on diversity…

So today you can catch me on the Crafty Planner podcast discussing small piecing, modern art quilts, and diversity in the quilt community.


It was really nice to get a chance to talk to Sandi for a while. She’s planning a series of conversations on diversity that should be wonderful and I’m grateful to her for getting the ball rolling. This is the first one, so we really just open up questions to ponder. I look forward to the rest of the series. Please take a moment to listen. I’m open to all comments and questions.

In other news, there’s some small stuff happening over here at Chez Cauchy.

small stuff

And it turned out to be too small. This just might be the project that cures me of my miniaturization flu.

Have a great week!

raspberry barn

Thanks for all your kind comments about the indigo adventure! It’s an annual thing since 2011 and I wrote more about the indigo dyeing process back then, with links to sources. It’s not as complicated as it might seem. And the yardage is already seeing action in some pineapple blocks that have a much longer back-story (with more overdyeing!) that we’ll save for later.

indigo pineapples

How about a barn today instead?

Ever just get distracted by shiny things? Yeah…that’s me. I’m lately a magpie collecting bits and pieces of materials and ideas to play around with in my nest. And my attention span is about the same as a tiny-brained bird. Although deadlines loom, I have to indulge the monogam-ish tendencies and get in a quickie here and there in order to return to hunkering down with slower projects.

It is in this mood that I came upon Gale Zucker‘s Instagram of a red barn in snowy Vermont. Gale’s a great photographer and her IG-stream does not disappoint. This shot, in particular, is a perfectly cropped image of a minimalist structure with appealing proportions and vertical mirror symmetry. And the red isn’t trite.

barn inspiration
And I just wonder what’s inside. It haunted me. So I immediately asked Gale for permission to use her photo as inspiration for a quilt and she agreed without hesitation. Whew. It took a while to clear the decks, get healthy enough, and develop the confidence to start building. First, I ruminated on fabrics and settled on some grunge.

raspberry barn, in progress

And after grinding some numbers in a spreadsheet, I sketched a plan for construction. The sewing of the top took just one evening of deep concentration and precision work. It was almost magical to see the whole barn emerge at the end because I was so immersed in the details. Giddy, I shared a blurry yellowed low-light photo of the top with Gale and did a jig of joy. And then…the quilting.

Just baste and mark and measure and take it very very slow. Some trapunto (stuffed work) helps the windows, white moldings, and roof pop. And the rest is just linear fills of 1/4″ channel quilting.

Yep, there were many threads to bury.

raspberry barn, in progress

I put some swirly diamonds in the sky.

raspberry barn, in progress

And don’t forget the lamp! Hand embroidered the thin electrical fitting that marks the center of the facade with stem stitch and then needle turn appliqued a stylized light fixture. This was both precise in proportions and improvisational with the ovate “bulb.”

raspberry barn

This was a fun fun fun project for learning tons of new things.

Even the back is killing me with new ideas to explore.

raspberry barn

Welcome to my barn! It’s not completely done yet…gotta remove some stubborn pencil marks, but it’s ready to be seen here.

raspberry barn

Now…what’s next?

The Details

Materials: various commercial semisolids; muslin on back
Techniques machine pieced; needle turn applique; machine quilted; trapunto; hand bound
Finished size: about 30″ square
Started : March 20, 2015
Finished: March 27, 2015

smurf addiction

Oh, indigo, how do I love thee! Every year around this time I brew up the dye vats and dip-oxidize away, turning everything I own blue. It’s a compulsion and a meditative process.

Of course, many yards of various substrates of cotton get dunked.

indigo addiction

But this time I wanted to experiment with overdyeing quilted sandwiches. These are wholecloth swatches, one with silk batting and the other (below) with 80/20 cotton/poly and embellished with trapunto. Before and after…

indigo addiction

indigo addiction

indigo addiction

indigo addiction

I think the overdyed version is more successful because the thread darkened more than the fabric. But I’m not certain if instead originally quilting with darker thread on blue cotton would give the same results. I’m going to fantasize for a moment that overdyeing makes a difference.

This trapunto quilt captures the aroma of the dye vats.

indigo addiction

What else should be blue? I ombre-dyed some t-shirts and double-dipped a banana (nothing happened). Nature’s perfect packaging, indeed.

stuff for thought

Been feeling all wobbly again, so spending more time reading and pondering. Thought it’d be interesting to share some links today. And because every post needs a photo, here’s a glimpse of the indigo dyeing that happened yesterday.

indigo dyeing

– I’ve been smitten with the podcast 99% Invisible for a long while and even donated to their Kickstarter last year. Consistently educational nuggets about the elements of design in everyday life that we often don’t notice.

— A novel approach to the issue of colorism in this comic about skin tone in Marvel comics. Passing has been on my mind a lot lately, though more immediately dealing with rejection due to not being dark enough actually. All of us humans are a bit effed up on skin tone and it doesn’t seem to be changing.

— My new quilter hero is Yvonne Wells. (BEWARE: link automatically opens a (loud-ish) video; turn down your volume first)

—- These Canadian landscapes are breathtaking and feel a bit like quilter pr0n. So verdant and geometric.

Have a great weekend!