Friday, March 30, 2012

Colin is Completely Finished -- Okay, No Label Yet But....

Finally, Colin is all done.  He is still a little damp in the upper right hand corner from my spraying and blocking!  So now, my quandary -- I would really like to somehow get this raffled off somewhere with the proceeds going to Oxfamamerica which is one of the causes that Colin and his wife support (and with which I wholeheartedly agree ).  Just my name on this just isn't going to do it -- it needs some kind of publicity.  And here is my problem.  I used a photo I found on the internet initially.  As some of you may remember, I had hoped to get a picture of my own for this project but none were good enough.  I managed to track down the photographer and the organization that may own the copyright.  Two notes to the photographer have met with no answer.  His name is Jason Redmond.  I have now sent a note to Reuters (the photo attribution said it was taken for Reuters) and hopefully they will answer me although I am not holding my breath here.  Very frustrating!  I won't enter it into any larger shows without that permission even though I could probably use the photo under Fair Use in the copyright laws.  I certainly never want to make a cent personally on it.  So if any of you have any brilliant ideas, know Jason or have a friend at Reuters, let me know!!  Otherwise, I may just enter it into local shows and then send it off to his publicist in England.  I obviously adore Colin but for some reason feel no great attachment to this quilt even though it is autographed.  It is one of my favorite pictures of him though.

This is a closeup of the background quilting which I varied in each block.  I wanted the quilting to not really detract from the images so I chose thread the same color.  You can see the quilting very well closeup, but Colin's face almost disappears when  you view it close up so that makes me happy.  I like quilts that give you surprises when you look at them close up which you don't see at a distance.  

Well, am ready to start on some more of the Serendipity quilts and have been playing a great deal with EQ6 to do this.  Here was a composite of some of the colorations and different blocks I may use.  Kind of got the illusion of the background hexagons.  I will obviously use this merely as a guideline to give me some ideas.  I have done as many as 15 colorations of each of these blocks, just to see which ones I liked the best.  I thought this was kind of an  unusual set as well.

I will be heading to my daughter's in Charlotte in a couple of weeks and will need projects to do down there -- such a compulsive doer.  

Of course, doing a quilt of all my ducks is also rattling around in my head and may make it down onto paper before too long as well.  Trying to come to grips with the fact that I would like different "poses" for the ducks!

Took a walk around the block today as it is supposed to snow tonight which should put a damper on all the spring flowers.  The forsythia are almost gone and our magnolia seems to be the only one in the neighborhood that didn't have its blooms frozen by a very cold night earlier this week.

The aforementioned magnolia.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Finishing Up OLD Class Projects

Part of the "decluttering" of my sewing room has been the discovery of many projects that were almost done but not quite.  These were all projects that were started in a class or pre-work before I took a class.  I will admit to being a compulsive finisher though so I decided to tackle several of these that have been floating around for years in some cases.  This water lily is straight out of one of Ruth McDowell's technique books and was done in preparation for taking a class from her in Massachusetts several years ago.  I chose to vary the colors from her original.  It was a good way to get myself used to her piecing techniques.

This was done in a class many, many years ago taught by Annette Ornelas (whose is most known for her dimensional flower technique -- still haven't finished that project!).  Doing this was a great deal of fun and a very different technique.  Again, this was my own design rather than using the one she had provided -- I took the class shortly after my trip to Alaska and this was my interpretation of one of my photos.  Hard to believe, but this was done totally using a "flip and sew" technique -- yes, with curves.  Needless to say, you had all sorts of puckers and fullness when adding pieces after piece.  Her strategy was then to quilt the heck out of it so that the puckers and fullness just become texture.  As you are using a base fabric on which you are applying the "flip and sew" pieces, it stays totally flat.  However, all the quilting makes a piece that has the feeling of a piece of cardboard!!  It was easy to quilt though as you just followed the curves and stitched every 1/8 inch!

This is a closeup showing the quilting.  You don't see any puckers in it though!

I called this one Tree of Life and my intention was to convey a circle with the tree motifs.  This was started in a class with Cynthia Corbin who remains one of my favorite teachers and people I am inspired by.  We created background and then cut and resewed.  My abstracts ALWAYS eventually become representational -- she suggested I just go with it if that's what I like.  I took a very limited pallette with me as I had flown to NC to take the class and stay with my daughter.  These are of course all my hand dyed fabrics which appear again in the Colin quilt.  I made a very bad design decision when selecting the thread to machine quilt this, choosing a variegated grey thread.  I really disliked how it came out, especially the light threads in the dark areas.  Amazing what a black Sharpie will do to cure the problem!  I had colored threads before after projects were done (when you use to light a thread and it shows between two pieces), but had never colored quilting threads.  It worked and I am much happier with the piece now.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Welcoming Spring at Marcia's

Another gorgeous day here in Upstate and here is a quilt top to welcome the season officially.  Priscilla has declared that since she is officially a quilter now, she has to build a portfolio.  This beautiful quilt is made with mostly (if not all) Kaffe Fassett fabric and is inspiring!  Certainly looks like spring too!

