Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Silly, Bounce Up and Down Fun!

The black and white fabric was making my eyes crazy, so here's something a wee bit different!

This little design is my latest "Art + Quilt" homework. We were to design a very active composition--I think I managed that part of the exercise! The instructions said to choose a single dark solid, but I rummaged around my scrap bins and came up with these treasures and quite love it. The shapes were backed with Wonder Under and cut with my Sizzix die cutter. Even though the shapes are fused to the background, I'm a little wary of all the raw edges. Oh, well, that's another day!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bodacious Birthday Block

Our sit and sew group is making birthday blocks for everyone, and this was the fabric for our first block. We were to make any 12" (finished) block using strictly with black and white fabric. Since looking at it makes me a bit seasick, I wanted to use as little of it as possible. Then I miscut it and had to get creative! The block is "Simple Star" from "Quick-Strip Paper Piecing" by Peggy Martin.

Why I Collect Stuff

I don't keep everything forever, but I love it when I'm "rewarded" for keeping something that might have been beyond me at one point in time. Case in point--I dug out an older book called "Needlework School" (published in 1984) last night for my bedtime reading, and it provided just the right spark of inspiration.

The free-form, packed Cretan stitches in the scan above will be wonderful as background filler stitch for my gum leaves piece. I won't do mine as densely, but love the way they follow curves. Happy Dance!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Love this Palette!

I love this color scheme, but our first "homework" is supposed to be done in a monochromatic palette (we're supposed to be focusing on texture, not color) and I've been seduced by color yet again. Sigh... I know I'll love it once I pull the deeper golds and rusts out, but they look so nice together!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Road Trip!

I'm off to see a high school friend in Eugene and while I'm there I will hit Mindy's Needlepoint Factory. I don't have any embroidery-weight linen so that doesn't count against the moratorium, and I need treasures for my next class samples for "Sumptuous Surfaces." Warm up that VISA card!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gum Leaves

I am taking on online surface embroidery class through and this is the first pass of my monochromatic sample. What possessed me to add the chevron stitches??? Dumb idea, far too geometric and bold. I need to make a fabric postcard for the Sisters Quilt Show and this may be it!

The leaves were stitched with Sheep's silk, a 50-50 blend of silk and wool. It was lovely to work with. The feather stitches were Wildflowers, a matte cotton and also one of my favorites.

Our next assignment is to add more highly textured/dimensional stitches. It should be fun!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Home from Asilomar

Ugh--9 hours on the road (I need a buttectomy!) I adore my project from the class, even though I can't take much credit for the design. The instructor (Phil Beaver) took my painted petals and tweaked this and that until we ended up with this design. The background is a hand-dye, by Judy Robertson, I think.

"Celestial Navigation" is done except for the hanging sleeve and label. Hooray!

I got out of Back Porch Fabrics with a couple of books and fabric for the background of my hummingbird (plus one piece to replenish the violets...). Not bad, considering. I also found some yummy novelty yarns in Santa Cruz at $4/ball. Bargains are a good thing!

It is official -- the 2011 Empty Spools schedule is out and I will be Artist in Residence for the first session. Gotta kick it into gear and crank out some new quilts...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Painting We Will Go...

We painted fabric on Monday and I can't believe how great this one turned out. It won't work for my project here, so I will save it for a whole-cloth project of some kind. I haven't used such large-grain rock salt before but it sure moved the paint around.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Such Willpower!

I spent almost 4 hours at The Stitchin' Post today and didn't even look at fabric! One week and counting...

Friday, March 5, 2010

I Think I Can, I Think I Can...

No, I can't...

I thought I could live with duplicates by making just enough strip sets to finish the blocks, but I was wrong! I had 6 corner-center strip sets and 15 corner-outer sets, and even put the extra fabric away. Nope, why repeat when my fabric closet is overflowing??? I got to use some more cool fabric so I'm happy...

When you're crazy and you know it, clap your hands... :-)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Several of us have started working through the exercises in "Art + Quilt" by Lyric Kinard, and this is my first texture sample. We were supposed to work in white/ecru/beige, with a broad range of textured fabrics. I used an embroidered bridal satin (top left), raw silk (top right background), quilt weight cotton (bottom), a heathery herringbone-type weave (3 rectangles) and a woven ribbon on this sample.

Since we're playing with texture, I thought I'd add a spray of colonial knots. That was a learning experience -- it takes a lot of knots to fill a space when you're working with #8 and #12 perle cotton! Feather stitch or any number of more open stitches would have filled the space with less effort.

Another observation is that the weight of the thread makes a difference in terms of the final value of the stitch. With sewing thread, one needs to unwind some from the spool to get a sense of how the thread will look on the quilt. Even fine perle cotton is heavy enough that holding the ball next to the project is a good approximation of the final result. I think I used 3 different hand-dyed threads -- I don't know why anyone would go to the trouble of making lots and lots of knots and not varying the thread value to add highlights or shadows.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Eye Candy (if you like Invertebrates...)

I reread this book last night and luckily didn't have any nightmares with bugs in them -- the critters in the artwork are amazingly lifelike. Thankfully I won't ever encounter a real bug that large! The workmanship is excellent and quite inspiring.