Thursday, January 29, 2009

Please Pardon my appearance: Blog under construction

I decide I wanted a background that was more me, but in doing so I haven't been able to figure out, how to either make the background borders narrower so you can read all of the post text, or my post section narrower, so it doesn't bleed into the background.

So, please pardon my appearance, while I am under construction. I will play again tomorrow night.


UPDATED: 1/30/09: OK, had to change the template, as I couldn"t get the text to show properly. Not sure I like this one as much, but it will work for now. Thanks for your patience.

Not sure if I like the sun and sky (New Challenge Post #4)

Ok, I was so inspired after my mini group left Monday, that I had to get right to work on moving this piece from paper to fabric. Last night I created the floor. I love the fabric choices. It really does have the slate/marble look.

Tonight I played with the sun and sky. I say played, because I made two of them and I am not sure I like either. This one is the best, but I don't think that by bringing the sun fabric up into the sky, to create that morning sky effect, that there is truly enough contrast once the two fabrics are woven.

I am going to have to sleep on this for the night. Maybe tomorrow night I will make one with the sun, but with a true blue woven into the blue/pink/orange stripe for the sky.

Well I know this piece would be a challenge, so I will take it slow and easy and see where it takes me. Remember from the sketch that the appliqued ladies will be standing in front of the sky, so maybe I won't be able to decide on the right sky, until I decide on how they will be dressed. Oh, that is what makes this so fun and adventurous!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I just had to try it!

OK, last night Teri made those swirling feathers look so easy that I had to try it! Well, while mine aren't as smooth as Teri's or as close together... it definitely is easier than it looks and this is without my normal pencil to the paper first. Here take a look, Teri's is on the left and mine is on the right....

Then I had to try my hand at the regular feathers that she has mastered, and while I had swore I could never do these freehand, without any markings, well I did one! A little bit of practice and I may just have to start incorporating these into my bag of quilting designs!

Pelham Quilter's Round Robin Top #2

Last night at our mini group meeting, Teri Lucas was working on (or should I say) unworking/unsewing her applique round on the second round robin top our Quild has going on. I was happy, as I got to snatch a picture to show everyone the progress of this piece.... (I posted the other top over the weekend).

Those are Teri's fingers (:-)).... she said she doesn't like her applique on the butterflies for she is taking them off and will redo them.

Mary Anne Ciccotelli gets this piece next.... I can't wait until these are finished... it is amazing to see them take shape, albeit slightly differently with each person's hands!

New Challenge - Post #3

Ok, so none of the previous sketches (post #2) made the cut. Instead I am going with this one:

Tonight at my mini group gathering. Sandra Parrott helped me fix the arch from a visual perspective and gave me some ideas on fabric choices for the sky, considering the design is that of a rising sun. Sandra, Ann and Giovanna are very good with perspective, etc.... from an artist point of view and helped me think of how I wanted the various aspects of the piece to work in relation to the other.... for example the stone wall receding from the scene of the two women, standing in front of the rising sun and the rays of the sun and it's affect on the color of the morning sky. Me, I am just a struggling crafter turned quilter, trying to move into art quilting. So tonight was extremely valuable in more ways than one.

Thanks ladies, now I am all fired up and ready to begin actually working on the piece vs scribbling on paper :-)!

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Real Treat

Tonight my new mini group met at my house. What a treat! There were six of us, all from different backgrounds... all coming to quilting from different places. Some of us meeting for the first time. To me there is nothing better than a group of people with a common interest getting together and sharing their talents. It was absolutely wonderful!

Sharing talents we did.... Giovanna started us off with a snowflake piece she has designed that actually uses images of real snowflakes that have been digitized and that she has turned into applique. The piece has the white on white snowflakes on a background of deep blues. The 5 or 6 different blues are pulled together in a swirling pattern to give the effect of the wind blowing the snowflakes around. This is an original design that she drafted on the computer.

