Category Archives: Quilting

Quick Stitching

I have two living aunts, one lives near by and recently celebrated her 94th birthday. The other lives in Indiana and celebrated her 101st birthday this month! My mom was their baby sister. I remember years ago when my older aunt and I were talking quilting (she made many things including quilts), she couldn’t believe that out here (South Western  USA) we would piece our quilt backs. I told her sometime the backs looked as good or better than the fronts. Apparently, back there, they would only use a seamless piece of fabric for their quilt backs and it wasn’t just because of hand quilting through the seams.

I would assume thanks to quilts being more recognized as art, that the pieced backs are fully accepted even back there now. If you are from another part of the US or world, are you familiar with pieced backs ever being unacceptable. I’m guessing economics played a role as those with less would have likely use whatever they had, and would have indeed piece the back of their quilts.

In celebration of her birthday I stitched up a quick little card and I know it will make her smile. I won’t tell her this one doesn’t even have a back! It has a thin layer of cotton batting on Timtex, with a quick satin stitched edge and then I used artists gel medium to attach it to the card stock. Quilted in about one minute because I was on my way out the door; next time I would go slower but as far as cards go, it was a quickie and fun. I like the results and I would make more.

I think my little fabric beads, each sewn on with a French knot and two colors of floss, are perfect for fabric poinsettia flowers!

poinsettia-card

When the Wind Blows

We have had some Santa Ana winds recently, which are always scary because we are so prone to wildfires. Our Redbud tree has been wind stripped of most of her leaves. I walked out the other day and on the patio next to the tree saw this circle of leaves and asked my husband if he wanted me to put them in the greens recycle can and he said “I don’t know what circle of leaves you are talking about.” He thought I made it, I thought he made it, we knew our adult kids hadn’t made it, and so it has been determined that the wind made it…that or there are some leaf elves hiding out in our garden!

leaf-circle
painted-leaf-on-fab-wip

I’m not a trained painter but enjoy trying my hand at it on fabric, which I believe is even more challenging than painting on paper. I see a lot that is not “correct” about this leaf but the shadow area, at least, will go under my quilting machine needle and hopefully I’ll be happier about it then. One thing I know but too often forget – Painting a drying leaf, in little bits of time, over a few days is not a good idea. Drying leaves change!

I think I work better in the abstract… it is more forgiving (or is it that I’m more accepting?!) and I find it much more relaxing. The below leaf was painted using Neo-Color II Wax Pastels and water and will have more quilting around it. Both of these leaves were painted on a scrap from my A Clear Necessity quilt (which is scheduled to be exhibited at the New England Quilt Museum in 2017).

watercolor-abstract-leaf

I don’t know why it is but I just have a thing for leaves! How about you?

A Good Kind of Exhaustion

If you have ever helped put on a major event you’ll understand how one feels joy and exhaustion at the same time. Joy that so many visitors and participants come together to experience quilt making and fiber art, and exhaustion for being part of, in this case, an all volunteer organization in an almost 55,000 square foot room! Thanks to the quilt makers who entered their quilts for display, without whom there wouldn’t be a show.

The 35th Annual San Diego Quilt Show was the event and I was fortunate to be asked once again to display my Photograph of Fiber series. I’ll share photos of my exhibit and more quilts in future posts. I was also the chairperson for the Quilt Sales booth where we offered quilts: old and new, tops and blocks, along with other quilt or fiber related creations.

2016 sdqs quilt sales booth west
2016 sdqs quilt sales booth east

Being a bit of a control freak, I set the booth up by myself (with some help from my Mister). Plenty of people offered to help but nooooo! So I’m still feeling tired but very pleased with the booth. Many visitors purchased quilts for themselves or gifts for someone they love.

I’m amazed that some of our members are fifteen plus years older than I and they worked their butts off, had fun and stayed positive… I think there may have been a lot of coffee involved! I also discovered that being on the receiving end of hundreds of kind comments can be exhausting too!

It was a beautiful show and the volunteers who helped to make it happen are awesome and should be proud. I’m looking forward to next year when San Diego and postcards will be the theme. So if you are reading this and participated in the 2016 show (especially in the Quilt Sales booth)… Thank you and I hope to see you next year!

Fiber and Wood

I know technically wood is fiber but in this case it is second to the fabric fiber. Here is one of my mini art quilts, from the flora series, mounted on acrylic and displayed on a pieces of (old pallet) hardwood. The top is hand appliqued because at that time I didn’t realize just how short life is! It is pillowcase turned and free-motion machine quilted (see back quilted here).

tulip quilt plexi reclaimed wood
free style flower5

They are heavy so I have added 1/2″ stick-on (drawer) bumper “feet” to protect the surface they are set on and to keep them from sliding around.

flora wood base image

Do you have a less than traditional way you display small art quilts? I’m going to do more mounting on canvas too.

Special Exhibit!

I’m happy to say that pieces from my Photograph on Fiber series will be one of the Special Exhibits at the 2016 San Diego Quilt Show. That link has all the information about the show.

