Thursday, December 12, 2013

43rd Annual Mid-States Crafts Exhibition

The opening reception for the 43rd Annual Mid-States Crafts Exhibition is this Saturday, December 14, 2013, from 6:30-8:30 Eastern time at the Evansville Musuem of Art, History, and Science. I'm mentioning this because I have a piece juried into this show, and I'm really excited about it. The dates for the exhibition itself are December 15, 2013-January 12, 2014. The following information comes from the Evansville Museum of Art, History, and Science's website:

The 43rd MID-STATES CRAFT EXHIBITION will be featured in the Main Gallery. Open to artists residing in the six states of Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Missouri, the competition will feature ceramics, glass, textiles, metalwork, wood, and mixed media.

The juror for this year’s competition was Julie Farr, executive director of the Houston (Texas) Center for Contemporary Craft. A non-profit arts organization founded in 2001 to advance education about the process, product and history of craft, HCCC has emerged as an important cultural and educational resource for Houston and the Southwest – one of the few venues in the country dedicated exclusively to craft at the highest level.

Take a look at the website for the museum if you'd like more information; and if you get a chance to see the exhibition, let me know what you think of it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Thread!

I mentioned in my last post that I had ordered some hand-quilting thread. I don't think I mentioned that I ordered it from Superior Threads. My hope is that the green will match the green on my latest art quilt, but (of course) I ordered more than just the green thread. I decided since I was going to have to pay shipping anyway, I would order a "Treasure Try Me Special." This special consists of five 300-yard spools of the Treasure hand quilting thread for $5 per spool. I also ordered the TREASURE Color Card for future reference.

I was VERY pleased with the variegated colors; they are REALLY beautiful. I have never hand-quilted with variegated thread, so I'm not sure if it is what I need for my art quilt. I'll let you know how it turns out when I have a chance to do some quilting. I'll also write a little review of this thread. Personally, I like an all-cotton, waxed, hand-quilting thread. I like the way it glides through the fabric with little tangling. Check back to see if this thread fits the bill.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

More Hexies

We had a lot of snow yesterday (around eight inches). Being snowed in gave me time to work on some more hexies.

I know it doesn't look like much, but it took quite some time to cut out and baste these 127 LITTLE hexagons.

It is supposed to be cold for the next few days, so the snow isn't going anywhere. Maybe I'll have the time to get some of these sewn together since it is too nasty to go anywhere.

I also have an art quilt I'd like to be working on. It is basted and ready to quilt, but I'm having to wait on some thread. I ordered a green hand quilting thread that I hope will be the color I need so I can begin quilting. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will arrive in the next couple of days.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Guild Show & Tell Continued

I said in my last post that I'd post the rest of the pictures the next day...okay, I didn't get this post up the next day, but better late than never! The following pictures are of quilts made by members of the Patoka Valley Quilt Guild in southern Indiana. If I know the name of the maker, I'll post it.

I know it is hard to tell (maybe because the logs are VERY small), but this quilt is a log cabin quilt. This quilt was made by Mary Alice Zink, who is a master of log cabin quilts. Zoom in on this one.

I didn't get the name of the maker of the following quilts--my apologies to the quiltmakers.

I am not a big fan of sampler quilts in general. I think it is because a lot of the time, the blocks are just set next to each other or have a plain sashing in between them--I guess I find them boring. This quilt, however, is an interesting setting for sampler blocks; I'm a big fan of this setting.

This quilt reminds me of the quilts my grandmother made. Grandma Helen hand pieced and hand appliqued many a quilt in her day. I hardly ever saw her without some handwork.

Kathy Weyer made this quick quilt using a jelly roll. She showed three of these, but this one was my favorite.

Mary Lou Luebbehusen made this quilt. I love the bright colors and the movement in this one.

This next quilt belongs to Mary Lou's son Shane. He was the lucky winner of this quilt a few years ago. It was made by the Patoka Valley Quilt Guild and was the raffle quilt that year. The applique is done by hand.

This is an original design by Marge Hevron. She quilted this one on her domestic machine.

Geri Lueken paper pieced this log cabin star. The intricate piecing on this one is stunning.

