Thursday, October 31, 2013

ATCs: From the Stone Age

Happy All Hallows' Eve, everyone! 
The October FiberAntics ATC (Artist Trading Card) theme—"From the Stone Age"—was an interesting one. It was more interesting than I originally thought, anyway.
"Mother Hippy and Offspring" by Marilyn League

You can take the phrase literally: like referring to the caveman and the primitive hunting and survival implements that was used by pre-historic man.

Or, if you take it more figuratively, it could be a comparison between present day trends and culture and those of a previous time or generation: like when kids refer to their parents as "coming from the Stone Age."

The ATC artists took liberal artistic license with the October ATC theme, "From the Stone Age." Check out their ATCs and you'll see what I mean.
"Stone Age" by Lisa Howard
Quick fact: The Smithsonian has needles made of bone and ivory dating 35,000 years ago. (Maybe this is what Ms. Flintstone used.)
"The Stone Age" by Karen Downer
Quick fact: Archeological evidence suggests that the earliest known purposefully fermented drink (specifically beer) was made around 10,000 BC.
"The Story of Beer" by Sharon Griffith
Surprisingly, even with a "beer buzz," Stone Age cave artists painted anatomically detailed drawings of the wild and domesticated animals of that time.
"Cave Stitching" by Veronica Hofman-Ortega
A type...what?
[typewriter] There is no auto spell-check, or cut and paste keyboard shortcuts with this device.
"From the Stone Age: A type what?"
by Carlene Jacobsen
So, it seems the Stone Age can be a relative time period. What says "Stone Age" to you?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Progress of Samsura with flower hexies

I settled on a square layout for the Samsara quilt project. [Thanks to all of you who weighed in on the square vs. rectangular format.] It became a square flower bed and background for the English paper pieced hexagon flowers.
Samsara quilt with hexagon flowers (in progress).
After doing the threadwork on "Orange Cat," I'm considering it for this quilt. Gotta let the idea simmer a bit before it germinates.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Celebrating October with Pretty in Pink

As with most quilt-making endeavors, the concept, creation and finishing steps for making a quilt usually span several weeks or months—and often get interrupted by other, more deadline-driven projects. This quilt was started back in August and the binding was completed this weekend—just in time to celebrate October and breast cancer awareness month.
"3 Sisters" 
This pretty-in-pink quilt, called "3 Sisters," is made with a new pre-cut strip collection, called "Pretty in Pink," by Blank Quilting
"3 Sisters" detail.
The random diagonal accents are strings and scraps of contrasting color, value and brightness. They  were inserted into pieced strip sets of the pink fabrics. You might recall "Quasar 45" and "Crimson Inspired" that employ this free-style piecing technique. 
"3 Sisters" detail.
Here is a full view of the "3 Sisters."
"3 Sisters"
36.75" x 43"
The free-motion quilting motifs and fillers include swirls, pebbles, zig-zags, headbands and a few random free-form feathers.
"3 Sisters" back view.
Each of the three diamonds (focal points) was "framed" and surrounded by various filler patterns.
"3 Sisters" back view of the quilting.
The light color of the backing fabric, Sparkle (color: mist) 108" by Blank Quilting, enables the quilting designs to be easily seen.
"3 Sisters" back view of the quilting.
Quilting Stats: 
50 wt. variegated cotton threads, Tutti by WonderFil (TU10 and TU05) were used on the top. 60 wt. poly thread, the Bottom Line by Superior (#650 color: champaign) was used in the bobbin. 12.25 hours of free-motion quilting. 5.5 bobbins.
The scrappy binding was made with strips from the same Pretty in Pink package of strips. I was careful to make the 45-degree diagonal joins of the binding strips consistent with the angles on the quilt. Just a little pre-planning was involved, but very worth it visually.
Scrappy pieced binding on "3 Sisters" quilt.
I'm celebrating October with this pink quilt and encourage everyone to promote breast cancer awareness. Too many lives have been affected by this disease. Awareness and early detection is important and life saving. We stand united—as sisters—in the battle to defeat a cruel adversary.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Modern Dresden

"Moon Garden" (detail).
Circular motifs such as flowers and sunbursts are versatile quilt block motifs. The Dresden Plate, a popular pattern in the 1920s and 30s, is one of those patterns that can look graphic and modern or classic and traditional depending on fabric choices.

My quilt, "Moon Garden," shows off a bright, bold and graphic Dresden Plate through the use of black-and-white prints and bright, contemporary fabrics. And... the construction is very easy and fun and all done on the sewing machine.