This is the center of a new quilt top which was begun in a class at QBL last summer.  Priscilla has a knack for color for sure.  Before the day was out, this had a bit of blue to square it off and another alteration was in progress!

The center portion was a beautifully made cross-stitch piece that Priscilla purchased.  After many auditions, we all decided that the it didn't need anything more than the colorful Hoffman feathers print around the outside.  I LOVED this fabric.

These were my projects for the day.  My granddaughter loved the dresses I made for Christmas, particularly the primarily yellow one so I decided to send off two more for summer wearing.  They have kitties on the prints.  Hopefully, she will like the lime green as well as I added some of this to both!  I only have to hem and add some buttons and they will be done!

It was a lovely day catching up on Marcia's recent Florida trip and Priscilla and my travelling plans!  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Using Electric Quilt 6 (EQ6) to Draft My Serendipity Patterns

Well, thanks to a fellow RAFA member, I finally have the key to drafting the blocks from the Serendipity patterns into Electric Quilt.  I should add that I bought EQ1 from Penny McMorris the first day of the Houston show back when it was first introduced.  It sold out by the next day!!  I have been a faithful upgrader since then (although I haven't been able to reinstall my EQ7 since my computer was "cleaned" of its viruses last June).  I had no idea how to draft these hexagon blocks though and that truly frustrated me as I am so  used to using EQ to test out color combinations or roughly right borders.  It has saved a lot of cutting of fabric only to be wasted when it didn't work.

I sat down for a couple of hours yesterday and today using the book  I mentioned yesterday.  These are all the blocks in the Doubledipity book (by Sara Nephew) that use a star in the middle (well, the super simple one I didn't bother with).  I haven't truly played with the colors yet but am excited as using this, I can really make the blocks look different depending on what colors and especially values I am using where.

Of course, I haven't added the background hexagons but suspect if I fiddle a bit I can do that as well somehow.  When I feel like playing computer geek, may attempt that.  Also want to get the sizing so I can vary the size of the blocks beyond the base 3 1/4 inch diamonds and 3 1/2 triangles I am using now.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Serendipity 4 and Serendipity 7 -- Oh No....

Well, it's not completely together as I am going to quilt it in two pieces as it is big but this is a view of most of the top with its dark brown background.  Probably overachieved a bit here on the diversity of the blocks and color!!  The beginning fabric used for the repeating image was pretty ugly though...

In doing the great cleanup, I found several half done projects and this was one. Coincidentally, the triangles I found in the baggie were all cut into the 3 1/2 inch size I have been using for all these quilts. There was also an uncut piece big enough to cut out the diamonds for the star blocks so this will be affectionately called Number 7.  The colors are all very springy and I will use a lot of greens, lavenders and some blues as well as black, white and pale yellow.  It already has a lot of yellow which goes a long way -- I may not use the pale yellows at all but we shall see.  Also not going with any of the pink that is in the blocks.

I may be able to adjust the sizing soon as a fellow art quilter told me about an EQ book  (EQ6 Pieced Drawing by Patti Anderson) that shows you how to draft hexagons and hexagon stars in EQ.  I am hoping this translates into my ability to print the different pieces in multiple sizes as well -- can't see why not.  Even if I can print outline blocks so I can color in on my own will be a big help.  I have already drafted my first hexagons!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Patricia's April 2012 Quilt Show and Signs of Spring

The calendar may not say so, but spring is definitely here in upstate NY where the temps have been anything but winterlike!  I keep telling people I brought the good weather back from NC with me!  Our crocus are really beautiful this year but I fear won't stay for long with the warm temps expected all week -- at least no snow is covering them like many years...

I went to Patricia's spring quilt show on Saturday but had a hard time getting full sized pictures of the quilts.  There were a lot of really nice large quilts as well as some very original smaller quilts -- again, could not get the whole quilt in a picture.  This quilt was spectacular and done by GVQC's own Marty Grasberger -- love her color sense!!

This was a spectacular quilt pieced and quilted by the very, very talented machine long arm quilter Teddy Ahern.  It is too bad you can't see more of the detail of the quilting on this lovely scrap creation.

This was called The Farmer's Wife by Jean Cody.  I always love sampler quilts and this one a very striking one!

There must be a class or a book as this is one of two quilts with similar titles and a similar look -- Omigosh by Beatrice Brown.  The second one is by Fran Wadhams (whose quilts I have featured before).  She lives in Lyons,  NY.  I loved the scrappy nature of these quilts and the small, small blocks.

