Sunday, December 04, 2016


when I last posted, I had just started quilting on this piece and I had about a week before the deadline to get it entered for a call for entries

I was feeling good -- figured I had plenty of time because I had a clear plan

uh, well, the machine had other plans

mid way through the quilting, the top tension on my machine simply would not hold -- it was like it was always in "baste" mode --- ARRRGH!!!

a day later, and after several text conversations with my cousin and another quilter nearby, I very carefully took apart the whole bobbin compartment of my machine and cleaned in as many areas as I could and tried again (there is very little that a Viking machine is designed to have done by the owner -- it is mostly designed for the [expensive!] authorized shop to work on)


I was able to finish the quilting, get the facing done and get it entered -- but much too close to comfort for me.  I hope to not go there again.

and now the waiting begins for notification

some work is still being done on the silos -- this is the third and final one in process

I'm working on a lot of other things just now, but I can't show you any pictures because Christmas is coming!

this time of year there is a lot of on line chatting about the Elf on the Shelf

these two little cuties are my version of that -- handmade by me back in the 90s -- one of them still has her hang tag from when she made a trip to a craft fair or two

wish I could get them to do some of the more mundane work around the house -- but no, they are going to just sit here on the couch and look cute

time to get back to the studio and get that commission finished!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

much to be grateful for

I was reminded last night that it has been over two weeks since I have posted out here when my sister called at my mother's request to check up on me

yes, I'm okay --

in fact, it could be said that I am afflicted by an embarrassment of riches!

that said, here's a bit of what has been going on since November 7 when I last posted
Shortly after the opening reception for the Contemporary Fiber show, I was notified that this piece (which is actually two separate pieces designed to hang together) was accepted in a show titled Evolutions which will be held in the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum beginning in January.

This show will include pieces from all over the world, and I feel privileged to have been chosen to be one of them.

One of the nice things about living so close to my daughter's family is that we can help each other.

While my son in law was away on a business trip, she asked me if I could pick up Mr Cute because she was in a late meeting at work.

I was happy to do it, and as I was driving him to our house, he and I were having a conversation about how pretty the sunset was.

As I turned off of the highway, he said "Gramma, you should pull over and take some pictures"

So we did -- the child already has an artist's eye -- and I think this photo has potential to become part of an art quilt in the future!

When I posted the last time, I thought this piece was just hours away from being complete

But something has happened this year in my work -- when I'm not happy with how something looks, I don't just press onward -- I go back and change whatever it is that is bothering me

These corners for example

My original plan for this piece was to face it, not bind it, but the corners were so thick (some areas about 8 or 9 layers of fabric/batting/stitching) that no amount of aggressive pressing or spritzing and pounding produced an acceptable result.

So I re-trimmed it and put on a very narrow black binding

NOW it's done

And after more than a year of working on this piece, it is finished too, and in this case I was able to face it which gives it that clean edge I wanted

The quilting on this piece has begun

This one is as big as the truck piece, just runs vertical instead of horizontal, so it will be as labor intensive to quilt

And I want to have it quilted, faced and photographed in the next week so I can enter it in a specific call for a show

So the race is on -- can I do it without an all nighter?  We'll see

Progress continues on the next piece in the Parched Earth series

The sky is all finished, and I'm working on the silo that will be on the far left of the piece

Work continues on the commission piece -- it is really coming right along even though the photos at this point don't look like much!

Tomorrow we will celebrate Thanksgiving -- we are looking forward to a fun day where we can enjoy each other and some good food

After that -- it's back to work!!

Monday, November 07, 2016

a very good week -- and returning to "reality"

Every year this time there is a big quilt show in Houston

It's sort of the grand daddy of quilt shows, having been around for quite a while and it has a reputation of being about as big as it gets -- at least in terms of real estate!

and it is a kind of "holy grail" for quilt makers -- it's a big deal to have one of your quilts be part of the show

I was fortunate this year to have my piece Tsa-la-gi: Cherokee Trail of Tears be on display as part of the Hands All Around show

Fortunate too that a friend of mine was going to the show, and she took a picture for me!

Very cool!!

on Thursday evening the Contemporary Fiber 2016 show opened at the Knoll Gallery in Denver

the DH and I made the journey so that I could actually be there for the opening reception

Parched Earth: Wilted Corn is on display there, and over the week end I got an email that the gallery owner has asked for the show to stay up an additional week, so instead of coming down on Dec 3, it will be up until Dec 12

that was an amazing experience

keeping my feet firmly on the ground is a good idea after all that last week

so I went right back into the studio and back to work

the quilting on this piece is now done -- I will be trimming it and putting on the facing this week

the stormy sky behind the silos is coming together nicely too

and I took a commission a couple of weeks ago for a piece that will be a Christmas gift for someone, so you only get little "snippet" pictures of that until after Christmas

on Friday the DH and I made a trip to the fabric store in the next town over (our only option for things like flannel now that the store in our town is closed) and came home with a bag full of flannel destined to become pjs for the clan this Christmas

lots of stitching to get done!!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

more going backwards to go forwards

until very recently, ripping anything out really annoyed me -- as in I would have rather just started over with something different entirely

but in the last few months the idea of going backward to go forward has gained a lot of "cred" with me

and this week was another good example

this piece, for example has been rolling right along

until I got to the place where I had to do the road that runs down the right hand side and across the bottom

my original idea was to quilt this part so it looked like dry, cracked open dirt

problem number one -- that meant either flipping this big piece (it's about 3 feet by 5 feet) around and around to create those shapes, or teaching myself how to free motion quilt in circles

so I spent several days working on free motion quilting those circles

and I broke a lot of sewing machine needles

and it brought me to problem number two -- I really hated the way it looked

not because my circles were kind of "clunky", but just because I didn't feel like it worked as the design element I thought it would be

after thinking about it for a couple of days while I worked on something else, I decided it made better sense to quilt that area in long curved lines that look like rutted road -- or disc marks in a field

so yesterday afternoon, I got out the exacto knife with a fresh blade and "skinned" that side of the quilt, separating the backing from the batting to cut out all of those quilted circles 

back to where I was at the beginning of the week, but I'm a lot happier about where I'm going now

I have started doing the quilting on this piece

beginning with the trees and structures with black rayon thread

I hope to have this piece finished by November 19 so I can take it with me when I give my artist talk in the gallery where the other part of what this began as is hanging

this design has done some morphing since last week

since I could never resolve the barn issue in the original idea, I decided to go with this plan instead

work on the first silo has begun

the windmill is ready to be quilted
there has been some other work going on here too

when we moved into this house there was really only one thing that didn't look "finished" to me

a fireplace -- even a gas log fireplace -- needs a mantle in my mind

so the DH recently built one for it, and it has now been installed and I finished painting it yesterday

we're ready to "hang the stockings with care" when the time comes

the coming week involves traveling to the gallery where my piece is in an art show for the opening reception on Thursday evening and more work on a lot of projects


Sunday, October 23, 2016

a week of finishing stuff

because I work on a lot of things all at once, it sometimes seems like nothing is happening

and then suddenly, a whole lot of things are all finished together
this necklace, that I had been fussing with for quite a while is finally finished

it was a piece that had a lot of backwards steps along the way, but I think the final result was worth all that rework!

these two pieces are also finished

so this week I will be taking the photos and filling in the entry forms for the show I want to enter them in

and even though I worried about making the deadline, I should be able to get this done by a week from tomorrow

the costume building is done too -- Mr Cute is ready to be a Super Hero for Halloween

work continues on the windmill

I'm almost to the bottom, which means it will soon be in the que for quilting

which means I'm spending time fiddling around in photo shop, pasting parts of photos together to create the next piece

this one has been fiddled with a lot, but I'm still not quite satisfied with it -- it's a work in process

the coming week promises to be a busy one -- on Thursday I will deliver my piece of art to the gallery in Denver where it will be hung for the Contemporary Fiber 2016 show -- still feels surreal


Monday, October 17, 2016

a finished piece -- and a bit of going backward to go forward

this week this piece got finished -- hurray!

I still need to do some good photos so I can list it on my Etsy page -- sometime this week

this was where I thought this piece was going

three pieces to be hung together as a triptych, representing "Progress" -- old forest, farm, city

problem was, they didn't really read that way

the forest just didn't seem to fit with the other two

which left these two, as a diptych, still "Progress", but hard to tell that the farm was in the same space as the city

so I added the mountain range on the horizon behind the farm

now it works

so I need to finish up the quilting then I'll be ready to cut these two and bind them

and I have just about 2 weeks before the deadline to enter them in the show I made them for

I might make it

meantime, I'm making progress on this piece too

much to do, but moving right along

Monday, October 10, 2016

doing some very happy dancing

Early in the week I got some very exciting news!

I had entered this piece in a juried show that will be held in an Art Gallery in Denver the end of October.....

and it was accepted!!

I'm pretty excited about seeing me work in that setting!

this piece is coming along

the backing is on, the edging is done and I've started making the chain -- I decided to do this chain that is actual hexagonal links for this piece -- it's a bit "fiddly" and more time consuming than what I've done on some other pieces, but it has a better look for this piece

I hope to get this finished in the next couple of weeks

I have started quilting on this piece

the deadline for this piece (and the two others that go with it) is the end of October, so I need to move this one right along

progress is being made on this piece too

although this week I spent a good deal of time removing and replacing pieces in the sky, and even replaced one of the blades on the windmill

but I'm much happier with it now

meantime, the DH was very busy in the garage workshop

the frame that was originally on this painting had gotten damaged, so he created this new one for it

and now the painting has gone to my daughter's house to be properly hung

and after a long saga of not being able to get the materials and then having to have the table saw repaired, the headboard for our bed is complete!

he used beetle kill lumber that was tongue and grooved for use as paneling or flooring, but I really like the gray tones with the browns of the wood


I had hoped to have this project done, but I've done some moving backward and forward on this as well

the pants were just too small at the first "fitting", so I have remade those and now I can move forward

I got Mr Cute a new book recently, that is titled "Monster Needs A Costume" -- which seemed especially appropriate as a gift from me as I've been the chief costumer for Halloween for him

we had a good time reading it together over the weekend

Last Thursday I made a visit to a specialist to see if there was something that could be done to improve function and decrease the pain in my shoulder that has lingered on since I painted the deck back in September.   She gave me a cortisone shot in the shoulder and I've been resting it as well as doing icing and stretching.  I believe it's getting better --- now I just have to be careful not to overdo it and re-injure it!