Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bye-Bye Green

Time to clean all the greens off my work table.  I had had them in separate piles of eight different greens, each with a six-way gradation of light to dark about 3/4 yard each to start , plus a few larger pieces that I had dyed.  Since I'm finished with my piecing and half-way through the quilting it's time to put them away.  As you can see, I have a lot left, surely enough to make another big quilt, but as much as I love it, I am through with green for awhile. Time to move onto another color.  Now where am I going to put all this green?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Then and Now Opening

Yesterday I traveled to Willamantic, CT for the opening for of Inspiration Quilts: Then and Now.  I was one of the twelve invited quilt artist asked to make a modern day interpretation of an antique quilt in the museum's collection. While all twelve quilts were worthy of publication here, I only chose a few so that maybe you will go see the rest for yourself. In only a couple of cases were the antique quilts hung next to their modern redo. Most were just too old and/or fragile to be hung, so they were either folded on quilt racks or folded and put in glass top cases.

Kate Themel chose to make a Honey Bee as her take on a Grandmother's Flower Garden from the 1940's.  Since the old quilt was made of hexagons, as is a bee hive, Kate thought of bees flying to the flowers.  Done with Kate's usual mastery of techniques, her quilt was glorious.

Catherine Whall Smith was assigned a Wedding Ring quilt from the 1930's.  Catherine made a quilt in blacks and whites that incorporated pictures from various weddings in which she had participated, including her own, and words from their wedding vows. She called it Marriage is Seldom Black and White.

Here is a detail showing a photo and text.

Pat Ferguson's quilt, Zen Dresden With a Surprise on the Back really should be seen in person. Her antique quilt, Dresden Plate, was a sweet little quilt with a dresden fans made of of pastel calicos on a peach background.  Pat who is a free-motion machine quilter extraordinaire, made a whole cloth peach quilt on which she quilted the fans in tiny patterns in several different colors of thread.

The real surprise was on the back of Pat's quilt.  She used fabric pens to fill in her exquisite quilting patterns to recreate the tiny calico prints.

Much to her surprise  some of the pens actually glowed under a black light.  She had a black-light flash light hanging next to the quilt to see the magic.  It was much more dramatic than this picture shows. Be sure to click on this picture to see the amazing quilting!

Rita Hannafin has always loved the 9 patch block so she chose an antique Nine Patch and made Deconstructed Nines.  She said that her goal was  "to echo the traditional format of the antique block while creating an original narrative". I love the fresh modern look of her quilt.

Here is the antique Nine Patch quilt folded over a quilt rack.

This show was full of surprises. Would you believe that this quilt was painted!  Yup, not bit of colored cloth here. Melanie Johnston's A New Sunrise, uses blocks that she painted with thickened dyes using colors very close to the original Sunrise/Mariner's Compass , made in 1845.  She quilted along the painted lines to simulate actual piecing.

Even with your nose to the quilt, it was hard to believe that it was painted. Bravo, Melanie!

And here is mine, Snapshots From My Garden, hanging over my antique inspiration, Peony Flower Appliqué made in 1850.  Mine is a hard quilt to photograph and as with many quilts, it's much better in person. We were encouraged to stand by our quilts and I was starting to lose my voice with all the explaining of my process of ice-dyeing.  I was pleased that it was so well received.

Here, as promised are some pictures of the Frog Spool Bridge in Willamantic. I was so delighted to be able to see it in person.

This last one gives you an idea of the scale.  Those spools and frogs are huge!

Now one last treat.  Members were encouraged to make postcards to be sold in the museum gift shop celebrating the museum's and SAQA's 25th Anniversary.  I bought this one made by Kate Themel, she of the Bumblebee quilt. Isn't it fabulous?!

Friday, May 23, 2014

SAQA Auction Quilt

Nothing like cutting it close, but I did finish my auction quilt.  The "received by" date is June 1. Actually I made two because I screwed up the first one.  I was using left-overs from my big green quilt project and some new piecing.  I was quite pleased with the way it looked, but the trouble began with the quilting. My plan was to free-motion quilt up and down each one of those skinny wigglies.  I had done this very successfully when I had SW sections as part of another quilt, but I had never made a quilt using only SW's. With so many seams I had a lot of distortion, but even worse, one very narrow strip just buckled up and was unquiltable.  Actually it was a blessing in disguise.  Better to find out on a twelve inch square piece and not a 64" x 48" piece.

