Monday, May 20, 2013

Waco/Dallas Mavens' Group Quilt

Five of us Mavens from Texas are going to make a group quilt!  We had decided earlier than we wanted to make what has come to be called a "slice quilt."  Four of us met yesterday at my house to plan our project.  We all brought photos of potential quilt subjects.  For one reason or another, however, we rejected all of those photos, and we've decided to do a totally imaginary, whimsical, quilt similar to one that appeared in the February/March 2013 issue of Quilting Arts (pp. 16-20).
The rejects on the dining room table!

We cut drawing paper into 12"x24" sections and taped these together along the long edges.  We spread this out on my kitchen island and began sketching in the horizon line, a road or path, a green belt, and a "water feature" along the bottom.  The area between the horizon line and the path is the largest section, and it might contain houses, trees, flowers, animals, or whatever strikes our fancy.

Rita, Alice, and Carolyn working on the sketch.

Rita and Carolyn, with Judy advising, continue the sketch.

All of us, with Janet also participating, will independently construct our section.  Undoubtedly the skies will all be different shades of blue!  Different colors will also appear for the road, the green belt, and the water.  But we felt that different shades and hues will make the quilt all the more charming and whimsical.

We have a generously far-away deadline--the end of October.  We plan to take our "slices" to the Houston Quilt Festival and will show them to our fellow Mavens who plan to be there next fall.  No, we won't have time to ENTER it in this show, but our completion deadline is in October so that we can make decisions about the placement of the sleeves, as well as what potential shows in 2014 we might plan to enter!

Rita, Carolyn, and Alice make notes on the back of our
"slices" about various decisions we made.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Canyon Composite

I decided to put this up as an "extra large" reproduction, so that you can better see all the quilts.  As usual, Randy Schormann is our composite composer!  I told him that this time I felt that he'd done an extraordinary job of arranging the quilts!  I can see the logic behind each one of his rows.  Can you?

We are so fortunate that Rita's husband is so willing to help our group out in this way.  Now to see if this composite, the one that has more quilts making it up than any other has up to this point, can be transformed into a postcard; I am a little apprehensive about that!

IF I am successful, I'll be in touch with all Mavens via email, to see who might like a postcard or one or two or more!

WHAT a superb group of quilts!  I would say that each time, they get better and better, but then, I may be a mite prejudiced!

Barbara's Canyon Quilt--In The Cravasses

Canyon made me think of the Smother's Brothers routine of the Pumas in the Cravis.

I searched my stash to find Puma fabrics and I found one African fabric that worked.  I had a wolf fabric with piercing eyes also and cut those into strips with others that reminded me of mountainous rocks.  I printed the mountain fabrics with my hand cut stamps to create more texture.  The quilting is large hand running stitch in some of the strips and outlining a real Puma paw print.  To make the paw stand out, I used Fabrico Pen in gray and brown around the stitching.  I am very pleased with the results.  Alice, I should have taken your help with posting this before my total right knee replacement surgery!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tricia's Blue John Canyon in Utah

Hi Everyone,  Here is my canyon picture.  My son loves to do any outdoor sports.   About two years ago he went hiking with his now wife in Utah.   This is a rendition of one of his photographs of the Blue John Canyon in Utah.  They hiked thru this crevice.  The one thing that really stood out for me was all of the cracks and lines in the rocks.  I thought using dupioni silk would give the best texture of the rocks.  I bought several shades of the silk, backed them with Wonderunder  fusible to keep the silk from fraying. Then cut the silk to create many layers of the rocks.  I ironed the silk onto batting.  I pillow cased the quilt and  then free motion quilted to give more texture to the rocks.

I have to apologize that I cant look at all the postings until tomorrow.  I have been in a class all day and I am heading out of town extremely early in the morning.  I can't wait to enjoy looking at everyone's Canyons!


Kathy's Geological Canyon

Ahhhh.... Canyons !    In a past life, I worked for ARCO Alaska, Inc. (a subsidiary of ARCO Oil and Gas, a subsidiary of Atlantic Richfield Company).   Among the incredible jobs I had at ARCO, the most fascinating by far was working for the Exploration Department which was tasked with finding new deposits of oil and gas.  To accomplish that, brilliant teams of geologists and geophysicists explored surface and sub-surface areas of the land and sea looking for specific types of rocks and strata (stratigraphy) that could or might indicate the presence of hydrocarbons (aka oil and/or gas).

