My Quilt Show
This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called Quilts. Make your own badge here. None of these quilts are mine so far, but beautiful works of art I've photographed, mostly at quilt shows.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quilty and creative goals for 2012.

I don't usually do this but the Library Quilters are doing it as a group.  Most of these represent the baseline of what I need to get done this year!
  1. Finish the moon and stars quilt this year.  At least the top.
  2. Finish the little wonky flower quilt. (almost done)
  3. Quilt the golden leaves strata quilt.
  4. Finish daisy quilt.  This is a paper-piecing project that I started as a bed quilt that may need to be re-thought into something more wall-sized.
  5. Finish the double wedding ring quilt I'll start in K of P quilt group.
  6. Finish the Dresden plate quilt I'll start in K of P quilt group
  7. Quilt lavender jelly roll quilt.
  8. Make one bag/purse this year.  I have so many bag ideas and I have some elements done but I never cross the finish line.
  9. Make one arty/mixed media quilt of any kind.  This is a stretch goal.  I get nervous and my mind goes blank when I try to be arty.
  10. Make one imaginative quilt using embroidery.
Dare I make a goal to post more? Once a month? 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

AQS in Lancaster, Day 1

My feet are aching! I didn't want to sit down today.  That is always an indication of a good quilt show experience.  I had a class with Diane Hire this morning.  It was her free-form curve block.  I really love the look of her work and this was a chance to learn some of her techniques and hear about her color ideas. Her approach seems particularly well-suited to hand dyes and I have quite a stack at home that I don't really know what to do with.  And I'd love to make more!

I nearly finished one block in class, but of course, my vision is more ambitious.  I brought my machine with me because I remember wanting to have it last year so I was able to come back and finish that block and make two more and start the cutting and piecing for two additional.
I think I'd like to make 6 blocks altogether and add two borders.

Quilts at the Show
Here are some favorites:
There is actually a sunflower quilt exhibition at the show and sunflowers are even more of a theme than usual.
This is applique constructed and embellished with what I believe is a combination of free motion satin stitch and great use of all of the fancy, patterned stitches that come on machines these days.

The fiber embellishments are abundant and add great texture. This was created by Karen Linduska and is titled Mexican Sunflowers.

An unrelated and underlying topic of the show for me is the ongoing crises in Japan.  I, and many other quilters and lovers of fiber arts, have much admiration for Japanese quilts and fabric.  Several Japanese artists  have send quilts to the show and there are several vendors here who are Japanese or who travel back and forth regularly.  All of my hopes for the best possible outcomes for everyone affected by all of the things that are happening there now.

Run! Run! Run! by Hiroko Miyama of Chofu City, Japan.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quilt Show Escape

I am ensconced!  At the Convention Center in Lancaster, tucked up in a huge fluffy white bed, with my laptop, a cartoon on the TV, room service a phone call away and a fun quilting class tomorrow morning -- and another one the next day!  It isn't heaven but for a Wednesday in March in Pennsylvania it is as close as I can reasonably expect to get.

I haven't felt like blogging recently but I have done lots of things since I made friends with the Hummer (my 830) and got my sewing mojo back.  Maybe this will re-inspire me to live the examined creative life...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Getting to 49

Applique finished on blocks
 I worked on my Moon and Stars quilt on Friday and and  Saturday morning. It was one of my many stalled projects.
Cutting away the background block fabric.  It makes the design lay flatter and look "inlaid" into the block.

I had 38 blocks made and a vision for an appliqued border. I want to put the blocks together so I can start playing with the border design and the plan is to actually use the quilt on the bed.  It has to cover a queen-sized mattress so it will take 49 blocks to make a generous enough quilt, with the borders, to look nice.  After counting and recounting I think I got to 49...or 48.....?  Well, when I put all of the rows together I'll find out.
Have I made 49?
After I put several rows put together (yay!) early Saturday afternoon I wanted to have some time to go out and enjoy the day.  Philly has ridiculously hot, humid summers and long miserable winters but October is what we get in return.  Temperatures around 70, intensely blue skies, fresh breezes and liquid gold sunlight pouring over the City.
October pumpkins and gourds on 9th Street
Everything glows in October and it is the perfect time to visit the Italian Market, or as folks are likely to say on my block "go down 9th Street.." I've been planning to get some Roma tomatoes to make sauce and this long weekend is the time to do it.  After a trip to DiBruno's I bought three pounds of tomatos and turned them into marinara by bedtime.

