Monday, December 29, 2008

Back To Work

Just about done with my article that's due next week.... It will out in Spring about threads used in complementary colors to fabric...about neutralizing fabric using complements, etc etc. I'll post a few excerpts from time to time.... I had soooo many sample photos..a picture is worth a thousand words, right? The most important message in this article (for my penny anyway) is about using complementary colors to create excitement in quilting. I always have a color wheel in my thread drawer. It's so helpful when pulling threads for audition. The complementary color to a rusty orange is cool blue. This little sample looks kind of energized, right?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Kid Fun for Christmas

What a blessed Christmas.... granddaughter Kaley here from Colorado (thanks Mom Allyson for letting her come visit Grammie). A fun kid game night on Christmas Eve... the creative idea of red-bowed Auntie Jenn. Looks like the kids had a blast. 9 year old Kaley-(blond in hot pink shirt) pretty much dusted 2 adult males in wii tennis. Home for time with brown haired granddaughter Morgan. Christmas partyng is soooo exhausting.

Auditon Audition Audition!

No shopping today.... quilting to restore mental serenity.... working today on a thread article using small abstract sampler blocks. This one of many article samples is about using color atop neutral fabrics. Unless you are using heavy weight thread (what you see here is average 40wt. thread) you can use bold color choices to create interest on a neutral background. Just like one auditions fabrics for a quilt, audition your thread as well. Don't be afraid to change thread choices even after you "THINK" you have a committed plan. In this case, the plan to use light lavender in the lower left corner was changed for a warmer peach thread color as I liked the warmth the other threads were creating.I also changed to a lighter pink for the upper right corner as the pink in the fabric suggested i use less value in the thread. As we all know it is much easier to change our mind BEFORE we quilt. I hate removing thread quilting, but I'd certainly do it if it mattered.
Happy quilting! Patt

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas To All

Hope all the shopping is done, baking done, and your feet are resting on a soft pillow. No??? Me neither. Bet you want a "Day Stretcher" for Christmas too. Hectic hectic, and trying to find at least 30 minutes daily to sew... or I fear the mind is to be lost.
Still working on samples for next quarters article mostly focusing on how one might use complementary colors of varying intensity to achieve desired results. Complements can be great to energize or neutralize fabric. In this example.... a complementary color 2 or 3 times lighter than the fabric may be just the ticket to create energy AND have the thread texture highly visible. Ofcourse I'm playing with Christmas colors given the date. Have a blessed Christmas and I give thanks to God for all our blessings.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who says you can't go home?.... MOTHER NATURE SAYS

I'm writing this on a thursday night. I haven't been able to drive to my home since Sunday last when the snow started to fall on Mt Baldy, California. This photo was taken today, as I sat in my car on the flatlands looking upward toward home. I THINK I can go home tomorrow lest we get more ice. I'd say it's a good thing my studio down the hill has a bedroom, bath, and kitchen so at least I've been able to sew and bake for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What a time to be writing!

It seemed like a good idea at the time I committed to this. I'm actually having fun but 'am a lil stressed meeting the holiday and business commitments. I'm working on an article about choosing thread colors to make your quilt top convey the message you want. This thread choice is a topic big enough for a book (maybe someday), but I'm focusing on complementary colors for this part. The article will be quite in depth but the basic message for what I'm showing here is that one can use a complementary color to the fabric color to create a bit of interest, excitement... let's call it a "lift" for the fabric color underneath. So if we consider the center of the thread stacks value to be an example color of a fabric... (let's just say the center red as example) than to add excitement to that red fabric... (if that's your intention) you might quilt atop that red with an equal or lighter value green to make that part of a quilt stand up and take notice. I'll likely add examples as I work on this, but didn't want you all to think I was completely taking the holidays off! :-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Close Ups

This mother and offspring seemed to me okay without alot of thread so their bodies and face are quilted with clear monofilament just to secure the quilt sandwich and add texture. The ostrich is a strange looking thing to begin with, but looking closely at a baby chick at the Los Angeles Zoo cracked me up as they are even more animated than adults.

