Friday, September 28, 2012

Quilting The Little Girls Stoop

Showing here is the right side of the stoop front. There is likewise an area twice this width on the left side of the little girls, plus the area shown  one set of pics further down below where their feet rest on the ground in front of their seated position.

First.... I meandered the area just beneath the little girls dresses... ie where they sat. Then I quilted the lighter value curved edge.

Lastly... tackling the vertical width of the stoop front.  Because this was a broad wide area, to minimize the potential for a wrinkle in the rug effect that might be caused by quilting left to right ( or vice versa)... I chose to break things into areas... like... starting to the right of the middle of one segment  and then quilt left to right.. and further diving the left side into added quartiles and moved left to right.  I managed to complete the entire  width of the front of the wide stoop without any surface distortion. YEAH!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dragonfly revisited a new way

Some of you have seen my sample class option for a dragonfly....

I always tell students at the beginning of class, please change anything you want . Sometimes they do, other times not.  Almost everyone DID in this class. There were such a nice variety of finished paintings. I got a couple here. I call this the Carribean Dragonfly... When I look at this one, I want to take a cruise.!

Then the first ever painted earth tone dragonfly which called also for more muted water colors. Great job Tonya!

I soooo wish I had pics of them all.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Beautiful Stuff!!!

Victoria  took my ballerina drawing for her first effort.... Looks great , eh?!

Then began what will be something truly special for herself.  Her own drawing is behind the fabric  such that while she has just begun... you can see the rest of the 'plan' 

This creative teen sews, quilts, runs track, target shoots, and gets good grades. Impressive!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sutter Creeks California Gold

Lucky me!!!  I spent the weekend and part of yesterday in and around Sutter Creek in Northern California. BEAUTIFUL Country! This is the area where the California Gold Rush began ( I think it was 1849).  Another gold is present this time of year in the grasses of the rolling endless hills. Such a rich earth feeling. One finds this beauty at every corner/turn in the open road.

We did get to do some painting... and whoa... were we busy!!   17 students joined me ( hosted by Anelie Belden) for Painted Quilt Art Sat. and Sun.  What a group!  We were so busy I only got a couple pics but will show some  here.
Anelie ( whom I met at Asilomar this year) had already taken to this method so she tackled a challenging portrait.  She has more to do ( darkening eyes, adding background.)  but clearly... this is a winner. It's nice when you can see the reference photo too.

Nancy has this 1 year + gorgeous kitty ( yes... that incredible blue IS the eye color). WOW!!! The unusual eye reflections made this a real challenge to capture accurately. I know Nancy was happy, therefore I am happy with the result.

I'll post a couple more tomorrow.  I'm bummed I didn't get a chance to photo EVERY piece.  Students who forward me a photo of their work will get a brag posting!!! :-)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Los AngelesTraffic Jam Reward

I left at noon for what was to be a 7 1/2 hour drive to Northern California.  The drive turned out to be 9 hours with an exhausting traffic jam getting through Los Angeles... BUT... sitting on I-5 rolling at best at 5 MPH... I see coming in to view  passing right in front of me the very low flying 747 carrying shuttle Endeavor destined for its permanent home at the California Science Center. Flanked by 2 fighter jets, it was a breathtaking sight and exciting surprise.  Tomorrow, it's off to teach a privately arraigned class of 17 students. Should be great fun!!!!!

I'm Off To Teach

I'm heading out on a long drive thru some beautiful California Countryside to Sutter Creek for a 2 day version of Painted Quilt Art. This place is in Amador  County rather than Calaveras as someone suggested..  I think Calaveras county is where Mark Twain wrote about his frog jumping contests.  I'll look for frogs in my spare time! Sutter Creek is one beautiful town with great dining and old world charm.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Little Stones all alone!

Since the pebbles embedded in the real adobe bricks referenced in this painting were small and didn't seem to call for quilting, I thought the slightly larger pebble/stones placed between a few layers of bricks, might look fine 'unquilted' too.  So the pic above is where we start from. The small stones nearer the top of the picture would at minimum require an outline stitch as would be often be done around an appliqued piece to make it 'stand up and stand out!

