Monday, March 30, 2009

Pictures as promised... and finally a name for the Woven Challenge

Teri... beat me up this morning for not posting pictures last night. Ok, well not literally, but you can see her comment on my post from last night. So.... here we go...

The unveiling of 'Sistah Chat'... a.k.a.: Woven Challenge....As I mentioned last night, the piece is not 100 percent finished. I have added the shawls which are actually drapped from behind the sistah's shoulders and will just be tacked down for a 3-D effect. All the quilting is done, but I need to do some more embellishments... earings, rim of the brown vase in the center, beading of their necklines, friz around the masks, etc.... Then I have to decide on how to finish. I don't want a traditional binding. I really want to do some sort of fluffy fiber boarder, although I will probably add a dark fused boarder first to wrap around the edges, so that the batting doesn't show. But that is still up in the air at this point. What do you think?

Next here are the pictures of my trapunto playing... and tonight I did two more with bamboo batting. You can definitely see the difference... oh yeah, you can see where Dancing with the Stars sort of distracted me and I snipped the fabric while cutting out the extra batting... duh....

This was done with 2 layers of cotton batting, Superior vanishing thread and then quilted with variegated Sulky thread. Not enough puff for me and the variegated thread is too overpowering.

This one was done with the same vanishing thread,
but regular weight black cotton thread and 2 layers of cotton batting. It looks better overall, but still not enough puff for me.

So tonight I tried bamboo batting. I like these results better....

This is two layers of bamboo batting and the same thread. Better, but still not great. The picture is bad, but you can definitely see the puffiness is greater.

This is 2 layers of bamboo batting, but with a lighter thread, 60 weight cotton. It looks heavier, but I ran out of scraps of black fabric, so it shows up more. I also was tired of doing an all over stipple, so I played with another quilting pattern, just quite a bit smaller than I have ever done.

I like this one the best.... You can definitely see how puffy the piece is.... but you can also see my snip throughs... oh well, it was only to play.

So, I think my batting choice for trapunto is definitely bamboo over cotton. I hear wool is also nice, but that will have to be for another night.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Good Day... woven piece, trapunto and more!

Today was a good day... rainy, so what better to do than play with fabric and thread!

I made great progress on my woven piece that I have been working on since January. It is all quilted, and I am adding the embellishments. But it looks like I will need to take a trip to the store to find the right pieces for earings, etc... so I squared it up and then began playing with the black and white piece I had been working on.

Well, actually it is ready for quilting, so I didn't work on it. Instead since I want to add trapunto to this piece, I decided to practice the various techniques I have been reading up on. I have read Philipa Naylor's book and she adds quite a bit of trapunto to her pieces. I tried her double batting technique and I like the puff, but of course I used my scraps of cotton batting, which didn't make it puffy enough for me. You can see more of her amazing work in her online gallery.

So I began chatting on facebook with my friend Teri and she gave me some tips as she has also started using trapunto in her work lately. So tomorrow night I think I will have to pull out some of my old polyester batting and give it a try. I hear it puffs up much nicer. I also hear the wool is the best, but since I just brought my first package of wool batting and it is quite pricey, I will wait until I perfect my work alittle bit first. Oh yeah... I have some bamboo batting around as well from another project. I will give that a try to see which I like the most. Do you have a favorite trapunto technique or batting you think I should try?

I know, folks have been asking for pictures of the progress on my woven piece and I promise.... I will take pictures tomorrow and post them!

For now, good night!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

As promsed...

Well I figured out why I couldn't get photo's to load from my camera on Sunday. It wasn't my camera, it was my laptop. I had it up for many many days... so it was low on memory. Once I shut it down and restarted it, I was fine.... I couldn't get my email system to load either, so I new there was a problem :-)

So as promised, here are a few pictures from last weekends Empire Quilters: Urban Inspiration Quilt Show.

I loved this piece. It was simple, yet eloquent. I am going to redo my stairs and upstairs hallway walls soon and I think I will use this piece as inspiration for pieces to line the stairs.

