Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Visual Overload and recouperation

      On Friday through Monday, I was on a bus trip to NYC with a group of mostly artists. We stayed spartanly near Times Square and had a super capable guide with walking tours, the 9/11 Museum, the High Line, the New York Botanical Gardens which has a Chihuly exhibit, MOMA, and a night cruise past the Statue of Liberty and the lit skyline among other things. I think my brain is totally overrun with images. I love to learn history and our guide was excellent at explaining architecture, economic ebbs and flows, and had a passion for what he does. 
     I kept thinking and taking photos of what could inspire quilts that are beyond what I think I could make. I  will post some of my photos later, but Bushwick, in Brooklyn, there are street artists working, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/nyregion/a-son-of-bushwick-turns-the-neighborhood-into-a-gallery-for-street-art.html. The streets are on the cusp of change from a broken down industrial area that was abandoned by residents and businesses in the 70s- helped along by the 1977 blackout when it was looted and burned. The street artists have made it a cool, hip place for those who always seek the cutting edge. Among all the street art, graffiti, and brokeness, there was one mural that had a bee with a needle that seemed to be sewing a quilt turtle. It stopped me in my tracks.
   So, while my brain is cooling off and I get some rest, enjoy the art.

Street art Car?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Ironing backing? What ironing?

     Sometimes I hit a roadblock when I need the whole ironing board, like when I needed to iron this backing for a current quilt. Someone refuses to move and is getting some solid sack time. He lets me use half the board, but no more.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Organizing those colorwash squares

     I have been cutting and saving 2 1/2" squares for colorwash quilts. I have made a couple small ones, but want to make a larger one. I tried using the aluminum trays from the Dollar store like Wanda, but every time I moved the tray, the squares slid off and the trays bent.

     Next, I used the cardboard boxes from cat food cans and although the boxes were not slippery, they took up an inordinate amount of room in my studio and were, well, ugly.

      I kept searching for ideas, and found some cafeteria trays on Amazon that have a grippy texture and are light and low profile. I took a chance and ordered the set of 24 and have all the batik squares on them and it takes up no room at all. I have to move my floral ones now and I don't know if I have enough trays. I will put these trays in a plastic box to protect them from Tugger, the trouble cat and from me spilling them.
See how wonderful they stack- they all have fabric on them
Transferring to plastic

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Border and done or piece more

     I added the stop border on the kaleidoscope quilt and like the way it looks. I showed this to a good friend and quilter and she suggested I add large triangles around the quilt of middle colors and piece them into the borders. I wonder how much more work I should put in this quilt. I am thinking I should add the borders and move on. But she said to do a sample and see. Haven't got the motivation up yet.

It's up to the Juror now

     I worked incredibly hard on quilting my flowering snowball with made fabric for the past days to get it photographed to enter it in Quilts Unlimited at The View in Old Forge, NY. The View is a gorgeous gallery and art/theater/classroom space that is bright and roomy. I used to be able to just send my quilts, but now they are juried. I was mad and skipped last year, but on vacation a couple of weeks ago, I fell in love with the space again at the National Watercolor Show. So, I came home and made up my mind to enter something. 
     I had to quilt the top, bind it and enter it by end of work day on Monday. I started quilting on Friday and finished late Sunday night. I wanted to stress the block designs with the quilting. I had to choose binding fabric (tough), make it, attach it, and photograph it. I took it outside to photograph and wouldn't you know it, it was when the eclipse was happening, so I had to wait a bit, then photo, crop and do a digital entry form and upload. I accomplished that at 3:30 Monday. Even if they reject the quilt, I love it and will find somewhere to show it.
The set up that had to wait for the eclipse to be over 

The back

I did the skinny blades the same alternating straight lines for uniformity, but made each half pointed oval a different design. I used Cream Glide and Cream PremoSoft.

Friday, August 18, 2017

It's here- Shibori II!

