Friday, December 28, 2018

Eeking out some work

     Due to the whole Christmas season, with family staying over, meals, presents, traveling to relatives, cooking, and small children, I have been tired and unable to focus. 
The tree with the kids plus presents minus the baby.
     All I was able to accomplish was sewing up the last 2 x 4 blocks and getting them on the wall.  They were full WOF 3 1/2" Wide, not the 2 1/2" usual,  and then sewn in pairs. The tutorial is online.
     My mom sewed the pairs as she can sew straightish and it gave her something to do. Then I finished the rest. Blocks are 10" x 12 1/2" unfinished.
     It does need rearranging before sewing, but it is a start.

     Because of an alert by Deb from her Stitchintherapy blog,  I found florals for my collection on sale at Connecting Threads and added a bunch of fat quarters for such a deal.
     Other than the above, not much else happened in my quilting world, which I hope to change starting tomorrow.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

All 100

     Well, all but two of the cards are out in the mail. Before I attached them to the cardstock, I lined them all up like a quilt so I could see the whole array. I don't think there is one I don't like. Hope the recipients feel the same.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Process or Product? Yes.

     When I was an art teacher, the other teachers in the district said it was process not product that mattered. Made me crazy. Process and product is what creating is all about. I was concerned about a decent result for student effort, but also wanted to train them in art techniques/skills. The other teachers were more interested in letting everyone doing their own thing. Funny, we don't tolerate that in learning how to read or playing in a band or cooking or banking. I always think you need to learn basic techniques and ideas and then the creativity was in putting your own spin on them and persevering to the finish. Especially beginners need some basics to gain some traction or they thought they weren't "talented" (cringe) and quit. I still believe that. It is one reason my co-chair and I spend a day every week planning our program every month for our guild. We strive to give them tools to further their quilting and ideas, especially when it is new or something frustrating comes up. To problem solve and finish well.
     So, today I had to grab myself by the collar and push myself to solve a problem that I had created. Although my mother does not quilt, she can sew straight(ish) seams. She is always asking me to give her something to sew because she is bored. Takes me as long to prep it as it takes her to push it through the machine. I had given her the pieces for MSQC's Katie's Quilt to sew and now I was faced with sewing the connecting blocks, trimming and the flip-and-sew black triangles. I made the quilt once (gave it away-comfort quilt) and found I had enough 5" squares to do another. I forced myself to sew and when I put it on the wall, I hated it like I did before because it seems truncated.
Excuse the poor photo, the sun actually came out today and through the window.
      Ok, I could slap the borders on and be done with it and just grit my teeth. Then I took my mom out for lunch for her birthday today and listened to her nattering nabobs of negativity for hours (dating myself, remember Spiro Agnew?). With a headache when I got home, I decided to exercise positive feats and try extending the design by adding points at the edge.
      Hmm, much better. So I found the original white on white, Accucut some more black triangles, did some math and added a pointed border all around.
      Oh, much better. Even though the fabric and design aren't my favs, I used some of my skills to persevere, change it up, and make it better. I could have (wanted to) bailed earlier, but that is what process and product can do when they work in harmony. Now I have to find a color border to go all around, I am thinking about a 6" one.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Card painting factory

