Friday, May 27, 2022

Charmed

Charmed
79" x 79"

This quilt is sadly one of those that I don't really like that much after it is finished.  I began it with such wild enthusiasm, and then it didn't have the overall visual appeal that I thought it would.  A great lesson for me, one that I am apparently still learning.  But, I believe it is probably a shared experience.  And it is disappointing to spend so much time with it, and then not like it in the end.  

Regardless of my feelings for the overall look of it, I LOVE the closeups of the little fabrics.  And it has hundreds and hundreds of different fabrics! You can see more of these in previous posts from last fall (part 1, part 2, part 3).  It is a quilt that I LIKE getting close to.  And, there are some things I like about the design. For example, I love how the alternating light and dark solid fabrics make the blocks kind of twinkle and move your eye around.  It kind of reminds me of a stack of Starburst candy. 

It is also the first one in a long time that is NOT two-sided.  I found a suitable fabric for the back, and am happy with it.  I also chose to face this quilt and flip the facing to the back.  Each square has a different color attached, and one that is different than the front.  It makes me happy!

Here it is from the front side, folded, with the back and the facings showing a little bit! 

And, apart from my disappointment, it is so lovely to finally have another finish! I have been struggling with repetitive use injuries from obsessive quilting.  My solution is to work on multiple projects that are in different stages. I can work briefly on tasks that utilize different parts of my body.  It is difficult to work this way.  I find that I like completing a project before moving on to the next one.  I had racked up 4 different quilt tops doing this, and then had 4 quilts to quilt, which sort of defies the purpose!  This one is finished.  On to the next... 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Quiltfolk Magazine


I have had photos of my quilts in magazines before, but I always had to send my own photographs for those. This was the first time someone came to me to photograph my work. In fact, they sent two people. Azuree Wiitala was the photographer, and she spent most of the time running around my house and yard taking photos. Trevor Holloway took my quilts, one at a time, and very respectfully and gently styled them for the photos. He also did a great job of light-shifting, which mean that he held up big reflectors to help move the light to a better position during some of the photographs. I ran back and forth from being the subject of the photo to consulting with the quilts and assisting Trevor.  It was kind of mind boggling, the number of photos and the number of quilts, just to get a handful of really great ones that made it into the magazine. And it was fun!

Azuree Witala, I managed to snap a photo of her in my studio while she was photographing me.

Trevor Holloway, holding up my quilt, One Earth, on my deck and hiding behind it so that he won't be in the photo.

Me in front of my newly completed quilt top, Rainbow Gardens.

Here are a few more of my favorite out-takes. The first three are the required "have the quilter pointing at something" shots.  Although the pointing thing may be interesting, to me it is significant and special because the artists hands are what make the quilts. Love these shots!
My absolutely favorite part of making these batik panels (aside from the colors) were the painting of the hot wax to make the white dots.  From my quilt, Butterflies.

Again, this dotted fabric was made in my batik studio.  I drew every white dot with hot wax.  Very contemplative experience, and I like the way it looks, and I 'needed' it for this part of the quilt, Caterpillars.

A random stack of my journal quilts, which helped me in my journey to become an art quilter. 

There is a picture of my cat, Pumpkin Pi, in the last few pages of this issue, but I like this one better.  The little photo bomber is standing on his cat shelf, next to the little cat quilt, Innocence

The antique desk just under the little quilt was a gift from my neighbor, Lucy Milliron. She was also an artist and made the most exquisite watercolors of the natural world.  When she died, it broke my heart. We were very close friends and she had become a part of our family. She was 88 and her husband had died a full 10 years before her. They used to travel a lot and I used to keep a watchful eye on their house while they are gone.  I am still doing that even though they don't live there anymore. 

There is another part of Lucy that stays in my studio, also captured by Azuree. This photo is significant to me because it captures so much in one small photo:
When Lucy died, I kept her paint brushes.  They are sitting in yellow wooden blocks that her husband Walter made for her by drilling in holes of different sizes for her brushes.  Such a sweet gesture, one of love and support.  And, though you can't quite see, there is a framed photo sitting between the rows of them on one of their fishing trips to Rockport, TX.  I think of them both every time I grab a brush.  

In the very front is a framed postcard made by my good friend Frances Holiday Alford. She invited me to join the Art Quilt Bee.  Our bee members used to meet at her house (until she moved to Vermont) and make group quilts together. So many fond memories of our times together! And, it was a nice surprise to see her quilt in the same issue.  She has a quilt in the section on the Texas Quilt Museum. 

The paper figure of a girl was an exercise from a class I took called Lifebook.  I learned a lot about mixed media in that class and have gone on to continue making mixed media pieces to play with design.  After I get a thick stack of pages, I bind them together into books.  Now, I also love making books!

