Archive for the ‘Machine Quilting’ Category

Two of Us: published again in Inspired by the Beatles

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Looking back on it, this has been an exceptionally good year for getting published!   It has also been a bit of a challenge as I’ve had to keep three quilts and one watercolor unpublished for an extended time while jurying of exhibits was done or waiting for books to be published.  The first of the quilts was the one of Eli running during Cross Country season, which I wrote about here.   This is the second:  Two of Us,

Two of Us, (c) Sarah Ann Smith 2014.  Part of the Inspired by the Beatles challenge and an anniversary gift for my husband of 33+ years.

Two of Us, (c) Sarah Ann Smith 2014. Part of the Inspired by the Beatles challenge and an anniversary gift for my husband of 33+ years.  Of course, as soon as I gave it to him (late) I then told him he had to give it back for two years because it was going in an exhibit and book!

part of the art quilt challenge organized by Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto.  The recently released book is Inspired by the Beatles:  An Art Quilt Challenge.   You can read more about the challenge here and order the book or read more about it here.  Even better, if you are lucky enough to be going to International Quilt Festival in Houston this year, selected works from the exhibit will be on display there, including mine!

Donna asked participants to choose a Beatles song title, then make a quilt with that same title, inspired by the song perhaps, but careful NOT to use any copyrighted lyrics, images, etc.   I had been wanting to make a quilt like this for Paul as an anniversary gift for a couple years–he is notoriously hard to get gifts as he always says he doesn’t want anything.  I wanted a scrapbook feel to this quilt, similar in some ways to the kimono quilt (you can see it here) that is pictured in one of the photos on the bottom right which I gave to Mother for her 80th birthday.

Detail of Two of Us, by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014.

Detail of Two of Us, by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014.  These photos include the only two grandparents who were alive for  the boys to know, Paul’s dad and my mom.

I went through our photo albums and boxes of photos, picking pictures of us from the time we met until just recently.  Beginning in the top left corner, you can see photos of Bissau, in the west African nation of Guinea-Bissau, where I met Paul.  A bit of our wedding invitation, a wedding photo, our home on Capitol Hill in DC, from Canada, Bolivia, Machu Picchu, Gabon and our first generation of cats run across the top.  Moving clockwise down the right you can see our home in Arlington, Virginia (I still love this architecture more than any other home we’ve had), me preggers with Joshua, with the boys when they were little, pregnant with Eli, in the hospital when Eli was just a day old then the first ferry ride home, to our home on San Juan island in the bottom right corner.

Moving right to left on the bottom, pictures of the boys when little and life at home.  And up the left side, the boys as they grew,  moving to Maine, Joshua with his beloved guitar (and boy is he GOOD) and Eli, honor student and exceptional athlete.  Can I just say, Life is GOOD!

Here's to book, a 176 page hard-bound whopper.  Each quilt gets its own page (some get two), with a fun and extensive commentary written by Donna from our replies to her questionnaire that tell about our lives, inspiration and methods.  Click on the links in the first paragraph to learn more.

Here’s to book, a 176 page hard-bound whopper. Each quilt gets its own page (some get two), with a fun and extensive commentary written by Donna from our replies to her questionnaire that tell about our lives, inspiration and methods. Click on the links in the first paragraph to learn more.

The quilt is made with fused collage.  For the house, Paul, the pug and me, I sketched us on white cloth with colored pencils.  I hate to admit but since I made this over a year ago, I don’t recall for use WHICH pencils I used–either Prismacolor or Inktense.  I have since learned that some of the Inktense colors are not colorfast, so I HOPE it was prismacolor!  Total finished size, as required for all quilts in this exhibit, is 24×24 inches.

This is a typical two-page spread.  The book is organized alphabetically by title.

This is a typical two-page spread. The book is organized alphabetically by title.

And a shot of "my" page!  Artwork (c) Sarah Ann Smith.

And a shot of “my” page! Artwork (c) Sarah Ann Smith.

And since we are quilters, I must show you the back.  I did the threadwork at the top stage and did simple outlining around the photos.  But it is the letter and photo I want you to notice:

Paul and me on our wedding day outside the church, and a photocopy of the very first letter Paul ever wrote me.  Yes, we wrote snail mail.

Paul and me on our wedding day outside the church, and a photocopy of the very first letter Paul ever wrote me. Yes, we wrote snail mail.

You see, Paul was working in West Africa and I was in grad school at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy near Boston when we met.  The letter is hilariously “State Department-ish.”  Paul was acting Ambassador (Charge d’Affairs, ad interim) for the first time, so for his first letter to me, he wrote to thank the American (me)  for her part in improving morale at post, in particular that of the admin officer (that would be Paul).  Then he added a note saying this would probably be suitably framed in something tacky and hung in the bathroom.  I vowed upon receipt to do just that–in his first apartment when he was back in the US.  Little did I know that in less than 10 months, his first apartment would be OUR condo as newlyweds.  The original letter still hangs in a tacky metal frame from the drug store (which is sorta falling apart, appropriately), over the toilet in our bathroom.  The signature on the letter has faded to near invisibility.

So that’s the “Two of Us.”  Plus kids, cats, pug, and assorted stuff from all over the world.

Bloghop — Inside-Out in Quilting Arts Gifts 2014!

Saturday, September 20th, 2014
These are some of the bags you'll see on my Inside-Out bag segment (and ... hint hint... perhaps in print sometime soon too....more on that when I am allowed!)

These are some of the bags you’ll see on my Inside-Out bag segment.  The orange bags are one of my two projects in Quilting Arts Gifts 2014 along with a companion card holder.  The one on the right (the lotus fabric) is made from plasticized cloth, so great for make-up or messy stuff.

What fun I had on the set of Quilting Arts TV filming my episodes, and what MORE fun to have two projects included in this year’s Gifts 2014 magazine as well as two holiday recipes–one for a sweet treat the other is satsuma-currant scones (satsumas are similar to clementines or mandarins, use whatever citrus you have!).  Makes me hungry just thinking about them!

This year's issue of Quilting Arts Gifts.  I'm thrilled to have two projects and two recipes included!

This year’s issue of Quilting Arts Gifts. I’m thrilled to have two projects and two recipes included!

(Note:  to order, click here or use the Affiliate link in the sidebar on the left; the Affiliate link will get you a discount on some items!)

I thought I’d share some variations on the theme to give you ideas of how you can make your own bags–they are SO fast and easy and fun!  Use the article in Quilting Arts Holiday or the instructions in episode 1402  of Quilting Arts TV to make the bag with these variations.  Learn more about all of series 1400 here  including information about Episode 1402 which includes the bag project.

Here are two of my cardholders.  These are so fast--they would make a great gift-card "wrapping" for Christmas, then the recipient can continue to use the holder.  They are sized to fit business cards, but I use the green one for all those extra (annoying!) store cards for the grocery, discount stores, pharmacy, and so on.  The green was the original; despite being beaded on the flap and used heavily for three years, it is still in great condition.  The warm-tones bag is new.  The project in the magazine uses a snap closure, but I really like this one which uses a heavy duty hair elastic and button.

Here are two of my cardholders. These are so fast–they would make a great gift-card “wrapping” for Christmas, then the recipient can continue to use the holder. They are sized to fit business cards, but I use the green one for all those extra (annoying!) store cards for the grocery, discount stores, pharmacy, and so on. The green was the original; despite being beaded on the flap and used heavily for three years, it is still in great condition. The warm-tones bag is new. The project in the magazine uses a snap closure, but I really like this one which uses a heavy duty hair elastic and button.

The blue-green card holder has velcro closing.  I painted white velcro with acrylic ink to match.  The warm-tones uses that thick hair elastic.  I like the way I used perle cotton to quilt the bag and stitch down the back end of the hair elastic.

The blue-green card holder has velcro closing. I painted white velcro with acrylic ink to match. The warm-tones uses that thick hair elastic. I like the way I used perle cotton to quilt the bag and stitch down the back end of the hair elastic.

I’ve also made variations on the basic flat-bottomed bag for my iPad and notebooks.

The iPad case is simply a larger version of the card holder.  The trim comes from Renaissance Ribbons.

The iPad case is simply a larger version of the card holder. The trim comes from Renaissance Ribbons.

And the inside:

And the inside.  Again, I used acrylic inks to color the white velcro to match.

And the inside. Again, I used acrylic inks to color the white velcro to match.  I’m not sure that the ink is washfast, but so far I haven’t had to find out the hard way!  This bag has an outside pocket (with zipper) on the back to hold the charging stuff and stylus.

I made this bag to fit my new, slightly longer, portable watercolor palette and painting supplies.

I made this bag to fit my new, slightly longer, portable watercolor palette and painting supplies.

Inside of my Painting stuff bag.  It has pockets sized to fit a tube of gouache, a glue stick, eraser, and so on.

Inside of my Painting stuff bag. It has pockets sized to fit a tube of gouache, a glue stick, eraser, and so on.

