Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Pi Project

The Pi Project
aka, playing with numbers!
This next year Pi Day will fall on 3.14.15!  A very cool combination!  In celebration The Pi Project plans to make a very long ribbon of fabric numbers, all sewn together, with the correct sequence of pi.  The public is being encouraged to participate by donating 9.5" x 9.5" numbers.  Details can be found here.  I decided this might be a fun project, so I spent the day making numbers!  And if you are curious, I didn't make them in order, nor did I intend to make this many!  I planned to make just a few, maybe three?  But then I started having too much fun!!
Fusible applique on commercial cottons
Made from individually cut batiked squares and fused to the background.
some of my batiked flowers, individually cut, and fused together, then cut in the shape of a 2 and fused to the background.
some fabric from my Urban Landscapes fused to the checkered background.
Fusible applique on some fun commercial cottons.
Individually cut batik circles fused to the background and top-stitched
both 8's use some of my hand made batiks, the first has hand-stitching, the second machine stitching.  I liked them both, so decided to send both!
Playing with them now!  Don't they look cute in this hopscotch layout!  Might be fun to make a quilt like this!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

i Quilt

i Quilt
64.5" x 62.5"

At times I feel alone, but I am not. I am supported by many friends and family. These are the little "i" blocks that make up the big central "i". The other "i" blocks in the field are for all the people I have never met that support my life.

I am super pleased to tell you that my quilt has been juried into QuiltCon 2015!  Yay! I feel like a complete novice in this modern quilt movement, and so I am really happy that my work is considered worthy of showing with all wonderful and talented modern sewists!

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, I will share with you the little story of this quilt.  I had a lot of scraps leftover from making the Feral Cat quilt for my daughter.  I was also inspired (and continued to be) by the work of Heather Blair Pregger.  Her tuning fork quilts knock my socks off!  So I thought I would take a shape, the letter "i", and make it into a repeating block in a random sort of way...maybe like a floating grid?  Oddly, my daughter did not like the "i" blocks, so I set them to the side while I let her help make up a different back for her Feral Cat quilt.

After I finished her quilt, I got the "i" blocks back out and started making some more.  I wanted lots of varied sizes and varied fabrics.  I even incorporated some of my own hand made batiks and was pleasantly surprised at how well they fit in with the commercial fabrics!
Lime with grey rings and aqua dots

Aqua stripes with grey dotted bricks
But, I was struggling with the overall arrangement, and the difficulties of how to sew all this together.  Construction was not easy! It was after I started making the blocks that I decided to organize them with the central "i" made by the white blocks.  Sometimes, good ideas take a while to percolate!  I must respect the process, even if it is slow.

Eventually, I just placed the blocks I had where I wanted them, and then individually auditioned and made the rest of the blocks to fit the empty spaces.  This worked quite well, but was very time consuming.  I actually had visions of fabric flying, rotary cutters rolling, and blocks being sewn to fit with nary a thought in my head, all just improvisational pieced on a whim. My experience was really much more like an extended headache.  It took me a while to get the hang of making the other blocks to fit the spaces.

Then when I finished, I had the same problem I had with my daughter's quilt.  This one also needed a back!  What's up with that!!  I wanted this quilt to be my new studio lap quilt.  My old one is so battered and well used that it is falling apart.  And, with that in mind, I thought it would be fun to have something different on the back to suit my changing mood for the day.  I chose this, and added the extra fun of varying the size of the blocks again.  AND, I just LOVE the way this came together too!  AND, though it was a lot of effort to make all the blocks, they were super easy and did not tax my brain at all.  ALL GOOD!

Machine quilting and putting the bright pink binding on finished it up.  Now that it is going to QuiltCon, I will need to add a hanging sleeve.  Perhaps I can disguise it so that it does not interfere with the back?  Yes!! See below and see if you can see where the hanging sleeve starts!

Monday, December 08, 2014


8" x 10" x 2.5"

This is my contribution to The 100, Fiberart for a Cause, fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  You will have a chance to get this fabulous little piece on Feb 4, 2015 (apologies for getting the date wrong in the previous post, oops!).

Anyway, I just LOVE this little piece.  It was made from leftovers from this quilt, which you may recognize!  This one reminds me of Austin, TX, my home!  We have a fabulous river running through the center of town, surrounded by a lot of development, but with a lot of park space preserved too!  There are several places along the river to rent canoes, kayaks, sailboats and rowing boats (those long thin ones!).  It is one of my favorite activities in Austin!  Getting back to nature without having to travel very far, and some great exercise.  I have seen many interesting animals along the sides of the river, from dogs playing with their humans, to coyotes, racoons, turtles, many, many types of birds, and occasionally fish.  

For this, I wanted to try folding the fabric like a little newspaper origami boat from my childhood, but I couldn't remember how! Thank goodness for the internet!  In no time at all I was busy re-learning how to do this.  AND it also works with fabric, though my original attempts were too large for this little project.  I was finally able to scale it down enough to slip in the little Guatemalan worry doll!  Do you think I should fashion her an oar?

