Saturday, January 21, 2012

All the South Quilts (so far)!

And don't they look impressive, all together like this?  Thanks to Diane Perin Hock who told me how to make a mosaic like this!

Now for me to identify each, at least by quilter's name.  (By the way, it would be really super if for the next "reveal", each of you chooses a title for your quilt other than just the theme title!)

Okay, here goes, top row:  Petra, Patti, Judy W.
2nd row:  Sara, Kathy, Carolyn
3rd tow:  Barbara, Judy S., Nedra
4th row:  Rita, Andrea, Alice
5th row:  Linda

Monday, January 16, 2012

Using Links--Another Way to Fine-tune Your Posts!

Okay, now I've fixed it so that we have a gadget list on the sidebar that shows all the labels, arranged in order of number of labels.

Another hint I'd like to share concerns LINKS.  Look at the toolbar on the new post posting page.  In addition to the little icon for inserting a picture, there is the word LINK.  If there is something in your post you'd like readers to know more about (for example, in my recent post I thought readers might like to see a print of Van Gogh's "Vincent's Chair"), you highlight those words (or a single word).  Then you will be automatically sent to a page where you can enter the URL for the page where you suggest readers go.  On the post itself, this link will appear in a different color.  Thus in my recent post, I gave readers an opportunity to go not only to see the original painting, but I liked them also to another one of my blogs that explained in more detail Marcia Stein's method of binding, whereby the binding blends in with the sides of the quilt.

The way I handle this task is to first find the place where I want readers to go.  Then I copy the URL.  When I highlight that place, I then can quickly past the URL in the little box.   For example, if I mention that I used machine couching in my quilt, I could highlight that and then send any interested reader to an explanation for how to couch by machine.

Links are fun, I think; anytime you mention a product or a process that you feel could use more explanation, use a Link!

Labeling Our Posts: Elemental Blog Organization

Judy commented about my use of labels at the end of my South theme posting tonight.  I'm addressing this subject here so hopefully everyone will see it and make use of labels on their own posts.  In doing so, the Maven's blog will provide a means for members and outside readers to track specific artists, themes or any other relevant  labels used.  (Alice, as Administrator you will need to add a Labels Gadget in the sidebar if you want the labels to show as a Menu).  Labels at the end of each posting act as a link to all other Maven's blog posts with that label.

Most important of all would be using our NAME as the primary label for every post we submit.  Secondly, on reveal day, the THEME should also be a designated label.  Beyond that, anything goes as long as it's relevant. I suggest keeping it simple.  Too many labels become laborious to navigate. As an example, instead of listing all the various types of Piecing, Dyeing or other techniques and Embellishments possible, just use those main labels. 

When you create a new post, select appropriate labels from the drop down menu of labels or type in new ones as needed.  Do this before you 'publish' your post.

It's never too late to revisit your older posts following these steps:

1. Log onto Material Maven's blog

2. Select - New Post in the upper right corner. (you won't actually be posting)

3. Select - Material Maven's in the upper left corner.

4. You are now on the page that shows all of the posts, since day one to present.
Note:  Those of you who created drafts and later submitted different posts on the same subject can delete those drafts. They are obsolete now.

5. Select - Edit on your most recent post.

6. Select - Labels located on the right.  It will show the complete labels list from which you will select the appropriate labels for your post, and add ones as needed.  Especially your name!

7. Select - Update located at the top of the page. After saving, it will return you to the Posts page.

8. Repeat the above steps for each of your posts.  You may have to do this in separate ssessions but since our blog is relatively new, now is the best time to bring it up to date.

I hope this encourages my fellow Maven's to make the best use of our blog posts as a reference source.   Respectfully yours, Judy Wedemeyer

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Theme word- "ELEMENT"

A couple months ago I came up with several words, but "Element" kept coming to the top. There are so many ways to interpret this and with the amazing talent there is in this group I can hardly wait to see what we come up with! Even though I have known what the word would be, I'm not sure which direction it will take me.

