Blog Archives

UFOs, WIPs, and PIGS?

Translation: UnFinished Objects, Works In Progress, and Projects in Grocery Sacks. Jodi Barrows says that PIGS=stink. Okay. We’ll start with a project I put in the FAIL pile. This was a challenge: make an 8×8 quilt using a Haiku. So I wrote a Haiku and made a quilt that was exactly 8-1/2×8-1/2. Then I couched some cool yarn over the quilting lines and hated it. So one day I removed the yarn and put it away. This week I embroidered a running stitch over the quilt lines and called it good. It is hanging in my studio and I did what is usually considered a no-no–I pinned the quilt to the wall with two sequin pins. Hey, it’s my quilt and my wall. My favorite part is the fabric button, made with silk scraps and silver thread. One of the crystals fell off but I found it months later–it had fallen inside my chair and fell out when we had to adjust a spring.

Art Haiku, Haiku art

Art Haiku, Haiku art

So my problem Christmas quilt is finished except for sewing on the quilt sleeve for hanging (properly). Oh, and I need to make a label but I’ve got a sheet of labels in the works so we won’t fret about that. When I finished quilting the border, I noticed that one of the tree blocks was really puffy, fluffy? A suggestion online was to steam it. Scary, but I did it and it worked. This is by far the worst quilt I have ever made. It wasn’t square, so I laid plastic on the bed, put my large cutting mat on top of the quilt, and sprayed the borders, then tugged and pulled and patted and measured. After drying for 24 hours, it is much better. When I pull it out again at Christmas, I will be joyous. I post a photo when I hang it in my dining room in a day or so.

Block before steaming

Block before steaming

Block after steaming

Block after steaming

Blocking borders

Blocking borders

I have started beading my second self-portrait. Here is day one. I’m using a seed bead mix, three beads at a time, tying a knot every three groups.

Beading, Day 1

Beading, Day 1

I am almost finished with my first self-portrait. I decided to face the edge rather than making a binding. Pretty soon I’ll have that label page filled up!

Facing a quilt

Facing a quilt

It’s hard for me to resist a challenge.

I Can't Resist a Challenge, 45x41

I Can’t Resist a Challenge, 45×41, Charlotte Noll

Our modern guild has a challenge: Too precious to cut (but we will). Here’s the fabric I’m going to cut up. Deadline is October.

Lily Fabric

Lily Fabric

In the meantime, I’m cleaning my studio. I’ve had a bin in my way for several weeks, using it as a tripod stand, trying to do a new selfie and just about did a triple gainer yesterday so it needs to go. I ended up with three selfies but I’m not thrilled with any of them. #1 is out of focus, forgot to take off my glasses for #2, and #3 is meh. Audrey Hepburn I’m not. I won’t bore you.

I’m taking a couple courses through Digital Photography School (dPS) with the goal of being able to take decent photos without using Auto Focus. We’ll see how it goes. I also joined Adobe Creative Cloud for a year to try to learn how to use Photo Shop and Lightroom. If you enjoy photography, sign up for dPS free newsletter with weekly tips and challenges. They also occasionally have specials on their courses and other offers–sorry, the summer one just ended but check them out. They’re in Australia. G-day, mates.

http://digital-photography-school.com/

 

 

 

Fun Friday

It’s Fun Friday and I can’t decide whether to do whatever I want or to continue working on my Christmas quilt.  I only have two blocks left to do echo quilting on and then the borders, plus I need to figure out how I want to bind it: get more red fabric that matches the border or use scraps of all the other fabrics I used. Here’s my latest block. I was messing with my camera and found a “Happy” setting for color. I thought this was pretty funny but then I am easily amused.

Block 14

Block 14

I made a video yesterday of me quilting. It wasn’t bad except that about 90 percent of it shows my old lady arms and covers up what I’m quilting. I was surprised that I didn’t hate my voiceover. I have an upper Midwestern accent that just will not go away (think Fargo). It was actually kind of fun and I’ll make another one. I’ll be borrowing a video camera from my daughter. My camera worked but I used up the battery rather quickly. And no, you will not see this video but you will see one at some future date. I’ll be wearing long sleeves or maybe I could get one of those faux tattooed sleeves. Here is a still. The color got a little off at some point.

P1050847

I was playing around with a new selfie, wearing my patriotic infinity scarf on my head and channeling the Statue of Liberty, with two rows of a Quilt of Valor in the background..

New Statue of Liberty

New Statue of Liberty

New Selfie 6.22.16

New Selfie 6.22.16

I also started teaching a young girl to sew and decided that we should buy fabric of her choice next week and sew a pillowcase. Have you made the magic pillowcase that you turn inside out and there are no raw edged seams? I’ll talk about that next week. Till then, have a great weekend, a Fun Friday, and work on something that makes your heart sing.

Quilts for Pulse

As quilters, we are often asked to make blocks and/or quilts for special causes. Here are two urgent requests. Perhaps you and your guilty friends can help!

