Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Another 12 x 12 done!

A friend & I have been our guilds' 12" x 12" coordinators this year, hoping that we would get
a mostly traditional group to try something new. So far we have not been as successful as we had hoped, but we have a few more months to "work on them". The theme for September was LETTER/ Letters.
I based my quilt on a letter written in 1910 by my grandfather to his mother and sister. He was a 20 yr. old chauffeur for a woman "of means" from Geneva, New York. Mrs. Veil decided that she wanted to do the "Grand Tour" of Europe, so she, my grandfather and her Packard sailed on May 4, 1910 on the Adriatic, a sister ship to the Titanic, for France.
I silkscreened the background with images of the Adriatic, Packard, current information on the
Schweizerhof Hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland and enlargements of the addressed envelope. The letter and envelope were silkscreened on vintage cotton that I tea-dyed. I am very pleased with the result.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Alice's Harmony Quilt--Construction Process with Photos

At Andrea's suggestion, I documented the process of constructing my quilt with photos.  Probably what would be easiest would be to upload the various photos I took and then explain the process in the captions.

I first painted PFD fabric with the three Setacolor paints above, applying them to dampened fabric with a foam brush.

I had previously cut out the Chinese characters for harmony from craft foam.
These I placed randomly on the still-damp fabric.  The beads
and the green plastic were some experimenting
I was doing--to see how they
would sun-print.  (Wonderfully!)

I put the board on which the fabric was laid out in the sun to dry
and to sun-print on the patio table in our back yard.
(Our lawn is green and the flowers are
thriving, despite the drought, because
of our diligent watering!  Water has
not been rationed, thanks to the fact that our
water supply comes from a big lake, still

After finding a beautiful Asian fabric that featured Koi, I chose two fish
to be used on the Yin-Yang.

I lightly fused Misty Fuse onto the back of the Asian-themed fabric.

I auditioned the cut-out Koi on various fabrics, eventually choosing
this red-orange batik for the gold fish, and the Asian
turquoise fabric for the red one.

I used the lid from my ice bucket as a pattern for the Yin-Yang, tracing
around the lid onto the dull side of freezer paper.

I cut out the curved shapes and ironed the freezer paper patterns
to the two fabrics, shiny side down.
I cut out the shapes from the red-orange and turquoise fabrics.

I fused the koi onto the Yin-Yang.


I appliqued the fish and the Yin-Yang to the background, using a tiny
zig-zag stitch and thread that matched the applique.  I also appliqued the Yin-Yang
itself to the background.

I quilted around the Harmony characters first, and then
I quilted around the Yin-Yang several times.
Using a freezer paper template for the first line of
stitches, I quilted concentric arcs in three of
the four corners of the quilt.

I backed the quilt with this fabric printed with
Chinese characters.  I used the "pillow-case" method
of finishing, by placing the quilt and the backing
with right sides together, stitching all around the edges,
leaving an opening for turning, and then
blind-stitching the opening closed.
Obviously, when using this technique for
finishing, the quilting doesn't show on the back.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

We Started Off With Twelve--Our Harmony Quilts

And here are the creators of these Harmony quilts:

Top Row:  Carolyn, Alice, Kathy
2nd Row:  Judy S., Patti, Linda
3rd Row:  Andrea, Sara, Barbara
4th  Row: Petra, Rita, Jane

We were off to a good start, but how nice now to have more quilters in our Material Mavens group!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The new theme: SURPRISE

Dear Material Mavens,
     Today I am revealing the theme for our next two months. After visiting a beautiful website where people made quilts referring to famous paintings, I thought I would choose ART as our theme. Next I thought I would choose EDGY since I think we may want to do work that is on the cutting edge of Art Quilting or Art. It would also provoke more experimentation and thinking about what creates art but after today’s reveal I see members are already experimenting wildly. I thought of an art element, CONTRAST which would bring up two sides of things. I almost forgot to mention RISK.
      However, I remember in my other art quilt group as we were choosing all of our themes at the first meeting, I drew first naming:
 “Linda, I see you are to choose the topic for July,” said the leader.
“Oh! That is my birthday month!” 
“OK...Let’s have ‘Birthdays’ be the theme,” responded the group.
 I said, “How about BEGINNINGS.” 
Thus, BEGINNINGS it was; and it proved a very fruitful theme. Perhaps I like to choose something on the spur of the momentas I am doing today, for this can be surprisingly rewarding.
       This very week, I had a surprise visit to the ER. I am thus choosing SURPRISE as our topic or THEME. I once had a painting teacher who said, “Amaze me!”  Let us go forth to amaze or surprise ourselves and our audience, perhaps with the unexpected in its variety of manifestations.

