Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fabric Audition

A couple of weeks ago, Amy suggested we post hints about our designs for Doll Quilt Swap II. Since I'm finally getting around to working on my quilt, I can post mine:

Fabric Audition

This morning I went through a collection of 4 1/2 inch and 10 inch squares of I-Spy fabrics from swaps on the forum on About Quilting and thought these might work in my doll quilt.

After a lot of cutting and editing and sewing, I can tell you that some of them did ;-)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Call Me Goodie Two Shoes

DebR has been having fun on her blog, Red Shoe Ramblings, playing with bad words to push her blog from PG to R.

I was pretty sure how mine would be rated ...

Online Dating

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Calming Influences

This is Miss Molly. She belongs to my blogless friend, Diane.

Miss Molly

Miss Molly loves to be with her people and Diane says that just being with Molly's quiet calmness makes her blood pressure drop.

We all need those calming influences in our lives. They may be animate or inanimate, active or passive. Mountains and oceans are two of mine and, lately, I miss having them near. Maybe I need a Miss Molly in my life?

Speaking of mountains . . . I've recently come back to this work in progress from Meg Manderson's workshop at Blue Ridge Quiltfest last spring. I was inspired by the mountains around us, though some see ocean waves--either way, I feel ready to finish this reminder of a couple of my calming influeces.

Mini-Landscape in Progress

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Blast From the Past

In 2004, I stored a lot photos on Yahoo. As part of closing down their photo site, Yahoo kindly moved them to Flickr for me ... giving me reason to revisit the past and take another look at a very special event and exhibition.

In February, along with 400 other quilters, I attended a preview luncheon at The Henry Ford Museum for their exhibit, Quilting Genius.

Entrance of show

During the luncheon, the curator explained that their goal was to showcase 30 show-stopping quilts from their collection. They did not disappoint. There were wonderful examples of piecing, appliqué, embroidery and broderie perse.

Detail of Appliqued Flowers Another Detail of Broderie Perse

For me, the highlight was my introduction to the Susan McCord quilts.

Entrance to Susan McCord's Quilts

Susan McCord was a 19th century quilter, the wife of a dairy farmer and a holistic herbalist. Of all the quilts she was known to have made, most are in the museum's collection. Her earlier quilts are pieced with lots of tiny hexagons or triangles. She also made crazy quilts and appliqué quilts. Here are some of my favorite details. (click, click, click for larger images).

Detail from Crazy Quilt Detail from Fans Detail from Random

mccord_rose_detail Detail from Flowers

Her later quilts featured incredible, original vines--as borders or as the main design element.

Another Detail from Ocean Waves Border Detail from Wandering Foot

Vines is the best known and most traveled of the McCord quilts, but this one--called Branches--was and is my personal favorite.


Even though my photos seem now to capture as much of the event itself as the quilts in the exhibit--there are precious few quilter-free shots--it was fun to revisit that day. If you'd like to see more, check out my (new) Flickr set, Quilting Genius.

I guess I'm not the only one that thinks this exhibit is worth re-visiting. Although The Henry Ford didn't produce and sell a catalog and couldn't extend the short run of the show, despite it's overwhelming popularity, they still have information about it, here, on their site, including their own online exhibit.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Duck, Duck, No Goose

The geese have abandoned the pond out back, but this family of ducks provide plenty of entertainment for me and the cats. Yesterday, Mama brought her young charges up near my patio to feast on the spilled seeds under my neighbor's birdfeeder. The kids are in the shady spot ... Mama stands guard (and chases away the rest of th flock when they're around.)

Ducks chow down

As soon as I opened the door, to snap a photo, they were on the run, with Mama in the lead.

Heading Home

I couldn't believe how fast they moved. In no time, they were back in their comfort zone, on the water, with the rest of the family.

Ducks afloat

A heron has also moved into my neighborhood for summer, but he is nearly impossible to photograph--I have lots of photos backlit by the sunrise or taken just after he has flown away ....

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Doll Quilt Swap II

After learning about the Doll Quilt Swap on The Calico Cat blog and seeing the sweet little quilts from the first round, I knew I wanted to play.

