Thursday, June 27, 2013

Daily Art

At my last LAFTA (Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists) meeting, the speaker was Kathy Loomis. Her program focused on her daily art project for this year--collage. Kathy has made daily art for over a decade. She says, "I like the discipline and structure of these projects; they keep me focused on my art, and give me a playground in which to experiment and have fun." If you'd like to read more about her daily art (and see lots of pictures, check out her blog, Kathy's Daily Art. To read an interview with Kathy about her daily art projects see Make Something 365 & Get Unstuck.

I really didn't know what to expect from the collage program. I usually don't do well when I have to "perform" in a group setting. However, I REALLY enjoyed this program. Kathy showed us several examples of her daily collage work. She makes her daily collages on old library cards (from the old catalog card files) with pictures, words, and letters cut from magazines, newspapers, etc. Sometimes she doodles on the collage. She did give us some rough guidelines to get us started.

Kathy handed out a few 4" X 6" index cards to each of us. We brought magazines, newspapers, glue sticks, and scissors. I found a degree of freedom working with materials that don't cost a lot on a "no-pressure" project. Doing these little collages really got my creative juices flowing. They are definitely not masterpieces, but they made me smile--some even made me laugh out loud. I hope they do the same for you.

This is my favorite one. If you don't recognize the face, it is George Clooney!

I think this next one if funny because no one can look at the Mrs. Potato Head Princess.


I always feel sorry for the dogs whose owners dress them up. I feel like cats are laughing at them. I was thinking of that when I made this little collage.

For this one, I was thinking of the current climate on gun control. The red heart outlined in white was actually a picture of a heart-shaped bowl of tomato soup.

I have NO idea what I was thinking on this one. My favorite part of it is the background.







Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Terrific Tutorial Tuesday--Scrap Quilt Block

Awhile back, I said I'd post tutorials that I liked on Tuesdays. Well, life got in the way, and I was not doing this on a regular basis. I have thought, for awhile, I need to get back to that. I'm really doing this for selfish reasons. I want to keep track of some of these tutorials myself.

Lately, I've been very drawn to scrap quilts. (Maybe because I have SO many scraps in my stash.) Here is a tutorial for a herringbone block that uses lots of scraps. Your scraps have to be cut into strips, but that isn't a problem for me. I already cut a lot of my scraps into strips. Check out this blog post by Rachel on the Stitched in Color blog--Herringbone Block post.

If you make this block, let me know. I'd love to see it. I'm sure Rachel would be interested too.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Quiltmaker Shuffle

I don't know about you, but I know I sit too long when I'm working on my fiber art. I tell my doctor I'd be in business if he would just count quilting as an exercise! If you need to get off your butt (like I do), maybe this will be of interest to you.

Check out this interesting "stretching exercise/dance" from the QM blog Quilty Pleasures. I looks like fun. Maybe you or your guild would be interested. It might be fun to do at a retreat. (Of course, I'm SO uncoordinated I'm not sure I can do it.) I'm wondering where we can get the music--I've asked them and will let you know if they get back to me.

What do you think?

Friday, June 21, 2013

7 STITCH Exhibit

I think I recently mentioned that I was thrilled that my quilt, Prayer at Sunset, was juried into the 7 STITCH: Contemporary Textile Art from Kentucky & the Surrounding States hosted at the Claypool-Young Art Gallery at Morehead State University. (Jane Dunnewold was the juror.) The exhibit is available through August 30. One of my friends got to go to the exhibit and snapped a few photos. She recently sent them to me, and I'd like to share them with you. These photos show pictures of my quilt at the exhibit.

This is my quilt!
This is my quilt hanging in the gallery!

This is my quilt beside Daren Pitts Redman's entry.

The next view shows some of the other pieces in the show.

You can see Daren's piece and my piece on the right-hand side. I know the piece on the far left belongs to Marti Plager from Louisville. Her piece is titled Bryce Remembered. I'm sorry to say I don't know whose piece is next to Marti's. I think there is a hand-made book on the stand in the foreground. I'm not sure; though, it is hard to see in this photo.

