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Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Canticle of the Stars

Monday, May 11th, 2020
Canticle of the Stars, or should I call it Anthem of Light? Chime in!
Completed May 2020, 36 tall x 46.5 wide.

There is a thing called star trails photography (just google it…it’s really cool). The earth rotates on its axis. The North Star is static in our northern skies. If you take time lapse photos and then “stack” (merge) them, you get star trails….images that describe the lines created by the light of the stars. Did you know that starlight comes in different colors??? It does… I love the feeling of the vastness of space. When I went to college, I comforted myself knowing that my then-boyfriend and I could both look up at the constellation Orion in the sky even though we would be 3000 miles apart. I love wondering what is out there, and feeling snug and at home in my own world. The universe is Out There and it is Within Us. I love the resulting art quilt. While trying to figure out the title (star trails was too boring), I wrote a poem to go with this quilt:

As many of you know by now, I was selected to be a Michael Miller Brand Ambassador this year. At the start (last December) we received a box STUFFED with goodies (post here). I decided to challenge myself, using items ONLY from this box to make an art quilt in my style, but using fabrics that are totally not in my usual wheel house: commercial solids, prints, and bling. I love the result…in trying to figure out the title (star trails was too boring), I wrote a poem above. Help me decide should the title be Canticle of the Stars? or Anthem of Light? Leave comments and thoughts!

So, how do you make an image that is DARK work successfully as an artwork? In this case, the answer is a lot of quilting with light thread in seven shades from pink to peach to green to blues! Here are the fabrics I used:

The quilt is under the fabrics, with the top visible in the upper half and the backing below. The Michael Miller Fabrics are from left to right: Michael Miller Krystal in Aubergine 1278, Wine 2248, Coal 1302 and 1257 Evergreen. Fairy Frost in Black. Cotton Couture SC5333 in Midnite and Ink. Marble CX1087 in Stone, graphite (or onyx) and night (I think on the denim blue). Michael Miller Jet Black which is part of the Cotton Couture line. I overdyed the green with a navy dye to use as the backing.

The quilting was done entirely on my Janome M7 Continental. The sky was done with the walking foot and the trees was free-motion quilted. It has been eons since I did walking foot quilting…I may do more of it soon! And the threads I used:

It is VERY rare for me to use a walking foot for quilting, but for the sky on this one I did. I used the dark blue So Fine to help hold down the Mistyfused pieces (cut curved, but on the bias so I could adapt their arc) and solid black (I can’t remember if it was the Mettler or So Fine) for the treelike silhouette. The six colors are the star trails in the sky. I used both regular straight stitch and the triple-straight stitch with the walking foot.
Detail, Canticle of the Stars. The edges of the print fabrics are definitely rougher than I am used to with the batiks and hand-dyes I use due to the different thread count, but I think they work because the light edges become another star trail.
And a very close up of the raw edges, some wool lint (sigh…do you know how many times I vacuumed and lint roller this quilt??????) from my pressing surface, and the quilting. The pale green turned into that creamy yellow color when quilted. It’s amazing what thread will do!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey to the stars, and back to home on Earth.

My interview with Create Whimsy

Friday, March 6th, 2020

I was absolutely delighted when Create Whimsy wrote to ask if I’d like to do a Spotlight interview with them–so many people I admire have interviews that you can still see and read. It was even more fun when the Editor, Chardel Blaine, realized that I had taught at a shop she worked at–Quiltworks Northwest in Bellevue, Washington–and we had met about 15 YEARS ago!

Here’s the link to my interview… I hope you enjoy reading the flotsam and jetsam of my life and mind. I opened up a half dozen interviews to review and prepare which led me to a new artist I admire, and I’m planning on opening another half dozen for lunchtime reading. Thank you Chardel and Create Whimsy!

Accuquilt GO!

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

Part of every new year should be learning new things…and I’m starting with the Accuquilt GO!

As part of the Michael Miller 2020 Brand Ambassador program, we received the Ready. Set. GO! Ultimate Fabric Cutting System from Accuquilt. It includes an AccuquiltGO! plus the 8″ Qube (a set of dies to cut shapes often used in piecing 8″ blocks) and a ginormous die to cut my own 2 1/2″ strips. I’ve never seen one of these used in person, let alone done it myself. They are supposed to be lots faster than traditional rotary cutting and more accurate to boot. That makes two things where I need improvement–grin!

Lookit those amazing colors…don’t you want to dive in face first?

A while back, I was deliriously delighted to learn I had WON all 214 colors (above and below) of Michel Miller’s Cotton Couture (this was before I even applied for the Brand Ambassador program). I’ve been wanting to make a quilt I shall call “214.” As I’ve been waiting to upload this post, I realized that I can use the AccuquiltGO! to do the majority of the cutting, even the sashing! If I use the die for 2 1/2″ strips, I can then manually cut those in half vertically to get the 3/4″ finished strips I want to use for sashing. And then (!!!) I can use the die to cut 4 1/2″ squares (4″ finished) — if I am careful — to subcut the strips into 4 1/2″ lengths to match the size of squares I’m going to use in the quilt! Stay tuned…guess what I’m going to do today!

So, with that I am going to sign off and go play with my new fabric and toys!

Int’l Quilt Market, Part 3

Monday, November 18th, 2019

And yes, there was even more fun stuff at Market…see why I never got to the quilts? (Previous two posts have more good stuff.)

Loved the Robert Kaufmann display, especially the Library Pockets, which of course made me think of my friend Kate C. who is the Bowdoinham town librarian and wonderfully crafty and artful!
Can’t you just see this for a teacher’s room, or library, or your studio, or a busy family?
What a lovely display of little “this and thats”
The artwork in these fabrics made me stop in my tracks! I snagged a brochure… and yeah, I’d like THOSE chairs too…. The quilt on the right is a panel. I’m not sure I would use that, but the coordinating fabrics, and even just cut up those BIG flowers, and then cut the text up into smaller bits to piece into something amazing……

One trend I noticed across various fabric booths is that they are getting super smart about cross-marketing. The artwork isn’t just in quilting cotton, but heavier and/or lighter weights (in this case a canvas weight for a jacket, chair upholstery or tote), wall paper, gift paper, note cards, little stationery items. Smart.

I adore the look of watercolors…. look at the coordinating green and aqua prints on the right! Wonder if Fiddlehead Artisan Supply in Belfast, Maine, will carry these? Or Alewives Fabrics in Damariscotta Mills?
And the Tilda booth….would love to just SIT for a moment
The Ruby Star Society booths and displays were another WOW moment. Almost makes me wish I didn’t have a Big Board and just a regular ironing board–I’d so buy this cover!
And Ruby Star also is marketing designs in different weights, like the drapey fabric in the dress. For the first time, they had a guest designer! LOVE her bold prints. And that quilt in the basket on the left…OMG it is a PANEL….
No one was around this late on Monday (within a half hour of closing) so I opened it up a bit to get this photo. It is the Tiger Fly panel by Sarah Watts. WOW!
And for my friend Tori, the Alison Glass display!
No trip to Houston is a success unless it involves dinner at Ninfa’s. I got to go twice! On Monday my friend Susan Fletcher King picked me up when Market closed, and we spent a lovely rest of the afternoon at her house. Then Lauretta Crites joined us for supper after teaching that day.
I’m a creature of habit: El Henry! Taco, enchilada and ….YUM OH YUM… tamale!

A perfect end to a fun Quilt Market. More on the house renovations, Festival, family and more in the coming weeks.

Int’l Quilt Market Part 1, a sale and a win!

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

So much has happened in the past 2 1/2 weeks: International Quilt Market, International Quilt Festival, and a whopper of a cold, a lovely weekend with my older son and DIL, and some home improvements. So I’ll start at the beginning…with one detour: I sold a quilt at Festival after all! I’ll post on that in a few days (I shared on FB), but first let’s start with Market. And read to the end for the big surprise!

I arrived on Sunday of Quilt Market–usually I fly in on Tuesday or Monday and begin teaching the next day. It was wonderful–so much less stress about finding my boxes of stuff shipped and making sure everything was there and organized for each day of classes! Then, following my roommate’s example, I planned to see all the quilts BEFORE Festival when I wasn’t tired from teaching. Well…instead I got sidetracked by the lure of Market. I had SO MUCH FUN visiting the booths. One of the first was Michael Miller Fabrics.

While in the booth, I was mulling over how to bump up attendance for a workshop, and have finally conceded that I have to offer half day classes with complete kits. I have always loved the hand of the Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids, so I was brainstorming in the booth. Since it was late on Monday, the final day of Market, it was quiet and two staffers came to chat. I asked about purchasing fabric wholesale to use in kits, which led to a wonderful and productive conversation.

First I spotted this eye candy…don’t you just want to dive in face first? It is a box of one fat quarter of all 214 — yes TWO HUNDRED FOURTEEN — of the Cotton Couture colors. And they were having a giveaway…fill out the form, and if you got all the answers in the quiz (fun stuff about Michael Miller Fabrics) the winner would be drawn from those with correct answers. Of course I filled it out with what I already knew…I googled up their website and found some answers I didn’t know, and with paper in hand, asked a staffer if I could ask Michael’s favorite dessert–luckily I had guessed the correct answer. Turned it in, and moved on.
Can you believe this is that glorious soft Minky fabric???? I had to walk up to 12 inches away and indeed it is…looks like indigo shibori on cotton! I so want some of this…I need an alternative to my wintry sofa throws. I’d make a top, quilt it on the thinnest cotton, the back with this and bind. LOVE IT!
They also had this really cool teaching tool for new quilters to learn color. I don’t teach that sort of class, locally or on the road, but it’s a brilliant idea for a shop.

Can you tell I spent a lot of time in the booth…today’s post will be all Michael Miller, then I’ll do another about the rest of Market soon!

The quilting on Modern Quilts enchants me–perhaps what I like best about this fresh approach to quilting. Not to mention these are SO my colors. And yes, I am a member of Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild and the MQG itself!

Well, after I got home, and spent several days first doing bookkeeping (ugh ugh UGH and may I say UGH) and then feeling sick….I got laryngitis on about Tuesday on my first class day. By Weds. I was feeling worse. By Thursday I could barely squeak—ladies in the audience at the Machine Quilting Forum were dropping cough drops on my table! Then it morphed into a sinus infection. I soldiered on through my last class Saturday, but was honestly glad it has lightly attended. I wouldn’t have had the energy for a full 24 and it was a FUN group of students as it was. So when I got home, I went into chair-potato/get well mode.

Then I got an email from Michael Miller: I WON THE 214 FAT QUARTERS!!!!!! They arrived about two days ago. I mean, first I sell a quilt and THEN I WIN THESE????!!!!! I need to go buy a lottery ticket.

Yes, I am HAPPY! I just can’t believe it…I never EVER win stuff…so what a boon! And yes, there is a quilt coming! 214 fat quarters…over 53 yards!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU to Michael Miller Fabrics…you ROCK. I am so thrilled to have this bounty. I’m already planning a quilt called 214…and one that isn’t too complex, one where I can have FUN and get it done and revel in color!

This post has gone on long enough, so I’ll break here and carry on with the REST of International Quilt Market in my next post. But yes, Thank you to Michael Miller–stay tuned for what I do with these!