Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Pretty Quilt and WIP Wednesday: Zen Garden

Since today is Wednesday, I'll start with a Work-in-Progress: my Zen Garden art quilt.

I have slowly been adding more beads to the gold "structure" area

and the blue "water" area. Even a little sparkly fishy!

Next up is the last of Teresa's quilts that I finished quilting yesterday. This one has lovely Moda fabrics with floral and cross-stitch motifs. I got to do my favorite kind of, leaves, feathers. We selected King Tut "flax" cotton thread.

This quilt has a pieced back, with patchwork perfectly centered. I tried my best to keep it centered by pinning the top and lining together at the center, and then putting pins where I should start the top. It is really hard to keep it centered, though, because the quilting draws up the backing. It looks nice on the back, though, with the quilting really showing up.

In other news, when I walked Maggy yesterday, I discovered that my street is now a cut-through street connecting us to Rogers Road. They finally removed the barricade at the former end of the street. You can still see the bent-over red sign that warned you to stop. There are only about four houses built so far in the new neighborhood.

The new road still needs a little work, as the manhole covers are still sticking up. You rusted-fabric lovers would have fun with this one...I love the "quilty" design, and who would have thought of a manhole cover named "Dancer?" I didn't actually know they had names!

And while you were draping fabric over rusty items, there is an old rusty fence over an old family cemetery in this neighborhood. I would not recommend draping fabric there to be rusted...just not respectful...but it is a very attractive fence.

Yesterday when I was eating lunch on my front porch, I was startled to see a great blue heron fly by just beyond the porch rail. I think he was pond-hopping and was considering a stop in my little garden pond. These birds can have a wing-span of almost seven feet, and are often seen in inland ponds as well as in coastal marshes. Here is a picture borrowed from the Internet that looks exactly like what I saw from my porch rocker.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Christmas in July?

Well, yesterday I showed you the Christmas tree farms. Today, a Christmas quilt that I worked on yesterday. It was definitely not Christmasy weather here in North Carolina. The day was hot and humid, and then erupted into thunderstorms in the afternoon. But I managed to finish this very pretty quilt in contemporary colors.

The customer wanted an overall design, so I looked at the motifs on the fabrics and used spirals, holly leaves, and little leaves/berries.

We used King Tut "Reed," a yellow-green cotton thread slightly darker than the greens in the quilt. I was not too sure how it would look, but I am really happy with the way this quilt turned out. The back is the yellow-green with colorful small squares in the picture above, and the quilting does not show on it at all.

I have one more to do for this customer- a gorgeous Moda in soft taupe, rose, and blue. The thread I ordered from Gammill was waiting on my doorstep when we got back on Sunday- they provide super-fast service.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mountain Fun

It was another gorgeous weekend in the North Carolina mountains. Charlie and I went up on Thursday night. On Friday afternoon, we got to meet my newest great-niece, Lacy. Sixteen days old! What a sweetheart! I caught her smiling in her sleep in this picture.We did not have our grandchildren there this time, but we enjoyed watching everyone else's.We spent lots of time fishing in the pond, putting our chairs in the creek and watching the little ones, and of course, riding up the mountain on our Gator. The weather was sunny and warm most of the weekend. Look at the happy clouds and blue sky!Mother Nature decorates the Christmas trees in the field during the summer.

So pretty on the mountain! Charlie and I picked blackberries on Saturday afternoon, and Mary made a cobbler for dessert. I did most of my picking from the Gator, since at our first stop I almost stepped on a very big snake. Just a black snake, but ....The wildflowers were abundant, with lots of black-eyed Susans.

We took one more ride on Sunday afternoon, and it looked like we might get a storm. Look at these scary snag trees!

This picture reminds me of the John Denver song: "There's a storm across the valley, clouds are rolling in..."

However, we only had a few sprinkles before we left for home. We stopped in Cary for a birthday dinner with our son Dave and his wife Emily. Here they are with their new ECU flag.

Dave wanted us to try some Thai food and Sushi for his birthday dinner...something we normally would never had experienced. It was an excellent delight!

Tired today...I have a customer's Christmas quilt on the Gammill today, so I guess I know what I will be doing!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Baby Quilt Again

It's almost "Deja Vu all over again"...but this time, I quilted Teresa's pinwheel quilt for a baby girl. I decided to add an informal feather border, although this was supposed to be all-over. The back is very plain lavender, and I thought it would look cute to enclose the hearts and flowers like a frame.

Now I remember why I charge extra for custom quilts- this little feather practice required a lot of starts and stops and burying threads. But I am really pleased with the result.

So, the continuing saga of our technical troubles...Tech Guy came out, turns out I was the computer skills coordinator when he was in 8th grade, he is happy he has computer skills. Tech Guy installs new modem, Internet works on desktop and laptop. Tech Guy leaves, a little while later it stops working upstairs on the desktop. But at least the laptop is connecting okay for now.

But what's next??? Maybe we will confer with our old friend Jack Daniels.

Another Baby Quilt

Today's Wednesday WIP is our home computer network...still trying to resolve our connection problems. You know the doesn't work...the tech guy comes out for five works...he doesn't spend hours on the phone with tech spend $100 for a new router...and so on. I am currently waiting for home visit #2 from our provider, hopefully with a new modem. Our connection comes and goes, so I am typing fast!

