β€œJoyspotting” 🌈

My new favorite book: Joyful! Ingrid Fetell Lee’s marvelous study of what she has termed the “aesthetics of joy” – attributes of an object or an experience that make us feel, well, joyful.

Which got me thinking…aha, finally the right words for an artist’s statement for me. What do I want my pieces to do? Bring a little joy to the viewer, whether it’s a smile about an impishly cute pet or a bit of wonder about the beauty of nature. Nothing serious, no big message…just a little joyspotting :).

Not surprisingly, it is color that makes me feel the most joyful. This:

…and this…

…and most definitely this:

This weekend, find time for Ingrid’s TED talk…

https://www.ted.com/talks/ingrid_fetell_lee_where_joy_hides_and_how_to_find_it?language=en

And think about what brings YOU joy! 😊

Embarcadero at Dawn

During a business trip to San Francisco last year, I stopped to admire the sunrise…and, of course, captured it on my iPhone:

Ooh. It was even more fun with a neon filter…

Having a big stack of pre-MistyFused fat quarters…brilliant shades from Windham Fabrics’ Bedrock collection…and my favorite NeonKitty box of Aurifil thread on hand, I couldn’t resist interpreting this scene in fiber.

First step, rough out the background…decide if there is a predominant base shade (in this case, not really)..then choose which shades will overlap to form a base. I layered 4 colors for the sky…created the water by cutting little fingers linking the 2 water colors…and fused a thin strip across the horizon which would become the distant hills. This sun was incredible fun; I began with yellow and worked my way toward the center, shade by shade, to the red sun. LOTS of layers of fabric… I am grateful for a machine which can stitch though anything. For the reflection of the sun, I kept it simple with 2 shades, figuring I would use multiple shades of thread. I added 2 pieces of blue for the foreground, representing the street/sidewalk and dock.

Next, fuse all pieces down to the batting sandwich (I always begin with a piece of batting which already has a backing fabric fused to it). Then a super-fun part, picking the threads πŸ˜πŸŽ‰!

The sky and sun were quilted first…lots of thread! Then, I sketched in the lines for the bridge with a bit of fabric ink…

For a dramatic effect, I used Aurifil’s 12wt in midnight blue to stitch the bridge- this thread weight is a must-have in your tool box for elements that need to stand out. (A size 100 Topstitch needle is key here…)

Then, lots more stitching. Including some work to more smoothly blend the water:

Then, some straight-line work on the foreground…before the final addition of a few palm trees and a freighter ship ;). I try to balance high-impact of a few details and enough complexity to make the piece interesting. Sometimes (eg the seagulls) the elements are completely fictional but just look right πŸ™‚.

Now to consider the (dozens, oh so many) other images that are patiently awaiting their turn….

❀️ Day 14: Mosaic Crazy Quilt

This wall quilt is a fast fun afternoon project inspired by a favorite book and the incredible quilts created by Heidi Proffetty.

Early in my quilting days, I discovered this book-

…which I found to be a great way to begin to learn how to construct crazy quilts. The concept is that you stack your fabrics, make cuts, then re-arrange the order in each little ‘deck’…next, take the each new layer and lay them out to become a block.

I used Windham Fabrics’ blender collection and pulled black for a background, then 8 Valentine’s shades to create the faux blocks. Because, hey, if I can fuse instead of piece, I will πŸ˜‰! MistyFuse all, fuse black to a piece of batting and backing (here, an 18″ square but you could size up or down), then fuse and trim the colors to 5″:

Next, stack together, aligning all edges, and make 7 cuts at random to create 8 little stacks:

Note that the number of colors needs to equal the number of blocks. In this piece I wanted to leave the center alone to leave space for a πŸ’œ, hence 8.

