Friday, September 22, 2023

How much fun can one person have???

I’m not sure if my title is sarcastic or not. I did very little quilting on the Boston quilt this week. Class has been keeping me busy. I will talk about that a bit later in the blog. I took a photo of what I quilted on the large building and noticed that the Roxanne white pencil marks are still visible on the purple Cherrywood building. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I’ve sprayed some water on those marks and used a toothbrush to see if that would take them off. It seems to be working. I’ll know after it dries. The trouble is some of the marks are variations in the fabric and it’s hard to tell which are marks and which are variations. Plus I’m thinking if I can’t get all the marks off the marks will not look that bad given the subject. Plus where I can’t get them off I can enhance with hand stitching.  Again Grrrrrrrrrrrr.  I will switch back to Clover pencils. I won’t be so lazy and test them before using them even though I’ve never had issues with them. 

My class worked hard learning how to work with fusible web and cut out their pieces. Initially when I planned the class I had no idea my students would pick such complicated photos to work with. This coming week we were going to move onto the next step which would be stitching the pieces in place. We have decided to spend another week working on their compositions. I think it will be a good idea. Sometimes you have to change your plans. I will demo how to stitch the pieces down and they will have to do that at home.

My students are hard workers. They are really enthusiastic. They are a great class. I’m very lucky.

I’ve created a window to work on to demonstrate all the techniques. I have the windows done and I’m working on picking a background fabric. The backgrounds are all similar. There’s a slight difference in value. They go from darkest to lightest. I will need to decide before Tuesday. The easy compromise would be to use the medium value one. 

My youngest sister had a birthday in September and I sent her one of the Pittsburgh pieces. I sent the one with the streetcar. She was shocked and thrilled.

Linking to Nina-Marie.

Thanks for reading. By the way all 4 of the stray kittens we found have been adopted!  That’s great news.


Friday, September 15, 2023

Things I think I've learned over the years...

I have been art quilting since 2004 when I started my Isle of Skye quilt. It was started in an online class at Quilt University with Susan Brittingham. Quilt University has not existed for years and Susan is no longer with us. You can see that I loved buildings even then.

My second art quilt was "Grandma's House."

So what did I learn many years after making these quilts? I've learned that borders are not necessary.  I rarely put a border on a quilt now.  I also usually face the quilt instead of binding it these days. If you want it to look like art rather than a quilt you should skip the borders and the binding. My Amsterdam canal houses at night which is shown below would be an example of a quilt that has no borders and has facing instead of binding. So why did these first 2 quilts have borders and binding? Well I was a traditional quilter and always "slapped" a border on a quilt. That's what I was used to. At least I mitered the borders!!

The other thing I learned was to use an inspiration photo that had an unusual perspective rather than taking one that looks at the subject straight on. The one of my parent's house was the only photo I had at the time so that's what I had to use, but now I would take the photo at an angle to get something more interesting to work with. The canal houses are taken from an angle looking down a street. That's better in my opinion than a straight on view. The other thing I did with the photo was to stretch the vertical dimension to make the canal houses look tall and skinny. I've discovered how to manipulate a photo to make it more interesting or to fit the subject better. Tall skinny canal houses call for a tall skinny quilt.

Looking up or down at a building is also a great view to find something interesting. Looking up at the ceilings of a cathedral is a great viewpoint.

The other thing I discovered over the years was to use unusual colors rather than the actual colors in the photo. In other words skies don't have to be blue or buildings don't have to be brown.

My original idea for the canal houses was to go with the actual colors in the photo. I did a sketch and painted it in with those colors. It evolved into a night time scene with all blues and the yellow orange windows after I played with it in Electric Quilt software. So the other thing I learned was to play with things before I even start making the quilt.Some times I play for years before I commit to something.


I've learned that colors can create a mood. If you look at these 2 energy quilts you can see they have very different moods based on their subjects. You can utilize that to your advantage.


So what about how big to make a quilt?  Sometimes the size I choose is based on what fabrics I have to work with. Other times it's dictated by the subject and what I want a viewer to feel. My Boston quilt is a good example of that. I wanted the viewer to feel like they were standing there looking at a city scene so it is very large. That of course has been stressing me out while I've been quilting it. It is approximately 50 in by 80 in.


I’ve also learned to simplify things, leave things out, add things, or move things around. I guess one of the last things I've learned is that I have to be patient and learn to deal with plenty of tedious things in this process. This process is not for the faint of heart.

What have you learned over the years that I forgot to mention?

Linking to Nina-Marie.

Thanks for reading


Friday, September 8, 2023

Magic fabric

Before I get started talking about what kinds of fabrics I use in my quilts, I have to admit that I struggle with fabric choices. Picking the “right” fabric is never easy for me. I envy people that don’t struggle like I do. My husband calls it over analysis. And I know that I’m guilty of it.  I’m pretty open about what kinds of fabrics I use….batiks, hand dyes, Stonehenge, fossil ferns, Moda marbles, Jennifer Sampou sky fabrics. Generally I don’t use solids. I also use what I call magic fabrics. These are fabrics that work really well in my quilts. These are fabrics that have variation in color and value and both the front and back of the fabric are useful. 

This fabric was used a lot in my Boston quilt. In some places I used the front and other places I used the back. It made a great window fabric in this quilt. I used it in the skyscrapers as well as the brownstones. It is definitely a magic fabric! In fact I initially bought a small piece of this fabric and then went back to the quilt store to buy more. 

Here it is in the quilt. I used both the front and the back of the fabric when the values required it. That alone is magic in my book.

I’ve been getting ready for my class so I did not do much quilting this week. I’ve heard from 4/5 students and figure I probably won’t hear from the last straggler. Hopefully she shows up on Tuesday. We are not allowed to contact the students unless they contact the instructor first. All the students were given contact information and a pre-class assignment to send their photo to me.  Although I’ve learned from the past classes that not everyone gets something done in class. 

The students have picked some fairly complicated and fairly large sizes to work on in this class. The sizes are around 16 by 22 and they all seem to be making quilts of their houses. So it will be a challenge and  they will still be working on it after the class is over. Well at least I will get them started and on their way.

Do you use magic fabrics? Do you use both the front and back of fabrics? Do you struggle with fabric choices?

Thanks for reading.

Linking to Nina-Marie.


Friday, September 1, 2023

Not a lot done this week

I only got one building done this week and started into a second building. The finished building is the pretty fairly large purple building that is made from a purple Cherrywood fabric with light purple fossil fern windows. The second building is a very large building with lots of windows and details. There are a few marks in white on it so you can see is where I will be quilting next. I’ve been using the Roxanne white water soluble pencil to mark the darker buildings. I just discovered yesterday that I can use packing tape to remove a lot of the marks. It pulls them right off.

My class was in the OLLI newsletter this week. I got one more student, but one dropped so I am still at 5/6. I’ve heard from 3 students with the photos they are working with. I’m still waiting to hear from the other 2. The class is getting close with only a bit more than a week to go before it starts. I hope they are not waiting until the day the class starts because I have to print their enlarged photo for them.  That would be impossible the day of the class. So I hope I hear from them soon. I hope they are looking forward to taking the class as much as I’m looking forward to teaching it.

Thanks for reading. Linking to Nina-Marie.