This Coxcomb quilt is also by Fran Wadhams and is spectacular!!
There were a flurry of Black-Capped Chickadees both in our front yard and at Joe's feeder.  This is the only one that stood still or let me get within 30 feet!  Hadn't realized they had the reddish chests.

A few minutes later, a Pileated Woodpecker was making a mess of Joe's suet.  You can see his head peeking on the side. He also wouldn't let me get anywhere near him and would slip on the other side of the tree anytime I wanted to take his picture.  One of these days.....

Well, just booked reservations to go from Charlotte to Ft. Myers next month for a few days to see the shore birds with some spring plummage at my sister's in Ft. Myers.  Haven't decided yet whether to stay in Charlotte or the beach house while babysitting Lisa's kitties the following few weeks.   

Friday, March 16, 2012

I Think I Need a Serendipity Intervention....

This is most of the latest Serendipity quilt put together -- still very very busy.  Hmmm....

I have spent the better part of the past week trying to shovel through my sewing room and make enough room so that I can enjoy walking around it (couldn't walk through it when I started).  Basically I hadn't done a major clean up since coming back from NC LAST year.  So the boxes with the fabric for the lions as well as the disarray caused by quickly getting projects and fabric ready for this year were all over.  

I have two totes filled with fabric to give away as well as a large bag to sell.  Hopefully, our quilt club will want the large box of 6 inch squares I have to give them -- after making 30 comfort quilts last year, I couldn't face anymore disappearing nine-patches and disappearing four patches!! 

One of the things I have done differently this time is to make up projects into those 2 1/2 gallon Ziploc bags as I go along so that all I will have to do is grab some bags and I will be good to go anywhere!!  However, this has led to the Serendipity "problem".  I love making these quilts and in my cleaning efforts, I came upon several half finished (and even one finished) "stack and whack" quilt tops.  Coincidentally, they were the right size to make these Serendipity quilts (without having to do a whole new set of calculations).  I took one finished quilt top completely apart and the finished blocks of another apart!!!  I had gotten bored with the plain stars or hexagons.  This is the first of the newly found blocks -- these were hexagon stars but didn't even have their background pieces.  I "unsewed" them and then cut the diamonds into two triangles and then made diagonal pieces 1/4 inch smaller.

These were my very favorites and they were hexagon stars all sewn up completely into a quilt top -- I took the whole thing apart!!  It started life as two small tops which I redid into one top last year.  So this year, I took it apart again, cut the diamonds into triangles and then trimmed down the remaining diamonds into the right size!!  So this one will be green, blue, white and a touch of green and navy blue.  I can't believe I did this as my solution to these problems when younger was to just get rid of it so I wouldn't have to look at it anymore!!

This is a closeup showing the brown sides that I have added to the large quilt.  I wish there were some way to separate the blocks even more -- this is awfully busy but it is fun!!

Well, if you look closely at this block, you will see that I finally decided that I would use a small satin stitch to tack down all of the appliqued pieces and I am relatively pleased with how it looks.  Now just to get it basted and quilted.  Will probably follow the face outlines within the face and use an overall design in each of the backgrounds.  I may vary each of the backgrounds -- haven't decided yet as I want the background interesting, but not too interesting!!  This is the  final block in the top and the one with Colin's signature.  The quilt top was derived from a photo taken by Jason Redmond for Reuters in 2009 when Colin was doing an interview about A  Single Man.  It took me forever to find the attribution of the photo and I have tried to get permission from the photographer through his website and through Twitter but he hasn't answered my inquiries.  I really would like to use this top to raise money for Oxfam (in honor of Colin) but would like to have it shown in some regional or national shows. If anyone knows this fellow (he lives in LA), please help me!!

This is my granddaughter Amelia with a pin cushion.  My daughter tells me she is very much a girly girl and loved the dresses I made for her at Christmas so some more are in the works for summer!  Hopefully, she will be starting sewing early!!  She is here in "repurposed" tutu from her mom!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March RAFA Meeting

The best part of our meetings of our local fiber artists is of course "show and tell".  Today was no exception.  This quilt is called Enigma and was designed and quilted by two of our members (Julie Brandon and Val Schultz).  They won a Judge's Choice award at the NJ Quilt Festival.  Julie also was recognized for her another of her quilts at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show.  Val does incredible machine quilting and Julie has been doing a lot of experimenting with manipulating photos and then having them printed on cloth.  

Our own Priscilla also got accepted into the Paducah show so can no longer officially say she is not a quilter.  

This quilt was part of a class project from a book called StrataVarious.  Bonnie Robinson shared it with the group as the authors offered the workshop and a lecture at her local guild.
This is a piece that Priscilla picked up in India on her last trip.  It is huge and supposedly for her walls (note:  there is NO space on her walls which I pointed out) but I was shushed!!  It is literally covered with little shisha mirrors and embroidery.  Pictures can't do this piece justice.

