Archive for the ‘Art Quilts’ Category

Improv Quilt Completed and Bracelet

May 27, 2016

My Improv piece is completed:

Improv finished

I removed the quilting from the upper left side and replaced that entire section with another piece of fabric and curved quilting. Now the piece seems to flow across the top and keeps your eye moving over the surface.

A friend (Thank-you, Jody.) suggested I add some light to the center of those floral shaped objects, and I went with it. I was going to bead it, but this piece is a mix of traditional and modern, and beads didn’t seem quite right for it. Instead, I mixed up a light yellow paint and applied it with a foam pen.

And here is a picture of a completed bracelet:


That poor bracelet has quite a story. It was finished in Arizona, and the first time I wore it, it fell off. I thought it might be too tight, so added another component.

The second time I wore it, it fell off again – this time in a friend’s driveway, and I didn’t realize it had fallen off. I actually drove over the poor thing. My friend’s neighbor spotted it in the driveway, and my friend gave it back to me. Thank-you, Jess.   Three of the components were damaged, and honestly, I should have remade the entire thing. It sure would have been easier to do, but no, I spent more time repairing the damaged components.

Process of elimination placed the blame on the magnetic clasp. This time I went to a bead store, and purchased a good magnetic clasp. Ta-da, now it stays on my wrist.

Another bracelet is being planned – a different design, and a Comfort quilt was also started this week, so stay tuned. There is more to come.



The 3 Ds and My Telephone Line is Completed

December 10, 2015

Yup, it’s a 3 D day here – dark, dreary and depressing – weather wise, but I’m riding a caffeine high, so happy as can be.

Lots has happened this past month.  I had a trunk show at Genesee Valley Quilt Club, and was welcomed with open arms, and a very hospitable planning committee.  There was a beautiful table setting with real china, and a pot for hot water and a nice selection of teas.

My lecture was well received, and it was oh so much fun for me to talk about,  and share the quilts I’ve made during the last 39 years of my quilting journey.  Thank-you to everyone who was involved in making my trunk show go so smoothly.

Then the following Saturday the 2015 Whisper Quilts Challenge was revealed from my Fiberistas group.  What an emotional experience that was.  We learned a lot about each other, shared our highs and our lows, and there were some tears along with lots of laughter.

This group of artists is not only talented, they are also supportive both in our artistic and our personal lives.  It is an honor to be part of this group.

Here is a photo of each of the 9 quilts made for my Whisper/Telephone line:

1 Diane

This one started the whole thing.  You might remember I made this 12 months ago for the beginning of the line.  It was inspired by the sew by number cards I played with as a little child.


2 Mary

Mary got that first piece, and took a trip down memory lane to 1955 and remembered how much she enjoyed playing with paper dolls.  McCalls is kind enough to have all the issues with the dolls on their website, and Mary made a quilt using that idea.

The little doll is removable, and so are the clothes.  Mary put little tabs on the clothes, just like the paper dolls from years ago, but these are fabric.  She made hangers out of paper clips, so I can change my little doll’s wardrobe.  How cute is this?


3 Steph

Steph was inspired by the year 1955.  She looked it up on the internet, and a coral reef park in Florida was established.

I have to admit, when I opened the envelope from this piece, my jaw dropped open.   It was hard to see how this piece was inspired by the paper doll piece, but once the connection to 1955 was made, I got it.

There is a lot of thread work on this piece and a tulle overlay, with shells attached.  It is a textural wonder.


4 Janet

This piece was made by Janet, and she followed the sea concept, and it too has a lot of texture created by layer upon layer of lace.  Shells, stones and a piece of rusted metal were added.

Janet added metal to each piece she made, and did a wonderful job of incorporating it into everyone’s quilt.


5 Sue

Sue’s piece was next, and she was inspired by the diagonal lines.  There are layers of interest with textiles, and paper, and she stamped the bamboo onto linen fabric.

It’s eerie how this piece actually ties into the first piece.  You see I sat on the floor in my living room, sewing away on my cards with bamboo printed drapes covering the windows.  What a coincidence that she used a bamboo stamp on this piece.


6 Frances

Frances was inspired by the diagonal line also, and this piece is actually doublesided, but I didn’t get a photo of both sides, so here is the one with the highest contrast.

She thought she’d create a stone path, and it does look like one, doesn’t it?



Julie saw the stone path, and immediately thought of a garden path, ending at a brick wall.  Now I have a beautiful garden that will never need to be weeded, and be perpetually in bloom.  It doesn’t get any better than this.

8 Kathi

Kathi was inspired by the flowers, and did her version of broderie perse.  It’s a much looser version than the traditional, closely spaced buttonhole stitching used, but it is perfect for this untamed, out of the box flower arrangement.

9 Beth

And this last one was made by Beth.  I love the Oriental feel of this piece, and the fabric used for each element.  The vase has sewing related text, the floral arrangement reflects back on the bamboo curtains I grew up with, the blue color was used in the first piece, and the 3 triangles on the left make this composition sing.

I can not get over how this ended up becoming a cohesive collection.

Thank-you to each and everyone of my friends for taking the time, and using your skills to create such unique pieces of art for me.






Improv 101A

September 16, 2015

I’m still putzing around with this little quilt.   The bottom border has been removed, remade with a different fabric for the crosses, and sewn back on.  The left side border has been removed and rotated.  I have the before and after pictures of the left side border versions, and will decide which one I like best, then move onto the quilting.


Here is version 1:

last adjustment 1

And here is version 2:

last adjustment 2

Anybody got any preferences?  And if you do, could you please share in your comments why you prefer one version over the other?


One Of These Is Not Like The Others

August 30, 2015

This is currently the view out my kitchen windows:

little sunflower

I love sunflowers, and suggested that my husband plant a row next to the lawn, so the entire vegetable garden would be hidden from view.  It’s not that I don’t like seeing the veggies.   I just like seeing flowers more.  If you look at the very top of this cropped photo, you can see the corn stalks, so there is a garden behind that wall of flowers.

Can you see that little sunflower in the center of the photo?  Well, my husband thought it looked out of place, and asked me if I wanted him to pull it out.  Oh no!  Not one little bit.  That little flower is my favorite.

It’s standing tall – well as tall as it could go, but its flower is nice and full, and it’s flowering its little heart out.  Yes, it’s different from the others.  So what?  It’s good to be different.   Diversity is interesting.  Funny how one row of sunflowers could teach all of us to embrace everything nature has to offer us.

And the voting on the question I posed yesterday had a clear cut winner.  Only one person left a comment, but I received plenty of private emails about it, and version 2 is the winner.  I’ll wait another day or two in case I get more votes before I do anything to the piece though.

Thank-you to everyone who contacted me.  It was nice of you to take the time to share your thoughts with me.


Improv 101

August 29, 2015

I have very little experience with improv quilting, so when my small focus group decided to try an improv round robin, I went along for the ride.   After all, you never know if you’ll like something, if you don’t try it.  This extremely traditional shadow quilt design was selected as the central block:

Diane original

Challenging, no???

Never in my wildest imagination did I think Marcia could bring this block into modern times, but she did with this wonderful addition:

Diane step 1

And then Sue added the bottom cross blocks:

Diane step 2

And Beth added some flowers, lots and lots of cheerful flowers:

Diane step 3

Are you as impressed as I am, because I’m mega impressed.  I never thought that traditional block could be transformed like this.

Not being able to leave anything alone, I thought the left border needed a little something, something, so angled the two fabrics and am debating between version 1:

Improv 1

and version 2:

Improv 2

Which do you like best?  If version 2 is the one you like, I will use that new fabric for some flower center yo-yos, and most likely the binding.

Inquiring minds what to know – really – which version do you like?




More Wonky 9 Patch

June 4, 2015

Following up on my last post, I sewed the strips together from the wonky 9 patch I thought I ruined:

6 slice 9 patch

Much to my surprise, I actually like these two blocks.   Cutting those blocks into 6 narrow strips was a mistake, but a mistake that resulted in yet another look.

The blocks could be rotated too, or I can place a square ruler on top of them – at an angle – cut around the ruler, and create yet another look.  I think that might look good too.

What started as trying to make one wonky 9-patch block, turned into creating many variations, and something tells me, there are lots more to be discovered.  Don’t you just love it when a simple idea spurs creativity?



Wonky 9 Patch

May 31, 2015

This week was spent exploring different methods of making a wonky 9 patch square.  Now you’d think this would be easy, but I had a heck of a time trying to be a wonky piecer.

I started by making a traditional 9 patch a little larger than wanted, then placed a square ruler at angles on top of the square, trimmed around the ruler, and voila:

red green straightred and green

I did not like this one little bit, most likely because I used 10″ blocks, and the center block – be it white or a fabric print, was way too prominent.  Attempting to get rid of that large center square, I sliced and diced one of the blocks, and inserted some fabric strips.  Still didn’t like it.

Next, I thought it might work much better if I used uneven fabric squares, or long strips of fabrics cut with a gentle curve:


Now this might work well, but I used a striped fabric, and it really distracts from the effect I was trying to attain.

Onwards to another idea.  This time I used a 9″ block – 1 solid, 1 print,  placed them on my cutting mat right sides up, then made an angled straight cut:

step 1

Took the print fabric from the bottom right, and sewed it to the solid color piece of fabric on the left, and sewed the bottom pieces together also.  Then another angled straight cut was made on the left.

step 2

Again the fabrics were shuffled, and sewn together:

step 3

Then I made the spectacular mistake of cross cutting these squares into way too many skinny strips.  I didn’t bother sewing them together, as I thought I royally screwed up.  Now that I’m taking the time to reflect on this atempt, I will sew them together.  Like all good fiber artists, I saved the cut fabric.  I’m so glad I did.

Next was a smaller block – 6″, again a solid and a print, cut and shuffled like the last attempt, with only 2 horizontal cuts made:

step 4

Much better proportions.  One set was made with straight cuts, and one set was made with gentle curves:

4 finished blocks

Now this is more like it.  Finally, I got some wonky blocks.

I hope some of you get inspired to get your wonkiness on.  😉


Design Wall & Telephone/Whisper Quilt – Fiberistas Members Don’t Read This Post

May 14, 2015

Four  design boards have been added to my sewing studio lately.  I used the tutorial from The Quilting Edge, and it is brilliant.  I now have 10′ of horizontal design wall when I want.

I placed two boards on either side of my north facing window, and when I want to utilize the entire width, I remove the window drapes, place a flannel sheet over the drapery rod, and Voila, I have a nice wide design wall.  When I don’t need that large a space, I remove the sheet, and I still have 4′ on each side of the window, and that works great too.

In between way too many doctors’s appointments and tests, I’ve been quietly creating art quilts, but haven’t posted what I’ve been making as the pieces are part of my Fiberistas group Telephone/Whisper quilt challenge.

Quilt club was today, and a member mentioned it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, so thought I’d risk posting this, and hope my Fiberista friends stop reading this post here.

Each member created a small quilt in January 2015, and passed it to another member.  The second person creates a quilt inspired by the first quilt.  The first quilt is then sealed in an envelope, and then placed in a box with the second quilt.  Together, they are passed to a third member.  The third member makes a quilt inspired by the second quilt.  Seals up the second quilt, puts that in the box with the sealed first quilt, adds the quilt she made, and passes it on to another member, and so on, until we’ve all created a quilt for each phone line.

There are 9 of us participating in this challenge, and we aren’t supposed to cheat by opening any of the sealed envelopes.  Here is a picture of the most recent small quilt I created for the challenge:

Steph finished quilt

I selected some quotes about leaves, attributed them to the author, and printed them out on interleaving paper, cut out squares and rectangles that were then sewn onto the base fabric.  I do wish I had printed this out on fabric instead of the paper though.  I’m a bit worried the paper will be easily torn.

Btw, it’s really easy to design and print text using a Word type program.  I used Microsoft Word and it has oodles of fonts.  You can change the size, and color, plus you can change the background color.  Nothing like customized printing.

Then I took a cloth napkin, cut out some rectangles, and free-hand drew some leaves on it with a brown Sharpie.  Sewed them down, and frayed the fabric edges.

