Friday, August 29, 2014

Razzle Dazzle

SW 9, Razzle Dazzle

Every year I am asked to make a small quilt for the Silent Auction at the IQA show in Houston, TX and I have complied almost every year. I think that they ask all former award winners, teachers and authors.  Since I will not have a quilt in the show this year due to not entering, I wanted to have at least one small presence.

When I made my latest Skinny Wiggly quilt, shown here, I had many long pieced strips approximately two inches wide left over. I knew that I wanted to make them into a small quilt and played around with various settings.  I decided that I liked them side by side, but thought that they needed narrow strips to separate them.  I tired black and that did not look good, then solid strips of the colors in the strips and that was not exciting either.  Then I remembered this wiggly black and white striped fabric that I bought several years ago and have used as an accent in more than one quilt.  I auditioned it and thought it was just right.

I angled the pieced strips to make them more interesting and varied the width of the black and white inserts from 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch and quilted it in straight lines, changing colors as I went. I decided to give it an irregular edge because that's what it wanted to be.  This is a small piece only about 16" wide by 10" high.

The title of the quilt, SW 9, Razzle Dazzle means that it is number nine in my Skinny Wiggly series.
Razzle Dazzle was a favorite song from one of my favorite shows, Chicago, and you may remember that a Dazzle is a group of zebras, black and white striped just like my accent fabric.

So if you go to the big show in Houston this fall, be sure to look for my quilt at the Silent Auction.  There will be many small treasures to bid on.  I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday. Go see what everyone is up to.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Road Trip

Occasionally my Friday group, FiberWorks, will take a road trip to see a nearby exhibit, especially if it involves fiber art.  Last Friday instead of our usual meeting we car-pooled to see the exhibit at  The Hudson River Museum to see the work of Mandy Greer.  Her work was so unusual and interesting and very hard to describe.  I quote this from a press release "The Ecstatic Moment is a multi-part immersive installation of fiber-based sculpture and costumes, photography, film and performance that encompasses the entire bottom floor of the museum.  It meanders through six different realms of colored walls and wallpaper, as well as sweeping up into their 24-foot high atrium."   If you go to the first link you will get a thorough explanation by the artist herself about most of the works in the exhibit.  I did take quite a few photos and I will share some of them with you here.

 A picture of myself in the mirror at the bottom of the stairs, draped in the type of crocheted, knitted, woven, knotted, recycled materials used throughout out the exhibit.

A pretty good shot of the whole center room with cascading material.

The center exhibit in the red room.
The wings of the piece shown in the above picture. Note the elaborate stitching on the wings.

One of the many draped female figures.

This was quite large, hanging from the ceiling and encrusted with beads, trinkets, stones and shells.

I loved this lady in blue.

This blue drapey sculpture started at the top floor, wound itself over two stairways and up to the 24 foot ceiling.  It must have weighed a ton!

We went to Wave Hill first, since it was quite close to the Museum.  It is a former estate on the Hudson River with magnificent gardens and is open to the public.  We spent a couple of hours there walking around.  I took lot of pictures, but you can see better ones on their website.  The above picture was taken in one of the reflecting pool water gardens.  I thought that it looked so much like a mosaic. We had a lovely lunch on the terrace of the cafe, located in the former mansion.

It was day full of mental and visual stimulation.

I couldn't get this picture to go where I wanted it to go.  So often Blogger has a mind of its own.  But this is a detail of one of the works and you can see all the different materials she used and some of the techniques.

This is one time where you really should click on a picture to get a larger view of all.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014


Did you know that a group of zebras is called a Dazzle?  Well, neither did I, but Paula Klingerman did and made this fabulous quilt called "A Dazzle of Zebras".  She used several photos of zebras that she had taken on her many trips to Africa and composed this whimsical piece.  She plans to use it to raise money for breast cancer, but hasn't decided on the venue.

It was a huge hit at Show and Tell at a regional SAQA meeting this past weekend. I just love all the little touches like the pink eyelashes and tips of their manes.  The fascinator hat on the zebra in front has a netting veil.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Canadian Rockies , Part 5

This will be my last installment and I'm really making it brief, selecting just the highlights.

Me, Mickey, Maxine, Sheila
Our next destination was beautiful Lake Louise.  This is the only picture that I have of me with my three travel companions.  We had a wonderful time together sharing many laughs and ooh's and ay's.

We stayed at another incredible Fairmont Hotel.

This was the view from the dining room where we ate the first night. More scrumptious gourmet food.

This was taken at Emerald Lake, not far away.  The hotel was almost built here.  I forget the reason why they went to Lake Louise.

A natural bridge seen on one of our side trips.

Our next stay was at The Banff Springs Fairmont.  It literally was a castle in the mountains. This shot only shows one section of the hotel.  It has had several additions over the years. The building wrapped three quarters of the way around that star circle.

This archway was to the right of the section shown above, connecting another section.  You can see the date when it was built, 1888.  According to our guide the hotel has been full ever since.

Downtown Banff was small but charming, full of little shops, restaurants and ice cream stores.

One of our big adventures was this helicopter ride.  Some of us were very nervous about it, but it was thrilling and afforded us phenomenal views.

Taken from the helicopter.  There's that beautiful aqua blue water again.

Again from the heli.  Doesn't it look like a stegosaurus?

Our last stop was Calgary, from where we flew home.  This was taken from the Observation Tower at twilight.  It stayed light until almost 10:30.

The Observation Tower taken from below.

