Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What am I working on?

I have been showing you some of my older pieces but I always have three or four projects going at the same time. This one is part of a series started in 1993. I start out with 4 strips sewn together and then i use my triangle template to cut triangles from the bottom, then the top, so each strip set yields triangles with a long light strip and some with a long dark strip.
Here are piles of some of the combinations that I have already cut.
This is the quilt that started it all. Its name is Prismatic Garden, a garden as viewed through a prism. I made it 1993 and only had slides of it so my son took a picture of the slide to make a digital picture for me. In 1995 or 96 I sold this piece through an art gallery in one of the small towns near me. A couple years later I really regretted selling it because I loved it so much. The lesson I learned from this is, you have to let go of the piece that is precious to be able to go forward and make more. It may be just surrendering the thought that it is so precious. You can almost convince yourself that it was the greatest and you could never make anything better. If I hadn't sold it I probably would never have made the next 10 pieces and still be wanting to make more. The goal is to make one even better than #1. This has been my best selling series.

I'll be posting more from this series in the next few days including the one I am working on. I'm just not sure it is working yet, and I may need to piece some more strips sets. I started out with 38 strip sets with the new one.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tablerunners from scraps

I love working with my scraps. There is nothing better than the hum of the sewing machine and mindless piecing together of scraps to give me a sense of peace and calm. Could a psychiatrist put me into a better sense of well being? I don't think so!! The table runner above sold just a couple days after it arrived at the gallery. I tried to be more subtle in this one, not so "exuberant". After I have used most of the really bright scraps, these are the ones that are left.
This one I kept for myself. It is a little bit of sunshine for me as I walk past it each morning on my way to the kitchen.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Color Blocks

This quilt was made in a workshop where we were to work on two pieces at the same time, but they should be opposites of each other, like cold/hot, dark/light, etc. Mine were bright and dull. You have probably guessed that this is the bright one. I forgot to take a picture of the other one after I finished it and it sold so I can't get a picture now. I have pictures of it in progress but they aren't quality photos. I hope I have learned my lesson to always take a good quality picture before I let the piece out of my hands.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Floral Fabric Quilts

It is no wonder that I like floral fabrics since I love a jumbled flower garden, full of color. These 3 quilts are colorwash with all floral fabrics from small to medium size prints. The one above is designed one square at a time and it really is square (blame the photographer, me).
The one above is a baby quilt made in the strip pieced method so every block is identical.
This small piece has squares that finish at 1". When I was cutting kits for my classes, I always had that little bit left over at the fold. I found I could get 1-1/2" squares out of most of the fabrics and 1" squares (to finish at 1/2") out of the rest. I have made 3 pieces with the 1/2" finished squares. I'll round them up someday and take a picture of them for you.

I love flowers

I went out around 7 p.m. to take pictures of my flowers and the greens are so nice and dark and lush looking. The lilies above appeared one year. They weren't here when I moved here 35 years ago. They came up right next to a porch railing. Hmmm, I wonder if the birds had anything to do with this as they perched there. I have dug them all out at least 3 times and moved them elsewhere, but after a few years, here they are again in the same place.
I like the gold and purple combination.
This coral bell always produces a huge mass of flowers. It is hard to get a picture in the daytime, but this night picture really shows them off.
The dwarf phlox in two colors.
My other color Rose of Sharon, thanks to sharing friends. I also have another lavender but it didn't have a perfect flower for me to photograph. I will keep watching it for a better opportunity.

Friday, July 27, 2007

More baby quilts

Here are some more of the baby quilts that finally got finished early this year. The one above was made while teaching a class from a Jan Mullens book.
This one I named Twisted Rail. It was one of the variations I came up with after experimenting with cutting Rail Fence blocks diagonally.
I taught the Trip Around the World class many times a year for several years so I always had one in progress to demonstrate the process. This one sold several bolts of the kitty border fabric for the store I taught at.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

More Triangles

I mentioned the Easy Angle tool in the last post. After I cut all of those reds with that new tool, I cut a bunch of colorwash calicoes. I used some to make one small wallhanging and the rest were layered on 3 nesting cookie sheets. Several times when I ran across these trays I was tempted to just give them away and last December even thought about throwing them away (because I needed the trays for current squares of batiks). On New Year's Eve day, I finally made the decision I couldn't throw them away, I had to sew them. I didn't have any other big project in the works so I started in on them and by midnight had this quilt top done. It is a baby size quilt and is one of the ones I quilted in Jan. '07.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

RED, for lack of a better name

This is a closeup taken outside with natural light. It is pretty accurate for color.
I'm still not happy with the full shot so I may try again for better color.

In the early 1990's a new little tool came on the market, the Easy Angle. It allowed you to cut your triangles from the same size strip as your squares instead of the 7/8" add on. I pulled all of my red fabrics from the late 80's, early 90's and cut hundreds of triangles with no project in mind. They sat in a box and waited for me to take action. A couple years ago I decided to sew them together into squares and ended up making an all triangle quilt. I finally got it quilted in January this year.


When I'm not ready to tackle a big project, and the studio is a mess (when is it not a mess?) I start cleaning up the scraps from previous things. Sometimes they just scream "Make me into a postcard".
Some are scraps from a specific project such as the one above. All of those scraps and the embroidered patch were left from a store sample that I made.
This red one is leftovers from a quilt which I haven't been able to get a good picture of. The saturation of color is so high on an all red quilt that it comes out mushy looking in the picture. Today is a cloudy day so I may entertain my neighbors by taking pictures outside.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Little Batik Squares

I love those little batik squares that come in groups of frogs, suns, penguins, elephants and others. I have bought several and then thought, now what?

