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Archive for the ‘textile art’ Category

On 5 Kids and a Dog, there’s a series called the ABCs of Homeschooling.  This week’s letter is “Q.” 

Alphabet ATC or ACEO Available - Needlefelted Letter Q…is for Quilting.

For over four years, Sophia and Olivia have been learning how to quilt. They started hand-sewing a bit before machine-sewing to get comfortable with a thread, needle, and fabric.

One of the first projects that the girls did was a simple patchwork quilt. They picked fabric from what I had on hand (a lesson in itself of resourcefulness and making do).

For some of their first sewing projects, they traced squares onto the back/wrong side of the fabric and then cut them out. They moved onto measuring and marking lines on the fabric. Sophia now can use a rotary cutter to cut fabric.

Assembling the Quilt
Olivia arranging squares for her first patchwork quilt.
She’s about 4 years old here (2007).

One of Olivia’s favorite quilts that she made was one using fabric she found at a quilting store in Pella, Iowa. The girls, my parents, and I traveled to Pella in the spring to see the tulips. There was a wonderful quilting store right off the main square.

Olivia liked a printed fabric with dogs on it. From that pattern, she picked several other fabrics to coordinate with it. She cut, arranged, and sewed all the pieces together to create her quilt.

Olivia with the Quilt She Made
Olivia made this quilt using fabric she found at a quilt shop on a trip.
This quilt holds special meaning and memories for her.
She was 6 years old when she made this quilt (2009).

Olivia entered her quilt in the county fair in the youth open class division. She was competing with children up to the age of 16 years old in her category.

She won first prize… a blue ribbon (there are only 6 ribbons – 1st through 6th place – awarded in a category). Needless to say, she was thrilled!

Olivia - Blue Ribbon on Quilt
Olivia with the quilt she made
that won her a blue ribbon!

For 2010, at 7 years old, she wanted to challenge herself to do something different. She looked with me at pictures of quilts on Flickr and saw one that she liked. It was a circular quilt made from a variety of fabrics.

The quilt she saw was done in rainbow colors with a white center. Olivia wanted to do hers in all blue fabrics with a white center. Since there was no pattern, we had to create a pattern for the blue pieces and center white piece.

Olivia chose a variety of textures also for the blue pieces which posed a bit of a challenge since each had a different “pull” to it. She had to try sewing different types of fabric together which was a good skill to learn.

Another skill she learned was doing free-style quilting. On the white fabric, she moved her presser foot around in a random pattern to secure the top, batting, and backing together.

Olivia Working on Quilt
Olivia working on her blue and white circular quilt.
She’s doing some free-motion quilting to secure the top, batting, and backing together.
Olivia was 7 years old when she did this quilt (2010).

Sophia started making quilts in 2006 (when she was 5 years old) and did a simple doll-size patchwork quilt from a kit she received for Christmas. The nice thing about the kit was that the squares were already cut for her. She simply had to sew them together and then create the quilt.

Once she learned how to do that she wanted to create another quilt using fabric that she picked out from what I had on hand. She used the same method as I used with Olivia (tracing of the shape on the fabric and then cutting it out).

By 2008, she was enjoying quilting so her grandma gave her a quilting kit in her favorite color: pink. The kit came with the fabric and pattern, but Sophia had to cut each piece for the quilt.

The fabric was a variety of textures – cotton, satin, and minky.  It was delightful to feel (from a sensory perspective). In terms of sewing…a bit more challenging, especially for a beginner quilter.

She patiently worked on the quilt and was so pleased with how it turned out. She used the quilt and enjoyed how it felt with the different textures.

Sophia in Bunkbed Camping with Quilt She Made
Sophia in a bunk bed in a camper cabin.
She wanted to bring her quilt on her first camping trip.
Sophia was 7 in this picture (2008).

By the following year, Sophia set a goal of making a quilt for her bed. She wanted a quilt in colors that she liked. We checked out some books from the library and she found a pattern that she liked. After a visit to the fabric store, she was ready to start making her quilt.

Sophia Laying Out Her Quilt
Sophia placed the pieces for her quilt on the floor.
She would pin the pieces she needed to sew as she went along.
Sophia is 8 years old in this picture (2009). 

She was happy with how her quilt turned out; and has used it on her bed since she made it.

Sophia's Finished Quilt
Sophia holding her finished quilt.

She entered the quilt in county fair and received a red ribbon on it (second place). At 8 years old, she was in the category with children up to 16 years old. 

