Tuesday, February 24, 2009

If it's Tuesday is it Texas?

Here you see Bordering On A New Millennium hanging on my wall. Below it on the floor are my lime green and my magenta cowboy boots. So am I in Texas now??????
This is the quilt that was the beginning of my bright colors used to decorate this house. When I watch Color Splash on HGTV I often wonder if David peeked in my windows or saw the article about my house in the newspaper. After all, his parents live right up the road and I'm sure they subscribe to the local paper! How else did he learn to use all those bright colors? Just kidding David if you're reading this!

This is not your grandpa's Grandfather Clock. I had always wanted a grandfather clock and this is just funky enough for my unique decor!

When you look directly into the face of the clock it appears as if you are looking into a long deep tunnel. So much fun! I understand a little more about how it works as I had to change the lighting panel this week.

Here's another vignette in the great room. I bought this knock of the Saarinen Womb Chair on eBay. The original is uber comfortable and uber expensive. Little did I know when I purchased this there was a reason it cost 1/5th what the original did. It is hard and doesn't compare in the comfort department. So it is off to the side and I now am sitting in a Westnofa Siesta chair which I also bought on eBay for about 1/5th the cost of the knock off or 1/25th the cost of the authentic Womb chair.

Tonight's puzzle was a very serendipitous acquisition. Years ago I subscribed to Southwest Art. I read an article about the artist Patricia Wyatt. I was so impressed with her life story and her work. I saved the article and filed it away. I had never been to Santa Fe but hoped to visit there sometime. I also intended to contact her some day. Years later on a visit of Santa Fe I was walking along the plaza and saw this framed print from a distance and loved it. When I got close enough to read the signature I almost hyperventilated. I asked her if she was indeed that Patricia Wyatt and of course she was. I immediately said I'd like to buy the print. Just in the nick of time because 15 seconds later someone else wanted to purchase it but it was already mine. It was really meant to be as she explained the painting, the story and the symbolism. I was and still am thrilled to have it.
Click to Mix and Solve

Monday, February 23, 2009

One more time - June 10 and 11

June 10 is one of the largest quilts in this series. It started with the hexagon shaped piece. This was originally a square but I wasn't pleased with it as it was. I cut off the two corners and then used them in the top "border" area. Often a unsuccessful fabric becomes successful when you cut it up. Being an irregular shaped quilt it was another challenge to hang. I added a casing on top and a thread loop of the almost top right corner.

June 11 is based on a traditional Amish Center Diamond design. I didn't start out to make this design - it just happened. The dark brown/black fabric was done with potato dextrin resist that I discharged with thickened bleach. It ended up with a wrinkle which interferred with the patten I created in the fabric. I still felt it was an interesting piece of fabric with the crackle texture you get from the potato dextrin.
When my son Greg saw the fabric before I cut it up he said "That is the ugliest piece of fabric I have every seen." I wonder if he noticed it in the quilt after I used it?

I am showing a close up that you can click to see a larger version of June 11. When you enlarge it you can see the crackle texture in the potato destrin fabric. You can also see the quilting better. I do not mark my quilting. The closest I came to marking was dividing the border in sections so each quilting design would be approximately the same size. I use white chalk or a white soap sliver to mark and by the time I finished the quilting it had disappeared.

You have now seen 11 of the 19 June series quilts - only 8 more to go.

Tonight's puzzle is a fan sampler quilt I designed for classes a few years ago. It was a neat class. If I ever have the time to do an line classes this will definitely be one of them.
Click to Mix and Solve

Sunday, February 22, 2009

More and more June: June 8 and 9

You actually saw the beginning of June 8 when I posted the fabrics and talked about how I work on my blog last night.
The feature fabric in this quilt reminded me of trees. I don't purposely make a shibori fabric to look like something in particular - it just happens. Many of you have seen something in my fabric that I did not see. This featured piece of shibori had another layer and that layer has a different but similar patterning.

