Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve Dreams

It's New Year's Eve and I'm dreaming of places far away, yet so dear, and near to my heart.

So much has happened in just one year, I look back on it all, all of those Stitches in Memory and Time, and it's almost unbelievable. I am so grateful for the time I was able to spend with my mother and father last year, even the challenges, my terrible broken wrist, and resulting alien encounters, and my sad loss of my father.

If I hadn't broken my wrist, needed the surgery there in Alaska, I wouldn't have had all of those extra months with him! If my mother hadn't developed blood clots, I wouldn't have flown back to Juneau to be with both of them again..just one month before my dad passed away!

With all of the challenges, so much good and so much gratitude in spite of them. And yes, four trips to Alaska was both incredibly expensive and challenging... but it was a time and a place that I can never have, again.

I learned so much about myself this past year. Learned that I am capable...physically, emotionally, and spiritually, of so much more than even I thought I was. I learned that I can do and be the things and the person that I want, and need to be in this life time and not waste it any more than I have to.

I am thankful that my life wasn't any harder than it needed to be. Thankful that I still could enjoy family, and friends, and my hobbies and passions that mean so much to me.

I am so thankful for all of you, for having this blog as my fulcrum point for connecting, and for all of the laughter therapy and friendships that all of you given to me. Such a wonderful gift!

And today...tonight, on New Year's Eve...I offer all of you "Twilight Dreams." My 11th art quilt donated to the Alzheimer's Art Quilts Initiative ...during 2010... as part of my AAQI Liberated Quilters Challenge to myself, and all of you....and my Quilt #11 in Finn's New Year's Eve Quilt Challenge during these past two months....'Twilight Dreams.' 11:11 good luck numbers!

Finn's New Year's Eve Quilt Challenge November and December 2010:
Quilt #11: Twilight Dreams, shown above
Quilt #10:Far, Far, Away
Quilt #9:Green and Scrappy Love
Quilt #7 and #8: Follow Your Heart 1 and 2
Quilt #6: Stringing Along
Quilt #5: Within the Depths
Quilt #4: Irish Eyes
Quilt #3: Under the Pines
Quilt #2: Hope and Remembrance
Quilt #1 Hop to It!

Finn's New Year's Eve Small Projects Challenge:
Small Project #14: Mulled Wine Mug Mat
Small Project #11-13: Two pillowcases and a senior bib
Small Project #10:Follow Your Heart Potholder
Small Projects #2-9: sr bib, potholders and a bag
Small Project #1: Get Well Postcard

Liberated Quilting Challenge: Our AAQI Challenge Quilts January 2011 Update

Sold quilts #6165 We still have more! via Facebook

Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative Sold quilts #6165

Michele Bilyeu quilts for AAQI..the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. Won't you please join us? :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Spirit of the Season: Giving Quilts....

As quilters, when we think of giving to others, the first thing that often comes into our minds is the giving of a warm quilt. It's something we all love to do and all love to see put into action.

Recently, I read about a local church group in my area that gave 285 quilts to the students and the entire staff of Brooks Elementary School... a small, local, low-income school, near Salem, Oregon, where I live. The quilters spent an entire year lovingly creating these quilts and then arrived at the little school to personally hand them out.

The principal decided that it was important that the students understand about the quilts, and why the quilters were there and why they were distributing them to each student and each staff member, that day. All 240 students were called to an assembly in the school gym and the announcement was made.

After a few seconds of clapping and cheering. their principal said: The volunteers "are being generous with a gift. You can be generous with your kind words, with your smile, by saying 'thank you.'"

And you all know, we need to teach not only the importance of giving, and how to give....but also the importance of receiving, and how to receive.

After the school-wide announcement, the children returned to their classrooms and the volunteers began to hand out the quilts to students and teachers. The beautiful patchwork creations ranged from flowers to Spider-Man. And many of them were lovingly tied, rather than machine or hand quilted. All were colorful and beautiful and definitely made and given with love.

The room of second-graders, shown above, immediately wrapped the quilts around themselves, and kept themselves covered during story time. And when the quilting volunteers left that classroom, all of the children called out their "Thank you's."

One church ladies group volunteer said she doesn't know how the idea came to her. It just did, and it seemed right. She added that she knows some Brooks Elementary students are in foster care, or their families have little money.

"Who better to help than children?" she said. At this small elementary school, 91% of the students qualify for the free or reduced-cost lunch program, a program for which eligibility is based on poverty guidelines.

As on church volunteer all of her 20 years, she's never heard of the church committing to a large-scale effort like this for a school. The quilters found that they could create about one 45-by-54 inch quilt in a day. And by all of them working together, they just did quilt at a time. 285 quilts.

