Sunday, December 31, 2006

Techno Rainbow Quilt
Two Sided Duvet Cover
Twin Sized
My last project of 2006. I learned many things (again). If you prewash fabric in your washing machine, it will get somewhat twisted out of shape (just like it did 30 years ago when I was first learning how to sew). And if you plan to cut and tear along the grain, this becomes I remember why rotary cutters are so great. I did tear the black background along the grain and ended up making a piece just too slightly small. Yes, it was correctable with a little creative piecing, but darn it! I thought I already learned this one.

Part two of the learning: why fusible is so awesome!! I had a crazy notion to not fuse the appliques, just cut them, pin them, use some stablizer and satin stitch to my heart's content. That was when I had planned to cut the black out from behind the squares (to make their colors look brighter). And that was before my son came in the room and wanted to keep adding more and more and more and more blocks. I ended up using fusible like scotch tape, just to hold the squares in place. But I had forgotten one important fact (because I had been using fusibles so much and had taken them for granted)--cut edges ravel. This thing was the BIGGEST MESS you have ever seen!!ACKKK, there were threads everywhere! I persevered, got all the threads either tucked under or cut off.

Part three: This one is good though. When I tie dyed the rainbow side, I power washed it in the grass for the first rinse. Then I held the warm colors out of the washing machine while the cool colors up to the yellow center got washed (I used a short prewash cycle). This is a very boring step, but it worked. Then I flipped the ends and stuck the warm colors up to the yellow in the machine and held the cool colors outside. Last, I washed a third time in the machine, the entire piece. I was very happy with the results. The first big piece I made like this last year, I just threw the whole thing in the wash and even though I had rinsed extensively in the yard, I still had a lot of cross over bleeding and a resulting dulling of colors.

This will not be quilted. I bought a white and fluffy quilt from the store and stuffed it inside the cover and then stitched it in place, around the edges. It will keep the boy warm through many a night and is machine washable.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Plover Lover
9" x 9"
 This begins a series of small quilts. I found a piece of construction fencing blowing in the road near a construction site. Though I had seen Jeanne Williamson's series of construction fence quilts, I decided to challenge myself with using the literal pieces of construction fencing on quilts as an embellishment of sorts. For the first set of quilts, it actually became the center of meaning for which the quilts are made. In this quilt, I am looking at a plover through the fencing, a glimpse of nature through a man-made object.

Only One
9" x 9"
 The second of the series, shows another glimpse of nature through the construction fencing: the only tree left as the hills are bulldozed. The ring of buttons forming an "o" or an "Oh!, I see what it all means now." I am listening to Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi, "don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got til it's gone, you pave paradise, put up a parking lot."

Balancing Act
12" x 14 1/4"
The third in the series. Now, most of the construction fencing is gone and we are left with a view of fragmented green spaces and contrived human development. This quilt is a metaphor of balancing human needs and environmental protection. Here we have a glimpse of Darwinian evolution, as the only species visible has evolved to look like ubiquitious construction fencing. The bird's wing and foot are precariously positioned (3D) in an attempt to maintain balance.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Synchronized Swimming51" x 51"

This is a whole cloth quilt. You could call it shibori, but I called it tie-dye. I tie-dyed it and then over dyed it with another set of circles. Because I was experimenting, I decided to make two identical or nearly identical large pieces and used the second piece for the back. The fish are made from almost all commercial fabrics. They are 3 dimensional, stuffed, quilted, embellished and are fitted with copper wire on the inside to make them 'bendy fish'. They have copper wire pectoral fins, painted eyes, no mouths. Each set needed it's own original costumes, so I went to town decorating them. It was a fun project. Not all the fish can be seen in their entirities because some of them are diving below the surface so only their tales show. Others are just coming up to the surface, so you can only see their heads. The blue masks for the fish in the circle on the left were each custom fitted for each fish and made from a collapsed mondo play ball.

Some of the center fish have custom made tiaras...they are extremely proud to be the 'chosen ones'. You may ask about the single fish on the right side, but it is really up to the viewer what he is doing there... Last, the 300 fish were hand appliqued after they were made, and as you can probably imagine, that was not the fun part. The thread kept getting tangled on fish parts for EVERY stitch. This quilt has not been seen in public yet. Both Husqvarna Viking and Quilt National had their chance, but passed. I think it will be difficult to ship if it ever gets to travel, but I remain hopeful!

