Sunday, October 26, 2014

There's nothing like an on-site quilting class at YLS

Over the last several days I was surrounded by walls of colorful fabrics and threads, beautifully stitched and quilted fabric pieces, the hum of sewing machines, and above all, convivial and inquisitive quilters eager to hang out with like-minded stitching enthusiasts and add a new tip or technique to their quilting repertoire.
Intro to Free-motion Quilting class at MidSouth Sewing, Knoxville, TN.
Yes, you can peruse books, watch YouTube videos, and post questions to on-line message boards, but there's nothing like the experience of attending on-site quilting classes at YLS [your local quilt shop]!
Here are a few of the many reasons:
  • You get questions answered on the spot. 
  • Someone is there to troubleshoot and help you. 
  • Fabrics, notions, tools are readily accessible if you need or have forgotten something. 
  • You learn from the teacher as well as other students in class—in addition to making new friends who share your passion.

Free-motion quilting students at MidSouth Sewing, Knoxville, TN.
Your local quilt shop owners and staff are knowledgeable, supportive, encouraging and dedicated to helping YOU be successful in your quilting, sewing and embroidery projects. They seek out fabrics, equipment, supplies and educational opportunities so their customers can learn, grow and continue to enjoy quilting, sewing and embroidery.

This week I was fortunate to be part of the educational offerings at both MidSouth Sewing in Knoxville, TN, and Pins and Needles Quilt Shop in Chattanooga, TN.
Student free-motion work. 
Karen, the owner of MidSouth Sewing in Knoxville, TN, invited me to teach my Intro to Free-motion Quilting and Paper Piecing the Celebration Tree classes at her shop.
Piece by Numbers: the Celebration Tree class at MidSouth Sewing, Knoxville, TN.
Thank you to Karen, Carolyn, Kathy, Kathy (there are two Kathys) and the rest of the staff at MidSouth for coordinating the class logistics, classroom set-up and for being lovely and gracious hostesses during my visit!
Paper piecing examples and patterns were on hand in the classroom.
Karen also hosted a Fabric Party at her shop that featured the newest fabric collections from Blank Quilting Corp. and StudioE Fabrics.
A preview of upcoming fabric collections from Blank Quilting Corp
and StudioE Fabrics at MidSouth Sewing.
MidSouth customers previewed the new fabric lines and filled out their "Fabric Wish Lists" with choices from upcoming fabric collections, Fabrications pre-cut 2.5" strips, 5"charm collections, as well as popular blender fabrics and 108" wide backings.
Store customers previewed upcoming fabric lines.
Sample quilt tops, wearable art, tote bags and patterns showcased the fabrics and provided inspiration.
Sample quilt tops, tote bags and garments showcase current Blank Quilting Corp fabric lines
and popular pre-cut 2.5" fabric strips and 5" charm squares.
On Saturday, Pins and Needles Quilt Shop in Chattanooga was near capacity with two quilting classes—my Intro to Free-motion Quilting as well as a hand quilting class. 
Free-motion quilting students at Pins and Needles Quilt Shop, Chattanooga, TN.
Thank you to Stacy, the shop owner at Pins and Needles, for inviting me to teach Intro to Free-Motion Quilting—one of my favorite classes. Stacy always goes these extra mile for her customers. This time we were treated to a plate of delicious cookie bars… pecans, almonds, chocolate chips and other chewy morsels on a Oreo cookie crust. A perfect complement to free-motion, wouldn't you say??
Students working on free-motion designs.
Student samplers from my Intro to Free-motion Quilting class.
Along with having the opportunity to share my passion for quiltmaking, I meet a lot of quilters and make many new friends through teaching my classes. Here are some of my new quilting friends from this past week.
Class attendees from Intro to Free-motion Quilting, MidSouth Sewing, Knoxville, TN.
Class attendees Intro to Paper Piecing: the Celebration Tree
MidSouth Sewing, Knoxville, TN.
Many students comment on the take-aways they get from my classes. Here are a few of them:

