Monday, May 9, 2016

An Introduction to our Newest Member, Dee Merrell!


Flowers in the Tomato Garden

X's and O's


I live in Dallas, having moved here from Dripping Springs (Austin) in the fall of 2014. While in Austin I was very active in the AFA –Austin Fiber Artists,  and in the Austin Quilt Guild and the Wimberley Quilt Guild.   Being in  AFA was my first opportunity to exhibit in galleries and museums; being surrounded by a group of artisans exploring fabric dyeing, painting, weaving, quilting, print making, and other fiber  art forms  and participating in community events was all new to me and very exciting. 

Until 2003 I had only done handwork but when a sewing machine dropped into my life, my husband, Greg, showed me how to thread it and change the bobbin  and I learned how to quilt by watching Alex Anderson at 7a.m. every morning.  That was totally worth getting up early.   Two of my favorite early pieces are a combination of handwork and machine.  The second photo I included is a painted canvas that was deconstructed and remade.

Since I learned to sew so late in life -  after a 34 year career as a flight attendant with American, I started taking classes as often as I could, I had so much to learn.   I was living in San Jose, CA, so going to “Empty Spools” at Asilomar, a 40 mile drive from my house, was an amazing experience.  One of the most successful  techniques that I learned very early and  I still  use often was taught by Rosemary Eichorn;  raw edge, non fused, applique.  

I have 3 granddaughters; two in St. Louis and one here in Dallas, which was the reason for relocating.  The 1 yr old, here in Dallas, is my full time job for now.  I seem to be making more baby quilts that usual  and I also have a passion for mission quilts, the smaller lap size for wheel chair bound people.  

I like trying all types of techniques and incorporating those into my work.  Later this year I will be starting a series of liturgical work.

My last name is spelled Merrell.  Unfortunately not the Merrill ilk that we associate with money, but the Merrell that makes shoes… no relation. 

The women whom I know best in this group through workshops from Quilting Adventures are Sara, Carolyn, Alice, and Jane.  I know Judy  through SAQA and our paths keep crossing through quilt shows.  Since many of the other names look familiar I am not sure if we have been in contact through a class or possibly because I have been ‘lurking the blog’.

PS:  Alice posted this at Dee's request!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Doodle Composite--Already!


This Randy Schormann is one amazing man!  Here it is just one day after our latest Reveal, and Randy has already put together not only the photo composite, but he's written up his usual witty and logical narrative about why he put which quilt where!  We are so fortunate to have Randy as a "adjunct Maven" or "honorary Maven," as he performs this wonderful service for us every time!  Many thanks to Randy!

Now, here's what Randy had to say, in his own words:

Rita and I had a friend and former student visiting from the Czech Republic this week so I didn’t get to see the great reveal until mid-afternoon Friday.  She left this afternoon and instead of yard work I opted to do the composite.  Our friend is a wonderful creative artist/photographer so I was – again – inspired to enjoy your work.

It is never easy to “lay-out” the rows and I’m sure everyone would do them differently but this is how they make sense to me.

Row one: I thought these three quilts said “doodling” in the traditional sense of the word, each with a really clever twist.  Jane, I tweaked your “reflection” concerns [hope you don’t mind] so the word looks more like the close-up.

Row two: Doodle art on the machine is in this row.  Judy, I agree with Alice, “What is behind the zipper?”  And Carol, you gave me the choice, so vertical it is – fits the format and the color of the space and blends nicely with Karen’s leaf in the middle of row three.

Row three: Mother Nature in doodling – a dog, a leaf, then a puffin.  I’ll admit, as a photographer, I was tempted [but notice, I didn’t] to flip the puffin so s/he didn’t swim off the edge.  And the green leaf continues to blend nicely with this row as well.

