Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Til Death Do Us Part Quilt - Guest Post

Hi! I'm Trisha Frankland aka Quiltchicken (www.quiltchicken.com), and Marcia asked me today to guest blog about my quilt 'Til Death Do Us Part.

This quilt is 95" x 100" and was free-hand custom quilted by Marcia Wachuta. The quilt is based on the Metro Rings pattern using the Quick Curve Ruler by Sew Kind of Wonderful, but I extensively changed and improvised to make this quilt design unique and personal.

I began this quilt in May 2013 when Maddie Kertay of the Bad Ass Quilters Society (www.badassquilterssociety.com) announced there would be a special BAQS exhibit at the AQS show in Chattanooga in September 2014.

I knew I wanted to make something special to enter in the exhibit, and I took a bit to think on what the BAQS mission means to me. Maddie began the BAQS as an online counterpoint to all the mean attitudes and spiteful venom sometimes found in quilting - the appliquers don't like the piecers, the moderns want to distance themselves from the traditionalists, and everybody gets weird about the art quilts. 

You can go to the BAQS website and read the official manifesto, but essentially to me it boils down to this: Follow whatever muse calls, and we'll cheer you on.
In creating this quilt, I threw traditional convention out the window and instead focused on what my heart wanted. Where traditionally a wedding ring quilt is bright and light, this one is grungy and rock 'n' roll.

The asymmetry and interrupted rhythm are meant to stop you in your tracks, to make the viewer slow down to look closer and investigate the carefully chosen themes. Nearly every fabric holds meaning to me - including the dozens of skull fabrics I've been hoarding since I began quilting in 2000 - and many others incorporate symbols of my marriage, career, and personal interests. I'm a 8.5 year ovarian cancer survivor, and several of the teal fabrics are from Blank Fabric's ovarian cancer awareness line.

At every opportunity, I did NOT what a judge or another quilter would want - I did what made me laugh, what tested my skills, and what would make me proud in the end. It's very liberating to make a quilt that way - and then also a little scary to put it out there in the world when it reveals so much about you!

I sent Marcia several sample rings to test quilt before we tackled the final piece. She worked out several concepts for the ring  s, a handful of accent ideas, and multiple options for the background areas. Ultimately, nearly every one of Marcia's ideas were implemented in the final quilting - we used those shifts and changes to complement the piecing's intentional anomalies.

We tried different batting layers too.  We selected two layers. The bottom layer, 80/20 batting and poly batting as the top layer.

Marcia and I completed the quilt in June 2014, and I submitted photos for the exhibit. Ultimately, there were enough quilts entered that a second BAQS show was added to the AQS Des Moines show, too.

A view of the labels and the back side of the quilt.

My quilt did get juried in and was assigned to the Chattanooga show. I took a week's vacation to go and see my quilt hanging there.

I was already bursting with pride, but you'll just have to imagine my reaction when I discovered that the AQS used my quilt's image on the exhibit poster and in the show guide!! (There are not enough exclamation points in the world for that sentence.)

The whole experience has been so positive for me. I had a wonderful time explaining my vision to show attendees, I got to meet several other quilters with BAQS quilts. The quilt got a lot of attention and support, and my feet hardly touched the ground all week.

I'm ready to put this quilt in more shows, and I'm ready to make more quilts that make my heart happy. 

Because isn't that really what it's about - making something that makes us happy?

aka Quiltchicken (www.quiltchicken.com)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Inspired by a New Friend!

When I visited my daughter in the Netherlands, I took a crocheting class at the "Haak In".  Corrie teaches how to "Up Cycle" plastic bags into usable items.  She inspired me to crochet again! Website - http://www.haakin.nl/ and Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/corriescreatie/timeline

I learned how to crochet in high school in my Home Economics Classes. My first project was a dish cloth and then we made shawls.  I made a pretty pink shawl and wore it to the high school dances.  When I was in college, I worked with fabrics strips and made crocheted rugs.

Over the years, I have crocheted afghans, rugs, and hot pads and table mats.  
Corrie inspired me to crochet again.

I have been making circular hot pads and table mats using fabric strips.
This is one I made recently and sold it on ebay.

I was so inspired, I even created a fried egg table mat from yellow and white fabric strips.

In the class, Corrie shared how to cut the plastic bags so they end up in one very strip of plastic.  I made a crocheted cover for a plastic bottle.  I displayed it on the plastic bag that I used for the strips.

Corrie refreshed me on stitches, that I had completely forgot how to do, when I learned how to make the small pocket purse.

I took photos in Corrie's classroom of all the crocheted items created from plastic bags. 

I signed the guest book at "Haak In".

At the end of the class Corrie draped her crocheted shawls on us for a picture. The shawls were made from plastic strips combined with black yarn.

Outside she has two huge plastic yarn balls on display. They were larger than a beach ball.

She has a large flower made from the plastic bags on display out front.

I speak only English and sometimes not very well. Corrie spoke Dutch and a little English.  It was a delight learning a new craft with a bit of a language barrier. And when I don't understand something, I tend to laugh at myself!
In the next photo, I was laughing and crying as we said our good byes!

We will keep in touch through emails and facebook and I will visit her when I return to the Netherlands to visit my daughter and her family.

During, the class we talked about our love of creating. Corrie creates with plastic bags and I create with quilted fabric.  I showed her my purse and pocket purse and checkbook purse that I made with my quilted fabric. Corrie asked if I would make a quilted pocket purse with quilted roses for her.

I quilted roses with a red thread on black fabric with a white backing fabric. I just sent it off to the Netherlands this week.

 Corrie asked me to quilt my name on the front of the purse with the year.

It is hard to photograph black fabric and to get enough light it makes the little fibers show up.

When I quilted the fabric, I quilted a large piece of fabric and made enough to create several pocket purses.  They make great gifts for friends and family.

Several years ago, I taught quilted tote bag classes and I also wrote a pattern for the quilted pocket purse.  My pattern is available as a PDF Downloadable Pattern at Craftsy.com in my pattern store. Click Here.

I am so happy I made a new friend in another country and super delighted to learn a new craft and rekindle my crocheting with plastic and fabrics.

I made this crochet mat from the scraps from ...
my "Up Cycled Grocery Bag" that I made from Project Quilting, while in the Netherlands. I made it from clothes and used a borrowed sewing machine. Click Here for that post. I added some green scraps to the crochet mat as my daughter loves green.

I love learning new things, 
I love creating and crafting with friends, 
and I love sharing my experiences!