Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Summer Flowers" Modern Quilt

I bought the book "Sister Sampler Quilts" by AnneMarie Chany with Christmas money. I had done one of AnneMarie's BOMs in 2015 using 9" blocks and I liked her designs and her instructions. This book has three BOMs and I chose to do the newest one called "Bonfire" in a 9" block. Her version had beige where I have the large floral and I thought that was way too boring so I selected the large floral and added the five recommented number of colors to make the quilt-red, peach/orange, yellow, grass green and turquiose. It now reminds me of summer flowers! It is a BOM which then displayed completed blocks on Instagram (which I'm not on) and on the Gen X Quilters Facebook page. I got to April's block and decided to just make the quilt!
The outside half square triangles, both piecing and quilting them, were rather boring but the blocks were a lot of fun. I hadn't sewed much with curved piecing or string piecing in a long time and both styles add to the quilt. It is machine quilted on my regular sewing machine with white, red and variegated thread.
 These are a few of my favorite blocks in which we made two of the same block but in different colorways.
 Some of the curved piecing.
String piecing using a rainbow color layout and it was a great idea using random strips!
I am now going to devote the next several quilt projects to ONLY portrait quilts. I have a few ideas drawn up and I am inspired to do a Prince portrait quilt. I have purchased the "unofficial" Purple Rain fabric from Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics, from Minnesota, for that project. I am playing around with photo manipulation to posterize and pixel pictures for a different technique. I'm never bored.....!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May 1994: A Blast From The Past

I was pulling quilts for an upcoming quilt guild lecture next week for a Portrait Quilt Trunk Show. I like to show a few of my first portrait quilts to explain to people that if the desire is there and the willingness to learn the technical and artistic aspects of portrait quilts anyone can do it. My first few attempts were not show stoppers!
In the early 1990s I wanted to make portrait quilts. I knew how to draw and I figured out with tissue paper to make the applique pieces. But there were a few setbacks. I needed to learn how to piece, cut with a rotary cutter, sandwich the quilt and quilt it, add a binding and then I only had hand applique. I wanted to put pictures/motifs on a background but I only knew about hand applique. 
This quilt is an example of my hand applique experience. The quilt is from May 1994 and is a "selfie" of myself and my daughter Jordana just before she was 8 years old. I actually was smart enough to put a quilt label on the back and I called it "Mother and Daughter." This is bittersweet since we just celebrated Mother's Day! It also has my old rotary phone number which I had forgotten!!
I didn't enjoy hand applique at all! I quit making portrait quilts and made traditional pieced quilts which taught me the technical ropes. In 2005 I had nearly given up on quilting because of traditional quilt boredom and unaware of the Internet's potential. I was in a local bead shop in Appleton Wisconsin when I ran into a quilter friend who was now embracing art quilts. She told me about fusible web and how I iron motifs to a background to create a picture. I was elated and made my first raw edged fused portrait quilt in late 2005 and haven't stopped since. I buy Wonder Under by the bolt now!!
Back to the quilt in the photo. I see some similarities to how I proceed now. Portrait quilts, scrappy fabric choices, radiating quilting lines from the back of the portrait, the curves lines in the neck and shoulder area, the shape of the nose, the bright colors, a label on the back and a hanging sleeve.
What is new and improved in 26 years-I machine quilt and I quilt heavily, I do not embroider the facial features but raw edge fuse applique them. I block my quilts for a better shape. I square up everything at every step so the end result is square. My bindings are narrower, the corners sharper and there is no space in the binding that the judges dislike. Even though a judge's comments can hurt one's feelings it is for the best to technically improve! I use batiks as much as possible and, in general, the fabrics available to us currently are so much greater than 26 years ago!!
I would have placed the colorful blocks on the bottom of the quilt and added more of them for visual balance but it is still a nice sentimental quilt. I also would have had less background/negative space and more fussy cut butterflies. And I learned to add embellishments to my quilts if they are hanging on the wall.
This project was my first attempt at the Hoffman Challenge! It did not make the cut (I see why now!) and I didn't enter again until 2010 which did make the cut. I have had five quilts in the Hoffman Challenge since 2010 and 2016s is made and has been submitted for judging.
It's fun to look at old quilts to see where we were artistically and technically and how our supplies have changed and advanced to make better quilts.
I hope you have some oldie but goodie quilts or if you are a new quilter to save you projects and label them with at least a date!!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