Row four: My creativity was surprised by the twist of the theme as illustrated with Yankee DOODLE and Cock-a-DOODLE– WONDERFUL!  Who’da-thought, except creative quilters?   And the colors in Carolyn’s quilt – WOW!  The center Material Mavens date panel is a doodle from circa 1795 by the Queen of Prussia.  I think maybe cave painting might really have been made by bored teenagers convened to their living quarters for being unruly.  What do you think?

Row last: Since Gail and Janet and Lois were not able to participate this time, I had room to ignore Alice’s challenge [Whew!] to pick one or the other and I had room to use both ALTERNATE Doodle quilts from Alice and Carolyn.  Now YOU-ALL get to pick. Sara’s quilt and all the great doodling nicely compliment the middle of the row.

Thank you for letting me be a part of this wonderful group and sharing your creative work.

Randy

Friday, April 15, 2016

Sara's Doodling - Doodling around with Thread and Paint


When we got this theme I initially thought about free motion doodling. I talked myself out of it and thought I of a seismograph and the seismic field workers but then this happened! In preparation for my class at Quilting Adventures, I had to prepare an 18 inch square of quilted muslin. I responded to this task using my general overkill approach. I loaded about 2 1/2 yards of muslin onto my quilting machine and spent several days quilting on it in every way I could think out using up almost all of my partially filled bobbins. I cut out my 18 inch quilted sandwich and took it and the rest of the quilt with me to class. The class was taught by Leslie Tucker Jenison using a combination of her techniques and those of Yvonne Porcella. Leslie brought a large variety of paints and surface design tools. She showed us the difference between applying paint to a dry quilt and to a pre-wetted quilt. I was really pleased that I brought the entire piece; I got to experiment and share with my friends. This quilt is a 12 inch piece of my quilted doodling that was painted dry with acrylic paint.

Judy's Quilting Doodle


Since doodling is what I have been doing with quilting, I had to make a quilt that showed some of my favorites. I incorporated the zippers to add interest. One of them opens to reveal the piecing inside. The white stitching is from the bolt of fabric where they pieced it together at the manufacturers which I thought was fun to add to the mix. 
This is the piecing inside the zipper.


Tricia's Puffin Doodle

I thought and thought about what to do for the doodle theme.  Coloring books have become all the rage. I noticed one in a local quilt store and thought they are really just doodles.  The cover of the coloring book had a whale frolicking  in the ocean.  I liked that idea so I began to think about images from Nantucket to use.  I then noticed an article in the Nantucket newpaper about a Puffin that was spotted off the southern shore of Nantucket.  Puffins have only been spotted around Nantucket a few times. A photograph was taken of the puffin by E Vernon Laux.  I used his photograph for my doodle.

I just love Puffins. My mother in law always said a puffin poem when she served pancakes to my husband and his siblings. I fused fabric for the puffin and doodled stitching for puffin and the ocean.


Rita's Doodle: Doodling Among the Dots


Humor! Creativity! Incongruity! I’ve sat through many of Randy’s “Laughter in the Classroom” workshops and my ordered science teaching background still struggles when he tells me they all can be defined to mean the same. Doodles?  Yes, they fit also. I will admit, at first I struggled for an idea.

Then those four words and M. C. Escher and an old habit of mine turned on the light. I’ll let my sister Mavens fill in the Escher piece [after all, we are quiltersJ]. Here’s the “old habit” connection. Throughout my college career [Bachelors in the Life Sciences – teaching career that spanned 36 years] I learned by first taking notes in all my classes. Later, and as soon as possible, I would study by rewriting those notes into course specific notebooks. I began to notice, that when the subject got boring or I lost interest, the expanse of doodles in the margins increased significantly. 

By the way – it’s a habit that continues to this day. Kathy – Thanks for trip down memory lane.  This quilt is made “doodling” [walking that path of memories] with Tulip permanent fabric markers on white polka dotted fabric for the background. The hand is mine – photographed, printed on Timeless Treasures fabric, cut out, and then fused on top of the doodles. 