Quilting For Spring!!

This piece is just about quilted for a traveling exhibition commencing next month. The subject of the exhibition is Spring and pretty much anything goes! This type of challenge beckons me to have plain old fun. I have always loved words or phrases with double meanings.... This one will be titled "Spring Break." Soooooo many times I have forgotten to pin back the backing toward the front so as to prevent a screw up of quilting through a double layer of turned back backing. Remembered this time.

Monday, December 8, 2008

In Winter Issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited

Those of you that do your own quilting may want to check out this quarterly magazine.. MACHINE QUILTERS UNLIMITED ( It is a quilters quilting magazine by Meander Publishing(Don't ya love the name?) This 2008 piece of mine is featured on the last page of the magazine reserved for their quarterly pick of a JAWDROPPER (their name/not mine). His name.. Endangered!

How slow can you go! :-(

Well I'm still working on this mountain lion... ofcourse I'm working on 3 quilts at once so that complicates timing but this lion, which I think will be pleasing when finished, is perhaps the slowest going quilting ever... largely because I'm working with light values where precision is more paramount than ever, and secondly because it is so heavily quilted. Working too many hours at a time rears the head of tendonitis I've had long before I started quilting.

I often like to leave parts of quilts unquilted.... like the nose of this lion. In my mind, it adds interest but ofcourse which such heavy quilting as is shown here, ya gotta be careful not to select large areas to leave be or things will distort. You can double click any image for a closeup look.
Hope all is well with you.... Here comes Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Balancing Holiday Time

Egads.... So much to do... so little time.... I've spent 2 weeks so far working on this mountain lion. It's going well, but still much to do. Thread sure makes a big difference. You can double click for closeup view of threadwork. Here's looking at you! :-)
Now... I had to put this on hold for a bit to finish a holiday piece destined for a friend. Here's a closeup of 'Santa's Secret".... a retail pattern that evolved from this very painted piece. Contact me ( if you are interested in obtaining this pattern complete with drawings and follow along picture by picture painting progression. Have a great Turkey Day!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Securing the sandwich

I do a good bit of thread work on my quilts, but because I like to pin my quilt sandwich rather than temp spraying and gumming my needle, I often use a clear monofilament thread to secure things so I can ditch the pins giving me more freedom with detailed thread work. I'm starting this phase with this mountain lion piece. When using Monofilament, I prefer thin polyester over a nylon. I use monofilament in top and bobbin.. setting top tension low.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Blown Away by Quilts at Houston IQA Festival

Just home from teaching, lecturing, shopping, competing, and gawking at IQA Houston Quilt Festival. A long,exciting,and exhausting week. I had a great group of class students, and thank you all for the feedback I received. I have some ideas on class changes to help with large groups as we had there.
I am feeling the withdrawals from the 23 row vendor mall which I assuredly covered 3 times and was still seeing new stuff each aisle stroll. The industry is moving at one incredible clip... ever hear the business phrase.. the hurrier I go , the behinder i get? Unbelievable increases in skill set world wide. A few things I noticed in particular. Japan still is out front in meticulous work with Japan having the most number of juried entries. California had the most number of juried in quilts for a state. Of the winners from the U.S., there were many young 30 something winners turning out incredible precise work. My theory is that they don't require the amount of sleep I need. Atop the age thing is also that they all seem to be cute and trim.
My one entered piece, Windsong (shown here)... did capture a third place in the new painted category. There was much competition so I was quite pleased. All the winning quilts can he viewed at Now to get back to work here at home.

