Archive for November, 2016

I bought this hand painted fabric, from Indonesia, at Ladyfingers Sewing Studio in Oley, PA.  I was enamored with the colors and design. So far I’ve made one piece from it, plus a couple of fancy Hot Spots (pot holders that I make to sell.)

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Indonesian hand painted art cloth

Indonesian hand painted art cloth

I was attending a lecture by Quilter Lisa H. Calle at Ladyfingers, which mostly dealt with using rulers for machine quilting. I did buy a couple of them, and ordered a machine foot that is used with rulers, but I’m not sure this method will work for me very well.  Something in me prefers a quirky, asymmetrical look for machine quilting.  But still – I have to give it a try.

While there I met Laura A Cunningham, a fellow art quilter from Mifflintown. She told me to check out Cynthia England, who won best in show in Houston (International Quilt Festival) this year for her quilt “Capetown Reflections.”. I’ve never been attracted to constructing an art quilt using piecing. I find raw edge applique much more immediate.

But I checked out Cynthia England’s method — watched her video on her website, and decided to give it a try.

And – guess what –I liked it! Granted I didn’t make the best use of her complicated piecing method, as I was using entirely the art cloth, except for the white area with the tree drawing. But it did give me some practice with the method, and a bit more texture in the piece.

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Plus, her use of freezer paper for the shape elements of a design could work better for construction raw edge applique.  I currently use tracing paper to trace the shape of each element in my cartoon (full scale drawing of my design). But the freezer paper sticks, slightly, to the surface of the fabric, allowing a more accurate cut out of the desired shape.

Is this going to be a change in direction for me? It’s too early to tell. Having tried only one art quilt using it, I’m not sure yet.

In my relatively isolated rural setting, I am grateful to artists’ websites and You Tube postings, and other ways of learning what other are doing. It helps to keep me in touch.

Hot Spot (hot pad) quilted on whole cloth.

Hot Spot (hot pad) quilted on whole cloth.

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I’ve been asked to teach a class on hand embroidery.  Although I started embroidery at my grandmother’s knee at about age 8, I am no expert. So, I must learn. Thank goodness for Pinterest.

First I needed to straighten out my own collection of embroidery floss. I didn’t take a “before” picture, but, just think: “spaghetti.” I have a collection of 6 strand “regular” embroidery floss and #5 Pearl cotton (the non-divisible kind). I recently added a #8 Pearl Cotton to my collection, which is finer, and useful sometimes.

With the 6 strand floss, it’s OK to keep it wound in the two paper bands it comes in, as long as you carefully find the correct end to pull out. If you have the wrong end, it will tangle right away. So – let that go, and find the other end.  If you do have the right end, a length will pull out easily.

With the #5 Pearl, I can find no other solution that re-winding it right away onto cardboard bobbins. (unless it is the kind that comes in sort of a ball.  You can leave it wound on that ball.)

You can buy the bobbins (they’re cheap), or you can make your own out of pressed cardboard (the kind cereal boxes are made of.)

cards

The cardboard bobbins are also useful to organize and keep neat your 2-strands or 3-strands of the 6 strand floss that you have separated, but not used yet.

OK, so now my thread is organized.

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I’ve been using embroidery as a surface decoration in my art quilts for some time.

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But here is a piece I’m working on now that is all about embroidery.

hummingbirds

I also will make a sampler piece with about 6 basic stitches.  And borrow heavily from Pinterest to give my students ideas: feminist or subversive sayings, “Zenbroidery” using a pen and ink abstract drawing as basis, botanicals – there are a lot of ways to go with this.

I’ll post more in the future as this develops.

Any ideas you may have are welcome!

Our first SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates) Pennsylvania group show opened October 22. Honestly it was a real high point.  My hubby and I brought our visiting cousin and her husband.  I just got a note from her, “We found the day of Connected by Stitch extra special.  The work was so incredibly varied and intricate.  I loved listening to your colleagues talk about their inspiration and techniques.  Very fun people too!”

I was so proud of us! We were led every step of the way by our state coordinator Meredith Armstrong. The Gallery at Penn College, directed by Penny Lutz hosted the show, and did a very professional job.

Here are a few pictures, and my one-minute presentation of my piece, The Secrets It has Kept.