Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kathy's Alpha Mystery

The challenge was to decide how I wanted to portray "Mystery" and how to find just the right Alpha(bet) to accomplish the task.  I found the perfect set of letters on a piece of fabric,  cut out the letters I needed, then scanned them one-by-one onto my computer.  I thought it would be a simple task to re-size the letters and then print them out to use as stencils.   After several very frustrating hours of scanning, printing, re-printing, and going through two ink-jet cartridges and what seemed like a ream of paper, I abandoned the scanner / print / stencil idea.   Next option was to use the fonts in my Mac "iPages" program.   I found a suitable font, enlarged each of the letters I needed approximately 500%,  printed the letters and used them as stencils.   Okay.... the technical work was done.... now on to what I really love to do  !   

Using a stunning piece of ASPIDISTRA fabric created by Jack and Lila Bishop that I'd been saving for just the right project, I stenciled the letters onto the fabric, then free-motion quilted around each letter using Madeira Poly-Neon variegated thread.  I echo-stitched around the letters to give them a shadow-y ["mysterious"] look and to make them look like they're floating on top of [or is it behind ?] the fabric.   The next phase was to 'mount' the quilted letters onto another piece of hand-dyed fabric and to complete the pillow-case binding, the hanging sleeve, and the label.

Photography was next.  Alice's suggestion to take the pictures outdoors was great, and it definitely makes the finished quilt look better.  However, here in Gatesville, TX it was cloudy and overcast most of the day, and the rain seemed like it would never stop.   The outdoor photos had to wait 'til late afternoon.  Then then editing, and finally, this entry that will be posted to our blog !   Thanks for all the great challenges and the opportunities to experiment with new techniques and processes.  See y'all in July :-D



12 comments:

  1. Kathy, what a monumental job you performed to achieve this lovely quilt! All of your efforts paid off, however, because this is just beautiful. How I envy all of your Mavens who are such experts at machine quilting! The quilting here is mind-blowing. I can hardly wait to see this one "in person"!

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  2. I like the subtlety of your quilt Kathy. It feels soft, delicate, understated and muted, with a mysterious note of there being more to this quilt than meets the eye. The word itself instills the need to look closer and think beyond the surface. I love the textured echo quilting that resonates a vibration of sorts. I'm sure you were in your element by the time you got to the free motion quilting. I'm glad you persevered! We are all learning so much from one another via these challenges. I wish I could see all our results in person.

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    1. You want to see our quilts in person ??? Come on down to Texas any ol' time and the Central Texas MMs will have a special showing just for you :-) And of course, you'll stay here in Gatesville, and we can play / work in the studio for hours on end like we used to do in Anchorage! Love ya, Sistah ! Kath

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  3. What a beautiful quilt, Kathy. I love the way you designed the word, mystery and then echoed the meaning of the word in your quilting. You are such an accomplished machine quilter! Fantastic!

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  4. I am always amazed at the maven's efforts and skills utilized in creating these pieces! This is beautiful and your machine quilting is spectacular.

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  5. Yes, the word "spectacular" echos through these comments for good reason. We can daydream about doing so well, I suppose!
    Ever onward.

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  6. I love how you turn simplicity into elegance. Beautiful!

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  7. Kathy,
    The struggle to make things the way we want them to can take a whole lot longer and use up supplies we never dreamed of:)

    What is ASPIDISTRA fabric? I googled it and I could only find the cast iron plant. Everything with fabric came to our blog or looped me around to nowhere.
    The colors in the fabric are so soft and beautiful. The font turned out to be perfect and your quilting really makes this mystery quilt work.

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    1. Hi Judy - Thanks for asking about the Aspidistra fabric. Several years ago (at least 15 years..) I was taking some classes at "Quilting by the Sound" in Port Townsend, WA and happened upon this extraordinary fabric at the vendor mall. Oh my.... It truly is the most incredible hand-dyed, one-of-a-kind fabric I've ever seen. I was only able to afford a few small pieces, and have kept those pieces safe and sound all these years. Out of curiosity, and my need to know if the fabric was still being produced, I Googled ASPIDISTRA FABRIC, and eventually ended up on the Mancuso Brothers website. They had a brief reference to the fabric, and actually had a web link and a phone number. The web site's no longer available, but when I called the phone number, I was stunned to connect with Lila Bishop, the wife of the late Jack Bishop who produced all the fabric. We had a fabulous conversation ! Lila has "some" fabric left, and her daughter Janet (who lives in Pflugerville, TX [near Austin]) also has "some" fabric. If I keep my fingers crossed, breathe slowly, try to remain calm, and be really good... I'm hoping to meet with Janet and purchase some of her fabric. The fabric's pretty spendy, but its beauty is beyond anything I've ever seen, and well worth the price. Anyone else interested ??? Let me know and I'll provide Janet and/or Lila's phone numbers :-) Peace & blessings, Kathy

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  8. Kathy, love your machine quilting. Your quilt really evokes mystery!

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  9. Kathy, I really like your approach and quilting. I will show up in Central Texas to see them all . The fabric sounds wonderful. I am impressed that you are putting it to use. I have been working on becoming more of a fabric user and less of a collector.

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