The quilters all agreed that "The experience is really bringing our ladies together," because they discovered that as they quilted, their quilting group began to grow. They went from about a half dozen quilters to twenty women. Putting the love of quilting as well as the desire to give into action and watching the movement grow.

Much of the fabric was donated, but the ladies group also bought many of the materials, including the batting, themselves. And their giving hasn't ended yet. As soon as they discovered that several of the staff members hadn't received a quilt, they vowed to return with more. They quickly made two more and are working on another two. And that's just exactly how quilts are made and giving little quilt at a time.

As one little girl called out, wrapping her quilt around herself....

"Thank you for the quilts. I wish I could have all the quilts in the world!"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Give, Share, Bless With Joy Today and Always

My own experiences with sharing with the beautiful Yup'ik, Haida, and Tlingit children of Alaska has taught me so much about joy and blessings! I cannot help but want to post photos over and over of these lovely faces and the beauty of their little hearts.

I was reminded of those times when I received a really lovely and fun video of a Yup'ik village,Quinhagak, near the Bering Sea... and their children in the creation of a holiday message for their family, their village, and for the world...starring a team of fifth-graders and their word play with cards to Handel's "Messiah."

The fifth-graders of Quinhagak (and some adults) silently perform a portion of the holiday classic syllable-by-syllable by flashing signs in time with the music. The video is a whirlwind tour of the village, with kids popping out of cabinets to "perform" hallelujahs, skittering across the gymnasium floor and whipping down slides.

"We showed it to the community at our Christmas program for the school," said teacher Jim Barthelman, who shot and edited the clip over the weekend. "There was people laughing so hard you couldn't hear the music."

Originally, Barthelman planned for his students to perform the song live in front of a crowd, using the homemade signs, in the style of various YouTube hits.

The kids were too embarrassed, said Cheryl Karels, 11, one of the stars of the clip. "We just made a movie to not stand up in front of lots of people."

The video snowballed Tuesday into a social media sensation among Alaskans, with copies peppering Facebook accounts like measles. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich tweeted about it. Fans from Washington, D.C., to Thailand praised it on YouTube.

Barthelman and his students spent a total of 10 hours over Saturday and Sunday shooting roughly 100 scenes for the clip, as they roamed the village in the school's navy blue Chevy Suburban. The crew broke for tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, said Barthelman, who is in his third year teaching at Quinhagak.

"I'd go, 'One, two, three, hallelujah!' and if (the kids) weren't all lined up and flipping the cards at the right time, I'd say, 'One, two, three' and we'd just do that over and over until we got a good take," Barthelman said. "Then we'd all jump back in the truck and warm up and go to the next spot."

Cheryl said Barthelman prompted the kids to flash their signs by singing to them and added the music later.

Quinhagak resident Catherine Pleasant first saw the video Monday at the school. It's a hit in the village, she said, though watching it again meant waiting half an hour for her remote Internet connection to load the clip.

By Tuesday night, the video was approaching 2,800 views on 219, 925...!

A modest number by Web sensation standards, maybe. But that's four times more clicks than Quinhagak, population 680, has people. As fans posted their thank-yous online, Barthelman wrote a note of his own.

"The kids are totally digging all the views and comments." he said.

"They are very proud and won't stop watching it themselves!

Merry Christmas!"


Doesn't this truly feeling like the absolute "JOY" of Christmas!
Blessings to all of you and a very Merry Christmas to everyone!!

My photo collage:
My own experiences with school children in Douglas, Alaska making kuspuks in their second grade classroom. I have done this for 3 years so far and it is an amazing experience of giving and sharing. I feel so blessed by my contact with all of the special children of Alaska.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mulled Wine Mug Mat: Celebrate!

In honor of my 61st birthday (today on Christmas Eve) I decided a little 'just for me' project was in order.

As always, I Follow My Heart when choosing a celebratory project, so I thought of Clare and her comment on my little liberated quilts that my fabrics reminded her of 'mulled wine.'

Oh, how I loved the sound of those words. Mulled sounds like "lulled" as in "lullaby and goodnight." And wine sounds like the rituals of celebration and the anointing of a holy season, which this mostly certainly, is.

It's lovely to celebrate, lovely to feel soft and lullabyed, and lovely fun to create a little pieced mug mat in honor of my day, and of the holiday season.

And then...I rushed off to find a simple recipe for British Mulled Wine;)

I discovered this wonderful little recipe in Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management
published in its revised version in 1869.

INGREDIENTS.- To every pint of wine allow 1 large cupful of water, sugar and spice to taste.

Mode.-In making preparations like the above, it is very difficult to give the exact proportions of ingredients like sugar and spice, as what quantity might suit one person would be to another quite distasteful.

Boil the spice in the water until the flavour is extracted, then add the wine and sugar, and bring the whole to the boiling-point, when serve with strips of crisp dry toast, or with biscuits. The spices usually used for mulled wine are cloves, grated nutmeg, and cinnamon or mace.

