15 September, 2014

Hop Around The World...

Last week Quiltdivajulie posted during the "Around The World Blog Hop Tour" and invited me to follow her lead. I was thrilled to be asked! I always enjoy learning more about the people behind the blogs, who they are and what creative process they use that makes them, and their quilts, distinctive and unique.  

I blog under the name Mrs. Goodneedle and have done so for the last eight years; I share quilts and other sewing projects as well as my life, family and faith stories on an almost-daily basis.

I have been a quiltmaker since 1983, my first project was a sampler quilt done by the lap-quilting method (made popular by Georgia Bonesteel) it was hand quilted and took two years to complete! I gave that quilt to my then 5 year old son who proclaimed that sleeping under it was "like being covered with love". That was all the encouragement I needed and have never looked back! Quiltmaking is my life; I love every aspect of the process.

I am married to my high school sweetheart, have been for 39+ years; we have two children, an awesome son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and four remarkable grandchildren. Life is good, as I state at the end of every blog post; it really, truly, is!

Now, on to the Q&A format:
"Adding Curves" ~ Setting and blocks-of-the-month currently on the design wall.

What am I currently working on?  I am not any different from most quilters that I know, I'm never only working on one thing at a time! But, the blocks above (and layout diagram) are currently what's on the design wall. I am also working on a few other projects simultaneously as well as quilting yet another small quilt on the longarm at the present time. I enjoy challenges, and the piecing on this one is no exception to that statement. Since the blocks from these recent workshops are totally composed from squares and rectangles I thought that adding curves (hence, the quilt's name) might prove interesting to the overall appearance of the quilt. While designing settings I am also thinking ahead the whole time to how this might be quilted, adding yet another dimension to the whole. I believe the secondary circles that are created by this setting will provide a nice canvas for some pretty quilting to set off those emerging shapes. 
Templates and tools for cutting the alternate Orange Peel blocks for setting "Adding Curves".
I'm not afraid of templates when it comes to piecing; since I've been a quilter for a very long time, this was the foundation that my quilting skills were built upon. I use every tool in the toolbox and sometimes going back to basics is exactly what it takes!
"Adding Angles"  ~ This is the sister quilt to "Adding Curves"; same blocks, different colors and setting.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?  I'm not really sure that it does. I am greatly inspired, and no doubt influenced, by the works of others.  I tend toward details; those little "extras" that add a pop of color or an unexpected touch, to make my work my own.  I will add piping to almost any binding at the drop of a hat! I always joke that I can turn any project into a career move. Since I've already admitted that my first quilt took two years to complete, it's safe to say that I am not a fast quilter by any stretch to the imagination. I work slowly, and listen to my heart; I make quilts to satisfy my own creative desires.
"Swiss Baskets" begun in 1999 and only recently completed. The design, quilting and piping make it one of a kind. The finished quilt can be viewed here.  

Why do I create what I do?  I believe that each and every quilt is a culmination of where I am, and what I've learned, at this point in time.  Could I have completed the quilt above sooner? Of course! Would it look like it does now? Absolutely not! Why not? Because I didn't have the skills in 1999 to see this one through in the manner it is finished today. Does that matter? Probably not; but who's to say?  I love to learn new things.  I have a huge queue of quilt tops waiting to be quilted... as I test my wings and learn techniques to improve my own quilting stitches I am happy to have those tops to practice upon. I create quilts to experiment and try out the latest tricks from the classes that I've taken, or from the books that I've read. If the quilts aren't used or displayed in our home they're given away as gifts, every quilt has a home. 
"Feathered Friends" this small quilt is benefitting from quilted feather techniques learned in a class that I took  this past summer.
Six inch blocks from "The Quilt Block Bible", writing up cutting directions for these is a current obsession.
Recently I was drawn to the 202 blocks, and this book, by Rosemary Youngs.  The book is a lovely composition of photographs and line drawings, there are no instructions for cutting and piecing the blocks. I have enlisted my best friend, and quilting buddy, to help me out. We have divided the book in half and are each writing directions, and piecing blocks, as we go along. I am drawing from a stash of accumulated scraps and going for a very traditional scrappy look; this is also a perfect opportunity to employ all of those specialty rulers that I have purchased over the years, precision piecing is my goal and I won't settle for less than perfect points and corners, this self-imposed challenge is both demanding and satisfying at the same time. 

How does my creative process work?  I jot down ideas as they come to me, sometimes it's a phrase or a quote; sometimes it's a color combination or even a happy memory that bubbles to the surface... I make a lot of notes when I am creating. My go-to design tool is EQ7. I can audition my ideas using that software program and, usually, come up with a neat and tidy design plan that reflects my concept, interpreting my ideas into stitchable units.
"It's The Journey"  a challenge incorporating randomly drawn color and design elements to create a unique quilt.

This 49" X 61" wallhanging was designed entirely in EQ7.  As the design elements were revealed in an organized group challenge, components were changed and tweaked, meeting the new criteria at every step along the way. The path was never a clear one; the quote became as much a definition of the process as the challenge itself. It wasn't until the final border was added that I realized it never had been about the destination after all, it was about the journey all along; the creative process didn't let me down, but rather, documented my routing.
That's it for me. Now I would like to go on to introduce you to Laura, she'll be posting at Tanderwen Quilts next Monday, she's an amazing quilter possessing a very creative spirit; you will be in awe of her talent!  I have not been able to procure more participants for next week, as directed; they've either already been tagged, have already posted via this format or would rather not post at all, I am sorry about that. Laura will more than make up for it though, she is clever enough to be three bloggers in one; you'll see what I mean.
Laura and her incredibly detailed whole cloth quilt, "Atlantis",  juried into the AQS show in Charlotte.

Life is Good!


Quiltdivajulie said...

What a wonderful post! Hooray for you and your works!

quiltkeemosabe said...

Love it!

lindsey said...

Thanks for this great post, so lovely to read a little more about Mrs Goodneedle :) and see those beautiful quilts

Janet O. said...

Good to get to know you a bit better, Mrs. G!

Laura Davies said...

Uh oh! I'd better get planning! Thanks for posting:)