Saturday, November 22, 2014

Update on My Hexie Project

After my recent post on preparing "tons" of hexies for my current project, I got some questions about the piece on which I'm working. I realized that it has been awhile since I've shown a "progress picture." This project is taking SO long I'm thinking of calling it "What Was She Thinking!" I'm also having some reservations about ever finishing it because of the pain I'm experiencing in my right hand. There is A LOT of intense hand stitching on a piece like this. I HAVE cut down on the time I spend stitching, but that has not seemed to help. Anyway, here is my latest picture of the piece. (For perspective, one side of the hexies measures 1/2 inch.)

The top part of the piece is being stitched in rows. The center part of the piece is where I started, but I realized I absolutely could not keep my place in the pattern I'd drawn up stitching the hexagons together in the "traditional" way. The center of the bottom piece of this "puzzle" is the halfway point in this project. I have a LONG way to go.

I must say, though, that I really like have a portable project since my husband and I travel so much. I can easily work on basting the hexagons to the paper template while traveling. These different colored, basted hexies provide me with the bits of color I need to make the piece. It takes 70+ hexagons for each row, which is one of the MANY reasons this piece is taking SO long.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Portable Design Wall

My friend owns a retreat center; and at a recent retreat, one of the participants had a portable design wall. My friend loved it and made several for her retreat center. She showed me the finished product, and I decided I had to make one. This would be a great thing to take along to a retreat, because it becomes very portable when folded.

These are the supplies you'll need:

  1. A pattern cutting board (also called a "Kraft Board")--The one I bought measures 39 3/4" X 71 3/4" (folded--12" X 39 3/4") and is made by Dritz. (I used a 60% off coupon at Joann's, so the price was really reasonable.)
  2. Two telescoping curtain rods--Don't use cheap curtain rods; these are used to stabilize the board. The rods will need to expand to at least 72".
  3. Packing tape
  4. "Bulldog" clips (10 or 12)
  5. Flannel--I bought 2 1/3 yards to be sure I'd have enough to cover the board.

The next step is to tape the flannel to the board. (I used packing tape, but I imagine there are several other kinds of tape that would work.) I originally thought I would put the flannel against the side of the board that has the markings, thinking I could see the markings through the flannel and use them as a guide. Then I decided to use the plain side, so I could fold the flannel to the inside when transporting. I figured it would stay cleaner that way.

Next, I clipped the curtain rods to the sides of the board. I found that the easiest way for me to do that was to lay the board down and put the curtain rods on top. I propped the board against the wall, so I could get better pictures. As you can see, the rod is clipped against the back of the board

Fill in clips all the way down each side.

Here is the finished design wall. As you can see, I used 10 clips, and it is very stable.

I just thought this was such a good idea. After seeing the one my friend had made and figuring out the best way for me to do it, one of my friends told me she found it on Pinterest. I should have known!!! You can check out (what I think to be) the original source for this project here--

I'll be making a simple carrying bag for this and taking it to my next retreat. you think this is as cool as I do?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How Many Hexagons Does It Take?

I'm STILL working on my "extreme" hexagon project. It is one of those "what-was-I-thinking" kind of projects. This is what I've been working on for the last few days. I have been doing A LOT of traveling; this goes EVERYWHERE with me. (I'm at the beauty shop right, and it is with me now.) For the number of hours I've worked on this, it doesn't look like much.

What are you all doing? Now that some cold weather is here, will you be doing more cutting, piecing, and quilting?

Over the weekend, a friend showed me how to make a great portable design wall. It is the coolest thing. I bought all the supplies, and I'll be working on making it this afternoon. I'll take pictures along the way; you'll want to make one! I'll blog about it as soon as I get a chance, so check back.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fabulous Fibers II

I'm excited to report that I have been asked to participate in a fiber art exhibit at the John James Audubon Museum in Henderson, Kentucky. I had the opportunity to show several of my pieces as this is a large exhibition area; however, I already have a previous committment of most of my work. The time for my trunk show and lecture to a Florida guild in January overlaps with this event. Since my lecture and correspondng trunk show are about my journey from being strictly a traditional quilter to an art quilter, I feel like I need to have several "art" pieces to show; and since each piece of my work takes such a long time, I don't have a whole lot of inventory. So...I only have three pieces in the Fabulous Fibers exhibit. Two of the pieces haven't been shown anywhere before. (Both of the new ones are shown on this "email invitation.")

