Sunday, October 30, 2005

Pictures We have Pictures!

Remember a while back I mentioned doing a project with two other quilters. We were going to use Quilting Arts magazine articles to encourage one or more of us out of our comfort zones. I have to admit to reading the magazine, loving the pictures and never doing any of the suggested projects--so this was going to be more than interesting for me.

At first, I balked at using the stamp on the layered scrap fabrics but the stamping does unify the surface. Other methods for unification could be appliques of the same shape over the surface.

After stamping and layering with net or tulle we were supposed to outline the stamping with
machine stitching and then cut away the layers of tulle over the stampings. I cut some of them away and left others.

Yesterday I was a guest at an ArtQuilts "work party". Everyone brought their "stuff" and proceeded to work on projects. Almost everyone had brought along some show and tell items. I brought this layered/stamped work in progress. The other quilters were interested in the surface design and perhaps a few of them will try it out at home.

One quilter brought painted WU (wonder under) that she had painted with acrylics, air dried for 24 hours (how do other people WAIT that long?) and then carefully pressed the painted side to a piece of white cotton fabric. As the wet paint dries the backing paper on the WU wrinkles and gives the whole piece a very impressionist look. Great for little landscapes. So I am going to give that technique a "go".

There were also wonderful books to browse through and one of them will be on my list for Santa. Contemporary Quilts: Design; Surface; Stitch by Sandra Meech. I'm also hoping someone buys Quilt National 2005 for me. I've seen advertisements for Art Quilts: A Celebration. 400 Stunning contemporary designs. Any reviews on that?

One other highlight of yesterday's quilter's work day. I sewed my left index finger to my quilt. Well, I ran the sewing machine needle into my finger and then jerked back---tearing the skin and bleeding alot. I had to lay on the floor. Low blood pressure. It was lay down or fall down. Everyone was well prepared for "emergency" situations. A pillow for my head, emergency kit with antibiotics, bandages etc. My finger hurts but my heart feels very well cared for indeed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

...But not for me.

Well, we tried everything to get just one blurry picture into post number 2. Now my laptop is running with the speed of cold taffy. It took around 2 minutes to go from the dashboard to posting. And I'm on highspeed cable with wireless. Go figure. Therefore the title of this posting---this works for everyone--but not for me.

The process of loading pictures isn't that difficult. It's merely the fact that each cue to upload causes Safari to crash.

The weather here in the Northeast continues to move swiftly to COLD: WET: DARK. The Dark Times. So to celebrate I have decided to stay in my pajamas all day and to watch Law and Order reruns while making things in my quilt room. Let's hope the Fed Ex man doesn't need me to sign anything at 4 pm today. Maybe I should brush my hair??? ( insert picture of my hair here if I could)

I found a stick (insert picture of stick here if I could) in the shape of the letter Y on my trip to the mailbox last week. Then on the weekend while trying to clean things up in the dining room (aka: craft area) I found a neat picture I had photocopied from a children's book (insert picture) with y's all over it. Coincidence? Synchronicity? Who cares. I'm going to make something and then sew my letter Y branch on it. And continue to scout for other branches in the shape of letters of the alphabet lying around in my yard. Just what letters of the alphabet could be created by branches? V. Maybe a T. I. K if the tree was really trying.

I've had lunch- - roasted butternut squash soup with buttered crackers and hot tea with a side of Celebrity Poker, so I guess it's time to move on down the hall to the workroom and get going with "making something". Later!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wednesday's Child is full of Wonder

I have always disagreed with that old nursery rhyme--that Wednesday is full of woe; Thursday has far to go etc. I think who ever wrote that was just trying to please someone born on Saturday or Sunday. Fair of face or full of grace. The remainder of the days just got what ever was easy to rhyme. So I'm full of wonder. Usually I'm full of something else but my son reads this.

I have not been having the best of months this October. It's been raining and I have been doing "household" work rather than quilty work and I'm getting pretty aggravated. I took pictures and had hoped to insert them into previous posts but the Hub had other things to do and forgot he was to help me and now he's gone to New York for the rest of the week. A kind comment on my second post has me headed it the right direction but I need help the first time. I wore red to work today to give myself a "cheerful" appearance and it worked! Isn't color nifty.

Two art quilters and I have formed a tiny group and we are having a round robin of "projects" to try (to get us to try new things) and then share what we though of the process. The first was from QA Fall 2005--creating fabric from scraps. I used what was in the wastebasket and balked at the --"use stamps all over the surface". I have one stamp. Not wanting to let the group down on the first project--I went ahead and stamped. It did make the surface uniform--uniformly stamped. Now I have to quilt. Almost all the QA techniques involve layers of tulle, organza, stamps, burning, foil and beads. Why is that???? Now some of the things I have made this way turned out looking very interesting but I wonder--does a 12 inch square translate successfully to a 40 in square? Let me know.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Apple Gleaning on a Rainy Sunday

Well, as a Master Gardener, I am supposed to do 20 hours of community service to educate, enable or otherwise share the knowledge gained in my classes with my community. Not that I have all that much knowledge to share. Today we (three master gardener graduates) were to join more volunteers and slog on over to a picked apple orchard and climb trees and get those orphan apples left by the pickers. Left because they were too high up in the tree for professional apple pickers.The purpose of this exercise is to collect apples for the local food pantries.

It's been raining in the Northeast as you may have noticed on your local weather report. Rain makes the ground muddy. Ladders placed on muddy ground sink. So we sunk a few ladders and called it a day.

Then we went to a nice Italian restaurant for the apple picking wrap up. It took forever for us to decide what to eat-who was sharing what with whom---who is allergic to what etc. We had Antipasto (shared), Minestrone (for one), Insalata (for two), Pasta (for one). We discussed book clubs. Two of the MG's are members of the same bookclub and reported that only 3 of the 10 members had read the book selection; that very little book discussion was actual done--but the dinner served was very nice.

Reminded me of an investment club I belonged to. We discussed very little in the way of investments but enjoyed the tours of other's homes and the lovely luncheons served. This was during the years I was an ex-pat living in Germany. The ladies in my investment group were from several different countries and social strata. Sophisticated and Not. Always good fun. Think Dharma and her mother-in-law. I really don't know who had a better time. I never showed up late. Catty of me, I know, but it was so educational in a warped sort of way. The most memorable luncheon was at "Pinky's". Pinky was entertaining all of us in the living room with some investment news as we all watched (behind her) Pinky's big cat walk around all the dishes on the luncheon table in the dining room and lick a number of them. Now that was an interesting situation!

I returned home to "Putting the Garden to Bed" duty. Pulling up plants, spreading lime and gypsum and dragging the pulled up plants to the wet boggy bottom of Lake Gary-- really a wetland area south and west of the garden. Sea level. When it rains the sea level of Lake Gary rises and if it rains enough meets up with Lake Ruth to the West and Lake Peggy in the North and then we are surrounded by knee deep water. Ducks land and swim around. Deer watch them from our back lawn where they eat acorns and fertilize the grass. The back lawn is a high point in the yard--the septic tank lies beneath.

I was born and raised in a big city. With public transportation. This country stuff with all the wildlife is QUITE a change for me.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

How I found my way here via PIQF.

A long time ago (it seems) my son (just out of college and only 22) got a job out in California and I started going out and visiting him once a year. We went out in February of each of the first few years just to get away from Maine. Winter lasts so long here. That worked out okay and we visited Golden Gate Park, Japanese Garden and a few of the art museums. Then I discovered the Pacific International and, well, winter wasn't so bad---we could visit in October.

The first October was unbelieveable. The quilts had colors. New England quilts were brown, navy, burgundy and green. The quilts at the show were orange, yellow, turquoise and the green--well the green was lime. And the quilts weren't made to go on beds. They were "ART". I was in heaven. I shopped and bought a whole suitcase of colorful fabrics. I took pictures--rolls and rolls of pictures. I was just positive that when I returned home like Marco Polo, the members of my quilt group would be thrilled to see these wonders.

