Saturday, May 31, 2014

Beneath The Hills

At the very bottom of this piece, there  are several repeated 2 inch strip sets of 4 fabrics . These first 2 are both graphic and busy and because this quilt is about HEART, I quilted them using hearts
3 stacked hearts are the basic motif.... moving to adjacent space for 3 more, then 3 more.... til 'filled.' 

There  are also strips of graphic circles.. each strip a wee bit different than the next offering a bit of variety in stitch motifs.  basically... just secure  the perimeter of circles... and micro stitch a fill on the inside.

The last of the 4 strip fabric sets is a black and white grid divided by a circle fill fabric strip.  It's a pretty lumpy look to start.

A simple black thread stitch  inside the black squares or triangles forced a more formal finish and offered variety to the overall area.
All that's left is the signing and finish. Yeah!!!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Smaller Hearts... A Simple Fill

There is plenty of  quilting in background areas so I needn't go nuts in these 8 smaller hearts ( only one shown here) . I did simple work inside each small heart thus allowing the layered battings ( wool batting atop cotton) to do a nice puff job. The wool layer was added totally for surface loft, and the cotton layer behind it offers weight to improve how the  overall piece hangs.
Out with the Frixion pen drawing a meandering trail around 'dots.
Follow the markings, erase ( heat w/ iron) the markings,  and tada.
A couple more hearts and we can move on to the last area 'below' the hills.
If you've been reading along posts, you may recall this piece is being created for part of the "Inspired By Libby" (Lehman) Collection/Auction, and exhibit planned for later this year. I'll share the details when "I know them!"  But I do know I'm truly enjoying this piece and will have a tough time parting with it. But it IS for Libby!  She has some monster medical bills and we'd like to help!  Save your moolah... There are 40+ well known national and international artists creating pieces for  the
Inspired By Libby auction.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Getting Our Fill

There are 2 more larger areas on this piece that need quilting. This blue frame over or under other frames ( boxes) call for little quilting...  a simple outline of some ( not the really small boxes... was a good plan. I added a few standalone curly Qs in some boxes. In fact, I ultimately reduced the numbers of curly Qs ( the dreaded 'unsewing')  This was one of those 'less is more cases'  where  the K.I.S.S. method was the best method.
Curly Qs are merely a circle with an inside hook.
One final large polka dot area.
I quickly concluded a tight circle around every polka dot  was warranted to help the rest of the circular bubble fill  show off the fabric.
Lovin' the bubble fill here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

For All We've Lost

Remember!  and  Honor!
God Bless America and all who serve!!! 

Over The Green Hills for Libby

Continuing quilting my exhibition/auction piece for an upcoming Libby Lehman event.Got to do this right for Libby!!  We are looking at  nearly upside down hills here ( upside down because it will be an easier stitch out given the location within the quilt).  First with 7 different hills, each stacked in front or behind another..  I drew (Frixion pen) curved parallel lines 1/4 inch apart.  I begin by dividing the first  'hill'  near quilt center with a first stitch line down it's middle.

I then moved to divide the "half"  in half.  I discovered long ago that this divide and conquer approach works well to avoid a wrinkle in the rug result that can occur by  moving stitch lines straight across a larger area progressively one side to the other.
Sections divided... then it's a breeze to 'fill' in and move on.
 Viewing here from the 'side' of the quilt :  The same approach as above was taken on all the hills.  Frankly it took longer to mark than stitch.  I did a fair job following the marked stitch lines but will iron the area to remove any viewable markings.  I admit, with so much thread work involved here, I place a pressing sheet ( tissue) atop as I iron away the markings.   :-) A little extra insurance to protect the threads. !  
 7 hills DONE!  I have about 2/3 of the piece yet to quilt. BREAK TIME!!! 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Yikes... Starts and Stops are Called for

I loved this "Wonky" and open swirl pattern on this black and white fabric.  I decided the only way to keep and show off the crisp black swirl was to downplay the white around them and that called for many starts and stops, so some serious start and stop locking and traveling from section to section happened.

 "Clip" the travels and I'm happy with this area. It's simple looking close up and looks good overall.  Call it done and move on.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

At the Heart of Hearts

At the center of this piece is a large heart broken into parts by the radiating lines extending to the quilt edges.   This part was a journey on what to do. Pics below address the path taken.
Two things came into play here as shown below.
 1) When the fabric itself suggests a quilt line... I often use it.... in this case the curvy yellow lines in the lighter yellow/orange fabric. Just go with it!
2) When possible, I will 'visually' tie elements together is some slight way.  There are polka dots on the adjacent pink fabric so I drew a few circles on the more plain orange strips, and quilting them in hot pink thread, thus pulling both color and shapes into neighboring areas.
The  orange strips called for more quilting so a bubble fill in matching orange thread seemed to work.