HARMONY (At last !) REVISED 9/16/11

This lovely small quilt got finished at 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 15, and was the last iteration of several "Harmony" themes I had running around in my head. If you could see my studio right now, you'd see all the pieces / parts of the other versions ! I didn't intentionally wait 'til the last minute...but life challenges were abundant, not the least of which was getting the studio finished ! Cabinet makers, painters, and installers were in and out for a long period of time; I had great difficulty finding any of my materials and products; and just sitting down for quiet periods of 'think' time were best found in the wee hours of the morning.

From the very first moment I received the "Harmony" challenge, the song "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony..." began to haunt me. I kept hearing the New Seekers singing that song, and remembered the huge Coca-Cola ad campaign that made the "Harmony Song" an international icon. We found the lyrics, and I used Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) to get the words 'off my computer and on to the fabric.' (Be advised: products do deteriorate with age [and moving from Alaska to Texas, and being in storage for almost 2 years!] Successfully transferring what appears to be very simple took several attempts, and my printer took a beating.)

I love to do free-motion quilting, so here's a close up of the overall quilting I did on "Harmony." I used Madeira 30 wt. variegated rayon (one of my most favorite threads to use). The colors in this particular thread are cream, light pink, and a very soft blue, and are perfect for using with the hand-dyed fabric that reminded me of the sky at sunrise. [The hand-dyed fabric came from former Alaskan, Bonnie Bucknam (Handwerks) who now lives in Washington state. Bonnie's fabrics are always fabulous and top of the line !] Getting back to the quilting, I always use Madeira monofilament in my bobbins - love it, love it, love it! [Be aware... you might need to tighten your bobbin tension when using monofilament... it's a 60 wt. very fine thread !]

The final picture is of the back of this little quilt. The events of Sept. 11, 2001 affected all our world and have become pivotal points in our lives. With the recent 10 year anniversary of 9-11-01, I still shudder with emotion at what happened to our country and to our world. The backing fabric for my "Harmony" quilt made me think of time and space, the disaster, the healing, and the promise of tomorrow for all of us. Music being what it is.... "I'd like to teach the world to Perfect Harmony." Amen. Alleluia !

Rita's Harmony Quilt - World Harmony

(Before describing the Why and the How of my quilt, I need to explain what you are seeing.  This small quilt is done as a gallery wrap which means it is wrapped around a 12 inch square wooden frame that is ¾ inch thick.  Because of the wrapped and folded corners, I could not eliminate the background the quilt was standing in front of without erasing some of the quilt edges or changing the color of some of the edges of the quilt.  That is why there is a wide black border around the quilt.)

In thinking about the design for Harmony, I thought about the ideal of World Harmony, the harmony of the color wheel, the harmony of black and white, the harmony of opposite shapes (circles and squares) and ended up putting all of those together in one design.  I am sure I completely overthought the whole thing.
Everything is fused applique to the white background.  The continent design on the Earth is done with French knots.  I machine stitched around all the appliques with gold thread. The hearts are small pearl buttons.
I had to smile when I saw already mentioned, "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect hormony" as that is my alternate title.  Our local quilt guild, Homespun Quilters' Guild, is having a challenge in February to make a quilt based on a song. My challenge entry is now finished as well!

Petra - Harmony

I really don't know where the inspiration for this quilt came from. I thought about writing Harmony in different fonts or different languages and then I thought of night and day and the balance between them. I was thinking if there was anything that represented night and day and thought of the owl and cockerell. I had an image of a cockerell and made him up in purples, reds and yellows. I then made the owl and loved him but there was no harmony with Mr Cockerell, so I remade the cockerell to match. I really liked the sun and moon, the photo doesn't do justice to the fabric, it is so shiny and glittery, not something I would usually use or feel confident with but hey this for me is about growing as a quilter. Everything is attached using bondaweb with freemotion stitching, i've then attached some beads. Well done everyone, they're amazing,

Barbara's quilt-Moving in Harmony

I had help focusing on how I would depict harmony in a quilt. First it was my guitarist son who used harmonic chords to define harmony. I thought I could relate the chords (finger and string placement) with colors. This led to my thinking about Josef Albers theory of squares of colors and how they relate to each other. My husband suggested using transparency to define harmony in my piece. I found prints in red, orange and yellow and went to my favorite stash of dance photos. My technique included Wonder Under fused dancers stitched/quilted with a tiny zig-zag stitch of monofilament thread and a little Tsukineko Ink for the tiny brown hand.

Sara's Harmony Quilt-I'd like to teach the world to stitch

Since as one of my friends said "what do you know about harmony?", I decided to research the meaning of harmony. I learned about different musical notes played at the same time, mathematical ratios, repetition of shape and color harmonies. Most of all I kept hearing the Coca Cola commercials of my youth "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" which made me think of bubbles dancing.

I started with some onasburg that I stained with tsukineko fabric ink. I used the cool colors of blues, purples and greens. The background came out more muted than I thought it would but I decided I liked that effect. I then used thread painting to color my shapes using many warm colors of threads. The quilting was done with a blue/purple/green variegated thread.

Andrea's Harmony Quilt-Undulating Harmony

My first thought regarding HARMONY was that I wanted to use a harmonious color scheme. My next step was to look "harmony" up in my well-worn 1963 New Collegiate Dictionary. Definition 3a: pleasing or congruent arrangement of parts.
c: internal calm: TRANQUILLITY.
Definition c lead me to water, which then gave me my color scheme. After dyeing a range of blue/turquoise fabrics that I was pleased with, I started silkscreening images that to me represent water and tranquil places that I have visited.
Construction was intuitive machine piecing and then quilted with gentle undulating stitches. A few purple organza waves were fused on after quilting, as I have recently "discovered" layering with the transparent fabric to be a visually satisfying technique.

Linda’s Harmony Quilt -- Harmony on the Homefront, a double-sided 12 x 12


  Three things happened at once: 1) My accuquilt cutter arrived, 2) Joe and I were babysitting the grandchildren while their parents moved their home to another state, and 3) I needed to think “Harmony.” 

    I was excited to try the cutting machine, so I put an inexpensive blended roll of batiks into the chopper to get numerous triangles and many squares of two sizes. In creating the quilt. I limited myself  to only what was available in this particular stash cutting. 
    Off and on, the children concentrated to make houses of squares and rectangles. They had “house” on the mind and organized a tabletop of multi-colored homes (small square and triangle on big square as in the center). Harmony, however imperfect,  prevailed in several directions.This two- sided quilt is an homage to that time, the youngsters’ design, and my new helper, the fabric cutting machine.

Patti's Harmony Quilt

This is my Harmony Quilt "Renewed at Crystal Lake, N. H.". I was inspired by the crystal clear waters and serene nature of the lake. I have gone for many summers to Crystal Lake since I was a little girl. I was on my kayak and paddling through a small cove which was covered with blooming pond lillies. When I did a close of the lily, there were little black bugs hanging out and enjoying the flora as I was. I felt like we were all in sync with nature. (Actually, I might have been bothering them).

I did machine applique, free-motion quilting, and added crystal beads. I added some shimmer with netting.

Judy's Quilt-Gentle Harmony

Harmony brings thoughts of relaxation, joy, peace and calm. Silk is a soothing fabric and circles are harmony in a complete unit.

I did not do any sketching for this quilt since I’ve never worked that way. That is something I am working on to change. I started playing with the silk fabrics and cutting out circles. When I looked at what I had, it just started to come to life. They looked like wind chimes and when the red tulle was added, it was as if the wind chimes and a curtain were gently blowing in a breeze.

I normally use a tiny zig-zag to stitch my fused appliquéd pieces down, but the circles looked wrong with that technique. I free motion quilted around them and also the squiggly lines to make the quilt flow better.

To bind the quilt I put “Misty Fuse” fusible web on the back of some of the green fabric and used the pinking rotary blade to cut 1” wide strips. Then I fused the strips on top of the quilt one side at a time. Before I would go to the next side I turned the ends under and fused the strip in place on the back. I sometimes stitch along the edge to give it a “binding” look, but this one doesn’t seem to need that.

When we moved to Texas we stayed with friends until we found a place to rent. They had wind chimes that were soothing and pleasant which is what I needed at that time. This is what the quilt reminded me of.

Alice's Quilt--Asian Harmonies

Asian Harmonies

I planned early on to use the Chinese characters for harmony--printed, painted, or appliquéd onto my background fabric.   Perhaps use them with the ancient Taoist Yin-Yang symbol.  But how to integrate the images?  Then I found some lovely Asian fabric, featuring Koi. My brother had once had Koi in a pool in his replica of a Japanese garden, so why not mix Chinese and Japanese symbols?  The curves in the bodies of the fish seemed to echo the curves of the Yin-Yang.  So I sketched a Yin-Yang and cut out two fish.  The Koi fit neatly inside.   

I was eager to try sun printing.  So for the background I painted some PFD fabric with two different blue acrylic paints and mixed in a bit of black.  Using freezer paper, I traced the Chinese characters and then cut stencils from craft foam.  Placing the stencils on the painted fabric, I waited for the hot Texas sun to do its magic.  I cut out the Yin-Yang from coral and turquoise fabric scraps.  I first appliquéd it down onto the background, and then the two printed Koi, using a tiny zig-zag stitch.  Broderie Perse appliqué, in other words:  another technique I’ve always wanted to try!

I machine quilted around each of the Chinese characters and quilted concentric circles around the Yin-Yang symbol and concentric arcs in three corners.  I used the pillowcase method for finishing the quilt. I've struggled with a name for my quilt; I finally settled on "Asian Harmonies."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The big reveal

Looking forward to seeing everyone's quilts. Wanted to make sure that I could make a post. Patti

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Carolyn's Quilt ~ "Grounded in Harmony"

I was the first to choose a word for this, our very first quilt challenge blog. Shortly after returning from a workshop on "Earth Honoring Faith" at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, I selected the word, harmony, as our theme. The Ghost Ranch workshop was the 4th in a 10 year study on ecological issues as seen through the eyes of world-class theologians and ethicists. After weeks of rough sketches on numerous ideas, I chose "Grounded in Harmony" to convey my invigorated reverence for our planet and our connection with all of creation. A hand-dyed fabric, purchased years ago for a yet to be determined "special" purpose, became my background fabric. Using raw edge fusing, I added a tree that embraces the planet with roots. Flowers were added to represent my garden where I go for spiritual enrichment. A stream, using fused tulle, lies below the flowers depicted what I consider to be our most endangered resource, water. The light pouring in on the tree signifies the power within in all of us to protect the planet and all of creation. All of these techniques - raw edge fusing, over-laid tulle and free motion quilting were new to me and thus presented me with my first art quilt challenge.

Just in Time for the Big Reveal!

We have our new title up and running!  Thanks to all of you who contributed letter(s)!  I hope that you like it.  Thanks to Jamie Fingal for helping me with how to do this!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Quilt Guild of Greater Houston Show Winner

My Quilt Guild show was last weekend. My bee effort won best of show! I was really excited to see that our group effort, an art quilt did so well. One of the members had the idea to cut up pieces of Peltex into a puzzle shape and we each selected a shape and a theme from Alice in Wonderland. I did the Cheshire Cat in the top/center of the quilt. The tree was needle punched into a home dec fabric and then fused to the Peltex. The leaves are made of thread - I started making thread lace but had too much fun to stop. The cat face was originally just sewn on but I was told it was disappearing which is what was planned for the Cheshire cat. I did paint in the eyes and mouth and that was an improvement. I also quilted the black background. Nancy Dickey assembled the puzzle pieces on the background - a huge project.

Greetings from Patti and Alice

Patti and Alice
Patti came over to my house today so that I could give her a tutoring lesson in blogging.  Strangely, when Patti signs in on my computer, Blogger looked and acted totally differently!  This was most disconcerting to me.  So the tutoring lesson didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked.    Oh, well.  We managed to write a post, signed in as Patti, but then we took it down and now I am writing this one, with Patti still here.

