Monday, November 30, 2009

A Gift in the Mail

I am feeling better today- and something in the mailbox was a real boost! Nellie sent me an 8 X 10 piece made from the leftovers of her wonderful Prairie Performance that was installed in a hospital in Illinois last week. It is wonderful!

Nellie does amazing art with fabric and bits of thread, ribbon, you name it. She calls it ortwork- and it's done with snips and bits that most of us would throw out. I love it, and I am thrilled to have a piece of her work in my home. Thank you, thank you, Nellie!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


about describes the way I've felt since Thursday evening. I did manage to get the kitchen cleaned up after our feast, but we were in bed before 9- that's how lousy I felt. And I've spent the better part of the last two days just laying around- since leaving home has not been an option even if I felt like it, for reasons I won't go into.

So I have no pictures, nothing interesting. My bead stash is reorganized to take up less space since my nifty carousel broke- I'm just going with cheap, small ziploc baggies and a container of some sort. At least that was a low energy activity I could do from the recliner while watching endless episodes of Law and Order! I have also played with the design of a small piece for group I recently joined, modeled on the 12 X 12 group that has done such interesting work for the past two years. It's due the end of December- so I won't be posting any pics of that until they all go up. If you're interested, the blog for the group is here.

To top off the weekend, the U lost to BYU in overtime. What a way to start the holiday season. It can only get better from here!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm counting my blessings today- health, home, family (even though most of them are distant), a new, beautiful granddaughter- we truly are blessed to have such abundance in this country. I learned this first-hand when I spent a year in Africa with the Peace Corps in my early twenties.

The cooking began yesterday. I made an apple-cranberry pie, Shannon made yeast rolls. The topping for the green bean casserole is done, and I'm cooking the beans as I type. DJ and Bentlee are making peanut butter pies- definitely not my cup of tea, but some in the family love them. I'll stick with pumpkin and apple, thank you very much.

If I remember, I'll get a photo of the bounty. In the meantime, may your Thanksgiving be full of family, friends, and a sense of gratitude.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I have been working on the small study piece of the lily- and I am glad that I did not start with the big quilt. I got the small one sewn to the stabilizer, and started doing some threadwork on it this morning. I am not happy with the results!!

I've not done a lot of realistic quilts- in fact, I can only think of one small one, the batik sunflower. On this one, the large lily is driving me crazy. How do you portray soft, like a flower, with the hard edges that sewing produces? Aaaargh!!!

So I will put this one in the back of my mind, to think about and see if I can figure this out to my satisfaction. In the meantime, I am going to work on a couple of 12 X 12 pieces for a group I just joined. The first one is definitely abstract- the second, sort of. But it is also something that hard edged threadwork will enhance, not detract from.

And maybe I just need to stick to what seems to come more natural. More food for thought!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Study One

I got to work on the first small study to try out the effect of piecing or otherwise breaking up the negative space behind the lilies. Here's my progress so far- the background is pieced, with 2" strips and the joins between the strips offset. I've selected my greens, and pinned it all up on the wall to see how it works.

I like how the greens I chose work together. The large white lily will get some paint this afternoon- this time, I think I will see how Setacolors look. As for the background, I will have to live with it a bit. I know these oranges are a little different than the yard I dyed, so that could be affecting my feelings about it.

So, what do you think?

Friday, November 13, 2009

WAQ Friday

We had our small quilt group meeting today, minus only Jalaine. Suzanne did a hands-on tutorial of quilt construction Katie PM's way. I have her books, but it was helpful to see it done.
And, I got a lot of feedback on the lily quilt. I took the patterns I've done and the background. Most of the feedback was about the large amount of negative space and what was I going to do with it. My idea of a cool quilting design didn't have much traction- and I haven't figured out what that would be anyway.

There was some talk of cropping, which I am reluctant to do because it would change the lovely lines that drew me to the picture in the first place. Then we talked about piecing the background, and how it could be done without detracting from the lily.

If I were better at PSE, I'd figure out a way to try it out on the computer. But I'm not, so I'm thinking of making smaller 12 X 12 quilts to try out the idea. To that end, I cropped out two sections of the original photo.

