I can't believe it. We're having our fourth sunny day in a row here in Michigan, despite a weather forecast of rain all week. And it is WARM! FINALLY! (Of course we went from winter straight to summer without much spring, but at this point, I'll take it!)
I have two things going on in this post. First, I want to propose a fabric swap, and second, I have to start telling you about a meeting I went to last night...the West Michigan Art Quilters. It was AWESOME!
First...the fabric swap....
My SIL, Linda (SisLH), asked me if I thought you all would be interested in doing a fabric swap with her. I said I didn't know, but I would make a post about it and see what we could do. I've never done one of these before, but one thing that appeals to me about a fabric swap right now is that the effort is low (no sewing required), and it could be really fun. I know Linda sent me a file with some ideas, and I know I saved it, but do you think I can find it today? So, let's hope I get this right.
Here's what I'm thinking....we could swap fat quarters. We could pick a theme if we liked, and each participant would buy yardage of one fabric and cut it into fat quarters (number to be determined by number of participants). You'd send them to me, possibly along with a small amount of money (or stamps) to cover postage back to you. I'll sort them, and everyone will get one fat quarter of everyone else's (including your own) fat quarter. It would be a nice way to get some variety going in our stashes. I think we'd need to agree that people would buy quilt store quality fabric (I don't mean to be a fabric snob here, but let's not do Joanne's or Walmart fabrics....you want to know you're getting the same quality of fabric back for what you bought, right?).
So let's do this...If you think you're interested, leave a comment specifically about the swap. Expressing interest doesn't commit you until it is actually decided what we're going to swap, etc. I'll ask for commitments later. In your comment, let me know what kind of fabrics you think we should swap. Some ideas:
- Novelties (this could be fun)
- Holiday (name the holiday or just any holiday?)
- Civil War
- Hand dyes
- Anything goes
- Other (name your other idea)
I'll see what the response is and then propose something based on your ideas. At that point, you can decide if you're in or not. There are a lot of new spring collections coming out now, so it could be a good time to get some cool new fabrics! I was thinking if we felt like it when we're done, we could challenge ourselves to make something from what we swap, but we don't have to.
Okay, second, I have to tell you about the meeting of the West Michigan Art Quilters group last night. Remember how I said I wasn't feeling very connected to my guild? Well, one person I've met through guild, who comments on this blog as Sequoia, has sort of taken me under her wing. Bless you, Sequoia! After I started my challenge pieces with Lynn, she asked if I'd like to participate in her small group (our guild has several small groups that meet outside of the guild meetings, and this is one of them) that does art quilting. I really wanted to do it all year but couldn't, because they met on Wednesday nights, and Papa Pea had class on Wednesday nights (I had to parent on those nights). But, now that school's out, I got to go last night! Yippee! Sequoia was out of town, but Jackie (the gal from whom I bought the beautiful hand dyed fabric from) is also a member, and she took me.
Well, this group of ladies is about the nicest group of people. They were so gracious to me. And many of them said, "Oh, we know you! We read your blog!" Haha! That was kind of weird! But it was heartwarming also, because they said they enjoyed the blog. Thank you so much, ladies!
The meeting was sort of like the best part of a guild meeting...it was all show and tell and conversation! I absolutely loved it and already learned so much! I took tons of photos, and they all graciously agreed to let me post them here on my blog for you to see. I'll divide this into two posts, so come back tomorrow for more pictures!
Today, I'll talk about the little challenge they had given each other last month. Everyone brought pieces they had made as part of that challenge.
Here was the challenge...one of the members had brought a big bag of scraps that consisted of stuff like this. Everyone got a big handfull of scraps and was told to make something out of them. That's it. That was the challenge. So, let me show you what people made (or are making) from this.
(Now, I hope I get everyone's names right. I just met these ladies, so please forgive me if I make a mistake...and please correct me if I make a mistake!) This is what June made. She couched some yarn, made some spikey pieces, and sewed them down. I love the background she pieced, too. Doesn't it look like a lake, green grass, mountains, and a purple sky? It reminds me of out west. Makes me miss Idaho and Utah.
