Monday, October 3, 2016

The River Of Life - Done!

River of Life
 It has been a long long time since I blogged! Like a month? Two months!? Something like that. A lot has happened and I'm about to leave for 3 weeks to teach and vacation in the Southwest. I hardly know where to begin to tell you what's been going on in my life... 

This is a good place. I got a puppy. 

Cathy and Lexy (though hubby wants to call her Diva...)
 You know I love my 'newish' dog Mischief, well we decided that one 'life style changer' wasn't enough. When this little gal came back from her first owner sick and skinny we decided we must have her.  She was only 13 weeks old and we've had her about a month now. Happily, she's mostly potty trained now! That's the good news. The bad is that I haven't slept through the night for a month and I'm tired! Tired! Tired!
The face that launched one thousand ships - a thousand Geier ships anyway!

"You HAD to get a puppy..." Poor Mischief, she has her paws full!

Helping me wipe up the floor... 

Isn't she a cutie??! Both my dogs are Belgian Tervurens. They are high energy active dogs and need a lot of fun and play. (And work!)  So, this is what's been keeping me so busy these days.  Oh! And my son got married last weekend, too. Whew! It was the most fun we've had in years. No wonder I haven't been blogging!

I managed to finish my quilt though and last month I got a nice surprise - 

My Quilt Gotta Dance! on page 38.
Happy Happy Happy

Well, lets get back to my quilting life. I think I left off my last blog about this stage of quilt making. I had stitched everything down using a zig zag and monofilament thread. Remember, this quilt is not pieced! It is strip appliqued. (The technique is in my book, Lovely Landscape Quilts)

This is a shot of the triptych, the 3 panels are ready to be quilted now.
I thought I'd show you some closeups.

Foreground stream and rock strips with ferns

Positioning the distant trees

More trees
 Last blog I showed you how I made these free motion embroidered trees - they are easy peasy! I attached them with a little Elmer's glue and then will stitch them in place before I quilt. I used markers to lighten and shade them and to add a bit of extra color.

Tree tops and a few straggling red leaves

Stitching down the trees - I used monofilament thread

I love the smell of batiks when they are pressed!! This is my backing fabric. 

Gathering quilting threads
 I pretty much only quilt with variegated threads and I love the Rainbow and Fantastico lines by Superior Thread. I use Bottom Line in my bobbin and Warm and Plush for my batting. (It's a nice firm solid batting and after I block my quilt, it will hang nicely on the wall with minimal ripples.)
I started quilting from the bottom and worked my way up. Since I do a LOT of horizontal quilting these things really shrink height wise. I stippled the rocks and quilted long wavy horizontals in the water.

Close up of the water after quilting - 
 I do sew over previous quilting, I will add in areas of lighter threads and area's of darker thread to 'shade' a bit near the shore.
Maybe you can see it better here?

 The quilt is wet and it looks much darker than it really is. I should have washed the backing before adding it as it bled a tiny tiny bit - luckily it didn't bled into the light areas of the sky! Ugh. I really should be careful about this - some fabrics bleed and either you have to prewash, or when you block your quilts you shouldn't soak them, you should just use a lot of steam.
Another quilting closeup

And another - I stippled the green meadow.

Closeup of the ferns
 I had originally been thinking of calling this quilt Living Water because these are words God the Father and His Son Jesus use to describe Themselves and their work in our lives. Other ideas began to solidify though and as I was working on it, a quilting friend shared that she is dying. She's been going through hell with chemo and radiation and she's in a great deal of pain. She's chosen to let go of this life and follow the river to the next. 

The other theme I had on my mind was the theme of Hope. We live in dark times, David called it the 'valley of the shadow of death'. Though we are passing through this valley, we are on our way to a better place and we should have great hope for the future! We should not live in fear and despair.  He's given us abundant life and joy; even in hard times we can feel joy! I know this personally - my husband went through cancer and chemo when I was a young mom with 3 small children. His presence with me was a tangible thing and in the midst of chaos and fear of the possible outcomes, I experienced the joy of knowing Him.

River of Life reminds my husband of the last chapter in the book of the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. That last chapter is called Farewell to the Shadowlands. He sees the scene in my quilt as if we are coming out of a dark forest to a new place; a new kingdom where there is joy and peace.

Anyway, thanks for listening. The quilt is called The River of Life and I hope it will touch you in some way. 


  1. Your work is beautiful, and I especially love this piece. The last chapter of the Chronicles is a quote I've written down to refer to often...:
    "But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

    1. Brilliant! Exactly - I love that last line. Thanks!!!

  2. Another lovely quilt and the title and theme. Yes, there is an anchor of HOPE for the soul for those who love the Son.
    Revelation 22: "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever."
    Here's a favorite hymn that comes to mind:

  3. What a beautiful hymn! I've not heard it before and it's perfect for the theme of my quilt. I am bound for the promised land... thank you for sharing it with me.

    That passage in Revelation is one I cling to as well. It reminds me of when Paul said that now we see in a mirror darkly, but then we will see Him face to face and we will know Him as well as we are known by Him. What a thing to think on. I love how the Bible uses landscapes to speak to us. :)

  4. Boy you have been busy. Beautiful quilt.

  5. This is a gorgeous triptych! Your use of color is brilliant (as always) and I love all the details - the ferns, the fallen leaves, the quilted textures. And you are right - it is very emotional, I just can't stop looking at it.
    The dogs are adorable. Such a lot of work, but such a lot of fun, too.

    1. Thank you Lena, I'm glad my quilt is speaking to you. :)
      And yes, the doggies are a lot of work! I'm still waiting for when they calm down a bit and when the young one is fully potty trained. At this point she isn't trustworthy so I can't keep my eyes off her or there are puddles on the floor.

  6. What a beautiful quilt, in so many ways. May your friend find peace and joy at the end. Cancer is a terrible thing. Too many I know suffer. Your quilt is a beautiful reminder of the light and love of God for all his creation. It simply glows.... as do your other quilted windows to life and light.

    1. Thank you very much. As I watch my friend go through this passing she's exhibiting so much grace and peace - she's so calm. It's clear that she's not alone facing her death, that Someone is with her and helping her through. There is that passage in Isaiah "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones" and I'm seeing the promise of this passage come to pass.
      I'm glad my quilt reminded you of His light and love. :)

  7. Wow Cathy, I truly admire your work it is a real beauty.

  8. I just found your blog. I'm loving what I see. I love that you share your love of Jesus Christ along with your beautiful talent of quilting. I ordered your book on Amazon and cannot wait for it to arrive. I might use that technique in my next quilt. I'm going to do another Jesus and John the Baptist quilt and your technique might work well with it.

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you like it and that my work speaks to you. I looked up your quilt and it is really cool - I love the stain glass look and you used it very well. Thanks for encouraging me!