Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Comparing 3 ways

Oct 8. Update: Am sitting aft on deck 14 of the Golden Princess just offshore in Lahaina, Maui. The islands breezes so often embedded in song are so soft and gentle such that I would love to package it and send it to everyone. Ah... Natures splender.
I thought this might be of interest as well.... On the same background red fabric... a dark, same value, and light compliment thread are stitched in similar quilt density. Can you see a difference? It's actually harder to see up close than far away.... but here we are with our nose in it as it is just a wee sample.


Oct. 6th update
a day at at queens palace in Honolulu. One more island then heading for Baja.
This is likely NO surprise to anyone thats done much quilting. If you want the fabric underneath to stay just like it is..... a same value solid or variegated thread works great!

A Light Compliment

OCT 4, 2010 UPDATE: 3 classes down and now in Hilo Hawaii. WEll, I went ashore saying I needed no fabric.... visited 2 shops and returned the biggest spender amongst my traveling friends. BEAUTIFUL silks at Dragon Mama in Hilo! I'm broke but happy! Now to learning info!
Nope.... I don't mean just saying something kind of nice to someone..... I tickled myself with this title... SORRY! See what happens when you use a lighter value compliment thread atop the compliment fabric? IT says.. LOOK AT ME!!!!

Darker Richness

OCT. 2, 2010.... update.... 2 classes done, 4 to go on this lovely Hawaiian Cruise. Happy Quilting all!

If one uses a compliment color darker thread to add darkness / shadow on fabric underneath... you will likely note the result has a richness to it that a darker same color as the fabric wouldn't. Check out the burgundy thread (from the red family compliment to green) and what it does to add richness/ interest in the veins of the leaves.

Color Everywhere

Typing this intro at sea via satellite in slower than dialup mode. Egads... this is slow and costly. Having fun out here tho. Happy Quilting
While I'm traveling it will be a challenge to get pictures uploaded to the web.... so I'm planning in advance a bit of a color class on line. What appears can be used in reference to fabric color AND thread color. First...a color wheel for general reference.
You ofcourse note there are no neutrals or black shown on this wheel. Mixtures of other colors that do appear on the wheel make up a variety of neutrals.
DID YOU KNOW that complimentary colors mixed together make a brownish neutral? What I'm showing here was done with approximately equal parts of textile ink.

With this knowledge one might use a complimentary color thread to perhaps downplay a fabric that seemed perfect when chosen, but a little stronger than desired when the entire top was complete. Just playing with thread alone... note where the two compliments cross over each other.... that crossover area is dulled down a bit, further supporting the neautralizing effect of mixed compliments.

When dealing with thread atop fabric.... it's pretty much the same value ( color intensity) that tones down whats underneath. Darker and lighter values have a different effect and we'll see that in a subsequent post! Happy Quilting all!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 featuring "Windsong" Oct 5th

While I'm sailing around, I understand this piece will be featured on their website daily blog on Oct 5th. What a nice honor!

Setting sail thru 10/13

Life is sure tough..... KIDDING!!!!
On Wednesday afternoon, we set sail in Los Angeles on the Golden Princess on a round trip to Hawaii. Well.. Someone had to go there! I will teach 4 classes.. all on at sea days otherwise no one would attend class.
:-) Somehow, I have managed to get all class supplies in 2 bags and my 2 week clothing into 1. What on earth did I forget? It's always an adventure figuring that out!
Beautiful ship eh?

Before it times out

Lots of last minute (before sailing) details.. one of which was to submit this piece for 2011 Road to Calif. Show held in January. This piece has never been in competition but will be 2 years old by Jan 2011... so it's now or never as they say. I love these dogs.... 3 generations of English Bulldogs... The title: Family Resemblance.

Gotta love that Daddy Dog

Saturday, September 25, 2010

How my brain feels!!

NO this is not my car/ my stuff.... just how my brain is feeling as I prepare for teaching 4 classes (with instructor provided kits) aboard a cruise that begins next week to Hawaii. I've had my classes planned/ samples created for some time, plus student materials created/ordered/shipped to me. Now its time to fit the pile of stuff in the smallest space possible. It will get done I know, but right now my 'lil brain feels like this car/load. Have a great weekend all.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Well get ready.. Here comes Santa!!

Is this block destined for my friend Phyllis' quilt not cute as can be?

