Friday, December 02, 2011

Scrap Storm

I'm currently working on a paper-pieced bed quilt using Karen Stone's pattern Indian Orange Peel. I started this in a class sometime in the early 1990's and am finally getting around to doing something towards finishing it!

Nothing orange about it though - I'm doing it in blues, grays, and blacks (Blueberry Peel??)


As I'm getting into it I'm reminded of the incredible fabric scrap storm created with this method!


I actually love the look of this pile of scraps (which is why I let it pile up in the first place). There is an even bigger pile on the other side of my chair! It has always seem like such a waste to throw it away. So this time I've teamed up with another fiber artist who works with tiny scraps and I'm going to package them all up and send them to her.

I'm also keeping track of the time it takes to do each part of the process, which is fun to do now and then. This is not for the faint of heart or those thinking of going into business selling quilts like this. For example, I've already timed how long it takes to piece 4 of the arcs, which is what each block takes - about 40 minutes - and I'm going to need about 196 just for the main part of the design! I'll post the complete breakdown when I'm done.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pressing Matters

Just last week I received the Elna OpalPress that I won in the International Professional Quilter Association membership drive. It was perfect timing because I was already planning to wash and iron my accumulated new fabrics in preparation for my winter studio time.


It was very easy to set up once I cleared off some space on my cutting table.


Here is the mass of fabric waiting to be smoothed.


Once the press reached the proper temp, ironing the yardage was a breeze. Just lay out the fabric . . .


Close the press for a few seconds and it was done! Marvelous!


While it took less attention to do this pressing (so I could pay attention to the movie I was watching), you do want to be very careful when positioning the fabric on the board so that you don't touch the pressing panel. That pressing panel on the top is HOT! I brushed it briefly once with my knuckle -- ouch!

A finished stack of fabrics.


Overall the Elna OpalPress is wonderful and it is going to make pressing fabric yardage fun. I just wish I had the space in my studio to leave it set up all the time, but it is great that it stores and sets up very easily.

My very first sewing machine was an Elna AirSU, so I was already expecting that I was going to have a quality product from Elna! I bought it when I was 16 and it is still around - although at my daughter's house.

I'm still debating whether to share it with our inn (the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn) housekeepers! I'm sure it would make ironing sheets, pillowcases, and table linens much easier, but I'm loath to give it up myself! May have get another one just for them. I'll have to try it out in the laundry myself this winter, when I do most of the housekeeping myself.

My husband says now I can iron his shirts. I told him I would leave the instruction manual out for him! ;-)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Squirrel-ish Dilemma

I want to be happy with this, and I am with most of it, but still it is not quite right.

The dilemma is that to fix what I think needs fixing could require removing most of what I've already done. Gads! Suggestions are welcome.


My next moment in the studio is not until next Saturday, so I'll be mulling this over all week.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Hear the Music

I finally decided what to do with the rabbit figure I created last December. The rabbit has been on my design wall all year just waiting for inspiration to strike.

I was cleaning up my studio and came upon stack of leftover cut-outs from making guitar ties. I spread them out on my cutting table trying to decide if there was some way to reassemble them into a "fabric" sheet that I could use again, when out of the corner of my eye the rabbit beckoned. I lay the rabbit on top of the scraps and noticed that the colors were very complementary for the rabbit and when reassembled in a random fashion were scrambled enough to become an almost neutral background.

Well, that was that. I call this piece "Hear the Music."


I'm currently working on squirrel piece. The squirrel and tree were created by the same technique as the rabbit.


Right now I'm working on what other elements I'll add, such as the grass. Nothing is stitched to the background yet, so this is very much a work in progress.


I'm also playing with the idea of adding some sort of flowering tree/shrub blossom in the upper left corner, just to contain the eye within the composition.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Knitted Knitting Bag

I've been trying to finish up all the unfinished projects laying around my studio, preparing for winter when I can work on some new larger scale projects. As I work during the year, some projects general a lot of "stuff" that get stacked all over the studio, so that by now I and barely see my cutting surface (the floor with a large cutting mat).

Then there are the projects that sit around waiting for some missing part or motivation to finish them.

One of these is this knitted tote bag that I must have started several years ago. It had been waiting for the bamboo handles, but I got those over a year ago. It was the motivation that was lacking! I think I was intimidated by the process of attaching the handles. So silly, since it turned out to be quite easy.


The tassels were fun, too! I lined it with a light weight denim fabric.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

What a Crazy Pear

I've been having lots of fun creating small fabric mosaics with the subject of pears. I choose pears for their interesting shape and interesting blend of colors.