Any kind of wine may be mulled, but port and claret are those usually selected for the purpose; and the latter requires a very large proportion of sugar. The vessel that the wine is boiled in must be delicately cleaned, and should be kept exclusively for the purpose. Small tin warmers may be purchased for a trifle, which are more suitable than saucepans, as, if the latter are not scrupulously clean, they spoil the wine, by imparting to it a very disagreeable flavour. These warmers should be used for no other purpose.

And if you are a teetotaler, or perhaps its too early in the morning for a cup of mulled wine....substitute mulled 'cranberry juice cocktail', as I did here...ahhh, thank you Mrs. Beeton.
It's almost time for an appearance by Father Christmas!

Blessings to all!

Finn's New Year's Eve Small Projects Challenge:
Small Project #14: Mulled Wine Mug Mat

Finn's New Year's Eve Quilt Challenge:
Quilt #11: Twilight Dreams
Quilt #10:Far, Far, Away
Quilt #9:Green and Scrappy Love
Quilt #7 and #8: Follow Your Heart 1 and 2
Quilt #6: Stringing Along
Quilt #5: Within the Depths
Quilt #4: Irish Eyes
Quilt #3: Under the Pines
Quilt #2: Hope and Remembrance
Quilt #1 Hop to It!

Finn's New Year's Eve Small Projects Challenge:
Small Project #14: Mulled Wine Mug Mat
Small Project #11-13: Two pillowcases and a senior bib
Small Project #10:Follow Your Heart Potholder
Small Projects #2-9: sr bib, potholders and a bag
Small Project #1: Get Well Postcard

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Solstice

From ancient times, the winter season has been seen as part of balance of nature...a time where the balance point changes between the darkness and the light.

As with the falling of the leaves, it is a time for change and a natural time for letting go of all that which seems dark within one's life. A natural time for making choices to bring in the light...both to lessen the darkness within, and to open ourselves to life's full beauty and grace.

Throughout history, in all of the world's cultures, through belief systems, festivals, traditions and practices, the changes in the cycles of birth, death and rebirth have been intrinsically and symbolically honored. From this honoring comes our holidays...our 'holy days.'

When we walk between the veils of one season and the next......or one change or one emotion and the next...or even one 'holy day' and the next..we find ourselves always balancing our emotions...balancing the dark emotions, the very ones which create power and change, or the light emotions, the ones which bring in joy and abundance.

Winter Solstice is dated by changes in the calendar but it falls on December 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere and December 20 or 21 in the Southern. It is truly the exact moment when the earth is at a point in its orbit where one hemisphere is most inclined away from the sun.But has come to mean the turning point to midwinter, or the first day of winter.

Solstice is of a Latin borrowing and means 'sun stand', referring to the appearance that the sun's noontime elevation stops in its progress. It is both the shortest day...and the longest night of the year. Many cultures, the world over, perform solstice ceremonies. At their root is the ancient fear that the failing light would never return unless humans intervened with some vigil or celebration.

The Winter Solstice has always been associated with the birth of a divine king in many different cultures, long before the rise of Christianity and the blessed birth of the holy infant, Jesus.

Since the Sun is considered to represent the male divinity in many pagan traditions, this time is celebrated as the return of the sun god where he is reborn of the goddess. Other cultures have similar beliefs and associations.Many cultures celebrate or celebrated a holiday near (within a few days) the winter solstice... Yalda, Saturnalia, Christmas, Karachun, Hanukkah, Festivus, and Kwanzaa.

Christmas, like all holy or holidays, is a special time of remembrance of both the birth of the new, divining power and all of the symbols of home and family. It is a time when we can most acutely feel the greatest darkness or the brightest light...a time of giving, of receiving.....or for some a time of loss of light, and a feeling of going into the dark.

This is a deep time and a sacred space, a time and a symbol for all of us about being lost, facing those emotions and feeling the sadness, the yearning, and the grief that such loss brings into our lives.

But with that darkness, comes the sacred birth of a new light and all of the wisdom, power, and knowledge that this sacred birth created and brought into our lives for transfiguration and rebirth.

We create our gifts of abundance, we manifest blessings and peace, and we enter into a new place of well-being and joy. Celebrate with the gifts of nature, the gifts of our hands, and the many blessings and gifts from our hearts.

Winter Solstice /Lunar Eclipse! Dec.20 or Dec 21 depending on where you live.
NASA will be streaming the eclipse live

The last conjunction of a total (full moon) lunar eclipse and the solstice was Dec. 21, 1638.

6078 - Far, Far, Away
This little quilt has been created for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. It is a manifestation of the polarity that has been created in my mother and even our own lives with Alzheimer's Disease and a representation of the world she lives in...far, far, away.