     I made a couple of HST star quilts from a layer cake of Shibori (Moda) that I got a deal on from MSQC. But then I could never get any more of that fabric. And I loved it. 
     I heard that Moda was planning a Shibori II line and have been looking for any hint of it showing up. When I went to the Adirondacks, which is a remote place, I walked into the Crazy Moose Quilt Shop in Inlet, NY and UPS had just delivered bolts of it. It was closing time, but I asked if I could have half yards of 15 of them, the ones that had the most design. I came back the next day to pick up and pay the damages and also bought 2 panels (which I never do) that had beautiful outdoor scenes (not corny). Now, I have to decide what to make with these. They are beautiful. If you want this fabric, buy it now, I am sure it will disappear like last time.

Folded nicely
     One of my sister in laws spent six weeks in Nepal early summer and brought me back this fabric, a yard of each. Not sure what to make.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

RWB exploding sqares version I lost track

     The RWB exploding squares that I trimmed on vacation were laid out, then sewn, then two borders were added to make it big enough. Guild members had cut a kit for this, but I was unsatisfied with the fabric chosen for the last round, so I dug around to find some other prints instead of the solid white. Then there was not enough for the red border, so I changed that also. Anyways it is all sewn together and I bet the backing is not big enough for my long arm. I took a photo in the shade and in the sun where it was windy. I have made I don't know how many of these exploding squares. This one used 4 patch orphan blocks for the first square.

In sun

In shade

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


     I bought some fabric sight unseen in hope one would work with my kaleidoscope quilt. Hmm, not sure what to do.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trimming and prepping

     Yes, I did take my sewing machine to the Adirondacks and set up a little table and did some work. I trimmed a whole lot of stuff and finished Clue 2 of Kevin's Sapphire Star Mystery Quilt. I also sewed a raft of tiny wonky stars, but I can't find the photo. I did not work on anything large as we all shared the same space. I took the Featherweight and blocks to trim.
Trimmed all the diagonal blocks cut from tube.
I did not have the ones I previously trimmed with me, so they all need to be trimmed 1/8" smaller. Rats.
Exploding Squares, last round opened and all trimmed. Ready to go on the wall.

Clue 2 all done

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Back all inspired up!

     Every year for over 20 years, we spend one week in the Adirondacks, NY around Old Forge. Our whole family goes. My kids were little when we started, and now my son's kids are the same age. Seeing them play in the water in the same spots as their dad is somehow very humbling. When you spend a week every year over decades, you really get to know a place and see the growth and changes. I never tire of this spot. We rent a big house and miraculously all get along. I am very blessed and am extremely grateful. 
     The landscape is like taking mega B-12 shots. I photograph for my painting reference and to inspire me with colors and textures. I did even visit one quilt store and leave a chunk of change there. My goal is to start some landscape quilts this year after dithering about techniques and fear of starting. I have lots of ideas.

View from McCauley Mtn.
Chair lift to top of McCauley Mtn.
Enchanted Forest Amusement Park in view

Top of McCauley 
Tiny plants at top of McCauley

The chair lift

Not me in the canoe, but we rented one like this and
 traveled on the Moose River

Train Ride in open air car
Grandson watching for deer out the open air car

My all time favorites- the water lilies-
sorry for the overexposed flower

Friday, August 4, 2017

Spa Day for a 69 year old

     No, it is not me. I am not 69. It is a Singer Featherweight that I was asked to clean and make sing. I love cleaning and adjusting vintage machines. The craftsmanship and attention to detail on these machines are awe inspiring. The straight stitch on these are superior to any new one. The Singer Featherweight, the 221, is slightly underpowered compared to my 301 or 15, but it sews fantastic. I just gaze at the stitching sometimes in wonder. Any bells and whistles new machines have hold nothing to the quality of the straight stitching of the vintage. To me, it is all about the stitch. I could care less about thread cutters (I have snips), knee lifts, or automatic threaders- as a quilter is all about the stitch quality. Because of this I crave to fix and clean vintage ones to restore the glory to machines that truly revolutionized women's lives in the home. I get referrals to clean and give the spa treatment frequently and especially love restoring the 221s.
     This 221 has mold and moisture issues. The cord had to be tossed. It was so gross, I ran it out to the trash with no time for a photo. The machine had mold on the bed and inside. I was able to clean it all out and it ran like a champ. Perfect stitching.