Wednesday, February 20, 2013

NSQG 2013 Challenge

So 2013 is here and that means that Northern Star Quilt Guild has a new challenge.  Although I have been a member for about 5 years, this is the first time I have entered a quilt in the challenge.

I teased you with a corner of it, last month before I submitted it, but I didn't want to post a pic until the challenge quilts were submitted and the votes were cast.  Well they were and they were...

So here it is..
It is a tribute to my mother.  A 3 times breast cancer survivor, I named it "Three Times Stronger".  You have read other posts with quilts made honoring the love I have for my mother.  This was inspired after a follow-up visit to the Oncologist.  My Mom has Alzheimer's as well and she has adapted so smoothly to having lost a breast in her last fight.  A fight she had no idea that she had to incur.  I think it was probably as hard, if not harder for me to make that decision on her behalf and then stay with her in the strange place called the hospital.
So wave that flag Mom, you're one strong woman!  

Note that the pink ribbon dress is trapunto'd, as well as ribbon's in the pink half of the quilt.  It was appliqued, constructed and quilted using Superior's Masterpiece Thread, by Alex Anderson.  I wanted a pretty fine 50wt cotton thread and I didn't want the stitching it self or a sheen from the thread to be what jumped off the fabric.  I wanted the quilting to be an integral part of the quilt story.  I also used Superior Vanish, water soluble thread, to trapunto the ribbons.  I use it in top and the bobbin.  This way you don't have to worry about any write spokes popping thru the fabric...  Just a dab of cold water and poof, it is gone.

The challenge was to make a quilt, not more than 80" square, using black, white and one other color.  As you can see, my color was pink.  I didn't win the challenge, but I had a wonderful time making another quilt in honor of my Mom :-).

There were 53 challenge quilts submitted.  19 traditional and 34 contemporary.  All 53 will be on display at the NSQG's 2013 World of Quilts XXXIV Show on May 3rd and 4th, at Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers, NY.

Hope to see you there.  (I will have other quilts in the show as well :-)).

Sunday, February 17, 2013

New Experiences

I have a few quilting friends who are members of FANE, a Fiber Arts group that meets monthly in Somers, NY.  This month, another friend and I decided to attend one of the meetings, to see if it was something we would like.  I don't know why we questioned it.  We know the groups leader and several members, so we knew they were great people and the type of work they did.

Well we went and knew it was for us.  I have been looking for something to coax me out of my normal quilting realm.  Looking for something to take me to the next level.  The good thing is they are preparing for two upcoming exhibits.  Both with a theme...  I don't normally do themes.  I quilt and name the piece afterwards, I don't know what I am doing or why before I start.  Yes, I have an idea of what the piece will look like, but I am not making it for a reason.

So here was my first challenge.  To choose a line of a poem or song and make a piece no bigger than a 14" square that interpreted the line of the poem / song.  The piece had to consist of more than one element, meaning it could not be one quilted square.  The elements could be joined, but it had to be clear by the viewer that the elements were made independently.  While there are a couple of other design guidelines, that is the jest of it....  interpret a poetic line into a 14" piece of art.  At the next meeting we will mount the pieces on an 18" canvas for a uniform gallery exhibit.

So here is my piece.... I still have to secure the fishing line to the outer frame, but you get the idea :-)...

As I look at it here (it is laying on my applique sheet), I realize I still have a bit of work to do on the hair.

Oh my song line....  "And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance!"  Lee Ann Womack's song "I HOPE YOU DANCE".  This fits my life so perfectly.  I am not one to sit on the side lines, I truly believe in engaging life to it's fullest!

So, I hope you dance!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pelham Quilters Round Robin - 2013 Part 2

ooh la la...  do I have a treat for you!

Our 4 center squares have spent the last 2 months in the homes of their first care givers.  And what loving care did they provide!  I think each piece has been lovingly enhanced keeping the center owner in mind.  Remember, at the end of the Round Robin, everyone gets their own top back, with the center lovingly adorned by 3 other quilters.

So with out further delay, here they are:


Donna Chambers had the task of adding to Cheryl Heist flower center.  Donna used her mosaic technique to surround the flower and help it blossom.  Although the picture doesn't it show it (thanks to the light hanging down) Donna's fabric choices are off the hook.  She used a vibrant red to back the blue flower and golden touched gold and blue fabric for her touch of 'bling'.  I get this piece next, but I have no idea what I am going to do with it :-(.

