Monday, November 25, 2013

What's For Dinner?

This clever exhibit at Houston was co-curated by Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison.

"Quilters not only have a passion for fabric, notions, and sewing machines, but also a passion for food!  Whether it's going out to eat or cooking something in their own kitchen, this is a creative interest and/or hobby in which many quilters take part.  We have "set the table" with quilts depicting "place settings", complete with placemat/tablecloth, napkin, fork, knife, spoon, and a plate full of "what's for dinner."

I do believe this is the first time I have ever seen quilted food!  This was such a fun exhibit though.  Here is an idea for your left over turkey this Thanksgiving - just turn him into a sandwich and add some fries!
I will be busy with family the next few days but want to wish all who read this a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy the holiday with your loved ones!
Next we will be gearing up for the Christmas holidays :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Creative Dolls

There was an impressive doll display at the quilt festival in Houston too.  I always enjoy looking at them, they are quite creative!  I do not see myself making anything like them though in the near future.  The Yo-Yo animals and dimensional flowers are about as 3D as I get.  They are fun to look at though.  I am very impressed with the detail and creativity that goes into the making of these dolls.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What Will End Up In The Yard Sale?

I went to my friend's garage sale this weekend and she was getting rid of a lot of her tole painted items that she painstakingly made several years ago.  It was a fun hobby for her at the time and she has displayed them in her home for several years, but finally just got tired of putting them out and did not want to store them any longer.  It was hard for her to part with them to "just anyone or anywhere" though because of all the time and cost she spent making them.

We also discussed how most people really don't want to pay what these pieces are worth.  They usually do not understand the hours spent producing quality craft items like these.  I have found this to be true with quilting too.  It costs quite a bit to make a bed sized quilt, not to mention the many hours spent cutting, sewing and quilting.  Another of my friends said she gifted a quilt to a friend and later found out that the woman had let her dog give birth to her puppies on this hand-made quilt!

I have been thinking about my quilts and wondering if they too will someday end up in a yard sale.  We have all seen antique quilts in yard sales before.  Some of them are a great find!  I just hope that the loved ones I gift a quilt to will use it and enjoy it for as long as they can and if it ever ends up in a yard sale that it will find a good new home and be used and enjoyed more.  (If it gets really worn out then I guess the dog can have it :)
So I bought a few of my friend's tole painted pieces, mostly because they are so dang cute, but also to give them a good new home.  I am going to offer them to my daughters first because they are just getting started collecting holiday decorations, but if they can't use them, I will find a good spot for them and think of my wonderful, talented friend every time I see them!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Carol Bryer Fallert Gentry

I guess that was not all of my Houston pictures, but just a few more!

Carol Bryer Fallert Gentry had a display of thirty 30 inch square quilts to celebrate 30 years of quilting. Her work is quite beautiful and truly artistic.  She has won several big awards in the large quilt shows. You can read more about her and see more of her quilts on her website:

Carol dyes most of her own fabric for these beautiful quilts.

Here is one that I would like to try and make.  She started a Fibonacci series of quilts, using the Fibonacci proportions (1-2-3-5).  I have some pretty hand dyed fabrics so I am ready to give this a try!  I took the picture below to give me an idea of how to do it.  I also watched a show featuring Carol on The Quilt Show website and she explained it in greater detail.  I am really excited to try this.

Look at the machine quilting in this too  It's stunning!  I need to keep practicing!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Here It Is!

I finally finished the t-shirt quilt.  I hope my son doesn't read my blog or else he will get a sneak peek at his Christmas gift!
As I mentioned before, this was a very difficult quilt to machine quilt  The fabrics are cotton, the t-shirts are stabilized with a stabilizer, which helped, but they of course are still a little stretchy. The backing is a type of minkie - very soft and pretty but a little slippery to pin and quilt.  The batting is wool, which gives it a nice light drape and feel, but is very warm (also a little slippery).  It should work for a nice college bedspread I think - to replace the one he is using now and has had since he was a child!

I was not going to take any close up photos but ... oh well!  I did a regular meander inside the t-shirts themselves and a geometric triangular meander over the rest of the quilt and quilted leaves in the green borders.  I thought the triangular meander a good idea at the time, for a masculine quilt, but in these photos it looks a little jarring.

Here is a photo of the back, although the lighting is not good - it is all one pretty green color and the quilting really shows on minkie backs!
I did love quilting this on my Bernina 710 - the machine was fantastic!  It was the quilter who was having problems!
Overall though, this will be a nice warm bed covering and a fun way to remember his funny t-shirt stage of life :)
And I learned a lot, and that is always a good thing!  Have a happy day!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This Is It!

This is the last of the quilt photos I took in Houston.

"Celestial Fantasy" by Lynne Reamey from Louisiana.

