Saturday, September 15, 2012

Judy S-Ribbon spirals

The truth is that I have been mulling over the word spiral for almost the whole 2 months and only finished it yesterday. What I came up with makes me think of the Olympic event where they use the ribbons in their routine. I love watching the Olympics and hearing the stories of the athletes journey there.
As a little girl I always enjoyed taking ribbons and twirling around with them. They flow and fly through the air to make such wonderful designs. I never imagined it would become a portion of an Olympic event. The funny thing is that when I looked up the color of the Olympic rings they are red, yellow, green, blue, and black on a white background. I didn’t get all the colors right,(no black or white and I added orange) but I did pick out colors that I liked. They look Olympicish right?
My design started in a dream on spirals. It turned out even better then in my dream and was fun to make. I cut a circle out of fabric and then just started cutting into it in a spiral fashion.  Next I laid it on the background fabric making it ruffle as I spiraled it out of the center and pinned it in place. It looked really cool with the pins radiating out from them and I thought I might quilt it that way. Then I started gluing the low spots down and taking the pins out. I liked it that way too. I may add some other touches later, but for right now the ribbons are flowing and making happy ripples in the air.

The theme for our next quilt is . . .

. . . TRAVEL!  Have fun with it.  This one just came to me yesterday.  I was so certain a couple of weeks ago that I was going to choose another, but then this one hit me over the head and I'm excited about it.  Hope you are too!

Love and peace,


Janet-Spiraling Out of Control

First of all, thank you to the Material Mavens for welcoming me into your group. This was a great time to start as I just recently learned how to draft patterns for all kinds of spirals. I will admit it was more fun drawing the spiral than sewing it. A small suggestion, if you are paper piecing a spiral and can leave the paper on the back it helps to keep it from pulling out of shape.

Spiraling out of control immediately came to mind when I heard the assignment. The spiral represents the illness, pain, depression and loss of control I have had to deal with the last couple of years. I think it would be safe to say I have a type A personality (ok, maybe triple A) so that is a hard row to hoe for me. The compass represents my husband, son, family and friends who do for me what the compass has done for centuries of mariners, they keep me from losing my way. I just finished reading a book that had a great line in it, “sit quietly now and cease your relentless participation”. I think I will do just that.

A Quick Note from Alice!

Mavens, be sure to look back at Kathy's and Linda's quilts!  These busy mavens were going to be totally tied up today, and so both of them posted early.  One on the 13th and one on the 14th.  So don't fail to go back and check them out!

Carolyn's Cosmic Spiral

Spiral Close-Up

When this theme was announced, spiral designs danced through my head day and night.  What fun this was going to be!  I spent hours looking at scores of pictures of spirals in nature. Then I started drawing designs.  My intent was to draw a complicated design that I would then translate into fabric.  But alas, nothing seemed to suit me.  So, I decided to just start cutting and assembling fabric.  I backed my fabrics with Wonder Under and once cooled, removed the paper backing.  Then I started building my design on relief paper.  For the center of my design, I used a batik featuring a spiral design.  Then I built the design from the center outward using batiks and hand-dyed fabrics.  I played with the design until it was visually pleasing. 

For me, the design mimics my idea of a meteorite particle swirling around in space.  I had fun adding motion to the piece with machine quilting.  I will use spirals again, but have since thought of a different way to achieve a more complex design! 

Sara's Spiral - Prehistoric sea

I love spirals and use them frequently as quilting motifs. My mystery quilt is also based on a spiral. I generally choose geometric and abstract designs. I did want these challenges to help me expand my work and have tried to choose different techniques each time. I was telling someone in a mini-group I go to that I was going to look for spirals in nature. She excitedly showed me images from the new Paleontology wing at the Houston Museum of Natural Science and I knew that was where I had to head with my camera. I used to collect fossils when I first re-settled in Houston in the late 70s and remembered learning about ammonites. There were so many varieties of them that were short lived that they are used as index fossils to help identify the age of a geologic strata. The specimens at the museum were gorgeous. The ammonites had squiggly separations between each of its growth chambers. Some of the specimens looked like a quilter had done small meandering over the shell. I started with a photo of a model of a living ammonite.

