Archives for the month of: September, 2006

Afer looking at this hand last night and this morning, I am not so happy with it. The quilting looks off and weird. I think it was the batting that I used. My plan now is to make another one – same design, etc, but better batting and quilting.

I really had trouble with the quilting, because there was nothing to grab on to. I really wanted to use the Glitter, but, as I mentioned, couldn’t get the tension right. My machine better behave or I am junking it and getting a new one! I will try again with straight lines and the Glitter.

The good thing about doing something over is that the second time goes faster. I don’t feel it is a waste; I feel that I am improving the process.

As promised, I made the hand today – mostly. Here is a progression of pictures.
Back of first side:
I did the drawing of my hand before I thought of the wrist. Something caught my eye and made me think of the glove edging, so I added it afer I had already cut the Tear-Away stabilizer.

Pieced first side ready for applique’.

When I saw the challenge, I could only think of Hearts in Hands.

Preparing the second side. I wasn’t sure how to do it, but sort of figured it out as I went along.

I decided to put a spiral on the back. It seems to be a powerful sign for me. This side is evolving into the front. I used some glue to keep the spiral down and flat before stitching.

Both pieces ready for quilting.

First bit of quilting. I had to rip it out, because the Libby magic has worn off and the tension was terrible. I wanted to use Glitter, but couldn’t get it to work no matter what I did. I did not have a 90/14 topstitch needle, which is what Libby recommends, so that may have been the problem.

Quilted and ready for binding. I plan to do a blue satin stitch around the edge tomorrow. I hope I can.

Karey is always thinking of interesting things to spur us on creatively. I was sent an e-mail about this exhibit, which will be held at Houston. Subsequently, the hands will be sent to the Creative Spirit Center to become part of their permanent collection. It would be great to have a piece in a museum!

I was reminded when Deirdre over at Deirdre’s Sloppy Studio mentioned it again and showed her hand. I decided that I will make one tomorrow. I picked the fabric and have a design. Wait and see!

As you can see, I have worked a lot on Thoughts on Dots. Mostly, as is my current mode of working, moving the fabrics around. However, this time, I also replaced a number of fabrics that weren’t working for me. This arrangement has been up on the wall for a week with none of the fabrics really bothering me. It may be the final layout.

I spent the weekend of 8/10-8/14 visitng the fabric that I sent to Seattle with St. JCN. I sent it to Seattle to visit its cousins and have its spa treatment (read: washing and ironing). Of course, visiting St. JCN was much more important than the fabric. 😉

We spent the weekend immersed in fabric related activities, eating, sleeping and chatting a mile a minute. It was fantastic! I left my house stressed, catching a cold and in pain and returned refreshed, no cold in evidence and pain-free. it was a good reminder that fabric fun is good for my soul and good friends who don’t judge my whacky, and sometimes misguided ideas, are invaluable.

One of our main activities was visitng the Association of Pacific Northwest Quilters Show held at Seattle Center. The layout of the quilts was the same as 2004 and I was disappointed. I really thought that they should have returned to the layout they used in previous years. Despite my problems with the layout there were a number of wonderful quilts. Good colors, great execution of patterns, wonderful choices of fabric combinations. Unfortunately, however, nothing that made me say WOW! Photos of some of the quilts are posted at:
APNQ 2006 quilts pt.1
APNQ 2006 quilts pt.2

We also got started on an auction quilt that St. JCN promised to an organization, The Healing Center, which helps adults, children and families deal with grief. The quilt started out as multi-colored half square triangles so that it would appeal to parents of boys as well as girls, but St. JCN thinks that she will stick with predominantly blue and green and perhaps change the white to a light green. Even if she doesn’t use any of the squares we made together, it is always great to work together.

Here is a picture of the design as I left in Seattle:

As usual, I purchased a number of pieces of fabric. Many dot designs were purchased in order to add to my dots collection. Other fabrics were purchased with some spcific projects in mind. I bought nearly the entire line of Denise Schmidt fabrics fabrics. These were new designs to me – not design types and colors that I normally buy- but interesting none the less and it is always good to branch out form the norm. You can see the fabrics I bought in my Weekend Photos post. I also saw a quilt by Sugata Shah at the Quiltworks Northwest booth (for which they were selling the pattern) that I will probably make from the Denise Schmidt fabric — or at least start out with that idea! I didn’t buy the pattern, because it was just squares and I can manage something similar without a pattern. I have been thinking about that pattern, though and whether I should have purchased it for the inspiration. We’ll see. I will certainly credit Ms. Shah. No, there is no creativity involved, but I think it is important to get sewing. Of course, as projects move along, I tend to deviate from my original plans quite frequently, so who knows how the project will end up? In any case, I still need to get some browns for background.

