Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's Spring!

Coming up the street today, I could see that our front yard was ablaze with color from the crocus (croci?)! Warren tries to plant more each year and has since we moved in. Unfortunately a skunk ate most of last year's crop, but I am sure he will be at it again late summer. As the temps are supposed to be in the 80's this weekend, I know these will all be gone by Monday but they are at their peak of color today.

These are amongst my favorites as I love purple and orange together. Has to be a quilt in there somewhere.

And finally the beginnings of the Great Blue Heron!! Usually I piece the background first but decided to go for the bird first this time. Because the background looks kind of plain in the original photo, I have decided to do some piecing in those areas to make that negative space a little more interesting. I am calling this one something like "From a Fish's Perspective" as I am kind of looking up at him and there is some foreshortening of the neck because of this. He was sitting on a post in the original photo but will be in the water in the quilt -- ah, artistic license! I am using a lot of blues in this even though they read as grey or black as he is called the Great Blue Heron (even though he looks grey to me...).

Now I have to put this aside for a couple of days as I have homework to do for the weekend and I have cheated for half the assignment already. We were supposed to construct a series of blocks using exercises from a design book. I chose to use EQ6 and design them there instead of in cloth. (The good part of this was that I learned several new things I could do in Electric Quilt which is always a plus!) The second part of the exercises is to use specific paintings and create value studies from them. I will actually do that one in cloth (although fused instead of my usual piecing). So will have to hop to it!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rainy Day Project

Well, I finally finished this hexagon layout top, even getting a border on it. It is all just a plain hexagon block and just one fabric. The top measures about 84 x 72 so it is pretty good sized! It will end up down at the beach house I suspect.

Priscilla insists it is still too red so I picked one of the border fabrics (leftover hand dye from a project long ago) in a color between the red and the purples to shift it a little in the purple direction.

This is really a "primary" color scheme which I never work in. It is primarily navy blue (background), yellow and red but shaded way down.

I might add that the border fabric cost about 5 times what the fabric for the inside did!! The inside was a Walmart special home dec fabric. It was interesting though, in that the print went all the way through and the back of the fabric was almost identical to the front which is very unusual in cheap fabric. The repeat was about 24 inches. Now hopefully I have this hexagon layout out of my system but I suspect not. They are even more fun than regular old Bethany Reynolds "stack and whacks".

So I am back to working on a Great Blue Heron quilt. I am awaiting an order of fabrics from my favorite discount online fabric place -- Thousands of Bolts. I decided that the background was very boring so I needed to do some piecing to jazz it up a little. (It doesn't take too much of an excuse to order fabric from these folks.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Almighty Dollar Exhibit

What a beautiful day in Rochester! On my way to the Almighty Dollar Exhibit at the Rundel Library in downtown Rochester, I couldn't help but stop and take in the view down the Genessee with the new bridge in the background! Although beautifully sunny, it was definitely a crisp day.
This was looking through the buildings from the library to my old workplace where I spent the better part of 30 years (Xerox). That grey building looks much better on a sunny day than during our usual cloudy weather!

The Almighty Dollar Exhibit is right downstairs when you enter the Rundel Library (just go inside and make an immediate right turn down the stairs). It basically is in the area that links the Rundel with the Bausch and Lomb Library Building. The quilts are contained in the link as well as in the sitting area of the B & L building. I found parking during the middle of the day right on the bridge over the Genessee and it was a pleasant walk to the library from there.

Diane Enerson, Elizabeth Anderson and Jeanne Simpson pieces are along this wall

Mary Diamond's frowning George is the first one pictured here.

As I hadn't managed to get a picture of Marcia's beautiful quilt, thought I would picture it today. Note the pyramid and the "all seeing eye" from the dollar bill.
This was Pat Pauly's quilt which pictures George in a much more colorful way! Pat organized the challenge, got funding, found a venue and curated the exhibit. Thanks Pat -- it looks great!
Here was my contribution which is called Red, White and Blue and Green Allover. I incorpor-ated several of the symbols from the dollar bill including the 13 gold stars (in the shape of an altar) and the green olive leaves floating on the top of the fractured flag symbolizing my hopes for peace.

