Sunday, May 31, 2009

Traveling again!!!

Well, I haven't posted for about a week, but know that I have been at least thinking about quilting, and actually doing a little bit. I am in the process of quilting one of the scrap quilts that I made earlier in the year.....it will be a wedding present.

Also, I bought a wonderful abstract sunflower stamp that I think I can use in the borders of my rusted sunflower piece, so I cant wait to get back to it.

BUT, the biggest thing in my life right now is that I am leaving in about 6 hours for a week in Portugal!!! My husband is going to be working there so I am going to do some sightseeing.

I have set up a blog to detail our visit, so check it out if you want......

http://arnoldstravelportugal.blogspot.com/


I will return to this blog when we get back home.

Until then........

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Shhhhh.....It's A Surprise

Well, I would love to show you my latest project, but, as it is part of my guild challenge, I cant post it until it shows at the meeting......here is a photo of the part I can show.....just to keep you in suspense.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been doing some planning on the rust piece and would LOVE to be able to start with the quilting. However, I realized that I probably needed to add a border first so I have been trying to come up with an idea that will properly frame this wonderful piece. Yesterday, I found a piece of fabric that has all of the colors that I think will highlight the piece.....now I just have to decide what to do with it!!!!


If I cant decide, I may go ahead and quilt it first, but just add extra batting and batting so that I can add the border once I figure it out. My other thought is to not put a border on it so who knows which way I will go.

I hope that you are all enjoying a restful Memorial Day Weekend!!!! What a great time to remember all those who have fought to keep us free!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Last Day in TX

Well, today is the last full day that I have in my home state, so thought that I would share a few photos. This part of Texas (Abilene) is hot, dry and not many trees. Here is a scene as I was driving out to my M-I-L's house.......

I have always been enamored with Prickly Pear Cactus and stopped several times to photograph some big bunches. I think that they might make a fun quilt design......


I loved this fence row outside of her house.....


Finally, when driving back to my Mom's house, I passed this wonderful windmill....definitely lots of inspiration here.....

I am glad that I made this trip, but am definitely looking forward to getting home and returning to normal things. My husband is flying from Indianapolis tomorrow and we are hoping to arrive in Atlanta within an hour of each other.....it will be interesting to see if our plan works!!!!

Bye for now....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another Texas Day (or two)

Yesterday, I spent the morning going thru various items that my mother was thinking of getting rid of and she wanted to see if I wanted any of them. I scored some jewelry, some embellishments and a few books. She has enough quilting magazines to start her own library, but I don’t have any place to put them at the moment, so I decided to leave them for now.

In the evening, two of my cousins brought tons of food and drink over to the house and 2 other cousins (and parts of their families) joined us. It was so much fun to sit at the table with four of my favorite cousins and laugh and tell stories, and....well, you know the drill. It was a wonderful night.

This morning, I went to church with my M-I-L and S-I-L (who surprised me by driving in from Dallas). Afterwards, we had the requisite Mexican Food at my favorite restaurant.

As I had flown in on Thursday, I had noticed a "Wind Farm" that had about 75 wind turbines and Esther (my wonderful M-I-L) drove me out so that I could take some photos.

This picture doesn't do it justice, but I would love to make a quilt with a darkish background and machine embroider the windmills. They are so graceful and tranquil and it would be fun to try to capture that in a quilt. I am hoping that I am on the correct side of the aircraft when we fly out on Tuesday....if so, I will try to get an aerial photo of the field....it was magnificent.

Also on the flight last week, I spent some time playing with the rust piece and gathering ideas for how to quilt it. I am posting some photos of my rough drawings here....you will probably have to click on the photo to be able to see any of my drawings. I am sorry that most of these are on their side.....I have NO idea why it is happening, and someone here at the Starbucks is playing an online game and eating up the Bandwidth so it is taking FOREVER to download each photo!!

The first idea was to make different types of flowers. In this one, I was playing with the idea of doing the background quilting to look sort of like venetian blinds.

The second idea kept the different flower types, but used background quilting that had curves that sort of followed the lines on the rust dye......

