Wednesday, October 31, 2012

ATCs: the backs are treats, too!

As a child, if you were taught some form of hand needlework—embroidery, cross stitch, needlepoint, or the like—you may have been told, "the back should look as good as the front." Was this a "trick" to aspire you to be neat and precise with your stitches? Possibly... but more likely to instill good needle art habits and enable you to refine and perfect your craftsmanship.

I thought about this adage as I was posting pictures of the FiberAntics October ATC swap. I post the fronts of the cards (which are always amazing), but there is soooo much more insight, information... and fabulous artwork... that often appears on the backs of these trading cards.

So, as an extra "treat" this Halloween, here are ATC backs from the recent Artist Trading Card swap and some from past swaps as well.

Some backs are printed from a computer, some are written by hand.

Rubber stamping is also a versatile and popular printing technique.

You may find an envelope or more photos on the back...

... instructions for the task at hand,
... and other insights about the theme.

It's always interesting to learn about the techniques and materials that the artist has used to make the card.

Sometimes you'll find the dust bunnies or the monster under the bed.
So, you see, the backs are just as good as the fronts! 
Don't you think???

Sunday, October 28, 2012

ATCs: Famous Authors

From Atwood to Vonnegut... including Baum, Dickens, and Rowling... Steinbeck and Silverstein... this month's ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap spanned generations of literary greats from cover to cover (so to speak).

Famous Authors was the theme of the October FiberAntics ATC swap and participating ATC artists illustrated some of their favorites through their ATC art.

Remember that Artist Trading Cards are only 2.5" x 3.5" in size, and each is hand made. With this in mind, you can imagine the creativity, engineering, craftsmanship and time that is put into the detail of these small format pieces.

Is one of your favorite authors portrayed here? 

"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum
This ATC unfolded to reveal the 3-panel interior with additional photos, collectibles and ephemera.
Inside of L. Frank Baum artist trading card.

For all you Harry Potter fans, do you remember the Sorting Hat?
J. K. Rowling, "The Sorting Hat" from the Harry Potter series.

You just need to see the clean, simple drawing style of this smiling face to recognize this author.
Shel Silverstein

The artist made a hand-carved rubber stamp of Charles and colored the image with pearlized water colors.
"What the Dickens?"

Another classic... John Steinbeck.
"Cannery Row" by John Steinbeck

Kurt Vonnegut was free-motion quilted using cotton threads. And so it goes...
Kurt Vonnegut... "And so it goes."

This ATC artist did a series of her favorite books and authors.
"Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain and "Dune" by George Herbert.
"God is not Great" by Christopher Hitchens and "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe.
"The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll
"The Odyssey" by Homer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Strip quilt goes to Quilt Market

This quilt, called Quasar 45, was inspired by the book, Accent on Angles, by Susan Purney Mark as well as a package of Blank's Fabrications 2.5" precut fabric strips (colorway: Sunset Strip). This quilt will be hanging in the Blank Quilting booth at this year's Fall Quilt Market in Houston, TX, October 27-29.
Quasar 45 will be at the Blank Quilting booth at Fall Quilt Market.
36" x 44"
About the fabrics:
Sunset Strip, with a vast selection of colors from the warm portion of the color wheel, is one of the three Fabrications strips (and Fat Quarter) colorways from Blank's ever-popular Splash blender collection. Prairie Wagon, a set of light and cloudy-sky blues, soft meadow greens and a sprinkle of earth tones, and Sea Level, a spectrum of ocean blues, sparkling purples and lush greens are the other two color companions in the trio. Accent fabrics in Quasar 45 include selections from Fusion Illusion, another popular blender, and Honeybell, a fabric line that is new this fall.

About making the quilt:
Quasar 45 was a fun quilt to make. The strip piecing and cutting techniques are liberating and forgiving. If you look closely, there are two different size blocks in this quilt. Most strip piecing techniques lend themselves to abundant possibilities for composition, layout, size and color combinations, and this one does not disappoint! (Oh, I can imagine stunning results with Black and White, Red Hot, and Pralines 'n' Cream Fabrications colorways as well!) 
     With pre-cut Fabrications strips, you just open the package and you're ready to start stripping! Left-over pieces and strips were used for the binding and it was free-motion quilted with two colors of variegated 40 wt. cotton threads. (Yep, I change threads if the quilt calls for it.) The finished size is 36" x 44" but with additional Fabrications, it could grow to any size.

I've shown this quilt (and the quilt top prior to quilting) to my students in recent quilt classes and there was definite interest in a future quilting class based on this project. 