     Well, it certainly feels like a factory when I paint 100 small paintings. I have made my Christmas cards every year since 1975. Different quantities, different mediums, but all handmade. It feels like a burden when I am figuring out what to do. Besides quilting, I paint watercolors and continue to take a class with a master artist to keep me going. The people in my class are all amazing artists and we learn from each other as well as the teacher. People say, why are you still taking classes? That is why, I get better by the company I paint with.
     My teacher, Jody Ziehm, taught us a technique using credit cards and mat board cut up in small pieces, applying masking fluid with plastic wrap, and spraying water on the scraped on color to create landscape scenes. I had lots of fun because I love landscapes and trees. I had doubts if I could do this many, so I had to gird up and mentally lock in regardless. I cut up bad paintings (Arches watercolor paper is expensive- so I use the backs) into strips 11" x 3 1/2" and applied the mask. After it was dry, I scraped on some basic colors with the cut up credit cards. After fine spraying with water, I tilted the paper towards the sky and then poured blue from the top of the sky to blend with below. I added a little kosher salt for some sky sparkle. Once dry, I rubbed the mask and salt off and cut the strips into four on the paper cutter. Using small twigs, I added branches and pines. The tree trunks were scraped on with the small credit card strips. No brushes. I did this in two days-100 of them.
    Now, I have to print out the verse and glue that inside, glue the painting on the outside. I use premade white cards with matching envelopes from Joanns. Lastly, I have to write a message, put the addresses on (labels), stamps, and mail. Getting close to the deadline.
     My ace camera got left in PA with my daughter by accident, so I am using a point and shoot which doesn't focus as well or capture color great.
Mask applied to back of bad painting, doesn't matter if there is stray paint marks.
After scraped painting, sprayed, tilted, sky added. Mask removed.
Branches, trunks added. Cut into fours.
In position on card stock.

Friday, December 14, 2018

All ready to quilt!

     The colorwash is all basted and chalk line marked for quilting. I have the thread, the machine, and not the time. I used the padding stitch that Wanda showed. Youtube is again my friend teaching me how to do it. Because I am quilting out the diagonal, I did the basting in two directions forming a grid on the quilt. I used chalk for the lines. 
     After a lot of deliberation, I chose to use a sketch I made of short diagonal lines out from the center in three concentric squares. Of course, I can't find the sketch to photograph it, so I will just have to quilt it and show it. I did not want to stitch in the ditch and call attention to the squares. I thought of curved lines radiating out, but nothing in the quilt is curved. Then I noticed that the light spreads from the inside out in short burst diagonals that are not all even and sketched it out. That is what I mean when I say I let the quilt tell me how to quilt it.

Detail of padding stitches and chalk lines.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Slow finishings

     Due to a sudden knee pain attack out of nowhere, I have slowed moving down to a crawl. Lots of ice. Finally have a doctor appointment tomorrow at 7 am. Sharp pain has hobbled my ability to concentrate and focus. 
     I finished my son in law's pillow, 18", made from fabric he picked out this summer when I bought all the flannel pillowcase fabrics for Christmas presents. I FMQ it with some Kona white backing and batting to give the cover dimension. I made an overlapped back so the cover could be washed. I used a pillowform from Joann's to stuff it. I decided to do the quilting by circling the words in a graffiti type stitch, not trying to make it all even. I like the way the quilting turned out. For his man cave.

      I was able to make and get the binding on the Disappearing Hourglass quilt. I used some leftover Marcia Derse fabric that I love.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

A week of flippity FLOPS

     Due to all kinds of things, not least my son's addition (lifting the roof for a dormer) that has been frought with setbacks (so I am housing the grandkids, 6 and 8), I have tried to work on some quilts with little success. It took me way too long to get a quilt off the longarm, and when I did last night and laid it on the carpet- wonk!- I noticed a block was wrong from the get go. I have no idea how it happened as I trimmed them all, photographed it and put it on the blog before, but there it was mocking me. Grr. Can't change it now. 
     Have to pick a binding, but I could not even look at it today. I also used a ruler because most of the designs are diagonal and can't be quilted freehand on a longarm. Hate the way they came out. I just have a hard time hanging on to a ruler with one hand and move the machine with the other. All kinds of movement going on.
     Second flop. I bought a kit which I hardly ever do but I loved the fabric and it was cheaper than I could buy the yardage. The star pattern was written different than I had ever seen. I even made a freezer paper template for the pattern pieces. Finished all 8 points and, drumroll, the angle is wrong so they do not come all the way around to make a star. I just can't find out what I did wrong. I am sure it is a whopper error.
Eight points that do not make a star
     I have been sewing backings to fit some comfort quilts and keep checking every inch of the way, so I am hoping the week turns better with perseverance. And hope I figure out how to selvage those darn star points.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Summing up- quilting next!