Phyllis is an expert at needle turn applique and certainly could have appliqued in the eyes on Santa. She did ask if I'd instead ink them it! Works for me!! This closeup is probably 3 times larger than life so his eyes are in your face here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Love 30's quilts

I spend about 75% of my time on art quilts but admit I enjoy traditional quilting for friends and family, and for my own bed. This one is finally done... quilted, bound..... planned for a gift next spring, that is IF I can part with it. This quilt is BIG.. thus the over the couch drape. Love and laughs to all who quilt!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We love Jambo!!!

This piece ( at least the painted part) is just about done. A total of 7 hrs is all this took to paint across a few days.... Our goal now is to let the painted background dry ( it's damp still) and see if any little touch up is needed here or there. We have figured out that while we had his nose looking just like the 'head shot' photo we started with, it wasn't just like reality so we tweaked him a bit after looking a bunch of photo pics on the web. This underscores the critical nature of photo quality. His original head shot was in some shadow. I always say, I can only paint what I can see. I think we are on the right track now! We've already darkened the front of his nose since we took this photo. NICE DOG!!!!!
Dale looks pretty pleased! :-) Great job!!!!!

Who Took The Dog Out??!!

Sorry if the title makes no sense.... I just keep hearing the song of the same name and it relates to what we are doing here. The ORIGINAL photo had the dog on a hardwood floor. When Dale and I talked about how much this dog gets outdoors and so loves it, we decided to put him on grass. So this is a start. First, I often use a transparent paint to brush in big loose backgrounds and a whole lawn qualifies so we've mixed up a color of green for a background 'wash' ( sorry .. wash is a watercolor technique). It goes fast but one must be very careful watching for possible bleeding of color into existing painted images.. I keep an iron on ( for big stops if bleeding gets out of control).... but 99% of the time will use an air dryer, or hair dryer to slow the movement of wet pigment.

Following the 'wash', Dale used a darker green ink and a rubbing plate to quickly get in some grasslike background. This is looking pretty good. Next effort, using a different rubbing plate , we will add some additional texture in the 'grass'. The added inking will add interest and unify the background .

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A private class/project begins

Well this should be great fun! A delightful lady named Dale Vital called last July to book September time for a private class for her first ever painted quilt. The subject, a beloved German Shepherd. We had one original photo possible for use. It was a little dark to see details in the head area... but we took the leap and went for it.
Step One: Tracing the Drawing.
That was done placing an 8 1/2 x 11 acetate transparency atop an 8 x 10 photo and tracing the animal on the acetate using an ultra fine sharpie.

Step Two: From Tracing To Black and White Drawing
Simple enough: Place a piece of white paper behind the traced acetate drawing. Then make one copy on your printer. This copy can be taken to a local print shop for enlargement. Then we decided how big the art piece was to be and decided 285% enlargement would do the trick.... ( 8.5 - one side- times 285 = a bit over twenty four inches...and 11 -the other side times 285 = just over 31 inches ) So off to the print shop for a little over $3... we had an enlarged drawing that 'exactly matched our tracing. There are indeed other ways to do this enlarging thing, but this is quick, accurate, and if you find a friendly local print shop, reasonably priced.

Step 3 Let the Fun Begin.... Since Dale is learning the media, we began with the lightest value while she gets comfortable with how things work. I routinely tell students, after you figure out the media, begin where it makes most sense to you and that would possibly mean start with the dark .. especially on complicated drawings.
Three hours of painting were enough for the first day. Look how far Dale got!.. and make note this is her first ever painting. Impressive!!! Time for a break .. Eyes and brains need a rest so a new day will move this painting forward.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Heading to Houston Nov 2nd

Looks like I best book a flight for Houston to attend the Nov 2nd awards ceremony. One of my pieces ( In Quito's Market) has won something but I won't know what til that night. Nice honor. I'm looking at flights as I type.

Let the bag be done!!!!!

Continuing from previous postings on this subject ( began 9-15-2010)

This should be the last posting on this plumeria bag I designed for the Hawaii Cruise beginning next week. This is where we start from today. We have two still separate 'placemats' both with handles, one with an outer 'pocket' of a painted/quilted plumeria begun on the Hawaii Cruise with

Step 1 Stitching SIDES of placemats
With right sides together... Stitch a half inch seam from top to bottom STOPPING 1/2 from the bottom. Back stitch. HINT for starting the top...Before beginning the forward stitching down the side.... starting appx 1 inch below the top edge, begin with a reverse stitch to the top. You may then begin forward stitching. This will eliminate loose threads at the upper edge. You MAY even go backward forward more than once to strengthen the upper part of the connecting seam.
Stopping that 1/2 inch before the bottom edge will reduce final seam bulk in the next step.

