Saturday, October 30, 2010

"The Visual Language of Quilting" presentation

Kona Coffee quilt
I was invited to speak at a local quilt exhibit this weekend. The exhibit was entitled, "Every Quilt has a Story" and my presentation was "The Visual Language of Quilting," accompanied by a trunk show of 20 of my quilts.

The audience was a mix of sewers, quilters and newbies to the quilting world. They were enthusiastic and asked lots of great questions. I love these kinds of audiences! They make for a better and more interesting presentation, and I much prefer dialogue to monologue.

If every quilt tells a story, then quilting is definitely one of the main characters. There is something magical about the quilting stage of the process... the smooth, flat fabric takes on interesting textures, motifs pop out in a crisp bas relief, and patterns begin a dance across the quilt top. An amazing transformation occurs from two-dimensions to three-dimensions before our very eyes.
The audience was inspired by the combination of vintage Dresden plate quilt pieces and colorful, contemporary fabrics in "Dresden Meets Marti at Riverbend."
Christmas Baskets—from her scrap basket and mine.
The Riverbend quilt and "Christmas Baskets—from her scrap basket and mine" (left) addressed the quandary of orphan quilt pieces, vintage finds and blocks from great aunt Millie's stash. I believe the original quilter of these Dresden plates would appreciate me continuing her story by finishing a quilt that included her blocks.

Another important aspect of telling the quilt's story, is to document information on the label. Make this part of the quiltmaking process! Extra quilt blocks, scraps or left-over binding strips can be used in creating and framing a label. Just do it!
Label on the back of "Colours of the Sun"
A more traditional style quilt calls for classic feather motifs in the quilting. These feathers were quilted free-motion without marking. The pieced design on the quilt top determines the space for the quilted motifs.
The light colored backing fabric shows off the quilting.
Here is a traditional log cabin block made with bright colored cottons and batiks. Surface design using oil paint sticks added interest to this art quilt.
I designed this quilt (above) for a class I taught. Value, color and print should be thoughtfully considered in making fabric selections. All these elements, including the quilting, work in concert to tell a story.
Thank you to the Eastern Stars for inviting me to their quilt exhibit. And a special "Thank You" to my good friend and quilting buddy, Sandy, for her gracious introduction, to Jewell for her assistance with the quilt display, and to Elizabeth for the great photos.

I can be contacted at for quilting services, workshops and presentations.

Friday, October 29, 2010

ATCs: Just add water

Just add water and you can transform one thing into something totally different. "Just Add Water" was the theme of the FiberAntics October ATC swap and there were myriad transformations of paper, color, beads, ribbon and cloth into artist trading cards. Here are this month's mini works of creative and witty art.
 Left: "Just add water... and maybe some fruit.. or cheese." Recipes included.
Right: "TANG. The breakfast of astronauts." Russian tea recipe on the back.
Left: "Just add water... the only way to get a rainbow."
Right: "Just add water."
 Left: "Please!! Just  add water."
Right: "Just add water and flowers will smile for you..."
 "Underwater Song"
Inspired by a Harry Potter movie.
 Left: "Just add water"
Right: "Cool refreshing glass of water—and new friends!"
 Left: "Just add water. Your very own concentrated oil spill..."
Directions included on back.
Right: "Just add water"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fingerless Mitts knitting class, starts Nov. 1

Hey Knitters and yarn lovers! Need some great holiday gifts? Here is a perfect, fast-to-knit, portable knitting project for the occasion. I'll be teaching this two-session Fingerless Mitts class at Chattanooga State, November 1 and 8. Call (423) 697-3100 to register.
Fingerless Mitts knitting class
In class, we'll be learning how to make cables, thumb gussets and using the mattress stitch to seam. My "Sweet Louise" fingerless mitts pattern is free to class participants. These mitts were knit with Classic Shades by Universal Yarn—a worsted weight, wool blend that comes in many gorgeous colorways... soft and snuggly.

Twisty Cable Fingerless Gloves
Another variation is my Twisty Cable fingerless gloves. These were knit using Fibra Natura Sensational, a 100 superwash merino wool. Sensational comes in 45+ colors, including variegated, and has great stitch definition. Scrumptious!

Call today to register for class! (423) 697-3100. 

