thru something, are themselves a way of journaling.

I think I'm still going to try to see if I can keep my images/notes/thoughts/sketches in one place as I work on the themes for this challenge.


Yesterday, I took a few pictures of dandelions, before my DH mowed the lawn. (We have lots of dandelions in our garden...) Then I played with PSP, and tried some filters and effects on the pictures.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Digital sketches

After responding about journaling below, I thought I could show you some of what I mean by digital sketches/journal. I started with some hand-drawn sketches of dandelion leaves that I scanned and traced into Illustrator. Then I created a dandelion blossom directly in Illustrator. I copied the leaves and flipped them. Copied the blossom and flipped and distorted the shape and put it all together to make a very stylized symmetrical dandelion.

You see lines overlapping one another here because I am working with separate elements that I am overlaying one another. This is just the playing around stage. Nothing is final.

Here I have stretched and moved individual parts of the same construction as above for a more naturalistic plant—not so symmetrical.

Then, just for fun, I played with the idea of using the first version as a repeating pattern.

I may end up using one of these or not. This is just exercise to start thinking about how I might approach this.

I find using a computer graphics program like Illustrator a wonderfully freeing way of doing preliminery sketches and designs, since you can use the same elements over and over, making small and large changes as you progress. Does anyone else work this way?


In German, the dandelion has two names: Löwenzahn (lion's teeth, and the spelling above is the plural) and Pusteblume (blow-flower). The lion name references the mane-like flower and the jagged-edged leaves; and blowing is exactly what you do when you see a flower gone to fluff (or at least that's what my daughter HAS to do). Pusteblume is not only the name of my son's reading book but of many, many Kindergartens. Germans are very much in tune with the seasons, and as summer approaches the kids learn this poem by Josef Guggenmos:

stand er da im Silberhaar.

Aber eine Dame,
Anette war ihr Name,
machte ihre Backen dick,
machte ihre Lippen spitz,
blies einmal, mit Macht,
blies ihm fort die ganze Pracht.

Und er blieb am Platze
zurueck mit einer Glatze.

My kids are inexplicably entertained by Babel Fish's awkward translation:

Marvelously was located it there in the silver hair. But a lady, Anette was their name, made their cheeks thick, made their lips pointed, blew once, with power, blew him away the whole splendour. And it remained at the place back with a bald head.

The DVD with the charming, balding man is from a TV series named for the tenacity and ingenuity of the the flower in finding places to grow. The show itself is about ingenuity and how things work, in a sustainable and environmentally friendly framework. It's a favorite in this household.

I tried to find more of the kids' dandelion pictures, but only came up with the one. Regardless, this is where my thinking is going with this theme. "The dandelion as it relates to my kids' years in German Kindergarten."

Journaling on the theme

Another question: Do you all keep journals or use sketchbooks in developing your art work?

Taken as I am with the work of Linda and Laura Kemshall, I have been studying their website lately and looking closely at how they use their journals to develop art ideas. I've never been organized about my sketchbooks...they really tend to be a collection of scribbles, which sometimes prove useful in working out ideas.

I was thinking that for our challenges, I'd try to start a journal to work with the selected themes and see how (if?) it helps me as my thoughts devleop and images evolve.

Anyone else interested in doing that?

I figured that for those of us who are interested in giving that a try, we could post that here, too.

What do you think?

Dandelion thoughts

One of the reasons that the theme dandelion stuck with me and became my final choice was that even in its obvious plain state, it displays several really interesting shapes and there are so many directions to go with it. Since I tend to suffer what I've heard Jane Sassaman describe as being "tragically literal," that appealed to me.

Actually, one of my goals these days is to push myself away from being so literal in my artwork. I think I tend to live in my head a lot (probably common for lawyers, eh?) and I think in words rather than pictures. Getting myself to interpret a theme such as "dandelion" without simply translating a dandelion picture into fabric is a real challenge for me. And even when I try to think less literally, the first place I go is toward language... you know, Dandy Lion. (*rolling eyes*) I'd like to get myself to a place where the work evokes the sense of the thing, without necessarily showing the thing.

