Tuesday, February 27, 2007

1200 Detached Chain Stitches Later....

...oh, and that is plus 400 blanket stitches. I've been working on embellishing the brown trim that surrounds the center section of the Fan Quilt.
I took a flying leap and decided to push on the blue quotient of the quilt a bit...then brought in some purple and bright pink to lift up that heavy brown. I like it o.k., but I think I will love it when I fight back against this sweetie pie emphasis with some heavy orange and acid green in the center seam treatments.

Once all those blue loopies were done, I glue basted the cording into place instead of pinning it. Slick and easy, it worked great.

A close up of the border treatment, and also of some of Susan Else's fabric that I had appliqued on.
More orange, more orange...!!!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Purple Hearts Hospital Quilt...in progress

We call ourselves "the ArtBra Ladies"...we're an online group that has contributed to Vickie Brown's wonderful Way to Women's Wellness Foundation. You can view the many beautiful calendars, cards, and pins she has for sale here. All proceeds go towards treatment of women with breast cancer who cannot otherwise afford adequate medical attention.
Well, we enjoyed working together so much, and all want to keep helping out in the fight against breast cancer, that we have continued sewing together. Our deadline for the Purple Heart Quilt is looming, so the blocks are coming in...and they are gorgeous!
The leader of our band, Barbara Blankenship, has a Flickr page with a set of the finished blocks...at last count there are 17, with 8 more due this week. Do click over and enjoy these beautiful crazy quilt blocks!

This is Julie Yonge's scrumptious block....
I'll have more information soon as to where this quilt is going to be exhibited before it finds its final home in the hospital....

Saturday, February 24, 2007

TAST Fly Stitch

Take A Stitch Tuesday is turning into a series of warm-up sketches for me, each one using the stitch of the week, to explore embroidering a landscape of a specific place...overlooking Lake Michigan from on the bank, under the trees, in the tall grass...
I have done many takes on this subject over the years, including a large crazy quilt, and will continue to do more. I plan on taking these sketches with me next summer when I go back, and doing some plein aire stitching. I should be well warmed-up by then.
I printed a photograph on linen and then backed that with woven interfacing before I started stitching...the print was more a suggestion than an identifiable image, which was really fun to explore.

It is so cool to discover how just changing the angle of the fly stitch, the lengths of the different parts of the stitch, and their density can give so many effects. ...

Friday, February 23, 2007

The "Fan Quilt", out of rehab....

I renamed this...it is easier to type than "The John Campbell Quilt"!
--I took off the old trim around the perimeter
--took off the little corner fans and repieced them more accurately
--quilted in the ditch, by machine, around the patches in the main body of the quilt. This helped with the floppiness a great deal.
--sewed a different trim on around the perimeter, by hand, trying to get things as squared up as possible. The mitered corners are much better with this flat trim than they were with the gimp trim. I like the pattern in the jacquard ribbon better, too.
--added some appliqued patches in the center section to liven it up a bit and to create some seam lines that I want for later. I still may add a few more...
--took off the trim around the central black block. I have just pinned the block back into place for visual reference, but I will be working it separately (much, much easier that way). I like it without the heavy red border, too.

So now I am good to go!
The above picture is the way the quilt was...(also minus all the border embellishment).

Above is the "after". I think the beige inner border is much more consistent in width...that was one of my main goals. The trim was wide enough to cover the inconsistencies and even things out.
It is important to apply the standards of sane quilting construction to crazy quilts, in my opinion. And it really matters if you are sending your quilt out to be judged. An experienced AQS judge is a Point Bonita attendee...her name is Bettina Havig At my request, she went over my Crazy for Flowers quilt from a judge's perspective (what a privilege that was for me) and showed me where points would be subtracted from my score...ouch, but she zeroed in on the wavy cording along the border which I knew she would....
So with her owlish and uncompromising gaze looming imagined over my shoulder, I did the darn best I could to get The Fan's act together. It's really helpful to be as accurate as possible from the beginning....
It is still nowhere near perfect, but that is because from the get go I didn't try and get those border blocks sized just right. But I like my new little fans...

That weirdo veiny blue and red fabric was appliqued on...I haven't tweaked a CQ like that before, taking the time to applique and refine the composition. It's a good new step in the process for me. Plus that fabric is so cool...came from my table mate at Point Bonita, Susan Else who always has the strangest fabrics in her stash. There are little bits of her fabric added in several places "after the fact", of piecing that is.

