Inch by Inch, Row by Row

Monochrome with Color

 

As I was sewing this latest piece, Monochrome with Color, the words of every quilt judge I have ever been within earshot of, rang through my head.  “Straight lines must be straight.”

With ruler in hand every step of the way, I measured, pinned and sewed.  Knowing of the unpredictability of fabric to remain absolutely square and accurate, especially the slippery gray satin,  I paper-pieced the entire quilt using 1 inch graph paper as my foundation.  Time consuming?  Yes.  Accurate?  Yes.  Perfect? No, but neither is life.

The letters were attached by hand with clear  mono-filament thread to complete the piece which will be part of a challenge entitled “black/white/gray with a touch of color.”

One good side effect of all this sewing straight lines to absolute perfection is an end to my procrastination.  I finally called my eye doctor and had a long overdue eye examination.  New glasses are in order.

My next project will be something  loose and free and swirling with nary a straight line in sight.

Op Art Revisited

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Fall is upon us and it’s time to buckle down and get those “only in my head” projects out of my head and onto my wall. Sorry, kid, but the lazy days of summer are over.

 My art quilt group had decided that our latest challenge would be “Black, White, Grey and a Touch of Color.” I immediately thought about the very graphic Op Art of the 1960’s, a favorite of mine.  Design decision made.

This Op Art inspired piece came together pretty quickly once I put pencil to my trusty graph paper and designed the four optical illusion blocks which make up the finished piece.

I paper-pieced each section using graph paper as my foundation so as to get  exact 1/2″ wide stripes.  Once I had the sections completed, it was time to pin, pin, pin all of those intersections and sew as near-perfect as I could manage.  Because I’m so anal, I also did a lot of ripping until I was satisfied with the overall appearance.  Unfortunately, “close enough” is never good enough to my eye.

Another unanticipated problem is the dizzying effect Op Art has on the eyes.  Yes, these four blocks are perfectly square even though they look wonky.

Once the piecing of the blocks was complete, the fun began anew with the binding.  I decided the only option I would be happy with was to change the color of the binding as necessary as I bound each side of the blocks.

The red connecting pieces were once part of a bamboo place mat.  After disassembling the place mat, I spray painted the pieces and attached them across and down the center of the piece to connect all four blocks together. This proved to be the most difficult part of the project, an all too common side effect of working way outside the box.

With fingers crossed, I hung my version of Op Art entitled “Illusions”, stepped back and smiled.  I like this one in spite of its nausea inducing effect.  Now, on to the next challenge…..Adirondack Flora and Fauna.  First, I have to do a Google search to see what the heck fauna means.

DMC Scape

DMC ScapeAs a designer for the DMC Corporation, I receive a yearly request for two 12″ blocks with tropical fish as the theme.  The two blocks pictured are this year’s rendition of my version of undersea life.

The marketing director for DMC is an avid scuba diver who has, for inspiration, shared photos of what he sees when diving.  That’s as close as I’ve gotten to the ocean world.  Any diving I’ve done has been in my own Trout Lake where not a tropical fish can be founDMC Scaped.

I must admit that Google images, along with batik fabrics and a wide array of DMC threads, have been a tremendous help in providing the details needed to create a “realistic”  seascape.

Perhaps I should add deep sea diving to my bucket list.  I’ve learned it’s never too late for a new adventure.

 

 

Snapped Along the River

Fall in the Adirondacks is one of Mother Nature’s masterpieces, an inspiration to artists of every type.  Anyone who is fortunate enough to live amidst the splendor wants to capture the beauty in some way. As one of the lucky residents, I have, for years,  taken photos of the spectacle.

Once I discovered that I could print my photos on fabric with very little difficulty, my photo-taking sprees had a purpose. I would create my own “masterpiece” honoring the place I call home.

I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a tech savvy person.  By following the simple directions on a bottle of Jenkins’ Bubble Jet Set, I was able to produce my own fabric from my photos.   I then took those 8 1/2″ x 11″ fabric photos, fussy cut and collaged them into a Fall landscape based on my memory of the upper Hudson River as it flows through the Adirondacks in mid-October.

Photo collage quilt with birch bark frame

Photo collage quilt with birch bark frame

Photo collage quilt

Photo collage quilt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gorgeous sky, brilliant foliage, granite boulders and the flora in the foreground were actually photographed around my home on Trout Lake in Bolton NY.

The river was made using a weaving technique with a combination of fabrics, one shiny, and an overlay of painted melted plastic which worked well to create the rapids.

The finished quilt cried out for an Adirondack Twig Frame.  Using thinly peeled birch bark that I had fused onto fabric, I fashioned the frame, adding fabric tubes as “twigs” which I attached with grey French knots to mimic the nail heads typically used on these frames.

Those of us who live on an Adirondack lake enjoy summers, but the glorious beauty of Fall is certainly something to look forward to.  My quilt “Snapped Along the River” hangs in my living room as a reminder of good things to come.

My Bucket List Moment

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In 2005 someone suggested to me that I enter my latest quilt in VQF.  “VQF?”  “What’s VQF?”, I asked.  I did take her advice and entered my very first contest quilt in the Vermont Quilt Festival.

Every year since then, I’ve had a quilt in the contest.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have my name on (drum roll, please) **** THE INSERT SHEET of AWARD WINNERS**** three times since then, a thrill each and every time.  I’ve been awarded the Most Whimsical, the Best Use of Theme and the Best Machine Embellishment Awards.

