Monday, July 30, 2012

Loving Long Beach!

Home from three wonderful days at International Quilt Festival Long Beach and putting away the "stuff" and the supplies. I actually bought very little except for a lot of Superior Masterpiece and YLI silk thread (I love that for quilting!).  One new gadget - a permanent self adhesive plastic edge guide for sewing straight seams will allow me to get rid of the blue masking tape on my machine bed.  Hope it works as well! My only big purchase was a Sew Easy portable sewing table that I can use upstairs in the winter when I don't want to be outside in my little studio and can go with me to classes. I was disappointed that there were no vendors selling hand dyed fabrics - only the usual run of commercial prints and batiks. Nothing unusual at all,  sadly.  I'll have to wait for Road to California.....

I did take some great classes including two with the wondrous Australian quilt artist Pam Holland  - one on dying cheese cloth and layering on fabric to get really interesting effects and texture. The little study of the Mexican door at left was the result a combination of layered cheesecloth and illustration techniques with thread and Tsukineko fabric markers.
The other class was doing free motion illustration in black thread on a light background - essentially sketching by machine over your design which is sketched or printed on to a piece of see through vellum.  A great technique. I'll post mine when it's finished.

Saturday was two classes - one with the lovely Jean Brown of Jean's Impressions learning her hand quilting technique.  Yes, I said hand quilting!  Though I'm a dedicated machine quilter, I've had a yen recently to try my hand at hand quilting on some more traditional pieces. I now know I need a lot of practice, but it was lovely spending a morning with this wonderful traditional hand quilter and listening to her stories -  slowing down and taking one stitch at a time. Using her Aunt Becky tool and her techniques it was was easier than I expected.

Later in the day on Saturday I joined the applique' class of quilt artist David Taylor from Steamboat Spring, Colorado who I've known for several years and taken classes from before, but never a class on his particular hand applique' technique. I learned a lot and it was great to see him again and enjoy his quirky sense of humor.

I ran from that class down to the show floor to do my  shift in the SAQA booth. I enjoyed talking to friends who stopped by and sold a few SAQA catalogs and memberships! Friend and fellow Fiber Fanatic Sandra Lauterbach's "Red" was featured in one of the SAQA shows.

The quilts on show were incredible all over the floor especially the Black and White with a Twist exhibit from Quilts on the Wall  which included a wonderful piece by my friend Linda Miller.  My piece for that show was not at Long Beach, but will be included when it goes to Houston Quilt Festival in the fall. The Rituals quilts from Dinner at Eight Fiber Artists including the marvelous Geisha by Sherry Kleinman.

Now it's back to earth and to my own studio to finish up some projects and a special commission.... 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrating Independence Day!

To celebrate Independence Day, July 4, 2012 I'll share this patriotic wall hanging recently finished.

I bought the appliqué pattern with the reproduction fabrics (including the background which is printed to emulate old, yellowed and stained muslin) from Karen Witt of Reproduction Quilts several years ago - maybe at Quilt Festival Houston -and vowed to make it by the next Fourth of July. Of course, it sat and sat and sat and in cleaning out my studio unearthed it in mid June. Amazingly enough I finished the wall hanging last week!

The machine appliqué piece was combined with a band of paper pieced square in a square blocks and mini sawtooth stars inspired by a workshop with Sally Collins in May. The center stars in those are 1 1/2 inches square though surprisingly easy to make using Sally's technique. These were all done in luscious deeply dyed Cherrywood cottons that have that Americana folk art look. The top and bottom border fabric is from a line reproducing antique American jacquard woven coverlets. I carefully machine quilted a grid background and free motion quilted the rest. I look at it now and wish I had the expertise to have hand quilted this, so maybe that is the next adventure....
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