Sunday, November 25, 2007

Queen of the unfinished "finished" quilts

I literally get down to attaching the label and tacking the bottom of the sleeve down and hit a wall. That's usually when my brain thinks "finished" and I start on a new piece. I have a stack of quilts to put labels on and a bunch that need the sleeve sewn down, so what do I do but drag out a piece of rust-stained fabric to make another whole quilt from. This crap has GOT to stop since they all have to be HANGING this coming Friday. No way I can charge big prices for them with the current safety pin hanging system I'm using to get the pictures. I also have several straps to attach to the beaded purses that have been just sitting there staring at me too. Oh yeah....and three 8x8 foot hanging systems to build by Friday. Nothing SuperWoman can't handle!

And a question for you quilt binders....just how the hell wide do you cut your binding strips anyway? I've always cut mine 2" because that's the number I've had in my head for however long. I also tend to cut borders and stuff either 2", 3" or 5" because I have rulers that wide, but I'm pretty sure at some point in the past someone said 2" for a binding strip. I know all the quilting books (and magazines too, probably) give the measurement but I don't ever read that section. I don't read the section on how to make the quilt sandwich or how to use a rotary cutter either. At any rate, what brought all that up is I was listening to another quilter the other day and she commented on "...and then cut your binding strip the standard 2.5" or whatever width you use." It never even OCCURRED to me to make the damn thing any wider. I like the narrow, tight look of the 2" strip but I spend as much time wrestling with turning the binding as I do on making some of my quilts! I could add 1/2 inch and have room room to maneuver without adding a whole lot of width to the finished thing. But that would mean actually using the ruler to measure with, and not just using the width of the ruler to go by.

So anyhow....we had a great holiday. All the kids were home and in and out with their friends. I got a little work done, but truly I'm looking forward to them all heading back to school so I can have some peace and get back to my routine. A couple of days of non-stop sleeve tacking and label applying and strap assembling staring me in the face. The cats will try to help, but at least they don't ask for money or call me on the phone.

So here's the piece I did yesterday and today. It's a piece of rust-stained muslin with Katrina treasures rusted onto it. They came from one of the first trips down there and I used a Fleur de Lis finial from a wrought iron fence, a railroad spike, nails, washers, a key and the crosses are formed with the little slats from an air conditioning vent cover (look up to your ceiling....see the little thin strips on the vent?) The cross is layers of silk fibers and the key (very bottom right corner) is tied with silk fibers. The dark edge between the blue border and the outer border is a 1/4" flange. The blue is a commercial batik. 25"x40" total size.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Final shots

"Flight" with the additional quilting and binding done, and a small one that as yet remains unnamed.

New-ish stuff

Two pieces that I'm finally finishing up after letting them languish (ferment, age, settle?) a while. The first is a piece I started over a year ago and ran out of steam on (as I so often do after the design is done) when it was half quilted. The second started out as a teach-myself-a-technique-from-instructions-on-the-web piece using a gelatin plate for monoprinting.

"Beautiful Noise" 36x36 is cotton fabric, painted, woven, and appliqued with painted window screening. The woven areas are simply slits cut into the background fabric and woven with contrasting fabrics. Micro stippling with copper metallic threads on the woven areas.

"Flight" 30x42 is gel plate printed on muslin, stamped, silkscreened (actually, tulle and Elmer's glue) word "flight" and a bit of metallic thread painting and beading for the dragonfly. So far, I've only free-motioned around the stamped dragonflies but will be adding some more quilting to the whole thing, including around the word to give it a tiny bit more contrast. I don't really want it to stand out too much, but I do want to highlight it a little.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

You Make Me Smile Award

I've been tagged with the "You Make Me Smile" thing, so I'll play along and tag 10 others, although Rissa beat me to tagging Jen.