You can see individual photos of the quilts in the Doll Quilt Swap pool on Flickr. This time around, there are 100 Doll Quilt Swappers--I am clearly not the only one who was charmed by these little pieces of art.

I can't wait to find out what kind of quilt I'll be making and for whom. I'm jealous of those who have already started. Amy has shared some of her inspiration fabrics and challenged other swappers to post a sneek peek. Lisa already has blocks made and up on the design wall for her Denyse-Schmidt-loving partner in the swap.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Making Fabric

Here are some quilts from NQA 2007 with surface design techniques that made me want to go home and try ...

All the color in this quilt, Morning Glory, by Irena Bluhn of Little Elm, Texas, was added to the surface using colored pencils and textile medium, AFTER the quilting was complete.

Morning Glory

I especially loved the feathers and the background, created by quilting freehand with green thread.

Detail from Morning Glory Detail from Morning Glory

In Signs of Spring, by Susan O. Schaller of Dayton, Ohio, the flowers and leaves were added AFTER the top was pieced, using freezer paper stencils and Shiva Paintstiks.

Signs of Spring

Detail from Signs of SpringHere's the detail of the stenciled design. The quilt was further embellished with crystals and Lumiere paint--sorry for the flash on the crystals.

Bend, made by R. Muncie George of Muncie Indiana and quilted by Doris Goins, used discharge fabric to create design.


Detail from Bend
Here's a detail of the discharged leaf design. You can see how the same fabric, un-discharged is used between the discharged fabrics.

I think photo transfer is an interesting technique, but rarely see it as well integrated into the design of the quilt as in this quilt, I-Spy, by Phyllis Manley of Bromall, Pennsylvania

I Spy

Lift the red flaps, like the white glover in the left photo, and you find pockets containing photographs and music plays. It was very entertaining . . . but it was the fabric printed with pairs of eyes that really impressed me.

Detail of I SpyDetail of I Spy

This is an I-Spy quilt on many levels ;-)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Incredible Quilt, Incredible Threadwork

Life in Holly Ridge

Nancy Prince's quilt, Life in Holly Ridge, was understandably, always surrounded by a crowd at the NQA show. It was truly a feast for the eyes, from the painted houses in the background to the pieced buildings in the middle ground and all the incredible thread painting in the foreground

Click the images for larger versions to enjoy the work, then surf over to the thread painting tutorial on Nancy Prince's site to see how she makes it look easy.

Detail from Life in Holly RidgeDetail from Life in Holly Ridge
Detail from Life in Holly RidgeDetail from Life in Holly Ridge

The statement on the show label says:
Approximately 50,000 yards of thread and 3 million stitches created the thread painted design. It took 1500 hours of frustration, a ton of trial and error, and ultimately total joy to complete the quilt.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Summer School

In less than a month, I've managed to take four workshops, resulting in 3 works-in-progress and one not-even-started project. It feels a little like summer school for this quilter.

The only progress made on the Agapanthus, since the Jane Sassaman workshop, was the purchase of some possible background fabrics and another which will become highlights on some of my petals.

At NQA last week, I took classes from Andi Perejda and Laura Wasilowski--two artists whose work I have long admired. Here's Andi and her class sample for Dazzling Dogwoods--this quilt is the center panel from her award-winning quilt, Branching Out, currently gracing the home page on her web site.

Andi Perejda Dazzling Dogwoods

We painted petals, appliquéd them together and added a ruched and beaded center. Her approach to creating the branches is interesting (and new to me). I'm looking forward to creating a small quilt based on Dazzling Dowoods, but so far, I only have a single blossom and a possible background.

Dogwood in Progress

It's true, I'm usually at the bottom of the learning curve in any class environment--I'm just not very good at being creative and focused and productive in the noisy distracting environment of a class full of quilters. Add into the mix the fact that I somehow managed to buy--only last week--some of the infamous bad batch of fusible for Laura's class, which added extra steps to the process for me--just to be sure--and slowed me down even more. Here's one of Laura's beautiful samples and my beginning on a wood block quilt.

Woodblock Quilt Woodblock Quilt in Progress

I usually manage to catch up and finish at the top of the curve with the rest of the class and I am motivated to finish both of these. I know I will create more woodblock style quilts, too, because after the class was over and I was on the road, I kept designing more of them in my head ... all the way home.

