Tuesday, March 24, 2015

When quilts send you running for cover...

Well, when they're warm and comfy, that's when! This click-bait headline brought to you by Portent's Content Idea Generator.

I finished another quilt! I wanted wide borders to have plenty of room to play with the quilting. (It's a twin size quilt photographed on a king size bed, so the borders hang on the sides of the bed). It's quilted on a long arm without any digitized quilting patterns

My daughter, who's quilt it is, picked the backing - flannel giraffes. Well, what else would you use, right?

A lesson learned: I was mostly picking the quilt patterns as i went. It's kind of a quilt pattern sampler.
This part of the block came out ok, but could have benefited from a little more planning. There is a  light diamond that is near the outside point (light green in the photo below) in each block. The dark thread that blends pretty well with the rest of the purples an blues stands out on that light one. Instead of having just the points where all the other bits of the quilting pattern meet, it would probably have looked better with a loop or something that would look more intentional. Next time. I am quite happy with it overall, especially since it was never intended to be shown or judged. My goal is to be able to control the longarm to make it do what I want. We're getting there!

I have nine more stars pieced, guess I should get back to work!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Vintage UFO Sightings

These quilts were started in 2007.  A mystery quilt was devised by the community service committee of Northern Lights Quilt Guild because they were short on baby quilts. I started three, because, y'know, they're baby quilts... I'll just whip them right up. Ha. One was finished that year, but two of them took a wee bit longer.  I had taken them out to finish last fall, but hadn't made much progress on them until Joanne of Splitting Stitches started a UFO Challenge. We could register up to six unfinished quilts that needed a decent amount of work to finish (at least two borders still needed, for example) and we have to finish them by the end of 2015. Or there will be consequences. If we finish them, we qualify for prizes. Just the boost I needed! The light blue one didn't qualify, it just needed to be quilted (by me! on the long arm!) and bound, but the dark blue one did, it only had a few chunks sewn together. Both are done and have been delivered to community service. Better late than never?


This was another mystery quilt, probably around 2007. Apparently, I am not fond of mystery quilts. Good to know. The original pattern didn't have the sashing between the blocks. My blocks looked terrible right up next to each other, it was just not working. Away it went. Now I have a design wall and what a difference it makes being able to step away and look at it from a distance. I love this quilt now, I can't wait to finish it! I'm hoping I have enough of that green to finish... It's gonna be close.


And this. This is what my latest artsy quilt looked like Sunday morning. It looked much different by Sunday night, you'll have to check back to see the finished result. This one, which I'm calling Red Rain, is going into the trunk show that we are doing in the SAQA ME/NH/VT region. The trunk show is titled A Piece Of Me and we're asking members to send in an 8"x10" piece that is representative of their work. These will be mounted on a backing and placed in plastic sleeves, then sent around the three states. Viewers will be encouraged to pick them up and look at them closely. We have such a talented group of artists in our region, it should be a great collection.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sealed For Your Protection

I ordered some Golden High Flow* acrylics. The High Flow paints come in a small squirt bottle, which if you don't realize they are Sealed For Your Protection, but you twist open the cap and give it a good squeeze anyways, become unsealed. and does not protect you - it comes out the sides all over your hands, not through the tip where you are expecting it to come out. They are,  however, true to their name and flow beautifully.

  The High Flow paints were used to fill some empty markers that also came in the shipment. I picked out a few different sizes and shapes to play with. My favorite is the 3mm chisel, it feels like a pen. The crusher is a very soft moppy brush, I think that one will come in handy. They use a pumping action to get the paint from the barrel to the tip, which means there is a middle part which controls the flow. You really shouldn't forget that part and then try to paint with it. It will not be Sealed For Your Protection. Yes, my hands are all sorts of pretty colors.

Golden has some pre-filled markers that were on back order, so I am anxiously awaiting those!

The SAQA regional reps had a day of training before the rest of the conference, and as an activity to help us get to know each other's names, we exchanged fat quarters. Of course all of the fabric was beautiful, many of them were hand dyed or painted.  I was incredibly lucky enough to get this amazing piece that was snow dyed by Beth Schillig. YUM!

*well, that was dangerous. I went to the Golden website to include the link and got lost there for a while. They have this virtual color mixer which I could play with for hours. Some of the paint combinations from the color picture (under "image") are surprising.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Yellow #4

In my last post I mentioned that the kids would be both home soon. They are, indeed, both home now. However, I forgot how hard it is to even THINK in full sentences when they are here. I love it! And they make cookies (they even clean up after).

