Thursday, March 3, 2022

Open Composite

 Judy                 Andrea

Carolyn           Tricia

Nedra              Kathy

I have not figured out how to do anything very creative with the collage, nor do I have any clever commentary as Randy did, but here it is.  The Open composite.  I do think these were a terrific group to showcase our talents and humor.  I bet Randy is chuckling in heaven over Andrea's Open Toad Shoes!!!  Viewers we welcome your comments even if you didn't post, and especially previous MM's.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Kathy's Open

Our word for this MM Quilt Challenge is OPEN. I am totally inspired by a beautiful Hymn we sometimes sing during our Mass (Catholic), that was written, composed, and recorded by one my favorite Liturgical Musicians, JESSE MANIBUSAN.

This hymn that brings tears to my eyes is "OPEN MY EYES LORD".  Followed by  "OPEN MY EARS, OPEN MY HEART".   I can hardly make it through that hymn because of the profound message it contains; the impeccable rhythm and the seeming "simplicity" of these words, rhythm, and cadence.

I made this quilt referencing the simplicity of the music and verbiage.  The background is a rather simple assemblage of white and gray "stripes" and "boxes" that change in scale and depth thoughout the entire "12 X 12" fabric.

In the CENTER of the quilt there is a gently "carved' white heart that's been embellished with hand-sewn beads.  This white beaded heart was then appliques to a large red circle.  The circle was then stitched onto the background fabric.  I drew a circle around the applique about 3/4" from the edge. I then hand-sewed more beads about an inch away from each other around the perimeter of that circle.
The actual quilting is very simple straight stitching that won't detract the viewer.  Here are the inspiring lyrics to this amazing hymn.

Open my eyes, Lord
Help me to see you Face,
Open my eyes, Lord.
Help me to see.

Open my ears, Lord.
Help me to hear your voice.
Open my ears, Lord.
Help me to hear.

Open my heart Lord,
Help me to love like you.
Open my heart Lord, 
Help me to love.


Monday, February 28, 2022

Judy's Open Books, Open Minds


With books being banned in this day and age I’m stunned. I can’t imagine growing up being told you can’t read a book because it was bad. When I was in high school I helped the librarian by typing up cards of the new books for the card catalog. The bonus is that I was able to read the ones I wanted before anyone else did. There were several I chose and was shocked with what was in there, but I got to decide if I wanted to finish reading it or not. If I wanted to learn more I was able to go out there to see what someone else’s point of view was.

I love my libraries and bookstores. They are places that hold so many treasures. When I walk in I just relax and savor my time there. Growing up the little town library had beautiful picture books. As I got older, my favorite books were the little orange books about people like Clara Barton and George Washington Carver. A couple years ago I spent time again in that little library using their internet for researching Missouri counties. From that research I was able to make a quilt block that was chosen to be included in the quilt for the state bicentennial. That quilt was going to be unveiled in a special celebration at the Missouri governors mansion on March 26, 2020. I was going to be there for that but when Covid hit I never got to see it. That year they also made an ornament of my block for the Governors Christmas tree. The sweet thing is that all of my sisters and my Mom were able to see the quilt as it traveled around the state.

The big town 15 miles away had a grand library with a winding marble staircase up to the children’s department. Summers were the best because there was always a summer reading program and you got a sticker for each book you read.

When my husband and I moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho I walked into their beautiful library to find a Christmas tree that was positioned so that it went all the way up to the second floor. Imagine a 2 story tall tree in the center of the library!

I always took my sons and then grandson to story hour here in Waco and Hewitt. It was hard to see the libraries close here because of Covid, but I was so thankful they did curbside pick ups. The libraries did a great job getting story hour online when we couldn’t go. Now story hours are coming back! There is just something special hearing someone read to you.

The background fabric is some leftover from the millennium. I love that it has it written in so many languages. I was just going to put the lightbulb above the pages, but the Hoffman fabric was so bright and vibrant that I could see the joy flowing out of the book.