HOPE YOU ALL VOTED today! Whomever takes on the presidency, I think the whole country is ready to get behind him and make things happen.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Houston Bound

30 minutes to departure for the airport and i still must do some online bill paying. I am so excited to go to Houston again... it's been a while. 'Am taking dear friends with me too. I lecture tomorrow and teach Wednesday.. Sure hope I haven't forgotten anything big. I have to look at it as a little mystery each time I travel. Wonder what I've forgotten? I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this lil problema. I have a equine piece in the Houston show. I'm told to be at the awards ceremony Tues night. cause it ribboned but I don't know how. A second and delightful mystery! I'll let you know upon return what happened.
My hubby is an artist too... a 69 year old art major at Cal Poly. We live in the mountains with a stream running just outside our home so he created a Curtain of Light (strung mylar pieces) to dance in the breeze above the sound of rushing water. It's beautiful. We installed it yesterday with the help of his brother and nephew who filmed it as a documentary. So very cool.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

WOW PIQF was spectacular

Home from PIQF.. preparing to leave for teaching at Houston.... My my ... fall is busy in this industry. I was really taken by the number of quilts from throughout the world. As always, the U.S., Japan, the UK, Australia and Canada were well represented. South Africa offered some exceptional quilts too. SOOOOOO many outstanding quilts without ribbons. One quilt that knocked me out as well as everyone else was that of a 70+ year old Japanese lady with over a 178 thousand quarter inch pieces to create an unusual flower garden quilt. All I kept thinking was ...WHY? Here's a closeup of the 1/4 inch hexagons used to create a small rose. No one could get a clear shot of this piece. Crowds were ever present. My friend Hilary (shown with a puzzled look) is representative of everyone viewing this piece. Double click on the full view to see greater detail showing what appears to be somewhat larger than quarter inch pieces but are in reality... many hexagons of the same fabric. Mind blowing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"In The Beginning" at PIQF

Ya gotta start somewhere!!!!! (c)

Workin on The Giant

Not finished painting but he's getting close. This mountain gorilla is huge in real life so it seemed a portrait should be over sized to feel the immensity of this primate. This is pretty much a monochromatic piece by nature of the gorillas coloring. I have so far used less than one .5 ounce bottle of pigment ink. Unbelievable!

I'm heading out for a week retreat and a visit to PIQF where I have 2 pieces showing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Life's joys

It's wonderful when your grandchildren want to sew. Dark haired grandaughter Morgan(age 7) and blonde grandaughter Kaley (age 9) both sew with me from time to time, and they LOVE visiting fabric stores. Ginger's Quilt Shoppe in Upland,Ca. has a mighty cute dog.

Gorilla In progression

This portrait of a Mountain Gorilla is slow coming,(I'm packing for Houston teaching) but it's a comin. I'm getting the bones in.. meaning... all the basic features of the animal... then I will add detail and remaining darks. He looks a bit intimidating already, but I think when the rest of the darks are added, he will take on a different feeling. We'll see! By the way, I hear the Cowboy on the heading of the blog appears in this quarters Quilting Arts magazine. It was part of the Silver Screen Exhibition at The IQA Long Beach Ca. show.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Chopstix done.. Primate Begun

Finally... a painted with dye piece from a while back is quilted and bound. I'm on a long quest to quilt several pieces.. but admittedly I am simultaneously driven to paint an image that has been on my mind some time... so I'm starting a BIG primate. When I teach people NEW to working with pigment inks, I encourage people to work from light to dark value.... because it's easy to add... not take away... BUT... once one is familiar with the media... start with the darks if that makes sense.... I'm doing some of that here. The overall piece will end up quite dark too.

Some great news yesterday from IQA in Houston. My entry piece Windsong has won some award.. I won't know what til I get there the end of this month, but it feels pretty nice whatever the case.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Glorious News.. A Wedding Next Fall

Such a grand evening last.... a family engagement party for daughter Shari Hughes and hubby-to-be Scott Hatfield. A lovely dinner celebrating a 2009 wedding. Many melancholy and beautiful forms of expression were shared. Great food, dessert, new memories for all time. Can you believe it?.. Wedding ring boxes now come with a battery operated built in light to showcase the ring should the groom to be propose in near darkness during a walk on the beach. Worked out perfect! :-) Don't ya love the wedding invitation made by granddaughter Morgan???