This NYC / Brooklyn Bridge skyline was done by Anna Faustino, using her woven technique. All the buildings in the city landscape are woven, covered with black netting. The wires on the bridge are made with metallic thread and the quilting in the orange sky/background was truly amazing!

This paper pieced quilt was also quite stunning... don't mind the photo... the colors aren't true! I love the color choices against the black background and while the design was simple the visual impact was high. It won first place in the paper piecing category.

Well that is just a taste. The show is held every two years, so if you are in NYC Spring 2011 make sure you add it to your list of things to do... and The City Quilter shop is only 2 blocks away.

My only sorrow... I didn't win the raffle quilt!... boo hoo....

Give away over at Ginnys Quilts

Hi, to celebrate her 41st B'Day, Ginny is giving away to one lucky quilter, a basket full of HER favorite things.

To find our how you can have a chance at winning, check out her blog Ginnys Quilts.

Entries must be received by midnight pst, Friday, March 27th... so hurry over.

UPDATED: 3/29... Ginny had so many folks respond that she decided to give away TWO baskets full of goodies! I didn't win, but thought it was such a nice thing to do. Each basket was jammed pack with at least 4 yards of fabric, quilting books, cooking books, thread, seam rippers, bobbin buddies, etc.... I think Ginny is an extraordinary women to give away a gift for her B'Day. If you get a chance stop by her blog and wish her a Happy B'Day!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I hit 1,000 visitors!

Hey... I forgot to share... I hit 1,000 visitors this week!!! I have been blogging since last October and just didn't know how many people actually read what I post.... sooooooo...


What a Wonderful Day!

Hope you had a wonderful National Quilt Day!

I was very lucky today. I had the pleasure of spending the first part f my day with some lovely quilting friends... Doris, Brenda and Giovanna. We went into NYC for a day of quilt inspiration. First we headed to Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T) for the Empire Quilter's, Urban Inspiration Quilt Show. It is a great two floor show with wonderful quilts and some really nice vendors.

The nice thing about this show is that the quilters who enter must be guild members, so as a result the quilters range from beginner quilter to international quilt artist/teacher/publisher. As you can imagine the quilts varied tremendously in composition as well as construction execution. To be honest, it really made me feel that I could enter my work in more shows then I do. Kudo's to the guild for showcasing all of their members work. I say this because quilter's like Paula Nadelstein and Anna Faustino belong to this guild. So hanging my work along side of theirs would be very daunting to me. But if this is the common thing, then hey, why not?

I did take a few pictures and normally I would share them with you, but for some reason, I can't get the pictures to load on my computer tonight. Seems to be a bit finicky... I think I need to charge the battery. I will add some shots later in the week.

After the show we walked the few blocks to The City Quilter. They are the only real quilt shop in Manhattan, although many of the fabric houses have cottons and other fabulous fabric used by today's quilters. I always like wandering thru this shop as they always have what is new and unusual in quilting. Great shop, so if you haven't been... make sure you stop by the next time you are in the Big Apple :-).

Once home in mid-afternoon (much earlier than I expected, but we were at the show before it opened!), I decided to take advantage of the great spring like weather and do some gardening. My DH and son managed to get the yard cleaned up when my son was home for spring break, so this meant the ground was ready for me. Out came my Claw and I turned up my flower beds. Next I but down some Preen to help prevent those nasty weeds from germinating. I usually like to get the Preen down before March 15, but hey... like I always say, Life gets in the way of most plans :-). Tomorrow it is off to Home Depot to get the Crab Grass preventer.

After Mass and dinner, I went down to my studio and did some quilting. Yes, I finally have all the background quilting done on my woven piece and the women and center baskets appliqued down. Progress at last! Oh yeah... I will post progress pictures as soon as I figure out why they aren't loading on my computer.

For your visual pleasure... here is the raffle quilt from today's show. Hope you enjoy it!

Good Night!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Breaking thru the fog...

