Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rainy Halloween

Happy Halloween! It is rainy and warm here today. I am heading out to some local church bazaars and craft fairs, and may head in to Jerry's Art-a-rama in Raleigh to see a local artist demonstrate how she uses Lumiere paints on fabric and paper.

I just got an interesting e-mail newsletter about a new free mystery quilt from
Sandra Earle-Russo at Patterns by Sandra. She will change the pattern at the middle of each month, so be sure to download before then. She calls it "Exploring Purple." It has a central medallion, and she is using Kaffe Fassett fabrics. I might actually make this one!
The photos on this page are my grandchildren in various costumes and disguises. This year they are Batman and Batwoman. I think they look a lot happier than when they were dressed in furry monkey outfits. It is usually in the eighties on Halloween where they live. They look like they either had too much candy or were suffering from heat sickness!

Whatever you do, have a great weekend!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mountain-y Fabric Postcards

On Vicki's Postcard Challenge at Field Trips in Fiber, the prompt was "If I woke tomorrow with absolutely no obligations I would _______________"

and my response was "go to the mountains!"

I really like making fabric postcards. They are only 4" x 6", so it is a good size to experiment with new ideas or techniques---or use up bits of hand-painted fabrics, embellishments, and that sort of thing.
For my first postcard, I took a piece of green fleece that I had needle-felted with angelina and fibers, and cut a stylized leaf shape. I quilted it on to a black background with lots of colored bits that remind me of colored leaves falling off the trees.

Autumn Leaf, 4" x 6", 2009

I love the shimmer and mingling of the colors on the leaf. If I was going to redo this one, I would not use the fleece as a background for the leaf, because it is quite thick, not thin like a leaf!

Next up is another new one. I had my little container of hand-painted fabric from this summer, and decided that the discharged green and blue fabric had a section that looked like mountains and river.
Snow-Capped Mountains, 2009
The fabric was painted with Stewart Gill Byzantium paint over dried Glitter Glue gel. I showed a picture of it back in July. After the paint dries, you remove the glue and that is the white area. To make the postcard, I just quilted around the mountain peaks and the river, and added more glitter to the white areas and the sky.

Okay, so those mountains are artistic, but realistic? Not so much. How about this one that I made from commercial fabric that I fused and cut into shapes? This reminds me of our cabin in the North Carolina mountains.

Mountain Cabin, 4" x 6", 2007

The next one also reminds me of riding through the Christmas tree farms at our mountain place. I used hand-dyed fabrics for the sky and hills, and a marbled fabric for the foreground. I used zigzag stitches to represent the trees on the hillside. As on many of my cards, I added a fiber around the edge in coordinating colors.

Mountain Memories, 4" x 6", 2007

And here is one more that reminds me of this season of the year. It has artificial leaves, fabric leaves cut from fabric, ribbons, and fused applique from commercial fabrics swirling on a fabric background. A few hot-fix crystals add sparkle.

Autumn Splendor, 4" x 6", 2007

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Fabric Postcard

Last weekend, our friends Tom and Pauline brought me a large container of pansies and other flowers as a lovely consolation on the loss of my dog Maggy, who I wrote about recently. Wasn't that nice? And look at those glorious twisted green stems. They are not dried, they are living plants.

After finishing my charity quilts this afternoon, I had a little time to make them a fabric postcard. I thought this one echoed the colors and the shapes of the flowers they gave me.

This is the second project completed from the Creative Challenge I participated in with Shelagh Folgate online. The base is a black trash bag, covered with strips of colored plastic bags, covered with rainbow organza and needle-felted all over. Then there is lots of stitching, some "twisted" green fibers, holes cut and gold paper inserted in the holes, Swarovski crystals...and just a little pink metallic Lumiere paint stamped on. The first project was another postcard named Midnight Garden that I made for my friend Michelle Bonds, who sent me her stash of Ferrero-Roche candy wrappers for the project.

The back is painted watercolor paper decorated with Fabrico markers. I wasn't too crazy about sending this one through the mail, so I will ask my husband to deliver it to Pauline at work tomorrow.

I hope to finish a couple more postcards tomorrow and enter them in Vicki Welsh's October postcard challenge.

On a Roll with "Quilts on Wheels"

At least for today, I am all caught up on the "Quilts on Wheels" charity quilts I have been working on for the Capital Quilters Guild. These tops were made by guild members, given to me to quilt, will be passed on to someone else to bind, and then donated to a local rest home for wheelchair-bound residents.

Here is my favorite: another "Iron Chef" challenge quilt using a bag of ugly fabrics and at least one block party pattern. I can't figure out the ugly fabric, but it must have been the brown background with lavender rose in the center star. This little quilt looks crisp and beautiful. Bear's Paw and Rail Fence are two of my favorite quilt blocks.