Enjoy a book of your choice today!!!!!

Andrea's Open Quilt

 Open - Toad Shoes
11" x 14"
Fused commercial and hand stenciled cotton fabric.

OPEN was my submission for, at the time, the drawing for the last Material Mavens quilt. 
When thinking of an appropriate theme, I kept saying to myself "When one door closes, another opens"
( Alexander Graham Bell ), so I thought OPEN would be fitting.  As we now know, that door did not close, just shifted a bit, thanks to Nedra!

When re-thinking my Open options, I came up with 'open-toe/toed' shoes and as I am a confirmed shoe addict, this was perfect.  I believe both open-toe and open-toed are correct terms, however 'toed" looks odd to me and so that became toad.  These Open-Toad shoes are based on a favorite pair of black and white shoes purchased in London in 1986 and even though they no longer fit, I can not bear to part with them!
I cut a toad stencil to print my black and white fabric which I was pleased with, but then could not find a fabric that I liked for the insole, so I concentrated on the background fabric instead.  I auditioned a few black and white fabrics, finding one in particular that worked, but decided I should print my own.  I spent the better part of three days printing lots of fabric, but when I was honest with myself, none of them worked as well as the commercial fabric I had originally chosen.  Using a fine, thin white cotton for the insole with the background "show-through" worked also, as it did not distract the the toads, but added just enough subtle texture.

Nedra's Open - Australian Open

 Tennis is of huge interest to me - playing and watching!  The Big Four - the slams as they are called - include the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros(French Open), and the Australian Open.  The calendar year of the pro circuit begins in January in Melbourne, Australia and of course I was watching it when I began to contemplate my choice for the Open theme.  The rest of the project was easy.  

The court at the AO is blue and represented in the bottom corner, the flag of Australia in the upper, and the ubiquitous kangaroo is playing!!  Commercial fabric was used, including a Kafffe Fassett for the roo,  and one was painted to get the right color for the court.  The piece is fused and machine quilted.   So fun!!

Tricia's Open Window

 Tricia's Open Window

When I heard the theme OPEN I was really stumped. I thought about open fields, open sky's etc. I just couldn't settle on anything to create a quilt. After talking the theme over with my husband, I thought about an open window. I remembered an open window in a summer cottage. I went looking thru all my photos. I found the summer cottage but wasn't convinced that I wanted to create that image. Then I stubbled on this photo of our black cat, Moss. The photo is from our house in Nantucket. Moss loves to sit in the windows.

I have recently been working on thread paintings of a few dogs. I printed the photo onto broadcloth and started to thread paint Moss. It was much harder to thread paint a black cat! There are very few variations in his fur. It's even hard to see the cats body shapes. I stitched a few details in the background. I then appliquéd  flowers in the flower box that hangs outside the window. I free motion stitched the centers of all the flowers.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Carolyn: Open Hands Grow Caring Hearts

My thoughts for the chosen word, “open” continually went to an image of open hands.  I have thought a great deal about how much at this particular time in our national history, we need to be more open to folks who are different from us in ALL ways - gender, ethnicity, religiously, politically, etc. It is so much easier to accept people who are like us in every way, and oh so very hard to accept those who are different. I firmly believe that the first step in healing is learning to accept others. And, I have personally experienced the growth of love that can come from doing just that. Thus, “Open Hands Grow Loving Hearts” became my theme.

I chose a hand-painted fabric in sun-filled colors by Laura Wasalowski for the background. I took a course from Laura many year ago, and I adore her use of whimsy and bright colors.  I found an old tree stencil in my stash of “things for quilts” and modified it for my bare-branched tree. I drew the tree onto a light tan batik fabric and then painted it with Intense Ink Pencils.  When it was dry, I used Primacolor Pencils to sketch in shadows and lines. My next step was to choose scraps of Kaffe fabrics and hand-dyed fabrics for “hands” to serve as leaves for the tree. I selected different colors and textures to mimic the great variety of people in our world. 