Helen, remember that you don't have to work with yellow at all if you don't want to. I've been thinking about ways of working with dandelion that don't use yellow and green. (Not that there's anything WRONG with yellow and green -- grin -- but I use them a lot. And there's that literal thing.)

I love the poems. I stumbled across this cartoon (#1 on the page) last night, which seemed appropriate for our international exploration of this idea.

And how cool that you already have a budding opportunity for an exhibition for us, Helen!

Anatomy of a Dandelion

From their vigorous roots (ask me how I know) to their ethereal seed heads; from their distinctive jagged leaves to the remedial qualities of their tea, there is much to admire about dandelions. For my part, I am drawn to the colour of dandelion flowers. When Diane announced the theme, I was immediately reminded of this poem by New Zealand poet Sam Hunt:


It is the yellow of
(guessed it) the

bees have
died for it, mis-
taking the sun.

That's how one
such story goes.
Yellow as that.

true, the story.

story about
dandelions and yellow
has got to be.

For you,
remember it. Be
ready to die for it.

Yellow as that.
Well I, like Terry, have been googling dandelion images too ( what a great resource!) and as I bought a new printer for fabric printing purposes this week I suspect some photo images might appear on my quilt. I get to spend two days at the Great Northern Quilt show this weekend so I will be looking for fabric/ embellishment inspiration also. Interestingly at Festival of Quilts I made a friend make me buy bright fabrics instead of my usual rusts but I declined all the yellows she suggested, whilst miming sticking my fingers down my throat - I'll have to try again this weekend I guess!

Also, I emailed a friend, Chris, who helps De Pickford to run my favourite quilt shop Midsomer Quilting (which sadly is three and a half hours away from me but I get to go twice a year when we stay in Bath) to tell him to check out this blog. He emailed back to offer their place as an exhibition venue for our stuff... At the moment I have a quilt in an exhibition run by him at a local museum in which he has 18 quilts less than one of the major quilt shows Quilts UK had this year , so he knows how to do an exhibition....... so get sewing girls!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Well, that is a pretty intriguing and very unexpected choice for our first theme! I've been googling dandelions for inspiration and now have a whole file of dandelion images, but I'm not sure where I'll go with it.

One of the things I have been thinking a lot about, and did on my Journal quilt, is combining words and images on a quilt. I like this A.A. Milne quote and think it might work well in a dandelion theme.

"Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them."
What kind of creative dandelion ideas are the rest of you having?

Hi, I'm Deborah!

I have just finished a bowl of cereal, some fresh raspberries, a creamy cup of coffee and reading through all your wonderful introductions. What a diverse, creative, enthusiastic group we have! I am delighted. Thank you so much, Diane. I see I am almost the last to offer an introduction. (Karen, are you out there?)

I'm Deborah Boschert. I've lived near Dallas, TX for about a year and a half. Before that I lived in Maine and many other places. I'm 37 and I'm a stay-at-home-mom to Claire (8) and Benjamin (5). Benjamin started kindergarten last week and I have begun a whole new phase of my life. I have really felt new energy and opportunties now that both children are in school from 8 am to 3 pm. I fully intend to make the most of this blessing -- both in my art world and in our family world.

I've been married to Jeff for 15 years. He took this silly picture of me.
I was standing next to a piece of my art at a gallery opening and not really wanting to have my picture taken. He caught me right in the middle of rolling my eyes.

What else to say about myself... I suppose we will all get to know each other and our artistic styles as we go. I can't wait!


Hi everyone! This is me...
kirsty d
I'm 42, have two kids - an 18 yr old son and a 15 yr old daughter - and Peter and I have been married for EVER (24 yrs).
So, you Mathematics Queens will have calculated that I was 18 when we married! I had just finished high school and planned to go to university but I soon decided that buying a house was a higher priority for me than studying for a career that I didn't really want anyway. So I got a job, we bought a house and, eventually, I quit the job and had babies. I have never wanted a career, never regretted being a full-time parent.
All of my life I have loved art in many forms. And my mother taught me to sew and embroider when I was very, very young. Eventually the two collided and I started to make quilts. I love books and self-directed learning so I am largely self-taught. Ten years ago I started teaching, working in quilt shops and designing patterns. I love interacting with other quilters and the wonderful buzz of teaching and exchanging ideas!
I am a New Zealander and Peter is Australian. We have moved between the two countries a number of times and currently we are living in North Queensland, Australia. We've been here for a couple of years now, so I should be feeling settled, but the last four years have been a time of great change for us which has interrupted my creative flow rather badly.
I'm really looking forward to having this group as a stimulant and inspiration for more and better work!

