Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Inspired by the View

In between making Christmas gifts for friends and family, I started a new series inspired by all the farm land in our area. I've always loved the view of a farm - with vast fields of rows upon row of something. When driving through farm country I'd guess at what each field was growing.

I even liked the empty fields because they seem to always hold such promise. What would be their next harvest?

This first of the series I called "Fields of Promise"

It is about 24" x 15". The "field" part is pieced. The horizon landscape is raw edge collage.

I have 2 other "fields" prepared, but have not yet decided how I will treat them.

In the meantime, I continue work on my daughter's wedding quilt.

Our office assistant and chocolate saleswoman, Delores, gave me a wicker towel rack to use in my studio. It is doing a great job holding all of the fabric strips for the log cabin quilt.

I set it up resting between a drawer and my cutting table. It closes me in to my sewing area, but that is mostly a good thing! It is very light weight, so it is easy to move around. Handy for my small studio space.

Here is a closer look at the rack.

On another topic, I'll admit that I am a sock knitting fiend. I can't stop. It is a very relaxing thing to do and I love wearing socks that I've knit myself.

Here are a couple of my latest.

I'll never wear boring white socks again!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter Studio Bonanza

Every winter as the workshop season at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops draws to a close I always envision a bonanza of time to spend working in my studio. Let's see if it actually happens this year!

Last year the chocolate business took off, so most of my "spare" time was spent packing and shipping chocolate to the over 100 stores that carry our chocolates. This year we have more employees, so hopefully that will free up my time for fiber art!

In the short break for Thanksgiving I did actually get to start on a new series of landscape quilts and finished one of them. I have a stack of quilts in one of our guest rooms waiting for me to have time to photograph them.

I've also realized that my Crazy By Design website has been woefully neglected. It is pitifully out of date and the design/layout is so "yesterday". I started a new design last winter, but same story - chocolate got in the way!

In between the fiber art I'm working a a wedding quilt for my daughter. She is planning a 2010 wedding and I'm hoping for a late 2010 date to give me plenty of time to finish the quilt! She has requested a log cabin quilt in the colors of navy blue, moss green, and chocolate brown. I have about 11 blocks done and 60+ more to do to finish the king size quilt!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Bit of Studio Time

Haven't had much time in the studio lately because we've been so busy with the workshops and then when we do get a small break the weather heats up to the 80s and 90s with high humidity - and then you can just forget about staying for more than a second in my studio - no A/C, no fan = no me in the studio.

But last Saturday it was reasonable, so I set to work on another of my left over Nancy Crow workshop projects.

I had it hanging on my design wall for more than a month. I was waiting for inspiration and/or procrastinating because the ideas I was having for it would mean un-stitching some areas. Not what I was looking forward, too. So it continued to hang there.

Finally a couple of weeks ago, I decided that maybe it just needed more units to make it a larger piece. So I took out the fabrics we had made in the class -- but then, DANG -- I couldn't for the life of me remember how we had put together the units in class. I could have kicked myself for not taking better notes or pictures. So the project sat some more.

Then this past Saturday I gave myself a good talking to and said "shut up and just do it! You KNOW how it is done, just start doing it and you'll remember." I should listen to myself more often, but it worked. I stopped trying to think about what I was doing and just did it.

So here is a shot of the project ready to be quilted. I added another row of units and I liked it a whole lot better.

I could see getting carried away and continue making unit after unit, until the thing was ready to take over the world, but my studio is small and hot and I'm not prepared to wrestle with anything larger at the moment.

I'm quilting it with a light blue metallic thread and a pale variegated thread of blues, greens, and pinks. I haven't decided whether I will square it up when I'm done or let it keep its funky shape.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Eye on the Prize

It seems I'm getting all my blogging done today, along with all the other little odds and ends that pile up on my to do list.

I have been getting a little time in my studio here and there, so this is my latest completed work.

I called it Eye on the Prize because it does sort of look like an eye to me, but also because "keep your eye on the prize" is a phrase I often repeat to myself when I'm have a difficult or discouraging day. The prize, of course, is living a joyful life doing the things I love and being with the people I love.

If you've been following my blog you might recognize that this was one of the pieces that I started in the Nancy Crow workshop that I took last year. I had been in such a rush to complete the top at the workshop that I had just randomly sewn some sections together, but I had never been quite satisfied with them. It hung on my design wall for a long time while I glared at it, trying to figure out how to fix it.