P.S. From Rita – the new challenge word - due in July

Aristotle said, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts. “ So, here we go again: Humor – Incongruity - Creativity – this time all wrapped up in one word. Or, take the word apart and “go-a-quilting” with its parts and see if you can agree – or disagree with Aristotle [that’s ok, he’s been dead since 322 BC
J]. When Mary Poppins sang the word in 1964, it was supposedly the longest word in the English language and officially added to the dictionary in 1986.  The real treat is to have as much fun as did Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.
Here’s my word:

SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS

Don’t panic: Sing it a few times and the humor and the creativity and the incongruity juices will begin to flow. That’s just what the word can mean: Super – above and beyond; Cali – “often defined as ‘beauty’”; Fragilistic – “delicate”; Expiali – “to make amends”; Docious – “able to learn.” Think about it – what better defines the Material Mavens.

Jane Hartfield's Doodle Quilt



Jane Hartfield’s Doodle Quilt

Doodle certainly speaks to your imagination. My first thoughts were about dogs: Labradoodle, Double Doodle, etc. I don’t own those breeds nor do I have photos I have taken of them.

Then life happened and I had a very difficult start to the year that included lots of time on the road. It was hard to even think about our challenge. However, when I finally got home and had time to look around my studio, I remembered a piece of linen I had dyed some time ago.

 It was a rather small piece that began as a “messy monoprint”. That is a fun process without a definitive end product. You paint thickened dye onto thin plastic. I probably used a Walmart bag. Next you lay the fabric on top and roll across it with a paint roller or brayer. When you remove the fabric there are many textural marks on it that would be impossible to make by intention.

On this particular piece I used turquoise and yellow dyes which produced many shades of green. I truly loved the piece. To further define the visual texture, I taped it to sandpaper and used a Sharpie to “doodle” around the tiny shapes and marks. I left it like that a long time. It was too small to use for most of my projects, and not one that I cared to reproduce in a large format.

Then our challenge came up. I took the piece and fused it to Eco Fi felt. Then I added foil using a freezer paper stencil for the letters and Bo Nash bonding powder for the sprinkles and fusible thread for more doodling. By the way, the freezer paper stencil was the wrong thing to use. Wonder Under would have been much easier.
This piece is not quilted.


I find it very difficult to photograph work with foil on it. When I turned off some of the light, I got a better shot. It must have something to do with reflections. If anyone knows more about this, please tell me.  


Carolyn's Cock-a-Doodle- Doo



When I heard that our challenge word was “doodle,” my first thought was "cock-a-doodle-doo".  But, being the avid researcher that I am, I began by doing a google search for the word “doodle.”  Try as I might, I could not get the image of a crowing rooster out of my head.  I found some delightful pictures of hens, but very few roosters, and none that were colorful enough for me. 

I decided that my rooster would be made out of Kaffe Fassett fabrics and that he had to be appear very cocky and proud.  I made several attempts at drawing the rooster and kept making his chest bigger and bigger with his head thrown way back until I was satisfied with his cockiness.  I used Laura Wasilowski’s technique of building a focal piece onto a leftover paper backing (resist paper) that was peeled off and salvaged from a previous fused piece. Using my iron, I lighted attached a fabric outline of his body to this paper backing.  Using a variety of pre-fused Kaffe florals, I carefully and tediously cut out each feather individually, layering them one on top of the other by lightly touching them with the tip of my iron.  I quickly discovered that cotton fabrics proved to be much harder to adhere in this manner than batiks.  After I was satisfied with my rooster, I lifted him carefully off of the salvaged paper background and placed him on a commercial hand-dyed fabric background. Then I added the grass, feet, “sound” streams and some sunrise shadowing with fabric pencils.  I machine stitched each feather and the entire rooster using my walking foot.  The background was free-motion stitched on my new Bernina sit-down long-arm. Aurifil thread was used for all of the stitching.

