Friday, September 26, 2014

Off the Wall Friday

This week was hard. . . very hard but it looks like my kidneys and I have come to term and I'm on the road to recovery.  With that said, I will just host this week and offer this as contribution.

Its from - which is a site I highly suggest!

So what have you been up to Creatively?

Friday, September 19, 2014

10 Things Every Quilting Room Needs - Off the Wall Friday

Since I spent my creative time this week sewing together the watercolor quilt.  I had a lot of quiet time to think in my studio.  Over the last year and a half, my studio has become my favorite room in the house.  Its ironic since for the first 20 years that I live in this Victorian, I never went in there.  I think part of the reason is because it has all the things I need to create.

10 Things Every  Quilting Room Needs

1.  A Good sturdy work table.  Now I'm not talking about one that is pretty and perfect.  I'm talking about one that is big enough and strong enough to help you get things done.  The one I have I rescued from my old job's dumpster.  They had rescued it from a school's dumpster.   Obviously it still has plenty of life left in it!

2.  Muslin.  I know, you're saying, Muslin?  Yes with all the pretty prints out there taking the credit in the world of cotton, muslin gets over looked.  I always keep at least 5 yards on hand in my studio because you can use it for a bunch of stuff like. . . foundations, test quilt sandwiches, white strips for blocking, mock ups, etc. etc

3. Sharp Scissors.  OMG don't buy cheapie scissors.  Invest in a good pair of shears (that's the big ones with the bigger thumb loop), scissors (that's the smaller ones), and snips. Sharpen them regularly (I do mine biannually).  Divorce any man who uses them on anything but fabric.

4. 16" square ruler.  Now every quilter has a 6" square and a 24" by 6" ruler but 16" square makes life easier.  Not only is it perfect for rotary cutting those big squares, but you can use it help square up your quilt.  Not to mention it makes a great lap desk.

5. Plentiful Lighting.  Once again it doesn't have to be fancy but there has to be a lot of it.  I have all sorts of lights in my studio - indirect, direct, track lighting and I still don't think I have enough some days!  

6.  Speakers. Most quilters I know listen to music when they work (at least once in a while).  I always do - that or a good book (this week is The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews).  I originally had a cd player in my sewing hole but with good speakers in my studio I can plug in any audio device to it (a mp3 player, phone, my kindle, my laptop)

7.  Thread storage.  Now this is tricky because you gotta find a system that works for you.  I can probably say that throwing them all in a messy basket might not be a the best choice.  Right  now I have my thread board (since my studio doesn't get direct light) and 5 big plastic thread boxes on a designated shelf.  I can always find the right color easily. (Love Maria Elkin's idea - might have to do this sometime!)

8.   Sharpies.  In lots of colors.  In fine point, extra fine point, ultra fine point.  I mean who doesn't love sharpies?  They come in super handy in so many ways.  And even though they are permanent, I did manage to clean it off my sewing machine when my then 3 yr old daughter colored it black! (Rubbing alcohol)

9. Design Board.  Having a decent design board has changed my life.  Make sure its big enough and sturdy enough to fit scale you create in.  It can be permanent like mine, or temporary that can be stashed away when you're not using it.

10.  A Sewing Machine and a good dealer/technician to go with it.  Getting the right machine for you is essential.  Look at what you sew, how you sew, where you sew and THEN look for a machine that will fit those needs.  Price shouldn't be an issue to begin with.  You can always do what I did, find the machine and then save the money (yes, just like when you were a kid).  My first computerized machine  (an Elna Quilter's Dream), I bought with the money from the first quilt I sold.  13 years later, I saved for a year and  bought my Janome 7700 because I needed a bigger yoke space, more lightening and my beloved thread cutter. Still love it - although it can be a bit finicky.

So What have I left out??  What is Essential to your Quilting Room?

And what have you been up to creatively? 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Watercolor Wonder - Design Wall Monday

This weekend I went back digging into my quilt closet - you know the one  otherwise known as. . . The Home for Leftovers and found the fusible grid Pellon.  Don't you love clever people who come up with clever things?  Once the watercolor craze hit in the 90's, the people at Pellon came up with the idea that you could use a light fusible to help sew all the pieces together.  The way it works is that you just put the squares onto the gridded interfacing.  Iron them on.  Turn over the interfacing folding at the lines and sew the 1/4" seam.  Cool, huh?!  

You really didn't think I was going to sew all those 2" squares together did you?  That falls under the catagory. . . "I'm getting too old for this Sh. . . ".  Still there is something relaxing about this project.  I love the rhythm of traditional quilting.  Just spending a couple of hours replacing the squares onto the pellon was quiet easy work.  Sorta like Jigsaws for Dummies.  Once again, my idea of ditching my traditional ironing board and using an ironing "table board" comes in handy!  So much easier doing it on a table!

Anyways, I'll spend this week getting it all sewn together.  For once I'll have my assignment in Elizabeth Barton's masterclass done early.  Notice I'm totally ignoring the suggestion that I take this a step farther and use the technique to come up with a new design encompassing praise ladies.  I mean that teacher of mine - give her an inch and she'll push you a mile!

hmmmm that is what I love about her!

See more great design walls at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hard & Soft Off the Wall Friday

Okay - show of hands - how many of you have done a watercolor quilt?  Yeah, I know, they're kinda of gimmicky but  who doesn't like a good gimmick? It just so happens that the  watercolor quilt craze is what introduced me to art quilting back in 1993.  When I first read the book Watercolor Quilts by Pat Margaret, I thought, "Hey, I could do that!  How hard can it be to sew 2" squares together?"  I was a beginner
quilter but even I could do that.  Little did I know that the sewing was the easy part.  Doing this type of quilt was the perfect way to practice value studies. I had so much fun playing around with all those little squares and patterns and in the process taught myself about value!

That's why when this month's assignment was hard and soft edges, I brought back a blast from the past and decided to do watercolor quilt.  Hard and soft edges is what makes them so pretty.  Plus, this would give me a break from all the solid colors I've been working with lately.  Little flowers are fun!

Not to mention, it gave me a good reason to go into my quilt closet where I keep all the odds and ends, the beginnings and ends of projects I've wanted to keep, just in case I need them again.  And yes, there was a big bag of 2" squares still waiting for their next watercolor quilt.
Watercolor Gateway done during the 1990's

20 years later, doing one of these quilts is much easier, but still just as fun.  All week long, I've been tinkering with this one - still have a bit to go.  I probably won't do it as big as the sketch (because I would like to get it done by the end of the month) but I would love to see one super huge.  Can you see the hard and soft edges emerging?? 

So what was your watercolor quilt like?

What have you been up to creatively?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Busy! Busy ! Busy! Off the Wall Friday

Since my machine is in the shop getting its yearly check-up, you're probably wondering what  an art quilter can  do creatively this week?  Well, apparently  A-Lot!

I decided to take advantage of the break from the hours I've been spending at my machine, to get in some end-of-the season dyeing. I have this pile of white shirts I've been buying on the cheap just waiting for the hot weather to dye.  Now that its September, 90 degree temps are finally here. . .of course!

 Today, I experimented with Red Solo Cup dyeing. . .the shirt version.  They came out a bit muddle - I think it was the extra squishing I did !  I still want to do a bit more with them - but I haven't quite figured out what!  Tomorrow, with an extra day off this week, I'm going to continue with my experiment with thickened dyes.  I've never done it on my own so this should be interesting!

Of course, the fun didn't stop there.  I took time today to go visit my friend Sandy in her air conditioned studio.  She gave me a peak at her Quilt National entry which is fabulous!  (Pretty And Conceptual - which we decided was a good idea for art!). We also finalized plans for the upcoming Open Studio event next month.  Can't Wait!!

 While we chatted I finished up sketches for this month's assignment - Hard and Soft.  This concept isn't new to me.  In fact, its where I started my  art quilt journey.  I love playing with value and Hard/Soft is all about that.  Because of that, I have a clear vision of where this month is going to take me since it will be revisiting the technique that started this obsession.

Can you tell I'm feeling better?  Good Health is such a blessing!

So what have you been up to creatively?

Friday, August 29, 2014

104.... Off the Wall Fridays

If you've been watching me progress through Elizabeth Barton's Masterclass this year - you might be wondering. . . OMG what is she going to do with all those monthly masterpieces?  Funny, I was wondering the same thing. . . . grin.  I'm not a huge one for making things and leaving them rolled up in the corner.

So in that light, I scrapped my letters  and put them to some purpose.  You see, recently, my boss moved me to a bigger cube at work.  She's been trying to get me to move for months, but me not liking change kept putting her off.  Finally, she enticed me by reminding me that. "There will be more room to decorate. . . " She really does know me well - grin!  Our company encourages us to personalize our space in any zany way we want.  I tend to put quilt samples - art ideas  and whatever odds and ends that are inspiring me at the moment.

Well with my new cube - which I love btw! - there is a nice back wall corner.  I thought - gee you'd think I would have something that would look cool in a corner.  Well - I do - at least half of one.  I haven't quilted July's assignment up yet and its really growing on me.  I thought with a little revamp and a little more work - it could be made to go into the back wall corner - with the two half meeting in the corner.
 A little more work turned out to be a lot more work  - of course - but well worth it. I found that it not only will it work in the corner - it looks great flat!  Plus I got to use up a ton of scraps!  Now just to quilt it and I can put it up!  (Ohh and you know I'll be saying a lot of  "Yes I made that and yes I dyed the fabric myself"  grin!  My workmates still think that I'm making log cabin quilts on my days off. . .  not to disparage traditional quilters!)

Ohhh, by the way, Off the Wall Friday  is two years old this week!!  A big THANK YOU for your participation and encouragement over the last 104 weeks.  In 20 years of quilting I've never managed to stay creative consistently year round - now with all of you to answer to - I am!  If I don't say it enough - you all are the greatest and a huge blessing!  

So what have you been up to creatively?

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Letters Continue - Off the Wall Friday

Well, I got a blocked out piece for the Letters challenge. . . sort of.  I mean, I tried.  I took my sketch and came up with the fabric version and it was . . . . lame.  The first sketch from the concrete letters seemed so powerful.  and big. . . monster big.   My version just seemed flat and too graphic rather than the 3d I wanted.  Elizabeth thought so too. 

The circles in the background are a lot more subtle in person.  That effect I really liked.  I'll have to use that again sometime - it adds just a ghost of interest without being too dramatic.  But the rest I just scrapped!!  I thought it was lame - Elizabeth did too - why finish it?

So I'm spending the rest of the month working out how to draw the letters the way I want to drawn them  - in the right perspective and orientation.

This whole experience reminds me that sometimes you're the windshield . . . . and sometimes you're the bug!

So what have you been up to creatively?