Friday, July 29, 2011

See You at Fabric Depot August 13

I'll be returning to Fabric Depot in NE Portland, OR to sign books, demo my new pattern from Brookshier Design Studio and get excited about stitching with fellow crazy quilt enthusiasts on August 13, from 11 a.m. til 2 p.m.
Looking forward to it very much!

My sister and I took her daughter there yesterday to buy fabric for the backing of young Qwen's first quilt.  Imagine our surprise when we were greeted by this sign at the entrance.

"You mean me?"

That's my sister looking on, quite amused.
It's going to be fun, and I hope to see you there!

Meanwhile, Qwennie decided on some yummy cuddly fabric for the back of her quilt.  We aren't going to need any batting, as this is a lightweight California quilt/bedspread.

Here we are pin basting it and will start quilting today!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Matt's House...Progress

Thank you, everyone, for your support and condolences regarding my missing quilt.  I really appreciate it!

While I was at Michillinda I got a fair amount of stitching done on the home portrait of my brother's house. It sure was nice, stitching away on the porch...

Here is an overall shot.  The print is about 8" X 10".
I still have the flowers in the foreground to stitch...and the borders around the piece of course to do.  But most of the work on the image is done.

Some details....

I have to use fine thread to try and keep in scale with the image.  The #12 perle variegated cotton used in the agapantha leaves seemed downright huge!

It was fun covering that latticed area....

The next week is going to be busy with my sister and niece coming for a visit.  Qwen and I are going to have some fun in the sewing room...  ;-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reward for My Missing Quilt

The cover of my current CQ book, Allie Aller's Crazy Quilting went missing after Quilt Market in Salt Lake City in May. The quilt is "Crazy in the Garden", the working title of which was "Spring CQ" (that is how it is tagged here on my blog.)  All my old time readers remember this quilt, I am sure.  ;-)

Allie Aller's cover quilt Crazy in the Garden from the book Allie Aller's Crazy Quilting

Here is the link to the press release from C&T Publishing Company.  They are offering a reward for my missing quilt, as well as the other three authors' quilts that were lost.  Keep your eye out for them, ok?  Thanks....
And DO get your quilt appraised before you send it off into the world.

The quilt was found and returned to me.  YAY!!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pictures to Canvas....A Lovely Service

I wanted to share a neat service I've recently tried,
I'm up visiting my old family cottage at Lake Michigan and wanted to bring a present to my cousin....I can't bring my "H" quilt, as I need it for a few upcoming exhibits....but with Easy Canvas Prints' picture to canvas service, I sent a detail photo of the quilt and got back a great mounted picture, ready for its place on the wall of the cottage.
Hal, my uncle whom everyone called "H", loved it here so much....he and I shared that love very deeply.

Here is the quilt, which old time readers may remember:

And here is the wonderful canvas print:

I think the detail and colors came out just great in this print.
This is 8" X 10", but they can print lots of different sizes.
And now it belongs to the cottage....

It's hanging in the same room as a few of H's paintings.  This one is a favorite of mine...

He was so inspired by this place, as I am.....

And it's so good to be back.....

H is with me, looking over the lake.....   ;-)

Friday, July 15, 2011

New Project: "Matt's House"

I'll be teaching a class in "Home Portraits" at the Victorian Stitchery Retreat in Wichita, Kansas this coming November.  If you look at the sidebar of my blog here and click on "Barbara's Door", "Meg's House", and "Landscape Embellishment" you will find examples of some home portraits I've done in the past.

I want to have a new one to use as a class sample so will be working on a portrait of my brother Matt's house down in L.A.

Here are the threads I pulled to embroider the photo-on-fabric with, all ready to go.
It's good that this is a small and portable project, as I am off to Michigan this evening for a nice long stretch!

My dear neighbor there, Binki, has WiFi that she lets me use, but I won't be online much for the next week and a half.
So I'll see you when I get back!

...enjoy the blissful summertime......  ;-)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rainy Spring....Top Assembled!

I've put a lot of work into this quilt over the past week, culminating in sewing the sections together this morning.
Here is what's been happening.....

I wanted some flower motifs to go inside some of the patches in the outer blocks.  These white flowers are from M & S Schmalberg in New York.  Did you know you can order flower "components" from them now, not just already-made flowers?  Have a look!

May the cat helped me out the morning I painted.

She was good company during a pleasant hour of painting with Dye-Na-Flow.

I realized that in the middle of a wet spring there just aren't those nice warm reds and oranges in the flowers outside yet.  So those colors didn't belong on the quilt either.

