Sunday, November 27, 2011

CQ Strips....continued

We came back last night from a lovely Thanksgiving down in Warner Springs, California.  Today I just had to sew the CQ Strips project together. This measures 22" X 24" and really will make a great pillow.

I could spend months doing variations on this theme and technique!  It is like my Bars and Stripes from last fall (which I sleep under and love every single day.)

I did want to mention that the Mark Quilts are all finished and were given over to Lee, her daughters Ashley and Madison, and her father Don over Thanksgiving.  (Lee will bring Manny's to him...Manny is Mark's dad.)  It was a private affair so I didn't take any pictures...but I will say they were very, very happy with their quilts, and I was so glad to be able to make them.

I have one more trip before the holidays get underway: Thursday I'm off to Newark to shoot an episode of Quilt Out Loud with Jodie Davis and Mark Lipinski of QNN-TV.  It is going to be very wild and fun, full of surprises I have no doubt.  I hope they'll let me blog about my experience!  Wish me luck that I am not too dorky.....    ;-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CQ Strips

That class sample from the last post wasn't meant to stand alone...There are several options for cutting up a whole cloth collage/appliqued CQ...into borders, into blocks....or into strips, to be alternated with fabric strips.

I just thought denim would be good here, some of my husband's jeans that wore out over the summer.  And lace of course, along with.

I don't have time to sew this up before leaving for our family Thanksgiving get together in California tomorrow...but I think it will make a really neat pillow when I get home.

Meanwhile, have a lovely holiday everyone...and thanks for being so kind to come visit me here.....xoxo

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sewing Table Retrofit

Fall has definitely progressed while I was away.....I had wonderful travels, and have more ahead of me over the next 2 weeks...but for now I am back in the saddle here at home in the sewing room and loving it.

Before I begin quilting all of the quilts for Mark's family, I just had to finish up the curved piecing sample I started in class in Wichita.  I loved the fabrics and colors and couldn't tear myself away from them.

I am really enjoying this collage applique style of crazy block construction.  It is so totally right brain and free form.
And it doesn't take long.

This measures 18"X 22".
Some detail shots.....

Apparently some of my vintage blocks and fabrics are finding their way into the mix these days.

And I am very glad to see them!

But now it is time to get those quilts for Mark's family completed.  I knew that I needed the best possible surface for quilting these, but I don't have a recessed sewing machine table.  What to do?
I found my answer on Squidoo.  My humble and heartfelt thanks go out to Alaskan quilter Marguerita McManus, who has some YouTubes up about how to make a foam core sewing table.  This is such a brilliant solution!!!!

With the foam core and heavy vinyl sheet over it, I have a large flat slippery surface flush with my needle on the old Juki.

Admittedly it is not the most elegant solution, but it works great and was very inexpensive!

And so it begins.....a long quilting journey over the five quilts.  Mark, Lee, Manny, Don, Madison and Ashley will keep me good company along the way....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wonderful Wichita

It couldn't have been a better week.  Gathering at the Hotel at Old Town, students and teachers enjoyed classes, camaraderie, and the friendly and helpful staff at this restored hotel.
It was a neat  neighborhood full of restaurants, shops, and museums, all easy walking distance.

We all raved about this place!

I taught for three days, two of them being my "Home Portraits" class.

My students worked hard, each of them bringing their own unique "take" on this concept.
Bonnie's house, below, is one example.

This photo already has a painterly quality.  She is defining the house in stitching here, but later on will have a blast with the foliage.  In class we talked about how each person would create a "setting" or context for their portrait, and that was really fun.

During my second session of this class, I had three cousins who all brought the same image, a drawing of their grandmother's house where they used to play together as children.

They were so much fun!

They all plan on finishing these by Christmas and giving them to their mothers, who are sisters.  Is that cool or what?

Sandy, the oldest, had brought a beautiful wedding dress for the evening's build-your-stash event (where old dresses are cut up for everyone to get a piece.)  Her cousins insisted that the dress was too beautiful for that, and made her put it back in the car!
I agreed with them....but asked if I could "try it on" (putting my arms through the sleeves) before they did.  I had never worn a bridal gown (got married in something simpler) and just had to try it.

A bouquet of Judith Montano's silk ribbons for sale completed the array.
I can cross this off my bucket list!

I think everyone learned some new approaches for their own work in the Curved Piecing class.

Busy, busy, busy!

Everybody put their own spin on it.

This student couldn't stand lace, but she loves monsters.
Crazy quilting can take many forms!

There was a great show and tell with some terrific attendees' work for all to admire.

I so wish I could remember names better...this hexagon set CQ was so original and beautifully made.

But the crazy quilt I loved best was this one:

It just speaks to my is like a many layered poem that I want to read and read some more.

Here are my fellow teachers taking a closer look at a quilt being passed around.

Candace Kling and Judith Montano were a delight to get to know....and learn from.

Another teacher was Carole Samples, who gave a lecture on categorizing crazy quilt blocks that I will never, ever forget.

What a national treasure she is!!!

I can't thank Val Bothell enough for hosting this retreat and doing such a beautiful job for everyone, bringing us together to share our love of crazy quilting, embellishment, and stitching.

Unfortunately, our fellow teacher Gerry Kreuger was busy teaching when we grabbed a chance for a group photo...but the rest of the crew are me, Judith Montano, Candace Kling, Dixie Derksen, Val Bothell, and Carole Samples.
Thanks to everyone who came and made this so special....

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Off to the Victorian Stitchery Retreat

I am thrilled to be leaving for Wichita tomorrow to teach "Curved Crazy 'Piecing'" and also "Home Portraits" at the Victorian Stitchery Retreat.  The conference will be held at the restored Hotel at Old Town which looks so cool and inviting.
It will be great to see old friends and meet new ones, enjoy the company of my fellow teachers, and generally stitch like mad for the next four days.

I prepared a new Home Portrait myself to demo and work on alongside my students.

There is a special reason for using a border of antique quilt blocks....I'll tell you about it later.  But they fit the Red Guest House at my cousins' ranch in New Mexico pretty well, don't you think?

I did manage to add a few more (crucial) details to "Hummer's Joy" after we got home from Mexico.  It just felt like something was missing to me.

It needed more dimensional work.  I don't know why, but it did, especially that daisy in the upper right.  I added some oya to the center of the flower bouquet, too.

It sure looked different here at home when we got back from Mexico!

Fall really fell.
I wonder if it will be winter when I get back!

Happy Stitching til then.....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hummer's Joy

That's my name for the pounded flower experiment I've been stitching on here in Mexico.  And it has been a joy.

Now it's time to pack up.  Here is my "work station"....I've worked on so many things at this table over the years.  A couple of my book projects, a block from "Crazy for Flowers", and quilt for the Alliance for American Quilts contest to name a few....all right here.
Often while my husband is out on the water...

...kayaking and sporting with the dolphins if they come by.  That tiny black dot on the water is him!

I have had a soundtrack for this too.  It is such a pretty, pretty song.  It is called "Blackberry Vine", by Devin Townsend.  (In his day job he has a Death Metal band, but it supports gorgeous music projects like this, from the album Ghost.)

I got pretty far on this piece:

It needs an outer border or at least a binding....the big challenge was integrating the 3 D embellishments with the printed photo in the center.  I'd like to try it again....

So it is adios to's been grand.