Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Modern Meets Modern
at the International Quilt Museum
Sept 16, 2021 to March 19, 2022
I am feeling fortunate, grateful, validated, valued, honored, proud, happy, and overwhelmed! My quilt, Hidden Messages (center bottom row), is now in the permanent collection at the International Quilt Museum and has been chosen for an exhibit called Modern Meets Modern.  
I haven't seen the exhibit in person, but their website has an amazing presence of the exhibit.  There are gallery photos (where I got these images), individual spotlights on each quilt, and a virtual 3D gallery where you can "walk" around and look at each quilt and explore at your own pace.  Videos of the artists talking about their quilts will be included soon. 

I am having trouble even finding the words to express how wonderful this exhibit looks to me.  Something along the lines of a "real" museum, and it is a tremendous honor!  The lighting is exceptional! It is perfect for lighting the quilts, but also not overexposing the fabrics to harsh light that would make the fabrics fade; something that is not typically considered in quilt shows or many other exhibit venues. 

There is text on the walls! I love how this spells out the concept of the exhibit!

And they built these incredible little beautiful sculptural box thingies with concepts on them that pique your interest and are so visually appealing!


And as a special note, my quilt was meant to be backlit, so that you can see the letters hidden under the appliqued colorful circles.  However, putting that much light on the quilt is bad for the fabric.  So they built another one of those lovely instructional pretty boxes specifically for my quilt to show what my quilt would look like if it had been backlit.  It is perfect!!
Many thanks to IQM and all the people who were involved in putting this exhibit together! Hope you will get a chance to see it in person, and if not check it out on their website!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Charmed
project 80" x 80"

This one started as a challenge to myself.  It is named after a charm pack swap I purchased from Bunny's Designs, and I was wondering what to do with the unusual assortment of little 5" squares of very interesting fabrics!

I decided to try some monochromatic blocks and I was drawn to my comfort zone, the log cabin block.  I decided to alternate rows of solid colors with rows of prints to build my blocks.  Each block would be BIG, 20" square.  To select the solid colors, I opted for a gradient.  Here are a few combinations that are auditioning for a spot.

After cutting the strips the right sizes, which I am embarrassed to tell you that I did wrong on a number of occasions, I started selecting which prints to use.

I have been collecting fabric for many years and I have a lot to choose from.  Ultimately, the ones that worked were the ones that had a bit of value difference compared to the solids that surrounded them. 
Here is a close up of the pink block:

I selected squares for the center from larger scale prints.  I LOVE these polar bears!!
It was also fun to include some of my own batiked fabrics in the mix.  These lovely oranges (and one red), helped extend the possibilities for the orange block.  I tried not to use any fabric twice, but in the end, I did, at least a few times. 

It was really fun to revisit my old fabrics and mix them with the new ones.  It brought up so many memories, it was like looking at a scrapbook.  Next week, I will show you more of the fabrics I used and some of the completed blocks!  And, I will likely want to put something interesting on the other side!  At least this kind of sewing has been a really fun way to stay busy while I wait for my sewing machine (that I use for quilting) to be repaired.  

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Both Sides Now

International Quilt Festival solo exhibit


I am starting to think that this really might happen!  All my quilts are now in Houston.  And, I have designed a postcard to promote and celebrate the event.  And, the cards have arrived!  They are so beautiful!  I am very happy with the quality of my cards from Moo.

My optimism and hope are fighting with my realism and weekly covid projections.  I am astutely aware of the Covid crisis in Houston.  Their hospitals are full.  The Delta variant is rampant.  I had a solo exhibit in Houston once before, in 2016.  It was fantastic! I stood in front of my exhibit almost every hour that it was open.  I talked to so many wonderful and supportive people.  But things are different now.  If I decide to go, I will only be there for one day.  I am worried that very few people will come to the show.  And, my brain knows that fewer people will be safer. I am also worried that having so few people at the show will be another difficult economic hit for the Houston show to remain operational. I am worried that the people who will come are the ones who won't be vaccinated and think wearing a mask means hanging it so low that their noses stick out (which personally freaks me out). Many of my friends are not going.  It is the most special time every year because this is when we connect in person.  It feels like my presence there will be a constant reminder of everyone I love who is not there.  I expect to feel some grief with my bliss of my show, which complicates things. In a word, bittersweet. How appropriate that the event will iterate the theme of the exhibit, two sides: FEAR and JOY.

If you end up going to the show, I hope you will stop by and see my exhibit! And, drop me a line! 

As for these postcards, I have some special envelopes coming that fit these postcards perfectly! That way, I will not have to put an address label and cover some of the images.  The first 5 are already spoken for, but the other 20 are for you, first come first serve.  Comment on my blog that you want one, (when I get 20 comments, that means they are all spoken for) and send me an email (kakiyork at gmail.com) with your mailing address. I will send you one! 