I didn't want to reveal the word until most of the South quilts were on the blog, but maybe I have driven you crazy. Sorry about that. Most of my friends tell me I have to be different. I am so glad I am with a bunch of quilters that throw out different things for me to learn about and see.

This is a new year and I hope it is a joyful year for all who participate in this blog and read it. Happy 2012!

Patti Brooks's Post for South Theme- Okra -

I grew up in New England and a month after we were married, we left Boston heading SOUTH to Austin, Texas for my husband to go to graduate school. As we were heading to Texas, we stopped in a cafeteria somewhere in the south (could have been Georgia). We hadn't eaten at a cafeteria before and thought we would try something new - Okra. Wow.! Boiled Okra sure caught our attention. I thought it was the worst thing I had ever eaten. Don't think that I tried it again for another 15 years. Still don't care for the boiled, slimy stuff but can tolerate it fried (doesn't frying help lots of things).

I decided okra had to be the focus of this quilt. My quilt is based on a cross section of a piece of okra. I included the different stages I went through. I used applique, free motion quilting, and a decorative stitch from my new machine for the outline.

Judy W. "South Bound"

"South Bound" by Judy Wedemeyer
After looking at the previous postings for this theme, I was surprised how many similar renderings of flying geese were depicted.  Originally I'd been focusing on spirals and staircases due to their downward 'southerly' direction.  Heading south kept coming to mind, probably because as a lifetime Alaskan, heading south is a  term we Northerners deem for resident 'snow birds' desiring to escape the long, dark, cold winters here.

Alaska has glorious sunsets and my neighborhood is within honking distance of Potter Marsh bird sanctuary where I can hear the geese and Trumpeter Swans call as they flock to rest at night during their migratory Fall conditioning exercises.
Southern view from my back deck.

Trumpeter Swans at Potter Marsh, South Anchorage
I Googled flying geese images to determine which Sillouette shapes I preferred for my design.  After drafting a diminishing, curved flying geese pattern, which migrated in a southerly direction, I quickly chose the background batik fabric I felt best suited the environment and subject matter.  I'd never drafted a curving pattern for foundation piecing and was a bit apprehensive, but thankfully, it came out remarkably well.  The subtle striped fabric was intended to reinforce the directional pattern.  I used an iron on stabilizer as the foundation and chose not to remove it after the piecing in order to avoid fabric stretching.

Hand stitched reverse applique enabled me to insert the geese pathway onto my background with the most precision. Once inset, I trimmed the path to within a quarter inch of the seam.  Fusible applique using WonderUnder adhered the geese Sillouette's (including the white accents on the geese) to the quilt top.

My chosen finishing technique was to layer the batting, backing (face up), and then the quilt top (face down) in a sandwich, before stitching entirely around the quilt on the pre-marked seam line. I carefully cut a slit through the batting and backing to pull the quilt right sides out.  This is not how I normally do it but I needed to stitch on the tops seam line for proper alignment.  I placed the opening where my label would cover the slit, and adhered a finished label over the slit with fusible web before I quilted.  I choose this method when I don't want a binding and know I will be quilting in an all over pattern.

Preferring not to individually stitch around the shapes to permanently anchor them to the fabric, I machine quilted a simple echo pattern using a variegated Isacord thread (Saffron color) that would subtly blend with the background while simultaneously securing the shapes and echo the flying geese pathway for an added sense of motion.  I enjoyed my first Maven's challenge and look forward to our next one.

Sara in the South

I started thinking about the theme "South" in terms of my personal experience. In 1969 my father decided he hated NYC and my parents packed up the car with me and my younger siblings and headed SOUTH. He remembered liking Miami in the 1940's so our destination was Florida. When the reservations they made in Miami were not real, we initially settled in an efficiency in Hollywood. This started my family's long stay in Broward County Florida. I thought of that trip and that once south of Maryland, my dad ordered grits every chance he got. When we crossed the Georgia/Florida border there were Palms trees that surrounded a welcome to Florida sign. The only thing I remember about them is that they were rather sad looking since they probably would have been happier in South Florida, not on the border with Georgia.

