Saturday, July 28, 2012

ATCs: In the style of a famous artist

In the style of Amadeo Modigliani.
The ATC (Artist Trading Card) Artists in my FiberAntics monthly ATC swap have outdone themselves this month! I know, I know... I say that every month, but take a look at these. If imitation is a form of flattery, then the famous artists to whom we give a nod should be shamelessly impressed.

The July ATC theme was "In the style of _____ (pick a famous artist)." The famous artists that were recognized are:

Claude Monet (1840 - 1926)
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 - 1959)
Amadeo Modigliani (1884 - 1920)
Frida Kahlo (1907 - 1954)
Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987)
Bruce Gray (1956 - )

I'm sure you'll have no trouble identifying their styles in these artist trading cards.

In the style of Bruce Gray.
"Self portrait with Cat."
In the style of Frida Kahlo.
In the style of Monet.
In the style of Andy Warhol.
"Frank's Glass."
In the style of Frank Lloyd Wright
More watercolor paintings in the style of Amadeo Modigliani. Remember that the size of an Artist Trading Card is 2.5" x 3.5". With that in mind, are you impressed?
In the style of Amadeo Modigliani.
In the style of Amadeo Modigliani.
In the style of Amadeo Modigliani.
In the style of Amadeo Modigliani.
In the style of Amadeo Modigliani.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

More Bargello magic at Chattanooga Sewing

Bargello placemat class project.
I was invited to teach a special class on Bargello Quilting for the staff at Chattanooga Sewing Machine Center. We met in the classroom after closing, ordered in pizza, and had a fabulous sit-and-sew-and-chat session while they learned to make Bargello placemats.

The class project (left), with its waves of color superimposed on a geometrically influenced design was not—I was told (and much to my surprise)—the primary aspect of what drew the staff and customers to this project. It was the quilting!

Closeup of machine quilting on Bargello placemat.
While store customers loved the bright, saturated colors, the staff said there were many comments on how the quilting accentuated the movement and color placement on the placemats. Well, you just never know what catches people's eye, do you???

I provided kits with pre-cuts strips for this class, so the staff could just sit and enjoy the sewing after working all day. With a few slight variations in the kits (one wanted a few more brights to complement her dinnerware, and one wanted some golds and greens thrown in), the fabrics were mostly all the same. So, despite very similar fabric kits, here are the variations on a theme that resulted from the evening's class. The set of fabric strips is shown on the left of the composition.

The greens and golds in Linda's version contrast with the salmon pink and turquoise.
Linda's Bargello placemat.
Lisa's version has bands of lights and darks running through the center.
Lisa's Bargello placemat.
Michelle's version has the deep red and a bright pink flanking the center dark wave.
Michelle's Bargello placemat.
Notice the opposing placement of the zinger fabric in Sheri's version. 
Sheri's Bargello placemat.
I must say that is was a real pleasure having these women in a class together. Their sewing and piecing skills are top notch and they listen attentively to instructions and demonstrations. They were excited by the results they were getting and inspired to experiment with variations on the other three placemats.
Machine quilted Bargello placemat.
It will be interesting to see what each one chooses for the binding and how she decides to quilt her piece. My sample was quilted with a combination of straight line quilting and free-motion.

Thank you to Linda, Lisa, Sheri and Michelle for a fun evening! Can't wait to see your finished pieces. What do you want to do next??

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Fabric Rep Trek: Lebanon Sewing Center

Oh, this shop has it all! Lebanon Vacuum and Sewing Center is about 30 miles east of Nashville in Lebanon, Tennessee, and veteran quilt shop owner, Jan Franklin, has been running the shop for over 20 years. So, with her vast experience in sewing, quilting, the operation and instruction on the use of Brother and Janome sewing machines, she is a wealth of knowledge and can field any question that comes her way. 
Lebanon Vacuum and Sewing Center, Lebanon, Tennessee.
You can tell by the cartoon characters and oversized sewing notions painted on the store's front windows that this is a fun place. It gets even better once you're inside. The first room has the Janome and Brother sewing machines as well as threads (including Wonderfil, one of my favoritess!), zippers and other sewing notions.
Wonderfil Konfetti and Razzle threads.
Zippers with more threads in the background.
On the left is another room that is full of fabrics... blenders like Dragonfly Magic and Splash...
A room with a huge selection of fabrics.
florals, novelties, 20s and 30s reproductions...
20s ad 30s prints (left) and a wonderful assortment of beads (right).
animal prints, safari themes, music and a wide selection of solids.
Animal prints and solids.
Jan carries an amazing selection of themed prints. For the pet lovers, there is a shelf full of dog (Man's Best Friend) and cat fabrics.
For the dog and cat lovers, including paw prints and dog biscuits.
The sports fans are well represented with team fabrics. There is even several Coca-Cola fabrics.
Sports team fabrics and Coca-Cola prints.
Check out the other rooms adjacent to the main fabric room... one dedicated to sale fabrics and one to trims.
A room of sale fabrics and a room of trims.
 There is a room for books and magazines.
The reading room full of quilting and sewing books and publications.
Darling samples of children's clothing hang from the ceiling.
Patterns of all kinds.
This quilt hangs over one of the doorways. Check out the detail and the quilting.

