Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ultrasuede bag

For a change of pace, I got some of my ultrasuede out, and made a little tote bag.

It is about the right size for carrying an iPad, or just a convenient size for everyday use.

The ultrasuede is a challenge to sew, but it went pretty well. The cream-color on the flap is a lighter weight ultrasuede, very soft and flexible, and easier to work with.

I got it when Baer's was still here, and they had a wonderful selection to choose from. it was a splurge, but hard to resist...

I found this wonderful lining fabric in my black-and-white collection. It is designer fabric that I got years ago in New York. Glad I splurged on it, too. The black with white polka dots is a lined pocket.

I love making bags.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Oh, to be in England

Although I haven't posted much lately, I have been busy.

I have been working on an English cottage and garden. It is for a gift from a friend to her granddaughter-in-law, who has moved to the United States from England. My friend asked me to do a quilt that would be reminiscent of a cottage in an English village.

I have traveled to and bicycled in many charming English villages, so it seemed like a pleasant assignment.

I have enjoyed it, but it took on a life of its own, and was much more "labor-intensive" than I expected...

I did a composite of several photos, and combined a "typical" half-timbered cottage with "typical" English garden.

I am pleased with the way it turned out, and I think it will make the recipient happy, too.

It was another opportunity for me to practice free-motion embroidery, and I am especially happy with the way the sky turned out, and the stucco on the cottage

I just learned yesterday that my neighborhood fabric store will be closing in a few weeks. In addition to it being so conveniently located, it has been the meeting place for our Monday night meetings.. So I don't know if our group will find another place to meet. It was quite a shock to hear the news. One thing that could happen would be for someone to buy the shop and continue it in the same location... Time will tell.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Finally finished some pieces!

I always welcome the opportunity to make a rooster quilt. A musician friend asked me to make a "mariachi Rooster" playing a guitar. What a fun challenge! I happened to have some perfect fabrics in my stash, and I bought a couple of fabrics with stripes, too.

The biggest challenge was getting the "arms" and "fingers" right on the guitar...

I think they will like it...

I have often described myself as a "bargello addict." There are certainly worse things to be.

For a long time I have wanted to make a bargello in lime green and black fabrics. When I was in Asheville this summer, I bought some wonderful Japanese fabric with the perfect lime green color, plus some great purples, oranges and blues. I added that to my color mix, and made two similar bargellos. I call this one "Tutti Frutti."

A year ago, I purchased some lovely Christmas fabrics in a little shop in North Carolina. I have never been one to make holiday quilts, and when I bought the fabric, I thought to myself, "I'll never use these!"

But recently, I came across them, and decided to make a little Christmas bargello.

As I cut my strips, it occurred to me that a Christmas tree would be fun. So here it is.

I quilted the tree with metallic thread, using a metallic needle that helped avoid the breakage that I have experienced with metallic threads in the past.

I also sewed on some holographic stars and beads, and I am very happy with the results.

If I have time before Christmas, I may make another...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fifth in a series...

This bargello (and a detail shown) is the fifth and final in a series of five bargellos made with 18 of my favorite fabrics.

As I remarked in an earlier post about two years ago, using 18 fabrics changes the way one can design a bargello, and can result in a long skinny piece...

With just a few remaining strips I found in my UFO pile, I designed this one with only one repeat, but with the design symmetrical from top to bottom...

I put a fused applique of two Japanese ladies, and it fit well in the central "frame"

I never get tired of designing and making bargellos.

I am finishing another one now, with lime and black fabrics. Searching for and choosing the fabrics is a fun part of the process, and I have been collecting the lime green and black fabrics for over a year.

I will post pictures soon...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Monarchs in Profusion

Although it has been an unusually hot summer, my sewing room is comfortable, and I have had a wonderful show , provided by the visitors to my butterfly bush, right outside the window by my sewing machine,

In addition to the beautiful monarch butterflies, there have been frequent visits from hummingbirds. I don't have any photos yet, and I don't know when they will leave, on their way to Costa Rica, or wherever they go when they leave here...

I do have three quilt projects almost finished, and will be posting photos soon...

I have enjoyed both my Monday night "Art Quilt" group, and the more traditional guild I joined last winter. I learn so much at both, and in addition, I have wonderful friends, with whom I have a lot in common...

The challenges at my Monday night group have pushed me to try new techniques, and have been an impetus to finish pieces, instead of adding them to my UFO pile.