So, that's what my last few weeks have been - children! Sadly (selfishly for me, not for them!), they both have jobs and Thing 2 is taking drivers ed, so family time will not be as abundant as in past summers.

My auction piece for the SAQA auction was received and has been photographed and is up in the auction album. 


I am enjoying making quilts based on the color yellow. So far they've had a bit of a fantasy flower theme... definitely not flowers you'd find in real life :) Yellow #5 is shaping up a bit differently. Stay tuned...

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sneak Peeks

 It's been a busy week. We got Thing 1 home from college - very happy about that - and we get Thing 2 back next week. And then summer can officially start. A little early, but it ends early when they go back to school in August. 

Anyhoo... I've also been working on painting three different pieces this week. This is a close up of the second in my Red series. I love this picture, the colors are so vibrant!

and this is a new one that will finish at 12"x12", fourth in the Yellow series. It's intended for the SAQA auction, if I can get it finished and in the mail first thing Tuesday morning!

What are you working on??

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Photographing Your Quilts

At the SAQA conference, Gregory Case gave a presentation on photographing your quilts. It's not quite as simple as it may seem. Yes, it can be done at home with your iPhone, but that will not give you the results you want. 

Gregory emphasized that if you're sending this photo to a show to be looked at by the judges, this is your quilt's wedding photo - you want it to look it's absolute best.

He showed us examples of photos of quilts taken with an iPhone vs using a SLR in RAW mode. Not too surprisingly, there was a huge difference. Even using a SLR in jpg mode vs RAW mode was not as accurate in color or texture. So, first you need a camera that takes pictures in RAW mode. Yes, this is like giving a mouse a cookie.

If you get a camera that takes pictures in RAW, then you need software that processes RAW. Photoshop Elements is great for processing jpgs, but you need the full Photoshop deal for RAW. 

Now that you have your camera and software, you need to learn to set your camera to take accurate color, rather than the "pleasing" color it was designed to take. Cameras are designed for less colors, but oversaturated ones, so you lose a lot of detail. 

Since every step of the process requires a different device (camera, computer, printer) and each of those devices use a different way to read color. So if you want it to print the way it looks on your screen, or you want the judge to see it on their screen the way it looks on your screen, you need a color monitor which calibrates color between devices. And then there's the whole studio set up which needs a good amount of space and lighting.

There was a lot more detail in the talk, but to sum it up, if you want your photos to look professional, find a professional who knows specifically how to photograph quilts. You can get serviceable photos on your own, but it will take some practice, an investment in equipment and space. Sarah Ann Smith has a great tutorial for her set up. For me, though, as much as I love my camera, and even fiddling with Photoshop (Elements), I'd rather be spending that time on my art!

Speaking of Elements, that was the theme for the SAQA exhibit that we went to see during the convention, which highlighted SAQA's change for the definition of an art quilt. In the curator's essay, Jill Werner states, "Each artist was asked to interpret a chemical element from the periodic table. However, there was an additional twist. The artists were asked not to use the traditional quilt-making materials of fabric and thread (or at least to use them as little as possible)."
Here are a few of the pieces:

Wen Redmond, Lighter Than Air (Helium)
Trisha Hassler, The Irony Of It All Was Not Lost On Her (Iron)

Marian Zielinski, Beckoning Of The Night (Neon)

Mary Vaneeke, Samarium 62: No Relation (Samarium)

Kathy York, Seeking: A White Mitten In A Blizzard (Technetium)

Cynthia St. Charles, Zinc

Diane Melms, Chromium

Friday, May 9, 2014


Yvonne is truly one of the quilting world's rock stars and one of the founders of SAQA. Here she is at the SAQA national conference talking about one of the quilts she was working on as SAQA was being formed. She has a great sense of humor and often had the entire room laughing.

The whole weekend of the conference was filled with informative workshops, lectures and even a field trip. The two break-out workshops that I took were photographing your quilts and being your own art coach each of which I will talk in more detail in other posts.

We also got a sneak peak at the new line of fabrics that SAQA has been working on. I can't show you any pictures yet, but they are fabulous! Very unique prints and colorways that I can see being used in everything from traditional to modern to art quilts. Guess I had better make some room in my fabric stash for when they are available to purchase. I'll keep you posted!

Next year the conference is in Portland, Oregon. If you're in SAQA, you should go. If you're not in SAQA, you should join and then go.