I had Donna Chambers top, which as you might remember was an elegant couple dancing in full formal attire.  Donna has developed this mosaic and texture magic technique which adds so much depth to her work.  Donna always uses a lot of fabrics with 'bling' for added life.  In an attempt to keep the movement of the dancers flowing into my round, I added curves and swirls in an applique border that brought in some of Donna's fabrics, but also utilized some of my own golden touched fabrics.  I pulled the pink silk from the dress out to the corners to keep the colors moving.  Doris has Donna's top next.

Doris Green had my piece.  I appliqued 4 female African dancers, clothed in brightly colored fabric.  As always I tend to lean towards applique and Doris balanced the color and applique with a trapezoid border of the same brightly colored fabrics. I love the blue which changes in intensity set as a thin sashing.  Knowing how much I love swirls, Doris used applique swirls to continue the movement in the pieced border.  Cheryl will be enhancing my piece next :-).

Cheryl Hoist had Doris Greens center.  Doris is a piecer, so her center was an intrigue star made from several blue and yellow print fabrics.  Cheryl used a perfectly executed thin piping to delineate the star and then set it on point using a sold blue fabric to give the eye a rest.  The amount of yellow in the piping is just perfect as a bold pop of color.  As they say, just a little bit of yellow goes a long way :-).  Donna gets to add her magic to Doris's top over the next 2 months.

Wish us all luck and come back in April to see what these pieces evolve to next.  I promise it will be explosive!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It is amazing how much they control you...

I started my parrot piece at the Spring 2010 Country Quilter Retreat. I spent most of the weekend creating the bird and thread painting him, creating his background of leaves in the forest setting.  I was in love with the progress I made. The colors were gorgeous, the thread work a joy. I was really proud of myself.  He is thread painted with Superior Masterpiece thread.  Masterpiece is fine enough that it allowed me to layer on the color without adding bulk.  Plus the colors were a perfect match for the underlying fabrics.

Well the joy faded shortly after I got home.  I put my lovely parrot up on the design wall and I couldn't figure out what to do next.  I didn't think he was ready for a border, but what?  It hung there for months, eventually getting taken down to make way for other projects.  I must admit, I took him out of hiding every once in a while and starred, but I had nothing.  Not one real clue of what to do next.  Then it dawned on me.  I really didn't like the piece, him yes --- the piece no.  Yes he was colorful, yes I loved the thread play.  But something about the piece just didn't work.

So back on the design wall he went, just to be starred at for months all over again. I figured it was the background, but ughhh....  I had spent a lot of time making those leaves and doing all the thread play on them as well.  Did I really want to cut the parrot out and start again?  No, I just couldn't bring myself to do that.  So away he went....  again.

Then last July I took him with me to Quilting On the Lake.  I figured with all the creative juices flowing in that place, something would shake loose and it did.  Philipa Naylor saw me staring at it and asked me what was wrong.  Quickly we realized that I didn't need to rip it out.  I just needed a place for the eye to rest.  It was so busy that although the parrot was gorgeous, you really couldn't see him with all the leaves going on.   So I decided to take the plunge.  No one believed I was going to do it.  I cut out a section of the leaves and off I went shopping in the vendor mall :-) for a hand dyed green that had movement but at the same time, allowed the parrot to be truly seen.  What a difference it made.  I didn't do any sewing or fusing there, I was too busy in class, but I fixed him up quite nicely when I got home.

Well I made a vow to work on UFO's this year, so last week out he came.  I found the best hand dyed brown in my stash for a boarder and over the last few days added trapunto and got him all basted.  I even made a 3D bird of paradise that will be added to the side once it is quilted.  Friday evening I sat down and didn't think I would ever get up!  I am so enjoying quilting him.  He is finally coming together.

I spent some time over the weekend quilting.  The parrot is done, as are all the leaves.  I should get the piece totally quilted this week.  Can't wait! 

So far 98% of the quilting has been with Aurifil 50wt cotton.  I like the way it adds to the piece with not being too flashy,,,,  dimension and texture for interest, but not in your face :-).

He will also be accompanied by butterflies and a Bird of Paradise flower that I will add after the quilting is done.  Both will be 3D, to add some additional interest to the piece.

Oh and I have submitted him to New England Quilt Festival (MQX East).  I hope he gets accepted!