Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"It Really is Spring!" and Machine Applique Class

If a robin is the sign of Spring....Spring it is! Look what I found outside my bedroom window earlier this week.
Then I checked today, and look what I found!!!! I'm SO excited!
That mother bird has been VERY busy! I just about had to stand on my head to get this picture.

I taught my second machine applique class today at the home of one of my fellow quilters (from my quilt guild). Those of you that have followed the saga of my studio know how much I love it; but I must say...I have studio envy! Ann's studio is spectacular. I took pictures during the class; check out the studio as you look at the pictures of the students at work.
Ann graciously allowed us to have the class at her house (in her gorgeous, spacious, sun-drenched studio). She and Joyce are busy working on their projects...or are they talking? LOL
Marge is busing fusing her pieces to her fabric. Check out the quilting machine and wall of cabinets in the background.
Sharon is busy cutting out her pieces. In the background you can see huge windows. The room is surrounded on 2 1/2 sides by windows that look out on a beautiful view. Of course, it didn't hurt any that it was a gorgeous day.
Barb and Mary Alice look very determined don't they? Check out the great (huge) work table.
I had to stand WAY back in a corner of the room to get a picture of the full work table. That "baby" is HUGE! Check out all the storage underneath.
This is everybody...Nancy (in the black) had taken the class before and worked on a project from my intermediate machine applique class. Somehow, she managed to stay out of the other pictures I took. Aren't their pieces pretty? They have to add their borders yet. Maybe they'll let me take another picture when they finish their quilts.

If you are located in southern Indiana and are interested in a machine applique class, I'm available. Check my profile for contact information.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Beth/Lyric Project Week 7 (Value Contrast)

As a reminder to those of you that don’t normally keep up with my blog (if you do, skip to the next paragraph), I have started a project that I’m calling the Beth/Lyric Project. In the spirit of the movie “Julie/Julia,” (i.e. Julie working through Julia Child’s cookbook) I have decided to work through the exercises in Lyric Kinard’s “Art + Quilt, Design Principles and Creativity Exercises” book. My goal is to get at least one of the exercises done each week. I’ll be posting my progress on Sundays. I’d love for you to work along with me. If you decide to do that, please post and let me know how you’re doing—send pictures too! If you have trouble leaving a comment on my blog, email me at bschnellenberger@gmail.com.

This week’s project covered “Value Contrast.” We were to gather inspiration from taking some digital pictures and printing them in black and white. We were to look at "how the values of each picture create interesting compositions and observe how the compositions become more or less interesting without color but with value contrasts." I have to say, working without color is really hard for me. Choosing colors is one of my favorite things to do when I’m working on a quilting project. Limiting myself to one color palette in these projects has just about done me in. The interesting thing, though, is that I have definitely found out whole areas of color I’m missing in my stash.

I printed out several interesting blank-and-white photos. I folded and tore the paper into smaller sections to "focus on areas of interest to create new compositions" as I was instructed. I found that I didn’t really like any of the new compositions. I ended up sketching out some pictures at random. The first one I did turned out to be a big flop. I’ll show you that one at the end of the post and explain why (I think) it just didn’t work.

After deciding on a sketch to use I gathered "all the value of one color fabric” I could find, from very light to very dark. I found I had lots of darks and some mediums but VERY few lights. That made it hard to do this project. Eventually, I settled on purples. We were instructed to “make three versions” of our sketch in “fabric using three different value schemes.” Well, I didn’t do EXACTLY the same sketch, but I did pieces that were very closely related. I don’t think the difference in the composition takes away from seeing the value studies. This first picture illustrates a high-value study.

The next, represents a low-value study.