  • I didn't know I could combine different quilting designs on one quilt. Now I have some ideas.
  • The explanation of thread and needle sizes was very helpful.
  • I now have more ideas/designs I can use for meander quilting.
  • I picked up some new tips for paper piecing.
  • I'm glad you covered the other steps in the quiltmaking process. This was very informative and helpful.
  • Great handouts!
A bonus for me when teaching out of town is sampling the local restaurant fare that my hostesses recommend. To accompany my pork Tacos Mexicanos (be sure to get the homemade, fresh guacamole), I didn't dare buck the "Wednesday night tradition" [per Kathy at MidSouth] of having a margarita at El Charro's in Knoxville.
The Tomato Head restaurant, The Gallery Shopping Center, Knoxville.
I also enjoyed revisiting The Tomato Head restaurant—this time at The Gallery Shopping Center location. The enticing homemade cupcakes in the glass case at the entrance where swirled high with lush frosting. The pasta salad I had for dinner had lots of fresh vegetables. However, even the small size of the salad was very filling, so my dinner companion and I passed on dessert this time. The whimsical fish-themed bottle-cap artwork on the walls was an added delight.

Thanks again to all my new friends who came out to join me in class! Visit your local quilt shop (YLS) and let the owner and staff know what classes and topics are of interest to you. And, leave a comment for me as well! We will connect and I hope to see you again very soon.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Intro to Free-motion Quilting classes

Good morning, Glories! This is a close-up of my quilt, "Sidewalk Surprise." It's free-motion quilted. Did you know YOU CAN DO THIS on your HOME SEWING MACHINE? Yep, you absolutely can!
Intro to Free-Motion Quilting class.
You can do this on your home sewing machine!
When I show people this quilt, they are amazed that the quilting was done on a home sewing machine and not a big, long-arm, computerized quilting machine. Believe it. It was. Really… on a domestic sewing machine. [I use a Janome 6500.]

Wanna learn how? I've got three "Intro to Free-motion Quilting" classes [using your home sewing machine] coming up in October and November.
Dimensional appliqué and free-motion quilting: leaves and background fills
October 23-24, I'll be in Knoxville, TN at MidSouth Sewing. The "Intro to Free-motion Quilting on your home sewing machine" is on Thursday and on Friday, we'll be working on the Celebration Tree in my "Intro to Paper Piecing" class. Call [865] 249-6381 to register for these classes.

On Saturday, October 25, I'll be teaching "Intro to Free-motion Quilting on your home sewing machine" at Pins and Needles Quilt Shop in Chattanooga, TN. Call [423] 668-8734.

On Saturday, November 1, I'll be at Chattanooga Sewing for an "Intro to Free-motion Quilting on your home sewing machine" class. Call [423] 899-3664.

Below (left) is a close-up of the free-motion quilting on the back of Sidewalk Surprise. On the right is the Celebration Tree, the project in the Intro to Paper Piecing class. 

Both of these classes are geared for the BEGINNER! No prior free-motion quilting experience or paper piecing experience is necessary. In the free-motion class, I take you from Step 1 down this exciting and liberating path to getting your quilt tops quilted using your home sewing machine. I know you have a holiday project or two you need to get finished. 
Left: detail of free-motion quilting
Right: "Celebration Tree," Intro to Paper Piecing class
Please join me! I would like to meet you, spend time with you in class, and inspire you to finish those holiday projects and gifts. Call one of these great shops TODAY and sign up for a class.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Art at the RISD Museum

Another facet of our September Rhode Island trip was time spent (though not enough) at the RISD Museum. Works of awe-inspiring art from ancient times to the contemporaries of the 20th and 21st centuries were on exhibit. Students, teachers, scholars, and visitors can get practically nose-to-nose with these pieces… to examine and admire. Here is a small sampling of what this museum has to offer.
A Corner of the Park at Bellevue, Autumn Sunset
Henri Rousseau, oil on canvas
The Basin at Argenteuil
Claude Monet, oil on canvas
The Acrobat
Marc Chagall, etching and drypoint on paper
Dale Chihuly chandelier
Pair of colorless and stained glass windows
from Darwin D. Martin house, Buffalo
Frank Lloyd Wright
At the Circus: Bareback
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
crayon, ink and pastel on paper
Eva Stricker, glazed earthenware breakfast set
Top: "The Fifth Anniversary of the Red Army" plate,
Mikhail Mikhailovich Adamovich; porcelain with overglaze decoration
Bottom: Suprematist platter, Kazimir Malevich;
porcelain with overglaze decoration
Babylonia, Lion Relief
terracotta brick, glazed
Rafting on the Missouri
Roy De Forest, pastel, colored pencil and graphite on paper
Oh, had we the time to sit, study and while away the hours with these artists… if only.
Spending time with Pablo Picasso's "The Diners"
oil on cardboard

