Sunday, January 31, 2016

ATCs: Houses

It's 2016 and FiberAntics (that would be me) is kicking off the 8th year of my FiberAntics ATC [Artist Trading Card] swap! Can I get a big Woot Woot?

"Our House" is a very, very, very fine house... with two cats in the yard...
by Veronica Hofman-Ortega
I am well into filling my fourth big, fat, 3-ring binder (all my binders have a 3" spine) with pocketed pages of beautiful, creative, heart-felt, amazingly clever and often hysterically entertaining pieces of mini-art from creatives and makers across the country. Thank You, All! 

Many friendships have formed through these trades and I feel a personal connection with many of the long-time participants (who are still trading with me!)—even though I've never met nor talked to some of them (expect via e-mail). It's also fun getting to know the more recent participants as well. It's wonderful to be able to realize and be witness to what "Art" can bring into your life.

As a retrospective, all the ATC themes from 2009 to the present are posted here, (go and take a look at the topics we've covered) and the vast majority of the ATCs can be seen in posts throughout this blog. The first post that included the ATCs was in July 2009. [Try the "Search this Blog" widget in the left column of this page, by typing in "ATC" to see others.]

The theme for the January 2016 ATC swap was "Houses." Below are what came in the squishy envelopes this month. And, here is Graham Nash with David Crosby and Steven Stills singing "Our House" to accompany your viewing pleasure. (go ahead, sing along...)
"For the Birds" by Karen Downer

"Houses" by Debbie Joyner
This ATC by Cathy is interactive. It's a little book.
"You Can't Go Home Again" by Cathy Dillon (front)
the inside...
"You Can't Go Home Again" by Cathy Dillon (inside)

"Houses" by Bonnie Stevens

"From the Big House" by Diane Pineschi

"Houses" by Dawn Spagna
A few ATC artists turned their "Houses" into "homes." On the back of Sharon's card is this notation, "I have a picture hanging on my wall with this saying on it, and my Mother had it before me."
"Houses are made of brick and stone. Homes are made of Love alone!"
by Sharon Joyner Griffith

"My Happy Home" by Marilyn League
Sometimes the theme of the ATC swaps inspires traders to make one-of-a-kind cards or a series (each card slightly different). Here are more Houses ATCs for you to enjoy.
"Houses" by Dawn Spagna

"Houses" by Debbie Joyner

"Houses" by Dawn Spagna

"Houses" by Debbie Joyner

"Houses" by Dawn Spagna

"Houses" by Dawn Spagna

"Houses" by Debbie Joyner 

"Houses" by Debbie Joyner

"Houses" by Dawn Spagna
And from me to all of you: Look forward to another year of fabulous Artist Trading Cards!
"Houses" by Dawn Spagna

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Accepted into "Dressed" exhibit

On December 27, 2015, I just finished the free-motion quilting on a new piece, "Bedroom Dressings." Then on January 12, 2016 it was accepted into "Dressed," a juried invitational group exhibit that will be on display at the Jewish Cultural Center in Chattanooga.
Detail of free-motion quilting on my piece, "Bedroom Dressings."
The exhibit opens Thursday, February 4, with a reception with the artists, and runs through March 11, 2016. When I dropped off my piece, the curator said there were 50 pieces (in all mediums) representing 26 local and regional artists. So, the exhibit should be quite diverse and interesting!
"Bedroom Dressings"
24" x 30" by Veronica Hofman-Ortega
My piece, "Bedroom Dressings," is comprised of an assortment of vintage linens—four orphaned quilt blocks, an unfinished embroidery, a linen dresser scarf with a filet crochet edge—appliquéd on a vintage cotton pillowcase and free-motion machine quilted. The piece pays tribute to the talents of the unknown makers from the past and I like to think my contribution of free-motion machine quilting not only helps to unify the composition but somehow links us needle artists—through the love for our craft—together. Here are a few detail views of the lovely handwork by the anonymous needleworkers.
Filet crochet and crochet lace edgings.
I started this piece in October of 2013. (See how life gets in the way of completing a project??) Luckily it resurfaced during a re-org of my studio.
Hand embroidery (center) and orphaned quilt blocks (circa 1940s).
These are the original vintage pieces that I chose from. They were cleaned (hand washed), pressed and repaired in a few places. Then I began the composition and the appliqué.
Original vintage linens for "Bedroom Dressings."
I had to mimick some of the embroidery to extend the design from the center square.
Hand embroidery, orphaned quilt blocks and free-motion quilting.
This is a view of the back. The vintage cotton pillowcase was wonderful to quilt on.
"Bedroom Dressings" back view of free-motion quilting.
Quilt stats:
  • Project started October 27, 2013. Completed December 28, 2015.
  • 14.75 hours of free-motion quilting
  • 3 bobbins
  • Bottom Line 60 wt. polyester thread in the bobbin
  • Masterpiece 50 wt. cotton (yellow) and Bottom Line polyester threads on top.
The 2-piece hanging sleeve was made from part of the pillowcase.
A segmented hanging sleeve was made from a leftover piece of the pillowcase. Can you see the original lace trim on the lower edge of the sleeve?

