email Youtube

Home
Galleries
Blog
Workshops & Calendar
Store
Resources
About
Contact

Archive for the ‘Techniques’ Category

I Love, Therefore I Am (Widgeon’s quilt)

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019
“I Love, Therefore I Am” is the perfect title for this quilt of our beloved pug, Pigwidgeon.

Earlier this summer I made three quilts for Janome America to share at the upcoming dealer conference in Florida this week. Janome has generously sponsored me with a machine and included me in their Artisan program for over 15 years!!!! THANK YOU (yes I’m shouting)! I was delighted to make these in appreciation. Here is the blurb I wrote to go with Widgeon’s quilt.

I Love, Therefore I Am
 
Yoda, the love of my life, tells me that Mom has done a good job on my portrait.  Mom and I were sitting on the porch in late Spring even though it wasn’t quite yet warm enough, so I snuggled under the blanket and kept her company (and warm) one afternoon.  I don’t see or hear very well any more, but Yoda tells me the picture shows how much I love everyone in the whole universe, especially him, my boy, Mom, the rest of my family, and well, the whole world.”  (Pigwidgeon is a 12 year-old industrial-sized pug.)

My Facebook friends know Widgeon because of my dog walkies posts and other photos. My friend Rachel Parris commented on this photo that it was the best one I had ever taken of him, and the idea for the quilt was born! Often I end up working too much during summer and don’t get my “Porch Time” to relax, read, and enjoy life in Maine. So this year I started early, in our long, late, cold Spring, wrapped up in warm fuzzy clothes with a two-layer fleece blanket on my lap and the dog snuggled underneath.

This post will be mostly photos and captions (because we all know photos are better). They show the sequence of how I work, and towards the bottom if you keep going you’ll be rewarded with a mini-tutorial on couched and faced edges. And yes (gratuitous self promotion here) I TEACH classes on how to do this –my Bindings and Facings and Piping, Oh MY! class, and also my collage and thread coloring process: Collage the Garden and Thread-Coloring the Garden–just click the link. Have students (and contract) will travel (hint hint).

As you can see, the work area ends up just a bit messy! I tend to sort prefused (Mistyfuse ROCKS! It changed my life!) fabrics by color and value, then start working. The heaps are the “sorted” stuff (ha!). Widgeon is coming to lay down right under my feet so I can trip over him. He likes to stay close to his beloveds.
Sometimes Yoda supervises…..
Folks say “Oh that’s the perfect fabric for the nose.” Sorta. This is seven pieces of fabric, and that’s about half of the fifteen or so tiny bits that eventually created his nose. You can see the sketch under the non-stick mat (check out Goddess Sheets at Mistyfuse.com).
Here I’m looking at what to use for the background. I used pale yellow (on which I used a pale gray pen) for the book in my lap. The pale aqua for the pillow on the left got changed for a darker value.

Now it’s time for that mini tutorial on couching yarn for quilts with facings.

Most of the time, my quilts have facings, and some of the time they *also* have yarn couched on the edges. This makes the edges more crisp and makes it WAY easier to turn the edges in a perfect straight line (provided the yarn is sewn ON in a perfect straight line). This is what the bottom of the pin tuck foot looks like. Mine is a five-groove. There are other sizes (seven I think, and maybe three), which I prefer to the usual “couching” foot because I can fit the yarn to the groove that will best control placement. See how the yarn fills the groove…not too big, not too little, but just right.
I used 2.5 stitch width and length, then reduced the presser foot pressure (how much it pushes down on what is going under the needle) to couch the yarn that ends up on the edge of the quilt.
You can see the yarn is in the center groove of the 5-groove pin tuck foot. It is the perfect sized groove for the cotton yarn I favor for sharp edges on quilts with facings. I always used to chalk-mark where I wanted the yarn to go and then hold it in place with pins and my finger. But even then it would sometimes wobble, requiring picking out the stitching and fixing. Then I discovered a much better way on this quilt!
Drum Roll! Sound the Trumpets! A Better Way!!!! Using a ruler, Janome’s pin tuck foot, and a narrow open zigzag makes couching yarn on what will be the edge of the quilt easy! It worked best for me if I let the ruler hang over the edge and use the 1″ line. If I used the end of the ruler it was actually harder to see if it was perfectly aligned with the trimmed edge. And yeah, lookit all that threadwork!
Gotta love Janome’s great presser feet and plate markings, which make it possible to create a perfect facing. In my class I explain some of the extra stuff I do that makes my facings behave so well.
Wonder Clips by Clover. Buy them. Buy a whole lot of them. SO MUCH BETTER than being skewered by pins. If you buy the big set from Clover, they come in a well made reusable box.
I Love, Therefore I am. A view of the quilting from an angle which shows the stitching better.
And a close up of the Beloved.

