Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wearable Art

There comes a time in the life of a quilter that they run out of beds and walls to make quilts for. Many turn to wearable art to showcase their quilting skills and show off their work to more people. The No Sweat Checkerboard Shirt is one of the wearable art patterns I designed. It was the number one selling wearable art pattern in the country for several years.

Here is another shirt in a different print. This shows how great it looks when worn.

When I was invited to do another garment for the Fairfield Fashion show I used this pattern as a starting point. The main fabric for this garment was a gorgeous olive cotton sateen. I used 16 colors in the stripes that meet to form the checkerboard on both the shirt and the jacket. The jacket is a loose variation of my Glad Rags pattern with sleeves added to it and a different center front detail.
I used a silky lining in the jacket to make it easy to slip on and off. I placed a half layer of Fairfield's Cotton Classic batting between the outside and the lining.
I hand quilted it in a diamond pattern. The batting gives it just enough body, but also lets it drape on the figure. After traveling for over a year and being squished in trunks it came back in perfect condition and wrinkle free. It also does not make you look like a walking sandwich board. I have found this to be the very best choice for batting in a quilted wearable art garment.

Others have done their own creative things with this pattern. Carol extended the length of it to make a dress. Although I usually don't do commissions I made one of these and my Million Dollar skirt for a client. She wanted something special to wear to her daughter's casual wedding in the southwest. She was a head turner wearing it. I heard of someone who made a beach cover up by also extending the length. Someone made it in a knit with serged seams for a very stylish nightie. When you find a pattern you like try to come up with creative ways to use it.

Tonights puzzle is yet another shirt from this pattern. The fabric used for this shirt is one of Jeff Gutcheon's prints. It is such an elegant fabric with just a tasteful touch of metallic. I am sure most of the solids selected for this one are also from his line of solids. I have quite a collection of his fabrics and I am so glad I had the foresight to acquire them.

Click to Mix and Solve

Saturday, May 30, 2009

More about using grayscale

I received many comments about converting images to grayscale to evaluate them. I thought I'd share a few of my other quilts in grayscale. This is Southwest Star which you saw earlier this week.

June 2 is a very dark value overall, but it still has contrast with lighter areas.
It is not necessary to have the lightest lights and darkest darks in all compositions. Color and variation in texture are two other design elements I relyed on when composing this.

June 19 is another low contrast example. Soft colors and low contrast are usually more peaceful and relaxing.

Deb asked how I convert these to gray scale. I used Corel Draw and Corel Photo Paint for my graphic work. Adobe Photoshop also has similar functions.
In Corel Photo Paint I do all my normal things to get the photo the size, etc I want.
Then I simply go to Image and select Convert to Grayscale.

I used a super easy cut for this puzzle of June 2. Without color to help, you know how hard it is to do a puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

Friday, May 29, 2009

Another view - work in progress

I'm posting early as I don't know whether or not I will have computer access later today.
When I showed all 5 versions of the quilt I got some good suggestions from readers.
One mentioned viewing their work in black and white. I had forgotten about doing this and was able to view all of these in grayscale.

Here they are for you to look at.

Viewing them in grayscale helps to to see the value of the colors I used.

When creating art value does all the work and color gets all the credit.

Do you feel differently about them now that you are seeing them in black and white?

If you are on Facebook and are one of my friends you can see all 10 versions - 5 in color and 5 in grayscale - at the same time.

Since I have found gray scale puzzle the hardest to do I am giving us an easy cut!
Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Work I Progress - For Never Plaid 2

When I am designing I work on my design wall. This piece will be composed of these 9 sections.

I put them on the wall in a configurations I think I might want to use.

I walk away to the opposite side of the studio and turn around and look to see if I like it from a distance.

I may do this step from 5 - 50 or more times deciding if what I am doing works.
These are 5 of the configurations I tried.

Sometimes the change is as simple as turning a block a full 180 degrees. Sometimes it is switching two blocks. Sometimes it involves a totally new layout.

I also find taking pictures and viewing them on the computer is another way to see what works best. You can look at the design more objectively when it is reduced to a smaller scale. There are no formulas or easy answers when you work like this.

I am not sure which one of these will be my final layout but I have an idea.

Once I have the final layout the fun begins! These blocks are totally different sizes and shapes so it takes some creative cutting and sewing to make them fit together.

I've used one version for tonight's puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Miniatures

Sparkle Plenty is a log cabin quilt made with 1/4 inch finished strips. The center square of each block is copper lame. The inner border is also copper lame and is less than 1/8" wide. It was a challenge making sure the same fabric was used on the correct side of adjoining blocks. This quilt has won a lot of awards.
It is 9 1/2 x 11 inches.

This miniature Amish Bars quilt is 7 1/2 inches square. It has a black background which the majority of my miniature quilts do. Many Amish quilts use black as a background color. If you have a group of colors and you need something that will look good with all of them you can hardly go wrong if you choose black.

