Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Houston Quilt Show

Houston Quilt Show

It has been a busy year!  And, I have a lot to show you!  Two of the quilts below won a prize in Houston this year! I can't wait to find out at the Award's Ceremony next Tuesday night when they announce the prizes.  Winning a prize in Houston is just an incredible honor!  In fact, it is a huge honor just to have your work selected to show in Houston.

I have won prizes in the past, but my journey has taken me to quite an unexpected place.  The first time I won a prize, it FELT validating.  Finally, it felt like my work was "good enough".  Good enough for what I have to ask now?  And, look at all the other quilts... all so so lovely.... weren't they "good enough" too?  For the most part, I would have to say yes, and be grateful that I am not or was not the judge trying to pick "winners".  I am not sure what winning means to me any more.  It is NOT about the competitive spirit and being better than any one else.  It is VERY nice that my work pleases others. But, it can do that regardless if it wins a prize or not.   It is VERY nice that I am awarded money for my work.  The best, absolute best reward my arts gives me is not a tangible one though.  It is about connecting with others.  It is about passing the inspiration on, letting the creative spirit flow through me and touching others.  And, having my quilts selected to show in Houston, increases the chance of that because the quilts are SEEN by others.  And, though my work does have a small following through this blog, and occasionally Pinterest, it is just NOT the same as seeing the fiber in it's real size and the colors and textures in person.  Size does matter.  It gives a different visceral experience standing in front of a work than seeing a thumbnail version of it on a flat computer screen.
Here are the thumbnails for you.  All of these will be in Houston this year!

Starting in the top left hand corner and working my way around:
Park Place, Tactile Architecture
Full House, IQA Auction
Triangulations, World of Beauty, Group Category
Cat Postcards, Friends for Life Fundraiser
Balance, Exquisite Moment by Dinner @ Eight Artists
Little Bird Too, IQA Auction
Little Bird, World of Beauty, Group Category
Windows, World of Beauty, Large Abstract Category
Dog "Adopt" Postcards, Friends for Life
You Are What You Eat, World of Beauty, Whimsical Category

And it IS rewarding to see my work hanging in Houston, but what am I looking forward to the most?  Seeing what everyone else has been up to!  I LOVE seeing all the quilt exhibits, and I just LOVE getting to visit with old friends and make new ones!  It is almost enough to nourish my soul until the next year's quilt show! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013


36" x 48"
by:  Frances Holiday Alford, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Michele Muska, Leslie Jenison, Hoodie Crescent, and Kathy York

This last spring at QuiltCon, our group got together and started dreaming and scheming.
Frances Holliday Alford and Leslie Jenison
We had so much fun making Exquisite Journey, that we wanted to do it again.
Here we are all posing at the Interweave booth with a copy of our quilt on the cover of Quilting Arts!!
Between bites of breakfast we had many ideas floating around looking for a place to take root.
Leslie Jenison and Victoria Findlay Wolfe

Michele Muska and Leslie Jenison
The yellow one seemed to catch us all in a good mood.  And so, it was decided.

Hoodie Crescent and Kathy York
We would all make several 12" x 12" yellow blocks, quilt them, and then later decide how to arrange them into a quilt.  I had visions of daffodils and yellow submarines dancing around my head.  It is so funny, because before we started, I assumed that each group member would be making representational art for this quilt.  I saw applique objects of many types:  all in yellow.  I was so excited because I thought it would look like a beautiful yellow photo assemblage of our art.  And, that is not what happened at all.  We each independently decided to make a more abstract representation of yellow. And I love the yellow modern and abstract art that our quilt came to be!

Here are my two blocks... The first one, themed from an abstraction of a flower, is ready to be trimmed to the 12" size.  It is about 14" in this photo...