Here is Jackie's. This was neat. She pulled the blues and greens and dumped them onto some wrinkled silk. She put some real dried seahorses in there (she noted she doesn't advocate the killing of animals, but these were already in her mother's stash of stuff she inherited). The crab is a real crab, too. See the little turtle? Cute! She put tulle over it all and did some stitching with a beautiful blue and green variegated thread. This is a work in progress. She wants to do more stitching and is considering putting some pearls and/or beads on it to suggest bubbles. She is looking for ideas. She's calling it Riding the Rackline...I guess turtles "ride the rackline" after they are born. She works with baby sea turtles in the summers. I need to learn more about both of those things from Jackie. I think this is beautiful.
Here is a detail shot. I like how she used the zigzag stitch on some of these strips. It gives added interest, I think. I also like the regular quilting stitches on top of the more "wild" stitching on the stripes.
This is Carolyn and her spectacular piece. I think she said she has titled it June's Flower Garden. (June is the one who brought in all the scraps.) I think it's fair to say that everyone went nuts over this piece. It was outstanding. I begged her for a tutorial! Carolyn, I was very serious about that!
This is Faith's. It's still a work in progress. She was told that she couldn't add any other fabrics or anything (which wasn't correct). She noted she felt a little frustrated by that. I will be interested to see what she does with this next now that those rules were lifted from her!
This is Anna Mae's. She wasn't there to talk about it but she left a note saying she was commemorating a flower festival she goes to out west each year. I love the raw edges and lack of binding. I also like some of the little details, like the flowers, butterfly, and trees....
Here she sows how she cut up the scraps, laid them on muslin, and then just stitched all over (a LOT of stitching) to hold everything down. Nothing is fused. And there are some angelina fibers in there, too. This is what she cut from to make the flower petals and the leaves.
Here is a close up shot, so you can see the stitching and the angelina fibers. Mary said she used a clear thread on top for her stitching, but she has done it also with colored thread to add another design element. Come back tomorrow and I'll show you some other stuff she has made using a similar technique. It's really neat. You'll want to see it. I want to give this technique a try.
The next challenge is going to be to take a block or something like that, cut it up, and repurpose it (i.e., sew it back together). This idea came about because I forgot to bring my silk piece that I made for my last challenge with Lynn, Alamosa Quilter. I said I was thinking about cutting it up and sewing it back together again for our next challenge...which we haven't decided on yet. So, they all said, "Let's all do that!" So, I'm hoping I can make both challenges work together. I won't be in town for the next meeting, but I'm going to still blog my piece.
<As an aside, I feel like I really need to thank Lynn here for a moment. Lynn was so gracious to begin this art quilting journey for me. It was her blog that got me going in this direction and her willingness to do the Jean Wells activities with me. The result of that is that Sequoia saw my work and then invited me to participate in this group. So, Lynn, THANK YOU. Isn't it amazing how we bloggers can have such an impact on each others' lives...and I have never even met Lynn in real life yet! I hope that will change soon!>
Come back tomorrow, because I have about this many photos again to show you of the OTHER show and tell everyone brought. This meeting was so inspiring, I couldn't go to bed until 11:30 last night. My brain was just a-whirring! But that's good. I got more work done on my doll!
Well, ladies, thank you for a lovely evening! I am so thrilled to be part of your group. Thanks for making me feel so welcome and for taking me in! I'm lovin' it already!
Don't forget to comment about the swap if you'd like to participate!
Until next time,
P.S. Weighed in yesterday and lost another .4 lbs. That makes 10 lbs! Woo hoo! Haven't updated Health tab yet....it has mysteriously disappeared off my banner. I don't know what's going on and am working on it! The page is still there. If you want to find it, just type Health in the search box and you can get there. But I don't know where my tab went!