Fortunately I had enough leftover strips with some additional piecing to make a second one.  This time I decided to quilt it with a walking foot and make curvy, swooping lines diagonally across the quilt.  Success!  No distortion, no buckling and a nice flat piece.

Here's the finished product, SW #4, Greening Up.  I decided to call this series SW (for Skinny Wiggly) and give each one a number and name.  I had made two previous quilts using SW's, so they are #1 and #2.  The quilt will be faced, the photo is just cropped here. Can you see my swoopy quilting? I used a variegated thread, something I often do.

Here is a detail of the quilting.

I like my backs to coordinate with the front and I often use my hand dyed fabric, as I did here.

And here is the disaster.  Can you see you see how it distorted?  I decided to capitalize on that scrunched up strip and I stuffed it with fiber fill.  I'm calling this one SW #3, Snake in the Grass.  
That's the snake on the lower left. I don't know if I'll ever use it for anything.  Chalk it up to a learning experience.

By the way, my big quilt looks nothing like these two.  I'm calling that one SW #5, Big Green and it's all basted and ready to go.  Quilting starts today!

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Fridays.  Go see what everyone is up to and leave some comments, if you do.  We all love to hear what you think.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Show Opening

This coming weekend is the opening of an invitational show for which I made a quilt that was inspired by an antique quilt in the museum's collection.  I showed it to you before and you can see it here.  You can  also see a little slice of it on the postcard, the second from the left on the bottom row.

I will be going to the opening which will be preceded by a regional SAQA meeting.  The meeting and show are in beautiful Willamantic, CT home to the Spool Frog Bridge.  Willamantic is an old mill town that had a thread factory at one time.  I'm anticipating seeing this bridge in person, only having seen it in pictures before.  I will take pictures and post them next week. But in the meantime you can read about it here. If you in the area, pop in and see the show, which will be there through Sept. 7.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Unexpected Award

You've seen this jacket before.  I entered it into the local Woman's Club Arts and Crafts competition back in February.  It won a First Place in its category and so went onto the District competition where it won another First so it went on to the State Conference competition this past weekend.  I had completely forgotten about it so I was so surprised when I learned that it not only won another First, but Best Of Show! I guess they were impressed by all those French knots on the front and back and the lovely silk fabric.  Unfortunately it's not a good fit but the judges didn't know that.

This was not just a sewing competition, but all kinds of arts and crafts including painting, all kinds of sewing, knitting, crochet, photography and much, much more.

I Just realized that the SAQA auction quilts are due June 1, so I'd better get going on that.  I'll show you when I'm done.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New York City Happenings

I went into New York yesterday with Woman's Club on a bus.  When we arrive we are free to pursue whatever activity we want.  Several of us got on the "cheap tickets" line for Broadway shows.  Cheap tickets is really a misnomer because "cheap" means eighty dollars or more instead of the usual $130+.  These are tickets that have not sold and are obtainable for that day.  You take a chance on getting what you want. Our first choice was "Book of Mormons" and that was totally unavailable. Our second choice, "Kinky Boots" only had first row available.  Not for me, that stiff neck craning up during the whole performance, so we got our third choice, "Newsies".  Our seats were in fourth row center orchestra, also a little too close , but still thoroughly enjoyable.

It was a fun musical roughly based on the newsboys strike in NYC in 1899 and you can read about it here. The mostly young cast members were very energetic and the dancing and singing were great.

After the show we were to meet on our bus  on 8th Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets.  But this is what greeted us when we got there.  President Obama was in town and the streets were totally blocked off.  We were stuck!  After making a few phone calls (thank God for cell phones) we were able to reach another member of our group and find out where the bus was.  We had to do a big circumvention of several blocks to get there.  Almost everyone missed the 5PM deadline, but the bus wasn't able to move anyway.  The driver was very resourceful and managed to drive a creative route to get us out of town.  We were only delayed by 30 to 40 minutes, not too bad.