I also like this staged photo of me using a tjanting tool.  It is a batik tool that allows me to put fine lines of liquid wax on a piece.  It is very different than stamping designs with a tool.  It is much harder to control and requires a lot of patience.  It is more fickle to things like temperature control and composition of the wax. In the picture below, I would never use this tool on the piece that is front of me (that one is made by stamping with an object, in this case, a piece of cardboard packing material from something that was shipped to me). I am holding a folded paper towel to catch the drips.  It is THICK with many many drops of wax. 
This tool was used to make the next two quilts.
A Few of My Favorite Things

And, though this one was an outtake, I have seen it in a promotional spot with several other quilt artists on Facebook. The Heron, the Kayak, and the Grebes: Part I

This next set I like because the light, color and angles were so very good!

Diverging Distractions

Just Around the Corner

Two Halves

And, last is a photo of my quilt, Bloom.  It was hanging on the zip line outside when the sun peeked through.  All afternoon we had been chasing the light.  A great photograph is made with a good photographer, a good subject, and perfect lighting.  That afternoon we were fighting intense glaring sunlight.  It finally paid off for this one because it backlit the quilt.  And, we can see the other side which is my quilt, Seeds! Perfection!!

Bloom

That's about it for the photoshoot.  You can see more photos on my Instagram and Facebook accounts. I will say that working with Quiltfolk was a dream.  They were so incredibly professional and the process of putting together a story was seamless.  I really like that they did copy checks/fact checking with me about both the stories and the photos. I have had that go wrong on many occasions with other publishers who skipped this essential step.  I also like that I was included in the social media promotion.  And, I liked that they sent me a free copy of the magazine.  This used to be an industry standard. However, the world is changing, and this kindness and respect is rarely offered to artists. My hat is off to you Quiltfolk! Respect and appreciation!
You can get a discount in April, May, and June if you use the code below! Cheers!



Friday, March 25, 2022

the Pouf

Form and Function (and pretty), the Pouf


I had a mess with these foam floor tile thingies that kept falling out of their storage spot.  Mostly it was just annoying.
And, it has been like this for a long time.  I recently had my front deck rebuilt and put in a new railing.  The new look had me inspired to use my deck differently.  I bought an outdoor rug from Target and then started shopping for poufs.  I already had the furniture I liked, but thought it needed something, just a little something to go with it. That's when I got the idea to solve two problems with one project.  
Not only does this spot look better now, but I can also move that thing around and use it for different tasks.  It is a great foot rest for when I am sitting and hand quilting.  It also works great to stand on to reach the high spots on my design wall.  AND, it looks fantastic outside on the deck (where it was designed to be used).  

The making of the pouf took me a long time, though it shouldn't have.  However, spring is happening here, and I have been spending many many hours every day outside, inspecting the new buds, trimming off the brown bits of plants, raking live oak tree leaves, transplanting, weeding, and spreading compost everywhere.  The garden is shaping up beautifully! And it lifts my soul to be working outside.  And then I am too tired to do anything else...which is okay, because there is no deadline for making a pouf!

The selection of fabrics and cutting went quickly. That lovely dark brown is such a nice contrast for the florals and pale blues.  And, it goes great with the new deck railing color!

Then came the quilting, which took longer. I decided to try different quilting ideas on the different sides, just for fun, and just for practice!



Then came the trimming to size, and since I was cutting through the quilting lines, I needed to zig-zag all the edges. 
For such a small project, it seemed to have a lot of surface area.  Here are the pieces stitched together before adding the zipper.
Yep, the zipper is really BIG!

The moment of truth, will all the foam floor tiles fit inside?
Yes, YES THEY DO!  The bag is a little loose, which makes it easy to put the floor tiles inside.  I think it would look better if I stitched those seams a little bit smaller, but it functions better with a little slack in it.  So, it will stay loose.  Also, when this thing gets dirty (and it will get dirty!), I can unzip, and toss it in the washing machine! YEASS!!
you can see the zipper on this side

the other side, with more colorful florals


Thanks for stopping by.  I can now return my attention back to quilting (well, and, um, the garden!)

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Quilt for a Graduating Senior in Foster Care

Nine Patch Plus Block quilt for Day1Bags


This is a quilt I made to give to a graduating senior who has been in foster care. This quilt project required a non-gendered theme, twin sized, and with a pillowcase to go with it.  

It is hard to imagine what a non-gendered theme quilt is. However, the privacy of these teens is of utmost importance, so they could not tell us gender, or match us with an actual person to make something more specific for that individual.  With that, I simply picked colors that I liked and am hoping that it will find it's person!

In Texas, teens normally age out of the foster care system at age 18.  There have been a few changes to some of those rules, hopefully in response to the fact that teens don't go from kid to adult just because they have a birthday.  It's a process.  I wanted to give a quilt as a show of love and support.  A big wrap of love to congratulate the senior who has come so far, and to keep them warm for the struggles ahead. 
If you would like to know more about Day1Bags you can find it here.  You can also contribute in other ways without having to make a quilt if you are interested! :)

quilting


Friday, February 18, 2022

Day 9

I have been feeling like a shadow of my former self.  I guess a head injury will do that to you?