On the third one, I only used Sunflower types of flowers, which I have decided that I like better. In this one, I kept looking at the nails in the center portion of the dye and seeing fence posts, so I thought about doing the background sort of like a fence....

In the final one, I did the sunflowers larger and I really like this idea best. However, I have now decided that I will need to go ahead and quilt the flowers before I can decide on a background quilting design, so that will be one of my first projects when I get back home. Before I start, I will spend some time looking at pictures and drawings of sunflowers to see if I can make them a bit more realistic. I have decided that I want the one on the right to have a perspective where it is looking upwards. Since I am NOT an artist, this may be a stretch, but hopefully I can find something online that will help me. I am also going to look at the shape of Sunflower leaves and quilt those in along the stems as well. I will probably do some grass-type design towards the bottom.

I am planning to quilt the design elements in a thread that matches the rust and then do the backgrounds with a beige thread.

If you have any wonderful ideas, I would love to hear them!!!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Mom and her quilts

Yesterday we spent the day documenting my Mom’s quilts.....both old and new. She has done some beautiful work in her life and I really enjoyed seeing many of them. Some of them were really worn out and thread bare and she kept apologizing for how bad their condition was, but I just saw those as being the ones that were loved and used.

Here she is looking at a friendship quilt that was made early in her marriage ........



She told me a few stories about various quilts, but my favorite was this one.......


She started making 9 patches for this quilt in 1932 (she was 9 years old). She said that the family's cow was dry at the time so they weren’t using the butter churn and her Mom (my Granny) told her to put the blocks in the churn as she finished them. Then, one day when she was bored with making blocks, Granny told her to pull them all out of the churn and see what she had done. She was so encouraged by the blocks that she had already made that she quickly went on to finish the quilt. The fabrics were from the layette of her baby brother (Jake) and the cotton batting was from cotton that had been picked across the road and then cleaned and carded. She finished the quilt in the early 1940's.

Here are a couple of her more recent quilts........

Friday, May 15, 2009

Flying is ALWAYS a surprise

Well, the trip to Texas started out great.....with the sighting of quilts at the Atlanta airport. There is an art show in the "T"concourse called "From Tradition to Innovation" and there is a wonderful section of small quilts......



But, things went downhill from there. We boarded the airplane and headed out to the runway and were next in line to take off. Then the Captain came on and said that Dallas Airport had thunderstorms and were not letting any planes headed that way take off for at least THREE hours. So, they turned around and took us back to the terminal.

As I was finally about the board the plane, I got a phone message from American Airlines saying that they had cancelled my flight out of Dallas, but had booked me on one leaving at 6:45pm. I got to the Dallas Airport and immediately asked if there were any earlier flights and the attendant gave me “stand-by status” on a flight at 4:45. But, as the afternoon went on they just kept on cancelling flights and it ended up that the 4:45 flight that I was “standing by” for actually left about 15 minutes AFTER my 6:45 flight. I laughed at one announcement.....it began “if you were planning to fly to.....”......not the words that you ever want to hear at the airport.

Anyway, I made it to Abilene about 7:45pm....only 6 hours late!!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I finished the last two BQL challenges yesterday, including binding. Here they are.....







I especially enjoyed doing the embellishing on the purses.


I had commissioned my friend Anita's husband (Bill) to make a rust piece for me that looked like sunflowers. Last night she presented me with this wonderful piece.....






I cant decide which side I want to use.....what do you think?


I think that I am going to print out a bunch of copies of this photo and practice designing the quilting.

I am leaving for Texas in the morning to spend a few days with my Mom. The main project that I want to do is to document all of her quilts......she has done some wonderful ones.

I will try to post if I can. I am actually excited about trying to do an email post, but am not sure that I know how. If you see some strange entries, you will know that I am trying to figure out the process.

Until later.......

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Trapunto Two Ways

I have been quilting the large trapunto piece that I have previously shown.....Here is the latest picture of it.......



Once again, I am desperately hoping that they blue lines come out!!!!!


