Friday, February 27, 2015

Mavens at Waco's "Airing of the Quilts"

The Homespun Quilters' Guild, the guild where I, Rita, Judy, Janet, and Kathy are members, put together a show called "Airing of the Quilts."  Plans weren't begun soon enough for this to be a judged show with trained judges, but our new quilt guild administration felt it was important to have a show, as it's been since 2011 since we had one.

Our local Mavens did well!  Though quilts weren't officially and technically judged, they were voted on by guild members, and Rita, Kathy, and Alice all won various types of ribbons for some of their entries.

In addition, I used MM quilts of the five of us for a special exhibit.  I "worked the show" this morning and so was around our exhibit a lot, and it engendered a good bit of interest.  It was fun to discuss the quilts with those who came by.

Here are so photos from the show, which continues tomorrow:

The Material Mavens Display

Closer view of Rita's five

Judy's, Kathy's, and Janet's quilts represented here

Alice's, Judy's, and Janet's displayed here

Janet's, Kathy's, Judy's, and Alice's quilts on this board

Alice's Michigan Beach Boys was awarded a blue ribbon

Rita's pictorial quilt of a castle in England got a blue ribbon

Rita's One Block Wonder quilt received a red ribbon

Kathy's quilt based on Linda Lehman's techniques won another blue.

Alice's Posies and Paisleys quilt made of  chiefly Kaffe Fassett
fabrics, based on one of his designs, won no ribbons
but Alice was glad to see it hanging nice and straight
and she was able for the first time to photograph
the entire quilt.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Modern Composite

Randy has done his usual magic and has arranged our composite for the latest quilts.  As usual, I will let Randy give us his rationale for why he put the quilts where he did!  Despite Randy's injury (broken wrist!), he was able to get this done quickly and, as always, beautifully!  Below are his words:

Here is the Modern composite.  Since I’m right handed, it was not as physically strenuous as I thought – most of the work is done with the mouse and pencil pad.   But key strokes that demanded alt /shift (for instance) were a challenge.

However, reading the various narratives, I think this challenge has kicked us all out of our lax  visual  habits and made us scratch  our right brains – ouch – that hurts.

Here goes:
Row one;
Carol’s shoes just screamed to be front and center – as a title, as LOOK AT ME, as clunky MODERN. And people really wear those things – all day?!
But then, as I looked through the other quilts, who/what fills the spaces next? Color, form, and eye travel wins out – Judy, and Tricia, to me, it just works to tie the top row together.   
Row 2;
Rita’s cars and Lois’ TV set obviously belong in a row by themselves – but again, that leaves an open space. Jane’s quilt just seemed to  fit. Jane. I really hope you take no offense, but from a distance, in my addled right brain, I could see an image of a road leading to those cars leading to home and our first  TV sets.
Row 3;
Color wins out enhanced by those rich embellishments. As a photographer ,  I really enjoyed the color splash in Andrea’s quilt.
Row 4;
Carol found the same embellishment stash, so this quilt and Alice’s quilt had to be close. What better place for the color in Nedra’s work.  Notice how the darks and lights compliment each other and draw your eye to that corner.
Row 5;
Too often an image has all the color or weight toward the bottom.  In this composite, with  Kathy and Sara’s work in the final row, the page takes on light airy,  modern look.

  Thank you all for allowing me to be a small part of this creative “right-brained” group,

Friday, January 16, 2015

Rita's MODERN: A Slice of Time or Modern Today, Not Tomorrow

This quilt challenge was just that for me, a challenge.  I first thought of Modern Art (do not really appreciate it).  Then I considered the genre of Modern Quilts (they do not really appeal to me).  My Dear Husband was campaigning for a depiction of the evolution of a primitive outhouse to modern toilet facilities (don’t think so!).  So what do I do? However, Randy did jog my thinking of how things change over time and what was once modern very quickly becomes outdated.  Automobiles are such an example.  In my original concept, I was going to use five vehicles: 1. horse drawn buggy  2. 1911 Model T  3. 1957 Chevy  4. 1994 Buick and  5. 2015 Corvette.  The patterns were sized for all five and a portion of each was chosen (from the back of the buggy to the front of the Corvette.)  But as I started to work, I quickly realized this was not going to work because a slice that narrow allowed me so little room for the background.   I then made the decision to eliminate 2 of the vehicles and what you see here is the Model T, the ’57 Chevy, and the 2015 Corvette.

I first decided on the sky and earth for each slice and seamed them together.  I then created the background scenes:  a country farm scene, a drive-in diner, and the Dallas skyline. The autos were then overlaid on top of the backgrounds.  Everything is fused raw edge applique which is then quilted around all of the hard edges.  Colored pencils were used to add some highlights and a bit of color in a few places.