Now is the time to get your needles clicking and whip out several pairs of these fun fingerless mitts. You'll want to make a set for all your friends... and a pair or two... or three... for yourself.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My quilt at the Georgia Quilt Show

Last weekend, I attended the Georgia Quilt Show where my quilt, "Dresden meets Marti at Riverbend," was one of the juried entries in the quilt competition. "Seeing Color Harmony" was the competition theme, "... designed to expand the quiltmaker's color boundaries."
"Dresden meets Marti at Riverbend"
The vintage Dresden Plate quilt pieces inspired my original design. Although traditionally set on a light ground, the appliqu├ęs twinkle in an asymmetrical setting on dark prints and batiks; harmonizing with pieced blocks in bright, contemporary fabrics. The interplay of color and stitch connects the generations.

The quilt exhibit was a wonderful display of innovative design, techniques and great use of color. The top award went to a machine quilted bed-size quilt which incorporated amazing machine quilting along with quilted fillers from which other images emerged. It was stunning—from both the front and back.

I also took a class with Jamie Wallen, a professional longarm machine quilter who does really cool things with feathers. He has a background in fine arts and a previous career in healthcare. He presents his classes in a down-to-earth, practical manner and focuses on the fundamentals of developing muscle memory (important while developing and practicing new quilting designs). You can tell he's pretty casual in his teaching style—check out the backward baseball cap. Gotta love it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New knitters and upcoming classes

Please welcome these new knitters to the wonderful world of yarn and fiber arts! These talented women were in my 3-week Beginning Knitting class at Chattanooga State which concluded last night. They were excellent students and successfully passed the course with flying colors!
New "Knitting Graduates" from the Beginning Knitting class.
From the first class, these knitting students had plans for projects and were full of questions and ideas—an ascot with a button hole detail, a doggie sweater, afghans, scarves and home dec items. The conversation was lively and stimulating. 
Beginning Knitting II class—Fingerless Mitts
The next class in the knitting series is Beginning Knitting II (see page 4 of the Chattanooga State course catalog). The techniques covered include making cables, ribbing, a gusset and seaming. We'll be making a pair of fingerless mitts—a perfect take-along project and a great holiday gift! The class meets November 1 and 8 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

Call 697-3100 to register now, before the class fills.

At the request of the current graduating class, a Lace Knitting class has been proposed to the Chattanooga State Continuing Education program. Proposed class dates for this 6-hour class are November 29 and December 6.
Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 10, 2010


October 10, 2010 or 10-10-10
I couldn't resist posting on this unique date. How often does this happen where the month, date and year are all the same number? (I'm sure someone has calculated and documented this somewhere.)

The weather for the Red Bank Market was just beautiful. Sales were good—until the Tennessee football game got undeway—and I got a commission request (nice!). Friends from my guilds and other business acquaintances stopped by my tent. It was great to see everyone and catch up with people I don't get to see on a regular basis.

My booth was next to the "Accessories with Attitude" tent which had an exquisite assortment of hand-knit scarves and hats and colorful felted bags, pins and pouches made by two of my knitting friends. Local farmers had fresh, home grown produce at the market and the cupcake ladies from Scenic City Cakes offered bite-size samples of their delectable confectioneries. Don't these look yummy???

Best of all, I spent a beautiful October day outside, under a red tent with my husband, who helped with set up and sales. We're coming up on a 10-year anniversary this week. He's my favorite sweetie!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Arts and crafts at Red Bank Market, Saturday

The Red Bank Market fall arts and crafts event is set for this Saturday, October 9. I will be there with FiberAntics to participate in the event. Stop by my tent for a visit and see my newest fiber art creations.
Grape Harvest bog jacket

The Red Bank Market features area artists and their hand-crafted items including hand-dyed silk scarves, fiber art, wearables, hand knit items, glasswork, woodwork and other art. Live music, food and produce from local farms will add to the festivities.

Shown here is one of my newest pieces. It is a silk noil bog jacket called Grape Harvest. It is a kimono style jacket made from hand dyed raw silk with a shawl collar and kimono style sleeves. It is reminiscent of several trips I made to the wineries of the Finger Lakes area—particularly Bully Hill Vineyards—in upstate New York.

Embrace the cooler temperatures in a one-of-a-kind artwear jacket and celebrate the fall harvest season in the luscious colors of the vineyard! Come to the Red Bank Market this Saturday for unique holiday gifts or something special for yourself.

My hand-dyed artwear and other fiber art pieces will also be on the runway and for sale at Tennessee Presents Textiles on November 13, 2010. Tennessee Presents Textiles is a wearable art fashion and runway show and sale featuring several of the southeast's finest textile artists. Tickets are one sale now until November 8 through the Monroe Council for the Arts. Call: (423) 442-3210. Advanced purchase is required.

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