Category Archives: Quilts 2013

Head Down

My head hasn’t looked up for the past few weeks. I have been focused on completing machine quilting on lots of old projects and re-purposing some of my workshop withdrawal pieces into Christmas gifts. I haven’t made gifts in a few years after I made myself crazy staying up all night on Christmas Eve to finish them….and here I am again but really enjoying this insanity. I also have vowed not to carry over some of my old to-do list into 2014. So here’s how I am doing:

1. My first item on my procrastination list  was to re-label some of my pieces. I noticed how tacky some of my older labels looked when I went to the gallery to drop off my work a few weeks ago.  I used some very expensive Printed Treasures paper to print out these labels. These were incredibly stiff to sew through and I would have given up on this whole re-labeling process but the idea of wasting printer ink was just not something I was willing to do. I finished all of them and all my quilts have labels now!

2. Then, I got to work re-purposing. I ended up with 3 baby quilts for the neonatal unit at our local hospital and 1 baby quilt and baby doll for our guild’s Christmas charity event. I was in such a rush that I only took the silly doll quilt picture.



3. I unsewed and started again a gift for friend who is ill. It is finished except for the binding.  Woohoo but I can’t show you yet until I gift it.



4.  And last, but , not least, Christmas gifts. One binding needed on my brother’s quilt (he requested very simple)  and the other quilt not yet started.


All the time I am machine quilting, I am staring longingly at my design walls which are covered with ideas. But, I know if I buckle down and finish procrastination items on my agenda and make a few gifts out of my post workshop slump, I will feel great.

Focus needed.

Art Delivered

        It has been a summer of travels. We returned last week from Vermont.

       Within 12 hours of being home, I jumped right into the AQS show which was being held in Grand Rapids. I took two classes there and then volunteered with the takedown process which really was eyeopening. The volunteers put the quilts in their shipping boxes. It was very evident that long cardboard boxes get squished in the mailing process. The tubes remained intact and ready to ship the quilts back to their owners.

      Lesson learned: If you aren’t able to use a square box, use a heavy duty mailing tube. Do not take multiple boxes taped together to make a long tube.

      Yesterday, I delivered my Rooflines #10 for Artprize 2013. I purchased a large tube from U-Line. It didn’t quite fit in my car until I put the top down. I pushed it in between the seats and delivered it without a problem to my venue, Artprize Cathedral Square. Artprize begins on Wednesday September 18th this year.  Exciting times ahead.

This weekend we travel to Iowa to drop my daughter off for college. I am trying not think of how much I will miss her! 

Rooflines #10

     Before I left home, I finished Rooflines # 10.  This piece was inspired by the houses in the distance tucked into the Green Mountains that you can see at dusk.

©Colleen Kole , 2013, “Rooflines # 10, 70 x 82 

I did use free motion quilting on this piece changing colors with the each little section.
And dense quilting.

Detail shot of © Rooflines #10
In process and ready for binding

I am pleased with this piece and love the way the lines are enhanced with the quilting. I am so happy it’s done. And even more happy:

This piece has been accepted into Artprize 2013 at the Cathedral Square venue. More on that to come.

Muskegon Museum of Art Regional Show

     I was tickled pink to have two pieces accepted into the 85th Regional Exhibition: All State Edition at the Muskegon Museum of Art.  The opening was this past Thursday night at the museum and was very well attended.

     I had been so busy that I had no time to think or get excited about this event. But after catching a glimpse of someone stopping to look at one of the pieces, I am thrilled and honored.  There were three textile pieces amongst the 180 pieces and two were mine!

Rooflines # 8 on exhibit

     Rooflines #2 and Rooflines #8 have found their place out in the museum exhibit from May 23rd- August 22nd. I am sorry I didn’t take more pictures but just wanted to enjoy the event.

      I went home and was quickly humbled by two hours of ripping out bad machine quilting on one of my next pieces.

10 Things I Learned About Machine Quilting

         It feels so good to be finished with this piece. I really struggled with it but only because I had never used free motion quilting to finish a piece this large. So, as I was documenting and taking pictures, I wrote a long list of what I learned:

1. Always test your thread tension before you start stitching on your finished top. It took me awhile to remember this but after picking out endless yucky stitches, I did it consistently.

2. Keep your machine clean of lint lint and well oiled.

3. Use a new needle often!

4. Do not start stitching unless the needle is down and your hands are on the quilt. Those gloves are helpful too.

5. If the machine sounds funny, chances are the back of your quilt looks awful. Ignorance is not bliss in free motion quilting. So stop and figure out the noise.