Below is the postcard promoting the exhibit. I hope you can stop by the Cultural Center to see all the art—up close and in person.
"Dressed." An exhibit of unique art pushing the boundaries of the theme.
"Tables are dressed. People are dressed. And much more…"

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Free-motion quilting in snowy Huntsville

Jill practicing free-motion motifs at
Huntsville Sew and Vac.
In spite of the snowy, near-freezing weather brought on by winter blizzard Jonas, we had a fantastic turn-out (26 students!) at my Intro to Free-motion Quilting class at Huntsville Sew and Vac this past weekend.

Donna, the store's owner, and her staff really go the extra mile to accommodate students and customers! In view of the potential inclement weather predicted for later in the day on Friday, Donna provided a pizza lunch for the entire class to minimize lunch time and keep the class moving. Thanks to her exemplary customer focus, we got all the class material covered and students learned a lot and did a fabulous job.

We talked about batting and fiber content...
had a visual presentation on free-motion quilting terminology...
and practiced drawing quilting motifs on paper...

Intro to Free-motion Quilting on a domestic sewing machine class.
Drawing motifs on paper.
...then we moved on to quilting on practice quilt sandwiches.
Free-motion quilting feathers and fillers.
Because of the overwhelming number of registrations for this class, our class was moved into the new—and bigger—classroom area. Renovations are still being made and the new space will be even more wonderful when finished.
A great turn-out for Intro to Free-motion Quilting at Huntsville Sew and Vac.
A visit to Huntsville is not complete without a stop at Sam and Greg's Pizzaria and Gelateria. After unloading the materials and equipment at the store on Thursday afternoon, Sherri, the Program Coordinator, and I went for pizza (we got the Key West this time) and homemade gelato.
Matt served up a half-and-half cup.
I had a cup of half peanut butter and half chocolate. Sherri had half coffee and half peanut butter. (Yes, even if it's winter, you have to have the gelato!)
Chocolate and peanut butter gelato.
Thankfully, all the students arrived safely home after Friday's class before winter storm Jonas took its toll on Huntsville. Back at S&R B&B, where I stayed, we watched the landscape transform into a wintery wonderland in a few short hours. Here I am with Beau, the B&B's mascot guard dog, in the snow-dusted back yard.
Out in the snow with Beau.
A view from my window, where my hostess, Sherri, served hot foamed coffee with cream. (Check out the lovely silver tray!)
View from my room Friday afternoon (left) and a snow covered Saturday morning (right).
By Saturday morning (the day of my "Defining Contours" class), many roads were closed and travel advisories were being broadcast for Huntsville and surrounding areas. Temperatures were holding at mid-20s (below the freezing mark) so, the "Defining Contours" free-motion class was canceled and is now rescheduled for April 16, 2016.
We awoke on Saturday morning to this snow-covered landscape
complements of winter storm Jonas.
I was so looking forward to teaching the "Contours" class, but safety comes first. Thank you to all the students in my Intro class for being so cooperative in light of the weather, to Jodi and Jill for helping with my free-motion Show and Tell, and to Donna, Sherri and the fabulous staff at Huntsville Sew and Vac for all the accommodations. I'm looking forward to my visit April. Stay warm 'till then!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Take a "free-motion test drive" in my quilting classes
this weekend in Huntsville

