Monday, August 4, 2014

The Bean Quilt

original rough drawing on overhead plastic
The Bean Quilt was made for a joint challenge with the Chicago Modern Quilt guild and the Naperville Modern Quilt guild for a show at the International Quilt Festival in Rosemont, IL this June.  The theme was "modern in the city".  The first thing I thought of was the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millenium Park.  There are many modern art pieces in downtown Chicago, but "the bean" is probably the most well known and visited.
rough paper template
I created the template using photos I had taken of the sculpture and lots of online pics.  The challenge for me in creating this quilt was the curved piecing on the bean and the quilting to reflect the distorted image of the surrounding landscape.  I had originally planned to use a piece of shiny silver lame' fabric to create the bean, but in looking at all the photos, I realized you never really see that silvery surface - you only see the reflection of the surrounding landscape.

Quilting the Bean
I used as many repurposed/upcycled fabrics as I could - men's dress shirts, upholstery remnants, and some Marimekko scraps from my days at Crate & Barrel.  The remaining fabric was mostly Kona cotton solids with a tiny piece of commercial printed fabric for the green light on the top of one of the buildings.
Background pinned and ready for quilting!
I quilted using sketchy black lines to imitate the original drawing I had made.  I liked the loose artsy feel of the messy line over line stitching. 

adding borders

quilting detail on building
quilting detail on bean
I ended up doing some hand quilting on the blue background at the last minute which isn't shown in these pictures.  This quilt is now going to be on display with other modern quilts in the Healing Arts program at the University of Chicago Hospital for a few months.  I'm super excited to have some of my quilts out there for the world to see!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

School's (almost) Out For Summer!

It's (almost) that time... 8th graders graduate on Thursday and 7th graders are in school until next Tuesday.  One week countdown begins!

Then the summer schedule will begin - hooray!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I'm in Dystopia

For some reason, the more popular Young Adult (YA) Fiction novels right now are of the dystopian genre.  And since I like to keep up with what the kids are reading, I've been reading a lot of dystopian fiction as well.  The 3 I have read this month are:
Across the Universe - Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.  Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.  Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.  (
I hear from my students that there are at least two sequels to this one already.  I was interested enough in this story line to pick up the next two to read over Spring Break in a few weeks or maybe during the summer months.

Unwind is a 2007 science fiction novel by young adult literature author Neal Shusterman. It takes place in the United States, after a civil war somewhere in the near future. After a civil war—known as the Second Civil War or the Heartland War—is fought over abortion, a compromise was reached, allowing parents to sign an order for their children between the ages of 13 and 18 years old to be unwound—taken to "harvest camps" and having their body parts harvested for later use. The reasoning was that, since 100% (actually 99.44% taking into account the appendix and "useless" organs) was required to be used, unwinds did not technically "die", because their individual body parts lived on. (  
Side note - I just read online that this one is in the works to be made into a movie.  Riding on those Hunger Games-ish Dystopian coat tails, I guess.

Divergent - Set in a futuristic dystopia where society is divided into five factions that each represent a different virtue, teenagers have to decide if they want to stay in their faction or switch to another - for the rest of their lives. Tris Prior makes a choice that surprises everyone. Then Tris and her fellow faction-members have to live through a highly competitive initiation process to live out the choice they have made. They must undergo extreme physical and intense psychological tests, that transform them all. But Tris has a secret that she is Divergent, which means she doesn't fit into any one group. If anyone knew, it would mean a certain death. As she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, this secret might help her save the people she loves... or it might destroy her. (
Of course this one has been made into a movie which I have not yet seen.  I hope it will be good - the book had a lot of action scenes and I could see it easily translated into film with very few changes necessary.  
Hooray for YA fiction that is super easy to read and distracts me from my real work... grading papers!   

Monday, March 24, 2014

I met my Quilting Idol!

Gwen Marston! 

My friend Sarah G introduced me to Gwen Marston's quilting style a long while ago when I started to get back into sewing and quilting.  I have been a fan ever since.  The books I have of hers are literally falling apart.  So when my quilt guild announced she would be our guest speaker for the February meeting, I was beyond words. 

She came and spoke about her newest book, 37 Sketches, and her journey through quilting in solid fabrics.  She brought with her some amazing quilts she has made over the years as well as a lot of the quilts from the 37 Sketches book. 

I got a little veklempt when I went up to speak to her and after much planning of eloquent things to say in my head, all I could utter was "thank you for being so inspirational".  But even though it wasn't all that I had intended to say, it was to the point.  She has been so inspirational to me and so many other quilters, especially modern quilters.  I feel so lucky to have been able to meet her!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Scrappers Delight Charity Quilt, Part 2

Oops!  I never posted how the Teen Living charity quilt turned out, so here it is.  This was a charity project through the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild.  I am so proud of the work that my group did.  I think the quilt turned out wonderfully!  Yay!  Shout outs to my group members Amy S., Nicole W., and Cathy S.  Great Job, Ladies!

Squares cut and ready to rearrange on my design wall

Rearranged on design wall

Finished Quilt!

Friday, March 21, 2014

CMQG Modern in the City Challenge

I just entered a quilt in the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild/Naperville MQG Special Exhibit to be shown at the International Quilt Festival here in Rosemont, IL.  We won't know if we were accepted for a bit, but let me show you what I was working on this past weekend....

And here was my inspiration:  The Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park, aka, the Bean.  The quilt challenge was "Modern in the City" so I picked a piece of modern art that I liked...  and I was very happy with how the finished quilt turned out.  It challenged me to do both paper piecing and curved piecing, both of which are techniques I usually avoid because I get frustrated very easily.  (Know thyself!)  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Happy Worldwide Quilting Day!

Just a few pics of one of my recent projects in honor of Worldwide Quilting Day today!