Friday, November 30, 2012

are we Modern enough yet?

When I first saw "modern" quilting trending and making a splash I thought "so that's what I've been up to all this time" (since I chucked the notion of following a traditional pattern)

I have a feeling that if I dig back through the blog posts, I may not even find any references to this one. It was folded up in the very bottom of a bin and a pure pain to iron. I do recall that I stopped working on it because I ran out of black/dark cloth from a long ago foray to  MaryJos .

I hoarded scraps of those Timeless Treasures shells to the smallest shreds that you see here.

this one will be quilted over the weekend. Let's hope it holds up to the wash and dry in it's old age!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

a little respite

I finally got around to covering up the schmutz that Jimmy got on the chest of this hoody the first day he wore it (and then wouldn't wear it again for the same reason) . I inherited it and always went around looking like I couldn't eat without a bib. It was a nasty slash of orange construction compound of some kind that was totally impervious to all attempts to remove it.

And this morning I'm bolting from the studio for a while and trekking over to Whole Foods. I stole an hour walking in the park yesterday - today I'll get my footwork, sunshine and retail therapy all at once, if I park waaaaay out on the lot at the store.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

shifting stance for a better view

"Skull Canyon" by Meghan Wilbar
Nothing from me but here's some eye-candy. I see:

organic (away from the grid)

vistas (away from arm's length)

more of the rainbow 
(the in-between colors too)

What do you see?

"High on Pink" Joan Snyder

"Into Spring" Allison Stewart
"Memory Map Vt Summer"  Emily Miah Stewart

"January" by Patricia Carrigan
"Aired Out" Emily Mason

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

more production

The first snow carving quilt is finished and I have enough blocks like this one for two, maybe three more depending on how I lay them out and how large I make them. It's hours in the day that I don't have enough of.

The market presented itself unexpectedly and I have to take advantage of it. Still having fun balancing utility and fun design. I wish there was a safe and reliable way to incorporate my own hand dyed cloth in these but kids quilts have to be made to take a lot of wash, wear and tear and I know from personal experience that the hand dyed vintage cloth would be sad shreds before too long.

There will be time enough after the holiday for full-on art making. By then it will feel like pure luxury.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

snow carving finished

I've put the last visible stitches in "snow carving". There will be some more construction stitching on the back to secure the damask to the batting - damask has a tendency to relax, stretch and get baggy if you let it. I'm thinking the next venture in bedworx will be on a field of white and natural muslin to relax the look a bit.
I did it with Summer Garden and this one and loved the outcome.

Can you see the patch I added to cover up the tiny pink stain? I'm going to wash and dry it again with a color catcher and  hope it's finished bleeding.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday basket

This greeted me first thing this morning when I came into the studio for the laptop. I've had a vision for a much larger utility quilt based on this design.

I was not feeling too precise this morning so, instead of the very straight and exact hand quilting that I want inside the color fields, I picked up the frolic below that's been languishing in the hoops waiting for my mood to improve. It did.

Both sides of my brain appear to be in working order despite the ongoing caloric overindulgence. Come Monday I am checking into food prison somewhere after a lengthy purge.

Friday, November 23, 2012

more snow carving

This one just out of the dryer and I am so delighted with the results. Overall it's 39"x42" .  I'm going back over the squares of color and doing some hand quilting in white to anchor the backing damask. More pictures when it's done.

The blocks of color are eight to ten inches wide and I have another 20 of them ready to be set in white.
One tiny corner of one piece of hand dyed fabric bled a small pink shadow less than one by one half inch. I've paved it over with an inset of white and gone back over the patch retracing the machine stitching that was there. If there's a better way of dealing with bleeding color, let me know.

Thanksgiving day

For the first time in adult memory I did not cook and serve a turkey for my crew at home. Instead we drove up into the north Georgia mountains to meet my future daughter-in-law's family for the first time.

It was almost balmy out so we ate outside on the deck and later gathered around a campfire out front.

The food was terrific, the company and setting even better. It felt great to be welcomed into this happy tribe.

The extent of my duties for the day? Open a bottle of wine!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

writing in the snow

I had forgotten how expressive free motion quilting can be given the right combination of surface, thread and a well set-up machine.  I didn't even waste time with a practice piece, just jumped right in and before I knew I was speaking in tongues with the aliens... again.

this is inspiring me to think again about whether and how to use machine quilting on the big works in progress that are so stalled.