Hello from Belgium

Ok, it's my turn now!
I'm Francoise. I'm 48 years old. I have a dear husband and three sons. Sailing is one of our favourite hobbies. I've always liked to draw and to do crafts, but, strangely enough, I studied Mathematics at the university.
In 1983, we left for California. That's when I saw quilts for the first time, and I decided I wanted to be a quilter too.
We've been living in Belgium again for almost twenty years now.
I like to dye and print my fabrics. I'm crazy about Japanese textile art. I read a lot, in French and in English.
I'm currently studying Creative Computing with DesignMatters. Six years ago, I took a textile design course at the Open College of the Arts.
I am delighted to be a member of this group, and I'm a bit anxious too... Thank you Diane for inviting me to join!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Nikki's Introduction

Hi, I'm Nikki Wheeler from Poulsbo, Washington. I'm a stay at home, homeschooling mom with four kids, ages 8, 6-1/2, 4 and 2-1/2. I discovered art quilting only last November. I was overwhelmed with the chaos of four little ones and knew I needed something or else I was going to either go crazy or sink into a deep depression. I escaped for an hour to Barnes and Noble and discovered Quilting Arts magazine. My life hasn't been the same since. After playing on the Internet, I learned about a whole new world that I was very eager to join.

I was very surprised when I received Diane's email inviting me to join this group. I am so new to all this and have so much to learn. I'm just playing and feel like an impostor if I refer to myself as an artist. Artists are people I read about, like all you, not me. But then when I learn more about people, I learn we all have our insecurities.

I remember as a little girl wanting to be an artist when I grow up. Then in the fourth grade my art teacher told me I did my picture wrong and needed to change it. I figured I wasn't good at art and gave up for a time. Then in college I took a design class, found it fun and decided to major in Graphic Design. Once again I had a teacher who told me I was doing it wrong, so decided Graphic Design wasn't for me. I should have explored fiber arts, but they dropped that major my freshman year. I didn't know what I was doing in college anyways so I dropped out, got married and had kids. Fast forward 12 years and here I am with a wonderful and supporting husband who lets me play and never tells me I'm doing it wrong. Hopefully I have matured enough to handle a little criticism without throwing in the towel.

I'm excited to get to know everyone and learn more than I can imagine. Thank you Diane for setting this all up and inviting me to play!

P.S. Photos of me are few and far between. Since having four kids, I rarely give up the camera.

Let's label

Kirsten had a brilliant idea.

She suggested that each time we post, we include our name as a label at the bottom of the post screen.

That way, the sidebar will sort posts by labels...and if anyone wants to read all entries by Kirsten, for example, she can just click on the label and pull them up.

Also, let's label all posts about the Dandelion challenge as "dandelion". That way, we can sort those, too.

Great idea, Kirsten! I've set up the labels to show on the sidebar and added labels to the posts that are up now.

Greetings from Copacabana

Like Diane and Helen, I enjoyed a stimulating legal career but when my husband proposed a seachange retirement in early 2004, I was a willing accomplice. These days I can be found in my quilting studio at Copacabana on the beautiful Central Coast of New South Wales in Australia:

Since making my first quilt, patchwork quilting and textiles have developed into a compelling avocation for me. I relish every step in the quiltmaking process - the planning, the construction, the sharing AND the serendipity factor!

I struggle to make quilts to a designated size (Little Playtime (above) was meant to be 12 inches square) but am thrilled to be a part of this challenge.

My Pic

Terry with a 'y' wanted here's me. Forgot to mention in my intro that I'm happily married to a wonderful guy for 13 years, I have one son who just graduated from high school and just started college and still lives at home...(p.s. I've got plans for his room one day, don't tell him). I currently work two days out of the home, hoping to change that soon. I'd much rather be playing in my studio as much as possible. I'm 43 years young and I love cats.


My intro

Okay, here's my introduction.