After I made the rooster, some of my favorite Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey tunes from the late 1940s popped into my head.  I remembered that one was called “The Dipsy Doodle.”  It was actually a dance that young people favored during that era.  I picked up an unfinished machine pieced project I had begun in a class with Sheila Frampton Cooper.  I had not had an inspiration of what to do with it.  I decided to make it into another 12x12 doodle.  I wanted to try my hand at making pebbles and circles on my new long-arm, and did so in the areas you see in the photo.  After that, I used my walking foot to finish the rest of the quilt.  I like to think of the trumpet part of this quilt as an actual trumpet blaring out the big band sound of “The Dipsy Doodle.”  This jive-inspired quilt was made with cotton fabrics stitched with Aurifil thread.  I like it so much that I think I may try this difficult curved piecing technique on a larger quilt in the near future!


Alice's Doodle Quilt--Yankee Doodle (and also FabriDoodle)



Daddy used to sing the song "Yankee Doodle" to my siblings and me--the only song I ever recall hearing him sing!  So this was an immediate and sentimental choice for me!

I found a copy-right free coloring book image online.  I printed it onto white fabric and then used InkTense pencils to color it.  I had previously backed the white fabric with Wonder Under, so I cut Yankee Doodle out and fused him to the background.  For the background, I made a "wonky" log cabin in reds and blues.

Incidentally, I tried an experiment with this quilt that worked! After  I applied WonderUnder to the white fabric, I cut it to the size of printer paper, and ran it through my printer.  Lo and behold that worked!  I'll definitely try that again.

To quilt the background (which I did before fusing Yankee D. down), I used the serpentine stitch on my machine to stitch along the seam lines of the crazy quilt.

Actually, I made two Doodle quilts, just for fun.  My second quilt was based on a Zen Doodle design that I drew on freezer paper.  I used this paper to cut out patterns, ironing them onto various black and white fabrics from my stash, which had previously been backed with WonderUnder.  Then I re-assembled the design onto some muslin.  I quilted this one by satin stitching around each element.  Then I colored here and there with InkTense red pencil.  This became the back of the other quilt, and I bound them together conventionally with red fabric.

You decide which is the better quilt!  I showed this to an artist cousin, and she preferred it (saying it looked to her more like an "art quilt"), but husband Bob definitely liked my Yankee Doodle!  My cousin so loved this quilt that she suggested I make a larger version of it.  I just might do that; it was fun to construct!  But my first choice ended up being Yankee Doodle, for sentimental reasons.

(Note to Randy:  I'll put the burden on YOU to decide which one of my quilts will best fit into your composite.  I really am fond of both of them.)


Nedra's Doodle - Designer Dogs - Dalmadoodle!



After a few weeks of struggling with this theme, I finally came up with an original idea!!  I thought of other meanings for doodle and remembered all the labradoodles, goldendoodles, schnoodles, yorkipoos,  and other designer dogs that we have met and encountered when walking our golden and black lab.  Designer dogs are so popular that a new hyrbrid seems to be created every year. There even is a dalmadoodle, but sadly it is a homely (in my opinion) creation!  So I chose to depict a cuter? version of this designer dog for our reveal.

I started with a commercial cotton fabric that I added color and texture to with inktense pencils.  I machine stitched to create "bricks" and used this piece as my background.  I "painted" the doodle  dots with paint spatters and fabric pens on white cotton fabric.  I drew my depiction of the breed and fused it to the background.  The poodle fluff was created with batting that I blanket stitched on the edges to give a “curly” appearance.  The other components were also fused, machine stitched and shaded as needed for the hat, fire hydrant and hose.  The sign was machine embroidered and filled in with fabric pen.  The piece is wrapped onto a 12 X  12 canvas.  I hope you enjoy my Dalmadoodle - I had fun creating it!!