I decided to put in a little more quilting than usual on these charity tops. Lots of what I call "artistic free-motion quilting." Here are some bleeding hearts,

and flowers and feathers.

The next quilt may have been made by the same person, because it has that same brown and lavender rose print and similar colors. This one has an additional colorway, brown/gold, added to the stars. That nice green outer border is not pieced: it is what we call "cheater"fabric, a print used very effectively here.

There was no skimping on the piecing, however, with lots and lots of half square triangles and "flying geese" segments. I love the purple batik with gold oak leaves- very striking, and a nice contrast to all the calico.

I did not want to do "custom quilting" on this, but I faked a continuous vine in the sashings. I just jumped back in the sashing and added more as I moved down the quilt.

This was a very pretty quilt, and again, there was good use of color, design, and value.

The last of these was not an "ugly fabric" challenge, but made from fabric scrounged from the Flower Cottage, where we keep our donated fabric stash. A lot of the fabric came from deceased guild members whose families wanted the fabric used for a good cause. Some of this stuff is ancient. When I went out there this summer to make up some kits, I washed every bit of it when I brought it home.

Anyway, here is a very attractive and patriotic quilt made by Carolyn R. of CyberBee from donated fabric.
I believe the George Washington blocks were from a panel fabric used for making pillows.
Paired with red, white, and blue log cabins, it is a very pretty quilt. I did free-motion starbursts and loops.

Now I am more than ready to work on some of my own quilting projects!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nice Charity Quilt and New Artwork

I just had time yesterday afternoon to quilt another little charity quilt for Capital Quilters Guild Quilts on Wheels program. These are made for rest home residents in wheelchairs.

The top was completed for the guild's "Iron Chef" challenge, in which the maker was required to use a bag of "ugly" fabrics and at least one block from last year's Block Party. I thought this one was very soft and pretty, and look at all those half-square triangles!

I used one of Suzanne Earley's Meandering Magic designs, featuring a leaf and ribbon.

We went to our son Dave and his wife Emily's house with my dad last night. He presented them with a sketch that he began last year on our vacation to Sunset Beach. He did it while we were all sitting on the beach in the afternoon sun.

Then, it was off to dinner at The Bavarian Brathaus of Cary, which we all enjoyed!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hot! Hot! Hot! quilt for a dreary day

Yesterday was kind of chilly and gray and dreary. Did I mention "chilly?" Make that "chili!" After my father left to visit friends from Cary, my friend Carolyn came over with her Red Hot Chili Peppers quilt top. Perfect to brighten and heat up any kind of weather!I don't know where she found so many pepper-themed fabrics, but they look great together. Can you say "Hot! Hot! Hot!"

If the peppers don't have enough heat for you, how about adding some hot sauce?We selected a King Tut variegated cotton thread called "Autumn Colors." It blended well with the colors of the fabric. On the back, I used a medium brown Bottom Line thread on Super Bob bobbins. It blended well with the colors on the top, although shows slightly on the yellow. Of course, we decided that a "flame" quilting motif would be perfect!

This quilt is only about 51" x 63" and worked up quickly. Only about five minutes of "frogging" this time.
Dad got home just as I was finishing, and watched me operate my Gammill longarm.
After that, we started talking about art quilts. (If you are new to my blog, my father, Pete Turner, is a retired commercial artist and fine artist.) We talked about composition and I mentioned my "Think Like an Artist" online classes with Pamela Allen. We ended up watching the trunk show of her DVD, and he loved it! Then he got absorbed in my copy of The Masters Art Quilts, which also has a section devoted to Pamela. The other artist he most admired was another of my quilting goddesses, Caryl Bryer Fallert.
Love having my pops here with me! My DH is supportive of my quilting, but not interested in any of the process or design involved. Dad is happy that at least one of his seven children is dabbling in the arts.
Tonight we are supposed to go to a German restaurant for dinner with our son Dave and wife Emily. Charlie used to play trombone in The Little German Band of Cary, which was not little at all with about a hundred members. They dressed in Bavarian costumes and performed at Octoberfests, festivals, and even traveled to Germany and Austria for a memorable trip back in 1976. I doubt my dirndl would still fit me, but we are looking forward to an evening of brats and German potato salad.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another Successful Pig-Picking

Yesterday was our eighth annual client pig-picking given by my husband Charlie and his partners. The last four have been at my house, but this year it was held at the North Ridge Country Club. Not only a nice change for me, but this year the sky looked like this just before the party... see all the golf carts heading for cover?Up until then it had been a very nice day. But as soon as the guests arrived, it started raining buckets, and I was very glad not to have eighty guests eating dinner in my garage and downstairs. We had a patio dining room at the club with a large overhang, so the pig cooker was under the roof. Well, not until Charlie went out and moved it, getting soaked in the process.