I've been sewing for most of my life, and started making quilts when I was in high school. (I'm 50 so that was some time ago!) I started quilting using very traditional techniques, back when quilting generally involved a lot of little calico prints. My sewing pretty much came to a halt when I went to law school and afterwards when I worked full time as a trial lawyer.

Flash forward a bunch of years, by which time I married my husband, we adopted our daughter, we moved back to California from New England, and I was no longer working full time. I volunteered to help make an auction quilt for the preschool, which caused me to venture into the local quilt shop. Oh my -- I discovered that the world of quilting had really changed! I found jaw-droppingly fun and colorful and gorgeous fabrics, and I think I started drooling when I found Freddy Moran's new book "Freddy's House" and saw how she was doing fun and contemporary things with traditional quilt patterns. I was hooked all over again.

Since then, I've made lots of quilts....big, small, traditional, contemporary, artsy, and not. I like all sorts of things and a lot of different techniques. I tend to have lots of projects going at one time and work on whichever one suits my mood. I find that making art quilts is exciting and fun but requires a lot of thought for me, so I like to fall back on routine piecing for those no-thinking-required sewing moods.

I'd like to get myself working more spontaneously, but I'd also like to work a bit more consciously... maybe more designing ahead of time. I guess I'm still trying out different ways of working. I suspect I'll never settle on any one.

I juggle my art making and quilting with part time legal work from home. It's pretty ideal, although I'd pretty much always rather be working on a quilt project. And because there is just so much to do, I can get rather scattered. Working on challenges to a deadline really focuses me.

I'm delighted to be working on this with you all.

I am here!

I haven't used blogger in ages. Hope I can do this. I stole this pic from my friend, June Underwood, because it is recent and I like it and that is Terry Grant's granddaughter, Sofia.

I want to let Terry and Kristin L. know that I had nothing to do with your being invited to this group!! Even though I call myself Kristen's Art Quilt Mom and I call Terry one of my best friends, ever.

I have no real art background. I am basically self taught, but I have taken lots of classes over the past few years. I have been quilting since 2000, when I moved to Santa Rosa, CA. That is where I met Diane.

I have not done much traditional quilting. I just jumped right in to doing quilts for the wall. I love a challenge so I am looking forward to this group and especially getting to know all of you and seeing your creations.

I am currently up in Washington Wine Country celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary with Mr C. So you can probably now tell that I am the oldest in this group. I will be 69 next month. Gotta go take walk with Mr C.

The Theme for November 1

Okay, here it is. Our first challenge theme:


Interpret however you choose.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

City and Guilds - from Helen

Diane asked me to post about City and Guilds so here goes. I am doing it in person at the School of Stitched Textiles which about 30 mins from me. It sounds very grand but it isn't at all in fact! I am doing the certificate which you need to get onto the diploma and it is done part time ( Classes every other Sunday am and then work at home) for three years.

I started it becuase as soon as I discovered quilting I knew I needed classes and the School used to be just Eccles Carm craft center which had a big needlecraft shop and lots of leisure classes so I went out to see it. They have dropped much of the retail and gone into more formal teaching The City and Guilds was advertised and I just kind of went 'Oooooh,Ooooooh, a formal qualification' becuase I am a bit of an education addict! It seemed to take me through every possible technique and seemed a great way to get up to speed so I signed up in the Februray I think to start in the September.

We started with the design modules which took up much of the first year although every now and again a patchwork tecnique would be interposed. We did portfolios on line, colour, tecture, form and shape. the very frustrating thing is that we were not allowed to stitch anything for these portfolios, the logic being that our designs were not craft specific but should be portable to any cake making or woodwork C&G students, say. So I had to mess about with lots of art stuff which I didn't want to do and wasn't good at. I took to saying to my husband that I was off to Kindergarten on a Sunday as I came home making very bad polymer clay buttons and the like ( thats just grown up Plastercine right?!) My model of a Cameroonian chief's house made out of table protector and Costa Coffee straws was a sight to behold!

