Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I’m In Stitches

The staff of Quilting Arts magazine has just launched their latest creation, In Stitches, a one-of-a-kind special issue that “celebrates hand and machine stitching.” It is available only as a digital download. That means you can download it onto your computer, and use it on or offline. You can download the magazine and the software you’ll need to view and use it, on PC or on Macintosh for $14.97.

In Stitches is designed to include more in-depth articles, and to present them in a completely different way, through videos, slideshows, and patterns for projects you can easily print out and use. It includes interviews, articles, photos, videos, stitching tutorials, tips, techniques, and more.

My fabric vase pattern is included (that’s it with the sunflowers in the image above).

Monday, June 28, 2010

A bluebird block

This is a block I designed to teach a needleturn appliqué workshop for my hometown guild, Lake Norman Quilters, on August 14. It is a big block (20" square); big enough that I could put borders on it and call it a wall hanging. But I’m thinking about doing other blocks with birds and words and putting them together in a bigger quilt. 

If so, what birds – and words — should I use?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Valley Fiber Life

Marcia Young, founder and editor of Valley Fiber Life, has added some of my work to her website’s gallery! Valley Fiber Life is an online magazine and community for fiber artists and fiber arts enthusiasts. It includes a gallery of many different kinds of fiber artists, articles and interviews, a list of resources, and more. 

Some of the art quilters featured on the website who are also contributors to the site include Ruth B. McDowell and Virginia Spiegel. The articles offer a great introduction to some artists I didn’t know about before. 

If you want to stay in touch with Valley Fiber Life, make sure to join the international Fiber Arts group on Facebook. You can also sign up on the website to receive its e-mail newsletter.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Overall Quilter and Corinne Schroeder have a “Floral Fling”

This is Aimee Griffin, c0-owner of Overall Quilter, holding the sample for one of the patterns in their fabulous new Floral Fling line designed by Corinne Schroeder. These beautiful designs feature lovely flowers done in bright batik fabrics.

“Corinne walked into the shop one day with three wall hangings she had made as gifts for her family,” Aimee says. “I asked her what pattern she had made them from so I could order them, and she said she had just made them, so the idea of making the patterns came about.” Since then, Corinne has been busy making the samples, and Aimee has been writing the instructions.

So far, the collaboration has produced 12 patterns, and four new ones (including magnolia, cosmos, and poinsettia) are off to the printer this week. Corinne has signed the first 50 copies, and you can get an autographed copy if you request it, while supplies last. 

All the designs have full-sized pattern sheets for the fusible appliqué designs. Some patterns have dimensional flowers. Each pattern is $12; kits are available for $24 to $49, depending on the pattern.

Corinne is now hard at work on a new line called “Birdy Fling,” working with Aimee’s daughter Jessica. 

The new line comes at an exciting time for Overall Quilter. They have decided to close their brick-and-mortar storefront in Indian Trail (south of Charlotte, North Carolina) and start selling online. In about a week, the shop will close its doors and Aimee and her husband Marc will concentrate on adding more goods to the online store. I think they are off to an auspicious start!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My piece in C&T’s new Postcard Collection

I opened up the summer/fall 2010 C&T Publishing catalog today, and look what I found! This is my Purple Phalaenopsis on the cover of “The Art of Quilts Postcard Collection – Nature.” I had given my permission to use this piece in the collection, but I didn’t know they had selected it to adorn the outside of the box! What a thrill. 

This orchid piece is from the series I completed in late 2009 and early 2010; it was part of Fiber Art Options exhibition “Orchids: Sensuality Stitched.”

In this catalog, C&T officially launches its Stash Books, a new line of books to “celebrate handmade fabric arts and encourage the craft sewer to create beautiful authenticity in a time of mass production,” according to Publisher Amy Marson. I have already put several of these on my must have list – including the one on making lunch bags and wraps, and one with darling “feltie” characters to stitch.

Another postcard collection features animals. That’s David Taylor’s  Sir Francis on its box. The Animal series will be available in September, and the Nature series in December. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

North Carolina Quilt Symposium 2011

I hope you are all marking your calendars now for North Carolina Quilt Symposium 2011. It will be sponsored by Raleigh’s Capital Quilters Guild, and held at Peace College on June 2-5, 2011. It’s three days of classes, lectures, and fun, with everything from traditional piecing and appliqué, to beading, surface design and art quilting. I’m very excited that they’ve asked me to teach!