June 9 was a very challenging quilt. With the exception of the center rectangular piece the quilt was created by cutting all the curves freehand. The hardest part was insetting the curved triangular pieces into the background around them.

I thought you might enjoy seeing a close up of the quilting on this piece. If you click on the image it will enlarge so you can really see the quilting. I use vareigated thread for a lot of my quilting. Some variegated thread shades from very light to very dark and other times the values are very close. There are also variegated threads that shade from one color to one or several other colors.

Irregular shaped quilts can be a challenge to hang. Eva asked how I hang this one. I came up with a rather simple way to hang this one. I just put a casing on the back at an angle in the approximate location of the yellow rectangle. I inserted a very flat wood strip (leftover from wooden blinds I took down) into the casing. There is a very small hole drilled into the top corners at each end of the slat. It fits snugly into the casing. I attach it to the wall at an angle. The casing is on the back. It is not yellow, it matches the back of the quilt.

I played with the colors, shading and effects in June 8. I can't begin to tell you exactly what I did but I thought this variation would make a fun puzzle tonight.
Click to Mix and Solve

Saturday, February 21, 2009

June series quilts 3,4,5

This is June 3. The fabric for the center panel started out black. I bound and clamped it and discharged the color. After it was discharged I overdyed it to get the colors you see. All the other fabrics started out white and were either shibori or clamp dyed.

June 4 - This also started with a discharged and dyed piece of fabric for the center section.
The vertical strip on the left was part of the piece of fabric I discharged and dyed and used in the next quilt. Again the rest of the fabrics are shibori and clamp dyed.

June 5 - The center section of this fabric originally had 4 patterned rows. I cut off one of them and used it in June 4. Again the fabrics are discharged and dyed for the center portion and shibori or clamp dyed for the rest.

The center portion of each of these quilts were created within the same dyeing episode. The coordinates were fabrics created over a period of years. They all came together when I started creating the quilts in the June series.

Although these are not the fabrics I used in these quilts I wanted to show you how I start working on a composition. I pull the fabrics I think might work in the piece I am starting to compose. I won't necessarily use all the fabrics. I may add others. This allows me to see how the fabrics work together. I always design on my white flannel design wall. I don't necessarily cut the fabrics to the size I am thinking of using. I just fold parts I don't plan on using under so I can see if the proportions are right.

When I think I'm pleased with a section I cut the fabric with my rotary cutter. Often I will have to cut off a little more. Yes, there are times I cut off too much and then I resort to plan B - which is make it work somehow. It is trial and error as I compose a pleasing work of art.
This is the aerobic part of quilting as I walk across the room and look at my compostition to see if I am happy with it. I then may change it a little and walk away again. This is an on going process and since my studio is quite large I get a lot of exercise as I make adjustments to the piece - sometimes as little as 1/4 inch..

And yes, there have been some pieces that don't seem to be working. I put those pieces aside and come back to them at another time - which could be the next day, week, month or year! Sometimes I have multiple pieces on the design wall - each in it's own section as I need to take a breather from a piece to see if it is working.

In this particular series I spent a lot more time designing and making decisions than the actual sewing process took.

I was in a good state of flow so I just kept designing quilts and didn't stop to quilt any of them. It took only that month of June to design and piece these.

The quilting and finishing took 1 1/2 years.

You have now seen 7 of the 19 quilts in this series.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ladies Who Lunch in Florida

Today the ladies who lunch had lunch at the Cotillion Southern Cafe in Wildwood, Florida. You remember my friend Peggy who gave me the yellow background fabric I used in one of the June quilts? When I saw her at quilting last week I asked her if she knew about any new restaurants. I asked the right person as she recommended the Cotillion. When my high school friend Pat and I talked about getting together for lunch before it got crazy with company here in Florida I suggested the Cotillion.
Six friends, all snowbirds from Wisconsin enjoyed a wonderful experience.
From left to right are Nancy, Laurie, Marilyn, Pat, Sue Ellen, and Kay.

The decor was so charming and unique. Everywhere you looked there was something interesting and old. Even the silverware on the tables was old and mismatched.