The second one is all stripes, all fused and slowly bent while simultaneously applying heat with the iron.  I love the way the gentle curves emerge:
We sent all our blocks to Frances, our tireless group leader and chief instigator.  Michele had a free weekend to go up and visit Frances in Vermont.  And then the magic happened.  I don't know how they came to decide to chop all our blocks in half diagonally, but it totally works!  I am amazed by their courage and artistic vision!! 
Though not a prize winner in Houston this year, we are so delighted that it is a Finalist.  If you are able to go to the Houston Quilt Show, I hope you get a chance to stop by the group category and take a look at our original interpretation of YELLOW!  Very fun!  Let's do it again!!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Do What You Love

Do What You Love
16" x 16"
This is one of my very favorite expressions, Love What You Do, Do What You Love.  How wonderful it was to have it included in one of the prints Jamie Fingal designed in her debut collection with Hoffman Fabrics!  For fun, I have taken a bit of a whimsical interpretation.  Who wouldn't prefer hanging out drinking coffee with friends compared to vacuuming??
I was also inspired by the black and white striped fabric.  It reminded me of bendy drinking straws.
All of the fish were fussy cut from the teacup fabric.  Everything was fused with Mistyfuse and assembled on the ironing board.  Then, like with the other 2 quilts, I fused to a piece of dyed red batting and machine quilted.  I love the way this finishes the edge without having to put on a binding, it looks good AND it's easy!!

This has been quite the fun couple of days, playing with this delightful fabric.  Thank you Jamie for including me!!
Now, back to some other projects that have been sitting on a shelf....

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Be Original

Be Original
16" x 16"

Ah ha!!  Another one with Jamie Fingal's new fabric line with Hoffman Fabrics.  It is just so much fun to play with.   I love this little quilt.  Jamie is one of the most wonderfully original people I know!  I love the way she celebrates the good things!
This was so easy to make.  I fused the fabrics with Mistyfuse first, then cut the pieces while watching a movie last night.  I fused the top and the backing to some red-dyed batting, and it took about an hour to quilt.  All done and looking so spiffy!  I also added some hand painted dots, hard to resist those little dots!
I just love the whimsical design of the teacup on top of the little house!  Very cheerful!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Home is Where Your Story Begins

Home is Where Your Story Begins
16" x 16"
My dear friend, Jamie Fingal, has a new fabric line coming out with Hoffman Fabrics this fall at the Houston Quilt Market.  I have LOVED her style and her art for years!  I eagerly said "YES" to the request to make a small quilt with her new fabrics.  Within a few days a package arrived on my doorstep.  Inside, a really fun collection!  I pinned all the fabrics on my design wall and let my imagination run wild.  I quickly came up with about 4 different ideas, and threw caution to the wind and picked one idea to start with.

I LOVE the way the fabric FEELS!  It is printed on a fabulous light yet densely woven cotton that is soft and perfectly suited for fusible (or piecing!). So with my bolt of Mistyfuse in hand, fat Goddess sheets, and iron, I set to work.  This would be my background...
 I fused a section of blue, and another of green to the red dyed batting (that part was from my stash).  Then I cut out the words and fused them on as well.  Later, I fused some fabric on for the backing.
Next, I fused blocks of different colors along with the black and white roof sections to another piece of red dyed batting.  In this photo, I am machine quilting the sections.
With small and sharp scissors, I cut out the windows in these machine quilted units.
I will later trim away all the red batting from around the buildings, but first, I add some hand stitching around the cut out windows.  I love playing with the colored embroidery floss to really set off each window.
The next part is assembling the "picture" from the idea I have in my head.  I fussy cut some little pieces to go inside the window cut-outs,  like:  the art palette and brushes, a zipper, some scissors, a spool of thread, a button, and a cup of coffee!  These are really cute and really fun!  I also cut some  large scale flowers for the sides.  And, now that the window pieces are lined up properly, I remove the quilting buildings, and fuse the background pieces on.  Then the background is ready for machine quilting.
Nearly finished, the building units are pinned in place, and then satin stitched with bright colors around each section.  I also added some black and white details to the leaves, and put the little Guatemalan dolls in the windows too!  I also added little white painted dots around the top. The last step was trimming the quilt to the 16" square which left just a scant edge of red showing.  Perfecto!