1. Sonji not only makes me smile, she makes me laugh out loud at times.

2. Michelle makes me smile with her beautiful work, and the flat-out cool name of her blog.

3. Tanya, for her great outlook on the most mundane things.

4. Sandy for her hysterical, always entertaining, links.

5. Kathy for the sheer joy of her art.

6. Gwen because learning new stuff ALWAYS makes me smile.

7. Joyce's free-form piecing is always good for a smile.

8. Sion because I wish I could do what she does as well as she does it.

9. Terry for his creative genius.

10. Post Secret This one isn't actually a tag, but it does make me smile. And cry.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My son is such a sweetie....I think

At least he's thoughtful....I think. The phone rang at 4:17 this morning (yes, I was awake, but it's still jarring when you have 3 kids who don't live at home.) He was calling to wish me happy birthday since he won't be home this weekend. At least this time it didn't involve him bringing a cat home. And I have him well trained for the first words out of his mouth to be "I'm ok" (usually followed by "....but," in his case) when he calls between midnight and dawn. Too many middle-of-the-night calls about who the Braves played against in the first home game at Turner Field, and when was Picasso alive and painting, and how do you spell .......? Does anyone else have grown boys who play full-contact Scrabble until the wee hours? One time too many of that can't-catch-your-breath feeling when the phone rings and you're expecting "This is officer Obie and we need you to come down" and you get "what's that old saying about beating your wife with a stick and where did it come from?" instead. (BTW, every single one of those are actual questions that I've gotten from him at some point between 1:00 and 5:00 am) I have a lot of friends who think I'm insane for not putting a stop to him calling for trivial stuff like that, but I'd rather keep the lines with him open and deal with the late calls that shut him down and risk all the other calls he makes at "normal" hours. It's never a bad thing to have kids who feel free to talk to you at ANY time for ANY reason.

My youngest daughter came by last night and dropped off a Hobby Lobby gift certificate for me since she was headed out to MS State for the weekend and wouldn't be around today. My oldest daughter (who actually attends State) is coming home this morning for a much-needed break. I'm heading out about noon to visit a friend of mine in New Orleans. I don't get many chances to have time with just the 2 of us so I'm really looking forward to it. Her husband travels and is gone this weekend and she just got one of her girls married off so we'll have a lot of re-connect time. Missy is "The Keeper of All Things Yat" and knows more New Orleans and cajun tradition and lore and history than anyone I know. She's also one of the sweetest and smartest and funniest women I've ever met, and drop-dead beautiful. This will be the 4th or 5th year in a row I've been out of town on my birthday and my husband claims the birthday doesn't count if I'm not here, so I guess in his time I'm actually about 43. I tell people I'm 61 though. That way, they're amazed at how good I look for my age rather than thinking I look rode hard and put up wet. I never understood lying young about your age. Lie old, very old, is my theory.

I'm hoping to get some strokes of genius for design ideas in New Orleans. She has always given me inspiration and motivation. I think my muse must live there or something. Probably in one of those apartments over the shops in the Quarter. With wrought iron and ferns. And hardwood floors that squeak. And peeling paint. I have to visit her every so often to recharge myself. New Orleans recharges my heart, the Gulf coast recharges my soul.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

It's a good thing

I stayed home from Houston I think. I have 2 more quilts completely finished to go to Chimneyville with me. No labels, but that's par for the course for me anyway. I'll get them on there (probably at the last minute) before I actually sell them. Notice the sheer optimism of me saying "before I sell them?" Still no clue about how many quilts to take so I'll make/finish what I can and stop worrying about it. Not bloody likely, as my friend says, but it's something to shoot for anyway. I'll just keep gobbling the Tagamet and get done what I can. I could probably get more done if I'd stay home and work and not go to the stitch and bitch at the needlework shop in Canton (and I really didn't need to decide how to hook a rug and stop in the middle of everything else I'm doing to work on that) but at least I get some beading done up there. No phones, no lights, no least no phones and no distractions beyond the snacks and chatting with the other women.

"Moonlit Swamp" is layers of appliqued trees and sparkle tulle. Starting from the back I did a layer of commercial cotton for the trees, covered them with tulle then added successive layers of trees and tulle. Total of either layers of tulle I think. Heavy free-motion quilting on the trees and reflections on the water, very minimal quilting on the rest of it. A weird tarnished looking blackish-green twisted bugle bead for the shimmer on the water and some furry yarn for the Spanish moss on the tree. 35x28, faced, machine quilted, hand beaded.

"Dropout" is a variety of commercial batiks, torn into strips and woven together. The fish are cut from one of the batiks used in the background, and sort of trapuntoed on with an extra layer of batting. Some detail added and emphasised with markers and stitching. The entire thing has been painted and stamped with swirls and squiggles in metallic paints. The wavy quilting lines are in a variegated King Tut, with the breaks at each fish left long. Each dangling quilting thread has a small glass bead on it. Opalescent sequins and silver beads make the bubbles for each fish. The quilted area is 15x25, 15x43 including torn fringe at the bottom.