Finn's New Year's Eve Quilt Challenge:
Quilt #10: Far, Far, Away

Liberated Quilting Challenge: Our AAQI Challenge Quilts January 2011 Update
Michele Bilyeu quilts for AAQI..the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. Won't you please join us? :)

Friday, December 17, 2010


With Heart and Hands

For my sweet little French mama in Douglas, Alaska.... 'lagniappe' (lawn yop) ..... a little something extra, made with my two hands, and my heart.

Two pillowcases for her new bed downstairs and a new senior bib for the collection that I was able to add to even when I had a broken wrist and had to sew with one hand and my teeth ;) If I can sew with my teeth...they've got to be that easy.... or maybe I was just determined to keep on, keepin' on, no matter what ;)

My brothers finally found it necessary to move our mom out of her upstairs bedroom and downstairs into the living space. It became just too hard for my brothers to carry her up and down the stairs twice each day. Caring for our mother is challenging, but it is also a labor of love.... as well as an Alaskan necessity.

It gives me peace of mind, to know that now it will be a bit easier for those who are now caring for her and that she can be a part of all of the activity even when she is in bed. Plus, it is now her 'lagniappe' as she used to call of the little extras that she gave to me......some new pillowcases to put on her pillows when she is propped up to eat and to visit..... and a senior bib to spruce up her collection and make her feel special and loved and closer to me.

While the prints aren't seasonal (so as to extend their use), 'sprucing up' her belongings seems very cheery, doesn't it? And while she is blind, so she won't be able to see my gifts, or their color or print, she can feel their polished softness, and she can use actually use them.. as these are items someone who is housebound and confined to bed can both use, and truly need.... every single day. And do please note that Pillowcases and bibs make wonderful gifts for nursing homes, as well as for loved ones being cared for at home.

Happy Holidays, sweet mama! I will continue to make your gifts from my heart, forever...I love you so much!!!!

Finn's New Year's Eve Quilt Challenge:
Quilt #10:Far, Far, Away
Quilt #9:Green and Scrappy Love
Quilt #7 and #8: Follow Your Heart 1 and 2
Quilt #6: Stringing Along
Quilt #5: Within the Depths
Quilt #4: Irish Eyes
Quilt #3: Under the Pines
Quilt #2: Hope and Remembrance
Quilt #1 Hop to It!

Finn's New Year's Eve Small Projects Challenge:
Small Project #11-13: Two pillowcases and a senior bib
Small Project #10:Follow Your Heart Potholder
Small Projects #2-9: sr bib, potholders and a bag
Small Project #1: Get Well Postcard

Making an Adult Bib
Make a Magic 'Burrito' Pillowcase

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Green and Scrappy Love

Because I'm willing to sew with anything that I am given...whether it is to begin from scratch, or finish for someone who wasn't able to, and because I almost always sew from scraps and donated fabrics...I always feel environmentally green and I always feel scrappy. And no matter how tired I am, or how busy I am, each and every quilt is still made with care and with love, because I love sewing and I love quilting and I love to make and give quilts for others.

So, as I finished this little quilt...made of simple, but colorful scrappy squares, and adding my favorite free motion quilting, and my favorite final stage of lovingly hand sewing on the binding and a label....I breathed a big sigh of contentment and happiness.

Scrappy is a wonderful thing to be, because it means not only using scraps, often the bits and pieces that no one seems to want and often toss away, but scrappy also means feeling fragmented or disjointed and yet using what one has been given to still make the best of things..and often because of that.... having a 'fighting' or 'scrappy' spirit.

This little quilt has a special mission. It is one of many that is going to a young adult who is in the process of being let out of Salem Oregon's Foster Care system. Too old to remain under state services, and in foster care, but not too old to need to feel loved....and to have something special to bring along with them into their new and perhaps, frightening, new adult life of living on their own.

I don't know you, and you don't know me. But this quilt is for you. Godspeed, the best of luck, and remember that you have received a big quilted hug of love!

Finn's New Year's Eve Small Projects Challenge:
Small Project #14: Mulled Wine Mug Mat

Finn's New Year's Eve Quilt Challenge:
Quilt #11: Twilight Dreams
Quilt #10:Far, Far, Away
Quilt #9:Green and Scrappy Love
Quilt #7 and #8: Follow Your Heart 1 and 2
Quilt #6: Stringing Along
Quilt #5: Within the Depths
Quilt #4: Irish Eyes
Quilt #3: Under the Pines
Quilt #2: Hope and Remembrance
Quilt #1 Hop to It!

Finn's New Year's Eve Small Projects Challenge:
Small Project #14: Mulled Wine Mug Mat
Small Project #11-13: Two pillowcases and a senior bib
Small Project #10:Follow Your Heart Potholder
Small Projects #2-9: sr bib, potholders and a bag
Small Project #1: Get Well Postcard

Monday, December 13, 2010

Art Quilters AT AAQI Finance New Alzheimer’s Discovery!