If you don’t already know, these pieces began as a collaboration with my son whose photograph of a lone leaf inspired my fiber art. I figured out a way to incorporate the actual photograph and my fiber art quilt into one work of art. Some of the more recent pieces have been inspired by and include the work of other photographers (Always used with permission) and in one case* the photo was taken by me (*Gathering Evidence).

Trail

The original construction which included, in part; adhering the photograph to the acrylic sheet and drilling the holes, got to be too much for me. More recently I have had the photographs mounted to the acrylic and holes drilled professionally (a company I would highly recommend – ArtisanHD)

Sunset

Working on this series has allowed me to paint and stitch fabric & fiber and stretch as an artist and designer and of course, exhibit my artwork. I developed an easier version and teach that as a course online at Curious.com , where you’ll find more of my lessons, as well as lessons and courses on just about anything you may be curious about.

So if you are in the San Diego, California area August 31 – Sept 3, 2016, treat yourself to a colorful few days of quilts, fiber art, classes, and much more! I’m Chairperson for the Quilt Sales booth so stop by and say “Hi” and be wowed by the wonderful quilts.

Quilting Away,
A

Revisiting Earth Day

mister cactus garden 4 2016

Back on Earth Day my Mister and I took an early morning walk through the Balboa Park Cactus and Rose Gardens. It was a soft gray sky morning, which made the walk much more enjoyable.

I photographed many neat plants but this agave really caught my eye and my imagination… I see a baby bird opening its beak for a feeding.

agave1

Here is an unusual “cactus” that I hadn’t seen before.

cactus tri star thorns

My sister-in-law correctly identified it as being a Euphorbia. I learned it is Euphorbia grandicornis, Cow’s Horn with pink flowers and that it is not actually a cactus but from a the beautiful, interesting, (and poisonous) Euphorbiaceac family of plants (thanks Wikipedia).

And here is a little cactus landscape I designed for one of my classes. This piece is built on and sewn to Timtex The cactus and rock elements have been sewn to felt for more definitions. In this piece the sky is the only fabric I painted.

desert cactus

If you don’t live in San Diego but ever plan to visit, I would highly recommend Balboa Park, it is a wonderful place to explore and spend time and a great place to find inspiration!

Not So Close to the Vest

I found some old photos of a few vests I made, taken before I owned a digital camera; the photos aren’t the best but I thought I would share them anyway. It was when I was going through my Seminole period! One was just an experiment in curvy piecing, though I’m pretty sure I hand appliqued it together!

curvy vest

All of the vests are made from a basic commercial pattern (sorry can’t remember which company; it is was ages ago) but the front and backs designs are my originals. They included lots of tiny Seminole work, a pieced cockatoo (sort of), some raised and folded pleats held down by a few hand embroidery stitches. Some were included in the fashion exhibit at a local quilt show, some were gifted, I sold and even wore a couple. They were a learning experience…I learned I may never want to make another vest!

vest2
vest1
vest3
vest4
vest5
vest6

Art Imitating Nature…

As I mentioned recently we have had windy, rainy weather and that means a lot of palm fronds have sailed to the ground all over town. This reminded me to share the little art quilt below. A while ago I was experimenting with a piece of my hand painted fabric that had been treated with Terial Magic Spray Stabilizer and then put through a pasta machine. The experiment was a failure but I decided rather than waste the fabric I would try to make a small art quilt using it. Once I started working with the fabric I kept thinking it reminds me of something but I couldn’t put my finger on it… until my Mister and I were walking at the bay. There I saw a piece of fallen palm frond and as soon as I saw it I said out loud “That’s it!” When the strands of fiber separate they make thinner, thread like strands running perpendicular and that is exactly what I got when I pulled the fabric apart.

palm tree fiber
wind dancers

The tentative title is The Wind Dancers…Notice I hand embroidered tiny leaves, ballet shoes, and then French knots on a skirt of silk. So much fun! It makes me think of a forest of trees swaying in the wind.

wind dancers detail
The Wind Dancers – detail

Sometimes failures bring on happy endings… Have you resurrected what you thought was a failed piece only to rework it into a happy ending?

Cutting Through the Clutter

I was having a hard time working in the studio and decided it was time to clear away the clutter and make an enjoyable work environment again.

design table mess
design table clear again

The advantage of having the space I have is there are many places to store things… the disadvantage of having the space I have it that there are too many places to shove things!
And shove I did, until reaching for anything caused an avalanche and finding what I was looking for took precious time away from making art.
So the other day I brought in a six foot table and took everything out of one side of one cabinet. Tossed, sorted, filled and labeled containers. Cleared off the design table and one of the sewing tables. There is still half of the room and the quilting machine table to clear (I know there is a machine under there somewhere!) but already I feel better and I’m off to sandwich a quilt!

studio cupboard better

I hope you have a peaceful and happy place to spend this New Year do what you love! Quilting Away, Ann

Not Just for the Holidays…

I have been have fun in the studio creating a this new piece. Soon I will be offering the online step by step lessons for creating this pretty poinsettia wall hanging (painting, stitching, and more) . I’ll teach how to make the flower center fabric beads too. The techniques could be used to make any flower or most any design…. For any season!

poinsettia wall hanging finished