Thursday, May 4, 2017

Paducah 2017--NOT Losers

Paducah is one of those quilt shows where you are a winner just by being juried into the show. I tend to take pictures of quilts that didn't win awards at the show. I figure everyone will see all the winners numerous times in magazines and at other shows. There were LOTS of quilts that did not win awards that I thought were fabulous. If you have been to the show at Paducah, you will know that getting good pictures is VERY difficult because of the angle at which some of the quilts are hung. I apologize up for that up front. Also, if the tag is visible in the picture it includes the name of the quilt, the maker, and the city and state in which the maker lives. You can enlarge the pics to see any of those more closely. Generally, the full quilt is pictured on the left; the detail picture is on the right.
The machine quilting on this quilt is fabulous (as you can see). It makes this relatively simple quilt spectacular. The same is true of the next couple of quilts.
In this last picture, all the circles and flowers you see are quilted--the colored quilting makes the design in the background.
The circular quilting designs in this quilt definitely enhance the piecing.
The top left picture is of the full quilt. The other two sections are detail shots of the quilting. Although the quilting is spectacular, it really doesn't change the look of the quilt itself.
I really liked this quilt. I think the orange dots drew me in. (Orange is my favorite color you know.)
I'm a cat lover, so this quilt was definitely one of my favorites. The thread work on the cat made it look like you could pet it. The fur looked SO real; I could almost hear him/her purr.
I liked the unusual colors and geometric nature of this quilt.
I really liked the vibrant colors of this quilt.
I LOVE this saying, "Art does not have to match your sofa!" Many traditional quilters (and others) don't understand the concept that art doesn't HAVE to match ANYTHING. I have actually had more than one person say (about a piece of art I had made), "That doesn't go with the colors in your house. What are you going to do with it?" I think I replied with something like, "Well, I doubt if Picasso worried about whether his art matched his sofa!" (Insert smiley face here.)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Show & Tell--Paducah Spring 2017

One of the things I look forward to the most when my friends and I attend a quilt show is the "show & tell" after we get back to the hotel. We "show & tell" all our purchases with each other. It is always fun to see what different things we have found. I'm amazed by the things my friends purchased that I didn't even see. How did I miss them? Usually, we have to go back to the show the next day to pick up some of those things we missed. This year I didn't buy much. I really didn't buy anything I'm excited about. Part of the problem is that "I have it all." Well, not really; but if you'd look at my studio, you might think I do. I bought things I needed for my sit-down long-arm machine and a few other things.
I know, this is kind of sad for a "show & tell" isn't it. Let me tell you about what I bought. 
  • Beginning from the left-hand side, you'll see a "buggy" fat quarter. I thought I might be able to use that for some interesting fussy-cut hexies. 
  • Above that are some "silk cloud minis"--silk waste yarn--that I will use for my extreme embroidery pieces. 
  • On top you can see a Quilt Pounce containing pounce powder that irons off. I'm planning on using it with stencils I have purchased to mark quilting designs on my quilts. It doesn't come off until it comes into contact with heat. 
  • As I said, I bought a few things for my sit-down long-arm sewing machine--oil, a bottle with a really sharp applicator for oil, needles, and bobbins. 
  • I got some REALLY cute tiny scissors. The little lime green pair you see at the top has an attached blade cover which is so nice. I already have a yellow pair just like this and LOVE them (and they are REALLY inexpensive). You can never have too many scissors! If you know me, you know I love orange. I couldn't resist the little orange-handled scissors you see. 
  • Last, I bought some back issues of Simply Moderne magazine. I think that is my very favorite magazine. It is expensive, but I think it is worth it.
Wouldn't you know, as soon as I took the above picture, I emptied another bag and found yet another purchase.
This is a small rotating cutting mat recommended by Sue Daley. She has several hexie tutorials on line and uses this mat when she is rotary cutting the pieces for her blocks. I just purchased a new hexagon book and am going to give this mat a try. I did make a purchase I'm excited about from Massdrop. I ordered the entire set of acrylic templates and paper pieces for The New Hexagon book by Katja Marek. (It hasn't come in yet but is on its way; otherwise I would have shown you a pic.) I want to try my hand at fussy cutting the fabric for the blocks in the book. Now I'm thinking I want to order the "add-on" acrylic templates and paper pieces to do The New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt Along Katja is running on her site. If you might be interested in this too, go to the Massdrop link here. Once you get to the "Inactive Drop" page, click on the "Requested" button" to show your interest in a "drop" for those products. Clicking DOES NOT commit you to buying; it just shows that you are interested. If there is enough interest (i.e. enough requests), Massdrop will create a "drop" for the products and let you know when the "drop" for the requested products occur. Once you see the price, you can then decide if you are interested or not. The more people that are interested, the more likely they will have a "drop" for those products.  If you can't tell, I LOVE EPP (English Paper Piecing). What about you?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

