Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Green Quilts Composite

Randy has done it again--composed a beautiful composite of our Green quilts!  Notice how much time and effort Randy expends in arranging our quilts to their best advantage.

Not only that, but I think he groups according to similar themes within our current theme.  (I might be wrong--Randy, correct me if I am!)

Take the third row, for an example.  Randy grouped the three quilts that featured faces.  In the fourth row, three with "critters," to use my word loosely.  The top row--three that might be said are "botanical."  The bottom row--three with an abstract feel.  And then the second row....hmm, a mix of humor and _______; I can't find a word, or perhaps these three just looked good together!

Of course, Randy might have had other themes in mind for his groups of three, this is simply how I read them!

So thanks again to Randy for doing a superlative job.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thanks for your time and creativity!

Ladies, you have once again met the Maven's Challenge and produced some works of art!  They are delightful and so different.  I wish we could ALL meet and have an exhibit of our work so we and others could see the quilts "up close and personal". I look forward to seeing the next collage.   They are all so beautiful side by side.  Almost half of the group went green for this challenge - what a wonderful way to utilize those bits and pieces of former crafts and quilts and discarded projects!!  That will be a new challenge for me as I go forward - to be more resourceful with UFO's.  Bring on comfort.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sara's Green Quilt

After a great deal of dithering on this theme, I finally decided to "go green". I picked up a quilt that I started at International Quilt Festival and slashed through it to recycle the green leaves that I had previously quilted. I went through a very old bag of scraps to reuse leftovers. I try to experiment with new techniques with each of quilt challenges. This time, I decided to try piecing the quilts on my longarm- I had just completed a quilt that was smaller than the backing so there was extra backing already pinned to the machine rollers. I put a square of batting down on top of the backing and added each piece using a ruler and straight line quilt as you go. I knew I wanted to practice ruler work and I know I needed the practice after I ended up deflecting the needle into the bobbin case and needed major repairs. (Not sure how the needle fell into the spinning bobbin but my dear husband knows a lot more about sewing machine mechanics now and my wonderful machine is doing beautiful stitches again). I added more quilting and a facing. I then decided to add paint to one of the pieces that had a white background that bothered me. So here it is, a quilt in a green color, with spring green leaves, with re-purposed and recycled fabrics (and dear husband says I shouldn't leave out that I was a greenhorn using this piecing technique)

JW's: Garden Greenery

Green is my Dad’s favorite color.  Growing up in a green house with green kitchen cabinets and oh yes... that pure green carpet - ugh!  It wasn’t that I detested green, I just appreciate the entire rainbow.  Funny how some things revisit my life.  Our green house exterior is a prelude to several shades of green walls throughout the interior.   Even my new studio remodel is now awash in a pale yellowish green paint. 

Actually I’m surrounded by green because my favorite outdoor home hobby is gardening with special attention to adding a variety of greenery amidst my flowers.  My husbands summer priority is keeping our lawn the lushest green on the street and then we both play on golf greens as often as possible in our spare time ~ depicted with the green grass border fabric.

My quilt subject is dedicated to enjoying God’s green earth whether it is in my garden, on the course or in my mind.  I sketched this ornamental vignette with pencil and paper to actual size, then transferred the design using dressmakers carbon to trace the outline directly to my hand-dyed fabric background.  I originally intended to embroider the scene in black thread but chose to work the lines and shading entirely with a Pigma MICRON 01 permanent black archival ink pen for the finest detail.  It is acid free and my number one choice for writing my quilt labels on fabric.

Embellishments include 1/8th inch satin ribbon, various glass beads and a wire beaded dragonfly I made almost 10 years ago.  I wanted to keep the background simple so I used (60 wt.) Madiera clear monofilament for my topstich and smoke colored  Madeira monofilament for my bobbin thread which I free-motion quilted around the drawn shapes after the beading.  I tacked the dragonfly on last.  I think more light contrast would have helped the overall look but I worked with what was on hand.  My studio is spread to all corners of the house and garage so this was more of a challenge than I usually encounter to be finished on time.  
PS.  My first photo isn't true to color or in clear focus.  I took several shots indoors and out with various settings.  I was having trouble with my camera and low batteries.  I will replace with a better photo as soon as possible.  I'm heading to the golf course - I'm in a tournament in 2 hrs.!  I have cut this blog submission close because I just finished the piece an hour ago. 

