Friday, July 31, 2015

Show + Tell :: I Dream of Bali (AP)

August 1 2015,

My latest creation is a miniature quilt entitled "I dream of Bali". This is a quilt for Nancy who gave me yards and yards of batiks to add to my already relatively large collection of batiks. I may or may not make a larger version of this quilt, thus the "(AP)" after it's title indicating "Artist Proof". It sounds more sophisticated eh?

I don't know how I want to work this quilt yet, thus playing with a smaller quilt enables me to see what I like or don't like and also to see what direction I want to take this quilt.

What do you think? Should I make a larger version or should I just trash it?

Title: I Dream of Bali (AP)
Dimension: 10" x 11"
Materials: Cotton Batik
Method: Machine Pieced + Machine Quilted
Date completed: 08.2015

Quilt & Bitch

Monday, July 20, 2015

My Summer Vacation :: Part Trois

July 20 2015,

As I continue to seize the summer here are my adventures for the last two weeks.

Voila - I took a letter press class two weekends ago at The Museum of Printing in North Andover, MA. Ted taught the class - and there were four of us. It was so fun. Made my own composition and poster. My poster says, "To Quilt Or Not To Quilt" plus a "POSTED" text and an arrow. It was printed on a Vandercook printing press.

No, I haven't bought a letter press yet. I don't know where I'll be going with this - but I've always wanted to learn about letter press - so this class was my chance to do it with very little commitment and expenditure.

Saturday, I ended up at the Somerville Artbeat aka Art fair. It was not as exciting as the Cambridge one - but it was something to do.

Yesterday was a whirlwind. I went to the Codman Estate car show in Lincoln, MA. There were so many beautiful cars.

I love the turquoise  color below and the blue on the "Chevrolet" car. I think these two colors will be an inspiration for the bathroom that we've just demolished.

This truck below I love. I love the color, I love the look, I love the front of the car. Can you imagine me driving one of these? I love love love.

As a bonus and an added surprise, there is a lily pond on the estate. The water lilies are such a beautiful and elegant flower. I love taking pictures of them. It makes me smile and admire the beauty of it's perfection.

As my journey continues, I was told by a friend that at her work on route 9 in Framingham, MA, there was a lily pond in the parking lot. From the main road, you'll never think it's there until you're right on top of it. It's just a hole in the middle of the parking lot with water lilies. It's just unbelievable. Unfortunately, this lily pond was past it's peak, but there were still pretty and spectacular.

My next stop was to the "Garden in the Woods" in Framingham, MA. It was a bit disappointing because there was only one water lily in the "Lily Pond". I wonder what happened to them. The only picture I took there was of cone flowers.

To end the day, I went to a restaurant in Waltham, MA and had tapas and a cosmopolitan. OMG. The Cosmo was so damn strong that I had to walk it off before I could drive myself back. As I was walking it off - I bought 4 shirts from the  "Global Thrift Shop" on Moody Street, one light cardigan and 2 Corning Ware pie thingys for a grand total of $20.00. Love it when I get so much stuff for so little.

Well, that was my adventure so far. I forgot that the Brimfield show was this past week - so I didn't go to that. I'll be going to the one in September. This coming weekend, hopefully I'll be going to the 2015 Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival. Oh I can't wait.

What have you been doing, are you seizing the summer?

Quilt & Bitch

Monday, July 6, 2015

Vermont Quilt Festival Review

July 6 2015,

As in my previous post, I wrote about going to Vermont for the VQF.

A week ago, I received my quilt back in the mail which included Judge's Score Sheet and comments.

The scores were 84, 87 and 97, averaging a 89 which is equivalent to a yellow ribbon (or third place with 76 other participants). Hubby says, tell people you got third place, but don't tell people that 76 other people also got third place.

Note that I appreciate both positive and negative comments. As human nature has it, we particularly focus on the negative ones. Keep in mind that I strive to challenge myself with every quilt, trying to make it even better than the last one and keeping comments made by judge's in mind.

I sent in the quilt called "From the Inside Looking Out".

Front of Inside Looking Out
Back of Inside Looking Out
So here is one of the comments from one of the judge.

"- in creating asymmetrical designs, it is advisable to use odd numbers - even numbers suggest symmetry
- Quilting patterns don't relate to the patchwork"

Can someone out there in the internet world try to interpret the first bullet point for me? I'm not quite sure what this judge is saying. Please help interpret in plain English.

I took two classes at VQF.

One was a blast, and the other one a big mistake.

The first one was a binding class with Deb Karasik. I had a blast at the class. If you know how to follow instructions, she has her binding tutorial online that you can print and follow. Not only did I learn how to bind the proper way - I learned many other secrets. She was such a riot and a wonderful teacher.

You might be wondering, why do you need to learn how to bind, isn't that a basic thing? Well, over the years, I've been "smudging" or really "nudging" my bindings. They are not perfect, and I have gotten comments from judge's that says "Binding needs work" or "Take a binding class". Ok, ok, ok, I get the hint, take a binding class. I'm going to practice this on the next 36 placemats I'm going to be making. :) From now on, no judge will dare say "Binding needs work!"

One of the secrets I learned from Deb Karasik was to make your stitches smaller on the sewing machine, between 1.2 - 1.5. I don't remember the reason for it, but there was a reason. If you need to take the stitches out, use the "Easy Kut Spring Action Scissor".

The next secret is to use Mary Ellen's Best Press to press all your fabrics whenever you need to iron. Don't use steam in your iron because that will just distort your pieces. If you use Mary Ellen's Best Press, your quilt will not be as wonky.