Monday, November 19, 2012

wonky snow jewel

To keep the frenzy of production work in perspective, I got the blue horse (or is it a blue cat?) out of the UFO pile and hooped it up. No more vacillating about machine or hand stitching this one will take more time - time that I am going to make and effort to give it.

Meanwhile, back at the factory, things are going smoothly because I am still working with the colors/fabric that appeal to me the most (there are two more courses of three not showing ) . The backing for this quilt is a beautiful damask tablecloth - not vintage, because it has to hold up to use - but with an exquisite pattern.

Tomorrow I will give the Janome a new needle, a quick cleaning and work some equally wonky white feathers in around the color blocks. Don't I sound confident?  I am NOT.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

time well spent

Like Nellie, I'm turning out wonky log cabin blocks to be turned quickly into functional, warm quilts. These are going to be set in a dazzling field of white, like flowers in the snow.
It's satisfying work and adds up quickly to something that will matter, one way or another.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

more shopkeeping

I'll be working on stocking up the store this weekend.

I've been digging through the bins and there are treasures galore! The holidays are upon us, like it or not.

More later!

Friday, November 16, 2012

the joy of being useful

Here they are, fresh from the dryer, all warm and nicely cobbled from the experience.

To me there is nothing quite as satisfying as completing a project that is useful, well made and fun to look at. Some little person is going to drag one of these two blankies around with them as long as they can get away with it. It will give warmth and comfort for many  years.

In my present frame of mind, all other studio activity seems self-indulgent and rather pointless.  These two will be for sale and I have another started that will be donated to the Red Cross hurricane relief.

I sent two quilts to Japan last year. I figure I owe NY at least the same effort.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

enough digression

and monkey business, I have three large pieces in varying stages of completion and need to come back from fooling around.

two of the three are troubling me and and I don't want to rush into the home stretch on the third.  All this futzing around with blankies and obtuse techniques..I know what's really going on - stonewalling with the works in progress is all.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Staggering around the internet yesterday I came across the blog of Sheila Frampton Cooper with great images the quilt festival in  Houston. One of the winners in particular slayed me - "ElaTED" by Ted Storm. I remember a similar fascination with another one of her quilts, "Nocturnal Garden".

Then this blog post at Wonkyworld came into my radar and I finally did some research on "broderie perse"

Are you shocked that I would be absorbed by something so traditional? I have always loved chintz-the colors, the gloss, they all appeal to the Magpie brain.

The technique of clipping elements out of the whole cloth and reorganizing them to my own satisfaction and all that obsessively tiny stitching has grabbed me by the tiny attention span. I watched the video four times and still cannot get the buttonhole stitch..maybe if I watched it in the mirror.

I found a half napkin with my embroidered initials in the scrap basket. The reverse applique Easter eggs were raided from another UFO and the cranes clipped out of a scrap of chintz gifted to me some time ago..there were only about four whole birds left because I've been using up wings on other things. It's my day off and all I wanted to do was a little hand stitching.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

wicked commerce

Sat down at big J this morning to get this top wrapped up into what I call a Kindergarten quilt..bigger than a baby blanket, smaller than a twin.  It was pure fun to free piece the top which has both commercial and hand dyed cottons, no vintage in this one. It's backed with a wonderful commercial print of dancing blue waters and I used one of the IKEA fleece as batting.

The design is a little wonky - at the last minute I wanted some length and added on that keyboard looking business, kinda like a counterpane (she tells herself). Waste nothing!

For about thirty seconds I thought about hand quilting it...then I remembered who I am making these for and why. These quilts have to take the licking, get washed, dried, and keep on kicking - and they do just that when I machine quilt them! I'll post this one for sale in the store for a while and then off it will go to NY when I get the word that the venue is back up and running after Sandy.

Friday, November 09, 2012

the (better) lost week

I know it's the worst kind of sin to wish away ones  days but this week has been so hard on everyone in so many ways.

 I would shout TGIF from the rooftops except that I have to work this weekend but just reminded myself that the weekend clients can be quite entertaining and I can further amuse myself by practicing my Downton Abbey accent on them with an effort to pare down the snobbery case by case. Yeah, I watched a few episodes and I'm hooked hard.

I have busied myself with this little gem of a crib quilt constructed from a tiny fraction of the commercial batik fat quarters I was recently blessed with. So much cloth! So little time!  There's a little more machine quilting to go here and then into the washer and dryer with it to get the full effect of how it will be when it's gifted away.