The Black Hole.....Kerri Murphy, a lovely gal on the crazy quilt lists, does us the service of listing links to crazy quilts that are for sale on ebaY...I've been collecting a ton of images of motifs done on black backgrounds from those quilts...don't know what will happen here yet but it will definitely be vintage inspired. Thank you, Kerri! And it will be done last, as a yummy desert when the rest of the quilt is embellished...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Crazy for Flowers's Big Adventure

It was a really fun phone call to get this morning...from the editor of the $100,000 Quilting Challenge magazine telling me that "Crazy for Flowers" has been selected as one of the ten winning quilts in the Spring 2007 issue, representing the Crazy Patch category. Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to enter!
I have purchased all four issues of the magazine to date, and have found the quilts chosen to be wonderful; the additional articles by knowledgeable quilters are top notch, too. I have let most of my old quilting subscriptions lapse lately, but this magazine has been consistently good and worth reading.
As one of the eventual 40 finalist quilts from all 10 categories for 2007, Crazy for Flowers will travel to lots of quilt shows in the next year, including the Chama Outdoor Quilt Show in Chama, N.M. (I LOVE Chama....), Quilt Odyssy 2007 in Hershey, PA, the American Quilters Society Expo in Nashville, and the Quilt Market and IQS shows in Houston in the fall. If you are going to any of those shows, stop by my quilt and say hi to it for me!
Here are a couple details from the quilt, which readers of my old blog will recognize...having traveled seam by seam through its entire construction with me during seven months of last year! Thanks so much for your encouragement along the way (remember the "red rash"?)....and a special tip of my hat goes to Sharon Boggon for the inspiration from her 100 Details in 100 Days while I was working on this quilt.
The Spring Issue comes out June 6....but don't miss the Winter Issue for sale on March 27th, because that issue's featured crazy quilter is none other than Martha Green Herself...am I in good company or what?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Final Border Blocks

The border blocks are all finished! This quilt is now going to have to go into rehabilitation and have some of its trim replaced...so that will require the seam ripper, a trip to Fabric Depot to find the trim that I now have in mind, then the resewing of that....plus, I am going to try quilting in the ditch with clear thread around all the patches in the central section before I move on to embellishing it. The quilt still seems too floppy to me, and I want it to lie flat. The quilting will just attach the top to the interfacing better....I hope that does the trick.
So you're not going to see the whole quilt just yet...but you will after it gets out of rehab....
Meanwhile, here are the rest of the border blocks...

Hey, where did he come from? You'll have to ask Martha Green about that.....

I chose to use the whole 4" X 4" of this block to showcase this fabric, so I just outlined the leaves in a backstitch using rayon thread.

These little stamped fans are so cool. I love filigree anything....

Wish me and the quilt luck as we head into the next phase! Things could get a little dicey for awhile.....

Friday, February 16, 2007

TAST Feather Stitch

Sharon Boggon has given us the feather stitch for this week's Take A Stitch Tuesday challenge.
While I am thoroughly loving seeing my fellow stitchers apply the challenge to crazy quilt seam treatments, among other explorations, for myself I am focusing all year on applying the weekly stitches to landscape embellishment.
So we are back in the trees this week, focusing on their limbs. I so enjoyed trying various fibers, lengths and densities of the stitch...I even wrapped and threaded through the basic feather stitch in a few places. The process of exploring one stitch like this is so exciting, because you don't know where it will lead you next!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

And More Border Blocks

I spent all day futzing with trying to get all my corners re-squared and appliqueing a few more choice fabrics into place in the center section of my John Campbell quilt. It was nit-pickey work! But now I can begin the main embellishment there.
Here are some more border blocks....

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More Border Blocks

Marching right along here. These blocks are along the bottom edge of the quilt. I did these at Point Bonita.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

From My Swap Sister in Belgium!

How I do love the Web. I belong to a Yahoo group of international CQ swappers...I have a lovely and wonderful Swap Sister in Belgium, Elizabeth, whose "squishie" (def: "a plastic bag filled with crazy quilt finery") arrived today in my mailbox.
She knows I am into landscapes, and sent me such gentle, earthy materials to work with..beautiful and interesting woven silks and linen-looking fabrics...and shell buttons...lace...beads...plus she sent some interesting info about where she lives in Belgium which I intend to read with relish this evening...
Thank you, Elizabeth! I think we needleworking women are the True Agents of World Peace!

Monday, February 12, 2007

John Campbell Quilt Border Blocks

This series was rudely interrupted when my last blog crashed and burned.
I will post a pic of this crazy quilt in progress in a day or two, when I get it back up on the design wall. But in the meantime I will show my progress on the little 4" border blocks that surround the main body of the quilt. I am embellishing them first, one at a time in a slow march around the perimeter, to get "warmed up" for the main work in the quilt's center.
There are 44 of these blocks; I worked on them at Point Bonita and at this point have about 7 to go. Then I will have to face the music! This quilt still has me somewhat baffled...

Hee hee, I had to sneak in a little fabric from "Crazy for Flowers", just for old time's sake.
It is interesting to look at these little blocks "out of context" as mini design problems in and of themselves. But of course they really have their jobs in the overall look of the quilt, one of which is to push this vintage inspired CQ over the cliff into Contemporary Crazy Quilt Land...but not quite. I like the idea of it hanging on and swaying in the abyss between really old and really new.
The blocks are sort of done but of course more can be added to them along the way.