The Exhibit will be at the Rundel Library until the end of April. There are two talks scheduled as well. The Library is open all days (closed on Easter) and open late on Thursday night so a perfect thing to do before going to a concert!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Squirrel, Squirrel, Squirrelly

Who knows that they should take their camera when heading to the movies! Certainly not I. But yesterday, scurrying around a friend's neighborhood was the most beautiful white "gray" squirrel. I knew there was a group of them living here in Webster but didn't expect to see one in Irondequoit on my way to the movies! I went back today and did manage to get a couple of photos.

When I was growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs, gray squirrels were all over and not at all shy. For some reason, in Western NY, they act like wild animals and run as fast as they can if they come within 30 feet of you. They are just as common but very skittish -- not like those nice fox squirrels in the midwest.
Now I have seen the black morph of the grey squirrel in both Toronto and in Washington DC and I hear they are also present here in Western NY but haven't seen one. This white morph was new to me. You can see by the picture that it is not an albino which was my first thought when I heard of this variation. It isn't completely white, just whitish. The one I saw yesterday was even lighter and had a fluffier tale -- really a beautiful creature! So maybe we are a bit like Alaska with adaptive colors for our harsh winters!

Another beautiful day in Rochester although a bit chilly. I had passed by the bay yesterday and saw ducks floating around and wondered what they were so went back today to take some photos. I still don't know what they are!! I am thinking that they are common eiders but not so sure so hopefully my all-knowing sister will see this and correctly identify for me so I don't have to go back and take more and more pictures!

I thought they had the weirdest beaks which look like they tip down at the end. I thought they might be grebes but definitely not long enough in the neck nor do they have the coloring. My first assumption had been scaups but don't seem to be the ones I have seen at least (the great scaups).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Quilt History and Thanks to Some Along the Way!

For some unknown reason, I felt the compulsion over the past few days to gather up and document every quilt or top that I have ever made! It is scary when you think you have everything accounted for and you find a queen sized hand quilted quilt that you had totally forgotten about! So now I have three Picasa albums with most of my quilts with labels. There are 4 or 5 baby quilts that remain out there undocumented (and probably unlabelled as well!).

This was my very first quilt and was taken from a book by Sandra Foose. I never bothered looking at the finished size - just figured it was a nice wall hanging. Well it is about single bed sized. I hand quilted it on my large quilting frame using the "stab" stitch which is what I had been taught by my very first quilt teacher. I of course hated quilting that way and was very put off quilting for sometime until I took a beginning quilt class with Suzie Payne here in Rochester. She has a couple of Dover books and really put you through your paces. Back then I was only interested in applique and learned to piece just because I felt you should have all the basics. It is a case of "never say you won't be interested in something". I still have my applique piece in quilttop form lying unquilted for 20 years!

This is one of my early applique quilts made in about 1984 before my Suzie class. Still doing that stab stitching although not much of it!

This was made for my older daughter Lisa and I still have it! Maybe it is time to do a bit more quilting in it!

This was the first quilt I ever entered into a quilt show and the quilt show was in Albany NY called NYQuilts. I won a third place ribbon and also a Vendor's Choice. It was the beginning of the purple quilts. I have made 20 quilts out of the pieces I cut out originally for this quilt. I gave away three more large bags of strips and also have made about 20 yards of fabric with the remaining strips (and would you believe I found two more baggies in my sewing room just last week). The quilt is the quilt block called kalaidoscope and seems to anticipate what I did later! It is of course hand quilted as all my early quilts were. I worked full time in rather demanding jobs up through 1999 and loved to sit and hand quilt at night.