I think I will take it one step further really knocking down the dark area around stones and in dark shadow. This seems to produce a rather refined finish. I used a pewter colored thread as opposed to black as it seemed easier on the eye than a high contrast  black would have created. After all, my goal is to keep the eye on the main subject ( 2 little girls on a stoop) rather than drawn to quilted bricks in the outer edges of the quilt. Soooo much to think about. ;-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tightly Parallel Straight Stitching

I learn a lot every time I quilt something with different quilt line needs.  I've decided that when I really need perfectly parallel  tightly spaced straight stitch lines ... I might first use my open toe quilting foot 'toe' to trace the line just quilted. So in this preparation sample... the left 'toe' on the pressure foot is my guide as I stitch in this case from left to right moving forward ( north to south)  and and backward (south to north) creating a parallel grid.

In a different stone piece prepared the same way as above, it is pretty simple to keep the rest of the fill nice and straight as I move from right to point of origin on the left. Another benefit of this method : Much less chance of creating an excess wrinkle in the rug on one side of the stitched area. Yeah!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Brick Status Shot

Moving forward slowly....   here's a quick pic of how things are looking.
I often place a pin ( as in the blue one) as a self reminder to go back and do something there... in this case... quilt it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Quilting Adobe Bricks

Well... this should be interesting.... These bricks are basically packed mud intermixed with both imbedded and placed rocks.
The are surely hard but not in the way the red bricks are so neither hard straight lines work nor does alot of curves to my thinking. So I am attacking  the adobe with a mixture of a straight and curved filler.

 After the double around outline of the 'brick'...I begin the mixture of line type fill.  For lack of a better label, I call this the indecisive worm fill...avoiding long straight lines by breaking them up with other shapes, and using both curves and angled quilt line redirection shapes.

This effort will take some time as I admit one gets the cross-eyed feeling after a while. The change of direction might be better seen in this shot of an area at the base of the doorway where rock rather than adobe was used in construction.  The values were stronger in the 'real' structure so I used a darker variegated thread allowing a better pattern view.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Marker Stains Anyone???

I just saw the following tip on Yahoo  about removing marker stains on fabric...... has anyone tried this on fabric... and if so... what was the result?

"Marker or Sharpie
First try Guardsman Fabric First Aid Stain Remover Level 1 cleaner ($3,; apply sparingly to a cloth (not the stain) and work in.
If the stain persists, apply Level 2 solvent. Follow with a damp towel; blot excess moisture. For walls, use dish soap and a wet soft, non-cellulose sponge, which shouldn’t harm paint."

A Surprising Honor

WOW!... I remain in both shock and euphoria that my piece " My Gentle Giant BEN" ( a mature mountain gorilla silverback) has won a top award at Houston International which opens with its premiere night the end of next month.  Both BEN and I will be there.  I will be the one smiling. Click Here to go to my current news entry on BEN!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

At Doors Edge

In looking at previous posts on quilting the door, you may have noticed a dark shadowed gap between the edge of the door and the beginning of the adjacent rock wall.  I just needed to secure that on black and have done so with a slight back and forth s-curve, again trying to  somewhat  turn the ends and parallel the verticals on each side of the channel.

After the one side is done, I needed to look at the opposite side of the door where the door butts up to a haphazardly masoned brick door jam.  First to audition thread for both the sunlit and shadowed edges.
This straight line work seems like it should be the easiest of all.... but often the easy looking stuff surprises.  Keeping perfectly straight in free motion doesn't come all that easily... but it is definitely doable.Now to transform the mortar to look different than the current puffy marshmallow look.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I'm glad I followed my own RULE!!!

I repeatedly say that for dense art quilting.... I work from the center of the quilt, methodically moving upward ,  outward, downward. NEVER has that been more important working on this very wide door so heavily quilted.  The right side of this upside down quilt really had a serious 'wrinkle in the rug' thing going on.  The top  looked like it had stretched a bit (more likely I hadn't pinned effectively),  and the batting was thus buckled inside, though the backing was just fine.  Look above at  'the big lump'!!!  So some unpinning, repositioning was paramount. Now to reposition the outer edges as well and we're ready to finish the door quilting.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Well it's kind of a fun thing.  4 1/2 year old grandson Max is so excited as he finally gets to play soccer like his sister Kaley (13) .  His first game was Saturday and his Mom ( my daughter Allyson ) sent this picture with one sentence.   "Max scored 6 goals... 5 for his team! "

Woodgrain Choices

The original thought on enhancing woodgrain was to quilt it in even before the aqua door thread was added... but after some consideration, I decided to  do the aqua quilting first and use the quilting furrows to pick and chose  which ones I might enhance with light wood colored ink. So consideration began....  The end result seems to me both effective and efficient ( I'm all for that) .  It's not important that we do terribly realistic wood graining in this process. The wood door is not the focal point so the suggestion  of graining is just fine.