Oops!  A false start.  I had thought that some viney embroidery would look nice between the blocks, but itjust looked chaotic.  There is plenty going on in this quilt without adding another element to it, so instead I made very simple floral motifs in some of the patches.  These tie in with the white flowers in the center section too.

Simple, but fun...and they add some overall unity to the quilt as well.

When those were all completed (and some more raingdrops added), I put the finishing touch on the center.

There was just too much blank space in the center....but it turns out it was just waiting for these luminous blue flowers.

I do still want to add some more raindrops, but the quilt had to be assembled for me to do that, as the beading will go between sections.  So, time to sew the quilt together!

I came up with a neat strategy for making sure my blocks met up precisely at each corner.
Rather than sewing the whole long seam and hoping for the best, I pinned each "intersection", sewed about 12 machine stitches (set at 3.0) over it, then opened up the quilt to see how I did.

Looks good!

Oops.  Looks not so good.  It was an easy matter to pull out that short bit of stitching, repin, and try again.

Much better.  Can you see the difference?

This shows two big chunks ready to have their intersections sewn.  When all of them lined up just right, I sewed the whole seam, just sewing over the areas already stitched in the intersections.

I was feeling quite smug and pleased with myself....

...until I realized that the raindrops were going in opposite directions.  Bummer!  So I had to take it all apart and start over.
I will say here that having the blocks interfaced, trimmed, and their edges zigzagged really simplified this task.  There was no shredding or distorting of the blocks as I manhandled them with seam ripper, iron, more pinning and sewing.
Good grief!

Humbled, I tried again, and here we are.  Click on it!
I'm going to live with it up on the designwall for a few days to see what else comes to mind...I know I need some more raindrops but don't want to add too much more.  It is feeling pretty complete.
I probably won't do the finishing until later in the fall, as I will be taking this with me to a couple of teaching engagements, and it will pack much easier as just a top than as a finished quilt.

It has been so much fun and did truly get me through my rainy spring!

Now......some brief thoughts about judging CQ's in competition....

I went into detail above about lining up my intersections for a reason: when you enter a quilt in a show, the craftsmanship has to be as perfect as you can possibly make it.  It doesn't matter how gorgeous your stitching is, if your blocks don't line up you will not win.  Or if your binding isn't "filled" and those miters in the corner at a perfect 45 degrees, you are out. When the quilt is folded into quarters, all four corners must meet perfectly.  Competition is fierce, and judges sometimes have no other way to choose between two fabulous quilts than by scoring these technical details. You absolutely cannot ignore them.

As an aside, speaking of binding, I hate it.  I use the French Facing technique to get around it, and I think binding often doesn't look right on a CQ anyways.  Go here to read it an article I wrote about it.

Judges are actually quite helpful in their comments, if you can learn to take them as the constructive criticism they are meant to be.  I know, it stings.  Believe me, I know!  But I will never forget a simple "Design lacks focus" comment on a small quilt that truly helped me change my orientation to my work.  I have put much more structure into my quilts since then, to good effect I think.

We care about how much heart, soul, and passion we put into our quilts.....and that can shine through, of course.  But judges are looking for what kind of a visual impact the quilt has, how well the embellishments serve the overall design, if it hangs straight, use of color and so forth.  They don't have the emotional attachment to our quilts that we do.

Personally, I think the quilt competitions have raised the bar astronomically in the quilt world and they are a true force for good.  Sometimes judges make wacky decisions but overall, I think they push quiltmakers to constantly improve and innovate.  This applies to us crazy quilters too! 

Well, the sun's out....

Time to get out into the flowers....
Isn't the summer grand?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"Rainy Spring"...Raindrops and Some Sun...

Two trips to the bead store later.....

I've been making it rain and then this morning the sun came out!

The first gust of rain has blown over the quilt...  ;-)  I think some misty secondary lines will have to be beaded on next.  But before I add that, I just had to see some sunshine peeking through.


I used the teeny picot edge around the outside of the center circle to space my stitching with this nifty Kreinik holographic 1/16th" ribbon. The color I used is called "Solar Flair"!

This is much, much easier than marking, which I would have had to do because these stitches can't be uneven.

Some pearly gold crystals went inbetween the stitches.  When the quilt is lit properly, they really glow.

Here we are overall as of click on the picture!

After the sections have been assembled and the rain is all done, the next "layer" to add will be the golden green growing things along the outer edge.  That will be fun too, lots of leaves...

In my last post, Arlene left a comment asking about the subject of crazy quilts in competition.  Judging is a touchy subject and it's important, I think, to have the right attitude towards it.  I plan on writing about that soon...I've had lots of experience not getting into shows, getting into some, and even snagging a few ribbons, so I have thought about all this quite a bit.  More soon.