Friday, June 28, 2013

ATCs: Things found on restaurant napkins

I wasn't sure what the June ATC theme, "Things found on restaurant napkins," would bring, but I put it out there anyway. After pondering this theme myself for several weeks, I found I had to hone my skills of observation while having meals from various take-out or at sit-down eateries. Paper napkins can be a pretty insignificant item in the grand scheme of preparing, serving and eating a meal—unless, of course, you bite into a juicy burger or a jelly-filled donut. 

If you let your imagination run, you could envision some funny, unexpected, revealing, or even icky things that might be found on restaurant napkins. (We won't get into the icky bits...) Instead, enjoy the following ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) and see how ATC artists interpreted this month's theme.
"She liked her men like her cocktails...
neat, but with a twist."
"Lipstitch—machine embroidered lipstick."
"Things you find on a napkin."
"Notes from a tryst."
"Logos, lipstick and calorie counts."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Easy as Pi free-motion quilting

This is a variation on the quilt pattern, "Easy as Pi" by the Franklin Quilt Company. I chose it for its graphic simplicity and geometric shapes—circles and arcs. It showcases the Sisley fabric collection by Blank Quilting. This is the unquilted top.
"Easy as Pi" pattern with Sisley fabrics.
After selecting a solid fabric, Eclipse in chocolate (now a discontinued color), for the background, I knew there would be great negative spaces for free-motion machine quilting. I have been working on the quilting on and off for a few months and it is finally near completion. 

So, here is a preview of the free-motion quilting thus far. Quilting can really transform a pattern and provide a different perspective on the focal points of the composition.
Free-motion quilting with "Easy as Pi" quilt pattern.
If you want to get started with Free-Motion Quilting, I'm teaching three classes in the near future. One is this weekend and there are a couple spaces still available. Please contact the quilt shops directly to sign up for one of these classes. Open the door to the creative possibilities of quilting on your home sewing machine!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

45 Quilts of Valor blocks

My wonderfully generous and talented quilt guild friends—the Choo Choo Quilters—completed 45 quilt blocks for the Quilts of Valor (QOV) 10th anniversary project. Thank you, friends!
Quilts of Valor 8.5" quilt blocks.
Last month, I requested assistance making these patriotic blocks so they could be mailed to Dennis, our Tennessee Region 8 rep, in time for a QOV Leadership meeting in July. The blocks were collected at this week's guild meeting.

There is still time to participate in this nationwide project. Just visit the QOV website for information, choose a free pattern, and find an official Under Our Wings quilt shop close to you that is taking the blocks. You can replenish your fabric stash at the quilt shop while you're there.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Upside-down quilting

Bring on the FAT threads! We experimented with bobbin stitching today. When you are finished stitching, there is a surprise on the other side.
Bobbin threadwork sample from Carol Shinn's workshop.
They were making "words" with objects in the next classroom. 
Work from Sandra Brownlee's and Warren Seeling's "Making Words" workshop.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Creating imagery with freestyle embroidery

How do you create a smooth graduated fill between two colors using thread? I am studying with fiber artist, Carol Shinn, this week and we are learning how to do this with freestyle machine embroidery.
A yellow green to red violet 5-step blend.
Here is the stitch-out from yellow green to red violet.

Color blend stitch-out in Carol Shinn's worshop.
Today we used a photo transfer process to get the image on the base fabric. There are many colors and shades of thread used for the stitching.
Free-motion stitching with image transfer.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What's inside Brown Bag #3...

The contents of this month's Brown Bag Challenge was a welcome challenge for me. This quilter was gifted with some mid-20th century quilt blocks that she challenged the Brown Bag participants to use for a quilt for a [male] family member. I've done several "time-span" quilts with orphan blocks salvaged from yard sales and on-line auctions and I feel the original—often anonymous—quilt maker is pleased to know her blocks have found their way into a finished quilt. These blocks will go the route of a guild Challenge to end up in a quilt.
The vintage blocks from Brown Bag #3.
Previous participants did some deconstruction of the blocks. What a great idea to introduce additional pattern and interest and give a new look to a traditional block.
Deconstructed blocks.
I decided to search for some companion fabrics to showcase these vintage blocks, so I took a few of them on the road with me to my Blank Quilting sales calls. I found several wonderful geometrics and reproduction prints to coordinate with the vintage blocks. These fabrics also introduced some color into the background and modernized the look and feel of the quilt.
I introduced color and additional prints to showcase the vintage quilt blocks.
One of the specifications from the owner of this bag was to make a "contemporary" quilt from mid-century quilt blocks. After much deliberation with several fabrics, I think a black/white print answered this request best.
A black/white geometric print brings a contemporary feel to this time-span quilt.
There was some "creative sewing" required to get the size of the vintage blocks consistent. All in all, I think this time-span quilt is off to a great start!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

ATCs: Send in the clowns

I can't help but have the melody from Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns" ballad [from the play, A Little Night Music] going through my mind while contemplating the May ATC theme, Send in the Clowns. Judy Collins and many others made this song quite popular through the years.

Here are visual interpretations of this theme by ATC artists.
"Send in the clowns... There ought to be clowns." 
"Happy Times"
Inside: "Happy Times"
"Send in the Clowns"
"Bring in the Clowns"
A moveable collage.
Inside: "Bring in the Clowns"
"It's a Circus out there!"
From a trip to S. Utah.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Magic of Wearables fashion show

The Magic of Wearables
fashion show and luncheon
A group of my quilt guild friends and I attended The Magic of Wearables fashion show and luncheon at the Museum Center at 5 Points in Cleveland, Tennessee this weekend. This show is the revitalization of the former Tennessee Presents Textiles runway show that was conceived and directed by my good friend and fiber artist, Geri Forkner.

Geri provided oversite and vision for the show and another fiber arts friend of mine, Karen Viser, headed the committee to successfully implement the revival of this wearable art event. Kudos to Karen, Geri and their team!

Several accomplished fiber artists from the southeast had their artwear modeled in the fashion show that was emceed by Libby Callaway, former fashion editor at the New York Post. Among the felted and hand-woven garments were works by Liz SpearNeal HowardGeri Forkner and Tone Haugen-Cogburn.

Fashion show garments.
The runway pieces and other hand-dyed, stitched and embellished garments and accessories were available for purchase from the artists before and after the runway presentation. Other vendors had hand-dyed yarns and fibers for sale as well.
Geri Forkner (left) with her nuno-felted and hand woven art pieces.
Here are some of Karen Viser's custom garments at her booth. Karen and I attended studio intensive art workshops together. It was wonderful to see the heights to which she has taken various surface design techniques and incorporated them in her hand-dyed silk and velvet custom sewn vests.
Shoppers admiring Karen Viser's hand-dyed and surface embellished garments.
Tone Haugen-Cogburn is a multi-disciplined fiber artist. She is a long-time quilt artist who has taken to felt-making the past few years. Our paths often cross at fiber art events such as these or at quilt shows and other quilting events. It was great to see Tone again.
Tone at her booth showcasing fabulous felted bags,
garments and accessories.
It was a great day to share with friends—introducing first-timers to a fiber art wearables show such as this, and visiting with other fiber art friends and seeing their latest fiber art creations!
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