Category Archives: working in a series

Jumping All the Way In

      I can’t believe I haven’t posted in such a long time. A nasty cold which turned into a sinus infection wiped me out.  And  a reaction to an antibiotic.  And the rest of the time , I have disappeared into my studio.  In my studio, hours fly by and I look up and can’t believe it’s time to go pick up the kids at 3. I am working very hard and really feel driven to get everything I can from my workshop.  My days have flown by and I truly have jumped all the way into this online workshop given by Lisa Call.

     Reading, journaling, thinking again before I touch the fabric. Learning how to give myself parameters for a piece and then critique it so the next one can be different and improved. And figuring out how I work and where I waste time and procrastinate. I am almost done with the Space and Repetition assignment due February 5th and I want to re-work the one ( Color and Value) from last week.

     I just selfishly want to keep them to myself for now.  I feel self-conscious showing them to you. I haven’t figured out why yet. I guess when I am ready you will see them. Right now, I feel as if I am working very hard and have yet to be overly impressed with my outcome.   Don’t get me wrong- I am very,very excited about this whole class process and what I am learning. There is always so much to learn. But this is truly a great experience and I  have jumped all the way in.


Seeing A Little Light From Down Under

     I am deep in week two of my online class given by Lisa Call. The past two weeks I have buried myself in reading information, thinking time, consistent journaling and actual work.

     Last week we began by setting a theme or inspiration for our series and set parameters for ourselves: how large it would be, what finished would be for a particular piece and then needed to complete a sketch for our series that we would work from. All that information needed to be completed and logged into a private blog before the next  90 minute lecture on Sunday night. So here I share:

1. My Theme/Inspiration/Intention:  Finding beauty in the architectural rooflines and windows of our local   botanical garden,  the Frederik Meijer Gardens.

Frederik Meijer Botanical Gardens

2. I wanted to use  a motif incorporating and abstracting lines so this will be my motif. I set the parameters of working in a 3×3 foot size. ( I have never set  a specific size for myself and stuck with it: challenge #1) I did specify that I would not drive myself crazy and try to actually complete the machine quilting during this workshop.

Series Motif

3. My final sketch for the series in week one:

Colleen Kole, 2012,  Initial Sketch for Series Workshop

     I haven’t worked with lines before so thought this would be another challenge for me. I loved the making of the lines and hope for them to evolve into a little bit softer lines.

    But as I have found this week, week two, you really have to be focused on your original intention for the series and shut the thousands of doors that you find when you start something new.  That is the reason you come back to intention -which I fought , kicked and screamed about last week.  I didn’t want to do it.
    Intention saved me this week.  (More on week two later. )
     Whew- I am pushing and pushing and loving putting all the pieces and parts together of what I had previously learned. Great stuff if you are thinking of taking Lisa’s workshop.



     First of all, thanks for your comments. I do worry and love hearing about everything-from progress, failures, illnesses, pets, vacations and what’s new in your studios. So, know that if you are gone for a time period, I am probably the friend who will send you an e-mail to check up on you!

    Well, back to what I am doing in my place. On Friday, I finished my next “L” motif quilt. All these blocks really were pretty boring to do but I did it . I went to my stash of Kona cotton solids-not much left but I want to use it up. So, I needed to use only what I had. No buying anything new in January.

     And then, I wanted to use a little less bold of color than I had been using. I didn’t want to make it look like a pink and blue baby quilt either. So a small challenge to myself.  The further I got into it, the more I enjoyed how a block was looking on the design wall. And then it miraculously all fit together.( I hate the math and just kind of estimated how big to cut it. I did cut freehand for the pieces but squared up the blocks.) And there she is….

Listen #3

     Big. Lots of quilting to be done. But the absolute best-over the top exciting thing is -it’s sold.  Will be SOLD – to my friend -an architect to hang in his office. Friends we went out with last night who just wanted to see what I was up to. He walked in and asked who I was making it for. Never expected that. More on the story tomorrow…I must start layering and basting.

     My friend asked me many questions I didn’t have good answers to. Artistic answers. I need to think about them, too. And do the work.

     Be creative, my friends! You never know where it might lead to.

#2 in the L Series

     That is a really lame title. But my tired little brain can’t think of anything else. I was having sewing machine issues so went to newly bought -used machine-but that was having problems too! But my very dear local dealer replaced it with another used machine and this one is sewing just perfectly for me-at this minute. So I just can’t think of a catchy name for this series right now.

     I am continuing blocks with a “L” theme and this time I went much larger.