"Half Pint": Little House On The Prairie Quilt Along Project

I discovered Downton Abbey on PBS last fall then discovered Andover Fabrics Downton Abbey themed fabric and Ebony Love (a quilt pattern designer)had done several Quilt Alongs using their fabrics. Andover Fabrics, in late 2015, designed a line of fabric replicating the fabrics from the TV Show Little House on the Prairie and Ebony was ready with a new quilt along. It began in early January 2016 and each WEEK participants would receive a part of the quilt mystery. The fabric styles were divided into two families called "Dear Ma" (reds/browns) and "Dear Pa" (blues/light pink) or you could use your own fabrics. I purchased the "Dear Ma" collection from using my birthday $$. It was intense doing so much each week but it was winter and quilting and sewing is what I do! Ebony provided two outer border options-complicated with triangles or simple with basic three borders. Her finished size was 96" square which I knew was too big for my liking. I used 4" squares of all the fabrics but the cream (my least favorite of the bunch) and made a pieced border. I used the red print on the ends to balance the other end blocks. It was a happy accident the yellow squares in the outer border lined up with the yellow in the quilt! My finished quilt is 82" square. I really love the square layouts of Ebony's quilt along patterns and plan to start another one in June using my own fabrics in pinks. purples and whites. The purple was a choice before Prince died and now I'm a bit obsessed with purple.      
 This was the largest quilt I have ever quilted. I thought about sending it to a long arm quilter but I really don't like the all over stipple quilt look. I like to stitch in the ditch, cross hatch through squares and echo stitch. It took me two week to quilt it between my job and other responsibilities. I used only cream colored thread. The binding is red because it was my favorite color in the Dear Ma collection! It is a very heavy quilt.
Ebony gave everyone fabric requirements. I did not do the fancy triangle border and had lots of fabric left which I sewed together for the backing which I have never done before.
The quilt is so huge the only place to display the quilt is on my clothesline. It has been terribly windy so I couldn't take a photo until today.
I call it "Half Pint" because that was Pa's nickname for Laura Ingalls on the TV show and it is a favorite memory for me because my daughter and I used to watch the show all the time. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Let's Color Bella!! Markers or Pencils??

I have always loved to color and now it is cool for adults to have their own coloring books. Someone decided grown ups coloring in pictures was relaxing and a distraction from the real world or a problem. Everywhere I go I can purchase adult coloring books. My iPhone has several apps to color pictures-even for free!! When I was returning home last November from the IQF Houston Quilt Show my flight was canceled and I spent more time than I would have wished in the airport. My coloring app saved my mental state of mind and I made some pretty pictures. 
I decided to adapt my Bella pattern to a coloring book page. The first photo is colored in with Sharpie pens. I had no beiges and browns for skin tones so Bella is very pale!
In the second photo I used colored pencils which gave me more variety but less coverage. I had fun!! I am asking your opinion about my coloring page. Should I do more of this and adapt some of my other patterns as well? If I sold these as single pages what would you pay per page-$.50 or $1.00 or other? Thanks for the input!    

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Art Quilts Around The World Facebook Group: Folklore Challenge

My Facebook art quilt group "Art Quilts Around The World" has reveal day today. The theme is Folklore. I googled options and fairies and mermaids were common themes but I have done those in quilts before. I found the legend of Madre Monte (Mother Mountain) which is from Columbia to be interesting. The folklore story is about a woman who wears moss and leaves and a green hat that conceals her face. She lives in dense jungles and supposedly bathes in rivers causing flooding and heavy storms. She haunts those who steal other people's land and cast plagues on cattle owners who steal or misuse fields or ignore boundaries. She puts spells on people in the jungle when they walk and they eventually fall asleep with exhaustion and do not wake for hours.
 I saw this woman as a earth mother type with all green skin and hair. I used one of my other portrait patterns and made it smaller to the required size. I reduced the size of her Afro as well. I chose 4-5 green for her skin tones and a tie dyed ruffly heavily textured fabric for her Afro hair. I envisioned lots of hair texture and viney stuff by using lots of textured yarns which I machine and hand couched to the quilt.

