Sunday, October 5, 2014

CHALLENGE: Structure

The space within becomes the reality of the building.
~Frank Lloyd Wright

My 12 x 12 groups's challenge for this quarter was "Structure".  "Structure" can mean many things; for me, from my nerdy engineering side, I thought first of building structures

 I went to Google, looking for structures and the photo below spoke to me.
Below is a photo of my piece in process; it is tough to see all of the layers.  I pieced fabric, sewed additional lines, rubbed  metallic wax on it, covered it with tulle, and then added the two circular appliques.  I knew I needed to add one more layer of stronger supports, but was not sure how I would layer them on.  
 I took a photo of the work-in-process and printed out six copies; I took a white colored pencil and began experimenting with how the final layer would look. Finally, I could add the velvet thread to finish it! 

I wanted this work to be dark and steely, but thought that one pop of color was needed, so a citrine colored velvet puff was added.  Below is my finished piece, entitled, "Industrial Pop".  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Giveaway Winner!

Below is the comment that was drawn out of the hat to win the hand-dyed fabric- Congratulations!  Please email me your address ( and I will mail you your goodies!

Your ornament tradition makes me smile. I am sure that there are many of us who have tried this tradition and failed to keep it up as life changed through the years. I made similar ornaments throughout the years for my kids, and a few select others. I enjoyed the making as much, if not more than, the recipients enjoyed the gift. My kids, now grown, have their boxes of handmade ornaments from me, and some made by their own hands to use on their own trees. Now, with a grandchild, I need to dust off the old ideas, add some new one..........thanks for sharing your tradition.

Monday, September 15, 2014

DESIGN: Taking My Art with Me! and Giveaway

Being creative is not a hobby; it is a way of life.
I love making art quilts, but what I love even more is using my art quilts in wearables. I have used two of my 12" x 12" art quilts to adorn my iPads.

This is a challenge quilt for the theme incandescence. You can read about how I made it here.
This second challenge quilt is for the theme Celestial. You can read about how I made it here.
For both of these art quilts, I created custom iPad skins for the outside from a photo of the quilt. I love how both the outer skin matches the wallpaper.   
With the same photo of the quilt, I went to Spoonflower and created custom fabric.  If you have not read about Spoonflower, you can read more about it here. With my custom fabric, I made a heavily quilted mini quilt for the outer case and another mini quilt for the inside of the case.  I adhered the two mini quilts together to create a strong and durable case.
Below are the insides of the iPad cases.  The key to making these tablet cases are two-fold:
  1. Both mini quilts must be heavily quilted.
  2. I use wax on the outside to help the fabric weather anything it could encounter.
When iPads first came out, I made a case for my first generation iPad  , I still use it today and it has very little wear on it (the photos below were taken after I had been using the case for about two years); you can read about it here

Thanks for reading my blog today.  Leave me a comment and I will pick a person to win these three fat quarters that I hand-dyed (2- cotton, 1-velvet). Check my blog Tuesday at 5 pm (EST) for the winner!
I have another blog posting today about Quilting Arts Holiday 2014.  I talk about my love affair with homemade ornaments.  Though most of the ornaments I show on the post are for my pre-art quilting years, I wrote the post more so to talk about our holiday traditions.

Quilting Arts Holiday and Giveaway

Christmas, my child, is love in action. 
Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas. ~Dale Evans
I am very excited to be part of Quilting Arts Holiday. My article shows you how to make the ornaments on the cover of the issue.
Most of my life, I have had a love affair with homemade ornaments.  I am the youngest of five children and when my older sisters and brothers began to have children, I began making ornaments annually for my nieces and nephew.  I always gave the ornaments at Thanksgiving dinner, so I have vivid memories of racing around Thanksgiving morning, sewing, gluing, painting the last bits of the ornaments.

I have such wonderful memories  scouring the newsstands every year looking for holiday issues of magazines to come out to find the perfect annual ornament.  I still have these old magazines and look through them each year.

