Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring brings Tulips

Good spring day to you.

Each day brings warmer weather and here the earth is awakening. My tulips are starting to peek out of the ground. I anxiously await their brightly colored blooms.

This art piece has inset hexagons that remind me of reflections in a drop of spring rain. Offset with black and white strips which could be piano keys, we could be "Singing in the Rain".

Monday, March 29, 2010

Recently sold artwork

This past week I said "good-by" to Red Hot Chili Lily. It's always a bittersweet moment when a piece of artwork is sold. Your art so much becomes a bit of your life.

But it's also a fabulous opportunity when you can share yourself with others. "Go forth, little flowers, and bring joy to your new world."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ann's hand painted fabric

The wonderful part of the attending a class is that you learn new tips and techniques. Many times, the students are as inspiring as anything that the teacher could present. I am constantly amazed at the talent of my students and I am constantly being "taught" by them.

In our recent serger class "Simply Leafy 2", one of the students, Ann from Waukesha, came with a fabulous fabric that she hand-painted. When the supply list called from a leaf print and Ann couldn't find one that suited her taste, she made it. Quilters are so clever!

Thank you, Ann, for sharing with the class your technique for creating this special fabric.

If you have the opportunity to attend a class in your area, don't pass it by. You never know what you may learn.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

FVTC Sewing and Quilting Expo Workshop

In the Friday workshop class "Simply Leafy 2", we explored our sergers and the challenges of using different serger stitches to create a serged quilt project.

We used both the flatlock stitch and the more common overlock stitch as the students created a decorative background and appliqued leaves and stems.

"Simply Leafy 2" is one of the projects from my newest book "Serge and Merge Quilts". In this book, I took up the challenge of using my serger as a quilting tool. It is filled with quilting projects that incorporate the three most common serging stitches; the overlock, the flatlock, and the rolled edge, into creative, traditional and contemporary art quilts.

Look for "Serge and Merge Quilts" at your favorite quilt shop or you can contact me for an autographed copy.

Monday, March 22, 2010

FVTC Sewing and Quilting Expo

Unfortunately, the weekend is over and as I overheard one participant say "All year long I look forward to this event and then it goes so fast."

I'm speaking, of course, of the FVTC Sewing and Quilting Expo held in Oshkosh, WI. This was the 9th year of this well-run event (thanks, Marie Thull, all of your staff and volunteers) With over 600 pre-registered students plus others, classrooms were filled, show quilts were admired and vendors were perused in search of new additions to "the stash". The meals included in the registration fee were excellent and we all went home over-fed, over-stimulated and over-tired but with wide smiles on our faces.

I had the privilege of teaching at this event and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More log cabin blocks are added. I think this will become a dresser cover.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Recyled Pillowcases

I had a pair of pillowcases that had seen better days. The centers were thread-bare and they were no longer used. I had only saved them because of the lovely hand embroidery on the pillowcase edge.

I chose to cut the embroidery into smaller sections and used it as the center of log cabin blocks. (It did take a bit of courage to slice through the designs, but I kept thinking what was the alternative? Throw the pillowcases away? Given that option, I took my rotary cutter out and slashed away.)

Now my decorated pillowcases will live on in a new form.

What have you saved today?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Using my studio space

It would be nice to say my studio floor stayed this clean all week but, of course, it did not.

One day this past week, it was piled high with quilts as I sorted through them selecting the quilts that I will be showing at the FVTC Sewing and Quilting Expo coming up in a few short days. Another day, my floor had quilt blocks covering it as I worked to complete one last project. A third day, it became a surface for laying out and pinning a quilt to quilted.

Oh dear, when will I get up off the floor? How old do I have to be to use my furniture? If you are in Oshkosh on Friday or Saturday, come and say "hi" to 'Grandma on the floor'.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My design floor

It's beautiful, isn't it?

It's not what you see, but what you don't see. No boxes of fabric. No heaps of tangled color. No design sketches. No paper templates. No cases of threads. No half-finished lay-outs. No clutter. No strings. No scraps. Nothing!

Yes, you see, I just finished a project and got it up off my design floor. (And yes, I work on the floor rather than a design wall. I've found its fast and easy, pieces stay in place without falling down and if I need a look from above I climb up.)

As much fun as it is to be immersed in a big project, there is always the tension that accompanies it. Today, I'm celebrating the fact that I've found the solutions and I'm happy with the results. The fabrics can be refolded and returned to storage. (Well, until tomorrow, when I embark on my next adventure and it all begins again.)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Thinking of flowers to come

This is the time of the year that I have spring fever; the warmer temperatures, the melting snow and thoughts of gardens to come.

It's also time to change artwork in my home. Down come those winter colors and up go the brighter spring or summer quilts.

Pictured is "Red and Yellow Daze". This art quilt has been purchased but reflects my wishes for the day.

I would be remiss, if I didn't take this opportunity to invite you to contact me if you are thinking of purchasing new quilted artwork. I would be happy to work with you on a selection to enhance your life.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Merging Serging with Quilting

In addition to my Friday class at FVTC Sewing and Quilting Expo, I will be presenting a Saturday lecture on merging serging with quilting.

You will enjoy the fun ways of using your serger as a quilting tool. Check out the how-to. We will look at the common serger stitches and see how they can be employed to add creativity to your quilting projects.

Adding the sparkle of decorative threads to your projects will be easier with your serger. Pieces can be joined with maximum speed. Stretching and raveling threads can be controlled.

See you in Oshkosh on March 19-20.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

FVTC Sewing and Quilting Expo

If you live in central or eastern Wisconsin, you have a wonderful opportunity to attend the 9th Annual Fox Valley Technical College Sewing and Quilting Expo coming up on Friday and Saturday, March 19-20, 2010. The event held in Oshkosh, WI brings together students and educators for two fun-filled days. There are 99 seminars, programs and workshops to choose from.

I will again be privileged to be a part of the faculty. On Friday, join my class and you will be able to merge serging into quiltmaking by creating a small wallhanging entitled "Simply Leafy 2". And, you thought sergers were only for stretchy clothing! See what else can be done.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fusible batting

Things went quite well using Fusi-boo cotton/bamboo fusible batting. I used it on a project that was 3' x 5'. I did lay out the quilt backing, batting and top as I usually do. I put some pins in to keep things together. I then took it to my ironing surface and steamed it according to the package directions.

Since my quilt had multiple narrow lines, I tried to really make sure I was keep my lines straight as I pressed the layers together. As I quilted, I was impressed that things stayed straight. As I got near the end, my layers did seem to have come apart, so I took my quilt back to the iron and re-fused the edges.

I will use the fusible batting again. I'm thinking of those quilt tops with a lot of bias that want to stretch and pull as I stitch. This could be a wonderful solution for a frustration-free quilting experience.
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