This last picture represents a high-value contrast study (which “consists of both light and darks and should be the most active and interesting of the three”).
Here is the first exercise I tried. It just didn’t work. I found that there just wasn’t enough difference in value between the fabrics I used (background and design elements) to distinguish them from one another.
Well, I hope you are learning something; I know I am. Check back next Sunday for next week’s exercise on “Value and Hue.” Come on…do it with me.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I'll Be Back

I apologize for not updating my blog. I'm currently fighting strep-throat. I'm feeling a little better every day, and I'm hoping to keep up with my Beth/Lyric Project posting on Sunday. I have an idea for this week's entry, but I haven't started it yet. It took all the energy I have just to get a shower this morning. I'm heading back to bed. Hopefully, I'll be able to work on my pieces tomorrow, get them photographed, and posted. Again, I will do better once I'm back up and on my feet.

Being sick sure makes one appreciate good health.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Beth/Lyric Project Week 7 (Color as Emotion)

As a reminder to those of you that don’t normally keep up with my blog (if you do, skip to the next paragraph), I have started a project that I’m calling the Beth/Lyric Project. In the spirit of the movie “Julie/Julia,” (i.e. Julie working through Julia Child’s cookbook) I have decided to work through the exercises in Lyric Kinard’s “Art + Quilt, Design Principles and Creativity Exercises” book. My goal is to get at least one of the exercises done each week. I’ll be posting my progress on Sundays. I’d love for you to work along with me. If you decide to do that, please post and let me know how you’re doing—send pictures too! If you have trouble leaving a comment on my blog, email me at bschnellenberger@gmail.com.

In the Color as Emotion exercise, the instructions said to “Create a simple composition that evokes a feeling, using color as the dominant element. Choose any emotion as your inspiration.” This was a hard exercise for me. Trying to think of an original composition pushes my limits. The requirement to use color as the dominant element also added to the difficulty. This is what I came up with. My first picture represents sadness.
We were asked if we could repeat the composition in a different color combination and change the mood. I thought I’d give it a try. My second picture represents excitement. The compositions are the same; the only change is color.
Next week’s “assignment” is on “Value Contrast.” Come on…join me. We’ll be working from Page 47 in the “Art + Quilt” book.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Finally Finished

This is the project I worked on in the quilt finishing class I took from Kathy Loomis. This is an illustration of facing a quilt. I have also posted a picture of the back of the quilt. This is a way to finish the quilt edges without using a binding, which gives the quilt a "frame." Kathy's method reduces the bulk in the corners of the quilt to get nice, sharp corners. This piece is VERY thick and stiff. I was pleased with the results. This is an original piece called "Colored Oak."  It is machine appliqued and machine quilted. It measures approximately 12" X 12". 
This is the back of the quilt. The facing is hand sewn to the back.

I've been working on finishing some other projects I had started. This wall hanging is machine pieced and machine appliqued. I machine quilted it too. The pattern is called "Retro Waves & Flowers in a Vase" by Sunflower Hill Designs by Julie Popa. I haven't made the "Retro Waves" part of the pattern yet.
This is a small Peace sign quilt from Country Threads. I purchased the kit last year at the Chicago quilt show. Each year (for the past couple of years) Country Threads has had a $10 kit. I try to get one each year. It is machine pieced and machine appliqued.
The last quilt is made from a Lori Smith pattern--Kansas Troubles. I made the top during our last guild retreat. I finally got it quilted and bound. It is machine pieced and machine quilted.
I really like these little quilts. I use them on the backs of some of my chairs (like my grandma used to use doilies), I put them on my end tables and coffee table, and I hang some of them. I did get a little tired of making tiny half-square triangles for this particular quilt, though. I even cut out one of these quilts and made up my own little kit to give to one of my friends as part of her Christmas gift. (She hasn't made hers yet.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Aren't These Cute?

I saw these little storage tins in a "Cloth-Paper-Scissors Studios" magazine. I really liked them and thought they'd be just right for my new studio. I'm using them to store my colored pencils. They really brighten up my desk.
I made a wrap of fabric (layered and quilted) to fit a clean tin can. I punched holes for the ribbon.

I also covered my desk chair with the same fabric. I sure like it better than the ugly gray it used to be.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bendable Bright Light Product Review

First, let me be clear—I have not been paid for this review, and I’m not affiliated with the “Bendable Bright Light” company in any way. This is just a product I love.