More technical problems...I have been waiting for a new foot pedal from Bernina since mine died on July 9 at my bee's sew-in day. Yesterday I got the call I have been waiting for...oh, yeah, they had one in stock all along! $125 and no return if it doesn't work. New one not in stock will be $195. Got smarter and took my machine with me to see if the foot pedal works. (It was still in its travel bag since the workshop.) Plugged in new foot does not work! New problem! So, I left the whole thing there in hopes that it is not DOA.

So, this has opened up a window of opportunity to do some long-arm quilting. Yesterday I finished the first of two flannel baby quilts made by Teresa. Her work is amazingly precise, always square, ironed perfectly, folded in fourths lengthwise and draped over soft hangers.

Here is the first one. It is for a little boy. I free-hand quilted it much the same as the one I made for my niece's baby Christopher. Stars, swirls, and loops.

The back is also flannel and is pieced with leftover blocks. That made slow going over that part, but the needle and thread both held out without breaking.

I have been working on the Zen Garden quilt, adding more beads, but it does not look significantly different than last time.

Here are a couple more samples of Shiva Paint Stik stencils and rubbings that I don't think I have previously posted.

Gold PS over salmon-colored hand-dyed fabric

Copper and maroon PS rubbed over maroon tie-dyed fabric

Various blue and green PS stenciled over a fabric used as a paint blotter

Wish me luck with my technical issues! Heading for the mountains tomorrow night, so this may be my last post for a few days if I am not back in business. (We never have Internet up there- by choice!)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Fabric Painting Lecture

No, I have not been up at our mountain cabin with no Internet service this weekend...I have been home with no Internet service! Something is wrong with our modem or router, and our service has been very sporadic. But it is working right now...hooray! We also un-installed the hated Internet Explorer 8. And now I can drag and drop my pictures in Blogger again!

You know all the fabric painting I have been doing? I was making samples for the program I presented at the Carolina Longarm Association meeting at the Forest Lakes clubhouse in Louisburg, NC. I made a new name tag to wear to Capital Quilters Guild meetings. This one has Shiva Paint Stik stenciling on hand-dyed fabric, needle-felted strap, and Swarovski crystals and ribbon.
While I was painting almost everything in sight, I noticed that my CLA name tag was looking white and boring, so I painted it with Tsukineko inks and Setacolor paint, and free-motion quilted it on the Long-arm with Tie Dye variegated thread and a metallic gold thread running together through the machine. It also has Swarovski crystals and a dyed fluffy fringe that I purchased at the Symposium from Artistic Artifacts.

We were planning to have a quilt show in September, but that has to be postponed because the church that hosts us will have to have sprinklers installed per the fire marshall. That means I still have time to make one of the challenge quilts. Here are two beautiful ones already quilted by two of our members, Suzanne and Donna. The object is to show what a difference the quilting can make.

We had a good show-and-tell with several beautiful large quilts. Here is Ann Hull on the right with the quilt she made from the Guild's Block Party blocks.

And here are the John and Dottie, a husband-wife team, with a gorgeous quilt that she pieced and he quilted.Then it was a terrific pot luck lunch, and on with my program. I started setting up my tables about an hour before the meeting. Charlie saw me with my car packed up and said, "I hope you enjoy your trip to Paris!" I brought a LOT of stuff.

I had Shiva Paint Stiks, Setacolor paints, Lumiere paints, Tsukineko inks, Neocolor II water-soluble crayons, Prismacolor pencils, Pigma micron pens, a few acrylic paints, and lots of tools and samples. I was asked to talk about the kinds of fabric paints I use, as well as how I go about embellishing a quilt. There was not really time to do much of a demo, although I did peel back the film on a Shiva Oil Paint Stik and load some paint onto a stencil brush. I also showed how I rub the Fantastix applicators on fabric to get most of the excess ink off before applying any color to the fabric. Here is my Shiva Paint Stiks display.

I got the little denim jumper at our local Goodwill thrift shop for $2.59, and stenciled some flowers, butterflies, and ladybugs on it for 3-year old granddaughter, Lily. I brought some ladybug buttons, red polka dot ribbon, and some rickrack that I may use to further embellish the dress.

These are my Setacolor transparent paints and a piece I painted and quilted.

and Tsukineko inks in their workstation with two Fantastik applicators for each color. I love that you never have to clean the applicators...a real plus if you have ever had to spend time cleaning paintbrushes. Those are my Lumiere paints and Necolor II crayons behind the inks.

After talking about the paints and other materials I brought, I had a trunk show of my painted and embellished quilts. I told the story of my "Something Girly" shadow trapunto quilt and my persistence in solving its problems. You can read about it here and see why I named it "Trouble."

I always enjoy the mixed reactions to The Green Man quilt- I think I will enter it in our show so I can hear the comments elicited by this, my strangest quilt ever.

So, now I still have to put everything away, but I am doing some sorting and re-organizing in the sewing room first. I spent several hours going through stuff on my cutting table, ironing board, and sewing table, but I have much more work to do. Anyway, I think my talk was a big success and I am relieved to be finished with it so I can move on to other projects.

I am very grateful to Donna Sontag for taking photographs during the program, and helping me pack up my dog and pony show at the end of the meeting.