After doing the first with a rather neutral light brown background, I thought I punch it up a little with BLUE! After all, according to Charles Gruppe (an oil painter), blue sells! LOL! It's also one of my favorite colors.


After completing the one above I was debating whether I should do another, because I do have other half finished projects on my design wall staring me in the face and demanding to be finished, but it's like pistachios - you can't stop at one!

But then the whimsey took hold of my brain and I sent my Pear Out to Sea.


That was it. I put away my tiny squares of fabric tiles before I started on Pear on the Moon, or Pear at Times Square. I'll have to let these ideas percolate while finishing the squirrel and rabbit pieces that I started last winter.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Studio Art Quilt Association Auction Piece

I actually managed to finish a piece for the SAQA reverse auction this year. I started it last week thinking to myself "I'm really getting it done early this year so that I don't miss out" because I remembered the auction being in the Fall. Then I looked at the deadline on the SAQA site - July 1st! Gads, right around the corner.

I love mosaics and have been making several fabric mosaics to fit in a bunch of frames that I had purchased during my street art fair days. So I thought I'd do a 12" x 12" version for the auction (not framed).


The reverse auction takes place in September. You can find out more about it and also preview other pieces on the SAQA website.

Monday, June 06, 2011

A Light in the Forest - SOLD!

One of my favorite color impression quilts just sold!


It had been hanging in one of guest rooms at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn but now it has gone to a new home.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Material Collection

A couple of weeks ago there was a fabric shop hop in our area, and while I knew I wouldn't be able to make it to all the shops (eleven), I hopped where I could.

My current fabric collection themes are grays and reddish browns. I have a couple of large scale pieces in mind that will need this palette of colors, so I'm stocking up.

The first shop I went to (which wasn't actually in the hop) was The Patchwork Co. located in Windham, NY. This is a relatively new shop. Because they are located Windham, they specialize in fabrics by Windham Fabrics.


They have a lot of Civil War repro fabrics, which have some very nice grayish hues.


The next shop I visited was The Joyful Quilter in Glenville, NY. This shop had recently relocated to a much larger shop and I was anxious to see the new place. I was not disappointed! It is a wonderful spacious and bright shop with a fabulous selection of fabric.


I came away with the 5 yards pictured at the top of the photo below. The shop is known for its collection of bright modern fabrics. I had a hard time resisting them, but I stuck to my gray and red/brown theme.


The final shop stop was the QuiltBug in Esperance, NY. This was my first visit to the shop and I love it! I also discovered that by the back roads it is only about 30 - 40 minutes from our inn. So now I'm going to have to add this shop to my "support my local shops" rotation!


They had a fun selection of color basics and fun novelties. I broke from my theme to get those yellow chicks fabric! Can't resist silly farm animals.

Back in the studio I've been working several mosaic pieces. The one seen here is one that I'm working on for the SAQA Auction which begins in September.


I had thought that I was getting a head start with this piece, vaguely remembering that the auction was in the Fall, until I looked at the deadline as I wrote this blog! The pieces are due by July. I better hurry.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Crazy Neckties - A New Batch

Finally completed another two batches of Crazy Ties. One set has a Fall/Halloween theme. Here's a couple of examples:



Then the other set is music/guitar themed:


Above is the one that was quilted with Aurifil 12 wt thread, that I was mentioning in a previous post.


The guitar ties are being held for David Taylor, one of Australia's top watercolor artists, who is coming to teach a workshop for us in September. He has been asking me to make these for a couple of years. He bought another one several years ago and likes to wear it to award ceremonies, but needs another for a change. Once he picks the one he wants, the others will be available for sale.

I'm still debating whether or not is is worth it to go the etsy route with my ties or just continue selling them at our inn, the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn, gift shop. Because each one is unique, I'd have to have to separate inventories - one for etsy and one for the inn. Hmmm. Will have to contemplate that a while longer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Falling In Love Again - with Aurifil

It's always wonderful to rediscover a material that you already have in your studio. I'm talking about 12 wt Cotton Aurifil thread.

I've been making Crazy Ties to restock my supply for our inn gift shop (and a special request from one of our art instructors). This particular type of Crazy Tie is quilted and it is always fun to play with specialty threads on these - metallics, holographic, neon, and heavy weight threads.

The quilting can be used to either blend in with the fabrics or to stand out as the main focal point of the tie.

With the 12wt Aurifil thread it TRANSFORMS the fabric! I love the look and the feel of the transformed fabric. Call me crazy, but I love to pet this fabric and feel the texture and heft of the thread.


Here is another view where you can really see the difference in the look of the fabric with and without the Aurifil quilting. With the Aurifil, the quilting takes center stage.


