Friday, September 18, 2015

Gotta Dance!

Gotta Dance by Cathy Geier
 As promised, I'm finally showing you what I've been working on all summer...

Soooo, what do these have in common? 
A cityscape - New York? 

Gene Kelly

New York Beauty Blocks
 The answer is my latest quilt. I'm calling is Gotta Dance! Here is another shot -
Buildings and blocks

The idea sprang into my imagination last spring when the National Quilt Museum introduced the theme for this year's New Quilts from Old Favorites contest; New York Beauty.

There are few traditional blocks that could tempt me, and this was one.  Like a silly fool I let the idea take root and grow. This quilt was a 'triple threat' you see.

I have never pieced New York Beauty blocks, never pieced a cityscape and never made a quilted portrait. Triple Threat.

In case you don't know where 'Gotta Dance' came from, it came from one of the best old Hollywood musicals - Singing in the Rain. Here is a clip of the dance number - it is about a young hoofer (dancer) heading to Broadway to dance on stage. He shows up in his ridiculous pink and purple plaid coat with an oversized red bandana... well, you should watch it yourself. Better yet, rent the whole movie.

Gotta Dance

Unfortunately this clip doesn't show the beginning of the Gotta Dance number until 40 or so seconds. And the music isn't synchronized with the lips... sigh. Just go rent the movie and make a big bowl of popcorn.

2 weeks ago, I lost every folder on my computer that I had saved to my Desk Top. That included the huge folder of in progress photos and all the stuff I did to show you how I made the quilt. I'm sorry! Really sorry... I wanted it for my own records too and it is all gone. Hubby and I tried everything.

Gotta Dance captures my love of dancing and quilting and color. I love the way my eye 'dances' around New York Beauty quilts looking at the colors swirling and playing with each other. That led me to think about dancing and since I'm a big fan of Singing in the Rain it was only natural that I begin to put these ideas together.

Thus, in my mind I could see Gene Kelly arriving in New York to dance and sing on Broadway. I chose to make a sunset scene so I could bring in all my favorite colors and keep the city buildings dark behind Gene. I'll let you decide whether this is supposed to be a 'real' life scene, or whether Gene is dancing onstage and this is the backdrop.
Gotta Dance, getting quilted...

So far, the buildings and foreground are all done. I'm working on the yellow part of the sky, quilting it with long narrow diagonals in metallic thread to look like 'rain'. (That is my nod to the movie - Singing in the Rain). It isn't supposed to be a 'real life' New York City landscape you know...

I've been working nearly 8 hours a day for weeks now trying to get this done. Since blogging takes 5-6 hours for a good one, blogging was the first thing to go. Then cleaning the house, then changing water in my fish tanks, then sleep... etc.
This has been the toughest quilt I've ever made and I have to get it done by the end of next week. (Fall teaching and  camping with hubby, etc.)

I hope to show you more in a couple of weeks, and rest assured that I'll get back to regular blogging eventually!

Comments Welcome!


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  2. Beautiful quilt! I love your colors and how authentical Gene you made :) Loved the movie too :) Best wishes from Europe!

    1. Thanks and best wishes to you over the seas and far away! Gene was made bit by bit, tiny bits. Every little purple mark on his coat was a separate piece of fabric - LOTS of work. But I love him and it was worth it. I think this will end up being my favorite quilt, though it is darn near killing me. :)

  3. Cathy, this piece is so alive with color and movement! You should definitely do more works with figures in them, you've got the expression and proportions just right. I'm so sorry you lost your progress are always so generous in sharing your techniques. This is surely another prize winner!

    1. Thank you Ellen. I sure learned a lesson about saving things to My Documents instead of the Desktop. I had to work - and pray!- over getting his face right. He had to express joy in his dancing, which mirrors my joy in quilting.

      I would love to win a prize, but my free motion quilting isn't stellar. Grrr. I think next year might be the year I buy a new sewing machine. Anyway, thank you for commenting and I'm glad you like the quilt. :)

  4. Wow! I love, love, love the sky. The whole quilt looks incredible. You really do make gorgeous quilts. Can't wait to see it all done. Good luck :)

    1. Thank you and I can't wait until I'm finished! I'm ready to get up from my sewing machine and do something - anything!- else. I wish my free motion quilting was better, but oh well. (I'm feeling a bit discouraged with it actually...)

  5. Oh Cathy. This is a great quilt. I love it. You have combined so many great ideas into one work of art. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you Julia, it has been and continues to be a labor of love. My dad thinks I should make another one because I'm so dissatisfied with some of the things in this one, lol. If I do make another, Gene will be bigger, the city smaller, the blocks will all line up properly and the quilt won't be a monster to quilt - it will be smaller!

      I do love that movie though. And I've always loved Gene's athletic dancing. :)

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks! I finished the quilting yesterday and will be showing more of it later. I think it might be my favorite of all the quilts I made, though it darn near killed me with stress, lol.

  7. *picks jaw up off the floor* - stunning, just STUNNING!

    1. Thanks! I just found out that I won 2nd Place with it!