Here is Laurie and in the back ground you see one corner of the restaurant filled with old pictures. I was taken with some of the interesting frames on the pictures.

They were kind enough to let me have a copy of their memo to scan and share with you.
You can click on it to enlarge it so you can read it better. Doesn't it make your mouth water? We tried a variety of things and everyone was 199% satisfied with their food. I wonder how many times I will eat there before I try everything on the menu since it all looks interesting. When you come to visit me this is one of the places we'll eat.

I had the very best tomato bisque soup I have ever had in my whole life! The recipe came from our waitress who shared it and it was put on the menu for the soup of the day. I also had their sweet potato fries and they too were the best I've ever had.
Sorry Tommy, I didn't take photos of our food. I will next time!

Here are the cakes they had available for dessert. All six of us shared a piece of the 4 layer coconut cake. It was out of this world.

And what do six ladies who lunch do after lunch to burn off the calories? Well they power shop of course. This is a great shopping group. We all found something we had to have even though none of use intended to buy anything.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable beautiful day in Paradise.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm back with more quilts from the June series

This is June 1. You may have seen it as a background in a people photo or puzzle on my blog but I want to share all the quilts as an individual photo with you - eventually.
This quilt is made entirely of fabrics I dyed, much of it shibori dyed.

June 2 is made entirely from shibori dyed fabric I created.

For those of you going through withdrawal because I haven't posted a puzzle for several days I have one for you tonight.
This quilt is called Follow The Purple Brick Road. It is done with a gradation of hand dyed fabric and a background of fabric I dye painted and embellished with a purple and silver pen.
Click to Mix and Solve

Stay tuned in. I'll be posting more show quilts soon!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Quilts for Coraline

These quilts would have been perfect for the movie. I created them in 1985 and they were documented in Quilters Newsletter in 1986. In this photo you may be seeing them life size or larger depending on your computer screen.

The above article is clickable to see a larger version that you can actually read.

It's hard to believe I made these 24 years ago. Where does the time go?
In the smallest quilt the strips are 1/42nd of an inch wide. The quilts have a very thin layer of batting, are hand quilted and have the narrowest binding possible. They are real traditional quilts made in a block format, rather than a single block or an embroidered quilt.

Have you seen the movie? There are trailers and short videos on the web to entice you to want to see it.
The official website is: http://www.coraline.com/

Have you seen the tiny exquisite hand knit sweaters Althea Crom made for the movie?http://www.bugknits.com/

If you have seen the movie I'd love to hear where you would have used thee quilts.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hearts and more hearts!

The quilts I am sharing with you tonight are quilts I made quite some time ago. We have come a long way in the 35 years since this great quilting revival began with the Bicentennial. The quilting industry has listened to quilters and provided us with things today we never could have dreamed of when this phenomenon began.

Hearts are a popular subject for quilts. Appliqued hearts teach how to applique curves, inner corners and outer corners. The title of this quilt is Liberty Hearts since it uses Liberty of London fabrics for many of the hearts and the border.
I had just learned to use freezer paper on the back of applique as well as appliqueing with the blind hem stitch on the machine when I made this. I demonstrated the technique at one of our Illinois Quilters meetings at a demonstration night. It was quite revolutionary at that time.

This close up shows my machine quilting using a simple stipple pattern. It was one of my first machine quilting projects. The use of Gutcheon Patchworks black polished cotton was different from the usual light plain backgrounds most people were using for an applique background at the time.

Oregon Hearts was done on a trip to Oregon and is hand appliqued and hand quilted.
The fabrics in this quilt are a good example of the quilting fabrics we had available to us in the early 1980's. We were thrilled to have these fabrics as before this it was hard to find cotton fabrics suitable for making quilts. By today's standards these are quite primitive and old fashioned.
I photographed it with a dime so you can get an idea of the relative size of the quilt.