That said, some of the lessons at least have certainly sunk in and now I see shape and texture etc everwhere I look. At Festival of Quilts I got very strange looks for lying flat on my back in the cafe taking pictures of the ceiling rather than the quilts....but you should have seen the patterns in the intersecting lines of duct pipes and support struts!! I do have lots of ideas for quilts based on thse portfolios even if I don't feel experienced enough to actually make some of them yet! ( I suspect you will be seing some mini versions!!)

We are now moving on more to the actual doing. Ultimately we have to design and produce five pieces - a container, an accessory, a wall hanging, a quilt and a something else I forget just now! We have to cost it all as for a business and work in an innovative way (gulp!). We also do 70-100 samples of techniques which I am enjoying doing.

I will ceratinly learn from this and I expect will go on to do the diploma in due course. However for me there have been significant disadvantages. Our teacher is bad! She is a nice enought person but we get handwritten notes with errors in them and we learned fast that we should always redraw her templates becuase she has been photocopying them for years and so they are distorted and don't fit together. She is a retired school home ecconomics teacher rather than a wel known textile artist. We don't get hands on teaching and someone watching over our work as you might expect from a class in a quilt shop say. She sits at her table in the corner and has several years of students in one room, each at their own table. Our class of 4 gets called up and have about twenty minutes of her giving us handouts and showing us her samples and thats it!

It is possible to do the C&G on line with people like Linda Kemshall so you in the US etc can still do it. I would not recommend the Schhol of Stitched Textiles company though - I thought about swapping to another online provider but the costs are prohibitive - I pay £96 per year, on line it costs over £1000. Illogical I know but true! Plus, I am now good friends with my class mates. Brenda you did yours online didn't you? Why not post your view?

Also because I learn well from books and am greedy for knowledge I am in some respects running faster than the course. We have just done log cabins for example but my first quilt was log cabin and I had actually sold one before I came to do it on the course! That is not to say that I have done everything though and the formality of the course does give me a justification for playing with samples. (Yes, I know I shouldn't need justification but I do!!). I am also think that the qualification won't hinder me if I want to teach later and I have already sold articles based on the course.

I suspect this is a more than long enough post. If you have specific questions ask away and I'll tell you what you really want to know.

Kristin's Intro

Hi everyone! This looks like it's shaping up to be a friendly, enthusiastic, creative group -- I'm very flattered to have been invited.

I'm an American (originally from Southern California), but I've been living in Germany for the better part of the last 11 years. I have two school-age kids and one husband. I have a BFA and worked as a graphic designer before my life with kids, and have been sewing/crafting since I was a kid. However, it's only been in the last five years or so that my inner artist has screamed to come out (no more creative day job, I guess), and I have moved from practical bed quilts to art quilts. As a medium, fabric speaks to me more than paint or photography ever did. Some days I feel like an artist and other days I feel like an imposter with an expensive and space eating variation of bon bons and soap operas.

I see this group as the buddies you go walking or to the gym with so that you keep doing it. I look forward to us flexing our creative muscles together!

**Waving Excitedly**

Ooh, what fun to see messages here!

Helen, you didn't mention in your intro that you're doing the City and Guilds course. Will you explain more about that at some point? We don't have that in the US and I find it very intriguing.

Another possible cool way to introduce each other... Post a picture of one of your favorite pieces of work and tell us about it...what led you to do it, what you learned, etc....

I have to confess that I made my "invite" list by simply ticking off folks whose blogs I look at regularly and enjoy reading, with art I'm drawn to and inspired by. It's funny how many of you (almost all, I think) emailed me to say some version of "I'm not sure I belong in this group of artists!" So, we all pretty much share the same insecurities, give or take the peculiar worry... And I think it'll be great to share our work when our experience levels and backgrounds are so diverse.

By the way, I had a thought... For some, every two months was as much as they felt they could commit to, given other life activities. (Oh yeah, those pesky things like work and household matters and other art goals.) But it occurred to me that anyone who was interested in between "official deadlines" could agree to in-between monthly things...Mini, unofficial challenges, sort of, for any number of the group who want to do those? That way, those of us who want to get ourselves working more spontaneously (moi, I mean) can have the opportunity to do more frequent challenges? I find it helpful to have deadlines for art production, as it really spurs me to get to creating stuff.

Anyway, that might make it weird for those who just want to stick to the every-other-month thing. Or would it? What do you think?

