Monday, April 17, 2006


I was cleaning off the table Saturday morning (which basically means moving piles of fabric from one flat surface to another) and one of the scraps I picked up turned into this a few hours later. The table never did get cleaned off either. The octagonish quilting on this one is done with a zig-zag stitch so it shows. That's the first time I've used that as a design element, but I like the result. There's some sort of technical, quilt-police-related reason not to quilt with anything but a straight stitch, but I have no idea what it might be. The outside edges of the quilt are irregular, and the terra cotta color is actually my dining room wall. I need to reshoot the picture against a black background so the shape of the quilt shows up. I'll add that to my to-do list. My son has invited his girlfriend up to spend the weekend with us next weekend, so housecleaning is about the only thing in my near future, but maybe that will motivate me into getting the clutter of my sewing sorted out so I can get some good pictures and finish up some of the fiddly details to have real live COMPLETED quilts and not just assorted tops and everything-but-the-sleeve/label/binding pieces stacked on a chair. Or maybe I'll just gather everything up in great armloads, toss it in the sewing room and shut the door to be sorted when pigs fly. I have a couple of quilts that need minor finishing details to be done, and 2 fairly large ones to be quilted yet. Maybe I'll reward myself for cleaning house by doing those. And then, of course, I have a box of dupioni scheduled for delivery tomorrow, with a design already in my head for it, so chances are I'll just wind up making MORE of a mess than there is already. My rationalization for digging into it immediately is "who can resist silk in colors like 'lipstick' and 'tangerine' and 'sunshine'?"

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Total size of this piece is 11'x12'. Yes, ladies and gents, that's FEET! Each panel is 11 feet long and almost 4 feet wide. The woman who commissioned it never asked to see fabrics, design sketches, nothing. I walked around her house and made some comments, took some notes on colors and her existing art work to get a sense of her taste, and then showed back up 6 weeks later and hung it. Even though I made it, I have to say it is very impressive hanging on the wall. The vast majority of the prints are Mardi-Gras and music themes, two of my most favorite themes to work with. She and her husband were very happy with it and I sort of miss having it around. One interesting note about this piece; I never saw it as a whole until it was hung. There is no place in my house that I can lay out a 12x12 piece, so I worked on each individually and just trusted that I wasn't screwing it up too badly.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Brown-eyed Susans

I am really liking this one. More batiks (if I use them up I can buy more!) and again with the simple graphic look without a lot of fiddly stuff. Some detailing to be done with stitching and then the quilting.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

And while I'm at it

The fish don't actually run off the right side of the quilt, I'm just a crappy photographer at 5:00 am. Well, pretty much all the time, but worse this early in the morning.

These are more of the batiks and hand-dyes that I'm spending our retirement and the kid's inheritance on. The fish will eventually have eyes and I'm thinking a vertical seaweed-y quilting pattern, maybe in a blue/green variegated thread. Who knows though, since I usually have some sort of flash of inspiration when I actually sit down to do the quilting. Half the time, it's a surprise even to me.

Midnight in the Garden

Since I'm up at the crack of dawn I might as well post some more stuff. This is one that strays from my usual style (whatever that is) but seems to be well-received by others. Lots of interest and comments at the art show last month, and my youngest daughter loves it. The FMQ is all done with a variegated thread and the center of the bottom right flower has been replaced by yellow buttons. I think I changed the eye on the moon too, so it looked asleep rather than dead. If I didn't, I should have.

Rust dyed moire'

Not much to say about this one. This is a piece of strange moire' that came off a bolt the fabric fairy left me a while back. It started out as an ecru color, and took the rust in a very subtle way, although it did pick up tiny specks of blues and greens from the verdigris of some of the shavings mixed in with the iron filings. The friend I got the filings from says there could be pieces of bronze, copper, brass, pewter, and who knows what else in there. I may have to verdigris the handfuls of bronze and copper shavings I have and see what that does to fabric. I would tend to think the verdigris would wash out much easier than the rust does though.

Rust-dyed rayon

This is a sort of weird very thin, very expensive (even at 75% off it was fairly pricey) rayon that started out a creamy yellow color. It took the rust much better than either the cotton or moire' did and resulted in a richer, darker color than the other two. No way I can get it to show in a photo but it left a very subtle sparkle, even after washing it. The rust also ran along the grain lines in the lighter areas and closer to the edges. I think this one is definitely a candidate for more playing, probably with the square nails and other assorted rusty bits that I've been obsessively collecting on the coast. I think it will take specific shapes very well. This piece of fabric also has an incredible hand to it after being run through the washer.

Rust-dyed cotton

This is a piece of white bleached muslin, rust dyed with metal filings, salt and vinegar. The photo at the top is a close-up of the specks the individual filings make.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

When is a problem a GOOD thing?

When the problem is that more people want your quilts than you have finished. I have until Friday to send in a list and description of quilts I want displayed at the state quild meeting the first weekend in June. Everything appropriate I have right now is spoken for, either sold or promised out for other exhibitions, so I have no idea what I'm going to send unless I can create 3 or 4 from scratch by Friday. Not bloody likely.

Speaking of the guild meeting in June, I'm teaching a 3 hour "how to make fabric postcards" class. I could teach an 8 hour class for $100, or a 3 hour class for $ to me. I hate to be cooped up for too long in one place anyway. I guess this means I need to get my act together and get some class samples, or whatever it is I need, together before then. They ask about hand-outs and tools and supplies and all sorts of stuff. My thought is to pack up a buttload of fabric scraps, yarns, beads, "stuff", some fusible, glue, interfacing, felt (that's what I use for the batting) and various and sundry other things and let it be sort of a treasure hunt thing with people assembling their own cards, beginning with the construction techniques. I have always preferred classes that show you how to CREATE something, as opposed to the classes that show you how to make something SPECIFIC. Give me knowledge of technique over a finished project any day!

Couldn't sleep the other morning so I got up and made a batik fish piece very similar to the comedy/tragedy masks and I'm pleased with it so far. The top is finished except for the eyes on the fish and then on to the quilting. I'm going to go broke buying batiks this year. A special shout-out to for helping deplete my bank account. But you should see my batik stash now!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Oh yeah, and the pictures.

Time flies!

I had no idea it had been so long since I posted. Life gets in the way of so much these days it seems. I can't complain too badly though, since good things are happening. A local artist showcase last week resulted in 2 sales and some strong interest in 2 other pieces. Considering I only displayed a total of 6 pieces for sale, that's not too shabby. I have pieces to be shipped to a gallery in Yankeeland SOON, and a display space panel in a 'story board' display at the Hennepin County Gov't building. That exhibit goes up in Aug I believe and I've promised a Katrina piece, most likely with the FEMA tarps and other detritus I've collected on the coast. I have a germ of an idea for the design, but it's fermenting just like the debris piles down there are. I'm hoping to use nothing but materials I've collected from the Bay and Waveland without going into my existing stash. The mounds and mounds of donated clothing, and the debris from gutted houses provides plenty of raw material to work with.
The last 2 weeks have been spent on set design for the high school musical and the resultant enforced break from doing any quilt-related work. It's good to be back to thinking about fabric instead of Luan plywood now though, and I have 3 quick sketches I made this morning for new pieces. My "Midnight Garden" got a lot of attention at the show, which surprised me since it's WAAAYY off my normal style, and I have an idea for another one sort of along the same lines. They are quick, easy, and very graphic, although I'm not sure it's something I want to do on a regular basis.