If you get a chance, head over to the Claypool-Young Art Gallery at Morehead State University, 108 Claypool-Young Art Bldg., Morehead, KY, to see more of the exhibit. If you have questions about the hours or location, contact Jennifer Reis, the gallery director. You can reach her at 606-783-5446 or at

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Batik Challenge

My guild recently decided to issue a batik "challenge." Those of us who decided to participate in the challenge were to use the collected batiks in a project of some sort. A spool pattern (passed out by the committee) could be used, but participants were encouraged to make whatever they wanted with the batiks. This are the blocks I have been working on.

These are four quilt-as-you-go blocks. I use the quilt-as-you-go method explained in tutorials on The Quilting Edge blog. I apologize for the color of the photo--the background is white not yellow! I will be quilting them next. I'm planning on sewing them together, one on top of the other, to make a long skinny table runner. I've been wanting to try these mosaic-tile-type blocks for awhile and thought this would be a good time to do that. I'll post the finished product (if I ever get it finished). Check out this blog post by Karen Griska showing her "Stamp Collection" Tile Quilt. It is posted here on her Selvage Blog.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Warning...Too Cute

In my last post I mentioned that I had gone to a retreat the previous weekend. I spent the majority of my time on making some gifts for kids. I got a panda bear "quilt" made and got most of a big daisy flower done. Here is the panda...

How cute is he? As you can see, I don't have all the edges clipped just yet. One of my friends informed me that they make scissors designed to do just that. I guess I'll have to borrow them. The bear is made of fleece which makes him very light and very fluffy. I have to say, though, that it was a real "bear" to put together. ;-) There are some places where I had to sew through eight layers of fleece. My machine just refused to do it. I finally resorted to sewing the last few seams by hand. I think it is as cute as can be, but I certainly won't be making another one.

As I said, I also worked on a large flannel flower rag quilt while I was at the retreat. I have nothing to show for that, though, because I didn't cut enough pieces before I left (and, of course, I didn't bring extra flannel with me). I have since cut the pieces out and hope I can get them put together soon. I'll post a picture when it is finished. I hope it sews a bit easier than that bear!

I had a couple of small tops already made; they just needed to be quilted and bound. They were made from patterns by Lori Smith. I got both of those little quilts finished.

Of course, there is a lot of visiting, eating, and shopping done at our retreats too--all of which I enjoy a little too much. I found some great buys at a local shop when we went shopping. I paid $11.80 for 8 3/4 yards of fabric! One of my favorite bargains was a bundle of 56 coordinating 10" X 15" pieces of fabric ($2). I'm thinking I may make a table runner or two out of those fabrics. In the picture below, you can see the "Grab 'N Go Kits" I purchased. They are made of felt, and I'll use them a little table toppers. The kit includes the backing, precut shapes, DMC floss, needle, Jingle Bells, buttons, etc., and I got them for 63% off. I thought these would be nice quick projects to grab since I'm on the go so much. I even got a craft-size Quilters Dream Poly for $2.50. The bargains were just too good to pass up! It is like I tell my husband, "I saved more than I spent!"

I was in Indianapolis this past weekend. I went up for my husband's surprise retirement dinner. Our son and daughter-in-law flew in from Arkansas, and our daughter and grandson came up from Otwell, Indiana. Nate had friends who flew in from Florida and Hawaii to attend. He was quite surprised and touched. It was really nice to get to spend some time with both of our children. That is a rare occurence these days. The next time we see my son will be when his baby daughter is born (supposed to be the end of July). We are SO looking forward to that. I made a little "tag blanket" and took that up to them. I'll post a pic of that next time. I'm just having so much fun making things for little girls.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Retreat Time!

I had the opportunity to attend a retreat with some friends this past weekend. We had such a good time. If you are interested in having a retreat and you are close enough to southern Indiana to have a retreat there, definitely check out this place. (Actually, the place is located approximately 30 minutes from Louisville, Kentucky.) Lora Nale has a great space for small overnight retreats. She can accommodate eight people comfortably and will take as few as six (maybe even four). There are four bedrooms, two baths, and a fully-equipped kitchen with a dining area. The sewing area is right next to the house and is a really nice space. The room is 30' X 40' with sixteen 6' tables with rolling office chairs. She provides irons and ironing boards, cutting tables, and electrical outlets at each station. She also provides tea, coffee, and ice. Her place is called Quilt Corner and is located at 18629 Gibson Hollow Road in Borden, Indiana. You can't beat the price--$40 for the first day and $20 for each additional night. You can contact her at While we were there, we made a lunch-time trip to Huber Winery and restaurant (not very far from the retreat location). I had never been there and enjoyed that very much. We ate lunch at the restaurant and went to a wine tasting before heading back to the retreat. They have a very nice selection of wines available for purchase.