Honorable Mention in the pieced category in the Hoffman Challenge.

"The Roswells from Planet Quiltron" by Alice Zimmerman from New York.

This was also a Hoffman Challenge piece.

"Catena" by Timna Tarr from Massachusetts.

This piece was in the "Celebrate Spring" exhibit. My friend Michelle made a smaller version of this quilt which won our guild's challenge back in June.  She sent a picture of it to Timna, who posted it on her blog.  While we were in Houston Michelle spotted Timna, who was there with her mother and we met them both.  Timna had two quilts on display there.  It was really fun to meet them!

"De jurk" by Annemiek van den Boogaard from The Netherlands.

I think this was in the Open European Quilt Championships exhibit but I'm not positive.
She says, "For my inspiration I used a drawing by Vasarely. Then I started to draw myself and I put my own ideas into it.  This quilt is made with different techniques, fabrics and colors.  I followed my intuition and I'm proud of the result.

It won an Award of Merit and it is hand pieced and machine quilted.

"It's the Journey" by Patricia Charity from California.

This is from the MAPS exhibit.

She said she was inspired by history and the romance of travel during a time when getting to the destination was only the end of the journey.

"Uncharted" by Catherine Baltgalvis from California.

She said, "This piece is based on an antique map with chart lines and traditional compass symbols."

Also from the MAPS exhibit.

"The Hummingbird" by Sue Bleiweiss from Massachusetts.

"Every year I eagerly await the sight of the first hummingbird in the garden.  It's always an exquisite moment that marks the official beginning of spring and the warm sunny days ahead.

Raw-edge fusible appliquéd and machine quilted.

Exquisite Moment exhibit

"XXOO" by Gerrie Congdon from Oregon.

"Everyone who knows me is aware that my grandchildren are a precious part of my life.  As I thought about this theme, I realized that the first hugs and kisses from one of my grandchildren created an exquisite moment."

Fused raw-edge appliqué, machine quilted.

Exquisite Moment exhibit

"Bach Suite I" by Lyric Kinard from North Carolina.

"The bliss of music, the sweetness of sound, the richness of a bow pulled over deep cello strings."

Dyed, screen-printed, painted, stitched.

Exquisite Moment exhibit.

Here is a little Zentangle I did in a class last night :)

Have a wonderful day!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

iPad Cases - Give Me A Break!

I should say that making the iPad cases gave me a break!  I needed a break from quilting after battling with that t-shirt quilt.  I have the binding sewn on and half hand-sewn down though, so I'm getting there.

These iPad cases are for my son (the brown one on top) and husband (the one with Australian fabrics that he picked out).  They have the smart covers, but it's nice to have a simple sleeve to slide it in when you're going somewhere to protect the back from scratches.  My son wanted a velcro closure and my husband a button because it's quieter if you're in a meeting when you want to open it up!

The black rectangle on the inside flap is a micro fiber square that I appliquéd on.  It is nice to have that attached for wiping the screen when needed.
I am getting towards the end of my Houston pictures, but here are a few more!

"Shangrila" by Barb Forrister from Texas.

"Shangrila is a 3-D triptych created with soft-sculpted flowers on a hand painted and inked background.  As a fiber artist, I am constantly looking for different mediums that can be used to add lift and yet be pliable enough to sculpt; others remain flat but still provide texture.  For me, it is the next place my art is taking me and I am enjoying the ride!"

"Benefit of the Sunshine" by Noriko Nozawa from Japan.

"The quilt expresses a gentle light by using rainbow colors I dyed myself.  It is possible to contrast monochrome with a bright color.  For the first time I tried the method that emphasizes an outline by using thin felt."

Dyed, free-motion quilted, machine pieced.

The quilted flowers in the face create some shading.  I thought that was interesting!

From the Festival Gallery of Quilt Art:

"Venice's Carnival" by Sonia Bardella from Italy.

Hand appliquéd, painted, machine embroidered, machine and hand-quilted.

She says, "I live near Venice and every year my family and I go to Venice to see the world-famous carnival."

From Hands All Around 2013:

"Linkin Park" by Tommy Fitzsimmons from Illinois.

Machine appliquéd and pieced.

"The construction complications are what made me want to make this quilt. It can only be done a little at a time due to the chains linking together. It was a good brain teaser for me."

From Tactile Architecture 2013:

"Walking In A Winter Wonderland" by Barb Forrister from Texas.

Wholecloth painted, machine quilted.

"Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, lies the small, charmingly elegant town of Estes Park, Colorado.  At night, the picturesque atmosphere conveys a magical feeling with its cool, crisp air, clear sky filled with an abundance of stars, trees heavily laden with freshly fallen snow and lights twinkling all about.  Marked by beauty and an eerie silence, it imparts a deliciously peaceful and breathtaking moment, a point when time stands still."