If you get a chance to see this exhibit, it should be a good one. All the artists showing work with mine are fabulous artists. I feel honored to have some of my work included with theirs. More information about the exhibit is shown below.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Do You Need Permission? Chihuly in Fiber

We are currently in Colorado for a fall vacation. (By the way, this is a great time of year for a vacation!) Yesterday, we spent the morning at the botanical gardens in Denver. Dale Chihuly currently has an exhibition of the Garden Cycle, a series of garden exhibitions that began in 2001. The exhibit lasts through November 30, 2014, if you have a chance to visit.

I am ALWAYS inspired by Chihuly's work--the colors and the shapes. I particularly love his work against garden and water backdrops. My favorite is this boat.

I love the reflection of the glass orbs in the water.
Now, here is my question--where does being inspired by a piece and copying a piece (albeit in a totally different medium) begin? Case in point--"Chihuly's Gondola" by Melissa Sobotka. The picture below is of a piece of fiber art.
According to the Houston Chronical, Melissa Sobotka won the Handi Quilter Best of Show award at Houston in 2013- a $10,000 prize - for a quilt she named "Chihuly's Gondola." She "calls her quilt "art reflecting art" because it depicts a Dale Chihuly work she saw at the Dallas Arboretum in 2012. "It's my reflections on his artwork - my interpretations of his art," she said. In her quilt, which measures 79 by 41 inches, a small boat nearly overflows with brightly colored blown-glass balls that gleam in the light like oversized marbles. Chihuly, a masterful glass sculptor, has created several of these "Float Boat" pieces, filling small wooden boats with blown glass."

On her website, she does say the work was inspired by Chihuly, but she does not say she has his permission to recreate his work in her chosen medium. If permission hasn't been given by the original artist, is "saying" the work was "inspired by" that artist enough? Opinions? I'm curious.



Friday, October 3, 2014

Quilt Hugs and Kandinsky

Sometimes a simple quilt can give a hug when you can't be there.

My little granddaughter kept her new quilt close by when she got home and took it along with her to the hospital when she had her tonsils taken out.

I just got back from Nashville where my husband and I went to this exhibit at the Frist--it is a "MUST-SEE." There are more Kandinsky pieces here than I have ever seen in one place. Viewing his art in person literally brings me to tears. Thank you Sharon for bringing this exhibit to my attention. If you can manage a trip to Nashville, Tennessee before January 4, PLEASE go to this exhibit. It is FABULOUS!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Some Great News and BOM--Penguin Blocks

I received some very exciting news today--one of my pieces was juried in as a finalist in Infinity Gallery's on-line 2014 Fiber Art exhibition. It wasn't chosen for an award, but I'm thrilled to be included in this exhibit. If you'd like to take a look at the show, check it out here: Infinity Gallery 2014 Fiber Art Exhibit.

Now, on to some "traditional" work. I was a block behind on my "Penguin Cheer" blocks, so I got busy yesterday and finished the block for last month and this month. Here they are.

Block for August

Block for September

I even got the stitching around the fusible appliques finished. I must confess that I DID have to paint the bow on the green package. I thought using a satin stitch in turquoise to outline the bow would make it stand out, but the fabric I originally chose still didn't show up enough against the green batik. I ended up using fabric paint to make it darker; I like it much better now. If you'd like to check out the Penguin Cheer BOM, click on the link.

I'm still working on two "art" pieces, but it is SLOW going. Both are hand stitched, so they will take a lot of time to finish. I will take some pics later as there isn't much to show you right now.


