Wednesday, August 26, 2009

12 x Mini Radiance

Today I made the most of the sunshine and dyed twelve mini Radiance works. They are each designed to be six inch square finished (after hand stitching) and to be standalone works but I quite like the composite effect:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Twelve - streets ahead

I am going well with ideas this time. I know what I am doing and have been on the prowl with my camera for essential ingredients. What is my quilt about this time? Well. see if you can work it out. Here is my first clue ( such as it is , tee hee!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Twelve Frogs

According to Sydney mathematician Clio Cresswell, singles can increase their chances of finding true love by rejecting at least 12 potential partners before settling down. Here is the complete article Mathematician's Formula for Love.

She says that mathematics can be fun but have you kissed twelve frogs?

Friday, August 21, 2009

What's up with the number Twelve?

  • 12 tribes of Israel
  • 12 hours in the day; 12 hours in the night; 12 hours on a clock
  • 12 apostles
  • 12 signs of the zodiac
  • 12 months of the year
  • 12 jurors on a jury
  • 12 days of christmas
  • There are 12 function keys on a computer keyboard f1-f12
  • There are 12 digits on a telephone keypad 0-9 plus # and *
  • There are 12 total notes in an octave c,c#,d,d#,e,f,f#,g,g#,a,a#,b
  • There 12 grades in elementary and high school
And that's only scratching the surface. There's a quilt in there somewhere...

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Celebration of Passion

I'm sure all our readers will join the Twelves in sending hugs and very best wishes to Kirsten as she celebrates the opening day of her new Pompom Rouge Craft Studio and Shop at:

605 Flinders Street West, Townsville
Queensland 4810, Australia
Phone/Fax + 64 7 4724 2268

So if you are ever in Far North Queensland, a very beautiful part of the world, be sure to pop into Pompom Rouge.

Irrepressible by Brenda Gael Smith
PS: This piece is called "Irrepressible. I made it for the "Passion" theme, which was set by Kirsten. It has a very festive, celebratory air.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Twelve Colour Wheel

If this warm winter keeps up, I may do some dyeing this week. Then again, look what I found in my hand dye stash:
12 part colour wheel

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Little Twelvetoes

We've had a Schoolhouse Rock renaissance at my house in recent years so it's no surprise this one came to mind given our 12 challenge.

I still don't quite get the base 12 math, but I'm fine with the multiplication tables.

Twelve Part Colour Melody

No brilliant "Twelve" ideas have manifested yet but it occurs to me that a basic primary, secondary, tertiary colour wheel is made up of 12 hues.

I can feel another dyeing session coming on...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Passionate Update

After the excitement of the 1st of the month "reveal", I always enjoy updating the Twelve by Twelve website and compiling the theme mosaics that display our quilts together. It's also interesting to see the development of the artist gallery pages for each individual "Twelve" especially now that eleven out of twelve of the mosaic spaces have been filled in. Here is the Passion mosaic along with a mosaic showing Karen's eleven contributions so far:
Passion Theme Mosaic
Click on the mosaics to take you through to the Twelve by Twelve website. And if you notice a broken link or typo, please e-mail me and let me know.

The twelfth theme

I have had so long to think about what this final theme of the original 12 might be, that I overthought. I felt it had to be something that would be the perfect conclusion, the final summation, the theme that would somehow tie everything up into a tidy package! I do know, of course, that this is not the end, but it is the completion of our 12 by 12 by 12 planned project.

One night last week, as I was trying to fall asleep, it came to me. The simple, and it seemed to me, perfect, answer. And so, I present to you our twelfth theme—"Twelve." A magical number, indeed, just think of all the times that 12 is the number.

Have fun—the possiblities are endless!

Passion and colours

Having too many ideas about this burning theme, I did some brainstorming with pen and paper. The words that kept coming again and again were those associated with hot colours. After all, if I'm a quilter, it's mostly because I like to play with colours so much.

I decided to take lots of pictures of colourful flowers in my garden, and then started to dye fabrics trying to achieve the colours I liked most in these pictures.

I also printed one of the pictures on white cotton, and I included two small pieces of the picture in my quilt.

The left side of the quilt is a piece of bright orange fabric I liked a lot and I didn't want to cut up. The right side is the logical follow-up of a few scrap quilts I made these last months.

This was really a fun theme to explore. Thanks Kirsten!

There will be more pictures on my blog in a few days.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Crime of Passion

I did not have an easy time with this challenge topic! And I have to confess that as I puzzled over what I would do, I was somewhat affected by the musings on this blog. I rejected passion flower and passion fruit as likely to duplicate someone else's effort -- and anyway, they just didn't thrill me. I rejected all sorts of ideas, until at some point the phrase "crime of passion" occurred to me. And maybe it's the lawyer in me (not that I'm into crimes, let alone crimes of passion!), and maybe it's that I adore mystery novels, but that's the one I knew I wanted to try to illustrate.

Ultimately, I decided to give this a double meaning. As those of you who read my blog or know me in "real life" know, I'm passionate about reading. I can talk books and browse bookstores and read for ages and ages and ages. Because of that, it seemed especially appropriate to make my piece a book cover of a mystery thriller about a crime of passion!

I could picture it in my mind, but oh, getting it translated into fabric! (Isn't that always the way?) I snapped photos of paperback books until I found a position and composition I liked. But then, how to create the cover? I tried various methods -- hand drawing letters and a bloody illustration .... the effort was fun but the result was just not what I wanted. Finally, I realized that I could set it up with Photoshop, and that's the method I followed.

As a side benefit in all of this, I have now learned how to create a curved-line path and place type on it in Photoshop! I wanted the book cover's text to curve to show a bent paperback cover. I tell you, just the type part took a full day. (And only at the end did it occur to me that I should have called my brother, a graphic designer and Photoshop expert, to just do it for me... duh.) Ah well, I was satisfied with the result. The bloody knife is adapted from a photo of a halloween decoration!!

Once I had my cover, I fused it down and then machine quilted it. You probably can't see it too well in this photo, but on the black background I tried to machine quilt fingerprint-like shapes. You know, crime evidence! You can click on both photos to see a larger, detailed view.

Here's a detail shot:

All in all, I was happy with the result and I feel like this really does illustrate one of my passions!

Hot hot hot

Two of my many passions are travel and art. My number one place I want to visit is India and hopefully we will be able to go in the next few years. I started this piece with that in mind and this is what I came up with. I soon realized that it will be shown directly below my rocking chair piece in the mosaic which is similair in color. I went back to the drawing board and made another piece using cool colors which did nothing for me, so I decided to use this piece and hope it does not look to weird in the mosaic. One of my other passions is art and I realized this piece looked a lot like something Hundertwasser would do, so I was pleased to be able to combine these two favorites. This piece is made using a method from the C June Barnes book "Stitching to Dye in Quilt Art" involving wool batting, stitching, then dyeing.

Passion Interupted

Passion, how I would love to be lost in my passions! But for now that longing is more of a dream. The nagging demands of everyday life keep interrupting. (As I'm trying to write this I've had to stop to take over cooking the pancakes someone else started.) Honestly, rarely do I feel truly passionate, all consumed, on fire. My introverted nature tends towards self reflection, not passionate expression. And maybe my passions are quiet because I live in a house filled with passion. With four kids, the oldest approaching puberty, and an adoring, adventurous husband, passions are always running high. As mom, I'm easily distracted by the need to tend their passions. The urgency of their passions often outweighs the importance of mine.

For my quilt, I used a fiery background of pinks, oranges and yellows contrasted with the cool purples, blues and greens of interruption. The background is pieced with various commercial fabrics and then overlayed with hand dyed organza, symbolizing how my passions are somewhat veiled at this time. I quilted it with metallic swirls for all the ideas and passions swirling around within me. I then added wire springs for the bits of passion that find their way out. The cross pieces are paint rag fabric in my favorite purples and greens. They are quilted with variegated thread for the various, changing passions of others and outlined with a heavy beaded line for the strength of their demands.

Despite my occasional frustration, I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and my time of interupted passion is only for a season. For now, I will embrace my family and role as mom with passion and sneak in time for myself when I can.

Satin Sheets

As I pondered passion, several different interpretations came to mind. In the end, I decided to go with a more titillating, tongue in cheek view. I cut strips of silk charmeuse which I wove into a pattern on a white silk background. I machine quilted with sensuous curves. I see the silk strips as representing a perfectly made bed.

I used red silk painted fabric to make rose petals. I fused two pieces together. I created three dimensional petal shapes from the fused silk. They were sewn to the background with a small bead. Here is a closeup

So, there you have it, satin sheets and rose petals, ready for a night of passion. You can see more details on my blog.


If I never make another colonial knot as long as I live...

Colour is my greatest passion. It motivates much of what I do. I hear music as colour, I dream about colour, my feelings are colours, even my senses sometimes express themselves as colours. The worst personal loss I can imagine for myself would be to lose the ability to see colour.

There are other old passions here, too - old linens (the base cloth is an old damask tablecloth),embroidery, circles; as well as a new one - felt (who would have guessed I would fall in love with felt?)!

Technically this has more than a few glitches. The middle began life as a circle. But the damask is so stretchy that as I made knots it distorted to an ovoid. C'est la vie. Doesn't everything change? I'm no longer concerned about holding so tightly that I can't let it become what it wants to be. In the end I was just happy to indulge a passion and drift along. I've been doing a lot of that lately and it's taking me to some good and unexpected places.

Edited 010809: I have uploaded a bigger image file so you can now click on this for more detail (yesterday I just couldn't get the big file on). There are no beads, just fabric and felt circles and colonial knots (Terry, they are made differently to French Knots and are easier and more reliable. Also known as candlewicking knots). Kristin, you picked up on the aspect of this quilt that I was too shy (never been accused of THAT before!) to mention. I meant it when I said I experience everything as colours! ;)

Kitty Love

I struggled with this theme to begin with. When I came up with a plan of action and then executed it, I looked at my results and felt that it didn’t speak of passion. I was ready to set this quilt aside and try again.

Because I made this quilt early on in the time period, I had a lot of time to think about other ideas for passion. I did come up with another idea, but for some reason just didn’t feel all that excited about it. I kept thinking about the quilt I had already made.

So then I started thinking more about my quilt and passion. When I first designed the quilt I was thinking of two people totally in love. They are passionate about their love for each other. Since I’m a cat lover, I thought perhaps I’ll substitute them for people in my quilt. Well after I made the cats and looked at it, it just didn’t look like passion to me.

Then during the time I was thinking of another passion idea and also reading other Twelve’s thoughts about passion, I started realizing that my original quilt could still work. It’s not the passion between the cats that’s important, but the passion I have for cats. I was hung up on portraying passion that I didn’t think about my passion. I think that most pet owners will agree that having a pet in your family is like having furry children and you become just as passionate about them as your own family members.

My quilt was made with a background of nine heart blocks. I made these hearts with a red/pink/cream heart print that I’ve had for a long time. I thought that this fabric and block design would be the perfect passionate background setting. Next I added all the quilted texture. The focal design was then outline stitched in a free-motion technique. Next I painted the design. I finished the edges with couched yarns.

Passion and Pain

It seems to me that "passion" is a huge word—not one that I use very often and seldom apply to myself, though I am sure we all carry a kernal of passion around in our hearts. Still, it makes me a little uncomfortable to talk about and I am reluctant to use such a word in a careless way. To say "I am passionate about cheese," for example, strikes me as foolish. (Now that I've said that, I sincerely hope not one of my fellow "twelves" has created a piece based on their enthusiasm for cheese!)

After pondering passion for weeks, I finally decided to look beyond myself and identify someone whose life exemplified passion. My first thought was the Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, who lived a life of pain and passion. It seemed she brought great passion to the loves of her life—her art, her politics and her husband, painter Diego Rivera. Not that it was an easy life or love. A trolley accident in her youth left her with crippling pain throughout her life and her life with Diego was tumultuous and exhausting, yet they always came back to one another. She said, "there have been two terrible accidents in my life—the trolley and Diego. Diego was, by far, the worst." Frida painted many self-portraits, some depicting the pain she lived with, but also many that celebrate the wild beauty of her beloved Mexico and the intensity of her passion for life, for color, for the world in all its splendor and pain.

I hope I have done justice to Frida. Below are some of the photos and self-portraits upon which I based my portrait. She never flattered herself in her paintings, but I find her quite beautiful and intense.