Mostly St. JCN and I talked, caught up, shared tips and tricks for various things, shopped, did car required errands and relaxed. The worst part was the airport. I spent so much time in the airport that it was a major time sink for the trip, despite the fact that there were no real holdups. Earlier in the day there were major delays, especially at SeaTac once the British terrorist story broke. Fortunately, my flight was later, most people were well behaved. The no-water rule is really a problem for me, though. I was extremely thirsty after both flights.

Above: entire piece.

I worked on Thoughts on Dots today, mostly moving squares around trying to get the right look and balance.

Above: top left.

Above: bottom left.

Above: top right.

Above: bottom right.

After the CQFA meeting today, I came home, eschewed the work nagging in the back of my mind and worked on Thoughts on Dots. Earlier this week, I started to sew the squares into pairs. Today I kept on sewing – four patches, groups of two four patches until I was finished with the main part.

Above: The main part nearly sewn. The big problem I had was that the squares were not the same size. Part of it could be the ruler that I used at St. JCN’s. However, St. JCN said that the fabric was stretching as it went through the feed dogs. It was getting really bad as sewed the four patches together. Finally, I decided to take a page out of St. JCN’s book and trim the squares. Nobody will sue me for changing the size of the blocks. I changed my rotary blade and very carefully measured and trimmed the 4 patches. The larger pieces went together better after that, but I noticed as the same pieces went through the sewing machine a third or fourth time that they started to stretch again. While it is possible that my feeding of the pieces through the machine or my pressing had something to do with the stretching, I doubt it as I was trying hard to be very careful.

This is the second time that I am doubting my machine. I guess I need to take it in for a service. I can use the Gem while the 9K is on vacation, but I think it is time for me to really consider a new machine. 10 years is long enough for one machine and it has seen some hard use.

Above: Detail of the main part nearly sewn together.

Above: Finally, I got the entire main section done. I call it the main section, because I need to piece the entire top in sections. Since I plan for this piece to be a cuddle quilt, I think it will be relatively large. My design wall isn’t big enough to do the whole piece at once. Pay attention to the bottom two rows, which are still unsewn in this picture.

The above photo shows the former bottom two rows at the top of the quilt. They will still be on the bottom of the top section (far above photos), but on top of this new section, which is shown directly above. These are new squares that I threw up on the design so I could arrange the bottom part. The rule is that I am not allowed to move the top two rows as they have to coordinate with both the section above and the section below. I know they coordinate with the section above as they are, but since I can no longer see that section, I have to leave them as is to ensure I don’t make any egregious color errors.

I didn’t think I would make changes right away, but even before I got all the squares up on the wall, I began moving squares away from their fellows of the same color and removing squares that were too dull or didn’t look right. The immediate problem is that the colors in this section seem darker to me. I think I will have to remove some of the darker colors and put in more pink, add some more of the fabrics with the white backgrounds in order to make it more sherbety.

There are colors/fabrics that I like, but may not make it into the final piece. One example is the blue 60s dot (left hand side 3rd from the bottom, two from the left.)

I like the weird spiral dot smack in the middle, but it may be too different to include on the front of this piece.

On the back, I may make columns of the leftover squares and alternate them with plain rows – like a row quilt. It would be good not to let those already cut squares go to waste.

I was thinking about binding today and may add a thin rectangular border of various fabrics and pull it to the back rather than making a regular binding. We will see.

I bought a slim volume from the Gualala Arts Center (707-884-1138) containing quilts from the Penny Nii collection. Sue Friedland wrote: “Title: 4 x 4 x 12 BY 3 X 3 X 9
The 4 x 4 x 12 refers to a collection of art quilts commissioned in the 1990s, from leading international artquilters, by Penny Nii of San Francisco. The twelve 48 inch square artquilts, by such luminaries as Michael James, Judith Larzelere, Libby Lehman, Theresa May and our own Sue Friedland, have never before being exhibited publicly. With them will be nine 36 inch square quilts by local artquilters — Mary Austin, Annie Beckett, Suzan Friedland, Kathye Hitt, Iris Lorenz-Fife, Janet Sears, Carol Tackett, Bonnie Toy, and yourself…”

I had a hard time actually getting a hold of someone at the arts center who would sell it to me, but eventually I received my copy. The quilts are great. Star by Leslie Gabrielse is interesting because of the incorporation of classical elements into this art quilts. Jane Sassaman’s Brocade in in her style, but looks very similar to a row quilt.

It is worth getting a copy of this little catalog. I hope it has success so that other quilt exhibits will be encouraged to print catalogs.