The tree with Wonder Under was carefully cut out and fused to the background. Then I drew roots for the tree directly onto the background. I colored them in with multiple colors of Primacolor Pencils. After making the “4-layer sandwich” with batting, Timtex and backing fabric, I machine stitched the tree and roots.  

Next came the placement of the hearts. I decided to make 3 hearts flying away from the tree and 4 hearts growing up from the roots. To do this, I felt like I first needed to create some grass and leafy stems. I drew them directly onto the background, stitched around them, and then colored them in with multiple layers of green Primacolor Pencils. With each step when using pencils, I “set” the colors with a hot iron. 

The final step was the binding. For that, I chose a Kaffe Collective fabric that complemented the fabrics used for the hands. I hope you will enjoy my interpretation of "Open".

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Andrea: Excerpts from (Instagram) 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge

 We were given a new theme each day to work with.  I decided to sketch in a concertina/accordion sketchbook:

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Pieces Collage

    Kathy    Andrea     Carolyn
Karen     Sara     Judy
  Nedra      Alice      Tricia

Here is my first attempt at making a collage of our posts.  I haven't figured out how to add names to the collage yet.  With more practice, maybe I can approach Randy's creative talents at this.  The background of the picture came out white and couldn't be changed.  There is not much rhyme or reason to the arrangement.  For some reason, the image of Sarah's quilt was not the same as the others and I could not make it larger without distortion so I put it in the middle and the others just fell into place.


Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Judy's "Pieces of my Heart"


A heart came to my mind right away when we received this challenge word, but I struggled with the heart, pieces, colors, etc. I pondered pieces of some special dish I would feed my family and the pieces I use to make it. Jigsaw puzzles came into the picture and of course quilts, but I still couldn’t get the heart out of my mind. 

I was never keen on the anatomical heart, but with the Covid-19 time we have been in, I thought of all the times my heart physically hurt, rejoiced, yearned, and many other feelings.

I mostly see the good in life and others, so the colors had to be bright. I used this one piece of ombre fabric from Jenny Bryer Fallert collection.

At first I was going to write words in each section of the heart, but the cloud background was a better fit for all the words I wanted to quilt.

I had black and gold bias tape that has fusible web on it already, yet they were too heavy for this heart. The gold rick-rack told the story better and was easy to apply with glue then stitching it down.

Sitting down and quilting all the words took a lot longer than I thought. They needed to fit in the space. Many words were thought of and I have a whole list that I will be adding to. It’s a good feeling to write down those words and bring back memories. Since it is in my journal I’ll be able to look at all the extra words that wouldn’t fit on the little quilt.

Monday, November 1, 2021




I think this Little  Quilt truly meets the definition of "Pieces" ! !

The Central Motif for this quilt was a 9" x 7" piece of fabric I picked up at a Garage Sale, or perhaps I'd already had "stashed away"  in my Studio ! 

The Green borders are pieces of  fabric that had been used in different projects, and they seemed to coordinate well with the colors of all the fruits and vegetables.  A different coordinating green fabric was used on the back of the quilt.

Using Monofilament Thread, I "Free-Motion" Quilted around each of the Fruits and Veggies, and then Free-Motioned through the background.

Each of the borders was stitched down using a "Walking Foot"  to keep the stitches straight, and to help the fabrics "Behave"  while they were being quilted  :-D

I think this "Little Quilt"  is going to become one of our "Standard Thanksgiving Day"  Quilts !

Peace and blessings to all....  Kathy Harte

Sunday, October 31, 2021

 Sara's Quilt - Pieces of Me    

This challenge put me in mind of a quote from the Hasidic Rebbe, Menachem Mendel of Klotz. He said "There is nothing so whole as a broken heart". Life's traumas have certainly broken me apart and I've put myself together in a new way - not the same as before but hopefully more compassionate, empathetic, patient and  kinder than I was before.