My friend Teri Lucas shared with us, her new machine quilting technique for spiral feathers. It was amazing to watch... she just sat down at my machine (which she never used before), pulled out a quilt sandwich and starting free motion quilting. Take a look:

Teri will be teaching this and other techniques at our local quilt shop, Quilt Cottage, in Mamaroneck, NY soon. You should head to Teri's blog and see some of her work, it is just gorgeous!

Mary Anne Ciccotelli
shared her progress on her Generations Unite quilt. This quilt will have hand work from 4 generations in her family (her mother, herself, her daughter and grand-daughter) and she is using a pattern that her grand-mother used in many of her work. Wow can you imagine, having a quilt that represents 5 generations of your family, all tied together by a common interest... quilting. To me, a first generation quilter, that is simply mind-boggling. You can see pictures of the quilt in various stages on Mary Anne's blog.

Then Sandra Parrott helped me with a few artistic tips on a piece I am working on. It is a woven piece for my design workshop at Country Quilter. More on that in another post (New Challenge series of posts).

But the sadest news of the day was to learn that after 18 1/2 years, the Country Quilter will be closing it's doors in April. They will be continuing their online store, with patterns, notions, fabrics, etc... but the brick and mortor store itself will be no more. Oh, how I will miss these ladies.

OK... back to a more uplifting topic. We had a blast tonight. Thanks to Teri, Mary Anne, Giovanna, Carol and Anne. I can't wait until March 9th (too many of us will be out of town at the end of February, so we have pushed our monthly meeting back two weeks... whahh...)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Salon Seven Exhibit

I had the pleasure of going to the Salon Seven Exhibit: Stitching It Together, Contemporary Art Quilts this past week at the New Rochelle Public Library. I love the majestic quilts this group always have on display. They are a group of art quilters from the Westchester County, NY / Southern Connecticut area. Anyway, here are a few from the show....

This one is from Jeri Riggs called "Gated Community". Jeri works in alot of bright colors, just like me, so she is one of the quilters whose works I like a lot. This piece doesn't have the bright colors, but I still love it. Upon closer inspection it appears that she created the gate from bias strips. The background is all pieced from various fabrics. Really stunning up close.

This piece is by Elizabeth Rosenberg. Another of my favorite quilters. The piece is entitled: "Flowing Line 1: Chocolate and Turquois". Elizabeth uses various techniques to create a truly stunning piece. I like the way the colors flow from one fabric to another. I got my love of applique from Elizabeth about 8 years ago when she was teaching at The County Quilter.

I thought this was an interesting piece. I don't really know the artist, but thought I would share it anyway.

Hope you have a chance to see the exhibit. If not, hope you enjoy the photos here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I forgot to show the Round Robin Progress...

For those who have been following the Pelham Quilters Round Robin. Here is the latest picture.

This quilt has taken on a whole new direction. I wonder if the next round will bring in the yellow or the white? Only time will tell... hopefully at our next quild meeting.

I have to get pictures of the other top. The person who was working on that top wasn't at quild last month, so she was sending it directly to the next member, hence no pictures. Oh well... February is only a few days away!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In the 5 days since my last post....

OK, I finished Strips, which I think I will name Boxy Brights... well it sounded better than it looks. :-)

So what have I been up to? Well I decided I didn't like either of the two designs I sketched for my weaving design class, so I started from scratch. I took the sketch into class Saturday afternoon (I went late as I woke up to no heat... 7 degrees outside... due to a thermostat that died, only to find that The Country Quilter didn't have heat either.) and after talking with the teacher decided my last design was a keeper. I will take a picture and post soon... the next class isn't for a month, so I have a little bit of time.

Instead I spent last night working on a new piece... something that has been floating around in my head for a couple of weeks. It is a wall hanging, black and white, with red as a zinger.

Right now the pieces are just laying there, as I am still fussing with placement. I am trying to decide if I want to add another applique shape on the bottom left hand corner, or leave it with just the three corners highlighted. To me it appears as the existing three appliques are creating a virtual triangle... well sort of.

