Monday, August 31, 2009

Consternation and Aggravation

Lest you think that I have been even more of a slug than usual, let me tell you that I have been working diligently. I pieced together those units of little wiggly strips in rust colored and blue fabrics with the pieces of hand-dyed fabrics that I had rust dyed. The pieces went to together with amazing ease---sometimes that happens. I produced a piece about 30" x 40" and I must say that I was pleased with the results. Then I took a couple of days to decide how to quilt it. And that's where the dilemma began. Quilting the wiggly strips and the Dupioni silk that I put in the quilt was no problem. But when I started quilting on the rusted fabric, oh, my, big trouble! The thread kept breaking, but even worse, The fabric was actually shredding in spots, especially near the seams.
I went to the source of never ending quilt wisdom, the Quiltart online group, and asked for suggestions and I got several. So today I went to the store and purchased Sewer's Aid (a silicone coating for the needles), several different types of needles, and polyester thread (I had been using rayon). I will start anew tomorrow and hope for the best. I had envisioned myself rusting more fabric and making more of this type of quilt so I hope that I can solve this puzzle.
Wish me luck and stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

How About This Way?

I took my quilt to my quilt group and we talked about how it should be displayed.  It's been said that a good abstract design will look good in any direction.  We rotated the quilt around each way and the consensus was that it looks best this way.  I think I agree, even though it's not the way I designed it.  What do you think?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dare I hope?

These are the sunflowers I planted after the original ones were decimated by the deer. You can see that damage here. Now they are at just about the height that they were when chomped on by Bambi and friends. My intent was to have their happy faces (the sunflowers, not the deer) show above the deck railing and be seen on the deck and in the house. I don't know how far away they are from actually blooming, but I'm being hopeful that it happens before frost.

This has been a crazy summer for the garden. Many things rotted from the excessive rain in June and July. And now we have oppressive heat and humidity. Yuck. The yellow Margarite daisies, that I planted by the mail box with blue Scaevola, and about which I was so enthusiastic, now look very sad and scraggly in spite of my diligent deadheading. They will soon be replaced by mums. The scaevola still look good, maybe I should concentrate on them next year.

I've often said that life should be like a garden. If it doesn't work out one year, you always have the next year to do it all over again. Now wouldn't that be nice?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gray Plus One, #2

This is the second quilt I made for my quilt group's challenge, Gray Plus One, in which we are to use only shades of gray and one other color. My first one, "City Lights" used yellow and this one, as yet unnamed" uses turquoise. I was going to do an elephant quilt, but my friend Carolyn urged me to make another abstract, since that seems to be my thing. She was right and I had a lot of fun making this. Although, as with my City Lights quilt, I had a hard time keeping to the size restriction, 18 x 24. Even though I thought I had it just right, after quilting and squaring up, it falls a bit short. Oh, well, I tried.

I also had a difficult time deciding how to quilt it. I stared at it for a week before I took the plunge. I thought that straight line walking foot quilting would look good, but didn't want to do the whole thing that way, too tedious and labor intensive. And I didn't want to do anything wavy or curvy. So I ended up doing some straight lines, mostly on the silk Dupioni, free motion angular meandering and some innies/outies on the hand dyed cotton.
As for the name, I'm thinking of "No Elephants Here" and let everyone who sees it wonder why, or just add it to my Configurations Series, this being #8

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Art Day

On Friday four quilting buds and I took the train into New York City to see two incredible art quilt exhibits. No pictures allowed at either venue which is too bad since we saw such great work. First we walked from the station to 45th Street to the American Folk Art Museum, next to MOMA, to see Kaleidoscope Quilts-The Art of Paula Nadlestern. I am very familiar with her work and even took a workshop with her several years ago, very tedious and challenging. The exhibit was terrific and we were so glad that we went. Paula uses teeny, tiny pieces of fabric and impeccable workmanship to make her splendid quilts. Her sense of color and design are truly wonderful. There were many quilts there that I had not seen before and to be able to inspect all of them up close was quite rewarding.
We had lunch at the museum cafe (forgettable) and then took the subway to 25th Street to the NOHO Gallery and the work of Ludmila Aristova. She has an article in the current issue of Quilting Art and makes beautiful cityscapes, using a wide array of fabrics and techniques. There was one small night scene that I especially coveted. It just glittered and glowed--hard to think that a mainly black quilt could have so much life. She also had several abstracts with layering of sheer and silk fabrics, and interesting stitching. Very hard to describe, but so beautiful to see. The NOHO Gallery is in a big building with many other galleries and we browsed through a few, mostly oil paintings.
We were hoping to see the Fashion Felt exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design museum, but that would have made it a very long day and some of us had obligations that evening.
I'm so glad that we live close enough to NYC to make these excursions possible. New York is such a treasure trove of art and inspiration.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lowell Quilt Festival

On Saturday my friend, Nike, and I made an impromptu trip to the Lowell Quilt Festival in Lowell MA. It was a beautiful day and we said , "Why not?" It was a three hour drive and went very smoothly with very little traffic. Nike drove so it was really easy for me. We were so glad that we went. The quilts at the Tsongas Arena were, for the most part, not very inspiring, although there were 10 or 12 outstanding ones. Our favorite venues were the Brush Gallery and the Whistler Gallery, both with splendid displays of art quilts. This beauty was the Best of Show at the Whistler, by Betty Busby. It was stunning and well deserving of the award.

