Thursday, July 29, 2010

A New York Frame of Mind???

Here is the die-cut quilt I finished today for a customer.  Unlike the previous ones I've quilted which all had floral themes, this one is in neutrals with geometric fabrics.  The color scheme reminds me of every New York hotel room I have stayed in.

Since this one did not lend itself to my usual posies and leaves, I decided to add swirly feathers to the border, and follow the circles and ovals of the background print somewhat.

Problem is, I had to use a thread color that blends perfectly with the lines in the background fabric.  So, which tan lines did I already sew, and which are part of the fabric?   Hard to say!

When I was quilting this, it looked very busy.  Sometimes at a distance of eight inches or so, you can't see the forest for the trees.  When you see the whole thing at a more reasonable distance, it looks rather striking.  The black accents really make the fabrics pop.

Just don't spend too much time looking at the back!

Now why is Blogger making all my pictures left-aligned today? 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pretending I am in Alaska

Today I finished a customer's quilt that is an homage to the land and wildlife of Alaska.  This one was made by Pam, using some panel prints mixed with warm glowing patchwork. 

Can you tell that there is stitch-in-the-ditch quilting and lots of diagonal lines?

Have you ever known me to quilt like that?

Magic Eight-ball says:  The answer is No!

Pam assembled the quilt sandwich and did all the straight lines on the quilt.  Then she turned it over to me to do something with the prints and those gazillion borders.

The outside borders got a leafy vine.  Not hard to do, except that she wanted blue on top and brown in the bobbin.  A lot of experimenting with tension made it possible to avoid the "pokies" of the wrong color.

I did various border designs in the framing sections.

The pictoral scenes needed quilting to keep them from poofing out, but they had a range of colors from grays to cool blues and greens to warm orange and yellow.  I ended up changing top threads at least five times.  That is something else I do not "opt" for very often!

Anyway, it was nice to picture myself in these northwestern woodlands while I was broiling down here in the south.  Actually, today, the temperature was below ninety for the first time in weeks, and it rained almost all day here in Wake Forest.

Here is the backing fabric, a batik featuring deer and evergreen trees in browns and grays.

Two of the next three quilts on my list require a thread color that I don't have enough of to finish.  My usual supplier was out of stock.  Now I have to wait for it to be sent from a different company.  Meantime, tomorrow I will start another die-cut quilt that looks way different from all the flowery ones I have done before.  The fabric has big circles in gray and brown, and the die-cuts are squares.  Probably won't do all florals this time.  But what???

 As Scarlett says, "I'll worry about that tomorrow."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chicago, Part II

Here is the continuation of my blog about our Chicago trip.  We stayed in a hotel on Michigan Avenue and were able to walk everywhere we went.  I very much admired the garden plantings on both sides of the street.  Most were either raised on concrete platforms, or had low wrought iron fences surrounding them to deter doggies.

After I returned from the boat tour of the river and lake, I walked down to Millennium Park and the Chicago Institute of Art.  It was really getting hot by then.

You can see the back of the Cloud Arch, better known as The Bean, from the street, so I clambered up to it.

It has mirrored surfaces, which many people used to photograph themselves.  Me, too!

Inside of the arch, there are lovely swirly distortions of light.

Then I went looking for the Crown Fountains by Jaime Plensa of Spain.  At first glance, these two rectangular brick structures did not look too impressive.  But the sides that face each other each have projections of faces of Chicago citizens.  The water cascades over the top and on different sides of the structures, sometimes coming out of a fountain where the projected mouth is located.

On that very hot afternoon, the fountains served as a type of public pool.  Very popular!

Then it was on to the Institute of Art.

Unlike the North Carolina and Saint Louis art museums, this one had an admission fee of $18.00.  However, their funds are well-spent on acquisitions, because I was blown away by the number of Picassos, Monets, Renoirs, Cezannes, and Matisses in the collections.  Having seen the Monet in Normandy exhibit, I was surprised to see this painting which is not of sunny France, but cold snowy Norway.  (Sorry that my small camera does not illuminate the paintings can look them up to see better quality pictures.

Claude Monet, Sandvika, Norway, 1895.

One of the most famous paintings here is A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat.  I know you've seen this one.  It shows up frequently as a Jeopardy question, and is probably included as one of the wallpapers provided on your iPhone.   I had no idea it was so huge! It measures approximately 6 ft 10 in x 10 ft 1 in.

It has a wall all to itself.  You can see a person reaching up to photograph it.

I always kind of thought that the people in this scene looked kind of like cardboard cutouts that could be moved around.  It is always good to see paintings in person and see the details.  The most amazing thing is that this enormous scene is composed of dots of paint in the Pointillist style.

Looks like my old dog Maggy was there!

I thought this was one of the most interesting paintings that I saw in the museum.

Francis Picabia, Tetes-paysage, 1928.

It appears that a lovely landscape was painted, and then the faces superimposed on top.  The lines of mountains and clouds moving across the faces are lovely.

Okay, enough culture.

On the way back to the hotel, I was captivated by this storefront with the intriguing name Arts and Artisans.  How colorful and inviting!

I enjoyed browsing, but most things like this silk jacket were out of my price range.  It is a great spot to browse!

