Tuesday, June 18, 2019

It's Been Way too long......

As usual, I am way behind on blogging and everything else on the planet so I won't apologize but just say "It's good to be back today sharing with you."

As always, the holidays get the best of me and it seems we are running around like crazy people trying to get everything done. We keep trying to simplify as we have a very large family but I guess since we are Golden Oldies now, it just takes much longer than it used to.

Since we talked last, we made a trip to Carlsbad Beach to stay in a Timeshare across from the beach. It was a very bittersweet trip as we said our final goodbyes to our sweet granddaughter, Wendy, who was thirty-two at the time. Wendy, unfortunately, was diagnosed with stage 4 cirrhosis of the liver caused by alcoholism. We spent time with her, her daughter, parents, and our other granddaughter 
while we were there for two weeks. Wendy lived until early January and our hearts are still breaking.

Most of you know how very difficult it is to be creative when your heart hurts and it took me quite a bit of time to find the inspiration to begin working on a quilt again. It is a fairly large quilt for me, 47" wide and 52" long and is titled  Precious Moments With Blondie. I have a photo for you but it is only the back of the quilt while it dries from being blocked with the label ready to be attached. As soon as it is done, I will photograph it and post it here on my blog. Meanwhile, I will show you the back and how I block my quilts these days. I guess you may wonder why I block my quilts and why it might be a good idea for you if you are making landscape or art quilts. Have you ever gone to a quilt show and saw quilts that don't hang straight and have wobbly edges? Blocking prevents these mishaps from happening. When you block your quilts, you are basically bonding the three layers together with water and your iron so they lay flat and nice.

My good friend Sonia Grasvik taught me how to block quilts and although I used to block them on the floor on a rug, these days my tired old body is just cranky and creaky and I can't get down on the floor that long without having pain. Pictured, you will see an insulation board from the hardware store on my quilting table. I actually had it cut in two at the store but I taped it together as this quilt is so big, I needed both parts. Here are the steps for blocking:
  1. Purchase a vinyl flannel backed tablecloth large enough for your quilt to fit on. FYI, Dollar Store tablecloths melt, spend a couple more bucks and get a quality tablecloth
  2. Place the tablecloth on top of the insulation board or on your carpet with the flannel side up.
  3. Place your quilt back side up on top of the tablecloth. 
  4. Do not stretch your quilt but pin the quilt into the insulation board using t-pins so your quilt won't shift.
  5. Get a large bowl and fill it with water.
  6. Head your iron to high, no steam
  7. Get a flat tea-towel or use a piece of muslin
  8. Dip the tea-towel into the water and get it saturated or wet throughout but not dripping. 
  9. Lay it down on top of the quilt, starting on one side. Make sure the tea-towel covers the edges or binding of the quilt. 
  10. Press until the tea-towel is dry
  11. Continue wetting the tea towel and moving it and pressing until you have gone over the whole quilt
  12. If you have a ceiling fan, turn it on, it helps speed up the drying
  13. Depending on the season and how warm your home is, your quilt can be dry the next day or take several days
Do not remove the quilt until it is entirely dry 

Image preview 

Novel update 
I am still trying to get my novel, A Quilter's Journey published. It is currently under review with a publisher and additionally, I am trying to get an agent. It seems finding an agent should be easy but with a novel with a quilting slant, it is considered a "niche" market. During 2019 I took an advanced fiction writing class because I wanted to focus on "showing" vs. "telling" in my novel. So, I rewrote again for probably the 6th or 7th time, I've lost track......Anyway, I am not giving up. If I must, I will try and publish it as an E-book on Amazon but I would rather go the other route. Wish me luck! 

Happy quilting, xxoo Joyce  

Happenings and new quilts

A Winter's Night by Joyce R Becker 33" x 29"  
June, 2019

I know it's been awhile since I posted and I apologize....sometimes life gets in the way of art but hopefully I am geared up to begin creating more art in the future. The new quilt above took me forever to complete but I worked on when there was a minute or an hour to spare and finally got it done. I used a lovely Japanese print for the trees and an ombre Stonehenge fabric for the sky and water. The tree fabric took a lot of intense cutting and manipulation to make it appear as it does now but I knew I would love it once it was done. I also did some intense machine quilting with a Wonderfil Tutti thread which took a long long time. 
Believe it or not, I am still working on my series of three books with a series title of the Orcas Island Quilt Artist. It seems every time I send it to someone new to consider I have to rewrite the whole darn thing to comply with their particular writing guidelines. That's not a bad thing, however, as each time I rewrite, the book gets better. I also took another writing class for fiction that really helped me hone in on "showing vs. telling." Wish me luck, I am still not giving up. I have two more possibilities and if those don't work, perhaps it is on to self-publishing on Amazon.  
This next quilt is another addition using my Quick Little Landscape Quilts book format. I made it for my step-son and his wife, Mike and Charlene Simmons, and it has their new dog, Annie featured. I printed the dog from a photo on computer  ready fabric. It was so fun to make and they love it!

I have made another quilt too to match my bedroom tropical theme but the photo isn't too good - here's a sneak peak anyway. I painted all the background fabrics myself and just wanted a peaceful tropical scene.....I haven't named it yet...
I am trying to update my web site too but have to go back and review the notes from my web master to know how to upload photos, captions, and new text......

In the meantime, happy quilting ....Joyce