Archive for October, 2014

Alternate Grid – Success

October 26, 2014

What a difference a day makes:


My 12″ x 12″ blue alternate grid quilt is pieced. After I pieced the first few rows, I realized this would have been much easier if I’d fused the triangles onto the background fabric. Not only would it have been easier, I think the negative space would have read better as negative space. I stupidly didn’t dye enough fabric, so couldn’t start over.

And a note about dyeing these gradations. I’ve dyed gradations for all the pure MX dyes available in the USA and keep the fabric strips neatly in a binder. You’d be surprised that cutting it down sequentially – 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% did not give me a good gradation. These were dyed at 12%, 3%, 1.5% and .25% DOS – depth of shade. It really doesn’t take much time to dye a lot of DOS swatches for each pure dye, and I find I refer back to them frequently.

Now to decide how to quilt this piece.



Alternate Grid – Attempt # 1

October 22, 2014

Sometimes when I make something it goes together beautifully. Sometimes it doesn’t, and I thought I’d share with you the starts and stops of a really small, should be easy to create, but has turned out to not be, Alternate Grid quilt.

I spent 3 days drawing arrangements on graph paper as I am totally inept with EQ-7. Hopefully that will change in the future, and you know what? Sometimes I want to use a pencil and graph paper. My computer is not always with me.

alternate grid graph

Simple design, true? I wanted to make this in 4 shades of blue so it could be posted to the international art quilt blog I belong to for the Blue challenge.

Blue is not the predominant color in my fabric collection so I thought I’d dye the four shades I’d like to use for this quilt. We were having unseasonably warm weather last week, so out came the dyes, scale, and chemicals. Strained my brain doing the math, measured everything correctly, (Yahoo), got the exact depth of shades I wanted, BUT I managed to pick up the wrong dye container, and dyed the wrong blue. That was misstep #1.

The weather got back to normal – too cold to batch my fabric outside, and I was too lazy to dig out my dedicated dye microwave, so the blues I dyed are being used for this 12″ x 12″ quilt.

Today, I started piecing it, and it’s simple half square triangles – 3 different sizes, 3 different shades of blue. Easy true? Measured twice, cut once, made a mistake – misstep #2.

Recovered, pieced a few more sections, and I sewed the wide blue strip to the wrong side of the skinny pieced strip – misstep #3. Corrected that, and decided I needed to step away from this “simple” project as I was complicating it beyond words.

This is what I have done so far:

Partially pieced

Tomorrow is a new day, and I’ve reached my quota of 3 things going wrong, so I’m hoping for smooth sewing in my future.


Mother and Child

October 15, 2014

Waaaaaay back in January, a relative had a baby who’s arrival I wanted to celebrate, and I also signed up to join the Bead Journal Project for 2014. A lot late, but finally completed, is my January Bead Journal Project – Mother and Child:

Mother and Child

I used some of my hand dyed fabric, my embroidery machine to sew out the image of a mother kissing her baby’s head in rayon thread, then it sat, and it sat, and it sat around waiting for me to decide how to bead it. A friend was making the Oh My Stars! necklace from Shaped Beadwork & Beyond by Diane Fitzgerald, and I thought the stars would look great as flowers. I ordered the book, made a star/flower and it was way too big and solid for this small 8″ x 10″ piece. Back to the drawing board.

Being a crazy quilter, I have a lot, and I mean a lot of embroidery designs, and thought some of the simpler ones would work well for a beaded project. An antique embroidery book was available online, so I looked through that, selected some designs, resized them, rearranged elements, eliminated some, and came up with the design I beaded on this piece.

It’s simple backstitch beading with Mill HIll glass seed beads in colors 479 and 2017, with luster Miyuki SB in Pale Moss Green size 11/0. The flower centers are double French Knots with 6 strands of DMC rayon floss. The braid came from the wedding department at JoAnns – purchased ages ago. It was sewn down the center of organza ribbon. Out came my seam ripper. Now I have some organza ribbon in my ribbon collection, and the braid is on the piece. Can you tell I save everything?

This piece was stretched over an Artist Series archival quality stretched canvas. They are very reasonable at JoAnns, and just so happened to be on sale this week. Yeah for me!!!

If you’re in the Rochester, NY area, this piece will be included in the Rochester Gem, Mineral, Jewelry and Fossil Show and Sale at the end of the month. I hope some of you will be able to see this in person.


Hopping Around the World

October 6, 2014

I was honored to be asked by my friend Judy Warren to participate in the Hopping Around the World blog hop. The purpose of the blog hop is to answer some questions about our art process, and to introduce us to some new blogs. It’s a great way to meet kindred souls, and learn more about art making.