Milwaukee Hearts is also hand appliqued and hand quilted. The hearts are only about one inch in size. It too uses fabrics typical of the early 1980's. When I look at the heart fabrics I see fabrics by Ely & Walker, Gutcheon Patchworks, Granny's Trunk by VIP, Concord Fabrics, Liberty of London and Peter Pan. Maybe someone else can find some other fabrics they recognize in this quilt. It is called Milwaukee Hearts as I worked on this in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin airport. I was so engrossed in what I was doing I totally missed my son arriving on the plane and had to look around to find him! Again the dime gives you an idea of the size.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day to all my friends and family

Many years ago I made this skirt and vest to wear for Valentine season. Everything was hearts - the fabric, the trim and the quilting. I wore it with a white lacey blouse.
When I look at this I think my fabric choices weren't very sophisticated and if I did it today my choices would have been very different.
Then I realize I did the best anyone could with the fabrics available during that time period.

This is the back of the vest with one large quilted heart. I never thought my hand quilting was very good but when I look at it now it looks good. It was easy to get even stitches as there is no batting in this vest.

I was playing around with Corel Photo Paint trying to make the heart on the back easier to see. I thought this was an interesting version of the photo! I think all the hearts are more obvious here.

I love vintage valentines and tonight's puzzle is one of my favorites. Happy Valentines Day to you.
Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Changing the Focus

I have a tiny hallway where I have show cased three of Sonji Hunt's Bundle Studies. She makes these with fabrics left after creating other works. She incorporated bundles into many of the pieces she is showing at Quilts: Another Dimension. The tube above her pieces is the prototype I made for larger tubes I have hanging in the great room. All these photos are clickable so you can see a larger version.

I enjoy decorating as much as creating a quilt. It was great to have a blank canvas where I could create my own style while spending almost nothing.
This is the dining room and entry area of the great room. Decorating this house was so much fun. Our goal was using those things we had piled in the basement. Included were our old furniture, the things we got from our families and things we purchased at flea markets, rummage sales and on eBay. None of it was valuable so we were not hesitant to paint things or refinish them in "unique" ways. We used no particular style of furniture unless you can call "fun" a style!

We had this end table painted magenta at an auto body shop. I painted the lamp and shade. I collected photo frames any time I found bargains in "my Florida colors".

The last thing I'd like to share with you tonight is my "tasteful" flamingo collection. It took me almost a year to find my first tasteful flamingo. I can hear you - you are saying "I didn't know there was such a thing as a tasteful flamingo!"

This is just a taste of the fun stuff we have done with this house. More to come. . . . . .

And because I know you LOVED my tasteful flamingo collection it is tonight's puzzle!
Click to Mix and Solve

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

June 7 from Quilts: Another Dimension

June 7 was designed after June 6. Often something in one piece sparks a design idea for the next.

Some of the fabrics in this quilt were fabrics I created that I didn't think were successful. It's amazing what you can do with a fabric that you don't think is successful when you cut it into smaller pieces. You can showcase the good parts or use the so so parts where you want something that just sits there and doesn't say "Look at me"!

Many of the fabrics I used in this series have a lot happening in them with color and pattern. Finding things that worked together was a challenge. Once I found the right combinations the sewing was a snap. Well, usually. Often I would put the pieces back on the design wall as I worked and had to trim some, take some out and add new ones until I was totally pleased with what was happening. Sometimes a piece I thought was finished told me it needed more work as I worked on later pieces.

When I was satisfied I put them off to the side on the design wall and started another or worked on other pieces I already had on the wall in various stages of design. I made no attempt to shift gears and quilt any of these as I didn't want to interrupt the flow of designing. I know many others would not be comfortable starting so many pieces and not finishing any before starting more. We all have different working styles. There is no right or wrong here, just different.

I was very prolific creating work during this month, more so than I had ever been before. I feel my years of creating, designing, constructing, trouble shooting, problem solving and living my life all came together to make this happen.

Tonight's puzzle is the focal fabric in this quilt.
Click to Mix and Solve

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

June 6 and Settling In

This is another quilt from my show: June 6. The fabrics were created over a long period of time. All the quilts in this series were designed and pieced in June 2007. The quilting on them was done between that time and the beginning of the show.

