Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fabric Finds

One of the days in Portland visiting my son, he drove me to fabric stores. What a guy! I had the article that was in Threads Magazine last year, "Portland: A Fabric Mecca". I was on the hunt for Dupioni silk. I have been using it in my quilts lately as an accent to my hand dyed fabrics. I just love the shimmer and shine. I don't have a good source near me and have been ordering it online.

I did very well. We went to three stores. Josephine's Dry Goods in downtown Portland only had a little, but the other two were a bonanza. Fabric Depot had a large selection and it was 30% off that day. Mill End Store also had quite a bit and they were having 20%. The last two stores were enormous and had just about every kind of fabric you could think of, well worth the visit if you are in the area. So I added to my silk stash......

and added more.......

and more. These are only quarter yards, since I only need small pieces in my quilts for that little added zip. I have made two quilts out of all Dupioni and love that look, too.

I fell in love with this scrumptious lime green velvet. It is double shot and I plan to emboss it which should bring out the turquoisey under color.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Alpacas and Apples

I just returned from a delightful visit to Portland, OR to visit my son and his girlfriend. I've been there several times in the four years they've lived there and they always find new and interesting things to do with me. On this day we drove to the Hood River valley, a beautiful ride, and visited an alpaca farm and apple orchard.

Here is Katie feeding one of the babies. Their fleece is amazingly soft to the touch.

What a face!
This is the view from the alpaca farm. They are surrounded by apple orchards, which is where we went next.

We thought it would be fun to pick our own apples and here is my son, Kurt filling a bag. We thought that they would be cheaper if we picked them ourselves, but we were wrong. We ended up with almost $60 worth of apples! Good thing we all like them and they will keep well in the refrigerator for a few months.

We only picked Honey Crisps because they have such a short season and are so sweet and juicy.

How about this view from the orchard with Mt. Hood in the distance? The North West is such a magnificent part of our country.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

SAQA Auction

I was the lucky bidder yesterday to get Elaine Quehl's scrumptious quilt, "Unfurling". I've always admired Elaine's work and now I have a small piece all my own. You can see more about the SAQA auction here and see more of Elaine's work on her website here.

I was feeling very guilty for not having made a quilt for the auction this year, but I feel better now knowing that I have contributed to the cause this way.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

So Disappointing

This very sad piece is the cause of my very blue fingers yesterday. It has about three hours of stitching in it, to say nothing of the time pulling out and picking out the stitches. I think I must have missed pulling some of the threads on the middle, although it's very hard to see what you're doing once you start pulling. I must be doing something wrong, but I don't think I want to try this again.

When I was in Japan last year I bought two remnants from a street vendor for about a dollar a piece. They are each about 9" x 20". I can feel the bumps where the threads were. They had to have been done by hand unless they have some very clever machines that make it look hand made. How do they do it? Look at the intricacies!

This is a section from a 52"square tablecloth that I bought in China a few years ago for $20. As in the other pieces, you can feel the ridges where the stitches were and this is embroidered, too! I also bought a very cute fitted jacket, all shibori stitched for about $25. I know that labor is very cheap there, but it still amazes me, now that I know how hard it is to do.
Oh yes, my hands look much better now. Not perfect, but much better. First I used the scrubby end of the Clorox Bleach Pen, then put some of the gel on a Scotch Brite cleaning pad. I put lots of hand lotion on after and they felt fine and didn't smell like bleach. Then I washed my hair this morning and that helped, too.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Blue Saturday

Guess what I did today? I am so mad at myself! I always, always wear gloves when I'm dyeing fabric and today was no exception. However, one of the things that I did was stitched Shibori, dyed dark blue, of course. I rinsed and rinsed but had to take the stitches out before throwing it in the machine. The bulky rubber kitchen gloves wouldn't allow me to do it. Yes, I have thin latex gloves in my studio. Why, oh why didn't I put them on? Tomorrow is Sunday, church day for me. Oh, for the days of little white gloves.

I hope it wears off before I fly out to Portland, OR to see my son on Wednesday.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Patience Rewarded

Finally!  The sunflower seeds that I replanted after July 4th when the first ones were eaten by the deer are blooming. Well, at least one is blooming and others are close behind. The flowers are not as big as I thought they would be, but still very pretty and this bee thinks so, too.  Click on the picture for a bigger view.

The plants are about nine feet from the ground.  I had to use my zoom lens to capture the  shot above.

Unfortunately, and as I feared, the flowers are facing away from the deck and toward the afternoon sun, so I'm looking at the backs of the flowers when on the deck.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pamela Allen Workshop

I took a great workshop with Pamela Allen yesterday, My Quilt, My Way. You probably know of Pamela's work. It is funky, Picasso-like, far-out and unforgettable. She has a style all her own and if you are familiar with her work, you can spot one of her quilts from across the room. She was the speaker at our NSQG meeting on Tuesday night, where she treated us to a trunk show of many of her fabulous quilts. What you may not know, unless you have met her, is that she is a lovely woman, very kind, gracious and a super teacher. She is also a hoot and a lot of fun. That may sound like a contradiction, but it's true. If you ever have a chance to take a workshop with her, do it.

Here I am puzzling over what to do next, with Pamela offering advice and Benedicte looking on. This was a very different way of working for me (and most of us) . Everything was free-cut with no marking. First we put down our background (three pieces, light medium and dark with a 10 minute limit to do it) then we put down our largest pieces and went from there. Everything was glue-sticked down, a messy technique, I thought.

This is a VERY rough beginning and has a loooong way to go. I'm not sure about the piece behind the fish, but I needed something to make it pop off the background. I may audition some more.

