Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I love the bright colors I've been working with this month. I had some great scraps that were too little to use for the free-form quilt pieces I've been working on for And Then We Set It On Fire. I don't know about you, but it is really hard for me to throw any fabric piece (no matter how small) away. Does that make me a "fabric hoarder?" Anyway, I decided I could put them to good use by making some collaged fabric. I used a method shown in Quilting Arts Gifts magazine (Holiday 2011-2012) in an article by Jennifer Solon.

So you'll have an idea about what this type of fabric might be used for, I'll show you some leaves I made for a challenge. I belong to a fiber arts group in Louisville called LAFTA. Last fall, LAFTA issued a challenge to its members to create pieces of art from unsold paperback romance novels which were donated to the group from the Friends of the Oldham County Libraries. The books were leftover from the Friends' first book sale. My friend and I decided to make leaves using fabric, some pieces of pages from the old romance novels, paint, thread, ink, etc. These are some of my leaves that did not go into the piece we made for the challenge.
For the challenge, my friend and I made a mobile. We each picked our favorite leaves to include in the piece. More than 16 artists from LAFTA ended up making pieces for the challenge. The items included our mobile, bowls, dolls, album covers, flowers, boxes, and other things. The items will be on display at the Luecke Room of Gallery 104 located at 104 E. Main Street in La Grange, Kentucky, from February 7-March 10, 2012. If you like art AND CHOCOLATE (and who doesn't), you might want to check out the exhibit on Friday, February 10, or Saturday, February 11, 2012. On those days, visitors will pay $5 for a ticket that will let them sample chocolate in shops all over town. Friday's "crawl" will be from 5-8 p.m. On Saturday, you could attend the opening reception at the gallery (beginning at 1 p.m.) AND take part in the "crawl" which continues until 4 p.m. If you'd like more information, contact Kathy Dowling, executive director, 502-222-3822 or email her at execdiraaooc.org. Visit the gallery's website here.

Now that you have seen the fabric collage used, I'll show you the fabric collage I made from my leftover scraps.
I haven't done any painting, stamping, or thread work on it yet. I have several ideas of things to make with this "fabric," but I haven't decided on anything definite. I really do love the bright colors, though. So far, all I have done is sew a grid over the scraps of fabric to attach them to the acrylic felt and backing fabric. I think it will be fun to play with. Stay tuned to see what I decide to make.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Free-form Quilt...In the Works

I've had some time the last couple of days to work on getting a quilt top started using the piece I worked on for "And Then We Set It On Fire." Rayna Gillman is the guest blogger for this month on that site. I love her book, Create Your Own Free-form Quilts. The pieces for this month are being made using the techniques she outlines in her book. 

This is on my design wall right now.
The border looks a bit dark to me right now, so I'm planning on adding more color and maybe some of the stripe to it. I think I want to make it look like the stripe is trying to "escape" from the center of the quilt. I'm also going to see how it looks to add an inner border with the striped fabric around the entire center piece. Right now, I'm thinking I'll use the striped fabric for the binding of the quilt. Of course, everything is in the planning (and playing) stage right now. Who knows what I'll end up with. Be sure to check out what everyone else is doing at "And Then We Set It On Fire."

Friday, January 27, 2012

More Free-form Work

First, let me recommend that you go to "And Then We Set It On Fire" to see the free-form work of the artists on that site. You'll also want to check out the tutorials that Rayna Gillman (author of Create Your Own Free-form Quilts) has posted there. Follow along and make YOUR OWN free-form quilt! Let me know if you do; I'd love to link back to pictures of YOUR work.

I finally had a chance to cut into the remaining portion of this quilt top. I removed the outside blocks and cut into those first. (I posted those results earlier.) I left these nine blocks together, because I wanted to see how different the results would be if I worked on a larger unit. These are the nine blocks I left together.
I went from the above nine blocks to this...
I like it much better. If you'd like to see some of the steps that transformed the nine blocks from plain to "wild" click here.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Form, Not Function Exhibit 2012

I had the opportunity to view the "Form, Not Function Quilt Art at the Carnegie" fiber art exhibit in New Albany, Indiana, this past week. This juried exhibit, in its ninth year, is available through March 3, 2012. All entries must be quilted (defined as two or more layers held together with stitches); and this year, twenty-four quilts (out of 278 entries) make up the exhibit.

I asked permission to take a few photographs (just to give you a taste of what is there). I took pictures of my favorites. Please go to see this exhibit in person if you get a chance. It is well worth the trip.

I'll start with a quilt I loved from the exhibit. I LOVE hand stitching, and this quilt did not disappoint. The ENTIRE quilt is hand stitched; all of the color is stitching. I really appreciate the time and talent involved in making this particular quilt. It is called Crossover and was made by Mary Ruth Smith from Waco, TX. The picture doesn't do it justice (of course). The texture of the stitches makes this piece very exciting.
I know you couldn't get a feel for the stitches in this full picture, so I took some close up shots.

I'd sure be interested to know how many hours were spent stitching this quilt. Oh (and I forgot to tell you) all the seams in this piece are French seams.

The Best of Show winner was this quilt by Betty Busby from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This piece is called Fracture. Again, the picture doesn't do the quilt justice. It is hard to tell from the picture, but the pieces that have the black and white in them are each separate finished pieces. They have been added on top of the colored (red/orange) fabric making the piece have great depth. You can see that a bit better in the close up picture below.
Betty used crackle paste resist to achieve this look.