Our AAQI Quilters Have Financed a New Alzheimer’s Discovery! I have just learned from Ami Simms that the research financed by AAQI and carried out by Dr. Mi Hee Lim and her colleagues at the University of Michigan has yielded wonderfully positive results!

Their research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Thousands of web pages all over the world are now carrying this story and a mention of our funding is showing up in them, over and over!

Imagine seeing our own Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative listed right next to the National Institutes of Health on one of the many thousands of web sites carrying this story on the latest Alzheimer's discovery!

In March of this year, the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative awarded a $30,000 grant to the University of Michigan for research under the direction of assistant professor Dr. Mi Hee Lim for research she has been doing with lab members Jung-Suk Choi and Joseph Braymer regarding molecular tools that both grab metal ions and interact with amyloid-beta tangles in Alzheimer's victims brains.

AAQI has now awarded six grants since we began making, donating, and raising research monies with quilts and this was the third of those six awarded so far. Ami and her support team not only brought the check for our earned research monies but she also brought quilts to show the researchers, as well. Just picture that amazing scene.....Ami and her support staff showing our quilts as they described how we make them, donate them, and auction them off to raise the money for the check that Ami then handed over to them! What a wonderful and amazing thing!

Because of our funding, Dr Lim and her team were able to create new molecular tools that show promise for cleansing the brain of amyloid plaques. These plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, are clumps of misfolded proteins thought to cause cell death leading to devastating memory loss and cognitive decline. Finding ways to cross through the blood brain barrier is something I have been reading about for years and here this team has worked out a means and a method that might significantly alter Alzheimer's research from now on!

The researchers went on to show that in solutions with or without living cells, the molecules were able to regulate copper-induced amyloid-beta aggregation, not only disrupting the formation of clumps, but also breaking up clumps that already had formed.

This is just one amazing step towards a possible cure, but it's a promising one!

As someone who has a very great chance of getting Alzheimer's myself...with 15 immediate family members having had or my mother now currently having this horrible disease....everything that AAQI does, every word that Ami Simms writes or says in a press release means the world to me and I have shared that with her repeatedly. She and all of the researchers and all who care and take that caring and do something positive with it...they are my heroes.

If any one of you, who loved your own mother, your own father, your aunts or yours uncles, your husbands, or sisters or brothers, had to watch what happens to them...first their memory, then their body...limb by limb, organ by organ, until they no longer have control over anything me, you would be as passionate as I am.

Never underestimate the power of quilts, quilters, and quilting! We are making a difference!

One of the 11 art quilts that I made and donated to AAQI in 2010 and 1 of 53 small quilts that will be traveling the country as part of the AAQI 2011 Traveling Exhibit of larger 'name' quilts.
Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope

I support the Alzheimer's Art Quilts Initiative
and moderate the AAQI Liberated Quilters Challenge
Please help me by joining in and making small 4" x 6" or 9" x 12" art quilts for this cause.

Link to this story:
Quilters Finance New Alzheimer's Discovery

Unraveling Alzheimer’s: Simple small molecules could untangle complex disease
Quilters Finance New Alzheimer’s Discovery

Ongoing Liberated Quilting Challenge: new quilts added in

Liberated Quilting Challenge

Get the latest news about the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative on the AAQI BLOG!
For more frequent news follow the AAQI on FaceBook and Twitter.

Michele Bilyeu quilts for AAQI..the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. Won't you please join us? :)
Michele Bilyeu on Facebook

Friday, December 10, 2010

Liberated (Or Wonky) Quilting

What is Liberated, Wonky, and Improvisational Quilting?

The term was first introduced when Gwen Marston published her iconic Liberated Quiltmaking and opened up the world of quilting to the ideas of process quilting. Unlike traditional quilting where one simply followed patterns and used templates, liberated quilting is more about the free piecing of non-traditional elements without sacrificing our quilting roots of the patterns we have loved in the past.

So whether you are looking for wonky houses, stars, asterisks, barns, baskets,birds, butterflies, fish, hearts, nine patches, crosses or pluses, flowers, letters, space ships, spools, strings, or wonky and liberated ideas and patterns of all kinds. You've come to the right place!

As an ardent liberated quilter, I am sharing my own collection of ideas, links, and process 'patterns' and tutorials to give you a jump start into the world of Liberated Quilting, as is opening up and continuing today. Thanks to a whole new generation of quilters, as well as the wonderful world of the utilitarian quilts as demonstrated by the Quilters of Gee's Bend and others...ideas and techniques abound and books and other forms of tutelage are coming into free play.

