Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Brotherly love

My brother, Andrew, has been visiting from Columbus, Ohio. It has been a wonderful week! We have spent most of our time just talking, catching up with each others' lives. It hasn't been that long since we've seen each other (May) and we do talk on the phone, but it has been glorious having so much time to just talk.

Andy and I in 1965:

Andy and I now:

He's a wonderful brother! I just got back from taking him to the airport. I hate hate hate to see him go, even though I know that his family will be glad to have him home. But it was wonderful to be with him, even if our time together was just too short!

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's the Monday before Christmas and...

I've got the flu. Darn it! I have a huge list of things I need to do before my brother gets here. Not only do I have a little Christmas shopping left, I have to wrap, clean, bake, shop for groceries...

But not today. I think today will be spent on the couch with a few old movies.

A few Christmassy pictures. First, an early Christmas present from Janet. Love the red nose. Do you think people will notice?

The antlers are hard to see in the picture, but I'm afraid they show up well in real life.

Secondly, Boomer warming up a box of Christmas presents:

How did he know that there were presents for him inside the box?

Happy Holidays!

Billye's row quilt

Another beautiful quilt I just finished quilting for Billye. I love the houses with their big bold suns and the boats bravely sailing across the center of the quilt.
And best of all, I love that I am finished with my Christmas client quilting! Hooray! I actually delivered the last quilts last Friday. After the TVQG guild installation and Christmas party. Wish me luck -- I'm the new president for 2009.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I took this photograph at 9 am CST in our backyard. Brian's new fountain, bubbling away despite the icy encrustation. It's 25 degrees F out there -- extraordinarily cold for North Texas. Brrrrr!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

3 Charming Vintage Quilts

Pat brought me three vintage quilts. They had been pieced by her mother many years ago, and she wanted to have them quilted as Christmas gifts for her daughters. I think they are thoroughly charming!

This blue and white bowtie is made of mattress ticking and cotton shirtings. It was very well pieced and a dream to quilt:

Pat wanted them all quilted very simply, so I used a medium meander:

The second quilt is bold and bright. A very complex pinwheel star:

I think the red and plaid star block was my favorite. Or maybe the yellow and gray block next to it:

The third quilt is a pumpkin seed pattern pieced with a very coarse, heavy red cotton and the same mattress ticking as the bowtie quilt, with the addition of a polyester border. Very pleasing to look at, but a challenge to quilt. Nonetheless, I think it came out beautifully:

This is a very difficult pattern to piece. The other two quilts had been pieced on a sewing machine. This one had been pieced by hand:

I can't wait to see what Pat thinks of them! I have to bind them, and will get them to her next week in plenty of time for Christmas.

Star quilt with oak leaves

I finished this quilt on Monday. It was a lot of fun to quilt! Terri and I had decided to use an oak leaf stencil in the large white blocks. I freehanded a single oak leaf in the smaller white blocks, used CC (continuous curve) quilting in the stars and freehanded oak leaves and loops in the borders. I think it turned out very well, and Terri loved it!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Quilt Mania II -- Piece by Piece

I met some friends from studio Q at the Arlington Museum of Art this afternoon. The museum is hosting an exhibit of quilts by contemporary Texas artists. It is part of Quilt Mania II, a multi-venue quilt exhibit, which is currently taking place in the Dallas area.

The exhibit was fabulous. Many well known Texas fiber artists were represented: Jane Dunnewold, Connie Scheele, Lix Axford, Susie Monday. I particulary enjoyed the works of Jack Brockette, beautiful pieces consisting of filmy layers of silk organza joined with 1/8" french seams. I am very intrigued by the thought of a loose layer of organza over a more traditionally pieced quilt, as well as the transperency of a quilt pieced entirely of organza. Techniques that I may need to explore.

One of Jack's quilts:

And there were three amazing quilts by my friend Susie Monday. I'll have to ask her if I can post photos of one or two of them here.