The third secret is when you're ready to pin your quilts together for quilting, don't use those curved safety pins because when you do this, the fabric shifts a lot. She suggests using something call Pinmoor. I've yet to do this. Pinmoor is very expensive, for a package of 200, you're looking at $64.50. There are other alternatives available from your local big box store, but they may not be as good. 

The fourth secret is that there are these "Flat Button Head Pins" from Dritz that you can iron over. For Deb Karasik's binding method, you will need pins that you can iron over. I've been able to find these pins at my local Joann's.

The second class I took was call "It's Cool To Be Square" with Mara Novak. Here's the description of the class.

Do you get to the bottom of the quilt and find the corners are longer than the middle? Are some blocks baggy and others tight? Does that border look like the ruffle on a petticoat? Not every problem will 'quilt out' but with proper loading technique, the correct batting choice, and a few sneaky tricks, you can help these problem children get an A.

Unbeknownst to me, it was a class on long arm quilting. Oosps, took the wrong class. Unfortunately I did not learn much - oh well, my loss.

Now go quilt!

Quilt & Bitch

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Summer Vacation :: Vermont :: Part Deux

June 28 2015,

Came back from a three day trip to Vermont.

The first stop was the Ben & Jerry's factory tour. For me, the tour was a take it or leave it adventure. Fore little kids, it would have been fun. Check out the hexie's of the floor.

My next stop was the Shelburne Museum. It was a worth while stop. I got in for free because I had bought the North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM) from the Museum of Printing in Andover, MA. For $120, I am able to go to many museums for free around the country for one year.

Below was the general store of the time. Notice the "Machine" "Needles" box in the first picture below.

 Below is the print shop. Note the "Q is for Quilt" print on the wall.

A covered bridge.
In addition, there was a Judy B Dales exhibition in the "Hat and Fragrance" building. Her quilts are breathtaking.

Below is a  cathedral quilt at the museum.

 And now, the whole reason for the visit to Vermont - the 39th Annual Vermont Quilt Festival at Essex Junction, Vermont. Below are just a few from the show that made my heart stop.

"Coastal Light" by Beth FrisbieWallace - Francestown, NH
"Fascinated by lighthouses and colorful skies, I wanted to recreate a lighthouse on a rocky coast, bathed in light of the fiery sky. The original design on the front is complemented by an original "warped" version of the traditional pieced designed called Storm at Sea on the back of the quilt." Quilted on a home machine.

"OLE #9" by Donna Severance - Pembroke, NH
"This quilt is from a photo a friend took. I wanted to see if I could duplicate, with fabric, what he did with his camera."
Quilted on a home machine.

"My Beloved Annie" by Hong Sook Ro - Williston, VT
I spent ten years finding fabric to create this piece. I studied pictures of many types of peacocks to come up with this original creation. I was inspired by seeing a stuffed peacock while visiting a shop in Ashville, NC."
Quilted on a home machine.

"I Owe My Quilts to Udders" by Mary Alice Rath - Middlebury, VT
"A box of unused prized ribbons from dairy shows in the 1950s inspired this quilt created in the style of ribbon crazy quilts."

Close up of "I Owe My Quilts to Udders" by Mary Alice Rath

"6522" by George Siciliano - Lebanon, PA
"This quilt has 6522 pieces of dupioni silk. Just by some wild twist of fate, the title is '6522.' Go figure! It's not fused, embroidered or painted. Just good old fashioned piecing."
Quilted on a home machine.

"Really? What was I Thinking?" by Karen Viega - East Bridgewater, MA
"My quilt guild challenge for spring was Fall In Love With Color. We each chose a photo whose colors we wanted to work with, and then interpreted those colors into a design. I came up with this foundation pieced later, I thought to myself, 'Really? What was I thinking?'
Quilted on a home machine.

Close upof "Really? What was I Thinking?" by Karen Viega

"Celestial Sedona" by Norma Ippolito - Chester, VT
"This quilt features a variety of construction techniques. Building from the center out, it became a three-year journey resulting in the most challenging quilt I have made, and also the most rewarding. Pattern Sedona Star by Sarah Vedeler Designs.
Quilted on a home machine.
This took home many ribbons.

"Hexagonquilt 'La Passion' " by Grit Kovacs - Ebstorf, Germany
"My hexagon quilt is an original design, sewn by hand, and took two and a half years to complete. The inspiration developed on a holiday in France. I used 7,240 pieces."
Longarm quilted by Brigit Schuller.
This took also took home many ribhbons.

Close up of "Hexagonquilt 'La Passion' " by Grit Kovacs

"In the Midst of Winter" by Timna Tarr - South Hadley, MA
"My quilt seem to relate to the season in which I made them. This quilt represents the darkness of winter, and the hope that spring will once again appear. Original design."
Longarm machine quilted.
This quilt absolutely fabulous! Everything about it gives me goosebumps.

Close up of "In the Midst of Winter" by Timna Tarr
Pamela Druhen and Eliza Greenhoe-Bergh curated the "New England Stitches". Below are a few of my favorites.

"Witness" by Mary Gillis - Boston, MA
"Mirror image of a birch tree became a ribcage. To me it portrays a crowd of people. Original design. 2011"

"Who's Looking at Whom?" by Diane Harris - Monroe, NH
"Original designed inspired by a Robert Andersen photo (used by permission). 2014"

"Pastoral Disturbance" by Susan Polansky - South Lexington, MA
"A contemplation promoted by the Pennsylvania Amish schoolhouse shooting of October 2006. How do the effects of violence, religion and culture guide our acceptance of unforeseen events? 2008."

"Elvis in Baltimore" by Beth Reisman - Newton Center, MA
"This quilt represents my appreciation for Baltimore Album Quilts and Elvis Presley. It took 5 years to complete. 1998.
That's all folks. Take the time to seize the summer!

Quilt & Bitch