Friday, June 29, 2012

Making Waterfalls

I've just received a commission for a quilt which needs to incorporate ocean water and a boat bow wave and wake and so I've been fretting abut how to achieve these effects in fabric. Happily last week's Westside quilters workshop with northern California quilt artist Linda Schmidt has provided me with inspiration and a number of fairly easy techniques with which to accomplish watery effects. Here is one of her stunning large quilts showcasing her techniques.

It seems that the key to this process is some unusual materials that may not be on every quilter's shelf. Linda walked us through the various processes using some of her favorite materials including Tyvek mailing envelopes, puff paint, heat processed cellophane, dimensional paint, heat guns, Mistyfuse, lutradur, regular fabric paints, bamboo roving, glitter glue and Angelina fiber.

Our trial piece was one of Linda's small designs of a mountain waterfall.
Here is mine finished on the left. We were all curious about how we would utilize all this stuff, but by the end of the afternoon we all had all the components to a watery scene.

I won't give away any of her techniques using these materials - you'll have to take one of her workshops for that- but I'm so pleased with the effect I achieved that I'm ready to test it out on a larger work. I've already put in my order to Dharma Trading for her supply list.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I'm Published in Machine Quilting Unlimited!

I'm so excited! Yesterday's mail brought me the July/August issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited Magazine with an article by Editor Kit Robinson "Quilts Inspired by the Sky" which features photos of my quilt Rainy Day San Francisco. It's a beautiful article with quilts by several other artists whose work Has always moved and inspired me - Betty Busby, Ann Brauer and Elizabeth Barton among others.

This quilt was initially made for a Quilts on the Wall exhibit "Bridges" at the 2011 International Quilt Festival Long Beach and then traveled to several venues during 2011-12.

For several months I fretted about how I would interpret the bridge theme and then one morning in October 2010 my husband and I were driving toward the Embarcadero having just traversed the Bay Bridge into San Francisco and there was this composition in front of me - thebridge in the rain disappearing in the mist, the shiny pavement and the streetcar. Glen was terrified as I pulled out my cell phone in the middle of traffic (yes, I was driving) and shot the photo through the windshield.
My thanks to Kit Robinson and her great magazine Machine Quilting Unlimited.....
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

A New Dresden Plate

Growing up there was always pair of vintage traditional Dresden Plate Quilts on the twin beds in the guest room. They resembled the quilt pictured below - small pastel prints on a white ground - and were supposedly made by a great grandmother or great great aunt on my father's side who was gone long before I was born. I was never particularly interested in them at the time and when a close friend from England came to stay in the 1980s and admired the quilts my mother (who in her later years was interested in giving everything away so I wouldn't be "burdened" with all of it )happily gave them to her.

It was only after my mother was gone that I became a quilter. Although I am most interested in expressing myself through art quilts, I still have a fondness for the old and traditional. It's a little late to think about these quilts from my childhood and wonder where our family's quilts are now, but I often think about them.

So when Westside Quilters offered a workshop with Anelie Belden author of
Thoroughly Modern Dresdens, I thought that perhaps it was meant for me to make my own version in a slightly different vein.

I took myself off to a local quilt shop - Sew Modern- in West Los Angeles and bought a variety of all the brightest most "modern" prints I could find. I didn't want to do a large quilt, but I thought I could get this out of my system with a small wall hanging or table runner and after some experimenting with EQ chose a setting that was a little quirky and non-traditional.

Anelie's technique of making the blades with a finished top edge and then incorporating a "sew and flip" move on to the background foundation worked terrifically. Non-traditional as this small piece is, it works terrifically in our very old school dining room and will stay there for the summer....

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sally Wright Pioneer Woman!

I don't know what it is about making jams, preserves, pickles that gives me such a feeling of real satisfaction. Taking that gorgeous fruit or vegetable and making something that looks jewel like in a jar is always a thrill for me. Don't get me wrong , I'm a confirmed urbanite, but "putting food by" makes me feel like the original pioneer woman. My husband's specialty is pickles, but my favorites are fruit preserves and chutneys. Every winter I make my favorite Meyer Lemon Marmalade and Indian Lemon chutney from our own backyard tree and every summer I do apricot jam.
Apricot season in southern California is May through early July. Last year waiting and hunting for the blessed Blenheim variety (supposedly the best for jam making) I missed out entirely. My local farmers market guy kept promising, but by the season's end I had missed the boat. So this weekend we got out there and found lovely small Pattersons and some huge unnamed things the size of medium apples.

Pitted, cut up and layered with loads of sugar (according to British cook Delia Smith's recipe at ) the fruit happily marinated overnight. This morning I put the pan on the fire to cook and got out the jars and tools.

I always get Glen to take a hammer to the pits to extract the lovely ivory kernels which I blanch and add at the end for even more flavor. the kettle boils furiously for about 20 minutes and suddenly there is this gorgeous unctuous orangey/gold concoction.

A little time for settling the foam , a little mess of ladling into jars , and about 20 minutes to process and seal the jars and there are 10 glistening jars. Some home printed labels complete the process.

Amazingly satisfying!