Who am I now.

I accidentally added a period at the end on the title of this post.  I meant to use a question mark.  It’s seems so finite and I don’t feel that way.  I’m referring to my quilting journey, but it could also refer to my life in general.  Let’s discuss quilting.

Last year I took (one) in-person workshop with Sherri Lynn Wood then multiple virtual workshops.  They were almost all improvisational quilting classes.  I’m now working on the 100 Day project and all these classes have impacted how I now work.  I can’t decide which approach to take.  Sherri Lynn’s approach emphasizes a “go with the flow” and the process appeals to me. I recently finished the quilting the top I made that weekend, called Doodles and Curves:

Doodles and Curves

Since I took a workshop with Irene Roderick, I felt more inclined to plan out the final design.  In her workshop we made units of pieced sections then assembled them in a composition.  The goal was to sew the units together after figuring out how we wanted the final piece to look.  The putting together to get that final look was frustrating. I also experimented with free motion quilting. I became annoyed with the tension on the stitching and had to take out large sections of quilting. In some places I used thread which was darker than the fabric color and I’m not sure I will take that path again. It’s distracting to me and highlights the mistakes. It does surprise me how exuberant the quilt is since I made during the height of the pandemic and felt very depressed. Here is the final quilt, titled A Thousand Yellow Rabbits Dancing with Balloons.

A Thousand Yellow Rabbits Dancing with Balloons

I also took a virtual class with Maria Shell.  Her approach is more controlled with precise components and much more symmetry in the final composition.  Her approach also pushed for more repetition in the components.  Her approach is more like following a recipe. Here, a quilt I made after taking her class, titled Pit Stop:

Pit Stop

A friend recently called my approach to quilt design as “meandering”.  That is a good description.  For the 100 Day Project, that’s what I’m doing.  I started making units like Irene, then I kept adding them as I felt like it, more akin to Sherri Lynn.  I’ve made a few “short row” units from Maria’s class.  It’s Wanda’s Meandering Approach. This is the top, almost finished:

I also took a class with Sheila Frampton-Cooper where I learned a new improvisational technique. She calls it applique plus piecing. She was very helpful with color choices and I’m very excited about where I can take my new skills. Here’s the top I created. It is titled Back of the Dragon. The idea came after I made a small sketch which looked like a mountain. Where I grew up, there is a mountain road called Back of the Dragon. It winds in and out with sharp curves. That is why this work looks very topographical.

I have lots of quilting to do to finish these new works. I hope to find my voice after learning from so many talented artists/makers/teachers this past year.

It’s a long story, but #What the Fuck! Wanda

On August 3, 2019, a 21-year-old man killed 22 people and injured 24 others at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas. He used a semi-automatic weapon. He had spewed hate in posts online against the targets of his rampage. His disgusting language mirrored that of our president who regularly uses racist attacks as his preferred method of speaking to us.

Two days later a reporter asked Beto O’Rourke if the president could do anything. O’Rourke said, “He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. Members of the press, what the fuck?” He concluded, “He’s inciting racism and violence in this country.”

On August 6, the Central Virginia Modern Quilt Guild hosted a Block Printing Workshop. I was feeling angry, just like Beto O’Rourke; therefore, I made three separate blocks for “What,” “The,” and “Fuck,” plus an exclamation point. It was tedious and therapeutic.

By the end of the workshop, I had made one print of What the Fuck! (See below). I stored it away, hoping to print some more fuck on another day. Another guild member made the blood splatter block that I used on the bottom.

On September 5, our guild hosted its annual retreat. The blocking-making supplies would be available if we wanted to use them. I took my project bag with my fuck fabric and the print blocks for making more. Also at the retreat we were making Noodlehead’s Cargo Duffle Pattern. I cut out the fabric at home. I was using indigo-dyed fabrics from several previous events, one at the Slow Stitching Retreat in Maine, one with my daughter, and one here with guild members in the barn at my home.

On Friday evening at the retreat I began making the bag and discovered I was missing the exterior bottom accent of the duffle bag. I endeavored to finish as much as possible, then finish at home, where I hoped that missing piece was. On Saturday morning, I was starting to assemble the pieces I had when I thought about What the Fuck! fabric. Idea: I could use that on the duffle bag. My fellow attendees insisted I add a hashtag to the fabric and sign my name. Anyway, #What the fuck, Wanda, is another long story that evolved at the retreat and involved my husband and I texting each other.

My husband, Dave, is a high school football coach. About a month ago, the team had a scrimmage at another school. When the scrimmage was over, they returned to the school field house. At 2:53 p.m., David sent me at text, saying “We just pulled into the field house I’ll be about 30 to 40 minutes and then I’ll be on my way home see you soon love you.” I responded, “Love ya 🥕🥗” At 4:56 p.m., I sent a text with a big starburst I created with Digital Touch plus these words, “Two hours later what the fuck”.

Dave tells me later that he was driving and just saw the word, Fuck, and the starburst. He asked Coach K, who is in the passenger seat, to control the wheel while he checks out this text. He reads it and says, “she wants me”. We have a good laugh because we really need to up our sexting game. By the way, he had to take a player home and he lives at the other end of the county, adding more than an hour to his trip home. Coach K lives in the same city as us and they carpool.

Now back to the retreat. I tell this story to my fellow guild members. The comradery of the attendees is what makes a retreat more enjoyable. Sewing and making together brings people closer, and we sorely need that right now.

Now that my bag is done, I reflect about the humor of life and the tragedies of it as well. We use humor to get through it. We need our friends to accept us as we try to make sense of it. Some days you have to say “What the Fuck! Wanda”, and you will feel a little bit better.

Day 66/100: I need you

WE spend so much of our lives online these days, and that continuous flow of information and photos can make us sad. I telecommute most days, and the lack of physical social interaction takes a toll.

Day 66 I need you CVA MQG

Day 66: I need you

Luckily a few years ago I met you– members of the Central Virginia Modern Quilt Guild.  I did not know any of these folks before 2015. Now I think of them as my best friends.  I look forward to seeing them and talking to them. I want to know how their families are doing, where they’re going on vacation, and just how they are.

We meet the first Tuesday of the month at Studio Two Three. The place is conducive to sharing.  It’s also just cool.  Creativity oozes from the industrial building.

Our current president, Melanie, started a membership spotlight this year.  What a treat it has been. Each month we get to learn about two members’ quilting and life journeys. We get to celebrate that member and applaud her accomplishments.  The women in the photo at right were the featured members this month, Truda and Megan.

I want to say publicly and online that I need you, and I thank you for embracing me and for showing me you care every time I see you.

Thank you,

Wanda