Intro to Free-motion Quilting class.
I am prepping for FMQ (free-motion quilting) classes, packing and getting ready to spend three days with the Huntsville, Alabama quilters at Huntsville Sew and Vac. [Please pray they have good weather this time.] 

We'll be breaking in the new FMQ-ers on Friday with the Intro to Free-motion Quilting on their domestic machines. 

For those with some FMQ experience under their quilting belts, I'm teaching my new Defining Contours class that explores three FMQ techniques for taking your quilts up a notch... including free-motion micro fillers. 

"Defining Contours" is the class I mentioned in this post in which we'll be quilting an "inspiration word." Everyone's word will make their project personalized and the InvisaFil thread from WonderFil we're using is a match made in [quilting] heaven for micro fillers!

"Defining Contours." A new free-motion quilting class.
As a bonus, class attendees will have a great opportunity to test drive some new quilting machines and equipment. Sherri, the shop's Program Coordinator Extraordinaire, is going to have a Handi Quilter Sweet 16 sit-down machine and a new Brother Dream Fabric Frame set up in the classroom. Students will get a demonstration and have the opportunity to put both through the paces during class and during breaks. Take the class... learn the technique... test drive the equipment... what more could you ask?

Luckily, I have just the quilt top to bring for this test drive. I recently finished another scrappy improv kitty quilt top. It will be tagging along to Huntsville with me. 
Supplies (markers, paints, sketchbook) and the kitty quilt top
ready for "Defining Contours" free-motion quilting class.
So, help the kitties out, Huntsville quilters. It's winter and the kitties need a new quilt!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The batting is out of the cages

The cages with the batting are now open but, alas, all the batting is gone.
When you travel a lot, you see all kinds of signs along the road.

When you travel a lot as a fabric sales representative, you see all kinds of signs along the road.

When you travel a lot as a fabric representative and you're also a quilter, you interpret the signs differently.

After seeing this sign, I had to pull over to find out if there was any batting left in the cages.

Alas. No batting. Apparently, all of it had escaped by the time I arrived.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Novelty zippered pouches—a quick make

Got miscellaneous bits and baubles that need to stay together? Small tools, pencils, art supplies, that you need to carry around? Working on a small project that you take on-the-go? These cute little pouches do the trick to keep all your stuff together and safely stored. 
Small pouch: Natural Wonders fabric by Elizabeth Isles.
Large pouch: A Cat Tale by Sarah Frederking.

[Note: these fabrics are likely no longer available, but at the time of the post, they were purchased at Chattanooga Quilts and Sew 'n So Quilt Shop.]

I whipped up several of these pouches in December for holiday gifts. They are easy to make and fairly quick (depending on how much piecing and quilting you want to do), but best of all, you can customize them by using novelty fabrics that suit the likes or hobbies of the recipient.

Novelty zippered pouches make great gifts.
They can be personalized using novelty fabrics reflecting
 the likes or hobbies of the recipient.

This blue one was for my niece with the thought she can carry her pencils, paintbrushes and other art supplies in it. I thought she'd like the colorful improv piecing.

Novelty Zippered Pouch

The inside of it has bats. Don't they look like they're flying around inside the bag trying to escape? This purple bat fabric was from the Spooktacular collection by Western Denim and Dirt. [If you like this fabric, check with YLQS (your local quilt shop) as it might be on sale this time of year.]

Zippered Pouch with Spooktacular bats inside.
Recently, I was asked to do a class on how to put in a zipper. I think this project fits the bill. Stay tuned...
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