Together in division

I came to quiting via writing. Literally. It was only because I dropped down to a three day working week as a family lawyer for the first half of 2006, in order to write a book, that I had time to try my first quilt. So it has been interesting, but not surprising to me, that the quilts in my Twelve by Twelve collection have been inspired by stories. The first half of our two month production period involves me lying in bed or commuting whilst muttering word associations and trying to pull from the air The Story for the quilt.
This time I snuck up crablike on my story from a sideways perspective. Increasingly I have required my story to have a message or a moral or at the very least some kind of social point and to be about something I am interested in. My quilts will never be prize winning by virtue of the quality of their construction but they can, I hope, be uniquely interesting by saying something.
But Passion had me stumped for a good while. I don't consider myself to be a person who is passionate about very much. Intrigued, interested, enthused yes, but passionate? That takes an awful lot of energy. And yet I am very interested in people who are passionate about things, including those who practice orthodox or fundamental forms of religion. I am fascinated how their beliefs affect every aspect of their life. Particularly family life.
Once I set off on that theme, I recalled a tale I heard about the 9/11 Twin Towers attacks. In Jewish law it is vital for a woman to get a religious divorce ( a 'get') if she wishes to remarry within the structure of her faith. This has to be given voluntarily by her husband. In addition there is no presumption of death in Jewish law without a body being found. This explains why some of the last calls coming from the burning towers were not just to the families but to rabbis from Jewish men who had the prescience of mind, and the depth of faith in the face of the utmost horror, to pass on their consent to a get as their last gift to their wives.
This quilt is not about that story though. That story is in the developing quilt in my head which needs to be a whole lot bigger than 12 inches. But it got me thinking about the passion of those who were in the towers for their faith and the passion that those who hijacked those planes had for their own beliefs - whether one wants to categorise them as religious or political.
Still skirting around my quilt, I then recalled a sunny afternoon at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Dennis and I sat in a marquee and listened to Alan Kaufman, American Jew who served as an IDF soldier, talk about his books. Given that Dennis has a particular interest in Israeli politics I suggested we invite him for a coffee. At some point, I half jokingly suggested that as the politicians had not managed to solve the middle east crisis they should let a family lawyer have a go. We spend out lives negotiating disputes involving high emotions and hurts, entrenched views and conflicting needs and desires. If we can resolve how parents share the care of their beloved child, maybe we could help the Israeli's and Palestinians decide how to share the care of Jerusalem.
And that recollection gave birth to my quilt. The black 'sides' represent Israel and Palestine. I originally intended to use a map of Israel and the territories but even Stanfords did not produce a map with the right scale and colours for my vision. So, the map is of Jerusalem. The fact that the Temple Mount is on the Palestinian side is not a reflection of any political views but of the fact that I divided he map along pre-1967 borders when the city was partly under Israeli and partly under Arab control.
The red represents both passion and the bloodshed that passion has caused on both sides. The quilt is made of three layers of quilts, each, of course, being made of three layers. The layers can be compared to the layers of oral and written representations of history which run deep through this conflict. The embroidered and foiled Dome of the Mount and Western Wall unites the 'sides' and straddles the division.
Two useful techniques in resolving bitter divorces are, firstly, to assist the parties to focus on what is held in common rather than on the differences and secondly to help them see beyond their 'positions', and beyond perceived injustices in the past to what they hope that their positions will gain them for their future. It is my prayer for the children, women and men of both communities that they will develop these skills and that they will assist them, if not to regain what they believe is historically theirs, to create a new lagacy for the future that is peaceful and conflict free.


I really enjoyed making this quilt. It was experimental but deliberate. I tried new things and included old stand-bys. Now that I look back on the process, I realize that's where passion is for me: in the process.
Passion Flower Interpretation

The subject matter is obvious: it's a passion flower. I decided to interpret the flower rather than try to represent other meanings of "passion." I started with the great photo taken by my friend Connie right in her own yard.

I stamped green circles on the green background and began auditioning and cutting fabrics and papers to create a collage. I added paint to some of the elements including those white tips on the blueish filaments. I finished with some free motion quilting, hand embroidery and a bit of beading.
Passion is a very interesting word. It has so many meanings and possibilities. I think this crazy flower with all it's alien-esque parts is as complicated and beautiful as the word itself.

Desires Lines #2: Caliente

This piece reflects my passion for lines and stripes. A dance of intimacy with a scorching palette. In a nod to popular culture, the quilt name is inspired by an episode of Brothers & Sisters where Sarah enjoyed a storeroom tryst with a hot temp hispanic accountant - Cal.

When I made Simple String Theory in the lead up to the Mathematics theme, I knew that it would become a series - Desire Lines. Caliente is the second work in that series. I gather that "caliente" has shades of meaning in Spanish. That seems entirely appropriate as "passion" has a range of meanings too.

After dyeing up a storm of reds and oranges, I ended up using a red batik I already had in my stash for the background (that's OK - I have a passion for batiks). And in a wonderful dash of serendipity, I found that the red Cotton Mako Aurifil thread, kindly sent to me by Alex of Aurifil Threads, toned in perfectly. The fine 50weight thread quilted up beautifully and I could get passionate about that too.


Despite the possibility of my Chocolate and Chair pieces hinting otherwise, I'm not a demonstratively passionate person in the sexual sense. I am, however, passionate in the enthusiastic sense, and I definitely have a passion for fabric.

Since moving to Hawai'i one year ago, I have been inspired to design some fabric patterns based on tropical flowers and plants. These designs remained mere sketches until Kirsty announced passion as our next theme. I considered a few other ideas, but the Passion flower is so graphically interesting that I kept coming back to it, and so used the opportunity to flesh out a few of my fabric designs "for real." 

I printed out samples of my fabric via the magic of Spoonflower and then continued my passion for fiber by adding additional appliqué, embroidery and beaded embellishment to the Passion flower fabric. I've titled it "Lilikoi" as that is the Hawaiian name for passion fruit and flowers.