Sophia - Red Ribbon on Her Quilt
Sophia by her quilt at the county fair.
She was 8 years old.

When Sophia was 9 years old, she tried a different form of quilting. Her grandma gave her a pre-printed image on fabric. Sophia quilted around different parts of it to give it texture and definition. She added sequins and beads to embellish it, and then finished off the quilt. 

She entered it into the county fair for one of her 4-H needlework projects. In 4-H, the children talk with a judge who asks them questions about their project and determines how much they understand about their project area. Sophia received a blue ribbon for her project which made her happy.

Sophia Talking About Quilted Wallhanging
Sophia meeting with a 4-H judge to discuss her project.

During the 2010-2011 homeschool year, Sophia took a sewing class at the homeschool co-op. One of the projects she worked on was learning quilting patterns.  During the spring, she learned six new patterns. She chose to sew the squares together to make a little lap or doll quilt.

Sophia with her Quilt
Sophia holding a lap or doll quilt that
shows six new patterns that she learned.
She’s 10 years old (2011).

Quilting has been an important part of homeschooling for the girls. In addition to art/creative expression, quilting helps with math and reading. I’ve also integrated geography and history when doing some of the quilts.

With a back-to-homeschool trip to New England in September to celebrate the start of a multi-year/multi-disciplinary geography study, the girls are excited to visit a quilt shop in New Hampshire that has over 5,000 bolts of fabric.

They each want to pick some fabric so they can make a quilt when they return home. Having a tangible reminder of this special time together is something that I hope they look back on with good memories in years to come.

Peek-a-Boo with the Sewing Machine
Looking back….
Olivia at 4 years old working on her first quilt.

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This year, I hung an Advent calendar that has 25 different envelopes that I hand-embroidered. In each envelope, there’s a slip of paper with an activity that we can do together.

For the first day, I had the girls make a fort house with blankets and I read to them in the fort. I think they found every blanket in the house to create the fort. They used rubber bands and safety pins to fasten the blankets-to-blankets as well as blankets-to-chairs. The fort had even more blankets in it along with pillows.

The girls each picked a Christmas book they wanted me to read in the fort. A couple of the cats even joined us to listen to the stories.

Advent Calendar Pockets 8-12

Part of the Advent calendar that I made.  Each envelope is hand-embroidered. 
The pockets close with a circle of velcro.

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I made this for the SEWvenire Quilt Block swap on Swap-Bot. The goal was to create a quilt block that represented one’s state.

By participating in the monthly swap, ultimately each participant will have enough blocks to make a quilt made from SEWvenire blocks sent to her from different states, maybe even different countries.

I’m combining the blocks that are sent to me with ones that I make (a copy of the quilt block I sent to someone else). So, eventually the quilt front will include half the blocks made by others and half by me.

The items written in fabric paint were required elements of the swap.

This quilt block is 12 1/2″ square. The 9 different fabric pieces were ironed to the background fabric using iron-on adhesive. I then did free-motion quilting to secure the pieces to the quilt.

Once it was done, I added the written words and the yellow centers to the ladyslipper flowers with fabric paint. For the quilt block that I will be making for myself, I’m going to embroider the words since the background fabric I’m going to be using is lighter and I can trace some nice lettering.

Last month for the SEWvenire quilt block, I chose Minnesota’s state bird (the loon). This month, it is the ladyslipper (Cypripedium reginae). Also known as the showy lady’s slipper or queen’s lady slipper, it was adopted as the state flower in 1902.

Found living in open fens, bogs, swamps, and damp woods where there is plenty of light, these flowers grow slowly, taking up to 16 years to produce their first flowers. They bloom in late June or early July. The plants live for up to 50 years and grow four feet tall.

A century ago, the flowers were a favorite adornment in rural church altars during the summer. Since 1925 this rare wildflower has been protected by state law (it is illegal to pick the flowers or to uproot or unearth the plants).

The flowers are difficult to find. Apparently there are some that can be found on the bog at Beckman Lake in Isanti County. May be worth the trip some summer to see what they look….particularly if there are ones that are 4 feet tall!

(As a side note…this was one way that I used my creativity today as part of the “Art Every Day Month” challenge.)

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Math Gnomes
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

This is a set of Waldorf-inspired math gnomes that I made for a customer for my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand.