In the late 90's I met Dr. Richard L. Brooks, a Paleontologist on our staff, and my concept of geology was turned upside down !   Dick introduced me to the fascinating world of "Foraminifera" (forams) which are the skeletal remains of microscopic sea shells, plants, vertebrates, etc.   Put in simpler terms, he allowed me to view these ancient relics also known as Fossils.....which lead to "fossil fuels" which are known as oil and gas ! 

The different types of strata are like layers that are 'sandwiched' in and among many different types of rocks, minerals, etc.  As you might imagine, these layers are present in canyons all over the world ... above and below the earth's surface.   In my quilt, I chose to delve into a very specific portion of a canyon that illustrates a Geological Strata.

My inspiration was a 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" picture from of all things, a Sherwin Williams paint color book.  As soon as I saw that picture, I knew it was to become my Canyon quilt.   

Using chalk, I drew a few significant lines onto a piece of "strie" fabric and added two layers of pale yellow tulle to soften the lines in the fabric.   [Prior to quilting, I layered the fabric/tulle with batting and 2 layers of stabilizer.]  Then came the fun part ... selecting threads (there are about 20 different types of thread in the quilt), and free-motion "thread painting" my interpretation of the picture.   I didn't keep track of the time I spent on quilting, but lots and lots of hours were devoted to this phase of the quilt :-D

For the back of the quilt, I used a "Key-hole" type of binding (one of my favorites).  The backing fabric is a "canyon-y" type fab that Maven Judy W. and I 'rust dyed' when I was still in Anchorage, AK.   

I hope all of you enjoyed this Challenge.  "Canyon" is one of my most favorite pieces !

Rita's Waco City Canyon

As I contemplated CANYON two months ago, I first thought of a wooded divide with perhaps a stream running down its length.  And as I grew up in central Illinois in corn country, I remembered driving down narrow country roads between corn fields and feeling like I was in a canyon, a corn canyon.  And the really big city canyons of New York were next in my imagination.  It was then I decided to attempt to depict my own little city canyon, Austin Avenue, in Waco, Texas.
Waco, Texas, population 126,697 (2011), has the feeling of a small country town.  It is a great place to live and is not at all like the vision some have of it because of events that have happened near Waco.  Sixty years ago (May 11, 1953), a devastating tornado almost leveled downtown Waco.  I have heard it said that at that time Waco was growing faster than Dallas.  The tornado brought that growth to a halt as rebuilding began and today we see the great differences in the two cities.
A certain amount of artistic license has been taken in this depiction.  All of the labeled buildings are in downtown Waco, but not necessarily in the pictured locations.  Three landmarks were ‘must haves’ for my canyon representation:  The ALICO (Amicable Life Insurance Company) built in 1911, the Waco Hippodrome built in 1913, and the Suspension Bridge built in 1870.  The first two are in their correct locations; however the Suspension Bridge is not at the end of Austin Avenue (although it is located near Austin Ave).
The technique used for this panel was adapted from a book by Helen Stubbings called Faux Appliqué. Helen has developed a method to use colored pencils and embroidery to simulate appliqué on a quilt.  The color on my quilt was applied with Crayola colored pencils on muslin, but I quilted it instead of doing embroidery. The batik tree trunks and leaves are fused onto the piece.
In drawing and planning the design, I made the decision that the buildings should not be overshadowed by the foreground trees, but instead the trees should frame the scene.  After wrapping the quilt around the frame, I wished the two side trees had been more visible from the front.  This is why you see four “edge” photographs around each side of the panel. They are there to show you the sides of the quilt block, which as usual, is gallery wrapped.
Interesting Waco Facts
Waco is named after the Huaco Indians, the first inhabitants of the area.
The ALICO building (1911) is 22 stories tall.  It was originally planned to be 20 stories, but the builder discovered that the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas also would have 20 stories and the number was increased by 2 floors.  The building stood strong during the 1953 tornado.  In fact, it is said that the building swayed more than 13 inches in the high winds of the tornado. It was reported that employees on the top floors were thrown against the walls. Although most buildings collapsed around it, the damage to the ALICO was largely superficial. 
The Hippodrome (1913) was built as a vaudeville theater, complete with a pipe organ in the front stage pit.  It then became a movie theater.  It closed for a time in the ‘70’s and then in 1980’s the Junior League of Waco took on the project of restoring the facility in response to the need for a performing arts center.  Currently one more renovation is being planned for the entire corner.
The Waco Suspension Bridge (1870) has a 475 foot long span.  It was the first bridge built across the Brazos River, and at the time one of the longest single span bridges in the world.  It brought the Texas section of the Chisholm Trail straight through Waco, and the city became a thriving trade center.  A toll was charged for each person and each head of cattle.  The toll was eliminated in 1889.  Today the bridge is for foot traffic only and is a popular spot for parties and weddings.

