Archive for July, 2011

Round Tuit # 03 – Ricky Tims’ Convergence Quilt Started

July 28, 2011

Round Tuit # 3 is off to a good start.  I purchased Ricky Tim’s Convergence quilt book ages ago, and out of the bookshelf it came this week.  I selected a quilt effect I liked and it required a large scale print.  Would you believe I did not have any large scale prints in my fabric collection?  Everybody who has been to my house, knows I have enough fabric to open a store, so it came as quite a surprise to me.  What I thought were large scale fabrics were half as large as what I needed for this project.  Hrmph

After pondering my lack of the needed fabric, I decided to make some large scale print fabric of my own.  I have enough solid colored fabric so I could dye paint, discharge bleach, stamp my own designs, etc… to create my own unique fabric.  This time I decided to try discharging some black fabric.

I used a 50/50 bleach/water solution, rinsed, washed and did not like how it turned out, so back outside I went for another session of discharging – this time with 100% bleach.  After rinsing, washing and ironing the second attempt, I liked it even less than the first go around.  Throwing caution to the wind, I used it anyway. I really didn’t know how it would work in the quilt, and the only way I was going to find out, was to use it, and make the quilt.  That is exactly what I did:


I had no problems selecting the colors, but midway through the assembly I confided to a friend that I hated how it was coming together, and only finished it because of the encouraging words Ricky wrote in his book, “Harmonic Convergence quilts are a bit of a mystery, and part of the fun is letting the magic happen on its own”.   Thanks, Ricky, because without those words, I’m afraid I would have given up on this project.

That single quilt piece might not look like much, but I discharge bleached my fabric trying to create curves, and while the finished quilt will not look exactly like the next picture, it will closely resemble it:


Isn’t that lots better?  The face will be lost as each black fabric was discharge bleached with the curves the same, but the spots were randomly scattered over the fabric. That to-me evil face reflecting in the top and bottom half will not be in the completed piece, but the curves will. 

I am so glad I finally got around to making one of these quilts, and will share pictures of the completed top when it is finished.  Taking action with my Round Tuit Projects is extremely satisfying.   Not only am I clearing out the humongous backload of what I wanted to make, I’m also learning so much.  I highly advise tackling your Round Tuit Projects also.



Round Tuit # 2

July 27, 2011

I’m on a roll with these Round Tuits.   In fact, I had finished the second one before I finished the second part of the first one.  How about that for a confusing sentence? 

Both parts of the first one were completed using my sewing machine, and I started the second one in between while I was “watching” TV at night with my hubby.  We do like sitting in the same room in the evening, so I do handwork then.

Round Tuit # 2 was trying out the Mile a Minute crochet stitch.  Would you believe I had printed out the instructions sometime in the 90’s and when I finally tackled a pile of papers, I found the print out?  Sad but true.  In fact, if you really want to know how bad I am about getting Round Tuit, there was paperwork printed in the 80’s in the same pile. 

Anyway, I successfully followed the directions, and disliked the pattern so much, I didn’t take a picture of it, and ripped it out so I could reuse the thread for another project.   If I peaked your interests about the Mile a Minute crochet stitch, you can find plenty of information on the stitch from googling it.  My instructions went promptly to the recycle bin – along with another 2 pounds, yes 2 pounds of paperwork.  I got through one entire pile, but I’m not confessing how many other piles are laying around patiently waiting for their turn. 




Round Tuit # 1 Follow Up

July 24, 2011

Yesterday I made another Moonflowers block:

This one is pieced much more accurately than the first one.  All my corners meet, and while the center is not perfect, it’s as perfect as I’m going to make it by machine – any machine.  The jury is in – it is not my sewing ability in question.  My little inexpensive Janome can chain piece much more accurately than my mega expensive Pfaff Creative Vision 5.0.  I’m pretty sure the reason is Pfaff changed the feed dog system with this machine because they came out with a Pfaff Creative Vision 5.5 edition next, and everybody who has that edition says it pieces much better.

I should not have given up on the feed dog problem when I first discovered this, but I did stop pursuing a fix to the problem, so I have nobody to blame but myself for settling.  The Creative Vision does a lot of other things that my little Janome doesn’t, and does it beautifully well, so I will now use the Pfaff for machine embroidery only.