I’ve also made several notebook or sketchbook covers using this easy technique.

My notebook, zipped closed.  Can you tell I really love that ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons?

My notebook, zipped closed. Can you tell I really love that ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons?  I also couched some heavy perle cotton on the edge and used it as a zipper pull.

 

The notebook cover opened up.  I make pencil pockets on the left and used a 22-24 inch zipper all the way around.   When gauging the size for your cover, think about the thickness of the zipper tape.  If your notebook is really thick, you may want to add some fabric extensions to the sides so it will close nicely OR just make the cover a bit larger than you think you'll need so it will wrap and zip shut nicely.

The notebook cover opened up. I make pencil pockets on the left and used a 22-24 inch zipper all the way around. When gauging the size for your cover, think about the thickness of the zipper tape. If your notebook is really thick, you may want to add some fabric extensions to the sides so it will close nicely OR just make the cover a bit larger than you think you’ll need so it will wrap and zip shut nicely.  And you can see in the center how I had fun quilting AND used a small bit of ribbon at the top ends of the zipper and at the bottom to make a nice, clean finish.

My notebook cover, opened up, shows the ribbon extends across the back, too.

My notebook cover, opened up, shows the ribbon extends across the back, too.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these additional options for the patterns I shared in my Quilting Arts TV segment and in QA Holidays 2014!  Remember to use the link on the left if you decide to go shopping at the online Interweave Store–it may get you some discounts!  Or click on this one right here to go directly to the Holiday issue!

Here’s the list of the bloghoppers with links.   If you haven’t had a chance to visit already, please do.  Some of these folks I know, but others are new to me so I’m really looking forward to seeing  (or have really enjoyed seeing)g their blogposts and blogs!

Enjoy!

500 Traditional Quilts, published again!

Monday, September 15th, 2014

What a THRILL!   I’ve been published many times now (how lucky am I?!!!), but I am elated to share that I my traditional quilting has also made the cut.  I have three quilts in 500 Traditional Quilts, juried by Karey Patterson Bresenhan, founder and CEO of Quilts, Inc., and founder and Director Emeritus of International Quilt Festival.  The book is part of Lark Book’s “500 Series,” and I was proud to be included also in 500 Art Quilts. You can find 500 Traditional Quilts here (on Amazon, available other places too) and 500 Art Quilts here.  My blogpost about 500 Art Quilts is here.  What is so wonderful is that I made the cut in blind jurying:  that means the juror has no idea who made which quilt, you are juried in on the basis of the quality of the quilt.

I'm in 500 Traditional Quilts, Karey Patterson Bresenhan, juror.  Well, three of my QUILTS are in this book, not me!

I’m in 500 Traditional Quilts, Karey Patterson Bresenhan, juror. Well, three of my QUILTS are in this book, not me!

My three quilts included in this book are From the Schooner Coast, Haleakala Sunrise and Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul.  Avid quilters will recognize the works and names of many of the quilting world’s top traditional quilters, so I am particularly honored that three of my quilts made the cut.  Even better, the two Hawaiian-style quilts of mine will be in an exhibit of selected works from this book that will debut at International Quilt Market and Festival this October-November.  For me, this is huge: my work meets the standards for publication and exhibiting at what is probably the most prestigious quilt show in the world.  WOW!

The theme for this spread is clearly sailing ships.  Mine is the blue one in the middle, with a detail of the quilting no less!  This quilt is called From The Schooner Coast.

The theme for this spread is clearly sailing ships. Mine is the blue one in the middle, with a detail of the quilting no less! This quilt is called From The Schooner Coast.

 

Any reader of this blog will immediately recognize my Haleakala Sunrise quilt which is the background for this website.  I just love bright, clear "Caribbean" colors.  This was my first original Hawaiian-style design, and I still love it and Hawaiian quilts in general.

Any reader of this blog will immediately recognize my Haleakala Sunrise quilt which is the background for this website. I just love bright, clear “Caribbean” colors. This was my first original Hawaiian-style design, and I still love it and Hawaiian quilts in general.

Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul, is on the left.  I made this quilt to be in my Threadwork Unraveled book, a "bible" of thread used on/in a sewing machine.  Due to length, we ended up cutting the applique section out of the book, but I remember finishing the design for the center block while sitting on the floor of Joshua's hospital room in 2007 after he was hit by a car (and it's somewhere back in the July/Aug 2007 blogposts!).  So glad he is completely well, doing well, the book did great, and my quilting career actually exists!

Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul, is on the left. I made this quilt to be in my Threadwork Unraveled book, a “bible” of thread used on/in a sewing machine. Due to length, we ended up cutting the applique section out of the book, but I remember finishing the design for the center block while sitting on the floor of Joshua’s hospital room in 2007 after he was hit by a car (and it’s somewhere back in the July/Aug 2007 blogposts!). So glad he is completely well, doing well, the book did great, and my quilting career actually exists!

I have to be honest:  I have not “read” this entire book, yet.  This is a book to be savored. Dip into it, browse the beauty in its pages.   Yes, I am an art quilter.  But first and foremost I am a quilter, and these quilts are art even though they are traditional–I love ALL types of quilting.  Karey called these quilts “the crème to la crème of traditional quiltmaking today.”   I can’t wait to see the exhibit of selected quilts from the book in Houston (I’m teaching again this year, but blessedly have a couple days to be a civilian and just enjoy the show).   Hope to see you there!

 

Quilting Arts Holiday 2014

Friday, September 12th, 2014

This year’s issue from Quilting Arts is another good one, and I’m thrilled to say I have TWO projects in it and TWO recipes!  Yes, QA has joined the holiday mayhem with some recipes.   Editor Vivika DeNegre has kicked off a bloghop with her post to day, here!

This year's issue of Quilting Arts Gifts.  I'm thrilled to have two projects and two recipes included!

This year’s issue of Quilting Arts Gifts. I’m thrilled to have two projects and two recipes included!  Please click here or use the Affiliate link on the left (which will get you a discount on some items) to order this issue!

I’ve been lucky to be on three episodes of Quilting Arts TV this season, sharing my tips about my Inside-Out bag, machine quilting, and sewing machine needles and thread.  The pattern for the bag and another pattern for a card carrier are in this year’s QA Holiday 2014 magazine as well. Read on to see some of the many variations on the theme that I’ve made!  I keep finding the need for “just another bag”!

Getting ready to roll tape for my first segment on Quilting Arts TV, Series 1400.  I show you how to make my incredibly versatile Inside-Out Bag so you can customize size, pockets, techniques for the outside (pieced, applique, surface design).  The bag is quick and easy so it also makes a great special gift.

Getting ready to roll tape for my first segment on Quilting Arts TV, Series 1400. I show you how to make my incredibly versatile Inside-Out Bag (lower right corner, in progress in front of me and on the left) so you can customize size, pockets, techniques for the outside (pieced, applique, surface design). The bag is quick and easy so it also makes a great special gift, and it is also included in the 2014 edition of Quilting Arts Gifts, so now you have two ways to learn how to make it.

Over the coming ten days or so, here’s where you can go to learn more about what’s in this issue.  Some of these folks I know, but others are new to me so I’m really looking forward to seeing their blogposts and blogs!

Check back here on the 20th for my part in the bloghop, but come back before then for other new posts!

Basting, the bane of my existence!

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

I’ve read all the articles, I’ve looked at online videos and tutorials, yet basting has been the bane of my existence for rather a long time.  No matter how careful I am, how much I follow all the directions, I just never managed to get it right–until I recently found the method that works best for me.  Luckily, that happened before Machine Quilting Unlimited Magazine asked me to write an article on basting quilts!  And, drum roll, here it is, in the September/October 2014 issue (MQU is available at Barnes and Noble and other retailers, but you can order a single issue or a subscription, here–click on Order where you can select print, digital or back issues).

MQU September/October 2014

MQU September/October 2014

The article is SEVEN pages long, with lots of photos.  It opens with my newest major quilt, of Eli running at the Camden Hills course during Cross Country season last year.

My article on Basting in the Sept/Oct 2014 issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited

My article on Basting in the Sept/Oct 2014 issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited

It also shows how I basted Joshua’s graduation quilt, 87 x 97 inches (BIG).  Even though the back was pieced and is effectively a second “front” of the quilt, I managed to quilt it with not a single tuck or “oops” on the back!  Given that the improvisational piecing was less than perfectly flat, I was elated.  I’ve finally figured it out!

I hope you’ll pick up a copy–let me know how you like the article and if you have any questions.  That’s how I figure out what to teach and what to write in my articles.  ENJOY!  Now, I’m going back to read all the other wonderful articles.  Honestly, even if I didn’t get to write for MQU every now and then, it is a great magazine, the only one that specifically addresses machine quilting as its primary focus, and one that I read cover to cover every issue.  Best of all for those not in the US, it is now available digitally so you can enjoy it without having to pay outrageously expensive international shipping (wish a couple of the Aussie and NZ magazines would do that!).