Janet -- It's Not Easy Being Green


Especially at my house. If you crawl or jump you are likely to end up on the bottom of my foot. My husband knows the lizard scream over any other sound I make and the frog I stepped on in the yard just wasn't fast enough on his legs, not my fault. Green made me think of Kermit and I had a book by Susan Carlson with a frog pattern so I thought I would give it a try. While her quilts are fantastic the process is so messy you can't believe it. You can't tell from the picture but with the exception of the corner pieces everything is little scraps of cloth, hundreds of them. When you get the picture to your liking then you get to go back and glue them down. Then you randomly stitch over the top and when you are through you don't even have to hang it as it will stand nicely due to all the glue and layers. I have my own method of quilting where you forget to put the feed dogs down, force the fabric, break needles and curse. The most important part of course being the cursing. So here is what I suggest (this came to me on the way to the store to get needles), make a copy of your pattern, place it under Wunderunder paper side up and trace your picture. Turn it over and put all of your little scraps on the glue side, when it looks about right iron it down. Anything still loose can be glued. Then remove the paper and iron it to the batting or the back and quilt (don't forget to curse). Now for an explanation for the pictures, I tried to make it 12x12 but the pieces were so tiny they kept falling apart so I made it a little bit bigger and made a pillow cover out of it. Those two black things on the corner are frogs (what else). You can fold the corners over a 12” pillow form or an old pillow and connect it with the frogs front side or back side showing, no cursing required.

Judy S.- Green Tunnel

Green means nature to me. When I was young we had a road that we called the “Spooky Road”. It was a wonderful winding road that had tall trees so thick that they arched over it. A beautiful green tunnel.
To make this quilt I started with a colorful piece of fabric for the canvas. Then I used the “snippet” method to create my green tunnel. That is where I sliced up fabric into small irregular pieces. Then used them as a pallet to paint with. I covered the whole quilt with blue tulle and quilted it.
Next I cut away the tulle from the road and then quilted the tracks in the road. The road was a narrow one lane road and the tracks were well defined.
On the back you can see how I quilted leaves, trees, and the tracks in the road. I still enjoy driving down beautiful tree lined roads. Just being among the trees brings me so much joy.

Barbara's Green Quilt

Doing a mono print using different shades of green set me on my path to this challenge.  My favorite color is green so this was a joy for me to work on!  I seem to be drawn to more and more hand stitching these days.  There was one technique that I have admired in some art quilts and have wanted to try.  Our challenge, being small, was the place to try large running stitch parallel quilting with perle cotton thread.  I love the ridges that form in the fabric!

I decided not to name this piece even though my family came up with some great names.  I want the viewer to see whatever they see and not be swayed by the title.  My goal this time was mainly to focus on green and not a visual subject.

I have three photos.  The first, above, is the finished quilt.  Next is the mono printed fabric.  Last is the three tools that I used in the mono printing process to remove paint from the Gelli Plate.

 You can see each Gelli Plate print clearly in this photo

Kathy's "THINK GREEN "


     After much thought and debate with myself about how to interpret "Green" I knew I had to go with an environmental / recycling / re-purposing approach.    Every part of this small quilt has been recycled / repurposed from things I have in the studio, except for the limey-green mottled fabric on the top that I found at the Boys and Girls Club Thrift Shop here in Gatesville, TX.  The fab was in 4 small pieces, so I re-cut and squared them up, then stitched them together at right angles to each other to make the top.

     After sandwiching the top fab with batting and backing (recycled from other projects), I cross-hatched the quilt with a very heavy (10 weight) olive green Madeira "Decor" thread.

There's no way to get that heavy thread through the needle, so I "couched" the thread onto the quilt using the Bernina No. 21 Cordonnet (or couching) foot.   Madeira monofilament (60 wt.) was in my bobbin, and I used a lime-green Madeira "Neon" thread (40 wt.) in my needle to zig-zag over the heavy-weight Madeira Decor.  

