Thursday, June 15, 2017

I Like #22

Welcome to another week of I Like!

1.  First up this week, I like the British Library's archive of/blog about it's digitized medeival manuscripts.  Some of you may know I'm working on a series of quilts inspired by illuminated manuscripts (e.g. here and here and here and here and here)  and I was super excited a while back to stumble onto the British Library's blog on the subject.  In the first place, it turned me on to a new resource of online manuscripts to look at, but it's also so interesting to learn a little about the manuscripts and about how they're preserved and digitized.  One of the posts this week about a manuscript containing a cut-out astrolabe was really cool, you should check it out!
2. I love our new-to-us palm tree!  We have a little area in our 7th floor lobby where I have plants (that's where my friend the red geranium lives), and recently we inherited a palm tree from a floor that didn't want it anymore.  I think it looks great and makes a wonderful oxygenating addition!

3. I love Mike and Bentley (and all the dogs)!  This is of course true every week, but Mike recently sent me this picture of Bentley photobombing his selfie by peering over the backseat of the jeep, and I thought it was too cute not to share.  It was after a long car ride, I think they were both ready to be done in the car.

4.  I love sailing!  Last night was our first race of the season.  It actually started about a month ago but for various boat and schedule related reasons last night was the first time we were able to get out and race.  We had to race in the non-spin division because our crew needs a little more practice getting the spinnaker up and down, but we had an absolute blast.  No pics during the race, but I snapped a few heading out (and back in).  It was a great night to be on the water, just windy enough, warm but not too hot.  Hopefully it'll be a great racing season!

Here's hoping everyone is hanging in there and thanks as always to LeeAnna!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

I Like #21

Yet another week has gone by in which I've not posted anything.  I promise I'm still sewing, although progress lately has been very slow and incremental.  In any case, as I find myself still struggling with general malaise, I'm once again thinking up things that I like!

1. I like crocheted dishcloths.  I've pretty much stopped using store bought dishcloths entirely.  I love the scrubbiness and thickness and general feel of crocheted dishcloths.  I've made a bunch in different patterns, basically all just different crochet blocks, but most of the ones I had were getting holey and long in the tooth.  They hold up really well, but after several years, it was time for a refresh.  So last week I whipped up two new ones using what has turned out to be my favorite pattern for dishcloths.  Very scrubby.  And bonus, I got to use up a bunch of scrap ends from previous projects.  If you've never used crocheted or knitted dishcloths I urge you to consider it (just make sure to use 100% cotton yarn, not acrylic or something).

2. I love my plant window.  A few weeks ago when my dad was here, we repaired and refinished it, the wood was in terrible shape from years of water damage.  As part of that I had to cut all the plants way back and clean the whole thing up, and now whenever I see it it makes me smile.  Nothing's blooming just now, but all is growing nicely.

3. I like our bunny!  He comes every morning, and at first I thought he did it just to taunt the dogs, but now even they ignore him.  I don't know what he eats, maybe he likes the grass that grows thickly under the bird feeder (I think it's because the birdseed gets chronically spilled there).

3. I like potlucks!  We routinely have departmental or church potlucks, but today we're having one just for the 7th floor.  The floor I work on is sort of a catchall, with people from lots of different departments, so we don't all interact very much.  To help combat that we decided to have a 7th floor potluck, so people could get to know each other.  Always so much good food and fun.  I'm super excited to see the food tables fill up!

4. I like our janitorial staff!  They work nights so we don't usually see them unless we have to come in for weird time points, but I came in this morning and saw they had left us an extra trash receptacle!  I'm sure they saw the signs for the potluck and knew we'd need something more than the small trashcans routinely there.  I was grateful for their consideration!  We'll leave them a plate of cookies and brownies so they can participate (if only virtually) in the potluck.

5. I like Pentecost.  It's the final Sunday the choir sings before the summer break, but the fun part is that we do the second half of the service outside in our church's courtyard.  It's a really fun blend of traditional and choral for the first half and then more like Eucharist at summer camp for the second half.  We had great weather (not guaranteed) and it was a lovely note to end the choir season.

I hope you guys are finding things to like this week!  Thanks to LeeAnna for keeping us going.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

I Like #20

Lots to like this week as I got to travel with my mom to Ohio for the opening of Quilt National 2017, in which she had a quilt this year!  Super congrats Mom!!!!

1.  I love my mom and traveling with her!  We travel very well together, and always have a fun time.  Here she is in front of the historic Dairy Barn where Quilt National opens every two years.  It was a really outstanding show this year, and if I get organized enough I'll write a separate post about the show.  She's standing with her quilt, part of her really cool flying geese series.

2.  I like finding local beers.  I'm a beer drinker and love trying new local beers when traveling.  While Mom was at an artists only event for QN, I wandered into Athens and found a local brewery called Jackie O's.  Their IPA was great, but their Bourbon Barrel Black Maple was even better, easily one of the best beers I've ever tasted.  These two dogs were sitting on the patio, very easy going and friendly, until their people went inside to get another drink, at which point they became very sad and cried.  No worries, their people came right back.  :)

3. I like hiking.  Mom and I got to go to two cool places on our trip in addition to the quilt show, one was the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park, and the second was Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  The Hopewell Park was really interesting, we learned all about a Native American culture that lived in the midwest about 2,000 years ago and created these huge earthworks.  Pretty different from anything I'd ever learned about before.  And Cuyahoga Valley was fun.  We learned all about historic canals in Ohio and got to do some hiking.