Well, tonight I finally did it. I sat down at my trusty sewing machine after over three weeks. Yes, I had been on the road weekly for the last three weeks, with basically only one to four days home at a time... and yes, both of my children were home last week for Spring Break, so I was duly occupied.

But those are only excuses... I had time... but I couldn't bring myself to sit down at the machine.

I kept asking myself why, and last night while wasting time watching TV, I realized what it was. I LOVE my woven piece and I just wasn't up to quilting it. I was afraid I wasn't going to do the piece justice. I know I had chosen some wonderful threads... I had laid out the initial quilting pattern in my mind. But still I was apprehensive.

Well tonight... I finally broke down and began quilting it. I am happy I did. Nothing happened... it is looking just as I had pictured it. Ok... true, all I did tonight was the SID around the sun rays and some of the stone wall, BUT I quickly realized that this was not going to distract from the piece.

Now, I am excited to get the SID work done, so I can get the applique on! YES!!

Whew... has this ever happened to you? Have you made a top you just love and don't want to ruin it? I can't be alone in my thinking, am I??

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Somethings are just priceless

What a great day I had yesterday! It started around 8:30am when Ashley who was the first to arrive rang the doorbell. By a little after 9am there were 11 of us gathered in my living room. My family later referred to us as a gaggle of geese, but I am getting ahead of myself... :-).

Who and why were they here so early on a Saturday morning? Well Ashley, Jean, Lorraine, Brenda, Joanne, Aline, Anne, Cathy, Millie, Doris and I were all heading to QuiltFest NJ at the Edison Exhibit Center. A little over an hour's drive away, an easy trek. Lorraine made blueberry muffins for the ride and with the batch divided up in the 3 cars, off we went. And what a show it was!

Lorraine and I have done this show once before, but it was the first time the rest of the gang. We arrived just in time to attend a demo by Superior Threads on the different types of threads and their applications. I have been using Superior for about a year now and really love it! We spent about 4 hours walking around the show. As many know, I am a brights person. But the black and white exhibit was amazing. It really is amazing at how much depth you can see with varying shades of black and white. I think I spent almost way too much time enjoying these quilts :-). I was also amazed at the amount of quilting some artists are using in their pieces. Quilting is becoming a major piece of the quilt design, as is trapunto. I have recently been reading up on trapunto and even have a piece in the works that will include trapunto. I am sure mine will be nowhere near as beautiful as these pieces, but it does add wonderful depth to a piece. I will continue to practice :-)

Linda Hibbert's One Woman Show... OMG! She is just one phenomenal quilter! It was really interesting to see all the different techniques she uses, but I just loved her 'Dog Show' series and the horse galloping out of the valley. I loved the smaller quilted horses coming and going throughout the valley. Can you tell I enjoyed myself?? The quilts were amazing, the diverse exhibits were breathtaking and the balance between quilts and vendors was perfect.

It was really interesting to see how many quilts were painted pictures on fabric and then quilted. A part of me almost thinks these pieces should be judged in a separate category. Not that I am a purest. Believe me far from that... but a painter has much more control over their color than someone who uses commercial fabrics. Most of the winners in the 'best use of color
category were painted quilts.... seems sort of unfair to me, but hey who am I???

Afterward, we stopped for lunch and enjoyed a a light snack and our editorial commentary on the show. Once home, the glory of the day continued, as I enjoyed dinner with my kids who came home for spring break. One of my sons friends spent a few days with us and hence the dinner conversation about the gaggle of geese before 9 in the morning. Kids! You just got to love them.

A glorious day indeed.... friends and quilts, family and food.... perfect together!

(Sorry no pictures, can't believe I left my calendar at home)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Pelham Quiters - Round Robin #2

As I mentioned in January, Teri was redoing her boarder on the Pelham Quilter's Round Robin top she was working on. Teri said she didn't really like her applique... don't ask me why.

Well, she has definitely spiced up her work. Here is a the current top, with Teri's revamped butterflies and flowers, including a different boarder fabric. She is new to the whole fusible web thing and has decided she likes it quite a bit.