No, we never did see Barack, just lots of police cars, black SUV's, and policemen on foot and horseback. It did add a bit of excitement to the day.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

SAQA Conference

Last weekend I travelled to beautiful Alexandria, VA for the SAQA conference, Capitalizing on Fiber, with my friend, Barbara.  We took the train down, about a five hour ride, and decided that it was a good way to travel. The conference was terrific!  The first evening we had "Speed Dating" in which we sat at round tables of ten and were given 1 1/2 minutes to tell about ourselves. We were encouraged to have business cards to pass around.  I was so glad that I had my new ones and now I have a nice collection since we changed tables twice to meet with a total of 30 people, who were there from all over the world.

There were lectures and symposium and forums all three days and I learned a lot.  Our hotel was right on the river and we could see the Capitol from our hotel room. We took a few breaks between sessions from the over-air- conditioned hotel to take brief walks along the river, where there were walking and biking paths, so pretty.

One of the highlights of the weekend was when we took a bus ride to Silver Springs.MD to see the Radical Elements Exhibit.  This was an exhibit where the artists were asked to enter a portfolio and those chosen to be in the show were given an element from the periodic table on which to base their quilt.  They were asked to refrain from using fabric or thread, but to use unconventional materials for their quilt.  Most complied and there were some very interesting materials used, such as wood, metal, screening, plastic, etc.  I will only show you a few of my favorites, although I loved almost all of them.

This was Copper and I'm so sorry that I didn't get the name. I thought I had taken pictures of all the plaques, but I must have missed this one.  If anyone knows the maker,  please let me know. I thought it was so clever with the many uses of copper. No thread or fabric here!

Aluminum--Last Rays by Gay Lasher
This was very three dimensional and just seemed to glow. I think the top layer was metal.

Cadmium--Cadmium by BJ Adams
BJ also gave a talk about her making eighty 8 x 8 quilts in her eightieth year. She is amazing!

Einsteinium--Element of Surprise by May Pal
This may have been my favorite because of the fabulous gauze portrait for whichMary is famous and for the eerily famous statement by Einstein.

Iron--The Irony Of It All Was Not Lost On Her by Trisha Hassler
This one had many layers and no fabric in sight.

Neon--Beckoning of Night by Marion Zeilinski
This was multilayered with sheer plastics and gave the illusion of Broadway or Vegas at night.

Sodium,--The Salt Flats  by Jeanie Palmer Moore
Even though this one did use fabric and thread stitching, we still liked it a lot.

Chromium--Chromium by Diane Melms
Diane used small stretched canvasses that she painted in Chromium Red, Yellow and Green. She then  stenciled the symbol for the element on each canvas.  The "thread" that holds them together are small silver magnets.

Remember to click on any picture for a bigger view of all.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Hurray, hurray!  I finished the 96th strip today.  Now I just have to sew them all together, but first I will number them all with pieces of blue painter's tape so that I don't lose the order.

The last pieced strip.

The mountain of slivers from cutting the curvy strips of fabric.

Left-overs from trimming the pieced strips to size.

More left-overs from trimming the sides of the pieced strips to size.  I'm hoping that I can use some of these pieced scraps in a small piece, maybe my SAQA auction piece.

I wish I could show you what the big quilt looks like.  It's all up on my design wall.  I've done a fair amount of arranging and rearranging to get the look I want and I really like it.  

I loved doing this technique and plan do another, but no green the next time.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday again.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Quilt Show

I was away for my guild's (Northern Star Quilters' Guild) big quilt show this past weekend.  I was so sorry to have to miss it for only the second time in all the years that I have been a member.  I had a very good excuse because I was at the SAQA (Studio Art Quilter's Associates) in Alexandria, VA.  I will be posting about that in a day or two, but today I will show you how the three quilts that I entered into the show fared.

I had been a quilt handler at the judging before I left on my trip, so I knew about the first two.  My friend, Carolyn, kindly offered  to take pictures for me.

The first one, Transformation, was pieced using my very bright hand-dyed fabrics, then heavily free-motion quilted, then painted over with latex wall paint.  It won an Honorable Mention in the Special Techniques Category.

My Radically Red quilt made entirely out of Dupioni silk, free-motin quilted, tucked and pleated and heavily hand French knotted won a Second Place in Special Techniques.

This quilt, Fractured II, was a surprise win for me. I wasn't there for that segment of the judging, so I didn't think it won anything.  I was very happy with my Second Place in the Small Art Quilts category.

If you'd like to see more of the show, go to Cindy Green's blog.  She wrote a very nice review and has more photos.