Basting, the bane of my existence!

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!).

SAQA Dream Collections

September 6th, 2014

Hi everyone!  I’m digging out from under from the wonderful trip to England with Eli.  Laundry is done, school has begun (meaning there is more of an order to our days), and the To Do list and list of things to blog about has gotten ridiculously LONG.  So I’m going to take things more or less by external rerquirements.  First up is the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) Annual Auction which supports the ongoing efforts for this wonderful organization to promote the Art of the Quilt.  The Auction begins September 15, so mark your calendars!  You can read more about it here.  SAQA put out a call for folks to submit their Dream Collections–sets of six quilts they would buy if funds were endless.   I decided to play and created two collections, Transported and Portraits.

Transported is about quilts that take me to another place:  just looking at them my mind starts to weave a story about the imagery.

My SAQA Dream Collection (at the top of page 2, follow this link)

My SAQA Dream Collection; click this image to see larger.  To see on the SAQA website it is at the top of page 2, follow this link.  To view the quilt, after you get to the link, click on the image of the quilt.  To learn more about the artist, click on their name to visit their website.

The Auction has four parts:  the first three are online Reverse auctions a week apart.  The price is highest on the first day, $750.  You look at your budget and decide what donation to SAQA you can afford to get that quilt.  Each day, the price goes down a bit.  Most quilts sell during the week-long auction.  The next week, the quilts in group  two go up for auction following the same process, and ditto for the third week.  The quilts in the fourth part are on display at International Quilt Festival which begins in late October in Houston.  As with the online auctions, the price is highest day one and goes down.  Do you risk waiting another day?  I’ve been lucky to purchase a quilt at a price I can afford (while wondering why no one else snapped up these favorites early in the auction) the past two years.  Will I be that lucky this year?   You’ll have to browse the four auction pages to see which quilts are being auctioned in which section.  Here’s the SAQA link for How the Auction Works.

My second collection is one dear to my heart.  I think accurately portraying a person or animal is about the hardest thing there is in art, not just capturing the physical image, but the personality, too (both of the individual portrayed and of the artist).   Here’s Portraits, at the bottom of the page in this link:

Portraits in a wide range of styles.  View the collection here, at the bottom of the page.

Portraits in a wide range of styles; click on the picture above to see it larger. View the collection on the SAQA Website, click  here, and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Which quilts would be in your dream collection?  Has one of the SAQA members put together a dream collection you’d love to have in your home? Enjoy the visual feast!

I’m back, and I’ll be teaching at IQF Houston!

August 31st, 2014

Hi all…a quick note to let you know Eli and I are home from England, over 2000 photos later!  I promise I’ll share some but not ALL of the photos.  In the meantime, I wanted to share with you that I’m once again teaching in Houston at the International Quilt Festival.  To find out about online enrollment, which is now open, click here or in the link in the sidebar to the left. Here’s what I’ll be teaching:

Monday, October 27, All Day Class #128:  Let’s Machine Quilt–an intro to machine quilting, all day class, machines provided

Let's Machine Quilt class sample

Let’s Machine Quilt class sample–Right click to view larger

Coral Free-motion Quilting Sample, Click to view larger

Coral Free-motion Quilting Sample, Click to view larger

Tuesday, October 28, Lecture #254:  How Did She Do That?  A lecture and digital presentation supplemented with in-the-cloth quilts sharing how I go from idea to image to quilt.  At 11:00, ending just in time to attend the Noon Luncheon.

SASmithAmaryllis1400Full

Wednesday, October 29, All Day Class #339:  Birch Pond Seasons, an introduction to fusible applique and art quilting.  This is a fusing and design/composition class with no sewing.  You can see the pattern (which is included in the kit fee along with MistyFuse) here.  You can see a class in progress on this blogpost, and at the bottom of this post which includes a lovely winter version. This is the third year in a row that IQF has booked this class for Wednesday–yeah!

Thursday, October 30, Morning Event #460:  Machine Quilting Forum (alas, already full), with four other machine quilters where we each give a presentation to the full group.  Then you have about 20 minutes for a quick demo or lecture with each of us–think of it as speed-dating for quilters.

Thursday and/or Friday:  one hour SMALL demo/kit/hand-on class in the Fiber-on-a-Whim booth!   Exact one-hour class (at one end of the booth) to be determined, but likely printing with thermofax screens.  Class fee will include fabric, paint, paint brush to use and use of my thermofax screen(s) to make some printed fabric to take home.  More details to come!

Dyeing (with an E) Fabric

August 17th, 2014

A couple posts ago I shared Insalata, my work in progress with ginormous tomatoes.  It needed something for a background that wasn’t in my stash.  So I decided to MAKE some!

Here are some fabrics in the deep values:  greens with berry and a deep burgundy.

Here are some fabrics in the deep values: greens with berry and a deep burgundy.

 

And more:  the ochres and greens.

And more: the ochres and greens.

A friend suggested really out of the box and try a blue, so I did.  I like the color combination, but it looked too much like sky (for which the fabric was originally dyed).  Not working for me.

A friend suggested really out of the box and try a blue, so I did. I like the color combination, but it looked too much like sky (for which the fabric was originally dyed). Not working for me.

I finally chose the ochre that is down three from the top in the second photo.  Once I get home, I hope to do a little surface design (maybe), then quilt this baby.  It will be  a couple months until I can share, but stay tuned!

Dog Walkies

August 13th, 2014

Those who know me on FaceBook know that I post regularly photos from my dog walkies.  But since some of you aren’t ON Facebook, thought I’d share them here.  As you read this, Eli and I are in ENGLAND!  We’ll have wifi and will likely post to Facebook, but not sure I’ll be able to update the blog until we are home (hubby will be there tending the critters…he didn’t want to go to England…can you imagine?).  Anyway, we’ll be able to use Facetime to keep in touch!   So here is some local beauty:

Even weeds can be beautiful.  I tweaked this photo in Photoshop to create a thermofax screen, so hope to do some surface design this fall!

Even weeds can be beautiful. I tweaked this photo in Photoshop to create a thermofax screen, so hope to do some surface design this fall!

And another of the grasses:

What a great design this will be.  Wonder if I can make a "plaid" by printing the screen at right angles , or create a diamond...hmmmm

What a great design this will be. Wonder if I can make a “plaid” by printing the screen at right angles , or create a diamond…hmmmm

One day Eli had a summer pre-season cross-country team run in Rockport near the Children’s Chapel.  I walked in the garden and got these photos:

Glorious poppy seed head and flower

Glorious poppy seed head and flower

I'd never seen seed pods like on this tree, aren't these cool?

I’d never seen seed pods like on this tree, aren’t these cool?

And a close up

And a close up

Back at home, the milkweed pods are growing.  There is SO a milkweed quilt in my future.

Back at home, the milkweed pods are growing. There is SO a milkweed quilt in my future.

Evelyn Chagnon, this is for you:  baptisia with seed pods.  I'm hoping to bring some seeds to you at Quilt Festival as well as mail you a chunk of the plant in Fall.

Evelyn Chagnon, this is for you: baptisia with seed pods. I’m hoping to bring some seeds to you at Quilt Festival as well as mail you a chunk of the plant in Fall.

And I discovered it isn't just wild blackberries, we have delectably TINY wild raspberries.  YUM.  Yes, I ate this one.

And I discovered it isn’t just wild blackberries, we have delectably TINY wild raspberries. YUM. Yes, I ate this one.

And a summer's evening dog walkies to close things out.  The light is from the entry/kitchen door to our house.

And a summer’s evening dog walkies to close things out. The light is from the entry/kitchen door to our house.