Now, leave one stack alone…in the next, put one color in the back…the next, 2 colors in the back, and so forth, until you see all 8. This is easier seen than described:

Now, carry these carefully to your background sandwich (I used a small 6″ ruler) and arrange a layer in 8 roughly-square areas around the center. I am a HUGE fan of Heidi Profferty’s work (if you are not familiar with this star quilter, here is her website: https://www.heidiproffetty.com/ ) and decided to let the black background act as the ‘grout’ for a mosaic layout:

I decided to let mine be a little wonky. Alternatively, you could use a chalk pencil and neatly mark out the 8 square areas.

Yay! Now cut a red heart out for the center (you could cut out red lips too ;)) and center it.

Grab your Goddess sheet and fuse all in place. Ready to stitch:

Hmm, heart too big? Yes…the joy of MistyFuse is that you can reposition! I peeled off, trimmed down a bit and re-fused. Heidi stitches her amazing quilts with monofilament thread, so I thought I would try that (excellent stippling practice!) on all pieces except the heart (which I outlined with a pretty shade of Aurifil). When you’re finished quilting, trim and finish with a zigzag stitch and black piping.

Happy almost Valentine’s Day! πŸ₯°

❀️Day 13: Another Great Photo App for πŸ’•

Some of the most striking images in my photo album result from capturing Jackson in a pose against a light background. This is a fun example of how to manipulate a great profile into a striking design (and, in the case, the inspiration for a valentine! See, you knew I’d get there eventually… πŸ˜‰)

The free app used in this project is called Camera 4 Line Art; this is what the icon looks like:

Following the small photos in the composite above:

1-crop your great photo to square

2-run it through the app…it generates that black cat against the white background. Save that image.

3-in the controls, click “reverse”…

4-ta da, a white cat against black background!

5-crop both images to 2 x 1 rectangles

Now, paste those together to form the mirror-image shown in the large photo.

And…contemplate drawing a heart around the dual image to use as a pattern for a square fabric postcard! (On my to-do list for the weekend 😍.)

❀️ Day 12: Love is Love πŸŒˆ

While not technically a Valentine’s idea, what better tribute can there be to love?

I stitched up a small quilt honoring the rainbow flag, with my cat Jackson wearing his heart on his…umm…fur? The quilt actually does have straight lines, I simply did not have time to photograph properly before leaving town on a business trip ☺️.

Supplies: 6 FQs from this incredibly fun “Crayola” solid collection, 6 matching shades of Aurifil 50wt (+ black), MistyFuse (I like to fuse my small quilt layers so that they do not shift at my Bernina), scraps of black cotton (Uppercase Vol 3 πŸ’œ) and red wool, and the outline of my beloved black cat.

I stitched 2 1/2″ strips together in the correct order, then fused Jackson into position, and stitched simple matchstick quilting to give the piece texture.

In case you’d like to borrow my cat πŸ˜‰:

Stay warm…I’m headed out into -16 degree weather πŸ₯Ά…

πŸ’œ Day 11: Heart-shaped Wine Coaster

Greetings from the polar vortex today! πŸ₯Ά if you are hiding inside today, here is an excellent project πŸ˜‰.

Some of you might recall my obsession with leaf-rubbings made into wine coasters…

…so for ❀️ Day I simply fused some awesome fabric (from one of Modern Quilt Studio’s collectionsπŸ’•) onto a square of moldable fusible…cut it into a heart shape..zigzagged the edges…pressed and molded!

A fun addition to your February table πŸ˜πŸ’•!

❀️ Day 10: Painting With Bobbin Thread!

Have you tried super-heavyweight thread in your bobbin to create cool designs? It is great fun…I do recommend keeping a second bobbin case, permanently set a bit looser, for these projects. Hand-wind the thread … in this project, white Razzle Dazzle from Superior Threads … thread your needle with monofilament … and mark your design on the REVERSE side. You’ll basically be working upside down ;).

For this valentine, I sketched a tribute to our beloved motorcycle on the reverse side of the postcard, inserting hearts for wheels ;), then fused a piece of red fabric to the front (which had enough surface interest but not TOO much.) By following my sketch with the needle, the bobbin thread created a dramatic image 😁. Vrooooooom πŸ’•!