4.  I like cool rocks and patterns.  I think this is something I have in common with lots of quilters and artists, but I love seeing cool patterns in nature.  These were rocks we found on one of our hikes.  Hopefully my dad can tell me why there are all these little holes.  The rest of the rock, in non-holey places, looked like some sort of amalgam embedded with little pebbles, so I hypothesized that these holes might be places where the pebbles fell out and the holes just got bigger, but I have no idea whether that's correct.

5.  I like wildlife!  We didn't see much big wildlife at Cuyahoga Valley, which is very urban as National Parks go, but we did see lots of small wildlife, and wildlife families, including baby geese, baby ducks, baby grackles, and this turtle family (among others), all in the beaver marsh.

Hope everyone had a good week, and thanks to LeeAnna for linking us up!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

I Like #19

Hi again everybody!  Time for another round up of things I'm liking.  Hooray!

1.  I like embroidery.  This is one of my current favorite embroidery blogs.  I don't speak French, but it's amazing work and lots of fabulous dimensional eye candy.

2. I like wildflowers!  Most of the campus where I work has lovely if somewhat ordinary landscaping but last week, as part of my committee work, I was doing facility inspections in a different part of campus than I usually visit. I came across this delightful field of wildflowers.  You can't really tell in the picture, but there were lots (probably twenty or so) different varieties, and all blooming in different colors.  What a lovely surprise!

3.  I like fruit!  This one is obvious, but I was just so excited to see all the blackberries on my blackberry bush!  They're not ripe yet, but hopefully soon!

4.  I like birds!  They still all fly away really fast if I try to take a picture of them at the feeder, but I love hearing them.  I keep thinking I should make an audio recording at least.  This poor guy accidentally got trapped in my building overnight last week.  I felt really terrible, by the time I found him the next day he was clearly exhausted from trying to get out a (glass) window, but luckily I was able to catch him in an empty pitcher and take him back outside.  He was flying all over the building and flew right away when I got him outside, so I don't think he was injured and I hope he's ok!

5. I like quilting!  This week I've been quilting away on a portrait of me and my dad I'm working on.  It was going well, lots of changes in thread color, but then my machine started shredding thread unexpectedly so I put it in time out.  I don't think there's anything wrong with it, but sometimes I find I have more patience if I come back a couple days later.

Thanks as always to LeeAnna for hosting, and have a great week!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Art With Fabric Blog Hop: The Squash

Alida over at Tweety Loves Quilting invited me to be part of her Art with Fabric blog hop this year. I'm pleased to share this piece for the blog hop!

Shannon Conley, The Squash, c. 2017, 9 x 9 x 9

I've recently been working on including more dimensional elements in my work and on creating 3D sculptural forms out of quilts (that is, fabric and batting held together by thread).  You can see some of my previous explorations here, here, and here.   However, I'm still in the experimental stage, trying to figure out how to give my pieces structural stability and support.  I've long been inspired by Art Nouveau ceramics and pottery, in particular by the organic forms and by the sense of dimension, and decided to use that as my inspiration for the blog hop piece.

Paul Dachsel was an Austrian potter who started out working for Amphora pottery, a famous pottery studio at the end of the nineteenth century, before starting his own pottery around 1905.  Though lots of Art Nouveau pottery and ceramics features very literal organic features (leaves, other elements from nature, human figures), I'm drawn to things that feature more abstracted organic forms.  In addition, and in keeping with my current attraction to openwork, I love ceramics that feature open areas, cutouts, and extra "tentacly" dimensional elements.  You can check out my pinboard featuring some of Paul Dachsel's work here.

Paul Dachsel 4-Handled Vase

Even though my pieces don't always look like quilts, I like to include some references to traditional quilt making when I can.  In this case, my piece is formed from a single mariner's compass block.  I started out with a quilt sandwich ~22" square (it was actually leftover from this project).  It was partially painted, but my first step was to paint both sides with my typical blend of latex and acrylic paint. I then marked my mariner's compass block and free motion quilted with a bunch of different threads.
Back and front at various stages in the quilting process.

I next cut out the star, sealed the edges with my woodburning tool, and starting fiddling with it.  This part was the most fun- trying out different dimensional arrangements to see what was stable and what wasn't, what I liked and thought looked right and what didn't.

And this is the final arrangement I settled on.  As a final step, the whole thing was stiffened by painting on a layer of fabric stiffener.

This was a fun experiment and I'm looking forward to making more pieces in this series.  I like the way this turned out, it reminds me of a squash or a sea urchin or Cinderella's carriage.  What does it remind you of?

Thanks very much to Alida for inviting me to participate in her blog hop.  Check out her blog for all this year's participants and definitely check out the others for today:

Friday, May 19th, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Like #18

Welcome to another week!  This is definitely one of those weeks where I need the reminder to find good things.  They're all around- but I just need to look.