Donna Vieke showed this quilt top. Those of you that know me know that I'm a big fan of red, orange, and yellow. I am really drawn to those "fire" colors--maybe because I'm a Leo. Anyway, I guess you can figure out why I really like this quilt!

This next quilt top was made by Vicky Bogan. She said this isn't her usual style, but she enjoyed making it anyway.

All in all, we had a really good Show & Tell program. There was a wide variety of quilts, tops, wall hangings, placemats, table runners, etc.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Guild Show & Tell 2013

Last night was the Christmas dinner and Show & Tell program at my quilt guild (Patoka Valley Quilt Guild). I took some pictures at the show and tell, but I'll warn you up front that the picture quality is not the best. I was a little too far away, and I was at a weird angle from the show. I still thought it was worthwhile to let you see what types of quilts the guild members have been working on this year.

I caught some of the names as the quilts were shown, and I'll share the ones I know. I apologize to the people whose names I didn't catch.

I thought I'd share Christmas quilts first (since we're barreling toward Christmas Day). Actually, there were three quilts shown in this first picture; I could only fit two in the picture I took. Darlene McNelis, Jane Horney, and Nancy Schmitt worked together and made matching Christmas quilts.

I didn't catch who made this quilt top, but I thought this Santa was awfully cute.
Darlene McNeiless made this quilt.

This hand-appliqued quilt was made by Becky Fuller. She had four quilts in this series, but this was the only "decent" picture I got.

Donna Scherle made this "Big and Bold" quilt. She loves to make quick quilts (and she makes LOTS of them).

I didn't catch who made these next three quilts.

Pamela Catt made this quilt. The instructions for it came from The Quilt Show.

Ann Jordan made this Halloween quilt for a Christmas gift!

I will show some more pictures of the show tomorrow. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tips for Successfully Hand Piecing Hexies

In my last blog post, I mentioned a hexagon project I have been working on for quite some time. I have found some things that make the piecing a bit easier and MUCH neater.

The first big change I have made is that I'm now working in rows rather than "rounds." I WAS piecing the hexagons together into the traditional "flowers"--a center with six hexagons around it.

Now I'm putting the hexies together in rows. Then, I'm piecing the rows together.

It is MUCH easier to keep track of where I am on my pattern, and I'm finding it easier to put the hexies together this way.

Now, for the "secrets" to hiding those stitches. You can see the stitches between the hexies in the picture of the hexie "flower" above. I did that BEFORE I knew the "secrets." If you take a close look at the stitching between the hexies in the row above, you will notice that the stitches are not visible there. I learned the "secrets" from Mickey Depre on The Quilt Show in Episode 1302.

Because of that show, I'm now using a neutral-colored silk thread to sew the hexagons together--("Secret" 1). Previously, I was using a neutral-colored quilting thread. I LOVE using the silk. It doesn't show and it rarely tangles. Another change I made is that I'm no longer holding the hexagons right sides together to whip stitch them together. This picture shows how I used to do it.

In the show, Mickey suggests that you sew the pieces together side by side (see pic below) rather than right sides together (like the pic above)--("Secret" 2). I have to say, it took me a little while to get used to this method. I didn't like doing it at first; but once I got the "hang of it," I like it a lot. Of course, I LOVE the way it looks from the front. This method keeps ALL the stitching on the back of the project.

Hand piecing little hexies is slow work. It is also a REALLY good project to take along. If you are like me, on the road a lot or waiting a lot (waiting to pick up kids, waiting for appointments, waiting on kids from athletic practices, etc.), a hexie project is a good one. You don't have to go all crazy like I have, but a small hexie project might just "fit the bill."
The picture above shows what I have pieced together so far (once I switched over to piecing it together in rows). I know the picture is a little dark, but I think you can get the idea. There are about a thousand tiny hexies in this section. Will I EVER get it finished? I don't know, but I am enjoying the work right now. One of my friends told me how bored she would be with this project. I really don't get bored. I like the slow pace of handwork; I find peace in doing it. There is also something about that connection to the past--I hardly ever saw my Grandma Helen without some hand piecing project. It makes me smile.