So, whether you love Gwen Marston, or you're just a free spirited or modern quilter, today, Gwen led the way by showing all of us the the process she was using to create her non-traditional quilts. In that process, she discovered a variety of new quilting ideas involving piecing. The idea of liberated or wonky, free-pieced houses and liberated stars was born...and it has only continued to grow in leaps and bounds since that day.

Welcome to the Wonky World of Liberated Quilting!

wonky: adjective
1) rickety, shaky, wobbly, wonky; inclined to shake as from weakness or defect;
"a rickety table"; "a wobbly chair with shaky legs"; "the ladder felt a little wobbly"; "the bridge still stands though one of the arches is wonky"
2) askew, awry(p), cockeyed, lopsided, wonky, skew-whiffturned or twisted toward one side;

Great List of Wonky, Free-Pieced, or Liberated Quilt Block Patterns, Techniques or Ideas:...use these to understand the liberated process and jump start your own ideas!

Asterisks by Tonya Ricucci
Baskets from Basket Full of Scraps by Sujata
Birds, Free Piecing Tutorial by Lynne of Patchery Menagerie
Butterflies, Wonky Free Piecing Tutorial by Lynne
Butterfly BlockTutorial by Mrs. Schmenkman Quilts
Charming Butterfly Blocks by Ferne
Crazy Nine-Patch Lattice Quilt by Oh! Fransson
Cross or Plus Quilt from Sew Mama Sew
Crumb Chaos from Patti at Quilting... is Still My Passion
Curved strip piecing tutorial by Brenda of Strips and Strings
Disappearing 9-Patch with Pieced Hearts by Block'n Swaps
Free Pieced Flower by Sarah (Kromama)
Free Pieced Letters by Brenda of Scraps and Strings
Free Pieced Rose Tutorial shared With Heart and Hands
Free-style Tree from Sophie Junction
Fungly Challenge from Tonya Ricucci
Hand Quilting without a Hoop
houses (Wonky Houses) by Tonya Ricucci, the Unruly Quilter
Liberated Rose: Free-Piecing Roses by Michele from With Heart and Hands
Orphans Blocks Tutorial by Finn, Pieces from My Scrapbag
Red Cross Block Tutorial by Camp Follower Bags
Scrappy Heart (6 inch)
Scrappy Pieced Heart into a Liberated logs quilt
String Fish Aquarium by Ruthie
Strings ~ Hearts from Mary at
Letters. . . We've Got Letters by Sharon of Indigo Threads
Strip Pieced Letters by Brenda of Strips and Strings
Liberated Amish 2010 Get Together
Liberated Basket from Blocks n Swaps
Liberated Spiderweb block - no paper
Mary Quilts Wonky Rails from
Sarah London's Selvage Star tutorial is a 28 page PDF
Slash and Stack Wonky Blocks from Blocks n Swaps
Strip Pieced Letters by Brenda of Strips and Strings
Strings ~ Marys Patriotic Star from
String Quilting:Tutorial and Free Patterns
Taking the Leap Challenge from Tonya Ricucci
Tic-Tac-Toe (8 inch) from Sophie at Sophie's Junction
Tiny Wonky (Maverick) Stars by Bonnie Hunter
Twinkle, Twinkle, Wonky Star from Sew Take a Hike
Waverunner by Victoria at Bumble Beans
Wavy Seams Log Cabin from Pink Chalk Studio
Wonky butterfly by Lynn at the Patcherie Menagerie
Wonky Scrappy I Spy log cabin by Sarah, Kromama
Wonky Drunkard's Path from Quilting
Wonky Houses by Tonya, the Unruly Quilter pdf
Wonky/improvisational log cabins from Jenny at Blempgorf
Wonky log cabin by Jacquie at Tallgrass Prairie
Wonky or Maverick Star by Victoria The Silly Boo Dilly
Wonky RWB Rails (PDF file) by Maryquilts
Wonky Seams block from Pink Chalk Studio
Wonky Star Block from The Silly Boo Dilly
Wonky Star Ring Tutorial by Zonnah
Wonky Shoo Fly from Sophie's Junction
Wonky Spools from Quilter's Cache
Wonky Squares-in-Squares Block from Quilt Dad
Wonkytown from Tonya Ricucci

Liberated Links:
Liberated Quilting Blog
Liberated Quilters Yahoo Chat Group
Liberated Quilters Blog & Liberated Quilters Message Board Quilt for AAQI
Tonya Ricucci, the Unruly Quilter
Bonnie K. Hunter, Quiltville: Strings and Crumbs
HeartStrings Quilt Project
Wonky Tidbits:
Advice from Tonya Riccuci, The Unruly Quilter:
UnRuly Piecing Basics - UnRuly Basics Pdf

