Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hand Work

I'm working on a new piece and am quilting it entirely by hand. That is certainly different for me! I haven't done hand work (except for hemming pants and knitting) in about a gazillion years. But something got into me, and here I am. Even though I'm at the point of no return, I have some questions about quilting threads. For this piece I used 12-weight sewing thread, but it didn't seem fat enough. And for the background, I'm using 3 strands of embroidery floss and that is working for me. But I would really like to know what kind of thread most people use for decorative hand stitching. Can anyone help me with that?

In the meantime, here's a photo of a major component of this piece, a teaser, in other words:

This was the result of some playing I did with my needlefelting attachment. I tried needlefelting all kinds of materials from wool and silk roving to hand-dyed homespun to burlap. I had forgotten all about it and when I was getting out some wool roving to play with, I found this and my plans for my little quilt took a sharp right and something I didn't really plan to do is emerging. That's just the most fun when that happens!

I have almost finished my challenge piece, that I'll call "Go Green and Spicy." The one thing I'm happy about is that the  piece does look like jallapenos (or pickles), but I'm not happy with the stitching and some other things. I'll show it to you and to my quilting group, but then it will go in the "what was I thinking" stack, hidden in a deep, dark closet!

Oh, and one more thing. I did finish the main sample I'm using for the next class I teach (time and date to be determined).

It was a lot of fun and I'm very proud of it.

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I've been teaching some beginner sewing lessons to a few people in my home. I just have to tell you about Ashley. She is a UGA student majoring in Fashion Merchandising (I think) but with plans to go to Savannah College of Art and Design when she finishes here. And she is quite amazing, designing clothes with only 2 classes under her belt! Check this out!

She is almost ready to give Project Runway a run for their money!

The Fashion Design Student Association will be holding a fashion show of their own creations in April and I can't wait!

Some weeks ago, Anita and I taught some classes for I Art Athens, a great non-profit organization that takes art to young people who may not be exposed otherwise. We worked with a wonderful group of teenage girls who belong to Strong, Beautiful Godly Girls. First Anita taught them how to make fabric beads. I only have one picture here, but you can see what a wonderful job they were doing:

For the next session working with these girls, I helped Anita teach the girls to make table toppers for their upcoming fundraiser. They used sharpie pens, alcohol and plenty of stamps and stencils and their own drawing abilities:

Their tables will be bright and colorful!

And then, I taught the girls how to make note cards out of card stock and ephemera. It was fun!

I Art Athens is a non-profit that stays busy, operates on a shoe-string and was founded by a young woman who does amazing work through her art and through the non-profit, Jillian Guarco. This month these projects and more are featured in the window of Frontier, a gift shop that carries and honors hand-crafted items, in downtown Athens.

And while we're on the subject of classes, on my next post I'll show you what I'll be teaching next. I had such a good time teaching last week that I hope to do it again and again! Until next time . . .

Remember the tulips?

I struggled and struggled with these tulips and finally decided that, as they were, they were a lost cause. So this is what they look like now:

Sometimes you just have to change direction, even if it means starting over, almost from scratch.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Back Again

Okay, so I haven't been the best blogger in the world, but I'm starting fresh and plan to write more often. I don't know why I have a hard time making myself do this, fear? self-consciousness? I don't know, but I'm working on it.

It was such a busy week and lots of fun, too.

On Tuesday, my art quilt group, the Quilting Arts Alliance, met at the Lyndon House to play with paint and resists.

Above, there's Anita, Diane and Nancy. Frances also came to watch. It's just so much fun to get together with good people and laugh and experiment and play. I could do this for a living!

Nancy and I both used some fabric that I had dyed, was not happy with so then I bleached it, washed it in anti-clor, dyed again, bleached again, dyed again and finally gave up on it. I call it my butt-ugly fabric. I think surface design play can only  help it. It's unfinished, but here it is:

Nancy was a bit more selective in what she wanted to do to her piece of butt-ugly fabric:

Anita had done some prep work ahead of time, and she was just painting away:

It was great! It was fun! and I tried gel glue, soy wax, potato dextrin and used the little binder rings. Whenever I get my piece finished, I'll post again.

But that was only Tuesday. On Thursday, I taught my first ever art quilt class. I made a cute and happy sunflower in 3 versions: easy, easier and easiest. So I called my class, "Easy and Easier Art Quilt."

The class was held at the Dragonfly Quilt Shop in Watkinsville. I had four students--three quilters and one who does heirloom sewing. It was so much fun and everyone brought their own tweek to the quilt. It went so well, I can't wait to teach again! Here are my students with their quilt tops in various stages of completion:

From left to right: Janie, Anita, Holley and Linda. They were great ladies and a whole lot of fun. And the best part of any class I teach is that I learned as much from them as they did for me. All around, a great day!

And now to Saturday. Nancy came over and we played again. This time we did deconstructed screen printing. It's so much fun and always a surprise as to how things turn out. We were a little disappointed in the outcomes, and just didn't work as well as we expected. I'm not sure if it was because I added liquid dye to the print paste instead of powder, or if the print paste was too old. We did learn some things though and do have a little bit to show for our efforts. These are Nancy's:

And here are mine. The first one is a monoprint that I made after setting up the screen for printing:

The last one was done when the screen print was almost exhausted, so I added a little chartreuse paint to the mix.

As usual, I'm not sure what I'll do with these. I'll hang them in my studio until an idea comes to mind.

After all the playing I did this week, I was ready to get back into my studio to sew. Currently I'm working on a small piece for my second art quilt group, Fiber Frenzy. The challenge for April is "Go Green." I went to my local grocery store and asked permission to take photos in their produce department. The photo I got with the most interesting shapes and highlights was of jallapeno peppers. After cropping and manipulating a bit, this is what I'll be doing:

Wish me luck and tune in next time to see what I've done with the jallapenos!