Monday, August 30, 2010

Working on a Charity Quilt

I have been gone a lot the last week or so. I went to Chicago to see "The Million Dollar Quartet," and from there I went to visit my son in Arkansas. I didn't get any stitching done while I was gone, but before I left I started working on a charity quilt. The guild to which I belong provides quilts for kids in traumatic situations. We donate quilts to our local police departments to give to children in crisis and to Crisis Connection (our local domestic violence outreach program). This quilt will go to that cause.

I started with fairly traditional blocks (with "wild" fabric) and got bored pretty quickly with that. Now, I'm using up some of my bright scraps to make "off-kilter" log cabin(ish) blocks that I'm adding to the mix. This is what I have done so far.
I've decided it will either cheer some little child right up--or it will scare him to death--I'm not sure which!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Interesting Finds and Birthday Gifts

Okay, I know you could just use a bowl or a recycled butter tub, but this is SO much cuter! This is a thread catcher. It comes from "The Stitching Room" blog. She has great pictures showing how to make this cutie. Check it out at
It also makes a nice crown for your puppy (if you have one). ;-)
I thought this little flower pin was adorable. As an added bonus, it could be used as a take-along project. Take a look at this site for the pattern.

Aprons have always reminded me of my grandma. Those are really happy memories, so here is an apron tutorial/pattern for you. You'll find it at Michelle Engel Bencsko's blog, Cicada Daydream...
I don't know about you, but I just love pincushions. I like this one in particular because--not only is it adorable--but this blogger has found a way to recycle some "trash" (cardboard tubes) into something useful.
This pincushion tutorial/pattern comes from "CraftBlog." is "the Aussie hub of all that’s going on in the crafting world, no matter what your indulgence, you’re sure to find something about it here."
You will find lots of other very cool items you can make on this site.

Last, I'd like to share with you a couple of gifts I received from my kids for my birthday last week. They gave me books I had listed on my wish list. (What a wonderful invention!)
First is a book about the artist Daphne Odjig. I found out from the book that she is a Native artist from Wikwemikong (an unceded Indian reserve in Canada, which means that it has not "relinquished title to its land to the government by treaty or otherwise"). I absolutely fell in love with her work when I saw a film about her at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe. Sadly, I had just missed the exhibit. I like everything about her work especially the colors she uses. The organic nature of the lines really draws me in. I'm hoping to gather inspiration from this book for some of my work.
Second is "Ideas and Inspirations--Abstract Quilts in Solids" by Gwen Marston. I had the opportunity to take a couple of Gwen's classes (long ago) and just love her approach to quilting. This is (as the title implies) a wonderful book with many examples of her more abstract works in solids. It is not a pattern book; it will be used solely for "ideas and inspirations".

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What a Yard Sale!

I went to an “art/studio” yard sale and got the most amazing things. I’m absolutely thrilled with my purchases. I’m fairly new to the art-quilt/art-fiber arena and don’t have all the supplies I’d like to have, but I got lots of those (and more). I even took pictures of my “booty.”

I got fabric and thread/quilting supplies…
  • a bolt of 60” wide black 100% cotton fabric (I’m thinking I’ll try discharge, and I use a lot of black in my art quilts.)
  • a bolt of unbleached muslin
  • 2 yds of black/white fabric (purchased at Barney’s of New York; the tag was still on it)
  • 3 ½ yds of off-white linen
  • 1 yard white linen
  • 3 ½ yds striped fabric (also purchased at Barney’s)
  • some nice size pieces of white linen
  • an 18” wide roll of black cloth
  • a bag of leather scraps
  • 24 almost full spools of Star thread in all colors
  • 3 spools of Star thread still in the wrapper
  • 12 ½” X 12 ½” Omnigrid ruler
  • a roll of Golden Threads paper
  • a circle template
  • over 400 colors of embroidery floss organized in storage boxes
  • 40 miscellaneous embroidery threads
  • 11 skeins of linen thread
  • 10 colors of silk thread

