Friday, September 24, 2010

ATCs: Fairy Tales and Bedtime Stories

For the artists in this month's Artist Trading Card (ATC) swap, the theme of "Fairy Tales and Bedtime Stories" conjured up magic and myth and portrayals of fanciful characters and evil adversaries.

Fairies, princesses, wicked trolls and monsters under the bed... that's what bedtime stories—and this month's ATCs—are made of. It was a playful theme with numerous creative possibilities. The traders tapped into their inner child and did not disappoint!

Here (right) is "Tinkerbell's Tower."

Left: "The Princess and the Frog"
Right: "Water Fairy"

Left: "Once Upon a Time"
Right: "There's one in every story"

Left: "A Fairy with no Tale"
Right: "In your dreams, you are always the princess."

Above: "Mama, please read one more."
The little doll slips in and out of the bed, and the bed sheets are flannel.

Above: "Tooth Fairy"
The Tooth Fairy removes the tooth from under the pillow by pulling the pink ribbon.

And who can forget, "The Monster under the Bed" (above).

I guess I'll leave the night light on. Boogey, boogey, BOO!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My charity quilt pattern goes to Thailand

About a month ago, my new friend, Jill, from Bangkok, Thailand, asked me for a copy of my Free Charity Quilt pattern. I just received an e-mail from her with this picture attached.

Made from fabrics available in Thailand, Jill cut and pieced this lap-size quilt in just 2.5 hours. She has tied her quilt, but you could also hand or machine quilt it. The organization that will receive Jill's quilt is the Melissa Cosgrove Children's Foundation.

Here is a close-up of the cute animal print that Jill incorporated into her quilt—dogs and cats at the movies—what fun. Thanks, Jill, for sharing your quilt!

If you would like a copy of my FREE lap size charity quilt pattern,  just e-mail me at and I'd be happy to e-mail it to you. The pattern (right) is "fat quarter friendly" and sews up quickly (Jill worked hers up in 2.5 hours). It uses 7 fat quarters and the finished size is 36" x 48".

Other ideas for charity quilts and links to block patterns can be found in an earlier post here

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Daisies make me smile

Is this a cheery quilt, or what?! It reminds me of when Meg Ryan's character in "You've Got Mail" says to Tom Hank's character, "... don't you think that daisies are the friendliest flower?"
I received this quilt top [57" x 69"] to machine quilt. When I took the pressed top from the zippered garment bag and spread it out on the work table, it just made me smile. The golden orange and teal blue [complementary] color scheme gives it just the right amount of zing. And it has a perfect balance of patterns in the fabrics: a plaid, two small prints, a pin dot and a solid.

The appliqued "daisy" flowers were outline quilted to give them dimension and the rest of the quilt was free-motion stitched with leaves, vines and an occasional flower. 

When I asked my client to whom she was giving this quilt, she said, "I may just keep this one for myself." I hope she does.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cut-to-Order Cuddle Quilts

My quilt guild, the Choo Choo Quilters, had a sew-in today for our community service Cuddle Quilt program. We made great progress. The goal for our Great Cuddle Quilt Quest is 51 and when these quilts are finished, we'll add 13 more to that total.
Since my team was responsible for the program, I pre-cut blocks, strips and borders for 10 quilt kits for assembly at today's workshop. I also had 3 quilt tops that required basting. Backing fabrics and batting were also supplied.
Sewing the quilt tops
Pre-cutting the blocks made efficient use of the 3 hours we had for the workshop. We hit the ground running—or sewing—and got all 10 tops sewn.
Using king size quilt batting, we were able to get about 8 cuddle quilt batts from each package. Basting goes quickly with these smaller quilts.

With Ricky Tims, Van Morrison and Sam Bush serenading us in the background, and lemonade, coffee and yummy cookies from Jackson's Bakery to sustain us, the group finished 10 tops, basted 5, quilted 3, and got batting, backing and bindings ready for the remainder. 

A job well done! We hope to see these finished quilts at an upcoming guild meeting.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pocket Power in Artwear Exhibit

My fiber arts guild, the Riverbend Fiber Arts Guild, had a wonderful wearable art exhibit and awards ceremony yesterday! It was an exhibit of the pieces from our first Guild Challenge, called "The Power of the Pocket." The most exciting news of all: my entry, "The Power of Panthera Leo," won the Best of Show award!
"The Power of Panthera Leo"
This piece is made from hand dyed silk dupioni using shibori stitch resist techniques. The collar is a hand dyed, single-twist handspun yarn that was free-style crocheted. The inside of the vest and the two side pockets (a pocket was a Challenge requirement) were lined with hand dyed silk dupioni.
Side pocket

Artist's Statement:
The matte surface of the yarn collar contrasts the reflective properties of the silk. The collar suggests a lion’s mane—surrounding the face and neck and cascading down the garment’s front and back. The lion’s mane is his secret defense. It makes him appear larger and is used as a powerful intimidation tactic during confrontations with other animals.

The judge for the show was a Chattanooga fiber artist whose work I much admire. Her judge's comment about the visual impact was: "unbelievable—took my breath away."

So, the completion of this piece was worth the uncertainty during the design stage and all the construction struggles I encountered. We should all take to heart Anita Luvera Mayer's words, "Don't stop too soon. It is important to stick to an idea, to be willing to take risks. There really is no such thing as failure; you're only smarter than you were before."

The piece will also be in the Tennessee Presents Textiles show in November. Contemporary folk artist, Rachel Clark is the featured speaker.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wearable art exhibit scheduled

I'm putting the final touches on my entries for the upcoming Riverbend Fiber Arts Guild wearable art exhibit on September 11. The exhibit, entitled "The Power of the Pocket," was conceived in November 2009 and issued as a Guild Challenge to guild members in January 2010. We've been working all year designing our entries that adhere to the Challenge parameters while still expressing our personal styles.

Here is a breakdown of the timetable I generally follow for projects such as this:
  • 75% to research materials, techniques and percolate ideas;
  • 10% to sketch, swatch, audition, sample and fit;
  • 15% for production, finishing and paperwork.
As Abe Lincoln might say, "6 hours to sharpen the axe and 2 hours to chop down the tree." For me, there is nothing like a deadline to keep one motivated and on task!

To provide inspiration as well as technique and construction information, several guild programs were presented throughout the year that focused on pockets, pocket construction, and various embellishment techniques.

As this year's Guild President and emcee for the awards presentation, I'd like to invite everyone to come to the event to celebrate the innovation and beauty of fiber arts with the guild.

The exhibit, a unique collection of wearable art garments, will be on display Saturday, September 11, at Senior Neighbors, 10th and Newby Streets, downtown Chattanooga, from 10:30 am. to 1:30 pm.
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