Saturday, December 31, 2011

Proressing nicely

Well the quilt in my last post is progressing nicely.  I am quite pleased.  It started with one idea in mind and as it progressed it became a quilt more about what my mother taught me then anything else.  So while doing all the machine quilting, and yes there is quite a bit, I decided that the wording added next would have a purpose. 

If you know me or my family, you know my Mom is a strong women.  She raised us all to be strong, independent women.  I hope I have instilled half of what my Mom instilled in me, in my daughter, but that is another story.  So as I quilted, I thought of words that would be fitting to describe what my Mom taught me.  I came up with Confident, Proud and Passionate, but after looking at the words written down, I knew I wanted another word for Confident that began with a "P".  Without revealing the reason why, I asked both of my kids, separately, for another word for Confident.  Well believe it or not they both suggested Poised.  Robert said that one of his football mantras is "Poise is Confidence under Pressure".  Hmmm, I like that expression a lot.  Even if it had nothing to do with the piece, I thought it described both me and my Mom really well.  When I told him why I asked, he agreed (as did Raven) that Poised was the right word for their Nana!

While this photo does not show the lettering in their current position, it does show the font I used.  I have moved the words around to make them balanced, but don't you love how the curls of the "P"s resemble the curly ques in the quilting of the hair and the curls of the applique.  I think they are a perfect accent!

I stitched the letters in place 2 days ago.  Next, I have to determine what type and how much quilting I will add to the face.  I want to reduce some of the puffiness, without too much quilting.  Then I will make some piping to use as the binding.  I have to run out and get the right size cording, what I have is too thin to properly frame this piece.  The binding will be made out of the same Kona Black as the applique to frame the piece without adding a heavy boarder or binding.

Well Happy New Years everyone!  I hope 2012 is a great year for you all!!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

One of my newer projects ...

Here is a piece I started at CG Fall Retreat 2011 a few weeks ago.  I am loving this piece...  I know, I love them all :-) 

This will be a tribute to my Mom who has taught me to be a strong, confident woman.  As you can see the profile is generic in nature...  it could be me, Mom, or even you.  The message here is that Women every where can all possess these traits.  

I have already added the quilting to the hair, using just a touch of grey.  I think such knowledge is viewed as wisdom.    And NO, I do not think you need to age or be grey to have wisdom, it just seems I was greying before I appreciated my Mom for what she was and what she taught me, so I thought it only fitting :-). 

I also added trapunto to the piece in the corners not occupied by applique.   I echoed the paisley applique shapes for the trapunto and created sort of a trapunto boarder in those corners. 

I am now in the process of quilting the piece.  Unfortunately, last night after an hours worth of quilting, I realized the tension was off, so I spent the next 1 1/2 hours ripping it all out.  I still have about another 1 1/2 hours of ripping tonight before I can get back to quilting.

Once the quilting is done, I plan to add wording down the center along the striped lines.  Right now I am thinking:  "Proud Confident  Passionate", each on their own line.  They will be in a heavier, darker thread than the background quilting to give them prominence. Since I added a layer of wool blend felt in the sandwich between the batting and backing, the quilting is pretty pronounced, so I want the wording to stand out as well. 

I will post more pictures as I progress.  Hope you enjoyed!

Hugs, Renee

Monday, October 31, 2011

CQ Retreat Fall 2011

Well, it has been a busy month and I had a lot going on, so I guess I am going to have to start posting more regularly again :-)....  I finished the clown quilt that I started during Hurricane Irene, I have finished a top I started over a year ago at Mary Anne Ciccotelli's 3D workshop and I am almost finished quilting a piece I started at this falls retreat....  but I will share all of those in separate posts, hopefully within the next week :-).

Today's post is about the CQ Fall 2011 Retreat two weeks ago at Interlaken Inn, in Lakeville, Ct.  As always we had a ball, just laughing, eating and quilting away!  A little smaller group this year than normal, only 48 of us, but still a wonderful time was had by all.  Somehow I forgot to take pictures of quilts in progress until Sunday, so sorry if I missed sharing some of the masterpieces of the weekend.

This is Claire Oehler on the left, the former owner of the Country Quilter, our hostess and her daughter, Jane Davila on the right...  both all smiles for the camera.