The reason I hadn’t been using my Janome more often is this:


That little machine is inside the cabinet, behind the ironing board, and under the mess.  No more.  I cleared off everything on top of the cabinet, and moved the ironing table out of the way.  Now I’ll be able to accurately chain piece again.  Happy days!!!


Round Tuit # 1

July 21, 2011

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my to-do list vs my lifespan.  There is nothing quite like turning 60 – which I did this past May -combined with a vision challenge that occurred shortly after, to set a body to thinking.  I have a plethora of books, magazines and journals filled with ideas and projects I’ve been wanting to try, yet they keep piling up.  

It is time – in fact way past time – that I start to explore this wealth of information, ideas and inspiration.   Not everything will be successful.  Not everything will be gallery worthy.  Not everything will be the best work I’ve ever done, but it will be fun to simply relax and enjoy a project just because something about it appealed to me – enough to save an article, buy a book, make a sketch, write down my thoughts, or buy a piece of fabric.  

I’m going to dub this work my Round Tuit projects (According to wiktionary, this is a play on words, from the idiom to get around to it.)  and this is the first one:

Moonflowers by Annette Ornelas was in the July 2010 American Quilter magazine, and it is reminiscent of the turned edges used in a Cathedral Window quilt, but this was totally done by machine.  Now I was sewing this at 2am the other morning – I know, I know, I said I wasn’t going to sew late at night anymore, but I’ve been wanting to try this for a long time, and finally got Round Tuit.  LOL

Anywhoooo, the instructions were excellent – they had to be, remember I was reading them at 2am, and I didn’t make any mistakes, but I’m not too sure I’d make another block.  The reason?  I actually like handwork, and my point accuracy with handwork is spot on.  I’m not as accurate with a sewing machine – the raison d’etre for the button in the center of the block.   I used to be, but I don’t know if it’s my gradually increasing maturity, or my sewing machine that is causing the problem. 

Hmm, that brings up a good idea.  I wonder if I tried making another block with my light-weight-take-to-workshop Janome sewing machine, to see if I’d do better.  The feed dogs on my Pfaff are not what they used to be, and I’ve had trouble with sewing accuracy ever since it followed me home a few years ago.  It does machine embroider beautifully.

Okay, I just talked myself into making another block to see if it’s me or the sewing machine.  I’ll let you all know ASAP.


The Nappy Bag is Completed

July 19, 2011

The Nappy Bag – AKA my purse of choice is completed.  I made every mistake you could possibly make with this purse from cutting multiple extra pattern pieces –  one BIG exterior piece was cut on the fold, but with the pattern piece turned around – to sewing seams, thinking I made a mistake, ripping the seam out – black stitch by black stitch on dark fabric -only to realize I didn’t make a mistake, and having to resew the seam.

Now this is actually a really easy bag to make, but I was doing way too many little steps after midnight.  No more after midnight pattern cutting or sewing for me.  Here is a picture of it:

It was taken hanging from a chandelier – despite objections from a very worried husband.  He thought the whole chandelier was going to come down.  It might have if the purse was full, but it was totally empty.  I was having a bad hair day, or I’d have posed with it over my shoulder. 

I realize you can’t see much from the photo, but there is a neat cell phone pocket on the outside, and there are 4 pockets on the inside – just the right amount for my usage.  The original pattern has 8 pockets, and they would come in handy if the bag was used as intended, but this is my second go around with this pattern, and I adjusted it to fit my needs. 

Those of us who sew are well and truly spoiled.  We have the ablility to customize everything we make and wear.  I am so glad my grandmother taught me how to use a sewing machine, and would she ever be surprised by all the bells and whistles they have now.


Fabric Acquisition

July 13, 2011

My local quilt store is closing and they have been having some very good sales.  I stayed strong until last week.  Fat quarters were $1 each and some were packaged 5 to a bag for $4.  I broke down and came home with this:

Yes, I know I have enough fabric to last for several life times, but what the heck, a little more can’t hurt, and I haven’t purchased any cotton fabric in a very long time.  Notice I qualified that by calling it cotton fabric, as I have purchased quite a bit of silk fabric this year for crazy quilting.   What can I say?  It’s who I am.  I’m a textile collector.  I’m not hurting anybody, I’m helping the economy, and it makes me happy.