 Following the 'tie elements together when warranted idea, I carried the same  curved stitch and bubble fill patterning I used in the 'orange' side of this heart into the pink side.
 Now to iron out the Frixion pen marks.  Click on photo/s for enlarged view.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Couple Tips

I keep my business card sitting by my machine for times when it's a challenge to thread that darn needle.  Placing the business card upside down with the white backing behind my needle sure seems to make it easier to find that hole with my thread.
How to rid yourself of that stressed fabric hole that occasionally comes when removing a pin.
A small spray of clean water on the area... a simple finger massage of the stressed fabric, and tada!!  Much better.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Time To Quilt My Inspired By Libby Quilt

Some may recall seeing a design series of posts in February. It is for this quilt seen below and ultimately had minor changes before piecing and fusing was complete.  This piece is for an exhibit/auction by several known art quilters... Ricky Tims, Alex Anderson, Cindy Needham, etc etc etc.
The top was complete 2 mos ago but I have been so embroiled in multiple other projects, contracts, etc, I am only now getting it quilted. It is due mid June. EEK.. get with it Patt.
Pinned and ready to go... first some monofilament securing of elements above the green 'hills.' ...
Then a fire-like red/orange thread pattern for the hot SUN.
Now to begin quilting some of the varied fabric elements sitting 'behind hearts. Simple bubble fill seems to work around the medium sized polka dots.
Sometimes the fabric itself directs the quilt line used. Why not?  I'm using a variegated purple thread merely because it is near purple polka dots and seems to work.
It is amazing what simple quilting can do to enhance the look of fabric. 
This will take a while as there is another similar section. Straight line free motion takes time if your goal is accuracy. Go slow if need be. I do.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stitch Samplers as ART!

I've been posting stitch examples lately... all in a rather academic black thread on white fabric.  Rather boring but perfect for book documentation.  But here's another way to create a reference library of favorite filler stitches you can hang on the wall as both art and reference.   These were way fun to make... first an oversized four patch....   then a black prefused fabric cutout of what I call a STRING pattern.  The string fused atop the four patch... then unique filler stitches in each quartile.
 These were sold as a set...   I think it's time to do something similar again.  ..maybe an elongated piece with  3 4-patch sets as part of one quilt top.
Click on photo for enlarged view. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tim pulls off a winner!!

Tim Tourellott is a long time friend and quite the creative soul. Already an excellent art quilter, this  media mixer project which began on the Road To Panama cruise was a new/different path I 'think' will stay with Tim for a while.
Tim said this was great fun .... and enjoyed the different directions both he and Wendy(previous post) went in the very same class.  Tim says he didn't think too much or wait too long for ideas to come  because he knows he has a tendency to over think things. Tim's surface design elements include napkin tissues, handmade papers, rubber stampings, stencils, colored pencils. 

Per Tim, "It's strange when you think about how a napkin can jump start your creative process again in a whole new direction. All of these ideas are now flooding in about my next project ,but more importantly the "What ifs?" ..... are now marinating in my head. "

I LOVE the red accents AND the hanging system Tim!

The addition of Chinese coins on the border are a nice touch.  ...and the purposely 'one off' from a satin-stitch edge finish WORKS!   Keep it going Tim.  Great class and cruise.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wendy on the Move

Is this not a beautiful piece??!!!!!!   My mixed media class aboard the Westerdam was filled with interesting pieces and students.  One in particular was Wendy Ross ( referred to by some as Miss Montana).  Wendy arrived on board with a gift for all participating on the quilting cruise: a felt needle booklet with the Montana Quilters  logo printed on cotton and attached. NICE Wendy... Thank You!

 This was a mixed media technique class using napkins, tissues, handmade papers, stamps, pencil drawings.... pretty much whatever!!!!  A neutral piece of fabric becomes the 'canvas.'  The faces and background text is Wendy's ink stamping. Birds, flowers, butterflies, and leaves are largely tissues affixed to fabric. Some Shiva paint stick work added... and Wendy's original pencil drawings of small flowers and ghost-like butterflies were added.  I am so grateful and pleased when students send me a  photo. Wendy wasted no time getting this finished and photographed.  So cool.
For Wendy... this class produced both a great result and as well or maybe more importantly some key learnings about objectively seeing and evaluating composition.  While I seldom if ever specifically post back and forth conversations re: work, with Wendy's permission, I am noting our dialogues re: learnings as you might relate.

Wendy's initial note read something like this... I don't know that you will remember; as you walked about the room as we were working on our individual designs... you had commented about a couple of green triangular patches that took precedence in the center of the piece. My buddy Tim next to me taught me to take a photo of the piece to help me critique - I did and saw immediately what you were talking about. (THANK YOU, Tim!) Ugh! I peeled it off and retouched the areas with Shiva paint. One thing I have learned since coming home:don't be too hasty! Instead of  slapping 'stuff' on a piece of fabric, I will fall back on Tim's advice and use my camera to preview and review and if necessary move things around until I lose that restless feeling!

Tim was absolutely right.  "Photos tend to come with objectivity about shapes and value."   

