Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ready to Quilt

I worked a little more on my Flower Challenge piece.  I edited the leaves and went ahead and machine-appliqued them to the background.

I used a very small size 9 needle, with dark invisible thread in the top and black Masterpiece in the bobbin.  I experimented with different stitches on my machine, and chose one that is a blanket stitch with a very narrow width.

That lavender pointed petal on the flower is bothering me.  I left an opening so I can add a little something to it.  Perhaps some hand-painted lace, gathered to make a ruffle?

Maybe a double layer of lace?

Tomorrow I am going to Maureen's house in Clayton to borrow back my Gammill for the day.  I will be quilting this piece, as well as the baby quilt with the bright colors and butterfly border.

My little grandbaby is getting so grown!  She is trying so hard to crawl and sit up.

Taking care of her two days a week has been a joy!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Quilt and Sewing Expo, Raleigh, NC

On Friday afternoon I did a quick run-through of the Original Quilt and Sewing Expo in the Convention Center in downtown Raleigh.  It was my first experience at this venue.  I knew I would not have time to sign up for any classes, but I wanted to see the vendor mall and the quilt exhibits.

I was already near the downtown area to visit my aunt in a nursing facility, so I pulled into the parking deck right next to the Convention Center.  Yikes!  Seven dollars to park!  And then ten dollars to get in, just to spend money! An expensive little visit!  If I had just driven a little farther, there were plenty of hourly parking spaces all around the convention center.  Next time, I'll know better.

I have seen lots of photos of quilted car covers, but this quilty car was right at the entrance to the expo.  Very cute!

There was a dazzling array of vendor booths, offering everything from machines to fabric to thread to patterns.

My friend Donna Sontag and her daughter were there running the Whatever's Quilted booth.  I may end up buying an HQ Sweet Sixteen sit-down quilting machine from her some day.

I immediately started looking at the traveling quilt exhibits.  There was one challenge to make scrappy quilts, sponsored by Fons and Porter.   Here are three from that collection.

X-Factor, Hidden Spools, by Alice Zeman, Green Bay, WI
Scraps I Couldn't Bear to Toss, by Gina Thachara, Kingston, PA
Sharon's Original Scrap Sampler, by Sharon Moran, Ft. Ripley, MN

There was an exhibit from the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild with quilts inspired by works of art.  Partners each made a quilt based on the partner's inspiration.

An interesting idea, but I did not think most of the resulting art quilts were very exceptional.

The two partners' quilts were hung side by side, with a photo of the original inspiration art.

I really loved the exhibit from the Quilt Alliance "Twenty" 2013 contest and auction.    After traveling, these quilts will all be auctioned on e-Bay to raise money for the Quilt Alliance.

These quilts were hung in colorful rows on drapes, but it was very difficult to read and/or capture the names of the quiltmakers from those tiny labels that in some cases were well above my head.

There were quilts donated from some well-known quiltmakers.  This one is by crazy quilt artist Allison Aller. You can see a revue of her Quilt Alliance donations on her blog here.

Twenty Years in the Garden, by Allison Aller, Washington

There were two by quilt artist Yvonne Porcella, who has been another devout supporter of the Quilt Alliance.

The first one surprised me, because it was in muted shades with lots of brown.  Yvonne is known for her brightly colored quilts that pop with great graphic impact.

The Mocha Tree, by Yvonne Porcella, Arnold, California

Her second quilt was much more typically "Yvonne."  Unfortunately, I could not read the label information from my photo.

Here is one more from the Twenty exhibit.  I think we can all relate to the sentiment expressed!
Oh to Be Twenty Again, by Nita Markos, Hillsboro, IL

There were other smaller exhibits.  One was "Quilts and Kimonos,"  by June Colburn.  I  loved this kimono-style jacket.

I love to visit the French Connections booth.  At each show, I try to purchase a new basket from Africa.  They are sturdy and colorful.  Here is the latest addition to the collection.

I think I will organize a field trip to their shop in Pittsboro, NC.  It looks like a delightful place to browse.

I also bought one pattern for a little girl's dress.  I am notorious for buying jacket and purse and clothing patterns and never making them.  I think my granddaughter Lily would love the freedom of this dress.

I have a few more pictures from the expo that I will save for a future post.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Flower Challenge Progress

I decided to work on my flower challenge quilt yesterday.  In the last post, I had not yet joined my flower quarters together, but I had pieced a patchwork base for the stem section.

I got my flower sections together.  This was not that easy.  If I used the traditional quarter inch seams, I would lose part of each flower design.  Plus, some of these flower parts had so much fusible web that they were quite stiff.  I ended up putting a strip of fusible on the backs to join them, then using a decorative stitch on my machine to stitch them together.  I used red in the red/purple sections, and a neutral for the background.