Friday, September 12, 2014

"Quick" Quilts with My Sister

My sister, Pam, came for a visit this week. She IS NOT a quilter, but she does do some sewing. I had purchased two color ways of some really cute kids fabric--"Meet The Gang" by Marisa and Creative Thursday for Andover Fabrics. I thought we could have some bonding time in my studio while making simple "drag-around" quilts for the little girls in our lives. The last time she visited (and we had time) we worked on dinosaur tails for her grandsons. They turned out REALLY cute. You can see them here--dinosaur tails. This time, we concentrated on making quilts for her granddaughters. Here is a really simple way to make a fast quilt.

First, here is what they look like...

That's Pam with her finished quilts.

For the top (larger) one, we cut the main fabric approximately 44" by the width of the fabric (approximately 44"). We added a strip of coordinating fabric on the top and bottom. We cut the strip as wide as the widest band in the printed fabric. For the bottom one, we simply cut the main fabric approximately 37" by the width of the fabric. We finished the quilts off with an "envelope" turn--no binding. (We used a walking/evenfeed foot for all steps requiring sewing/quilting.) The final sizes of the quilts ended up 43" X 53" for the larger quilt and 36" X 42 1/2" for the smaller quilt.


(This is just the way we did it. Of course, you can do it however you wish!)

  1. Stack the fabrics and batting in this order--batting first, backing (face up), top (face down).
  2. Pin around the outside edge to hold all pieces together.
  3. Sew around all four sides using a 1/2" seam allowance leaving about 6-8 inches open to be used for turning the quilt right side out.
  4. Trim any excess material off the edges and cut excess fabric from the corners to reduce the bulk.
  5. Reach in and turn the quilt right side out. Poke out corners being careful not to poke a hole there.
  6. Iron the edges so the seam lies on the edge of the quilt. Iron the seam allowances under where you left the opening for turning.
  7. Pin the opening shut.
  8. Sew around the outside of the quilt a 1/4" from the edge. (Use a coordinating machine quilting thread). This step will make the edges flatter and will close the opening you left for turning.
  9. Using basting pins (bent safety pins), baste the three layers together. (Don't place pins too close to where you will be quilting. We found this step helped to keep the layers from shifting while machine quilting.)
  10. Quilt a straight line along the bands of the quilt top. (We used polyester batting, so we didn't have to quilt too closely. Of course, you can use any batt you want and quilt this any way you wish. This was, by far, the easiest quilting we could do. It was great for Pam since she is a beginner and had never machine quilted before. She had great, "quick" success, so I'm hoping we can tackle more quilting projects in the future.)

It was so nice to be able to share something I love to do with someone I love. We REALLY had a good time; I hated for it to end. What have you been up to?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What Great Quilty Gifts and More

...and the birthday celebration continues...

My birthday was August 19th, but the celebration just keeps going. I LOVE IT! I received gifts and cards in the mail before and after my birthday. My husband and I went on a vacation during the week of my birthday. My son and his family had a birthday celebration for me (in Arkansas) last weekend. My daughter brought a cake and gift the weekend after my birthday. Today, in the mail, I received a gift from my niece Wendy. Later this month my husband is taking me to a Kandinsky exhibit at the Frist Museum in Nashville, TN, as my final birthday gift. (If you know me very well, you know Kandinsky is my favorite artist. My friend Sharon sent me the info about this exhibit. Thanks so much Sharon!) All these people know me pretty darn well.

Wendy combined my love of all things fiber with my love of wine. I can't wait to try these out!

My daughter got this book for me. I absolutely LOVE it--so many things I want to try.

My grandchildren call me "Mimi," and my son and his family did a family project to make me a tie-dyed tote and apron. I LOVE the colors. The apron is SO pretty that I hate to get it dirty in my studio. I'd use it when I cook, but that doesn't happen very often any more. :)

My friend, Robin, got me a book from my "Wish List" and lots of other great gifts. (I only took pics of those that were handy.)

My sister and son got me things for my "girly" side--flowers and perfume.

Aren't flowers wonderful. I LOVE these bouquets that have lots of color and all kinds of different flowers.

I LOVE this perfume and have wanted it since trying it for the first time on a trip to Boston a couple of years ago.