I sent the following back to Wendy.

DANG.. the real learning is always in the struggle. That restlessness you speak of is normal and your words to self about "don't be hasty" are valuable. I DO remember the 2 green triangles. Tim's advice is very good and I will tell you how I noticed them.... I was on the opposite side of the table and thus looking upside down essentially only seeing the shapes/values... not the individual elements so much. We can easily be seduced by individual elements sometimes inhibiting our ability to see the WHOLE.   I've always said... We all know when the composition feels right... it's a bit of a struggle figuring out when it doesn't feel right.  Now you have 2 "why am I restless tools!")

Now, I can only hold my breath til a photo of Tim's finished piece arrives. I know he's quilting it now.  ;-)  Happy quilting all! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Knowledge and Skill Building... Filling Station At Sea

After years of teaching Painted Quilt Art, I wanted to set people free to get tops quilted.  Fear stops us all so easily.   A full class of  cruise students participated in the first ever Filling Station class.... which first provided students with demo'd samples of specific free motion stitches that visually stabilize, harmonize, and / or move your eyes on a quilt top.  20 machines all humming like crazy playing and practicing many of the quilting stitches shown on more recent posts.  Each went home with samples ( a sort of stitched library)  of different stitches they NOW know how to do and  as such will assuredly be more comfortable tackling their own art quilts back home.  Machines on this cruise were provided by a Janome dealer. These were high end machines with lots of great features/tools for quilters.
One proud student with her sample ' stitched library.' Not mandatory, but perhaps helpful was the use of different color  threads for each type of stitch... e.g..  
visually stabilizing... ( mostly straight or right angled stitch patterns) 
visually harmonizing... (mostly curvy happy stitch patterns) 
move your eyes patterns ...  (stitch patterns that usually include sharp angles) 

 One incorporated many inspired stitches visually suggested on the ships elevator doors. I had the same inspiration in viewing the ships metal doors.... just no time to play as a teacher... but maybe something in the future.  as always... sooooo many ideas, so little time.... a quilter's burden, I know!
This class seemed to be quite a success.... Due to my traveling/competition schedules, I  seldom  get to teach  locally but will teach a class on this subject in Oct 2014 ( Oct 11- Orange Quilt Bee- Orange California) for contact info.      Not on their site yet but the date confirmed. Call them if interested.
Other quilting cruises with varied instructors can be viewed on World of Quilts Travel site.  (  see link list on the top left.)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cruising The Canal

Soooo  exciting....  navigating the locks of the Panama Canal.
 The story of this canal is like a good book read.. in fact there are many books about it. I won't rewrite it here... but will express the fascination of traveling through it. Pretty flag, eh? Our quilting cruise travels originated in Fort Lauderdale so we entered from the Caribbean where we first needed to rise up to the level of the lake and canal beyond. We enter the first lock with the guidance help of a masterful captain/crew and rail-based "MULES" found on each side of the channel. You can see another large ship and even a tug in canal locks beyond us. Everyone it seemed was fascinated with the engineering/operation of these locks.

This was mostly an all day trip which began  on deck with Coffee and Panama Rolls for a 6:30am start. We are about the enter the first lock in the photo below.  Anyone want to know how to make Panama Rolls?  I managed to get a recipe from our ship's Culinary Arts Chef.  ( Click on any photo for enlarged views.)

A long slow trip trough the lake and canal until finally at the Pacific side where we need enter a new lock this time to drop to sea level. The lock in the distance is about to fill adding appx. 30 feet of water level ( by gravity) at 3 million gallons per minute... it flooded in like a category 4 white water river... (unbelievable).
Once filled, gates will open, we will enter and then the fill levels drop to sea level for gates beyond to open.
Totally fascinating.

 Most know a much larger set of locks is under construction to allow the new giant ships /cruise liners of today to pass through. Those locks appear a long way from completion. News at eleven, as they say.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Inspirations of Cartegena

Well.. I was a bit concerned early on about visiting anywhere in Colombia because of the history of crime there... but not so in beautiful Cartegena.  "One dollar" bought me a photo op of this beautiful young woman.
The streets of Old Town are both clean and picturesque.  This sidewalk cafe might someday appear in a painting.  The teal tablecloth against the red brick color building create much 'energy' / interest.
Vines decorating buildings are old and enormous.
An interesting but uncomfortable visit to a place of imprisonment during the spanish inquisition. Not to be catholic brought torture to even Christians of other denominations. The  exterior walls themselves were a fascination to me but I'll skip photos of the interior means of torture.
Fascinating learning...   low income people pay no taxes.... higher earning people ( eg. over $50K annual US equivalent and multiple property owners ) do!   We visited 2 textile shops... truely lovely specialty fabrics but very little algodon...( cotton ) of interest to American quilters on this tour.  We are lucky to have such lovely fabrics available to us in the U S.     Right now though.. I'm sorry I didn't buy some of the heavier woven silks in Cartegena. :-(