For this challenge I wanted to use photoprinting with Kalideoscope Creator. I've owned the software for a while (I have version 1.0 and 2.0 but the current version is 3) but I have never used it. There are no coconut or royal palms around me in Houston but we do have Sago Palms. I do realize that Sago's are not really in the same family as the Palm but they do have the same frond leaves. I used a great picture I took in New Braunfels of a Sago Palm and printed a 12 inch image in tiled format. I discovered the results were not stable 6 inch squares so I think I will experiment with this more before I make anything bigger with it. Of course, now that I have used the software once, I have an excuse to upgrade to the newest version to see if that works better.


I was so excited about the "South" theme, especially since moving to Central Texas 18 months ago. My first thought of "South" was the delicious food we have here, the wonderful savory flavor, the incredibly hot spices, and one of our favorite Southern side dishes...spicy & hot Salsa!

This little quilt is comprised of hundreds (perhaps thousands !) of 3" x 1/2" strips of fabric. Using several different fabrics, I fused 2 layers of fabric together using Heat & Bond (light), then rotary cut the fused fabrics into strips using a wavy-edge blade. Now the sewing could begin ! I chose a heavy-weight red & purple fabric for the background, a medium weight batting, and a "salsa-y" type fabric for the backing. These were quilted together, and the edges finished.

To attach all the strips, I randomly gathered 4 strips, placed them on the background fabric, then stitched them in place. There were 5 rows; 17 sets of strips in each row. After attaching all those little pieces, I threw the quilt into the washing machine with a hot water wash and warm rinse. After that came the hot dryer. Yep ! All those little strips just went wild ! But still... the quilt needed more depth. I added 4 more rows in between the original 5 rows, and repeated the process. Still not "fluffy" enough.

Now came the hard part....hand cutting each of those little strips in half lengthwise. My poor scissors... my poor hand! The quilt went back into the wash for its 3rd hot water, warm water processing; then back into the dryer for the last time. Voila ! A 3-dimensional 12" x 12" art quilt that's 2" thick from all those little fluffed up, fused together strips :-)

As I look at "South" I think about a rich, savory, fragrant, super-hot bowl of salsa, and how much we enjoy this incredible / edible gift from our neighbors to the South.... Mexico !


My Granny was a mountain woman with a 3rd grade education. She grew up in western North Carolina in the foothills of the Southern Appalachian mountain range. When she married, her uncle made her an egg basket as a wedding gift. As a child living in Texas, I cherished our trips to visit her. I often went to the hen house with her to gather eggs, which she carried to the country store, along with churned butter, to sell. As an adult, I went to stay with her for a few days when she had breast cancer. At the end of the visit, she insisted on giving me her precious egg basket.

This style of basketry is the most commonly woven basket in the Appalachians. The technique was brought to America from the Scotch/Irish in the 18th century, and was passed down from one generation to another. It is a 4 doz. ribbed basket with a twin bottom that helps prevent eggs from rolling into each other. It is woven with perfectly round oak rods and strips of white split oak.

I made a photo of my basket, now almost 100 years old. I transferred the image to fabric. Then I fused it to the background fabric with Wonder Under. I cut out and applied the eggs in the same manner. I created shading on the bottom of the basket with brown tulle applied with Misty Fuse. Then I stitched around the basket and eggs with a tiny machine stitch. Next, I cut out and fused the coneflowers, a common Southern flower and appliquéd them using a zig-zag stitch. I machine stitched the oak rods, the basket handle and the main oak strips with a hand quilt stitch. I added shading to the eggs with silver tulle. The final step was to quilt the lively background fabric which I chose because it reminded me of colorful fried eggs and because it expresses the joy I felt when I was at my Granny's.

