Thursday, September 24, 2015

Button, button, who's got the button?

Me!  Let me explain.....
Each year the art quilt group of my big guild, Northern Star Quilter's Guild, has a special exhibit at the guild's annual show at the end of May.  This year the challenge is rather unique.  We are each to make a 12" square with a yellow path running through it.  The path has to be one inch at its entrance and one inch at its exit, but it can do anything within the block.  It can zig-zag, be straight or wavy, fat or skinny. It must not exit on the same side it entered. There can be no right side up and they will all be joined by the paths. The background can be any color.

I don't know why, but I almost immediately thought of buttons and beads.  I've always wanted to do a small encrusted piece and this was the perfect opportunity.

I used a piece of Peltex, a very firm interfacing and fused a yellow path and then painted the rest of the square in an ombre from dark red, to red, to dark pink to light pink.

I had some buttons and I dyed and painted a few, but mostly I purchased collections.  I also won two jars of buttons at a SAQA regional meeting, one pink and one red, and that was the incentive for my color scheme. I am being really crazy and am sewing each button and bead on by hand.  I know that I could have glued them, but that seemed like cheating.

 I should have taken a picture before I started buttoning, but you get the idea.  Here I am working on the yellow path with all my yellow buttons spread out. It works great on my kitchen table with a table cloth and the buttons don't slide all around.  I'm using a beading tray for the beads.

That big one on the left with the empty holes is a shank button, which is why you don't see any thread.  The big flower was painted, as was the round ball button.

I got all excited when I saw these sparkly ones.  Sigh...doesn't take much to make me happy.

That unusual one in the center is a bone button that I dyed.  Most of the ones that I dyed didn't take the color, probably plastic. That little button made from thread was also dyed.  Notice the Beverly Hills Polo Club, most likely a shirt button.  

Some closeups of the buttons.  It really is fun seeing all the variety.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was such diversity in the purchased packets, some from online and some from Joanne's.
Wherever there is a gap between the buttons, I fill in with beads.

Now the yellow path is done and I'm starting to fill in with dark reds along the path.

Here is where I am today, starting to blend in the brighter reds.

It's a pretty insane project and it's already starting to get heavy, which is why I put it on the Peltex. I will post some pictures as I progress. I hate to sew buttons on a blouse, shirt, etc, but this is fun.

Remember to click on any picture for a bigger view.

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bunny, Bunny

I was doing some watering yesterday when I saw something run by and assumed it was one of those  ubiquitous chipmunks, but when I put my hose down I could see that it was a tiny baby bunny, no bigger than a chipmunk.  He stayed right there while I ran inside to get my phone and he let me get very close.  I then noticed a sibling in the mulch under the roses, but he ran away when I go too close.  The first little guy just stayed there and I was afraid he would get heat stroke in the hot sun, so I nudged him very lightly with the phone and he ran back under the bushes.

I thought it was amusing that they were about a foot from this sign in the mulch.  Do you think they can read?  Do you think they were eating the leaves next to the sign?  I saw Momma Bunny a few minutes later in some nearby bushes.  I looked for them today, but no luck.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

SAQA Benefit Auction

Yes, it's that time of the year again.  Time for the SAQA Benefit online auction where you can bid on and win some fabulous pieces of small art. All the pieces are 12 inches square and you can read all about how the bidding works here. My piece, in Section 1, is up on the starting day, September 18. The bidding on each section runs for 6 days with the prices going down each day.

  I always send my piece in to have it photographed by the people in charge and they always do a great job.  However, this year I was quite disappointed in the photography. The colors are very washed out and details are lost, so I am including my own photo here, which is a much better representation.

It's About Time

I use snow-dyed fabric as a base, then used stencils with Shiva Paint sticks.  Phrases were fused on then machine buttonhole stitched. I free-motion quilted around all the motifs and hand sewed watch parts on. 

There are hundreds of quilts up for auction, so please go check them out.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Journal Quilts

A neighboring town asked me if I would like to display some of my fiber art in their community room for a month. I had just taken down my solo show at the Brookfield Craft Center Gallery and I didn't know if I would have anything that hadn't already been shown there or elsewhere in other local shows. I said that I would check out the spot and see what I could do.  It turned out that the space was just a large bulletin board covered in beige fabric and I thought that my Journal Quilts would be a good fit. If you don't know what I mean by Journal Quilts, here is the sign that I hung.