Strip Piecing Letters: Learn by watching the Progress:
Letters. . . We've Got Letters by Sharon of Indigo Threads
Strip Pieced Letters by Brenda of Strips and Strings
Letters by Lynne of the Patchery Menagerie
Wonky Alphabet Letters Lynne's fabulous work...check her letters in progress

Photos and ideas:

Flickr: Free Pieced Quilting Pool
Liberated Amish Challenge 2010
Tonya Riccuci's Fall/Winter Class of 2007
House, Home and Pantry - Fall 2008

Books of Interest:

Liberated String Quilts
Liberated String Quilts
Gwen Marston

Liberated Quiltmaking
Liberated Quiltmaking
Gwen Marston

Collaborative Quilting
Collaborative Quilting
Freddy Moran, Gwen Marston

Ideas and Inspirations: Abstract Quilts in Solids
The Quilts of Gee's Bend: Masterpieces from a Lost Place
The Quilts of Gee's Bend: Masterpieces from a Lost Place
William Arnett, Alvia Wardlaw, Jane Livingston, John Beardsley

Product Details
Word Play
Tonya Ricucci

Shown at top:
Liberated Rose:Free Piecing Tutorial
My little "Liberated Rose"art quilt may be only 9" x 12". On display this fall at the 2010 Houston International Quilt Festival,it was part of the:Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative and my own Liberated Quilting Challenge.

AAQI links of note:
Art Quilters Finance New Alzheimer's Discovery
AAQI For Sale page and ongoing QUILT AUCTION
Ami Simms and AAQI Quilts onThe Quilt Show

Liberated Quilters make 16 quilts to fight Alzheimer's:
Liberated Quilting... | Facebook
Liberated Quilting Blog shares news of AAQI-funded research! Liberated Quilting Challenge: Unraveling Alzheimer's: Simple small molecules could untangle ... - Cached
Twitter / Alzheimer's Art Quil: Liberated Quilting Blog sh ...
Liberated Quilting Blog shares news of AAQI-funded research! - Cached

Follow the AAQI on TwitterMichele Bilyeu quilts for AAQI..the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. Won't you please join us? :)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Word Play (Quilts)

In honor of the release of the Unruly Quilters new book Word Play Quilts, December 7th has been 'officially' declared "International Tonya Ricucci Day."

Under her former covert code name of LazyGal Tonya, Tonya Ricucci is the guerrilla commander of the underground "Alphabet Liberation Front."

Clad in wild shirts, with a cat under each arm (and one wrapped in a quilt), Tonya is the one who opened the doors to the releasing of the entire ABC Nation.

Single handedly, with the cheering on of Queen Bonnie of Quiltville and the lovely lady, Clare...Duchess of Dordogne, (and her ladies in waiting, too numerous to count), she freed first the Upper Case, and then the Lower Case, and then...the period, the comma, the question mark, and the exclamation point!

"Free at last, free at last" the untethered letters proclaimed. They jumped off their perfectly cut and perfectly lined foolscap and off into uncut, and unlined horizons.

Once the horizon was changed, even the liberated stars began to fall out of alignment....and the escaping celestial chords began to chime to a different key, and in a new and full array of rainbow brite colors.....the quilting world was forever changed, once more.

The stars and the Asterisks, the houses and the Wonkytowns, and the amazing holidays..Halloween, Hallowistmas, and Christmas and everything, and everybody, began to march to a different drummer. We began to sew with a different palette and the rainbows opened up in the sky and the tones, and the hues began to warm up....and and then suddenly....the color orange became the new neutral.

Tonya had it all sewn up in a bag and the bag was a gift to the liberated who were pointless, and hoopless, and out of line, at last.

LazyLady Tonya wasn't lazy anymore. NewandVeryBusyLady Tonya began to create a new vision. One that did not involve jumping through hoops, or even quilting with one, for anybody.

The now proclaimed, UnrulyOne, not only gave us the UnRuly Piecing Basics but as her ladies staggered into uneven formation, the Liberation Front was filled with H-O-P-E once more.

Quilters had a cause and a be-cause at last.

Hoopless, but not hapless, she showed up in our Houses, our Homes even our Pantry and it was she, who made ugly fun again. She took a leap and a bound, and began her plan of a 2010 Liberation of the Amish.

One by one, we began ripping off our perfect points and we burned them in the cataclysmic fires of the future of freedom. Looking disdainfully at the meeting of great seams, we knocked them all wonky and askew.

"Woo Hoo!" we hollered, as the Wonky Women united. We built wonky houses, and wonky villages, wonky forests that hid the wonky trees, wonky cats and dogs,wonky butterflies and birds, wonky flowers and fish. Our own imaginations ignited, and we set off on our own paths of creative de- and re- construction.

It didn't matter if we could free-piece letters. It didn't matter if we couldn't immediately let go of the rules and regulations. What mattered is we now knew we didn't have to play by any rules. We just were given permission to play ,? ; : and !.