And that's it, folks.  I'm sorry if I rushed you through the last part, but I thought you might be getting tired of seeing more mountains and dazzling scenery.  Suffice it to say that it was a great trip and I would highly recommend it to anyone.  

Where am I going next?  South Africa, I hope, but that won't be until 2015. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I thought I would take a break from my Canadian Rockies report to show you three fabric postcards that I made over the last couple days.

The New Britain Museum of American Art is having an exhibit this fall  titled : Stitched In Time: American Quilts 1758-2014.  I will have a quilt in the exhibit and I blogged about it here. The show will run until January and they will have a large Christmas tree in the foyer that will be decorated with small quilts.  SAQA members were asked to make quilts that were 4" x 6" (postcard size), 5" x 7", or 12" x 12".  They will be for sale and half will go to the museum.  I like to make post cards and I said I would make two or three.

Here are my offerings. I have made the top one, "Pup in Posies", before for an exhibit in Houston to raise money for a pet shelter and I thought it was worth repeating. I used a landscapey looking commercial fabric for the background, a fussy cut dog from another fabric and grass, leaves and flowers made with heavy Jeans Thread on the machine. The flowers look like French knots.

The bottom two are made of Dupioni silk.  The ferns were fused and the fronds were free-motion satin stitched.  I made two in case someone might want a pair.

We were told to make some kind of hanger and I decided to just put small ribbon loops that could be removed if the buyer wants to frame them or actually use them as postcards.  Yes, you can send them through the mail.  Just put a first class stamp on it and pop it in the mailbox.  I have mailed a lot of them and they arrive just fine. They are quite sturdy since they are made on a base of Peltex, a very heavy duty interfacing. Some people put them in a clear plastic envelope, but I like to send them as is.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Canadian Rockies, Part 4

As we traveled north we saw more and more snow and glacier topped mountains.

One of the highlights of the trip was the ice bus ride onto the Columbia Ice Field.

We rode on this specially made bus with huge tires that had a low air pressure.  The driver ensured us that these rides and walks did not endanger the glaciers or encourage a faster melt.  They are melting at an alarming rate, so who knows if it is is true.

We were allowed to get out and walk around for about ten minutes.  It was quite soft and slushy.

We had this adorable bus driver and guide for two days.  He had an accent that we couldn't define and when we asked he said that he was born in Poland, but had lived all over the world.  He was so knowledgeable about everything we saw and very entertaining.  What you can't see in this picture is that his very fine blonde hair was gelled into spikes all over  his head, very incongruous with his angelic looking face.  After this run he was going to Belize to teach scuba diving.

Not sure where this totem pole was, possibly downtown Jasper, but I thought it was worth photographing.  I loved the colors.  It was probably quite new to have the colors be so vivid.

We learned that the reason for the aqua blue water was the glacial "flour" in the water that would reflect the sky.  

The scenery was breathtaking everywhere we went and I have lost track of what was where, but it was all spectacular. Remember that all pictures are clickable for a larger view.

Come back tomorrow and I will wrap this up with Lake Louise and Banff.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Canadian Rockies, Part 3

We took a ferry, a ninety minute ride, back to Vancouver where we stayed at another Fairmont, again right across from the harbor.  Vancouver is a vibrant, modern city and we wished we had more time to spend there.  We did take the "Hop On Hop Off Bus", which we often do in a new city to give us an overview.

This is a partial view of Canada Place with its iconic five white sails. It  was very close to our hotel and a great place to walk along.

We took a water taxi to Granville Island, home to the huge Public Market, arts and crafts galore, gift shops and many good restaurants.  We ate lunch at a great place that over looked the water. We only spent a couple of hours there, but you could easily spend all day.

This shop selling handmade silk clothing had incredible wares.  The woman was weaving on this loom and I was very tempted to buy a very pricey wrap, but I resisted. That's Maxine, one of my travel companions, in the background.  She is a knitter and she did buy some luscious silk yarn to make a scarf.

I love to look at totem poles and we did see a few and I was intrigued by this workshop visible from the walkway.

The Public Market was a gourmet's delight selling all sorts of fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat.  I wondered how they kept these cherries and tomatoes stacked up like that.  I didn't dare touch one, lest they fall apart.

We spent the evening walking around the city and ate at a charming little French Restaurant recommended to us by an equally charming gentleman we met on the street.

The next morning we got on the train. Our whole trip was organized by the Rocky Mountaineer company.  We had seats on the top observation level with the glass dome.  It afforded us fabulous views of the beautiful countryside.  (Many pictures below). We ate two gourmet meals a day on the train in a dining room with white linens and flowers and a choice of several entrees.  The food was delicious and artfully arranged.

A very unflattering picture of me and one of my traveling companions, Mickie, imbibing. The bar opened at 9:30 AM and you could have as much as you wanted of wine, beer, cordials, or whiskey all day long.  We were very moderate, but did have some. The attendants on the train were delightful, knowledgeable young women who gave commentary on what we were passing. The comfy seats did recline but as one of the attendants said that if you fell asleep it would be a very expensive nap.

  1. We saw several freight trains on other tracks.  Obviously they use the train a lot for commercial transport.

Looking out the front window at the train going around a curve.  You can see that some have observation decks and some do not.  There were cars behind us, too.  I think it held 600 passengers.  We did not all stay at the same hotels.

We did not sleep 0n the train, but got off to stay at hotels.  We stopped at Kamloops the first night, not much of a town and after the second day we got off at Jasper.  More about that in my next post.  Maybe tomorrow.