Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dawn in Washougal

Such a beautiful morning it is here, I wanted to share it with you all!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Aunt Sally's Quilt

A full circle story....

My beautiful Aunt Sally and cousin Tracy were the two who got me started quilting back in 1976. My mom was in the hospital in Baltimore, and we kids were staying with my aunt and uncle in D.C. At the time my aunt was making blocks for a Bicentennial quilt...and I wanted to do some quilting too. It proved to be the true beginning of my passion for quilting. (My first stash came directly from Tracy's fabric cupboard, an act of generosity on T's part that I will never forget.)

Sally has led a very rich life, full of art, travel, service, friends, family...she had a stroke over a decade ago which changed her life, but it certainly didn't change who she is.
And she still loves quilting enough to make another one, despite the obstacles.

She foundation pieced the squares, using the flip and sew method I had showed her and Tracy during a visit. As she put the blocks together it took two days of rearranging the sequence and my uncle thought he needed to help. (!) She assembled the blocks and then Tracy finished it with a border and binding. The quilt is about four by six. Sally did all of this one handed, guiding the machine with her left hand.

She looks so proud! As well she should. It's gorgeous.
Here's a closer look...do click on it!

These fabrics--Tracy never did update her stash from the 1970's, as she moved into basketmaking, leaving quilting behind--are a time capsule for me. They are my oldest friends, my first loves. I know many of them intimately! It is with wonder and happiness that I see them again, fresh off the needles of my aunt and cousin.

No matter who, how, or when...quilting rocks!
.....and....
Happy Birthday Uncle Bill!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fabric Packs

People come to crazy quilting from different directions...from sane quilting, from cross stitch, graphic arts, painting, beading, and of course, from embroidery.
I've heard some embroiderers say that they don't care about the fabrics on their CQ blocks; they just want something there that they can stitch on.

Well!
We can't have that!

My goal in putting together the extra fabric packs to make available to sell to my students (and any of you readers who are interested...just contact me) is to demonstrate that a fantastic mix of fabrics can be employed to great effect in their crazy quilting.
I've put together a dozen little collections, 8 fabrics in each and all of them different. There is more than enough for a good sized block.

I put little round warning stickers on the fabrics that would melt under a hot iron. It's such a bummer when that happens, and I don't want my gals to have that wretched experience.

Basically, I picked out a great print and built my palette off of it. I love that shot of red in this one.

Robert likes this one the best.

My favorite border print plus some handpainted wool highlight this bunch.

For those purple/pink lovers....

This Australian cloth has designs taken from their indigenous people's tradition.
Who says CQ has to be Victorian?

It could be French as well. Love that toile from Paris.

French country colors are great, too.

This print is vintage, so I put a vintage quilt block with it. Why not?

Kind of woodsy. Here's a picture of this toile so you can see how cool it is.

I sure do love this stuff!

This is one of my favorite prints of all time. Good thing I bought a lot of it!

You can probably tell, I LOVE putting together fabrics like this.
But occasionally I get interrupted from my bliss at the cutting table by hungry boys...

....begging for food. My son Chad (on the right) is very, very good at this. His friend Kyle picked up the technique right away.
They got fried turkey meatloaf and cheese sandwiches which were delicious.....

Next up....flower petals!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Garden Report

The weather is gray but things are starting to get going in the garden...mostly in my husband's garden, actually. (We maintain separate gardens for marital haromony's sake....like cowboys don't ride each other's horses. You just don't mess with another's way of doing things.)

Let's take a little tour...

First, the setting. There's our '70's daylight basement abode, taken with a zoom lens from across the valley of the Little Washougal River.
On my way back up the driveway, I took this shot...

Yup, that corner room is my sewing room, the best room in the house.
That boarded up door, "The Door to Nowhere" is awaiting a deck. It's been waiting for 15 years but that's o.k. We always have the option!

So up behind the house....


...is where the garden action is.
You are looking through part of my garden and over to the top or Robert's. That portable greenhouse behind him is one of his plywood triumphs. He is the King of Plywood, and this little portable has been used in the spring and broken down by June for at least the last 10 years. Just plywood, PVC, a plastic tarp, and the occasional portable heater turned on...

But when it is sunny, the the tarp gets peeled back.
Here is (part of) this year's tomato crop. The mirror that the tomatoes are placed on is from an old remodel when I had it removed from my closet. I don't need to see myself that much!
Behind this on the left is the old vanity from the bathroom remodel which serves as another place for plants to soak up some sun; those are onions back there.

But the brand new little guys live in the house and get put out on the front porch for a little sunbath when the sun deigns to come out.

Next fall's pesto!!!

Robert started the peas awhile ago, and they got pretty leggy in the greenhouse waiting for the soil in the garden to dry up enough to till so he could plant them out. This he finally did Thursday, only to discover that the birds just love those sweet, succulent young pea leaves.
What to do?

He came up with this.
The shorts he is finally retiring as they are too ragged even for him; the shirt is from his old pilot stash. The upside down pothead has big eyes painted all the way around, and actually bobbles in the breeze.
I think it is quite wonderfully scary.

So here is his "blank slate".
There is going to be an amazing amount of wonderful food coming out of this ground.....

Believe it or not, I am even looking forward to canning next fall. ;-)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Doe Eyes Beadery

Please allow me to introduce you to my friend Jackie Davis, of Doe Eyes Beadery.
Jackie was in my class in Santa Fe with David Dean, which I wrote about here.