On our first round of little art quilts, my self-imposed rule was that each 12 x 12 would be gallery wrapped around a wooden frame.  On my Contrast (the October reveal and 1st of this series), I added a small flange and a traditional binding.  I have decided this finish will be my “new rule”.  For Modern, I used an off white flange and a black binding.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

News from Rita!

This is Alice, from California!

I just got a call on my cell phone from Rita.  She was about to post her quilt, when Randy fell and broke his wrist!  She was at the hospital with him.

She wanted me to post and tell everyone that it might be tomorrow or even the next before she can post her quilt!  Poor Randy!

Thankfully, he's not in too much pain.  I HOPE that means that the break is not a bad one.  Too, the wrist broken is his left one, and he is right handed, so two bits of good news.

Stay tuned for her quilt!


Kathy's Modern: Everything Old is New Again !

     This is one of my most favorite MM quilts !    When we got the theme, I pondered how I'd interpret it.  And then while sorting through some of my "old" quilts, I found a quilt I'd started in a Free-Motion Quilting Class I'd taken from well known and revered Master Quilter, Maurine Noble, in 1998.   The class was held at "Quilting by the Sound" (Puget Sound) at Port Townsend, WA.  [BTW Port Townsend, WA is where Carole Bryer Fallert, her husband, and her brand new studio are located.   Port Townsend is a totally perfect place to be !]  

     In our class, we'd been learning how to free-motion quilt with metallic, heavy metallic, and super-heavy threads that can be kind of  "snarfy" at times.  I guess I just put this piece aside because I wasn't able to get the look I wanted from the work I'd been doing.    There had even been times when I thought about cutting the quilt up and / or tossing it out.    I'm SO glad I kept this quilt ! !

  Looking at this quilt from a new perspective, I trimmed it to a relevant size, re-quilted it, and amazingly.... this time all the threads behaved perfectly !    Working off my original stitching, I added massive amounts of Sulky Holoshimmer thread.   In some sections, I echo-quilted my original work from 1998, and then to really jazz things up I included several "Zentangle" patterns.  Presto... Change-o !  This beautiful piece takes my breath away !

[You're likely to see lots more "Zentangle" inspired patterns as I continue to pursue this fascinating art form !] 

  I'm grateful to all the teachers who've inspired me to pursue my passion for thread and free-motion work,  and who encouraged me to keep going and push through the challenges.   My work is a tribute to them all.   Peace and blessings   !


The word for our next theme is:  NEIGHBOR

Judy S.- Modern???

“Modern”: what does it mean? Answer: To me it means “Clean lines and blocks of color”. The funny thing is that it was the same thing back in the 60’s. “Laugh In” comes to mind. Ahhh, Modern! Instead of solid colors I used painted and dyed fabrics from my stash.  

For my background I used leftover fabric that I had painted.  The circles are made from fabric that I hand dyed with my friend in her garage on a HOT July day in Texas. We had to try hard not to add any salty sweat to the jars of dye.

To get perfect circles I used my ScanNCut to cut 3" and 2" circles out of freezer paper. Next I ironed the circles onto the fabric and cut about 1/4” around it. I brushed starch onto the seam allowance and turned it over the edge of the circle. As it was ironed, the starch dried and made a beautiful clean edge. 

When I put the circles on the background I lightly applied tacky glue to the seam allowance and placed them on the quilt. I used a narrow zig-zag stitch to sew them on. 

Using an open-toe foot I echo quilted the background.

Tricia's Modern Quilt

When I first thought of the word Modern I thought of the Flintstones but I couldn't come up with a quilt to create.  My mind then went to the Modern Quilt movement. This theme kept my mind going around in circles with ideas.  I finally decided I wanted to start with a miniature quilt square and then have the rest of the space be similar to a "Modern Quilt"

Last weekend I took a class from Kathy Loomis, learning her technique of fine line piecing.  I really enjoyed the class.  Our fine lines were 1/2" wide.  After I created my miniature log cabin with paper piecing I decided to use the fine line piecing technique to create my Modern Quilt.  I then machine quilted my piece with half inch horizontal lines.  I enjoyed the process.

Jane's Modern Quilt


Jane’s Modern Quilt


As I thought about this theme, I could only think about the new trend in quilting from new quilters called Modern Quilts. This does not particularly appeal to me although I am very pleased to see a new, young group of quilters getting involved in fabric skills.