The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild is collecting quilts and blocks for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub on June 12. They are asking for 10-1/2 inch rainbow heart blocks and you can find instructions below. Members of my local modern guild will be bringing blocks to our monthly meeting next week–we have a volunteer who will make a finished quilt to donate. Bless you Elizabeth.

http://cluckclucksew.com/2015/01/making-heart-blocks-in-multiple-sizes.html

Animal shelters in Madison, New Jersey, and Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, have great need of kennel quilts. The shelter in New Jersey just rescued 250 puppies and fires in Canada have filled their shelters. See the link below for more details and ideas for making 12×18-inch quilts. Also take note of their guidelines, no metallic thread, no bindings, no loose threads.

https://thequiltshow.com/daily-blog/142-newsletter/24716-tqpm-small-kennel-quilt-team-call-for-more-kennel-quilts

Since I had a set of rainbow colored squares from Primrose Gradations, I decided to make 5-1/2 inch heart blocks, four making a 10-1/2 inch block. First I cut out all the pieces, using light neutral scraps for the background.

Pieces for Rainbow Hearts

Pieces for Rainbow Hearts

Next I marked all of the diagonal lines on the background pieces. Sewing squares on the diagonal in the corners of a square is a common method for making Snowball blocks. Mark on sandpaper to keep your square from stretching. I have a sandpaper board that is also a pressing mat. Make your own using some coarse sandpaper.

Marking on Sandpaper

Marking on sandpaper

 

Ready to sew

Ready to sew

TIP: Do not stitch ON the diagonal lines, but just beside them toward the corner. That stitching line takes up space!

In addition, since the bottom squares were large enough, I marked another line 1/2-inch away to make half-square triangles. You can stitch ON this line.

Additional half-square triangle

Additional half-square triangle

Before trimming, make sure that your folded corners go all the way to the edges of the colored fabric or your unit will not be square or large enough. I had to restitch several of these corner units.

Checking corners before trimming

Checking corners before trimming

Sew the two pieces together and you now have a heart block. Make three more and sew those together. Alternate pressing the center seam left and right so that you can nest and match the seams. I pressed the final seam up. Here are my two blocks.

Four 5-inch heart blocks

Four 5-inch heart blocks

Four 5-inch heart blocks

Four 5-inch heart blocks

An alternate way to sew the blocks together.

Alternate setting

Alternate setting

I have not decided what to do with my half-square triangles (hsts) yet–probably cut out squares from the leftovers to make star blocks–but here are some ideas for half-square triangles. Throw your hsts up on the design wall and play!

Rainbow pinwheels

Rainbow pinwheels

Rainbow half-square triangles

Rainbow ribbons

Rainbow flying geese

Rainbow flying geese in rainbow order

I have been trying to quilt one block a day on my Christmas quilt. Maybe I will be ready to quilt the borders by the 4th of July. Ten more blocks to go. Some quilters roll their quilts to fit inside the bed but I just bunch mine up. If there is a lot of quilt in front of the machine, I just push it forward with my chest as I quilt to keep it from hanging over the edge of the table and causing drag.

Quilting Block 6

Quilting Block 6

Sometimes I follow the edge of my ruler to even up my quilting lines if my echo quilting has gotten a little off.

Checking alignment

Checking alignment

Block #6

Block #6

Till next time, may all your seams be straight and your blocks be square.

 

 

 

Symphony of Colors Exhibit

Symphony of Colors was a special exhibit during Quilt Week at Paducah this year. The quilts are original designs by Japanese quilt makers, often pieced and quilted by hand. Sizes are rounded off as these quilts were measured to the 7/8-inch (perhaps because of a conversion from the metric). Part of the official description: “Quilts came to Japan at the end of 1970, as a new hobby from America. Japanese women received it as an American culture and started making them. They studied about quilts in books and some advanced people started a school to teach quiltmaking. After ten years, Japanese quilters found their own way to make and build up the new category of Japanese Quilts, instead of copying American quilts… In this exhibit, some of the quilts feature a strong expression of the Japanese style, while others express it more quietly.” p.136, Quilt Week, Paducah Show Book.

Notice the subtle change in applique shapes from fish to trees to birds to triangles.

White Woods, Symphony of Colors Exhibit, 73x89

White Woods, Symphony of Colors Exhibit, 73×89, Keiko Yoshida

White Wisteria, Symphony of Colors

White Wisteria, Symphony of Colors, 68×83, Keiko Yoshida

World As If Floating, Symphony of Colors

World As If Floating, Symphony of Colors, 69×69, Pachiko Yoshida

Autumn Breeze, Symphony of Colors

Autumn Breeze, Symphony of Colors, 78×79, Akiko Kawata

Rose Garden, Symphony of Colors

Rose Garden, Symphony of Colors, 81×81, Akiko Kawata

Honoka, Symphony of Colors

Honoka, Symphony of Colors, 57×53, Yoshiko Katagiri

All of these circles have finished edges and are appliqued by hand!