This was my version of Nancy Murty's Barns. Nancy was a relative unknown at the time and I took one of her first classes at a local shop. I had seen her quilts hanging in the shop and was totally wowed and asked the women why I had never heard of her since she had a local name and address. Seems she had just quit her graphics job and moved to Rochester to pursue what has been an extremely successful career in pattern and fabric design. This contains a lot of my hand painted fabric and some of my hand dyed fabric. This quilt was probably done about 1999-2000 sometime.

When I was working, I used to go to the local thrift shops at lunchtime in search of old sewing machines to buy and repair. I started buying up all the old silk ties I could find. This quilt is made from those recycled ties, mostly foulards from the 80's. I called it Thrift Shop Stained Glass and it was in several quilt shows. It is hand quilted and this was the first time I used wool batting and I have never gone back!

This was my NY Beauty done from the Karen Stone pattern. This is where I learned to paper piece, something I decidedly dislike but was perfect for this project. It used to hang in my daughter's apartment but now languishes on a guest bed. It is machine quilted and won a Second Place ribbon at NYQuilts.

This was the first "stack and whack" I ever did -- just to test the process and see if the fabric I picked up off a sale rack would work. I used Bethany Reynolds' books for inspiration and technique. This one is called Bunnies in my Flower Garden and was made the year my mother (Bunny) died. The bunny shape in the four corners along the "fence" is how my mother used to sign her letters. It is machine quilted and was finished in 1998 I believe.

This was the last of the stack and whacks that I took seriously. I probably made 25 or more of these quilts through the years and it was a great place to practice my quilting designs and border designs and applications and balance. This was the most difficult because I used my hand dyed fabrics to shade from the outside in making a medallion quilt. Finding the right quilting design was also a challenge but I finally did and it turned out very well. I swore off seriously making these quilts after this one! (I still lapse occasionally as they are really like candy and hard to stop once you find the right fabrics.)

I have finished several old tops over the years -- always hand quilting them. This was originally 9 stars that I purchased at an antique shop here in Rochester. They were very wonky (you could have taken one point out and they would have been flat). Suzie always said you could quilt out any wobbles and she was right. I found this green background fabric and hand quilted the heck out of it. Several dealers have cautioned me to put a label on this quilt so someone will not think it is an 1800's quilt as it wasn't finished until 1999.

The lesson is that you shouldn't be discouraged by your beginning attempts and you should also try everything as you never know what you will learn or ultimately be interested in! I took my first dyeing class merely as a filler and it hooked me almost immediately.
If you are extremely bored, you might take a look at all my quilts in these three albums. The Quilts album is the newest one, with many of the quilts that have been in my blog along the way. The other two contain the older quilts done from about 1979 through 1999.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Spring Quilt Show at Patricia's in East Rochester

This quilt is by Jan Ciravola and I thought it was beautifully done. The quilts I have pictured here are some of my favorites from the show but there were a lot of others that were very well done.

Earlier this week (because of reminders on Facebook from other quilters basically), I delivered four quilts to be hung in the twice yearly show that is put on by Patricia's Fabric House in East Rochester. Three of the four quilts had only been seen once locally or not at all. One had been in several different local shows but is one of my favorites. Today I went to see what kind of company they were in!

The quilt show is always fun because you see things by people who don't belong to any of the local guilds and therefore this becomes their venue for hanging their quilts.

This small quilt is by Jean Cody and is called Cosmos in Lavender and Green and was started in a class with George Siciliano who specializes in very intricate piecing. I thought the colors were just beautiful and it was certainly well done. You have got to double click to see the incredible detail in this one.

I didn't realize until I got home that this quilt was by Diane Enerson of our RAFA group. I just loved the colors and with all my stripes, I think I will make one of these for sure!

This was an art quilt done by Karen Santoro and begun in a Rosalie Dace workshop.

I liked the color and simplicity of this quilt by Lynn Wigstone-Cassevoy.

I loved this small quilt by RAFA member Mary Rankin called Rhythm in Blue. I don't remember seeing it before.