Here’s a list of the teachers they have lined up so far (a few more may be added):

Esterita Austin, art quilts:
Joyce Becker, landscapes:
Karen Kay Buckley, appliqué:
Susan Cleveland, piecing:
Nancy Eha, beading:
Rayna Gillman, surface design:
Susan Brubaker Knapp: art quilts/appliqué:
Mary Ellen Kranz, digital photography/computer aided design:
Suzanne Marshall, appliqué:
Margaret Miller, piecing:
Jan Myers-Newbury, surface design/dyeing:
Leslie Riley, fabric collage/mixed media:
Sharon Schamber, machine quilting:
Eileen Sullivan, piecing:
Patsy Thompson, machine quilting:
Mary Lou Weidman, appliqué/piecing:

And no, you don’t have to live in North Carolina to come to Symposium. If you live far away, you can fly in. Raleigh-Durham Airport is just a hop, skip, jump (or taxi ride) away from Peace College. Registration packets will be available in print and online in early January 2011. To receive a printed registration packet then, send  your mailing address and a check for $4 (payable to CQG Symposium  2011) to:
200 Transylvania Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27609

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Learn about Lyme

This is Nani Lauriano Luculescu, a.k.a. The Victorious Vixen (don’t you love that!). She’s a crafter I met online who is on a crusade to educate people about Lyme Disease, and to help fund a cure. Her dad has Lyme Disease, so this is personal. 

It’s personal for me, too, because my 12-year-old niece, Grace, has Lyme Disease. She was diagnosed last fall. She had a rash, but it wasn’t the typical Lyme bulls-eye rash, and her nurse practitioner brushed off my brother and sister-in-law’s request for a test and poo-pooed their legitimate questions. She said we didn’t have Lyme in North Carolina. She was wrong.

A few months later Grace was in the hospital for more than four days with infected knees. The doctors there thought she had a staph infection, because her white blood cell count was off the charts. They did emergency surgery to drain the fluid. But after four days, the cultures grew still grew nothing, and my brother and sister-in-law demanded a Lyme test. Grace’s doctor still said it was unnecessary. The test came back positive for stage 3 Lyme, with 8 positive bands. Grace’s case caused Wake County, N.C., to declare epidemic levels for Lyme. This should make Raleigh area doctors more aware of the situation, and more likely to test for Lyme if there is any suspicion of it at all.

If the nurse had tested her, or put her on antibiotics when they first went in about the rash and requested a Lyme test, it might have made a big difference. It took months for her to recover from the symptoms and the knee infection, but Grace is doing well right now. But Lyme is a serious disease that can affect people for a lifetime. And most people know so little about how to protect themselves.

That’s why a group called Lymenaide has produced these public service announcements:

Volunteers like Nani have been sending Lymenaide press kits to TV stations across North America, so I hope you’ll be seeing this PSA soon on your local stations.

To draw attention to this campaign, Nani is giving away one of her fabulous handmade wallets. This is the last in her Red, Black & White Optical Delusion wallet series:

Isn’t it fabulous? On Nani’s blog, you can see other PSAs, learn more about Lyme Disease, and leave a comment for a chance to win. You need to do it by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 18. Just follow the instructions in Nani’s post. 

Please … do it for Grace. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hibiscus stitched

Hibiscus is stitched! This is the last of three samples completed for my Wholecloth Painting workshop. Whew! I painted and stitched all three of these small quilts (about 8" x 12" each) in the past five days.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Another one quilted

I am on a roll … Here is “Painted Sunflower” quilted and done! One more to go and I’ll have all three little samples for my Wholecloth Painting class finished.

Croton stitched

Here is the Croton piece quilted. I decided against thread sketching, since there is already so much detail in this piece from the paint. I like the lines added by the thread. I only used three colors: black (on the top leaf), dark green (on the bottom leaf) and orange (on the vein of the bottom leaf).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Painted Croton

I just finished painting the third piece I made this week for my Wholecloth Painting workshop. All of the samples are shown above. (None have been stitched yet!)