I hope you are inspired by Quasar 45 and will join me in a class! Visit your local quilt shop to pick up an assortment of Blank's Fabrications 2.5" strips or other pre-cut fabric collections.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Fabric Rep Trek: Calico Cottage Quilting

You've heard of a two-car garage and a double-decker bus, well Calico Cottage Quilting in Dandridge, Tennessee, is a charming quilt shop with two long arm quilting machines.
Calico Cottage Quilting in Dandridge, Tennessee.
Denise Waymire, the owner of Calico Cottage Quilting, has been machine quilting on her APQS Millenium long arm quilting machine for over 11 years and does fabulous work. The new addition to her shop is the HandiQuilter Avanti.
APQS Millenium long arm.
Each long arm has a room to itself in Denise's delightful quilting cottage and are kept quite busy with quilts and shop samples that she and her daughter quilt for customers and other neighboring quilt shops, such as The Cherry Pit in Sevierville, Tennessee. [As a side note, I was very impressed with the custom machine quilting on the quilt samples at The Cherry Pit, so it was a real pleasure to finally meet the artist behind the machine!]
HandiQuilter Avanti long arm.
In addition to quilting services, Calico Cottage also offers tools, supplies and notions for the machine quilter (see the on-line store) and Denise continues to build a growing selection of quilting fabrics, patterns, notions and kits. I just know she'll work up something fabulous with the Desiree line.
Notions, supplies and tools for long arm quilting are surrounded by
fabrics, button assortments and vintage quilts on display.
A display of vintage and antique quilts for sale, and glass jars of buttons add to the ambiance of this shop.
Fabrics, bundles, patterns and colorful vintage quilts. 
Jars with button assortments.
The thread cabinet sits beside labelled stitch-outs of the various machine quilting patterns offered at the shop.
Threads and machine quilting stitch-outs.
When I arrived at Calico Cottage Quilting, I was warmly greeted by Denise. She is one of those people that immediately makes you feel at ease—like an long-time friend from childhood. So it was easy to fall into a conversation with her at the kitchen table about threads, battings, supplies, Blank's new wide backing collections and other machine quilter-ly topics. I always enjoy hearing insights and gleaning inspiration from other machine quilters, especially those with experience such as Denise. I could have spent the entire afternoon chatting with her, but several customers arrived and I needed to be on our way.

So take a trip to Calico Cottage Quilting—just 30 miles east of Knoxville in the quaint historic town of Dandridge. You'll feel right at home.
A Dandridge sign sits among the flowers in front of an old cemetery.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Guild Challenge, a tribute to Steve Jobs

After posting the results of the Choo Choo Quilters Guild Challenge, A Novel Idea, I was asked which Challenge piece was mine. You saw the back of this quilt in an earlier post. Here is the view of the front.
A Tribute to Steve
2012 Guild Challenge
The book was "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson and my inspiration sentence was: "They had grown up among movie stars, but to them Jobs was a true celebrity."

Artist Statement: "I am a long-time Mac user and my heart broke upon hearing the news of Steve Jobs’ passing—just a year ago—on October 5, 2011. This quilt is a tribute to him.
     The innovative piecing technique was a perfect choice to illustrate Steve’s out-of-the box, futuristic vision for Apple and the information, communication and computer technology industries. I confined my fabrics to solids, challenging myself to create something visually and aesthetically interesting without the use of prints (my usual palette). After all, Steve did brilliant and beautiful things with 1s, 0s, and circuit boards. The hand stitching reminds us that a human factor is still a required force behind any technology."
Detail: hand stitching and French knots.
The finished size is 16-3/4" x 18-1/4" and the quilt has a facing rather than a binding. I worked with solid fabrics, which I was introduced to this past summer in a workshop with Nancy Crow. This piece also offered me an opportunity to practice the strip piecing techniques she taught us.

Some interesting viewer comments about the piece included that the black fabric reminded them of the black shirts that Steve Jobs wore. Another said that the piece looked somewhat like a computer circuit board. I did not consciously think of these, however, maybe my "inner Mac" came out as I worked. For me, the red, turquoise and light blue squares represent the other movie stars, and the white—a more clear and the brightest color in the composition—represents Jobs.

Overall, I think this is a successful piece and I enjoyed working on it. I love to hear the insights from viewers and other quilt artists. I find it interesting what others see in a piece. What do you see? I'd love to know.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Guild Challenge Results: A Novel Idea

What an amazing exhibit! The 13 pieces in the 2012 Choo Choo Quilters Guild Challenge, A Novel Idea, were thought-provoking and imaginative and definitely stretched the creative muscles of the quilters who responded to the Challenge.

The guidelines for the 2012 Challenge were to interpret a pre-determined sentence from a book or novel in a small quilt approximately 18" square. Any technique or combination of techniques could be used. Here are the interpretations and their sentence inspirations.

"Had I been married to Artois, I would not find myself 
eighteen years old and still a virgin."
Book: Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund

"But of course I remember that in one way I lost the lynch pin years before, 
not long after I acquired the date book."
Book: One True Thing by Anna Quindlin

"She would have the results of Mary's test."
Book: Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger

"The first fine day I assembled my three eldest sons and put my design into execution."
Book: Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

"He began to rush his other customers by shouting at them and no one objected to his harassment."
Book: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

""Well, well," Michael said smiling."
Book: Murder at the Washington Tribune by Margaret Truman

 "You prepare to scream."
Book: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom Robins
"The four kids ate quickly, they retired to the barn to watch a DVD movie called Scream 2, leaving six adults around the table in the dining room; ___ and Ned, Olga and Hugo, Daddy at the head and Kit at the foot."
Book: White Out by Ken Follett

"Isn't that a disgustingly romantic way for a scientist to behave?"
Book: Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins

"A muscle worked in his jaw."

Book: The Union Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini

"They had grown up among movie stars, but to them Jobs was a true celebrity."
Book: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

 "Each cadaver was outfitted with strain gauges and lead cells in its heel 
and ankle and clad in one of six types of footwear."
Book: Stiff by Mary Roach

"Then you'll be more comfortable."
Book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 
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