On the shopkeeper front, it's restocking time.

I've packed up half a dozen baggies with very small pieces culled from this huge pile of hand dyed treasures. Read more about Bites over at Random Acts of Dyeness.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

developing the pollock

I really have to start calling this something  else. As I work on it, I'm realizing that all my stitch and thread choices are about construction - the stitches are smaller and smaller and the color of the thread blends in with the fabric. All the big white lines of basting are slowing being removed.

The shapes, color and placement of all the elements are what matters here - I could be gluing them on, or painting them on for that matter, but I am staying with stitching for my own satisfaction.

The pace slows me down, forces me to consider and reconsider and, if something is not right, it's not a huge pain to clip the thread on the backside and snatch it out so the wayward scrap can be relocated or replaced. Slow going on purpose.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

election day

After a sleepless night and a busy morning, all I felt like doing was mixing up these jewels and starting another pieced top.

We went out in the cold and rain and voted. Now it's nap and wait and see.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

last of the trio

This is the third of my QN entries. "Los Dados Encantada" was inspired in part by Grace's black and white kids .

The ground pieces for this one (dyed and discharged vintage sackcloth, damask and sheeting)  have been "in waiting" for some time. Once I paired them with the high energy of the graphic pieces, the whole thing fell into place within 24 hours and is entirely machine stitched and finished out at 59x34 inches.

Despite the simplicity of the graphics, there's a lot going on when you come in for a closer inspection. This is another line that I will following in the months to come.
detail from Los Dados Encantada

Saturday, November 03, 2012

a wistful day

Today is my Mom's birthday and I've given over much thought to her today.
I have to admit that I could never remember her birthday spot floated between 11/2 and Election day in my mind but today, for the first time it was fixed and correct.

Jim read my mind and brought home a bouquet of red roses in her honor (she adored my husband).

This photo was taken in 2002 on one of her rare visits with us down south. She loved Jinx and Jinx seemed to love her right back. Miss you Rosie.

waiting in the wings

I'm finding there are some  problems and benefits to having a string of works-in-progress, especially if the the pieces are, if not a series, at least cousins in some way.

You fool with the thing until it begins to annoy you but don't set it aside at that point or you are asking for a permanent UFO bound for the shredder.  Find the problems areas and at least take some notes somehow towards remediation...that way you won't be stonewalled when (and if) you pick it up again. I unfolded this one grateful that I had pinned some bits and pieces of maybes and possibilities on it's face.

The base cloths for this piece are two very old huck tablecloths that came out of the dyes looking like a rainy weekend. Dreamy but coma inducting except for the way the woven textures came to light.

For a long time I wanted to examine just what the hell Jackson Pollock was up to/looking for besides wrecking his head. Without doing any reading or presupposing - except for that damn Ed Harris film - this piece is my exploration in that territory. It's going to be some time in the making because it will be all hand stitched in keeping with the very old and tender fabrics. I don't know how fast Jackson flung the paint around but I do know how long it takes to stitch a large piece by hand. Come next summer, maybe.

And now I have to go out and buy a new iron. The 9$ special that is at least five years old has bit the dust and puked on my cloth for the last time.

Friday, November 02, 2012

a push

My new business cards came today..I did away with the extravagant glossy color image on the other side, saving myself a bundle,  opting for a nice clean space where whatever could be written.

Now I have to challenge myself to the rest of the nitty gritty and finish the website makeover.

I taught myself as much html as I needed years ago and used to have real fun with it but the gloss has worn off that toy entirely. I'd really like to just hand it off to a pro..but I'm too cheap.


I've been machine quilting this all morning and, as I suspected, have not much more than cold feet and hunched shoulders for my trouble. I'll keep at it though now that I'm committed.

And I am taking more than just a moment to give thanks for a roof over my head, a dry bed, someone elses cooking and loving companions here to help me make it through the day.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

fretting & rejoicing

The problem with mixing hand and machine stitching on a piece is recognizing when your hand work is no longer for the purpose of the design...when you keep on stitching because it's a comforting action, like my drug of choice.

To keep from running off the rails I put this one back up on the design wall this morning and found a few places where less was more and few others where something else was needed. I hope to get it back under the machine needle tomorrow.

I meant to post this here yesterday...everyone is doing as well as possible under the circumstances

This morning Jake called to tell us that he has proposed to Missy and she has accepted and we are thrilled!