Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Quilts with African fabric

This winter, I was driven to make quilts out of African fabrics. I really wanted to re-invision traditional patterns. I had a lot of African fabric laying around from my dancing days (sigh). I was fascinated to see how my old stand-bys like the eight pointed star, chinese coins, and flying geese would look. The results have been mixed, I'm still experimenting.

Eight Pointed Star Quilt with African Fabric
African Chinese Coins Quilt with Indigo

Flying Geese Quilt with African Fabric

Log Cabin Quilt with African Fabric
One Square Quilt with African Fabric

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blue Jeans Pocket Quilts

The inspiration to make quilts out of jeans pockets came from this quilt by an African American quilter in Michigan. fell instantly in love with it. It is the inspiration for my first my jeans pocket quilt, which doesn't have the same funk. I think this quilter doesn't measure or use a rotarty cutter so that her strips conform to the natural shapes of the material. In the other quilts I explore more traditional patterns using jeans pockets as the nucleus.

Jeans Pocket Eight Pointed Star quilt
log cabin quilt with jeans pockets

Monday, May 21, 2012

Liberated Star Quilt

I'm pretty excited about these quilts because they are a beautiful, organic, asymmetrical spin on an eight pointed star pattern, which is one of my favorites. More and more I am turning away from following quilting patterns, and using strict geometric shapes. I am increasingly inspired by the Quilts of Gee's Bend and quilts like Sherri Lynn Wood's Color Study and Passage Quilts I am called more towards making quilts that are more spontaneous and improvisational, where both the form and color flow from my imagination.

Braiding and Quilting

 I just taught myself to cornrow. I'm very proud of myself. It's a very belated right of passage. I've wanted to learn forever. I grew up in a family with all boys and I never learned. I felt like I missed my window of opportunity. But as a teacher I have to believe that anyone can learn anything (right?). So I bought a (very scary) mannequin head and watched some youtube videos (neither of these worked by the way). Why am I posting this on a quilt blog you may be asking yourself. Braiding reminds me a lot of quilting because they are both repetitive in nature and sometimes it's more important to maintain a pattern than to necessarily be precise. And they are also both labors of love. I've began envisioning a quilt with a cornrow pattern...

Recycled Sweater Quilt

This winter I became obsessed with making a recycled sweater quilt. It was like the story Stone Soup in that I wanted to make the quilt based on the few sweaters I started out with. Then I had to go out thrifting repeatedly in order to finish the quilt. This quilt was very quick and easy, is tied and it's very heavy and warm. It has flannel backing. If you are interested there are several good tutorials online including this one called resweater.

Ayan's Quilt

Ayan's quilt is based on a half square log cabin pattern. It is based upon a quilt from The Quilts of Gee's Bend book. It is made from her father's dress shirts (most of which he gave up willingly). I have mixed feelings about how muted the colors are and I'd like to try it again with darker colors but this one is special because the fabric was her father's.
Ubiquitous baby on a quilt photo.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Lemon Grass Quilt" with Amy Butler Fabric

I've been wanting to do something lighter and more mod. My attraction to African and Batik fabrics leaves many of my quilts very color dense. This quilt is an attempt to expand. (it comes from Quilts Baby by Linda Kopp)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Soley's Quilt

Soley's quilt is finally finished, just as she is turning two. As they say, the shoemakers children go barefoot. I had been dreaming of this quilt ever since I was pregnant with her. I knew it had to be bright and have some kind of sun motif because of her name. Here is what I came up with. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011


            I have searched everywhere. She is nowhere to be found. I started by following a pattern, a grid, asking neighbors, friends, trying to retrace her steps. Then I began following my spirit. She was, is, my first love, my heart, I can feel her in my gut, my heart, my naval. I try to see without seeing, blurring my vision, not seeing with my eyes.  I should be able to pick up the scent of her, not a scent, but something allusive and ethereal like scent, like an aura, showing me the path that she took. I vibrate. No, it’s not vibration, it’s anxiety, fear, that creates this shaking. It is constant, under my skin, deep, in the muscle, imperceptible to the eye, but there, it get’s deeper as the longer this goes on. I wonder if it will go in further, into my core, my heart if I don’t find her, if she is dead. What will it feel like? Like a black hole that spreading outward or gripping pain? Or more like nothing, numbness? Never mind. She is an old woman, who wandered away from home. It is simple. Someone has to have seen her. I will find her.

The call to leave has been getting stronger. For months? Years? Yes, years I think. It started so softly. It’s so easy to dismiss these types of things. Even I who has tried to get rid of all excess chatter dismissed it. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

first quilt guild meeting

I finally went to my first quilting guild meeting. I’ve been trying to go for three years now at least. I could never quite make it. I was always tired from being a new teacher and mommy, and quite frankly I was intimidated. I finally went, unsure of what I would meet. Would everyone be amazing quilters and I would be hopelessly out of my league? Would they be snotty, it is after all the Proper Bostonian Quilters group. It was absolutely amazing. I was one of the only women under sixty, I was one of the only Black women there and it was absolutely wonderful. It was lovely being in women’s space. Our differences didn’t matter (for now). We had a common language of quilting. The women were warm and chatty. They acted as if they had been waiting for me (they raved about my quilts!). This must be how people feel at comic book conventions, when they leave their isolated existence as alienated nerds and finally join the fellowship of fellow costumed geeks.

A messy mess

I was looking forward to sewing some quilts that use up my left over batik strips. However all of the strips have tangled into a confusing ungodly messy mess. What is a girl to do?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Best Idea I've every had

Just when I thought I was doomed, the idea occurred to me to hang the strips on a clothes dryer. Attagirl. (please note that they are organized in proper rainbow ROYGBIV order). Ta Da! no more mess.....until the baby finds it.