Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Lovely Thanksgiving

My brother and sister in law had Thanksgiving dinner at their beautiful restored home on the lake. It's the type of home you see in magazines that are the place the family gathers. It is absolutely perfect. Mary had her Christmas decorations up and they add another festive touch to the whole experience.

The quilt in the picture is one they purchased from me. It alternates with another one they hang for the rest of the year. A perfect spot to hang this quilt with the perfect decorations to enhance it.

I could do a whole blog post about all the vignettes and decorations in their home.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
For the first time in 9 years I spent the holiday with some of my siblings. I come from a family of 5 and when you add in all our children and grand children our family now numbers 42!
There were 11 of us for dinner. With marriages of our children, etc there is always more than one place to spend the holiday. Some of them go to two Thanksgiving dinners.
I don't know how anyone can eat twice.
I ate what I considered lightly and came home and took a nap. It has taken me until now to be able to post to my blog.

A highlight of our Thanksgiving dinners is our secret family dressing recipe. Our dad always made this. I think the recipe came from his mother. We've tweaked it over the years until it is perfect. I've written up the recipe and keep it on the computer. I could never remember exactly how much of each of the 12 ingredients I use. At times I have had help from one of the grandchildren. I add to the bottom of the recipe who helped make the dressing, how long it took to make the dressing, the amount I've made each year, how many people were there, how large the turkey was, what time I put it in the oven, who brought what and what time we ate. That may sound silly to some of you but it really helps me figure out what size turkey to buy etc. Each year I get at least one request from someone in the family who needs me to email it to them.

More later when I finish my Christmas toy shopping for the family at Utoypia. It's just the perfect place to shop for quality toys that will be passed down to the next generation at really good prices. I just love to shop here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yikes - Stripes!!

When I opened my last blog post and saw the purses right under my blog header I thought to myself - gee those look so similar.
And the more I thought about it I remembered how much I like stripes.
I have used stripes in many of my quilts.
When I'm shopping a stripe top calls my name and says "Buy me."
I didn't think I had used any stripes in decorating but then I remembered the gorgeous wool multicolor rug I put in my Florida living room to pull together the various colors and styles of orphan furniture.
As I think about this it is not something that has happened recently. I sewed stripe tops as a teenager. As a thin young mother I remember the neon lime and hot pink diagonal stripe bathing suit . And if that wasn't enough I also purchased a matching cover up. Those stripes were almost 2" wide! It was on sale at the end of the season. I wonder why? I loved that combination.

Technically this quilt is a stripe quilt. The fabric was strip pieced into large rectangles and then sub cut and rotated to get this effect.
I named it the Office Quilt because I thought it was something that could hang in most offices or cubicles. I taught the class on making this quilt many, many times. It was always a popular class and something that could be done even by people who weren't quilters (yet).
It is the same format I used for the quilt I showed on my blog post on September 15, 2008. This one was more successful and the effect was what I wanted. It is quilted with a rose and blue metallic thread which adds just a little sparkle and accent.
I can almost guarantee you this is not the last time you will see stripe quilts on my blog!
Click to Mix and Solve
And of course a stripe puzzle is in order for today!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let it Snow, I'm ready!

I'm working hard trying to get this house organized and decluttered. This means getting rid of things, finishing things and just plain straightening things and putting them away.

One of the things I did was finish two felted purses. I made them several years ago but never attached the straps. I added the straps and it was so easy I don't know why it took so long.

I just love this bright Christmas red felted scarf I made from sweaters.
It is made this from 2 identical sweaters that were never worn. I cut strips from them and felted them together with my Embellisher machine. I put marbles on the wrong side and wound the marbles with tiny rubber bands.
I put it a mesh laundry bag. It was then put in the washing machine with some towels, detergent and very hot water. I ran the washer for about 25 minutes, checking it for how much it felted and stopped when I was satisfied with the texture.
It did create a lot of lint in the washer and I stopped it often and with a strainer removed all the lint on the surface of the water.
I dried it flat on a drying rack. After it was dry I carefully removed the rubber bands and marbles.
I'm thrilled with it as it turned out just as I hoped it would.
If you click the photo you can see the texture from the marbles.

It's a quick project and one you still have time to make for someone for Christmas.

When I looked outside this morning the ground was covered with snow. It's our first snowfall and everything looks so fresh and clean. I don't expect it to last. Do you recognize the view? It is the same view you saw on my fall post on November 2nd.

Now I can wear my new cuddly scarf!

I'm also still getting rid of things. One of the things I have decided to part with is part of my magazine collection. I've listed the magazines on my side bar. If you are interested in any of them email me.

And of course I couldn't conclude this post without a puzzle so you can enjoy our snow.
Click to Mix and Solve
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Using the Computer in Quilt Design

This is a quilt I designed on Corel Draw to use the special fabric I dyed that gradates from dark to light and back to dark.
What you are seeing is the computer image.
After I designed it with the computer I had no desire to create it in fabric. The satisfaction I get designing was fulfilled.
Corel Draw and Corel Photo Paint are my graphics programs of choice.

