Today is What's Leah Working on Wednesday and I'm headed back in my studio to work on several projects today.
The first project is the new design squares stitched for the Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers DVD.
When I was shooting this photo, James decided he wanted to help so here he is grinning like crazy after laying all the blocks out for me. So cute!
I've chosen to use only black fabric and white thread for this DVD and I've also cut my squares at 8.5" and marked a 6.5" square in the center. This is working a big bigger than my typical 4" squares, but I really like it!
The bigger squares have given me a chance to upscale the design a bit so the lines of stitching aren't quite so close together. The scale is closer to 1/4" rather than 1/8" between the lines.
I've also moved my camera a bit and played around with the angle until I've found the best possible vantage point to see the stitching.
Thanks to June's comments in this post, I'm also making a big point not to flip or turn the fabric squares drastically while stitching this DVD. I know it's difficult to turn a huge quilt, so I'm finally showing you how to stitch backward, forward, left and right without turning the square at all.
These first 10 squares are looking pretty good! With the videos and photos now shot, I'm turning them over to Josh to edit and produce the videos. I will then take over and mute and record my voice explaining the designs and how to stitch them.
So when I'm not stitching new designs, I'm working hard on Shadow Self. Even with the huge amounts of trapunto, this quilt is still going to take awhile to finish.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel! Here's the back of the quilt and you can see the entire shadow section has been quilted! Yay!
So far I've almost finished the two biggest rays. You can really start to see the puff from the trapunto coming through:
I'm pretty much sticking with Paisley and dense Microstippling on the ray. Yes, I still stipple my quilts! I believe stippling is still an extremely useful, versatile stitch so long as it's not over used.
I can always switch out microstippling for Tree Roots because the designs read almost identically. They're both flat, directionless background fillers that can work anywhere on a quilt.
Now the green rays are really fun. I've been using Brain Coral on the outside and Pebbling on the inside, but only 1" thick.
I realized that the inside sections of these twisting lines are a bit big and I didn't want to get bored stitching the same filler in each section. Instead I'm doing a ring of Pebbling, then filling the insides with a different filler.
With this ray I did simple echo stitching inside each section:
On another note, I'd like to share with all of you some of the weird, wonderful, and amazing things that have happened since starting this quilt.
First off, if you haven't yet, you'll need to go back and read Shadow Self - Part 1.
Since starting this quilt, my life has changed. My mental dialog is no longer a hateful negative voice and I've actually found the space inside my head that is not only compassionate, but gentle.
One of the biggest breakthroughs happened this weekend while out with my best friend for her last hurrah before she has her second daughter at the end of the month.
I had been wanting to find a book specifically on my issues: terrible inner negative voice, low self esteem and self worth, and inability to feel compassion or love for myself.
I was walking through a huge bookstore and happened by a shelf of self-help books. I've read a ton of them and a few have helped, so I always page through them a bit to see if they're actually something new or just the same old stuff.
The second book I picked up ended up being perfect. It's called I Know I'm in There Somewhere by Helene Brenner.
This book is not a "self help" book but a "self acceptance" book, which means that the book is not out to change who you are or what you're going through, but simply give you the means and understanding to accept it instead.
So far this book has helped me to finally look at every piece of my life without the veil of "How do I get over this right NOW!?" Sometimes it's not about getting over something, covering the feelings up and blocking them out.
I realize now that it's more important to feel the real feelings, let the pain happen, and then let it pass.
I knew this before when I started Shadow Self. No amount of yelling at myself to stop yelling at myself ever worked.
It was only when I started designing the quilt and visualizing my issues in fabric and thread that I finally started to accept myself, with all my faults, issues, and hangups combined.
I can safely say now that yes, I will be making more quilts that deal with personal issues. The next quilt design I'm working on deals with the abuse, alcoholism, and depression I grew up around in my childhood. Needless to say it will be a very dark quilt indeed!
It's not always easy and it probably will get me a few weird looks a quilting shows, but I would rather share and be open with issues that I know many women deal with than sweep it all under the rug.
So that's it for this working Wednesday! I hope I haven't made anyone uncomfortable, but as I said to a quilter in my guild recently: I'd rather share too much and potentially help someone than share too little and miss the chance.
Let's go quilt!