Our son Dave got wet too, as he was helping with cutting up the roasted pork. It was wonderful to have Dave and Emily there with us. Even though they live in Raleigh, we had not gotten together in awhile.
It was a lovely location. The trees are getting beautiful here in the Raleigh area. This nice maple was just outside the patio area where we set up.

At the last minute, I decided to work up some table decorations. Here is an easy idea that worked very well. I bought pansies in fall colors in individual four-inch pots. I wrapped each plant with colored tissue and a decorative napkin, and then tied it with raffia.
Emily and our friend Pauline helped finish this project just as the first guests arrived. We had enough for all the dining tables and to put out with the buffet. After the party, many of the guests were given a plant to take home with them.

Another last-minute arrangement that s added to the pleasure of the event was a musical performance by my husband' partner Alex, his sister Debbie, and Alex's friend Dennis. In the past, Alex and Dennis and also our son Dave have played guitars at "the party after the party." But with us mostly stuck inside this year, Debbie and Dennis set up their amps and provided entertainment for all. Debbie is a professional musician from Asheville, NC, and Dennis is great on lead guitar. Debbie and Dennis had never played together before, but they were wonderful!And the crowd was appreciative!

I was disappointed that my father was not feeling up to the trip down from Boone, so he missed the party this year. But he felt better today and is here now. I am so grateful that he is still well enough to drive at age 86. He is hoping to visit some friends and relatives during his visit with us.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bobbin Wraps

I was the lucky winner of a drawing on the Quilting Gallery blog a couple weeks ago. I won these bobbin wraps from LoveBug Studios. Ebony Love of Illinois sent them to me. I chose the size to wrap around the "M" size bobbins on my Gammill Classic, but they are available in three sizes.

The purpose, of course, is to tame those thread ends that sneak off your wound bobbins and follow you around the room or misbehave with other thread ends to form a tangle. I often have leftover bobbins after long-arming, because I wind as many as I predict that I will need for a project. Sometimes I overestimate. I use the leftover bobbins for charity quilt projects or to baste the quilt sandwich on the machine.

Thanks, Ebony!

This week's drawing is for some hand-dyed fabric from my blogging friend, Vicki Welsh, of Field Trips in Fiber. Sure would like to be a double winner!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flower Power Quilt

How about a trip in time- back to the sixties and seventies! These bright sunny colors and happy flowers remind me of the Flower Power days when I was in college.

I quilted this one for Susan Merrell, who teaches and sells scrapbooking, craft, and stamping supplies. Her website is Stamping Up. The flowers are cut from three different sizes of templates using the Big Shot die cut machine. Susan has a special promotion sale for the Big Shot on her page. Okay, quilters, here is a new toy for your Christmas list!

Susan says she can cut eight layers of fabric at a time. The flower shapes are glue-basted to each other and to the background fabric. These fabrics are from a Layer Cake fabric set from Wish Upon A Quilt in Raleigh. A Layer Cake is a set of coordinated 10-inch fabric squares, usually from the same fabric line.

Of course, I had to secure the glue-basted shapes to the quilt, so I made wavy lines around each tier. The edges are meant to protrude for a dimensional effect.
With all these daisy-type flowers, I of course had to do some flower-power quilting! Lots of petals, leaves, vines, and swirls.

Susan wanted this quilt to be done quickly, and wouldn't you know that I experienced a lot of trouble with my bobbin tension on this project. Finally, I realized that the thread was jumping out of my intermittent tensioner on my Gammill. I fixed that problem by using a different thread-path through the three-hole guide which follows the tension disk. Can you say three hours of "unsewing" for every hour of sewing? They sure go in faster than they come out. The un-sewing procedure is known as "frogging" in the long-arm quilting world. ("Rip-it, rip-it, rip-it!") To top that off, my spool of thread was getting perilously low near the end of the project. But, I "gotter done" in time to enjoy my weekend.

No travel plans this weekend, since we have our annual pig-picking on Saturday. This time we are trying something different, hosting it at North Ridge Country Club instead of here at my house. It is supposed to rain, but we can move indoors easily there---much more so than if we were all trying to fit in my house. My dad is coming down from Boone this afternoon, and I am looking forward to a much more relaxing time than when I am the hostess, trying to have my house and yard all in good shape at the same time. Hard to do when you are a quilter!
One year, with the help of my darling daughter-in-law and her friend Aimee, I even hung quilts from my back deck for a garden party quilt show. I must have had much more energy back then!

Tonight we will have the sauce-making husband Charlie cooks the pig on our own cooker using my brother-in-law Kenny's secret's vinegar and tomato-based, but that's all I can tell you!