Progress

January 22nd, 2017

Some progress to report in spite of having a lot of US Nationals Figure Skating to watch on TV.  I usually have the TV on when I sew, just for company, I guess, not to really watch.  But certain shows require actual watching, and skating is one, so it does cut into the productivity!

A lot of the time when I sew these pieced pictorial pieces, I use straight line seams, it is easier;  but these fire scenes seem to require curved seam piecing which is definitely more time consuming! What takes the most time though, is choosing which fabric goes next.  Then the cutting and auditioning and sometimes even sewing before deciding perhaps something else might be better!

Here, I thought I might extend the fire’s glow a little higher,

Or perhaps a darker fabric would be more dramatic!

Dilemmas.

New work

January 20th, 2017

In spite of good intentions, there continues to be too much time between postings.  That’s not to say things don’t happen, but perhaps not so much happens that you would be interested in!

Like, do you care that I finally got the sales tax filed?  I didn’t think so, but still, it took a lot of time to get the info together and sent.

I completed two small pieces, one a 12 x 12″ bird challenge piece for my local art group that I won’t reveal until after our next meeting on Thursday, and a 6 x 8″ for the auction at the SAQA Convention in the spring.

 

These little pieces will be matted so the edges are only zigzagged.

I started a new fire piece since I needed a new landscape and all of these fabrics were still out on the cutting table from the last ones.

This is after the first working day and so far, I’m liking it.  I intend to post progress shots as I go, we’ll see how that goes!

It’s Been A Long Time

January 5th, 2017

Much has happened since last I posted here. Our daughter Karen died on Oct 26, very unexpectedly. Plans to go to Houston were cancelled. Our other daughter arrived from AZ for the funeral and to stay through her father’s scheduled surgery three days later. That went well, but a few days after she left to go home, he developed a bad reaction to the pain medication and I had a couple of scary days until the effects wore of and he regained normalcy.

In the meantime we were sorting through Karen’s things, donating most of it to various agencies. This is a very sad and time consuming process and I can’t express enough, the need for everyone to get a jump start and sort your own things while you can. Thank you, Cindy, for all your help! After the furniture, books, clothing and other personal stuff there are still boxes of papers that haven’t been gone through yet.

I had no desire to create, but somewhere along the line, I forced myself to get into the studio one Saturday morning and make two little 6 x 6” pieces for a local gallery’s annual Christmas Mini show and sale. It was something that I had been wanting to do, but was unsure if they would be accepted, since they were textile pieces. Everything gets uniformly framed in a wide black frame with a gold accent, very classy. They were accepted and they sold quickly! I was asked to make more, so I did two more and those also quickly sold. At that point the owner asked if I would make a large prairie fire piece for him to show and sell in the gallery. This finally gave me a focus and got me back into design and create mode. It has been fun to have a goal again and yesterday I delivered the finished piece which is 56.5 x 27” to the SouthWind Gallery here in Topeka in time for this month’s First Friday opening.

Catching Up

October 14th, 2016

Oh, it has been too long!  It’s been a busy time with a trip to Maine squeezed in there, adjusting to the new vision challenges, and trying to keep up with business stuff. In a week I should have my new glasses and hopefully better closeup vision.

I entered the Flinthills scene into the Topeka Art Guild’s annual judged “Kansas” show and it was awarded third place which was somewhat of a surprise as there was a lot of good stuff this year!  My entry to IQF in Houston, “After The Storm” has won something but I won’t know what until the awards ceremony Nov 1st. I haven’t been to Houston for several years so am looking forward to it!

Last evening one of my quilting groups, Fabric, Fiber and Friends met here at my studio for the reveal of our last project, a take off on that old whisper game where you whisper something in someone’s ear and they whisper it to someone else and by the time it gets back to the first person it has totally evolved into something different.  In this case each person was inspired by the piece before their’s and no one got to see everything together til last night.

I started, suggesting 12 x 12″ format because it is so doable in a month’s time.  I was contemplating the large KS FlintHills piece at the time but had not decided which season it would be (ended up it was summer) so I had pulled a lot of fabric for the decision making. The cattle in the snow seemed like the right scale and it was easy to choose a few complimentary commercial prints to complete my vision which is an imaginary Flint Hills landscape. I passed it on to Shawn who was inspired by my use of commercial prints. I see similarities in the colors, and the swirly sky and that it is a landscape with living creatures, in this case ducks with a decidedly oriental flair.

