Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New Work

It took me four long days of sewing, but I've finished Tuning Fork #20.   The top...it isn't quilted yet...
Tuning Fork #20, 30" x 37"
The palette for this quilt is a little different.  For me.  I've never been overly fond of true blues.  I love blue green and blue violet, but plain old blue, well, yawn.  But my fiber art group, studioQ, has a monthly color challenge going this year, and the colors for last month were slightly off white, dark brown, light blue and dark red.  So I based my fabric choices on that palette.

Of course, I couldn't stick with one value of each color.  I tried to stay within the hue, but chose a range of values of each color.  And I'm afraid some slightly orangey red snuck in there as well.

Sometimes working with a prescribed palette, even it contains a color you don't like, can be a good thing.  I think this turned out well.

Report from the DAFA show

The Dallas Area Fiber Artist's annual show, "The Fine Art of Fiber," ended yesterday with the awards ceremony and a reception.  The show featured 32 beautiful examples of diverse fiber art -- wearables, mixed media, collage, paper.  I was thrilled that my quilt, Big Figure #8, won second place in the show.
Big Figure #8 at the DAFA show
 Last weekend I picked the year's first bouquet of roses.  They are beautiful this year!

Friday, April 25, 2014


Tuning Fork #6 will be on display at

form NOT function carnegie
May 9 – July 12, 2014
Hours of Operation: Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am - 5:30 pm FREE Admission!
Reception: Friday, May 9 | 6:00 - 8:00 pm* Music by the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Quartet

Programs with Dorothy Caldwell, internationally renowned fiber artist (dorothycaldwell.com). Sponsored by LAFTA and Carnegie Center for Art & History, Inc.
June 8 – 11 | Workshop: Human Marks
June 13 – 14 | Workshop: The Expressive Stitch

Pre-registration is required and space is limited for the above workshops; please call for more information.
June 12, 6:00 – 7:00 pm | Dorothy Caldwell public talk Reservations required (812-944-7336).
Please check carnegiecenter.org and facebook.com/nacarnegie for additional programs, or call 812-944-7336

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I won a blue ribbon at the AQS show in Paducah!

I am thrilled, honored, excited and totally shocked!  Tuning Fork #12 has won a first place ribbon in "SMALL WALL QUILTS: 1st Entry in an AQS Paducah Contest!"  Whoooooo hoooooo!

I wasn't able to go to the show, but my friend Kay is there and she sent me this picture:
Thanks, Kay!

Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Make a Tuning Fork

I'm often asked how I make my tuning fork quilts.  There are really 6 steps, all pretty easy steps, really.  I made Tuning Fork #19 this week, and this is how I did it.

Step One:  Cut some strips and chunks of the colors you want to use.  I like to vary the sizes of my blocks, making the background blocks larger than my "color" blocks, so I cut strips of varying widths. Without using a ruler - I like a more fluid line in my pieces.
 Step Two: Cut the strips into smaller rectangles and pair two colors together to make a tuning fork shape.  The example below will be a yellow tuning fork with a dark gray background.
Step Three: Sew the tuning fork units together.  Make lots and lots of them in all of the various combinations you will need -- color with color, color with background and background with background.  For example, I made approximately 500 yellow on yellow tiny tuning forks for Tuning Fork #13.
 Step Four:  Lay out the pieces on the design wall into a pleasing design.  In the example below, the units are just stuck to the felt of my design wall.  Nothing has been sewn.  I don't sew anything until I have an arrangement that I like.
Step Five: This is my favorite part.  I stare at the design wall and try to pick out areas I can sew together without resorting to partial seams and y-seams.  I avoid both of those if at all possible.  I can usually figure out "sections" that I can sew together to form a larger unit, and then sew those units together.  Below I've sewn the left half of the quilt together.  At this point, I am adding and subtracting pieces as I go, both for design purposes (I'll think, "This needs some red here" or some such thing) and for construction pieces (I use small partial blocks and small rectangles of background to help make it fit together).  I plug away at the piecing until I have it all together and then trim the top into a rectangle or square (more or less).
Step Six:  Quilt as desired.  And I love what I call "corduroy quilting" -- very close more or less straight lines.  I have found that my quilting lines are getting very close together -- usually not more than 1/8" apart and often less than a 1/16".  I just love the look of the dense quilting.
Tuning Fork 19, 18" x 21"
And VOILA!  A finished Tuning Fork quilt.  I actually have this photo turned 180 degrees from the way I pieced it on the design wall.  I think I like it better that way....

I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall FridayFriday Fabric Frenzy and Confessions of a Fiber Addict.  Go see all the wonderful work there!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Taaa Daaaa!

It's done!  Tuning Fork #13 is finished!  And, I have to say, I'm very very glad that this particular journey is over.
Tuning Fork #13 -- 52" x 71" before facing
My main idea for this piece was to create a sense of layering.  I wanted the brilliant red to slash over the yellow field.  Yes, I know that yellow is a color that "comes forward."  But I wanted to make it recede by virtue of its position.

I finished quilting it on Tuesday, and then I decided the first thing I needed to do was catch up with some not just unfinished but unstarted projects.  First up: studioQ, the Fort Worth fiber group, has a monthly color challenge in 2014.  Each month, a member selects a photo and pulls the colors from it.  This is February's challenge: 
Rather sputnik-y, isn't it?  Roughly 13" x 18"
My sketchbook page with the original color chips and the photo of the completed top
 Today, I started my quilt for the SAQA benefit auction.  I want to see how small I can make those tuning forks.  Pretty small, apparently, some of the forks are 1 1/2" x 1" including their seam allowances.  They will be pretty small when sewn into the piece, which should finish about 12" x 12".
Tomorrow I need to ship String Theory to Quilt Visions 2014.  All in all, a good, productive week.

I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, Richard and Tanya's Quilts Link a Finish FridayFriday Fabric FrenzyConfessions of a Fiber Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.  Go see all the wonderful work there!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

3 Long Seams...

...and Tuning Fork #13 is finally pieced!
 I am hoping to finish the last seams tomorrow morning, and to start quilting it after lunch.  I can't wait to see it quilted and trimmed.
Perhaps my slowness in piecing this quilt isn't entirely my fault.  My piecing assistant, Boomer, can't seem to sew a very straight line...

I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall FridayFriday Fabric Frenzy and Confessions of a Fiber Addict.  Go see all the wonderful work there!

Greetings from Roatan - Part 3

We saw lots of wonderful flora and fauna in Roatan.  At the Monkey park, we got to "interact" with the macaws and white faced Capuchin monkeys.

I love toucans.  This one was at the Monkey Park
During a visit to Carambola Botanical Gardens, we hiked to the top of the mountain.  And encountered a boa on the trail.  Eek!
 The gardens also featured lots of fabulous flowers:
 For several days, this tarantula sat near our front door (and right by Elena's flip-flops).  We named him Hairy.
Ginger and bougainvillea were everywhere....and so were the iguanas.

Greetings from Roatan - Part 2

A few snorkeling pictures from Roatan.  What a beautiful reef!
Sea monster!

Friendly dolphin at Anthony's Key 
Pictures of assorted fish and coral:


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Greetings from Roatan - Part 1

Brian and I have just returned from Roatan.  If you haven't heard of it, it's a beautiful island off the coast of Honduras, the largest of the three "Bay Islands."  More importantly, at least for us, it is very close to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the largest reef in the Caribbean and the 2nd largest reef in the world.  Although it is known as a scuba diving destination, we had heard that the snorkeling was great as well.  And indeed it was!

We rented a house, L'Alize, on the south shore of the island, just a few miles from West Bay.  It was a beautiful place, perched on a hill above the shore.
L'Alize seen from the East
It was very private, isolated really, nestled into the jungle above the "iron coast," a jagged basaltic cliff. We had terrific views of the Caribbean, and a constant, comfortable breeze.
Our view from the third floor deck
Down on the coast in front of the house was a keyhole bay with a lovely sandy beach.  Totally private and very beautiful.  We spent a lot of time there.  We even launched kayaks from the shore when the sea was calm enough.
Keyhole bay
In my next post, I'll tell you about the snorkeling...

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