The fourth, unstarted WIP? I decided to give Quilt University a try and since I've never made a Stack and Whack quilt (but, of course have fabric in my stash for one), I signed up for Bethany Reynolds class. The timing wasn't great and I was already over commited, but I was sure I could catch up by the end of the session. We'll see ;-)

Synchronicity at the Quilt Show

As usual for me, as I walked through the NQA show, I saw quilts I wanted to show to someone, based on something they're doing or blogging about or just because I knew they'd love them.

I couldn't help but be reminded of the blog dialogue between Finn and Tonya about making quilts from orphan blocks when I saw this quilt, The Orphanage, made by Kay Olivia and Reggie Fross from San Diego, California.

The Orphanage
(click photo for larger image and for the detail shot--next in the photo stream)

I was impressed by the diversity of blocks the quilter included, size-wise, color-wise, style-wise. I don't know if I could be so fearless. I love it, though, and am inspired.

I took a ridiculous number of photos at the NQA show last week. I will continue to blog those that I loved or that I think one of you will love, but if you want to cut to the chase, you can hop over to my NQA 2007 set on Flickr. Better make a pot of tea--a cuppa might not see you through the ridiculous number of photos.

Hail, Columbus

I had to smile when I saw Debra's photos and description of the fabulous destination hotel where she spent last weekend. I definitely went in a different direction for my trip to the NQA show in Columbus, Ohio. I found this Bed & Breakfast in the Short North neighborhood a few blocks walk from the convention center and decided it was perfect for me.

Short North Bed & Breakfast

The Short North neighborhood was a delight. It claims to be the Art and Soul of Columbus--easy to believe as you walk past galleries, interesting restaurants and lots of art. There are several murals besides Mona. This one reminded me of the Art Image Challenge and all those takes on American Gothic by Grant Wood.

Mural on East Lincoln Street

Here's another mural, next to a parking lot. I loved the contrast of modern vehicles parked in front of the ancient scene.

Mural on High Street

I encountered a couple interesting sculptures, as well.

Up To Our Ears in Art In Dreams Again Detail from In Dreams Again

From the left, Up To Our Ears In Art, In Dreams Again and Detail from In Dreams Again. Both pieces are dedicated to the artists of Short North.

On the edge of Short North and only a block from the NQA show at the Convention Center is North Market--a wonderful, colorful produce and food market. It was the perfect lunch destination.

North Market Inside North Market

I wasn't able to do it all while I was there--I missed out on the Art Fair and the Yarn show and didn't make it to the show connected with QSDS, but I thoroughly enjoyed my long weekend in Columbus and the classes and quilts at NQA 2007.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ah Summer ...

Of course, it's not officially summer yet, but today was a picture perfect Summer day, complete with blue skies, puffly white clouds and green all around. It was a perfect day for a ROAD TRIP to NQA's quilt show in Columbus.

As soon as the weather turns warm in Michigan and Ohio, it seems there's at least two choices for doing something quilty on any given weekend. This is my first trip to NQA--for the first time I didn't have a conflict, so I decided to check it out.

There was only one little snag. Summer isn't just the season for Quilt Shows around here, it's also prime time for road construction. I knew there was headache of a construction project on US-23 between me and Ohio--a project so major it ha its own web page--so I let my fingers do the walking to AAA's online triptick site. I kept modifying my route going wider and wider around this project, then avoiding another in Ohio, until I had added nearly an hour to my trip ... I made such a big circle around the hot spots that I ended up driving through Indiana ;-)

The drive along the turnpike across norther Indiana and Ohio is very pastoral, passing through farmland with green fields filled with baby corn plants and neat, white-washed, farmhouses and barns. (sorry, no photos ... I was driving.)

Of course, eventually the countryside faded away and I found myself, in the city with a million other cars in the afternoon commute, curiously also on US-23.

For the most part, I avoided the dreaded orange barrels and construction delays. I knew I was almost at my destination when I saw this landmark.

Mona Mural

Isn't she fabulous? She surprised me because I didn't expect to see her reclining. Here's a longer view of Mona and the critical turn at the alley.

Monal Mural
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