 I watched Susan Brubaker Knapp's DVD on painting and stitching starting with a black and white print out of my photograph and choosing my own colors. I traced the design lines from my photo. Scanned the tracing into the computer and then printed it as close to 12 by 12 as I could. I copied the lines onto some fine pfd fabric and pinned the fabric taut onto some foam core board. I painted with mostly Setacolor paint and a bit of Jacquard lumiere paint and some Stewart and Gill Alchemy paint (the copper and yellow green of the eye). The painting took a lot longer than I expected it would and I waited for drying between colors.After everything was painted and dried, I backed the work with 2 layers of Pellon 40 weight stabilizer (Susan uses an interfacing but I already have the stabilizer) and sketched over any pencil lines with thread and added additional shading and texture with thread. This was tricky for me - the piece probably could have used additional thread work but I tend to love stitching and playing with thread so much that I end up thread painting not sketching so I intentionally held myself back. I finally sandwiched the top with a sample of wool batting and quilting with monofilament thread to add texture but not more color. The quilt was finished with a facing.
Sara's Spiral - Ammonite as it might have existed in its Spiral Home

Rita's Spiral Quilt -- A Sunflower

The area behind our home is a native prairie with seasonal wildflowers. As a retired science teacher I am aware of the many spirals in nature’s wonderful backyard. When the challenge word SPIRAL was given, and I was seeing native sunflowers, I had my vision and the challenge became how to create this as a 12 x 12.
First, a mini biology lesson:  The sunflower is actually a composite and is a collection of hundreds of flowers, packed together next to one another on a platform called a receptacle (the tip of the stalk where the flower is attached). It is made up of two kinds of flowers.  The disk flowers (tiny bead-like) in the center will form seeds. The infertile ray flowers are the ‘petals’ (bright yellow). The disk flowers grow in spiral rows around the head of the receptacle.
Bringing this 12 x 12 image to life: Timeless Treasures is a wonderful photo-treated fabric, backed with paper, which can be processed through an ink-jet printer. Google then came to the rescue. After locating the exact sunflower image I wanted, I made a full color print which would be the background on which to work and then was ready to select materials and bring this month’s challenge to life.  
The center of my ‘composite flower’ is embroidered and would be where the sunflower buds are just forming.  Out from the center, the buds which will become flowers and then seeds are beaded.  The outside rows are fully developed flowers and are beaded and embroidered. Finally the ‘petals’ are made from double sided fabric, fused together with Heat n’ Bond.  The ‘petals’ were also shaded with a small touch of fabric paint.
Just for the fun of it, a mini math lesson:  In the heads of sunflowers, two series of curves can be observed, one winding one direction and one winding a different direction and the number of spirals will not be the same in each direction.  The number of spirals will be 21 & 34, or 34 & 55, or 55 & 89, or 89 & 144.  These numbers all belong to the Fibonacci sequence: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89,144, etc. (where the number is obtained from the sum of the two preceding numbers).  This is the most efficient way of filling space, which maximizes the number of seeds in a given area. Moreover, generally the petals are formed at the extremity of one of the spirals and therefore their number corresponds on average to a Fibonacci number.  Fibonacci introduced these numbers in the year 1202 in attempting to model the growth of populations of rabbits.
And finally - an apology:    In my “grand plan”, I intended to fold the petals that went past the edge of the gallery wrap frame down and under.  When it was time, I just could not; I really liked the way it looked with the “over-hang.”  Therefore, my 12 x 12 is not really a 12 x 12. It’s really 12 and a petal tip x 12 and a petal tip. 