The gnomes stand between 9-10” inches tall, and each is needlefelted by hand. Sometimes I use 4 barbed needles at a time and at other times only a single barbed needle (for example, when attaching the curly sheep wool to the face and body or creating the math symbols on the bodies).

Each gnome has a different math sign on the body – addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and equals. Individual gnomes and combination of gnomes can be used in combination with natural tactile elements (e.g., pebbles, gems, acorns) to make learning math more tangible.

There are many Waldorf-inspired stories using math gnomes on the internet. You may choose to use one of the stories as they are presented…or create your own stories.

The gnomes are made from sheep wool – the interior core is from cream-colored wool from sheep that I raised at Harvest Moon’s organic farm. The exterior (colored) wool is from a variety of textile artists who hand-dye sheep wool.

For a set of custom-made gnomes or other needlefelted items, please visit my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand.

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For many years I’ve been interested in the life of St. Francis.  His relationship with nature and animals as well as his views on simplicity and frugality are of particular interest.  During the past couple of years, I’ve participated in different swaps on Swap-Bot, and have been introduced to mail art. 

So, I started another website dedicated to The St. Francis Mail Art Project which is a on-going internet gallery of mail art that is received that positively depicts St. Francis, his life, his writing, and how individuals are living a life that is inspired by St. Francis.

The project is open to any type of print media of any size (no video or audio, please), and each artist’s interpretation. Postcards, photographs, textiles, sculpture, mail art, artistamps, calligraphy…so many options.  For more information and/or to send an item in to be included in the gallery, please visit HERE.

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I made this for a swap on Swap-Bot – called SEWvenir Quilt Block (round 1). Am also going to make a version for a personal quilt as well.

The swap is going to be a series in which a person can collect SEWvenirs from other places without the expense of going there. Each quilt block that I will receive will be from a different state or country.

What I’d like to do is make a quilt that has the quilt blocks from the other places as well as a copy of the one that I sent to other people.

This block is 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ (12″ block size with 1/2″ seam allowance). There are a variety of different cotton fabrics that I hand-embroidered together onto the white cotton backing.

The embroidery stitches used were the back stitch and blanket stitch.

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For my August journal quilt, I continued with my yearly theme of “Happenings and Highlights.” The goal of each journal quilt is to reflect positive things that happen during the month so it can be a tactile, quilted image that brings back happy memories and can be looked at when I need encouragement.

The thoughts that kept coming to my mind when I was thinking about the quilt were the hummingbirds that have been visiting the feeder.

Every day the hummingbirds have been at the feeder in the backyard, and it seems like that’s been a daily topic of discussion and excitement.

So, for my quilt I looked on the internet for black and white images of hummingbirds; and found several that I liked.

I needed an image for a flower, and happened to see a free embroidery pattern on Flickr.

Taking these elements, I modified their sizes, printed the images, and cut them out. I arranged them onto a 9” x 12” piece of white fabric and then traced the image onto the fabric with a disappearing ink pen.

The entire design (the hummingbirds and flower) are all hand-embroidered using the back stitch, straight stitch, seed stitch, crown stitch, and French knots.

I machine-quilted the top, batting, and backing together and then wrapped around the backing to create a binding/border.

Some of the activities and highlights of August, and how they are represented in the quilt, include:

Competing in the Washington County Fair – My daughters and I competed in the fair again this year. The girls each entered over 20 projects; and I entered 37 projects. The ribbons color that we received the most of – blue, red, white, and pink (4th place) are all represented in the quilt. In addition, the purple grand champion is reflected by the purple border, backing, and one of the hummingbirds. The birds also represent each of us and our favorite colors (Sophia is pink; Olivia is blue; and I am purple).

Swimming Lessons for the Girls – For two weeks in August, I took the girls to swimming lessons. They took swimming lessons last summer and enjoyed it; and this year was no different. They enjoyed their daily swim, and passed to the next level. They were both SO excited. The swimming/water is represented by the free-motion sewing in the quilt. It reminds me of waves and the comfort they provide as they move against one’s body.

Lots of swaps on Swap-Bot – I enjoyed participating in a lot of swaps during August, especially the ones where I am challenged to create something new related to a theme and postcard swaps where postcards arrive in the mailbox from all over the world. The swaps are represented by the center half of one flower. I learned how to do the “Crown” stitch for this quilt. I like the trio of spokes on the crown – there seems to be many of them when I look at the flower…just like the many swaps I signed up for and/or are finishing.

