Friday, December 31, 2010

Student Letters 2005-2010

Whee, look what quilt I'm finally working on. All the letter blocks that my students have sent me in the last five years. This is what it looked like just throwing all the letters up on the design wall:


Can you spot your letter/word/number in there? I've been thinking about (in no particular order) Lynne, Clare, Brenda, Tanya, Kathie B, Laura, Kim, Cher, Sharon, Nancy, Jude, Cheri, Kristin, Heidi, Annie amongst others who've contributed. I wish I could remember EXACTly who gave me every one, but my brain isn't that good.

I love the exuberance and wish there was a way to magically just sew them right where they are... using my mind powers! mwa ha ha. Unfortunately it's not that easy.

I'm using white and beigey neutrals as the background fabric to tie everything together without calling attention to itself. I finished off letters, where needed, to make them square or rectangle: 


I finished off "orange" and "you" with yellow background and used a bit of purple fabric to put ends on the Stroop effect "purple" and in a couple of other spots where a darker fabric was needed. I'm NOT going to surround each letter with a background fabric - sometimes they'll slam directly into another letter and that's okay.

Next step was to put the big pieces onto the board, along with some letters that I'd sewn together into words, to get a feel for how big it needed to be. After playing with several options I did sew Lynne's "slither" together into one long word (these were her practice letters for the Halloween words quilt) which gives me a width for the quilt.


I wasn't planning on sewing words together but after my friend Kathy mentioned it I totally couldn't stop doing it. I'm not sure once the top is sewn you'll be able to spot cat, sew, unruly, lazy, quilts, and the year 2010, but it was a way for me to sort through the chaos and get started sewing. The only letter that I've altered was an incomplete "I" which turned into the letter one. Otherwise, I'm leaving them au naturel. So to speak.


Bit by bit, that's the only way to tackle this. I started working around Big Pink Hope because the biggest block has to be taken care of first. The smaller the block, the easier it is to fit in. I initially planned to work this medallion style around Hope and that's why the next unit was another square. I got that far with the medallion idea and realized it was rubbish. I needed to do rows.


Sorry this next shot is so dark. I've been trying to just use natural daylight to get these pics and it didn't always work out so well. Blocks are getting moved around and I've completed another big block. Everything to the right of the Hope is sewn together.


Next shot: I've got one big section all together. The Hope, Wish and Rub big blocks were all joined together and the Blitzen row added to the top of them. The Big W block (which goes all the way down to Joy) joins to the left of it. I moved Merry Christmas from the bottom to up above this section just to see what it would look like and really ended up liking it. I start thinking of this quilt as Slither 2: the Revenge of Christmas.

You can see I've also auditioning for the rows below Hope. As I work on joining these together, I'm trying to make it so that there aren't a lot of straight lines. An example of that is where I've placed Blitzen so that it straddles the edge of the Hope block - your eye goes up and then over.... Did that make sense? In this particular version I hated the black-backgrounded Lazy Gal right underneath Clare's H. It makes for a big dark strange bit there.


There is another section sewn together below Hope. That's the Q down to the big C and all over to the left. I realize now I should move aside the unsewn bits so that you get a better idea of what's done.


I'm posting all these so that you can get a feel for how I do improvisational work like this. I'm sure there are other ways to do it. I'm just happy to finally have my quilting mojo back.

Happy New Year!

40 comments:

Brenda said...

very fun. I didn't realize I sent you so many letters! nice to see them again.

AnnieO said...

Fun! I do see my O that you've coopted for zero. This is a lot of work but I'm glad you're playing. I didn't realize your mojo had left the building for awhile. Happy New Year, it's back!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Omigosh - this is WONDERFUL!!!!!!!

Denise said...

This is so fun and inspiring!

Kathleen C. said...

Your quilt is amazing and a lovely way to say thanks to all the quilters who sent you letters.
I appreciate your description of your improvisational method and for the as-you-work photos which will aid in my liberation!
I also want to say a big Thank You for Word Play Quilts, which I received for Christmas. It's an exciting book full of ideas and inspiration with your friendly writing and clear directions.

Belinda said...

WOW...WOW....WOW!!! LOVE how this is turning out....it's so crazy wild and colorful!

Nifty Quilts said...

WOW!! I don't have words, this is such a great quilt. Well, maybe all the words are there. Ha-ha. Just really fabulous!!

Sujata said...

So excited! This is great! I got my book. Some day I will meet you in person and have you sign it!
Love the wall full of words and letters!
Happy New Year!

Lesley said...

I just discovered your BLOG. I love words on quilts, and this is wonderful. :)

Finn said...

Ah ha...orphan blocks revisited...LOL It's looking wonderful and even more challenging than orphan blocks!! It will be awesome when you are finished. Hugs for a happy and healthy new year, Finn

jude said...

i love this!

Rene' said...

Happy New Year Tonya!!! What a great quilt idea...how fun to have so many letters from friends. Thanks for sharing your method....very informative!