 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Pelican
10" x 7"


(The black part is the background, and not a part of the quilt.)

I really love this little pelican.  It is a reminder from my childhood on the beach when they were so extremely precious.  There were so few of them.  DDT pesticide had made their egg shells so fragile, that they would break before hatching, thus the numbers were declining.  Fortunately, some protections were put in place, and instead of another extinction story, we have a come back story! Now, when I go to the beach, I see multiple flocks of pelicans, flying over the dunes, and then over the waves, diving in for a little lunch.  It warms my heart to see them doing so well!  

I made this little quilt for SAQA's Trunk Show.  The Trunk Show is made up of these little quilts that are divided into a number of different traveling exhibits.  The goal is to show a lot of different styles of art quilts made by the members.  They keep the quilts for 3 years, and at the end, the quilts go on sale.  Sweeeet!

I have been experimenting with screen printing for another quilt I am working on.


After pouring on the black fabric paint, and pulling it through the screen, it looks like this:

I would say that it was an easy way to put my drawing on fabric, but it turned out to be much more complicated than I anticipated.  Next time I will have more realistic expectations.  Suffice to say, I eventually got there, and was quite happy with the results.  

After printing, I was curious about adding color.  So I got out some markers and colored it in.  It reminded me of my early days of coloring in coloring books.  I am still excessively fond of flat 2D images, with the drawn line look. I also like the way the markers kind of bled together to create a watercolor effect!  Very cool! Then I heat set the piece with my iron.

All that was left was to add the quilting.  I used matchstick quilting with 10 different thread colors. For such a small piece, it went relatively quickly.  Then I faced it and added a label to the back.  I have already shipped it off to SAQA.  It was fun to finish a little project so quickly!   

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Pokey got Married!!

All my best to Pokey and Patrick on their recent wedding last weekend!  Pokey Bolton has been a long time champion of my work.  She is a delight in person and has an incredible talent for art and business.  I remember when she first bought her property in Napa Valley with an amazing idea to build an art barn and host events for fun and learning about art quilting.  I knew that if she dreamed it, she would find a way to do it! And she did!  Craft Napa, an annual art quilt retreat, has been successfully going for years now!  And, she has found the perfect partner to share her life with! I am so happy for you Pokey!!

Meanwhile, without her knowledge, a call went out to make prayer flags to string together for her wedding.  I was happy to make this one for her!


That little hummer represents joy.  That is my wish for you Pokey, that you have many happy years filled with Love and Joy!

Here is a close up of the back, with a little hand stitching:


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Studio Art Quilt Associates

I have entered multiple SAQA exhibits only to have my work rejected multiple times and by multiple people (the jurors). For this reason, I am super delighted to have a piece finally juried into the new collection additions on their website. This quilt is also two-sided and will be in my solo exhibit of two-sided quilts, Both Sides Now, in Houston at the International Quilt Festival this fall!

One Earth  47" x 47"

Having an opportunity to exhibit my work is the main reason I joined SAQA and still remains the most motivating factor in my decision to remain a member. The numerous rejections do not stop me from trying.  You can't win if you don't enter! 


I consider my frequent entry fees a "donation" to the operating costs of the organization.  These costs are fairly hefty and SAQA depends on a number of income streams to pay for all their programs and infrastructure.  One of the most popular sources is the annual auction of  12" x 12" art pieces made by their members.  It is a great way to give back.  It is a small enough piece that it doesn't require too much.  And, your work gets seen by not only SAQA members, but also, other fiber art collectors.  I didn't donate this year, but have done it several times in the past. You can see many of the wonderful quilts, and the details of the auction HERE. The quilts I have included above are just of few of my many favorites!

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Helping out a friend.

I was ready to return to my work when I saw a request for help from a friend on Facebook.  I do not have any tight deadlines right now so I decided to volunteer my help.  She is having health problems and was unable to finish this quilt.  And, it had already been sold in a fundraiser many months ago.  I can't help Mary Ann's health, but I can quilt. 

Here is the completed quilt by Mary Ann Vaca-Lambert called Roadside Bluebonnets.  It is about 70" by 47".
I love the blue, it is intense! And the little pops of yellow are wonderful!  I also like that it is a log cabin.  My very first quilt was a log cabin, and I just finished piecing the top of another log cabin.  I think it's my favorite block!