Generally I just play with them and sometimes I come up with something that gives me the spark I need to create a quilt.

I have found if I design a quilt with Draw once I try to translate it into fabric it just doesn't work the same way. Unfortunately most of the things I have done with Draw can't be saved in a format that will allow me to post them here for you to see.
If anyone knows a way around this I'd really appreciate knowing about it.

I like to work directly in fabric. Sometimes I have a general idea what I am trying to achieve and sometimes the fabric just leads me.

I tried to design this quilt with Corel Draw and had what looked good on the computer. I chose fills for each section that resembled the fabrics I was working with. I started by making the Tulip units. When I put them on the design wall in the original configuration it just didn't work at all.
Fortunately I was able to rearrange the units I had already made and add other units to make the quilt work.
It was definitely another good lesson for me.
Another way I use Corel Draw is to create black and wite designs that I then have made into thermofax screens.
The other graphics program I find I enjoy using is Electric Quilt. Again, I use it more for ideas. Once I've seen a diagram of a completed quilt I have no interest in making it.

Since so many of you are enjoying the puzzles I have a version of the first quilt for you to solve as a puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve
I consider this a relatively easy puzzle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quilters blogs

Check out this new site at:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Studio

I've decided to share some photos of my studio with you.
These are raw unstaged photos.
I had hoped to get things looking really neat to take some photos but finally came to my senses.
This is a real WORKING studio and this is about as good as it gets.

I think your reactions will be one of two things:
1. Gee, that's a wonderful studio and I wish I had all that space. . . OR
2. My studio looks so much neater that hers, I'm glad I don't have to deal with all of that.

This is the lounge area. It's a great spot to sit and do hand work or read. It's also where friends can chat and sew. Most of the furniture was purchased on eBay from Denmark, Belgium, and Chicago!

This is the nuts and bolts working area of the studio. Sometimes it looks a little better, often it looks much worse! It has sewing machines, a cutting table, and ironing area and various storage cabinets.
I am up in the treetops on the second floor of our home as you can see from the windows.

This is the library area. I have a lot of books in the studio. They are all related to art, sewing, quilting, fabric dyeing, etc. I'm only showing you the part where the books are nicely arranged!

I also knit both by hand and with knitting machines. The yarn you see here is displayed in an old post office desk.
When I got this all set up my son came up to the studio and said "OK Mom, when are you going to knit!"
My response "What, and spoil that beautiful arrangement." But I do knit and I rearrange the yarn so it looks beautiful all the time.

Perhaps at another time I'll share more photos of the studio with you, but this is a good overview.

When the studio was completed in 1993 Quilters Newsletter came to our home and took a lot of photos of our home and my studio. It was featured in a 4 page spread in the March 1994 issue. If you have or can locate that issue theres a lot of photos to see.
And they were taken before I messed it up!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Are you ready for a more challenging puzzle

Click to Mix and Solve
Tonight I have a puzzle for you that is a challenge.
This is a cut I LOVE to do.
You will probably be able to do it faster than I can.
Let me know your time!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Finding the perfect title for a quilt

One of the hardest things for me when making a quilt is to come up with a title. When I made these 3 quilts nothing seemed right until I realized they already had names.

Quilt 266

Quilt 267

Quilt 268

Each one of these started with fabric I painted with Setacolor paint.
I looked at each piece of fabric and it gave me a general diretion to travel when making the quilts.
I added other fabrics on top of the original fabric bases.
These quilts have a lot of stitching to enhance the designs.
I also added a lot of shading to change the colors in certain areas.
Each quilt also has its own unique quilting design to enhance the art.
When I look at these quilts I feel good and they bring sunshine to a dreary day.

I also have a new puzzle for you today. I hope you enjoy it.

Click to Mix and Solve

Absolutely Fantastic Fiber Art

I was extremely fortunate to win this piece in a Fiber Art For a Cause event.

It is by Frances Holliday Alford. I'm including two images that you can enlarge so you can see some of the the detail Frances puts into her art. I had originally planned on mounting it on Ultrasuede, framing it and hanging it on the bedroom wall.

When I received it I knew I had to find a place to display it where it could be seen by everyone who comes into my house and they could handle it (carefully) and look at it close up. Close up is the best way to fully appreciate all the items Frances has incorporated in this piece. The details and objects she combines in a color flow way are amazing, surprising, pleasing to the eye, fun, neat and just beautiful.