Step 2 Stitch Bottom of placemats
Still with right sides together, stitch 1/2 seam all the way across the bottom of the placemat bag long edge. and turn the bag right side out. Ta da!!! You may chose to steam press but alas..... You're done!

Friday, September 17, 2010

DOWN and now UP Web site

If you were earlier trying to link from here to my web site ( it was down for some unknown reason. My apologies!!!! The hosting company site reported an outage for a number of their mail and web host clients. Again... My apologies! TECHNOLOGY.. argh!

Attaching straps!

Continuing from previous post:

Step 1 Adding strap end covers
To be done on both ends of each bag strap:
a) fold a 2 1/2 inch square (cut in the previous posting) in half... wrong sides together. Press!
b) Center the raw edge of this piece aligned with the raw edge end of a strap... and stitch 1/4 from edge.

Step 2 Folding and pinning strap end covers
To be done on both ends of each strap:
a) Flip the folded over/stitched fabric piece away from the strap end and press.
b) Fold the raw edges that extend beyond the strap sides to the back side and pin edges to hold. Here's 2 strap ends showing both front and back views.

Step 3 Marking bag for placement of straps
a) On top edge of the inside of the bag 'placemats'... mark about 5" in from outside edges.

Step 4 Stitching straps to bag
Center the strap end centered on and covering the 5" mark as shown and stitch to bag .. stitching the folded fabric piece side to side 2 to 3 times plus vertically at least once each side. Note : the webbing side of the strap faces the previous mark which is on the inside of the bag.

Now.. its a matter of putting the 2 placemats together and we'll be done. Next posting.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Making of A Bag Strap

I know there must be a bunch of ways to finish straps for a bag. Here is just one:

Well first, I plan to use woven webbing as part of the strap that will provide stability and comfort and be 'backed by a soft fabric shield of sorts. About 1 1/2 yards of 1 inch webbing will work for our bag. We'll work with this later... I'm just letting you know what's coming here

Step 1 Strap Foundation
a. Cut a piece of strap fabric about 4 inches wide by half the length of purchased this case 27".
b. Cut the same length in flannel but only 3 1/2 inches wide.
c. line up one long side of the flannel to the back side of the fabric and press together.

Step 2 Folding
a. Fold the lined up long side of 2 fabrics to the center of the flannel and press.

b. Fold over 1/4 " of the long side of the strap fabric and press.
c. Fold the rest of the flannel/fabric toward the center and stitch from end to end down the center.

Step 3 Add the webbing on the same side as just stitched, and stitch down both lengthwise edges. Since the webbing is just about an inch wide... and the fabric strap about 1 1/2 wide.... there will be about 1/4" of fabric extending beyond the webbing

Step 4 Squares to finish strap ends
Before that fabric gets put away.... cut two 2 1/2 inch squares for each a total of four squares. These will be used later to finish the raw edged end of each strap. Thats up next posting.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

From Painted Quilt to a Pocketed Handbag

I'm really starting to get ready for the upcoming Hawaii teaching cruise. I painted and quilted my plumeria memory class project a while back. Now it is time to turn it into something finished and useful... so a simple Hawaii bag will be the project across the next few blog entries.
Here's what the finished product will look like.... I like to know where I'm going before I start a road trip so you might want to know where we are going with this bag.

NOTE: Supply List info: If you are going to finish your Painted plumeria into a bag as in my sample, you will need:
Your painted plumeria backed and quilted to your liking
2 ribbed placemats ( I found mine at Target.. appx $3 each)
1 1/2 yards of woven webbing for straps (found in fabric and craft stores)
4" strip of sew on velcro
appx. 2 1/4 yards of double fold 2 1/4 inch binding for your plumeria mini quilt
1/4 yard flannel
1/4 yard of 'strap' fabric that will back the webbing for comfort.

1) First things first.. square up the quilted piece to a size a few inches smaller than a table placemat. I left NO excess batting hanging out in this trimming effort. Just square it up.