How wonderful it is to be so blessed!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

There is Nothing as Sweet as a Little Retreat

Some of my friends and I got together for a little retreat time away from home. I got to spend three days sewing--a reprieve from the handwork I'm doing on my latest "extreme embroidery" piece. I didn't work on any "art" type work; I simply pieced. I decided to bring my Featherweight machine to use rather than one of my bigger machines I always use. I had forgotten what a pleasure it is to use a simple machine. I just love the sound of that little Featherweight. Anyway, I finished my Country Threads block of the month for last month, I made more than 40 blocks for my kids' quilts (kids' charity quilts and quilts for the grandchildren), and I finished a nice size throw. Here are some of my kids' quilt blocks.

I LOVE the bright colors and cheerful feel of these blocks. They are SO much fun to make; it is hard to stop making them once you get on a roll. I haven't decided how I will put them together yet. Maybe I'll save that for another retreat.

I did get a few pictures of some of the things the other retreat attendees worked on. Donna is a "get her done" kind of gal. I've heard her describe her sewing/quilting style as "down and dirty." She makes quilts that will be used and loved (and she always wants to make them fast). She made five kids/charity quilts using the "Disappearing Nine Patch" method. (I'm showing you two of those, but that isn't nearly all she got done!) Cutting her pieces from fat quarters, she used a 17" square ruler to cut BIG squares and made a huge nine-patch block. She then cut up the block, sewed it back together, and voila...

quick and easy quilt tops.

Robin worked on (and finished the top for) this quilt top while she was there.

I love the quirky trails in this quilt.

Everyone else at the retreat got lots done too. I "fell asleep at the wheel" and didn't get pictures of anything else. I'll try to do better next time. I just LOVE going on quilting retreats. Spending time with people you really like doing something you love to do is just the best!

I have one more thing to share. I have a fiber piece in the 21st Annual Juried Art Exhibition at the Jasper Arts Center (in Jasper, IN). The exhibition runs from September 3-28, 2014, at Krempp Gallery (951 College Avenue in Jasper). You can read more about the show at The exhibition is open Mon and Fri from 8:30 am-5 pm, Thursdays from 8:30 am-7 pm, and Sundays from noon-3 pm. The opening reception is from 5-8 pm on September 4, 2014, if you'd like to come by. I'd love to see some of my friends there (and there are refreshments and a cash bar). If you can't come to the reception, come on by another time and check it out.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Fiber Fever

I recently had the opportunity to view the current fiber exhibit, Fiber Fever, at the Foundry Art Centre in Saint Charles, Missouri. The show runs from August 8, 2014-September 19, 2014. The variety in the entries makes the exhibit VERY interesting. There is everything from quilts, pieces that include stitching on paper, and tapestries, to woven electrical cords. It is well worth a visit to see it if you are anywhere near the area. Saint Charles is a fun little town (and you are REALLY close to St. Louis); you might want to make this a destination for a trip.

Here are a few of my favorites. There is LOTS more to see if you get a chance to go.

This is a piece called "Buckets of Unfinished Business" and is made of loom woven recycled felt, acrylic paint, and forged steel. It is made by Priscilla Roggenkamp and Keith McMahon. I love the subtle colors and texture.

This is made of twisted coated copper wire and is called "Light." The piece is made by Nancy Koenigsberg. I was drawn to this because of the way it seemed to glow from within.

I am REALLY into hand stitching and all kinds of embroidery these days. This piece, by Candace Hicks, is called "String Theory Volume III." It actually looks like paper with handwriting on it, but it is fabric made to look like pages in a notebook. The "handwriting" is hand embroidery. I certainly appreciate the time it takes to make something like this. You could actually touch and turn the pages of this piece (with the provided white gloves, of course).

This canopy, by Susan Lenz, was spectacular. I loved the way the light reflected down through all the different fabrics of the piece.

Kelly Kozma's "So Many People in the Neighborhood" is made of embroidery thread, colored pencil, graphite, collage, latex paint, textured metallic paint, and gloss on paper. The colors in this piece really pop.

