Friday, August 31, 2007

Good Morning Glory

I started this quilt in 1992. I love checkerboard and fully intended to strip piece the 2 pieces of hand dyed fabric by Melody and then cut them the other direction, piece them together again and have one big piece of checkerboard. But.....I like stripes too and after cutting just a few and sewing them together, I decided to checkerboard the 2 ends and leave the stripes in the middle. I took this background to QSDS with me to show what to do with the fabric from Melody that I had taken along to sell at the mini bazaar.
The background hung on my design wall for a year waiting for inspiration. I knew I wanted to do some kind of applique on it but nothing seemed to work. During the same time period I was making vests for a gallery, using hand dyed fabric pieced in the log cabin pattern. I would make pieced fabric big enough to cut out the fronts of the vest on the diagonal, so there were always leftovers. One day while cleaning my studio I ran across a pile of leftovers, partial log cabin blocks, and I just started straightening their edges and then cut them into whatever size triangle I could get out of the piece. I looked at the triangles and then looked at this background, tried them on there, liked them, and decided they were morning glories. That brought to mind what my husband used to say to my daughter in the morning "Good morning, Glory". So that is how the quilt got its name. (By the way her name isn't Glory.) I appliqued them down with a loose zigzag stitch in matching color and then added sharp angled leaves to go with them. The rest of the stitching on the flowers and leaves is quilting with variegated thread. Melody was doing triangle quilting on one of her pieces and I liked the way it looked so the borders have triangles quilted on them.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cut up that fabric

I know how hard it is to cut into a beautiful piece of fabric, I still have a lot of pieces of hand dyed (not by me) that I haven't cut into. After a few people commented and a couple more emailed me about not wanting to cut them, or do it!, cut them, or wanting to just make it into a wholecloth quilted piece, it got me thinking again about some of the other pieces I have made. I know this isn't a great picture, (when will I learn to stand directly in front of the quilt?) but this one sold last year so I can't take a better one. It is made from one piece of hand dyed fabric. I just cut strips, then squares from the strips, and then triangles from the squares. Playtime on the design wall came next. I had one square left so I donated it to a children's fair where things were priced so that every child could afford to buy something. I figured that was better than having it lay around my house to be distributed when I'm gone.
Now for a stroll outside, now that the heat and humidity are gone for a few days at least. The picture above is my anemone. I noticed this spring that the big plant didn't make it over the winter, but a little later I found several small plants there. This is a late summer bloomer and is a pale pink. I love the fat buds.
Over the years I have tried to find plants for my porch pots that would continuously bloom in the summer and so many of them get long and ugly. One that always works for color in the pots is coleus. We don't have to wait for the flowers for it to be pretty, and actually most people pinch off their flowers. It comes in so many beautiful colors.
One of my sedum plants is already starting to get its fall color. I hope that means heat and humidity will be gone for good soon. I love fall for the crisp air and beautiful colors.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Purple and Orange

One of my favorite books is "Tradition with a Twist" by Blanche Young and DaleneYoung Stone. I started out with Blanche's Trip Around the World book in the early 1980's and met her later at a guild meeting. She was full of energy and new ideas and shortcuts for making quilts. One of the quilts in this book that grabbed my attention right away was Diamondback Scrap. The picture of it on the back cover, with the orange chair in front of just made me want to make it. Now I have to admit it was the color combination that grabbed me, and yes I like the graphic design (reminds me of argyle socks) but I wasn't crazy about the construction. I made a big enough sample to get a class going on it but I never finished it. Finally a few years ago, I just decided to finish it the size it was, not to make it into a bed sized quilt. It is still waiting to be basted and quilted (next on my list). However I had a pile of 9 patches already made and lots of strips cut so, I had LEFTOVERS, my favorite thing. I started playing with them and this is the resulting leftover quilt, which is finished.
I was so sure mine looked like the one in the book and a friend told me I had better get the book out and take another look. Yes, my colors are brighter, more intense, more exuberant.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Going back in time......

Way back in the early 1990's I bought some of Melody's hand dyed fabrics because I just loved certain spots in them. I told her one day that I felt like just cutting those places out and preserving them. She challenged me, "Do it". I put the pieces up on my design wall and pretty soon they were working together and I was ready to make something. I love stained glass windows and the Prairie style architecture so I just started playing and this is what I made. These pictures are more slides converted to digitals, so I don't think the color is just perfect. I think the yellow area was really more of a greenish yellow. Melody, Ann Fahl and I entered our pieces in a gallery show about 60 miles away. Some of the others entering the show were art quilters from across the US whose names became familiar in later years as their careers blossomed.
I think this was the first time I was in a gallery show so I was surprised that one of my other wallhangings won an honorable mention and this piece was sold at the show.
I think I want to revisit my box of Melody fabrics and do something like this again.
I especially like this red and green patch.