2) To keep life simple... I'm making the basic bag using 2 black ribbed placemats found at department stores like Target. Sorry the flash makes these look charcoal. They are really black!!! I think they were $3 each and I need 2. Before any real construction begins.... I centered and stitched companion black velcro strips ( about 3") directly opposite each other and centered on opposing mats. These strips are centered and placed about 3/4" below the long edge of the placemat. this will create a simple closure for the finished bag. Be certain to put matching thread in bobbin. From the unseen front view, the stitching seems to disappear into the ribbed mat.

3) Now to finish off the mini quilt with binding. I cut binding strips 2 1/4 inch wide.... I used my quarter inch foot to stitch folded ( doubled over) binding fabric to the front of the mini quilt first lining the raw edges of the binding up with the edge of the squared up mini quilt. ( This means from the front of the finished piece.... we will have only a 1/4 inch binding.)

4) A) Still with a quarter inch foot on the machine, I loosened the pressure foot downward pressure and began a slow/precise... hand roll and stitch in the ditch ( where binding meets quilt front). You could instead put on your walking foot for this step. I just find it easier to SEE what to do with the quarter inch foot.

4) B) NO Hand Stitching necessary on the back of the binding. The back of this mini quilt will become the inside of an outside bag pocket. You are looking here at the backside... a corner that miraculously mitered pretty well.

Next post.. we'll make straps.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

We are blessed to be able to give back

I know I am a lucky woman for many reasons...1) to live in a country with freedom, 2) to be loved by my family and friends and most importantly by God, 3) to have a place to live right in nature's cradle, 4) to know and love artistic expression... and on and on. A little syrup sounding I know. With all this good fortune, we are asked to give back to those less fortunate. There are so many ways to give back. This weekend, The Shepard's Pantry (, a Glendora, California food bank, is holding a fundraiser to support their efforts. I thought... why not donate my artistic services? So one silent auction winner will get a 16 x 20 pastel portrait of the image of their choosing...i.e. their family pet, a family member, or whomever they wish. Example here is an earlier portrait of grandson Max.

Click for closeup.

This should be a great silent auction as many other great items are on the block. I'm also placing for bid Thomas Kinkade's
"Garden of Prayer" framed lithograph. It's gorgeous! Now to get these items delivered to organizers.

Powerpoint is your friend!

Yesterday... I was busy getting the Corsair quilt designed for a U S Navy Fundraiser submitted to I mention the site because there is still time for you to participate if interested. (You don't have to donate your quilt... It's an option). Documenting the history/creation of a piece is important so I make a label that includes such info.... example: a photo, an artist's statement, info on materials, and contact info on the artist.

Powerpoint is a remarkably flexible program and it is 'perfect' for designing and printing a single slide as a quilt label.
Here's a photo of the label attached to the back of "The Incredible Corsair!"
Double Click on photo for closeup view. I print my 'slide' label on fabric as an 8 x 10. I also save the powerpoint label file as my own documented history of the finished piece. Happy Quilting!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Inking it up on Wearables

In visiting Southern California's El Camino Guild this week, a former student showed up wearing the cutest jacket with a pieced top/shoulders, and a white chenille torso. The fascinating thing was colored chenille areas. She had used the Tsukineko pigment ink I love to color her cotton chenille. Too cute! These pigment inks like natural fiber, so they are great for wearables and home decorating as well as quilting. Other ink friendly things are wood (e.g. you might stain buttons) and leather ( Now that would be fun on a belt!)

Okay... this quilter loves lime green. Works for me. So do I!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Heading South but here's some hints for the day

Hi all.... am visiting El Camino Guild for a couple days but thought I'd prepare a post of a few hints I noted as I work on the Naval Aviation piece.
1... When winding monofilament on a bobbin..... try:
a. winding slower than normal to minimize stretching and later potential for breakage.
b. fill only 2/3 to 3/4 full.... i.e. see air between the edge of the wound thread and the bobbin winder stop. Filling it all the way full will make it difficult to get in the bobbin case.

2. If you have trouble loading and guiding lead monofilament thread into your bobbin case.. try this:
a. Hold the thread filled bobbin in your hand while you 'thread' the bobbin case with your other hand
b. Rewind the few inches of bobbin thread onto the bobbin and then drop the bobbin in with the thread already 'threaded' in step 1

3. a. What do you do with pin holes that don't go away???
b. Mist them with clear water. The holes will 'plump' up and diminish!
I feel like "Hints from Heloise" Happy quilting!