Tonight you can go to my museum and do a Sparkle Plenty puzzle with people in the museum viewing it.
Click to Mix and Solve

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Miniature quilts

Southwest Splendor is a miniature quilt made using 1/4 inch strips of fabric. This gives you an idea of the size of the quilt. I added a touch of copper lame as an accent. Both of these quilts are done with a cream background. Almost all my other miniature quilts use a black background.

Progressions 1 is also done with 1/4 inch strips. Each braid has a different color progression. When I hand quilted this I did not want any drawn lines to show. Before I stitched a line I would take my needle and "trace" a line with the point of the needle.

I haven't done any miniature quilts for quite some time. I have several that need finishing.

Tonight's puzzle is Progressions 1.
Click to Mix and Solve

Monday, May 25, 2009

Southwest Star

Southwest Star is a broken star design. I started this with star points left after making a shirt from my Lone Star shirt pattern.

I varied the colors in each star point to make it more interesting. I went to my box of precut strips to find colors to use. Do you see the three original points?

The background was a very interesting print and I could see the possibilities it offered. By rotating the pattern fabric I created movement in the quilt.

It also provided a pattern to hand quilt in the background.
You can see the quilting more clearly in this close up. This was photographed in the home of my brother and SIL who acquired this quilt for their collection.

My sister in law Mary does my puzzles every night - much faster than I do them!
Tonight I'm giving her a chance to do a puzzle of one of the quilts from their collection. We also talked about the simple puzzles and the harder ones. Tonight I have decided to give you both an easier and the more difficult puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve
And here is the hardest puzzle I've ever challenged you with.
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Other BRC quilts in same series

If you have been reading my blog for a long time you have seen Sangria before. The strips for this were cut at the same full day BRC session that I cut the strips for Fantasia and Fantasia 2. This was one of the very first times I used yellow in a quilt. I didn't like yellow. It hung on the wall for quite some time before I finished it as I got used to the yellow. To me this was a yellow quilt. My son did not like green and to him this was a green quilt.

I also cut the strips for Evolution in the same session. When I get started nothing stops me! I made several groups of strata. One night I realized I needed a quilt for a class demonstration so made this from the strata I had created. I was so pleased with it I didn't use it in the class, but made another simpler composition for the class demo. In private collection

I had no idea what I was going to do with all these strips when I cut them. I just knew I could make something wonderful with them.
If you study these quilts closely you may find the same fabrics in more than one of them.

These were the beginning of many quilts made with strips and strata but most of them were ARC.

Sangria is tonight's puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

Friday, May 22, 2009

More strip pieced quilts - BRC Quilts

I'm sharing these BRC quilts with you. It is been one of the hardest quilts to photograph I've ever made. When I took this photo of them hanging on the stairwell to my studio I ws so surprised how accurate the colors were.
Hanging quilts over the stairwell was not a project for the faint of heart. It used to be a project for a daredevil.
The first time I had a quilt hung here my husband stood on the railing (all 265 lbs of him) and leaned over and pounded nails in the wall. I held my breath while he did it (This was one year after he broke his arm standing on the top platform of a ladder and fell over onto a tree stump).
My job was to stand there and grab him if he started to fall! I'm glad he didn't because I could not have held onto him.
That quilt stayed there for much longer than I wanted it to be there because I couldn't watch him do that again.

I heard about using closet door tracks to hang quilts. We hung these tracks on the ceiling. It allows us to load the quilts from the floor in the studio and slide them across to hang over the stair well. A much better and safer solution.

The large quilt is Fantasia and the smaller one is Fantasia 2. Fantasia is hand quilted and Fantasia 2 in machine quilted. I love them just as much today as when I made them.

I think I have always had a love affair designing quilts with strips sewn into strata and sliced and diced - long before it was the "thing to do".

Do you know what a BRC quilt is? I'll share the answer after the puzzle if you don't.

Fantasia 2 is tonight's puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

BRC = Before rotary cutter
For those of you who started quilting ARC you don't know how we had to draw lines on our fabric and then cut the strips with scissors.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I received a call about 1 today that my computer was ready. I drove right over to get it and picked up a cherry cheese danish in the bakery on the way out.

This is the quilt I have been working on in progress. When I have 6 inches or less of a solid fabric left I cut it into strips. When I need something to jump start getting back into sewing I sew strips together in some organized manner. When I want to create something without spending the hours required to cut and sew strip together I have a ready supply of strata I've previously sewn together.

This is the composition after I have sewn it together and quilted it. I am pleased with it now that it is almost done. The quilting added so much with the texture and movement the quilting lines created. The working title is "For Never Plaid".