I printed my picture on prepared fabric (EQ printables on an  Epson 3880). I then thread painted the eyes, mouth and hair before applying it to a fabric base and quilting it with monofilament thread

Alice's Quilt: Quilt Block Pieces


Two ideas jumped into my head as soon as I heard that Pieces would be our next theme.  I thought of jig saw puzzle pieces and the pieces that make up a quilt block.  Jig saw puzzles had been a great diversion for me during the pandemic lock-down days!  I tried to think of a clever way to compose a quilt using fabric cut into jig saw shapes, but that seemed daunting to me somehow.  So quilt pieces it would be!

First I looked for a quilt block that has squares, rectangles, and triangles.  I used Marsha McCloskey's BLOCK PARTY book, which has been a mainstay in my quilting life.  I quickly honed in on the block called Friendship since it had the requisite shapes I wanted to use.  I decided that I would I would actually construct this quilt block, using scraps from a recent Kaffe Fassett diamond quilt.  The diamonds were bordered with Kaffe's fabrics called Spot and I thought it would be fun to use chiefly those.  I wanted this quilt block to be the backing for my Pieces quilt.  So here's the block:

Setting triangles of two sizes, squares, and rectangles are all here!  

After making the block, I then fused some Wonder Under onto the fabrics I had chosen, and then I cut out the shapes I needed for my design.  After that I played with arranging them into a design that pleased me, and ironed them down.  I backed the quilt front with some batting, and then I appliqued them onto the background with a tiny zig zag stitch.  That became the quilting.  My quilt back was already made, and so the three layers were sandwiched, and then I bound the quilt with more of the green Spot fabric.

Tricia's Jigsaw Pieces Quilt

 I have always loved working on jigsaw puzzles. They are just filled with pieces. I thought it would be fun to try and create a simple jigsaw puzzle quilt. I took the photo this September at a friends summer house in Northern Maine. I just love the sunset colors on the flowers. Here is the photo that I used to start.

I had a friend print the photo onto broadcloth that was prepared for printing. I then downloaded a puzzle pattern. I enlarged the pattern for the photo with just 6 pieces. I stitched the jigsaw pattern on the photo but separated one piece of the puzzle.



I was playing around with scraps to make these
quirky little quilts.  No pattern for this, I just
set them in place on my design wall, so they have no rhyme or reason.  All Kaffe fabrics except for the tiny hot pink squares and the blue polka dots.


Still playing with pieces of scraps, I made                
a second quilt, simply by sewing various pieces 
together until I had a 12 x 12 piece of fabric that
satisfied me. I quilted in the ditch and added 
various designs into some of the pieces.  I was
beginning to free motion circles when all of 
a sudden a part fell off my machine.  So here
are my two yet to be finished little quilts!



Karen's Pieces Quilt

 Walking the beach, finding pieces of glass...sea glass. 

Simple construction. Fusing small pieces of hand dyed fabric, stitching with monofilament thread. 
Have wanted to experiment with mosaics. This is the beginning!

(Posted by Tricia for Karen)

Nedra's Pieces - Olga's Treasure!!


As you can see, I focused on the Spanish coins known as pieces of eight as they were literally cut in pieces and came to be used to make change.  That is how our currency became to be called two bits, four bits, six bits - terms my Dad used for quarters and half dollars.   I chose to focus on repetition of "eights",  and my octopus holding the spoils of treasure came to be.  

Using a coloring book drawing for inspiration, I drew my own octopus and treasure chest on freezer paper and the large shapes were cut out.  A combination of fusing, tuille, and inktense pencils were used to embellish the octopus and chest and to affix them to the background.  Stencils that I drew and cut were used to create the purple "coral" in the background.  The coins are metal buttons stitched to the arms and glued on the inside of the chest.  Plastic "crystals" were used to add to the look of a mass of precious gems in the chest and cystallized glitter also sprinkled on top for the sparkly feel.  Of course Olga had to wear a pearl bracelet as she just loves  bling!!! The blue sea fans were stitched on tuille with wash away stabilizer  and affixed to the piece.  There is a king's crown included in the bounty.  What fun this was to create!!