I finally just took all the sections apart, found more unused sections, and more of the left over fabric and then rearranged and reconfigured the pieces. I am much happier with this new version.

Another new technique I used with this piece was to face the edges instead of using my usual narrow binding. I didn't want a binding to detract from the composition.

While I was out photographing this piece I figured I might as well snap a couple of shots of some older quilts that I somehow never took pictures of.

This first one is called Color Blocks 1 (obviously, I meant to do more - still might!) It is a take on the graphics used on the cigar band of a Cohiba Cuban cigar.

The blocks are joined by zippers. This is so that you could rearrange the composition and zip it back together. Another idea that I meant to explore more. Color Block is hanging in Room 14 in the carriage house.

This next one is called Card Trick. This is not the best of photos because the wall is showing, but I wanted to take a quick shot in case it sold before I got any photos!

It is currently hanging in upstairs hall of the carriage house (next to the McKnight).

My next task is to get these up on my website. Maybe tomorrow. ;-)

Friday, April 24, 2009

February and March Landscapes

I finally finished the two landscapes that I was working on.

This is the March landscape and the one below is February.

It is always interesting to look at the pieces as photographs. For some reason I always see an aspect of the piece that I had not noticed while I was working on it. Maybe it is because the photograph puts some "distance" on the piece and while I'm working on it, it is too much "in-my-face" to notice some details.

In any case, I am happy they are done. Both are 15" x 15".

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gardening in My Mind

My daughter just posted on Facebook all of the things that she just planted in her garden in California. I just had to sigh. Yes, I do miss the good practically-year-round gardening weather in California.

It is not quite warm enough to start planting here in upstate NY, still might get a cold night. But even when it warms, I think I'll have to pass on the new and just work with what we have at the moment.

But I can garden in my mind. Jackson and Perkins is tempting me with their 2009 roses. Here is a beautiful example:

The Summer of Love Hybrid Tea Rose. So appropriate because we are close to Woodstock!

I think this would be a good image to work with when doing a color impression quilt. Maybe that will be my next project.

I'm almost finished with the landscape pieces. Still doing the final edges and hanging sleeve for the back.

We have a little break between workshops, so hopefully I'll get some studio time. The next one starts April 30th, although we do have an art therapy group coming in this next weekend for their group retreat. They even hired a yoga instructor for one day!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Forget About Coloring Easter Eggs!

Here is what I colored for Easter!

In case, you've never met me -- red is not what I was born with. But I always wanted to give it a try since my brown hair did have natural red highlights.

I needed to brighten up my day, week, whatever. Maybe I miss coloring easter eggs! ;-) Good thing my hairdresser didn't have any blue, pink, or purple dyes!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Counting Sheep

Yesterday I was feeling a bit low, probably from lack of sleep, so I started counting sheep.

After dinner I was browsing the internet after a search on "wool sheep" and "how to raise sheep". Yes, I know this is crazy, but I was to tired to think straight! ;-)

There are lots of interesting sheep varieties and the wool on the wool varieties certainly looks fine and soft. Hmm. Maybe a couple of sheep would look nice on the "back forty" (really the back 4)! Yeah, right! Like I need another job.

Well it is fun to dream.

I'm almost finished with two more landscape quilts. Just need the finishing edge. I was going to call it quits with this series, but then what happens . . . I go outside and start looking at the trees and think . . . Hmm, there is more that I can do to improve this series. Sigh, it never ends. Thank goodness!!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

More Progress on Landscapes

I got a quick shot of one of the landscapes that I'm working on. This is after I added the trees. I like that the pinkish fabric in back of the trees gives it a different "feel" than my previous winter landscape.

I'm still working on the trees in the next of this series. But I've come down with a miserable Spring cold and don't feel like doing anything in my studio. Maybe in a couple of days.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Being Drawn Out

Every time I see an artist who is fine and talented at drawing, I resolve spend more time drawing. Of course, I've also resolved to start practicing the clarinet again and to learn to speak the Spanish of my father, but thats gotten no where either. But I guess I don't have to beat myself up over it. It's ok to keep resolving. Certainly if I give up resolving it will absolutely never happen.

So I resolve to spend more time in my studio this year.