I got tools…
  • a cute little metal hammer
  • 4 Exacto tools with multiple blades
  • 3 scrapers
  • a brayer
  • a metal whisk
  • long-handled tweezers
  • 2 awls
  • a Speedball linoleum cutter with 5 blades
  • 4 film canisters of tiny nails
  • Artograph Design Projector (needs repair)
I got art supplies…
  • two quart-size baggies of foam brushes of all sizes
  • 15 nice brushes
  • a baggie of miscellaneous inks and paints
  • dip pen
  • 5” X 7” artist canvas
  • wooden-handled box of “Gallery” colors (I think they may be oil bars/sticks.)
  • 1 plastic bag full of oil bars
  • 50 PrismaColor pencils
  • 20 PrismaColor art brushes
  • 34 PrismaColor dual-ended markers
  • 12 more oil bars
  • 3 boxes of square pastels
  • 24 watercolor pencils
  • 24 colored charcoal pencils
  • 28 Prang colored pencils
  • 6 Prang washable brush pens
  • 8 small jars of textile paint and 1-16 oz. jar of extender
  • hand-made paper

This is the "wooden box" I was talking about. You can see it opened up in the top picture in this section. If anyone can tell me exactly what kind of colors sticks these are, please let me know.

I got miscellaneous…
  • 2 pipettes
  • 3 bags of beads
  • 18” X 24” sheet of stainless steel
  • 2 big, brand new sponges
  • 5 stainless containers
  • 5 lb coil of braided picture wire
  • letter and number stencils
  • copper wire form wire

...and a friend of mine hit a different yard sale for me and picked up this nifty little electric skillet for melting soy wax...I LOVE that it is round--too cute!, to get it all put away...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

N. A. Noel Painting and Quilt Show at The Sanctuary

I had to the opportunity this past weekend to visit The Sanctuary, a gallery (in Zionsville, IN) that contains the work of the artist N. A. Noel. Also, there are approximately 100 quilts on display in the gallery through the month of August. The exhibit of both quilts and paintings is fabulous. RUN DON’T WALK TO THIS EXHIBIT!

The quilts are mostly antique traditional quilts, and many of the paintings include quilts. During this month, any painting/print that contains a quilt is 20% off the original price. I just fell in love with the gallery itself. It is in an old church building and is just stunning--a wonderful setting for the artwork. I obtained permission to post pictures of the quilt exhibit and paintings, but if you get a chance to go see it DO NOT MISS IT. Be sure to take the tour. Someone speaks about the paintings, and the day we were there they had someone speaking about the quilts. It was VERY informative and enjoyable.

I hope you enjoy the picture, and don't forget that you can click on the picture to get a closer look...
This is a painting...I know, I know, it looks like a real quilt. The quilt that was used for the backdrop of this painting was made by the woman who spoke about the quilts during our tour. The painting is called "Touched." The actual quilt is on display downstairs in The Sanctuary giftshop.
This is the main room of the gallery. Notice all the quilts placed throughout the room. The lighting on the paintings makes them look like they glow from within. You might think they actually do after you hear the stories of the paintings during the tour. Each of the paintings has a story just like there is a story behind most of our quilts.

You can see part of the "Touched" painting in this photograph. There is a quilt in a quilting frame, a Grandmother's Flower Garden, a Modified Nine Patch, and a couple of other quilts in this picture.
This antique Postage Stamp quilt is situated below a painting of an Amish girl and boy. Many of Nancy's (N. A. Noel's) paintings contain an Amish subject.
This Log Cabin quilt's colors coordinates with the colors in the painting above.
There are also many paintings that include animals (dogs, deer, horses, bulls, and llamas) and/or children. Quilts are draped over every door in the gallery.
There were miniature quilts on the doors outside the gift shop.
This Bear Paw quilt was draped over a door next the the painting of another Amish child.
A beautiful stained glass window serves as the backdrop for this display in a nook of the main room of The Sanctuary gallery. Several quilts are displayed on the table.
This is a view from the main room looking up to the balcony. Notice the purple quilt hanging over the door and the brown quilt (with tiny pieces) hanging over the railing.