6. Make sure you are set up correctly and use as much support for the quilt on all sides so you aren’t losing it off the table. Lessen anything you are fighting with and change it so you are comfortable.

7. Be fearless. I started out with all kinds of books and patterns to look at. Heck, the ones I like the most are the ones I just felt free enough to improvise with and make my own.

8. Doodling before I started on my day’s stitching really helped and my stitching was much freer.

9. The stitch should be intentional to the piece. The stitch on this piece is more of a sampler smorgasbord.  I knew that when I started out. But for the next piece, I want the stitch to compliment the work.

10. After the first few pieces, I never looked at the back and let all the mistakes stay there-large stitches, bad tension and little knots when I didn’t keep going. I’ll check more often next. Or maybe not. It will get better!

FINISHED is a very good place to be.

©Colleen Kole, 2013, “Set Free”, 68×71

©Colleen Kole, 2013, close up of “Set Free”

Thanks for your kind comments and encouragement. Review of Lisa Call’s class tomorrow.

The Never Ending One

     I thought I would be showing you a finished piece at the end of this week.  It always takes longer than I think it will. When I went to put the binding on tonight, I realized that I had a huge spot of machine oil on my piece.

     I took a really deep breath . I didn’t hyperventilate but went back and read the directions on the wool batting I used. ( For the first time)  No hot water and no agitation.

     Ok then. Mmm…. I shoved it in the washing machine with cold water setting and some synthrapol. I was worried that the fuschia would run like crazy.  It didn’t.

Colleen Kole, 2013,  “Set Free” blocking 

     Blocked, fans on and waiting for it’s binding.

     These are the days that I think I may be a bit crazy for estimating could finish 20 total by December .
 But, I always love challenge.

Introducing Curves

     No time for pictures yesterday. The day floated by me.  I started this piece at the Nancy Crow’s  Lines, Curves, Circles and Figure Ground workshop last  December.  It has been taking up my big design wall for way too long and is one of my few workshop pieces that I want to finish.

     I really enjoyed this class and loved learning how to piece curves.  I can’t believe I was so fearful of sewing a curve. I felt like I had been set free. I didn’t want to make it too complicated as I wanted big, bold and chunky. The assignment involved using bold, bright colors, too.

©Colleen Kole, 2013, Set Free  -work in process, 74 x 75

I haven’t quilted it yet, of course. But am looking forward to free motion quilting it. I folded it up for later to finish as I need to get going on my original goals of 20 Roofline pieces.

 This was my favorite class from the Barn workshops.  What great memories I have of spending time with a wonderful teacher, friends and creating together. What more could you ask for!

3 Days

      I gave myself an ultimatum: In three days, get this off the design wall so you can move on to a large piece for the Rooflines series. I had sixteen pieces to finish but only made it to eleven before I left.

in process….

I underestimated the amount of design work I had left to do.

Love taking black and white photos to see where I am missing contrast.

I was sidelined by a twelve hour college trip with my senior daughter -one way the is to the far reaches of Iowa. This was my scenery for the majority of the trip.

Very white and wintery and flat. Farmland. Hours and hours of driving through farmland. Hours.

She was in cow heaven and I am traumatized as I think I have lost one to a college which is very far away. I hit me this weekend that she is really a senior and will move on to the next phase of her life. I just want to sit and cry for awhile but that really isn’t at all helpful, is it?

I came home and finished my piece. I will photograph it in daylight tomorrow and be able to move on to the next one. Woohoo!

A Small Week

      From a little research ….

Comes a little piece….

© Colleen Kole, 2013, Rooflines #9: Urban, 10×12

I really like the red motif on the right- the slope of the intersecting line seems like it would be fun to slide down. That is a really random Friday thought. A very small piece in anticipation of a bigger idea.

Evolution of a Piece

    It was a slow moving process with this piece. It began as a small little idea and  a small portion of this design was pinned on my wall for many months.  I kept taking it down and putting it back up again and it was assuming this grandiose design idea in my head. It was taking up too much space on my wall and in my head. SO, I gave myself two weeks in January to get it done as I was very sick of this great visionary piece. Haha.

     This was not your typical strip piecing. I cut each piece separately after I sewed each seam which became very time-consuming. But I really wanted to work on my line work.

Rooflines # 8 under construction

Slow progress…
Machine quilting finally

©Colleen Kole 2013, Rooflines # 8, 45x 35

What a good word: finished. This piece didn’t turn out like I envisioned ( maybe over thought it too much )  but there is always the next piece. And no longer than two weeks per piece seems like a really good idea!