As in most workshops, when I get there I always have the wrong thing. I had tons of embellishments, which we never got to, and not enough of the right kind of fabric. Benedicte kindly gave me this luscious piece of hand dyed velvet for my fish, to which I added fins and tail cut from a Kafffe Fasset fabric of mine. Next I will take everything off except for the background and start hand stitching things down in layers. I rarely do hand stitching, so that will be a departure for me. It will also get ribbons and buttons and beads and stuff. I'll post the finished product.

 I'm not even sure if I want to keep the fish on this. I think that my background lends itself to a desert scene....big saguaro cactus, prickly pear cactus in bloom on the foreground......I'll see. Quite a switch, going from an underwater scene to a desert. If I don't use the fish on this, I'll use it on something else, so he won't go to waste.

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gray Plus One

On Friday my small Friday quilt group, The Scrapbag Quilt Artists, hung their annual challenge show at the library in Newtown, CT. Although our group has gotten a lot smaller, we still managed to hang 15 quilts, with the inclusion of two alumnae members and some current members making two. If you ever thought that gray was boring, this show will certainly change your mind. If you live in the area I hope you will stop by and see it. It will be up until October 23.

Oh, yes, all the quilts are squared and true, it's my photography that makes some of them look otherwise. Please click on each picture for a larger view.

Radiance/Radiants by Andrea Shedletsky

Falling Water by Carolyn Cooney

Tsuru (Japanese Crane), by Betty Gemelin

Spinning Into Place by Nike Cutsumpas

Optimism by Andrea Sehedletsky

Etude in Red and Gray by Barbara Drillick

City Lights by Norma Schlager

Solid Illusions by Lynne Croswell and Winter by Anita Veccia

Hydra Flower by Nike Cutsumpas

No Elephants Here by Norma Schlager

Spicebush by Janet Bunch

Etude in Blue and Gray by Barbara Drillick

Gray Matters by Alice Garrard

Ribbon Dance by Margaret Clayton-Amey

Friday, September 11, 2009

SAQA meting

On Wednesday I attended a region SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) meeting at the home of our regional director Kate Themel. Kate is an incredible fiber artist and we were treated to a tour of her studio and saw several of her finished works, ready for a show. Since the date was 9/09/09 we were asked to participate in a postcard exchange, using the number 9 as our theme. I was fortunate to get Kate's card, "Nine Lives" Be sure to click on the picture to see all her wonderful quilting. I made a card called "Nine Wiggly Pink Stripes" and neglected to take a picture of it.
We had a lively round of Show and Tell with some fabulous work shown. I showed my two latest gray quilts and told about the problems I'm having with my rusted quilt (yes, I'm still working on it). There have been so many art related occasions lately, good to get my creative juices flowing. I have a lot of ideas, now I just have to get them all done. Deadlines are approaching.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Almost there

Remember those sunflowers that the deer ate down to nothing earlier in the summer? This is the second planting done early in July. They are about 7 feet tall and happily looking over the deck, as I had planned. The bottom leaves look a little raggedy and there are a few leaves nibbled off, but it looks like the deer repellents I'm using are doing the trick.

I don't know how long it will be before the flowers open.....soon I hope.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Cooper Hewitt Museum

Two friends and I took the train today into NYC again to see another fiber art exhibit. This one, Fashioning Felt" at the Cooper Hewitt Museum was phenomenal. Friends had been in to see it and gave it rave reviews. We had meant to see it when we went in a couple of weeks ago to see two other fiber art exhibits and ran out of time. The show closes tomorrow, Sept. 7 and we were urged to see it if we possibly could. Forget everything you thought you knew about felt. This show took it to a whole other level. There was a yurt constructed in the conservatory, where all the walls and ceiling of glass were covered with huge sheets of silk felted panels. So hard to describe, but so beautiful to see and touch. There were gorgeous clothing items, (two jackets I especially lusted after), furniture, rugs, sculptures and more.

No pictures were allowed inside because they had a lovely catalog to buy, but I have way too many art coffee table books. This is a shot of part of the beautiful garden outside. The building itself is a joy to see, being housed in the former mansion of Andrew Carnegie. It is now part of the Smithsonian Museum. Carolyn took this picture with my camera. Isn't she a great photographer?
We were planning on eating at the cafe in the museum since the website made it sound rather enticing, but it was not, so we elected to walk a couple of blocks and had a lovely lunch at a nice place on Madison Avenue. The weather was absolutley perfect, a quintessential September day. We were surprised at how many people there were walking around. I thought that folks would be out of town on Labor Day weekend, but perhaps there were many like us, that thought it was a grand day to be in the city.

I bought this pretty felt pin in the gift shop. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to wear this color and I put it right on the jacket I was wearing. It's four inches across so it makes quite a statement. Since the show closes tomorrow it was on sale, but I would have bought it anyway.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Eye of the Quilter

This year Karey Besenhan is running a photography contest, called Eye of the Quilter. We could enter three photos and the winners will be printed at 8" x 11" and be displayed at the International Quilt Festival in October in Houston, TX. They were to be something that might inspire us as a quilter. I had a hard time choosing just three, but these are the ones I chose. We were allowed to tinker with them in Photoshop. I did not and now I wish I had for the first one.This was taken in Granada, Spain.

Look how much better it looks with the color revved up. Too late, I sent it as it was in the first one.

This was shot at a spice stall in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. I keep thinking I'm going to use this in a quilt, maybe abstracted. I thought that these colors were vivid enough as they are.

This is a view of Hunderwasser House in Vienna, Austria. I loved the color blocking of these buildings and of course they reminded me of a quilt. These are the true colors.