I didn't mention it, but I should...there is a restaurant inside the gallery. It is called Ghyslain after the French Chef who, among other things, makes the French pastries and hand-painted chocolates that are served there. Be sure to make reservations for the restaurant or you might not get a seat. The food/desserts are indescribably delicious. I had quiche Lorraine and a Greek pasta salad; even the "regular" food is artfully prepared...
The picture below is of the stained glass windows in the restaurant portion of the building.
Look for The Sanctuary in Zionsville, IN; this is the building...
I have more pictures, but I think you get the idea. If you want more information about this particular quilt exhibit, check out the notation about it on the right-hand side of my blog under "UPCOMING QUILTING/FIBER ARTS EVENTS," or click here

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Play Day Pictures--Monoprinting

I promised to put a few of the pictures up from my recent two "play days." In this post, I'll show you a few of the monoprinted pieces
This is a piece I did the other day when I was playing. I have started hand quilting it (thus the white basting stitches you see in the picture). If you click on it and then click again, you can get a really close up shot of the layers and quilting. I'm thinking of totally finishing this piece then mounting it on top of another totally finished piece of cloth...we'll see.

These next two pieces were done that day too.

Obviously the orange piece is much further along than the bottom piece. I like the grafitti look of the bottom piece. I'm not sure what color I'll add to this. Any suggestions? I could use the help.

This last piece of monoprinted fabric was started in Valerie White's class. I put more layers on it at home. I'm not sure if it is finished yet.
I guess you can tell from these pictures that I LOVE orange and red. Our apartment in Indy is decorated with orange and blue. I love the excitement and intensity of those colors.

If you have never tried this technique, you should. It is SO much fun and very addictive. Hopefully, I'll get better with practice, but I think I'll be able to use these fabrics (in whole or in part) in some pieces I have swirling around in my head.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Play Day Pictures--Flour-Paste Resist

These pictures are my very first effort at flour-paste resist. I watched a demonstration by Jane Dunnewold on Quilting Arts TV and loosely followed her directions. She suggested using a ratio of half flour to half water for the flour mixture. I thought hers looked really thick. I read a blog post by Terry Jarrard-Dimond where she mixed hers to be a little more runny. So...I decided to go with the less thick concoction. I think that was a mistake for me.

The first two photos are of the last two pieces I did. I had added more flour to the mixture to make it thicker. I like the looks of these better.
You can see some of the marks I made in the flour resist before it dried. I have checkerboards (top/bottom) and swirls, letters, and lines. I also crunched this one up just a little before adding the paint, so the cracks would be more evident.

For this next piece of cloth, I thought I'd see what it would do if I didn't crunch it up at all. I wanted my marks to show more. As a matter of fact, I wrote a Washington Irving poem on this one. It was the poem that was read at my mother's funeral in June. (I'm still working through that.)
I really like the way it blurs some of the words yet leaves some of them readable. It is almost like a "secret" message. Can you read it?

The next two pieces were done first. I really crunched them up (too much probably), because I thought I wanted a lot of crackling. I think between the crunching up of the fabric and the thinness of the resist that too much paint came through to the fabric. I do think I can use them; they aren't total losses.
Lighting is an amazing thing. These two pieces are the same color. When I took the pictures, I couldn't get the flash to go off on one of them. (I don't remember which one.) That is why the color looks so different.

I really had fun with this and definitely will be doing more of it. I'm going to try other colors or maybe a combination of colors the next time. I can't believe what a mess I made when I did it, but that was part of the fun.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Playing with New Techniques

Since I last wrote, I have been doing some playing in my studio. I spent an evening (and most of a night) doing some more monoprinting. I have a couple of pieces I really like. Others still have more layers to go, and some are just really bad. I figure I'll just try some other technique on those. I have one piece that I have started hand quilting. I really like the peacefulness I feel while doing the handwork; I like the "feel" of the piece in my hands. I think when you spend that much time with a piece a part of you stays with it. Hopefully, when people view it, they "feel" that part of you that you have given to the piece.

Today, I did a flour-paste resist on four pieces of fabric. I'm excited to see what these look like when I wash out the flour. I'm just having SO much fun "playing."

Stay tuned for pictures...