Monday, September 29, 2008


I'm working on my piece. One second I like it, the next I'm frustrated. I'm telling myself, "just keep going."

I love to listen to podcasts while I work. I was listening to Studio 360 today and they had musician Theresa Andersson in the studio today. I wasn't completely paying attention, but then this caught my ear... "seek shelter... birds fly away... trees stand strong... seek shelter.... do do do do."

Now I am totally inspired and I just had to share it with you.

As you can see in the video, Teresa is a one-woman-band. All her vocals are recorded and relooped and replayed as she performs. Wow.

I think I need to do some singing and dancing in my kitchen, but first... more embroidery on my 12x12.

Une Maison

Everyone needs shelter. Even French pigs.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Done ( with gritted teeth)

My shelter quilt has been forced into being with just a few hours before my self imposed deadline due to a work trip. In the last couple of days I have:
1. Unpicked a whole segment of quilting after I accidentally rotated a segment of the piece. Then spent almost three quarters of an hour quilting a segment 6 inches square as my thread shredded, the machine kept bucking the work sideways and jamming and the top thread birds nested on the back. I solved it but only after I (a) decided to live with gross imperfections (b) broke two needles and (c) bent a brand new quilting foot out of shape.
2. Showed an all but done quilt to Mum who said, "Haven't you done it upside down?" (She's right. It remains upside down.)
3. Closed my eyes in horror when Mum then looked at a photo I used which I was convinced was copyright free and said, "I think that's a still from a film I saw recently".
4. Cut the binding incorrectly.
5. Bound it to find that a crucial part of the design partially vanished into the binding
This quilt is not a happy quilt. It did not want to be. But it exists. I do not care what was the democratically reached result of our debates about remaking quilts. I reserve the right to remake this one!
If I can bear to think about it!
PS Sneak preview above. The saving grace is that I went for something a bit different and the general concept works so that is something!

Friday, September 26, 2008

View of the Cutting Room Floor

I'm discovering that I'm no longer a night person. I use to pull everything out after the kids went to bed. Now, I just don't have the umf at the end of the day. I need to do my creating earlier in the day. I managed to sneak in a little time yesterday morning to get to work on my shelter piece. And hopefully this is one that will work. Actually, I like how its coming together and my family recognized it as "shelter" without me having to say anything. Here is a view of some of the left over scraps. As you can see, I will be enbracing color! Now its time to get back to work.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

Here's a sneak peak -- at a failed attempt. My inspiration was rock shelters, but my yo-yo boulders and silk fiber moss just weren't working. Then Deborah's post about wanting to just take an angle of a shelter and explore it caused the lightbulb to go off about my piece. The problem with my piece was scale. I was like a photographer using an old 35mm camera with no zoom trying to capture a distant object. I was showing to much. I was working small when I need to be BIG. Needless to say, the idea was scrapped and I'm off on another tangent.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Almost finished!

It needs a few more hours of hand stitching, then the binding..
I'm looking forward to seeing all the other pieces. We haven't seen many hints this time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Once was shelter

While this abandoned shepherd's hut found in the south of France is not nearly as elegant as the Adirondack shelter posted by Deborah, it has a certain rustic charm n'est-ce pas?

Friday, September 19, 2008


Or maybe that should be "lack of progress."

Mostly I've just been thinking, which is ok, I suppose.

I have come to the conclusion that I don't want to tell a story with my quilt. I don't want to create something that is necessarily obvious to the viewer. I don't want to feel obligated to go in a certain direction. What I do want is to be loosely inspired by our theme. I want to feel free to take a small nugget of the concept and then twist and turn into around into something that might be unrecognizable -- but still art. That's what I want to make: art. I want to use the elements that I love: surface design, handwriting, improvisational embroidery, fusible applique, layers, sheers, unexpected embellishment, abstractness.

I asked my best friend Lucy what she thinks of what I say "shelter." She said she thinks of an adirondack shelter. I had never heard the term. She explained it to me (a three sided, roofed structure used by backpackers on long hikes). And I found this stunning image.


Isn't it beautiful? The lines, the leaves, the rocks, the color palette? Now I must take this inspiration and mix it up with my own style and see what happens.


Yay, there's less than two weeks until we reveal and I am happy to say that I have completely finished my shelter piece. So can you guess what it is from the above peek?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Shelter is coming

In two weeks or so,on 1 October, our "shelter" themed quilts will be revealed. This will be an especially exciting time as it marks the mid-point in our challenge timetable. We hope all our readers will join in the celebration. We have some special treats in store...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Medieval Shelter

I completed my shelter themed quilt some time ago because I knew I would be without my sewing machine and supplies while I am travelling (see my blog for details). However, if the timing had been different, my piece might have been inspired by the perched villages of the Cote d'Azur such as Tourettes sur Loup which is close to where we are staying:
Tourettes sur Loup

Friday, September 12, 2008

There will be words

I can sure identify with Kristen's feelings. I cannot get motivated. The moving thing really sucks the life out of me and it is long and drawn out here. I finally moved my studio to the new house. It is a holy mess, but I have actually started on my Shelter piece—barely started, then it all came to a standstill.

Somewhere I have a set of alphabet stamps. God only knows where they are and I have it in my mind that I want words. I can't find them in either house. Yesterday I went to Michael's and splurged on this new set. I like them. I think they are better than the set I can't find, but it wouldn't surprise me to find the other set in a box tomorrow and discover that they are identical to these. This is what my life is like right now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stuck for Now

How long until our next challenge is due? I'm having a hard time getting motivated on this one. It's not that I don't like the theme -- in fact I like it very much. I have several pages in my sketchbook filled with words and phrases: home (protection, not roots), shelter from a storm, a sheltered life, "Gimme Shelter," sheltered cove (pirate map), shelter from the storm, tax shelter, provide shelter (me--I provide shelter--not financially, but in terms of being the source of comfort, protection and stability in our family), quilt fort as a form of shelter.

I hung on to the next to last idea for a while, but then decided that I provide comfort and stability, but not shelter. Perhaps I'm being more literal than need be, but if my gut says it's not right, then it's not right. So I think I'm back with a sheltered life.

However, I'm having a hard time getting motivated to work on this, or any other project for that matter. But I have little desire to get to work/play. Maybe it's because I tried really hard to keep everything going during our transition time in Germany that I've run out of "oomph" here. I powered through the "Illumination" challenge, which should have been the tough one for me given that most everything was packed up. Our transition is essentially over though and I could theoretically get back to normal. My sewing room is set up enough that I can lay hands on whatever I need. So, I'd think that this would be the easier challenge for me. But it's not. I'm not sure why.

My challenge now is going to be to get through this creative slump and show up on time for the big reveal.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Shelter at Hampton Court

Being from New Zealand where sheep and cows often huddle under trees when it rains, I immediately thought of trees when the "shelter" theme was unveiled. However, I didn't visualise trees as funky as these topiarised yews at Hampton Court Palace in London: