Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blueberry Jam

The pattern for my Blueberry Jam quilt is included in the Fall 2010 issue of Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts magazine, which will be on newsstands in early August. 

All the fabrics are Bernartex batiks (and if you want a fabric kit with the same fabrics I used, you can order one now on the Fons & Porter website here). I designed the quilt with big circles and leaves, so it’s easy to appliqué smooth curves and sharp points. Or you can make it using a fusible appliqué technique.

I quilted my quilt with big swirls on the blueberries, curvy veins on the leaves, and an overall leaf pattern in the background. 

These blues and greens are my favorite colors! This quilt was inspired by a trip to a blueberry farm near my parents’ home in Tennessee. Blueberry Jam is 43-1/4" x 52", but wouldn’t it look smashing in a bed sized quilt? 

Quilting research shows growth in number of quilters and money spent

Quilts, Inc. (the company that does Quilt Festivals in Houston, Long Beach, and – next year – Cincinnati, as well as two Quilt Markets annually) and Quilters Newsletter magazine has just released data about the quilting industry from its Quilting In America 2010 research study. The extensive, detailed report will be available sometime in August. 

What did the research find?
  • 14 percent of U.S. households (16.38 million households) have at least one quilter. That’s about 21 million total quilters in the U.S.! 
  • Each quilting household spent an average of $219 in 2010. That’s 27 percent more than in 2006.
  • The estimated total dollar value of the quilting industry is $3.58 billion. 
  • The “dedicated quilters” group (those who spend more than $600 per year on quilting-related items) reported spending $2.5 billion on their hobby in 2010. 
For more information, you can download this PDF that recaps the research’s basic findings.

The research was conducted by TNS Global, Inc., and DP Research Solutions.

Wooden Spools

This is one of the two pieces I made for the current (August/September issue) of Quilting Arts magazine.  My article is on adding dimension using thread. I started out with a background of pale pink, then fused the spools down, and thread sketched the spools and the shadows, using a crosshatching technique (stitching in several directions to build up the darkness/value of the shadows):

The thread on the spools was constructed with fused pieces of fabric in the same color, but different values before I stitched real thread on top:

Once I was done, I realized that I needed to establish a horizon line, because it looked like the spools were floating in space, so I painted the upper part of the background a darker pink, using acrylic paint.
If you like this piece and would like to stitch one of your own, you can get my line drawing pattern on the Quilting Arts website. Just join the Quilting Arts community (for free) and go to “Free Stuff” and then the “Online Extras” section. There you will find several of my free patterns for pieces I’ve done for my thread sketching articles. 

And of course, pick up a copy of the August/September issue of Quilting Arts magazine for lots more information on adding dimension to your work with thread sketching. It should be on newsstands soon, and on its way to subscribers’ mailboxes now. Or you can purchase it on the Quilting Arts/Interweave website.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Didn’t Know… Did you?

I made this piece, I Didn’t Know Roses Had Hips, for the August/September issue of Quilting Arts magazine. My article focuses on creating dimension with thread. Here’s a closeup shot where you can see the colors of thread I used on the rose hips and the brown leaves, as well as the cross-hatching (lines in several directions) I did to shade and make the rose hips look more round:

This is the photo on which this piece is based:

I took this photo on a family trip to Maine two summers ago. The name of the piece comes from my 10-year-old daughter, who asked what “those things” were when I showed her the quilt. I told her they were rose hips, formed as the fruit after the rose flowered, and the title was her response. It was too cute not to use!

This issue of Quilting Arts is available for pre-order on the Interweave website.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

August/September Quilting Arts

The newest issue of Quilting Arts magazine is about to hit subscriber’s mailboxes and newsstands. It contains the latest installment in my series of articles on thread sketching, focusing on adding dimension with stitch. 

Isn’t the cover luscious? This is the work of Ana Buzzalino, an artist from Calgary, Canada, and I love, love, love it! Those cool aquas and pale teals are the perfect cooling breeze for hot August. Can’t wait to see the cover up close when I get my issue.