How Cute is This?!!!!!!

I am still quilting that big door but look what came in the mail from my loving niece Jennifer.

Oh beautiful girl!! Baby Jessa was a long time coming and mommy Jenn could not be more excited. Named after both my mother ( Jessa) and daddys mom (Eleni), she is ofcourse the apple of everyones eye.  Love those tootsies!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Worn Door

The 2 sweet young ladies are seated on a stoop and leaning against a colorful though highly worn door revealing some elements of raw wood here and there.  This should be fun to quilt.

You can see the unquilted area is  purposely somewhat unevenly painted and has rubbed elements of wood grain.   I chose to quilt the aqua door with a 35 wt. 1" repeat variegated thread called Caribe by YLI Variations. My machine seems to like YLI's thread.. works for me!!!  This is a large door so there are days involved in this quilting effort.  I just have to push onward as I am on my own deadline.  I don't use a stitch regulator on my home machine... I'm more comfortable without one. I quilt fairly slow by most measures. That allows me to make really tight curved turnarounds as seen here at the bottom edge of the door.
Here's an overall pic. of a  small finished area.   I'll write more later about enhancing wood grain.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Little White Dress

Both the young girls on this quilt top have sweet but soiled little dresses.. mostly white.  I've come to learn that  on a painted fabric image, when shadows and soil are painted first, a simple 40 wt thread even when fairly densely quilted will not overpower the  darker image underneath. I once changed threads to a darker value... much more work and I find without great benefit.  I somewhat enjoy the resulting transparency that comes with this method.  What do you think?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Arming two best friends

Following the same 'graceful line' principles addressed on facial quilting, I've begun quilting  these little girls intertwined arms ( looks odd here ) and legs. SOME areas had very dark shadows which I won't quilt with this thread but instead later with a darker skin tone thread. The too light edges of the arms may well be toned down with ink later.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Road to Friendship

I spent the first week of July painting a quilt top of 2 little girls on a doorstep in Mexico. It's now time to get them and their doorstep quilted.  This is easily a month long project... though I haven't a months free time so I  hope to get this done  by 9-30. We'll see.
In art quilting... I start at the center and work my way outward..upward/downward very methodically. Doing otherwise almost always creates  surface distortion trouble in a large quilt.  SO I begin here with the face of the little girl truly in the center of the quilt.  I have often said it is most important in quilting faces that the beginning and ending of lines of stitching are gracefully aligned with the area ( in this case hair) next to them.  NO harshly seen starts and stops. Now this picture should scare you. As best I can, I try to begin and end a stitch line with a curve aligning somewhat with the edge of the hair.   Do know however this work preceeds quilting the hair so some turns at the hairline will be covered with black hair quilt lines.

If the face is small enough ( this one is) I tend to leave some facial features ( eg. eyes UNQUILTED as the painted surface can offer a softer feel if indeed desired.  We are looking at a foreshortened angle here ( apologies) but note I have not quilted the eyes or mouth, but have secured them with monofilament where needed to "hold things together." The photo angle admittedly gives her a long neck look.  Not so viewed straight on.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bearly Breathing

Crimanee... Friday Night, hubby gone down the mountain to play poker, so my plan is to quilt the night away, but NOOOO nature has another plan.... to scare me breathless. I'm fine now but while I was quilting in my sewing room, for the 2nd time in a month, a young black bear decided he'd join me if he could remove the screen. Thankfully, he gave up quickly this time and instead managed to get on our roof and stomp around a bit... then climbed down to go to the trash can (EMPTY) so I think he's gone. You never saw a woman run to the screen door and dead-lock the real door faster. I didn't photograph this event.... this is just a young male black bear photo. ' Always a thrill living IN the forest.