SAQA Exhibit in Paducah--Made in Europe

This year (2017) the Paducah School of Art and Design is hosting the SAQA Exhibit called Made in Europe. It is an exhibition of 30 art quilts from makers in the Studio Art Quilt Association (SAQA) European and Middle Eastern Region. The exhibit is in the Bill Ford Gallery within the PSAD's 2D and Graphic Design Building at 905 Harrison Street, is free, open to the public, and runs through May 18. Here are some of my favorites. (I'll list the title and maker in the narrative unless it is visible in the photo.)
(The left picture is the whole quilt; the photo on the right is a detail shot.) This quilt is called Fire and Ice (28" X 39") and is made by Maryte Collard from Lithuania. I like this one because of its graphic nature and hand stitching. I also like the color combination and work in those colors quite often myself.


(Again, the left picture is the whole quilt; the right is a detail shot. I'll post like that for all the photos unless I tell you otherwise.) This quilt is called Castelluccio--The Ghost Town (39" X 39") by DAMSS D. Arnoldi & M. Sarzi-Sartori from Italy. This is a VERY textural piece. It really reminds me of my trip to Italy a few years ago. I love those Tuscan colors.
This quilt (30" X 51") from Germany by Uta Lenk was intriguing to me because of a quilt I just finished on which I machine quilted several quotes. I know how difficult that was, so I could really appreciate the work that went into this quilt. Each letter has been (what looked like to me) free-hand machine embroidered onto the fabric. (You can see that on the inset detail shot.) The texture was REALLY nice.
I liked Troubled Waters (26" X 57") by Frieda Oxenham, United Kingdom, because of the handwork and beading. You can see that in the closeup shot. I also liked the flow of the pieces across the quilt. These peaceful water colors are more my sister's preference; she is an Aquarius. I, on the other hand, prefer the hot, hot red and orange fire-sign colors; I'm a Leo. 
This quilt, Black Sun (37" X 52") by Karin Ostergaard from Denmark, caught my eye because of the hand stitching at the top of the quilt. If you look closely you will see black stitching that represents those "clouds" of birds that morph into different shapes in the sky. I am ALWAYS amazed and fascinated when I have the privilege of seeing it. I also liked the subtle shapes of the birds and circles in the quilting around the large grasses in the bottom right of the quilt (and bottom right pic). I could almost imagine those "clouds" of birds moving and morphing as I looked at this quilt.
One Day (28" X 55") was made by Sandra Newton from the United Kingdom. This is another one of those quilts containing words. I am really drawn to text on quilts.  I don't know about you, but I really think that fiber art shows--quilt shows in particular--miss a really unique opportunity when the story of the piece is omitted. Case in point--the quilt above. I'd LOVE to know the maker's story of this quilt; I'm sure there is one. Don't you wonder what it means? I know I would enjoy the piece more if I knew.  I've heard fiber artists and gallery reps say things like, "Adding the story of the piece would not allow the viewer to interpret the piece the way they want to. It would give them "too much" information." Well, I (personally) don't think it takes anything away from the art to know the story. I go to museums and get the headsets so I can hear the "story" of the "fine art" paintings there. I find I have a better appreciation for and better understanding of the piece when I know more about it. I think the same would be true of quilts. My next post will include pictures from the show itself. I try to take pictures of quilts that did not win awards but are spectacular (or draw me in for some reason). I figure you'll see pictures of the winners in blogs, magazines, classes, TV, etc. I'm also going to have a "show & tell" of my purchases at the show. Check back.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lions, Elephants, and Dogs--Oh My!