Of course this is tonight's puzzle too.
Click to Mix and Solve

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tomorrow! Tomorrow! is still a day (or two) away

I got a call from the computer techician today telling me the computer needs a new hard drive.
Dell sent it today.
Hopefully it will arrive and be installed tomorrow (or the next day).
Maybe I'll have my real computer back soon which means YOU will get to see photos again on this blog.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tomorrow! Tomoorow! I'll love ya Tomorrow! although it may be days away

Second verse!!!!!!

Parts replaced on computer but there are still issues - may be the hard drive - they're still checking - so will tomorrow ever come?

Didn't get in to get the new glasses either as I'm doing things that need to be done around the house.

The sun'll come out
So ya gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
You're always
A day
A way!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love Ya Tomorrow!

Tomorrow promises to be a good day.

I received 2 good news phone calls today.
1. The missing part for my computer should arrive and Dell will make the repair.
2. My new glasses are in and I'll pick them up/

What else could a girl want?

The sun'll come out
So ya gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
You're always
A day
A way!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The new quilt is quilted

I finished piecing the quilt and actually got it all quilted.
I DO like it.
Stay tuned for photos coming as soon as my computer is fixed.

I'm suffering puzzle withdrawal so last night I took an older one, changed the cut and had a new puzzle to do.

Yo might want to do that too if you are missing them!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I am creating!

Last night I made it up to the studio and created 2 sections of a new work.
I was up there before breakfast and did 2 more.
Created 4 more this afternoon.

I'm not sure I like it, but I still have to do one or two more and them I'll see if they work together.

Of course - no photos with this computer.

Friday, May 15, 2009

No post until at least Monday

I just talked to my computer technician and my computer is getting a new motherboard, video card and something else.
I'm so glad my son chose a 3 year esxtended warranty when he ordered it for me a little over 3 years ago.

It is supposed to be shipped to arrive Monday and installed the same day. I do miss the power that one has vs this wimpy computer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Not a real post

There was no post last night and there won't be one tonight.
Hope I'll be back tomorrow.
My computer is having problems again.
A Dell technician SHOULD show up tomorrow??????

Sure I could post on this borrowed computer but I can't put up photos so it would be VERY boring.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Even more Amish quilts

This is the first miniature quilt I made. It is also the start of my own method for making miniature quilts. After I developed this method I taught classes all over the country. I know some of you have taken this class. The squares in this quilt are 1/4 inch. When I made this I didn't realize that I should shorten the stitch length when stitching on the paper so I probably spent more time removing the paper than I did making the actual quilt. It is hand quilted by me.

Here I am showing my various miniature quilts to a group of students in a workshop on the road. The Amish shadows quilt you see is the one I taught when I did a one day workshop. The fabric strips in this are 1/4 inch. This was one of the most popular workshops I taught. I presented a lecture "Magnificent Miniature Quilts" to go along with the workshop.

This Trip Around The World Quilt is made entirely from silk in various textures. I feel this is one of my most successful Amish quilts as the colors really glow. It is a perfect quilt to hang in a dimly lit area. It is 35 inches square.

The Amish Double Irish Chain is tonight's puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

Monday, May 11, 2009

Amish Shadows quilts

Year ago I attended a presentation by Mary Ellen Hopkins. She shared the idea of sewing strip together, cutting them into triangles, combining them with a solid triangle and making a quilt top from them.
At that time this was a revolutionary new way of doing things!
I had so much fun making these blocks.
This is the first quilt I made from these blocks. I couldn't stop making them and made another similar one with the blocks that had some gold or yellow in them. I can't find that photo right now.

I still had enough pieced triangles so I added eggplant solid triangles to them for this king size quilt. I still have not added the borders to finish this work in progress. Some things just need to age a bit. Sometimes when they age you realize they are not worth finishing. This one IS worth finishing.

This is the World's Smallest quilt that you may have seen in the magazine article on an earlier post. The dime is there so you get an idea of how small it really is. The strips on this one are 1/42nd of an inch wide. Amish shadows is adaptable to any size.

I decided to give you (and me) an easy puzzle tonight!
Click to Mix and Solve

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What to do with more orphan blocks?

When I taught sampler quilt classes I would have to make the same block several times. I came up with a way to use these blocks. I used similar fabrics in each block and put full blocks and parts of blocks together to make a new design that could stand on it's own.

Panchatantra is made up of one full block and 4 partial blocks. By making careful choices of fabric placement it is hard to see where one block ends and another begins. This is why I added the yellow and green outlines for you to see this. (In private collection)

Minarets was done with the same group of fabrics in a similar manner.

You can see how I used a whole block in the center, 4 half blocks around the edge and 4 quarter blocks in the corners to make this quilt.

Both of these have been enriched by using a border print to frame them. These are both hand quilted.

I'm using my favorite cut, lizards for tonight's Minarets puzzle.

Click to Mix and Solve