This quilt was quilted with YLI variegated cotton thread, YLI silk threads, and Superior King Tut variegated cotton thread. The beaded skirts were commercial, but individually fitted!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oh What a Night! Houston IQA!! 
I won first place in Large Abstract Art with Little Cities (97" x 96")! I knew I was up for a cash prize, but I was really not expecting first place. And one of the best moments was when another quilter approached me after the awards and asked me if I was the artist? Me?!! Yes, I am an artist! Hard to wrap my head around that, but at least, now I can say it! Thanks to everyone who stopped by to look at my quilt and talk to me!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Jay Walk
34" x 60" NFS

This quilt started as a play on words, a new meaning for jay walking, until I arranged the birds and had one being stepped on by another. Now I ask, social slight . . . inadvertant or intentional? Who can tell? It's just a bunch of birds!

The centers of the flowers are screen printed with fabric paint. The blue jays are 3D quilt pillows, machine pieced, machine quilted and hand beaded. The leaves have pink french knots. The background is hand dyed and densely machine quilted. All applique (except the birds) is fusible web.
This piece just won 2nd place in Art Quilt at the Austin Area Quilt Guild. It also won a design award. Fantastic! Fabulous! Far OUT!
As a postnote:  It is unfortunate that this quilt was stolen during shipping on it's way to Celebrate Spring IQA, 2007.  I still miss it. 

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Leaves I and Leaves, Too
16" x 24"
We are donating this quilt to Houston IQA, for their silent auction. It was made by Frances Holliday Alford, Connie Hudson, Raewyn Khosla, Sherri McCauley, Niki Vick, and Kathy York. We selected a leaf theme because our quilt, Leaves, won 2nd place last year. We had so many blocks that we made two quilts, the second is Leaves, Too (below) and will be donated to the Austin Area Quilt Guild for their silent auction.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Shaman Chicken

I took a class from Elinor Peace Bailey last year to learn some doll making skills. I don't know exactly why I picked this chicken, but I love it! The best part was the embellishments including the painted dots, the super fancy buttons on the tail, the beaded neck fringe, the hand quilted spirals on the wings, and the hidden and not so hidden tattoos. My bird now sits on my computer and protects it from harm.
Chicken Bling

With a Tail to Tell
"No pictures, PLEASE!"

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Altered States
77" x 30"
 This was a group project done by my art quilt bee and a few others including: Anne Holliday Abbott, Frances Holliday Alford, Betty Colburn, Connie Hudson, Leslie Jenison, Raewyn Khosla, Sherri McCauley, Niki Vick, and me, Kathy York. We picked a color scheme, purple, teal, and yellow and decided on 6" blocks. The idea of altered states was to make sets of original quilted art blocks and redistribute in the group. One block was kept as an original, and the other block (or blocks) was altered in any way the artist saw fit, burning, cutting, painting, embellishing, applique, whatever! We had so much fun on this exercise, that we accidentally kept altering blocks from the wrong pile. So, not every block on the left is still in it's original form. The quilt is arranged with original blocks on the left and altered blocks on the right. Find the matching pairs and enjoy! Altered States was juried into IQA, A World of Beauty and is currently on it's way to Houston!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Little Cities
97 x 96

Finally quilted and bound! Hurray! I can't say that this was the easiest pattern to quilt, as I typically avoid any pattern that has to be marked first. I much prefer a free form style of quilting. However, this quilt had so much going on, I really thought it needed some simple lines, and concentric circles really seemed the best solution and very congruent with the construction of the quilt top, concentric squares. See below for photo of the complete quilt top.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Art Quilt Bee
12" x 12"
Private Collection