   And now (for me!) the most difficult and time consuming part of the quilt - hand sewing all those small green beads onto the quilt .. all 113 of them !   I actually spent more time on the hand sewing than on the rest of the quilt, but I love the sparkle and definition the beads lend to this small Green Peace !

     On the back of the quilt, I used a piece of fab I'd rust-dyed in Alaska that actually speaks the entire message of this quit:  "Don't trash the Earth"  "Save Our Planet"  "Energy Efficient"  "Eco-Friendly"
                           And last, but not least........    "THINK GREEN !"


     Summer vanished. People came and went; and people returned to stay. In the meantime, I had to PAY for summers as a teen, playing golf and swimming in sunny Texas without using the lifeguard's zinc protection on the nose. It was the 50's, of course, minus the vast information about sunscreen protection we have today.

     This August I had some MOHS minimal surgery to make repairs, to stem possible damage to my nose. The good thing was it provided me a topic for my Material Mavens challenge: GREEN. All I could think of was money and grass, but nothing personal. I usually like an emotional connection, as in a journal notation, and an edge to create a piece of art. When I hit the surgeon's office, there were GREEN SCRUBS all around with purple accessories. I was excited to finally have a topic!

       I have used this excellent surgeon in the past. But before beauty there are some ghastly appearances such as swollen jowls and purple flesh. I won't show the big bandages that I crafted out of brown paper tape every morn to cover the wounds. I had neat stitches down one side and a beaded circle to heal by itself on the other. If I added the tape you couldn't see what I am illustrating. The jowls are padded, the stitches shown with bead and thread, and waves mimic my nerves. On the backside, I embroidered a hypodermic needle outline to stand for the interminable shots of lidocaine, the bubbles for one! Also, there is a clock to symbolize the 8 to 5 I was in the surgeon's office. I believe in humor to deal with most problems.


Let me introduce you to the Green Man - subject of my latest Material Mavens Challenge. The Challenge word was GREEN, I thought about this a bit and while walking in the woods the other day, got my final idea.
Luckily it was finished yesterday, right on time, but I still feel like I skidded to a stop at home plate, breathing hard to get this done :)

This is my second rendition (the first I just wasn't happy with the outcome,) so this time I did some mono-printing of the leaves I had found on the trail. 

His face was fairly easy, but the "feel" of him being a part of nature just wasn't there. He looked more like a green sun to me, so I just had to think a bit harder.

Lois on being Green

Birds are the ultimate Green  recyclers!  Green housing is being promoted as a new trend but birds  have done it for millenniums,building their abodes with whatever they can scavenge. They are also a good measure of how well we are doing in protecting our environment. When there are less birds around, there is often  an environmental problem.
 For me the robin's nest is an iconic symbol of spring green, and new growth  As a child living in the Northeastern US spotting the first nest with those vibrant blue eggs was magical.

I decided my project this month would be done only with things I had or could scavenge. So my materials included a scrubber pad, old scraps of fabric that I ripped into thin strips. After dipping them in melted candle wax it gave them a crinkled form.  The strips held their shape as I randomly hand  stitched them together.

I also added yarn scraps, and did a bit of beading for the pebbles that you often see in the nest.  I debated at length including a tree limb for the nest to sit on. I decided it took away from the design,so I kept it simple.  I used a piece of found hemp rope that I attached with a decorative stitch on the machine using  a variegated embroidery thread, so it would look more natural. And the binding is just layers and layers of that same thread zigzagged around it.  The top quilting was done by machine in the most random pattern I could generate. I wanted the chaos of the random pattern to depict the unpredictability of the natural environment.

I thoroughly enjoyed this months challenge, and look forward to seeing the reveal today!