This is a quilting treatment with regular 50wt Mettler polyester thread. You can see how the fabric remains the focal point instead of the quilting, which is the a supporting player.


But now I feel the desire to round out my selection of Aurifil 12 wt! I especially like the variegated colors.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Missing Quilt

The fear of everyone who has every shipped a treasured item!

My friend, Janet Adkins, just sent this message to me:

My quilt, Kaaterskill, was shipped from Golden, Colorado on February 16, via UPS 2nd Day air. It hasn't been seen since. It was picked up, but never scanned. UPS claims they've looked for the package, but they can't find it. They're willing to issue a claim, but frankly, money won't replace this quilt.

I'm hoping to find someone at UPS or elsewhere who can put some pressure on them to look for the package. I've registered it on the Lost Quilt page, put it up on my Facebook page, and I'm trying to get the Times Union consumer advocate to look into the case.

Everyone I've talked to about it feels the quilt will come back, eventually. But I've already had to withdraw it from one quilt show, and I just found out it's been juried into the AQS show at Paducah - this is it's last chance to enter that show.

If you can help, I would really appreciate it. I can't believe I'll never see this quilt again!


If anyone has seen this quilt or knows of something that might help find this missing quilt, if would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski

I've been invited to co-host the internet radio show Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski on March 9th.

I'm so excited about this because Mark Lipinski is such a "wild" and dynamic person. This is how his website describes him - "international
quilt teacher and quilt fabric designer and creator and former
Executive Editor of Quilter's Home magazine, Mark Lipinski.
Dubbed "the bad boy of quilting" by the international press,
Mark's no holds barred, brutally honest, riotous PG-13 talks
are half quilting and all stand-up comedy."

Creative Mojo airs every Wednesday at 3:00 pm Eastern time and runs LIVE, with listener call-ins, for 2 hours. You can tune in by going to Toginet Radio and click on the listen live button on the right hand side of the page.

However, if you are like me, you might find the podcast easier to find time to listen to (although you won't have the opportunity to call-in to the live show.) You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and download all of the past shows to catch up on all the zany fun!

On the show that I'll be co-hosting the guests will be:

Scott Jeffrey, who wrote Creativity Revealed: Discovering the Source of Inspiration. (I've already loaded this one on my Kindle.)

Margaret McCraw, who wrote The Relationship Code. (I'm reading this one now. Interesting theories!)

Mark Montano, an all-around uber crafter, who recently wrote the paper crafting book, Pulp Fiction - Perfect Paper Projects. This looks like it has some great creative idea.

Judi Ketteler, author of Sew Retro, a Stylish History of The Sewing Revolution.

I tell ya, after I got the list of guests for the show and looked up their books on the internet, I wanted to run out and get them all. I'm so looking forward to the discussion on the radio show. Hope you'll listen in!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Finished a Sheep Sweater

I just completed my first sweater that used more than one color of yarn. It was certainly a trial managing the different balls of yarn all at once and maintaining an even tension. I was pleasantly surprized with the finished sweater.


I like whimsy and this design fit the bill. It is by Fiber Trends and is called Sheep-Go-Round. The yarn I used was Valley Yarn's Goshen, a cotton/modal/silk blend. Very nice to work with.

(I just found out that they also have a really over-the-top design of a sweater with a fuzzy sheep's face making up the entire front of the sweater. I'm tempted but would anyone admit to knowing me if I wore it? LOL!)


Monday, February 28, 2011

Mosaics with Fabric Tiles

I've always loved mosaics, probably because they are sort like puzzles and you put them together with lots of tiny pieces. Don't know why I like working with tiny pieces, but I do!

Having finished my first goal of 2011 with the completion of the 5 traditional quilts for our inn guest rooms, I now have some time to get back to some art quilting!

As often happens when you are in that "in-between-projects" state, I'd walk into my studio with my mind spinning with hundreds of ideas, but not sure which one to start with, and would instead immediately consider some sort of procrastination project like cleaning or organizing my studio. Yikes!

So the best thing to do to avoid something as horrid as organizing my studio, is to jump right in with a small project that can be started right away and is quickly finished for that satisfying feeling of getting something done.

I decided to do a mosaic pear.


The pieces are about half an inch and are backed with Misty Fuse. I have used Steam-a-Seam II for the mosaics I've previous made, but as I had none handy, I reached for what was handy - the Misty Fuse. It was quite nice to use. After selecting the fabric I was going to use, I cut small sections, about 6" x 6", of each and fused the MF to the backs. I could then cut a batch of fabric tiles from these pieces as needed.