Not that I have to justify my purchases – now wouldn’t that just be so sad –  but I just so happened to start making a new purse for myself yesterday.  See, I do use some of my fabric.  😉 

I remember the good old days, when I whipped one of these out quickly.  Those days are long gone.  Yesterday I cut out all the pieces and stabilizers.  I also cleaned my steam iron.  It was a mess after my last project. No matter how careful I am using teflon sheets and pressing clothes with fusibles, I always manage to get some of the gunky stuff on my iron.  Cleaning an iron is a stinky process indeed, but my iron was positively sparkling afterwards ready for today’s work.

This morning I spent almost 2 hours fusing all the pieces, and realized I forgot to cut out 2 pieces.   A hot steam iron wielded on a summer day, no breakfast to give me strength, and having to get the bolt of fabric out again to cut those forgotten pieces made for one very cranky person. 

I LOVE sewing.  I HATE all the prep you have to do before you get to the sewing part of a project.  Am I the only one who feels that way? 

I do love this purse though – The Nappy Bag by Amy Butler – and now that all the fusing is complete, maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to the fun part tomorrow.  There is something about turning on my sewing machine and see it do its magic that soothes my spirit.  Is it the hypnotic rhythm of the needle?  The reliable motor working away?  The ease of a seam being completed?  Who knows?  It is almost like meditation for me.  It puts me in a good place, and I’ll get a wonderful purse from my sewing machine. 

You know how a lot of women talk about giving birth?  How the labor was rotten, but they forgot all about it when they got to hold their baby for the first time?  Well, finishing my purse will be a bit like that.  I’ll forget all about the hot steam iron, all about forgetting to cut out all the pieces, and just be happy when my finished purse is birthed. 


Monroe County Fair – Quilt Judging

July 12, 2011

Sunday, I was one of the Home Art Judges in the Quilting division for our upcoming Monroe County Fair.  I’ve been a quilt judge before, but this was my first time judging for the fair. 

It was a hot, humid day, but the judges were all happy to be there, and chatted with each other before we got to work.   The fair organizers kindly provided iced bottled water and snacks.  It was very much appreciated.

There were long tables set up throughout the main building with all the entries on them.  These were the quilt tables:

All the judges had critique forms to evaluate the work on multiple aspects, and we took our time, writing comments for each quilt.  Hopefully, this will encourage the entrants to continue quilting, and continue submitting their pieces to the fair.

Here is a picture of Elaine and Bonnie busy judging a sewing category:

And these handsome gentlemen were judging the entries for the fine art photography category:

There is a funny story behind this photo.  I went to take the photo, and had forgotten I turned off my camera, and had put the lens cap back on.  Well, you don’t want to try and take a photo of photography judges with the lens cap on.   It was promptly pointed out to me that the lens cap was on the camera.  Duh!!! I laughed and got on with taking the photo, but was so flustered I forgot to ask their names.  

We were all asked if we’d like to be judges again next year, and we all said yes.  Judy and Bev did a marvelous job organizing the pieces, and were excellent communicators.  Everyone knew where they had to be, and what they should be doing.  It can’t have been easy setting this up, and now I realize just how much volunteer work goes into making our county fair a success.  Thank-you ladies for doing such a terrific job.


RAFA’s July 2011 Meeting

July 11, 2011

RAFA’s monthly meeting was last week and Show and Tell was wonderful, plus the afternoon monoprinting workshop taught by Beth Brandekamp was a lot of fun. 

Caren is teaching a class on threadpainting and brought her class sample to show:


Caren does beautiful thread painting and currently has a piece in the juried show in Cazenovia I mentioned in a previous post.

Donna had a lot of pieces to share with us, but I particularly loved this jacket:

She used a pleater to gather the trim fabric, and then dyed it.  It complimented the jacket perfectly.