Tricia's Luna Moth

I found the theme green to be really challenging.  After thinking about it awhile and talking with friends about it.  My sister suggested looking at the Luna Moth.  What a beautiful moth.  I picked out a chiffon fabric that was two layers -one side was green and the other a yellowish green.  They were woven together a various points which gave the fabric a color that shifted in with the light.  It's hard to see in the image.  I also picked up a white chiffon with dots.  I sewed both layers together.  I wanted the wings to be three dimensional.  I first sewed the bottom of the moth onto the backing fabric.  To create the wings I sewed them separately with telephone wire along the edge to give it shape.  I then attached the wings on the top with a satin stitch.  I also create the "eyes" with seam a seam and ironed them on.  The bark  fabric was machine stitched around the knot images. 

Alice's Green--Two Geckos

My quilt was not inspired by the Geico commercials, though I do enjoy them!  My husband Bob and I often spy little green geckos on our window or door screens.  Sometimes one of the lizards will get inside, and then I carefully scoop it up in my dustpan and let it loose outside.  I’ve long toyed with making a lizard quilt and even thought of using the word “critter” when I chose the theme, but then I changed my mind.  As soon as I heard what our theme word was this time, I thought about making a quilt featuring green geckos. 

I found coloring book images of two geckos of different sizes, which I used for templates and cut them from two different green batiks.  These I fused, using Wonder Under, to another batik that had blue and green jungle-like foliage on a black background.

I layered this to cotton batting and then began hand quilting with embroidery stitches, following the designs of the foliage, using either blue or green floss.  I started out quilting just here and there, but somehow I just couldn’t make myself stop, so it ended up having a lot of hand stitching.  Next I added tiny green beads to both lizards, and I used orange beads for their eyes.

To finish the edges, I stitched small, closely spaced, zigzag stitches around twice with black thread, and then once each with blue and finally green, using rayon thread for all.   The backing is a fabric I absolutely adore—a lizard print that I’ve had for some time, which in addition to the little live geckos that often visit us, served as an inspiration for this quilt.

So now at long last I have made a lizard quilt!

Carolyn: Sea Green - Coming to America

The Karenni
and USA flags
When I thought of the color green, I kept thinking about a little girl named Sea Green who is a member of a Christian refugee family that my husband and I are mentoring. Sea Green is a vibrant 5-year old who reminds me of a sunbeam, spreading love to everyone she meets.

Sea Green’s mother and father were in a refugee camp in Thailand 19 years.  Her parents married in the camp and she was born there.  Their families came to the camp from Karenni, a poor and isolated state in Burma.  Karenni was independent from 700 BCE until it was invaded by the Burmese military in 1948. The Burmese military burned their villages, tortured them, planted their fields with landmines and abducted their children for military service. Sea Green and her parents left one set of grandparents in the camp to come to America 10 months ago.

My quilt is in honor of this family’s transition from a refugee camp in Thailand to America.  I used hand-painted and batik fabric to construct the quilt.  The ocean at the bottom represents their journey from Thailand to a land of freedom.  Flags from both nations – Karenni and the U.S.A. were photo transferred and placed on the trapunto quilted mountaintop.  A fabric printed picture of Sea Green’s face stretches over the mountain and water in a sunbeam effect representing her parents' hope for the future.  The background is free-motion quilted with tiny circles representing their circuitous struggle to reach freedom.

Nedra's Green - An Amazonian Jungle

Despite choosing the theme, I spent a lot of time on what I would choose to represent "green".   Green houses, green thumbs, green sleeves and green doors were some of my first ideas.  While perusing quotations using the word green, I came across this one from author Ed McBain: "eyes as deeply green as an amazonian jungle".  I immediately imagined lush green foliage with an eye peering through and I set out to portray this scene.

My background was made by fusing mottled green batik rectangles randomly on top of a leafy green batik.  I was inspired by Gloria Loughman's technique to create backgrounds as in her book Radiant Landscapes and used a modified version.  I created the eye by fusing a green batik for the iris and black pupil onto the white eye.  Green tuille was used to soften the brightness of the white and I then stitched the eye to the background.  I machine quilted flecks of lime green with stitching in the iris and added some beads for sparkle. Navy tuille was used to create an eyelid and lashes were machine stitched with black thread, then enhanced with pigma pens.  The background was then layered with batting and backing and machine quilted using a serpentine stitch. A few leaves of organza were stitched on top of the background just above and below the eye which are more visible in the close-up.  