To see Yoda’s quilt, go to this post. Next, I’ll share Boo’s. He is the Usurper. The Delinquent. Chirpy.

Take a class with me in Houston!

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

WOOT! The International Quilt Festival Houston catalog is starting to ship and online registration–yes, ONLINE, with instant knowing if you got into the class, goes live in July (I’ll post when it does). If you’d like to take a workshop with me, now’s your chance because I’m teaching a ton of my favorite workshops. For more detail on any of these classes, please visit the Classes/workshops page of my website and scroll down to the individual class–you’ll find a supply list PDF and sometimes links to blogposts about previous workshops sharing student work. Here’s the list including class numbers:

To look at MY classes, head to the link for all classes and search by day or by name. The classes are listed in numerical order: #100 series are on Monday, #200 on Tuesday and so on, with the exception that Friday is #500, Friday EVENING is #600, and then Saturday is #700. That way you can find what classes are available on the day(s) you are at Festival.

Collage the Garden workshop: Inspired by a wild tiger lily on the roadside in Maine–learn to create a fused collage by creating your own pattern (several ways to the same goal), then create a top to finish at home

I’m thrilled that Quilts Inc. booked both days of my Quilting the Garden workshops! On Tuesday, learn my Collage the Garden process for creating fused quilts. You’ll learn how to create a working plan/pattern from photos and fuse an 11×14 collaged quilt of a flower, but the process can be applied to anything including people, animals, landscapes, you name it.

Thread Coloring the Garden is on Wednesday: enjoy an easy prep with this kitted class where you learn how to add depth, dimension and detail to your art quilts.

On Wednesday, Thread Coloring the Garden is all about the machine quilting and learning how I select and use thread to color and bring the quilt top to live To eliminate the stress of worrying about messing up that gorgeous top you’ve worked so hard to create, we work with a photo of a day lily printed on cloth (class has a kit [fee] with flower, thread, etc.) so that you gain confidence learning the quilting before you tackle your own masterpiece.

At the Machine Quilting Forum I’ll talk about using metallic, holographic, heavy and other so-called (not-so) fussy threads. If you’d like to take the full workshop, you CAN–on Friday (keep reading!)

Thursday is a busy day. In the Morning I’ll be presenting at the Machine Quilting Forum, where I’ll share some of my current work and share some tricks for working with what some folks think are fussy fiddly threads but really aren’t so fussy or fiddly!. In the afternoon, it’s a TOTALLY FUN half day class making my patented Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag–they’re like potato chips, you can’t stop with just one!

Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag workshop with Sarah Ann Smith: Once you learn the basic process, these are easy to adapt into card carryers and book or sketchbook covers!
Friday it is the full workshop for Tame Fussy Fiddly Threads. You’ll need black fabric and batting, the paint, supplies and decorative threads are supplied.

Friday Evening I’ll be part of the Date Night Sampler, where I’ll show using paint on cloth to work smarter, not harder! And if you’d like an immersive paint on cloth workshop with me, stay tuned–good news for a 3-day class in August 2020…will be able to share in September.

Saturday you can learn my approach to Hawaiian style Applique by Machine: we use my freezer paper technique for creating TWO fused blocks to appliqué by machine. You will try a small block to get the hang of it, then start on your 18″ block.

Hawaiian Style Applique by Machine is on for my final teaching day. Though I am known for my art quilting, I love ALL types of quilting, and my love for Hawaiian style quilts launched my career in quilting, and I love it to this day. Come for a day of fun and learning!

I hope to see you in Houston, especially in my classes! I might even still be coherent (?) by Saturday evening, though I think a Margarita may be on the menu once the teaching is complete!

Becoming a rose hip

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Off and on for the past couple of weeks I have been dyeing fabric, drawing or photoshopping images to make thermofax screens, and finally working on collaging the background for the rose hip, the large (36″ square) version. To those of you have landed here from my new newsletter, thank you! To those of you who don’t know about my new newsletter, please go here to the home page and sign up! I will write about mid-month and will never share your info!

When I last checked in with you, I was just getting to this stage–finishing the rose hip on a flat surface.
The next step was dyeing some greens. Kinda looks like pond scum, eh?

While I was at it, I used up the leftover dye for some autumn-y leaf colors for a future project.
Some of the fabrics turned out great–alas, most of these didn’t work for this piece. AND I got smart…I am now adding tags with the pure dyes used in each piece so I have a clue if I ever want to make them again.

Next, working on thermofax screens. This is the photo of a chicken at the Common Ground Fair last September–as soon as I saw the strong light and dark I thought “Thermofax screen!”
And here it is after photoshopping. It made a fabulous fabric, very dark tone on tone, that I’ve used in the background. Alas, I forgot tot akee pics before I cut it up!
I also wanted to make a texture similar to Rugosa rose leaves, so this is my initial sketch, which became a screen.
I tend to work in batches, so while I was making those screens, I made several others. That one on the right, the feathers, is about 20 inches long! The snow is for another future quilt.

These are the transparent paints I mixed, with a little black, to use for the rugosa texture on the rose leaves.
Here’s one of the leaves…..
And the two large leaves, in place. The long one on the left is about 18 inches long. Alas, after looking at it this morning, I have decided those two leaves are too dark and have to go. Back to the dye pots once this post and my newsletter are done! I’ll use the fabric for something else eventually.
LOVED the batik but knew ordering it that it was too high contrast for my process. A little Dye-Na-Flow and ProSilk textile paints fixed that easily: overpaint in green!
And where I am now. I want the quilt to be dramatic, but it feels to dark overall. The smaller version has brighter green leaves and I’ve decided I need to dye something that is midway between the medium-light hand-dyes on my shelf and the dark green used here. Or use some fabric Lisa Walton gave me years ago…I think her bits of green are just right, especially once I add some texture.

So that’s about it for now….thanks for surfing in, share the post, and let others know about the newsletter. I’d love to ramp up my teaching again, and the best way to do that is by showing my work and getting the word out there. Now, off to make cookies for the guys roofing the house in freezing weather, then down to the studio.

Moments, Hours, Days, Autumn, a Book of Hours

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

Happy Solstice to one and all…at last the days no longer get shorter! To celebrate and as a Christmas gift (whether you celebrate it or not, it’s a gift of the season) to one and all, I thought I’d share a video I recently uploaded and just shared with those on my Newsletter List. (To sign up for the newsletter, go to my home page and fill in the blanks—about once a month I’ll pop in with this ‘n that.)

Those who follow me on Facebook (here) will recognize this pond and view which is down the driveway and onto Ludwig Road, between two neighbors’ houses.

Recently, I’ve been taking some journaling and watercolor classes. Then, the Mid Coast (Maine) Book Arts group had an exhibit at the Camden Public Library. I was inspired by a book of hours on display, so BFF Kathy D. and I decided to make our own small accordion books. Below the still photo you’ll see my a video tour of the book, which I have titled “moments hours days autumn” to chronicle my life this past Autumn.

Beginning at 3:11 a.m. through to my evening ritual of sitting in my chair near my hubby’s chair, with the dog and a pile of books. You can see still shots of each page in my new Mixed Media gallery.