Charlie and I also visited Chiaroscuro on the second floor in the Water Tower Building.  I had been there once before and loved it.  We found some funny gifts for Dave's birthday.  I did not take photos there, but they have a website.

It was a wonderful trip and I was sad to leave Chicago behind.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Not Very Quilty Visit to Chicago

Art and Architecture:  Yes
Quilting Shops/Shows/Sightings/Purchases: No

Having said that, I will share with you some highlights of my past few days in Chicago, where Mr. Quilty and I spent the last few days.  We were hoping to avoid the oppressive heat here in North Carolina, but it followed us to Chi-Town where they experienced their hottest day of the year on Friday.

Our hour and a half flight from Raleigh-Durham was actually an eight-hour trip from the time we left home to the time we got from the airport to downtown .  There were travel delays due to thunderstorms, and bumper-to-bumper traffic at rush hour.  We just had time to hop on the trolley hired to take our group to Smith and Wollensky.  I would say the temperature inside the trolley was about 100 degrees. 

On the way to the restaurant, we saw lots of scenes similar to this one, with piles of rubble, street lamps laying on their sides, and I wondered, "What in the world is Chicago doing to its streets?"  We found out later that they are filming the next "Transformers" movie on location.  The piles of concrete and destruction are Styrofoam!

We ate at Smith and Wollensky, right on the Chicago River, and enjoyed the lights on the river at the gloaming.  (Proud of myself for working in one of the words of the day from Wordsmith!)

Next day, Charlie had business meetings all day.  I purchased a ticket online before I arrived for the River and Lake Architecture tour starting at Michigan Avenue.  The Chicago River looks green even when they haven't dyed it for St. Patrick's Day, doesn't it?

I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery, photo ops, and narration by the personable tour guide.  It took ninety minutes, and Lake Michigan was probably one of the coolest outdoor places to be on this hot hot day. I loved seeing the reflections in some of these fabulous buildings.

Before entering Lake Michigan, the boat has to tie up at the Chicago Harbor lock and take in some water.  Very interesting process!

You get great views of Navy Pier and the skyline from the lock and also during the tour.

I enjoyed watching this four-masted sailing ship (schooner?) making its way around the lake.

A glorious morning on the water!

Next time I will share some of my other experiences at The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, and some fabulous artsy shops.  Tonight we celebrate youngest son Dave's 29th birthday!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fun at Mary Jo's

We had an easy trip to Gastonia.  As soon as we got to the exit for Mary Jo's, a black cloud appeared above, along with thunder, lightning, and rain.  I was given an hour to whirl through the store, and when I came out, the rain was just ending.  I was looking for red and gold fabrics for a project I am contemplating.  I got some yardage and some fat quarters ($1.39/yard) and other large scraps ($.25).

Then I broswed through the scrap bags of laces and trims.  One 99-cent bag had 27 pieces of lace about eight inches long- perfect for post cards and small art quilts.

I chose another because it contained various widths of white and beige twill tape.  Ruth-Ellen showed us how to print on twill tape with an inkjet printer at one of our Anything Art bee meetings.  Now I have some twill tape to experiment with.

I picked up some colored rickrack

and two nice pieces of white silk ready for painting

and some other stuff, and I am happy!

The pool party was lots of fun.  There was a little rain, but most of the thunderstorms went around us, and we spent all Saturday afternoon enjoying Richard's pool.  When we got home, I cut the grass, Charlie washed the car, and then the thunderstorms began here.  Perfect timing!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fun With Feathers

Fun With Feathers, 26" x 26", 2010

Here is a little quilt OF MY OWN that I finished yesterday.  In fact, I was stitching down the binding during the guild meeting last night. 

I made this quilt for the Carolina Longarm Association quilt show challenge.  All participants got a kit with the fabric and instructions for making the exact same quilt top.  Then, we could quilt it any way we chose.  The idea is that they will be hung together at the show, and viewers will see that the quilting makes a remarkable difference in the finished product.

I started with a feathered circle stencil, but I just can't make a formal quilt.  I just have to add lots of free-motion swirls and flowers.

I used plain old white thread and managed to refrain from painting or adding beads or crystals. :)

For the back, I rummaged through my stash and found a beautiful floral print in perfect colors to coordinate with the blue fabric.  I have no recollection of buying this fabric, but, it is good to have a stash!

We have had over a year to get these challenge quilts completed.  Our show had to be postponed a year due to renovations at the church which will again be our venue.  So, when did I begin my project?  Two days before I had to turn it in.  But, at least I made and finished a quilt! It seems I have only made two this year!

Here are two more of the challenge quilts that were actually finished LAST July.  The one with circular quilting was made by Donna Sontag of Wake Forest.  She has actually finished a second one to turn in this weekend!

The quilt that I donated last night to the Heritage Days auction was my challenge quilt at the last Carolina Longarm Association show.  It is slightly smaller, but in very similar fabrics and another traditional design.

Only four quilts were completed for the challenge in that show, and as you can see, the tops did not exactly all turn out identical as planned!

I will be missing the CLA quarterly meeting tomorrow as my brother-in-law scheduled his annual Pool Party for Saturday.  But...a visit to BIL Richard in Rutherfordton, NC, usually means a quick stop on the way at Mary Jo's Cloth Store in Gastonia...oh boy oh boy!  Did I mention I have a stash?