Several times I have been asked about the “Bendable Bright Light” I have attached to my sewing machine, so I thought I’d do a review. The “Bendable Bright Light” is a small LED light that attaches to the side of your sewing machine with double-sided 3M adhesive. It puts out a bright light that can be directed exactly where it is needed. It eliminates the need to bring an additional lighting source when you go to a retreat or workshop. It is advertised that the product will last for 100,000 hours. No batteries are involved; you plug it in. When I first saw the “Bright Light” advertised, I thought it was too pricey. The problem is, though, that I am gadget addicted, so I had to have one. I haven’t regretted it a minute. I can’t sew without one now.

You can purchase an additional mounting kit that enables the “Bendable Bright Light” to be moved from machine to machine (if you use more than one). The kit will cost somewhere between $8-$10.

You can see a demo of the product at this web address--http://www.patsythompsondesigns.com/shop/product/bendable-bright-light/

You will pay anywhere from $30-$50 for this product. I did a little research and have found the “Bendable Bright Light” on sale for $29.95 at http://store.quilting-warehouse.com/086611.html. I know nothing about this store; I have never ordered from them. You can find the product at most quilt shops, but unless you hit a sale it will cost closer to $50 there. I also hear that Nancy’s Notions and Clotilde have it on sale sometimes. I checked the JoAnn’s website and found that the product is no longer available there.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Class with Kathy Loomis, a Visit to Lynn's Paradise Cafe, Oh the Sights You'll See

I attended a "finishing" class, taught by Kathy Loomis, in Louisville today. It was a wonderful class on how to attach bindings and facings to quilts. I learned lots of great tips and tricks. Facing a quilt was totally new to me. I certainly will be using that on most of my art quilts from now on. I love the look. Kathy is a great teacher--very patient and generous with her time and knowledge.

After the class, my friend, Robin, and I went to eat at Lynn's Paradise Cafe. Lynn's is quite a unique place (as you'll see in these pictures). The atmosphere is VERY interesting, and the food is really good. If you are ever in Louisville, KY, check it out.
Most of the tables are chrome dinette sets. Many have different "ugly--REALLY ugly" lamps on them. They even have an "Ugly Lamp Contest" each year.
The chandelier above this table is actually an upside-down table lamp. There are "trees" as you can see in this picture. There is even a used tea bag mobile. The ladies restroom is painted the brightest lime green you can imagine, and each stall has a crystal chandelier above it! It's a fun place; you really have to see it to believe it.

We also saw this on our trip home.
In case you can't tell what this is, it is a guy on a Harley with two dogs in his attached trailer. The next picture shows the dogs a little better. ...I'll bet you'll laugh...
Okay, so my window was just a bit dirty--it was lightly raining. Don't you just LOVE the doggy goggles!

Beth/Lyric Project Week 6 (Color Relationships)

As a reminder to those of you that don’t normally keep up with my blog (if you do, skip to the next paragraph), I have started a project that I’m calling the Beth/Lyric Project. In the spirit of the movie “Julie/Julia,” (i.e. Julie working through Julia Child’s cookbook) I have decided to work through the exercises in Lyric Kinard’s “Art + Quilt, Design Principles and Creativity Exercises” book. My goal is to get at least one of the exercises done each week. I’ll be posting my progress on Sundays. I’d love for you to work along with me. If you decide to do that, please post and let me know how you’re doing—send pictures too! If you have trouble leaving a comment on my blog, email me at bschnellenberger@gmail.com.

In the Color Relationships exercise, the instructions said to “cut squares of different backgrounds and create several small color studies.” Well, I didn’t want to make “several small color studies.” I decided to do one big one. I’m thinking I’ll end up cutting it up and adding to it. The point of the exercise was to discover “how different background colors change the perceived color of the squares.”