That pile is dwindling, and the piece I am working on now is the last of a series of five bargellos made with 18 of my most favorite fabrics. Picture coming soon!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oregon Coastline View with Puffins

It's been about two weeks since I have posted anything.

I have been busy finishing this piece, and also starting a bargello and a challenge piece for my Monday night group.

I will post pictures of those soon.

This piece was such a pleasure to do.

It is a gift for friends who moved to Oregon several years ago. About three years ago, I had a wonderful trip to Oregon, and the drive along the coast was so beautiful, from Ashland up as far north as Portland is, although Portland is inland from the coast.

A distinctive feature of the coast is a number of very interesting lighthouses, so I definitely wanted to include one here.

I also came very close to getting to see some puffins, however, just as the naturalist let me look through the telescope, they disappeared behind a large rock. I very much want to see puffins in real life, and have been a number of places where that is possible. However, their season is short, and it is a challenge to be in the right place at the right time. I will keep trying!

In the meantime, I had so much fun doing this quilt, and hope it is appreciated by the recipients of the gift.

More photos soon of some other work...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hubcaps x101

I promised to post a picture of the artistic hubcaps, and here are some of them. The curator of the show was hoping to get 100 to display, because this was the tenth year of the Art Car Event at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.

She actually got 101, and they are displayed at the entrance to the Museum, at 715 West Main Street in Louisville. Although I have seen some of them as the artists brought them in, I have not actually seen the display yet.

I will see them tomorrow when I go in to volunteer. I love the variety, and it is always fun to see how different artists express their talent and ideas when given a theme or starting point. You can see my bird near the lower left, and my Sunbonnet Sue in the third row up. One of my faves is the banjo, but there are lots of good ones...

In addition to the hubcaps, there is a new show there, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen. The Museum is open M-F from 10 - 5, and Saturday 11-5.

Photo by Bob

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Do Unto Others

I stepped out into a very hot morning, and was greeted by this adorable little mutt, who appeared to be a beagle/border collie mix.

Because of the heat, he was very thirsty, and I gave him water and some food.

He seemed very well behaved, and looked healthy.

I thought he must have run away, because he had ID tags on his collar. So I began making telephone calls to the number on the ID tag, and found that the listed owner lived way out in Okolona.

So I put him in my back yard, and drove out to Okolona, hoping to find his owner. The people listed were at home, but had given him away two years ago, so I was back to square one.

I then came home and called the Humane Society number, and tried to trace the owner through his rabies tag number.

That finally led me to another telephone number, so after one more call, I finally tracked down his current owner, who was VERY glad to be reunited with him.

Years ago, when I had golden retrievers, they escaped our fenced yard a couple of times, and I was very glad that other people helped me get them back home. So today, I was glad to spend the time, to get this cute little guy safely back home.

I was also very grateful that the Humane Society was so helpful in providing me with the information I needed to find his owner.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Art on a Hubcap

Since spring of 2010, I have been working, then volunteering at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. I love the atmosphere there, and I enjoy the people I meet. The people who work there are all interesting individuals, and not a day goes by that I don't meet an interesting artist or visitor.

They have a variety of exhibits through the year, and there are several events that they repeat every year. One is the Art Car Weekend.

This year it is the first weekend in August. They have a drive-in movie at the WaterFront, and parades of art cars from all over the United States. A new added feature this year is a display of artist-decorated hubcaps.

They invited all their regular artists to embellish a hubcap for the display, and they are hoping to get 100 entries. This is the tenth year of the Art Car weekend, and they want a 10 x 10 display. I agreed to embellish a hubcap, and found a plastic one at a shop on Preston Highway for $5. They also had a few at the Museum to hand out, and I took one for a second idea I had.

For the first one shown here, I simply cut my Sunbonnet Sue quilt into a circular shape and glued it onto the hubcap. I will put a black cord around the edge before I turn it in. Since it shows a car with hubcaps, I thought it would help them complete their goal of 100.

My second one, however, was more involved. I decided to do one of my birds with hundreds of feathers applied one at a time. I chose some of my favorite batiks, and cut feathers for a fat hen.
I left an area of the hubcap visible at the bottom, behind her feet. Although I usually use fusible for applying feathers, I used glue for most of this. It would not be my adhesive of choice, although it works well. I used FabriTak, which "bites" the fabric right away, and dries quickly. However, I tend to work quickly, and it got a little messy.

I am happy with the way it turned out.

I always like it when artists work from a common theme. It is fun to see the results, in fabric, paint, clay, glass, wood, etc. I reminds me of the "Heart" project we worked on two years ago for a charity auction. The variety of expressions was really fun.

