Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mandala Quilt with RaNae Merrill

Last spring I took a class on Mandala Quilts at Empty Spools in Asilomar, California.  My friend Meg flew into San Francisco and I drove down from Reno.  We took our time along the California coast highway driving down to Monterrey.  I had never been in that part of the country and found the drive to be really gorgeous.  Warning:  You better have a full tank of gas, water to drink and a recent potty stop before you head south on the coast highway because it is long stretches of fabulous scenery but few services along the way.

The Monterrey Aquarium was all that it promised.  The best displays were the sea otters and the numerous jelly fish displays.  The sea otters were just plain fun to watch.  There were probably 10 - 15 different tanks of jellyfish.  All different sizes and shapes.  They backlit each tank with a different colored light which really made the jellyfish glow.  Oh yeah, the seahorses were pretty amazing too.

Asilomar was quiet the location.  Some of the buildings are along the vintage of the great lodges in the national parks.  Wonderful old wood structures with beautiful wood plank floors and antique tiled bathrooms.  Really a very striking retreat area with an easy walk to the beaches.  In April it was a little cool so no swimmers but a delightful alternative to the lingering winter in Minnesota.

Magnificent Spiral  Mandala Quilts  (Book with CD  plus bonus materials)The class with RaNae was interesting,  We had a class of about 20 very experienced quilters.  Some had strong design backgrounds with a real flair for the graphics while others had incredible color sense.  On the one hand the design is a complicated paper piecing layout with lots of small pieces, while on the other hand it is paper piecing so just stitch on the lines.  Playing with the fabric placement and working with mirror imaging or rotational spin ensured that each persons' design was quite unique.

I have the Mandala totally pieced.  I decided to add yellow piping to to separate the Mandala from the black setting border and the floral border.  The outside fabric was the theme for the other fabrics in the Mandala.  The use of Jan Krentz's large mirrors made it much easier to look at how the units were going to fit together.

I still have work to do on this wall hanging.  Once I had the Mandala on the floral fabric and started looking I realized that the center of it is so heavy with multiple layers that it really sagged with held against a wall.  I really need to go in and trim away some weight.  I also see that the Mandala does not sit square to the floral fabric so I have to reposition it anyway. 

I have talked with Page Johnson about some quilting ideas.  With all of the busy-ness in design and fabric the quilting is not going to be a showcase so I have to consider how much to do beyond stabilizing the design and minimizing the stress from the sheer weight of the unit.

Now that I know more about the technique I will use pieces of it again.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I had to take an inventory

I am always amazed at how fast the pages on the calendar flip over.It seems like I have things planned out and before I know what happened I am already behind. 

I have been going through the photos and coming up with a list of what I got done in 2013.  Despite the fact that I was in a one room closet for most of the year, I did do a lot of sewing.  I think they call it escapism.  I decided that I had to come up with a list of what is done and what is at The Quilting Page for quilting (I get to count those twice - once in 2013 and celebrate completion in 2014).

So here is the list and then I can build separate blog pages for each over the next couple of days.
  1. Migration By Night - there is an entry for this already
  2. Fabulous Fifty - A Glad Creations Mystery pattern
  3. Renee Merrill's Mandela quilt - Interesting class and process
  4. Large Doily quilt for a wedding guest registry
  5. Small Doily quilt for a sample and to test the scalloped border concept
  6. Red Velvet Quilt
  7. Diana's signature quilt
  8. Oriental Four Patch Posey
  9. 5 Doily gift quilts
  10. Chronicle Quilt
  11. The Blue Kaleidoscope
  12. My Christmas Card fiasco
  13. And a posting for the fabulous stuff that Steve has finished in the last couple of weeks - retirement suits him well
 I realize that I don't have photos right now for some of these quilts so I will have to work on those postings in the coming days.
Now that I look at the list I guess it was a lot of different stuff - this may take me more than a day or two to get entered.