Was I ever WRONG.

They looked at the pictures. But they weren't interested. They looked at the fabric and said it hurt their eyes. Was it me? Was I wrong about all of this being fabulous? So the fabric went into the fabric closet next to the browns, dark blue, burgundy and hunter green and I continued to make traditional stuff. But I always looked at my bright colors and hoped I would someday use them.

The next October I signed up for classes in California. Bought more fabric and took more pictures. And I started making things with this new fabric. And I showed it at "Show and Tell". Now we always clap when someone shows something at our quilt meeting. Even if we don't like it. So when I showed my first bright quilt I expected to hear something--but my quilt was met with silence. I was hurt--for awhile and then I just said who cares?

I made more "Loud Things" (their term) and noticed a few fellow members asking me about the fabric and the wonders of the outside world. They wanted to know why the fabric wasn't for sale in our part of Maine. I wondered about that too.

I continued to travel to California every October until September 11th. We didn't go that year or the next. By that time, I had a closet full of bright colors and was ready to move the New England Darks into sterlite containers. Our chapter had sponsored the state quilt show and I had broken with tradition and asked for a corner of the show for a display of chicken quilts. My own was a rooster in drag. Hand appliqued because I didn't know any other way to do it (2000) and in orange and turquoise. I was out of the closet and not going back. I was the room monitor for David Walker all weekend.

In 2001, I met Susan Carlson and made a fish and a butterfly with glue and scissors and in November my husband bought me a Bernina. I stopped bringing anything to show and tell. I started going to the World Textile and Quilt shows in North Carolina and taking classes. Melody Johnson taught me to fuse. In Maine, I dye painted with Hollis Chatelain and we became friends. On my next visit to North Carolina my husband and I had dinner with Hollis and her family and I got to tour her studio and see how "it's done". I had not yet found my style. There was no instant recognition that a quilt was my work. I was still trying every style on to see what fit. What felt right. And then I saw Melody Johnson's working in series class.

I tried it. Forced myself to work in a series. A limited palette. Limited content. And by the third piece I had found myself and others had found me. All the pieces sold quickly and you'll never guess who bought them. My quilt group members.
I continue to work with only a limited palette of fabric--only dots. With a sprinkle of stripes for borders mostly. Georgia O'Keefe's "One Hundred Flowers" keeps me focused on the big picture. Pun intended.

I returned to California in October of 2004 and it was as wonderful as ever. And I felt right at home. I took few pictures as I already "knew" the lessons most quilts could teach. But as usual, there were some that caused me to stop and----you know what I mean. Pamela Allen, Jan Clark, Betsy Lacy, Debra Danka, Keiko Ohno to name a few. For reasons more personal than quilt related I did not go to California this October. In a blog, Crazy for Fiber, I read what this quilter had to report from the PIQF in 2005 and looked at her pictures. Now I wish I had gone. Next year.

I know pictures would help. Visual aids are always important to a presentation--usually the best part. I have a digital camera and a liberal arts education--I should be able to figure the posting of pictures out. It's just cut and paste. Right???

Friday, October 14, 2005

The first time for everything

Boy, oh boy! Everyone said this would be EASY! And after we found out the Mac needed to be in Safari mode we finally found the START button and it was easy.

I remembered to write down what I entered in all the boxes this time--I always think "Oh I won't forget that" and when I need the info-it's gone. Like when you put something in a "safe place"---a place so safe you never see that particular item again. I have a long list of items that I have in "safe" places and on the occasion of finding one of them, the first thing I say to myself is "why did I put it here?" And then I put the item in an even better safe place.

Scored some cool stamps at the post office yesterday---"let's Dance". I like the Merengue best and will save those stamps for special mail. So if you get one--do the happy dance. If not, consider that I may have run out of stamps before I got to you. I'd include a picture and violate trademark rules etc. but I don't know how to do pictures yet. Just getting started has worn me out.