Monday, August 27, 2007

More Strips and Curves

First I want to thank all of the commenters on yesterday's post about pen pals. It seems that a lot of us had the similar experience of being in contact through letters with someone we had never met . I think blogging is the modern day pen pal scene, but the nice thing is we don't have to wait until we have enough to write a letter, we can just post (or send by email) brief messages of our current thoughts. Who would have ever dreamed that was going to happen, instant contact with everyone.

This is one Strips and Curves that I didn't post with the others. I knew I had a picture of the strip pieced fabric before I cut into it so I had to search for it. This one is all batik fabrics. I made 3 stratas like this one and then cut them into the shapes with the acrylic template sets 1 and 2. I added 4 more fabrics into it that aren't in the strip piecing and cut them with the templates too. This one was started in Aug. 2003 so you see I am not one of those people who has to finish one project before I start another one. This one still needs to have a border (or not) and be layered and quilted. I haven't forced myself to make those decisions yet. Also as long as it is unfinished, it is mine. When I finish it I may decide I have to give it to someone or sell it and I'm not ready for that yet.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Grandma's other collection

My grandma had another collection besides her salt and pepper shakers. She collected and grew cactus plants. She had a lot of pen pals and some of them sent her the plants from their area of the country. This was back in the late 1940's or early 1950's. She convinced me to put my name in a magazine in the pen pal section and I wrote to over 50 pen pals. My mother didn't drive and we lived 5 miles from town so I lived a pretty isolated childhood. The highlight of the day was running out to the mail box after the mailman came to experience my connection with the outside world. I usually received 1-2 letters a day and I always answered them the same day. Now I can't convince myself to write a letter and get it to the mailbox. You, who are reading my blog, are now my outside world. I can easily type on my keyboard and it doesn't hurt the carpel tunnel problem in my wrist. I love the fact I can reach people all over the world by writing one "letter" and by touching the PUBLISH POST button, everyone can read the same "letter". Here is a picture of my asters in bloom a couple years ago and the butterfly who posed so nicely for me.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Nature everywhere

I went down to my local sewing machine store to teach a class yesterday and this is what was on the front window, a praying mantis. Five and a half hours later he was still there so I started taking pictures. The store owner got up into the window area and held a placemat up behind him so I could get a better shot.
Then so you would know how big he was she held a dinner size plate behind him.
He was praying the entire time, I'm sure to be back home again instead of downtown with concrete and lots of cars going by.

Blooms, flowers and quilts

I love the way the Rose of Sharon blooms look as they are opening. They are as delicate as tissue paper and so beautiful. Even the buds are beautiful. I don't know if Rose of Sharon is a tree or a bush. I've seen it as both so maybe there is more than one variety. The great thing is that they just keep blooming and blooming over a long period of time.
Here is another quilt in the process of blooming. With this one I started in the center with the lightest fabrics, unlike the one I posted a few days ago.
A little more progress and some squaring off at the edges, not knowing how big it will be at this time in the designing. It actually continued growing out both sides before it was finished.
The finished top waiting to be quilted. This one is 53" x 40".

Friday, August 24, 2007

More Store Samples

One of the stores I make samples for got in some Kaffe Fassett fabric, batiks, and a few Terry Manget fabrics. I made the samples using ideas from one of Kaffe's books I limit myself to just the fabrics available at the store.
I really like the way the purse/tote bags came out.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Continuation from yesterday

Here are some more close up views of "The Gods are Watching". This hunter has a silver hand charm sewn over his printed hand. I got this pair of earrings in a bargain bag of misc. at our local bead shop several years ago. The wires slipped right into a seam of the quilt. Below the earrings is a bottle cap painted by a woman in Africa as a fund raising for their area.
This elephant was from a red background printed fabric. The striped fabric behind him was a purchase at our Wal-Mart store when I returned home from Ohio. The fish fabric was brought home by my daughter from one of their trips.
Being at the week long workshop in Ohio was magical and things seemed to fall together there that I would never have created at home. One of the magical parts was that everyone else there was an art quilter too and very supportive of each other. When we work in isolation and most of the people we see daily don't have a clue why we are "wasting our time" working on another quilt when we already have one, doubt creeps in and says "why ARE you making more quilts?" The answer is simple of course, because I have to, my heart tells me to, it is my passion and what keeps me going.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Gods are Watching

I just found out something about Google/blogger. I have heard a lot of you complaining when it wasn't working, and I have been blogging since 7/4/07 and today was the first day that I got error messages and couldn't get on. So now I know not to expect it to always be there when I need it. Then I had company all day, and now Blogger is cooperating so here is my post.