Mokuba Picot Ribbon Source

This is my humble Mokuba ribbon stash. After going through that book, I would love to get more of it!
Victoria Brown has some online at her RibbonSmyth emporium here.
I've also bought it at the Button Emporium in Portland, but I didn't see it on their website. It is worth tracking down, for sure.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Japanese Ribbon Embroidery Book

My friend Tracey Brookshier just returned from the big quilt show in Tokyo (Japan's version of the Houston show) the week before Point Bonita. I had asked her to find me a book on Japanese ribbon embroidery while she was there, and she came home with a doozie.
It's all in Japanese...all I know is that it is published by Mokuba, whose ribbons are used throughout the book.
I was so blown away by this work that I wanted to share just the front and back covers of the book with you all...I don't think that busts any copright laws. When you click on a picture a 900 X 1061 pixel image will come up. I wanted to leave it large so you could see the details.
Unbelievably scrumptious!!!!

Do click on the link to the Tokyo show to see some amazing quilts...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

TAST Algerian Eye Stitch

My goal for my own practice of TAST is to apply each stitch to some aspect of landscape embroidery. At the risk of sounding demoralizingly precious....for my Algerian Eye Stitch TAST I created a starscape. What an obvious use for that stitch.
It was fun using different sequins with the stitch, and different weights of threads. I also really enjoyed embroidering on black fabric.
This is just a sampler and nowhere near a finished piece...but the idea could be developed with more time, for sure.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Second Purple Heart Block

We call ourselves "the ArtBraLadies" because we have contributed decorated bras over the last three years to the Way to Womens Wellness Foundation. WTWW has created calendars, note cards, and exhibits from these bras, which can be viewed and purchased here, and made a lot of money from them to donate to breast cancer research, and also to provide care to indigent breast cancer patients.
We've evolved into a tight online group and have other service projects, too. These are collaborative projects....crazy quilts for which each of us donates a block or two. These quilts are donated to hospitals where cancer patients are undergoing treatment.

Each year's project has some parameters so that the blocks will "go together" harmoniously. (I know I wrote about this on my old blog, so please excuse me...I can't link to that old post! It is a goner!) This year's blocks must be 8" square, use predominantly purple, and have at least one heart in them.
Here is my second block for this quilt..I am having a love affair with red, purple, and orange these days....I'll be posting the other ladies' blocks over the next few weeks. Each one is a dazzler!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

26 Years and Counting

We really were dairy farmers when we first got married. This picture was taken in 1981 on the steps of the sauna my Robert built for us on the ranch...down there on the Oregon Coast in Coos County. We sold our milk to the Bandon Cheese Factory.
Those grubby paws of mine sure hadn't embellished anything yet!
We did a good impression of Ma and Pa Kettle, I think...
Happy Anniversary, Darlin!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Cats of Point Bonita

A giant basket full of brand new Jaquard paints and brushes, next to three hampers of muslin cats and dogs...how could we Point Bonita attendees resist this challenge? Kathy Ronsheimer, our fearless leader, with help from PB attendee Stevii Graves, had gotten Jacquard to donate all these supplies so that we could be turned loose on them...Jacquard wanted to see how we would use their products. We got some fabulous, interesting, and a few deranged results....
Not everyone took up the challenge, but probably 2/3s of us did, with most of us creating cats. There was to be a Viewers' Choice vote at the end of the week, with prizes!

How could I have known that working on my cat would be the artistic high point of my week? I was up until 1:30 a.m., for the first time ever in my PB history being the last one up in the studio, working on my cat. It was SO much fun. You doll makers out there are really onto something....
A Patchwork cat....

Rebecca's Cat
Tracey's cute little sealpoint Siamese...
P.J. Freeman's "Bijou" (whom she talked to all week).
Sue Arnold's needlefelted cat.
I don't know who made this cat with the dead mouse....but she was having fun, that's for sure!
But I do know Shirley Greenhoe did this "hit and run" cat...she even unstuffed the back half to make it flat! She's from Montana, maybe that explains it.
And then there is "Queen Cat". I was inspired by the blue horses of Chagall...and by an illustration in my childhood fairy tale book of the Queen Cat who was covered in jewels...and by my own kitty at home who is so cute and so dumb....
Yes, I went into JoAnn's in Sausalito to get the fabric for her little rug. Yes, I scoured our studio to find wire for the whiskers (limp thread simply would not do; Miriam had the wire, bless her). Yes, I studied a picture of my cat at home on my laptop to get those eyebrow whiskers right....but it was worth it to win the Viewer's Choice Award!!!
It pays to be the only embellisher sometimes....;-) Sparklies and silk ribbon roses are just too compelling.....