There was one problem with what I did with this exercise. I found out (too late) that because I used such a bright color, there is not much difference in the color of that square regardless of what background I used. I would have been better off using a less “in-your-face” color. This IS a learning experience. I did discover what colors made the yellow square pop off the page (dark purple, dark blue, black) and what colors make it disappear and look sickly (pink). I discovered that I really liked how it looked against the orange on the right side, fourth block.

I also learned a good lesson on lighting. I took a picture of the exercise both indoors and outside. I was amazed at the difference it made in the colors of the background squares.

This is the outside shot…
The colors are fairly “true” in this photo.

This is the inside shot…
Look at the dark background squares; they all look black. There, actually, is only one black background—left side, fourth block.

Next week’s exercise is “Color as Emotion.” Hopefully, we’ll discover what color combinations represent which emotion/mood. Come on; join me in doing this exercise. It is on Page 44 of “Art + Quilt.”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Last of the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show 2010 Pictures; They're Beauties

The Indiana Heritage Quilt Show was held in Bloomington, IN, the first weekend in March. There were lots of beautiful quilts.

Mark Sherman from Coral Springs, FL, named his quilt “Wings & Feathers.” It was entered in the Appliqué-Bed Quilt category. He used turned edge appliqué. It is machine pieced with machine trapunto and is longarm quilted with original quilting designs. All the fabric in the quilt is the artist’s hand-dyed fabric. This project took over 3,000 hours to complete. The design was inspired by “Designs for Coloring-Butterflies” by R. Heller.

Cathleen Miller’s quilt “Inner Beauty” was entered in the Applique-Bed Quilt category. She is from Albuquerque, NM. She says, “I’m most content when hand quilting. Using appliqué on the outer aspect allowed a large central work area for quilting. The center represents a Victorian Ceiling Medallion with repetition of the outer floral design. Trapunto added dimension. Using tan thread around the trapunto added depth. Beads add a bit of sparkle.” I didn’t get a full picture of this quilt, but I did get photos that show the beautiful hand quilting..
In the Applique-Wall Quilt category, Ronda Beyer’s (Tualatin, OR) “Gypsy Rosalie” received an Honorable Mention.
Cindy Seitz-Krug, Bakersfield, CA, made “Sew Long Sally” and entered it into the Pieced-Bed Quilt category. She says, “My friend, Sally Shuppert, taught quilting for many, many years. Finally in 2006 when her husband retired, she decided to join him. This quilt was the last quilt that Sally taught my friends and me. So, to honor her years of teaching, I named the quilt after her. All of the feathers in this quilt are my original designs made specifically to fit the open areas of this quilt.” The design came from McCall’s Quilting Magazine. It received an Honorable Mention.
The second place award in the Pieced-Wall Quilt category was given to Susan Ziel’s “Thirteen Feathered Stars” quilt. Susan is from Ocala, FL, and says, “This quilt is composed of thirteen different red and black feathered stars arranged in a heart-shaped setting on a tea-dyed background.” It is hand quilted.
Brenda Roach from Bloomfield, IN, entered her “Learning to Fly” quilt into the Pieced-Wall Quilt category. It is hand and machine quilted.
Also in the Pieced-Wall Quilt category is Sandra Peterson’s “Bohemian Fireworks.” Sandra is from Muncie, IN. She says, “This original quilt design was hand drafted. It is still my favorite design process. I chose dark grayed-down jewel tones and low contrast to draw the viewer in to see the intricate piece work.” It is machine pieced and hand quilted. I took a close up of this quilt. I was amazed at all the pieces in this quilt. Check out the outline of the points in the outer circle in the close up. Each point has an extra piece of fabric (even though it is very low contrast) that outlines the point.
The winner in the Ensemble Wall Quilt category was “Grape Harvest” made by Lynn Drennen and Marilyn J. Smith and quilted by Gina Perkes. “Grape Harvest” was designed by Jessie Marinas, and shows vineyard workers harvesting grapes. Construction techniques include turned edge, raw edge, and Broderie Perse machine appliqué using various cotton fabrics. The portraits and clothing are constructed with fabric appliqué (instead of paint). Pintucked vineyard fields further the illusion of Trompe L’oeil. The quilt was awarded “Best of Show” wall quilt.
I had to take a close up of this quilt. I just couldn’t believe the gorgeous quilting. The quilt was entered into the Ensemble Bed Quilt category by Gail Stepanek, New Lenox, IL. It is called “Star Berries.” It includes hand pieced seven-point stars, hand appliquéd vines and berries, and exquisite quilting. It was quilted by Ronda K. Beyer.
If you will notice, each of the parallelograms in the stars are quilted differently. I LOVED the checkerboard and line/circle quilting that surrounds each star. It was just stunning! Click on the picture; i think you can see a close up.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Indiana Heritage Quilt Show (2010)/Bloomington, IN--I Took More Pictures than I Thought