We arrived and started sewing as soon as we got our cars unpacked. I find that I have trouble at retreats working on any of my "art" projects. When I'm working on my art pieces, I need to have my whole arsenal of fabrics handy. I'm not good at picking out what fabrics I MIGHT need to take along; I NEVER seem to have the fabric I need. I concentrated on making some Christmas gifts and finishing some little Lori Smith quilts. I even had time to do some handwork on a piece. Here are a few of the items other retreat participants made.

Debbie was very productive! These are a couple of charity quilt tops she made.

Ann P. enjoyed working on the machine applique for this piece once she discovered how much easier the applique was to do with an open-toe walking foot!

Nancy made a table runner and embellished several towels (among other things). She has become a "master" at machine applique!

Robin perservered in making this table topper even though the magazine pattern was incorrect. (I think she said she still wants to add a border to this one.)

Ann J. finished this little quilt and worked on lots of other really nice pieces.

I haven't taken pictures of the things I worked on. I'll save those for another post. Also, some of the retreat participants worked on BIG projects, and I didn't get pictures. I hate that I can't show you the beautiful pieces Marge, Jane, and Vicky worked on.

I can't tell you anything else about the retreat because...WHAT HAPPENS AT RETREAT STAYS AT RETREAT!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Packing and Program

It is an interesting thing to look back at one's artistic journey. I have had to do that this week, because I'm doing a program for the Picking Up the Pieces Quilt Guild near Memphis. I have been asked to talk about my journey from "traditional" quilting to "art" quilting.
I know the talks I like the most are talks that have a visual attached, so my program will be a trunk show of sorts. I have quilts to show from every aspect of my journey--large quilts, miniature quilts, seasonal quilts, hand-quilted quilts, machine quilted quilts, quilts made from patterns, and quilts made from my own designs. I have gone through many "phases" in my quilting journey.
I have two "big-ass" pieces of luggage that I can't really use any more (because of the 50-lb weight limit on planes). I decided to use them to pack up a bunch of quilts for the talk.
The luggage is packed full. The pink pillowcase is a large quilt; the plastic bag holds a framed piece. I hope the guild enjoys the "show."
I realize I have come a long way! I remember the point when I felt like quilting was no longer a challenge for me. I knew I could make any quilt from a pattern, and I was bored. So, I started to alter the patterns a bit. (I'm generally a rule follower, so changing a pattern was a pretty big deal for me.) After my initial tentativeness, I found that to be very freeing.
I still needed something more, though. About that time, I took a class from Kathy Loomis. I brought blocks I had made in a class I had taken with Margaret Miller. I HATED the blocks. In Kathy's class, she said to cut them up and make something I like. was like a light bulb went off. I could make something that no one had ever made before; I could make something of my own. That little quilt isn't my favorite design wise, but it is an important milestone in my journey.
About the same time, Kathy invited me and some of my friends to a LAFTA meeting. LAFTA (Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists) struck a chord with me. At first, I was totally intimidated at the meetings; calling myself an artist was just beyond me. As time went on, I became a bit more brave. I took some of the classes offered by LAFTA and enrolled in a 2-year Advanced Independent Study workshop with Jane Dunnewold. I even entered a couple of pieces into the annual juried LAFTA show. Both were accepted, and I was TOTALLY shocked! Since that time, I have entered several other shows and have had pieces accepted into most of them. I have learned to not take it personally whenever a piece isn't juried into a show and to not let that keep me from entering others. I think the biggest thing I have learned is that it is REALLY hard work to be an artist, but I won't let that deter me.
I'm thankful for the people who have been supportive along the way, and I'm thankful for the encouragement and inspiration I've received from other fiber artists. I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go on this journey, but I'm finding it to be just what I need at this time in my life.
(Since I wrote this post, I have given the talk to the PUP's quilt guild. I had a GREAT time and hope the guild enjoyed the program as much as I enjoyed doing it. I have received very nice emails from several of the members for which I'm very appreciative. I'll be writing a post about it at a later time. I hope to be able to show some pics from the program (if I can get them).)