Here is Nancy Mirman, another of our hostesses for the weekend.  She is very talented and has her own pattern line for quilted clothing, bags and accessories.  Nancy is working on a paper pieced star from the new book she and Claire have just released!  Those of us at retreat were fortunate to be able to order a copy and they will be signed by both Claire and Nancy...  WooHoo!!!

Somehow I missed getting a picture of Noreen Lipolis, another one of our hostesses busy quilting, but I did get a shot of her from our Saturday night, Red Carpet themed dinner...

Noreen, is in black on the left.  Sorry Noreen for not getting a better shot.  But thanks to all 3 of you for a wonderful weekend!!  P.S...  no I don't dress up for theme nights..  so I played the roll of Paparazzi and took photos :-)....

And here is Donna Chambers working on her one of her mosaic pieces....

Donna, a goldsmith by trade, is so talented and has her own jewelry line.  Check out her jewelry website for a little quilting inspiration :-) 
This is Donna's mosaic technique.  She will be teaching it to some lucky quilters at The Storytellers Retreat coming up this weekend and at Hartsdale Fabrics this winter in December and January.  Her workshop filled up so fast at Storytellers that I am going to be her assistant.  This shall be fun, can't wait until Friday :-).

Gay sat next to Donna in the Patio room (we love the sunlight and view of the garden during the day).  Gay is part of the gang from The Pelham Quilters guild I belong to.  A bunch of us (Donna, Lorraine, Margaret, Jeanne, Evelyn and I) have been coming to retreat for years.  We even sit in the same seats.

Gay worked completely by hand this weekend.  She does stunning hand applique and hand quilting.  We were all so jealous when it was time to pack up.  No machine, etc... to load up!

Here is Lorraine busy at work...

Lorraine was working on Christmas presents for her grandchildren this year. Sitting next to her is Margaret.  Margaret always finds such lovely panels to incorporate into her work.  This year she was working on a Dahlia piece for her sister.

Remember, in my last post I mentioned I had won 2nd place in the Art Quilts category at the ViewArts Show in Old Forge, NY.  Well Marie won 1st place in the Wallhanging category and her lovely piece was used as the cover image for the Exhibit's Program.  Way to go Marie!!  Marie always works on very complicated paper piecing patterns.  Here she is taking the easy way out, doing a 'simple' cat paper piecing pattern....  lol.

On the design wall behind Marie is Ashley's circle quilt, seen here..

Ashley is my long time buddy and retreat roomie.  Can't believe I didn't get a picture of Ashley, but her gorgeous colors will have to represent her :-).

I also didn't get pictures this time of Jeanne or her Mom, Evelyn.  Guess I was so focused on quilting this weekend that my picture taking duties seem to have taken a back seat.  Sorry Jeanne and Evelyn.  I will remember to include you in April for our Spring 2012 retreat!

Well, now let's go next door into the room where we always here the most laughter coming from.  On the design wall right outside our door was Dory Higgin's house piece, made from all striped fabrics.

Actually, Dory sits in our room, but the design walls were all busy when she went to lay out the piece so she slipped next door.

Also in the room next door is Jane Davila.  If you are a quilter you know Jane's name.  She is the a well known quilter, teacher, speaker and author.  She teaches across the globe, has a great quilt pattern line and has written a number of "Sew Simple" quilt pattern books.  Not sure how she will use this pattern, but I believe it is being created using a Jelly Roll....

Barbara comes every year and works on very interesting patterns.  This year, she is turning a photo into a stunning floral piece...
 You can see her pattern on the table in front of her in the first picture.  It is an enlarged version of the photo in the bottom left hand corner of the picture below.  I can't wait to see what it looks like in the spring, at our next retreat!

Here is Jenny intent on laying out a nice blue and white top...  

I believe those are called tumbling blocks.  There was another quilter working on a tumbling block pattern, but I didn't catch a photo of it.

Just like I don't remember whose top this is, I just loved the daisy fabric.  I think it is one of those BQ block patterns...

Love the polka dots fabric as well!

Here is my piece.  I stated it in a 3D Workshop with Mary Anne Ciccotelli over a year and a half ago.  The mariners compass as well as the circular flying geese are all 3D, using Mary Anne's folded fabric method.  I completed the circle after the workshop and then it just hung on my design wall, waiting for me to figure out what to do next.  It finally spoke to me a few months ago, so I drafted out the rest and packed it up for retreat.  The side boarder geese are folded as well, using the one seam flying geese method.  They aren't sewn on at this point, but I have finished the top since coming home.  More on that in another post.