Yesterday I spent some time on the landscapes that I started. I didn't get any pictures, but I did make some good progress. The trees are finished on one of them and I'm in the middle of the second one. I'm debating about using a ink to add the hints of budding leaves. Our Maple trees have red buds and the Lilac are green. I was also considering using beads. I'll have to see which works best.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What's in The Works

A discussion came up on the Quiltart list about "what's on your wall". My design wall doesn't usually have my current project but more likely the project that I am waiting for inspiration. When I get stuck I hang the thing up so that I can stare at it for a while and sometimes I'll get ideas for it while working on something up.

So here is the state of my design wall at the moment. The red/blue/white piece is from the Nancy Crow workshop of last year. I have some ideas for it, but it will have to wait until I'm done with my current work. On the bottom is the latest of my winter landscape series. Above the and partially hidden is a piece called Winter Leaves II. It's waiting for a frame.

Then above that is my drawing/pattern for rabbit to be used in the future and a photo of the harbor scene that I used for my Kingston Festival piece.

Here is the real design "wall" - the table next to my sewing machine.

I'm working on two more winter landscapes. I've completed the backgrounds and now they are ready for trees.

This one is sort of a February/March landscape as I've added some more pinkish color to the landscape.

Then this one is moving more towards Spring. I used some light greens in the foreground.

And while I'm giving a tour of my studio, I might as well show you my inspiration bulletin board.

Ok, so it is not so much just an inspiration board as a collection of stuff!

On the knitting front, I'm working on another sweater. This one is using a wool/cotton blend yarn. Nice and soft and fun to knit. Really shows the pattern. It is the back of the sweater.

And, of course, I always have some socks going. These are in a wonderfully soft alpaca yarn from Misti Alpaca. Love these cool blues and greens.

On something totally un-fiber related, Mark finally had his bonfire last night. I don't see the attraction of setting things on fire and watching it burn on a cold cold night, but it did create this one interesting design. Doesn't it look sort of like a horse in the flames?

Friday, March 13, 2009

How Could You Go Wrong with a Blue Rabbit

I am trying out a new blogging application called Blogo and their logo is a blue rabbit! It is suppose to be super simple to use and you don't need to be in a browser to create blog posts.

You can also just drag and drop photos to the blog from anywhere on your computer, and then drag them around in the blog post until they are where you want them to be. Cool. Here is my test pic. This is Mark and I on our wedding day - we eloped to Reno! That was in 1992.

It also lets you crop the photos in blogo.

Monday, February 02, 2009

More winter landscapes

I just finished another version of my winter landscape. This is fun! The title is "Upon Another Winter's Day".

This one is 15" x 15". I used more fabric variations and tried to represent different types of trees. After making the first one I had noticed the maple trees that I can see outside my studio window and saw that all of their major branches started down low and reached all the way to the top. I thought I had really blown it with the way I did the trees on the first piece! But then I noticed the trees outside of Mark's office window (which is where we keep the espresso machine - my first stop in the morning after taking the dogs out for a quick walk) and saw that their branching structure was very much like the trees in the first landscape.

I have more ideas for variations on this theme, so I can't want to have some more time in my studio.

But at the moment I am tackling (yes, I watched the Super Bowl - yaa, Steelers!) the task of sorting and organizing our attic storage area. Boxes are still in there that have been untouched since being put there by the moving company - 5 years ago! I'm trying to eliminate as much stuff as possible. I already posted the first batch of stuff on eBay today (my seller id is kimiscbd). Sorry, no fiber art related stuff yet, but I'm sure there will be before I'm done.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Creative Thaw

While the snow and ice hasn't thawed, I finally got a moment in my studio! Thank goodness for deadlines or I might not have made it back in the studio until Spring (or at least after chocolate season).

I had promised to create a piece for the Studio Art Quilt Associates (New York branch) Trunk show and I was already late! So looking around my environment for inspiration, I recalled the winter landscape I had enjoyed on the way home from Albany last week. I was marveling at the slight pinkish tinge to the sky, just at the edge of the tree top line, that turned to bright blue as it went further up in the sky.

I call it "Upon a Winter Day". It is 12" x 12" and after its run in the trunk show, it will be donated to the SAQA auction in November.

I used a rotary pinker to cut out all the elements, because I didn't want a hard sharp edge between fabrics, and then stitched them in place. The trunks of the trees are strips of fabric, but the rest of tree is thread painted.

Had such fun creating this that I'm itching to make some more based on the same theme.