Want to learn this fun and easy technique?
I'm teaching the "So Easy Dresden" class this Saturday at Pins and Needles Quilt Shop. We'll work on the block in class, and once you see how fast and fun it is, you'll want to make more! (I did!)
"So Easy Dresden" class project.
Here is a full view of Moon GardenThe quilting stats and thread information can be found here. Visit Judy Anne Breneman's web page for history about the versatile Dresden Plate quilt block.
"Moon Garden."
57.5" x 75"
A single Dresden Plate block would make a great pillow. But you can expand your options with multiple blocks to make a beautiful wall hanging or a larger quilt. Will you go modern and graphic or classic and traditional?? I hope to see you in class to find out!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Kaleidoscope Runner with Honeybell

Have you tried any of the kaleidoscope techniques... Bethany Reynolds' Stack-N-Whack, One Block Wonder by Maxine Rosenthal, or any of Paula Nadelstern's kaleidoscope techniques? There's a surprise inside every block! And the fabric does all the work (well, a lot of it, anyway).
Make a kaleidoscope quilt with Honeybell by Blank Quilting.
The star of this kaleidoscope quilt is the Honeybell collection by Blank Quilting. I've used the cocoa colorway for this runner, but the teal version would be stunning as well. Several of my local [Chattanooga area] quilt shops carry it in one of the colorways.

This project finished at  22.25" x 47.25" so it could be a table runner or a bed runner. Have you heard of bed runners? They've become popular among quilters. They're like table runners only they lay across the foot of the bed. They bring pattern, color or print to a decor without having to invest the time and materials required for a full size bed quilt. How cool [and quick] is that?
Free-motion quilting with a solid and a variegated cotton thread.
Desiree is a versatile blender fabric and appears in several of my quilts. The dijon color of the sashing warms up the gray and black in the blocks. Two different threads were used on the top for the free-motion quilting.
Aurifil solid and WonderFil variegated theads with the Bottom Line in the bobbin.
The backing fabric is from the Sparkle 108" wide back collection (color: java). Free-motion feathers were quilted over the kaleidoscope blocks and then I surrounded them with various fillers. Why use one motif when you can use three or more? Right?

Back view: free-motion quilting with the Bottom Line.
Aurifil 50 wt. cotton (#2920 solid), WonderFil Tutti 50 wt. cotton ( #TU14 variegated) and Superior Bottom Line #618 poly (in the bobbin). 9.5 hours of free-motion quilting. 3.5 bobbins.

The WonderFil #TU14 is probably my favorite variegated colorway from this thread line. It has pale lavender, goldenrod yellow, and a moss green that is such a unique combination and not often found.

The Auriful blended perfectly with the dijon sashing strips and the Bottom Line medium brown #618 just melted into the Sparkle java backing.

I'll be teaching a class using this Kaleidoscope technique soon, so stay tuned. 
Free-motion quilting (back view).
And, the corners of this runner are beveled... just because.
Kaleidoscope Honeybell runner. 47.25" x 22.25"

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Art's Meow art show

You've heard of "the cat's meow?" This Sunday, Chattanooga is having "The Art's Meow," an Art Show and Celebration of Community Cats.

Orange Cat will be at The Art's Meow art show
and celebration on Sunday, October 13, 2013.
I learned of the event just this week after taking Luci, our "shared, community kitty," for his annual checkup at the Cat Clinic. Dr. Toumayan and the Cat Clinic staff (Jennifer, 'Lissa, Gabrielle and the rest) are wonderful, caring and compassionate professionals and helped organize the event to celebrate the Clinic's 5th anniversary. The art show and sale will benefit all the Chattanooga community cats with proceeds of the 50+ pieces of art—from paintings to jewelry—going to Wally's Friends.

I couldn't help but contribute. So, here is my little piece of kitty fiber art that will be for sale this Sunday, October 13.
"Orange Cat"   10" x 8"
Free-motion embroidery on cotton fabrics.
I've had a fat quarter bundle of "Elements of Nature" fabrics that have been looking for just the right project. This was it! The sky cloud fabric from this bundle is the background of this piece. Free-motion embroidery and other threadwork techniques were used to embellish Orange Cat and the flowers and grass in the foreground.
Detail of threadwork flowers and free-motion quilted clouds.
This piece also includes a cord on the back so it's ready for the wall. Or, it could be set on an easel or put in a shadowbox frame—all feasible display options.
Hanging cord on the back.
The Art's Meow event will take place from noon until 4 pm., this Sunday, October 13, at Uptown Art (corner of Frazier Avenue and North Market in Chattanooga).
The Art's Meow flyer.
Come and join me at The Art's Meow and support Chattanooga's 4-legged kitty friends. The weather forecast is predicting purrrr-fect Chattanooga fall weather. So, take your family and friends out for cat art, b-day cake and ice cream and make it a kitty purrrr-fect day!
The Cat Clinic of Chattanooga
310 Cherokee Blvd., Chattanooga, TN