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Second annual Art's Meow art show and sale

The second annual Art's Meow art show and sale is this Sunday, October 12. I've contributed these two quilted "kitty art" pieces. Both pieces are improvisationally pieced, raw-edge appliquéd, and free-motion quilted with a small hanging sleeve on the back.
Quilted Kitty Art
18" x 18"
The Art's Meow Art Show and Sale celebrates our area's community cats as well as the 6th anniversary of the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga. Sales of the cat art goes to Wally's Friends to support low-cost spay and neuter services for the cats at local shelters and clinics.
"Did I hear the can opener?"
Quilted Kitty Art
15.5" x 18"
I spoke with Dr. Marcia Toumayan, the owner of the Cat Clinic, today and she said there is a wonderful variety of mediums and price points in the art that will be at this year's event. Last year, I contributed this piece. Here are close-ups of this year's quilts.
Kitty Art for "The Art's Meow," detail of free-motion quilting.
Kitty Art for "The Art's Meow", detail of free-motion quilting.
Thread: Wonderfil 50 wt. variegated cotton.
Kitty Art for "The Art's Meow", detail of free-motion quilting.
Thread: 40 wt. variegated cotton by YLI.
The Art's Meow takes place at Uptown Art, Cherokee Blvd. and North Market, from noon to 4 pm on Sunday. Come out and celebrate, purchase feline-themed artwork made by area artists, and support the local community kitties! There will be cake and ice cream, and staff members from the Cat Clinic will be available with educational information and handouts about feral cats. A painting party will immediately follow the celebration with step-by-step guidance from Uptown Art personnel so you can create your own special painting of a modernistic cat. No painting experience is required.

Sounds purr-fect! Hope to see you there.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Textile and printing history in Rhode Island—
Part II

William Morris textile print
Another place we visited on our September Rhode Island excursion was the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), in Providence, RI. The RISD campus includes 5 buildings that comprise the RISD Museum (a must-see if you're in the area).

We started the museum tour in the Costume and Textiles exhibit that features its collections of historical textiles, clothing and accessories from around the world and fashions from renown European, American and Asian designers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

One of my favorite designers is the multi-talented William Morris (1834 - 1896). My first encounter with the Morris' work was through my studies in printing technology and typography. Morris designed typefaces [Golden, Troy, Chaucer], made his own paper and founded the Kelmscott Press where he designed and printed exquisite, illuminated works written both by himself and other influential authors—the most famous and most ambitious work being the Kelmscott Chaucer.

Golden, Troy and Chaucer typefaces designed by William Morris.
Morris' textile designs and prints are just as glorious. Focusing on botanicals and complex, repeating patterns, he also employed neglected print processes such as block printing, hand dying and plant dying techniques in this work. The textile print above "illustrates Morris's conviction that good design depicts perpetual motion… and shows the lasting influence of exotic florals [that were] introduced by Charles Darwin's writings about evolution and the growth of plants."
Woman's jacket from Persia, 1850 - 1900.
Block printed with mordants and resist dyeing techniques.
More contemporary textiles and fashion in the exhibit were these timeless beauties.
Left: Cristobal Balenciaga (designer). Weft-striped cotton of tailoring mastery. Mid 1950s.
Right: Emanuel Ungaro (designer). Printed wool, late 1960s.
Left: Muriel King (designer), Marshall Field & Co. (retailer). Screen printed plain weave silk, ca. 1933.
Right: Bergdorf Goodman (retailer). Printed silk crepe dress, 1964.
There was also an exhibit of student work in one of the galleries.
Student exhibit at RISD Museum.
From a textile printing perspective, Cranston Print Works in Cranston, RI was another stop on our trip.
Cranston Print Works administrative offices.
Although print production has ceased in this facility, one can follow the history of cotton mills and textile printing in New England during the American Industrial Revolution though the story of this textile print mill. Read up on Samuel Slater who smuggled textile manufacturing technology from England and helped birth this manufacturing industry in America. One of Slater's early cotton mills became part of the Cranston Print Works Company in 1936.
Ivy-covered walls of the old Cranston Print Works building.
Oh, if these walls could talk! As a fabric rep for several fabric companies, as well as a long time print production professional, I would relish a conversation with the ghosts of the textile print production workers that once labored in these historic buildings.
Cranston Print Works, Cranston, RI.
For now, I will have to do my own printing and fabric surface design with my purchases at RISD. The zippered pouch, hand crafted by "Jan Baker Text Tiles," is from the RISD Museum gift shop—very calligraphic as well as functional.
Art supplies from RISD stores and two visitor passes from the RISD Museum tour. 
The assortment of Pigma Micron fabric markers and Sharpie Paint markers were purchased at the Fab-U-lous RISD campus store. OMGosh… a full-blown, art supply store with a humongous selection of anything a fabric/quilting/surface design enthusiast could possibly want. Unfortunately, we were flying back, so suitcase space was limited. Otherwise, the enticing art papers, sketchbooks, drawing and painting supplies would have been in the shopping basket, too.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Textile and printing history in Rhode Island