Barbara's South Quilt-South Africa

I had so many ideas about south that I couldn't focus until recently! I have a quilt friend from South Africa and thought using my warm colored african fabrics would be fun since they haven't come out to play for a long time! I started with a dark background and put lots of different african fabrics in many configurations and was really frustrated.
Yesterday, yes I said yesterday, I went thrift store shopping with my daughter and my sisters. I found a man's cotton shirt with this fabulous stripe and it was extra large and had all the hot colors I was looking for!
Last night I was so disappointed in my design that I just said I would use the shirt for the backing. When I cut it out, it told me to use it for the background. Yes, fabric talks to me, I'm sure you've heard it too! I took two pieces of the african fabric and voila! I added hand stitching and some machine quilting and found a fun dot fabric for the binding. I want to thank my daughter for staying up with me last night listening to my ranting and giving me suggestions and encouragement!

Judy S. "Graceful South"

South means flying geese to me. I have always loved the fall. The honking of geese and their graceful formation always amazes and delights me when I hear them overhead. One time we were traveling back from Santa Fe and for miles and miles on our route to Lubbock we saw hundreds of geese flying in to rest for the night. It was such a joy.

I originally thought I would use fall colors for the landscape, but the more I thought about it and worked with fabrics, I liked the thought of the pastel colors of sunset. The geese became the bright fall colors.

I have admired Judy Dales and Caryl Bryer Fallert and their curved piecing. Judy Dales did a lot with pastel soft colors and sail boats that have always intrigued me. Caryl Bryer Fallert has used the flying geese in such graceful ways that I have always wanted to do some myself.

This was my first attempt at making a pattern with the flying geese paper pieced into the block. It wasn't difficult, but it was hard to cut away the area to put the flying geese after I had so nicely pieced the background. I did reverse applique so that the bulk of the flying geese set wouldn't have to be turned under.I continue to use the fused and "pinked" strip of fabric for my binding. Fast fun and not bulky.
Judy Steward

Nedra's South - "Sunbonnet Sue Goes South"

Being a native southerner, I thought this would be a breeze.  However, I had a very difficult time settling on an idea, even though south brought to mind many words, sayings and pictures.  I dismissed most of them for various reasons.  The singular picture of "The South" that kept recurring in my mind was of the beautiful live oak trees draped in Spanish moss that dominate the landscape where I grew up.   Having seen the same landscape in Charleston and Savannah,  I decided that was what I wanted to portray.  I discussed my idea with Andrea, who knows I have a special attachment to Sunbonnet Sue.  She thought I should incorporate her into my design somehow.  Well here she is!!
“Sunbonnet Sue Goes South” wearing her crisp white “sundress” – but wait!!  Ever wondered what she looked like under those unflattering dresses?  Now you know. 

The leaves of the tree are painted with Setacolor paint.   The moss is thread painted and then embellished with an eyelash yarn, that I pulverized with my rotary cutter, and fused on top. The tree, sue and flowers are fused and machine quilting finishes it off.

Rita's South: Not Just a Direction but a Destination

     Upon seeing our new theme on November 15, 2011, the thought of what I wanted to try to depict was quickly and fully developed in my mind.  Next, of course, was actually figuring out how to do it.  I am not a drawing artist and could not take pencil to paper and draw a goose in flight.  So with the help of the internet I found a black and white drawing of my needed geese.  And in my mind, a quilters quilt would also need pieced flying geese.
     The larger geese in the foreground were done using fused, raw-edged applique which was also stitched on the edge with invisible thread.  Additional color was added with crayons, colored pencils, a black Pigma pen and quilting thread.  I had to go to "Peterson's Field Guide to the Birds" for appropriate colors.
     The small background geese in flying formation were drawn and then paper pieced.
     The top was finished rather quickly.  Then I hit a wall trying to decide how to quilt it.  And then it hit me.........they are birds, so quilt feathers!  Duh.
     The finished quilt is gallery wrapped around a 12 inch x 12 inch x 1 inch deep frame as were Harmony and Surprise.

