Tag Archives: barn

The Barn

Having this quilt on my wall for a while meant a couple of poor color transitions had time to prick at me. When I decided to give the piece to my brother for Christmas, I decided to tackle those spots before shipping it off. It’s not always advisable to attempt “improvements” of this kind.

First, I added some yellow in the foreground to pull the eye foreword and interrupt the blockiness of the patchwork.Stitched a few dark patterned strips on either side to lend depth and to interrupt what had been a distracting light area to the barn’s left.

And finally, I applied more hand quilting here and there and added some red bits to adjust the perspective lines on the cupola and far right eave (not terribly successfully).

The tweaks are okay. Maybe not what I hoped for. With additions like this, you always risk of either disrupting the spontaneity of the original design or of creating new problems while fixing existing ones.

This piece ran the additional risk of spoiling the (possibly impressive) fact that it’s almost entirely pieced.

Anyway. The upshot is that my remediation, successful or not, has whet my appetite for learning. How come I never learned perspective? Really? And, maybe it’s time to learn how to manage transitions more skillfully by attending to color values.

trued, aligned, pressed

barn-in-reverse

Technical jargon offers specificity.  Like any vocabulary, it often resonates with multiple meanings, meanings that don’t have much to do with the task at hand.  Every time I ‘true’ a quilt top, for instance, the other senses of that word ‘true’ are present.
barn-waiting-to-be-trued western-windows

Aligning a design’s intended sight lines brings deep satisfaction – perhaps satisfaction that is very tied to the processes of  ‘aligning’ and ‘righting’.  Maybe the more we recognize how much of life is beyond our control, the more satisfaction these miniscule attempts at order are (enough said! enough said!).

barn-pins

barn-rotary

The final six or seven seams of a mid-sized or large pieced quilt top require more precision than comes naturally to me.  Since I know what the pay off is here (for pinning, for cutting straight lines, for re-working the crooked), I settle into a slightly different rhythm and mindset.  In other words, I don’t mind.

‘Re-working the crooked’.  There it is again! Language that describes both the inner and the outer.   If I had to describe one inner crooked line that could use some re-working?  That strange belief that holds one person can change or fix another.

barn-and-board

Barn II.  The final six seams of the quilt top were machine-stitched and the seams pressed, on Monday.  I won’t go into what yesterday entailed.  On to quilting!!!

hunkered down

The snow started in a light flurry.  Big flakes, so it must have been warm.  I ran to the store because although I don’t get into that pre-storm shopping frenzy that empties shelves and renders lots a tangle, it seemed like a good idea.  Everybody must have shopped yesterday, because it was a ghost town.  The snow has come down steadily all day, but only a few inches have accumulated.
baby-chairOur local schools were closed.  My husband’s office was closed.  And the T stopped running two hours ago.  It seems a little over-reactive, but then, you just don’t know with these big storms anymore.  And anyway, I understand the bulk of the storm is due to arrive tonight.
Natives-first-thingHere are my plaster friends before I went to the market.Natives-middayHere they are midday.  I could see them from where I was pressing seams.Natives-pmAnd here they are in the gloaming.
Progress is being made (that is, “I am making progress”) on the second barn quilt.

rooflinesThe rooflines have been tricky.
western-windowsAnd scale matters so much.
The FIRST barn, dubbed, finally, “Blue Hills Barn”, is hanging at the B.J. Spoke Gallery in Huntington, NY, thanks to my cousin, Ginny.

Blue-Hills-Barn

I had to scurry on Monday to get it trued, bound, signed, sleeved, and photographed.  sleeves

yours-truly

blue-hills-barn-mantle

I include the above picture for scale, and also to note that if it doesn’t sell, I won’t mind having it back to hang exactly here.

soup

And finally, what a good day it was for homemade chicken soup (is there EVER a day that is not good for homemade chicken soup?!)

Stay warm all you readers under the same Arctic air!

….ing

sorting

sorting through old supplies and repurposing cabinet space

eating

eating

unpacking

unpacking old things; deciding what to do with them

beding

beading

damp stretching

damp stretching

redoing

repiecing, refining, redoing

refining

accentuating; finishing

I want to thank everyone who chimed in on the last post.  Very provocative and I appreciate every one of those comments!

stamina

barn-scrambled

I am back to piecing a big ole barn.  Some windows are pieced.  Some will be appliqued.  The sky will not remain all one fabric as shown, and the foreground will extend downward, some.  It is cold in the basement now, so I won’t last too long, but it occurs to me that one to one and a half hour increments of effort on this is probably about right.  The first barn, some of you will remember, is now in the quilting pile.

November arrives

My thoughts and prayers are with the folks in NYC and NJ and elsewhere, suffering with clean up, destruction, and deprivation.  I hope temperatures stay mild.  It’s gotten a little cold here (outside of Boston) in the last couple of hours.  Here is one of the Berkshire barns, as of this morning.  It is a completed quilt top.

I’m not sure why it turned out to be such a struggle to assemble, but it was.  It’s about 32″ wide and incorporates some of the more successful indigo cloths from this summer.  The indigo worked particularly well for the mountains.  I’m calling it, “Waiting for Snow”.

I created a ‘side bar’ quilt on the work table, taking little breaks from the Barn.  It has a totally different feel, and therefore constituted a visual contrast.  This was refreshing for some reason.
In this one, the structure is merely hinted at, and the landscape has been granted license to be wild and dominant.  Not a surprising choice, given the rampaging punches that Sandy delivered over the weekend, while I was safely working down in my cellar studio.  This composition features some more of my indigo dips, as well as silk from my upholstery-design-contact, quilting cottons, batiks, and that Lonni Rossi broccoli/tree fabric that I so love.
I am hand quilting this little composition today, as the sky greys and a cold rain starts to fall.  Its working title is: “Long Island Blues” (Jude Hill online class project).  In this case, the usual horizon line has been broken up (submerged?!!) by the wandering watery lines of shibori.

takin’ it slow

Two lists for you today.

First, in defense of an upholstered chair as design board:

  • it’s there
  • it is soft — meaning: “will take a pin readily”
  • it is tattered — meaning:  I don’t have to worry about ruining furniture here, and most importantly
  • at about 12 feet from the couch,  it provides a view of the work while I am relaxing doing something else.

Second list enumerates a few insights that have allowed me to finally enjoy this project:

  • I can take my time
  • I can revise in a whole host of ways — by unpicking seams and replacing poorly-fitting fabrics, by abandoning whole chunks of pieced sections, and by appliqueing onto pieced sections
  • I don’t have to know how it’ll all come together at this point, and
  • I can trust that I’ll figure out HOW to connect it all up when the time comes.

In the meantime, I continue to make three to four side-designs with rejected sections, which also provides relief when the going gets tough.