This latest piece features leaves of what I think is a tropical houseplant called Croton. Weird name. It has thick, leathery leaves with the most fantastic color patterns. I believe I took the photo on which this piece is based in the walkway that connects the Houston Hilton to the convention center. They always have large, lush potted plant arrangements. 

Here is the photo:

I’ve been rather obsessed with leaves in the past few years. I think it is the patterns, lines and colors on the leaves, and the way that they become almost abstract when shot up close. I’d really like to do a series of larger pieces all based on my closeup photos of leaves. Soon!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Another painted sample

This is the second piece I’ve painted this week as a sample for my Wholecloth Painting class. It is based on this photo:

I used the same photo as inspiration for this piece, which I made to demonstrate techniques in my Quilting Arts DVD, “Master Machine Quilting: Free-Motion Stitching and Thread Sketching.” It is made of fused fabric and thread sketched, then quilted:

I have one more sample for my workshop I need to paint, and then I can start stitching!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Treasure at the antique store

I have a great antiques store right around the corner from me in historic downtown Mooresville, and today, I had a few minutes to spare and popped in. And look at what I found! These were marked as “antique wallpaper stamps” but I think they were used for printing or batiking fabric. They look African to me, or maybe Asian. 

They each weigh about 3/4 lb., and are about 6" x 3" and made of wood that is stained almost black (it comes off on your fingers when you rub it). They have an interesting smell that I think might be wax. I paid $18 for each. 

Anyone out there know where they came from, and if I am right or not? And did I get a bargain, or ripped off?

I am eager to test these out, but it will have to wait a bit. 

NOTE: After I posted this, I e-mailed the photos to my friend Janet Lasher; I just knew that she’d have more information. She said I got a bargain! Here is more information from her:
“They are MOST likely Indian – from India…  given that the have black stain (I have some similar ones) they were likely used to do block (relief) printing with print ink (very thin watery ink) on to wall paper or textiles.  This is usually done OVER other colored/patterned work.

These would not have been used for Batik – since wood is a horrible conductor of heat – they would not hold the wax hot enough for printing – however, you could use them for some other resist application.

The ink is likely to come off when you get them wet… (but has also likely penetrated the wood – don’t expect the ink to STOP oozing out of the wood….  Maybe ever!  So beware if you are planning some tightly designed printing with light colors on to white as you may get some halo-ing effects that will not be controllable (although the “stain” as you say looks WAY minimal compared to other stamps I have seen).

These usually come in pairs – although the pairs are rarely found together in the “west”.

As I say, I have some – they are fun to use – but they are heavy – and sometimes hard to handle – because of the shape of the handle – you may drop them on the print table – or the piece as you are printing.  So you can print with textile paint/thickened dye etc – be careful that the details don’t get gunked up when you are printing unless you can live with that much “hand printing” distress/inaccurate outcomes.

The stamps look great… even if you only mount them on your studio wall the are great objects that have a clear historical and cultural reference to the work that we try to accomplish with fiber.”
I tried wetting the stamps, and sure enough, the black comes off. Thanks, Janet!

Another friend sent me a link to this video, which shows a very skilled man demonstrating block printing in the Anohki Museum in Amber, India using blocks very similar to those I purchased. Check out how he creates mitered corners! 

Monday, June 7, 2010

The painted hibiscus

Today I worked on a new piece for a workshop I am developing on wholecloth painting.  In September, I’ll be teaching it for the first time to the Cotton Patch Quilters of Athens, Georgia. I have a few other photos that might be good for this workshop, and hope to get to them later this week.

The painted piece above is based on this photo I took of a hibiscus:

It is 7" x 10-1/4"… very small. It is hard to get a lot of detail when painting on fabric when you work this small. But I needed something that my students could complete in a six-hour workshop. 