It looks so innocuous. 

Last week a ladder fell and hit me on the head, and knocked me to the ground.  It also hit the back of my hand.  No broken bones, though from the swelling and pain, I was surprised.  I also was relieved that my brain was not bleeding, and that I did not require a hospital stay.  Day, by day, I have been making progress with the healing.  The head pain comes and goes, and I slowly emerge from quiet and darkness into light and sound.  Concentrating for more than 20 - 30 minutes is still a bit much. Yesterday I had an almost normal day. I was able to enjoy the amazing weather and take a short walk. Today is worse, and it doesn't help that my neighbors who are building a pool have also decided to jack hammer and remove their freakin' driveway.  I try to stay positive.  The sound reducing headphones have made it almost tolerable, but the head pain has been with me all day.  The kids took me for a drive around lunchtime to escape the noise for a while, and it helped.

I am also grateful that my hand is fully functional even though it is ugly and a bit painful.  The swelling has gone down and I try to remember that the new colors every day are a sign of healing. Resting is not my best skill. 

Meanwhile, it is QuiltCon week!  I have a quilt in the show.  It is hard to get excited from so far away, but the photos have been fantastic.  I can pop in for short periods and feel inspired from photos of some truly amazing work! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Ocean Blues/Oil and Water - the Transparent Part

Ocean Blues/Oil and Water - the Transparent Part
74" x 74"

It was late afternoon and my quilt was draped over a table when I saw this. One might think I would start looking for this by now, but I didn't think about it. So here are the shots where you can see through the quilt and a glimpse of both sides at the same time. Sweet! 


I love this so much. As water is transparent, so is this quilt about water! Just so lovely! Light gives more information and shows a bigger and more complete picture, one that is more transparent.






And, that's a wrap for this quilt. I am hoping to enter it into some shows next year. We'll see how it goes! May you have a safe and happy new year!


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Ocean Blues/Oil and Water - other cool stuff about this quilt

Ocean Blues/Oil and Water - other cool stuff about this quilt
74" x 74"

The quilting:
I usually pin baste my quilts, on the floor. Mostly because my quilts are big, and I don't have a table big enough for really big quilts. The floor is a pretty uncomfortable place to work, but it gets good results.  This time, I did pin baste my quilt. However, I also have had problems with machine quilting the further I get from the center. It is as if the backing fabric travels, regardless of having been pinned in place. My hand basted quilts do not do this. So, I opted to switch out the pin basting for hand basting on this quilt. I am not convinced that I need to do both, but there it is.
ready for quilting!!

I also wanted my quilting threads to kind of disappear into the back ground, but also provide a linear aspect to the quilting design.  I opted for these wonderful very thin polyester threads from Superior Threads. 
It was another expense to buy a whole new line of threads, but I was super happy with the visual effect after I quilted this.  As a bonus, one that I did not anticipate, because the threads were NOT cotton, they did not fill up my machine with lint.  I did not have to clean the lint with every bobbin change, which was awesome!!

I love the side lighting coming through the window for this shot!

A whale and all the quilting lines.

I had a very hard time dragging this quilt through my sewing machine. Usually a big quilt is already hard because it is bulky and heavy. This one was harder. Apparently the black fabric paint on the other side was creating more friction with my table. I decided to try using painter's tape to attach some Goddess sheets (teflon sheets) from Mistyfuse to reduce the drag. It worked great and made my job SO MUCH EASIER. Thanks Iris!!
A top view looking down on my quilt under my sewing machine

The hanging sleeve, hanging tube:
Before I quilted the top 5" or so, I had an idea, one that I have used before on a two-sided quilt. I decided to peel back the layers, and insert more fabric and batting to make an internal hanging sleeve.  It worked great! And the construction of it was seamless and I got to incorporate the quilting and the tube at the same time, which is very hard to explain, but it worked!

It is undetectable from either side! Here is a top view. It also works for a larger sized hanging rod, but this is the one I am currently using while it is hanging at my home.

The binding:
You may have already noticed that the binding changes colors with every block. I did not pre-plan this. I was indecisive about the binding for the entire construction of the quilt. It was only when I got to the end, that I decided my absolute best choice was to do it this way. So I dug out all the fabrics I used and started cutting new pieces to make the "blended" binding. So many pieces! ARGH!!
Then I stitched all the little pieces together. I opted to do only one side at a time to deal with the corners. I also opted for open seams to reduce bulk when turning the binding to the other side of the quilt.

I am happy with the way it turned out. It also looks really good from both sides of the quilt.



There is ONE MORE THING! But this post is already long, so I am saving it for next week. Hope you will pop back by. It is the coolest thing ever!! Cheers!