Linda's Canyon

     Palo Duro Canyon drove my work this time. The Canyon is thirty minutes outside of Amarillo, Texas where I was born. Only Grand Canyon is larger. Georgia O’Keefe painted images inspired by it; and my friends who are marrying June 1 developed a romance on the ranches in the area.

     The Grand Canyon has an Eagle structure; and Palo Duro has a rock formation called The Lighthouse. My lighthouse looks more like a bottle, unfortunately (champagne for the upcoming wedding?). I made to futile efforts. My first “Canyon” is tamer than the second. I used fabric paints and Sharpie’s Rub a Dub pen. I always felt it needed crows or blackbirds that O’Keefe put in her painting of Palo Duro. Below, my second “Canyon”  has stronger colors and shapes are simplified. It needs some yellow beaded flowers. I layered mostly batik fabrics, and stitched all over.

       I had the best time stitching trying to learn something. Well it takes more than two tries to learn new techniques. I just have to keep trying. I can begin another for a wedding card.  I have now learned I must slow down, observe better, make many sketches, and THINK. I always wanted a theme to work on and maybe canyon or home could be a start. I will edit or omit the poor lighthouse.

       But I like the idea of a lighthouse, my home as a light, an assist in navigating life. The warm colors of the Panhandle, yellow (in Spanish, Amarillo), orange and red are in a marbleized fabric on the back of the 2nd little quilt. This makes me think of old books...tales of the Apaches and Comanches who once roamed here and the sad histories shared by all people. CLICK to enlarge the images.

Sara's Canyon

This was a somewhat difficult challenge for me. I am somewhat Canyon deprived having not really had a chance to view a canyon in person (until my trip this past weekend to Sedonaa, AZ). I knew I needed to get my quilt done before that trip.I looked up the definition of canyon - " a gorge or ravine, esp in North America, usually formed by the down-cutting of a river in a dry area where there is insufficient rainfall to erode the sides of the valley"  and thought of the action of a river cutting into its environment and reshaping it over time and getting deeper and wider over time. I  portray this time sequence. I started off with hand running stitches in white on a dark brown solid background going through the background and the batting. I then added more definition with rowns of couched yarns and cord . I added a backing and quilted it with straight  stitches using  heavy pink cotton. 

What might we see in July?

I've pondered what I might issue as our next challenge. I looked for a word that is used with several meanings and went back to my roots: Our challenge theme for July 15 is :Cell

I can't wait to see what you do!

Judy W's "Canyon Colors & Curves"

This reversible quilt emerged from an experiment with two separate construction methods meant to depict the geological strata and colors captured in canyon photos.  Both sides were created individually and then placed back to back before quilting and satin stitching the edge.  (The quilt was photographed on a black background to highlight the colors.)

One side is composed of narrow batik fabric strips in colors reminiscent of sunset lit canyon walls.  I used a rust-dyed cotton fabric as the base thinking I’d leave some of it showing through ~ which didn’t happen.  Using clear mono-filament top and bobbin thread, I zigzag stitched horizontal lines  to anchor the fabric.  More  ‘strata’  was added with straight stitched variegated thread.  Some strips were still not fully anchored so I resorted to machine needle felting a layer of beige tulle over the surface.  The result helped but was less than wonderful so I  peeled off most of the tulle after the quilt was finished.
The opposing side features a lovely variegated 100%  wool roving (looks better in person), thinly arranged across a 14” square of black felt which serves as both base and batting due to its eighth inch thickness.  Following the lines of the roving, I machine needle felted a 13” square area.  I layered both sides back to back, then machine stitched a 12” circle on the fabric side.
Transfer product and photographic inspiration.
 A small portable projector  enabled me to enlarge a photo of Ammonite fossils which I then transferred to Sulky Heat-Away Clear Film with a fabric marker.  After positioning the film overlay on top of the felt with the images centered within the circle, I then free-motion quilted the Ammonites from both sides of the quilt to emphasize the outline, then removed the excess film.  I hand picked the film residue off the wool with tweezers instead of ironing it as the product was intended.  Since I’d never used this film before I felt safer avoiding any meltdown mishaps... especially on wool.

Although not entirely pleased with this piece, I’m always happy to learn what works and what doesn’t from one challenge to the next.  Best of all, I finally put some mileage on my felting machine!

Displaying your little quilts!

I found an old piece of clothes line, and got some really old wooden clothes pins and attached them to my studio wall, I am hanging them up with the clothes pins like wash, against a white wall, They are lonely with only two of them, but they will get friends soon. People that come in the studio always ask about them, and I tell them all about our blog!  Just thought I'd share the idea, as it really looks so cute.........

Judy S.- Canyon Through the Camera Lens

When I read that the word we had was “Canyon” I thought of the obvious scene. I came up with many different idea’s that I could make instead of the valley view. Yet, the canyon scene kept calling me. Then I went to Santa Fe, NM to the SAQA conference and to visit with my son and his wife. With the beautiful scenery on my travels as well as from their apartment, this canyon quilt had to be created. The circle overlay was added to give the sense of viewing the landscape through the lens of a camera.
I painted the fabric for the sky so that I could get the effect I wanted. Cherrywood fabric was used for the mountains. To make the circle look like the shutter, I turned under the edges like I would if I was appliquéing and placed the turned under edge on top. To darken the cuts and to prevent raveling I painted the cut fabric with pebeo setacolor paints. 

Janet's Canyon- Threading the Needle

 Websters defines canyon as “a deep narrow valley with steep sides, often with a stream flowing through it”. You could think nature, I thought New York City right down to the streams of people flowing through the narrow streets. My son, Justin, took this picture years ago and when he sent it to me he commented that it looked like the jet stream was threading a needle. On the side of the quilt is the skyline of my favorite urban canyon and home, Oklahoma City. The buildings in the picture were all glass so I used colors from pictures we had taken on a trip to the Grand Canyon.  

Lois' tribute to the Native People of the Canyons.

 The first time I ever saw the canyon's out west, was a family trip with my husband Bob and two daughter's Rebecca and Taryn, many years ago. I was struck by the vastness of the quiet beauty in those rocks, and the amazing color palate that was everywhere. Just walking around in the early morning light you could see the faces of the native people in the shadows of the rocks and caverns. There was a sense of permanence and history like I had never felt before in the outdoors. After seeing the cliff dwellings, and their paintings of life on the canyon walls, our family decided to gather rocks of different colors and research how to make paint from them. It became a science project and a lesson for the girls in using the resources around you.  I decided to depict a Native Chief as though he was part of that canyon wall, with his feathers being the striations in the layers of rock, and his facial features being the shadows of what once was.    The stick weaving on his headdress depicts the resourcefulness and the sensibility of using and finding beauty in what is around you.   It was a wonderful challenge, and it took me a while to get to this place. I am so looking forward to the reveal today, I am sure it will be amazing and filled with lots of creativity!!!!!
Quilt Front

Quilt Back
Chief Seattle

Nedra's Canyon - Wall Street

While contemplating the theme for this reveal, I came across a photo of Bryce Canyon in Utah called "Wall Street" and was immediately taken in by the colors.  The name intrigued me however, and I started to look more closely at the scene in the photo.  A serpentine "street" wound its way to the bottom of the canyon which was enclosed with steep stone walls lit in several areas with a sunny glow.  The trees in the distance were such a great contrast.  I quickly decided I wanted to try to convey this complex scene in fabric.
I contacted Gene Burch who was the photographer and he quickly gave me permission to use his photo in this challenge.  And what a challenge it was; capturing the colors and the light proved just as difficult  as conveying the perspective.  I used fusing, tulle, machine quilting, fabric paint and pigmacolor pens in my attempt to give the depth and perspective of the photo.  I really would have liked to give it another try.   BUT given that the reveal date is just days before our upcoming move to Georgia, I had to let it go with this first and only attempt.  As I write this, we are packing up our home of almost 20 years and heading to SavannahGeorgia where we plan to spend the winters out of the cold and snow.  
Gene Burch's Wall Street

Andrea's Canyon

Concrete Canyon
raw edged hand-dyed cotton, organza

Canyon....hmmmm, was my first reaction, however a concept began to emerge very quickly after I read Kathy's "think stratigraphy" suggestion.  Strips or "layers" of hand-dyed fabric began dancing in my head.  I dyed some fabric a couple of years ago that I love, but had not had the opportunity to use so was thrilled to think that it would be perfect for this quilt.  I was also intrigued to think that this would be different from most of my other work: no silk-screened images!  My original plan (see photo)  
was a very simple one...just thin strips of layered fabric and lots of stitching, but then I remembered that cities with large skyscrapers are sometimes referred to as "concrete canyons", and as a city girl this really appealed to me!  From that thought I decided to do my layering, stitching and then chop that "fabric" up into rectangles that would represent buildings.  I'm very pleased with the results and had a great time making this piece...thank you Kathy for giving me this opportunity!