Karen's Doodle Quilt--Doodleleaf

                               




I always liked the look of "doodles"! I have many books on Zentangle but never put it to fabric. I drew 4 different pictures before I came back to what I like to create with fabric. Leaves. I used
a  hand-dyed fabric by Mary Walter. (Who happens to be a good friend of mine and so I'm lucky to be able to own many of her great fabrics!)  I used Mettler cotton thread 50wt in Hunter Green. If I wanted a thicker look I used a small zig-zag with free motion. The background quilting was done with YLI monofilament thread.
 My favorite part of this is the veins. Which inspired me to begin a large leaf full of vein work.  This is the drawing I started with.

Kathy's "DOODLING AROUND !"

 As a kid, I used to "doodle" around with paper, pencil, pen, crayons, colored pencils, etc. all the time. Sometimes my Mom or teachers would tell me to "Stop Doodling Around !"  In other words, get back to work and stop wasting time !

And yet, through all these 6+ decades since then, I'm still Doodling Around ... Go Figure !

Sometime around 1985 I took my first quilting class in Anchorage, Alaska.  I really tried to follow all the instructions, but a lot of the time I just couldn't "get it" ....  But I never gave up !    And then... at last: That "Break Through" Class:   FREE-MOTION QUILTING !

I'd rather be doing free-motion quilting (FMQ) than just about anything else, and within the last 5 years or so, I sort of stumbled into the phenomenal world of "ZENTANGLE."  It catapulted my quilting and my art into new dimensions.

In the past few years, the techniques used in "Zendoodle" have become a huge presence in the art world, and have had a tremendous impact on such things as fabric design, tutorial books, You Tube, and the latest craze, "Adult Coloring Books" (which can be found in just about every hobby / craft / art supply store, grocery stores, and on-line!)

"Doodling Around" is a 'whole-cloth' quilt made from a single piece of hand-dyed fabric for the front, and a way-cool 'doodle' inspired fabric for the back.  Instead of a traditional binding, I used a shimmer-y, almost transparent fabric to enclose the edges of the quilt (similar to a pillow-case finished edge technique).


The quilting ... My favorite part !    I used Madeira 60 wt. Mono-filament in the bobbin.  For the front of the quilt, a luscious Madeira Metallic thread to add that Wow factor !   [And to help tame the sometimes temperamental metallic thread,  I used "Sewer's Aid' to lubricate the thread, and help it 'play nice' with the monofilament in the bobbin !]

I hope Y'all had as much fun with this challenge as I did --  and I'm really looking forward to seeing your beautiful works of art !      HAPPY DOODLING !

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Andrea's Doodle


May 1943

Doodle: hmmm, my first thought was to NOT rely on a screen-printed doodle/drawing.  This left me with the possibility of trying a thread doodle.  I am not a machine quilter and have never really tried free-motion quilting, so these machine-stitched doodled hearts are a stretch for me.  I wanted to experiment with a simple shape, and told myself that if it looked awful, no one ever had to see it!  It was the beginning of February and hearts were everywhere so I decided to give that shape a try.  The first "go 'round" was rather odd looking, but by the time I stitched around the shape for the third time I thought it took on a whimsical look with a bit of character which I was happy with.  A few more hearts later I had my doodle.  I then needed to add something to the background.  I inherited a journal that my mother kept around the time that she and my father were married, so I made a screen from the entry on the before and day of their wedding,  May 11 & 12, 1943.  I loved the parts about the rhubarb pie that my mother baked the morning of her wedding and that my father had to go to court in Boston to testify at the divorce proceedings of his best man!  After silk-screening the text I thought it needed a bit more color, so in keeping with the heart motif, screened the pink hearts.

Carol's Doodle



I chose a design from one of my design sketch books. Then I doodled all over it with my sewing
machine. I happily experimented with all kinds of stitches, but seem to have a problem just “letting go” and not doing something symmetrical.
I did start this one right away when the word was chosen, and doodled away on it periodically. I made it from some silk fabrics I had that already had the Misty Fuse backing. I used all kinds of stitches the fit all the weird angles.
Randy can switch this any way he wants to fit the composite - it's a doodle :)