Here are a few detail shots:

The top goes to Mary Anne next for the last boarder. I can't wait to see who it turns out! Can you?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Phoenix wrap-up

Teri asked me where the photo of my fabrics from Phoenix was. Well I did take a picture of them when I was home this weekend, but last night I spent most of the evening in LaGuardia Airport trying to get to Ottawa, Canada before the snow. Yes, I did make it, after flight cancellations, and stand-by lists, etc.... It is cold up here... -9 degrees C... brr.... but I missed the 10 inches of snow that DH had to shovel from both our house and my Mom's today... but I am rambling.... :-)

So, here is the picture of my fabrics, but remember I am on a fabric diet, so don't leave a message asking why no more.... these are all 2 yd pieces... 16 yds!!! I did enough damage!
I told you I was inspired by the colors of the southwest... you see the bottom fabric, the one of bowls and vases and then on top of it, one of Kokopeli... what a joyful character he is! I think the bowl/vase fabric will make a nice back for whatever I make out of these. I have some ideas inspired by The Quilter's Store in Sedona and Quiltz in Phoenix... but who knows. For now, I will just enjoy the colors.

But more importantly, I told Teri, that first I had to update my shop list on the left with the three shops from Arizona, which I did tonight. I also updated the list to show the city and state where the shops are, so you don't have to click on the link to find out. Hope that helps!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Phoenix Quilt Shop Exploration

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had the opportunity to enjoy Phoenix, Arizona last week. As I always try to do, I was able to visit some shops in the area. What a treat! I visited The Quilted Apple and Quiltz, both in Phoenix and The Quilter's Store and Gallery in Sedona. If you've never been, make sure you check them out. Not only was the country side gorgeous, so were the shops!

We spent one day in Sedona after my business meetings, which is when I stopped into The Quilter's Store and Gallery.
This is me, DH and a friend who has relocated to the Phoenix area, Cathy Adam. Cathy was our tour guide for the day! We are seated in front of the store.
This is Cathy and 2 of the staff members in the shop. They had lots of cute gift items, so even Cathy did her duty supporting the local quilt shop! The shop was very welcoming, with something for everyone. They carried brights, traditional fabrics, tons of batiks and had two different sections dedicated to Southwestern and holiday fabrics. Books, notions and patterns had a room in the middle of the shop. Nice layout that kept you moving throughout the store. I loved all their sample quilts.... quite a bit of visual stimulation.

They have a separate building with a quilt gallery. The gallery has quilts made by the staff and local guilds which are for sale. We saw some interesting pieces, including a Steering Wheel Cover. It gets so hot in the summer, if you don't cover the steering wheel in your car, you can actually burn your hands. What creativity. I can tell you, they were really cute!

Our first stop in Phoenix was Quiltz (liked the name :-)). The shop had alot of pizzaz and my husband commented on the size, not only of the store, but the classroom.... tons of space. They had 8 6FT tables set up for students, with ironing stations throughout the room. The shop was really roomy. They had fabrics set up by type: batiks, florals, etc... With a special color of the month (pink for February), where fabric with even a touch of that color was 20% off. They had a large selection of books, which are 20% off all the time.
Karen, pictured above, tried helping my husband find a replacement for his XMas stocking stuffer, "Help, I Married a Quilter", which he left on the plane on the flight out. Unfortunately, they were out of stock.

Last we visited The Quilted Apple. It was a smaller shop, but still with a lovely staff. Although the shop was more traditional than the other two, it was still lovely. They had tons of samples displayed, with many quilts depicting the history of the area.... landscapes, indians, southwest images, etc....

This is the owner of the shop, in front of a lovely Baltimore Album quilt which hangs in the front of the store. The workmanship was superb! We were running to the airport, so we didn't have alot of time to spend here. But I will stop back in next time I am in the area.

So that was our trip. I will update the links on the hand hand side of my blogpage later. Now it is off to Ottawa, Canada.