Patti brought me her camera so that I could show her how to upload images.  At least that part of the lesson went okay, though again, with Patti signed in, the process was slightly different and, to me, more cumbersome.  Anyway we did get it to work.   Here is one of Patti's art quilts.  She made it several years ago in order to practice curved piecing and machine quilting.  Before she retired, it hung in her office.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Almost Reveal Time

We have less than a week before our first big reveal. I would like a clarification on what to include for our post on the 15th. I know that we post a photo, but what else as far as written info?
I have time this weekend because we didn't get to travel to Northern CA to see our grandson due to the huge blackout in San Diego County! We were at the airport right after it happened and were interviewed by ABC news! We rescheduled our cancelled Thursday flight to Friday which was also cancelled! We decided to stay home!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Oh my goodness - Newport and Newburyport. Now is that a coincidence - or what?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Barbara and Alice Meet in California!

Barbara Friedman and one of her quilts!

Barbara Friedman was gracious enough to drive from San Diego to Newport Beach, to meet and have lunch with me here at my daughter's home.  After lunching and visiting, we had a show and tell.  Barbara brought a number of her art quilts, which are behind her on the sofa, and more of them are pictured below.   She also brought several of her sketch books, which I loved browsing through.  I saw the sketch on which this quilt Barbara is holding was based.  I must start sketching, though it will be years before I can achieve the lovely little ink and water color sketches that Barbara does!  I showed her the few traditional quilts of mine that the family here in California have in their home.  Then Barbara and I drove to a yarn store.  I thought the yarns were lovely, but I am not a knitter so I'm not as discriminating as is Barbara.  She loved a couple of patterns, though, and bought them.  The time we spent together sped by for me, and I was sorry to have to say good bye!  Here are a few more pictures of this delightful visit between a Maven from Texas and our sole Californian!
A closer look at some of Barbara's art quilts

My grandson Locke wanted to be in one of the pictures!
Barbara and Alice

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Carolyn Meets Andrea

Hi Material Mavens!

I've just returned from the Boston area where I had the exciting opportunity of meeting fellow maven, Andrea. That's Andrea on the left, and me on the right. We had so much fun sharing information about one another and talking, talking, talking quilts. Linda was suppose to join us, but was ill that day, so I will have to wait until another day to meet her. We enjoyed a delightful lunch and strolled the streets of Newburyport, Mass. looking at all the artsy shops we could find. Andrea brought along some "show and tell" that included examples of her silk screening AND hand painted fabrics using melting SNOW, of all things. They are stunning! I'm thinking about becoming brave enough to try dyeing, but since I'm in Texas, it will have to be minus the snow.


Studio Under Construction !

Good morning from the Great State of Texas ! Some of you may know that my husband, Greg, and I relocated from Anchorage, Alaska last June (2011) and now live in the teeny-tiny town of Gatesville, TX. During this summer, Central Texas has endured almost 90 days straight of triple digit heat, and almost all the records for the highest heat and longest number of days in triple digits have been broken. Equally difficult is the significantly long period of drought. Our land is parched, our livestock are struggling, and humans are getting just a bit testy. We've heard there's a possibility of rain this weekend and temperatures returning to "normal" (in the 90's!) Collectively, Central Texas is praying for that rain and the lower temps.

On a personal note, my great news is that having been without my studio for over 2 years and thus very limited in the amount of work I've been able to produce, the cabinetmakers, carpenters, and painters are now hard at work putting my studio together ! What started as 4 white walls and a beautifully painted concrete floor (turquoise, of course!), the studio now has 85+ linear feet of upper shelving, and the 16" wide shelves will allow ample room to store all the rolls of batting! Next to be done - installation of cabinets, peg boards, an over-sized magnetic 'bulletin board,' and cabinetry under my Handi-Quilter to accommodate all the other 'stuff' that hasn't yet found a place to reside. I'm ecstatic about the progress that's been made in the last few days, and can hardly wait to get everything moved in !

Our "Letters" are due no later than Sept. 10, and our "Harmony" reveal is set for Sept. 15. I seem to do well under pressure, and it's probably time for me to get the ideas that have been floating around in my head for a few weeks out of my head, on to paper, and then into fabric. That is... if I can find all my quilting / art supplies that have been boxed up since we moved down here :-) I'm up for the challenge and excited about working on those 2 projects. I'm still very new at blogging, and as soon as I can figure out [again!] how to post pictures to this blog, I'll let y'all be the first to see the brand new "From the Harte Design Studio."

Peace & blessings to all, Kathy