From my embellishment stash I pulled anything with a green leaf-silk and felt leaves; leaf and flower buttons; sequins, beads and even foam leaves. I found a great metallic special occasion fabric for the dress and used two green glitter nail polishes on the eyes. I stitched the turquoise background with a leave themed specialty stitch with a variegated thread to repeat the nature theme.
 This photo shows a close up of the hair and all the funky fuzzy yarns I used to capture the jungle vines in her hair! I had a blast with this challenge once I found an idea and will use this quilt for Earth Day and other seasonal related quilt themes.
This was the original pattern that I adapted for the Folklore that I used for my 2014 Hoffman Challenge quilt. It looks different with green skin instead of brown.

The next challenge for this group I get to select and I chose "Kitschy!!!" Kitschy is defined as pleasingly distasteful, melodramatic, overdone, gaudy, tacky, sentimental, folksy, cutesy fun or hideously ugly. It is so bad it's cool! I discovered the word Kitschy in 2005 and I was thrilled there was a name for the style I embraced! I wear kitschy jewelry, have garden art and add something kitschy to many of my quilts.

I discovered some terrible gaudy cat eye glasses on Pinterest and will run with this idea for this challenge due May 31, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

New Open Studio Samples of Selfie Quilts for IQF Chicago in April

I decided to not teach at the IQF Chicago Quilt Show April 7-9, 2016 but chose to attend the show and when the Houston Educational Department asked me to participate in Open Studio I said "yes." I am doing two demos-the first one on Friday April 8th from 4-6pm and I titled the subject as Selfie Portrait Quilt which is my whimsical first pattern re-marketed. I created two new sample quilts with some clothes instead of shoulder straps and expanded on eyeglasses with my favorite frame shape of cat eye!! I also love the Rosie The Riveter style 40s head scarves so that is new. I love polka dots and red/pink together so it was a fun project!!
Then I've been wanting to do a Packer themed version of this pattern for a while so I pulled some green and gold fabric and designed a football jersey and a cheesehead. Should the cheesehead point up or down? I had it both ways and went with "up."

Both quilts have nail polish for eye make-up and on the hair. Rhinestones are added to the cat eye glasses and the Packer girl got a necklace and background bling!

I plan to make a few more accessories before the quilt show such as a steampunk hat!

The other demo is called Fun and Funky Fabric Postcards on Saturday April 9th from 10am-12noon. I did this demo at Houston last October and will blog about this if I have some new cards to display. 

I hope you will be attending the show in April because it is fantastic because of the classes, loads of quilt displayed and vendors galore!! Stop by at my demos and introduce yourself!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My Quilt Is Featured In The April/May 2016 Quilters Newsletter Magazine!! Woo Hoo!

 I had seen a call for red themed quilts a while ago in 2015 from Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) because they were compiling quilts for a Go Red For Women Campaign. They put a lot of the quilts on their Pinterest board if you want to see many more red quilts. I found out my quilt "Beauty School Flashback" was selected to be in the April/May 2016 issue back last fall. It is difficult to wait and not tell anyone what is going on. I do not subscribe to this magazine and today I tried without success to purchase the magazine. I was bummed but then I check my mail today and I had a complimentary copy of Quilters Newsletter!! Sorry my photography isn't the greatest but the glossy paper tends to create a huge reflection.
 I have to say my quilt got an excellent position in the magazine layout and another photo of the detail of the lady's face. I made the quilt in 2010 for Joann Fabrics "Quilt Your Colors" Contest using only their fabrics (not easy when you want to use quilt shop fabrics!!) I came in 4th place nationally and was fortunate to win some prizes. Joann's never really promoted the end result of the contest and they never did the contest again. I blogged about this quilt back in the day so I'm not going to go into the construction of the quilt. It sure is a great felling to have my portrait quilt work in print!!
This is the cover in case you want to purchase it!