Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Another quilter is missing from my life.....


On Friday, April 14th, while I was driving to deliver my last tax return of the season, I decided to pick up the phone and call my Mom.  She had been going downhill for the last few months and had pretty much quit answering her phone but I was hopeful that she would pick up this time.  Unfortunately she didn't answer, but the head of the facility that she lived in did answer.  He told me that they had just found her in her room and that she had passed away.  Apparently she had ordered her lunch and was sitting at her table waiting for it to be delivered.  She passed peacefully as she waited.

Now, like many Mothers and Daughters,  my Mom and I had a bumpy relationship.  She grew up during the Great Depression and vowed to have nice things in her life.  The problem arose in that her "nice things" took the form of Victorian figurines and other frilly things.  I, on the other hand, enjoyed more organic and natural forms of art.  However, one thing that we both agreed on was the art of quilting.

Mom made her first quilt when she was 11 years old.....
   It was a HEAVY 9 patch quilt made with every fabric imaginable.  I am fortunate to own it now.

When times were tough, Mom quilted for the public to help make money for she and my Dad.   There were several other quilts that she made early in her quilting journey, including this "Friendship quilt" that graced her bed.....

As a kid, I used to love to look at the signatures and ask Mom who the people were.

However, once she and Dad left the farm and moved to "the big city" (Abilene, Texas), she started working in offices and her quilting was pushed to one side.

Then, in the 1970's there was a resurgence in quilting associated with the Bicentennial Celebration, and Mom jumped in with both feet.  Her first decision was that I needed SIX quilts for my "Hope Chest".  She started with a Balloon Girl that utilized fabrics from my dresses.....

She quilted her way thru a Double Wedding ring.....
......a Grandmother's Flower Garden......
....she quilted a Bear's Paw that her mother (my Granny) had pieced......
Next was a Broken Star quilt that she had started just after she had married but had never finished.   The white fabrics had yellowed with the years and she un-pieced it and put in new white fabrics.....

Her final offering for my Hope Chest was a gorgeous "Boston Commons".....

All of her quilts were meticulously hand pieced and hand quilted and each took a year or so to make.  Because of the length of time it took to make a quilt, I never had any interest in making one!!!  However, Mom did teach me the joy of being busy with my hands and of being creative, so my creativity came in the form of Crewel Embroidery, Needlepoint and Counted Cross Stitch.  

When I did start quilting, Mom was so excited and she and I spent many happy hours looking thru books together and talking about the quilts that we would one day make.  These times are some of my fondest memories.

In the last 10 years, we made several quilts together, starting with "Mother-Daugher Flower Garden".....
 
....and continuing on with "Flower Pots".....
With each of these quilts, Mom did the applique and I did the setting and quilting.  It was a fun process to work thru them together.  Back in 2014, she was wanting something new to work on so I sent these blocks to her. 

She immediately did the applique and returned them to me and there they have sat.  It will be a fun challenge to work on this quilt "with her" again sometime soon.

So, I have said my Goodbyes to her body and her mind but my good memories of her are brought to my mind EVERY TIME I look at a quilt....what a wonderful legacy!!

Rest In Peace Mom......






Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I was scared but did it anyway!!!

A few posts back I told you about the judge's comments on the Himalayan quilt.....saying that the bottom portion of the quilt didn't have enough contrast.  And, I actually agreed with her comments.

At first I thought that I would just leave it and not worry about it but then I started thinking about ways that I might be able to fix some of the problems, but still wasn't sure that I could do it well.   A few nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night and started visualizing myself actually MAKING the changes.  To me, this signaled that I was ready to attack the problem.

So, on Monday night I put on my "big-girl" panties, pulled out my fabric paints and, with much fear and trepidation, started adding paint to the finished quilt.

I first looked thru my "Setacolor" paints but didn't find the colors that I wanted.   Just as I was about to give up for the night, a bag of Tulip brand "soft" fabric paints fell out of the box and, low and behold, there were the colors that I was looking for.  

I squeezed out three large blobs of paint.....

....mixed it into this rather obnoxious color......


....and started sponging the color over the grass.    I started super slowly but then kept adding more and more paint as I went.   I knew that I had to keep the process pretty dry because I didn't want the paint to migrate thru the batting and onto the back.

After about 5 passes over the top I was pleased with the way that the individual grass fabrics were melding into a more unified pasture.....
And, it was slowly lightening the color saturation of the grass.  

One note to self.....it is MUCH easier to darken fabric than to lighten it!!!!

Now I had a bit of moxie going for me, so decided to tackle some shading on the monument.   I mixed up a nice grey paint and, using a paint brush, started adding shading around the edges of the monument.  

Next I looked at the inner opening into the monument and realized that the inner wall needed to be darker than it was so out came the trusty sponge and...voila....the monument now had more depth!!!

I also added some shading to the "steeple" part.....



The final job for the evening was to sponge some darker green underneath the monument so that it was grounded and not floating above the grass.

All in all, I am very happy with these changes and think that it is a much better quilt

Here is the original.....

And this is the new and improved version.....
 

Hopefully I have learned to listen to my own instincts and not hurry to finish!!   Now I can move on to something new......

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Cotton Patch Quilt Show

Now as promised, here is a rundown of our guild show from 2 weeks ago.....

Our guild has 117 members and presented over 150 quilts in the show.   I think that the quality or our work has increased each show and this one was no exception.



"Best of Show" was won by Nan  with this magnificent King size quilt.....


This was an example of perfection....the piecing is amazing and, if you look closer at it, you can see that the background fabric is actually a stripe that is meticulously pieced to be kept straight.....


I am always a sucker for a "Jewel Box" pattern but the quilting on this one is astounding......


Terri is a whiz at putting together scraps to form a unified design and I love all of her fantastic quilts......


One of my favorite quilts in the show was this bright and sunny one by Denise.....

Cleo made this quilt for her Granddaughter and said that she and her husband had a wonderful time thinking up words that described her character....

Norma had taken a thread painting class with Susan Brubaker Knapp and this creation was the direct result of the class.  The judge was so impressed with it that she present it with an Award of Merit from the National Association of Certified Judges.....

Sylvia's Halloween quilt got lots of well deserved attention....
There are SO many small details to find in it!!!

She presented this quilt on her blog as a "sew-along" so you might want to check it out here.....  http://flyingparrotquilts.com/2016/08/29/my-finished-epic-halloween-quilt/

Diane made this extremely simple quilt that had a huge impact......


Finally, I loved this small piece by Francyne......
It is so simple but so effective!!!





There were so many other quilts that I loved but simply ran out of time to do much more photography.  As usual, I came away from the show encouraged, motivated and excited about my quilting journey.  And, I cant wait to see the work that our Guild presents in another two years!!!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Some good news.....

 In the last post I mentioned that Michael had been diagnosed with Metastatic Melanoma and had endured two surgeries to remove the known tumor.

We finally had a phone call from the Surgeon saying that the pathology report had come back showing that the margins were clear and that the Lymph node that had been excised was benign.....the best news ever!!!!

We have an appointment on Tuesday to meet with the Surgeon and also with a Medical Oncologist who will start Michael on a one year Immunotherapy regime. 

Needless to say we are pumped!!!   One of our pastor's showed up about an hour after we found out, toting a wonderful bottle of wine to celebrate with!!!

We have been so encouraged and awed by the thoughts and prayers that have been raised up on our behalf from all around the world.

So now we are looking forward to our life together with a renewed zeal.....BRING IT ON!!!!



Sunday, March 12, 2017

Feeling Judged

This is one of those posts where I feel like I need to re-introduce myself....it has been far too long since I have posted anything.

There are several reasons for my absence including being super busy at work and preparing for my guild's quilt show.  We are also struggling with some family health issues at the moment.  My husband has been diagnosed with Metastatic Melanoma which has included two surgeries in the last two months and now we are waiting to hear results of a Lymph node test to determine if additional surgeries will be required.   News like that really manages to slow life down to a crawl!!

There have been some fun times in the past two months, including our guild quilt show.  The quality of work in our show was wonderful and it was so inspiring to spend 3 days looking at these examples of fine quilting.  I will post photos from the show in the next week....I promise!!!



I was interested in the Judge's comments about my entries.....

I was surprised that this piece received a 2nd place ribbon in the "Wall Quilt - Applique" division.....
I am NOT known for my hand work so was excited that this was received well.  The Judge felt that the small yellow border did a good job of suggesting a light source and the shadows on the table encourage that idea.   I REALLY wish that I had done it for that reason, but sometimes serendipity knows better!!!   She did comment that the points of my petals could be more precise and I totally agree with that comment.

The other quilt that received an award was my pineapple quilt....an Honorable Mention in "Bed Quilt - Pieced".....
She liked the color flow and the use of the yellow in the pineapple corners but felt that the yellow border was too intense.   I hadn't really thought about it, but now that I look at the quilt further, I can see what she means!! 

For this quilt.....
....she liked the lettering, the reduced Chroma in the photo and the focal point of the quilt, but noted that the photo could have been sharper.   I agree with this assessment but had just used the photo that had been given to me.  Next time I need to play with it more and see if I can use Photoshop to sharpen it up!!

She didn't like much about this quilt.....