Monday, December 01, 2014

Fiberart For A Cause

Fiberart For A Cause
to benefit the American Cancer Society

I am honored to be an invited artist for "The 100" to be held on February 4, 2015.  The goal for this fundraiser is to raise $10,000 in one day!!  How?  Check out the details here.

I'm sure you will want to be one of the very exclusive 100 patrons who will be randomly assigned artwork from an extraordinary line-up of international fiber artists!  Fiberart For A Cause has already raised $240,000 thanks the amazing Virginia Spiegel and the generosity of fiber artists and patrons.

Check back in to see what I will be donating.  I am so excited to be contributing to this great event!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mod Seven

Mod Seven

The Black and White Challenge ....
....was put forth by Barb Forrister.  After discussing for a while, the group decided to add a pop of blue and a pop of lime green.  We were to make blocks, any size, quilt them, and then expect them to be cut up and arranged to make this quilt.  The only problem was that we had no idea of where we were headed when we started.  Sometimes it is like that.  You have to trust the process.  And so we all began experimenting and playing with black and white.  Here are my results.

I began with some shaving cream and black paint.  The blobs were so interesting!  Then I used a toothpick to pull the paint and Voila!  I had jellyfish!  The quilting enhanced their subtle forms.  Just LOVE these! Sadly, they did not make it into the quilt.  This block had been misplaced in my studio until just last week.  However, I am happy now that they have been found!

Next, I wanted to try some paper laminate.  I thought it would be perfect for this challenge if I used newspaper.  Here's a closeup. This one was not selected for the quilt.  It hangs in a happy spot in my studio, as I just love it too!
Next, since this one was so fun to make, I decided to try some other shapes.  I used a freezer paper cut out stencil to make these three blocks.  Only one of them is paper laminate.  It was also not selected for the group quilt.  You can see what became of it here.  I think only the center one was used in the group quilt.  As for it's negative (the bottom image), I don't really know where it is.
I also made this little sample.  It was cut up and used in a few spots in the quilt.  I had wanted to make some blocks with batik, because I just love batik.  Unfortunately, I have a hard time getting black to dye as rich as I would like.  So I took my favorite circle from batik and used it to stamp some paint on a piece of organza.  It left a ghost image on the fabric below, so I just shifted the two pieces to get this array of circles.  I then added some strips of blue and black, and last, some pieces of blue dyed batting for the circles on top.  The solid black circles on top are commercial cottons, all fused with my favorite Mistyfuse!
You can probably not believe how chaotic it is after we all bring our pieces together.  It is hard to commit to cutting into them.  It is hard to commit to a layout because there are so many fabulous ideas sprouting.  We picked a common color palette to make the pieces fit together, but we all have very different styles of working.  That is what I love about collaborative work with our group!  It is exciting!
Here's a photo of the very beginning when we started throwing our work up on the design wall and trying to decide what to do with it.
Wow!  And, as a wonderful honor to our hard work, we were delighted to have earned a Judge's Choice Award as the Austin Quilt Show this fall.  Thanks so much to our tireless project director, Barb Forrister!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Houston, Dinner @ Eight, and the After Party

Houston, Dinner @ Eight, and the After Party

Every year I eagerly anticipate seeing what the entire collection of quilts for the Dinner @ Eight Artists exhibit.  This year's theme was Reflections. This year, instead of taking photos, I tried making a video of the exhibit.  I wanted to give the viewer an idea of what the quilts look like as you are walking through.  I am a novice at best.  There is no theme music, just a hand held iPhone.  I have new respect for the other movie makers who make their finished products look so seamless and beautiful!
Jamie Fingal and Leslie Jenison have curated this exhibit for 6 years.  It is a labor of love for them both.  I am truly appreciative to be a part of this.  It is great fun participating and also getting to know the other artists.  And, our dinners together will always be a part of my fondest memories in Houston!
They also work tirelessly to promote their collection of artists through artist interviews on the blog and by publishing a book about the exhibit each year.  This year, as a special commorative, they published a book which shows the entire collection of quilts for each artist included since they started the exhibits.  It is a really nice book and includes a lot of pictures from our times together in Houston.

Now, regarding the "after party".  This is what I call the collection of people waiting patiently in line to get their quilts back after the show.  Knowing that I have a long drive ahead, I like to go early, grab a chair, and wait.  Usually, there is someone who needs to go before me because they have an early flight to catch. I have no problem with this.  Yes, please go ahead...This year a very nice woman needed to ship her quilts via FedEx and they were staying open for her, very gracious!   Meanwhile, we wait and wait.  There is nothing to do but to get to know your line neighbors and talk to old friends.  It is a blast!  This year I met several really wonderful people and had the opportunity to have longer and more intimate conversations.  I THRIVE on this!