Carolyn: Railroad Through The Canyon at Sunset


This quilt evolved in a class with Katie Pasquini Masopust that Alice, Sara and I took this Spring at Quilting Adventures.  Katie calls this new technique “stitched painting” because it combines painting and quilting. 

First, we chose one color scheme to use on two or three canvases.  Then using our chosen colors of acrylic paint, we created abstract paintings on each canvas.  After the paintings dried, we applied fused fabric to each canvas using our own "stash."  The next step was to add one or more additional layers of thin acrylic paint and/or stamp impressions.  Then came the fun! 

After the canvases dried, we cut them apart and began to reassemble them into complex compositions.  When we were satisfied with our designs, we layered each canvas with felt batting and machine stitched the various pieces together using a zigzag stitch.  I used two threads: apricot and dark brown.

The final step was machine quilting, which I did after returning home.  Katie frames all of her pieces, but, since my quilt was a 12x12, I chose a different technique.  I fused a complimentary fabric onto one side of Timtex and used that for the backing.  I chose a very dark brown cotton fabric for the binding.

When I look at this quilt, I see a canyon at sunset with railroad tracks that wander in and out of the mountains and valleys.  It reminds me of a Colorado train ride that my husband and I took. I see a canyon, railroad tracks, a sunset, a river, mountains, trees and rocks in my quilt.  What do you see?

Alice's Canyon: Sunrise Over the Urban Canyon

I had many canyon photos of my own, but none seemed just right.  So I turned to the Internet and found many lovely images.  One in particular I was eager to try to render in fabric, a “slot canyon” that was spectacular, but I knew that to use another’s copyrighted image as the basis of my quilt, I needed to ask permission.  Alas, my favorite picture’s photographer didn’t reply to my email! 

But then the phrase “urban canyon” popped into my mind!  Yes!  I sketched several make-believe cityscapes.  When I came up with one I liked, I drew it more carefully using a ruler on 12"x12” graph paper.  This I traced onto freezer paper, and I used those shapes as templates for my quilt.

At first I used fabrics printed with window-like squares for the buildings.  After I laid out the first version of this quit, I asked my husband, “Can you tell what this is supposed to be?”  He studied it, and then said ruefully, “I’m sorry; I really can’t!”

It was a classic case of his not seeing the forest for the trees!  Yes, those “trees”—those colorful buildings with their fanciful “windows”—were ideal, but just not for a quilt this small.  I then applied Wonder Under to solid-look fabrics of black, gray, brown, and blue.  These I cut using my templates and assembled version #2.

I called Bob in again—Eureka!  He knew immediately that what I was picturing was a cityscape, in fact, an “urban canyon.”  I fused all the buildings and the street to some fabric that reminded me of a sunrise.  Then I fused the front to some all-cotton batting.  Appliqué stitches served as the chief method of quilting, both buttonhole and zigzag stitching. I couched several lines of black and brown Perle cotton thread down on three of the buildings, to delineate the fronts and the sides of these structures.  I then added some random machine quilting in the sky.

I finished the edges with a technique I learned at the Sue Benner workshop last fall—multiple zigzag stitches in several different colors.  As Sue does, I left dangling threads at the four corners.  The back is a cityscape print that I’ve treasured since 1999; it depicts Seattle (the part I used); Washington, D.C.; and New York City.  The NYC portion includes the Twin Towers, and thus this fabric is precious to me.

Here's the back showing the skyline of Seattle.

I wanted to show you how the quilt looks when I pull back a bit, to show
the dangling threads at each corner.

Canyon - Sue's Cousin

I always wanted to find a dinosaur skeleton. When the new word went out for "Canyon," what
else could I do?
So I went to a very nice canyon and did a dig and found a huge T-Rex I call Sue's Cousin. Sue is the biggest T-Rex skeleton found yet and she was found by a kid too! I'm a big kid!

I used a lot of strips of fabric to show soil layers and to give you that feel of age. Then "dug" some of the fabric away to reveal my find. I used an outline stitching to achieve this and then painted in the dino.