"The Quilt Show" by Carole Corder from Washington.

"My inspiration sprang initially from traditional quilts done by my Midwestern grandmothers.  Many of those quilts are still cherished by our family, and I even incorporated bits of my paternal grandmother's fabrics in some of my interpretations of the well-known, old-fashioned patterns.  I also found inspiration in fanciful folk art techniques popular in the 1980s.  Traditional techniques of hand piecing, hand appliqué, and hand quilting combine with the whimsy of folk art to create a piece that appeals to a wide audience, and especially to me."

Hand and machine pieced, hand appliquéd and hand quilted.

Monday, November 18, 2013

All About T-Shirts, and Other Stuff

I have been quilting the t-shirt quilt for my son, in hopes of giving it to him for Christmas.  I must say it has been a royal pain in the behind!

At first I was going to quilt the sashing around the t-shirt blocks, then go back and quilt the blocks.  I quickly realized that was a huge mistake as there was WAY too much fabric in the t-shirt blocks to try and "quilt in".  So then I decided to quilt the t-shirt blocks first and then go back and quilt the sashing, but I ran into the same problem, with too much fabric to quilt in to the sashing.

I had little choice at this time though, unless I  wanted to remove a LOT of quilting stitches, so I kept at it slowly but surely.  It looks OK, but I am not as happy with it as I wanted to be.  There are a few puckers here and there but nothing drastic (because I DID end up picking out quite a lot of quilting to make it work!)

Look at this photo on the left - don't you hate it when that happens?  The backing fabric got folded over and quilted into the border, so even MORE picking out stitches....

I am now ready to put the binding on and then I will post a "finished" picture.  I hope it looks better all done, and after I've had time to de-stress about it.  It is after all a t-shirt quilt and will most likely get a lot of use as a bedspread.  But....I still want it to look good!
 So, I am wondering if the answer is to quilt the blocks and the sashing from the center out and not block by block?  That is the only solution I am seeing to this problem, but I welcome suggestions!

Speaking of t-shirts, a friend told me how to make scarves out of t-shirts!  I googled "how to make t-shirt scarves" and found a video and voila!  They are SO easy to make, it takes about 10-15 minutes each.  Here are four that I've made for Christmas gifts.

Here I am modeling one.  It is best to get XXL t-shirts and wash and dry them before starting.  My friend and I checked out a lot of stores and found the best ones to be at either Hobby Lobby (for bright colors) or Target (for more muted colors).  You want to look for t-shirts without side seams too.

You can dress them up with a pin which makes them even more fun, and you can change the pins out when there is a holiday - just pin on a holiday pin!  I happened to have this butterfly pin but found some great pins at Target and Herbergers :)

Here are some more quilts from Houston that I liked:
"Cathedral Stars" by Anna Faustino from Pennsylvania.

"Visiting many churches, sitting on the pews, and admiring the beauty of the windows and paintings inspired my quilt."

Reverse machine appliqué, embroidery stitches, free-hand craft knife-cut appliqué, couching, air brushing, stenciling.

"Vincent: Haunted Genius" by Danna Shafer from California.

"Inspired by Vincent Fan Gogh's 'Starry, Starry, Night', I wanted to simulate the look of paint using only textiles.  Made as a wedding present for my daughter and her husband, they were married five years before it was completed to my satisfaction."

Raw-edge appliqué used to simulate paint on pieced background; edges secured with invisible thread; machine quilted.

"Kells" by Christina McCann from Oregon

"This quilt was inspired by the illuminations from the Book of Kells, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.  Discharged fabric gives the feel of parchment.  The work of the monks was beautifully imperfect, which appeals to me."

Discharged fabric, beading, embroidery, hand quilting.

"Willow" by Debra Crine from Florida.

"Original design inspired by antique tapestries.  Hand-dyed fabrics were used for the appliqué and fused to the silk background.  Quilted with YLI silk thread.  Appliqué motifs inspired by Deb Kimball.  Border quilting designs by Sharon Schamber."

"Celestial Splendor" by Rachel Wetzler from Illinois.

"Canterbury Cathedral's central tower ceiling served as the model for this geometric composition.  Known as Bell Harry Tower, this magnificent example of English Gothic architecture was designed by John Wastell and completed in the late 15th century.

Machine pieced, appliquéd and quilted.

"Designer Bootique" by Holly Nelson from Texas.

"If some of our iconic quilters designed boots, what would they look like?  This is what I imagine they would come up with.  My deepest thanks for their support of my attempt to translate their styles  (Boots that did not make the cut are on the "Clearance Rack" on the back.)

Applique using liquid sizing; machine pieced and quilted.

I love this quilt!  Such a clever idea!  I also took this picture for my other daughter who loves cowboys, boots and all things "country"!