PS From Alice:  Rita sent me the image and her explanation because she was having major issues with her computer and was not able even to log on to our blog!  So that's why below you will see that it says "posted by Alice"!
Barbara's Spiral Quilt--Honoring the Past

My collection of old linens and laces are from family and friends who know I collect.  I always wanted to use these wonderful treasures so I picked a Damask Linen table napkin and layered it with batting and backing.  While taking a road trip to my visit my grandchildren, I used the time in the car to quilt the asterisk design in neutral embroidery floss over the surface.  The edges of the napkin were raveling so I used the old crocheted lace to bind the edges.  I had bought a stamped quilt top with women fused on it from a friend who wanted to have less in her stash of fabrics.  I painted a spiral, glued on the ladies, laid cream colored tulle and hand stitched around it.  I felt it needed energy to keep the motion of the spiral going so I added green fused lines to give the piece a dynamic feel.

Andrea's Spiral quilt - Out Of Memory

Rex Escargot Begonia leaves

Out Of Memory

Until August 24, my intent was to base my spiral quilt on the Rex Escargot begonia plant that I have been "baby-ing" since I bought it last spring.  It was kind of a sad little plant, but has been thriving in my kitchen ever since.  I am fascinated with its spiraling green and silver leaves.  It was also this plant that inspired the theme.  On August 24, a college friend and I, whom I had not seen in at least 18 years, were finally able to get together and we had a wonderful few hours talking non-stop.  At one point, we were discussing where we had traveled over the past few years and I mentioned that I had gone to New York City with 3 friend ( including Nedra ) in March 2011 specifically to see an exhibit of 651 red & white quilts.  I went on to explain that it was the way that the quilts were hung, with the center display spiraling up to the ceiling that was truly amazing.  Hmmmmmm....SPIRALING up to the ceiling...a light bulb moment!  After that, I was "off and running" in a completely different direction, but one that I was so much more interested in working with.  I really am quite pleased that I now have a quilt which "honors" a most magical experience.

Some of the images from bottom left are: knife, folk & spoon representing all of the wonderful food that we had; the next image is of Central Park, which we walked though to get to the Park Avenue Armory where the exhibit was held.  The red image on the upper left is the front of the armory with the exhibit banner.  The red image on the right is of the quilts spiraling up to the ceiling and the last image is of the back of my camera, which informed me after being at the exhibit for no more then 10 minutes that it was OUT OF MEMORY!  Needless to say I was not happy, but had to laugh as it was not just the camera that was out of memory.  Had I still been using a film camera I would have remembered to bring at least 5 extra rolls of film, but it never occurred to me to bring an extra memory card!
I am most grateful to my friend Carol Babineau for "inverting" two of my photographs ( kind of turns them into a negative ) which allowed me a better image to make a screen from.  
The only "quilting" on this piece is the 2 machine stitched New York Beauty block arcs, which originally were to be hand stitched and after seeing Alice's stitching on her spiral quilt I am sorry that I did not follow though by doing the same. 

Alice's Spiral Quilt--Serendipity

I named my quilt Serendipity because I found the fabric for it serendipitously, while working on a batik wall hanging.  I needed just a bit of yellow, so pulled the first yellow batik that came to hand from the Elfa drawer where I store my stash.  I was delighted when I saw that it was adorned with spirals. 

After cutting a 12.5” square of the fabric, I backed it with the polyester felt I prefer to use when I plan to use embroidery stitches for quilting.  I outlined the spirals with a running stitch, using red Perle cotton thread. 

That was not quite enough, though, and so then I spied—again rather serendipitously—the jar of old red buttons I had bought for $5 at a junk store in my town.  I poured out the buttons, chose buttons that graduated in size from tiny to large, and then I arranged them on three of the spirals.  I put a dot of fabric glue on each button to secure it, and then I sewed them down with yellow Perle cotton. 

I had toyed briefly with using the traditional quilt block pattern known variously as Snail’s Trail or Virginia Reel for the front of my quilt this time.  I then decided to use this traditional pattern for the backing.  I found a red fabric printed with spirals, and so I used it and the yellow batik to make this block for the back.  I  used a pillowcase turn to finish the quilt. 

the back
a close-up--my favorite button is #4 from the top of the
spiral--I used it in two of the spirals