I always have a pile of crazy pieced blocks that I have made between other projects. Making crazy piecing is very calming to me, a therapy of sorts, and I have piles of different size "blocks" that are ready to be cut to size and used.

I like the idea of vertical columns in a quilt but had rarely used that format. After a bit of playing, this is what I made. I stitched vertical lines with heavy black thread in the striped fabric as part of the quilting.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Making a Series

I usually don't know I am making a series when I make the first quilt. This series was started when I saw a crazy pieced quilt in a book and it was called "Contained Crazy". I just loved the name and thought it really applied to me. I think that being artistic and looked at as "different" always made me wonder if I was a little crazy.

This first piece was done with the fabrics of the time period, late 1980's, and in the style of the one I saw in the book.

The next one was made after taking a color class that taught us how to create transparency. My goal was to find the perfect shade of gray to be at the intersection of the black and white strips that were containing the "crazy".

The third piece was made by abandoning the strips that contained the crazy. This one was made after I had started collecting batik fabrics. When I got the center panel done, I couldn't find a fabric for the 4 angled corners. My daughter had just made me a huge zebra fabric pillow and the extra fabric was just laying there in my studio. I happened to lay the batik piecing on it and my corners were chosen.

It had now become a close up of a zebra face. The squares appliqued on the side inserts are his eyes, the squares on the center bottom insert are his nostrils. Then I added the 1/4" wide strips of batik loosely at the top to represent his mane.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tote Bags

I like to make tote bags. I made these 2 in a similar style with a panel of design going vertically on the side of the bag. The batik bag was made as a store sample to promote their new line of batiks. The brown one has a vertical panel on both sides of the bag where the batik one just has it on one side.
I featured my crazy piecing on the panels of the brown bag. I love to do crazy

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Seasonal Series

One of my spirea bushes in autumn.

This is the first piece in the strip pieced seasonal series. It was made the autumn before the one I posted on July 18. I wanted a calm feel to it so I chose subdued shades of brown, rust, burgundy and beiges from my batik scrap bins.

Friday, July 20, 2007

More Back Yard

This is my favorite hosta. It is a sun lover so its leaves are mostly yellow when they mature. I like the different shades of yellow and green as it goes from top large leaves to small bottom leaves.

In my back garden I have a plant hanger that I can hang 2 plants on. Here you will see its summer use, and in winter I hang suet cakes for the birds.

Well you get the idea, I hang them for the birds and some of the furry gang that entertains me all winter climb up for a snack. I have greased the pole several times but that only deters them for about 3 days.

The birds and squirrels have different feeding times so they rarely bump into each other.

Addition to Kaleidoscope post

I forgot to add this closeup photo of the brown/rust quilt. Also, all of my photos have been clickable until this last post where this quilt picture wasn't so I'm putting it in a second time to see if it was my fault or if it just isn't clickable for a larger view.

Strip Pieced Kaleidoscope

This morning I will teach the second half of the strip pieced Kaleidoscope class. I always emphasize to my students that it is the fabric choice that makes the quilt. With this particular pattern you need a smooth blend of values from light to dark no matter what your color choice is.

There are two different layouts for this pattern. The brown/rust quilt shows the alternate layout with all blocks in the X position. The other two quilts have the position alternated between the X and + positions (looking at the dark fabric wedges).

The bottom picture is a quilt made with all multicolor floral prints.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Paper piecing

When I started making this piece it was going to be a small wallhanging. When I got to the point where I had to make 2 more paper pieced sections, I just couldn't do it. I had to find a way to use the pieces I had and be done with it. After a little playing around this is what I ended up with. It is a good size for a table centerpiece.

Here is a closeup view after it was quilted.

And here are the leftovers, that little pile of tiny scraps left after trimming during the paper piecing process. I used a pink metallic thread for both the quilting and the edge so it was hard to photograph it. Maybe I'll try without a flash next time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Strip Piecing Scraps

I made this piece last spring after the redbud trees and crabapple trees had bloomed. It seemed pink all over outside. I just kept making parts until I decided I had enough to make into something.

This is a picture of my backyard in late April and early May.

A Big Thank You

How exciting it is to get comments from around the world! I want to thank everyone who is veiwing my blog and especially those of you who have commented. I used to give programs for quilt guilds, starting in 1987. I also had my own quilt shop and worked for several other shops so my quilts have always been "out there" on display. When I left my last quilt shop manager job in 2000, I continued to make just as many quilts, but I no longer had the exposure that I was used to.

Now with this blog, I feel like I am doing a program again, but instead of having to lug the 3 heavy suitcases and 2 backdrop stands and 80 quilts and quilt tops, I can take my time and just show one at a time. I will continue to show older pieces, partly because it is forcing me to get them out and take a digital picture of them, since they preceeded digital cameras. I am always making new quilts too, because I am driven to keep experimenting with color and pattern.

Thank you again for giving me a reason to continue this blog.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Strip Piecing

Earlier this year I decided to play with the narrowest little batik scraps, ranging anywhere from 3/4" to about 1 1/4" in width. They were again from the cutaway when clean cutting a batik for a project. I sewed together groups and played with several layouts and configurations.
This is what I came up with for my final idea. Notice that the outside border is made of two different black background fabrics with a very subtle difference. A photo doesn't do just to this piece. It literally glows like jewels.