Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Diamond in the Rough

A Diamond in the Rough
70" x 84"
A Christmas Story

We used to joke that my dad could find a golf ball hidden under 4 inches of mud in the middle of a lake!  It wasn't far from the truth.  Each Sunday when my dad came home from playing golf, he brought with him about 70-80 found golf balls.  He like to walk the course, and he walked on the sides, the roughs.  He always found a lot of lost golf balls.  He cleaned them up, played with the best ones, traded some for golf equipment, and also saved most of them.  It grew to quite the collection over the years as you can imagine.

Well, this quilt is all about my dad, but not just because of all the balls he found.  I also think of him as a diamond in the rough.  He grew up in a household with a lot of kids and a mom to take care of everyone.  She frequently had 2 jobs to make ends meet.  There were lots of stories of fighting over food and collecting bottles to get extra money.  He went from these modest beginnings to pursue a lifelong career of entrepreneurship.  He could always see a way to make money and save money in unusual ways.  He owned a chain of stores, he rented properties, he made deals.  He had a type of stewardship of property and money that was just brilliant, and all with only a 10th grade education.  He also earned his GED, and got an international consumer credit credential.  He joined the army during the Korean War, and was very proud of the time he served there.

It was the later part, about being a veteran that he talks about a lot today.  When I was a kid he never mentioned it.  But now, in assisted living, he bonds with other veterans.  So, I was inspired to make this quilt for him, in red, white, and blue.  It is a log cabin block, because that is both the first block I ever learned how to make, and also because it is about home, and this is his new home.  The choice of red for the center traditionally symbolized the hearth of the home.  The arrangement of the blocks, that part is the offset diamond, or a diamond in the rough, that's my dad.

I went to see my dad this week and gave him his quilt.  He was quite pleased with it, and also very gracious about accepting it.  I am so glad.  I hope it will keep him warm and give him comfort.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Big quilts and quilting....

Big quilts and quilting....

What I've been up to. 
I have finished HAND quilting this giant 96" x 96" quilt.  I had planned to enter it into QuiltCon, but alas, the cold winter season is upon us.  I have already entered 3 other quilts, and though I doubt all 3 will get in, if they do, my bed will be cold this winter!  So, I am saving this one to use, just for me.  This is the back of it.  Like a dog in the grass, I simply adore rolling in the colors of this quilt.  It makes me HAPPY.
folded up view of the back of the quilt
I quilted it by hand because it was so heavy, I didn't have the heart to push it through the machine. My initial plan was to machine quilt it.  I made up a small sample to test my idea of what that would look like:
This is a sample piece that resembles the front of the quilt.
The very dense quilting lines look fantastic!  It was, unfortunately, a lot of quilt to push through the machine so many times.  Heavy and daunting.  And, the issue of texture.  Though, I love the texture of this machine quilting, I don't like to touch it, I don't like the way it feels.  I wanted this quilt to be useful, as in touching and keeping me warm.  And so it may seem that the hand quilting would take longer, that would not have been the case. 
This is the actual quilting of the front of the quilt.
One could make the argument to machine quilt it in a much looser pattern so that I could complete the task quicker and get the texture I wanted.  Possibly true, but that is not what my Muse was insisting upon.  I try not to argue with the Muse.  So hand quilting it was.  And, I really enjoyed the process.  It is slow, and meditative and relaxing. I will get around to photographing the entire quilt and posting, so please, check back with me later.

As for the Giveaway!
...  and the winner of the MQG calendar is Karen (who posted comment #6)!  I have already emailed her, so hopefully she will receive the calendar soon!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Machine Quilting Unlimited 2017 Calendar Giveaway

Machine Quilting Unlimited 2017 Calendar Giveaway

I am happy to share with you the latest calendar by Machine Quilting Unlimited.  My deer quilt is featured for the month of February, You Are What You Eat.  It is one of my very favorite quilts!
Since MQU sent me a few extra copies of the calendar, I thought I would like to share them with you.  Please leave a comment below to enter the drawing.  I will select the winner with a random number generator at noon CST on December 1.  I am paying for the shipping, so US entries only.

While you are here, consider popping over to my new page, Small Quilts for Sale. Perhaps you will see something that will make a nice gift for yourself or someone you love.  

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I should have a new quilt to share with you soon!  Happy stitching!

Friday, November 18, 2016


7" x 10"
I am trying to get back into the swing again, but finding it hard to concentrate.  So, I decided to try something small.  I wanted to make something for SAQA's Trunk Show, and I knew the deadline (Nov. 30) was coming up.  The trunk show is a collection of about 400 quilts that is divided into smaller groups.  The exhibit will premier April 27 - 30, 2017 in Lincoln, Nebraska concurrent with the annual SAQA conference. After that they will be kept at the SAQA shipping facility and can be borrowed, almost like a quilt library.  The intention of the collection is education, to show people what art quilts are all about.  It is  a remarkable idea and really fun to see the variety of ideas people come up with to put into a tiny 7" x 10" tiny sized quilt. These quilts travel for 3 years, and then are offered for sale, if the artist's chooses, and if not sold, they are eventually returned.  I am the Trunk Show coordinator this year and all the entries are shipped to me.  I get to see them ALL!  It has been a fun experience so far and I look forward to receiving more entries.  So far, participants have sent me about 60 quilts, and many more have been entered and are awaiting shipping.  I look forward to each day to see what the postal carrier will bring me.  It's like Christmas every day!
I was looking through my studio and trying to come up with an idea, and the one that settled was a smaller version of my quilt, Development.  The new one is called Displaced (aka., Goldie Foxes and the Three Bears! ha!), and it is about giving consideration to animals who have their habitats destroyed in the name of urban sprawl.  And though I recognize the value having homes for people, I am concerned that the loss of habitat is really bad for our environment.  There comes a point where the stewardship of the environment needs to be equally valued. It is a difficult balance. 
The little bee is from the selvage of Urban Artifacts, a new fabric line by Leslie Jenison.
How it was made:
The center part, with the houses, was made with little black boxes on top of newspaper, then layered with silk organza on top.  Place a screen and pull matte medium through the screen.  After the layers have dried they are gently scrubbed under water to removed the thickest part of the paper, leaving behind only the front image.  This was fused with Mistyfuse to a black cotton background.  Then I sewed borders around the center with some commercial cottons (the animals). Next I fused black triangles on top of the center squares to make the house shapes.  Lots of machine quilting to form the houses with X's and the gray contours of the hills, and finally some yellow hand stitching on the roofs.  I used a facing to gently wrap the quilt edges to the back and neatly finish them.  It was a bit of a process to make, but I had fun with every step, so the time flies by!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Houston Quilt Festival - the Experience