This was another well done applique quilt by Mary Rankin.

This was a quilt by Paula Abraham called Birds on a Wire. It was hard to get really good pictures as there is not much room to back up to get the shots!

This was an incredibly executed quilt by Chris Wickert. When I first looked at it, I thought it was machine quilted but no, all hand quilted -- this is a picture from the side so you can see the complicated work in this one. Very reminiscent of quilts from the early 1800's.

I absolutely loved this quilt by Charl Isham taken from Freddie Moran's book. I had the pleasure to spend time with Freddie at Asilomar one year and she was hysterically funny and made the wildest brightest quilts ever. Her house was featured on one of the Simply Quilts shows as it is all decorated in highly saturated colors.

Of course, no show is complete without some "one block wonder" quilts. I couldn't believe this all came from one fabric and thought it was well done. This one was by Judy Heath.

This is another one block wonder kalaidoscope quilt using a musical instrument fabric. I tried to show a bit more detail in the picture below. This one was by Sandra Hoto.

And here is our difficult to photo cat, Cheney. This is his favorite cat bed and he usually lies down all cuddled up like a self respecting cat. Somehow he ended up in his "I want to be petted" position while still sound asleep, of course showing off that he is not an all black cat afterall!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What a Difference Two Weeks Makes!

Incredibly it was just two weeks ago that we were totally inundated with snow and ice and now there is not a drop of ice on the lake or on the bay!! Amazing.... the ice was so far out into the lake two weeks ago. Now it feels like spring and I was able to walk out to the end of the jetty to try to FIND some ducks! All that was left was a flock of oldsquaws happily diving for food in the clear water. This is the view back to the bridge which will be shut down in another two weeks until November when it will again re-open. My five minute drive will then be 15 minutes.

The aforementioned oldsquaws -- ladies and gents. Tis the season for thoughts of love...

A particularly perky male oldsquaw in his winter finery.

I can truly tell spring is coming though by the fact that I am feeling compelled to actually clean a bit around here (gasp, something must be afoot)! Must be the effect of actually sun shining down and exposing all those sore spots! I have cleaned up my snow dyeing area in the hopes that we might have just enough snow to do a couple more days of snow dyeing before calling it quits for the 2009/2010 season.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Class with Velda Newman

This is supposed to be a basket. I did the stitching yesterday and then slapped some paint on today. I may add a little more color here at home but I liked it a lot! It was very, very simple!

Here is Velda near the end of the second day and I think she is tired and I know the rest of us are!

Wow is all I can say!! I am so glad that I had the opportunity to take these two one day classes with this talented woman. The first day dealt with different easy machine techniques to give your quilts more texture and dimension. These were very easy techniques and didn't require any special machine feet or somersaults! They are all described in her book A Workshop with Velda Newman published by C & T. The class was well paced and we were never bored or overwhelmed and we were at all different levels.
This was Velda's sample of the tulip that we began on day one and finished on day two. Even though you could do a project over two days, you absolutely didn't have to.

This was another of the projects that we did the first day and could work on the second day. The lemons have a lot of texture but not too easy to see in this picture.

I took my Brother Pacesetter machine (which I have used so infrequently that I had to read the manual to figure out how to wind the bobbin -- pretty sad) and it worked just fine even for doing a little freehand machine work. I was happy about that as I didn't want to drag the Bernina out of its happy home in my sewing room and the old Bernina now lives at the beach.

Luckily Priscilla was at my side to rescue me with all the things I had forgotten for the class! We both agreed it was a class that far exceeded our expectations.

Here is the peach I did today in class!

And here are my two apples -- both of which I did the one thing she said not to do!! I am a slow learner. It was fun anyway and they will look great on a tote bag (they are about a foot across as is the peach).

Here are my tulip petals loosely arranged kind of in the shape of a tulip. They are also about a foot to 18 inches across!

These are Janet's petals and really looked like a parrot tulip to me -- they were my favorite!

I must say I really liked Christy's as well!