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...