I've lived near the Italian Market since moving to Philly over 15 years ago.  Grocery stores are more convenient but 9th Street is an adventure.
The husksters, the awning, a momentary clear spot on the sidewalk.  The Market is timeless

Monday, October 04, 2010

The 830 and Me

No, I haven't fallen off the earth or used up all of my fabric.

The year before my last post, September 2009, was such a productive year for me as a quilter. I had completed more quilts/fiber pieces than ever before. I felt I was learning and growing and that I had reached a new relationship with my ability to create. All good things.

I was so excited about my new direction that I thought about purchasing a new sewing machine. I attributed my momentum in part to the Bernina 200 I had bought a few years before. I loved my machine. I would sit down, turn it on and it would sew beautiful stitches. I learned to free-motion quilt. She was powerful and responsive. Together we were unstoppable. We ate up yards and yards of cotton. We reached out and conquered new worlds: gessoed canvas, painted broadcloth, laminated plastic bags, melted synthetics, thick yarns and wools. We machine embroidered really, REALLY fast.

And when she was snarled up or messy I popped out her bobbin case, picked thread out of her hook race and soothed her with canned air. Then I put her up to rest for a bit and we'd be back in tune and ready to go the very next time I was available. It was a beautiful relationship.

But the machine had been a floor model, probably one of the early 200s. Her CD rom reader went and I had to have her upgraded to read USB sticks. Even so she read them so slowly and poorly that the process would almost always time out. I'd have to haul the laptop upstairs and connect it to transfer embroidery designs and that process was unpredictable also. Her embroidery field, compared to other, newer, machines on the market was small. Adding BSR capabilities would be expensive and clunky and I knew her internal memory was limited.

My attention began to wander to the new, huge Bernina: the 830. It had two USB ports and read sticks like it was born to it. The BSR was integrated into the machine and the throat was twelve inches deep. But maybe best of all it had a 15 x 10 embroidery field. I could really use quilting embroidery patterns and since I was becoming proficient at digitizing I could create my own. That had the potential to help me finish more work.

I watched sales and waited for the best price. I agonized over trading in my 200 but I knew it would ease the financial commitment and where would I put another machine in my small city sewing studio? A trade would be for the best. Finally the day came. The machine had been on the market for over a year so all those new-model bugs were worked out. I was convinced I had the best deal I was going to get. I packed up my friend, exchanged her for the gigantic new machine and drove home.

We started out slowly Gigunda and I. I tried to learn to use the auto-threading feature and worked on breaking myself of the habit of reaching around behind the sewing head to raise the presser foot. I watched all the YouTube videos about threading the bobbin, started to stitch out all of the specialty stitches on scraps and practiced free-motion quilting on left-over batting and muslin. As long as I was just doing getting-to-know-you tasks - what I think of now as courtship activities - Gigunda behaved perfectly.

However I had the painted Phil Beaver quilt that I wanted to finish. Nearly all of the raw-edge applique was done and I had been dreaming of quilting with my new BSR. That would make quick and neat work of the background stippling I needed to do. But the moment I settled down to do actual work Gigunda would not complete a stitch. She spit bobbin thread, she refused to auto-thread the needle, she sent me endless nasty errors about the thread path. If I took the quilt off the sewing bed and went back to "practicing" on batting remnants and scraps she behaved like a pro. The minute her sensors saw the hand-dyed and painted fabric of my project she dug in her heals and refused to cooperate. This went on for weeks. I was so close to being done I couldn't let go of my work and accept delay and Gigunda wasn't budging.