The left page is a quote, some by me, most by someone else. The right page is a watercolor, 5 x 5 inches. I figured I would mess things up, so it was better to do each separately, then glue them to the accordion “base” pages. On the back, I painted a single LONG (80 inches!) view that runs from winter to spring, summer and fall, back to winter, with the sky running from night, through morning, noon and afternoon, back to night. I used a dip pen and acrylic ink to write Strider’s Poem, by J.R.R. Tolkien, which has been a favorite since high school and whose meaning goes far beyond the Lord of the Rings saga.

I used Daniel Smith Watercolors, Stonehenge Aqua 140 lb. watercolor paper, Yes! paste glue, and both acrylic and fountain pen inks and a dip pen for all the lettering. The cover is made from my own hand-dyed fabric fused to mat-board from Kathy with Mistyfuse.

Here’s to hoping you all have friends (which can include family!) and joy around you throughout your lives, not just this season. I hope you enjoy my first ever made-by-me book. I think I will do more! Let me know what you think, and what you’d like to see in my new Newsletter. (And to sound like a broken record, sorry, sign up here.) MERRY MISTLETOE!

International Quilt Festival #4: Fine Finishes (to be retitled to Bindings and Piping and Facings, Oh My!)

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

Bindings and Pipings and Facings, Oh My! class in Houston 2018:  Truth in teaching: this is usually what my teacher’s table looks like: a hot mess!

I LOVE teaching this class!  I LOVE that EVERYONE gets how to achieve a perfect mitered corner no matter what width your binding!  I LOVE showing students how to use Susan K. Cleveland’s Piping Hot Binding tool–students come into class thinking “I’ll try it but don’t think I’ll ever use it” and leave with the tool in hand planning how they CAN use it because it rocks!   Then I teach my perfect facings for art quilts which by the way is also how you can do perfect prairie point “bindings” etc.   I LOVE that this class has something for everyone:  traditional, modern, art, contemporary, whatever you do, it works.   I also LOVED that this class more than any I have ever taught immediately embraced the idea of taking notes ON their class samples:  that way the notes don’t get lost, what you need to remember about how YOU sew and what to do to improve is right there on the sample.

YES! They got it! Put the notes ON the sample to remember how to get is JUST right!

One older quilter in the class was BEAMING when she left–she was so delighted as she had never done a corner, let alone a piped corner, this good. I think I will remember her smile forever–THIS is why I teach this class!

Doesn’t the pink bandana fabric look great as piping?

More notes, during the “perfect corners” part of the class in the morning

Midday/right after lunch we get to the piping (do the precise and time-consuming stuff first). LOVE Susan K. Cleveland’s Piping Hot Bindings tool. Available here.  It may be available at larger online sites, but I like buying things direct from the creator–Susan’s website is Pieces be With You (in the link).  I wrote my own instructions for the class handouts (without looking at Susan’s), but her more in depth instructions are worth every penny!   

The best part of Festival is FRIENDS–Linda Cooper

The absolute BEST PART of International Quilt Festival is FRIENDS!   Over the summer I learned that Linda, a BFF from my life on San Juan Island, would have a quilt in a special exhibit and was coming to Festival.  On Tuesday she showed up at my classroom door at lunch break with her friend from SJI.   They decided on the spot to take my Bindings class on Friday, their last full day at Festival (pitter patter, tear in my eye)!   It was like the intervening 14 years since I left the island evaporated.

She and Barbara managed to get the stuff to make the quilt sandwiches (class prep) and amongst the three of us came up with the requisite thread, scissors, rotary cutters, etc. to use.

Class….the lunchtime lull.  Thank you Kathy Spier for being my “Teacher’s Pet”—so much fun, met Suzy Webster when she took one of my classes a couple years ago.  This year her mom took Bindings, and we all had lunch together!   Like I said, the BEST PART of Festival is friends, old ones and making new ones!

Time permitting, we even get into some fun alternative edge treatments…couched yarn is perfect for postcards and small works

And miraculously, I remembered Linda and I needed to get a photo before she packed up for the day!

Old friends reunited!