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When Randy got Shawn’s piece, he definitely saw those ducks and created this portrait all in commercial batiks, which surprised us because he is known for his amazing hand dyes! The eye is a black headed brad, a very cool idea, that was repeated by Jane in brown, in her rendition of a loon, beautifully done!  You can almost feel the cool damp air and hear the haunting call.

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Dixie carried on the watery theme and colors; you can almost imagine the loons nesting in those cattails! And Rosie ran with the cattails but changed the color scheme by using a vivid napkin as a backdrop for silloueted cattails enhanced by lovely hand quilting stitches!

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Barbara kept the watery theme and changed her sky color to reflect sunrise or sunset. She broke up the panel print to create a watercolor effect lakeside garden.  That was enough to inspire Karen to finally do the watercolor quilt she had always wanted to try.

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Everyone had a lot of fun with this project, and true to what we expected, the final message had no connection to the beginning one, but still connections were there, a progression of seasons, nature themes, the use of commercial prints, both piecing and applique, machine and hand quilting, and our love of color, both subtle and bright.

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Finished Facing/ Cataract Surgery

August 20th, 2016

Except for the sleeve and documentation tag, the Kansas Flinthills landscape is finished.

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I’ve only done one faced edging before when I followed someone else’s instructions and it was a pain in the butt. This time I followed my intuition and did what felt right. It was easier and came out great.

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I really like how it looks – the simplicity of it.

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I don’t like how much hand work is involved with sewing the hanging sleeve on by hand. When I do a bound edge, I sew one side of the hanging sleeve into the binding seam, eliminating quite a bit of hand sewing.

Since I had my cataract surgery last week on my right eye, my vision is pretty lopsided right now. I am looking at the world through one corrected and one uncorrected eye, so things are a bit wonky. My new interocular lense is for long distance sight so my close up vision is not so good. Next week I will get the left eye done so I expect the long distance will get better and the close up, perhaps worse. If needed I will be able to get reading glasses for that eventually, for now I find a magnifying glass helpful.

The effects of color have been interesting and so obvious right now when alternating eyes makes it easy to see the difference in the before and after surgery colors. One does not realize how yellow everything is with cataracts because the change is so gradual. I thought I was seeing perfectly fine, but in reality that was not the case. I had been thinking that we were having an especially lovely spring this year and I gave credit to the generous rainfall. Everything was such a saturated green this year with golden highlights, just beautiful! It was just the yellow cataracts. Yellow being always a part of green sort of intensified it. And the washed out areas of sunlight turned yellow. The surgeon related a similar story. A lady came in for her first checkup. She said “Look at my shirt!” “What about it?” he asked. “It’s PURPLE!”, she exclaimed, “It was brown when I bought it.”
Makes sense, purple and yellow make brown.

Just last evening, I noticed that the shower curtain and towels didn’t go together any more. I thought they had nice peachy colors, but in fact, the yellow in the cataracts made the pink in the shower curtain peachy and the beige towel took on a nice glow and they looked so good. But in reality the pink and the beige that they really are looks pretty bad!

Time to go shopping; I wonder what I will discover next! It is an interesting journey!

Focus Friday

August 19th, 2016

School started this week, so today’s choice for Focus Friday is “Little Old One Room Schoolhouse”.  I actually attended a one room schoolhouse one year and this always brings back memories – mostly good!

The traditional maple leaf block has been good to me! It’s a favorite, and I have included it in several of my patterns. This little pieced wall hanging, approximately 23 x 27″, is so quick and easy to do, even for a beginner – makes a great gift!

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“Little Old One Room Schoolhouse” Innovations #00322 $8.00
Click on PATTERNS in the side bar to order.

The 23 x 27″ machine pieced and machine quilted pattern sample quilt is also for sale, only $200.00, email if interested.

I have been so bad this summer, at posting to this blog, including Focus Fridays. Those of you who are on FaceBook have probably seen postings already for “Coneflowers”,

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“Dragonfly Dream”,

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“Frog Frolics”,

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“Udderly Preposterous”,

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“Peace”,

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and “Tall Sunflowers”

 

450TallSunfCheck them out in the PATTERN section, and remember, the samples are for sale as well!

I’ll try to do better at keeping up!

Oak and Acorn

August 13th, 2016

Wow, nearly a month since my last post – I really intended to do better!