 Modern detail

When I look at modern quilts, I see lots of gray and white used in large expanses, minimal use of color, and dense quilting. The dense quilting is the only thing that resonates with me. So I got started…trying to create a modern quilt and very glad that I could use a small format. I returned to the 12” x 12” shape. I chose some mostly black and gray and white fabrics and made some small wonky log cabin blocks. I was pleased with them and I had included an ikat fabric with all the colors in it. When I pieced the blocks into a background of light gray, I wasn’t quite as happy. But I persevered and came up with a square. I started quilting this block which took quite a while. As I was working on it, I decided to add my own artistic touch. I was just trying to make it my own.

Modern supplies



I thought adding some paint to the surface would be interesting. I chose silver and black pearl. That is when it started going south. I could no longer see the log cabin blocks or the lovely fabrics I had used. I then decided to add some graffiti type marks with some positive affirmations to lift it from the gray prison I had created. Nothing worked. I will include a picture of this “failure”.

Modern trial

Back to square 1:


At least I had enough fabric left to start another little quilt. This time I kept it simple. No paint, no innovative piecing, no creative textures. I even put a binding on it. Most of the time while I was constructing it, I felt muzzled. I did that to myself. I can hardly wait to see what the rest of you have made with this theme. It always amazes me. Thanks, Gail for a very challenging theme.

I saw another exhibit of Modern Quilts recently. I still don’t want to go there. Perhaps one of you can enlighten me about this trend. I would love to hear your opinions.

Carolyn's Modern: Argentinian Ice Sculpture

When the word, “modern,” was announced, I decided to use one of the canvases that I painted in a Katie Masopust Pasquini  2013 Quilting Adventures class called “Painted Stitched Canvas.” 

In that class, we used acrylic paints to create designs on light-weight canvas, then cut the designs apart and sewed them back together in a complex design using zig-zag machine stitching.  The next step was to use Acrylic Flow Release to add fabric.  After drying, batting was added to the recreated canvases and our painted canvases were machine quilted. 

But, for “Modern,” I chose to use a blue and green canvas to which no fabric was attached. I wanted to see if I could use typical fusing products to add fabric to my canvas. 

My painting reminded me of the deep blue and turquoise water that my husband and I saw on a trip this past November to Patagonia, the lower range of the Andes in Chile and Argentina.  One of the highlights of our trip was visiting two massive, 180 ft. tall glaciers.  The giant glaciers sparkled with irregular spikes that resembled pieces of broken crystal.  When the glaciers calved, a large piece of iceberg broke off and floated in the turquoise water.  They looked like blue sculptures bursting forth with towering mountains in front and behind.

To create my quilt, I first decided to try adding a piece of patterned, pale green tulle to the entire canvas using Misty Fuse. I lightly ironed Misty Fuse onto the back of the tulle.  After about 15 minutes, I pulled the backing off of the tulle and laid it on top of the canvas right side up.  I covered it with a pressing cloth, and carefully ironed it.  Much to my surprise, the tulle adhered to the canvas!

Next, I tried laying a shimmering silver piece of fabric in the same tulle pattern onto the design, but when I placed it on the quilt, the silver faded into the background.  So I decided to fuse the silver onto 2 pieces of regular blue tulle.  This added the color and depth that I was looking for.  I fused them together with Misty Fuse, cut out the “glacier” and “iceberg” and fused them in place.I prepared the batting and backing with Timtex and began quilting.  I outlined the glacier and iceberg with an icy green Aurifil thread.  Then I used zig-zag stitching to highlight the jagged lines in both “sculptures” and added simple free motion quilting to the “water” areas.  I used a blue and green polka dot batik in a wavy, water-like pattern for the back and binding.  This was an experiment, but one that I enjoyed!

Nedra's Modern - Gray is the New Black

I chose to use the "Modern Quilt Movement" as my inspiration for this theme.  When the movement began and quilts in that genre began appearing, I was particularly taken with those that had gray backgrounds with lime green, yellow or orange contrast.  This bright modern look really appealed to me.  I actually began working on a small piece using gray and orange 2 years ago.  

When the theme was announced, I remembered my "modern" UFO but wasn't sure if it really fit the criteria.  I did a little research on modern quilts and found a variety of descriptions.  Thomas Knauer wrote an article in the Oct./Nov. 2014 QNM on How to Design a Modern Quilt which I eagerly read.  He says that all quilt compositions have been done before in some way or another.  Whether repro or modern, they borrow from past traditions.  He instructs one to listen to NPR, read newspapers, watch a documentary, take pictures and pay careful attention to the world around you and make something relevant to what you see or learn. I continued and found another reference that stated that modern quilts have some of these characteristics:

break the rules design and construction
reflect one's own style and personality
bold and sold colors
use gray as a neutral
simple minimalist design
geometric shapes

My UFO had several of those characteristics (I guess the heart is not a geometric shape but it was not made traditionally).  I liked what I had started, but was never inspired to finish it.  Now I was.