Some of you might recognize the base fabric from an earlier post that was dyed, painted, shibori dyed, and then painted a bit more.  There are gold circles on this fabric so I thought a little repetition of the shape would look nice, but do wish I had used sheers for the circles.  They are awfully prominent on this piece.

Those are the only two things I would change, but when you have a deadline, you have to keep it.  With 9 people participating in a challenge like this, you really don’t want to be the person who messes up the rotation.


Tibetan Prayer Flags

January 17, 2015

I’m still home, but dreaming about going on vacation, so thought I’d try my hand at making some prayer flags in the Tibetan manner to help nudge me on my way.

Traditionally, prayer flags come in sets of five: one in each of five colors. The five colors are arranged from left to right in a specific order: blue, white, red, green, and yellow, but I’m making my flags with Tucson on my mind. This is the first one I made:

Tucson Emb

The sun embroidery was sewn out a few months ago with plans of using it for the base of a Bead Journal Project, but thought it was perfect for this project. The sun always seems to be shining in Tucson, so I used a built in alphabet in my sewing machine to sew the city’s name in lots of different rayon thread colors. The design is from Kreations by Kara

The second design was done this past week when I got home from the hospital:

Hand Spiral

Inktense pencils were used to create the watercolor background on the same muslin as the first flag. The colors used were Burnt Orange, Sicilian Yellow, Baked Earth, and Chilli Red.

I much prefer the bottom of the piece. I like how some of the background fabric shows through, and I like how it looks a bit like paint flaking off an old fresco.

Too much water was used in the center, so the colors blended too much for the look I was going for, but this was a good learning experience. If you click on the photo it will enlarge for you, and I hope you can see the difference between the bottom and the middle.
It’s the first time I’ve used these pencils, and I definitely plan on using them a lot more. The fabric was left nice and soft.

Then I placed my hand on the colored fabric, and traced around it with a pencil, and added a spiral design on the palm. It looked pretty flat to me, so to create some depth, I made a freezer paper mask for my hand, and stamped spirals all over the piece. Oh yes, instant depth.

Metallic YLI thread was used to sew around the spiral in a double straight stitch on my sewing machine, and then I hand beaded around the hand image.

I’m pretty sure I’ll make a third flag, maybe with a saguaro cactus on it, but then again, it could be more spirals. That sun is spiraling, the palm design is a spiral, and I actually had that spiral stamp used for the background in my stamp collection. I obviously have a subliminal attraction to spirals.


Child’s Play

December 16, 2014

My most recent piece was for the international art quilt blog I belong to Sky is the Limit and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process.

Childs play finished

This piece started out as a white piece of fabric. I selected an image, and traced it with a fine Sharpie black marker. Then it sat on my kitchen table for a month. What can I say? I’m wonderful at procrastination.

The deadline passed, I was going to have company soon, and needed the kitchen table, so I got busy last week. First thing was to stamp those swirls all over the fabric. I used Golden Bronze mixed with a lot of textile medium, but it came way too dark. Solution? I took it to the kitchen sink, and scrubbed it with soap and water. Now I was happier with the much lighter swirls.

Next came painting the image. I love, love, love using textile and alcohol inks with clear aloe gel, so did exactly that. Still worried that one side had darker swirls than the other, I decided to paint both sides of the piece.

Thus came the disastrous bleeding outside the lines in the apple tree leaves. I did not wait for one side to dry before I flipped it over and painted the other side. Lesson learned – let the paint dry before you attempt to paint both sides of the fabric. It’s really not that big a deal, and I kept it “as is” to remind me not to do that again – unless I want a watercolor effect.

Next step was layer it up with batting, and using 6 strands of DMC floss I sewed big stitches around the image – just like I did when I was 3 years old. I added the numbers as I sewed the big stitches with an Ultra Fine Sharpie marker.

Then I added backing fabric, and machine quilted around the apple tree branch and apples. Heat set the piece with my iron, then used my favorite binding technique, and ta da Child’s Play was completed.

This was so much fun to make. Every time I approached this piece, I felt like it was play time. With all the misery in the world, I needed to create a bit of calm and happiness for myself, and wish the entire world could be at peace. That is my fervent desire for all of you.