Thursday, January 30, 2014

Favela quilt finished

I decided to use this head-on photo as my inspiration for my favela quilt. See my last post for more info about the favela.

If you are familiar with my work, you will know that I am a big piecer, but I decided to use all fusing on this piece.  I took a lot of artistic license with the colors and the shapes.

It's a small piece, only 14" x 18".  I tried to make a variety of different window shapes and styles, too.  I used all my hand dyed fabric solids and snuck in a few rainbow dyed fabrics. It is not darker on the bottom, as it looks in the picture.  It must have been the lighting. I think it's bordering on "cute", not my original intention.  What do you think?  Too "cute"?

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Fridays. Go see what everyone is up and leave some comments.

Friday, January 24, 2014

"The best laid plans.....

.....of mice and men often go astray", said Robert Burns.  And the best laid plans of this quilt artist very often go astray. The plan that I spoke of in my last post to make a quilt inspired by the architecture of Hundertwasser just did not work out.  I was trying to simplify it and in doing that it looked like something done by a kindergartener.  Hmmmm, those two Germanic words go well together, but not in a quilt.

Sooooo, off on a new plan I go.  While traveling in South America last year one of the places we visited and were intrigued by was a Favela in Rio de Janeiro.  A favela is a slum (of sorts) for the working poor. The one that we toured had electricity (with wires draped, often precariously, over the streets), plumbing, sanitation systems, stores and schools.  While they had been known for crime and drugs they are now safer and heavily policed.  We saw many groups of police bearing very visible arms. Of course we were on a guided tour, so we never felt unsafe.  We even visited a school, a very poor school that was being funded by an American charity.

This little beauty willingly posed for me. Perhaps a future Samba dancer?

The favelas are built up the side of the mountains surrounding the city.  Many of them are quite colorful.

We went up this stairway and were able to peek in some of the apartments.  Gotta love that lime green and pink!

While there are many one story buildings, there are also two and three story.
Some of the creative wiring.

But from the flats of the city looking up, you don't see the warren of streets and alleys. You just see what appears to be a lot of little buildings almost piled on top of one another and that's what I am going to try to depict in my small quilt.  I am going to use a lot of artistic license as to color and design, so please come back and see what I've done.  I've been working on it these past couple of frigid days (good time to be in the studio) and I hope to work on it over the weekend.  Hopeful it will be better than my Hundertwasser adventure. So my apologies to Fredensreich.  I may visit you again some day and try again. And then there's always the Gaudi architecture I saw in Barcelona. Maybe somewhere down the road.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In the Works

The FANE group of which I am a member has decided on the theme of our next exhibit, "Architectural Elements". At first I thought I might do another of my city quilts, this time in bright colors and then I remembered something I had seen on one of my trips.  A few years ago I was in Vienna and one of the "must see's" is Hundertwasser Village, the creation of Austrian artist, Fredensreich Hundertwasser. I thought the colorful buildings were fantastic and knew that I would try to interpret it in a quilt some day.  Well, that thought languished, as many of mine do, until now when I think it will be perfect.

Can you see why I was so excited about it?   All that color, all those wonky lines.

He also used a lot of black and white, especially in the interiors.

 I went through my stash of hand-dyes and pulled these out.  I also have a large black and white collection and I may use some of those, too.

Stay tuned and I will show you my progress.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Purse

My friend, Claire, gave me some very nice upholstery fabric scraps left from her daughter's custom furniture from Ethan Allen.  She knows that I like to make the occasional purse and I finally got around to using them.

I used a purse that I had bought in Portland, OR several years ago as a pattern.  I liked the multiple pockets, the front zipper, and the little loops on the side to hold the strap.

  I used the front and the back of that striped fabric with flowers. I'm thinking that I should look for a pretty bead to put on the zipper pull. I will take it to Florida with me and know that it will go with a couple of warm weather tops/jackets.

I've linked up with Off the Wall Friday again.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Well, the red nightmare jacket is finished.  It's OK, but only OK.  I don't love it and I'm not sure why.  It gave me a lot of trouble.  Although I've done a fair amount of garment-making over the years and there was a period many years ago where I made almost all my clothes, I still need a pattern.  All I wanted was a simple jacket with no front fastening and a stand collar.  I went through every pattern book there is and couldn't find what I wanted.  So I combined two patterns I had used before and that was where the problem started. I ended up with a mandarin collar instead of a stand collar, for one thing.

I do like the fabric and all my French knots and I will wear it at some time, but it is kind of dressy.


Here is a jacket I made several years ago using a Lorraine Torrence pattern and Cherrywood fabric.  Her patterns are rather complicated, but if you follow her directions to the T, they work.  I even like the way it fits. I know it looks very boxy here, but it does look nice on. I had those leaf buttons in my button stash and found them after I decided to do the leaf motif on the free motion quilting.

And here is the back.

I did some free motion quilting on the panels using heavy Jeans Stitch thread.

Here is another Lorraine Torrence pattern and again I used Cherrywood fabrics.  It was another tricky pattern, but I loved the way it came out.  I found those hand (and one foot) buttons at Houston and dyed them to go with the fabric.

                                                       And the back of the vest.

I still have to hem the sleeves of the red jacket, but other than that I AM DONE and don't think I'll be doing any garment sewing for while.  Tomorrow after Church I plan to spend the day playing with the Gelli plate I bought In Houston and haven't even opened yet.  Hopefully I'll have something to show when I'm done.

I'm linking up to Off the Wall Friday.  Hop on over and see what others are doing.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Grand Finale

On Saturday my friends and I braved the frigid weather and ventured into NYC to see the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. We had had these rather expensive tickets for quite awhile and we were so glad that they weren't for Friday when we had a nasty snow storm.  By Saturday the roads were fairly clear and Liz, who loves to drive in the city (not me!) didn't mind at all.

I've seen a few versions of the Nutcracker including the ones that the local ballet schools offer, but there is nothing like seeing a professional performance and the one put on by the New York City Ballet company is one of the best.  I never get tired of the music and the NYC Ballet orchestra is fabulous.The costumes were beautiful and the dancing was splendid.  In my next life I want to be a ballerina, says she who has never even been able to touch her toes.

We had lunch at PJ Clark's right across the street from LC.  We chose it because of its proximity since we didn't want to have to walk too far in the cold.  I probably added to my Christmas weight gain by having Oysters Rockefeller, tomato bisque and warm bread pudding with whipped cream.
It was a great day and a lovely finale to the season.

Friday, January 3, 2014


I know that the thermometer shows 10 degrees, but the TV says that it's five and with the wind chill factor it is well below zero.  Luckily I have no place to go.  Out weekly FiberWorks meeting was cancelled due to the weather.  The snow has stopped and we didn't get as much as anticipated, maybe 4 or 5 inches, but with the frigid temps it will be here for awhile. I can hear the wind howling out there. Tomorrow I am going to NYC to see the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. It is supposed to be just as cold, so we will surely bundle up.  My new down coat should be just the ticket.

I spent most of New Year's Eve day and New Year's day untrimming the house.  Everything is put away and the house looks so different.   This arrangement on my kitchen table is all that's left.  It is fresh and has held up remarkably well, but I will dispose of it in a few days, too.

After the holidays I like to have some fresh flowers in the house that are very "un-Chrstmasey".  As soon as I can get to the store I will buy something, but for now these silk peonies will have to fill the bill.