These fish represent all the members of my art quilt bee. We make wonderful group quilts together and really enjoy each other's company. In this quilt, we are swimming away from the boring buttons representing our daily chores and towards the ring of pearls. It is hand quilted with cotton craft thread in a large spiral. I bound it with copper adhesive tape. The fish are 3D pillows and embellished with: fusible applique, copper tape, fabric paint, copper wire, copper beads, stamped, copper painted tyvek, machine quilted with copper thread, a copper painted washer, beads and embroidery floss. The spiral in the center was my first time to play with metallic foils. I love it! This piece is about the spirit of cooperation and fills me with optimism and safety of belonging to a group.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Martha's Pumpkin Men - 2002
30" x 39"
My friend, Molly, takes Halloween more seriously than
Christmas, I mean, she goes all out with the decorations. Several of her wall quilts inspired me to make a Halloween quilt, but I couldn't decide what to do....Until I saw this issue of Martha Stewart's Halloween Issue!! She had carved these pumpkin men and they looked so awesome! I knew this was the perfect inspiration for my quilt. I used her pumpkin men, and added the carrot skirt for the middle guy. I tea dyed the orange fabrics to make them darker towards the horizon and give depth to the piece. The pumpkins in the foreground are also of her design. I added the pieced blue sky, moon and bat, and the tree branch. It was my hope to use zig-zag to add some shading. My sewing machine was hopelessly inadequate to do satin stitching, so I settled for zig-zags to cover all the fused edges as well. I also used bleach pens to make the peas for the collars and eyebrows. I used some paint on some of the pumpkins to add depth, and I hand embroidered the original poem around the border. One of my favorite parts of this quilt was the quilting in the border because it took on such a nice graphic appeal. It has a lot of starts and stops and yes, they do show a bit, but practice will improve my skills with this. This quilt won 3rd place at the Austin Quilt Show in 2002, and went to the IQA Houston Quilt Show in 2003.

Lunar One -2003
27" x 37"
This started as a geologic quilt of the back side of the moon. I decided I could make the colors prettier than the geologists (or should I say, planetary scientists?). However, as I was working on the images of these craters, the significance of how they were created, by huge impacts began to trickle over to my subconscious. I began having images of all these people trying to raise their voices against domestic violence. Hence the back image of the quilt was born.

The quilting lines that serve as topographic information on the front become concentric targets for the faces on the back. As a survivor of domestic violence I had a huge disconnect of my head and my heart, so I decided to present just the faces here. It was my first time to try to depict human forms in fabric and I was really surprised when the first one, "orbital" came out looking like a a recognizable face. I also wanted to show that it is not just the victims who are affected by domestic violence. Whole communities are impacted, children, parents, brothers and sisters, and friends. This quilt was accepted to Quilts for Change, a fund raiser in Cincinati, OH in 2004. I was so pleased to have a venue to show it. I had hoped that it was able to hang where both sides could show, but since I didn't get to attend, I suspect only the front side was shown, with an occasional look at the back from quilt angels.

Little Leaves -2005
9" x9"
 This was made from some left over scraps from a large group quilt made by my art quilt bee. Leaves won 2nd place in group at Houston last year (unfortunately, I don't have a good digital image of it yet). There are two blocks on this quilt that I heavily beaded and were my first attempts. I loved the way they came out. Unfortunately, the time I spent on them made my dog jealous....and she STOLE them. They stayed hidden for a good 6 months before I found them. The other blocks were stamped with fabric paint with a leaf stamp that I made myself. I love the way this quilt came out. It was donated to the hurricane Katrina, Open Hearts Open Hands project. Presumably someone bought it and is enjoying it!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Visions of Grandeur
12" x 12"
Fine Focus 2006
I was inspired to create this little quilt during a brief obsession with a celebrity. Hence, the sleeping fish dreams of a better, somehow, more glamorous life. I love the fish's beautiful dream and it has helped me appreciate everything I have during my conscious hours. The fish and the pillow are both 3D quilt pillows.