After looking at it on my design wall, I rejected the beige patchwork base and opted for a plain beige background with a very muted rose design.  Then I started playing with different shapes for the stem and leaves.

Notice I did not go with the straight stem and symmetrical leaves found in traditional quilts!  I am wondering if the dark hand-dyed fabric is going to be too strong a color choice.  And maybe there are too many leaves.

I also tried making a sort of bud.  We are limited to the twelve-inch width and nineteen-inch length for the stem section.

I think it is too much.  The emphasis will be on the flowers.  And I know none of the other stems will be anything like this.  Nothing is sewn down yet on the stem section.  I will keep playing...these are not due until September.

Today is my birthday!  That's right, 29 again!  Last night we went to a famous restaurant in Raleigh, The Angus Barn.  If you ever fly into Raleigh-Durham Airport, you can see it as you approach the field.

Dave and Emily had a gift certificate for The Barn, which they contributed to the occasion.  They brought Baby Charlie in her fancy OshKosh overall dress.  We had a wonderful evening.

Today so far I have done nothing but play on the computer and listen to Pandora radio.  I guess I'll get off the couch pretty soon and start doing something.  Or maybe not!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Back From the Beach

Our annual family vacation at Sunset Beach, North Carolina, was the best yet.  While the Raleigh area suffered damaging thunderstorms, winds, and rains, we had beautiful beach weather every day.  There were a few lightning displays at night, but nothing to keep us from enjoying our beach week.

From the cottage that we rent, we have views of the Intercoastal Waterway, the marsh, and the Atlantic Ocean.  There are great sunsets to enjoy with an adult beverage and the ones that you love.

During the day we spent all of our time on the beach.  All together, my extended family had five cottages.  It was fun to see all the cousins playing together.

I love the photo I took of little Holly wearing my hat.  This might be a future painting subject!

Baby Charlie enjoyed the beach, but took advantage of the tent that her parents set up for nap time.  Cousin Lily joined her for a little nap a couple times.

When Charlie was not in the tent, she wore a little sunhat.  Here she is with her dad.

I always enjoy seeing the watercolors in the cottage done by Brenda Butka, one of the owners.  There was a new one in our bathroom that I just loved.  Wonder if that was me?

I like the colors in this picture of the marsh.

All good things must end, and this vacation did, too.  Monday through Wednesday I spent babysitting for little Charlie.  Such a delight!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Another Watercolor Painting

I had so much fun painting the view from the Christmas tree farm in the mountains, that I decided to try another iconic scene from Ashe County.  

Peak Creek Dam, by Jeanne Turner McBrayer, 2013
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you have seen photos of this dam across Peak Creek many times.  We used to camp in the grassy field next to the creek just below the dam.  There is nothing like the sound of that rushing water!

The large structure on top of the dam used to house a turbine, which powered the copper mine at the top of the mountain.  Now the water flows through there and makes a splendid waterfall.

Painting water is always somewhat challenging, but I was rather pleased with this first attempt to capture the cascade.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Anything Art Flower Challenge

Today was our monthly meeting of the Anything Art Bee.  I traveled on the new I-540 toll road for the first time.  I would say there is strong resistance to paying the toll for this section of highway.  There were only two vehicles on the southbound trip, and three on my return trip!  Lovely not to have any traffic, but $1.00 each way seems high to travel a few miles.

First, we had Show-and-Tell.  I showed my baby quilt top and my paintings of the Christmas tree farm  and another one that I have not posted here yet.  I dropped the paintings off at Michael's on the way home to get them framed.

Roberta had an array of beautiful hand-made cuffs.  

I loved the one she was wearing.

Our hostess, Toni, made a great-looking T-shirt quilt, quilted by my friend Cathy Kirk.

Marion made a unique background display for quilt pins from a folded fabric technique.

After a delicious salad lunch, we proceeded to show off our red/purple flower blocks for our group challenge.  Don't they look beautiful grouped on the table?

Several members made more than one block.  What a wide variety, from the simple broderie perse rose, to the traditional blocks at the upper left, to the exotic in the second row!

We decided to slice each block into four equal parts.  Marion volunteered to be the slicer and dicer.

As soon as they were cut up, we started playing with the pieces to recombine them.

Everyone got one section of their own block back, and chose three more.  I thought we played very nicely during this game!

When I got home I tried mine in different combinations on my design wall.

We decided we would add stems and leaves to our blocks.  I found some pieced beige fabrics already in strips, probably left over from some Debbie Mumm-inspired quilt projects in the nineties.

Now I have to figure out how to join my flower squares, design a stem and leaves, quilt, and embellish.  Each person will make an individual quilt with a hanging sleeve.  They will be hung together if we decided to enter the in a quilt show.  Can't wait to see how they all turn out!