Andrea's South

My first impression when the theme was posted was of Florida, the sun, hot bright colors and palm trees. I rejected those hoping to think of something less predictable that meant something to me. Many weeks and much angst later, I returned to my first impressions after seeing the drawing that my 7 yr. old great-nephew made of that "famous mouse" in anticipation of his first upcoming trip to Disney World. I borrowed his drawing to make a thermofax screen, which is subtly printed ( intentionally ) on the orange strip. The imagery of the postcard, postmarked from Palm Beach in 1919 was written by my grandfather to his 7 month old daughter, my mother, when he worked as a chauffeur for a woman in Geneva, N.Y.
All the images are screen printed using both thermofax and a "traditional" wooden-framed silkscreen, on my own hand-dyed fabric. The black & white stripe is a commercial fabric.

Alice's South Quilt--Vincent's Chair

INSPIRATION:   Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “Vincent’s Chair.”  As soon as I heard what our theme was this time, I knew I wanted to try a fabric version of one of his works he’d painted in the SOUTH of France.

I fell in love with Van Gogh’s paintings as a young teen.  At 13, I read Irving Stone’s book about him, LUST FOR LIFE.  The book enthralled me, and getting to see his paintings “in real life” at the National Museum in Washington, D.C. was profoundly moving to me.  Through the years, I have sought out his works every time I visit an art museum.

In 2009 we took a riverboat cruise on the Rhone River.  My favorite day was spent in Arles.  It was here that Van Gogh lived for the last years of his life and where his signature style came into full bloom.  It was here, sadly, that Van Gogh took his own life.

Our tour guide in Arles showed us many places in Arles where Van Gogh had painted.  While there, she would show us a print of the painting he had done of that site.  Seeing those locations, along with the replicas, made our visit in Arles all the more wonderful. 

“Vincent’s Chair” is a rectangular painting and didn’t lend itself easily to our square format.  I had to widen the design, which of course altered the proportions of his original composition—(and didn’t improve it!)  I made the box of sprouting onions a little bigger; now I wish I had enlarged his chair as well and moved it a bit closer to the box.  Oh well!  Live and learn.  The fabric colors don’t precisely replicate his paint colors, but they are in the same color family

METHODS: machine piecing and quilting; fused raw-edge appliqué and narrow zig-zagging; machine couching; highlighting and shading the chair and box after machine quilting

MATERIALS:  batiks and a few commercial quilting cottons from my stash,  WonderUnder fusible.  The “grout” in the tile floor was stitched first with Perle thread #8 in several lines of straight stitches with final couching.  The tobacco pouch is suede; the pipe is “faux leather” (both glued down after quilting.)  Pentel’s Fabric Fun Pastel Dye Sticks for the door hinge and for highlights and shadows on the chair, floor, and box. Colored-pencil for Vincent’s name. Marcia Stein’s method of binding with matching fabric.

Linda's 12 x 12: Bird of the South

Click to enlarge
   Recently, before the South challenge, I worked on a round robin quilt which had a mariner’s compass as the beginning. In no time, I found myself thinking South in re to a Chinese compass and learned that astronomy in China is different than in the Western World. For a long time, South for the Chinese was placed at the top of the compass:  South, being the direction where the sun reached its highest elevation, is more important than North, and was considered the reference direction on maps. The ancient Chinese grouped the stars into Chinese constellations very different from the modern Western constellations which the International Astronomical Union based on Greco-Roman astronomy.
    The Vermillion bird of the South, or Red-bird of Summer, is one of the Four (or five) Symbols of the Chinese constellations and is a mythological spirit creature. It is not to be confused with the Phoenix of Western mythology. It is an elegant and noble bird in appearance and behavior. Its seven mansions or moon stations are Well, Ghost, Willow, Star, Extended Net, Wings and Chariot which in the future I may crochet or bead into this sky. These constellations, when strung out almost look like the appliqued Fire Bird which is shaped from many different animal parts and associated with good fortune.


Hello Everyone,

This is my "South", you're probably thinking I'm obsessed with birds. But I struggled with the concept of south and kept coming back to birds heading south for winter.

It's a new technique for me, it's bleach discharge on black cotton sateen, then bondawebbed onto the background. I played around with the quilting, having clouds at one point but they were too fussy for the starkness, so I settled on straight lines to reflect the slats in the fencing.

I hope you're all well and had the best of times over Christmas and New Year.

Happy Quilting in 2012