If you click on this photo it will enlarge and you can see the quilting patterns better. Because I use variegated threads for most of the quilting the quilting blends in with the colors and patterns of the fabrics in the quilt. Some of these quilting designs are the result of doodling. Others just happen when I start the actual quilting. I am influenced by the patterns in the fabric and my feelings as I quilt.

Today my only concern was unpacking, relaxing and enjoying the warmth - in the 70's until the sun went down.

I made it to the grocery store and stocked up on the things I could think of that I needed to stock the kitchen I hadn't used in nine months.

I still don't have everything unpacked but I will tonight.

I took some photos of some things I thought you'd like to see. Unfortunately I had the wrong setting on the camera and I'll have to retake them tomorrow.

June 6 is tonight's puzzle. Enjoy!
Click to Mix and Solve

Monday, February 9, 2009

Honey I'm Home!

After 3 or 4 changes and postponements I'm finally in Florida. I set my alarm (the TV) for 6:30 a.m. and realized the sound wasn't working. I hoped the light on the screen would wake me. It didn't. At 7:10 the phone rang. It was my son checking to see I was up.
I hadn't asked him to call and I was so happy he thought to do it. Fortunately I had everything pretty well ready and a list of last minute things to do. What didn't get done the house sitters will take care of.
Then my ride was late but we made it to the airport in plenty of time. I feel so at home at the Milwaukee airport. So I just took it easy at the airport and all of a sudden it was time to board. I was the last one to board the plane. The flight left early and we arrived early. I slept through the entire flight. Once I got to Orlando it took me more time to get from the airport to Seldom Inn than the flight took. Once I arrived home the "fun" began.
First it was time on the phone with DirecTV getting them to turn on the service which should have already have been turned on. That probably took a half hour.
Then the real fun began. I tried to log on the internet. I couldn't connect so I called Embarq and we figured out my modem was not working anymore and I'd need a new one. They said they'd send it in 3 business days - sure! I asked if I could just pick one up at their office. When I picked it up I asked if there was anything special I needed to do and he said all I had to do was plug it in. SURE, 3 hours and several phone calls later I finally had working internet service. My son helped me trouble shoot and when he couldn't do the rest I had to call Embarq and jump through hoops again.
Are we blessed or cursed with the technology available to us today?
OK - now I was getting hungry so I headed to the grocery store. It was CLOSED. I was still on CST and the store is on EST. I picked up fast food and rushed home to send you this daily post.
I think I will sleep very well tonight as flying always tires me out.

I'd like to share a quilt I have here. I painted 4 different pieces of fabric with thickened fabric dye and then overpainted with fabric paints. I cut the fabric into small pieces and sewed it back together - because that's how you make a quilt! This is the subtle quiet part of the Florida house. This complex quilt is one of those I never get tired of and can look at for along time. There's more to come! And I promise you there WILL be color!

Tonight's puzzle is a quilt I did with the tiny amount I had left after making the first quilt. I also used it to try the quilting pattern I was considering.
Click to Mix and Solve

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wisdom Knows No Age

I'm happy to post more from yesterday's guest blogger.

Notice how she has to stand on her tippy toes to reach the easel. Her joy is so evident as she creates. These are clickable to see a larger page view.

This is the front of a T shirt I gave her at a very young age. I hope it was one of the things that is helping shape her destiny. I am not sure if she remembered that quote from the shirt or if she has read or heard it again.

I didn't have a photo of the second pianist who provided the wonderful music at the show opening. Fortunately my brother in law Clay did.

I want to share this photo of my son Greg, his wife Julie and three of their children Nicholas, Jared and Jessica at the show yesterday. They all enjoyed the show.
After our visit to the show we again had a celebratory dinner at Karen and Clay's.
Jared decided it would be fun to play charades. We all enjoyed that. My favorite was when Jared's charade was a cuckoo clock.