I sent 3 entries to Fine Focus. And even though I like this one the best, I was surprised that it was chosen because it took the least amount of time to make. I tend to labor under the false assumption my art needs to be the most tedious and labor intensive undertaking that I can possibly imagine. Check out to see the other artists included in this exhibit!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Little Cities
97" x 97"

I started this one 2 years ago and it has been redesigned quite a few times. I actually bought the fabric for it 5 years ago when my bed and bath were being remodeled. But I was stuck and couldn't decide what to do with it (probably related to my marital woes). AS soon as the husband moved out, I knew what I wanted to do with this, although it has been revealing itself to me along the way. The smallest blocks are 1 " square with small circles appliqued with satin stitch on them. There are about 1000 of those. The biggest blocks are 12" square, and there are very few of those! Don't ask how many total blocks, I don't know. And now, I would have to say that sewing the blocks together was NOT the fun part.
The quilt reminds me of a city, surrounded by water. There are roadblocks and resources and little communities. I have always been fascinated by the way people form groups, for the similarities they embrace and the differences they seek out. At what point do the differences become too much and we need to wall ourselves off?
On another level this quilt represents healing for me. I had a lot of grief when my husband left and made me a single mom. The red represents rage and passion, the orange represents changes, the pink was the love I still had, the yellow was the fear. The green is in every block and represents a growth path through time and everything I do. The center is about integrating the feelings. I unknowingly made a spiral out of the center blocks (you have to squint to see it). The blue was the sadness and isolation, and the purple was the healing (the color of healing bruises).
I finished piecing the top for my birthday on Sunday. It was my present to myself to get it off my design board so that I could move on and start some other projects. I will quilt it this summer while the kids are in camp.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Like a Fish Out of Water -
Journal Quilt 2005 - January
Private Collection
Like a Fish Out of Water is part one of a series of five describing a difficult situation at my son's school. It describes the feeling of not being in the right place. The fish here are suspended in air (not a viable option for fish); photographed on a black background. They are held in place by beaded wires representing arbitrary rules.
The quilt is made by creating the open frame with timtex, batting and fabric, and then machine quilted once the copper wires from the center were inserted. The spirals on the border were hand stamped and dotted with copper paint. The fish pillows are satin stitched, painted and embellished with copper wire. This quilt was published in the Quintessential Quilt, the commemorative catalog of the 2005 International Quilt Festival.

Swimming in a Sea of Buttons
16.5" x 18.5"
Private Collection
 This little quilt also went to Small Wonders last year! It won 2nd runner up!
This quilt is about finding beauty in the mundane but necessary chores of daily life, the 'sea of buttons'. The fish on the side remind us that we are not alone in facing the challenge. The golden circles were printed with sockets from the garage, pencils, toothpicks, paintbrushes and various lids.
This quilt has about 300 buttons.

A Multicolored World
24" x 24"
This quilt went to Small Wonders last year. I didn't count, but it has about 3000 beads! It won 1st runner up! It was also juried into Beyond the Borders in Australia last summer.

This quilt was meant to show the beauty of differences among peoples. It reminds me of a saying I once heard that goes something like, "wherever I go, I wear you", which speaks to the influence we have on others we meet, even if only briefly.
 How it was made:
The center of these beaded medallions was painted with lumiere metallic acrylics and gel medium. I then stitched the round quilted pillows and embellished with seed beads, lots of them! Each block was individually machine quilted and then layered from the center out with fabric strips. There are over 500 different fabrics in this quilt! I gently laid tearable stabilizer on top of the strips and stitched a spiral shape with a simple running stitch. I then tore off the stabilizer and satin stitched the spirals. The sashing and borders were quilted separately. All the pieces were then butted up to each other and satin stitched. Then the fabric strips were laid down flat at the edges, overlapping where necessary and stay stitched in place. The center medallions were hand sewn last.

First Day of School
24" x 17.5"
This little quilt was inspired by some glass fish beads I bought at the Houston Quilt Show. Honestly, it wasn't my fault. My friend kept walking me by the embellishment booths. I had to buy more beads!
These fishie pillows are the fish parents as they 'walk' their babies to school on the first day of school, a day that is getting closer and closer as my daughter quickly approaches kindergarten age. This one was also accepted into Small Wonders! How great is that?!!

Long Legs and Fast Feet
16.5" x 24"

What would the world look like if birds couldn't fly? This is one of many musings I have had with my young daughter on our long walks. The roofs of the houses have been decorated with different copper beads and designs. This quilt was accepted to Small Wonders this year!