We also had a bit of a delay getting started.  I kept popping up and looking to see what the problem was.  The staff can't start taking the quilts down until all the people leave the show floor.  That's when I noticed a small crowd of people gathering in front of Gail Thomas's quilt.  It was a portrait of the founders of the quilt show of Karey Bresenhan, Nancy O'Bryant, Jewel Patterson and Helen O'Bryant.  It is a wonderful, wonderful quilt, as Gail is a very accomplished and prize winning portrait artist.  You can see a picture of the quilt and the story of the creation of Quilt Festival on the Quilting Arts Daily blog, here.  It turns out that Gail was gifting her quilt to Karey and Nancy and it was a complete SURPRISE to them both!  A magnanimous gesture! Gail was completely humbled by this opportunity to give back to the founders who made it possible for her to have such an incredible venue to show her work, and a culture to have adventures with other artists and quiltmakers.  For her, it was just one of those things that needed to happen next in her path.  It was not about making herself look larger, it was about sharing and giving to others. It was one of those moments that brought tears to your eyes, because of the surprise, and the act, and the emotions that followed for Karey and Nancy and Gail and every one who witnessed it. Talk about growing your heart larger!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Houston 2014

Houston 2014

Wow, what a great time!  I saw many, many quilts.  I visited with many old friends and new ones!  The experience was inspiring, exciting, and rejuvenating!  It was also a bit overwhelming, as you can imagine.  Despite my best efforts, I did not get to see all the quilts, and I tried really hard!!  And, I did not get photos of all the ones I liked, there are too many, and I was too distracted.  My favorite exhibit was the Red and White quilts, which I did not even take one photo of?  How is that possible? It was a stunning display that was 3 stories high in concentric circles, like a giant quilt chandelier.  So, I will encourage you to check out some quilts from others who have posted about Houston.
Try this one from Linda Teddie Minton.  (here)  Be sure to scroll down, she has 3 different posts about Houston.

So, and in no particular order, here are a few of my snapshots.  I used my iphone for all of these, and some were a bit blurry.  Guess I had a hard time standing still?  Also, I put the artists name on the photograph of their work, as I think is best for attributing credit.

This amazing quilt with all the buttons caught my eye in this wonderful solo exhibit.  The story line was about healing.  It was fascinating to see the series and read her story.

Sue's wonderful use of color, design, and form really popped!

Always a fan, need I say more?

I absolutely LOVED this one!  And, I got to meet Ferret who was standing by her quilt.  I told her I was surprised this wonderful quilt did not win an award.  And, such was the case for many other wonderful quilts.

Sharing the quilt festival for the first time with by friend (from over 40 years ago) and her family.  Possibly the best part of my 2 day weekend trip to Quilt Festival!

Running into Cheryl Sleboda!

Oops!  This is the only photo I took in a place where I was not supposed to.  Embarrassing! So, I will take this opportunity first to say that I LOVE this take on the double wedding ring pattern.  The colors grab me.  Second, this was from an exhibit of quilts for the new book 500 Traditional Quilts, and you can buy one here.

favorite group quilt

This is a close up of the quilt below.  I love seeing how Betty plays with color.  I think this one is paint on fabric and then stitched. 

This one is really large!  I love the composition and the shadows.  Stunning!

If you decide to wait to get your quilt back, you will see Kaye's lovely face awaiting you.  What a lovely surprise to find out that Kaye has placed an image of one of my quilts (that she purchased from the IQA auction years ago) as the backdrop on her phone. Cool!

I was surprised (though I don't know why) at how many of the Dinner@Eight quilts from previous years were juried into Houston's judged show.  I meant to take photos of all of them, but didn't quite make it.  Here is one that I love from Susan Fletcher King.  It is beautiful!

Texture and line.  So simple and so beautiful.  This one is by Sherri Davis Kleinman.  I love the way she used machine quilting, and large stitch hand quilting, and perhaps markers? to achieve this affect.  Mesmerizing!

Loved all the attention to all the forms of wildlife in this one.  Beautiful!

Love this playful postcard from Pokey.  One of the few purchases I made at the quilt show, and certainly the first!  Money went to Friends for Life, an animal shelter in Houston, TX.

I was excited and honored to see my quilt hanging next to Pam Rupert's.  Always a fan!  This one does not disappoint.  The colors in real life are so so so much prettier than my photo.

Rolled towels at the swimming pool.  Love the lines and colors and fuzzy texture!

One of my favorites from the exhibit, 12 Voices from One.

This beautiful quilt by Mary Ann has an incredible number of beads in the center.  It is effective and beautiful!

The Hilton....looks like the windows are woven.  Nice job!

The winner of Innovative Artistry, $5000.  It is really beautiful!

Standing with my quilt, Out of the Box.

Last, my daughter came with me on this trip.  It was fun to hang out with her, show her off to my friends, and generally enjoy her presence....even when she was bored.  I appreciate her patience because quilting isn't really her thing. We had a blast leaving the quilt show for spontaneous and brief foray's into Houston for food, and the swimming on the top floor of the Hilton.  The kids grow up too fast, and it didn't feel that way when they were little, but it does now.  I appreciate the time I get to spend with her. LOVE grows your heart bigger.  :)