The hearts were cut with a rotary cutter, stitched down and embellished with decorative machine and hand stitching.  The center heart is lightly stuffed.  The background is hand stitched with tapestry yarn in a geometric pattern which contrasts with the heart.  It is wrapped and secured on a 12 X 12 canvas.

Andrea's Modern

hand-dyed cotton, machine pieced, fused, machine stitched

When I hear the word "modern" I think of the furniture, home deco and paintings of the 1940's and
'50's, the "height" of the Mid-Century Modern movement,  instead of "now" or "in the moment".
I spent quite a bit of time researching information and images both online and at the library to get a "feel" for what I wanted to express.  I finally decided that I would start with a 1950's color palette,  which I was sure I did not have, but decided to pull out some of my hand-dyes and look anyway.  I was thrilled that I actually did have colors to work with.  Along with the color palette, I made a list of descriptive words for the mid-century design movement, and "simple" was the word that resonated the most with me.
I am pleased with how this quilt evolved, although I can't say that I really like it, I might if it were in different colors, but I do think that it represents the "modern" look that I was trying to convey.

Gail's Modern Art

While researching "modern" I discovered that the period of "modern art" covered roughly 100 years from 1870 to 1970 and first appeared after the  industrial  revolution.  Prior to that art was mainly commissioned by patrons. Artists began making art for the sake of art.  Color and abstraction  became a way of expressing the soul of the artist.  I chose Wassily Kandinsky as my inspiration for modern as 1928 was a wonderful innovative time in modern art.  The 12x12 quilt is cotton commercial fabric using raw edge appliqué and machine quilting.  Buttons and beads complete the design.   If this theme caused some consternation know that it did for me as well!  That's why it's a "challenge"!  Teehee!

Lois's Modern Quilt--Newfangled

When I first heard the theme I instantly thought about the first color television sets—newfangled and modern! Anyway so here is my version of Modern. 
A bit of appliqué and lots of imaging on my computer and some thread painting! Hope you all like it! 


PS  Lois is on a trip, away from her computer, and so she sent me the photo and the brief description of her quilt.  I was happy to post for her.  She didn't give me a name for her quilt, and so I pulled a name from what she had written.  Alice

Alice's Modern Quilt--Buttons on Silk

As soon as I learned that Modern was our new theme, the term “modern art” popped into my head and wouldn’t leave.  And so my quilt is an modern art abstract.  I used thrift-store silk garments, as well as a piece of hand-dyed silk.   This I had dyed myself after reading an article in a QUILTING ARTS magazine in 2006.  (This technique used men’s silk ties, a plain piece of white silk, and a vinegar bath.)

After my quilt was finished and pinned to the design wall, I was dissatisfied with it.  I called my husband in to view it.  His reaction:  “Hmm, now what was the theme?  Oh, yes, modern; okay, I see, abstract modern art.  Nice colors.”

Well, he might as well have gone on to say, “But it’s pretty boring.”  Having spent way too many hours on it already, however, I wasn’t about to start over.  (Besides, this was already Modern Version #2!)  Then as I was cleaning up my studio, I happened to notice the plackets on the thrift-store blouses I had used.  With nothing much in mind, I cut them off, perhaps thinking I’d snip off their buttons.

But then it occurred to me that these plackets might be added to the quilt.  I pinned them on, and voila, all of a sudden the quilt looked much better.  Boring became more interesting.  Thus was born the name of my quilt, which was a bit better than “Silks in Abstract,” its first title!  (PS Coincidentally, in the latest issue of QUILTING ARTS a quilt is pictured with a title very like mine!  I think it's called Silk and Buttons, which before I spotted it was the title I had planned to use!)

Silk pieces are fused onto a silk background with Wonder Under.  I machine quilted it, used cotton batting,  and bound it with a fused binding of the green silk used in the quilt. 

A MODERN Look at Shoes

Modern is the word and I can say that for me it was a complete stumper. It took me all this time to come up with something that I could even imagine as modern The reason? EVERYTHING is modern. So I took a page from modern art and depicted shoes as a modern theme - arranged so that it made the letter "M."

I used a drawing of mine, and the enlarger my friend gave me (that enlarger is coming in pretty handy lately)

Then transcribed the drawing onto freezer paper, cut out the background of the shoes and then the pattern. Laid it all out and edge sewed it down. Used my walking foot to outline and stitch in the ditch. Turned the front to the back for an edge and Voila!