Many years ago, I started a quilt for an antique bed that we inherited. I wanted it to enhance the bed which had carved acorn shapes on the posts, so I chose the Oakleaf and Acorn block. I hand appliqued the leaves and acorns in varying shades of burgundy reproduction prints on many shades of cream traditional background fabrics. The backgrounds of the blocks alternate between one solid fabric or pieced four patches of four different fabrics, so the resulting quilt top is quite scrappy while still remaining basically a two color quilt.

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The blocks are 15″ square and there are 20 of them set 4 x 5 and surrounded by a border of a burgundy oak and acorn print with a narrow gold accent. Because It is a special quilt and I hand appliqued all of the blocks I had to hand quilt it as well. I decided to put excessive amounts of quilting so everything is outlined in a double row of stitches, a quarter inch (eyeballed), then another double row of stitches. The background fabrics are quilted in a grid of 1/2″ spaced lines. I considered adding more lines to end with a 1/4″ grid, but even I think that is excessive! When I started, I did all of the outlining on all 20 blocks. then started on the leaves and acorns and did a few backgrounds to get the feel of how it would look. I am using a taupe quilting thread and a size 12 needle.

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Eventually, I put it away and was only getting it out whenever I had a hand quilting class to teach. At that rate, especially since I retired from teaching, it was never going to be finished. So, a month or so ago, I decided to get it out and start quilting a little every day; I’ve only missed a few days. I thought it would be more rewarding to completely finish each block rather than continue to do a certain element throughout and today I have 8 blocks, the first two rows, totally finished. That is gratifying and it keeps me from falling asleep while watching TV!

Click on the Hand quilting tag to see a photo of another of the blocks in progress from seven years ago!!

This past week I had my first cataract surgery so that will slow me down some. Things are a little blurry now. I will have the other eye done in 2 weeks. The lenses that I’m getting implanted are for distance, so I will eventually need glasses for reading and quilting. In the meantime I will still try to quilt every day as long as I can!

I’m Back!

July 16th, 2016

It’s been too long since I have posted here!  I’ve worked through  – or accepted that my computer is different now.  It seems to be doing most of what I need for it to do.

Also my camera issues.  I really don’t understand cameras so I paid for an hour of one on one instruction to help me to get the sharp photo that I needed for an upcoming book.  It did not help. After struggling with f-stops and other buttons and dials, my contact person at the book told me to use the focus ring and that certainly helped.  Why did my paid instructor not tell me that??? Maybe it is just so basic everyone else already knows?  Anyway the resulting pictures were not perfect but so much better, they were acceptable. I am thinking that when Fall Semester starts up, I may take a basic photography class. It can’t hurt!

I have finished the machine quilting on the Kansas Flint Hills landscape and I am quite pleased with how it came out.  I have had it on the design wall for a few days now,  and I have decided that I will finish it with a faced edge, because I want to emphasize the vast openess of the scene and not have it confined by a binding.

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I have received word that “After The Storm” has been accepted to IQF in Houston this fall, so  that is exciting!!

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Computer Problems

June 5th, 2016

I have been without access to the internet (except for my iPhone) for a week. Yesterday a technician came out and got it fixed for me, so now I will try to get used to my newly upgraded system and get caught up on a week’s worth of work! Some of my old programs no longer work with the upgrade so I have to find solutions.

Progress has been made on the quilting of the Flint Hills piece, it is well over half finished now and looking good!

Chicago is old news now but I will go ahead and show just a few more photos. The skyline from Lake Michigan at the start of the Architectural River Cruise, it was chilly, an overcast day, but luckily no rain.

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The skyscrapers,Trump is everywhere!

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the tallest building, Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) 103 stories, (we went to the top. Cars below looked like Matchbox toys and the people like ants. I did not step out onto the glass platform – looking out the windows was bad enough!

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And the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park near the art museum. By the end of the week the skies had cleared and the weather was perfect!

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More Chicago

May 26th, 2016

Some other paintings I enjoyed at the Art Institute of Chicago last week were Claude Monet’s “Wheatstacks(End of Summer)”

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Camille Pissarro’s ” Haymaking at Eragny”

 

HaymakingAtEragniand Mary Cassatt’s “La Toilet” and “Woman Reading in a Garden”.Cassatt2Cassatt

I couldn’t get photos of everything I liked at the Art Institute, there were SO many!  The paintings, the antiquities, the furnishings, the sculpture!!
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Too much to fit into one visit, if I lived there I would be a member for sure, and spend a day or more at a time in each exhibit!