Life, Symphony of Colors

Life, Symphony of Colors, 79×79, Yoshiko Katagiri

Wild Flowers, Symphony of Colors

Wild Flowers, Symphony of Colors, 78×76, Yoshiko Sakurai

Rose Garden, Symphony of Colors

Rose Garden, Symphony of Colors, 91×78, Junko Yazawa

Flowering, Symphony of Colors

Flowering, Symphony of Colors, 78×78, Sachiko Yoshida

Dianthus, In Memory of My Mother, Symphony of Colors

Dianthus, In Memory of My Mother, Symphony of Colors, 77×77, Sachiko Yoshida

 

Pompom Mum, Symphony of Colors

Pompom Mum, Symphony of Colors, 67×74, Reiko Naganuma

This was my favorite, Autumn Sky.

Autumn Sky, Symphony of Colors

Autumn Sky, Symphony of Colors, 68×90, Reiko Naganuma

Peony, Symphony of Colors

Peony, Symphony of Colors, 74×75, Kuniko Saka

Poet Byakuren, Symphony of Colors

Poet Byakuren, Symphony of Colors, 67×78, Kuniko Saka

Poet Byakuren, detail

Poet Byakuren, detail

Waves and Weeping Cherry, Symphony of Colors

Waves and Weeping Cherry, Symphony of Colors, 43×55, Kathy Nakajima

Waves and Weeping Cherry Tree, Symphony of Colors

Waves and Weeping Cherry Tree, detail, Kathy Nakajima

Spring Ocean, Symphony of Colors

Spring Ocean, Symphony of Colors, 55×39, Kathy Nakajima

Usuzumi Sakura, Symphony of Colors

Usuzumi Sakura, Symphony of Colors, Eiko Okana

Usuzumi Sakura, detail

Usuzumi Sakura, detail, Eiko Okana

Next time I’ll wrap up Paducah with some of my favorite quilts, no particular category. Quilt shows can be overwhelming and make you doubt your abilities and work. They can also be very inspiring and encourage you to try new techniques. My only disappointment was that I was looking for Japanese taupe fabrics to make some quilted household items. I think I will try to dye some fabrics myself as I only found a couple batiks at Hancock’s of Paducah (not to be confused with Hancock’s chain store) and some hand-dyeds at a little shop downtown. I was also looking for a small red and green stripe for the binding of my Christmas quilt–nary a one in this huge warehouse of fabrics. I can get back to quilting this now that I have more 75/11 needles, which is what I’m using with the mono-poly clear thread. I have quilted the center blocks and now can do the outside blocks. If I were really brave, I would free-motion the straight lines but instead, I do a lot of pivoting.

Fabric purchases

Fabric purchases

Straight line stitching

Straight line stitching

The other project which is taking a lot of my time is rebranding myself. I want to change my blog/website name but I’m having some domain issues. We’ll see how it goes after holidays are over. Till next time, be sure to keep an eye on your local weather and stay safe. Poor Texas is floating away again.

 

 

 

 

 

SAQA People and Portraits Exhibit

I was at Quilt Week in Paducah, Kentucky, last week.  I drove there with my friend Anne Marie and we had a great time at the quilt show and in downtown Paducah, wandering around in quilt shops and galleries and dining at a couple of the local restaurants.  We have been inspired by an international quilt group called SAQA since we went to Houston International in 2011.  SAQA is short for Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc., and “was founded in 1989 to serve artists working in the art quilt medium.”  To find out more or to join, go to their website.  In the meantime, you can view some of the quilts that were displayed at the special SAQA People and Portraits Exhibit.

www.saqa.com

Addressing Hair, SAQA People & Portraits

Addressing Hair, Viola Burley Leak, USA

Walking the Dog, SAQA People & Portraits

Walking the Dog, Bodil Gardner, Denmark

Hassan and the Glass, SAQA People & Portraits

Hassan and the Glass, Jenny Bowker, Australia

Dream, SAQA People & Portraits

Dream, Yoshiko Kurihara, Japan

Flow, SAQA People & Portraits

Flow, Joan Sowada, USA

Fully Medicated, SAQA People & Portraits

Fully Medicated, Kathy Nida, USA

A Winter's Story, SAQA People & Portraits

A Winter’s Story, Yoshiko Kurihara, Japan

Towers of Babble, SAQA People & Portraits

Towers of Babble, Pam RuBert, USA

Even the dog and the baby have cell phones!

Windblown, SAQA People & Portraits

Windblown, Maria Elkins, USA

Surrender, SAQA People & Portraits

Surrender, Maria Elkins, USA

Flight Zone, SAQA People & Portraits

Flight Zone, Joan Sowada, USA

Ittayer & the Friday Market in the City of the Dead, SAQA People & Portraits

Ittayer & the Friday Market in the City of the Dead, Jenny Bowker, Australia

Should I? SAQA People & Portraits

Should I? Pat Kumcich, USA

One Last Look 1952, SAQA People & Portraits

One Last Look 1952, Lora Rocke, USA

Watch for Part 2 of this exhibit as well as quilts from the Symphony of Colors exhibit, art quilts from Japan, and other quilts from the show.  You can find a lot of information about the portrait quilts on the SAQA website, or look up the individual artists.  As you can see, some of these quilts are quite personal.  I’ll be back but in the meantime, I’m working on my Christmas quilt.  Here is the first block.  Till next time, go out and do something, even if it’s wrong (but not too wrong).

Straight line quilting

Straight line quilting