BUT tonight it is all about the INAUGURATION!


I would say Sweet Dreams... but you don't have to dream anymore. :-)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Strips Finished!

Ok, I haven't figured out a name for this one yet... my DH says I should call it LOUD, because it is very bright :-). But whatever I end up calling it, it is done... all except the label.

I used Superiors Metallic Variegated Silver (#31) on top and Bottomline in the bobbin. This was the first Metallic thread I have ever used that didn't break once and I did quite a bit of free motion quilting in this piece!

I decided that I would experiment with the Metallic thread since this was only a play piece to use up scraps. I like it alot.

I even used Melody Johnson's "Escape Hatch Method" on the piece. It is a modified pillow-case method, where you put a slit in the top section of the backing, lay it right sides together with the quilt top (batting is pasted to the quilt top) and turn the piece right-side out thru the slit or 'hatch'. After pressing to ensure that the back would not roll over and show on the front, I stitched along the outer edge to simulate a binding. After the quilting is all done the sleeve is sewn on right over the hatch and hidden away.

It worked wonderful... Thanks Melody!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Playing with Strips

So my class was canceled today, as the weather forecast was for a winter storm dropping 6-8 inches. It started snowing around 11:30am and I got the call at 12:30pm that class would be held next Saturday. So with the calendar clear for the day, I decided it was a good time to play with all the strips I had been saving. Of course, my fellow bloggers gave me plenty of inspiration. Just take a look at Fibermania or Exuberant Color's blogs to see what I mean.

So here is the result of my play day.... For some reason my colors don't look as bright in the picture as they actually are, but it definitely has a lot of pizazz.

The top is complete (33" x 28") and hopefully I will be able to quilt it tomorrow. I am going to try the binding-less method or modified pillow-case method, as I definitely don't want a binding or a facing if I can help it. I read somewhere about a technique where they baste the top to the batting. Once the back is prepared, they make a slit in the top center, where the sleeve would go. They then lay the back on the top, right sides together, and stitch around all four sides. Once stitched, the quilt sandwich is turned right side out, via the slit that was cut in the backing. Next they quilt the piece, then attached the sleeve, covering the slit (I think they whip stitch the slit closed first).

I am going to give it a try. I will let you know how it works.

Cheers, Renee

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Challenge.. Post #2

Spurred on by Teri's comments, I now have two sketches as starting points. Not sure if I will end up with either, once I go to the class, or maybe I will modify them once the juices start flowing, but either way, it is a start.

With this one, the thought was to incorporate curves and angles, along with color gradations. The theme of the piece would be no matter where in the world we come from Hats are a common thread amongst the diverse cultures... in many cultures or periods in time, you weren't dressed without your hat. (Sorry the pictures aren't very clear.) The colors in the globe are blue and green. I would need to find the right yellow and orange dyed fabric to make this work as drawn.

In the second sketch, my love of circles and stars come out. I don't have a theme for this piece, but I do love stars and circles, so it was a way to incorporate both in one piece. I am struggling though on how to add a dimensional aspect, making the stars seem further back in the piece. The woven background in this piece would be dark blue and purple, with bright colored stars and circles. I want the stars to seem further away then the circles, without having to lose the bright colors. Not sure how to accomplish that, but hopefully we will discuss that in the workshop.

I'll let you know how things go after the session tomorrow.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A New Challenge

Ok, I signed up for a studio class at County Quilter. The class is based on the weaving technique of Anna Faustino. We are supposed to come in with a sketch or drawing of a wall hanging we want to make, using Anna's technique. When I first heard of the class I had tons of ideas floating around in my head. Now I am BLOCKED!!! UGHH!!! I haven't been able to come up with a single idea. All I know is that I am leaning toward circles or angles along with some applique.

So, if anybody has ideas of where I can get some inspiration, please help. I've tried Anna's website, and while I love the clown, nothing has hit me. I am going to check out some of the art quilt sites.. maybe something will click.

Wish me luck!