Detail of the 3-dimentional appliqué and machine quilting.
As with many quilters, Jan and her staff have huge hearts. Jan and one of her employees are making a Quilt of Valor for an upcoming fair exhibit and fundraiser. The red and white stripes are comprised of log cabin blocks. Names of local men and women who have served in the military are embroidered on the stripes as well as in the stars.
A Quilt of Valor is being pieced and embroidered by Jan and her staff.
The finished size will be around 110" x 150". This is quite a big undertaking and the embroidery work is amazing!
Detail of embroidered names in the stars on this Quilt of Valor.
Generous quilters, like Jan and her staff, who give so freely of their time, talent and resources surely get extra points in heaven!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Fabric Rep Trek: The Cherry Pit

The Cherry Pit, Sevierville, Tennessee
I've gotten feedback that many of you are enjoying an "armchair quilt shop hop" as I recap my visits to the Tennessee area quilt shops for Blank Quilting. Thanks for reading and following my blog!

If you have the occasion to visit any of these shops in person (and I hope you do!), please mention that you saw photos and read stories about them on my blog, FiberAnticsbyVeronica.

This visit is to a wonderful quilt shop in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in historic downtown Seveirville, Tennessee. Welcome to The Cherry Pit, a shop that is as charming, warm and gracious as its owner, Jane Washington. Jane is also a fantastic quilt pattern designer as you will see through the pictures below. Jane is married to George Washington, by the way, so naturally the shop's name is quite fitting.

The Cherry Pit has an extensive selection of fabrics and quilting supplies that are available on site or through the on-line store.
Mini quilts with various scenes and themes hang overhead.
Everyone at The Cherry Pit is friendly and helpful and Jane and her staff love the visitors and tourists that flock to the shop on a daily basis. Along with the vast fabric array, visitors and locals alike are treated to a fabulous display of beautiful quilts that adorn the exposed brick walls of the shop.
A patriotic quilt featuring a variety of star blocks.
Many of these quilts are from patterns of Jane's own design. "Pit Designs" patterns and kits are available exclusively through the store. 
"S'mores and Hot Chocolate" quilt and pattern by Pit Designs. Jane Washington, designer.
Fabric and quilts... quilts and fabric.
Many of the seasons and holidays—Halloween, winter, July 4th—are celebrated through quilts. And, Block of the Month (BOM) programs are a specialty at this shop.
"All things that go bump in the night..."
A charming winter themed quilt.
The detail in the design of both the appliqué and piecing make these quilts so interesting and unique. The workmanship and the machine quilting is exquisite as well. You can't help but be inspired!

The Cherry Pit offers many classes, programs and workshops throughout the year that quilters from all over attend. One visit to the Cherry Pit and you will immediately understand why it was featured as a "Top 10" by Quilt Sampler magazine.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Fabric Rep Trek: BJ's Custom Quilting, the Gray Barn

I visited two more fabric shops among the hills and fields of middle Tennessee... this time, my Blank Quilting fabric rep appointments took me to McMinnville, TN.

The sky was gray and drizzly for the first appointment of my day, at BJ's Custom Quilting and Fabric. The large sign near the road, however, made it easy to find the shop and an ample parking lot made parking convenient. The plain white exterior of this building blended into the overcast sky, but it's a stark contrast to what you'll find inside...

BJs Custom Quilting and Fabric in McMinnville, Tennessee.
... a cavalcade of fabrics, in waist-high recessed tables, arranged by color and theme. It's more eye candy than you can absorb in one breadth. The walls have quilted items that were stitched on the store's industrial bedspread machine.

BJ (Betty), the owner, has been in the sewing and fabric industry for over 23 years. She does a lot of quilted items using a machine that has 100 needles and simultaneously stitches a bedspread-like sandwich as it inches its way through a set of rollers. BJ took me into the back room to show me this machine. "It takes 1.5 hours to re-fill and thread the 100 bobbins (shown below)," she said.
Left: 100 needle stitching machine with cones of thread stored in racks above.
Right: The shuttle-like bobbins for the machine.
Two operators feed in the quilt top, smoothing and straightening the piece as it feeds. The chick-chick-chick hum of the machine provided a soothing background noise—not as loud as you might expect from an "industrial" machine.
Machine operators feed a pieced top into the industrial quilting machine.
A portion of BJs Custom Quilting business is quilted baby blankets that are displayed on a hanging rack in the main room. There is also an entire room adjacent to the main fabric room with rolls of home decorator fabrics.
Left: A rack of quilted baby blankets. Right: home dec fabrics.
Many quilter's cottons from Blank Quilting, Jinny Beyer, Erin McMorris, Tina Givens, Brandon Mably, Terri Mangat, Valorie Wells and others are mixed in with her selection of cottons. They are generally not from the most current quilting collections, but at an average price of $4.95 a yard, they are good buys. It's fun to peruse the rows and rows of bolts to find favorites you may not have in your stash. BJ tries to get the same prints and designs in several colorways whenever possible.
Cotton fabrics arranged by color.
Before I departed, I snatched up a few bright prints and textures to add to my own stash.
A few fabrics for my stash.
A few blocks away in a more residential section of town is the Gray Barn. Jennifer, the owner, machine quilts for local residents of McMinnville on a domestic sewing machine attached to a quilting frame.

The Gray Barn Quilts and Fabric, McMinnville, Tennessee.
A friend of Jennifer's, Jewel, pieces tops for baby and lap quilts. The tops are quilted and sold at the shop as well.
The Gray Barn sells lap and baby quilts to customers in McMinnville.
The ladies from Country Lane Quilts and Gifts in Smithville, TN, told me about the Gray Barn. It is a relatively new business but the word is obviously spreading.
A small collection of fabrics at the Gray Barn are used for pieced tops
and backs for customers' quilts.
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