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ya'll Come

Ya'll Come!!!
The blonde driving with the black poodle is my quilt titled Breezin. See the whole quilt and the others in the exhibiton running November 3rd (Artists Reception November 8th) thru December 23rd.. Soft Expressions Gallery, Anaheim California

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quilt Line Planning

Art quilting often calls for some original quilt line planning. A talented friend Carol Culbert has a "body parts challenge quilt" including original ink drawings and text addressing the unique physique of Olympic Champion Michael Phelps. How to quilt? Well it seems water streams and bubbles might be the ticket.... so first... we took a photo of the quilt top ( actually about 24 x 28") and printed it out on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. The plan???... place a piece of clear acetate atop the image.... and create a plan using markers. I prefer to use Vis a Vis "fine point" dry erase markers because you can indeed erase and redraw, but the photo shows white board size because I have put my smaller ones in some safe place ( yeah right). Draw a would-be plan... adjust as your sense dictates... then you have a quilt line plan. By the way.. if I have the original quilt in front of me.... I also have an oversized piece of acetate and can lay it atop the actual quilt and plan as already stated. In this one... no evident quilting seemed appropriate for the framed drawings of Mr Phelps. .. so the idea would be to have water streams behind the drawn artwork areas. Streaming water is essentially an exaggerated curvy echo line and bubbles are overlapping rows of overlapping circles. If you double click on photo images you will get an enlarged view which is easier to understand. How do you create your quilt plan for such things? Let me know.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fake Out Hand Dyes

I gotta get some quilting info in here.... Did you notice the multi colored strips of hand dyed fabric on the Ode To Bonnie Raitt quilt a week back in the blog? Well that was indeed hand painted with dye strips of fabric fused on the red heart. Since that quilt is gone to charity... I wanted to make another for myself to use in my fusing class... but frankly getting the dyes mixed for some multi colored fabric seemed more than I was up for... sooo... since I am a ink painter... I decided to use my ready to go inks to create a would-be hand dye look. Inks right out of the bottle were applied to water misted white prepared for dyeing fabric, thus creating a hand dyed look. Once dry and heat set, fusing was added to the back and then skinny strips sliced and fused on the red heart. If I didn't have so many unfinished projects, I'd feel rather smug.

On Top Of The Mountain

Well... notice how many non quilt things have been happening with me lately? So many things can keep us from our passions.... Our mountain home has just had the living and kitchen floor replaced with beautiful hickory... AND... the field stone fireplace expanded. This remodel replaced grey carpet ( stained from a skylight break from last seasons snowstorm) and vinyl kitchen flooring. We also redesigned and replaced the skylight in time for this coming season. And wouldn't you know... the first cold night in Mt. Baldy was the first day of fall. Apparently Mother Nature reads the Farmers Almanac calendar.I must say, living in white dust and glue and acetone smells for the week and a half remodel was a real challenge... but all worth it now that it is done. Do you have a remodel nightmare experience that tops tarantulas walking in the house? Tell me :-) !

Monday, September 22, 2008

here comes the bride

Not me.. I did that a couple years back.... but a dear friend married and ofcourse we must party. The quilt... a group gift from our Wanabe's Friendship group for my friend LAURIE LYON..

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sure I can make that??!!

Ya know when you own a sewing machine, friends and family think you could make anything! No so but I'm up for the challenge.... a family member asked I make a velvet bag in which to place a book gift for someone. Me.. sew velvet...not skilled for that... but in the spirit of the effort... I found an elegant knit velour that I could back with Pellon Craft Fuse for stability. I then added batting and quilted in some texture before I lined the piece with a beautiful batik. Look at that closure I found.. Very nice. That took a full day for me to figure out but it's done... and anything for family!!!!!