Trying out these ideas in a small format makes more sense than trying, and possibly screwing up, the larger quilt. And, I'll be able to try out the construction method in a more manageable size. Nice projects for the holidays, I think.

We also talked about the beads I'd planned to use. In the large size, the quantity of beads would weigh a lot- so I will probably end up with lots of French knots and some beads. At least the quilt will hand straight!

I have some minor house cleaning to get done tomorrow, and the laundry. Then we'll start playing with the small size.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Lily

I have the day off- it's not yet noon, and I've made more progress on the lily quilt. I got the background dyed to my satisfaction. It two times with the dyes, but it was worth it. Then I had to decide- the front,

or the back

I don’t know how much shows in the photos, but there is enough difference in person to make choosing the front an easy decision. I like how it mimics the subtle light patterns in the photo. It also has some nice texture which make the piece interesting without overwhelming the flower and leaf elements.

I also added fabrics to the green stash I'll choose the leaves from.

Then I turned my attention to the central white lily. Except, it isn’t really white. A close examination shows that it is really white with plenty of pale green. I found some white fabric that I liked- I honestly think it is leftover drapery lining! I traced the shape of the lily on to it, then pulled out my Tsukineko inks. I’ve had these for over four years, and never quite got the knack of using them. Sidney in my small art group is a master with them, and she suggested using them with aloe vera gel to help blend them. So I got some of that, too.

It took four coats, but I think it was worth it. I started with a very pale shade of yellow, then a pale shade of yellow green. I overlaid that with two coats of white, which is the only color that is somewhat opaque. It gave me the effect I wanted. I think when it is thread painted it will look even better

I am really liking the size of this quilt. There will be very few tiny, fiddly pieces, yet it is small enough to quilt on the Juki. I think the only part that will really stress me out is that orange background, I'm already trying to figure out how to quilt that.

Don't know if I will do much more today. We have WAQ on Friday, and I hoping for some input and past experiences on the best way to construct this.

I'll also take this opportunity to thank all those veterans who have served this country so selflessly. Both of my parents were WWII veterans, and I grew up with stories of what it meant to them. (A side note, the service was also how they met!) If you are reading this and a vet or an active service member- I thank you for your dedication to this country and what it means.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Working on the Lily

Progress continues on the Colombian Lily, which is what I'm calling it until I come up with a better name. Yesterday I got the pattern traced onto a lightweight stabilizer- it's kind of obscuring the paper pattern here. You can also see the two color copies I have- one of Marly's actual photo, the other after I played with it in PSE. They are more for value guidance than anything else at this point.

And, I raided my stash for green fabric- not a hard task, since green is one of my faviorite colors. I don't know if this is what I'll end up with, but here's what I have so far.

I swear the hardest part of fall for me is getting my body and mind used to the idea that dark does not mean it is bedtime. So even though part of me was saying it was time to quit, I went down to the studio to dye the orange-red background. i printed it with thickened dye and a large sponge, hoping to get texture somewhat similar to stucco. We'll see tomorrow if I was successful!

It's now batching, wrapped in plastic and under the heat lamps.

Assuming the dyeing all goes well, maybe I can get the freezer paper patterns traced tomorrow. We'll see- it's also time to get rid of the gray roots.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Working from a Pattern. . .

is not something I've done a lot of. When I look back, most of my quilts have been design-as-you-go. So this quilt will be a bit of a new experience for me.

I did a line drawing of the photo, then had it enlarged at Kinko's. The $7 it cost was well worth it, my working pattern is now 36' wide, and a little longer than that. Here it is on my design wall. On the right, you can see my partially colored original drawing. That was the best way I could come up with to make sense of the leaves.

I have already cruised through my stash, and should have enough variety of greens for the leaves. No surprise, since green is one of my favorite colors. The background will be specially dyed, since I don't have anything large enough that would work. I've gone through my book of color samples, and think I know the recipe I'll use to start. And, I think I will dye paint this- I want a different kind of texture than I get with low water immersion.

I'm not going to fuse this- I'll use construction something like Vikki Pignatelli or Katie PM use. Good thing I'm not working under any deadlines!