....saying that the fused edges were too frayed and that it was hard to read the landscape with the similar values.   I sort of agree with the value comment but I also like that it is a nighttime scene with the light seemingly coming from the buds on the tree. 

I fully agreed with one of the comments about this quilt.....

One of her first comments was that the perspective wasn't quite right.  I felt this as well, wishing that I had made the windmill shorter and wider.  BUT, the exciting thing for me about this quilt was that I did almost all of it freehand and without a pattern and am just happy that it didn't turn out looking like a Picasso!!!    She also felt like the eye was drawn too much to the flowers.   I dont know if I agree with that but am actually quite happy if your eyes go there first!!

Probably my biggest disappointment were the comments on the Himalayan quilt....

....but after I thought about them more, I can actually agree. She commented that the top part of the quilt was more effective than the lower part because of the value differences in the mountains.   She liked the flags, but didn't like the lack of value contrast between the monument and the grass, and this is what I agree with.   I remember when I placed the monument on the finished background that I was concerned about this.  However, in my rush to finish the quilt, I didn't listen to that niggily voice telling me to FIX IT!!!

So now I am trying to decide if I want to try to fix it or leave it the way it is.   I know that I could use some paint to darken the monument but I am afraid that I will have to get it REALLY dark to have enough contrast from the grass.  So instead, I am trying to think of a way to lighten the grass....maybe sponge a creamy, yellowy brown paint over the green fabric, especially directly around the monument.   I am also sure that I want to add some shading to the "steeple" and also to the inside side of the monument.

Now I just have to work up my courage and tackle it with a sponge and some paint....maybe I will wait for a while!!!

It was interesting to hear people's comments about the quilt at the show.  Many had no idea what it was and couldn't figure out why there was "washing hanging on the line" or "flowers inside the brick oven"!!!


I did buy an interesting book.....

She starts with plain white fabric, adds layers of textured fabrics, paints those fabrics to create a background and then thread paints over them.  I LOVE the texture and am anxious to try this technique!!!

One of our vendors presented an interesting method of using Derwent Paint Sticks.....
He would shave the sticks into a small jar, add some Aloe vera gel....


and mix it to form a paint consistency.   He said that using the gel helped to control the bleeding of the paint that you often get when you add water to it.   Again, I am looking forward to playing with this!!!

OK....I have done my duty and caught you up for now.   Hopefully there will be more to come soon!!!



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Finished & Entered.....

This past week marked the "receiving" days for our upcoming quilt show and I was happy to enter 6 pieces.

It was a sprint to the finish to get labels and sleeves on all of them.....



And especially a hurry to get the Pineapple quilt ready but it was fun to see the finished product hanging in the photograph room.....


This isn't a great photo, but I really like the back that I made for it as well.....
One of my goals for this quilt was to use fabrics that I had on hand and, except for the purple border fabric, I accomplished that.

After I got everything ready, I spent a few minutes cleaning my studio.  It doesn't often look this way so it REALLY needed to be immortalized with a photo.....

I had the fun of working in the photography room for show receiving.....

....and it was such a joy to see the quality and creativity of the quilts that were coming in.  I think that our show is going to be a GREAT one and I cant wait!!!


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Whole lotta quiltin going on.....

This past week I have tried to find time to work on quilting the Queen size Pineapple.

I enjoyed quilting the long, straight lines leading from the edge into the red highlight area....



...and as much as I tried, they ended up being basically symmetrical around the quilt.   It just looked better that way!!!

I wanted to highlight the red area and Michael suggested circles, so circles it was.....


You cant see a LOT of the quilting, but may be able to see the blue lines where I marked the concentric circles.....



The final step was to decide on a design for the borders.   Once I decided WHAT to do, I decided that this was a good time to try using a ruler.

When I bought the machine, I purchased a Ruler Foot as well.....


A ruler foot is different because it has a deep circle around the needle which bumps up against the ruler.  The needle is a perfect 1/4 inch inside the circle.

When I first got the machine and had played with it, I had trouble with skipped stitches and was NOT happy with the results.   After a bit of Googling, I discovered that the problem was that the foot was not sitting close enough to the fabric.  AND, after examining the foot, I discovered that there is a screw (just above the spring) that pushes the foot down.   After making this minor adjustment, I was ready to go.....


Since I wanted the grid to be 1 inch, I am placing the 3/4 inch line on the previous line.   When the 1/4 inch on the foot is added, I have a wonderful1 inch grid.  Although I marked the grid on the first set of lines, future marking has only included extending the corner lines into the border and adding the perpendicular line that marks where the line makes a 90 degree turn.


I have finished 1/2 of the border and, unfortunately, ran out of thread, but a trip to the store on Tuesday will fix that!!!

More to come!!




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