Friday, September 30, 2011

Surface Design Junkie

I *love* to experiment with surface design - dyeing, painting, monoprinting, gelatin printing, screen printing, and many variations thereof. I use lots of my hand dyed fabrics in my quilts, but most of the other prints are somewhat small and end up in other projects, with the exception of some of the screen prints.

This week I got the marbling bug - again. I think I first tried marbling way back in about 1993. Because I've tried so many techniques, I generally have supplies on hand to try out a technique that catches my eye, so I wasn't surprised to find alum and Methocel in my stash of supplies. How convenient!

Here are some of this week's prints hanging on a line to dry -

Love the colors!
 This pictured inspired me, so I decided to play around with it in Photoshop. I often take pictures of  surface design work I've done, and play around with them  in Photoshop - more bang for the effort!
 This is the photo above, with a more closeup photo of the center piece of fabric layered on it. Maybe it's the start of something? The transparency really appeals to me - what do you think?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DVD News!

I'm so excited! Earlier today Helen Gregory of Interweave sent me a copy of my instructional DVD cover - check it out!

It will be released sooner than I anticipated - by late October, and a digital download will be available even earlier than that. I will be sure to keep you posted.

For some reason I've been doing lots of experimenting lately. I've always loved experimenting with surface design, and boy have I gone at the last few days. One experiment was an unmitigated failure, but I have high hopes for some of the marbling I've been doing - hopefully I'll have photos tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Metrothreads Trunk Show

Artist Reception - at Seminole Sampler-
Thursday, September 22, 7 - 8:30 p.m

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Quilt for Cathy

Cathy Kleeman was our MD/DC/WV SAQA rep for several years, and she recently turned over the reins to Deborah Boschert and me. We decided to give Cathy a small quilt as a token of our appreciation.

We're all in another group called Metrothreads, which coincidentally has been working on an exhibit of small, matted works. Deborah and I decided that the little quilt should be matted like the Metrothreads pieces. I decided to finish up a piece I'd started back in July.  I knew I wanted to add "more", but I wasn't sure what that "more" was. I eventually added a salmony/orange flower that echoed the shape of the purple asters.

 Here it is with the quilting finished, and a few french knots. You can see the chalk lines where I marked the area to trim to fit in the mat. (Sorry, no photo in the mat.)

And here's the closeup. I quilted this piece in a looser style than I usually use, and it was fun - I'll definitely be trying that again.

So thank you, Cathy, for your years of service, and I hope you like the quilt!

The Metrothreads Trunk Show has turned into quite a nice exhibit. You can see it at Seminole Sampler in Catonsville, Maryland now through October 31, 2011.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thread Painting Experiment

One of the best parts of meeting other artists is seeing what they make, which often leads to being inspired by them. This is just what happened when I met Terry White in the green room for the QA TV taping in Cleveland. She showed me some stunning examples of her thread painting on some hand dyed osnaburg. I'm sure you've seen the ads for Star Threads that feature her lovely work, and they are even more impressive in person. Then she gave me some of the thread she designed! I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Now, I'm a super fine thread, tiny needle, tiny stitches kind of machine quilter, and this thread is 30wt. But I checked out some of her videos and decided to first try thread painting instead of quilting with it. (I'm working on next year's new and improved Filler Finesse column for Machine Quilting Unlimited and needed to make a sample to quilt on, and didn't feel like making an applique.) So here's my experiment (without quilting).

What was really great about this was how much work the thread did for me. I always thought of thread painting as involving endless thread changes, but because of the gradation of color in Terry's threads this was much easier than I anticipated. The thickness of the thread is also a plus, as it fills in faster than a thinner thread. I have not thread painted anything like this before, but it was very fun and I'm so glad to have tried it out. And the thread is so pretty that I'm sure I will quilt with it eventually.Thanks, Terry, for the thread and the inspiration!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Quilting Arts Gifts 2011-2012

I received my preview copy of Quilting Arts Gifts 2011-2012, and what a fun issue it is! Look at these cute birds on the cover:
I had a lot of fun with the project that I designed - quilted mini stockings.

In the magazine they show them as gift decorations, but I really like them on the swag, too. The directions for the decorative clothes pins are also in the article. My stockings are quilted, but if you're in a hurry, or just want a simpler look, you could just as easily use commercial fabric, plain felt, or something with surface design that you love.

Don't forget, the SAQA benefit auction has begun! It started yesterday, and every day the prices go down. My quilt is in the third group, so it will go on the block starting September 26th.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Non Stop Action

Wow - so much going on! And I'm not just talking about earthquakes, hurricanes and flooding. (Luckily we've been spared the worst of it all, though I do miss the sun.)

Last week I had an excellent time in Cleveland with the fine folks from Quilting Arts. I taped two segments for Quilting Arts TV Series 900, then an instructional DVD! I did not take a great camera, because I had too much other stuff to carry, so all of these pics are from my phone camera. Eventually I'll have to get some better pictures from Helen (unfortunately I have none of me and Pokey on my phone).

In the green room with Candy Glendening of Candy had taped a DVD the day before, and she generously shared invaluable tips with me on how to make it through the taping!

During the DVD taping, Helen Gregory took pictures between chapters. Someone in the green room captured me on the monitor - I'm smirking at Helen in the studio.

Here is the lovely Helen. Helen has such a wonderful, calming, yet totally on top of things presence. She makes all things seem possible.

Missing from this picture is the delightful Jackie Marsal of (she was taking the picture). I'm not sure why Terry White ( & is hiding behind that frond, but if you ever get a chance to dine with her, do so! Jo Leichte of provided invaluable technical assistance on sewing machines all day. Margaret Applin ( arrived early to tape some segments the next day - I love her take on digital imagery. We had a very fun dinner at Bahama Breeze.
I'll have to take some pictures of the fabulous swag I received and post them later.