     The actual sewing together of this one was very challenging for me. Oh alright, that was a polite way of saying it was driving me crazy at one point yesterday. A construction nightmare. I haven’t done inset seams before. Just sewn by hand but not machine. Until this week. And I heard a very distinctive voice, say to a workshop participant this spring-“At this point you should be able to figure it out. I am not going to tell you how to sew it together. You have to find your own way.” Over and over, I repeated those words.:)

So.that is what I did.

Figured it out.  One seam and one piece at a time. I ripped it some seams out SEVERAL times until the top was done.

     And it’s not necessarily any wonder- design wise. But I just feel accomplished because I didn’t give up. Hand dyed fabrics look pretty outside, don’t they? It measures about 32 x 60 unquilted. How does it fit as part of this series? Well…I did follow the “L” motif but I should have played with my original easy design before I jumped into this one. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s an improvisational series.

     Next, I am moving back to machine quilting these last two pieces. I need to add finished pieces to my tally for 2010.

     Happy Sewing, my friends!

The Beginning Work

     It is very quiet here. Drinking my coffee and enjoying the peace, the ticking of the clock and the hum of the refrigerator. Not quite wanting my day to start without them -but it already has -at 6am.  Missing them but relieved for the peace. Always kind of a push pull kind of thing isn’t it? Not quite wanting to start the list of things that is already there and wondering how it will all fit in. And then wondering where the art piece will fit in today.

 And wondering what to share of what I am doing. I did finish the memory quilt. A big yeah! I also pieced the first in my series/study.

It measures about 36 by 36 and I am not going to quilt it yet. I might add another to it but the next in the series…My parameters for the study: play with one block or motif and manipulate it as many times as I can stand it. Don’t need to necessarily like the outcome but just work the motif. Each piece will be individually cut freehand with the rotary cutter-just like this one. Looks like floor tile to me … oops I said no criticizing it , didn’t I? I will show you these along my way.

Also, I am on Work of the Week #2. Parameters on this project:

     1. 4 per month measuring 8×12.
     2. I will start with surface design techniques.
     3. Again, I don’t need to like it, just experiment.
     4. Start with a plain white “canvas”.
     5. No starting it over-finish what you start with.
     6. I may or may not show you them.

That’s it. I will document on the back what I liked and what worked.

This is actually the back which I liked more than the front-the way the paint seeped through the quilting lines.
The front was painted AFTER I did the quilting lines with some Jaquard paints I had in my drawer.

Odd I know . I am not a painter and don’t like the colors or my paintstrokes…oops again…what I do like…what I do like….

I LOVED stitching first and applying color second. Positive is better and makes me feel like I learned something. I guess I need to work on critiquing rather than criticizing my work. That might be the most painful part of this process. Ongoing and forever I guess. Critique rather than criticize.

Off to weed, shop, drive and go to a cross country meet. After I put my hands on some fabric for awhile!

Happy Sewing, my friends!

Frogs, Fridays and Finishes

     I was just pouring myself a cup of coffee this morning and look who was peeking in my kitchen window-this little frog was perched on the top of my window! He couldn’t have been anymore than 3 inches big .

 What an awful picture. I had to send my basic lens for the SLR away for repair. Boo hoo- it would have been a great close up.

Well I do kind of feel like him-clinging and maybe not headed in the right direction this week. I was being kind of hard on myself and kept thinking I didn’t really do enough art wise this week. So I sat and made a list.
What did I do art related this week?

1. 90 percent done on memory quilt. Just need to wrap up the binding.

2. Went to Nellie’s reception. Began my own crinkle quilt which isn’t quite dry yet with all the humidity we have had.

3. Ironed all my surface design work from summer and found a home for it. Figured out I need deep navy, gold and deep purple fabric dyed yet this warm weather season.

4. Went our West Michigan Fiber Arts meeting and saw a great demonstration by our own Linda Walburn on deconstructed screen printing. I loved this.

 She made it look very easy…


 (Note to self:you may not try this until you have current projects on this list completed.)

5. Pieced 75 percent of my  first top for my series.(Need a name) Ended up moving it around and liking it better.Too many ideas for the second one! Super excited.

6. Waiting for my 8×10 work of the week #2 to be dry so I can do some hand stitching and finish the edge.

And then if I add in the last minute back to school stuff and kids home yet, maybe it was a productive week after all! School starts Tuesday and as much as I have had a great summer with each of them I am ready for a schedule.

So if you feel you haven’t been as productive as you “should ” be, maybe make a list. Some of this is just “studying” for the end result of finding my way. Make a list and look back on what you DID do.

Happy summer and sewing, my friends!