Sunday, January 28, 2018

My quilt is published in "Making Faces in Fabric" book

Detail: "Listen" by Veronica Hofman-Ortega

Fabric collage with cotton fabrics, free-motion quilted with cotton and polyester threads, cotton batting. 17" x 24"

Melissa Averinos' latest book, "Making Faces in Fabric," just came out and my quilt, "Listen," is on page 105!

I took a fabulous workshop with Melissa a couple years ago. Melissa won a Judge's Choice award for her quilt, "Face #1" at QuiltCon 2015 and she teaches workshops based on techniques used in this quilt. By way of teaching, she assembled the work of her workshop attendees for the Gallery section of the book.

Melissa is a talented artist and easy-going instructor. She is friendly, approachable and lots of fun in class. If you're interested in trying fabric collage, get her book and Make a Face!

"Making Faces in Fabric" book by Melissa Averinos.

Here is my quilt, shown on page 105.
My quilt, "Listen" on page 105.

If you were fortunate to see the "Face Jugs/Mugs and Quilts of Modern Day Appalachia" exhibit at the Scenic City Clay Arts this month, you may have seen my "Listen" quilt in person.
"Listen" quilt at the Face Jugs/Mugs and Quilts of Modern Day Apalachia exhibit.
Scenic City Clay Arts

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Reengineering and repurposing a boring table runner using Quilt-As-You-Go [QAYG]

Re-engineering a table runner into a small quilt using Quilt-as-You-Go.
As a more experienced free-motion quilter, I like the potential that a full, wide-open, uninhibited quilt top "canvas" has to offer for quilting. So the QAYG [quilt as you go] piecing/quilting method is not a go-to technique for me. Yes, it has a place and advantages, but I don't gravitate toward this quilting method.

However, I recently ran into a situation—while creating order from chaos in my studio—where steps from the QAYG method was a good solution.

A boring table runner
I had a runner that was made with a pre-cut strip set. It was quilted in the ditch. It wasn't used... it was kinda boring. So with a 2018 goal of "use it up or give it up," I decided to reengineer and repurpose it as a kitty quilt for the cats at the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga. Here's the original runner (sorry—not a good photo).
Original runner 36" x 16".

The reengineering operation
To fit the cubbies at The Cat Clinic, the size of the runner needed to be converted from a long, skinny rectangle to something closer to 25" x 27".
Cut up and re-sewn quilt.
  • First, the binding was detached from most of the perimeter and 3 of the corners. (A productive use for the seam ripper!)
  • With the rotary cutter, a piece from one end was whacked off. 
  • From fabric scraps, two mini quilt sandwiches were constructed and added to the whacked-off piece.
  • Using the QAYG method for attaching pre-quilted squares together, the new piece was attached to the original section along one long side... making the new kitty quilt a more appropriate size. 
  • As with QAYG, a fabric strip was inserted into the seam so it could be flipped over the exposed edges and topstitched down.
Left: fabric strip sewn into the seam.
Right: the edge of the fabric strip was turned under and topstitched down.
Here is the back. The strip covers the raw edges where the two quilted sections were abutted and joined.
Back of new quilt.
The most difficult part was reattaching the loose binding because the attached part was already folded and connected to the quilt.
Re-attaching the binding.
In hindsight, I should have removed the entire binding from the quilt. It would have been easier to just attach the binding from scratch—even if I reused the original binding. A tip for next time...

New repurposed kitty quilt. A functional kitty quilt is better than an unused runner. Isn't that right, blog stalker?
Kitty quilt re-purposed from a boring table runner.
Another repurposing idea
Now that I've experimented with the QAYG joining method for pre-quilted pieces, I'm thinking this technique could also be used to combine (join) several small quilts or quilted pieces together to make a larger quilt. A repurposing idea to make a larger and more functional quilt from smaller pieces that perhaps are not used as often.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

See the faces at the Scenic City Clay Arts exhibit

Face jugs and quilts exhibit at Scenic City Clay Arts.
Face jug by Mark Issenberg.
Quilts by members of the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild.
Hey you!

Jug Head, here.

We got clay art and quilts in the gallery this month.

What? Not been yet? Well...

Get your face down to the "Face Jugs/Mugs and Quilts of Modern Day Appalachia" exhibit at the Scenic City Clay Arts, pronto!


As the jug mentioned, several members of the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild and I have our quilts on display along with clay pieces by Mark Issenberg and Shelby West Pottery at the Scenic City Clay Arts gallery. It's a delightful exhibit.

Larry and I went to see the exhibit last week and it has a great juxtaposition of soft and hard mediums—the quilts with the clay pieces. All the pieces are very thoughtfully arranged and the exposed brick walls provide a nice backdrop for the quilts.