Andrea's Pieces Quilt


Bits and Pieces
12" x 12"
Gelatin printed monoprint, silkscreen, stencil, acrylic paint

This quilt is composed of experimental "bits and pieces" of ideas for previous Material Maven quilts.
Some of these ideas were used, others rejected.  The end result is very different from my original idea for this theme.  When going though some of my fabric stash to donate to my guild, I came across a lot of small "orphan" pieces of "what if" experiments.  As the pile grew, I started to put them together in a loose composition and was liking how well they were "playing" together, so thought, why not?  I've added a skinny strip of Kaffe Fassett's "Cloisonne" fabric, which I've also featured in my last two MM quilts.  Not only was it fun trying to incorporate a bit of this particular ( my favorite Kaffe ) fabric, but I think it adds another element  to the composition that was missing.

I am once again so grateful to our MM group for the opportunity to create something that I most likely would not have thought of making.  Although far from one of my favorite MM quilts, is was quite satisfying to put together. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Beauty Composite

I haven't read Shakespeare since a required senior high school English class.  I doubt I will soon again.  But it seems appropriate to borrow a well-known line from his writing, "Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say good night till it be morrow."

Yes, 'tis my last composite of Round Three, and, sad to say, my last composite for such a talented group of quilters.  I've told Alice that if the group moves on, I'm not going to move on with you.  I have written a church history book that is in the last stages of production, and it's going to demand a great deal of attention, so time marches on.  Parting is such sweet sadness but on to new adventures.

There is no special arrangement this time; they just sort of fell into place, squares, verticals, horizontals, and one dark background--done.

The heart in the sewing machine says it all.  You are doing what you love, what your soul needs.  Keep it up; it is a gift.

The flowers in the background are called fire-wheel or Indian blanket or Sundance or Gaillardia pulchella.  Native to North America.  We have a yard full of them in the late spring.

One last note of farewell.  The tag in the lower right corner is my way of saying other doors are open to new adventures.  Walk through them.  That huge iron art door is on the campus of McLennan Community College at the former Art Center.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the Material Mavens.  I've considered it a rich blessing.  


Saturday, July 31, 2021

Judy S. "Sewing Machine Beauty"

 Beauty. I thought a lot about this word. There are so many things that I feel are beautiful, but during my lifetime a sewing machine is one tool that I can say can and has created beauty. Our sewing machines create beauty by making quilts that are used to cuddle up with, to comfort, to delight by having memories sewn into them. They make art that we hang on our walls. They tell a story.

Sometimes our sewing machines make quilts for those less fortunate. A neighbor had a fire at their home and when I gave her a quilt she knew someone cared. That’s what the Linus project does for children when they are given one. The Quilts of Valor project give quilts to veterans who have served our country. So many of them haven’t been thanked and when they drape those quilts over their shoulders it warms their hearts.

The sewing machine also helps us make clothes that we can feel good in or make clothes for our family members. They repair favorite clothes, and alter new clothes so they fit better. We use our machines to make gifts for friends and families.

The sewing machine is a beautiful piece of machinery that creates beauty that you see and feel.

I don’t know what fabric company or designer the sewing machine fabric is made from other than it is a quilters cotton. I only have a fat quarter of it and there is nothing printed on the selvage. If you look closely there is a cute little mouse on the sewing machine.

The background is blue silk and I used a bright pink thread for the quilting. I used one layer of 80% 20% cotton/polyester batting and one layer of wool batting to give more texture to the quilt. To answer the question of how long did it take me to make it, I only put a timer on when I am doing the actual quilting and on this 11” x 14” piece it took me 1 hour and 23 minutes. I do make it a tad bigger especially when I am doing intense quilting because it draws up quite a bit which means I have a few scraps with the quilting on them.