My sister was visiting and was totally engrossed in the piece and enjoying it immensely. I mentioned some of my ideas for a place to display it. (So far I have had it on the top of a table and a credenza.)
I thought I had found a place to hang it on the wall in the bedroom. She said absolutely not. How many people would see it there. I said I would but that was not good enough for her.
She suggested I place it on a pillow (almost as if it was a pillow cover) and display it that way.
Even though I am the older sister I listened to my younger sister and this is how I am currently displaying it. (It will be moved when my grandchildren and the dogs visit.)
It is right next to the chair I sit in and I can look at it and appreciate it.
I am sure this piece of art will find many perfect locations in my home. This is it's current perfect location.
I really consider this piece interactive art as the viewer reacts to the items they see and associates many of them with parts of their life,past and present.
Frances sews all the embellishments on by hand and just can't stop until it is totally totally embellished. There are places on this pieces where the embellishments are almost 2 inches above the surface. I know you can't totally see how fantastic this is in a photo but I'm going to try and share as much as I can with you in the next photo.

Here is a close up of the entire piece. I've purposely left this photo clickable so you can really get a good detail view of this.
She is the master of embellishment in my opinion. No one else that I am aware of begins to compare.
Frances is one of the artists who will have a solo show at Quilts: Another Dimension that I have posted at the top of the right column. Hew work definitely has "another dimension".

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Licensed to Quilt

I have had my current license plates on my car for almost 30 years.
Wisconsin just started giving out vanity plates at that time.
I took my 16 year old son in for his driving test and while he was being tested I said I was going to sign up for this plate.
He said "If you have put that on your car, I'm not going to drive it."
Of course I said that was OK and since he didn't have a car he thought he'd drive Dad's.
He used my car in spite of the license plate.

These are 2 of my old plates.
Fast forward about 10 years and I thought maybe I could get a similar plate for our van. I couldn't believe my luck when I was able to get QU1LTS for it. That plate is now on my Florida car.
It's been a fun set of license plates to have.
So what does someone with a license to quilt make?

This quilt was one I made some time ago. I still love it. The title is Sangria.
Choosing titles for my quilts is always a challenge for me. I grabbed the only book around, Old Mr Boston's Bartender's Guide and found a name that suited it.

I'm also including another puzzle since so many of you are enjoying doing them.
Click to Mix and Solve
Another fun cut and another easy one. Enjoy

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quilts Being finished

I am making progress finishing my quilts for the show.
Since I can't share photos I'll include another puzzle I enjoy doing.
Click to Mix and Solve
OK, so this one is not exactly a quilt but it is about Color!
If you've been out of school for a while it also may help test your geography skills.
As soon as I post this it's back to hand sewing the facings on one of my quilts.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another Quilt Puzzle for you

While working with Jigzone I came across a new puzzle cut I had never used.
It's perfect for many of my quilts.
Here's one I think you all will enjoy.
It is fun and EASY!
How long will it take you to do this one?
It's going to be interesting to see how fast you can do this one.
Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Machine Quilting

I really enjoy machine quiltiing. What I don't like about machine quilting is having to follow a design that has been drawn on the quilt. I almost never draw a design ahead of time. I may mark off spacing if I want a certain number of motifs in a particular area but that's about it.

This is a small section of one of the quilts for my show. I have quilted some parts of it. I design my own quilting patterns by doodling on paper or in a journal. I tear these out and keep them in a loose stack of papers.

When I am ready to quilt a quilt I get out the stack and look through it and see if there is anything that looks like it will work in any part of the quilt I am quilting. It not, I doodle some more. The doodling just gets my brain and hands working together so I can "draw" the quilting lines on the quilt with my sewing machine.

When I machine quilt I start quilting on the parts I know what I'd like to do with. On this quilt I did the 2 borders with a ribbon type design first. My next area was the 2 diamonds that I quilted long skinny leaves on. I also quilting skinny ribbons on the burgundy and aqua triangles.

I like to quilt with variegated thread. I use both fine and heavy thread. My choice is usually made by what color will be most effective for what I am doing. I will wind a few yards of thread off the spool and lay it on the area I am going to quilt to get an idea how it will look when quilted. I do try to choose a thread has some contrast to the fabric, but not so much that any little irregularity draws your attention.

On this quilt you may have trouble seeing the quilting well. If you click on the photo it will get larger and you may be able to see the quilting better. Had I used thread that was a much greater contrast you would be able to see the quilting much better as well as any irregularities in my stitching.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Quilts that will not be a part of my solo show

I have been working hard trying to get all my quilts for my show done so I can go to Florida for a few weeks. I was supposed to leave today but I'm too far behind.

I really am enjoying my time here in Wisconsin. It is the first fall I have spent here in 5 years. It is my favorite time of the year and I actually am seeing some color changes in my yard - finally!

This is a quilt I dye painted. I felt it needed to be overpainted.

This is the same quilt after I overpainted it with fabric paint. I couldn't decide whether I like the new version or not.

This is another quilt I dye painted. I thought the colors were too light and that it needed more detail.

This is the same quilt overpainted.

I put both pieces on my design wall and studied them. I think they may be just fine when I add the third layer which will be the quilting.

I also decided they are just too different from the rest of my quilts for the show so they will be saved for another show.

In addition to the work on these I did get two quilts layered and ready to quilt.