January 5th, 2014
As I sit down to write this I realize that it has been almost a month since my last post. I apologize for slacking off during the holidays this year. However, even though I haven’t been posting, I have not been idle!
Many thanks go to my longtime friend and colleague, Donna Barnitz, who came up with the idea for the filigree work. The butterflies are part of a quilt in progress and this was our first attempt, using UltraSuede and hand painted fabrics from Mickey Lawler, of SkyDyes. This work in progress let loose an entire Pandora’s box of ideas for similar work. Next up on my list of projects was to design the Hawks Aloft raffle quilt for 2014. (Pam Eastman, of Edgewood, NM, won the 2013 quilt.)
Through my work at Hawks Aloft, I am very fortunate to know some incredible photographers, like Doug Brown, who allow us to use their images in our public outreach, and social media pages. Donna and I came up with the idea of doing a filigree bird for the 2014 quilt. Actually, the idea was more hers than mine. So, we started looking at Doug’s images and settled on the above image of a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk in flight. Of course, our work would only be an interpretation of the image, not a literal translation.
The silhouette of the hawk fit perfectly into the space that it needed to fill. Donna traced the shapes onto fusible web that we then fused to UltraSuede. Then, we cut out the shapes including all the filigree spaces within the larger shape. Donna thought that adding an emblem unique to New Mexico, would enhance the overall design, hence the Zia symbol. We divided up the cutting out process among five of us, Donna, Afton Warrick, Mary Chappelle, Laurie Marnell and yours truly. Once those were cut out, we cut another piece of fabric, a batik, and placed it beneath the UltraSuede and fused everything to a background. All was well, except that we weren’t comfortable that the fusible would be secure enough without extra stitching. And, we had only seven days in which to complete all 12 of the hawks!!!
We had a stitching party two days ago, with the goal of getting all the zigzag stitching around the outside of the hawks. Donna, Afton, Laurie and Laurie’s dog, Barry, joined me! Oh, what fun we had!
Barry was especially helpful as he helped folks do special things, like washing our hands with his large tongue and wagging tail. Actually, the best part was that Barry got along so well with my dogs, Gabby and Laney, that they wore each other out and had to take loooong naps later in the afternoon.
We began stitching at 10:30 a.m. and by 3 p.m. all 12 hawks had been secured with Superior Threads Invisible Polyester Thread. We stuck them to my design wall so we could photograph our handiwork.
Afton even sprouted a pair of wings for her angelic efforts!
And, here they are – 12 hawks adorning the wall, interspersed with other works in progress. After my sewing buddies all went home, one more task remained: trimming all the hawk blocks to size and stitching the circular border together. Then, I also added the outer border to square it up!
And here it is! The official Quilt Retreat takes place next weekend at the cabin in the Jemez Mountains. We will have 12 quilters on hand, and we hope to complete the remainder of the quilt top in one day! Do you think we can do it?
Stay tuned . . .