I can’t wait to start stitching this piece.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

North Carolina Quilt Symposium 2010

North Carolina Quilt Symposium 2010 in Charlotte was fabulous! Here are some highlights of symposium, and I'll start with last night’s “Iron Quilter” event. Celebrity quilters Laura Wasilowski, David Taylor and Elin Waterston were the judges of this event, which was roughly based on “Iron Chef” reality TV show, only with fabric substituted for food, and quilting substituted for cooking.
We all got chef’s hats when we arrived in the auditorium. 
My good friend Grace Howes looked very fetching in hers. Grace was one of the co-chairs for the event, and in charge of procuring all the fabulous teachers. What a huge job, and she performed it with her usual charm, positive attitude and good humor.
The competition pitted Karen Stone, a.k.a. Chef Daisy Blade, against Robbi Joy Eklow, a.k.a. Chef Goddess of the Last Minute.
A video presentation, which played on a screen above the set, set the scene and introduced the teams.
Robbi Joy holds up a humungous pair of women’s underpants (each of the judges was given a pair) while her sous chef, Leah Day, looks on. Leah is a very talented quilter from Shelby, North Carolina, and she won four ribbons at the Symposium Quilt Show, including Best of Show and Best Machine Quilting.

The underpants were an inside joke from the opening ceremonies. One of the teachers shared with us that her 3-year-old granddaughter had gone into the bathroom with her at a store and made a comment about how HUGE her underwear were. So underwear got to be the unofficial theme of the event. The ones Robbi Joy is holding in the photo above got snipped and made into a faux tossed salad during the competition.

Elin made the undies into a fashionable vest, and modeled it for the audience.
Robbi Joy and her assistant got right to business preparing an entree, appetizer and dessert from two “secret ingredient” fabrics and other fabrics and embellishments brought from home. Robbie turned some fish fabrics into sushi, pan-fried trout, and fish ice cream (this last one was not so popular with the judges).
Karen Stone and Leah pose as the show starts. Karen managed to piece and stitch several beautiful blocks in her signature style.

Robbi Joy’s team presents their finished dishes to the judges. This is the last photo I took at this event, because I was ducking for cover when the whipped cream pies started flying. Almost no one involved got out of there without whipped cream down her shirt front or in her hair. I was sitting in the front row, and managed to escape the flying debris.

Johnson and Wales University is a fairly new facility in the heart of uptown Charlotte. The dorms were clean and functional, and everything was within easy walking distance.
The classrooms were large, well lit, and well air conditioned (which was good, because man, was it hot this weekend!). This is the class I took, and you can see that we brought a lot of stuff with us and quickly made ourselves right at home. 
Students of Laura Wasilowski’s Chicago School of Fusing had pressing matters to attend to…
and could purchase Laura’s hand-dyed fabrics, threads and patterns.
The hall outside Velda Newman’s classroom was littered with trout bodies and flower petals painted in her “Quick and Easy Painting Techniques” class.
Elin Waterston strikes a pose before her class got started. Can you tell that Elin’s been dancing and acting since she was a wee lass? I had the pleasure of being Elin’s “teacher buddy” for the weekend and enjoyed getting to know her better. We are both natives of Pittsburgh, Pa., but went to different high schools and didn’t know each other then. Later we found out that we have friends in common, including a guy who was Rolf to my Liesel in our high school production of The Sound of Music (how’s that for six degrees of separation?).
 I showed Elin’s photo to Terry White, and she decided to one-up Elin by getting cozy with her quilts. What a sweetheart Terry is. I have admired her amazing thread painting for years.
Of course, Pat Sloan had to take a break and talk to her thousands of Facebook friends!
 Paula Scaffidi talks with her students about needle felting. 
 Cynthia Corbin critiques DebbyHarwell’s fabric choices in the class I took called “Structure and Variation.” We started with what Cynthia calls a “black fabric sketch,” which is a black rectangle cut into simple pieces (you can see Debbie’s at the top left), then played with different values of fabric, and experimented with arrangements and design variations. Cynthia was a wonderful teacher, and very patient. 

I took this class because I thought it would be a challenge for me to work in a different style and technique than I usually do. It was. I’ll share more on this in a later post. 
These are the funky creation of my fellow student, Lise. Aren’t they fun? 

Symposium was a wonderful way to spend time with my quilting friends, make new ones and learn new things. And guess what? Next year, I get to do it again, only then, I’ll be teaching! I’ve been asked by North Carolina Quilt Symposium 2011, which will be hosted by the Capital Quilters Guild in Raleigh. I don’t know yet what I’ll be teaching, but I’ll have more details soon.