Well I hope you enjoyed visiting with me today.  As you can probably tell, we have a great bunch of quilters who retreat with the CQ ladies every 6 months.  It is such an inspiration after a busy summer when I get so little quilting done.  

I hope to bring you up to date on my other projects soon, but until then, Happy Quilting!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Doing a happy dance!!

I am grinning again!!  I just got an email letting me know that "In the Spotlight" won a 2nd place ribbon at the 25th Annual Northeast Quilts Unlimited Exhibit.

This is the first time I have entered this competition.   It is sponsored by View Arts, at the Arts Center in Old Forge, NY.  This is not a typical show, instead it is a 2 month quilt exhibit held at the Arts Center.  Info from their website states:  "The quilts are hung gallery style and include quilts from all over the United States.  This competitive exhibit features both traditional and eclectic quilts and wall hangings.  Over $1,800 in cash and prizes are awarded."  The exhibit runs from October 8th to November 30th, with an opening reception on the 8th.

Thanks go to my friend, Claire Oehler (who owned the Country Quilter in Somers, NY before retiring), for letting me know about the exhibit!

P.S.  This is the 3rd ribbon for this quilt :-).  It won second place ribbons in both the Empire Quilters Show, in NYC in March and the Northern Stars Show in Somers, NY this year.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A new toy!

So while traveling this week on business a co-worker turned me on to note taking applications for my iPad. She uses Bamboo Paper. So I came home and tried them out. While I liked Bamboo Paper, I decided on Penultimate. Penultimate allows you to have multiple notebooks. So right away I created one for doodles and one for sketching new quilt ideas. It is so much fun! Using my finger I have been able to quickly create two pages of doodles and just now, two quilts that i had floating around in my mind. Penultimate let's you choose the width of the pen stroke, as well as one of five colors (black, grey, blue, green and red). This is going to be dangerous. The app let's you export the pages to PDF files, so I will try exporting my doodles and post soon. I love that you can also grab photos out of your photo library and draw on them. Can't wait to try that. Can you imagine I can take a picture of a finished top, import it and then try out quilting designs. Oh yeah..... I think I found me new best friend :-).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Clowning" around during Irene

My prayers and good wishes go out to those who are still without power or have been flooded out of their homes here on the east coast.  I know these are trying times for many.  We were very fortunate that Hurricane Irene just left us with some twigs on the ground after it came through on Sunday with it's strong winds and rain.

The rain started here on Saturday and for the first time in a long time, I was able to sit down and sew for more than an hour at a time.  Since I had finished Ashante Rhythms that you saw in my last post and it is all ready to be shipped to the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza, I was ready to begin my next project.  With 3 babies coming into the family over the next 6 months, I knew that I was not going to get a chance to work on any of my 3 WIP's.  No they would have to wait for awhile. 

Instead, I started on a baby quilt for a little boy who joined the family 2 weeks ago.  I knew it was going to be a clown quilt.  I had even picked up some coloring books with clowns in them to get a feel for the applique I was going to have to make.  So early Saturday afternoon I sat down with my sketchpad, pencils, wonder-under and some fabrics I brought in Chile this spring and by later that evening. I had my clown all fused down.  (Thank God for crockpots, because I was able to put some short ribs of beef in about noon, and didn't have to worry about stopping to cook hubby dinner :-) ).  I spent Sunday afternoon and evening appliqueing him down with a tight satin stitch.  I figured that it will be washed many times over, so I better stitch it down good.  Tonight I went in and did another round of satin stitch on the ribbon collar to give it some dimension and then added highlights to the eyes and nose with some thread play.

So what do you think?
He will be in the center of the quilt top and he will be juggling balls, spelling out the baby's name.  I drafted the balls this evening as well, so I will spend time the rest of this week creating those appliques and then adding sides and top to the clown rectangle, so the balls can be appliqued in a semi circle over his head.  I expect the finished top to be about 50" x 40".

I hope he and Mommy like it :-)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Is he finished yet?

Have you ever had a slow talking quilt?  Well this dancer is exactly that.  Don't think he will sweet talk anyone anytime soon :-)....

I have had my latest dancer in the works since late winter.  Yes, I seem to be quite fixated on dancers these days, but I guess like my circle quilts of a few years ago, they are my muse at the moment.  While the center was easy applique from my sketch pad, we went through early spring together deciding on how to work the sashing and boarders.  I threw away a bit of fabric deciding on the sashing color...  blue or yellow, but finally he said blue.  The boarder accent fabric had been my inspiration for the color scheme, but oh my there sat full circles printed too far away from each other for my use.  So I had to improvise by fussy cutting the circles out of their black background fabric, cut them in half and applique them on a different Kona black fabric at a distance that worked for him....  phew!

Then it was how to quilt it in late spring.  The center was easy.  I wanted something that had a primitive look to it and I had to be able to hide some Adrinka symbols in the background.  A couple of hours and the center was done.  But, once again, the sashing became the stumbling block.  So once again, I had to put him down until he spoke to me.

By early summer he was finally quilted, but he needed more.  So I decided to pull out some embellishments I had brought for my last dancer and never used.  He has a silk ribbon skirt, as well as arm and ankle bands made of yarn and beads and a beaded neck piece. Then I added crystals here and there, both in the background to accent the Adrinka symbols, but also in the center of each of the setting squares.  I figured, hey why not...  it adds a sort of pizazz!  :-)

He is quilted entirely in Superior Threads....  Rainbows for the Adrinka symbols, and then either SewFine or Masterpiece for everything else.

How do you like those abs ? :-)
Tonight I finally got around to squaring it up, so I can attach the binding this weekend.  It would be nice to get him finished in time to submit him into the Pennsylvania Quilt Fest, but entries have to postmarked by next Friday, and of course....  I am not sure if he is finished yet....  I think he wants a headdress....  I think he's telling me that no respectable Asante warrior would go into battle without one.

What to do...  what to do....  What do you think?

 Is he finished yet????

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Quilt Shop, Santiago, Chile

You can tell life has been crazy when it takes you 2 weeks to blog about something you really enjoyed. But as many of you know, that is my life. I hope it will settle down at some point, but for now, I will take it as it comes :-).

All this to say, that I am really excited to share a surprise that I stumbled upon in Santiago, Chile 2 weeks ago. The Quilt Shop! That's right. I was in Argentina and Chile for business so of course I went looking for a quilt shop. Although I searched the web and asked around, I found nothing in Buenos Aires, Argentina. No one there even knew what I was asking about. But while browsing the web for a shop in Argentina, up popped an article about the owner of a shop in Chile, who had single handedly brought the art of quilting to Chile!  Pilar Donoso I., a Chilean woman who had lived in California for twenty years.  You can read the whole story on The Planet Patchwork site here.

But Pilar, did just that. She opened the only quilt shop in Chile, she has her own line of patterns written entirely in Spanish and she teaches classes to a growing number of Chilean Quilters. They even had their first show last year! The shop on Vitacura, is tucked behind a large tree but is quite welcoming, with brightly colored quilts hanging throughout the shop. All are class samplers and as Pilar says, making samples for classes means less time for her personal quilting, but it helps to promote the shop and where quilting is heading.

Visiting the shop, you van see why Pilar has been so successful. When I entered with a co-worker from Mexico, she got up from her machine and chatted with us for quite awhile, helping to share the art of quilting with my co-worker, who had no idea why I dragged her off to find a quilt shop before we could eat dinner :-).  Before she met me, the co-worker had no idea that people cut up fabric, only to sew it back again.

Pilar and I chatted about quilting in Latin America in general and Chile in particular until another customer came in. I browsed the fabrics, while she gave the new customer the same warm welcome she had given us. I made my selections, seeing many fabrics I recognized from shops here in the states, but as always supporting the LQS I visit. Pilar made sure she gave me one of her signature The Quilt Shop bags to carry my goodies home.

Yum..  Yumm...  I have a clown quilt to make for a baby, so these fabrics are just perfect :-).

Thanks Pilar!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bisa Butler comes to Pelham Quilters!

I can't believe it has been a month since I last posted.  This is not good.  Plus I have so many exciting things to share with you.  But today, I will start with a workshop held by Pelham Quilters on May 21st.  We had the pleasure of having Bisa Butler come to visit!  Bisa is a collage artist who now does all her work in fabric.  Her signature works are portraits and that is what she taught the 11 women of Pelham Quilters on such a fine day in May.

As always the group was revved up and ready to go.  Each started before the actual day of class, by sending Bisa a photo, which she broke down into lights, mediums and darks and sent back to us, so we could create the pattern in whatever size we wanted to work in.  Armed with 2 copies of our patterns in hand, we began.

I must say most, that is everyone but me, really picked up the concept and grasped the whole, color and value thing quite quickly.  Just look at what some of the ladies were able to accomplish in just a few hours...

First, let's look at Joanne Maroney....  She is working on a picture of Jill Scott, the singer...  You can actually see the face come alive as she progresses thoughout the day.  Looking at all the little pieces in the pattern on the left!

 I just love the eyes, so expressive!  Even at this stage.

Next, let's take a look at Anne Frascarelli, who is working on a portrait of her Dad...

Not sure Anne is making as much progress on her piece as she is on the donut that Donna brought in :-)  I must admit, they were yummy!

Cathy's made good progress  with the picture of her daughter....

As did both Doris with her grandson and Donna with her daughter, Corey, all decked out....

Then there was Joann and Millie...

I believe Joann is also working on a picture of her Dad, while Millie is doing a self portrait.  As you can see both were so engrossed in what they were doing, that neither looked up for the camera.

Next we have Jean, who is working on a present for a co-worker. 

 As with all our Pelham workshops, Jean is one, I am am sure will actually finish her piece :-).

I worked on a piece as well, but with getting things set-up, ordering and distributing lunch, taking photo's and yes, running my mouth, I didn't get much accomplished.  But then again, since mine will be an Xmas present for someone who reads my blog, I couldn't share my progress anyway :-)/

Monday, May 9, 2011

Northern Star Quilt Show 2011: Part II

Here's an update on the NSQS, A World of Quilts XXXII.  I never did post pictures from all the other wonderful quilts. 

This won Best in Show....  it is fantastic...  but it took Carolyn Cook 4 years to complete!  Shaping the trees and adding all the details.  The trees on the right hand side are shaped by using wide ropeing, cut in half and stitched over with various yarns.  If you get a close look, you will see how each element was made individually and added to the top.  Carolyn said it took her months to decide to leave the top uneven.  Her original plan was to have a black boarder...  but after looking at it behind the piece for months she knew it wasn't right.  I am glad she didn't.

You have seen this piece before, it is from my friend, Donna Chambers.  "Dr Smoooth" was a creation pulled together after taking a 3D class with Mary Anne Ciccotelli.  Donna and Mary Anne (you'll see her quilt in a minute) are both members of Pelham Quilters with me as well as a fellow quilters in the mini-group I belong to.

"Goodbye NY" by Jerri Riggs received Honorable Mention.  Jerri is known for his bright colors, which is why I have always loved her work.  There is tons of quilting in this piece.  Jerri dyed her own fabric for the background.

I have always wanted to do a Jacqueline de Longe quilt.  Here is one "Colors of Life" by M. Sugar.  Look at all the piecing.  I love those points and colors!

Another friend of mine, Mary Anne Ciccotelli, made this quilt as a wedding present for her niece and nephew.  It is absolutely gorgeous!

I really was happy to see so many quilts of different styles and techniques, and soo many by my quilting friends :-).  I actually watched this piece by Sandra Parratt, another member of my mini group, come alive.  I remember Sandra going through the decision process on the size and shape of the black birds.  "Eye of the Black Bird" took 2nd Place in it's category of small quilts.  Sandra does a ton of thread painting in her work.  She did a lesson for our mini group, but I still haven't mastered the technique.

 This quilt just captured my eye for a long while.  "Scattered Blocks" by Sterk (sorry, I missed the first name), is very different then the rest of the quilts in the show.  Each block is totally different, but blends into the rest of the quilt quite nicely.  I love the way she gave the illusion of the blocks being 3D by adding a darker fabric to give the feel of shadows.

While I didn't get pictures for some reason, I want to give a shout-out to Eunice and her husband.  Both got ribbons this year.  Eunice for 2 very different quilts, in 2 very different styles.  Eunice and I, as well as Donna Chambers partake in the bi-annual Country Quilter Retreat (hear after to be known as the CQ Getaway).  Way to go Eunice!

Ok, time to get quilting.  I will see if I can post more pics later in the week.