Imagine my shock when, last August, I received a call asking if I would like to be an instructor at this year’s festival.  I was certain they had called a wrong number.  Me, an instructor at VQF?!?!  Yikes! Happily, it was the right number, and, after much hesitation, I agreed.  It was one of the better decisions I’ve made in my life which left me pinching myself for months.  Me, teaching at VQF.  Unbelievable!

Not only did I survive my three days of teaching full-day classes, I actually had a wonderful time.  I guess my students did,too, because when I turned in my classroom key, I was asked by the powers that be if I would like to teach again in the future.  They want me back! This time, without hesitation, I said “Yes!”

Lesson learned…It’s never too late to achieve a dream, even if it seemed too unattainable to be on your bucket list.

Memories of Summers at the Lake

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Having been housebound during the recent heat wave, I decided to venture outside to do some much-needed gardening.  I lasted a total of 2 minutes, having been driven back inside by an over abundance of mosquitoes….seemingly millions of them all waiting to attack.  Always looking for inspiration for a new post, this art quilt came to mind.

 

Buggy Photo Album

Buggy Photo Album

The piece was made for a Bug Challenge a couple of years ago.  Choosing some of my favorite summer family photos, I printed them on 8 1/2″ x 11″ white/bug  fabric that I had treated with Jenkins Bubble Jet Set.  Yes, the bugs were already printed on the fabric.  I was quite pleased with the results. The bugs actually appear to be in the foreground.

 

I decided to turn the photos into an old-fashioned photo album.  The white borders and the addition of the hand-made corner mounting pieces gave me the look I had imagined.  It consists of 4 pages of photos with the double-sided center page able to be turned like a book page.

Obviously, this piece is a family favorite as each member has experienced a summer of pesky mosquitoes, some years worse than others. One plus….. being “bugged” is a wonderful excuse to stay indoors and sew!

Allison and Matt

Allison and Matt 1994

Wash Day in Tokyo

Origami Kimono Quilt

Origami Kimono Quilt

 

kimono Well, as promised, I DID use most of the origami kimonos which were created during my “dreaded origami kimono addiction” period. Out of the shoe box and onto a quilt they went!  I even threw in a few pairs of pants to add to the silliness.

When middle daughter, complete with her art degree, told me she loved the newly created quilt, I was more than a little shocked.  This is one piece I certainly do not consider art. Long-suffering hubby’s comment “What in the heck are you going to do with that?” made a lot more sense to me.

As you can see from the photo, I entered  the piece in a quilt show and it did so much better than I ever thought it would.  Yes, there actually are 3 ribbons hanging on it, one of them blue!  It proved to be very popular with the viewers, especially those with children in tow. One Asian family took several photos of the quilt with each of their children standing in front of it, a very touching moment for me. The quilt did get a lot of quizzical looks from viewers, but once they read the title “Wash Day in Tokyo”, they seemed to get the joke.

Most asked question about the quilt….”Where did you get those tiny clothespins?”

 

Fish in Space

Woven water and sky

Woven water and sky

Several years ago I was part of a “I’ve Got the Blues” challenge. Each participant was given 5 fat quarters of blue fabric which had to appear in the finished quilt in a recognizable amount. Other fabrics of our choice could be added.

What I have learned from my experience with challenges is that, in order to win a challenge, ordinary won’t do. I chose to do one of my Inside the Box pieces.

Using the 5 challenge fabrics and many blues from my stash, I randomly pieced the outer border, adding the words “Blue, blue, my world is blue.” Using a large circle as my base, I then made an entire blue landscape complete with woven blue sky, a blue forest, a woven body of water and even shiny blue fish which were reverse appliqued into the water. Using blue painted rings, I attached the circle inside the square. I added a blue turtle at the bottom of the circle, a blue sun in the sky and a blue spider in the upper right hand corner.

As a lover of whimsy, I allowed two fish to escape the inner circle and float in space, secured with mono-filament thread. I called the piece Fish in Space.

The piece not only won the challenge, but went on to win another challenge entitled “Voyage of Discovery” at the Empire QuiltFest. Most participants who entered that challenge based their pieces on Henry Hudson’s discovery of the Hudson River, the theme  of that year’s show. Having Fish in Space win the “Voyage of Discovery” challenge tickled me more than any award I’ve ever won.  Every time I think about it, I crack up. Being different certainly paid off in that case.  People like FUNNY, apparently even quilt show judges.

Hooray for Art Quilts!

 

 

2013 WFQG Quilt Show

 

Yes, indeed!  I had one heck of a great weekend.  I entered 6 pieces  in the Wings Falls Quilt Guild show and came home with a stash of goodies….1 Best of Show, 2 exceptional merit, 4 blue, 2  First Place log cabin challenge ribbons and 4 yellow vendor’s ribbons.  As a non-conforming fiber artist in a very traditional guild, it is a much-needed ego boost to have my work recognized.  I played by all the quilt judging rules, created my own original art, and won anyway!  I think art quilting may be here to stay!  Hooray for us! And….. Hooray for my 1972 Singer Genie which was the only machine I used to create every ribbon winner.

TAAA! DAAA!

Best of  Show Winner

Best of Show Winner

Beyond my wildest dreams, my Uptown Girl twisted log cabin purse/fascinator set was named BEST OF SHOW at the Wings Falls Quilters Guild show this past weekend.  It scored a perfect 100 points, every quilters lifetime goal. A very gutsy judge made what I am sure is a very controversial decision to name a PURSE Best Of Show in a QUILT show. Her comment was that it should have earned the maker a scholarship to the Fashion Institute, my teen-aged dream. I’m honored and very happy, indeed.  It was one special weekend!