If you don’t subscribe, you can order this issue; it is available for pre-sale on the Interweave website now.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2011 Quilting Arts Calendar has arrived

It’s here! The 2011 Quilting Arts Calendar is available now at the online Interweave store. I don’t have my copy yet, but I’m betting that my piece, Candy Corn, is featured in the month of October!  :-)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Framing fiber art

 A nice way to finish a small piece is to frame it. This makes the piece less likely to get soiled by dirt or dust, and makes it more appealing to people uncomfortable with how to hang fiber art. It also makes small pieces more finished and formal looking. I did this with House Rules 2 (above) last fall, but forgot to blog about it. House Rules 2 is 16.5" square. Today, Debbie wrote to ask me how I hung my smaller art quilts, so I figured this was a good time. 

Textile pieces should never be framed directly under glass, because any moisture that collects inside the frame can be pressed into the fabric, causing water marks or mildew. Either choose a shadow box, or add spacers between the glass and the mat. You can take your fiber art to a good quality framing shop and they can do this for you. Or you can do it my way, with a $20 frame from Ikea and a little elbow grease. If you choose this method, make sure you sign the back of your work so that it will still bear your name even if it is taken from the frame later.
Look for acid free mats (see Willa’s notes in the comment section after this post). I found a $20 shadowbox frame at Ikea (above). Measure your quilt, and then open the frame and measure your mat. Subtract the size of your quilt from the size of the mat. (Example: Your quilt is 17" square, and the mat is 20 inches square, so 20-17=3. Divide this number by 2 (Example 3÷2=1½.) Add 1/8" to this measurement (Example 1½ + 1/8 = 1-5/8".)

On the back of the mat, draw a pencil line that is this far in from the outer edge, around all the sides (above). My piece was square, so I drew in the same distance on all sides. 
Place the mat on an old, clean towel. Use a heavy needle or nail to punch holes along this line every ½" or so (above). You don't want the holes to be too big, but they need to be big enough that you can pass through them with the needle and thread you’ll be using in the next step.
Thread a smaller needle with heavy thread, such as hand quilting thread. Place the quilt on the top of the mat and align it with the holes. Take a stitch on the back of the quilt so that your knot is on the back, and bring the needle out at the corner. Go down through the corner hole (above) and come up through the next hole (below).
 Take a small stitch through the back of the quilt (below). Try to get all the layers except the front (because you don’t want your stitches to show on the front). 
 Go back down through the same hole (see below), and then on to the next one.
Continue in this manner, pulling the thread taut every few stitches, until you have gone all the way around. If your thread runs out, make a large knot on the back of the mat. Secure your stitches with tape on the back (below). Acid-free artist’s tape offers the best protection for your piece (see Willa’s comment below this post).
Remember to sign your name and date on the mat with a Micron Pigma pen (below). Most artists sign in the lower right corner.
 Clean the glass, insert the mat with the quilt stitched to it, and finish framing according to the frame’s directions. Voila! Now you can hang your fiber art the same way you’d hang any other piece of art in your home. 

NOTE: These directions are now available in a PDF format you can download, print out and save. To download, go to the “Free Stuff” icon in my blog sidebar, or simply click here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Art Meets Science

 Lepidoptera and Coleus are on their way to Birminham, England this week. They are part of the Studio Art Quilt Associates’ (SAQA) exhibition called “Art Meets Science” that will have its opening at the Festival of Quilts in August. All of the quilts that are available for sale will soon be listed on the SAQA website (the section is still being built as I write this, so check back in a few days to see all the quilts online).

I love the design of the exhibition catalog! It is a piece by Ita Ziv called Fire Fingers. SAQA always does a beautiful job on their publications.

The venues for this exhibition that have been announced to date are:
  • Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, England, August 19 - 22, 2010
  • Pfizer, Inc., New York, New York, Sept. 16, 2010 - March 16, 2011   
  • Visions Gallery, San Diego, California, January 1 - April 1, 2012   
  • Global Health Odyssey Museum of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, June 1 - Sept. 1, 2012    
The juror for this exhibition was David W. Fraser, MD. He is research associate at The Textile Museum, and a consulting scholar in the Asian Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The curator was Jill Jensen, a professional fiber artist from Virginia  who works with cloth, paint, printmaking and stitch. She has worked extensively as an artist-in-residence throughout Virginia, and holds degrees in Chemistry and Metallurgy. Surely both of them are a perfect combination of art and science! You can read Fraser’s and Jensen’s statements about the exhibition here



Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

’Tis liberty alone that gives
the flower of fleeting life
its lustre and perfume;
And we are weeds without it.

– William Cowper