In addition to our free-motion woes I couldn't thread the bobbin for machine embroidery. Beginning with the first Pfaff I bought with my first real salary I had always owned machines with bobbin cases. This machine has an integrated case that rotates out automatically for threading. You must bring your eyes to it. That means crouching down in the shadow of the sewing bed and trying to slide the thread into the correct slots and springs UNDER the bobbin case. I still have to ask "what were they thinking?" A poorly threaded bobbin combined with the superfast sewing speeds that Gigunda offers resulted in snapped needles. Needles breaking at high speeds frighten me. I worry they will fly into my face or drop into the mechanics of the machine - that would mean expensive repairs.

So I went to my Guide classes. Gigunda acted out in class also and I spent most of my time sitting next to the technician as he cleaned sensors and worked on getting the machine to perform whatever task was at hand. My local quilt shop offered to let me retake the classes whenever they were offered and for the first time maybe ever I felt like a remedial sewer. It was depressing and demotivating - - needless to say no quilts were finished or begun.

As time passed and I practiced more, at first in annoyed bursts and then regularly, Gigunda and I reached a d├ętente. Now I can use the automatic threader 9 times out of 10 and load the bobbin by touch, even for embroidery, most of the time. She hasn’t spit thread at me in several months and I’ve started being more adventurous, edging mixed media paper projects with stitching. I’ve nearly finished piecing a Moon and Stars pattern and I’ve finished all of the applique for the painted project and started sketching a free motion pattern for the background and testing it on practice fabric although I’m still a bit nervous about starting to stitch the hand-dyed fabric.

I still think the machine is a bit of an experiment but also a technological marvel and maybe a paradigm shift for me - and honestly, I'm a person who wants to use tools that push limits. I do love the huge embroidery field and I hope this will be the year I start to use machine designs to boost my quilting progress. I'm now sure that getting the new machine was not a mistake. I’ve learned new things and this will be the tool to help me use those lessons and let me learn more. Its going to be alright...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza

Real life nearly completely prevented me from visiting my favorite local quilt show this year! It was a real struggle to get away from work but in the end the quilts prevailed. Here are some of the top prize winners.
B. J Titus from Coatesville, PA received the ribbon for Best Machine Workmanship, Innovative for Nocturnal Iridescence.
The background appears to be whole cloth and the motifs are appliqued on, even the embroidered ones. That makes the designs really stand off the background.

The orange and dark blue color pallet is a mini-trend this year. It is 63 by 63 inches, and according to the artist's statement, part of a series. From statement: This is the third quilt in a series exploring the use of one or more elements common to all in the series. Having raised the bar each time, this was undoubtedly the most difficult quilt to design to date.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer Class

My beloved camera journeyed to Egypt with my more-beloved loved one. I felt a bit like one of my eyes was missing. But they are both back now and I'm able to update my activities. In July Phil Beaver taught a class at Quilt Odyssey. I have always thought his quilts were amazing and Hershey is fairly close so off I went.
His quilts are large and he has such a distinctive style. I wondered how that would translate in a two day class. It was a mix of technique, hands-on quilt building and a smidge of art theory lecture. He pays quite a bit of attention to teaching his style of painting fabric and it does produce beautifully colored fabrics. I can also see how one could experiment with different brush strokes and paint application patterns to produce different effects.
He was an art teacher for a some years. That is evident in his class. He is encouraging and generous with his time and attention and he takes the trouble to try to teach some larger design principals. It is also evident that he is inspired by his imagery.
As usual I got more ambitious than I thought I would. The class is geared towards completing four or five blossoms but once I started looking at his samples I got my own ideas for an autumnal scene.

Large pieces that I built in class.

Core design, using four sunflowers in a rough diamond.

Small pumpkin and leaves. I'm particularly pleased with the little pumpkin.

Rabbit and large pumpkin.

All of my pieces are cut out for this quilt. This is what I have left over.

I've nearly completed the quilting for the applique portion of the quilt. The entire project has gone quickly and I'm pretty thrilled with the process. Despite the fact that I love sunflowers, I'd like to experiment with other color pallets using this painting method. The paint stabilizes the fabric just enough to make the raw-edged applique easy to deal with. That allows some pretty detailed shapes to be cut.