I made this quilt in a David Walker workshop at QSDS in 1993. In our week long stay we were to find out what our personal way into creativity was; journal writing, listening to music, group discussions were some of the things explored. In the afternoons we worked independently on a project of our choice. I had long admired the quilts made as a collage with motifs cut directly from a printed fabric and reassembled onto a background.
Every time I was stuck and didn't know what to do next I would make crazy pieced blocks. One day David yelled across the room "Wanda, make a border out of those crazy pieced blocks." I started putting them up and yes, it was the perfect border. I was too close to my piece to realize it.
At the end of the week I had the motifs all securely pinned in place and the borders all made. When I got home I did a loose zig zag around each thing with clear monofilament thread to hold them in place (no fusibles) and then came back later and outlined them with a matching thread and satin stitch.
I had been playing with charms and buttons on it after visiting one of the neat shops in Columbus, Ohio but didn't attach any of them until I was home. We also had a bead shop in town where I looked for more things to put on it. Here we have a man playing the flute in a graveyard with 3 headstone charms sewn on.
I found this these mask buttons (above and below) on a shopping trip a few months later.
The quilting of the background just follows the lines of the Hoffman print fabric. Some of the motifs have stitchery on them. This piece hangs in my dining room/gallery.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hot and Muggy

We are between rain storms and it is extremely muggy and 87 degrees. Usually the squirrels are running all over the backyard, chasing each other up and down the trees, and jumping tree to tree. I just looked out my kitchen window and did a double take. What was that up in my tree? The longer I looked I could see it was a squirrel tail. Then I went to the other window and this is what I saw. He is stretched out full length with his tail dropped between the branches and he's not moving anything but his eyes! I wish I could have gotten to the camera sooner because the whole length of his tail was hanging down when I first looked out. So this is what squirrels do when it is too hot to move!

Steps of progression

I had planned on a detailed post today about one of my wallhangings but I got up with a weather related headache and can't think so I'll do an easy one. This is one of my bright colorwash pieces in progress. I start with lots of trays of 2 1/2" squares cut from hundreds of fabrics. Then I put the pieces up one at a time. I used to always start at the center with light but lately I have been starting on an edge. I continue adding pieces, and removing some that didn't work well.
I blend color into color in the order they are on the color wheel or it may be decided by what colors were in the previous piece of fabric.
This piece is almost completed. The picture below is the piece all sewn together, but since then I have added 3 more rows to the bottom, and because the ratio of width and height aren't quite right yet I will still be adding a few more rows. I will show it again later when I have all of the extra rows sewn on.

Monday, August 20, 2007


A lot of things in our personal history affect our lives today. This is my grandma. She collected salt and pepper shakers which I now own. I was the only granddaughter and she always told me the collection would be mine. I just love this picture with the 1940's wallpaper and the old radio in the background. My grandma was also the one who taught me how to hand embroider. I used to sit on the floor behind her wastebasket when I was little and I would pull out the little thread ends that she had thrown away when she was embroidering. I would line up the colors and then rearrange them again and again. Embroidering pillowcases kept me busy all summer on the farm when I wasn't out riding my bike. Mother didn't drive so we were pretty isolated 5 miles from town.

To go with yesterday's story, the first country school I went to in first and second grade was 1/4 mile down the road. We walked to school every morning, my brother and I, and I had perfect attendance, from all that fresh air I'm sure. Then the second school which I showed yesterday was several miles away also out in the country. When I was in 5th grade they started building a community school that would encompass all 5 districts that no longer could support a school in their own district. We didn't move in until the middle of 5th grade and there were 50 students, WOW, all in one place. I rode a school bus starting that year and all the way through high school. I graduated from 8th grade in a class of 4, 2 boys and 2 girls.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

More nostalgia

I went to one room schoolhouses until the middle of fifth grade. This picture is of the schoolhouse that I went to for third and fourth grades. This is the whole 8 grades and the teacher. The school we went to for first and second grade closed because there were only 5 students left, me, my 2 brothers and 2 neighbor boys. They decided to hire a driver to pick up us 5 and take us to this school that only had 7 students left. The reason they chose this building is because the toilets were inside and the other one had an outhouse. I am the taller girl with my hand me down too large sweater. I loved that sweater. It was a cross between purple and rose color. I thought my teacher was old enough to be my grandma but I guess she was only in her 30's. When I was in my early 20's I took in sewing. One of the ladies had several children and sometimes I delivered the work back to her house. She had a quilting frame set up in one of the large rooms. I had never seen a quilting frame before. I started machine quilting right from the start. I came from a non-sewing family and took home ec. in high school where I learned to sew clothes. I never stopped sewing from that time on. I made all of my own clothes plus lots for others. I made a flannel shirt for this lady's husband and put the buttonholes on the wrong side. She laughed about it and said he would adjust, and we became good friends over the years. A few years ago one of her granddaughters was expecting a baby and I decided to give her a quilt, the one below.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Life on the forest floor

Here is another in the series of irregular strip piecing. This is the background that I built. I found a batik in my collection with leaves on it so I started cutting them out and playing. I don't use any fusible, just cut them and lay them on loose.
A close up view after I had stitched the leaves in place. The binding on the bottom edge isn't finished yet at this point.
The finished piece measures approximately 20 1/2" square.