The May challenge for the British Quilt List challenge is a trapunto piece as well. I have been wanting to try doing trapunto a different way (I read it in some magazine but cant now find the magazine) and decided that this was a good piece to try it on. I liked this method because it meant that I didn't have to cut out the batting from the back of the quilt.....I always manage to cut the front fabric by mistake.

Here is what I did......

Draw the outside lines of the design onto freezer paper and then lightly iron it onto the batting You could also draw these directly on the batting, but I couldn't figure out what pen to use......



Cut out the pieces and remove the freezer paper.....


Lay out the pieces on the front fabric.....you have to be careful because everything is backwards....

I know that this is not easy to do because I realized that my word would read right to left rather than left to right so I had to change it after I had already started sewing. Here is how I changed it. .....


Use Water Soluble thread in the bobbin and regular thread in the needle and free-motion stitch on the back of the quilt top (around the edges of the batting pieces). This holds them in place and puts an outline of the pieces on the front of the quilt. You can see in the previous picture that I have already sewn around the "A". Here is the front after the outlining has been done.....



Baste the quilt .....I also used a blue wash-out pen and drew in a few details.....


Stipple the background....by the way, the pattern I used took forever and used a huge amount of thread.

Soak the piece in cool water to remove the blue lines and the wash-out thread.



Replace the water with hot water and soak for a few minutes. Pop into a hot dryer until dry.

Square up the piece (it lost over 1/2 inch in this process)....


A few things that I learned......this works great for large shapes that will be trapuntoed (is that a word???).

Using this particular type of stippling you need to make sure that the shapes are larger....you may notice that the flower leaves on the right sort of disappeared among the stippling.

I am looking forward to trying this again, changing these few things.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Starry-Night in Bethlehem

September, 1986......Continuing on my quilting journey, I now move into the realm of machine piecing. Up until now I had done most everything by hand, even though it had taken a lot of time. Then, I saw this little quilt pattern in a magazine and I really wanted to try it. However, in the pattern, the star only had the bottom half so I knew that I needed to make some adjustments to it. I was concerned that I would spend a week or more piecing it and then it wouldn't work, so I decided to try my hand at machine piecing.

As with my first quilt, I did just about everything WRONG!!!! I prepared the templates and cut out the fabrics as if I was hand piecing. I drew the sewing lines on the fabrics and then pieced along the lines.

The upshot of this was that I had the top pieced in ONE DAY....not one week!!!

I quilted it by hand, using some very bad metallic threads, and even added a little padding to some of the houses to create a bit of texture.



I was very proud of it and still hang it at Christmas time.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A day with the Felting Machine

On Saturday morning my husband and I did the local attractions and visited a Dog Show and the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation artists market. We bought a few pottery pieces that we will take on our next overseas trip to use as thank you's for people who host us. We like to take things that are made here at home.

When we got back home, Michael (hubby) kicked me out of the kitchen so he could make Marinara Sauce (and listen to music VERY loud), so I retreated to my studio. Even though I have several quilting projects going on, I decided to pull out the Felting Machine and play a little bit. I ended up making this small purse out of a piece of black wool felt that had been given to me.
I am still not super good with the felter, but I know that I learn something from each project and that I will soon get the hang of it!!!

For this piece, I used a Silk Hankie and a Silk Cap that I bought last year in Australia, and some wool yarn that I found on a clearance table for $2 per skein.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Personal Quilt Show - Entry #2

This past week I showed my first quilt, so today I thought I would reveal my second quilt......



The year was 1985 (July to be exact) ......I had started taking quilting lessons when this one was made, so it is much better quality than the first quilt. It was made for another baby that was due right around my due date. As a matter of fact, I was working on it the day that my son was born.

For this quilt I used patterns that I had copied out of some now unknown magazine and used a proper hand applique technique.

I didn't have access to a quilt frame, so this one was thread basted and then lap quilted without any sort of hoop. I did most of it while sitting at our table with the quilt spread out flat in front of me.

I remember being VERY proud of how it turned out, even though it has now been almost 24 years since I made it.
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