Saturday, September 27, 2008

Round Red Barn

Here’s my third new pattern that will debut at Fall Quilt Market in Houston. It is called “Round Red Barn.” This is the first in a series of small art quilt patterns I am designing based on some of my photos. This piece depicts a fabulous barn at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont that my family visited last August. The Shelburne Museum has several quilt collections, including an amazing exhibit of very old American quilts.

The pattern contains a full-sized template with stitching guidelines. I’ve taught several classes for guilds using this photo, and it is a hit with people interested in art quilting but not sure where to start. Several have learned the technique from me, and gone on to turn their own photos into works of art in fabric and thread.

The retail price for this pattern is $10; it will be on my website soon.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Melinida’s in Studios!

My friend Melinda Schwakhofer is in the 2008 issue of Studios, a special issue of Cloth Paper Scissors! The issue is stuffed full of inspirational artists’ studios, and there are tons of great organizational and storage ideas to steal. It is fun to see how the artists’ personalities shine through in the work environments they create.

I met Melinda last summer, when she was in the States visiting family. (She's back in Great Britain now.) To see more of Melinda’s work, go to her website,

To order a copy, go to the Quilting Arts website.

Congratulations, Melinda!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Banana Layer Cake

“Banana Layer Cake” is another pattern I'm printing this week to go to Fall Quilt Market in Houston.

It is 51" square, and I made it with one Moda Layer Cake of Urban Couture (by BasicGrey) and 1-1/2 yards of yellow fabric, plus 3 yards of green for the back and bindings. The Urban Couture fabric line comes out in November.

It goes together super fast, and is very easy to piece. This pattern will also be up on my website in a few days.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Three Cheers!

Here’s a sneak peek at my 25th quilt pattern*, “Three Cheers (for the red, white and blue).” I just finished the pattern today. I started this quilt in early 2008, when Minick and Simpson's red, white and blue “Prairie Paisley” line came out. I had it all pieced and partly quilted in the spring. And then, something happened… I got really busy, and distracted by other things … and the kids got out for summer vacation. (Darn them!) This quilt got pushed aside, and I just got back to it this fall, when the kids went back to school.

Plus, it is really big. King sized, 105" square. The biggest quilt I've ever quilted (I have a regular home sewing machine, not a long arm.)

I'll be printing the patterns in the next few days, and will have them up on my website soon. There are two other patterns in the works that also must be ready to send off to Moda/United Notions (one of my distributors) next week for Fall Market.

Three cheers, indeed!

* If you don't count all my block-of-the-month patterns separately.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lost in translation

A friend and fellow fiber artist, Sarah Ann Smith, recently alerted me that she had found this mention and link to both my website and hers on a blog by an Italian woman named Gaya, "Le Borse di Gaya."

"E infine via a rifarsi gli occhi con alcuni quilt spettacolosi: Blue moon river, Sarah Ann Smith e Magic happens. No, vietato deprimersi!!! Guardare, ammirare ed ispirarsi ma mai deprimersi pensando di non essere all’altezza."

First I tried using the Sherlock Translation program I have on my Mac, and got this amusing translation:

And finally via rifaring the eyes with some quilt spettacolosi: Blue moon river, Sarah Ann Smith and Magic happens. Not, prohibited to depress itself!!! To watch, to admire and to inspire themselves but never to depress itself thinking not to be next to the height.

Okay, what the heck does that mean? So I tried a less direct route. My friend Dawna has a co-worker with a Ph.D. in Italian, and she translated it like this:

“Refresh your eyes with some spectacular quilts: Blue Moon River, Sarah Ann Smith and Magic Happens. It’s forbidden to be depressed!!! Look, admire and inspire yourself but don’t get down that you’re not this good.”

Grazie mille, Gaya! (Many thanks, Gaya!)

Wow, it is really amazing how the internet is connecting us all over the planet, isn't it?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bohemian Bouquet Block #9

My mystery block-of-the-month pattern, "Bohemian Bouquet," is coming together! Here's how it looks with September's Block #9:

Here's a closeup of Block #9, which features a coneflower:

There are two identical (but flipped) blocks for October and November, and then we are done! I can't wait to stitch this all up and start quilting it.

To order these patterns, go to my website here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Amazing Art Quilts!

I just returned from a wonderful weekend full of quilts, classes, and catching up with fiber arts friends.

The quaint town of Staunton, Virgina (above) is at the center of the month-long celebration of quilts called "Quilts: Past, Present & Future." Studio Art Quilt Associates' (SAQA) yearly conference for the VA/NC/SC region was held Sept. 5-6 in conjunction with this event.

Before I get into the details, I want to publicly thank our regional SAQA reps, Martha Bruin Degan and Jill Jensen, who must have done an incredible amount of work on this event and the conference. They should be VERY proud of what they accomplished. (THANK YOU, Martha and Jill!!!)

I traveled with friend and fellow fiber artist Nancy G. Cook about 4-1/2 hours north from Charlotte to attend the festivities. Nancy had a piece in the main SAQA exhibit, and we were eager to see it and to celebrate. Nancy is a long-time SAQA member and has been a wonderful mentor and fiber arts friend to me in the past few years.

On Friday morning, we went to Rachel's Quilt Patch, a lovely quilt shop in the old train station in Staunton, and met with quilt appraisers to have some of our work appraised. I've never had my work appraised, and was interested to observe the process and learn why I should. Neva Hart, an appraiser from Hardy, Va., took notes on my work while this cutie watched:

I'll receive the appraisal later via mail. She gave me good information about why it was wise to get appraisals and to have my work insured in case of loss or damage, and allowed me to ask lots of questions about the process and what she looks for when appraising an art quilt.