I just got back from the AQS Show in Paducah, KY. I am a Leo, so I'm REALLY drawn to anything lion. The Cherrywood Challenge 2016: The Lion King was at the show this year. All of the lion quilts in this exhibit were gorgeous. There were 120 quilts celebrating the 20th Anniverary of the Lion King in the display. Here are a few of my favorites (mostly lions) from the exhibit. The lion on the top left and right are the same lion. The right is a detail shot; it was spectacular.
(The lion on the right in the pic below is a repeat, but I guess that's okay--it was my favorite of the exhibit.)
Since most of the quilts I've shared so far are animal quilts, I'll show you the two animal quilts from the show that I really liked. The first is an elephant quilt (by Elizabeth Owens) called The Elephant in the Quilt Room." What a great use of homespun fabrics! The judges must have liked it too; it got a 3rd place ribbon.
The other "animal" quilt I liked in the show was this dog quilt by Elaine Wick Poplin called Linus. I really like the way she pieced the background, and the fabrics she chose for the dog were very well placed. The dog looked soft--almost like you could pet it.
I have a few other things I'd like to share with you from the show. The first is the SAQA "Made in Europe" exhibit. The exhibit itself includes 30 art quilts from makers in the SAQA Europe and ME region. These quilts celebrate geographical features of the region. Lastly, I'd like to share some of my favorites from the show itself. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Traveling Hexies

My husband and I recently made a trip to Colorado for a memorial for our nephew who passed away unexpectedly. Danny always loved my quilts. When we visited his home before the memorial, I noticed one of my wall hangings on display in the dining room. He was a very special person and will be missed.

To get to the memorial, we were in a car for 17 hours. Of course, it took another 17 hours to get back home. That gave me plenty of time to do some handwork, and I decided to work on my hexies. This is what I got finished while we were gone. 
I got lots of hexies basted, and I got this section put together. (It would have been a "totally finished" section if I had brought all my maroon hexies with me, but I ran out.)

Because I am on the road all the time (it seems), I have had to find a good way to work on my hexies in the car (when I don't have to drive, LOL). I want to share my travel sewing setup with you.
I use a metal sheet (a 9” X 12” magnetic bulletin board) with REALLY strong magnets which I had to purchase separately. (I found the same brand magnetic board that I own on-line. I didn’t find a 9” X 12” board, but they do offer a 12” X 12” board in several colors and they INCLUDE the really strong magnets. You can check out that board here.) This is what mine looks like.
I use Altoid tins to hold the pieces I am basting. The tins work perfectly for the little pieces I'm currently working on—1/2” hexies. I also use another tin to hold my tiny scissors, a pin cushion, needles, thimble and my thread. I use a big felt ball to store the appliqué pins I use to hold the basting papers to my fabric. The strong magnets keep the tins from sliding around. The magnets also hold my scissors and needle when I put them down so they never get lost in the car.  

When I’m working on sewing hexies together (as you can see in the top picture), I use small plastic boxes I purchased (from an automotive department) to hold my pieces. They work well with the magnets on my metal sheet because they have metal closing clasps. (If you look closely, you can see the clasp "attached" to the magnets.) Those metal clasps stick to the magnets and hold those boxes in place. I also use the magnets to hold my pattern piece to the metal sheet and to hold an index card on the pattern to keep my place.
I keep the metal sheet inside a zippered notebook cover which protects my pattern, keeps my magnets all in place, and holds the piece on which I’m working.
I hope you can use some of these ideas to make sewing on the go a bit easier for you. It is amazing how much you can get done while you are out and about.    

I have been thinking about what name I want to give my hexie quilt. I think I’ll name it “Danny Boy” in honor of our nephew. I think he would like that.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Update on Extreme Embroidery Workshop

I recently taught a workshop on my "Extreme Embroidery" technique for Louisville Fiber and Textile Artists. I did a post on that here and here. Some of my "students" have done more work on their pieces and gave me permission to share those pieces with you. Marliese has completed two pieces (which you can see in the second post link above). She has since added to one of those pieces. Here is her piece
and here is part of her addition...
She has different layouts.
Which do you like best? Kathy made a piece that she mounted onto a canvas. Her piece sold at Pyro Gallery in Louisville. Kathy wrote a blog post about it here.
I'm REALLY proud of what has been done so far and hope to show you more from some of the other participants at a later date. If you'd like to learn Extreme Embroidery, I'd be happy to teach a workshop for your group or guild.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

GREAT English Paper Piecing Book

First, let me say I am NOT being paid for this book review. I am just one REALLY happy customer.  I LOVE books. I have an extensive collection of books on art quilts, artists, embroidery, piecing, painting, Zentangles, English Paper Piecing, doodling, drawing, creativity, and more. My latest book purchase in All Points Patchwork, English Paper Piecing Beyond the Hexagon for Quilts & Small Projects by Diane Gilleland. Wow, wow, wow, this is a fabulous book. If you are interested in EPP in any way, this book is for you. I feel like I am pretty experienced in EPP, and I LOVE this book. 
It includes the obligatory chapters on tools/materials and basic techniques, but what I really like are the chapters on Building Your Own EPP Patterns and chapters on each of the shapes--hexagons, diamonds and jewels, triangles and tumblers, octagons and pentagons, and curved shaped. There are also photos of "Project Inspirations"--illustrating ways to use EPP motifs. This is NOT a pattern book; it IS a GREAT resource. If you are not sure how to join any two shapes of pieces together, this book will tell you how. If you want to draft a shape, this book will tell you how. If you want to design your own blocks, this book will tell you how.  I have primarily worked with EPP hexagons and am now interested in branching out to other shapes. I think this book will be an invaluable resource for me (and maybe for you too). It is available in many places, but it is a steal on Amazon for $12.87 (as of the time of this posting). Check it out here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Some Extreme Embroidery and a Mini-Retreat

One of the students from the "Extreme Embroidery" workshop I taught to a group of LAFTA (Louisville Fiber and Textile Artists) members a couple of weeks ago sent me pictures of the work she has completed. I thought I'd share those with you. A couple of people asked to actually SEE some of the pins as my pictures of the workshop didn't get detailed enough for those to be seen. 
All of the students drew up the design for a pin they wanted to work on. This is the pin Marliese started in class. She finished it before the week was up. Since that time, she has finished another one.
This, too, is an original design. I hope I get to see some of the other pins (and more of Marliese's) or little pieces of art the other students finish, and I hope to share some more with you. This week has been a stretch of intense work for me and a friend of mine. Daren joined me and we each worked on our own projects in my studio. She had some deadline work to get finished along with a quilt of her own she wanted to piece. I took a few pics.
This is Daren working on a piece for an upcoming exhibit. She hand dyes ALL the fabric she works with. In this pic she is "testing" out fabrics for a design she has in mind.
This is what it looked like when she finished it. (Notice she changed the orientation of the work.) She brought this piece down to finish the facing and sew on a sleeve. She gave me permission to show it to you.
I'm STILL working on my small flag quilt. (I don't work NEARLY as fast as Daren!) I finished appliquéing the stars onto it, tore all the stabilizer off the back, and started working on the quilting design.
Of course, we spent a little time hitting a couple of my favorite eating places while she was here. We went the Schnitzelbank and to the Chicken Place. She (and I) enjoyed the German food and the friend chicken. Real life sets back in tomorrow. I have to go back to cooking, cleaning, laundry, babysitting, etc. I wonder when I'll get back to the flag.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Virtual Retreat #1 and #3

I am participating in two "virtual retreats" this weekend. The PUPs guild in Tennessee is having their first "virtual retreat," and the Patoka Valley Quilters Guild is having their third. I run the retreat for the Patoka Valley Guild and shared the idea with my friend who runs the Facebook page for the guild in TN.  It has been fortunate for me the two virtual retreats overlap. It is like getting dual credit!

If you don't know, a "virtual retreat" is a time set aside to sew/quilt/stitch etc. No one has to pack anything up or schlep anything anywhere. Everyone works from their own homes but keeps in touch through the guild's page on Facebook. We all try to get all our cleaning, laundry, cooking, running, etc. done BEFORE the retreat starts, so we have uninterrupted sewing time.

Some people took the opportunity to set up new sewing rooms, clean old ones, go through boxes and bags to organize sewing purchases, hand stitch, machine piece, machine quilt, cut out new projects, and finish old ones. Some participants from my Tennessee guild even posted video tours of their studios and sewing spaces. It was really fun to see where people work.

The retreats have been a nice way to "visit" with each other, and it gave many of us that little nudge we needed to get busy on something we had been putting off (or didn't have time to work on previously). My Tennessee guild has many more people who are active on Facebook than my Indiana guild and had many more participants. Those of us from the IN guild, though, that ARE actually playing along are having fun. (The Indiana retreat doesn't end until midnight on Monday; the Tennessee retreat ends today at 6 p.m.)

There is a call for entry for a show called Threads of Resistance. I have been mulling it over in my mind and have decided to work on a flag project during these "virtual retreats." I had to make a smaller version than I really wanted to because of the size requirements for the show, but I really like the way it turned out. I went ahead and made a small and large version of the flag. I don't have all the stars on them yet; I'll be working on that later. Did you know you can Google how big to make the stars in proportion to the flag you are making? My friend, Kathy, informed me of that. I have done the math for the small flag. I have to figure it out for the large one yet.

I had the "brilliant" idea to cut my Steam-a-Seam 2 into 8 1/2" X 11" sheets and run them through my printer to print the stars onto the fusible. It worked REALLY well. WAY better than having to trace the star 50 times for each flag! I used Word to make the stars and get the size I needed. (Using Word to create the stars was another great tidbit Kathy passed on to me.)
Now all I have to do is cut them all out, fuse them on, and sew around each one!
Here are the flags. I took a picture of them both together so you can see the size difference. (The big one is REALLY big--82" X 56". The small one is half that--41" X 28".) (I have a few stars on the small one to test to make sure they look okay.)
Now, I have to contemplate what I want to with the flags. I have some ideas, but I haven't made a decision yet. I'll let it percolate a bit longer before I have to decide. Whether I get the small flag finished in time for the exhibit or whether I get juried into the exhibit makes no difference to me at this point. I need a means of expression for the feelings I have about the current situation of our country.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Retreat Work

First, I taught a workshop on my "Extreme Embroidery" pins for my LAFTA (Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists) group. LAFTA offers free workshops taught BY its members FOR its members. I have attended several of these workshops and have learned A LOT from them. I was asked to conduct a workshop and readily agreed--I needed to do a little payback.  I had such a talented group of ladies in my workshop. They were quick learners and got a good start on some beautiful pins. I had fun; I sure hope they did.
I hope I get the chance to see some of their finished pins.
The day after this workshop, I went to an artist retreat in Kentucky. My friends there worked on a WIDE variety of projects--traditional quilts, art quilts, newspaper clipping, embroidery, knitting, photography, mixed media, and more. I took a few pictures. It isn't always easy to take pics at this retreat because some of the items are being made for entry into shows where pre-show photography isn't permitted.
I worked on a baby quilt,  
and I started work on two flag quilts--one large and one small. 
The top pictures show my progress on the tops. The bottom pic shows my progress on the remaining rows. I'm really happy with the work I got done during the retreat. Now if I can just keep that momentum up at home. It doesn't look good so far, though. I haven't done ANY sewing today--cooking, laundry, unpacking things from the retreat, and babysitting for the grandson took precedence. I DO have a virtual retreat and a mini-retreat with a friend of mine coming up. Maybe the work will continue then. We'll see. I did get one picture of a finished project. Pamela finished binding her quilt and finished her pillow shams. I think she likes purple!!!
One of the girls greeted us one morning with this display out on the grass. (She has quite a sense of humor.) Just in case you can't read it, it says, "Surrender Dorothy." (She reminded us that it is a quote from The Wizard of Oz.) It is made from yarns she has knitted.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this retreat. I got to spend some time with friends I don't see very often, AND I had uninterrupted time to work on some important projects. If you get a chance to go to a retreat, take it!