I liked Katherine K. Allen's (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) "Eventide" triptych. I thought it would look great in my house. I have deep red, rusty orange, and mustard gold in my living, dining, kitchen area. 
This entry was given an Award of Excellence by River City Fiber Artists. Katherine has hand and machine stitched this screen printed piece. It is made of silk fabric.

Pat Pauly's (Pittsford, NY) entry, Pink Leaf 4 (Yellow) is made of pieced cotton that has been stamped, screened, painted, and quilted. I like the vibrant colors used in this piece.
Virginia A. Spiegel from Byron, IL, created Boundary Waters 53. She used white cotton cloth, acrylic/oil paint, felt, velvet, cheesecloth, yarn, silk/poly/duck cloth, thread, paint, relief/screen print, burn, dye, crochet, and machine stitch to make this piece.
This is a VERY textural piece; it looks "thick" in person. It is "rich" in color, design, and texture and makes me think of very opulent, costly tapestries or rugs.

The Award of Excellence presented by the Louisville Area Fiber & Textile Artists was awarded to Julia E. Pfaff's (Richmond, VA) Contrast IX--Yellow. It is a whole-cloth quilt which has been painted, embroidered, and machine quilted.
The close up colors turned out horrible. Of course, I couldn't use a flash when taking pictures, so maybe that has something to do with it. I don't know, but the circles should be a vibrant yellow. The stitching around each circle is hand done. That stitching is so meticulous that it is hard to tell that it has been done by hand and not by machine.
Again, if you get a chance, you should definitely make a trip to New Albany and check out this exhibit. An upcoming exhibit that might be of interest to you is called Tools of the Trade: Fiber Art by Betty Levy. It will be open from March 16-April 28, 2012, at the Carnegie Center in New Albany. For more information about this exhibit check out the Carnegie website or call (812) 944-7336. You can see just a taste of Betty's work here--Betty Levy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Making Progress on My Free-form Blocks

In my last post, I had two free-form blocks made for a project on And Then We Set It On Fire. I had a chance to work on them this week, have made a few more blocks, and have put them up on my design wall.
Making these blocks is a whole lot of fun and very addictive. I still have a portion of this quilt top to work with. The center nine blocks are still sewn together. I'm going to work on those as one unit and see what happens. Check out what other artists are doing with their free-form blocks (and join us in making blocks of your own) at And Then We Set It On Fire. We are all using the techniques shown in Rayna Gillman's book Create Your Own Free-form Quilts. Rayna is our guest blogger this month. Come on over!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sewing and Stitching

I have just started a free-form quilt using the techniques Rayna Gillman presents in her new book "Create Your Own Free-form Quilts." I'm using a quilt top I made when I worked through Lyric Kinard's "Art + Quilt" book. You can see it on this post. Rayna Gillman is the guest blogger on And Then We Set It On Fire this month. Check out what we are doing there. Here is the beginning of my quilt--it is fun to work with nice bright colors on a dreary, gray winter day. This is on my design wall...
When I can't be in my studio, I am doing some hand stitching. I LOVE Crabapple Hill designs and am currently working on two of them--Over the River and through the Woods and Calendula Patterdrip's Cottage.

I have finished one stitchery panel for "Over the River." There are two more (and lots of pieced blocks to do). I love this particular stitchery because it reminds me of my grandparents' farm. We used to sled down the driveway to the mailbox in the winter. We'd warm ourselves in front of the wood-stove (the only heat for the whole house) and enjoy hot chocolate afterwards. I have lots of wonderful memories from the old farm place.
This is a stitched block from Calendula Patterdrip's Cottage.
I have lots more embroidered blocks to do along with a WHOLE lot of stitched blocks. I love the quilt, but I'm thinking it will be quite some time before I ever get it finished. Meanwhile, I'm REALLY enjoying the quiet stitching time.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Picture of the Day

I couldn't resist posting this picture. I just came across it again, and it made me laugh out loud. I figure it is a good time for a "laugh out loud" kind of picture.

Earlier in the year, this little guy was making himself at home on my landscaping rock. He looks REALLY comfortable, doesn't he? It was a hot day, and I guess the rocks must have been cool.
After he realized I was taking his picture, he stood up and greeted me...as if to say, "Hey, this is my best side!"
 So, did it make you smile?

These are pictures I took this morning...a bit more indicative of the season perhaps. 

I LOVE my bird feeders...especially in the winter. Looks like I need to get out there and fill them up!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This Will Be My Project for January

Rayna Gillman is the guest blogger for the month of January on And Then We Set It On Fire. I have been a fan of hers for quite some time, so I'm very excited to be working with her and the other artists on the blog. I'm especially interested anxious to try her free-form quilt techniques, because I have several UFOs, orphan blocks, and other miscellaneous quilt pieces from which to choose a project.

I'd like to do more than one piece this month (and heaven knows I have tons of unfinished pieces from which to choose), but I'm not sure whether time will allow it. I have, however, chosen my first project of the month. It is a piece I made when I worked through Lyric Kinard's "Art + Quilt" book. As I worked through each exercise, I documented my progress on this blog. (If you'd like to check that out, enter "Lyric Kinard" in the Search box.) This was a project I did when I was working on the Value and Hue Exercise from her book. It met the requirements of the exercise, but it was nothing I actually would use. I know I will like it much better after some manipulations using suggestions from Rayna's new book "Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts." I'm excited to see how different it will look.
Come on over to And Then We Set It On Fire and "play" with us (and Rayna) this month.