What am I working on?

Actually, quite a few projects. On the quilting front, I’d like my Disappearing Nine Patch to speak up and tell me how it wants to be quilted. I look at it every morning, it remains stubbornly silent, and I then walk out of my sewing studio. That’s fine because if I force this step, invariably I’m not happy with the final piece, and life is too short to be unhappy with what you make.

My mother and baby beaded project is coming along nicely. It will hopefully be completed in time to be entered in the Lapidary Show at the end of the month.

A painted textile project is on my kitchen table waiting for me to mix my colors. It will be titled Child’s Play and is a whimsical look back at the 50’s.

And last but not least, is a knitted counterpane I started years ago, and am finally getting round tuit. There are hundreds of little triangles knit on size 0 knitting needles to put together, and it will be finished.

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I combine multiple textile disciplines wtih abandon, and have been doing so, way before I believe it was commonplace. It’s a bit like cross pollination – take something from one field of interest, and apply it to another unexpected one. It’s an awful lot of fun for me to do this, and I highly recommend trying it.

I’ve been quilting since the 70’s, and been hand knitting, and machine knitting for ages. In the 80’s, I came up with the idea of knitting a lap blanket, covering a quilt batt with flannel, layering the two, and then quilting it. Was it a knit blanket? Was it a quilt? Whatever it was, it was warm, cosy, and a big hit at the local baby store that sold them for me. I lost track of how many I made.

When I purchased my first embroidery machine, I started embroidering on machine knits, and wrote a series of articles for a machine knitting publication sharing the technique. My oh my, did that cause a stir.

I’ve used copper wire to use as sewing thread – way hard on your fingers by the way, but I do so love the glint of copper. That piece sold at an exhibit at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY.

Paint, paper, beads, tatting, embroidery, macrame – remember that? – kumihimo, soutache, leather, wood, found objects, you name it, I’ll use it on my fiber art.

Why do I create what I do?

Because I want to.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of sewing. Some of you might remember those little cards with numbered holes, where you were to outline “sew” the images with shoelaces. Well, I wore out more than a few sets of those cards.

Cross stitch and hand knitting were next. Then my grandmother taught me how to machine sew with her treadle sewing machine – which is proudly residing in my home.

Everything to do with textiles appeals to me, and has ever since I can remember. Working with textiles satisfies my soul.

How does my writing/creative process work?

I don’t know. It’s always been present, and it’s always been an easy, natural part of my life. I did get a BS degree in Business and Economics, and worked as an accountant for a few years because it was the only way my parents would pay for half my college education. Guess who spent a lot of time in the Art Center though? Oh my, those looms were calling my name. The only good part about that degree is that I got a job right out of college during a difficult period of finding employment, and I can do my own business taxes now.

For 25 years, I wrote technical articles for machine knitting publications, and created over 80 orignal designs. I would dream about a design, remember it when I woke up, and start making it the next morning. If there was something about the design that wasn’t working, a solution would invariably come to me while I slept. Go figure.

For art quilts, I like pencil sketching. Now these are rough sketches, but they are enough for me to get proportions correct, and an idea of where I want to go.

It would be very nice if I could quantify my creative process, but I can’t.

Linking to Talented Artists

Kathi Everett is a member of 2 local art groups I belong to. Her blog Pearl Street Road always has something of interest on it. Creativity bubbles out of this woman. She has had an art quilt shown in Houston, and I’m sure there will be more in the future.

Ellen Lindner at Adventure Quilter is not only a wonderful artist, but also a wonderful teacher. It’s really difficult to be both, but she’s talented that way.

On closing, I hope many of you will visit their blogs, and go back to visit some of the previous blogs on this blog hop. It’s a wonderful opportunity to find some new artists, and support textile arts.


Casa Larga Show

October 4, 2014


Thursday, October 2, was the opening for the most recent art exhibit that had one of my pieces included in the show. The reception was wonderful and very well attended, and this is the piece I had in the show:

rectangle study with leaves<

It was started in a class I took with Ellen Lindner. This quilt was constructed by tearing my snow dyed fabric into rectangles, then rearranging them to create areas of light and dark across the surface. An accent color was added to guide the viewer’s eye towards the light, and I machine embroidered free motion lacy leaves, then appliqued them to the quilt. Machine quilting echoes the rectangular shape of the background fabric to add another layer of interest.

If you get a chance to visit the show, it will be hanging till the end of the month, and the address is:

Casa Larga Vineyards
2287 Turk Hill Rd
Fairport, NY 14450