Coffee freak, nut, obsessed, addicted, bonkers – these are all words that have been used to describe me.
This is a long story, so get yourself a cup of coffee and relax – it’s going to take a while to get through this post!
Wherever I go I’ve got a cup of coffee in my hand. I drive with a cup in my right hand, left hand on the wheel. I carry cups around the house and re-warm them repeatedly. Every time I go to a friend’s or family member’s house they always say, “Wait, is this your cup? I think you left it here last time.” Sometimes it’s two or three cups. It’s a bit nutty.
Some of you may remember when I went to Salt Lake City for quilt market and will recall my panic over the possibility that there wouldn’t be any good coffee. Mavis Quinn was worried for me and she got a 5-gallon container from Peet’s and tried to smuggle it on the plane for me.
My place is Peet’s. It’s my coffee place. I like the Garuda blend and I make it at home every day in an Italian espresso stove top boiler called a Bialetti. (For those of you who read Donna Leon’s mysteries set in Venice, you’ll understand that we’ve named the coffee pot the Brunetti.)
I used to cut the Peet’s coffee with water, but not anymore – it’s straight coffee for me – with milk or cream.
I created a series of pieces of the focus fabric, which is Las Senoritas, by Alexander Henry Fabrics (still my boyfriend, I might add!). I tried to focus the visual impact of each part by covering up images that I didn’t want. Mostly that meant covering up partial faces and sometimes extra arms, elbows, hands or hats.
Then I created the circles for the edges of the focus pieces. All the focus blocks are in 6″ (finished) increments to go with the 6″ finished blocks.
Each circle was machine appliqued to the blocks.
I began to audition the border fabric and started cutting boat-loads of flower appliques.
After sewing the pieces together, I worked to integrate all the visuals in the piece by breaking the barriers of the focus sections and the surrounding blocks.
This is where the fun begins because there are so many ways to do this. Often I found myself “creating” new flowers by strategically splicing pieces of the fabric.
In this section I wanted to break the plane by bringing the flower out into the next block.
This flower proved especially challenging, as it didn’t have any whole petals to work with. If I just removed the surrounding imagery, the flower would look chopped. I wanted a whole flower.
For the foundation, I made this cutout. By including the leaf, the applique will blend in better on the background.
Then I have to cut up a whole flower to get another petal to overlay.
Trim things up until it looks right.
I added appliques all over the place. All of the other appliques (except the really big cacti) came from other Alexander Henry fabrics I’ve collected over time (of course).
Here are some examples of the results.
When it came to quilting, I gave everything a once-over with a blue and green variegated rayon thread called Rainbows from Superior threads. In this pass I quilted the backgrounds and borders as well as the edges of all of the appliques. Then I chose colors to go with all of the different parts of the quilt. Each flower, circle and applique was then quilted a second time with a thread of a matching color. I ended up using green, orange, pink, red and brown.
It’s getting packed up for its debut at Sisters next week.
I am making some labels for a few of my new quilts. But, only because I have to.
The Quilt Police have had a warrant out on me for years for section 420.67b, non-completion of quilt labels (along with section 316.28a, undocumented quilt gift-giving (no photo of quilt taken before given away); section 421.12c non-inclusion of hanging sleeves; and a few other misdemeanors to be named later).
However, I am showing some of my new work in the Teacher’s Tent at the Sister’s Outdoor Quilt show next week, and they require compliance with the practice of adding a label. I get why a quilt should be labeled – I even agree that it’s a good thing.
One should label their quilts. (Should – another long 4-letter word.)
I don’t know if it is the rebel in me, the lazy in me, or the absolute aversion to hand sewing, but I NEVER make labels for my quilts. Except for now, when I am doing it for these five quilts (and a few other times).
So, could I just have made a nice simple label? A pretty square with the pertinent information? I COULD have.
But did I?
Of course not! I made a super-complex collage of at least 12 pieces.
Why so many bits, you might ask? Well, I made her a new skirt top with the pretty red points (the original has just one red point), and then I collaged the basilica, flowers, cacti, and leaves to make a balanced arrangement.
I am sure you’ve noticed by now that the piece is not a simple square either. Of course not! That would just be too easy!
I did give her a nice set of arm and shoulder tattoos while I was at it. And why not?
Then, I used a zig-zag stitch to attach the collage to a background piece. Not sure it’s the best look, but TOO LATE NOW!
Now we come to the yucky bit – all that hand sewing and turning under of edges, curves, inner corners, and other tools of torture to a hand-sew-a-phobe like me!
I trimmed the edge a bit and clipped the outer curves. Then I pinned with long, sharp pins (I chose long pins so that the thread could get caught in the pins with each and every stitch – seriously!)
Then I did sew it with little invisible stitches and green thread.
Not too bad for someone who avoids this kind of work like a plague of nose-picking pig farmers.
When I had to work on this (the most complex) section, I clipped into the corners.
So that’s about it – and it’s done.
(You’re probably wondering why there is that funny line on her chest. The reason is that I started with a piece that had her face, arm and body but had the left part of her chest cut off. Rather than starting with a whole lady, I just cut the chest off of another intact lady. What was I thinking? No Idea. Just sometimes one makes silly decisions.)
Here’s the finished look…
So only four more to go!
Well, I actually finished the label for Barbed Wire Betsy (see this post), and I kept this one more simple!!!