If you would like more information on the exhibit or on The Foundry, click here. You might also check out my little "blurb" about the exhibit in the "Upcoming Quilting/Fiber Arts Events" category to the right of this post. If you would like more information on Saint Charles, click here. I hope you get the opportunity to see this exhibit in person. If you are a person who loves fiber art, you know that pictures just don't do the pieces justice. You really need to see them "up close and personal."


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Penguin Cheer, My Granddaughter, and A Fairy Garden

This weekend I have been busy working on a couple of my blocks of the month. I did finish my new Penguin Cheer block.

It is nice to take a little time from "serious work" to do something fun.

I got a little behind on my Country Threads block of the month blocks. This weekend, I worked on last month's blocks and this month's blocks. I haven't gotten them all finished yet. I'll take a picture of them when they are done.

I have also had company and have done some traveling. The first week in July, I had company and went from home (in southern Indiana) to drop my friend off at the airport in Nashville, Tennessee. From there, I went to my sister's house in Memphis. We both traveled to my son's house in FAR western Arkansas. We had such fun visiting my little granddaughter.

She turns one on July 23rd. I just can't get enough of her! Then it was back to Memphis for us. After a couple of days, I went back home to Indiana. It was wonderful to visit with my friend of over 36 years (Irene) and to spend time with my sister. While at my sister's, she made a terrarium (a little fairy garden) for me.

I just love it. I know you can't see everything from the picture, but there is a little "Home Sweet Home" rock beside the door of the house, a little teeter totter with a frog and turtle on it, a couple of birds, a turtle, a mushroom, some teeny tiny terra cotta pots, and lots of moss and plants. I'm just hoping I can keep the plants alive.

Needless to say, I haven't gotten as much work in the studio done as I would like. I am diligently working on my "extreme embroidery" piece and have even made a few hexagons for my hexagon quilt. I must say, though, that my right hand has enjoyed the time off from hand stitching. I have been having some pain and purchased a brace for my hand (which I wore while I did all that driving). Between the brace and the time off, my hand has felt pretty good; and stitching hasn't seemed to bother it the last few days!!! Yeah!!!



Thursday, July 3, 2014

SAQA (Indiana) Meeting

I had the opportunity to attend a meeting with several members of the Indiana division of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates). Cathy Franks was kind enough to host the meeting at her beautiful home. A big plus to that was that we also got a tour of her studio.

The program consisted of several members presenting surface design products and tools with which they are familar. We saw presentations on Versatex screenprinting inks, extenders, and Thermofax screens by Judy Ireland. Mary Jane Keys showed us some of her batiks and discussed batik waxes, dyes, and tools. Kate Lenkowsky discussed block printing inks, Blick's Golden Cut "linoleum" for relief printing, cutting tools, and Golden varnishes with ultra violet light stabilizers. Cathy Franks showed us how she uses breakdown printing with Procion dyes and Jacquard's pearl powdered pigments.

I didn't even think about taking pictures until I saw someone else doing it. (Duh!) When I finally "got on the bandwagon," I took pictures of a couple of the presentations and of Cathy's studio.

Barbara Triscari showed us how she uses Tsukineko and printer cartridge inks and iron powder.

Mary Ann Vansoest showed several ways to finish fiber art work including the use of stretcher bars and gallery wrapped canvases rather than a binding or facing.

At the end of the meeting, we got a tour of Cathy's studio. She has LOTS of thread--stored vertically...

and horizontally.

These two pictures show just a SMALL portion of her thread stash! (Cathy does long-arm quilting and a lot of thread painting.)

She also has a really nice fabric stash and big cutting station. She uses old chest of drawers for her cutting table base. She stores thread in the drawers. She covers her fabric with the white curtains to protect it from the light.

Here is another view of her studio. As you can see, Cathy has won numerous awards. (That's Cathy in the blue shirt.)

It was SO nice to spend time with these talented artists. I really enjoyed the day and wish to thank Kate for organizing the meeting and Cathy for hosting.