I like the effect of the organza leaves on top of the background and plan to use this technique as well as the background process again.  The quilted background was then wrapped around a wooden frame. 

Ok, this is where the jungle took on a life of its own!!!  In order for the eye to "peek" out, foliage had to be added.  Leaves of light and dark green were fashioned using batiks and fusible interfacing and then veins were machine stitched.  Real branches were added and attached with hand stitching and vines of fabric covered twine were wrapped around them.  I then added the leaves and loosely tacked those to the background so they remained as three dimensional as possible.    

I had a LOT of fun with this theme.  I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

Andrea's Green

"Page 7"

screened, fused cotton, machine stitched

I knew as soon as I heard the theme that I wanted to use it as both the color and the word.  I love working with text and this allowed me to include a dictionary definition which came from Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, published by the G. & C. Merriam Company 1963.  My next thought was of the pair of bright green shoes that I bought in Paris in 1967.  I now had a concept of the images that I wanted to work with but needed to come up with a context to put them in.  The idea of a children's coloring book emerged.  If I were to design a coloring book it would be shoe-themed, and this quilt is what the "green" page might look like.  My original plan was to include a "flat" green crayon, but then started to play with making a 3 dimensional one.  After a few attempts, I finally constructed a crayon that I was happy with, but then thought that there was too much green ( sorry Nedra! ), so decided that the quilt "needed" a purple one instead.  

background stitching

Rita - It Isn't Easy Being Green

First Joe Raposo wrote the song “Bein’ Green” in 1970, then Jin Henson made it famous by letting Kermit the Frog lament on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show that “It isn’t easy bein’ green!” the same year. And now, in 2013 the Material Mavens can see their own version of bein’ green on a lovable Schnauzer to be exact. By the way, Benny can’t sing, he just barks.
In 2010, I took a class to learn how to do a self portrait in fabric.  Ellis Bennett, the instructor, said we could do the portrait in any color and it would still look like ourselves, because the key to this process is the value of the color, not the color itself.  Colors and challenges and portraits and Benny, who belongs to close friends, as described in their words, “A two-year old in a fur coat” and I had my quilt square for this round.
The technique:  Start with a black and white photo enlarged to the size needed. Next overlay the photo with a clear sheet of plastic.  With a fine tip permanent marker, trace all the lightest areas of the photo and label those as number 1. All of the areas traced must be enclosed areas because they will become the pattern for cutting out the patches of fabric in the lightest value.  Continue tracing the values on the photo with the number 2 being the light medium, the number 3 being the medium, the number 4 being dark medium and the number 5 being the darkest value. It is helpful to place an up arrow on the traced shapes so that when you are reconstructing the image you know in what direction they are to be positioned.  The medium value will be the background on which the other values will be placed.
The next step is to trace the separate values onto a sheet of freezer paper, grouping all of the #1 value shapes together.  Do the same for each number.  The freezer paper will then be ironed to the right side of the chosen fabrics.  Then iron a paper backed fusible web to the back side of the fabric.  I use Wonder Under by Pellon.  Remove the paper from the fusible web and cut out the shapes keeping each value separate.
First fuse the large medium value piece to the background fabric.  Then using your tracing on plastic as a guide, position the rest of the values on top of this shape.
This piece was minimally quilted, outlining the body shape, the outline of the legs, the nose, the mouth, etc.  I then stuffed portions of the body, cutting a small slit in the back and adding FiberFil.  The words, “It Isn’t Easy Being Green” were stitched with the embroidery feature on my sewing machine.      

Janet - Our New Word Comfort

The new word is comfort. I wanted a word that meant something different to every living being on earth. Think about that, billions of people all with a different idea of what it means including the birds and the bees. In Texas you can live in Comfort, all 3.2 square miles of it, watch the bats come out at night and drink something with comfort on the label, not a lot to do in Comfort. I'm looking forward to seeing what memories are created for our new word.