When I received the project, it still needed quite a few things done for completion. The quilting motif was a meandering stippling pattern inside the blue and straight lines on the pale background.  I found this difficult because I don't ever do stippling patterns.  They require a kind of improvisational and yet a bit of planning with your brain that I find really difficult.  I wanted my quilting to look like Mary Ann's, but I am not inside her brain.  I decided to study the pattern and try drawing it on paper a few times to see if I could understand how the pattern flowed.  I did manage to get there eventually.  My pattern is much more symmetrical than Mary Ann's but it kind of looks like hers.  She has a much more intuitive approach.  Here is a photo of that quilting from the back of the quilt.  I definitely had a learning curve!
When the quilting was finished, all the threads needed to be buried inside the quilt.  This took a while, but I find it a relaxing chore.  The next step involves blocking the quilt because it did not lie flat (it rarely does).
This is the part where I move the furniture to make space on the floor.  Then I pull out these big foam floor tiles that piece together like puzzle pieces.  It is perfect for blocking.  I flattened the quilt on the floor, then sprayed some water on it to get it slightly wet.  Very gently, I try to further flatten any parts of the quilt that are being troublesome and quickly pin it to the yellow floor tiles.  Then I turn on the fan, and let it dry completely, usually overnight. 
The next day after unpinning, I trimmed the quilt to remove excess batting and backing.  Then it was ready to bind.  I cut the binding strips, sewing them together, and then sewed them to the front side of the quilt.  The next step is to fold the binding and wrap it around the cut edges of the quilt, and then secure it to the back with hand stitching.  

Most quilters either love or hate putting the binding on.  For me, I find it kind of exciting to get so close to the finish line! And, I would say that I was nearly finished but there is more to do!

The label needs to be made, this one is according to Mary Ann's wishes.  And then sewn to the back of the quilt.  I think it is really important to put labels on quilts, so I include them on all my quilts. 
More still!  One of the last steps is to photograph the quilt.  And, since this quilt fit perfectly on my design wall, I was able to get that done fairly quickly. 

Next is to tape roll all the extra threads off both sides and then it is ready for shipping.  I folded it to fit inside the shipping box with tissue paper in all the folds. And, I always wrap it in plastic to make sure it won't get damaged in water in some unlikely delivery mishap.  Address the label, buy the postage, and drop it off.  I am hoping the new owner will be happy with her quilt.  It was a label of love by both of us.  Here's to you Mary Ann!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Wiksten Shift Dress
with my Doc Marten shoes!
I have been following #wikstenshift on IG for a long time now and finally decided to buy the pattern and make the dress!  Last summer I bought 6 yards of Essex Linen to make a couple of Farrow dresses.  I like that pattern a lot, but the Essex is a bit too heavy, maybe not for the pattern, but for Central Texas.  The Farrow dress has a double layer of fabric on the front skirt to make the pockets.  It is an amazing and intriguing design, but once again, Texas.  Too hot! I probably need to find a source of linen that isn't quite as heavy as the Essex. On to the Wiksten Shift Dress!

Back in my studio, it was time to get busy! It feels weird putting in this much effort to make a garment without knowing if it will fit or if I will like it.  After thinking for a while, I opted to make a few alterations. It was tempting to put some bright yellow or bright pink for the pockets on my simple grey dress.  However, I decided to keep it simple. First up, cutting out the pieces:
I have long arms. So, I decided to pin the pattern to the shoulder seam of a dress I love, and check the pocket placement.  It was a bit too high, so I plan to lower it, not by a lot, but 1/2" will be perfect!
I also read the pattern before starting, which is pretty standard for me.  The finishing instructions for the pocket are pretty standard, but I wanted to try a lined pocket, using the same fabric that I would be using on the neck facing, a light grey dot print.

I cut out 2 pockets, and 2 pocket linings.  Because of the change, the process for sewing makes the pocket pattern a bit too big, so I altered it slightly.  With right sides together, I stitched along 3 sides, trimmed the corners, and then turned inside out.  After pressing, I zigzagged the bottom edge, and put two rows of topstitching along the top of the pocket.  Then I placed the pocket with the solid grey sides together sort of upside down on the placement dots:
I will stitch 1/2" from the bottom edge of the lined pocket (where the yellow, green, and blue pins are), and then flip the pockets up and pin in place.  
Next is to topstitch around the sides and the bottom edges. I wanted to be careful with the topstitching along the bottom edge because I didn't want the bottom seam to stick out and show.  So, as I approached each bottom corner, I used some forceps to sort of tuck it in and then proceeded to stitch slowly. It worked!

Once the pockets are complete, you proceed with sewing the rest of the dress.  I am going to add just a few more notes where I deviated from the pattern.

Neck facing:
I hate finishing the edge of a neck facing, especially when it says to turn under 1/4".  That is hard to do on a curve and have it look good.  For this dress it will be more important because that edge will be stitched to the dress front and the line of stitching will show, so the curve needs to be done well.  I opted to use a technique for appliqueing circles.  It requires hand stitching with small stitches a scant 1/4", then use a plastic ring, pull the threads to gather in the excess fabric on the folds, use some starch (applied with a cotton swab), and the iron.  It makes a beautiful edge!  Only, I didn't have a template for the shape of the facing.  I opted to just cut some freezer paper from the facing pattern piece, iron it to the back side of the fabric.  I used the hand stitching, the starch and the iron, and it is a really nice smooth curve!  Sweeeeeeeet!
Then I can peel off the freezer paper and use it again, if I make this dress again.  And I am thinking I might because I really love the pattern. I also like to finish the facing early on, so that it will be ready when I need it. 