There are 9 quilts on display, including the CMQG banner quilt. Here are a few pictures we took at the exhibit, but it's always better to see the work in person. This is Camille's quilt, "The Illusionist" beside an earth tone ceramic pitcher.
"The Illusionist" by Camille Miller and ceramic pitcher.
My face quilt, "Listen," is flanked by two face jugs. There seems to be a conversation going on between the three of them. Who's listening and who's speaking??? I wonder.
My quilt, "Listen," between two face jugs.
Two beautiful ceramic serving platters complement the circles and curves in Kelly's "Crop Signs" quilt.
"Crop Signs" quilt by Kelly Spell with ceramic serving platters.
There are functional pots as well as ceramic wall art for sale (at very reasonable prices). A few of the quilts are also for sale.
Ceramic pieces on display at the Scenic City Clay Arts exhibit.

Face Jug by Mark Issenberg.
"Winter Trees" quilt by Sandi Suggs in the background.
If you work downtown in Chattanooga, are on a shopping jaunt at Warehouse Row, or having lunch or dinner downtown, stop in for a few minutes to see the exhibit, now through January 25, 2018. The clay studio and gallery are open late (to 8:30 pm) a few days during the week, so a visit after work is absolutely doable.

Why not wait for the rush hour traffic to disperse and spend a little time with the pots and the quilts?

Friday, January 5, 2018

5 practices and processes for 2018

Last week, the blogosphere was full of "Best of 2017" photos. I reflected on mine in this post. I also gave thought to goals for 2018 for how to better spend my time—with a focus on processes and not just projects. So, Hello 2018! These are the things I want to practice ...

Use it up or Give it up
In 2018, I'd like to enjoy the piecing process more—with improv patchwork.
Improv patchwork with scraps and leftover fabrics.
This practice will enable me time with my sewing machine without having to have a specific project in mind. It will continue to put a dent in the stash (everyone's goal for the last few years) as well as "use up" my collections of scraps and odd bits. The likely candidates for this liberated-style patchwork will be my kitty/doggie quilts for local animal care and shelter facilities, and the charity program at my quilt guilds.

With a bit of clean-up, purging and re-purposing in my studio I have a bag of fabric that I'm gifting to my MIL's church group that makes quilts for those in need. As the clean-up continues, I hope to "give up" more.

More Me-made garments
Today's trends in the fabric industry are stirring up excitement for DIY and home garment sewing. I love this! Fabulous knits, rayons and other fabric substrates (check out Art Gallery and Cloud 9) and richly textured "garment-conducive" yarn-dyed wovens and the ever-so-popular Buffalo Plaids (see Diamond Textiles) are becoming more prevalent on the shelves of local quilt shops.
knit tops
Knit tops I've sewn for myself with cotton knit fabrics from Art Gallery.
Social media groups, blogs and Instagram are brimming with encouragement, ideas, and photos to reflect this—Me Made May, and the plethora of patterns from indie pattern designers—and sewing classes are popping up at quilt shops, sewing centers and Make-It spaces. It's out there for the taking. My 2018 is going to have more Me-made garments in it.

Buy local and support independents 
On my travels, I've found some unique sources for coffee, tea, and artisan crafts. My husband does a wonderful job of supporting our local independent small businesses—bakeries, farmers markets and restaurants. I'm choosing to support artists, indie crafters and small businesses. I like finding unique and functional items that we'll use frequently in our home.
Ground coffee from Cabin Coffee Co.; hand-made ceramic mug by a
Chattanooga potter; wood coffee scoop from Log House Craft Center, Berea, KY.
Visible mending and hand stitching
Hand stitching—kantha, boro, sashiko, big stitch, hand embroidery—have been a staple for the textile artists community... well, since forever. These techniques are also quite prevalent in the quilting, craft and sewing industries these days. Inspiration and a renewed interest in hand stitching still resonates with me from the workshop I took last year with Dorothy Caldwell. I'd like to take the practice of hand stitching a bit further by preserving and extending the use of items through visible mending—or we can call it "creative embellishment"—rather than disposing of clothing and buying new.
Kantha stitching. 
Time management
One of the things I missed in 2017 was participation in my quilt guild's Challenge. I had the best of intentions—even finished the quilt top—but didn't get it quilted. My guild had a fabulous turn-out for the Challenge. All the quilts were well done and their makers were inventive with their interpretation of the Challenge guidelines. I wish I had had a piece to contribute. Alas, time was not on my side last year. I even took many in-progress photos with the hope of a "here's my process" blog post.

My MIL says, "everyone gets the same 24 hours in the day... it's how we choose to use our 24." I think my time management will improve with organization, automation, prioritization and learning to steer clear of the rabbit holes.

Here's wishing you a fulfilling new year. Take time to enjoy your process.
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