I will try to get a photo of all the hubcaps in early August. If you are in Louisville, be sure to visit the Museum at 715 West Main Street.

Friday August 5 is a good day to see the Art Cars.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What's Your Pet Peeve?

I really enjoy the challenges we get in our Monday night group.

The one this month is to do a small quilt depicting one of your "pet peeves."

I am sure I share this peeve with you - drivers who are distracted by their conversation on their cell phone...

Yes, I am also sure that we have all been guilty once or twice. Even Sunbonnet Sue , out for a spin in her red Mazda Miata, is on the phone (talking to Overalls Bill?)

This was fun to do. I used it for more practice on free-motion quilting, and managed to use several of my metallic-like fabrics on the wheel, door handle, and the phone... I also used vinyl for the windshield...

I also tried out the monogram feature on my new machine, and it worked the first time!

Now, I will get back to my bigger pieces...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Finished a UFB (unfinished bargello)

One of the things I enjoy doing in the summer is to finish unfinished projects. They tend to be small projects, with just a few hours of work to finish them up.

This small bargello is the fourth of four I did with the same fabrics, several years ago.

I used eighteen fabrics, which is more that I usually do on bargellos, and I included some of my favorite fabrics that I had been "hoarding."

I appliqued a couple of faces of Japanese ladies, just to add a little texture to the piece.

I am also including a photo of another bargello in the group, and a couple of details from the other two.

As I have said before, I absolutely LOVE doing bargello quilts, and have been collecting lime green and black fabrics for my next one. I have done so many, that I actually find it relaxing to work on them. I love designing them, and no two are alike.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Practicing FMQ

I don't really have much to report.

I am working on a quilt that shows the beautiful Oregon coastline, and eventually it will have in the foreground, two puffins.

I am using my new machine, the Janome 6600, and I love everything about it. (I loved the basic Janome that I bought 14 years ago, and the transition to the new one has been very smooth.)

The quilting on the water may not show up very well, but I have also quilted the rocks of various colors and textures. I am using it to gain much needed practice on free-motion quilting.

All I have left to quilt on the background is the grass and the sky, then I can work on the puffins.

Several years ago, I had the privilege of driving along the Oregon coastline, and was struck by its beauty. On that trip, I came very close to actually spotting some puffins, but they disappeared behind a huge rock, just as the ornithologist let me look through the telescope.

One of my life goals is to see puffins in real life. They are admittedly difficult to spot, spend time in burrows, and have a short season on land. They spend a lot of time at sea.

I have tried to spot them on the west coast, the east coast, and even traveled to the Isle of Man, on the Irish Sea between Ireland and England, in hopes of seeing them, but missed them again...

In the meantime, this is my second puffin quilt.

I love the puffin quilt that is part of the permanent display at the Museum in Paducah. That is truly a masterpiece.

I will post more after this is further along.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Road Trip

We took a few hours today to enjoy the beautiful weather; we drove to Cincinnati for the 10th annual Paddlefest.

We had participated about nine years ago, when it was a much smaller event with a few hundred boats. My wrists were stronger then, and I paddled along.

Today, I was the photographer, and Bob joined over three THOUSAND canoes, kayaks, a "Dragon Boat". and a few other paddleboarders for an 8-mile paddle on the Ohio River from Coney Island to the Waterfront area called Yeatman's Cove. Yes, you read that right - 8 miles!

Here he is at the finish line...

When I visit other cities, I always enjoy seeing their public sculpture. This was near the river, not far from downtown.

I don't know the artist, but I found it very appealing.

We really enjoyed the trip, and felt very fortunate that we had such glorious weather.

The riverfront area was very beautiful, and the event was extremely well organized, considering the number of people involved.

Now, back to work!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunbonnet Sue

When I started making little mini-quilts for my "washboard" series, I thought that a Sunbonnet Sue image would be a natural.

What I didn't realize at the time was how much fun it would be!

I got some encouragement (and a pattern) from my friend Joan, and I think she may return to some Sunbonnet Sue designs that she started earlier.

I had so much fun choosing the fabrics for her dress, apron, and hat. I always enjoy projects that allow me to use scraps, and this one was perfect for that.

I needed an activity for her, and another friend, Mary Jane, had given me some kite fabric, so I used that for the backing, and made a kite for her, using some hand-dyed gold fabric.

The lower left of the quilt looked a little empty, so I made a rose bush, with fusible roses, and sewed a few beads on.