Monday, November 18, 2013

I Wish I Had Known

I have to apologize about not being very good about posting lately. My husband has retired and has wanted to do a lot of traveling. We have also have been blessed with a new granddaughter. She lives ten hours from us, so we have spent a lot of time driving back and forth to visit with her. Of course, I have to share a picture of her with you.

This is June Beth. She is almost four months old. I LOVE being a "Mimi!"

Since we are on the road a lot, I have to have a project I can take with me. This hexie project is perfect, but it is REALLY slow going. As an FYI--I'm using the English paper piecing method of hand piecing half-inch hexies together to make my design.

Has you ever worked on one of those projects that you think will never get finished--the on-going, FOREVER project? I am working on one of those. I figure, when I die, that my family will find this partially finished project (along with a lot of others) and utter that famous line, "What was she thinking?"

You have seen this project before, because I have been working on it since last Christmas. I have made some progress and have changed the way I'm working. I even have a few hints for you if you decide to work on a hexie quilt.

Here is a picture of the front of the quilt BEFORE I switched my method of stitching. I REALLY don't like this look.

Here is a picture of the front of the quilt AFTER I switched my method of stitching.

If you would like to find out what I changed, check out my next blog post.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fuller Craft Museum

Our friends from Boston took us to the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts. There was supposed to be a bojagi exhibit, but it wasn't up yet. When I told one of the museum docents I was a fiber artist and had come to see the exhibit, she was nice enough to take me "behind the scenes" and show me the pieces that had come in. I REALLY enjoyed the work, but I would have loved to see it hung.

It was a gorgeous day at the museum. This is a picture of the view from one of the windows at the museum. It truly looked like a postcard.

It was such a pretty day; I really enjoyed the outdoor exhibits.

This is a ceramic piece by Eric O'Leary called Sight.

The museum just acquired this next piece by Joseph Wheelwright called Sweet Face.

I DID manage to find something I thought would look GREAT in my studio.

I love the name of this chair by Tommy Simpson. It is called My Mummy Made Me Do It!

They had an early piece by Michael James. I hadn't ever seen a whole-cloth quilt made by him, so this was a treat. I particularly like his quilting design. This piece was made in 1976 and is called Night Sky I. It is made of polished cotton.

I took this next picture because I absolutely love the vibrancy of color in this glass piece.

The piece was made by Toots Zynsky and is called Riamato. It is made of fused and thermoformed colored glass threads.

The Fuller is a beautiful little gem of a craft museum just outside of Boston. It is well worth a trip if you are nearby.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Blue and White Quilts

I'm on vacation in New England, and today we were traveling around Boston with some friends. We ended up at The Charles (a hotel in Cambridge) where I found several old quilts. There were two in the main lobby--one from 1910 and one from 1880. The largest of the two was a beautiful faded red, white, and blue quilt. I tried to take pictures of both of them, but they were under glass with terrible lighting. None of those pictures came out; however, I did get pictures of several blue and white quilts on display in a huge stairwell in the lobby. There was no way for me to take a picture of the whole wall, because the stairs were in the way; but I did my best to show you how impressive the display was. There were nine blue and white quilts arranged like a giant 9-patch block on the wall behind an open staircase. These are the best pictures I could get. The quilts were gorgeous.

This was the bottom row of the "9 Patch," and the only straight shot I could get. (These are full-size bed quilts.)

From this picture, you can see the setup of the wall. You can see some of the quilts between the stairs.

This shows you the "9 Patch" arrangement. It was a really nice display, and I appreciate the fact that someone cared enough about quilts to display them so prominently in the lobby of the hotel.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Traveling Hexagons

In my last post, I wrote about working on a BIG English Paper Piecing project. I'm not very good in the organization arena, so organizing my many hexagons proved to be a big problem for me. This is my solution.

I purchased a ring from my local office supply store (shout out to Hoffman Office Supply), punched holes in the top of sandwich bags, and threaded the bags onto the ring. I organized the hexagons by color. After each hexagon is prepared, it is dropped into the appropriate bag. This really makes it easy for me to pick out the colors I need for each row in my quilt. They don't get lost, they stay together, and I don't have to search through a whole bunch of hexagons to find the color I need.

I hope you give this a try if you've had trouble keeping track of YOUR hexagons! Let me know if it works for you.