I also like this photo of the process because it looks so scary! I call it the ring of a million stabby pins. 

Last step, the hem.  I was worried because this is called a short dress in the pattern, that it would be too short.  So, I did the hem slightly differently to allow the dress to be 1 1/4" longer.  I shouldn't have worried though, it would have been the perfect length for me just following the original instructions.  Next time I will know! (Also, in case I forget, I put a pencil note on the pattern!)
I wore my new dress all day, and it lived up to my unreasonably high expectations! The pockets are roomy! And, they do not sag or gap, perfect! I like the fit! It is roomy and a bit loose which makes it easy to move.  My fierce warrior stance: (ha ha!)

Well, that's it for my month of catching up on sewing chores.  Next week I will return to posting about the quilts I am working on.  I am not sure all these projects have been fun, but they have definitely been useful and worthwhile. I am glad to have them completed, vs. sitting in a pile! Cheers!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Pajama Pants

If someone made pj's like this, I would buy them, but they don't.  So, I have resigned myself to make them. Sometimes when you see a fabric, you just know it's destiny, and this was one of those times. Despite the fact that I don't enjoy sewing clothes, I do like wearing them! And, this pattern is so incredibly simple to make, only 6 steps! 

Note: I did not purchase this pattern, it is what is left of an old and thread worn pair of pj's that was ripped apart to make the pattern.  This is not my go-to for sewing.  I prefer to buy a pattern and give the income to the designer.  I will show one of those next week. 

1.  Cut out the pieces.  I used 2 shapes, one for the front leg and one for the back, and I needed two of each.

2.  With right sides together, I pinned and then sewed the inseams of each front leg to a back leg. 

3. Then I sewed the two stitched sections together along the center front and center back. I always put 2 lines of stitching along the curves to strengthen the seam. 

4. The next seam makes the jamers look like pants!  I lined up the outer leg seams, front and back, with right sides together and stitch.  

5. Then I made a casing for the waistband. I opted to sew in the elastic so that it will never roll.  I also put buttonholes in the front so that I can have a drawstring too. 

6. Last step is to finish the bottom cuffs of each pant leg.  I turned in 1/2" two times and then stitched.  Super easy, and ready to wear!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Neckline alterations

I bought these 2 Marimeko dresses last week eagerly anticipating their arrival!!  I bought two colorways because the last time I bought a Marimeko dress from Uniqlo, I loved it so much, I wished I had bought two of them.  However, when I tried the first one on, the neckline of the dress was too high and was cutting me in the throat. The neckline would have been fine if the dress was at all stretchy, but it was not.  And, I didn't want to send them back.  The colors are too pretty, and the A line, aka TENT dress, is so comfortable and cool for the summer.  Fortunately the design of the dress had an ample facing on the inside. Here's the part where I admit my novice level of sewing, the facing was one of those that connects the neck and sleeve hole facing in one piece.  I don't understand it, I still don't, but I thought I would risk experimenting on the pink and orange dress, and if it went well, then I would have a dress that I loved to wear, and would be willing to risk the second one, the grey and white. 

The pink and orange alterations worked! Here is a before (the grey and white one) and after (the pink and orange one). 

The difference is subtle.  I only cut off about 3/4" inch, but it made a huge difference in being able to wear it. 

I started with detaching the facing tacks at the side seams, and then ripped out the stitching that attaches the seam allowance to the facing.  Is that called stay stitching? I don't think so....It was however, very fine and tiny stitching, and I had to put on two pairs of glasses to see it!


I skipped the photos for the rest of the pink and orange dress, please forgive me.  On to the grey and white one.  The next step is to arrange the neckline so that the right sides of the fabrics are together.  Then I lightly sketched the line that I wanted to sew.  I used the piece I cut off from the pink and orange dress as a reference, and I made this one just slightly larger, about an inch. 

I pinned the facing to the bodice so that there would be no slippage, and then stitched along the line.  The scary part is trimming the seam line with scissors.  Yikessss!


This entire operation would not be possible if the facing hadn't been so big, so thank you for that!  I would have had to devise something else, and this solution was so easy! The last step was to sew the seam allowance back down to the inside facing, and reattach the tacts at the side seams.  Super easy!


Here's my two leftovers!  Evidence of success and bravery! I think I will keep them!
The final product? The neckline is now low enough that it doesn't choke me!  Hurray!