Thanks Tonya! For all you did for the Liberation of the Alphabet Nation, your creation of the Liberated Front, and for your inspiration for today's Word Play fun!

And Clare Worthy, the Duchess of Dordogne who proclaimed today as Tonya Ricucci, the Unruly Quilter Day, asks:

"How did Tonya, personally inspire each of you?"

I became a Wonky Woman and a Happy Free-Piecing Fool.

I was inspired by her AAQI HOPE Challenge, to create the AAQI Liberated Quilting Challenge and invited by Clare to co-moderate Tonya's blog Liberated Quilting.

I was inspired to collect, and to create, the first Liberated Quilting: Blocks, Letters, Patterns and Tutorials list.

And I was inspired to say...the heck, with it all. If your blog post that is scheduled to officially post on Tuesday, December honor of "International Tonya Ricucci Day"...self publishes on Monday, December 6th.....I give a big sigh...and go ahead and allow its liberation. After all...I've always been spatially challenged. So, if a blog can publish by itself...can it write its own posts, too ;)

Thanks for all of the cat hair Tonya. Thanks for the extra hours in my sewing room, the huge mess on the sewing room floor, and for the husband who now wonders if I am ever coming downstairs again.


Liberated Quilting

Liberated Quilting Challenge

Liberated Quilting: Free Patterns, Blocks, and Tutorials

Word Play (Quilts)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Follow Your Heart

Being a firm believer in following my heart, I am always drawn back to the basic essence of my roots. I love earthy things and earthy colors. Even when I have created in jewel tones, they are often muted versions of old world, or like these...basic traditional, or folk art colors.

There is something very basic and very grounded in some of quilting's traditional fabrics and styles. Yet, I dearly love shaking things up in ways that are not always obvious. This is the primary reason I love even the simplest of Liberated Quilting techniques and creating ones own designs and patterns with simple variations of old ideas, and not always having to be modern, or trendy, or even obviously different in new style, or thought.

When I saw this fabric a few years ago..."Follow Your Heart" by Kathy Schmitz ( /for Moda), I was totally schmitten. Kathy comes from the wonderful lineage of a multi-talented quilting family here, in Salem, Oregon, and she has long been a member of our Mid-Valley Quilt Guild as is her mother, Marge McCanse, and her fabric designing sister, Bonnie Sullivan (Maywood).

Having worked for our business (interior design part of it) for the past 20 years in new home construction, I had to be continually aware of trends and color movements in magazines, stores, and home shows...especially if the home would be 'for sale' and not a custom home, where the future owners made their own selections...with, or without my help.

As I picked out all of the colors in all of the coloring and covering everything from the roofing materials, to the siding, to all of the interior and exterior paints, the color of stain, counter tops, vinyls, tile, slate, carpet to even the bathroom and kitchen fixtures, and all of the lights....I had to be acutely aware of and even 'follow' new trends. I had to consider everything the buyers might want to buy....from towels, to decor items they could at least coordinate with the colors and materials they found in our homes.

But, in my own life, in my own home, I still found... and find... myself loving my own old colors and not needing to redecorate or buy any of the new. I am sure people think I live in a time warp, as I still love my 'vintage' wallpaper and border trim....but it keeps me real. I love what I love, because I always follow my heart.

What I love about Kathy's fabric, is that her colors and her patterns stem from the traditional, but each one carries so much heart within. Using this line, that I had zealousy purchased and saved from several years ago, and some of her "Abundance"line, which I pulled as scraps from a 'free' table at my quilting guild, I managed to make two quilts and a potholder as part of Finn's New Year's Eve Challenge

They carry the warmth and the earthy colors that I innately cherish, but if you look closely, you'll see the absence of a specific pattern (except perhaps liberated medallion ;) only the gentle combination of strips and strings.

Two quilts and a potholder. Set free from the confines of stash and a to-do list... and liberated into being both truly cherished...and used :)

Finn's New Year's Eve Small Projects Challenge:
Small Project #14: Mulled Wine Mug Mat

Finn's New Year's Eve Quilt Challenge:
Quilt #11: Twilight Dreams
Quilt #10:Far, Far, Away
Quilt #9:Green and Scrappy Love
Quilt #7 and #8: Follow Your Heart 1 and 2
Quilt #6: Stringing Along
Quilt #5: Within the Depths
Quilt #4: Irish Eyes
Quilt #3: Under the Pines
Quilt #2: Hope and Remembrance
Quilt #1 Hop to It!

Finn's New Year's Eve Small Projects Challenge:
Small Project #14: Mulled Wine Mug Mat
Small Project #11-13: Two pillowcases and a senior bib
Small Project #10:Follow Your Heart Potholder
Small Projects #2-9: sr bib, potholders and a bag
Small Project #1: Get Well Postcard