Here in the detail you can see the tiny beads she sewed on and the tiny pieces of fabric to simulate leaves. This in itself would make a wonderful quilt.

Also at the Whistler, here is Elaine Quehl with her scrumptious hosta leave quilt.

We were lucky to meet up with Benedicte Caneil here with her quilt at the Brush Gallery. What you can't tell from this picture is that all of the fabric is hand painted by Benedicte, then cut up and pieced.

There were so many lovely quilts at both places and I took a lot of pictures, but I didn't want to post any without permission.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Be sure to click on the picture to see his glorious "fur" coat. Whoops! So much for Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Next Quilt

I came back from Quilt National with renewed enthusiasm and a resolve to send more time in my studio. So far so good. I have finished one quilt, shown in yesterday's blog, then spent all yesterday morning cleaning up the huge mess I had made. Then I reorganized what was left of the grays (quite a bit) and went through my turquoises, since that's what I decided to use as my second color for my next Gray Plus One challenge quilt. I do like this color combination. I had two yummy gray Dupioni silk pieces in my stash and one scrumptious dark turquoise, or teal Dupioni silk.  I bought some embroidery thread and Pearle cotton yesterday and I might do some hand stitching. I also have a lot of turquoise beads in my stash so I pulled a few of those. Now to get to work.

After I had made my lunch yesterday, I looked at the plate and thought that it was so pretty that I had to take a picture. I love the yellow and reds against the blue and white plate. This summer has been one of the best for peaches. Usually I throw away more than I eat since they are either sour, hard as a rock, mealy or mushy. This summer they have been sweet and juicy, the eat-over-the-sink-with-the-juice-running-down-your-arm variety. I also have delicious cherry tomatoes growing on my deck. The orange ones are "Sun Gold' and the red are "Super Sweet One Hundreds" Both are very sweet. I know that this sounds like a strange combination, but the peach and tomato combo is fabulous. I also happen to be very fond of cottage cheese so this makes a perfect summer lunch for me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Corrected picture

After posting a picture of this quilt yesterday and complaining about the color being off, Linda Minton from Quiltart kindly offered to correct the coloring for me. Then I remembered that I could do it myself in Photoshop. Now why didn't I do that before? This picture is much truer to the color. Note to sure to correct color if necessary. Thank you, Linda, for that prompt.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

City Lights

A little while back I blogged about some gray fabrics I had dyed. It was for a "Gray Plus One" challenge in which we are to make an 18 x 24 piece using only gray and one other color. I thought it was natural for my Configuration series in which I use different combination of my hand dyed fabrics and my wonky piecing to give an illusion of buildings.

I found this a bit daunting because, even though I've done six configuration quilts before, none were this small or had a size restriction. I did a lot of units over or added strips to "stretch" them to fit. It was also difficult to photograph.  The wall that it's on is white, so in person it's a bit brighter. I photographed it with and without lights and with and without flash.  This was the best of the lot and shows the texture somewhat. Be sure to click on the picture for a bigger view.

And then there was the quilting. First the metallic thread was obstreperous and kept breaking, but after finding the correct needle it behaved. All those seams did not help either. Some of those squares at the top of the quilt are only about 1/4 inch.

The show will be hung on September 11, so I have time to make another. It will be another abstract, but no buildings this time. I'm not sure what my one color will be.......maybe turquoise or lime green..... maybe.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fallingwater and Quilt National

From early Sunday morning to very late Wed. night I was on a road trip with three friends. We drove from CT to PA to see Frank Lloyd Wright's famous building, Fallingwater.

The home, designed for and lived in by the Kaufmann family, owners of a large department store in Pittsburgh, was built between 1936 and 1939. The house is made of cantilevered units that hang over the waterfall and stream below, an amazing feat of engineering. No pictures were allowed inside, but many things inside were also cantilevered, such as built-in couches, desks, shelving, etc.

The fabulous foursome posing with the building behind us. Janet and Carolyn in back with Barbara and me in front.

The grounds were spectacular with well tended paths through the woods. Many rhododendrons, not in bloom, graced the walkways. This beautiful fungus caught my eye. I think it was even brighter in person.

Then we were off to Athens, Ohio to see Quilt National.

We loved the show, as we always do even thought there were a few WWTT (what were they thinking) pieces. As Janet said, we sucked each quilt dry. I wonder if others spend as much time as we do. We were there at 11AM when it opened, left about 1PM for lunch in town, then back to the Dairy Barn until closing at 5PM. And this is for just 80 quilts.

We were most fortunate to have good weather on the long drive there and while touring Falling Water and our time in Athens, but this is what we had almost all the way home. Rain, rain, rain, like so much of our summer here in the East has been. It was a fabulous trip and we're looking forward to 2011 and the next Quilt National.