All the tiles are stitched/quilted with varigated rayon thread from Mettler or Sulky.

While finishing it, I was thinking that I'd have to find another image to work with for my next piece, but already I can see different ways of working with the same image - playing with different colors, different angles, different backgrounds.

I created this piece specifically to fit the frame. I have a couple boxes of these frames leftover from when I sold my work at art and craft festivals in California.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

One More for Tradition

I've reached my goal of 5 new traditional quilts for our inn guest rooms! The final one is a Full sized quilt and it is a scrappy Ohio Star pattern.


The quilts still need to be quilted but, since I'm not doing that part, I can now get on to other projects! I have a full month before the workshop season begins and I plan to take advantage of every available minute that I can get in my studio.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Happy Accident

As I often discover in the midst of working with designs for quilts or art quilts, an accident, mistake, or total disaster can be turned into something that is just as good or even better than what you had in mind in the first place!

When I was creating the design layout for the quilt I posted the other day, I accidently clicked the wrong button in EQ7 (Electric Quilt) and every other row of the blocks shifted one column to the left. After I exclaimed in dismay at my mistake, I took a second look and said "Hmmmmm. Nice." So I saved that design for later before I went back to recreating the first design.

But that wasn't the only oops that resulted in my next quilt. While cutting out the white blocks, I forgot to account for the seam allowance in my measurement, and of course, I didn't think of this until I had already cut out all of the white blocks! So now I had this stack of blocks that were half an inch to short.

So when I returned to my accidental design, I just decreased the height of one of the strips of fabric that made up the colored blocks by half an inch. To then make it appear that this was my intention all along, instead of having purely a gradation of blues in the block, I decided to use at least one blue fabric with some yellow in it and then the smaller strip piece would be a yellow fabric.


This is another queen size quilt destined for a bed in one of our inn guest rooms.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Beauty of Simplicity

Last year while browsing through some quilt magazine I saw an ad for a book about "modern" quilts. On the cover it featured a quilt with a simple design of stripes composed of gradient colors of blue interspersed with stripes of white. First of all, blue is my favorite color, so that is what caught my eye in the first place, but I was further entranced with the elegant simplicity of the design and the knock-out contrast that the white fabric provided for the blues.

So being the normal red-blooded quilter, I said "wow, I've got to make one of those."

I used EQ7 to create the block (a narrow 12" x 3" block made of of six 2" x 3" pieces of fabric) and then design the layout and size.

The blue blocks were all strip-pieced (2.5" x 40" strips sewn together and then cut into the blocks).

Here is the resulting Queen size quilt.


This picture really doesn't it do it justice because of the lighting and the angle, but I'll get a better picture when it is totally quilted and finished.

But I loved the result so much, I immediately continued the process and made a matching Twin size quilt. (We have 5 guest rooms at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn that have 2 beds - a Queen and a Twin, so this will be a good set for one of these rooms.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pinwheel King Quilt

It's been a while since I've blogged, but I've been busy doing blog-worthly work so that I'd have something to blog about!

I finished the top for the second King Quilt. It is a scrappy pinwheel pattern. Using white fabrics for contrast really made those bright fabrics "pop."


This will go off to be quilted by Eileen Keane on Monday and she'll be bringing back the first King Quilt ready for binding and putting on a guest room bed at our inn, Greenville Arms 1889 Inn.

It has been a snowy winter with some impressive icicles forming on buildings all around town. Here is a shot of the ones outside my studio window.


They were quite beautiful when the sun shone through them.

In between quilts, of course, I'm knitting. Here are my latest pair of socks. These are the first lace patterned socks that I've made. They are knit in Summer Sox by Classic Elite - 100% cotton.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

More Strip Blocks for a Queen

I finished another quilt top towards my goal of 5 done this winter. I have just one more to go.


Sigh, what I wouldn't give for a longarm machine. I currently send all bed quilts out to someone else to do, but would love to be able to do them myself. Not because these other longarmers don't do a great job, just because I'm a do-it-myself kind of person! Well, I can dream.

Today I'll start the final quilt top.

In between, quilting and WORK, I've been knitting, of course. We recently took a trip over to Webs, in Northampton, MA. THE best yarn store I know of. I gave my husband a certificate for a knitted sweater for his birthday, so we had to pick up some yarn for that and I also stocked up on sock yarn - my favorite thing to knit when my brain is too tired to think of anything else.

This is the yarn for the sweater.


and a couple of the sock yarns.




All of the yarn came from the extensive discount yarn room/warehouse at Webs. This is the best feature for the budget-minded knitter who still wants top quality yarns.