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Fabric Rep Trek: Pickleweeds Quilt Shop

There's always room for one more! One more quilt shop, that is. Joan Orsi, the owner of this shop, and her husband had a life-long dream of opening a quilt shop and the time finally came to make Pickleweeds Quilt Shop a reality.
Pickleweeds Quilt Shop, Douglasville, GA
Pickleweeds is located in Douglasville, Georgia (west of Atlanta) right off I-20 in a shopping plaza with plenty of parking. The store is spacious and, listening to the excitement in Joan's voice as she talked about all the plans for Pickleweeds, it's being filled with fabrics, notions, threads, classes and fun activities ("Elegance" Block of the Month, Mysteries, Sit and Sews) for quilters and sewers of every level.

Here are photos from my recent visit while the shop was still being set up. These shelves are now filled and ready for the Grand Opening Celebration this weekend (October 12). Check out this expansive color wall.
The color wall is being stocked.
There are color-themed collections like patriotic, holiday red and green, and black and whites...
Patriotic prints and black and whites.
neutrals and tonal prints for backgrounds...
Neutrals in several shades and tones.
classic geometric prints like chevrons, argyle and stripes...
Chevrons, zig-zags, argyles and more...
novelties and juvenile prints in bright, happy colors, as well as flannels, batiks, and my can't-live-without favorites, wide backings.
Cute prints for kids quilts and baby accessories.
These pumpkin placemats, hanging above the wall of notions, are the project for an upcoming class.
Notions wall.
There are calendars, pre-cut 2.5" strip and charm collections, zippers and buttons.
Calendars, buttons and pre-cut fabric collections.
Pickleweeds also offers convenient "Take It and Make It" quilt kits. 
Quilt kits.
Class samples adorn the walls...
Class samples 
in the lounge and book preview area...
Lounge area where quilters can sit, relax and peruse the books.
and behind the cutting stations.
Two large cutting stations are located at the back wall.
What a great idea for a fabric panel or scene print! This sample is hanging in the huge classroom...
Looking through the window at a winter scene.
that is set up with individual tables, ironing stations and white boards! (A teacher's dream classroom!)
Large, spacious classroom.
Joan offers machine quilting services on the two Gammill long arms at Pickleweeds. A very cool thing that she has build into the shop's web site is the waiting list for quilting services. You can monitor the progress of your quilt... 25%, 50%, 75% ... through the web site. She is also a Gammill dealer.
Gammil long arm quilting machines.
Did you know that Gammil now has a sit-down machine, called the Charm? To all my free-motion machine quilting students: notice the orientation of the head in relation to where the operator sits... just like your domestic sewing machine!
The Charm sit down machine quilting machine by Gammill.
There is a play area to keep kids occupied while parents and grandparents shop.
The front counter (left) and the play area for kids (right).
If you want to enjoy the beautiful October weather this weekend and you're looking for a quilters road trip... Pickleweeds' Grand Opening Celebration is this Saturday, October 12. I've heard there will be prize drawings every 30 minutes, great 30% discounts, a raffle quilt and a grand prize drawing at the end of the day.  

If you can't travel, you can still enjoy the savings through the Pickleweeds on-line shop. If you go in person, tell them Veronica reminded you to ask about the "key fob." With this, you'll get extra savings. Joan has thought of everything!
Pickleweeds Quilt Shop, Douglasville, GA

Sunday, October 6, 2013

In the flavor of Gee's Bend

I finished the last installment of my guild's Brown Bag Challenge project. This quilter wanted participants to use solids, batiks, insert strip techniques, and have the flavor of string quilts or Gee's Bend. What a way to wrap up a fun Challenge! I nearly got carried away making these bits of patchwork. Here is a peek of my contribution.
Brown Bag Challenge: in the flavor of Gee's Bend.
My Brown Bag was inspired by a Claude Monet fabric panel of his paintings with some coordinating fabrics. The introductory post is here.
Contents for my Monet-inspired Brown Bag Challenge.
The accompanying Brown Bag Journal shows the original fabric swatches, but participants were encouraged to add more as they saw fit. Depending on what I receive at the October Challenge reveal, I might be inspired to add some free-form strip patchwork to the composition. I think it could complement Monet's Impressionistic style.
Fabric swatches in my Brown Bag Journal.
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