Next, I packed up my piece, "Harbinger's Hope," and shipped it off to Houston, where it will be in the International Quilt Festival at the end of October. Then Nancy and I set out to see just a few of the exhibitions of art quilts and traditional quilts in Staunton, Waynesboro, Harrisonburg, Dayton and Weyers Cave. We really didn't have time to see very much, but we did make sure to catch Jill Jensen's solo exhibition at the Augusta Medical Center in Fishersville.

Here is her "Canticle of Creation: Mother Earth":

and a detail shot:

This is Jill's work "Rainbow Forest":

That evening, we attended the opening of "SAQA: Amazing Art Quilts" at the Staunton Augusta Art Center. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts helped fund the exhibit, which included 30 pieces by members of three SAQA regions (VA/NC/SC, TN,/KY, and MD/PA/WVA/DC). Amazing Art Quilts was aptly named; the quilts really were amazing.

Here is Mary Beth Bellah with her work "Holding Both Ends from the Middle":

As usual, Mary Beth's work is easy to spot because of her cool 3-D hands, and gorgeous color and surface embellishment.

Joni Feddersen got a chance to talk with the exhibition's judge, Ulysses Desportes, about her piece:

See that little blue dot under Joni's "Lava Flow"? It's there because Desportes had purchased Joni's work after completing the judging! She was thrilled.

This is Primitive Door Series #33, Fran's Barn" by Vita Marie Lovett of Maryville, Tenn.:

Lovett's diminuitive pieces are rich in machine thread painting that almost covers the surface, making them amazingly tactile when viewed up close, yet very photographic when viewed from a distance. (You can see the other piece of Lovett's work, "Hidden Hinge," in the exhibition in the previous shot of Joni and the judge.)

Martha Bruin Degan had this work, "IED," in the exhibit:

I've only seen a few pieces of Martha's work in person, but find it fascinating to contemplate because of all the hand surface work and embroidery, and because of the interesting, sometimes disturbing, images contained in it, which raise interesting political and social questions.

Here is Susan Webb Lee's "Log Cabin Remodel," a traditional log cabin block turned on its head:

And the always joyful and upbeat Dottie Moore, celebrating in front of her "All Shapes, Sizes, and Colors," with 36 lovely miniature tree portraits:

Here's Nancy G. Cook with “Mimosa Dancing,” which I love for its sense of mystery and elegant portrayal of the mimosa tree’s spectacular leaves and seed pods:

Mary Stoudt's "Vorgetauscht" won a Judge's Choice Award and $200. I was fascinated with this piece, which had multiple layers of fabric, some added on top, some cut away. I like to play a little game when I go to quilt shows, museums or exhibitions … If I can't afford to buy any of the artwork, I ask myself, "If I could grab one piece and run out the door, and get away with it, which one would it be?" It was hard to decide this time, but this is the piece I'd choose:

(And no, I wouldn't really steal a piece of art... it is purely a hypothetical question!)

"Teach Us To Pray" by Russ Little had small pieces of fabric stitched down to the quilted surface that fluttered because the air conditioning vent was positioned right below it, making it fun to watch during the awarding of prizes:

Catherine Kleeman's glowing "Summer Solstice" won a Judge's Choice Award and $200:

"Variations On A Fabric" by Judith Lundberg won Best in Show and a $750 prize:

Here are two detail shots of "Variations" showing the beautiful stitching:

On Saturday, I took a fun shibori dyeing class from Julia Pfaff, a fiber artist who teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University. Here she is (on the far left), accompanied by two students, instructing us:

The white tubes have fabric wrapped around them, tied in place and then scrunched down.

Bev agitates the dye bath:

Here are some of the pole-wrapped pieces after their first dye bath, with one single-color piece that had been clamped next to it:

Francine stays tidy in her rubber gloves, even when drinking her iced coffee:

After class we put our fabric into our hotel room bathroom sink for one last soak and then went off to dinner. Afterward, we ironed them dry. Nancy made this luscious blue/red piece:

And here are some of mine. This one – my favorite – was done by stitching straight and curvy lines with heavy thread across a fat quarter of white cotton, then pulling the thread tight and knotting it before dunking it in the black dye bath. Took a long time but well worth it. I want to do lots of this next time I dye.

And here are a few more I completed in class using folding and clamping methods:

I had done some shibori before, but Julia taught me a lot of new techniques, more about the history of shibori, and a lot about dyeing in general. The class had a blast.

What an amazing weekend! If you can get to the Staunton area this month to see some of the exhibits, go!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gifts is here!

Quilting Arts Gifts 2008 is out! Here is a sneak peek at the “Classic Evening Bags” I designed for this special issue. The article contains complete instructions for making them. There's still time to order your copy from Quilting Arts! Or you can wait and buy it on the newsstand in mid-September, but who wants to wait? It has tons of great projects to make and give (or keep!) this holiday season.

Here's the fun and funky yellow one I made with BasicGrey's new fabric line by Moda called “Urban Couture,” which comes out this fall:

And this wintery blue clutch using Lonni Rossi’s new “Paintbox Brights” collection for Andover:

And this purple one, probably my favorite (and my mom has her eye on it, too!):

In this shot, you can see the detailed stencil work I did with a marvelous feather stencil by Stewart-Gill, and Stewart-Gill's Alchemy fabric paint, and Lumiere fabric paint... and then hours of beading: