Sunday, August 30, 2009

Friendship Block Done

This is not my normal thing.... but an exchange block from my friendship group. I was mumbling/grumbling cutting this big block out. 70 pieces mostly all different sizes. I am not the perfect piecer. As frustrated as I was cutting, it was a joy to sew... mostly because the pattern maker (Arlene Stamper) wrote such great instructions. Each units instructions included pressing and size expectations all along the way. Very helpful for such a large block where getting off at any step could prove disasterous... who wants to rip out 70 pieces????

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Life as a Hand Model

Now this is starting to get wierd. Twice in my life a newspaper photographer snapped a shot of me. Twice the photos made their way to the front page of yet different newspapers. Both times.... only my hand made the front page. It's a fun thing to say to organizations... If you want front page coverage, invite my hand to town. Ha!!!!!
Ya gotta laugh!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Down a Country Road

Okay..... someone has to enjoy this place. During my visit for the quilt show, I got to stay at Barberry Ranch in Fort Collins. The beautifully restored and upgraded Ranch House was built in 1912 as a boarding house and relocated twice settling here at Barberry Ranch known for trusted horse boarding and training. My hostess Barbara Cohen is a remarkable woman. How very sweet!

... and the ranch has some rather cool yard art!

Wired For Sound and what a doll

What a great quilt show put on by The Rocky Mountain Quilt Foundation of Fort Collins Colorado. I was demonstrating in a booth and got limited time to actually see the show but I particularly loved this quilt made by Lori Flint of Boulder Colorado. Apparently Lorri's son plays electric guitar. Very cool! Click on photo for detail.

In addition to the quilts and vendors, the show included all Hoffman Challenge winners that will soon begin traveling the U.S. and Canada as part of several simultaneus smaller exhibits. This show is the only location all winners are seen together. I will say I was blown away by the winner of the doll challenge. This gal is quite a Troll.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Quilting My Spanish Dancer

I'm just getting started on the quilting of this piece. I admit to some procrastination as most portraits I've done are small enough that minimal quilting on skin areas works well. This is a fairly large portrait and requires more quilting. I haven't perfected quilting the human image but I have 2 pieces of knowledge so far in my tool belt on the subject:
1) You either quilt very little or alot. Anything in between seems to age the person thru wrinkling! Makes sense. Children especially do not need wrinkles.
2) I do try to follow(quilt) the obvious contours of the body but even more importantly.... if you have the painted shading right in the first place, and you don't quilt lines so close together that you completely cover your painted shading, it will look pretty good as long as you have graceful lines without starts and stops that show. I have more to do on even what you see here, but it's coming along alright!
Unquilted image to start:

Beginning with her face (click on photo for detail view):

Her shoulders ( click on image for detail view):

I am now off to the airport to the Rocky Mountain Creative Quilters Show in Colorado. It will exhibit over 600 quilts including the only time every 2009 Hoffman Challenge finalist piece will show ALL TOGETHER. This should be great fun! I'm taking my camera! :-) Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ethereal Waters

This piece was likewise one of the Acrylic experiments I've been writing about. First I used linen instead of plain cotton. I LOVE the result.... built in texture and the start and finished surface is really soft... That relaxed surface quality actually prompted the soft tonal painting. I used Acrylics with water as the medium... then did some stamping of grids using paint (both opaque and metallic) applied to rubber grid material used to hold rugs into place. Everything is an art tool! :-) This quilted like a dream... the machine needle slid through the material like butter.

Yeah Winter's Garden DONE!

For those that don't think I do any traditional quilting... Surprise! I belong to 2 friendship groups, mostly traditional quilters, and I love these women... I've learned so much and have lots of fun with them when we get away and SEW!!!! The large bed quilt called Winter's Garden began last November and is finally bound and done! YEAH!!!!!! Best part.... the quilt background is all squares and half square triangles. Simple, eh? While some would needle turn all that applique, I chose to try out the Misty Fuse to keep the quilt surface plenty soft. That worked okay, but was a bit more work that other fusing materials. My good friend Phyllis Reddish quilted this one for me... I can quilt in traditional fashion, but Phyllis is great and fast and since I have a gillion art quilting projects backed up of my own... I thank her for the help! We live in the mountains with winter snow pack so this one just might grace our bed this winter. This was a kit by the way from "The Quilt House" in Gardnerville Nevada (very nice shop). The pattern: Winter Garden (70" x 85") by Backyard Quilts. I used to dislike kits in general because I enjoy picking out fabrics... but now, I love them for weekend sewing retreats.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Not My Norm but Tons of Fun!

Doing new things is exhilarating!. I may never do another piece like this (who knows!) but I have learned some new stuff for sure and will incorporate the learnings along the way. This is an experimental piece like those previously shown. The central image is a collaged silkscreen on white fabric done by Sharla Hicks ( and acrylic artist Chris Cozen. I've taken the original panel and incorporated it into a quilt. This was definitely a challenge for me as I generally approach my work as a brush painter. Sharla and Chris collaged stamps and stencils into a screen print frame (I cannot begin to tell you about this process quite yet...duh! sooo much to learn).
In the beginning.. the screen printed panel...

With all the white space....I felt it needed a border of sorts to contain the busy image. Bottom line, I decided to paint the border fabric ( why not?) using transparent acrylic paints ( AirBrush by Golden). I used white fabric (PFD), misted it, and applied mixtures of Airbrush acrylic and water. This felt a bit like finger painting. Lots of fun... then to let it dry and heat set. Don't be alarmed.... the matrix lines you see are my white plastic mat that covers my table.

Before adding the border, I used a dark hand dye for a 1/4 inch stopper. You might also notice I added some color to the white areas of the central bird image. It seemed like it needed some focus in the screened panel.

Then on to the machine to quilt. I used monofilament in the screened panel as I didn't want thread color or texture to interfere with the screened image.

Finally, I added some raw edge applique of other sample painted fabric at 2 corners. It seemed to bring some life to the piece and I was pleased to note that raw edge painted fabric doesn't seem to fray easily. YEAH! A final dark stopper binding and we're done.

It's Good To Play

Looks like acrylic paints are not all the same these days... I've been experimenting with how some of the newer artist quality acrylics work on fabric. I'm doing this NOT because I'm unsatisfied with working with inks... but instead.... because I know products change over time and maybe there's something to be said for acrylics... adding them to the tool belt for sometimes use. Well, here are some recently finished samples which could only pass my test if they survived the quilting process well.

The background on this piece was painted (on plain white fabric) using a 50%/50% mix of Goldens "Open" Medium and "Open" (product name) paint. There was a resulting 'tiny' bit of surface tension on the dried fabric.... tho it presented NO problems in the quilting process. YEAH!!!!

This next piece was was fast and fun. I used another Golden product... their Air Brush acrylic inks. In this example, plain white fabric was misted with clear water... then air brush acrylics were squeezed straight from the bottles allowing inks to move around, mix a bit. This made for a painted hand dyed look... without all the work of hand dyeing. It too quilted very nicely.

By the way, both pieces were heat set after they were completely air dried. I have some other samples I'll finish and get posted later! :-) Click on photos for close up view!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Workin' inside out

Well, I am working on some new stuff... but thought I'd include a tip here. Ya know how 'they' used to say quilt from the inside of the quilt toward the outside??? and then some proved it wasn't always necessary. Well... when you are quilting really heavy as in the "Winter Hunt"... you will likely be happier with the result if you can pretty much follow the old plan. Start in the middle and generally work outward. example... I first quilted the mountain lion....

then moved upward, outward, and downward in a fairly methodical fashion. It is easy to get puckers in the fabric if not really careful. Good luck!!!

After the mountain lion... some cool shadows...

Then quilted snow!

Monday, August 10, 2009


I will have a reduction in the number of grandchildren visiting tomorrow.... so hope to soon have some new stuff posted. I have had a ball with grandkids.... but... Grammie needs a time-out! I still will cry all the way to the airport. Such simultaneous joy and exhaustion! Kaley and 20 mos old Max shown here. A baby boy story I can only tell women...
Mom of little Max went home from Cabo... unpacked all but a box of tampons. Returning to the suitcase the next day to put the box away.... she found it completely empty. She knew the baby boy was involved in the disappearance, and the mystery was solved when she opened the refrigerator later to find all of the wrapped up tampons orderly placed on a shelf with equal sized packages of string cheese. THAT will be one to tell a future girlfriend. BOYS! :-)