Monday, October 29, 2012

A Sense of Completion

When I returned home earlier this month, I found myself, not surprisingly, surrounded by many unfinished projects. While making steady progress on my current major art quilt, other smaller but equally important undertakings were piling up on my cutting tables, leaving no space, of course, for cutting! So, October morphed into a month of finishing things up. I won't bore you with the list of non-fiber projects that got accomplished. But, here are a few that were fiber related:

  • Pillow from the past. Thirty or more years ago, my Aunt Mary C asked if I wanted to complete an embroidery project she had brought back from a Scandinavian trip. I accepted the gift, completed what was the front of a pillow and there it sat, unfinished, all these years. I uncovered it while working on a family history this summer and laid it on my cutting table. I am happy to report that the pillow is now in our family room, completed and bringing back many pleasant memories.
  • Sometime earlier this spring/summer I played with a quilt top based upon a table runner I brought back from India. I intended it for our home and that, unfortunately, equated to putting it on a back burner. So, this past week I mentally repurposed the quilt top into a quilt for our grand-child who will be arriving in the spring. It is now completed and ready to ship. Funny how that works.

    I used wool batting again for the quilt which makes it quite light and easy to manouevre on my Bernina. I decided to simply quilt in the ditch and was delighted that this created a nice pattern in the center of the pieced back. 
  • Daughter is busy getting a room ready for their new little daughter whom they are in the process of adopting. She asked for a valence for the room. Mom, of course, say 'yes.' Fortunately, I found the perfect fabric last Friday and miraculously whipped together a valence over the weekend.
  • And, finally, there is that illustrious little bear that I just had to knit for the new grand-daughter. The bear turned into quite a project and just had to have a crocheted sweater....
Not a bad list! There were also the stocking gifts I wrote about last week. I am looking back on the month of October with a smile ---- and two cutting tables whose surfaces I can see --- bet I can fix that situation in the next few weeks. :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Quick Christmas Stocking Ideas

A friend asked for some help with creating Christmas stockings for some young people in our community. It felt like something tangible that I could contribute too despite my hectic schedule. Here are a few of the small bags and purses that I have started putting together.
Don't they look great? They were all quite easy to make. Most used a simple pattern that I adapted from a small lined purse I had made in a Bernina Club meeting a year or two ago.

I started with a cardboard template and then cut a cover and a lining fabric, allowing for 1/4 inch seam allowances.
For some of the little purses, I used some upholstery samples that had been left on the 'Freebie' table at our last quilt guild meeting. I found the fabric made a sturdy purse that did not need any additional facing.
All that was needed was to sew right sides together around most of the form and then turn it inside out. I could then fold up the 'bottom' as I wished and stitch the sides of the purse. In some cases, I stitch all the way around to outline the top flap, in others I didn't. How simple is that!

For some of the other purses, I put assorted threads, ribbons on top of the cover fabric, covered them with netting and stitched over the entire arrangement to anchor it down. I then trimmed as needed around the piece, and continued as above to construct the actual purse.  I did find that I had to include a piece of facing along with the lining in this design purse to give it a little body.

There are as many variations as your imagination allows with this approach - in the basic size, design, embellishment.  I am amazed at how functional I find the little purses - I carry one in my purse all the time with a headset, etc.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Intriguing talk

Many different emails seem to find their way to my inbox. Sometimes the number is so overwhelming that I delete items almost indiscriminately. Last week an email from the Metropolitan Museum of Art caught my eye and simply refused to be deleted. My week was hectic, as usual, but that email held its ground. Finally, I had a few moments on Saturday morning to open it and give it some attention. I clicked and it led me to about a 15 minute talk by Thomas Campbell, the director of the museum. It is worth a listen.

A couple of threads in the talk particularly intrigued me:
  • He speaks about tapestries and the role they played in their time and their value now. Hmmm - interesting to apply to the realm of art quilts - as chronicles of our times and how they will be viewed in the future.
  • Mr. Campbell talks about the role of the curator and intention behind exhibits. Exciting thoughts to entertain as we design our own shows.
 I would be curious about your thoughts as you listen. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Inspirational Trip

I spent a few fun-filled days in the Seattle area last week. Much thanks to my cousin, Kate, for hosting me and sharing in my adventures.

We attended the LaConner Quilt Fest where my quilt, Illuminated Albizia, was being shown. Met some wonderful quilters and got inspired by the many entries. The building that houses the museum is wonderful and worth a trip in and of itself.
La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum
The Quilt Fest is always held in the beginning of October. If you can, mark your calendars to attend next year. LaConner is a friendly small town that seems to cater to artists. There are wonderful shops to check out, in addition to the quilt exhibits. We stayed at a B&B right in the town that was filled with mementos of past owners. Believe it or not, there was a wedding gown in the corner of one of the bedrooms!

My cousin and I also traveled over to Bellevue to visit the art museum on the last day of an exhibit of quilts by African American women that Corinne Riley has collected over the years. One of my favorites was a mandala quilt. It dates from the 1940's and was found in Georgia.
There was a stunning three-dimensional art work on the first floor of the exhibit by Cameron Anne Mason of Snohomish, WA that absolutely fascinated me. Silks, cottons, rayon and velvet were used in creating the form.
Soft Coral
Detail view of Soft Coral
 I won't tell you how many photos I took on the trip. Here are two from a farmers' market we visited in the University District of Seattle.

 We also went for a late afternoon short hike in the foothills east of Bellevue. The lighting made everything feel slightly unreal.
Needless to say, I came home energized and inspired!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Appreciating Detail

Our local fiber arts group, RAFA, has just completed a show at the William's Gallery here in Rochester, NY. It was a beautiful show - I am always impressed by the depth of skill of our members.

About a week ago, I revisited the exhibit for a second time with a couple of members. It was a quiet time of day and we had the gallery to ourselves. It gave me the opportunity to really study some of the pieces. Here are two that I took particular delight in photographing. Hope you enjoy too.

The first is The Gem Tree by Maria Rankin.
 Maria uses the convergence method of piecing of Ricky Tims to create the background. I love the highlights in the upper left corner and can almost imagine sunlit mountains and blue sky. She then overlays a very special tree that is covered with gems. The thread painting is absolutely wonderful!

The second quilt, Sentinel, is by one of my favorite local quilters, Val Schultz.
Val is known for her exquisite quilting. As you look through the detail photos of this quilt, appreciate the multitude of designs that she creates and blends together in this piece.