I thought that I was going to hang these by putting five on a dowel and hang the dowels using the special hooks that the library used on that board. It looked terrible!  The rods sagged, the hooks showed, what to do?  I had brought some appliqué pins with me to hang the signage and it turned out that they were perfect for hanging the quilts, one pin in each corner. The pins are just 3/4" long and pushed all the way in, so they were barely visible.

Here is the whole display.  The five quilts in the center were not Journal Quilts, but five (out of six) 9" x 12" that I had made in an art quilt workshop with Jane Davila and Ellin Watterson.

This year I chronicled things in my life, including a trip to see The Gates in NYC.

I used a different technique with Ginkgoes each month.

Again I chose highlights of the year including my son's Law School graduation and a trip to Italy.

This year I decided to challenge my self by using something recycled each month and further challenged myself by making each one a landscape.  I used paint chips, credit cards, men's neck ties, clothing labels, and Tyvek.

These were the quilts made in a workshop with Jane and Ellin.

When I thought that these were going to be hung on a dowel, I didn't want to have to make new sleeves for them.  Some still had the common sleeve that was used in Houston and I just had to cut them apart and do a little resewing.  I fused some of the sleeves on for the first time and it worked just fine, but it tuned out that I didn't need the sleeves after all.  I also didn't need the new dowels I had bought and fitted with screw eyes, but that's OK. It looked so much better this way.

The exhibit will be up until the middle of October at the Bethel, CT library.  There is no opening or publicity, as there was at the Craft Center, but if you are in the area, you might want to pop in and see them up close and personal.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Quilt backing

I like my quilt backs to coordinate with the tops, even if they hang on the wall and won't be seen.  That's just me.  I went thru my huge stash and I didn't have anything suitable or big enough for the back of the the quilt I showed in my last post.  That was the first quilt I made in a very long time that did not feature my hand-dyed fabrics.

 So I decided to ice-dye a fabric for the back. I started with white PFD cotton and soaked it in a soda ash/water solution.  I squished it lengthwise and put it in the bottom of a large bucket.  Then I covered the fabric with several layers of ice cubes.  Procion MX dye powders were sprinkled on top.  I used Olive Green, Lemon/Lime and Wine.  I was trying to emulate the colors in the top. I left it overnight until the ice cubes had melted and proceed to wash the fabric in hot water with Synthropol.

It's not a perfect match.  I didn't get those bright orangey reds or blacks, but I did get the soft greens and the pinks. I still think it's very interesting and the colors are close enough and I will use it.

Friday, September 11, 2015


Several years ago I was buying every striated batik I saw.  I'm not sure why.  I guess I just liked them and also thought that they would be good in landscape quilts, something I don't do very often or maybe I was thinking of using them instead of pieced strips or stripes in a quilt.  But other than using a little bit for the backgrounds of some ginkgo postcards, they have mostly been sitting there, neatly folded in three plastic shoeboxes labeled "striated batiks".

I wanted to make a somewhat large quilt to practice with my mostly unused Sweet Sixteen, so I got out the boxes and and started pulling out fabrics.  I found a favorite that had two pieces (I probably bought one and then forgot that I had it and bought another).

The label on this one said "Georgia's Poppies", probably a reference to Georgia O'Keefe. I thought the colors were yummy.

I proceeded to cut it up in 6 inch wide strips and then cut those into 6 inch squares.

Then  I separated them into similar colors and started placing them on my design wall from the center out.

So far, so good.  then I added another round.

One more round.

Here is the finished piece with floating circles fused on.  You might recognize this as the same format as my Fiesta quilt that I blogged about here. I guess you could say that this is another Rail Fence variation with printed strips instead of pieced. 

I think I am going to quilt it by just following the striations.  I'm linking up again with Off the Wall Friday.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Friday, September 4, 2015

Silent Auction Quilt

Every year I am asked to donate a small quilt for the Silent Auction at the big International Quilt show in Houston, TX.  I think they ask all former award winners, teachers and authors.  I usually comply, sometimes with a new quilt as I did last year and sometimes with one I already had, as I am doing this year.

This is Succulent Succulents that I made a few years ago. It measures about 17" x 25". well within  the requested size range.  I took a lot of pictures of my Hens and Chicks, a charming garden succulent, and changed the colors in Photoshop Elements, then paired them with my hand dyed fabrics.  I free motion quilted in a pebble pattern, purposefully leaving some areas blank. Below are some details.

So if you are in Houston this year, stop by the Silent Auction exhibit.  There are always a lot of fabulous quits to bid on.

And since it's Friday, I've linked up with Off the Wall Friday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015