This also gave me a chance for more practice doing FMQ with my new sewing machine.

This was a nice diversion from the bigger projects I was working on, and the beads gave me some hand sewing to carry to my quilt guild on Friday.

I am sure I will be doing some more Sunbonnet Sues. The next one might be Japanese, with a kimono and obi from my Japanese fabrics.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Portraits in Fabric

I am writing today to recommend that if you are even remotely interested in doing portraits in fabric, that you purchase or borrow the current copy of Quilting Arts Magazine, the June/July 2011 issue.

It is called the "portrait issue;" there are several excellent articles, and lots of photos and advice on making portraits in fabric.

Several years ago, I took a portrait
class from Julianne Kravetz, of Lexington, KY, and made the portrait shown here.

Julianne was an excellent teacher, and in addition, she made a pattern for each person in the class, based on a photograph supplied to her before the class.

Using computer software, she prepared 5 to 7 layers for the pattern, and you worked from back to front, dark to light, to create the portrait as shown.

The amazing thing was that, after only two or three layers, it was perfectly clear whom you were depicting.

Since then, I have figured out how to make a similar pattern using PhotoShop and going to Grayscale, then Filters, and then using the Cutout feature. Depending on the effect you want, there are several other features in Filters that one could use. I have a friend who has done pet portraits using Filters and the "posterize" feature.

If you want to see more about the class options, here is Julianne Kravetz's website:

But go right to your friendly bookstore and grab a copy of the Quiting Arts, too!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Starting projects

Although I could complain about how hot it has been for almost two weeks instead I will talk about how much fun it has been watching one of my yucca plants perform beautifully.

It is right outside my sewing room, and it just kept getting taller and taller. It is now about 9 feet tall.

It has bloomed, and is really pleasant to look at.

As I have said before, I am really good at starting things. When I got my new sewing machine, I wanted to try some of the stitches, and get familiar with the buttons and controls.

I cut and sewed this little silk bag. It is made from a cross-dyed dupioni silk, with purple and brown threads. the cotton print is a Phillip Jacobs print. I bought them and the button at Waechter's last summer, with a little bag in mind.

This s just a practice bag, but when I make the real one, I will use batting, and do some quilting on the silk. The button is a very special button, and it looks like it was designed for these fabrics.

Then I wanted to try another little bag. The pink (mauve?) fabric is a Thai silk that a friend brought me from Thailand several years ago. I made a couple of scarves, gave one away, and have enjoyed the other one. I decided to make a little bag from the fabric I had left.

This bag is from a book I got years ago, called Omiyage.

There are several very interesting patterns for llittle bags. I made one like this years ago using Japanese fabrics. I must have given it away without getting a photo.

There are two versions, this one with two fabrics, and another one with three fabrics.

The pattern in the book does not show how to line it. So I had to figure it out, and it is not as easy as it might look. I finally figured out a way to do it, but it is not as graceful as I would like.

Neither bag is finished yet, but I will finish them soon, and get back to what I "should' be working on.

When I get them both finished, I will post pictures.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Weekend Activities

We had a wonderful Memorial Day, starting with a continental breakfast at Ghyslain, one of our favorite new restaurants in the "NuLu" area of East Market. New restaurants are
opening up every week there, and this is a very charming bistro with a French flavor, right across from Toast, another favorite.

We then headed to the Riverfront, where we added flags to the array, in honor of our soldiers.

Waterfront Park was the site of the Mayor's "Hike, Bike and Paddle" event. This bicycling event has been going for several years, but our new mayor added paddling and hiking to it this year.

Some volunteers, with the help of the Skipping Fish Boat School, built a beautiful kayak for the mayor to use in the event.

Here is the start of the Bicycling group.

There were literally thousands of cyclists, all ages and types, from leisure riders to serious guys and gals in their Spandex outfits.

Here is a friend of ours on his "penny farthing" bicycle. I don't know if he went the entire 15 miles on this.

(Sorry picture is blurry)

Here are the paddlers at the dock, getting ready to get in the water, in kayaks and canoes, and two brave souls on stand-up paddleboards. (Bob was one of them)

After the boats got launched, I headed up River Road on my bicycle, to watch them come up Beargrass Creek, and go under the old bridge.

Here is Bob (in green shirt) on his standup paddleboard, making it look easy to stand up and paddle, but something tells me it isn't as easy as it looks!

The Mayor is somewhere nearby...

Although it was very very hot and sunny, it was a very enjoyable day. They provided plenty of cold water for the participants, and everyone seemed to have a good time...