Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It's Wednesday again--

1. My Hoffman challenge top is in its final throes. The word choice should give you an idea of my feelings for it. Of course, now I see ideas everywhere I COULD have done, but I'm not making another.

2. I have one of the kid quilts for the Quilt Studio service project that I will quilt soon. Barbara pieced the top and you can see it at this link. (It will be a warm-up for the delight of quilting the Hoffman.)

3. I'm leaving tomorrow for the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show in Bloomington, Indiana. It's a very good, small show, and although not juried, the quality of the quilts is high, and it attracts fine quilts from all over. The teachers are well known too. This year I'm taking Jane Sassaman's class, and looking forward to it with a bit of nervousness. I hope to have some good pictures to post when I come back.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Miscellaneous Tips

Housekeeping: The best thing I've found to pick up threads, fabric bits, etc. from your work table, ironing board, or sewing machine area is a piece of medium or coarse steel wool. You just LIGHTLY brush it across the surface (lightly, not like you were sanding, but like you were dusting), and it picks up all the junk and doesn't redeposit. In fact, you can use the same piece almost indefinitely. I like this better than those micro-fiber cloths. They always look so dirty even after washing, and are too expensive to throw away. Steel wool is cheaper and lasts longer without looking hopelessly cruddy.
Who else has a secret?

Movie: My husband and I just spent two evenings watching an Italian movie (originally a TV miniseries, I think) called The Best of Youth. It's the story of two brothers over the decades from 60's to 2000's showing how their lives change with the turbulent times. I know that six hours--yes, six!--of a film in Italian with English subtitles isn't everyone's cup of tea, but if anyone likes that sort of thing at all, you should try this. The characters are fascinating, one of the actors (Alessio Boni) is amazing, there are beautiful shots of Rome, Tuscany, Sicily, and it's fun to see those excited Italian conversations and know what's going on. The last hour is a bit slow, but we were totally enthralled by this, even my husband who can't sit still for much.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

WIP Wednesday

The last issue of Quilting Arts announced a challenge called "What's in a Name?" where you are supposed to make an art quilt interpreting one of the phrases they provide. One was "the devil is in the details" and to me that immediately suggested all the "great" ideas that don't get done because they don't work out somehow. I thought about how to express this, and came up with this result.

I never really thought I'd finish this, so I didn't take pictures in early stages and I'm sorry I didn't because the process was interesting and very unlike what I usually do. I usually have a plan, but this time I started with the idea of cutting up an orphan block and using that, then went to the four skewed nine patches and one perfect nine patch. That was boring, so after sticking it under the table for a couple of weeks, I tried what Libby Lehman calls "pot-luck applique". It's really reverse applique using a pieced fabric underneath, stitching the design on a top layer of fabric, and then cutting away, not really knowing what will show through. I was a bit hesitant to do this, but Nellie of Nellie's Needles had done something similar and encouraged me. That change made the background more interesting, but even after some thread embellishment it was drab because of all the dark colors, so I stuck it away again. Then last Sunday I got it out for one last look, intending to pitch it. Then I remembered the batik flower-garden patches I made two years ago, and when I put them on top, the thing came to life, IMHO. I glued them on, leaving the cardboard and the basting (not sure that was a good idea) and then put net on top and quilted around them. The silk and fleece flowers sort of jumped out of my ribbon and flower embellishment drawer and wanted to go on, and so did the pieced binding (but that doesn't show up much in the picture.) This was fun--totally no rules, and I like the result. I hope it suggests the way ideas pile on top of one another, unfinished and maybe poorly conceived, but sometimes turn into something interesting after all.

I'm calling it "The Devil is in the Details": a Quilter's UFO's". Even former academics love subtitles.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Collage

One of my favorite paintings is "Love of Winter" by George Bellows, American, 1913. I visit it every time we go to the Art Institute of Chicago. I'm not sure what I like so much, but I think it's the colors: the dark blueish greens, and that one splash of bright acid yellow. So today I tried to abstract it, emphasizing the blocks of dark and lights and the colors. I just pinned the pieces to fleece, layered net on top, and did a minimum of stitching to hold everything down and to try not to successfully to capture the random splashes of yellow Bellows scattered in the background. I don't think it's too bad, although about half way through I almost trashed it. Needs more stitching to give depth I think, but that's it for now.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

WIP Wednesday

I have been making cards. Two valentines:

And a birthday card:

In addition, I am almost finished with the border blocks of the Hoffman; next of course is the tedious business of putting them together with the points matching "perfectly" and then hoping the border will fit.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Collage

Here's another snow scene. I tried to capture the look of the countryside north of my house last week during a near whiteout. I used a piece of yellow net over the sky to reproduce the eerie glow you get when the sun is actually shining through the snowstorm. I put Angelina fiber over the whole piece to represent the snow, and that makes it very hard to photograph. This week's lesson: think about the finishing. I used the pillowcase method for this because I was hurrying, and forgot that you can't press after you put on the Angelina. Hence the very wonky edges.

And here's the aftermath--ugh.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Fast Friday Collage

I cheated on this. I used this design in a Christmas card, but it was smaller and had no stitching, just fused fabric. So I enlarged and tried some stitching. I don't think I added much... When I made this in December it looked nothing like a view of this area because we had no snow. Things have changed!