I’m still on my break (and probably will be for another two or three weeks) but thought I’d touch base with my monthly review for April.
1) At the beginning of April I began teaching Medallion Improv! It’s a 5-week workshop on creating a medallion quilt without a pattern. The participants are just as involved as I am in discussing their work and brainstorming ideas to solve challenges. Though they all are experienced quilters, they learn about how various design elements work together to create a whole composition. The usual question is on what to do next, to fix a technical problem or to repeat a color or change proportions. In talking through what they’ve done and what’s next, we all improve at seeing what is there, as well as the possibilities.
2) I began two projects to do with the class, so they could see my struggles with, and answers to, the same types of challenges they face. My projects have very different natures on purpose. The first is very traditional, in the sense that it is in muted colors and uses traditional blocks and styling.
The template we use for class creates a 60″ square quilt. Once I saw how this one was going together, I decided I want it bed-sized, rather than buddy-sized. This photo shows you the 60″ version. I’m still debating about how to finish it, which will determine its final size. Thanks, Jim, for the photo.
3) My other project is less traditional. This one created puzzles every step of the way. The fourth border in my template is 5″ wide. I made two different versions of that width border. Ultimately the fairy didn’t want more borders. She was done with three. This also is unquilted. At only 35″ square, I can use an unpieced length of yardage for the back, which saves a step.
4) At the end of April my “small group” met for lunch and a little shopping. We are very fortunate in this area to have several quilt shops within a short drive. We stopped at two, and I think everyone made a small purchase or two. I bought a fat quarter and a half yard, both on sale.
Readin’ and Writin’
1) I wrote and published 16 posts in Catbird Quilt Studios and 1 post in Our View From Iowa. And I worked on several things for upcoming posts.
2) I read (enough of) On Becoming An Artist by Ellen J. Langer. She writes about mindfulness as it applies to creativity. The book is about 225 pages of text, which is at least 50 pages more than needed. A professor of psychology at Harvard, she discusses her research in laymens’ terms. While there were some interesting nuggets there, I didn’t get a lot from the book, really. It’s good to have a public library, so we can read without investing more dollars into individual books.
3) I love story quilts and have long intended to make one. I’m getting closer, with the Garden Party and even the Fairy, shown above. Perhaps the best-known story quilter is Mary Lou Weidman. I enjoyed her book Out of the Box again, both reading text and marveling at the photos. A thing to note: most of the quilts she shows are medallion quilts. 😉
4) After having trouble downloading and accessing library books on my nook, I found the key to making that work again. Recently I finished Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. In truth, I was ambivalent about the book, whether to finish or not, clear up to the last page. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it. But it did keep my interest.
5) Another e-book I’ve started is The Art of Non-Conformity, by Chris Guillebeau. I downloaded it as part of my test to see if I could make the process work. It’s a self-help book offering encouragement to live your dreams. If this one is worth my time, it will be in leading me to think more deeply about my priorities.
I Found the Housework Fairy But She’s Not Coming Back (shown above) is full of experiments. From the curved insets in the center block to the floating plus blocks, to the half-blocks on point in one of the unused borders, I tried several new things. I’ve also explored a number of border ideas for the reds/black/cheddar/green quilt. As mentioned above, I’m still debating how to finish that.
1) I spend a lot of time by myself and a lot of time on the computer. But RPT (Real People Time) is important to me. Tuesday I enjoyed some time with a dear niece, and I’ve had some social time with other people over the month, too.
2) Jim and I continue to get out, walking most days in our neighborhood. Also I’ve started climbing stairs. My studio is in the lower level of our home, so I’m up and down the stairs all the time anyway. But now I’m adding 20-30 or more extra flights a day, on purpose. The hardest part is keeping count. All the walking and stair climbing are satisfying in their own right, but they also help prep me for some hiking we’ve yet to do this year.
3) All the hard work must be paying off. I had my annual exam recently and am (as expected) really really healthy.
My life is full and I am very blessed.