For Randy's info, I saved the file at 96 dpi and the original size of 11 X 14. If you need any changes just holler!

Braquesin, Sara's Modern Quilt

I struggled with this theme for quite a while. modern is an often used word that describes many things. I remember listening to a Lecture at the first QuiltConn gathering in Texas on "what is modern". The speaker referenced art movements at the turn of the century - the nineteenth to twentieth century, when the traditional French art Salon was challenged. I mulled over the different art movements and fretted over what I was going to do for most of the time we had to do this quilt. Over the New Years Weekend, my husband I went to Little Rock, Arkansas to attend a wedding. while there we visited an art museum that had a collection set up in historical order. I was really entranced by an engraving by George's Braque. Braque and Picasso developed the cubist movement of Modern Art, 

I did an on-line Google Image search and found several examples of Braques' engravings. One that I find particularly captivating is "FOX" as seen at . 

Rather than copy this piece, I created a sketch inspired by it. I used black and white cotton. The black lines and arcs were cut from black fabric fused to Steam A Seam. I secured all the pieces with straight stitches using black rayon thread through all 3 layers of the 11 by 14 inch quilt. I added lines using grey rayon that are reminiscent of the shading in Braques' etchings. I wanted to add text but not use the word "fox" so I quilted in my name. The background is quilted with random lines in white rayon.

I am not a cubist but I really enjoy compositions created with moving lines and it was a lot of fun to start with the inspiration of an image and take it in a different direction.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Material Mavens in Houston IQF--2014

Our numbers were down this year from last!  Last year I believe we had 11 Material Mavens present in Houston; this year the four above were there for our mini reunion dinner and "show and tell" on Thursday, which happened to have been an "important" birthday for Sara!    Judy Steward came on Saturday, but that was after the rest of us had gone.  So above you can see Alice, Carolyn, Sara, and Rita, holding our MM banner!

Carolyn and Rita proved to be the organized ones, while Alice and Sara were either disorganized or forgetful or whatever!  Both of us forgot to bring any of our MM quilts to show.  But thanks to Rita and Carolyn, we had fun seeing some of our little quilts in person.  I took pictures of each one showing each quilt she brought.  The "extra" women in the photos were some nice quilters from Oklahoma, who had also discovered our little sitting area outside Carolyn's and my room, and also Rita's friend, Sue:

Carolyn and her Contrast Quilt

Rita and her Contrast

Carolyn and her Spring

Rita and her Friendship

Carolyn and her Strong

Rita and her Spring

Carolyn and her Translate

Carolyn, Rita, Judy, and I were also thrilled that our group quilt "Whimseyville" (which many of you saw in person last year) was accepted in Houston.  Though we won no awards, simply getting in the show was excitement enough!  Judy Steward's Quilt "Bubbles" was also accepted in the "painted quilt" category. 

Whimseyville by Rita, Alice, Carolyn, and Judy (we collaborated on the first panel; then the other
four are in the order of our names)

Yes, we really did have a quilt in Houston!

Judy's "Bubbles" quilt

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Contrast Composite

Friends, Alice is posting this, but Randy is the one who composed the composite, as usual.  I always enjoy reading his "rationale" for the way he has arranged the quilts.  So, I will copy and paste his explanation below.  This time, with the different shapes of the quilts, I am sure it was quite a challenge for him to construct this composition.  Many thanks to Randy from all of us for working so hard on behalf of our group!

And now, Randy's explanation:

How the Contrast Composition came together:

Contrast was really fun to put together because it introduced the challenge of a variety of shapes to add to the colors and themes, all of which focused on the central  concept of Contrast. 

The first row works well together in shape (squares), color (reds, grays, bright to dark), and then the flowers seem to point to the center and Judy’s quilt seems to 
point out to the beyond and limitless imagination (read that as you Material Mavens).

The second row is obviously plants, subtle colors, and elements of threes.

Row three: Geometrically, what fun because Nedra’s quilt is the exact size as Tricia’s but looks smaller because the visual element is the bright background of the zebra. And see how well the two horizontal images balance the vertical image in the center? Visually, what fun because that zebra can’t wait to get past that flying goose and into the water. Wait, Tricia, are there zebras in Willoughby, spring or fall?

Row four: The bright oranges and the circles and this time the two horizontals framing the center square just worked perfectly together.
Row five: Is actually my favorite row. The darks and lights (true contrast) of the grapes match very nicely with the bright contrasts in Carol’s portrait. The slight size 
disparity lends a great place to add the title for the page.