Lots of hummingbirds at the feeder – There has been constant traffic at the feeder since the middle of August. Sometimes there’s only one, and at other times there have been up to three at a time. They have sat still while eating (there’s a little perch that goes around the feeder); played in-air chasing games; and perched on what the girls call “The King’s Perch” and “The Prince’s Perch” in the pine tree Sometimes they even hide in the pine tree in “The Secret Hideout Spot” and dive-bomb another unsuspecting hummingbird when it tries to eat at the feeder. Needless to say, the girls [and I] are easily entertained. The embroidered hummingbirds and the flower represent the trio of hummingbirds at the feeder that we’ve been enjoying watching.

Started homeschooling – The curriculum I’m using for homeschooling with the girls this year is called Sonlight. It’s an excellent curriculum that is heavily literature-based. We’ve been doing quite a bit of reading, and enjoying the new books that are part of Sophia’s 4th grade year, and Olivia’s 2nd grade year. The white background of the quilt represents the white pages in the books that the girls and I are reading together.

Severe thunderstorms and lightning + house damage from storms – For one week in August, the weather was in the upper-90s with humidity in the upper-70s. It was incredibly hot and the air was unstable. Each night, there was a huge thunderstorm – each bringing a deluge of rain and a symphony of thunder and an accompanying light show. Some nights were less stressful than others.

For many of the storms, the mudroom roof/ceiling began leaking. The storm left the mudroom floor flooded, the window ledge full of water, and canning jars in the closet with water in them (one storm left a good 1” of rain in some of the jars).

Normally, I wouldn’t considered this “happiness” or a pleasant memory I want to recall. However, there would be no way in the world that updating and replacing items in the mudroom would be financially possible at this point. Had it not been for the roof leaking, the mudroom would continue to be well-worn and outdated.

The storms are represented in some of the machine quilting. There are jagged lines/sharp angles which represent lightening.

Harvesting from the garden and canning peaches – the garden has produced a lot this season. This is the first time we’ve gardened since 2003 when I ran an art and farm camp here at the farm. We have enjoyed organic cucumbers, tomatoes (4 different types), beans, carrots, herbs, rhubarb, and raspberries. The green peppers are almost ready and the potatoes should be ready next month. The pears and apples on the trees should be ripe soon.

I canned 14 jars of peaches this month (one is already gone because the girls love peaches!). Sophia helped put the peaches in the jar, and Olivia helped me label them. They were both so excited to be able to help in their own ways with the canning process. The green in the quilt (the leaves of the flower) represent the “green” produce we are harvesting from the garden.

Death of my cousin’s wife: This isn’t a “happy” memory of the month, but it is one that happened. Anne died on August 17th, and had brain cancer. She was 65 years old. The happy memories are ones that I recall from many years ago…before she was affected by cancer.

Her memorial service was held at a beautiful chapel that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its interior is covered in mosaics – the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. There are over 10 MILLION mosaic tiles that make up the pictures. Here’s the link for the chapel which shows picture of some of the mosaics.

Anne epitomized Southern graciousness and hospitality. She was absolutely beautiful – inside and out. Leo Buscaglia said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” To me, this captures Anne’s spirit and who she was as a person.

From the day Anne died and for four days, there seemed to be more hummingbirds than usual. Because I’ve never seen hummingbirds for such a long period of time – nor in a trio – I wanted to see what they symbolize. I learned that:

the fluttering of hummingbird wings move in the pattern of an infinity symbol – a symbol of eternity and continuity.

By observing the hummingbird, we see they are seemingly tireless. Always actively seeking the sweetest nectar, they remind us to forever seek out the good in life and the beauty in each day.

Amazing migrators, some hummingbirds are known to wing their way as far as 2,000 miles to reach their destination. This quality reminds us to be persistent in the pursuit of our dreams, and adopt the tenacity of the hummingbird in our lives. The hummingbird is a messenger of hope.

Anne’s gifts and impact on individuals and the law community will continue on thanks to her tireless determination. She truly was an encourager and supporter – especially to those in need of guidance and hope. Hummingbirds – and what they represent – capture Anne’s gifts and her contribution to making life better for others. She made such a positive difference in the world.

So, the hummingbirds in my August journal quilt also represent this wonderful woman who I was so happy to have known, and who epitomized the true meaning of kindness, generosity, and graciousness. Her name was Anne Wilson Grande – an article was written about her and the impact she had on the community. It was in the Star Tribune; and this is link HERE.

Hand Embroidered Hummingbird

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