Amy Bright’s quilt, “Parcheesi,” was entered in the Mixed/Special Techniques—Bed Quilt category. Amy says, “As a child I spent many happy hours playing Parcheesi with my grandmother. When I designed this quilt it reminded me of our Parcheesi board and my wonderful grandmother. I spent three years hand piecing, appliquéing, and quilting it.” Amy is from Tucson, AZ. (Where this quilt was hung there was no way to get a full view of the quilt.)

I did take a closeup. Hopefully, it will give you a better feel for the work that went into this quilt. This was one of the corners of the quilt (not visible in the picture above. Check out the fussy cut circles and outlined red "petals.")
“Moonlit Mirage” was entered in the Mixed/Special Techniques—Wall Quilt category by Denise Tallon Havlan from Plainfield, IL. You can't tell from the photograph, but the red fabric on the horse’s tail is three-dimensional.

Mary S. Miller from Centerville, OH, entered her quilt, “Dolmabahce,” into the Ensemble Bed Quilt category. It is her original design and was inspired by a wood floor in the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. It was quilted by Carolyn Archer.
Also in the Ensemble Bed Quilt category is LuAnn Krug’s quilt “Lime Phosphate.” (It was VERY green!) It was quilted by Jennifer Cunningham. The quilt is a replica of the Salinda Rupp quilt from 1870’s Pennsylvania. Line drawings were published in “Nearly Insane” by Liz Lois with Salinda’s intricate designs, tiny pieces, and cut off points. Friends gave LuAnn the fabric for her quilt—some from as far away as Canada and Norway. LuAnn is from Indianapolis, IN. I loved the feather quilting in the outer border. (Again, I couldn't get in a position to get the entire quilt in the picture--the right border is missing here.)
Kathy Munkelwitz from Isle, MN, entered her “Crystal Blue Baskets” into the Ensemble Bed Quilt category too. It is free-motion hand machine quilted. She added blue crystals for a little “pa-zaz!” She got the patterns from old magazines, Kansas City Star designs, embroidery books, and the Internet. It was quilted by Nancy Sammis. The quilting was just lovely.
The second place winner in the Ensemble Wall Quilt category was this quilt (“Berry Patch”) made by Claudia Clark Myers and Marilyn Badger from Duluth, MN.
I loved the story behind this next quilt and thought the quilt was very cleverly done. R. J. Trubitt from Bloomington, IN, made this quilt—“Chaos Contained.” It was entered in the Ensemble Wall Quilt category. This is the description…”Maryann (Orr) loved to use leftover scraps from other people’s quilt projects—and as you see, no piece was too small. Maryann died suddenly last year, and it was my homage to quilt this.”
The first place winner in the Mixed/Special Techniques—Bed Quilt was “The Lady Virginia” made by Sandi McMillan from Albion, NE. She says it was inspired by an antique quilt made by Amelia Lauck of Virginia in 1828. Using an interesting color combination and today’s construction techniques gives the quilt the look of an elegant fine handworked heirloom.
The quilting was spectacular. You can see it a bit better in this closeup.
I have a few pictures of the show left for next time. Check back.