This is a closeup of one of the corners of this wall hanging.
Caris had this beautiful scarf and the following scarf to share with the group.  She does beautiful felting and her colors are just incredible.

This was a mostly finished vest felted by one of the other group members, whose name I have forgotten as she is a new member and I had not met her until today.  It is a beautiful example.

A lot of the members shared wools they had been dyeing with acid dyes, something I really am anxious to try.  They got some rich beautiful colors and used an oven to set the colors!

I would really like to thank the people that took the time  to comment on my quilt tops.  The consensus is definitely to take the borders off number 2 quilt (had the stripes) and to keep the borders on the third quilt.  There is no consensus on the first quilt but I am inclined to take the borders off this one as well.  I should comment that I really was doing these quilts to put on beds which is why I added the borders.  I didn't have a good design wall down at the beach so had to just try.  

I don't think I will  be putting borders on the huge brown quilt and will wait until it is together to decide what next.  I would really like a good sized quilt which is what drove the size and did have fun playing with all the different patterns.

I am still slogging through the clutter in my sewing room.  I will be having one heck of a large garage sale in the summer -- books, commercial fabrics and hand dyed fabrics -- all cheap.  Trying to come to grips with what to do with my 12 running feet of craft books, none of which I use anymore.  I think Freecycle is in my future!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Productive Day at Marcia's

First order of business for me was to get a couple of good photos of the tops I did at the beach.  Genie Barnes was there and STRONGLY suggested I leave the borders off two of the quilts.  I had added them as I wanted the quilts bigger but decided she was right after looking at before and after pictures so some more ripping is in order now.

This is the quilt above but with its borders.  Do you agree with her?
Another of these quilts without the border (I cropped it out).

This has its border on.  Genie even suggested that the blue strip on either side wasn't needed but I do disagree with her there as I think it contains the quilt better.

I am definitely going to leave the border on this one.  

My biggest chore was to arrange the blocks for the very large last of the Serendipity quilts which was basically a sampler as I created block patterns as I went along building on the ones in the book but making use of whatever triangles I already had cut out for previous blocks.  I finally got an arrangement that I was okay with and have four blocks left over now as well as enough background hexagons to make a small lap quilt.

You can see here that I chose a very dark brown for my background triangles and that is helping to calm the quilt down quite a bit and pull together all the disparate blocks.

This is the beginnings of a new jacket that Priscilla was making with some of the beautiful sari fabric she bought back from her most recent trip to India.  The silk is very light weight so she has devised a way of utilizing it with another fabric so that it is more stable and suitable for jackets.  She will be teaching this at Marcia's studio in April -- $65 for two days.

Since coming home, I have been feverishly trying to clean out my sewing room of excess stuff as well as furniture.  I have hauled out boxes and boxes as well as many trash cans and giveaways but still it is cluttered.  I got so spoiled with my space at the beach which is so easy to clean with its tile floor and little clutter.  I do like to have a space clean before I start projects.  For the last year, I haven't unpacked or reorganized so stuff was hidden and remained from projects I took to the beach last year!  And the fabrics for the lion quilt -- oh my -- I will never have to buy a brown of any shade again!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester RAFA Show - 2012

Our Rochester Area Fiber Artists group are holding their annual exhibition at the Arts and Cultural Council of Greater Rochester and the Opening Night was tonight.  As I have been away for so long, I just couldn't get a piece that would fit into the exhibition this year.

Besides doing art quilts, many of the group members are focusing on surface design, felted garments and other more structural forms of fiber art.  These were well represented.  This was one of my favorite pieces -- a silk and wool felted vest by Anne Fischer.  She does some spectacular work.

This garment was another of the felted vests, this one by Caris Burton who also does fabulous art quilts as well.  She usually adopts a more subdued and elegant color palette and has made a number of beautiful jackets as well.

I had more pictures but many didn't look as good as I would have liked but I wanted to include this one anyway of Mary Wieser and her piece Totally Tubular.  Mary will be doing a one woman shoe in Canadaigua this month.

This was a small lovely piece by Elaine Ross.  I believe it was called Swirling Leaves.

This was a piece by Sarah Terry called Ode to Chihuly in honor of his spectacular glass.  The photo doesn't capture its dimensionality and the wonderful beadwork that Sarah is known for.

This was a very touching piece by Julie Brandon called Wailing Wall.  Julie lost her husband very prematurely in a  horrible accident this summer and if you look closely you can see his image in this piece.

Please take the opportunity to go and see this exhibit during the month of March at the Arts and Cultural Council on Goodman St. just north of the Art Museum.