     I was so fortunate to be a part of Wanda's Colorwash 360 class. I made a small colorwash a while back, but I know I needed to have better information and techniques. I have long admired Wanda's work in color and her colorwash quilts of all kinds. 
     Once enrolled in the class, we were given a very specific schedule for lessons, real time conversations, and a very well designed class page- the best I have ever seen. Every lesson had wonderful handouts- excellent layout and instructions for beginning, continuing and finishing. The were lots of videos, examples, and extra materials to make this a deep experience on colorwash. The videos were crisp, specific, information saturated, and so very helpful.  I knew exactly the time frame and how each lesson would unfold. 
     I also had bought some batik squares from Wanda to enrich what I had been collecting. There are more squares to make another one after Christmas. I need more cafeteria trays- they stack so well and the fabric does not slip on them. Here is my tall stack.

    Due to my son's addition (fraught with delays) that causes the grandkids to bunk and eat here, I have not been able to get the quilt basted and quilted. I did pick out and iron a batik for the backing (shown below under the quilt) and am trying Quilters Dream that I bought at Houston for the batting. I also bought Invisifil thread for the quilting there. I even bought basting thread and needles to baste. 
     So I can't thank Wanda and her daughter enough for all the time, details, professionalism, and feedback they poured into this class so that I could learn from the master. I have spent triple to take a class from national teachers plus lodging, travel, food, patterns and fabric and not learned nearly as much and been so thrilled with the quilt. I hope to make many more. Thank you, Wanda!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The colorwash top- sewn

     I used the webbing method from Wanda's class and sewed the columns that way and it is great. Everything stays put and is ready to sew the rows.
    And then, I finished the top and pressed it well. Ready for quilting, found a backing. I don't know whether to longarm it, Singer 301 it, or big stitch. I bought some Invisifil thread at Houston I am going to try.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Some I just can't stop thinking about

 At Festival, some quilts just make an impression that you keep thinking. Here are a couple that rang my bell. First, my favorite. I love Polish pottery and this quilt was made from crocheted pieces appliqued. 

From the International Miniature Quilt Exchange
Jane Sassman, of course

Reminded me of an oil painting, part of woman power exhibit

Friday, November 16, 2018

Technically Marvelous at Festival

      I will never be able to make anything like these quilts, but these artists can. My mouth was wide open so much, I had to chug water all week. I did not take pictures of nearly everything, some I wish I had. This gives you a flavor. I did not photo the bling bling top quilt as I think there enough photos of it out there.
The Blue Willow is special to me because I used to read the stories and help my students make interpretations of their own Blue Willow in clay. We would paint with underglases and I would fire them. To make one in fabric is phenomenal.

The book of Kells in fabric and thread, awesome.

Close up. Can you believe it?
A bit hard to see, but it is a large lace doily look. The lighting was not super at the show.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

How do you describe it?

     It is overwhelming- the International Quilt Festival in Houston. My friend, Elizabeth, and I flew down and stayed for 4 days. I had been to the show 4 years ago, but I was suffering then from chronic migraines, which I am cured from now. This time I had a plan and pre-decided what to see when and how and not just wander up and down every aisle like Pac Man. The multiple quilt shows (about 25) in one area are just breathtaking. I took lots of photos, but am still processing them in my head. 
     Quilting is real work done by a huge variety of people. It is legitimate work, not a hobby. 
     Today, I will show ones I call FUN! Sometimes it just gets too serious and technically over the top at the show. Here are some for inspiration that will hopefully make you smile.

Thank you! Pieced not fused.
Unbelievable amount of work, ideas, and flawless execution

Hard to see, but look at the quilting. Too much fun.
My favorite by Timna Tarr- just marvelously pieced. She nailed the values, spot on.