Liz had a lot of jackets.  Some were from her dyed fabric and some were from old tablecloths.  I really like the appeal of the old tablecloth inspired jackets, and here is a picture of one of them:

Elaine is making a fabric book and brought a page.  This is the front:

And this is the back:

She took a photo, manipulated it in a paint program,  printed out a few versions on fabric, then selected one she liked and created a pieced rendition.  I absolutely loved that page. 

Sharon made a graduation quilt for a family member:

I loved how the blue fabric transitioned across the background, and her piecing was spot on.  Sharon also decided to monoprint one of her tops:

Julia had some fabric that was treated to develop a print when exposed to sunlight.  She was a little leery about it printing as it was a year old, but her prints came out great.  This was my favorite:

Glynis made a quilt inspired by a quilt I made from an internet workshop:

She quilted it extensively, and that in turn has inspired me to redo my quilt.  It needs lots more quilting on it.

Glynis also made lots of striped monoprints and this one reminded me of a field of grapes:

 I think a glass of wine should be in the photo too.  LOL

And Val made some wonderful monoprints too.  She was smart to bring some predyed fabric and created this lovely print:

Personally, I think all it needs is to be quilted.  The design is perfect just the way it is. 

And last but not least is a piece of felted lace:

I’m really sorry, but my memory is taking a break, and I can’t remember the name of the talented artist who created this.  I’ll ask and post it as soon as I find out.

I hope you enjoy seeing these photos of some of the projects from our last meeting. 


Nazareth College Gallery Opening and Backyard Visitor

July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July to all who celebrate this holiday!

Last Friday, I went to Pat Pauly’s solo exhibit opening at Nazareth College’s Art Center.  It was great to see old friends and quite exciting to see so many of Pat’s quilts hanging in one location.  Here is a picture of one of my favorites from the show:


It’s pretty obvious to me that I have color preferences.  The quilt featured yesterday and today’s quilt have all warm toned shades.  I definitely gravitate towards warm tones.  The 70’s with all that orange furniture, carpet and accessories were my decade.  😉  

I have made some cool toned quilts – mostly for my daughter’s home.  And I do make clothes for myself in the cool shades as those colors look good against my skin tone, but my heart belongs to red, orange, and yellow – all the warm, excitable colors on the color wheel. 

This summer my goal is to try deconstructed screen printing, and maybe I can talk myself into using some blue dyes.  Those are the dye jars that are practically full.  😉

And here is another picture I wanted to share with you:


This little one visits us daily and has taking a liking to my lilac bushes.  If he keeps this up, we won’t have to trim any this year. 


June’s Gallery Crawl

July 3, 2011

June flew by and it was filled with an abundance of fiber inspiration.  I’ve already discussed GVQC’s Jubilee quilt show, and I attempted to go to the show in Cazenovia to see the quilts and hear the lecture, but there was a big accident on the thruway and I missed everything.  While I was upset, I will still be able to go back to see the quilts. 

In the meantime, I visited Off The Page – a solo exhibit by Jeanne Raffer Beck.  Jeanne does absolutely wonderful artwork, and I was especially drawn to this one:


Aside from the color – which you will see a trend developing from the rest of the pictures posted today – I loved how the individual pieces related to each other.  Each piece was folded and looped, but they were placed so they created a continuous space where they almost touched each other. 

This particular dimensional piece was my favorite, if I had to choose one, because there were quite a few I would have loved to take home with me. 😉

Next on the gallery crawl was The Parallax show.  19 contemporary quilt artists displayed their latest pieces.  This show was at the Booksmart Studio and it had wonderful lighting, lots of space to view the quilts, and I was very impressed with the location.

There were 4 pieces that I especially liked, but I’ll be sharing photos of 2 in particular today.

This one is by Marcia DeCamp:


I don’t have to say a word about it.  It speaks for itself. 

And the second one is by Linda Bachman:


She used a deconstructed screen printing technique that I hope to try this summer.   I loved how each print was subtlely different from each other, but what elevated it to being one of my top picks was the addition of those appliqued pieces.  It was unexpected, the colors were perfect, and it added another layer of interest to the piece.  Brava, Linda.