Her beadwork has a Southwestern flair to it. For you horse and dog lovers, she does beautiful custom beaded tack and dog collars, too.
You can see much more at her website, and can also have a look at what she's working on at the moment at her new blog. Stop by and see what this fine beader is up to!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kits....Finished!

All week I've been pulling together my kits for the embellishment workshop in Baltimore I'll be giving in a few weeks. This has been the culmination of months of planning, designing, and sourcing.

It's felt a little like filling Christmas stockings, or preparing birthday party goody bags; really a neat feeling...but it's been serious business, too. I have specific teaching goals I wish to achieve with them, so hopefully these kits will support that.

Everything is times 20! (18 students plus a few extra kits....)

Each flower I'll be teaching has its own little bag of component supplies.

I know that packaging the supplies this way will help students keep things organized at their work tables.

And frankly, I enjoyed the graphic repetition involved in this project!

I had fun imagining who is going to be using these supplies, and how they are going to make them "their own". I'll find out soon!

Mmmmm....cornflowers. Mine will be blooming soon.

All done!
You might notice that butterfly pattern from Kitty and Me Designs in there.
I had asked my friend Pamela Kellogg if she would design a butterfly waste canvas pattern especially for this class, and she graciously did. Thanks so much, Pam!

Just to clarify...those blocks I posted are for sale at my class, as extras for those who are interested in purchasing them. My students will be taking a workshop on how to make their own blocks.
A very kind reader wrote and asked if she could purchase one that I had posted (she wanted my favorite block, too, the green and gold one), and of course the answer was yes.
The same goes to any of you! Just drop me an email....I can make more in time for class.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Blocks for Baltimore

Part of my preparation for my upcoming workshops in Baltimore has been creating pre-sewn blocks to sell on my vendor's table.

I've done this for a variety of reasons:

--my students are from an embroidery background, not from quilting. Some may want to pursue the crazy quilt aspect of what they learn, but they may not enjoy the applique process as much as the embellishment. Plus, most of them have wonderful thread stashes, but probably not much fabric on hand. (I'll be selling little fabric packs, too.)

--I wanted them to see, if nothing else, that all fabrics are eligible for this kind of work! Combining different textures and fiber contents adds to the richness of any piece.

--creating these blocks over the last few days has made me utterly and intimately familiar with the process of working this way, from start to finish. This "refresher course" should help my teaching go more smoothly.

--It was SO MUCH FUN to dive in and play with my fabrics. It has been way too long since I have done that.

I made 12, and will charge $20.00 apiece for them. I avoided "busy" fabrics because these blocks are intended as backgrounds for embellishments, and the fabrics should support that, not compete...

So have a look!













Using my favorite fabrics with abandon was just an incredible joy!
Here they are all together on the design wall. They are trimmed to 11" X 11", and should finish out at about 9" X 9".

This concept could yield a very nice quilt!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Making Kits...and Some Finishes

I put an unusual binding on my "Garden Lace" CQ...I used jacquard ribbon, handsewn on the front, and then on the back. I liked adding that extra detail in the ribbon.
To finish "Elle and Dave", I mounted it on foam core, stretching it nice and taut. I wrote an article for CQMagOnline about how to do that here.

Both of these are ready to mail.
On the back they look like this....

I must have had that cotton lace panel fabric for 20 years! Kinda scary...

Now I am fully engaged in the final preparations for the workshops I'll be giving in Baltimore in early May. The components for the kits for Crazy Applique are cut out, the instructions written and printed, and all just needs to be assembled.

After that the in-progress block examples need to be sewn, and then the kits for the Embellished Flowers workshop need to be assembled. So I am not going to have much of interest to blog about here for the next week or so....but it is pretty fun work, pulling everything together.

I am so excited about my teaching debut! ;-)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Garden Lace...Embellishment Finished

The quilt just needs to have a back and some corded binding put on it, and then it is done!

It is my second contribution to the Alliance for American Quilts "Crazy for Quilts" contest....as a board member, I am not eligible to compete, but I am happy to provide another quilt for their online auction of all entries next fall.
So you'll be able to bid on it, and all the entries, in a few months... ;-)

I thoroughly enjoyed making this, working within my strict design parameters of lace seams and my home printed floral fabrics. I kept the beading and embroidered stitching on the laces simple, wanting not to overpower the flowers in the fabric.

It was a little hard not to add a bunch more fun stuff on here, but I was determined to keep it simple!

The lace in the print (lower left) is nice with the real lace on top of it.
I know I'll be doing more of that in the future.

In fact, I see this as a warm-up for a large quilt project...
...which is a great way to view the making of a quilt for the Alliance's contest. Exploring ideas and honing concepts, contributing to a major force for good in the quilting world, getting your work out there on exhibit...this is a win-win for everybody.

You've still got plenty of time. So jump in and enter! Details are here...

Not enough people know that the entire collections of such institutions as the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, the Museum of the American Quilters' Society, the Library of Congress American Folk Life Center, and so many more--these are their entire collections--are online and free for your viewing pleasure, inspiration, and education. When you take time to poke around the institutional collections here on the Alliance's Quilt Index , you will understand why I love supporting this fine non-profit, and hope you will, too.

The Quilt Index holds the above collections as well as thousands of other quilts. These can be accessed by:
--pattern name
--quilter
--quilting group
--location made
--time period
--project/collection
--fabric fiber
--fabric type
--fabric pattern
--religious/ethnic/or cultural affiliation
--publications, exhibitions, or contests

Pretty amazing, isn't it?
If you don't want to enter the contest, you can still support the Alliance by becoming a paying member or donating. Find out here....