All in all, a very stimulating afternoon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More Batiks

More batiks from last Monday. This one was pink and dark red, and I overdyed it in sun yellow and chinese red: This piece was a rather blah yellow. I overdyed it in dark orange and chinese red:

This piece was orange. We stamped it with a silicone pot holder and overdyed it in chinese red, sun yellow and rust:

A closeup of the potholder marks:

I don't know why all of the dyes I mixed for us to use were orange, red or yellow. Well, I guess I do know, they are my favorite colors. Happy colors. My next quilt (after Christmas, when I'm caught up with longarming) will undoubtedly feature the color orange.

studio Q meeting

studio Q met at my house last Monday. As always, I enjoyed the meeting immensely and felt creatively recharged at the end of it.

During the "show and tell" portion of the meeting (which is the best part!), Bethany showed a Christmas quilt that I had designed during my past life as a part of Itza Beach:

Wow! Blast from the past!

During the meeting I demonstrated soy wax batik. This piece was plain white pfd muslin stamped with a water glass and dyed dark orange:

The next piece was a yard of yellow I'd dyed several months ago. Everyone joined in, stamping it with slotted spoons, sprigs of rosemary from my garden, wine corks and bottle caps (and whatever else we could think of!) and drawing on it with the tjanting. If you click on the picture, you can see the drawings a little better:

I overdyed this piece with rust and chinese red. A closeup of the rosemary bits:

And the slotted spoon:

I wanted to try batiking and overdying a piece of commercial fabric. This was a piece of dusty pink. We stamped it with a potato masher and overdyed it with purple. Way better!
More to come!

Client Quilts Part Two

More quilts. First a t-shirt quilt by Jacqui:

And a red and green star quilt by Billye:

Billye does exquisite work. Her quilts are always very flat and square and her points are perfect. We decided that an allover pattern would be best for this very busy quilt. I quilted roses and leaves over the borders and leaves in the center using old gold thread by Permacore. Here's a closeup of a rose in the border:

Client Quilts Part One

This is a busy time of year for longarm quilters. And I have been extremely busy. First, two quilts by Cindy. A patriotic star:

A closeup of the straight lines in the white areas. Cindy had the brilliant idea of radiating lines:

While working on this quilt I clunked the needle bar on my ruler and caused some major damage to my machine. Which put me two weeks behind. I'm repaired now and Cindy's quilt is finished. And it's truly a lovely quilt!

Doesn't that kind of thing always happen when you've got a pile of work waiting for your attention?

Cindy also had me quilt a flannel star using the "heartstrings" pantograph. A closeup:

And the whole quilt. Another beautiful quilt!

Catching up

New acquisition for the garden. A metal fish sculpture from found objects by Tim Flynn of Denver. Brian and I bought it at the Stoneheart Gallery in Evergreen, CO.

We visit the Stoneheart every time we're in Evergeen. Last year we bought this spirit by Greg Wasil. We love to have this little guy watching over our garden

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Carol Doak's visit to Fort Worth

Mary Green sent me this picture from Carol Doak's visit to the Trinity Valley Quilt Guild last week. Carol was so much fun! And she's a fabulous teacher and an engaging speaker. I enjoyed being her hostess during her visit to Fort Worth.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pop's visit

My father-in-law has been visiting for the last two weeks. He lives in New Jersey, and always enjoys escaping the cold weather up north for some Texas sunshine. November in North Texas is lovely. Temperatures are mild and the leaves are changing color. A beautiful time of year to be here.

We took a mini-trip last week to Austin and Fredericksburg. In Austin, we toured the state capital and the LBJ presidential library. The library had a wonderful exhibit on the space race, from the beginning to the walk on the moon. It was absolutely fascinating. And we had dinner at Chuy's, always a fun place to go. We also drove to Johnson City and Stonewall and toured the LBJ ranch, also known as the "Texas White House."

In Fredericksburg we spent an entire day in the Museum of the Pacific War and the Nimitz museum. Admiral Chester Nimitz grew up in Fredericksburg. His family owned the hotel that now houses the museum, a large structure that looks a great deal like a steamboat. The museum has an exhibit detailing the Admiral's life and career, and a huge exhibit about the WWII Pacific war, from the bombing at Pearl Harbor to Japan's surrender. It was amazingly interesting. The exhibit interspersed information about the various battles with information about life in the US during the war. Very well done and, like I said, surprisingly engaging.

Outside the museum is a Peace Garden, a gift from the people of Japan. It was a beautiful place to sit and reflect about the horror of war and the resilience of nature. Pop, who was in the Army Air Force in WWII, enjoyed it immensely:

When we entered the museum, Pop mentioned that he was a veteran of WWII. He was given free admission and treated like a VIP. It was wonderful.

We also managed to do some shopping, eat German food and drink some local beer.

Back home, we enjoyed our time together and the beautiful weather. Brian took this shot of the pineapple sage in bloom:

Pop and Brian also share an interest in trains. We visited Temple train station, climbing through some of the rail stock they have on show. Here's Pop driving a train:

I really hated to take Pop to the station in Fort Worth to catch the train back home. We had a wonderful visit, and our time together is too short.
But, it's time for me to get back to work. Machine quilting work is literally pouring in, and I have lots of quilts to finish before Christmas. I've also started piecing a new fiber art piece. So I better get cracking!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Work in Progress

I was very inspired by all of the creative, beautiful quilts I saw at International Quilt Festival. This is my response:

I used a combination of Cherrywood fat quarters (which I bought in Houston) and my own hand-dyed fabric in an analogous palette. I'm looking forward to quilting it. Not sure whether I'll use straight line quilting or a something curvy or swirly. Any suggestions?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Catching my breath

Brian and I spent mid-October visiting our friends Erik, Janet, Carolyn and Elena in Evergreen, Colorado. We managed to arrive near the end of the aspen season but there was still plenty of color in the lower elevations. In fact, we took several hikes on trails lined with golden foliage. It was marvelous! I wish I could capture the color of the aspens in a quilt.

By the time we left, though, the leaves were mostly down. Maybe it was the blizzard we had midway through our visit....howling winds and several inches of snow. Our last hike was very snowy.

A few pictures. Me and an aspen tree:

Carolyn in a tree:

Carolyn and Elena throwing snowballs at Brian:

Brian, Carolyn, Elena and I posing in front of Mt. Evans:
Golden aspens against a very blue sky:

A wonderful trip! But even more wonderful, perhaps, was the news we received the day after we got home. Brian's brother, Bruce, was coming to Fort Worth for a meeting. He arrived the next day and stayed with us for several nights. His meeting ended early on Tuesday, so he and I went to the Kimbell Art Museum to see the Impressionists exhibit. I had seen it before, but it was well worth a second look. The Kimbell has been hosting a large collection of paintings -- pre-impressionist, impressionist and post-impressionist -- from the Art Institute of Chicago. I am not a big fan of the impressionist style, but I love Van Gogh and Cezanne, and the famous "Two Sisters" by Renoir and "Paris Street, Rainy Day" by Caillebotte are amazing when seen in person.
We had time to visit the Modern Museum of Fort Worth as well. One of my favorite places.
Bruce left Wednesday morning, and I headed to International Quilt Festival in Houston with my friend Sue. We had a wonderful time, and I bought some lovely yarn. And buttons. Lots of buttons. I had been complaining to Sue that I couldn't find any striking buttons to use on my knitwear and journals, but there were buttons everywhere at Festival! Vintage and modern, I didn't care, I bought a bunch of them. Oh, and we saw some fantastic quilts! One of my friends, Kumiko Frydl, won a third place ribbon for her miniature quilt. Congratulations, Kumiko! And the Ami Simms Alzheimer Quilt auction was really cool -- lots of quilts made by my guild members were for sale as well as some stunning quilts made by Fanny Narte of Imagine, Create, Inspire!
I'm home now, and ready to get back to work. But first a couple of turtle pictures. First, all three of them. You don't usually have a chance to get a photo of all of them at once:
Secondly, Tug. Who wouldn't love that mug?

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