Leeann said...

what is 'cignk' ?

Tonya Ricucci said...

"clgnk" is a "clank" with a messed up "a." Laura didn't realize she'd done it until she had the whole word together. So she redid "clank" and that went into Slither Eek Boo. And I got the reject, which I love.

True Blue Nana said...

I love your explanation of what you do. I so enjoy working that way. It is like putting a puzzle together or you might think I am nuts but loading your dishwasher!! I also found my letters. I think the "Merry Christmas" is mine. I am loving your book.

Jackie K. said...

YeeHaw! That's a fun project!

Mego said...

OOOOOOOEEEEEEEEEEEE...this is great! I got your book for Christmas (and it ARRIVED) and I've been playing today! THANK YOU!!!

Lisa said...

Oh how fun is that!!!?! I just got your new book and can't wait to try it out. We were making up all the word quilts I have to make for my family at Christmas dinner! (They all indulge me, cuz they know they will get one!)

Clare said...

Ok - so I'm commenting on FB and here, but I wanted to see what the word verification was. It's boring!

I spy an T and a spikey H. Possibly a lower case a, but not too sure.

Happy New Year Ton. x

Cindy said...

Love how you're making all those words and letters work together! Many thanks for going through your thought process with words and pictures. It's really helpful to see and "hear" what you're thinking and I realize it must be hard to stop and take photos as you're going along. Can't wait to see what you end up with!! Have a Happy New Year!!

Carla said...

Tonya, I can tell right NOW that this is going to be one of my favorite quilts!!! Thanks for sharing your system of putting it together.....inspiring. My brain hurts, I better go have some chocolate!

YankeeQuilter said...

Way to end out the year with some quilting mojo!

(that word needs to be in there....)

thefairygardenerquiltstoo said...

Great idea for a name, Tonya--"Slither 2; Revenge of Christmas"

I have one more suggestion for you too--"Son of Slither, Merry Christmas", lol

Happy New Year!
Gail :)

Sharon said...

Oh, this is so much fun! I love all the crazy color and confusion. I spy a few of my letters too. ;) I'm glad to see that you couldn't resist putting together some words. I think I'd have to do that too. It helps to make a little sense of all the crazy, I think.

THANK YOU for the look inside your process. I think that's the hardest part - putting it all together. So this is a HUGE help. I agree with Carla - I think this is going to be one of my favorites!

Happy New Year!

Carol E. said...

You have the artist's touch. So fun to see a bunch of "stuff" turn into art in your hands. I do see a letter or two that I sent.. it's fun to see it all go together. Fabulous. Your book is winging its way to me now. Can't wait to see it.

Dionne said...

Hey Tonya, I love to see the process of a quilt unfold. Thank you for sharing! Cheers Dionne

Marit said...

Happy New Year!
This is so fun!!! Loved your sequence of photos showing how you puzzle them together.

Quiltdoodles said...

I have resisted getting into the word quilt blocks but after seeing yours and all the fun you are having I am becoming weaker.
I think I am going to give in and give it a try. You are inspiring!

Kim said...

Yeah that's my "baby" how fun to see it again.....and have one of my blocks on the cover of your book!
I get my very own copy tomorrow and if this post isn't about word play I don't know what is!!

Have fun with.....hey my mojo isn't at your place is it?

Happy New Year Tonya

QuiltSwissy said...

I was going to dedicate 2011 to finishing up my thousands of UFOs but after seeing this (and getting your book for Christmas!!) I will now dedicate 2011 to

LETTERS!

glen

Cher said...

hey...yep, I see a letter or maybe two of mine..nice..I work the same way in doing that type of free style putting together of a top...as you know...and..looking finally for a way to order your book. If I don't find it on your blog I will order from Bonnie I think...anyway..fabulous design going and glad you found your mojo...I think mine has come back too! 2011 is getting off in fine quilting mode...so glad you inspire so many quilters...!

Cher said...

ok..used your easy link-due to me by the 5th of Jan...wheee!

Riel said...

LOVE IT! WOW! SUPER COOL! etc ...

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

Tonya, that looks brillianT!! but I am just popping over because i called at Bonnie's site and saw you have a book!! Fabulous that the aussie dollar is so high, perfect time for overseas book shopping!!! Congratulations, SO worthy and alsways an inspiration. i know everyone loves just my basic letters a i do and they inspiration came for you, I need the book to make them more exciting!!!
Cheers, tracey

Lynda said...

This is a great tutorial, and will be a fabulous quilt! It's amazing to see the progression!

sewprimitive karen said...

That looks great!

Millie said...

This is looking so good! I see several of my letters in there!

Heidi said...

oh, here's my hope :-) and some other letters too. I'm happy they are used and the quilt just looks great

Tanya said...

That's a great quilt! I had to laugh! "Now how is she ever going to put those Japanese characters in there." I can see you're having a little trouble figuring out a use for them! Good! A challenge for a someday quilt!

Cheryl Arkison said...

Excellent post. It's great to see how you are thinking things through.