When I was in college, my creative skills and my pocketbook were very limited and the ornaments showed these lackings; often, I did not even have enough money to make an extra ornament for me to keep.  Here are some of my early ornaments:

1984: These were obviously from a kit.

Mid-80's: Santa made from sawdust. 

1990: A gold lame angel  (what was I thinking!?).

1991: Cinnamon stick painted Santa.

Then came the years that I could afford to make the ornaments, but I was working so many hours at my job, I looked for cute and simple.

2000: Snowman, Angel, Santa, Teddy Bear felt stuffies.
2001: Snowman, , Santa,  Deer are made from muslin, stuffed, painted and then added rusted wings.  

2002: A conical Santa (it was tough getting the beard/face detail on camera)

2005: A snowman made from vintage quilts.

 2006: This ornament pattern was from an issue of Piecework magazine.

I also began to make to make bags to store the ornaments.

The other part of my homemade ornament love affair are the ones that were made for me.  
These are some of the many homemade gifts that my college roommate (and still very dear friend), Maria, has made for me over the years.

 One of my art doll friends made these Julie McCullough ornaments for a group of us.

This is an oldie, but goodie; I received this clothespin soldier when I was in college during a secret Santa exchange. I treasure it every year when I put it on the tree.

As I look back on all of the ornaments that I made, I am most proud that I created a tradition that went on for over 30 years.  Each of my nieces and nephew received a box of 'Aunt Kathy' ornaments when they moved out of their parents' home; they talk about how much joy it brings when they decorate their trees annually.

Thanks for reading my blog today...I hope you enjoy Quilting Arts Holiday issue!  Leave me a comment and I will pick a person to win these three fat quarters that I hand-dyed (2- cotton, 1-velvet). Check my blog Tuesday at 5 pm (EST) for the winner!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Quilting Arts Holiday

Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, 
doesn't come from a store. ~Dr. Seuss
The Grinch probably knew he could get tons of great ideas in the Quilting Arts 2014!

I will be part of Quilting Arts Holiday issue blog hop, my blog for the hop is on Monday. Here's a list of all the blogs to check out and get some Holiday inspiration.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

DESIGN: When in Doubt, Dip it in Dye

See that any time you feel pained or defeated, it is only because you insist on clinging to what doesn't work. Dare to let go and you won't lose a thing except for a punishing idea.
Guy Finley
Last fall when I was on our annual quilt guild's retreat, I bought a couple 'jelly rolls' of fabric.  Excited to have cut fabric, I got home and put together a sweatshirt jacket (my favorite things to wear!) Once it was pieced and quilted, I just did not care for how it looked. What to do? What to do? This is what the fabric looked like:
I took the plunge (literally) and threw it in a bucket of red dye. When I pulled it out- I liked it- I really liked it! I decided to add purple cuffs (also dipped in the red dye) and topped it off with a couple of Dorset buttons. And presto-chango...I have a new fashion favorite! What do you think?
Have you ever finished something that you did not like the finished product? What did you do?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

ART QUILT GROUP: Surface Design

art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take risks. ~Mark Rothko

In volume 8 of Quilting Arts' e-mag, 'In Stitches', there is a fun article, 'A Collaborative Collaboration'.
Essentially six different artists conducted a surface design round robin.  My Art Quilt Group talked about it and four members decided to partake.  
Here are the rules from the original group:
  • Each of us started with a plain white fat quarter.  
  • Each artist added a layer of surface design to each fat quarter, using a variety of techniques.  
  • We limited our techniques to surface design methods, so embellishing, cutting, sewing, and collaging were not permitted. 
  • Surface design covers such a wide array of techniques that there seemed little danger in running out of new things to try. 
  • Dyeing, painting, stamping, printing, discharging- and other techniques- were used by the participating artists.
So for our group, we each needed 4 fat quarters and performed the smae suface treatment on all four pieces.  The next month, these four pieces were given to the next person for them to add another type of surface design.  After four rounds, we each ended up with four different fat quarters.

As the round robin progressed, it became stressful to add an additional surface treatment. We asked ourselves,  "What if after three rounds, I ruin the piece?"  We all agreed that the experimentation was worth the risk.

Here are our results:
Techniques for above piece:
1. Fabric Painting: Setacolor transparent- Ultramarine Blue
2. Resist Dyeing: Flag folded with popsicle stick resist- Dharma's #15Magenta Dye
3.  Fabric Painting: Applied with texture roller- Jacquard Textile Color, #110 violet and #123 white
4. Stamping: Applied with circular daubers- Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow, 822 Sulfur green, Jacquard Textile paint, 123 White, and 568 Pearl

Techniques for above piece:
1. Hand-dyed with Dye Magnet: Dharma #61 Ice Blue
2. Over-dyed with flour paste resist: Procion Mx #086 Forest Green
3.  Printed:Printed with cut leaf shapes from plastic plates
4. Sponge print: Olive green acrylic

Techniques for above piece:
1. Hand-dyed: Navy Procion, double strength
2.  Paint: Yellow acrylic paint
3.  Foil: red foil with steam-a-sem
4. Discharge: Bleach pen on back side 

Techniques for above piece:
1. Hand-dyed: Procion, 072 Medium Blue and 192 Lilac
2.  Printed with Bubble-wrap: Mix of Luminiere Pearl White and Dye-Na-Flow Violet.  Applied with a brayer
3.  Stencil: Freezer paper stencils (used 16 times!)
4. Rubbings: Paintstiks rubbed over a rubber-stamp

We enjoyed this round robin so much we are talking about starting another one next month!  Until then, the challenge is to see who uses one of their fat quarters first!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

DESIGN: What a Summer! & Kantha Vest

Art is the only way to run away
without leaving home ~Twyla Tharp
My poor blog!  It has become so neglected this summer, but it has been an unexpectedly busy summer revolving around my dear family.

First, my niece that lives in Phoenix acquired Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome which is a serious disorder that occurs when the body's defense (immune) system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. This leads to nerve inflammation that causes muscle weakness and other symptoms. My niece is paralyzed from the chest down with very limited use of her arms.  My sister (my niece's mom) and I have traveled to Phoenix four times this summer. We leave again tomorrow to move my niece and her two children to Michigan.  Here is a photo of my great niece and great nephew- they have stolen my heart this summer!
The second thing that took some time was helping my other sister with her wedding business; she decorates wedding and reception venues.  Obviously, this has been a busy time of the year, so I have been lending a helping hand.  Here are some photos of what they do:

Here is their Etsy store that has lots of their printed paper products and here is their Facebook page with LOTS more photos.

I have always been very close to my two sisters, this summer has made us even closer!

Now back to my quote at the beginning, Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.  This week I am running away to India; I love Kantha! Kantha is a type of embroidery popular in eastern South Asia, especially Bangladesh and the Indian. Kantha stitching is also used to make simple quilts  Kantha comprises of the simplest stitch in the language of embroidery - the running stitch.  

Here is my Kantha board on Pinterest. For a long, long time, I have wanted to make a piece of clothing with Kantha stitching. With all the hours on airplanes this summer, it was the perfect time to embroider.

I pieced the vest sections together using a combination of Kaffe Fassett fabric and some of my own hand-dyes. For the quilting layers, I did not use batting, I wanted a thinner sandwich, so I used flannel instead.
My dilemma was how to make sure that my stitching lines were straight and evenly apart.  I considered marking tools, but felt this would be tough because most marking tools wear off as you work the piece AND I really could not mark the sections on a plane.  I finally decided that I would baste the lines in place; it worked like a charm!  I could easily remove the basting thread as I began stitching a row, in fact, there were needle holes left from the basting making it easy to space the stitches.

Here my vest!