Classroom in the Textile, Fashion Merchandising
and Design school at URI.
"If you're not home on your birthday, it doesn't count." 

I like this concept. With enough annual out-of-town excursions, you can be at least a decade younger than what your driver's license indicates. And it's as good a justification as any for taking a trip, don't ya think?

So, L and I spent our birthday week visiting 11 lighthouses and other sites in the smallest state of the union, Rhode Island. In addition to lighthouses, Rhode Island is rich in textile history and it abounds in art and design exhibits and venues. Inspiration and visual eye candy are everywhere!

One of the original 13 colonies, Rhode Island is 37 miles east to west and 48 miles from north to south, so it doesn't take a lot of driving from one border to another to see the state. Our points of interest included the University of Rhode Island Textile, Fashion Merchandising and Design School, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD),  Griswold Textile Print, the former Cranston Print Works plant, and several of Guy Fieri's [of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives fame] restaurant recommendations along with a visit with our buddy, Fred, who lives in Warwick.

Above is one of the classrooms at the Textile, Fashion Merchandising and Design School at University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI. Doesn't it remind you of the workroom in Project Runway? The current textile exhibit, "The Other White Dress," was on display in the first floor Textile Gallery at Quinn Hall.
"The Other White Dress" textile exhibit, Quinn Hall.
We caught the end of a freshman orientation tour of the Historic Textile and Costume Collection while in Quinn Hall. The school's library also houses a special Commercial Pattern Archive of 40,000+ paper patterns for clothing from mid-19th century to the present time.
"The Other White Dress" textile exhibit at URI
After the visit at URI, we headed to Westerly, RI in the southwest corner of the state. This is the home to Griswold Textile Print, one of the last remaining US hand-printing textile mills. Griswold has been in business since 1937 and does high-end custom screen print work—by hand. The craftsmanship, artistry and expertise needed to consistently lay down and register multi colors on 50" to 60" wide textiles is phenomenal.
Griswold Textile Print plant, Westerly, RI
When I asked how many colors can be screen printed on a single fabric, Josh, the employee that manages the remnant store, said he was involved with printing a 32-screen print design when he was in the production department. It was a very custom job, as you can imagine.
Griswold remnant store.
The remnant store at the Griswold is small, with limited hours of operation, but the designer prints are a delight to behold. The remnants—rejects or cast-offs from print runs or test runs—can be purchased by the public. The fabrics printed are primarily for home dec, draperies, furniture and accessories, so are of a heavier weight that quilting cottons but the fiber content is primarily natural fibers—cotton, cotton/linen blends or 100% linen. There were one or two polyesters that were for outdoor uses.
Assorted cotton and linen screen printed remnants.
I did pick up a few assorted remnant bundles to bring home (above). The photo below shows the edge of a design—or print repeat, as it is called—as it is set up for printing registration. The next screen print must register (line up) with the image of the previous screen print so the pattern on the fabric looks continuous.
The edge of the image repeat.
From Griswold, we drove to the coast to board a ferry for the lighthouse tour. So, I'll stop here, for now, and leave you with one of the many tiny lighthouses we saw on the Rhode Island Lighthouse Harbor Tour.
Dutch Island lighthouse.
Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island.
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