Houston Quilt Festival - the Experience

Between the election and the after convention "hang-over", it has taken me a few days to put this post together.  I have been recovering from intense lack of sleep and my annual post-Houston illness which involves the respiratory crud (that in all fairness started in Austin), and losing my voice.  I had a difficult time sleeping while at the quilt festival because of the huge amounts of adrenaline, powered by a year of hard work alone in my studio (or mostly alone) and then a giant onslaught of good times with old friends and new and then winning awards and my special exhibit!!!!! To say that it is too much, is an understatement; but like a moth to the flame, I am drawn there.

Highlights of the show include winning two awards this year:
i Quilt wins an Honorable Mention!!
One Earth wins a Second Place!!
Dinner@Eight exhibit, Patterns:

Cover girl! Mistyfuse has added my face to the cover of the package for 10 yards of Mistyfuse!  Thanks Iris!
Iris and I at the Dinner@Eight dinner

Posing with Jamie Fingal and our cover girl packages on Mistyfuse!
The opening of Turmoil & Tranquility, a new exhibit from SAQA.
The Deep End
My special exhibit:
My hand made guest book with the color pens.  My sweet wonderful amazing guests filled 20 blank pages full of wonderful comments and messages to me.  Absolutely fabulous!  Thank you so much!!!!
Falling, Vertigo, Doors Across Austin, Park Place
Park Place, Planned Obsolescence, Windows
Windows, A Few of My Favorite Things, Urban Tree
Out of the Box, Just Around the Corner, Bridge
Bridge, Dot, Suburbs
Central Park, Home
Self Portrait '08, Blue Towers
Community Gardens, Winter to Spring, Gift
Urban Daisy, Building UP
Duck and Cover, High Rise
High Rise, You Are What You Eat
And, one of my biggest highlights was having my mother come to see my exhibit!
After I got home, a dear friend forwarded me a newsletter from The Quilt Show.  Surprise!! They made a beautiful slide show of my exhibit and you can see it here.

I also found out on the last day of the show, that my exhibit, Inspired by Color will be traveling to

And, if that is not enough, there were a total of 49 different quilt exhibits in Houston this year.  Only one of them is the World of Beauty.  I could spend weeks looking at all the quilts, but I didn't have that much time!  My favorites were the Modern Quilt Exhibit (sorry I didn't get photos!), Quilt National, Viewpoints 9, Dinner@Eight Patterns, SAQA Turmoil and Tranquility, and the Susan Carlson exhibit.  There was also a number of other fascinating exhibits like the quilts made to honor the moon and the missions to the moon, the Dear Jane exhibit, and Tactile Architecture.  

Many, many, wonderful times with friends, and so happy to have gotten photos of some of them, and sad I forgot to get photos with others....such is the nature of a highly distracted and adrenaline fueled experience!
Deborah Boschert, Suzan Engler

Kristen La Flamme, Deborah Boschert

Heather Pregger

Jamie Fingal

Becky Navarro and me

Selfie with Helen Godden and her quilt!

Selfie with Judy Coates Perez

Me and Paula Kovarik

Me and Sue Bleiweiss

Selfie with Lisa Chin

Me and Mikyung Jang

Sherri McCauley and me

Heidi Proffetty and Victoria Findlay Wolfe
The beautiful view from the Hilton:
A rather frequent view from the escalators at the George Brown Convention Center:
Behind the scenes, take down of the exhibits.  Love the tables.  Love the attention to detail in quality care of our quilts!! Look at all those white gloves! Thanks!
At home, cherishing my guest book!
The most frequently asked question:
How long did it take you to make all of these quilts?
I still don't know.  It took a lifetime to find my artist voice and get the skills I needed.  I am a professional artist.  I work full time at making my art, just like other people who work their full time jobs.  If you think these art quilts take a long time to make, you are right, but hey, it's what I do. And, I would like to thank those of you who make it possible by supporting the arts!  Whether you donate to our organizations or buy our work directly, we couldn't do it without you!!!

Getting a little silly with no food, exhaustion, and adrenaline, the night I dropped and fatally cracked the screen of my iphone.  Waiting, waiting, and more waiting, but the techs at the Apple Store came to my rescue and finished the repair even though they worked past closing time!  Kudos! 
Spending a very brief amount of time each night doodling with watercolors to amuse with texts to my daughter back at home:
dedicated to the raccoon (or other animal of the night) who made a tasty meal from her Jack-O-Lantern