1. I like my family!  After a scheduling snafu on my part, I made an unexpectedly early trip to Dallas last weekend to see my sister.  We took the kids to six flags, and I had a blast with my niece and nephew.  They're still too little for big roller coasters, but they went on all the little kid rides and small roller coasters.  I loved seeing them have a good time.  Alex especially giggled all the way through the roller coasters.  I can't wait for them to be big enough to ride the larger ones with me.

2. I like my labmates!  Right now I have three great ladies working for me, all of whom I've known for many years.  Shout out to Jamie, Maggie, and Lauren.  My lab is a small one and unfortunately I'll only have all three of them for just a couple of months, but for right now they add a great vitality to our lab.

3. I like my sister's dogs!  She has two young ones, one still a big puppy, and I love seeing them romp around and play with each other.  Her side yard has a set of external stairs that lead up to a small balcony/second floor entrance, and recently the youngest dog figured out he could go up there to get a bigger view of the neighborhood.  He taught the other dog, and now when you go outside you will often hear and see them barking and looking down from above.  I think they like the new perch!  Their names are Checker and Auto (all my sister's dogs have had car names).  Auto likes to jump on your lap and stick his tongue in your ear.

4.  I like finishing things!  I finished two things this week, one was the small 3D piece I talked about last week, and the final post on it will go live tomorrow so check back in to see it!  I also finished my crochet dress, just in time for my memorial day trip (which was my goal, so yay!)  I'm excited to start crocheting something new.  I think I'm going to make a prayer shawl for one of our outreach ministries.  I'm using some of the yarn I have at home that I've never used, and I'm not sure how it will crochet.   I'm trying to decide between a fairly simple pattern (in case it doesn't work up very well) such as the very pretty Erigeneia Shawl, or a slight more interesting pattern like the also very pretty Edlothia Shawl.  The two pictures are not mine, they're from the pattern links above. Mine will be two colors, but the same two colors (I'll be crocheting two yarns together) throughout. Thoughts?

Erigeneia Shawl

Edlothia Shawl

Thanks as always to LeeAnna!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I Like #17

Happy week everybody!  Hope everyone is doing well.  It's been a good week here; not any nuttier than usual which is always a good thing! Things I'm liking this week:

1. Mike and Missy!  Mike and Missy were at my folks for all of April and though they actually came back last week, it's just good to have them home.  Mike started a new part time job (fun for him), and everything just feels better when they're around.  Missy is as grouchy as ever, but just got a haircut so she's pretty cute right now.  Of course now that she's back, she and Bentley commandeer the pouf and overstuffed armchair in the studio, and once again Bullett is left without any nice soft spot.  I need to make a second pouf I think!

2.  Local wildlife!  I might have mentioned this last week, but our frog (toad) is back!  I thought I might have chased him away with my lawn mowing the other day, but then in the evening he was back camping on the sidewalk between the studio and the house.  I think he likes the warm concrete.  We also have lots of bunnies just now especially in the mornings;  this one was in hanging out in the backyard.

3. Mint chocolate chip scones!  I don't make scones very often, but recently the lady who has the lab next to mine has brought in mint chocolate chip scones to share twice and they are very tasty!

4.  Exploring new ideas!  Right now I'm experimenting with some 3D structures starting from mariners compasses or star blocks.  Always fun to try something different!  Check back in later in the week, I hope to have more progress!

Back to work now-we're in a productive moment, but wishing you all a good week, and thanks to LeeAnna for hosting!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Finished Cardigan

I've been regularly attending knit night at our church for the past few months so I've been getting more crochet done than I used to.  A little while back I finished this brown cardigan.  It's made from the brown alpaca yarn my aunt gave me, and is nice and warm.  It was the first thing I ever made that had to fit, and it definitely isn't what you'd call tailored.  This is what the pattern looked like, it's called Jewel of the Shrug and was very nicely written and easy to crochet.

I'm not one for paying much attention to gauge or swatches, so it isn't really anyone's fault but my own that it's too big.  But it's ok, slouchy-comfy is fine.  It's somehow a little crooked even though it was worked from the top down in rows.  It's very strange- if I center it on my shoulders so that the sleeves are the same length, one side is much longer than the other.  I'm not sure where I went awry, but again it's so loose fitting that it's not too obvious.

Sorry for the terrible pics, I asked Mike to snap a couple of pictures of me before I left for work one morning, but our kitchen has terrible light.

Now I'm working on a pineapple top, with some weird but colorful rainbow yarn my mom's friend Georgia gave me.  I'm planning to make it tunic length to wear with leggings.  So far it's going well, as always I've fiddled around with the pattern, but as written it's great.  We'll see how mine turns out.  I really don't think my yarn is meant to be made into clothes; it's pretty hard to see the pineapples, but I'm hopeful that once it's finished you'll be able to see them if I wear it over something black.

This is the pattern picture.

This is the yarn I'm using.  It's sort of ribbony with rainbow colored pieces wrapped around it with black thread.