(Maybe I'm just suffering from an abundance of enthusiasm at seeing this cool group get started...)

Terry with a y

Hi, I'm the other Terry/Terri. I live in Portland, Oregon and have become good friends with Gerrie Congdon, another member of this blog, since she moved to Portland a little more than a year ago. I am a mostly retired graphic designer and have been making quilts for more than 20 years.

This sounds like fun and I, too, thank Diane for thinking of me and am pleased to be in such great company.

I'll add a picture of myself and hope the rest of you do too. I like to have a mental picture of people—makes me feel like I know them better. This is a photo taken by my friend June, of me looking at art—one of my favorite things to do, especially with friends like Gerrie and June.

Terri's Intro

I'm Terri Stegmiller from North Dakota, USA. I've been crafting for as long as I can remember. I really hated sewing when I went to school and had to take Home Economics class. I only really got interested in sewing again when I met my mother-in-law, who is a wonderful quilter. This was back in 1993.

So after learning how to make quilts and working with the more traditional designs and patterns, I felt like I needed to branch out and do more artsy stuff. Haven't looked back yet and am loving the heck out of it.

I was very flattered when Diane asked me to participate in this group. Who me????? Thanks so much Diane for the invite. I look forward to getting to know everyone. I follow some of your blogs already and now it looks like I get to add more to my list.

Helen's introduction

Hi everyone. I thought I'd take up Diane's suggestion to introduce myself.

I have only been quilting since January 2006. At that time I was travelling a lot and my longsuffering husband had been hopefully saving up all his shirt buttons that had fallen off until a time when I was in one place long enough to sew them on. So there I was at New Year's handsewing away and thinking how peaceful and restful it was. I was musing as to how different my life was compared to a woman who sewed a lot. A woman like, say an Amish woman with a rocking chair and a porch who might make a quilt. So, I Googled for 'Amish quilts' and fell down an Alice in Wonderland type rabbit hole into this whole wide world of quilting and textile art that I never even knew was there. And from there on in I was hooked. I have since cut back on work so I have more time for my new obsession and when I do travel for work, the sewing machine or handpiecing goes with me.

I will admit to having been very productive in the last twenty months but I am a little overawed at being invited into this group as I haven't really made what I would call art quilts yet. I am definately the baby of the group! However, I am excited about the challenge and to having a forum within which I can experiment and have fun with these multitude of new techniques I want to learn ( all at once!). I'm also looking forward to getting to know you all along with your art.

Getting Started

Welcome to Twelve by Twelve! At present there are twelve of us participating, but I've not heard from a few folks so we may be a bit bigger (15, maximum). I figure that then we'll be 12 x 12 x 15.

Anyway! I'm so glad you all want to play! And thanks to Brenda for suggesting a good group name!

Here are the "rules" if you all agree:

1. We'll each make a 12 x 12 piece on the challenge theme.

2. We can interpret the theme any way we choose, but will be able to articulate how the theme word or phrase or idea was the springboard to what we create.

3. We can use any techniques and materials, keeping in mind that we're making "quilts" with the requisite 3 layer concept. And someone might to decide to designate a particular technique (say, reverse applique) or a particular material (say, beading, angelina fiber, cheesecloth) as the designated "theme" for the challenge.

4. All of us can post on the blog, to talk about the theme, our ideas, frustrations, processes, progress, etc. And then we'll all post our final results here on or before the deadline so we can see what everyone has done.

5. Here's the deadline scheme I propose, which is basically every 2 months except for the 2nd one which gives 3 months over the holidays:
November 1, 2007
February 1, 2008
April 1, 2008
June 1, 2008
August 1, 2008
October 1, 2008
December 1, 2008

Does this all sound okay to you guys? Feel free to suggest any other guidelines or anything different.

And since we're just launching here, feel free to post and introduce yourself. I've linked our names in the sidebar on the right to our blogs so we can all learn more about each other.

Oh, and do you all want sidebar links to websites, too, for those of you who have them? That's easy to do.

I'll post the first challenge theme later today or tomorrow (as soon as I decide :-) and then I figure we can go alphabetically from Francoise, you'll pick the theme for the February 1 challenge, okay?